Thank YOU, Ron Howard!

WHAT AN UNEXPECTEDLY NICE GESTURE. In surely what’s got to be a first in the 35-year annals of Hollywood-in-Chicago entertainment production, departing director Ron Howard, stars Vince Vaughn and Kevin James, and the cast and crew of “The Dilemma,” placed a full page ad in the Sun-Times Friday.

The ad thanked Chicago “for a great shoot and a great time in your town!”

The ad offered “Our special thanks to ? the 2010 Stanley Cup Champion Blackhawks, McCormick Place, the United Center, IATSE locals 476, 600, 769, Teamsters local 727, the National Hockey League, the Chicago/Illinois film offices, the towns of Morton Grove and Niles, the CTA, Local 399 Union Hall, the fire and police departments ? All of whom made our work much easier and the results much greater.”

“The Dilemma,” for Universal, wrapped Friday after a three month stay in Chicago, during which it employed a local crew of about 200.

Everyone talked about Howard’s graciousness, made even sweeter since he said he’d never work in Chicago after a bad experience on his “Backdraft” 19 years ago.

TURTLE WAX, the privately-held Chicago-based company, tapped Energy BBDO as its agency for all its products, following a recent formal review.

ACE EDITOR CHRISTINA STUMPF decided to forego her 15 year staff position at The Lookinglass/Whitehouse to opt for freelancing. She started her career at The Lookinglass as an assistant and followed her editor, David Brixton, to Santa Monica when the company opened its West Coast office.

Stumpf was promoted to editor when she returned to the Chicago officer a year later. working on a variety of projects ?- national spots (her Office Max web video, “Jewelry,” was shortlisted at Cannes in ’09); long form (indie feature “Alleyball”); documentary (“Hidden in Plain Sight,” which raised $1 million to help eradicate worldwide human trafficking”) and more.

“If I like working as an independent editor, I’ll stick with that,” Stumpf says. “If not, I’ll consider a staff position early next year.” Fair enough. But with Stumpf’s creds, chances are her solo act will be much in demand for a long time.

Stumpf’s phone is 847/772-5498.

THE HUMMEL GOLF OUTING was a huge success, reports Pete DeBenny of VTP, one of the event organizers. “We had 115 golfers raising $20,000, of which $6,000 goes into the non-profit benefit fund,” he says.

A couple of good guys helped to plump up the Post Production Benefit Fund by giving back their prizes. Grand prize winner David Kuta of Leo Burnett returned his $500 cash prize and a Blu-Ray player, won by Jim Hoffman of Hoffman Sound, was auctioned off and the money donated to the fund.

“So far there are no recipients of the fund, although we are getting calls for a couple of considerations,” says DeBenny.

RDS’ MITCH APLEY led one of the 60 filmmaking teams that turned in 38 short films breathtakingly finished in 24 hours, from 7 p.m. Aug. 13 to Sunday, Aug. 15, in the 6th Chicago 48 Hour Film Project.

Judges of the final entries are executive producers Melissa Thornley, Beast Editorial, John Noble, managing director, ONE at Optimus and Tim Konn, Another Country.

The best films of all 38 submissions will play Aug. 24, 7-10 p.m. at Lincoln Hall (formerly the Three Penny Theatre), 2424 Lincoln Ave.

RED CAR EDITOR MICHAEL COLETTA gets a warm Chicago welcome-home party in his honor Thursday, Aug. 26 at the Red Car offices, where guests will be able to view the annual return of the Tall Ships docked at Navy Pier and the Pier’s 9:30 p.m. summer fireworks display from the facility balcony, promises Red Car general manager Craig Duncan.

Coletta’s second-chapter Chicago career got off to a flying start. No sooner had he located the office coffee machine than he headed for Atlanta to edit Georgia Lottery spots, working out of Crawford Editorial’s facilities, then shot up to Red Car’s New York office to cut International Delights (coffee creamers) commercials.

BINNY’S EVENT WAS EXCELLENT, serving champagne and other delightful libations, Bruce Willis not so much. The seasoned action star last Wednesday was at Binny’s North Side Beverage Depot to hype a Polish vodka brand in which he owns a 3% interest and serves as its national spokesperson.

Instead of participating more fully in the event that drew a crowd of 400, Willis appeared on the balcony, spoke for three or four minutes about the vodka, Binny’s and the Foundation for Retinal Research, toasted everyone, and cut! He was gone.

Willis’ real Chicago mission in coming to Chicago was to hype his new movie, “Red,” by a prior two-hour press conference so maybe he didn’t feel much like talking when he got to Binny’s.

“It would’ve been civilized if Bruce Willis poured a few drinks and chatted with folks. That seemed to be how the event was billed, so the people who attended felt let down,” said one disappointed guest.

MORE REELMICHIGAN.

The Ann Arbor area will be the locale for a three-week shoot in late September and early October of “Tetherball,” a comedy starring Andy Dick (“Newsradio”) and Dustin Diamond (“Saved by the Bell”).

“The story is about three guys who get very drunk at a bar and then go to a playground and play tetherball for bets,” says producer/actor Joel Paul Reisig, who adds he expects the movie will go straight to DVD and cable TV.

In the meantime, “Scream 3” is filming in the Burns Park area of Ann Arbor and is expected to remain until the end of August when principal photography is completed.

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