Industry rally set for Oscar Sunday


What better occasion than the Academy Awards to focus attention on the Illinois visual media industry. That’s what the Illinois Production Alliance rally Sunday, March 23 is counting on.

The rally, expected to draw thousands, will be held at noon at the Thompson Center (State of Illinois Building), Randolph and Clark.

The rally will express essentially a positive tone, said IPA spokesperson Mark Egmon. “We’re coming together to show the strength and depth of industry and how far reaching it is.”

It’s all about economic development, said Mark Egmon, an IPA founder and president of the local AICP. “It will also demonstrate the industry’s support for ways to hopefully solve the acquisition of Chicago Studio City, and for wage/tax incentives that hopefully will close the gap and make Illinois more competitive with other states.”

The crowd will not be limited to industry people, Egmon stated, “but will include all those people, like hotel workers and caters, who are indirectly affected by film production.”

Short speeches will be made by IPA members Egmon, SAG/AFTRA’s Eileen Willenborg, location manager Tom Busch, and consultant Mike Stein.

The rally is taking advantage of the Academy Awards and the attention given to multi-Oscar nominees “Chicago” by Mayor Daley. “This is not a protest, nor has any negative connotation,” said Egmon. “We want people to leave any disgruntledness at home.”

If, however, the U.S. goes to war, the Oscars may be postponed and the rally as well.