Three of Chicago’s best indie producers and a newcomer have entries in SXSW Film Festival

AS SUNDANCE EXCITEMENT ENDS, South by Southwest Film Festival takes center stage, March 7-15, 2008 in Austin, Texas where the work of three of Chicago’s best indie filmmakers and a newcomer will premiere.

They are: Steven James and Peter Gilbert’s “At the Death House Door,” Joe Swanberg’s “Nights and Weekends” and ? at last ? Steve Conrad and Steven A. Jones’ “The Promotion,” the new title of the film formerly known as “Quebec.”

The newcomer is Brandon Linden and his first-time indie, “Bootleg Wisconsin,” about a Chicago public school teacher who takes vacation from her life and her husband at an outlet mall in Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin and a relationship she forms there.

STAR GAZING. Oscar winner Adrien Brody will portray Chicago’s Leonard Chess in “Cadillac Records” the story of the Chess brothers’ blues and jazz recording company of the ’50s and ’60s. Now in preproduction, filming starts in March in New Jersey and Mississippi and heads for Chicago. Jeffrey Wright is set as Muddy Waters.

CAMERAMAN RON BELL’S “mechanical sculpture” is in a show at the Packer Schopf Gallery concurrent with the art of true Renaissance Man Clive Barker, the famous horror director (“Hellraiser”) and producer (“Gods and Monsters”).

“Apparatus” is the title of Bell’s 11-piece collection which, he says, “reflects the feeling of archaic scientific instruments gone wrong,” he says. These devices are made of a variety of mostly hand-fabricated raw materials such as copper, wood, aluminum, glass and natural bone.

Bell has been sculpting from metallic oddments for six or seven years, and his art sells for $1,000 and more.

See them for yourself at or visit the gallery at 942 W. Lake St. The show runs through Feb. 16. Bell’s phone is 847/853-0227.

FILMING IN WISCONSIN starts off with the $2.5 million “Blue World” from Chicagoan Michael Nehs’ Frontsight Productions, in Milwaukee. “The Violinist,” a $1 million film about Arab-Israeli immigrants, will film entirely in Green Bay on a college campus there. One of the producers, Jay Schillinger, was formerly with Disney.

EDITORIAL EXPERTS who know about today’s fast-moving digital media creation industry are the panelists at the Avid Technology-sponsored “Mark Your Mark” event Jan. 31 at Flashpoint Academy.

Hear editors John Binder, Cutters; Mike LaBellarte, Outsider; Carlos Lowenstein, Whitehouse; Jon Adler, Daily Planet; and Sean Berringer tell what it takes to make it in the fast-moving digital media world. Optimus’ Tom Duff moderates. Avid account manager Kurt Krinke will welcome guests.

SIGNS OF THE TIMES Leo Burnett and DDB quietly downsized around 50 staffers in the past few weeks: Burnett let 30 people go and DDB, 20 … Out in L.A., editors who cut episodic TV shows are being laid off in droves.

REEL/VIDEO is eager to attend your next function and capture the highlights on our new feature. Let us know when and where and we’ll be there. Email or call 312/274-9980.