THE REEL THING: News & Notes

GENIAL FRED BEYER, who filmmakers turn to for production insurance, reveals he is opening a downtown office for the first time after 24 years in business in South Holland and Wheaton. As of Jan. 1, Beyer Insurance’s new office will occupy 5,000-sq. ft. at 6 W. Hubbard St., and employee six and a number of insurance company reps.

Beyer is also expanding into financial and investment planning, hence the new name: Beyer Financial Group.

KEVIN O’CONNOR couldn’t say no to the offer when Sony Electronics had a recent opening for an account manager in its Broadcast Production Systems Division.

He had spent a dozen “really great years” at Fletcher Chicago, where he moved from rental to sales manager. New contact info: Phone, 708/301-7463, cell, 312/560-1185, Email Kevin.O’

SCREENWRITER/AUTHOR NORA EPHRON of unforgettable romantic hits “Harry Met Sally” and “Sleepless in Seattle,” heads for an Invitation Only special event at Columbia College Sept. 25, after promoting her new book at the Harold Washington Library.

CHICAGO/MIDWEST SAG ELECTIONS returned president Todd Hissong to a second two year term; Ilyssa Fradin was elected 1st VP, Bill Borah, 2nd VP and Cheryl Hammada recording secretary.

Elected to three-year terms on the Chicago Branch Council were Nancy Baird, Anne Jacques, Caitlin Hart, Tony Castillo, Stephen Spencer; one-year terms for Chavez Ravine and Herb Graham. And John Carter Brown retained his seat on SAG’s National Board.

Of the ballots mailed to members, 469 were cast, a return of 13.5% of the ballots mailed; one ballot was deemed invalid.

A CHICAGO ARTS CENTER courtesy of the city that would amalgamate all art films, including film, under one roof, so to speak? We heard rumors that the city might purchase a cluster of four buildings and make the space available as a true arts center and exchange.

Many such art centers were once part of the landscape in Old Town, Wicker Park and Bucktown before the rents escalated and the artists dispersed. With the city as sponsor, the concept has a chance.

SENATE PRESIDENT EMIL JONES will be Columbia College’s guest of honor Sept. 25 celebration at to thank Jones for his leadership in guiding the passage of the tax incentive extension through the state legislature.

CHICAGO SCREENWRITERS GROUP snagged local best selling author/screenwriter Jay Bonansinga and his long-time agent, Peter Miller, head of New York-based PMA Literary and Film Management, for its Oct. 1 meeting at the Lincoln Restaurant.

Send your RSVP ASAP to as only the first 70 respondents will be accepted. Write RSVP in the subject line.

DUSTIN HOFFMAN receives the Career Achievement Award in his first appearance at the Chicago International Film Festival, during the Oct. 5 Opening Night celebration. “Stranger than Fiction,” directed in Chicago by Marc Forster (“Monster’s Ball”) will kick off the 15 day festival.

“Fiction” stars Emma Thompson, Will Ferrell, Maggie Gyllenhaal and Queen Latifah are expected to be in attendance. Call 312/683-0121 for advance discount passes now on sale.

AGENCY PRODUCER LARRY MOON made the move to rep/producer by signing with Pop Films ? the Asian Connection for production and support services he calls it — based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and Shanghai. Phone, 312/938-0985; Email, See