Doc fest world premiere “The Innocent” tells exonerated death row inmates’ personal stories

Music documentarian Lauri Feldman has seen her career take a substantial turn with “The Innocent,” her feature doc about exonerated death row inmates that has its world premiere April 3 in the third annual Chicago International Documentary Festival.

“It was a really big change to work on such a meaningful project,” said Feldman.

Chuck Olin, multi-honored documentarian and corporate producer, succumbs to rare disease

Chuck Olin never expected to win an Emmy for his “Marc Chagall in Chicago” documentary. “He was thrilled when he won,” said his longtime friend Tom Weinberg. “Later he laughed and said for a year no one called him for work.”

Chuck Olin, 68, died Jan. 20 at his Stinson Beach, Calif. home of amyloidosis, a rare bone marrow disease. A memorial service will be held on Sunday, Feb. 6, at 1:30 p.m. in the Grand Salon, the Park Hyatt, 800 N. Michigan for the multi-honored filmmaker.

“Chuck was a lovely man.

Steve James’ Fiji doc “Reel Paradise” in world premiere at Sundance Film Festival

Steve James’ new documentary “Reel Paradise” has its world premiere in the 21st Sundance Film Festival, which runs Jan. 20-30 in Park City, Utah.

“Reel Paradise” will premiere in Sundance’s Special Screenings section, “a selection of special films that are shown out of competition, and which significantly expand the range of subjects presented at the Festival,” according to festival publicity materials.

Local, national docs get new prominence in expanded IFP Conference Oct. 21-24

Two local feature docs head up an expanded presence for documentaries at the 13th Annual IFP/ Chicago Filmmakers Conference that begins Thursday, Oct. 21.

“The heightened presence of documentaries is a reflection of the larger community,” said IFP/Chicago executive director Elizabeth Donius. “There’s a lot of really wonderful documentary work going on in Chicago and the Midwest, and we’ll show some of the work that’s been done in the past year.”

Feature doc “It’s Called the Future” looks into the implications of artificial intelligence

A Utah professor developing a robotic brain and the sponsor of an annual artificial intelligence contest are two of Ken Gumbs’ first interviews for his feature documentary “It’s Called the Future.”

Before he’s through he plans to interview the world’s first cyborg, and a theologian who specializes in the spiritual dimensions of robotics.

Gumbs is out to open up the debate on the practical and moral possibilities of artificial intelligence, whose implications for the coming century he believes are as great as nuclear technology was for the last one.

Actress Laura Linney and director Dylan Kidd headline Oct. 21-24 IFP Conference

A new independent feature, “PS,” starring Laura Linney and written and directed by Dylan Kidd, kicks off the Oct. 21-24 IFP/Chicago Independent Filmmakers Conference at the School of the Art Institute.

“PS” is a romantic story about a divorced woman in her late 30s who gets to live her fairy tale when she is reunited with a high school sweetheart who had died previously and was reincarnated as a young cutie. Gabriel Byrne, Marcia Gay Harden and Paul Rudd also star.

Linney and Kidd will be present for a Q&A session following the screening.

Telling Truth in Chicago:
A Survey of Local Docmakers, Part II

This is the second in a two-part survey of local documentarians, who they are, their background and credits. Ranging from national leaders like Kartemquin, Towers and Kurtis Productions, to small to mid-size companies, they capture public imagination and affect social change by telling true stories.

Bob Hercules

Telling Truth in Chicago:
A Survey of Local Docmakers, Part I

Drawing on a rich tradition of bluntness and iconoclasm, Chicago is home to a wealth of documentarians, from TV powerhouses like Towers and Kurtis Productions to national theatrical and TV leaders Kartemquin to a range of small to mid-size companies capturing public imagination and affecting social change by telling true stories. This is the first in a two-part survey of the local docmaking scene. Part two, covering companies M-Z, in our next issue.

Looking for a movie tonight? Catch one of these non-traditional film series

Chicago boasts one of the biggest and most vibrant independent film scenes in America, in terms of both production and outlets. To prove the point, Chicago is experiencing a boom in non-traditional screening series.

In addition to a growing roster of annual film festivals, established and fledgling organizations host screenings scattered around the city at theatres, nightclubs and other venues.

Hugos feature DDB, Burnett winners, lifetime career awards to Pytka, Marin

Joe Pytka departed from his signature grunge look to deck himself out in a tux, his long blondish-gray flowing around his shoulders, to accept a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Hugos at Park West March 11.

Pytka, the Pittsburgh director who made good in Hollywood and the undisputed master of 30-second storytelling, has directed 5,000 commercials, many of them for long-time clients DDB and Leo Burnett, which were represented by top creatives Bob Scarpelli and Cheryl Berman, respectively.

Up and Down the Avenue – 02/07/04

JWT wins the $12 million Illinois Tourism account, resigned last year by BBDO.

Tom Bernadin is Leo Burnett’s new president, from Interpublic’s Lowe’s/New York — the first non-Burnetter to have that post in the agency’s 70 year history.

DDB resigned the Lottery account, citing a difference of opinion over marketing and creative.

Marguerite Juliusson has added director Dennis Manarchy and Big Deahl Productions to her representation roster.


REELSCREEN: News & Notes – 12/04/03

COMMA’S CHRISTMAS PACKAGES. Comma’s Larry Pecorella and Bryan Rheude scored Hallmark’s Christmas spots based on Tschaikovski’s Dance of the Reed Flutes for Burnett creatives Tim Pontarelli and David Harner and producer Bob Harley. And for the second year in a row scored JC Penney’s holiday image spot. Asides: Composer Dave Hutten moved to Comma’s Santa Monica office full-time. Their studio, incidentally, was featured in November’s Interior Design Magazine.

ALL FOR A GOOD CAUSE. Luminair’s George Elder was in L.A.

Top local, L.A. experts at
IFP indie film conference

Two independent movies will have their Chicago premiere at IFP/Chicago’s 12th annual Independent Filmmakers Conference Oct. 31-Nov. 1 at the School of the Art Institute.

Two indie features will be screened over the weekend. The Oct. 31 opening night film will be the locally-made “Uncle Nino,” with Joe Mantenga and Ann Archer.

Time’s Schickel boosts James’ “Stevie”

Steve James is the auteur of “Stevie,” documentary winner at Sundance, Toronto and Amsterdam.