THE REEL THING: News & Notes

DP MARC MILLER IS IRAQ-BOUND for a month of filming Jake Rademacher’s theatrical documentary, “Brothers at War.” They received Army permission and clearance Dec. 1 after many delays.

“This is the most exciting and challenging project of my career to date,” says Miller. While they will be gone during the holidays, “it will provide us with some interesting situations for filming with our troops during that time,” he says.

ARMY ADVERTISING MARCHES TO A NEW STEP. as it departs Leo Burnett and Chicago next year, leaving a rocket-sized hole in vendor business. The business moves to Interpublic Group of Cos.’ McCann Erickson, New York early next year. The account could be worth up to $1.35 billion over the next five years.

Army recruitment numbers have seriously dropped as the Iraq war grows increasingly unpopular, so McCann will have it work cut out for it.

PRIZED EMMY STATUETTES were awarded to a trio of independent production companies (i.e., non-broadcast outlets or staffers) at the ceremonies Dec. 3 at Thorne Hall.

The winners: Producer Scott Silberstein for “The Chicago Dance Project” series that aired over Ch. 11; executive producers V.J. McAleer, David Manilow, Joel Cohen, producer Wayne Kumingo and associate producer Susan Godfrey for “Check Please”, also Ch. 11 and executive producers Ginger Fann Hall and Donna LaPietra and producer Michael O’Rourke for “Come Out and Play ? Millennium Park Opening, for MUTV.

For the first time, the Emmy ceremonies were streamed live for the first time on Ch. 2’s and Ch. 5’s

BOB SIROTT returns from whence he came when he departs “Chicago Tonight” and Ch. 11 and is expected to rejoin Ch. 5 around Jan. 1 as weekend anchor. Ch. 11 cited “financial reasons” for not renewing Sirott’s contract. Sirott started his broadcast career at Ch. 5.

IT SEEMS LIKE ONLY YESTERDAY that “Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer” made a big splash. Yet it was 20 years ago that brothers Malik Ali and Waleed Malid owners of Orland Park-based stock footage house MPI teamed up with then-unknowns, director John McNaughton and actor Michael Rooker .

Since then, McNaughton went on to direct features and Rooker has been seen in countless movies. MPI grew into multi-million dollar MPI Media Group, possessors of a library of 15,000 hours of footage and the rights to historical footage and music from which it has developed 2,000 home video titles.

You can buy the special “Henry” 20th anniversary edition on DVD at Best Buy.

PUBLICIS’ LEO BURNETT in Chicago is competing against Publicis West in Seattle for the estimated $100 million Washington Mutual account. May the best Publicis office win!

$2 MILLION FROM THE MICHIGAN FILM INITIATIVE will fund programs aimed at promoting filmmaking in Michigan. They are an independent study of Michigan’s status within the film industry, promoting Michigan as a film location and job training for crew members

The Michigan Film Office, long led by Janet Lockwood will administer the programs. High on her agenda are marketing the new incentives package working its way through the state legislature and to improve and make the Web site more user-friendly. Lockwood, who usually works only with the help of paid interns, plans to hire a second full-time employee.

AUTHOR AND COMEDIAN AL FRANKEN broadcasts his syndicated political talk show live Dec. 9 from Steppenwolf Theatre before a sold-out audience.

NAMES IN THE NEWS. Recent Illinois Institute of Art grad Tim Sepulveda joined Radar Studios as a motion graphics/visual effects designer … Cutters named Chuck Silverman sales and marketing director for New York, L.A. and Texas, while Wendy Hanson and continuing repping duties in the Midwest … RDS’ hired Mia Wicklund as producer; she’d been with Superior Street … Margo James , One World’s long-time producer left the company Oct. 31 to become a full-time mom to new son, Bennett.

BRUCE WILLIS WHO PLAYS AN AD EXEC in the psychological thriller, “The Perfect Stranger,” hung out with Kirshenbaum Bond & Partners learning the industry’s ropes and lingo.

After spending a bit of time at the agency, Willis, humorously,commented to Richard Kirshenbaum and Jon Bond, “Wow, this business seems more cutthroat than Hollywood.” You got it Bruce. Comments Adrants, which reported the time: Hollywood is for pussies. Madison Avenue is for tough guys.

THANKS TO AICP, New York could gain a tax credit for commercials next year, adding to its candy box of incentives. AICP lobbied state legislators during the year and the legislators could vote on it during its next session opening in January.

Among New York City’s incentives are free permits, free police, free parking and free locations ? plus investment tax credits for new film facilities.

AND THE “MADE IN NY DISCOUNT CARD, available to all productions to help lower the cost of production shooting in New York, has expanded to include more than 400 vendors offering discounts.

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For ReelChicago advertising, call Maria Kluchenek at 312/933-3582. Ask about new ad sizes and placement.