“Love Boat” skipper here in dramatic role

GAVIN MacLEOD, fondly remembered as “The Love Boat’s” skipper and Mary Tyler Moore’s fellow TV newswriter, will be the special guest June 8 at the screening of a faith-based film for area pastors and ministers at TLN’s Aurora TV studios.

MacLeod plays the title role in the dramatic feature, “The Secrets of Jonathan Sperry,” set in the summer of 1970 when 75-year old Sperry mentors three young boys in faith and forgiveness.

TLN’s Christian-themed shows are aired over TLN Comcast Digital Basic Cable Channel 138. TLN TV studio, the largest in the Chicago area, are owned by Jerry Rose, who founded cable Ch 38 25 years ago. “Secrets” was produced by Christiano Film Group of Arden, N.C. and will be released theatrically Sept. 18.

DRAFTFCB WON THE HONOR of being named the best large company to work for in the entire state of Illinois. The company was recognized by the Illinois State Chamber of Commerce, the Illinois Chapter of the Society of Human Resource Managers and The Business Ledger.

“It’s always an honor to be recognized as a great place to work, but to have been selected as the best large employer in the state is tremendous,” says Draftfcb president Mark Modesto.

Actually, that’s two honors for the agency. See our news story about managing director Karen Sauder being named 2009 Ad Woman of the Year. (We

FIRST CHICAGO THEATRICAL SCREENING for the award-winning doc, “Being Bucky,” from Fulton Market producer John Fromstein and director Scott Smith, takes place May 28 at 7 and 9 p.m. at the Landmark Century Center Cinema.

The doc about the University of Wisconsin/Madison mascot during the 2007-2008 school year won the Audience Award for best documentary at the recent Wisconsin Film Festival in Madison.

MARC FREY IS THE WINNER of the 2009 Waterfront Film Festival Screenplay Competition. His award-winning dramatic screenplay, “The River,” touchingly and unexpectedly interweaves the stories of a disillusioned former cop turned cab driver and his elderly female passenger.

A resident of Milford, Michigan, Michigander, Frey is a non-stop creative powerhouse. He has been successful as an screenwriter of three produced movies, fiction and non-fiction author, playwright, songwriter, journalist, cartoonist, co-owns Moving Pictures Entertainment, LLC and is a member of the Michigan Film Office Advisory Council.

The 11th Waterfront Film Festival June 11-14 takes place in Saugatuck, Michigan. The event is entirely manned by 200 good-natured volunteers.

ACTOR DENNIS FARINA spotted taking a look around Lincoln Park and the Pilsen neighborhood for possible locations for a movie called “The Last Rites of Joe May,” reported the Sun-Times’ Michael Sneed.

If all goes well, a source told Sneed, “filming could begin by the end of summer.” It’s assumed that Farina will both produce and star. Farina is a former Chicago cop whose first movie appearance was in Michael Mann’s “Thief,” filmed here in 1981.

BRIDGES MEDIA hosts a May 29 Economic Stimulus Package Party at its Kinzie St. studios. The party is billed as demonstrating their hope that what looks to be more positive will stay that way.

BRUCE BENDINGER’S DOC “Accidental Army,” about the lost Czech Legion of WWII, was selected to be part of the Gene Siskel Film Center’s June series, “Chicago – The City That Helped Create a Country.” It screens there June 20 and 22.

High praise for “Accidental Army” came from documentarian Ken Burns. In a letter he sent to Bendinger, Burns said: “It is a noble undertaking: a history lost, returned to its people – and the world.”