Gamut of artistry on display at free event Saturday

THE “AWAKENING ARTS FESTIVAL” an all-afternoon, free immersion in the arts at Wicker Park’s Flat Iron Building this Saturday, November 12th, is the first event staged by Hesperidian Productions, a film, fashion, music, events and marketing company.

Hesperidian is the partnership of president Kyle Thomas, a 2009 University of Wisconsin/Madison grad, and vice president Jane Morson, a seasoned non-profit marketing executive and novelist.

The “Awakenings” name in the event title refers to Hesperidian’s first short film, “Awakenings,” based on the Greek myth of the Hesperides nymphs who tend a peaceful garden, which will be screened as part of the Flat Iron building arts exposition. 

The Flat Iron’s two floors are home to Hesperidian, many art galleries and the CollaborAction theatre company, in whose space performance art, dancers, musicians and the “Awakenings” screening will take place.

The Flat Iron building is at 1579 N. Milwaukee, rooms 222 and 300; in Wicker Park.  Festival hours are 2-6 p.m.

Actor Austin PendletonVETERAN FILM AND THEATRE ACTOR Austin Pendleton has joined the cast of director Stephen Cone’s new feature, “Black Box,” a college theatre drama he plans to shoot in and around Chicago next February.

Written by Cone and produced under the Cone Arts banner, “Black Box” follows a grad student and a group of undergrads as they stage an adaptation of an 1980s horror novel. Pendleton plays the author of the novel who visits the production.

DP Stephanie Dufford and production designer Caity Birmingham who had the same roles on “The Wise Kids,” Cone’s highly acclaimed feature; casting by Mickie Paskal, CSA and Jennifer Rudnicke, CSA and Mathew Miller.

SCREEN DOOR FILMS is producing one of the three American segments in the international filmmakers’s latest endeavor, “The Train Station”. is an internet collaboration of filmmakers, who largely haven’t met in person, but work together over the internet to write and produce various segments of a single feature film.

Multimedia production company Screen Door Films is the creative partnership of John Versical, technical director and Bryan Carmody, managing director.

Jeff McCarterFREE SPIRIT MEDIA is partnering with WTTW/11, the PBS NewsHour, and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting on a national initiative titled, “American Graduate: Let’s Make it Happen.” The campaign launched locally on Ch. 11 Nov. 7.  It’s supported by the America’s Promise Alliance and seeks to raise public awareness and engagement to combat the nation’s high school dropout crisis.

Led by Jeff McCarter, FSM founder/executive director, who transitioned a decade ago from media professional to youth media advocate, FMS offers access and opportunity for Chicago’s under-resourced youth.

“PHUNNY BUSINESS: A BLACK COMEDY” had its Hollywood premiere at the recent Hollywood Black Film Festival.  The feature length doc about the rise and fall of All Jokes Aside, Chicago’s first black-owned comedy club, was co-produced by Filmworkers’ Reid Brody and John Davies, who also directed.  Davies is a former Ch. 11 producer/director.

Chicago has a thriving indie cinema scene.  Let’s hear about your part in it.  Send releases to