Reel Chicago is back and I need a vacation

We’re back! I wish I could say we enjoyed some time off but dealing with the surreal nightmare of a malicious malware attack that brought down our Reel Chicago website and damaged Reel 360 was worse than dreaming that it’s Christmas day and I forgot to buy Christmas gifts.

I don’t like dwelling on the unpleasantries, but in a nut shell, it has cost us over $10,000 to clean up the corrupted files (we are still tweaking) and migrate the sites to a new and improved dedicated secure server with a new host.

Our gofundme page has been filling up with generous donations from companies and individuals whose overwhelming generosity has at times brought me to tears… add to that a little sleep deprivation and my emotions have peaked. But when hard times come to Reel Chicago, they come to everyone.

To those who reached out with emails, phone calls and words of support and advice, you raised my spirits and helped us through this. And to the one stand-out email from John Geletka of Geletka+ who volunteered his time and his staff’s expertise, particularly Doug Leinen to help us get Reel 360 back online, get our email working again, and who tirelessly worked with the techs at WP Engine to migrate both sites, you win the award for Random Acts of Kindness, and I am deeply grateful to you for tossing that lifeline and pulling us through this.

I want to share a few of the comments made by our donors that warmed my heart and kept us going, many times all night, to get this site back:

This was the industry magazine going way back and now is the best online local source of staying up on our niche that serves so many so invisibly. – Christopher Derfler, Senior Media Producer at Sysmex America, Inc.

REEL Chicago has been nice to us over the years – thanks for posting Lightswitch Video news! – Bryce Anderson, Lightswitch Video

Reel Chicago provides wonderful support and information to the Chicago film industry and it has been supportive of the Chicago Irish Film Festival for years for which we are very grateful. Jude Blackburn, Director, Chicago Irish Film Festival

The history of Reel Chicago reaches back to the 1970s and the continuation of this publication is vitally important to knitting our sprawling production industry together and keeping everyone within it up to date on its news. Reel Chicago is also a key factor in keeping Chicago in the eyes and minds of film producers to mount their productions here. Please, please consider any amount of donation you can spare as an investment in your career and ensuring that the future of film production in Chicago and dissemination of its news to our industry continues. – Nanci Ponne’, Publisher, Chicago Talent Director

Barbara helps everyone, so now we help her! – Anthony Gigante, VP of Business Development-TV Cinema PRG North America

Reel supports Chicago! – Jerry Vasilatos, film producer

To those generous supporters who have helped us to reach more than half of our goal, I am humbled by your generosity, kind words, and uplifting emotional support. A special thank you to AICP/Midwest for their generous donation of $1,000, and also to IATSE Local 476 for their generous donation of $1,000 which does not yet appear in the gofundme total. To every person who took the time to reach out and show their appreciation and support of the REEL with their donation and supportive words, I am forever grateful.

Here is the list of our angels:

Erica Duffy
Anthony Vagnoni
Rich Daniels
Kevin Wright
Roger Darnell
Kathryn A Kraft
Joyce Porter
Mark Androw – STORY
Thomas Mulvihill
Sean Bradley
Shirlene Small
Brett Nelson
Michael Lippert
ProGear Rental
Myndi Schmid
Christopher Derfler
James Pianowski
Anthony Gigante
Joe Brooks
Whitehouse Post
Anthony Izzo
Dwayne Johnson-Cochran
Brenda Webb
Thomas Leavens
Chicago Irish Film Festival
Amy McIntyre
Robert Roche
French Butter
Nathalynne McGinnis
Nanci Ponné
Qadree Holmes
Lisa Masseur
Cynthia Amorese
AICP Midwest
Sandra Litt
Roy Elvove
Connie Czelatdko
Jerry Vasilatos
Liz Tate
Kamelya Alexan
Valerie Silverman Kerr
Joseph Filer
Bryce Anderson
Anthony Vagnoni – 2 donations!
Stephen Bayorgeon
Meryl Lessinger-Bely
Roy Elvove

Bless you and thank you for your support.

When Reel Chicago went down, we were fortunate to be able to post the top Chicago news stories on but the heart of the community news, events, screenings, awards, interviews, were left for the return of Reel Chicago. We have lots of stories coming up.

In case you missed it, here are the REEL CHICAGO NEWS stories that were posted on Reel 360.

And here is the link to our ongoing gofundme page. I really, REALLY do not like asking for help, but sometimes it takes a village.

It has cost over $10,000 to get back online after a malware attack.

The invoice is due on January 6