REELSCREEN: News & Notes – 06/14/04

INTERNATIONAL FLAVOR. Michigan Avenue gets a welcome dash of international glitz and know-how with the arrival of Graham Woodall, JWT’s new ECD, who heads creative and production. The native Brit started his career as a copywriter with a London agency. Went to Hong Kong with Ogilvy as group CD. Then moved to D’Arcy Hong Kong as ECD. D’Arcy brought him to New York where was ECD until Publicis gobbled up the agency last year. He brings plenty of P&G experience, which won’t be lost on JWT’s Kraft Foods and Nestle clients, not to mention new business opportunities. JWT, incidentally, celebrates its 140th anniversary this year.

POSTAER’S NEW JOB ? EVENTUALLY. After more than 20 years at Leo Burnett, Steffan Postaer has a new job as chairman/chief creative officer of beleaguered Euro RSCG Chicago. But there’s a bit of a snag. Leo Burnett won’t let him out of his contract with the agency, so Postaer won’t be able to start his new job until Nov. 12. Postaer left the agency last fall when LBWorks, over which he presided, was abruptly dismantled.

WALGREEN’S NEW AGENCY. Walgreen’s, one of Euro’s last clients here, has waltzed over to a new DDB division called Downtown Partners, whose creative leader is Jim Schmidt, formerly of Euro, to bring the circle to a close. Downtown Partners is a Toronto agency launched in Chicago last April.

ADWOMEN’S REUNION. More than 40 creative and production women will hook up June 24 at a private party at Corner Cooks in Winnetka for an evening of catching up. (Corner Cooks is owned by former adwoman Betsy Simpson.) If you have toiled for 10-plus years, changed careers or dropped out of the biz but want to see old friends, call Marguerite Juliusson at 312/649-0401, or Enid Katz, 847/869-7641.

$$ FOR CHICAGO. IFP/Chicago welcomed a $12,500 grant from the Academy Foundation to be used for IFP’s Project Involve Chicago, a mentorship and film training program. The Academy Foundation is the Motion Picture Academy’s educational and cultural arm that distributed $400,000 among schools and film organizations.

MOVIE STUFF. Majestic Midway Theatre, run by In the Works is the newest theatre company. It opens June 25 in a 100-year-old theatre on the Southwest Side … Soldier Field starts Movie Nights on Fridays and calls itself “Chicago’s Largest Movie Theatre” by virtue of its monstrous videoboard screens. Ten bucks buys a sandwich, chips and drinks and the show.

VIDEOS TO DVDS. Producer Jack Wilson has begun conversion of the 60 training videos in his library to DVDs. A $149 package consists of a DVD, a video, audiocassette and book. Besides selling programs through JWA Co.’s catalog, Wilson’s products are sold by 104 worldwide distributors. Paragon Media is doing the conversions and Christian Captioning is adding closed captioning. JWA is located at 921 W. Van Buren, phone 312/829-5100.

L.A. MAY SPOTS DOWN. L.A. recorded 448 shooting days for commercials in May, a 16% drop compared to April and the lowest monthly tally so far this year. But it’s a gain of almost 60% compared to last May’s 284 commercials production days. The EIDC’s monthly tally has now posted year-to-year gains in seven of the last eight months, and the year-to-date total is running ahead of last year by 19.4%. Note: Business traditionally tends to rein in during an election year.

WHAT’S UP HERE. Illinois Tourism spots are shooting at Digital Kitchen … A Hundai spot is coming up over the weekend via Bark Dog of L.A. … DDB let 25 people go across the board … L.A.-based X- Ray, a division of Crossroads, shot Famous Footwear for the Hiebring Group, directed by Brandon Dickerson .

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