MPG and David Axelrod expand earlier tribute film to Richard J. Daley into new feature documentary

Media Process Group’s Bob Hercules is working with political consultant David Axelrod to develop a long-form documentary on Mayor Richard J. Daley.

The new doc will be an expansion of the filmed tribute to Richard J. Daley they produced for the 50th anniversary of the late mayor’s first inauguration.

Over 1,000 people viewed their 24-minute, HD “Remembering the Mayor: Richard J. Daley and His City,” at the Daley 50th Anniversary Gala April 20 as a benefit for University of Illinois?Chicago.

“David and I thought, the 24-minute film turned out so great, why not turn it into a feature-length documentary to sell to PBS or the History Channel,” Hercules said.

While at least a dozen books have been written about Daley’s long, tumultuous time in office, Hercules cited only one significant doc: “Daley: The Last Boss,” which ran on PBS’ “The American Experience” in 1996.

“That was an excellent production, but in a sense it was one-sided, too dark,” Hercules argued.

“They breeze over Daley’s huge accomplishment in three minutes: building [O’Hare] Airport, the highways, the downtown infrastructure. All you have to do is look around downtown or anywhere in the city and you see this huge legacy.”

Hercules acknowledged that the new, untitled doc would have to incorporate more criticism of Daley and explore more of the controversies that surrounded his mayoralty, balancing out the overwhelmingly positive take of “Remembering the Mayor.”

Hercules and Axelrod worked with Richard J.’s sons Bill and Michael to create the tribute. It featured interviews with those sons as well as current mayor Richard M. and fellow progeny Mary, Carol and John, along with Ted Kennedy, Dan Rostenkowski, Jesse Jackson, Adlai Stevenson III and Daley’s one-time challenger Bill Singer. John Mahoney narrated.

Terrie Pickeril produced for Axelrod & Associates. Hercules directed. Axelrod, who has been a consultant for the Bill Clinton and Al Gore presidential runs as well as Richard M.’s campaigns, was executive producer.

The budget for the new doc hasn’t been set yet, said Hercules. The tribute was funded through corporate donations. He said they’re approaching foundations to fund the doc.

Keith Walker and Aaron Britton of MPG shot on Panasonic Varicam from Zacuto Rentals. Freelancer Susanne Suffredid did the offline edit on MPG’s AVID Media Composer. Steve Panning of Chicago HD did the 720p HD finish on MPG’s AVID DS.

In February, MPG moved into its new facility, a custom-built commercial condo at 1327 W. Washington, offering more space than their Halsted facility and a fourth Avid suite. Phone, 312/850-1300.