Siskel/Jacob’s acclaimed doc has TV premiere on OWN

Scene from “Louder than a Bomb”

SISKEL/JACOBS PRODUCTIONS’  documentary Louder Than a Bomb, about the local high school slam poetry competition, had its broadcast premiere Jan. 5 on OWN. 

The doc is also part of the U.S. State Department’s American Documentary Showcase, which has screened it in Burma, Zambia, Angola, United Arab Emirates, Jordan, and Malawi. The DVD is due out in March. 

Siskel/Jacobs’s National Geographic special Witness: Katrina won the News and Documentary Emmy for Outstanding Historical Programming.  They’re producing more Witness shows, including one about returning vets.

FORMER CHICAGO AD MARTY SHEA, now a Detroit resident, and Ian Bonner have wrapped principal photography on The Owner, the feature film they produced, telling an interwoven story with shorts by 25 directors in 14 countries and five continents, revolving around the world travels of a humble backpack. It premieres May 25 at international theaters.

“The story, written collaboratively over the Internet, brings together a variety of cultures, languages, and film styles into a singular narrative plot,” the producers write.

THE 15-YEAR RUN of the popular Chicago Short Video and Film Festival has ended, due to changing opportunities for short comedy films, according to a statement by founder/director Marion Sours.

“In 1996, a theatre-venue festival for Chicago-made short comedy films was a real happening.  Today, video-sharing websites are the preferred medium for short films.”

Sours adds that she is maintaining the Chicago Comedy TV Competition that will be held at a local theatre in July.

BITTER JESTER CREATIVE is making a documentary about Hedwig Dances’ trip to Cuba, where two dancers are returning home for the first time in years.  “BJC will follow two Cuban dancers as they return home and explore the art and artists that surround a vibrant dance community,” Bitter Jester said in a statement. “The film will take viewers on a rare and exuberant tour of modern Cuban life.”

PROPOSALS ARE BEING ACCEPTED from Cook County film/videomakers for the new Chicago Digital Media Production Fund, offering cash grants of up to $10,000 towards the production and completion of short films, preferred, and features.

The fund is sponsored by the Chicago Instructional Technology Foundation and Chicago Filmmakers and projects are intended for online distribution by established, emerging and young artists.

While all genres will be accepted, content should be aimed at advancing progressive social change and be appropriate for youth (although not necessarily intended exclusively for youth).

Distribution plans must include free availability on the web by May 15, 2013 in order to reach the widest possible audience.

Applications deadline is March 19.  Winners will be announced in mid-April.  There is no application fee.  

MICHELLE DE LONG’S Mimi Productions has a new commercial campaign for Orthopedic and Shoulder Center of Bloomington, Illinois.  De Long wrote and produced the series of spots, which her husband David J. Miller directed.

BLUE DAMEN PICTURES’ Dark Before Dawn premieres Feb. 9 at the Marcus Theatre in Elgin.  It’s about “two strangers in the night who meet by a chance encounter wind up it the right place at the right time to change each other’s lives forever,” Blue Damen’s Greg Kiernan says.


JOSH HOPE OF OLIVE ENTERTAINMENT is in the home stretch of post-production on Wild Blue, the feature he shot last summer based on his multi-contest-winning screenplay. 

He’s producing with Caitlyn Laingin.  Devin Archer stars as a young man released from the Oklahoma foster care system, who sets out on a cross-country journey.