Docmaker in Middle East on peace mission

IN THE MIDDLE EAST for three weeks is documentarian Malachi Leopold of Left Brain/Right Brain Productions. He is visiting Israel, the West Bank and Gaza as part of a delegation hosted by Interfaith Peace Builders and meeting with young Palestinians and Israelis under the age of 25 who are working together to achieve peace.

Leopold has worked for more than a year on developing a project connected to the ongoing Middle East conflict. He says, “It is my intent to bring these conversations home, and promote positive social change; to help end the cycle of violence, and ultimately establish a just and peaceful resolution for all.”

He will return Aug. 13. The $10,000 trip was financed by donations. In 2009, Leopold spent a month in the Sudan shooting the doc, “22 Years From Home,” about one of the “lost boys of the sudan” who made it to Chicago.

“TRANSFORMERS 3” LOCATION UPDATE so you can avoid the blocked off streets, or just observe the action: July 28, from 1 p.m. to noon at 123 N. Jefferson; July 28-29, at 625 N. Michigan from noon till midnight.

THE NEW TITLE of the Ron Howard-Vince Vaughn movie shooting here is now “What You Don’t Know.” It replaces the previous working title of “The Untitled Cheating Hearts Project.” The movie’s budget is $79 million.

Another interesting stat: According to the Illinois Film Office, expenditures from film production, including commercials, totaled $476 from 2005 to 2008. The state returned $39 million under our 30% tax credit incentive.

CONTEST WINNERS of the 2010 Chicago Screenwriters Network will be announced Aug. 8 at a special awards night at the Lincoln Restaurant. Prizes will be awarded in each of the genres of action, comedy, drama and horror, and the grand prize winner selected from among those four.

NEW AT AUDIO PRODUCERS GROUP is the audio company’s second sound designer Jason Robinson, from two years at CRC. Sound designer Peter Erazmus has been with APG since 2008. Latest project for APG was for Bud Light Lime/DDB: a voiceover recording and mix of five TV spots. Matt Green produced for the agency.

SAG PRESIDENT KEN HOWARD, who will be in Chicago Tuesday speaking to local SAG/AFTRA members at the Kaufherr Center, announced the formation of the Presidents’ Forum for One Union, with members from each union, to facilitate a process that can finally unite the two unions after many years of trying.

FACETS FAMOUS NIGHT SCHOOL for movie lovers opens Monday with salute screenings of Jerry Lewis movies on Monday nights; films of French New Wave pioneer Eric Rohmer, Tuesdays; sophisticated Claudette Colbert classics, Wednesdays and Chicago’s own film noir icon Robert Ryan, Thursdays, all 7-10 p.m. Each series runs a month.

THE CHICAGO 48 HOUR FILM PROJECT is fast approaching — starting Aug. 13 for teams to write, shoot, edit and deliver a 4-7 minute film 48 hours later on Aug. 15. Entries will be judged by Melissa Thornley, Beast Editorial executive producer, Tom Konn, Another Country executive producer and John Noble, Optimus One managing director.

AWARD-WINNING STARS, Glen Hansard and Mark?ta Irglov? of the Oscar and Independent Spirit-award winning movie, “Once,” will perform in Chicago Aug. 12. They appear at WBEZ’ “Sound Opinions at the Movies” at Lincoln Hall, following the screening of their movie.

REEL MICHIGAN: The West Michigan film office says that the action comedy, “30 Minutes or Less,” which started shooting in Grand Rapids last week through October, is the biggest movie project ever shot in the area. Although the producers — Ben Stiller’s Red House Films — won’t reveal the budget, t’is said to be at least $10 million. Red House also has booked 5,000 hotel rooms. The comedy unites “Zombieland” director Ruben Fleischer and star Jesse Eisenberg who plays a pizza delivery guy who gets involved with a gang of thugs and is forced to rob a bank. Co-stars are Danny McBride, Aziz Ansari, Michael Pena and Nick Swardson.

*David Arquette, who’s starring in Wes Craven’s “Scream 4, in Southwest Michigan, has unveiled a new state-inspired T-shirt design for his Propr clothing brand. I

It features “the University of Michigan football colors and cool numbers 1837, the date when Michigan became a state,” Arquette says. “It’s a nice nod to the great state of Michigan. Filming is going awesome — we’re really having so much fun. I love it here.”

*The upscale Townsend Hotel in Detroit suburb Birmingham filed a lawsuit against the producers of the film, “Little Murders,” for payment of a $37,000 unpaid bill between Aug. 6 and Sept. 25 of last year.

Josh Lucas and co-stars Gary Elwes and Lake Bell are mentioned in the filing, not as defendants, but as some of the talent and crew who availed themselves of the hotel’s services.