Mark Klein’s new MK Films is city’s fourth tabletop company

No sooner was the word out that tabletop director/ shooter Mark Klein had opened his own studio than his New York clients began ringing the phone off the hook, said executive producer Noreen Szeluga.

Klein’s new studio, MK Films Corp., was carved out of a massive former storage building at Lake and Ashland.

After three months of rehabbing, the fully-equipped studio has two stages, a full kitchen, motion control, several client areas and offices. “It represents a major personal investment on Mark’s part,” said Szeluga.

Prime Shorts celebrates first year
with Best of 2003 at Film Center

Xan Aranda recalls the “sad thrill” of seeing short films she loved at Sundance and other festivals.

“The life of a short film can be so fleeting,” she said. “I wanted to be a part of prolonging the lives of short films with an ongoing show.”

To do so, Aranda, a regular at the music and performance venue the Hideout, started the Prime Shorts screening series there on Jan. 28, 2003, and a year to the day later, celebrates its first anniversary with a Best of 2003 show Jan. 28 at the Gene Siskel Film Center.

Personal doc on a ’30s German Jewish school to air on national PBS in May

Rudolph Caplan was staying overnight in an infirmary on the night after Kristallnacht in November 1938 when Nazis raided his school and shipped all the male students over 18 to the Buchenwald Concentration Camp.

Caplan’s classmates were released a month later, after signing a pledge to leave Germany. All 150 of the students, including Caplan, were able to flee the country in August 1939, a month before the beginning of World War II.

In expectation of its first TV series, TeamWorks expands facility, staff

When Chicago Bull Jay Williams visited the United Center in December, for the first time since his debilitating motorcycle injury last summer, TeamWorks Media was right there with him.

TeamWorks was the only TV crew inside Wrigley Field the day after the Cubs lost game seven of the National League championship to the Florida Marlins.

Turner, Altman and “The Company”

By Jan Lisa Huttner

After a long professional acquaintance that began on an episode of “Alfred Hitchcock Presents,” director Robert Altman and screenwriter Barbara Turner’s new film The Company is now playing in theatres nationally.

Filmed here on location last fall, “The Company” is a dramatization of life in Chicago’s famous Joffrey Ballet Company.

When Altman and Turner first met, she was a New York-trained actress and he was a promising young television director.

The Original Up and Down the Avenue

Leo Burnett could see departure of the $40 million Sara Lee account this month. Pitching it are Element 79 and O&M, Chicago, TBWA/Chiat/Day, L.A. and McKinney & Silver, Raleigh.

Rumor has it that Zanies’ next comedy class, starting Feb. 2, will be taped for a TV show.

Musical arrangement, honoring new arrangements of existing songs for commercials, is a new AICP Show category, along with original music and sound design. Feb. 13 is the 2004 AICP Show entry deadline. See and

Story Companies’ Androw ascends to lead national AICP’s 479 members

Mark Androw has been traveling to New York and California on AICP business at least four times a year for the last 15 years serving on the national board in various influential capacities.

As newly-elected chairman of an association representing $4 billion in gross member billings, he anticipates ramping up his frequent flyer miles.

Androw is owner/executive producer of The Story Companies, based in Chicago with offices in Los Angeles and New York and a staff of 19.

1979 seems like yesterday

By Ruth L Ratny

Twenty-five years ago, in January, 1979, I launched Screen the Weekly Newsletter. My friend, the astrologer Laurie Brady, advised an auspicious start would be on the new moon of Jan. 29, a time of new beginnings.

Auspicious astrologically perhaps, but not on Planet Earth. Screen bowed during a wicked blizzard and a SAG actors strike at a time when the once- thriving film business was fading to black.

Women, drag kings act in gender-bending sendup of

When Michele Mahoney first saw Mike Nichols’ classic “The Graduate” in its original 1967 release, she was both inspired and disappointed.

“I related to Ben (Dustin Hoffman), questioning my role in a pre-feminist era and wanting something very different from what I had been raised to value,” Mahoney said.

Horror, heavy metal and art combine in feature, five years in production

Justin Baron is nearing the end of a five-year odyssey to complete his debut feature, “Peep Show.”

Baron began shooting the 16mm film shortly after he graduated from Columbia College in 1998, financing the under-$100,000 budget mostly from his earnings as a parking valet.

The Original Up and Down the Avenue – 12/15/03

An impressive investment: Film & Tape Works took delivery of a new DaVinci 2K+ color corrector to work in conjunction with its Spirit Data Cine.

It’s official: Chicago Story’s Mark Androw is AICP national chairman;’s Frank Stiefel elected vice chairman; The Artists Company’s Sally Antonacchio, treasurer.

Erich Funke, formerly a creative director at TBWA/Chiat/Day/L.A. is BBDO’s new SVP/creative director on Jim Beam.

Going to the theatre?

By Jonathan Abarbanel

If you’ve got tickets for your favorite Off-Loop theater, better call first to make sure it’s open.

Days before Thanksgiving, Chicago’s Department of Revenue shut down six Off-Loop theatres in a surprise enforcement sweep of Public Place of Amusement (PPA) licensing laws. All theaters, clubs, concert halls and sports venues are required to have a PPA, issued only after an inspection task force signs off on the venue.

Post Effects teams with Central City, Black Enterprise Magazine for TV show

Central City Production’s “The Minority Business Report,” a staple of WGN syndication for 18 years, has been transformed into an updated, upscale weekly magazine show.

“The Black Enterprise Report” utilizes the editorial expertise of Black Enterprise Magazine of New York. It’s the Fortune-like publication’s first entr?e into television.

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.

Up and Down the Avenue – 12/04/03

Expect Mark Androw of the Stories Companies to preside over national AICP. Running unopposed, Androw will be only the second AICP president in its 30 year history not from L.A. or N.Y.

BBDO Diane Jackson head of broadcast production, replacing the long-tenured Chuck Sheldon. She was executive producer on Energizer at DDB and also produced on other accounts.

Frankel boosted Michael Strip to VP/GCD, responsible for Coca Cola and Jose Cuervo accounts.

Still no word as to whether or not “Weather Man” is a go.

New Brown Flowers company starts production of short dark drama

Five cars are parked in remote areas of Chicago. There are two people in each car. “Everyone is hiding, doing something they’re not supposed to be doing,” said Rocky Russell, executive producer of the 20-minute dark drama “Parked,” which shoots Dec. 4 through 9.

A tow truck driver (comedian Jay Deep) is seduced by his boss. Two married women carry on an affair. Two junkies try to score (“the comedic portion of the film”). A girl asks her friend to break her nose so her father will get her plastic surgery. And two bank robbers plot a heist.

Up and Down the Avenue – 11/19/03

John Crededio wasn’t kidding about a lawsuit against the state’s representative, Brenda Sexton. He hired one of the city’s biggest legal guns to pursue his case.

Steve Ford Music added executive producer Cynthia Barber, former DDB executive radio producer (and songwriter/singer) and marketing coordinator Rachel Slusarczyk, a recent School of Art Institute grad.

Famous Columbia College alum producer Bob Teitel (need we mention “Barber Shop” and “Soul Food?”) shares his filmmaking experiences at what could be an SRO evening Nov.

Texas TV tycoon Mark Bunting buys
Orbis with goal of ?growing it bigger’

TV star and producer Mark Bunting is Orbis’ new owner.