DIGITAL KITCHEN’S EXPANSION into all things digital started with the hiring of interactive heavy-hitter Jeff Brecker for the newly created position of executive producer/general manager. He starts June 21.
Brecker has been on the internet side of advertising since he entered the adbiz in 1996, after graduating from UW-Madison. He moved to Digital Kitchen from three years at Leo Burnett, where he’d been SVP/creative director.
Earlier, he was with at Ogilvy & Mather as partner, director of interactive production, going there from Burnett where he’d been director of production on the U.S. Army’s recruiting websites.
ACTOR DOUG JAMES has been working for seven months on producing a musical show, the 40th Anniversary Tribute to Joe Cocker Mad Dogs & Englishmen Concert, that will headline tonight’s show at Reggie’s Rock Club, 2109 S. State, starting at 10 p.m.
Buzz Kilman narrates the historical intros to the songs that tell the Joe Cocker story, 16 songs in all, ending with “Give Peace a Chance.” “Still relevant today,” comments James.
A BIG WEEKEND AHEAD. Friday night is the Museum of Broadcast Communications’ “Salute to Chicago Television,” honoring three generations of local broadcasters, directors, producers and executives — 50 in all confirmed so far — at its fund-raiser at the Hilton Hotel & Towers.
IT’S ANOTHER SELL-OUT , for the Chicago International Film Festival’s Saturday night Summer Gala honoring Oscar winning director Ron Howard with a Career Achievement Award.
Expected to attend the event at the Museum of Science & Industry are the stars of Howard’s “Cheaters” movie shooting here: Vince Vaughan, Kevin James and Winona Ryder, and number of other actors who have worked with Howard in his award-winning movies.
Behind the scenes of the Gala, Resolution Digital Studios and Show Department are handling the live video production, including visual content management for the presenters and special guests, all live audio support, lighting design, venue scenic design, event technical direction and stage management.
IN KEEPING WITH FOUNDATION’S GROWTH and L.A. expansion, 20-year creative sales veteran rep Ellen Knable has been signed to represent the company’s directors and editors on the West Coast; phone, 310/829-3269. Valerie Gobos is Foundation’s Midwest rep, phone, 312/836-8300.
IN OTHER REP NEWS, Hootenanny signed Surita Mansukhani as its first business development director since Liz Tate and Jim Annerino started the editorial boutique two years ago.
Mansukhani is also VP/sales and promotions for What the Hale Music and has worked for composer/producer Ken Hale since he opened his company 18 years ago. She also is involved in the new Shady Lady bar in River North and previously owned club Convent, the biggest dance club in Chicago. *
Melody Smith is representing Detroit-based Yessian Music in Chicago. Before forming her company in 2009, Smith was a producer at Red Car and Bridges Media Group. Her current roster includes Sedna Films, Speakeasy FX and M1 Interactive.
CHICAGO-HOLLYWOOD CONNECTION: Paramount Pictures’ new president of production, Marc Evans will be remembered as having been program director for Chicago International Film Festival’s some years back. Evans previously had been Paramount’s EVP/production.
L.A. BASED WRITERS BOOTCAMP founder and Chicago native Jeff Gordon speaks Monday night on writing for television at Columbia College’s Ferguson Auditorium, an event sponsored by NATAS.
ESAU MELENDEZ’ riveting doc, “Immigrant Nation,” will screen locally June 26 at the Center for Latino Research, prior to being part of the HBO New York International Latino Film Festival, July 27-Aug. 1.
A WASHINGTON, D.C. PREMIERE for director Judith Paine McBrien’s “Make No Little Plans: Daniel Burnham and the American City,” is tonight at the National Mall in Washington, as part of the Mall’s “Screen on the Green” program.
The doc will be appropriately introduced by Chicago’s Valerie Jarrett, the president’s senior advisor, and Jim Leach, chairman, National Endowment for the Humanities’. Actress Joan Allen, the narrator, makes a special appearances.
A LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD will be presented to Ronn Pitts, the first African American to teach at Columbia College and the first to work in the Chicago film industry, at the Bronzeville Cultural Festival June 17, at Columbia College’s Film Row Cinema.
Producer Mark Harris of 1555 Filmworks also will be recognized for his film, “Black Butterfly.”
REEL MICHIGAN: Oscar winner and Michigan native Michael Moore will attend the Waterfront Film Festival June 11, as part of Michigan Film Office Advisory Council meeting, with Governor Granholm and MFO director
Janet Lockwood. The time is 10 a.m. to noon at the Saugatuck Center for the Arts and it’s free and open to all.
*Shooting in Ann Arbor starting June 14 is director Wes Craven’s “Scre4m Four,” with lead actors Neve Campbell, Courtney Cox and David Arquette.
*Mutant superheroes will invade West Michigan with “X-Men: First Class,” directed by Mathew Vaughan and starring James McAvoy. Location scouts are looking for a city with such specifics as “an Art Deco Caf? or restaurant overlooking a body of water, a Miami-styled harbor for yachts, and a 1960s South or Central American island feel.”
*The Global Renaissance Entertainment Group’s Wylie Studios is considering building in downtown Detroit or Allen Park, the company said.
The plan is to make six major films there over the next three years, according to the full-service film and television production company. The corporate headquarters moved to Allen Park earlier this year.
A REEL MILESTONE: As of this date, the Reel has brought you 1,500 screening and event notices in our legendary (ahem) eight years of online publication. More than 2,500 articles are now contained in our archives.