Three star-studded gala fundraisers this month

MOVIE AND TELEVISION STARS will abound this month as they headline gala fund-raisers to support the city’s culturally important visual arts organizations.

The Museum of Broadcast Communications’ June 11 “Salute to Chicago Television” will honor three generations of broadcasters, directors, producers and executives — 50 in all confirmed so far — at its fund-raiser at the Hilton Hotel & Towers.

Founder/director Bruce DuMont declares this is the first-ever reunion of these broadcasting. They include Lee Phillip Bell, Jim Conway, Harry Volkman, Bill Kurtis, Walter Jacobson, Bob Sirrott, Dick Kay, Thea Flaum, Scott Craig, Arthur Nielsen, Jr., Tom Skilling, LeAnn Trotter and Bill Zwecker.

THE NEXT NIGHT, June 12, CIFF salutes director Ron Howard with a Career Achievement Award at its Summer Gala at the Museum of Science & Industry. The last time Ron Howard was the center of a party was 19 years ago at the wrap of his feature “Back Draft,” at Chicago Studio City. Nice to have him back.

AN EVENING WITH ROBERT DOWNEY, JR. is a sold-out benefit for the Gene Siskel Film Center, which will present the Oscar nominated actor with its Renaissance Award, paying tribute to his remarkable career. Director Todd Phillips will interview Downey.

NBC’S NETWORK SHOW, “A Minute to Win It” holds its only Midwest open casting call in Chicago Saturday, June 12 to compete in hopes of winning a million dollars. Signups at the NBC Tower from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. PLANNED CUTBACKS AT CH. 11 calls for eliminating around 30 jobs, or 12% of its staff in order to cut $3 million in operating costs because of declining revenue, the station announced Friday. Other cuts could come from long-time employees taking early retirement,

The company-wide salary freeze instituted in 2009 will remain in effect into 2010 and already-trimmed executive salaries will be pared again, bringing the two-year reduction to 10%.

Similar cutbacks at Ch. 20, also a PBS outlet, are expected to be announced this week.

TWO AFRICAN AMERICAN FILMMAKERS will be honored by the Bronzeville Cultural Festival June 17. A lifetime achievement award will be presented to Ronn Pitts, the first African American to teach at Columbia College and the first in the Chicago film industry, and producer Mark Harris of 1555 Filmworks is being recognized for his film, “Black Butterfly.”

The gala, organized by Festival film chair Roxxy Cooley, with performances and music, starts with a 6-7 p.m. reception, 7-9 p.m. ceremony, including comedians, singers and trailers of the films the Festival selected for screenings through Saturday. $25 tickets available by calling 733/651-0700.

WHO’S NEW. DDB’s new chief creative officer, Ewan Paterson, returns to the DDB fold June 21, after five years with London’s CHI & Partners where he was a partner. He had been with DDB for 10 years, working with such accounts as Volkswagen, American Airlines and Sony, before joining CHI & Partners.

THE ILLINOIS PRODUCTION ALLIANCE elected three new board members: Eric Chaudron, AFTRA’s new executive director; Scott Smith, Chicago Audio Works and Jim Laubinger of CPA firm Corbett, Duncan & Hubly PC. Members are welcome to work on a standing committee: Diversity, Membership, Business Development, Legislative and Marketing.

The next IPA meeting will be held July 15 at Essanay, at 8 a.m.

REEL MICHIGAN. Michigan’s film production activity continues to surge ahead, with $16.6 million in total Michigan expenditures counted this far this year, according to the Michigan Film Office. Five projects each are currently in preproduction and production and 12 projects have wrapped.

*The biggest film yet to shoot in West Michigan will be Ben Stiller and Ruben Fleischer’s “30 Minutes or Less,” with comedians Michael Pena, Nick Swardson, Danny McBride, and Aziz Ansari. It starts filming in Grand Rapids in July for eight weeks.

*The 12th Waterfront Film Festival in Saugatuck, June 10-13, features a slate of recent Michigan-made movies. They include the romantic comedy, “Tug”, shot in Holland, starring Sam Huntington (“Superman”), Haylie Duff (“Napoleon Dynamite”), and “Grey’s Anatomy’s” Sarah Drew; “Cherry,” a coming-of-age tale shot primarily in Kalamazoo, starring Kyle Gallner (“A Nightmare on Elm Street”) and “Annabelle & Bear,” a drama shot in 12 locations throughout Southeast Michigan, and featuring a 100% local cast, crew, and soundtrack.

Oscar winning screenwriter Dustin Lance Black will be on hand for the screening of his documentary “8: A Mormon Proposition,” for which Black provides the narration.

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