Joe Pytka wins 15th DGA nomination

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THE VENERABLE JOE PYTKA scored his 15th nomination from the DGA’s 26th annual Best Commercial Director Awards.

The other nominees were Dante Ariola and Tom Kuntz of MJZ; Bryan Buckley and David Gray of Hungry Man. Winners will be feted at a gala Feb. 3 in L.A.

Buckley is a three-time nominee and 1999 winner; Kuntz and Gray were nominated for the first time.

Pytka’s nod was based on spots that include Chicago work — for Budweiser/DDB and Disney/Leo Burnett, and also the World Trade Center’s Memorial/TBWA/Chiat/Day.

Sidelight: Commercial directors Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Ferris of Bob Industries, Santa Monica, received a DGA nomination for their first feature, “Little Miss Sunshine.”

EURO RSCG landed Circuit City’s $150 million account ? the first big, new account of the year and the biggest for the agency ? David Rolfe, DDB’s production director of content moves to JWT/New York as director of integrated content … DDB also loses Dan Fietsam to Publicis West/Seattle where he will be an ECD ? Cramer-Krasselt added group creative director Ken Erke from Y&R.

COMEDY CENTRAL tapped Second City alums Rich Talarico and Peter Grosz ? who Time Out Chicago named as a Top Chicagoan to Watch in 2007 to write for two new series, “The Naked Trucker,” and “T-Bones Show,” featuring Dave Koechner, Pat Finn and Renee Albert, also former Second Cityites.

BRENDA SEXTON’S FAREWELL PARTY is being hosted Feb. 5 by Chazz Ebert for friends of the former IFO director. Sexton says she’ll move to Hollywood to try her hand at producing features.

TOD LENDING of Nomadic Pictures received two grants: $10,000 from the Sundance Festival for his next feature doc, “War is a Force that Gives Us Meaning,” and $30,000 from the Philadelphia Psychoanalytic Foundation for development.

If that’s not enough, Lending’s feature doc, “Omar & Pete,” receives the prestigious Henry Hampton Award recognizing documentary excellence, presented by the Council of Foundations in April.

“HAVE A HEART,” says casting director Claire Simon and donate blood Feb. 15 at from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at their office, 1512 N. Fremont. For an appointment, phone Teresa at 312/202-0124, or Email teresa@clairesimoncasting.com.

A ONE MONTH MORITORIUM ON LIGHTS, CAMERA, ILLINOIS! has been set by the state treasurer on the the low-interest filmmakers’ loan program established by former state treasurer Judy Baar Topinka. LCI and other similar loan programs are “under review,” according to the treasurer’s office.

TWO LEADING PRODUCTION COMPANIES Towers Productions and Kurtis Productions ? have considerably downsized due to cutbacks in contracts with cable companies. Kurtis’ last show is “Cold Case Files.”

Towers for years reigned as the town’s biggest production factory, with 100 employees and numerous contracts for cable shows. Thea Flaum Productions now has the distinction of being the leading cable producer.

THE MUSIC VIDEO FACTORY is a new venture to help up-and-coming solo artists and new groups create professional music videos at low cost on location in the Chicago area. Says owner/producer Abiiba Howell, ” Quick turnaround and low cost is the result of our template approach to production and a tight process.” Phone Howell at 800-975-8119, ext. 705

ACTOR RICHARD ROUNDTREE — forever known as “Shaft” — appears at Columbia College “Conversations in the Arts” Feb. 15 at the Dance Center. College president Warrick L. Carter hosts a private VIP reception in Roundtree’s honor.

HOLLYWOOD EAST PRODUCTIONS ? the company of brothers executive producer Michael D’Agostino and director Danny D’Agostino — is set to shoot an HD feature comedy, “Crazy Neighbors from Hell,” in Chicago next summer. Actors include Andrew Pond, James Powell, Marshall Bean and Mary Reynard. Co-producer is Donald Albert. michaeld@earthlink.net

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