Axiom to produce ESPN 2011 football promos

Laura Szymber’s Axiom Megamedia is working with ESPN to develop a series of Monday Night Football promos for the cable network’s 2011 NFL season.

The full-service production company was named ESPN’s “preferred Chicago video production resource for upcoming network game promotions” in December, after acting as the Chicago production company for last fall’s promos for the Bears/Packers “Monday Night Football” game.

Roberts’ doc tackles diet and body image

Darryl Roberts, director and producer of the successful beauty industry expos? “America the Beautiful,” is in production on the second part of his “health and beauty series.”

The new, untitled documentary on the hot topic of diet, weight and body image was inspired when found that he was considered morbidly obese.

“I had dinner with a Chicago Bears player and he told me his daughter came home with her report card and it had her body mass index and a note from her teacher saying she needed to lose weight,” Roberts recounted.

Ullberg’s TV doc experience comes to bear

Lars Ullberg’s Applied Creative Training (ACT) brought together an A-list team to produce two 30-second spots for Brookfield Zoo’s new 7.5-acre “Great Bear Wilderness,” the largest exhibit built on the zoo to date.

The commercials start airing in June, displaying the naturalistic new home of North American mega-fauna icons: grizzly bears, polar bears, gray wolves, bald eagles, and bison.

Premiere for NBC’s “The Heart of Hollywood”

COMEDIAN TOM DRESSEN will MC the Oct. 27 invitation-only NBC premiere of the TV special, “The Heart of Hollywood: The Chicago Link,” shot by RDS at the recent Sweet Home Illinois party in Santa Monday, hosted by Brenda Sexton’s Chicago Link Productions and presented by AT&T.

The cocktail reception and premiere takes place at the new, super swank Elysian Hotel on Walton St. Sun-Times columnists Bill Zwecker and Richard Roeper are the red carpet hosts. Beth Malone and David Pisor will greet the VIP guests on behalf of the Elysian.

No surprises at Creative Club Awards

The best of Chicago’s advertising is apparently created by a handful of major ad agencies, if the number of prizes they won at the recent Creative Club Awards is any indication.

The big agencies won almost all of the awards in 34 categories at the recent CCC Awards show held at the United Club at Soldier Field and attended by 400 adpeople.

And if Leo Burnett’s 10 awards and DDB’s four weren’t enough glory for one night, they were also named Agencies of the Year and their respective clients, Altoids and Anheuser-Busch, were declared the Clients of the Year.

Jennifer Christenson hopes to make splash on Ch. 20 by accentuating the “Positive,” a new TV series

A rising star on the Chicago media scene, Jennifer Christenson hopes that “Positive,” a weekly magazine show celebrating uplifting news stories, many from viewers themselves, will boost the city’s civic pride.

Starting July 5, half-hour “Positive” will air on Ch. 20 Saturdays at 11 a.m. The show is the brainchild of Ricky Cottingham, executive producer of 1st Klass Productions.

Filmworkers starts real-time HD uplink service

Filmworkers Club inaugurated a fiber uplink service that facilitates the real-time delivery of HD commercials and other media to broadcasting destinations across the U.S. The service is being offered via Vyvx, operators of the country’s largest HD network.

The service can also be used to transmit standard definition video as well as audio media.

“This is a great option for clients who can’t wait for overnight delivery,” said Filmworkers president Reid Brody.

“Happyness'” Chris Gardner in Wal-Mart spot

CHRIS GARDNER, whose determination to succeed was amazingly chronicled in the movie “Pursuit to Happyness,” appears in a Wal-Mart spot celebrating Black History Month.

Directors Corners’ Al Hawkins directed for E. Morris, Barb Stieglitz produced for the agency, The Whitehouse handled post and Gamebeat Studios the music.

DraftFCB ramps up its 70-person broadcast staff to handle challenges of traditional, new media

The historic merger of two big agencies, DraftWorldwide and FCB, to form a giant shop under the Interpublic Group umbrella, has also created one huge production department.

The department’s new combined name is “broadcast production,” reflecting the traditionalism of FCB and emerging media, more in tune with DraftWorldwide’s flashier “below-the-line” direct marketing specialty.

Heading the 70-person department is Michael Davis, who wields the title of broadcast group director.

Wottrich sells Voices Unlimited talent agency to national Innovative Artists

Chicago’s status as a talent center has been elevated to the national level with bi-coastal Innovative Artists’ purchase of Sharon Wottrich’s 17-year old Voices Unlimited.

Wottrich will continue as director of the agency, now called Innovative Artists Chicago, or IAC.

She reports to Hollywood agency veteran Marcia Hurwitz, president of IV’s national commercial and voiceover division, who will oversee the new Chicago branch.

Innovative’s entry into the market also marks the first non-SAG franchised Chicago talent agency in 15 years.

Who’s that guy with Mira?

The Bears’ linebacker Brian Urlacher takes a break from a Glaceau vitamin water photo shoot at rustic McHenry locations scouted by Mira Wolf last week.

The shots, by a Boston photographer, portray Urlacher as the rugged athlete he is?enhanced, of course, by the fortified water.

Urlacher is portrayed as a fisherman alongside grizzly bears and pulling a fish from a stream with his bare hands He’s also an investor in Glaceau, by the way.

Videographer David Seaman was on hand taping scenes for a Web-based campaign. Ammirati, New York is the agency.

TeamWorks Media adds sports, music projects, expands marketing services, develops TV series

Musical heavy hitters R. Kelly and Talib Kweli joined Team Works Media’s usual roster of major sports entities, like Big Ten Basketball and the 1985 Chicago Bears, on recent projects.

For regular client Big Ten Men’s Basketball, TeamWorks created a TV campaign featuring rapper Talib Kweli performing the original song,”Welcome to the Big Stage.”

Freelance director Bill O’Neil shot Kweli on Essanay’s green screen stage against an animated background with game footage customized for each team and created the backgrounds in After Effects.

2005’s bumper crop of 48 docs includes TV airings, theatrical releases, premieres

Chicago’s film industry reflected the national trend with a burgeoning documentary scene in 2005.

The Chicago International Documentary Festival continued to grow in scale, prominence and audience in its third year. Kartemquin continued unabated as a national leader in social documentaries, and acclaimed documentarians like Steve James and Tod Lending premiered new work.

Out-of-towners shooting spots here

While the Illinois Film Office wonders what’s next ? it looks like “Barber Shop 2” will be the only major studio film to shoot here this year ? the Chicago Film Office is going gangbusters working with out-of-town spotmakers. Some of the activity around town:

Joe Pytka is the biggest news on the spot front, and we welcome the A-plus director to add some luster to our film city image. While the project is super hush-hush, ReelScene has learned that the Great One, famous for sports celebrities, will film our sluggin’ Cubs and Sox stars for client Pepsi.