Escape Pod Promotes Leah Hattendorf to SVP

Leah Hattendorf

Independent agency The Escape Pod announced today that it has promoted Leah Hattendorf to Senior Vice President, Director of Strategy. In her new role, Leah will continue to lead The Escape Pod’s Research and Strategy group, in addition to spearheading new business efforts and building out additional revenue streams for the agency.

“Leah has worked across all our clients, earning their trust by providing valuable insights to steward and grow their brands. She honed her strategic chops at several top global ad agencies, but what sets her apart is the heart and empathy that she brings to her work. Her commitment to truly understanding the lives of consumers out in the real world has fueled some of our most successful campaigns,” said Norm Bilow, Managing Director and Co-founder of The Escape Pod.

New Digital Festival Coming to Chicago

The creative team behind VariousArtistsTV, an online network where independent filmmakers can showcase their work, is now accepting submissions for their new online film festival competition — Various Artists Independent Film Festival, {VAiFF}.

This unique festival was created to provide artists the opportunity to showcase their creativity and engage in healthy competition with their talented peers. The festival accepts submissions from filmmakers of all ages, ethnic groups and backgrounds from all over the world in various categories and genres. Judges include:

• Barrie M. Osborne – Academy Award Winner
Producer of ‘The Lord of the Rings’ trilogy, ‘The Matrix’, ‘The Big Chill’, ‘Pete’s Dragon (2016) / Production Manager ‘Apocalypse Now’, ‘The Big Chill’

• Joyce Cox – Producer / VFX Producer of ‘The Jungle Book’ (2016) ‘Avatar’, ‘Titanic’, ‘Men in Black 3’, ‘The Dark Knight, ‘X-Men 2: X-Men United’

• Bob Gale – Writer, Producer of ‘Back to the Future’, ‘Back to the Future Part 2’ and ‘Back to the Future Part 3’

• Marsha Oglesby – Producer ‘WIGS’, ‘Rules of Attraction’, ‘Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow’ / Production Manager ‘Mama Flora’s Family’

• Tamara Woolfork – Senior Vice President of Business & Legal Affairs NBC UNIVERSAL / ‘Harvard University; Duke School of Law’

• Chris Walas – Special Effects Make Up Artists, Academy Award Winner ‘The Fly’ and creature effects designer from ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’, ‘Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi and Gremlins.

VAiFF is a year-round competition, with filmmakers securing nominations in four quarterly rounds. Winning nominees in each quarter will then compete in the LIVE festival, taking place in Chicago, IL in October 2017.

Explore Media Opens Chicago Office

Award-winning production house, Explore Media, is expanding to Chicago in order to meet a growing demand for content in the Chicago advertising community.

The company’s new space will feature full-service pre-production and production in addition to their 4K editing, animation, motion graphic and finishing post-production capabilities.

Launched in 2003 to produce commercials and digital content for agencies and brands, Explore Media has grown to add over 50 industry awards to their credit, including Emmy nominations, ADDY, Telly, and Communicator awards.

“The past year has been one of growth for our company, particularly in the national commercial productions we’ve produced for the Chicago advertising market.” said Jeremy Pinckert, principal at Explore Media,

“With so many of our clients, production partners, crew, and team members already located in the area, it only makes sense that our team expand here in Chicago.”

Chicago Screenwriters Meeting Sunday

This Sunday, March 12th, 2017 Chicago Screenwriters Network (CSN) will start its first ever “Get Back to Writing” Event.

Are you a writer who’s been longing to get some feedback on one of your scripts? Maybe you’ve come to numerous CSN events and heard valuable speakers but haven’t translated that information onto the page. Or you could be one who’s read tons of screenwriting books and have all kinds of half-finished scripts but no clear direction on how to take your writing to the next level.

Wherever you fall in the screenwriting experience this is an opportunity to get some feedback on your work and additionally help others.

CSN is asking writers to email five pages of an original script. It can be a scene, an important dialogue segment, the beginning or end of a full body script. You decide.

Email the pages no later than March 12th noon to Amorous Lesko.

The meeting will start at 6 PM at Mrs. Murphy’s and Sons Irish Bistro, 3905 N. Lincoln Ave. To reserve your spot, click here.