Foundation Content wins a prestigous Gold Hugo

GOLD HUGOS TEND TO BE SCARCE around these parts, so it was with understandable great excitement that Foundation Content’s Samantha Hart received word of a Gold Hugo awarded to their United Way piece in the Charitable Activity category.

“Everyone on the team collaborated on the film,” says Hart, to produce the 2-minute piece for presentation at United Way’s gala benefit last May,” says Hart, who came up with the Hugo Gold idea.

The piece utilized live action and special effects in the use of a clothes line criss-crossing the city. James Lipetzky edited.

WINNER OF “SHORTCUTS,” the Illinois Film Office’s annual contest for statewide filmmakers is Chicago producer Wenhwa Ts’ao’s “Arithmetic Lesson,” a 15-minute drama depicting the story of Gracie, a seven-year-old Chinese American girl, who finds the courage to defy and survive the traumatic abuse of her caretaker.

Ts’ao’s multi-award winning film screened as part of the Chicago International Film Festival short films program.

The Taiwan native is a Columbia College teacher and graduate program director and is currently in pre-production on “Snakehead,” a dramatic feature about human and also in development of two other feature scripts.

SHORT FILM “FASTER!” filmmakers, producer Kathryn Henderson, who is known in the commercial world as RDS’s client services rep, and writer/director Marie Ullrich flew Tuesday to London to see their short screen at the ultra prestigious 54th British Film Institute London Film Festival.

At the same time, “Faster!” about a feisty bike messenger, also showcases as one of the 11 choice selections in the Illinois(e)Makers program at the 46th Chicago International Film Festival. How cool is that?

CIFF’S OUTRAGEOUS PROGRAM of nine bold gay-themed films will honor actor/director Alan Cummings for his “diverse, wide-ranging career in London theatre and American movies makes him a perfect honoree for the program,” says CIFF founder/artistic director Michael Kutza.

Cummings’ tribute will precede the screening of “The Tempest,” in which he stars with Helen Mirren, Oct. 18 at the AMC River West theatre.

MORE CIFF STAR EVENTS. Oct. 18, it’s David Schwimmer and his movie, “Trust,” which was shot in Detroit.

A LITTLE ACTRESS already exhibiting big talent was booked by her agent, Big Mouth Talent, for a featured role in Adam Sandler’s Happy Madison production of “Jack and Jill.” Eight-year old Elodie Tougne will play the daughter of Sandler and Katie Holmes. The story is about Sandler’s twin sister, also played by Sandler, who comes for Thanksgiving and doesn’t leave. Director is Dennis Dugan.

The booking was handled by Amie Richardson, who joined Kelly McLaughlin’s Big Mouth a year ago to head a children’s department, a position she had at Grossman & Jack.

In another recent kids booking, Richardson set 10-year old Trevor Fahnstrom in “LOL,” as the son of Demi Moore and brother of Miley Cyrus, filmed in Detroit.

McLaughlin, who worked for Big Mouth since 1999 and became sole owner in 2007, presents 120 adults, of which she estimates 95% are exclusive, and has about the same number of child actors, she says.

OTHER FRIDAY EVENTS. The premiere of Ch. 11’s “Jay’s Chicago,” hosted by the station’s long-time award-winning producer Jay Shefsky, at 7:30 p.m. The show is a compilation of stories, organized by theme, that Shefsky previously wrote and produced for “Chicago Tonight.”

The idea for the show came from supervising producer Lisa Tipton; associate producer is Steffi Weaver and the series editor is Don DeMartini.

DAUFENBACH CAMERA, specializing in 3D rigs, the Red camera and DSLR, is now located in expanded space at 320 N. Damen, suite D201. Owner Lawrence Daufenbach says a 3D launch party is being planned at the new quarters.

BTW: Daufenbach is the Midwest’s first rental house to carry the Element Technica Quasar 3D rig, which was used in producer/director Kevin Cooper’s S-3D family comedy, “Shakey,” now in postproduction.

CALLED GAME CHANGERS in the field of journalism, Bill Kurtis and Walter Jacobson are the recipients of the 8th annual Columbia College Impact Award to Chicagoans who have made outstanding contributions to the arts, entertainment and media industries. The award will be presented Nov. 9.

Since Kurtis has a lot of action going on, his Kurtis Productions is being effectively managed by his partner, Donna LaPietra, coupled with the production know-how of producer Scott Jacobs. They are busily producing video content for such major events as the Oct. 12 Chicago Community Trust 95th anniversary celebration at the Harris Theater.

WHILE THERE WAS TALK that director Christopher Nolan’s “Batman 3” might shoot in Chicago, alas, it’s another loss for the city as the Bat head for New Orleans next April for a 2012 release.

To date, Chicago’s entertainment production scoreboard is two features — Ron Howard’s “Cheating Hearts” this summer and the recently departed “Transformers 3” — plus three pilots last winter of which one, Fox TV’s “Ride Along,” was greenlighted for a series about Chicago cops that actually was shot in Chicago!

While up-and-coming director Lynn Shelton will direct “Then We Came to the End” for Focus Features, the question again is: Will the story about copywriters at a Chicago ad agency when the 2001 dot.com bubble burst be shot where the story is set?

Nonetheless, the Reel hears an actual locally produced TV series will shoot here, along with a couple of fairly good-sized budget indie features in 2011.

WELCOME PAMELA MAREN as ReelChicago’s advertising account manager, a timely move since our new Reel 2.0 is scheduled to launch ( finally ) in early January. Pamela had been a sales mainstay at my Original Screen Magazine back in the day.

“The Reel continues in Ruth’s endeavor to contribute to the vitality of the community by keeping the spotlight on the work and the people behind it,” says Pamela, for which we thank her. “I’m pleased to rejoin Ruth and hope to bring renewed energy to the business we love.”

Pamela Maren can be reached by phone at 773/391-3957 or Email

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