Towers promotes Schmiedeler to top position

MIKE SCHMIEDELER, an 11-year Towers Productions’ veteran, was promoted to VP/development and executive producer, from managing director.

Earlier, he’d been Towers’ VP/production overseeing the production of specials and series for A&E, History, Discovery and the many other cable channels for which Towers provides original programming.

In his new role, he will be responsible for program origination and editorial oversight.

Before joining Towers in 1999, Schmiedeler was a producer on the award-winning PBS series “Today’s Life Choices.” He received a Gabriel Award (1995). He’s a 1994 University of Notre Dame grad and in 2001 received a grant from The Center for Religion & the News Media and studied at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism as a visiting scholar.

TWO CHICAGO FILMMAKERS copped top prizes at two different Washington, D.C. festivals this past week. Filmmaker Jerry Vasilatos’ music video for the band Braam’s song, “Burlington Northern,” won The People’s Choice Award at the World Music & Independent Film Festival.

The song is from band Braam’s soon-to-be released CD, “Living Room.” It stars up-and-coming starlet Andre’a Eve and newcomer Ivan Ballester.

Vasilatos and cinematographer Trevi Albin shot the music video in and around Chicago between January and August, 2009 as a backdrop for the song reflecting on the passage of time, memories and moving on.

Then, at the Washington, D.C. Indie Film Festival, Esau Melendez’ “Immigrant Nation: The Battle for the Dream,” won the 2010 Cine Latino Award.

Vasilatos’ current project is the documentary “Yannis,” which focuses on O.S.S. hero John Giannaris, who led his detachment of the Greek Battalion against Axis invaders behind enemy lines in Greece during World War II.