Spike Lee’s anti-violence comedy films here June 1

Director Spike Lee

SPIKE LEE has set up shop at Cinespace Studios to start prepping for his anti-violence comedy called “Chiraq,” to be budgeted at $15 million. It will start filming June 1 for six weeks mainly in Englewood and other South Side locations, for new Amazon Studios.

But don’t confuse New Yorker Lee’s “Chiraq,” said to be based on an ancient Greek classic, with Chicagoan William Pierce’s dramatic 8-part contemporary TV series “Chiraq,” about gang rivalry set in some of the same neighborhoods in which Lee will be working.

It was reported that Samuel L. Jackson and Chicago natives Jeremy Piven, John Cusack, Kanye West and Common will appear in the film.

Lee will be in Chicago Saturday April 18 for a CIMMfest hosted “An Evening of Music, Film & Wine with Spike Lee” Spike Lee,” Saturday, April 18 at City Winery.  The 8 p.m. show is sold out but tickets are available for the 10:30 performance.

THREE ADVERTISING/MARKETING AGENCIES top Crain’s 2015 List of 10 Best Places to Work in Chicago.”

The top two are digital agencies Rocket Fuel and Centro, both in River North, and the third is Loop-based DigitasLBi.

The three agencies rose to the top like cream in a pair of surveys, one for employers and the other for employees, that had a possible score of 1,000 points.

Some of the benefits that distinguished the top included continuing tuition reimbursement, a formal mentioning program, bonuses and profit-sharing, generous vacation time, 401(k) matching contributions, proving free food, paid maternity and paternity leave.  Centro has one Save the World Day a year for charity and Digitas has an all-staff summer retreat where one employee receives the Heart of the Company Award.

ACTOR MARTIN SHEEN will be on a Cinespace soundstage May 1, for a “Breakfast and Conversation” on behalf of “Arise Chicago,” a social justice organization that strives to build partnerships between faith communities and workers to fight injustices in the workplace.

WGN/9’s Micah Materre and NBC/5’s Lisa Parker are also featured. Tickets for the breakfast, 8-10 a.m., start at $100 and may be purchased here.

PIONEER ADMAN TOM BURRELL will receive the Chicago Legend in Advertising Award and investigative journalist Jay Levine will be the recipient of Excellence in Journalism Award and weatherman  Tom Skilling receives the inaugural Chicago Award from International Film Festival’s TV Awards April 22.

WGN/9’s Dan Ponce and ABC/Windy City Live’s Ji Suk Yi will host the event, being held at the Hyatt Chicago Magnificent Mile Hotel. Individual tickets are $75.

Previous honorees since the Chicago Legend recognition was initiated in 2010 are ReelChicago’s Ruth L Ratny, who was the first so named, newsmen Walter Jacobsen and Bill Kurtis.

CIMMfest’s  3rd annual BAADASSS Award for a Lifetime Achievement goes to Julien Temple, for his contributions as a filmmaker, documentarian and music video innovator.  A film retrospective of six of his films will screen April 17 and 18, followed by Q&As with Temple. 

Doesn’t matter if you’re part of a conglomerate agency or a one-man shop, your news is important to the Reel’s reader.  Send to ruth@reelchicago.com or phone 312/274-9980.

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