No sooner was the word out that tabletop director/ shooter Mark Klein had opened his own studio than his New York clients began ringing the phone off the hook, said executive producer Noreen Szeluga.
Klein’s new studio, MK Films Corp., was carved out of a massive former storage building at Lake and Ashland.
After three months of rehabbing, the fully-equipped studio has two stages, a full kitchen, motion control, several client areas and offices. “It represents a major personal investment on Mark’s part,” said Szeluga.
She continues her long association with Klein, whom she’s known since he showed up 15 years ago looking for work at Peter Elliott’s studio and she gave him a job.
For the time being, Szeluga said, she’s “helping Mark out” and is not on permanent staff. Since leaving Big Deahl Productions, where she and Klein worked for the past three years, she had been operating as an independent business service for creative companies.
They joined Deahl after more than a dozen years with Peter Elliott, the reigning top local tabletop shooter with an international array of clients for more than a score of years. As he began to dismantle his company in preparation for retirement, Klein and Szeluga left and joined Rosemary and David Deahl’s Bucktown studio.
Szeluga resigned in August, giving 30 days notice. “Mark resigned around the same time,” she said, “but he had an arrangement for a three-month disengagement period to finish the jobs for which he had been scheduled.”
Klein’s wife, Mary Wagner, is CEO of the new company, and line producer Christie Dickens is also a Big Deahl alum.
After Klein found the space, “filled from floor to ceiling with boxes,” Szeluga said, “the whole thing came together very quickly and by November the company was formed.”
MK Films becomes the city’s fourth tabletop production company, along with Big Deahl Productions, Silent Partner and High Road, the successor company to Peter Elliott Productions.
“I feel it’s very important for a market like Chicago to have multiple resources,” said Szeluga of the new studio. “If there are too few you lose the infrastructure, or the resources to support you. And there’s plenty of work around the corner for everyone.”
MK Films is located at 1655 W. Walnut; phone, 312/ 738-7800.