Beast Editorial edits first feature, Alex Beh’s “Warren”

ALTHOUGH BEAST EDITORIAL edits music videos and indie shorts, this is the first time the company and editor Angelo Valencia have cut a feature. The project is Winnetka native actor/director Alex Beh’s directorial debut, “Warren.”

The coming-of-age story is about a young comedian who abandons his dream of making it in Chicago’s improv scene (which Beh knows intimately) and fatefully reunites with former girlfriend. Now he has to decide which one of his two loves he will pursue.  Beh in the title role stars with Sarah Habel as his love and Jean Smart and John Heard as his parents.

On the commercial front, mucho Wal-Mart spots, through Houston-based Hispanic agency Lopez Negrete, have kept Beast editors Kevin Garcia, Sean Berringer and Morgan Bradley mucho busy for the past month.

CIFF’S INDEFATIGABLE MICHAEL KUTZA will receive the 2012 Sydney Pollack Award presented at the American Cinematheque’s annual gale Nov. 15 in L.A., honoring “someone who has been of critical importance and continuing influence in non-profit film exhibition, film preservation and/or independent film distribution” – essentially what Kutza has been doing for the past 48 amazing years as founder/artistic director of the Chicago International Film Festival.

Kutza says he’s honored by the recognition since the late director was a friend of the festivals from the mid-80s on, “helping us with our film tributes.  He always made time to listen and share ideas with me, fueling my own passion for cinema.

“AN EVENING WITH BERRY GORDY” — founder of iconic Motown Records and who can count all the famous names in music that the label etched into music history – takes place Dec. 17 at the Art Institute.  The evening is hosted by Gwen Ifill of PBS and will be taped for a future presentation on PBS. 

“An Evening with …” is the annual fundraising event of The HistoryMakers, which has been collecting interviews with African Americans for nearly 15 years and by now probably has the largest such archive in the US.  HistoryMakers’ founder/executive director Julieanna Richardson says the event with 450 guests is totally sold out.

MODE’S NEW EXECUTIVE PRODUCER is Tracy Heropkie, who’s been freelancing since leaving Foundation Content after a six-year stint.  A broadcast media producer since 2000, she’s had extensive hands-on experience in all aspects of broadcast and multi-platform content production, and held senior positions at local agencies.

ACTOR/DIRECTOR PETER WELLER, who is in Chicago directing “Mob Doctor” at Chicago Studio City, will speak at the Midwest Independent Film Festival producer’s panel Tuesday, Nov. 6.  That being election day, MWFF elected to screen a political doc, “As Goes Janesville,” about the heated battle over the future unionism in Wisconsin, a coproduction of 371 Productions, ITVS and Kartemquin Films. 

The doc screens at 6:30 p.m., at Landmark Century Center Cinema.

CHICAGO’S ON “FIRE” with NBC having ordered five additional “Chicago Fire” scripts thanks to a spike in the ratings for the second show of the season, according The Hollywood Reporter.  Five scripts an entire season doesn’t make, but who’s complaining? 

ANOTHER CHICAGO BOOST came from THR’s recent discovery of Chicago as a desirable location for Hollywood projects. The story asked in its best flyover zone voice, “Why the city’s sudden popularity?” (We also take issue with sudden, since Hollywood has been shooting here steadily for the past 37 years.)

“The Dark Knight definitely made the city cool again,” said “Mob Doctor” producer Rob Wright.  “It reinforced the notion of Chicago as a legitimate city.” (Wachowskis, are ya listenin’?)  He adds, “Michael Dinner, who shot our pilot, has said that there’s not a bad angle in Chicago. And he’s right.”  

METHOD, BEAST’S SISTER COMPANY, which only arrived here last June but is well respected nationally for work in their other offices, is producing and Earhole is scoring the track for the local opener of the AICP Show Nov. 15 at the Cultural Center.   Click here to purchase your tickets and take advantage of an early bird discount.

ENTRIES ARE NOW OPEN for the 2013 Chicago ADDY Awards that honor the area’s best in advertising.  The local ADDYS are the first of a three-tier competition that leads to the American Ad Federation’s  AAF national ADDY competition against the best of the best.  The Chicago Ad Federation administers the local ADDYS. 

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