Cinespace ground-breaking set for week of May 9

AT LONG LAST – Cinespace Studios will officially open during a ground-breaking ceremony on a date to be set during the week of May 9 — nearly 18 months after its planned purchase of the Ryerson Steel plant was announced.  Expected to cut the ribbon will be special guest Gov. Pat Quinn, known as a good friend to the film industry.

Last month, Toronto studio owner and businessman Nick Mirkopoulos purchased the first of the former steel plant’s eight buildings for $20 million and sound stage construction of the 355,000-sq. ft. building has been completed.  The ultimate investment in the property will be an estimated at $80 million and the studio is expected to create 6,000 jobs within five years.


THE CALL SHEET. Lionsgate Television/Starz’ dramatic 8-week series, “Boss,” started filming Sunday.  The story, about a Machiavellian fictional Chicago mayor with a secret, stars Kelsey Grammer, Connie Neilsen (The Devil’s Advocate)and Jeff Hephner (The O.C.) and is  headquartered at the aforementioned Cinespace.

DIGITAL KITCHEN shuttered its New York operation April 1 and phone calls were shifted to Chicago.  The closing was due to “operational consideration” as the four-office structure was no longer viable under D-K’s new digital creative agency model.

A SAG/AFTRA MERGER is getting closer now that SAG’s national board unanimously established a merger taskforce to work with AFTRA to “develop a formal plan to unite AFTRA members in one union,” according to a SAG statement.

The goal is to have a plan for approval by the two unions’ national boards in January, 2012.  The plan would include a merger agreement, constitution and dues policy.

LEO BURNETT WAS CHOSEN to create Facebook’s eighth and newest ad unit – “the first ad unit that will let brands do effective word-of-mouth marketing at scale,” says Mark Renshaw, Burnett’s chief innovation officer.

The new ad space will be used exclusively by a select group of brands for the first two months and will then be available to others. Brands participating in the initial phase include Hallmark, Sealy, Walgreens and the Ronald McDonald House Charities.

CHICAGO NATIVE actor Colin Egglefield (Must Love Dogs) will appear in person May 6 at an exclusive advance screening of his new rom com, “Something Borrowed.”  The story is a love triangle between maid-of-honor Ginnifer Goodwin, her best friend and Egglefield’s fiancé Kate Hudson and Egglefield.  The screening and actor Q&A is at the AMC River East at 8 p.m.

FILMMAKER RINO LIBERATORE and his wife, wardrobe stylist/photographer Jill Scott will host up to 10 “serious young students of film and photography” under 16 at their Award Winning Camp this summer. 

The camp will be held at Liberatore and Scott’s beautiful bed and breakfast on the shores of Lake Huron in Ontario, Canada.  In addition to the learning experience, the kids will be provided with home cooked meals and excursions to waterfalls, kayaking, fishing and other artistic activities.

COLUMBIA COLLEGE’S MAY 12 INDUSTRY NIGHT is not a Job Fair, although it could lead to job opportunities, says Julie Ford of the school’s Portfolio Center.  Rather, the object is to informally connect graduating students embarking on their visual media careers with industry pros, at a showcase and reception at 1632 S. State, 5 to 8 p.m.    

GO FIGURE.  Director Greg Green’s $1.8 million indie psychological thriller, Three of a Kind, that’s set in Chicago was filmed in Boise, Idaho!  Green said, “We wanted to make a statement that film production is possible in Idaho.”

P.S. IN 2008, Idaho passed a bill offering a 20% rebate to filmmakers who spend more than $200,000 on production costs in the state – – but there’s never been any money to fund it.