Surge of commercials shooting on Chicago locations

A RECORD BREAKER? Eight Chicago and L.A.-New York production companies are making September one of the busiest months of the year for commercial shoots on Chicago locations  and more companies are setting up for October work.

Courtesy of the Chicago Film Office and Essanay Studio & Lighting, here’s the rundown, starting with local accounts:  Santa Monica-based Box Industries is filming commercials for the Illinois Lottery, via Downtown Partners … Cap Gun for Purina … The Norman Brothers for MillerCoors, through new consortium agency Cavalry and Mr. Big Films for Canon .

Out-of-towners: Box Films for Wal-Mart … Duo Films for Hyundai … and Park Pictures for Chevy. 

NO SOONER WAS THE NEWS OUT that award-winning director Steve James will direct a documentary based on Roger Ebert’s best- selling memoir than Robert Redford stepped up to announce that he, personally, will present Ebert with the Vanguard Leadership Award “in recognition of his advocacy of independent cinema.”

The ceremony will take place at the third annual Celebrate Sundance Institute benefit, chaired by Institute Trustee Lyn Lear and her husband Norman on June 5, 2013 in L.A.

“Among the many things I admire about Roger Ebert is how he has long supported freedom of artistic expression,” Redford said. “When I started Sundance in 1980, and when few would support us, Roger was there.

“This was one of the ways he communicated his forward-thinking outlook. He was one of the first to support our artists. His influence and reach is as meaningful as his personal passion for cinema, and he certainly deserves this award.”

Ebert’s best-selling memoir, Life Itself, covers his 40 years as a movie critic and the obstacles he faced and overcame in his personal life. 

Along with Gene Siskel, Ebert also was the first to champion James’ Hoop Dreams and named it one of the best films of the 1990s.

ONE OF THE SIX WORLDWIDE judging sessions of the 18th annual Global Awards, honoring the World’s Best Healthcare Advertising, takes place here this week, hosted by Robin Shapiro, EVP/CC of CAHG/Chicago, a TBWA\WorldHealth agency.  She has brought together six top creatives from among the many local healthcare agencies to judge more than 100 international advertising entries.

Chicago judges are Jamie Pfaff, SVP/GCD, CAHG; Joe Kuchta, CEO, and Geoff Melick, EVP/Chief Creative and Innovation Officer, The GA Communications Group; Abby Mansfield, SVP/CD and John Diaz, VP/CD, Topin & Associates; Randy Isaacson, EVP, and Suzanne Richards, VP/GCD, Discovery Chicago.

Award ceremonies will be held simultaneously Dec. 6 in New York and Sydney, Australia.

The 55-year old Global Awards are part of the International Awards Group presently owned by Jimmy Smyth, Optimus founder/owner, who profitably sold his company to Anheuser Busch in 1994.

CARRIE KAUFMAN COULDN’T RESIST the lure of the theatre after more than a year’s absence from the scene she helped establish through the 25 years publication of her PerformInk theatre-targeted publication. 

Kaufman joined Porchlight Music Theatre as general manager last week and artistic director Michael Weber couldn’t be happier. 
“Her knowledge and experiences are invaluable assets and we look forward to working with her,” he says, “as we’ve been working diligently to create a strong infrastructure behind the scenes.”

Kaufman founded PerformInk, which created and supported the community center of Chicago’s acclaimed theatre scene in 1986An award-winning writer, she is proud, she claims, of her geeky adherence to the creation of systems that allow businesses to run seamlessly so that creativity can flow.

Now in its 18th season, Porchlight’s current production is the critically acclaimed Chicago premiere of A Class Act at Theater Wit through Oct. 7.

FORWARD DIGITAL THINKERS in advertising confront how instant image communication is changing the way brands visually communicate at a panel discussion/buffet lunch Sept. 26 at the Museum of Broadcast Communications, presented by the Chicago Ad Federation.

Leading the panel is Pam Grossman, Getty Images’ creative planning manager of North America, with O&M’s Ian Sohn, EVP/Emerging Digital Platforms & Partnerships; Leo Burnett’s Ken Gilberg, VP/executive producer; Motorola’s David Polston, Corporate VP/Global Brand Marketing and Getty Images’ Andrew Delaney, Head of Content.

Registration, buffet lunch, noon, 12:30 p.m. panel discussion; $50 per person.  Click here to register.

MIDWEST AD COMMUNITY SHORTS NIGHT Tuesday, Oct. 2 at the Midwest Independent Film Festival offers 11 Chicago premieres.  Briefly, directors and companies: “Advantage: Weinberg,” David Singer, Concentrated; “Moonbeams,” Radar’s Sam Macon for Family Band; “Rituals: Jeff Tweedy,” created for Thrash Lab’s “Rituals;” “The Promise,” Joel and Jesse Edwards of Evolve Digital Media, co-directed by  Bill Roach of Madison.

“Whispering Danny,” Kansas City-based Austin Walsh; “Moon Die,” Ben Christie, Protkulture; “The Wheel,” John Roberts of Wisconsin; “War Again,” directed/animated by Paul Griswold of Fort Wayne; “TMI: Miami,” Owen Weber; “This Must be the Place,” produced by Accomplice Media and “Other,” Danny DelPurgatorio, Vitamin.

REEL MICHIGAN.  Oak Park-based Moonlink Studios has added two new stages for network live shots and tape feeds in Ann Arbor and Southfield; the other stages are in Detroit and Warren.

Additionally, Moonlink Satellite Services operates four satellite trucks with C-band/KU-band/HD and SD capabilities.  Uplink/downlink services primarily cover the Midwest and Eastern half of the US.

Moonlink Studios is a partnership between RingSide Creative (a partnership between Chicago’s Cutters Inc. and Steve Wild, former owner of Grace & Wild) and Jeff Moon Production Services, Inc.

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