Free Spirit Media benefit at Hootenanny Thursday

Some 200 guests are expected Thursday night at Hootenanny’s benefit in its spacious River North facility on behalf of Free Spirit Media Focus 2010.

The fund-raiser will help fund the video production programs of the non-profit organization that has been building connections between talented high school students and the visual media industry since founded by Jeff McCarter in 2000.

At the cocktail party, a group of 20 Free Spirit filmmakers will showcase their work, and eight will collaborate with Hootenanny editors to produce a Free Spirit PSA on the spot.

“The PSA will be unveiled at 8 p.m. live, on seven flat screen donated for the evening by Resolution Digital Studio, along with the projectors, with FSM alums as the evening’s MCs,” says McCarter, a producer/shooter/editor who works at Ch. 11, and son of John W. McCarter, Jr., president and CEO of the Field Museum.

McCarter says that Free Spirit Media and the visual media industry work together to provide underserved urban youth with job shadowing, mentoring, field trips, collaborations or production projects.

“The kids are producing their own documentaries, dramas, sports and news shows that air on Ch. 25 and PSAs,” McCarter adds.

The May 6 evening should put $40,000 into program support, McCarter states, with most of the funds being donated through sponsorships provided by AFTRA/SAG, AICP, Fletcher Camera, Optimus and the Illinois Film Office.

Other companies, such as Ariel Investments, CareerBuilder and Nike, are also supporting the fund-raiser.

The Hootenanny-hosted benefit is from 6-9 p.m. at 230 E. Ohio and the evening includes a raffle with Apple’s exciting new iPad as the prize and a silent auction.

Tickets are $50 and may be purchased at