Tax prep firm makes for a surprising web reality show

WHILE A TAX PREPARATION BUSINESS may appear dull and predictable, CEO Judy Brooks and sister Jackelin Brooks, partners of well established, Judy Brooks & Associates (JBA) often joked how their business, often humorous, dramatic and poignant, was the stuff of a reality show.  They brought in their cousin, filmmaker Vera Brooks of Roatan Film Productions, who definitely agreed with them.  

Now the 9-episode of sll-women “Judy Brooks and Associates: The Tax Heroes” series premieres Jan. 6 on YouTube. A new episode will bow every Monday through March 3.  The series’ collaborators were producer/director William Sacco, a veteran of Oprah, producer/director Scott Lynch and director, composer and editor Zernul R. Schackelford Jr.   

INDIE FEATURE “BLACK COFFEE,” directed by Mark Harris’ of Image Entertainment, opens theatrically Jan. 10 in Chicago, Atlanta, Baltimore and Washington, D.C. 

Directed by Harris and produced by N.D. Brown and Harris, a story is about Robert (Darrin Henson) whose world is crushed when he is fired from a company his father.  But when Morgan (Gabrielle Dennis) comes into his life, he finds renewed life purpose.

THE 4TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE HAITI EARTHQUAKE will be commemorated with a private screening of Chicago-produced feature doc, “Lakay,” at the Haiti Cultural Center in Miami on Jan. 10.

The doc was produced by Tirf Alexius’ 4Features and developed with 1 2 Believe, a nonprofit founded by Macdanne Edmond, who imports and sells goods from Caribbean islands and also helps children of Haiti.

The story is about the filmmakers, brothers Tirf and Romeo, who are drawn back to their native Haiti by the devastation. The filmmakers reveal the tragedy caused by this natural disaster from an intimate and personal perspective.

Tirf and Remoh were co-EPs, writers and producers; Tirf director; Hugh Grady of 4Features also wrote and produced; associate producer, Adam Pitra.  DP was Andy Sparesus, second unit DP, Joe Jones; sound, Lorian Toth; editor, David M. Baker; score by Jon Pierre of LA.

“AN EVENING WITH YVONNE WELBON,” the Chicago-based award-winning indie filmmaker/director, on Saturday, Jan. 11 kicks off Chicago Filmmakers’ 2014 weekly screening series at Chicago Filmmakers ad Columbia College.  The Welbon showcase includes selections from her new film, “The New Black,” her multi-awardedLiving with Pride: Ruth Ellis @ 100,” and ongoing Sundance Documentary Fellow project “Sisters in Cinema.”

At Chicago Filmmakers, 5243 N. Clark, $10; 7 p.m. social hour, 8 p.m. screening, followed by a a post screening party.  Wednesday, Jan. 15 at Ferguson Theatre, 600 S. Michigan, 6:30 p.m. $8, free to CC faculty, students and staff.

JOE MARTINEZ’ “BEAR DOWN” DOC, about the true account of Chicago Bears’ fans at its most expressive, sharing generations of loyalty, has started an IndiGoGo campaign to raise $15,000 to help fund editing and marketing. Filming is underway, aiming for April completion. An Illinois State film grad, Martinez is a producer and director at Fig Media‎.

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