New Stage 18 incubator set to offer content services

Stage 18 executive director Angela Gaffney

Angela Gaffney, executive director of Stage 18, will preside at the Tuesday launch of Stage 18, an ambitious film industry incubator, during an invitation-only event for community guests at Cinespace.

The evening will center on a panel discussion, with Gaffney and co-founders Alex Pissios of Cinespace and Ted Reilly of Chicago Media Angels, talking about what Stage 18 will mean to the industry when completed this winter.

They will be joined by Steve Simonic, CCO, Jacobson/Rost, and Shawn Edwards, producer and partner in BlackTree TV, an online distribution channel. 

Stage 18’s mission, says Gaffney, is to provide space for work, programs and events that will help enable content creators to create projects and take them from script, through production, and ultimately to pitch the project to potential investors.

“Everyone will have access to Stage 18 services and programs,” Gaffney says, by joining the incubator and paying a tiered-scale monthly membership fee. The level of membership will correspond to the space they occupy.

Stage 18 will start accepting membership applications this summer. 

Membership will cover space occupancy, although private offices may be rented on a more permanent basis, plus access to a variety of different kinds of programs and events. 

Gaffney says they’re also hoping to develop a feature film lab similar to the Sundance Lab, where the filmmaker is guided through the entire production process.

Financing content is the province of Ted Reilly, a venture capital expert.  He heads start-up Chicago Media Angels, the first known, Chicago-based investment company seeking financial opportunities on behalf of Chicago-developed content. Reilly is an investor in Periscope Post and Audio, both headquartered at Cinespace.

The Stage 18 board members are: Gaffney, Pissios, Reilly, Nicole Murray, communications director; Jonathan Bross, Periscope partner; Aviva Kleiner, marketing consultant; Kevin McGrail, producer and Kyle Cullerton, ColorFlow Productions.