The Reel to introduce theatre coverage by Kerry Reid

A curtain call for Kerry Reid. Photo by Venus Zarris.

IN OUR EFFORTS to expand coverage of more and different aspects of our vibrant and multi-faceted industry, the Reel will bring you news about Chicago theatre, with stories by the always informative and entertaining Kerry Reid.

Reid is an expert in her field.  She’s been a freelance theater critic and arts journalist in Chicago for over ten years, contributing regularly to the Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Reader. Her work has also appeared in American Theatre, Chicago Magazine,, Playbill, and the Village Voice, among many other publications.

She spent most of the 1990s living in San Francisco, where she was a contributing writer with the East Bay Express, Back Stage West, San Francisco Metropolitan, and, the website for the San Francisco Chronicle.

A graduate of Columbia College, Reid now teaches a course there on Reviewing the Arts. She has also written plays and solo performance pieces that have been presented at festivals throughout North America and a few places in Europe.

Reid’s take on what’s going on behind the curtain of Chicago’s internationally acclaimed theatre world starts this week. Contact her at

A MAJOR AWARD was presented to co-directors Jon Siskel and Greg Jacobs for their doc, Louder Than a Bomb, in Beverly Hills last week — the prestigious 2011 Humanitas Prize for documentaries.  It was awarded at a luncheon at a ceremony at the Montage Hotel, accompanied by a $5,000 cash prize.

In accepting the award, Jacobs joked, “The last thing we wanted to do was tell a crappy story about kids who are amazing storytellers,” and thanked the young poets featured in the film “for inspiring us to tell the story in a way that did justice to theirs.”

With 15 festival prizes racked up so far, Louder than a Bomb will premiere on television Jan. 5, 2012 on the Oprah Winfrey Network as part of the OWN Documentary Club.

BASED ON THE SUCCESS of the recent local AICP/Midwest-agency Meet, Drink, Talk event, Tom Fletcher of Fletcher Cameras & Lenses is spearheading a similar event in Detroit on Thursday, Sept. 22 at the Via Nove restaurant in Ferndale, from 6-8 p.m.

Says Fletcher, who is treasurer of AICP/Chicago and is all about community building, “Our AICP name includes ‘Midwest,’ so we plan to hold these very successful networking meetings in other Midwestern cities, starting with Detroit.”

The difference between the Detroit and Chicago meetings, is  that the AICE/Detroit is co-sponsoring and it’s invitation only to AICE and AICE member companies and agencies, of which 150 agency guests are expected to attend.

KARTEMQUIN FILMS, Chicago’s most enduring and honored company,  celebrates its 45th anniversary Thursday, Sept. 15, with a gala party at The Metro.  Guests will enjoy a night of food, drinks (including a tasting from Koval Distilleries), music by Mar Caribe, raffles and stories from celebrated Kartemquin and Chicago personalities, including Kartempquin founders Gordon Quinn and Jerry Blumenthal.

A home for independent producers who share its focus on creating social change through film, Kartemquin  has a record number of films in production.  It already has already smashed its yearly screenings record, notching up more than 1,000 live events and TV showings of films from its back-catalog of more than 40 social issue documentaries produced since 1966.

Click here to purchase tickets, starting at $75.

SIGNING WITH STORY for exclusive representation marks the first time that nationally recognized cinematographer Robb Fischer of Milwaukee has affiliated with production company as a director.  His first two STORY projects are a seven-spot package for healthcare educator Sanford-Brown and a Kemps Ice Cream spot.

Fischer’s spot credits include recent campaigns for Citgo, Element Mobile and Wisconsin Tourism (with TV show Monk star and Wisconsin native Tony Shalhoub). The PSA he directed for the City of Milwaukee Health Department on the dangers of mothers “co-sleeping” with their infant children was recently featured in Communication Arts magazine.

ESAU MELENDEZacclaimed “Immigrant Nation: The Battle for the Dream” premieres over Ch. 11 and other PBS stations Sept. 15 and a pre-broadcast panel discussion, led by Congressman Luis Guitierres, takes place at 7 p.m. before the 9 p.m. airing at the Al Teatro Ristorante in Pilsen.

A RICHTER STUDIOS SPOT is literally playing on Broadway, as the PSA it produced featuring megastar rapper/actor Ludicris, on behalf of the National Runaway Switchboard, is currently running in Times Square on the CBS Super screen, where it will have more than 3,300 total airings.

Jeremy Richter wrote and directed the package of 10, 15, 30, and 60-second spots; Marcel Morin was behind the Richter-ownd Red Mysterium camera, lighting by Joe Martinez, Jr.; Sarah Mueller produced; Ed Grozich edited; Leon Kelsick provided the animation and Elliot Bancel wrote and produced the original score.

Singer/songwriter Cyndi Lauper is expected to be the next spokesperson and will film in Chicago on behalf of the organization that keeps runaway, homeless and at-risk kids safe and off the streets.  Sadly, they say between 1.6 and 2/8 million youths run away in a year.

IFP’S $100,000 WORTH of in-kind services that comprise the 2011 Production Fund was won by director/cinematographer Justin Hayward earlier this year.  The result of many months of production will be shown Sunday, Sept. 19 at the Gene Siskel Center.

Hayward directed and Leigh Jones produced “Wretched,” the under 5-minute short, which is the opening scene for Hayward’s ultimate feature film.

He will have to do it without Jones, who declares “Wretched” was her last feature project. “The feature film world was a labor of lofe,” she sighs. “I stepped away from features to start my Boomthrift, my own production company, Boomthrift.  I produce for small agencies, music videos and embarked on animation videos.  I also freelance as an agency producer for Draftfcb.”

A short presentation by Bob Mastronardi of Kodak, one of the many grant donors, precedes the 1 p.m. screening.

Fall is a busy production season, so that means you’ll have lots of news to share.  Pick up the phone, 312/274-9980 or Email  Do it now, while you think of it.