DEBBIE BECK RETIRED from the Chicago Film Office last week without fanfare, after a remarkable and dedicated 28 years serving the film community.
“Debbie’s warm, unaffected personality, matched with unsurpassed longevity, made her almost iconic — the heart and soul of the office. She will be extraordinarily missed,” says Rich Moskal, who was appointed CFO director when Beck was into her sixteenth year on the job.
Beck had joined in June, 1980 a scant three months after the office was officially created by Mayor Jane Byrne as an adjunct of the police department, which issued permits, and was headed by a police sergeant, Sam Babich.
“Debbie served the office in a variety of roles over the years, most recently as still photography coordinator and screenwriting competition coordinator,” Moskal comments.
Beck’s position will not be filled at this time, due to current city budget shortfalls, leaving the office with a staff of just three ? Yolanda Arias, who handles commercials and still photography, Kathy Byrne (no relation to former Mayor Byrne), film and television, and Moskal.
RICHARD ROEPER will announce the most nominations ever for the 2008 Emmy Awards Sept. 9 at the glitzy new Trump International Hotel and Tower Grand Ballroom. Winners will be honored at a formal dinner Oct. 18.
IT’S AWARDS NIGHT Sept. 10 for the Chicago Creative Club, hosted by the Chicago Ad Federation. The event will show off the best of Chicago’s creative work at the United Club at Soldier Field.
FALL COMMERCIAL PRODUCTION is shaping up as a banner season, as compared with last year, according to the CFO, with jobs bidding for Budweiser, Carnival Lines and Bridgestone Tires.
As for year-to-date numbers, says Rich Moskal, “We show some pretty big numbers for August, 2008: 14 spots, including jobs for Budweiser, Harris Bank, Career Builder and AT&T, compared with three in 2007.
“I WAS OVERWHELMED,” says Peace on Earth Film Festival founder Nick Angotti, of non-profit New Thought Chicago, by the turnout and enthusiastic support for the recently ended two-day festival at the Victory Gardens-Biograph theatre.
Out of 40 films on peace, non-violence and social justice, screened, six received awards for excellence in various “Best of” categories, but none of the filmmakers were from Chicago.
“We exceeded expectations and are setting plans for next year and the honoring peace-building filmmakers from around the world,” Angotti notes.
OPUSCULE PRODUCTIONS celebrates moving into new space at 4109 N. Kedzie with a part Sept. 19. Opuscule specializes in “production, digital media and all around awesomeness,” comments president Robert C. Bowman III, who founded the company in 2002.
It is also the parent of film, record and publishing companies, all operating under the Opuscule banner.
ACTRESS BONNIE HUNT declares that if her new NBC talk show, bowing Sept. 8 on Ch. 5 is successful (and we have every reason to believe it will be), she vows she will move it from L.A. and make Chicago its home. Not for just a few shows, as Ellen, Letterman and Leno have done in the past, but every day a la Oprah.
ANOTHER AWARD for Tony-winning Steppenwolf playwright Tracy Letts. He will be honored by the Illinois Arts Alliance annual at its Sept. 25 awards gala. The arts advocate being honored is philanthropist Sandra Guthman, CEO of the Polk Bros. Foundation.
SIUC WANTS TO RID THE PERCEPTION that is a “party school,” with a cinema ad aimed at 3 million Illinois movie-goers. It was produced by Barking Dawg Productions, a branch of SIUC’s marketing division.
That “party school” image keeps parents and high school guidance counselors from recommending Carbondale, says Terry Clark, Barking Dawg director.
The spot focuses on a Carbondale grad student in business driving Chicago streets at night, with a voiceover inner-monolog, ending with her first-time arrival on the SIUC campus.