Oprah to receive the Oscars’ Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award Nov. 12

OPRAH SAYS SHE’S CONSUMED with management and programming problems for her OWN cable network, but there’s a lovely honor ahead to take her mind off her business concerns.  Oprah will receive an Honorary Award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Nov. 12 – the Gene Hersholt Humanitarian Award.

The honor and an Oscar statuette is annually presented to an individual “whose humanitarian efforts have brought credit to the industry.” 

Oprah’s philanthropic efforts include Oprah’s Angel Network, the Oprah Winfrey Foundation and the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy.

NEWS WE DON’T NEED. With Draftcb’s painfully recent loss of the $1 billion S. C. Johnson account, agency management is wrestling with the onerous task of laying off 200 to 250 staffs out of its 1,100 Chicago office employees.  Perhaps some of these good people might land at succeeding agencies Ogilvy & Mather and Energy BBDO.

RADAR ELEVATES TWO.  As Radar Studios’ newly promoted creative director, Steven Gray is the point person on animation and design projects, and leads the team on mixed media campaigns for which artist-driven collaborative is known.

Gray freelanced for many of Chicago’s top design companies before joining Radar in 2006, and has since worked on every major animation project, including recent campaigns for Samsung’s Galaxy S smart phone and Galaxy Tab.

At the same time, 3D artist Mark Angres, who’s been with Radar for eight years, was named head of the 3D department.   

TWENTY CHICAGO ACTORS, cast by Claire Simon Casting had featured roles in the pilot for Powers, the FX sci fi drama that just wrapped three weeks of filming.  If the pilot is greenlighted, the series could shoot in Chicago for airing next spring. 

While Powers came to town with the leads, Jason Patric, Lucy Punch and Charles S. Dutton, already cast, Chicago actors hired for roles of consequence include Ora Jones, Stephen Louis Grush, Sandra Delgado, F. David Roth, and Kris Lofton.

TWO NEW NOMINATIONS for Jon Siskel and Gene Jacobs’ Siskel/Jacobs Productions.  The first nomination is for their much decorated Louder than a Bomb.  It’s one of three finalists for a 37th annual Humanitas Prize honoring great television and film writing. Winners will be honored Sept. 16 at luncheon at the Montage Beverly Hills Hotel.

The doc will premiere on TV on Oprah’s OWN Network on Jan. 5, 2012. 

The second is a national News and Documentary Emmy nod for their 2-hour National Geographic show, Witness: Katrina, that premiered last August on the 5th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. 

ANOTHER FINALIST is writer/producer Jim White, whose feature screenplay,  Butterbean: The Bob Love Story is one of seven screenplay finalists in the Feel Good Film Festival being held Aug. 12-14 at Raleigh Studios in Hollywood.  As part of the program, thewriting finalists will discuss their project before an audience of producers, agents, attorneys and others. 

FOUR NEW BOARD MEMBERS were elected at Women in Film Chicago’s recent annual meeting.  They include new president Megan Maples, executive producer/manager of Dictionary Films; treasurer Tnaya Witmer, a motion graphics and color grading specialist;  Career Development, Monique Rooker, television specialist and current programming assistant at Weigel Broadcasting (Me TV network and WCIU); Mentorship, Terry Thomas, owner of Caption and Subtitle Services.

FILM MICHIGAN: Moonlink Production Services is the name of the new entity formed by a strategic partnership among RingSide Creative, Metro-Detroit-based Jeff Moon Production services and Moonlink Satellite.

As such, Moonlink becomes the single biggest source of producer of production and satellite services in Michigan. It operates four HD and SD satellite trucks and is headquartered within RingSide’s Oak Park offices and plans to add locations in Warren and Ann Arbor.  

RingSide is co-owned by Cutters, which recently opened Cutters Detroit in the RingSide building and Steve Wild, former president of Grace & Wild studios.

FILM WISCONSIN: The Driftless Film Festival is seeking indie film entries from for its second event Oct. 6-9. Screenings will take place in six historic areas in the Driftless Area, so-called because it was untouched by glaciers a gazillion years ago.  The region is dotted with quaint historic towns and theatres, so a film festival is a logical addition to the arts mix.

Heading the festival are indie producer/actor Nicholas Langholff (Feed the Fish) and Darren Burrows (CSI, X-Files). Their vision to hold the festivals in historically significant auditoriums throughout the Driftless Area and include educational outreach programs with schools and colleges.

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