Bitter Jester’s doc
brings distinguished actor
Dennis Haysbert, a distinguished actor for 37 years, received his first-ever Emmy nomination, from the Chicago/Midwest Awards on Nov. 7 — not for his Allstate Insurance commercials — but for narrating a video that has garnered six nominations.
The 7-minute video Haysbert narrated, “Full Circle: The Barack Obama Presidential Library at Lakeside” was produced by Nicolas DeGrazia and Daniel Kullman’s Highland Park-based Bitter Jester Studios, for McCaffery Interests, a Chicago real estate development firm.
The two other Bitter Jester projects that got the nod were a quirky 2-minute social media video, “Affy Tapple-Affy Man” for Editing, and “Win Responsibly,” 2-minute collection of comedy vignettes that aired on the Emmys’ 2014 TV show, for Writing/Short Form.
With these eight nods, Bitter Jester Studios has earned an impressive 22 total Emmy nominations, with four wins alone to date, since 2011, that also are meaningful to the TV Academy.
“We’re proving that Chicago’s independent production community has a voice in contemporary media,” says DeGrazia, the company’s creative director.
“We are part of the conversation and are producing content right alongside the established big dogs of Midwest media and entertainment. And to land nationally-recognized actor Dennis Haysbert his very first Emmy nomination feels like the icing on the cake.”
In only six weeks in 2014’s late summer-early fall, “Full Circle,” went from concept to completion and was hand-delivered, on custom iPads, to the Obama Presidential Library Search Committee, the President and the First Lady.
The “Affy Man” piece for Niles-based Affy Tapple was a low-budget, fast-paced shoot, about the incessant need of people in a corporate office for caramel apples everywhere.
It was completed in five hours and edited in less than three days to meet a strict social media deadline, DeGrazia says, and played during National Caramel Apple Month last year.
“Win Responsibly,” features members of Chicago’s award-winning The Comic Thread sketch comedy troupe that pokes fun at some of the personalities who win awards as well as the awardees themselves, asking Emmy nominees to please “Win Responsibly.”
Other 2015 Emmy nominees in Off-Air (non-station) Originated Programming categories are Carter Lodwick, spots for Remy Bummpo Theatre, Polymyth Productions; Mike Healhy and Chris Edser, “Lift of the Game,” Chicago Bulls; Brian Schodorf, Evan Spence, Tony Absolo, “Beyond the Loop,” Choose Chicago and Joel Main and Nick Alyinovich, “INK189,” TLN.
The Emmys to air for a second year
The Emmy Awards will take place Saturday, Nov. 7 at Redmoon Theater, 2120 W. Jefferson, honoring more than 150 industry professionals in 67 main and subcategories of TV station-originated programming.
The Awards Ceremony starts at 6 p.m. and will be streamed live online; the live broadcast starts at 7 p.m. on two Tribute stations, Chicago’s CLTV and Milwaukee’s WITS 6.2. Show host is Pat Tomasulo, the station’s morning personality and standup comedian.
Tickets, $150 for members, $175, non-members, including dinner and an open bar open at 4 p.m., may be purchased here.
Chicago/Midwest members come from the Illinois markets of Chicago, Rockford and Peoria-Bloomington; Wisconsin markets of Milwaukee, Green Bay-Appleton, Madison and Wausau-Rhinelander and Indiana’s South Bend-Elkhart.