REELSCREEN: News & Notes – 02/24/04

HUGOS HONOR MARIN. The 40th annual Hugo Awards national television competition will honor Carol Marin, broadcast (“60 Minutes,” “48 Hours”) and print journalist (Chicago Tribune), with a career achievement award at its March 11 Park West awards ceremonies. Festivities start at 5:30 p.m.; Bill Zwecker hosts the commercials show at 7. Reservations via calling 312/425-9400, x 100, or Email to info@chicagofilmfestival.com. Tickts range $50 to $125.

ACTORS GET L.A. AGENTS FAST. Actor Sean Gallagher won a national Diet Pepsi spot and Linara Washington had a guest spot on “ER” shortly after signing L.A. agents, set up by Shirley Hamilton agent Lynn Hamilton, who helps find agents for Hamilton clients now living in L.A. Brady, Brannon, Rich signed Gallagher and Washington for commercials, and Washington’s theatrical agent is Schiowitz/Clay/Ackrum, agents for ex-Chicago actors Kathy Joosten (“West Wing”) and Betsy Randle (“Boy Meets World”).

MAKING THE CUT. Optimus’ promotion of Dana Phillips to editor boosts its Chicago editors to nine, plus two in Santa Monica. Formerly with Edit Sweet, Phillips been assistant to editors Jan Maitland and Katie Wroble, and had been cutting for a year, said Optimus prez Tom Duff.

SLASHING TOURISM $$? Tourism’s new agency, JWT, may find it’s only got $4.4 million for advertising, instead of this year’s $12 million it had expected, if Governor Blagojevich succeeds in slashing state tourism spending by half. Tourism’s $51.2 million overall budget would then drop to $25.6 million in fiscal 2005, starting July 1.

MAC TOUTS ILLINOIS. On the Tourism track, Chicago comedian Bernie Mac stars in an Illinois Tourism commercial via R. J. Dale, directed by Darryl Manuel, celebrating Tourism’s 30th anniversary CALL FOR DETAILS

CCC CELEBRATES ANNIVERSARY. Chicago Community Cinema marks its fourth year of monthly screenings of locally-produced films March 2 at Excalibur with “a terrific program of a new features and shorts guaranteed you won’t see anywhere else,” says co-founder Mike Kwielford. Three of the new films are Willy Laszlo’s comedy “Stamp,” Rocco Cataldo’s latest featuring Chicago hip-hop talent, Fam, and Kirk Sanders’ drama, “Broken Echoes.” Q-Blue’s jazz stylings follow the screenings. See www.chicagocommunitycinema.com.

MONTAGE. Comma music reports non-stop business ? the most recent being scores for Hallmark 90 and 75-second image commercials for upcoming “Hall of Fame” dramas. Bryan Rheude composed/produced for Leo Burnett creatives Tim Ponterelli and David Horner; Bob Harley produced. During the Academy Awards, watch for Comma’s JC Penney/DDB score … L.A. Moxie Pictures’ Bob Purman (based in Milwaukee) directed a Country Insurance spot at Essanay, where Mr. Big and Digital Kitchen had spots in production.

ACTORS EQUITY FILES CHARGES. Actors Equity filed unfair labor practices with the NLRB against three theatrical companies for failing to provide information requested about their ties to non-Equity producers. Companies were Clear Channel Entertainment, the Nederlander Producing Co. and Dodger Stage Holding Theatricals. Actors Equity has committed $1 million-plus in its fight to retain union jobs.

FOREIGN FEST AT SISKEL CENTER The Gene Siskel Film Center presents a smorgesbord of foreign films from 16 countries in its European Union Film Festival, March 5-15. Premiering are 36 new European features, two films produced by EU nations German and Belgium, and three shorts. Opening night offers the Irish feature, “Intermission,” with Colin Farrell and Colm Meaney, and Steven Benedict, director of the prize-winning short “The Last,” will appear. The Irish Consulate General and Consul General Charles Sheehan host opening night.

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