Cinespace hosts July 4 event for Canadian consulate

IN THE SPIRIT of cross-border camaraderie, Cinespace is making its Chicago and Toronto studios available to host both Canada Day festivities for the Canadian Consulate in Chicago on July 1 and Independence Day festivities for the US Consulate in Toronto on July 3.

The Chicago celebration held on the “Chicago Fire” set is “a most fitting,” said  Jim Dickmeyer, Consul General of the US in Toronto, “given the strong cultural and economic ties between our two countries, especially those in the film and television industry.  We are looking forward to a memorable and enjoyable day at Cinespace.” 

Celebrating its 25th year of business, Toronto-based owner Nick Mirkopoulos built Cinespace Canada and Chicago into North America’s largest owner/operated studio space.

Chicago Cinespace is host to seven projects: TV series NBC’s “Chicago Fire” and “Chicago PD,” Fox TV’s “Mind Games” and “Crisis,” USA Networks’ “Sirens,” and features, just-wrapped “Divergent,” and upcoming “Transformers 4.”

PAONESSSA TALENT’S EXCLUSIVE, Amy Newbold, holds the distinction of being the only Chicago-based actress with a supporting role in teen sci-fi “Divergent” wrapping shortly.  She plays the role of Molly, the tough fighter in the group, among a dozen famous Hollywood stars.  She was booked through Claire Simon Casting.

Agency owner Marisa Paonessa says another of her exclusives, Rammel Chan, will reprise the role he had in the pilot “Crisis” when the NBC series begins filming here shortly.

AT STEWART TALENT a good-bye party was held for veteran agent Nancy Kidder who retired from the business after 23 years with the talent agency.   She had been in charge of the industrial film division.    

SUMMER NIGHTS: BAM Studios entertains clients at an RSVP party at Rockit Bar & Grill July 18 and Optimus holds its 18th annual block party a week earlier than usual, on Aug. 2, since its traditional date of the first Friday of August falls on the second.

Speaking of BAM: The studio is currently sound designing a Leo Burnett Nintendo Pikman game spot for the Wii U update that will be released theatrically as well as on television. 

SOUTH SIDE PROJECTIONS, a nonprofit organization that screens meaningful films throughout the South Side, has the distinction of being the smallest arts organization ever funded by the MacArthur Fund for Arts and Culture at the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation, when it received a 3-year operational grant.

Says South Side Projections founder Michael W. Phillips, Jr., “We’re ecstatic to be in the company of the other amazing organizations they fund.”

NEW TO UTOPIC as its primary motion graphics artist is Kevin Rourke, who moved over from 3.5 years at Red Car and boosting the Utopic staff to 20.  He was one of two Chicago finalists out of 59 entries in the AICE awards show here last April.  A fine artist with a background in traditional illustration, Rourke is currently working on making large block prints, which will be displayed at Utopic’s Sept. 19 art show at its studios.

SPOT CITY.  The three most elite car brands used our streets for locations this past week: CFS, a German production company, filmed for BMW. Smooth World Productions of Miami came here for Jaguar. Biscuit of New York shot for Mercedes Benz this past weekend.  L.A.-based Smuggler filmed a CSX railroad spot with a cast of 21 local actors.

Other recent visits: Shoot Station’s 3-day local shoot and  Community Films of Culver City spent a day here for Bissell Cleaners.

OSCAR WINNER HASKELL WEXLER was in Chicago last week for a cast and crew screening of Four Days in Chicago, the documentary he and a local crew shot during the NATO Summit in Chicago last May.  Chicago natives Andrew Davis, who was on the crew last year flew in from L.A. to participate in the screening. Filmmaker Mike Gray (“The China Syndrome”) who was also on Wexler’s shoot, passed away in May.

Wexler’s local team consisted of producer Suree Towfighni, co-producer Leslie Korshak, Ethan Boehme, Andrew Friend, Stephen Combs, James Foley, Reuben Cruz, Ron Pitts, Eric Torres, Gretchen Hasse, John Fecile, John Mason, Dan O’Donnell, with special thanks to Tony Fitzpatrick, Peter Kuttner, Kartemquin, Gordon Quinn and Tim Horsburgh.

Enjoy the Fourth of July holiday! When you return next week, send your latest news to