After 11 seasons and 134 episodes, Chicago said farewell to Showtime’s Shameless as it came to an end on Sunday evening, April 11, 2021 with its emotional and very timely series finale. Warning: This story contains spoilers from the Sunday, April 11, finale of Shameless. Recap of Shameless finale The series’ patriarch, Frank (William H. … Continue reading “After 11 seasons Chicago says goodbye to Shameless”
Shameless has released its trailer for the upcoming Season 11. Here’s a peek at the wild ride of what to expect for the final season of Shameless. The premiere is set for Sunday, December 6th on Showtime. Now in its 11 season, meet the fabulously dysfunctional Gallagher family. Dad’s a drunk, Mom split long ago, … Continue reading “Shameless releases trailer for Season 11, final season”
Showtime sets an official premiere date for the last season for the Gallagher family. Shameless, Showtime’s longest-running series had starts and stops following the COVID-19 imposed shutdown but the official premiere of the Season 11 final season is set for Sunday, December 6th. Chicago’s favorite family, made up of a wild crew of children of … Continue reading “‘Shameless’ announces final season premiere date”
Showtime’s longest-running series, Shameless was seen filming in town today for some pickup shots. A small crew filmed exterior drone shots of the infamous Gallagher house for VFX plates. The award-winning series was scheduled to air this summer, but like many other productions, shut down in March due to COVID-19. The cast headed back to … Continue reading “Shameless in town filming this week”
Capping off an 11-season run, Showtime’s dramedy series Shameless will air its final episodes this summer. According to Deadline, President of Entertainment at Showtime Networks Gary Levine made the renewal announcement at the Winter TCA Press Tour. “Airing this summer, it will be one last hurrah for the Gallaghers and their unique blend of love … Continue reading “Showtime to air final season of ‘Shameless’ this summer”
Well, there was nothing to be ashamed of when it came to Fiona Gallagher leaving her family on the South Side. In fact, it was rather emotional as Emmy Rossum officially left on an airplane for parts unknown on the Season 9 finale of Showtime’s Shameless. Rossum announced she was leaving Shameless last year, allowing … Continue reading “1.34m viewers watch Emmy Rossum depart ‘Shameless’”
Popular series says good-bye to Emmy Rossum and hello to Cameron Monaghan in tenth season renewal Here’s some news to warm the Chicago production community. And it doesn’t include drinking booze or peeing your pants. Unless you’re Frank Gallagher. According to E-Online, Shameless has been renewed by Showtime for a 10th season. Although star Emmy … Continue reading “Showtime renews ‘Shameless’ for 10th season”
News drops on the heels of Emmy Rossum announcing her exit after ninth season. It was great knowing you “Gay Jesus.” Just a month after Emmy Rossum who plays Fiona Gallagher, Cameron Monaghan, who plays bipolar and gay brother Ian, has now announced that he will be leaving the Showtime series at mid-season. The actor … Continue reading “Cameron Monaghan announces he’s leaving ‘Shameless’”
“Let’s Make America Gallagher Again!” Time to get those showers running because the sleaziest (and funniest) family on the South Side is prepping for its return. Yes, Frank, Fiona, Lip, Debbie and the rest of the Gallagher clan is back as Shameless moves into Season 9. The mega-hit Showtime comedy, which is … Continue reading “Cheers! “Shameless” drops first teaser for Season 9″
Aside from Macy and “Roseanne’s” Laurie Metcalf, Chicago connections went ignored: nothing for “The Chi,” “Empire,” and Dick Wolf’s “Chicago” series Frank Gallagher is the worst father on TV, but for Two-time Emmy winner William H. Macy, the shiftless dad is pure gold. The talented actor scored his fifth Emmy nomination for his work … Continue reading “Macy nabs Emmy nom for Chi-based “Shameless””
On June 23 Hulu and FX released the entire 8 episode series, The Bear, about a classically trained, world class chef, played by Shameless’ Jeremy Allen White, who takes over a small, yet popular Chicago sandwich shop, left to him by his brother (Jon Bernthal) who died by suicide. The restaurant based dramady became an … Continue reading “Season 1 of The Bear leaves fans begging for Season 2”
Hulu gave us a treat on June 23 when they dropped all 8 episodes of the premiere season of The Bear, filmed in Chicago, starring Jeremy Allen White, from one of Chicago’s most notable series Shameless. Since Starz’s Sweet Bitter was canceled we have been experiencing a void in restaurant based dramedies. The Bear fills … Continue reading “Chicago series ‘The Bear’ premieres on Hulu. Here’s the recap”
Chicago Med fans will be delighted to see that our beloved Dr. Daniel Charles, Oliver Platt makes a guest appearance in new FX/Hulu series The Bear. In the Chicago made series, Oliver Platt plays Uncle Jimmy, who may or may not be affiliated with organized crime. IMDb does not reflect this role so it is … Continue reading “Chicago Med star has guest role on new Chicago series The Bear”
Mike Hagerty, longtime character actor, best known as Mr. Teeger the building manager on Friends, passed away suddenly at 67. Hagerty was born in Chicago and got his start in acting at Second City. He has a long list of credits, having appeared in episodes of Cheers, Boston Legal, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Cheers, Community, CSI, Curb Your … Continue reading “Chicago native, longtime character actor Mike Hagerty, has died at 67”
Editor’s Note: They are leaders. They are inspirational. They are mentors. They are visionaries. They are, quite frankly, badasses. They are our 2022 REEL WOMEN. During Women’s History Month, you will be able to meet these incredible personalities in Advertising, Entertainment, Media and Production. Get ready, because women like Larissa Berringer are making “Herstory.” When Larissa … Continue reading “REEL WOMEN: ATKPLN’s Larissa Berringer”
As the School of the Art Institute of Chicago’s Gene Siskel Film Center prepares for its 25th Annual Chicago European Union Film Festival (CEUFF), they pause to pay tribute to the people of the Ukraine. Our thoughts and hearts turn to Ukraine as we prepare to open our 25th EU Film Fest: Ways to Help … Continue reading “25th Annual Chicago European Union Film Festival begins this week”
Here are the top 21 stories on Reel Chicago in 2021. There were over 2500 stories between Reel Chicago and our sister publication Reel 360. With a record breaking total of 1.4 million views this year. Whether our stories were about the resurgence of film & TV production, the Reel Ad of the Week, or … Continue reading “Reel Chicago top 21 stories for 2021”
The Bear, a half-hour comedy about a young chef who returns to Chicago to run the family restaurant, has been picked up to series, it was announced today by Nick Grad, President, Original Programming, FX. The series from FX Productions will premiere in 2022. The Bear is executive produced by Joanna Calo (Bojack Horseman, Undone), Hiro … Continue reading “Filmed in Chicago, ‘The Bear’ has been picked up to series on FX”
Chicago Med will return for season 7 with five of its incredibly talented original cast members. According to Deadline S. Epatha Merkerson, Oliver Platt, Nick Gehlfuss, and Brian Tee have all signed new contracts for season 7 & 8. Remaining original cast member Marlyne Barrett has one more year on her existing contract and also … Continue reading “Who’s in and who’s out on Chicago Med for season 7”
The new FX pilot, The Bear, has started filming around the Chicago area. The new Disney-owned series stars former Shameless star, Jeremy Allen White, as a young chef who returns to Chicago to run the family restaurant in the half-hour series. FX gave the project a pilot order in March. The series comes from Ramy executive producer/director Christopher … Continue reading “The Bear: Production begins around Chicago”
As we say goodbye to our favorite heroes from One Chicago for the summer, it’s fun to look back on all the amazing TV shows set in the Windy City over the years. Chicago has been a production powerhouse for decades and has given us some of the best movies and TV shows that were … Continue reading “Our Top 10 list of the best TV shows set in Chicago”
If you’re still crying in your f**ken beer about Shameless ending after 11 seasons, stop acting like a p*ssy and take this opportunity to look at the Gallagher house one last time. Right after the series finale, Showtime posted a virtual farewell event open to all fans of the hit comedy series. The two-part experience, … Continue reading “Take a virtual tour of the infamous Gallagher house”
Emmy Award-winning writer, creator, producer and actor Lena Waithe of Twenties, The Chi and Queen & Slim will headline DePaul University’s Courier 12 Screenwriting Conference Feb. 5-6. DePaul’s School of Cinematic Arts will present a series of virtual panel discussions with top screenwriting talent and TV and film executives from across the entertainment industry. Slated speakers include screenwriters Liz Hannah of The Post and Nicole Perlman of Guardians of … Continue reading “Lena Waithe headlines DePaul screenwriting conference”
What a year, huh? 2020, which felt like a decade, will undoubtedly go down in history as one of the worst years ever. And who will argue? Certainly not the staff at Reel Chicago. This year, COVID forced productions to shut down. Then start back up. Then shut back down. Then start back up. It … Continue reading “2020 in Review: Reel Chicago’s Biggest Stories”
Following a delayed startup of the season, viewers welcomed the November 11th season premiere of One Chicago with great anticipation. With only two episodes aired, Chicago Fire, Chicago P.D. and Chicago Med have paused for Fall break and will return Wednesday, January 6. Greetings from the cast of One Chicago and Wolf Entertainment. Filming continues … Continue reading “Filming continues as One Chicago enters Fall break”
Amazing news for the Chicago production community – the new season of Chicago Med is officially underway. According to Deadline, the highest rated drama on NBC’s One Chicago Wednesdays has resumed production after being stalled back in March due to the pandemic. But production has been deemed safe for cast and crew to return to work at … Continue reading “‘Chicago Med’ has begun production on Season 6”
Up and coming Chicago-based filmmaker, Chantel Chavon, makes her directorial debut by tackling the connection between racism and mental illness head on in the short film, When the Leaves Fall. Based on an original screenplay by Chavon, the psychological drama tells the story of a mentally-ill homeless woman living inside of a bus shelter, who … Continue reading “Filmmaker Chantel Chavon tackles racism, mental health”
Nowhere can the pandemic’s financial impact be felt more than in the city’s once thriving production industry. Shows such as Empire, the Dick Wolf “Chicago” shows, Shameless and commercials positioned Chicago as the midwest hub for networks and studios. Once productions were forced to shutter, everyone from actors to craft services suddenly found themselves out … Continue reading “Alex Pissios talks future of Chicago production”
What does Fox’s Empire, now in its sixth and final season, have in common with NBC’s Chicago Med, Chicago Fire and Chicago P.D. have hit E.R. and even Showtime’s Shameless? They are all scripted shows based and filmed in Chicago that have reached the milestone of 100 shows. The hip-hop drama, once a ratings powerhouse and pop culture phenom, … Continue reading “‘Empire’ airs 100th episode tonight on Fox”
Editor’s Note: They are leaders. They are inspirational. They are mentors. They are visionaries. They are, quite frankly, badasses. They are our 2020 Reel Women During Women’s History Month, you will be able to meet these incredible personalities in Advertising, Entertainment, Media and Production. Get ready. Christina has produced a wide variety of studio and … Continue reading “REEL WOMEN: Christina Varotsis, producer, UPM”
Last month, Essanay Studio and Lighting Company co-owner Wayne Kubacki retired from the nationally recognized company that he co-founded decades ago. Widely admired for his extensive knowledge, punctilious care, and conversational efficiency, he leaves a vacancy that will reverberate far beyond the company’s Goose Island facility. “I’m going to miss him,” says Jules Tomko, Essanay’s … Continue reading “Wayne Kubacki retires from Essanay Studios”
Indie distributor scores ‘Open Tables’ and ‘Close Quarters’ by Second City’s Harold Ramis School Program Director Cow Lamp Films — the Midwest’s first and only full-service, independent film and television distributor — has acquired two movies by romantic comedy legend Jack C. Newell. In Newell’s signature style, both of the stories use food and humor … Continue reading “Cow Lamp acquires a pair of Jack Newell films”
Chicago brothers, Bashir and Sultan Salahuddin, find humor in everyday struggles of working class, aspirational locals. Wow, that was funny. Like really funny. The new Comedy Central series South Side premiered Wednesday night, and in case you didn’t get the gist from the opening line, the show is funny AF. The network has … Continue reading “Locals show us Englewood’s funny side in ‘South Side’”
Photographer Natalie Lising has “grown up” around film sets while receiving a lifetime of support from the Pissios family To aspiring artists, a show at Cinespace marks a great milestone in one’s career. It can sometimes take years and many dollars to produce. Hundreds of blockbusters and classic television shows have been shot, organized, and … Continue reading “12 year old to host art show at Cinespace”
The woman who helped Illinois make hundreds of TV shows and generate $2.5 billion in revenue talks about the ever-changing Midwestern filmscape Christine Dudley joined the Illinois Film Office at the exact time when the Illinois Film Office needed Christine Dudley. Combining exceptional legislative knowledge with a “modest background in production,” she helped guide the … Continue reading “Interview with former IFO Director Christine Dudley”
Nearly 35 million regular viewers watch the Windy City trifecta every Wednesday night Chicago production community rejoice, you will have even more crime, fire and sickness to deal with next year. NBC has announced that the network plans to move forward with new seasons of all three of Dick Wolf’s dramatic “Chicago” series – Chicago … Continue reading “NBC renews Dick Wolf’s ‘Chicago’ franchise”
AMC Networks opens a writers room for Michael B. Jordan’s Windy City series, “61st Street” Here’s potential good news for the Chicago production community. According to The Wrap, AMC Networks has opened a writers room (sorry Chicago writers, the rooms are in LA) for Michael B. Jordan’s 61st Street, a “murder mystery” that dives into … Continue reading “‘Black Panther’ star’s next project set in Chicago”
The fifty-year-old agency acquires Laura Alexander, a bonafide on-camera and print director To kick off its 50th anniversary, The Rock Agency rolls into 2019 by continuing to bolster its Chicago office with another savvy hire, announcing today that it hired Chicago talent industry veteran, Laura Alexander, to helm the agency’s Chicago on-camera and kids divisions. … Continue reading “The Rock Agency adds kids and on-camera talent”
“The goals are to immerse students … teach invaluable working knowledge … and help produce a portfolio-worthy project.” Erin Sarofsky (Chicago — 14 November 2018) Erin Sarofsky and her colleagues at the Chicago-based design-driven production company Sarofsky have just announced the launch of Sarofsky Labs: A Weekend Workshop Series. The series’ first monthly installment … Continue reading “Announcing Sarofsky Labs: A Weekend Workshop Series”
“It’s sort of like watching a child grow up, ‘cause I’ve made hundreds of rough cuts over the years.” – Director Bing Liu Chicago-based filmmaker Bing Liu, the director of the Sundance award-winning Minding the Gap, sat down with Reel Chicago to discuss the making of his cinema-verite-style documentary. The film currently has a 100% … Continue reading “Bing Liu on the making of “Minding the Gap””
“We are starting to have a way for our stories to be shared, told, and heard … it’s only gonna make us and the entertainment industry stronger … It’s time” Charles Andrew Gardener, President of SAG-AFTRA Chicago, was among the guests enjoying the reception following Black Harvest Film Festival’s opening night at The Joffrey Ballet. … Continue reading “Charles Andrew Gardner at Black Harvest Film Fest”
Four new shows filming this summer and fall increase Windy City TV production to a record ten series Mayor Emanuel and the Chicago Film Office at the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) today announced ten shows will film this summer and fall in Chicago. This includes filming for four new shows, … Continue reading “Chicago records unprecedented TV production in 2018”
The latest new multi-camera addition to Fox’s schedule for next season is “Rel” from 20th Century Fox TV. Updates continue flowing in before next week’s upfronts. Fox has ordered a new multi-camera comedy called Rel, a Lil Rel Howery vehicle from Jerrod Carmichael and Mike Scully. Inspired by Lil Rel Howery’s (The Carmichael … Continue reading “Fox orders South Side comedy “Rel” starring Lil Rel”
Jenny Lumpkin is the international Artist Agent and Senior Producer for Quriosity Productions. Politely referred to as “Q #2”, she is armed with a BFA in both graphic design and creative writing from the Kansas City Art Institute. Besides offering an intimate understanding of the art of visual communication in advertising and entertainment, Jenny is … Continue reading “Reel Women: Jenny Lumpkin, Agent and Producer”
Jordan Peele and J.J. Abrams are bringing their new HBO series to Cinespace Chicago Film Studios. Titled Lovecraft Country, the series is based on Matt Ruff’s 2016 novel of the same name. According to IMDb, the story is about “a young African-American (who) travels across the U.S. in the 1950s in search of his missing … Continue reading “Peele and Abrams bring new HBO series to Cinespace”
Fatal Funnel Films announces cast for upcoming thriller Actors from Chicago’s hottest shows to perform in inaugural feature shooting in Shawnee National Forest and nearby Carbondale (Chicago — 7 May 2018) Fatal Funnel Films, an Illinois-based independent film company, today announces the complete cast and production team of their inaugural feature film, … Continue reading “Female-led “Range Runners” films in IL this summer”
Erin Sarofsky established her company, Sarofsky Corp., in January of 2009 in Chicago’s booming West Loop neighborhood. Sarofsky Corp. specializes in design-driven production, working with a broad range of clients in the advertising, broadcast, network, film and entertainment industries. Erin and her team of talented artists and producers are best known for creating gorgeous, innovative … Continue reading “Reel Women: Erin Sarofsky, ECD / entrepreneur”
Chicago lost a true star when DuShon Monique Brown passed away at Franciscan St. James Health Olympia Fields last Friday afternoon. Besides achieving considerable success in an acting career that included roles on Empire, Prison Break, and Shameless, Brown also formerly served as crisis counselor and leader of a drama program at Kenwood Academy High … Continue reading “Tribute to DuShon Monique Brown”
Women and minorities represented 53% of all crew hires reported in 2017, according to a January 25 press release issued by the Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity. The amount marks a new record for diversity in the state’s film industry. “These productions generated $423 million in estimated Illinois spending,” the document continues, “and … Continue reading “Chicago helps grow diversity in Illinois productions”
SAG Awards tee up “Three Billboards” for Oscar run Sunday night, the SAG Awards made it very clear that Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri is a frontrunner for the Oscars. Chicago-born Frances McDormand was named Female Actor in a Leading Role in a Motion Picture. In the film, McDormand portrays Mildred Hayes, a distraught mother … Continue reading “SAG Awards, PGA Awards, Midnight Oil, Halo in the news”
Chicago-born Frances McDormand, Highland Park’s Rachel Brosnahan and Oprah Winfrey stood out in a sea of black dresses which symbolized the #Metoo #Timesup movements by women in Hollywood during the 75th Golden Globes. McDormand was named “Best Actress in a Drama” for her portrayal of a woman who demands justice in the excellent Three Billboards … Continue reading “Chicagoans shine at Golden Globes”
The south side of Chicago sure is getting some love from TV these days. There is Showtime’s hit series, Shameless, Emmy Winner Lena Waithe’s The Chi has wrapped production and now Comedy Central has greenlit a new series called South Side. And yes, hold onto your Craft Service cashews, it will be shooting in Chicago. … Continue reading “Comedy Central launches Chi-based series”
The new Netflix original series, Friends from College, from writer/director Nicholas Stoller (Neighbors, Forgetting Sarah Marshall) and spouse/co-writer Francesca Delbanco (Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Get Him to the Greek) finally debuted earlier this month.
Directed and executive produced by Stoller, the eight-episode show delves into interwoven and complicated relationships, including former romantic entanglements and comedic explorations of old bonds. As everyone tries to manage their lives as adults, they also experience nostalgia.
Former Under Amour creative, Karen Goodman, has joined Havas Chicago as Group Creative Director.
According to Agency Spy, she will lead the creative on the agency’s Hefty and Reynolds accounts while reporting directly to ECD, Paul Hirsch.
In a statement, Hirsch said, “The range of experience Karen brings to Havas is invaluable. We’re building a shop infused with heart and soul and culture. There’s so much opportunity to create and Karen has the chops to run with it.”
With a Writers’ Strike now averted, the networks can now get back down to business, and partying it up, when they announce their Fall schedules this week at New York’s Upfronts.
The Chicago Production Community can now also take comfort in knowing that many series are returning here this summer and fall for production.
A LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD will be presented to actress/comedian Jane Lynch, a Chicago area native, by the Chicago Comedy Film Festival (CCFF) and the Second City’s Harold Ramis Film School, Thursday, Nov, 10 before a sold-out audience at The Second City Training Center.
Lynch will receive the award from Jessica Hardy, CIFF founder / artistic director and Second City president Andrew Alexander. The 7 p.m. presentation will be followed at 8:30 p.m. by the Chicago Filmmakers Shorts Program of a dozen locally-made comedy films.
VINCE VAUGHN IS GONE from Chicago, that is, he finally sold the three-story penthouse atop the Palmolive Building at 919 N. Michigan for a total $12.1 million, a little more than he originally paid for it and after splitting it into three different units.
Lake Forest native Vaughn bought the penthouse in 2006 for $12 million while he and Jennifer Aniston were in Chicago filming (and also dating) the rom-com feature “The Break Up.”
ArcLight Cinemas in Lincoln Park on Monday, Oct. 24, will present Women in Entertainment to Chicago for the first time, as an extension of the Los Angeles’ ArcLight Women in Entertainment (WIE) program, with panels comprised of local leading filmmakers.
The keynote address will be delivered by Sanaa Hamri, “Empire” executive producer and director, who has also worked in Chicago on “Shameless.”
NEW TV SHOW IN TOWN is Netflix’ one-hour dramatic series “Ozark,” being produced, directed and EP’d by Jason Bateman that will be the tenth entertainment project to film throughout Chicago starting next week and for the next few months.
Gray Talent Group client Justin Cornwell flew to Los Angeles this week to start filming his co-starring role with Bill Paxton in “Training Day,” a Warner Bros. pilot for CBS.
At its meeting Monday night, members of Local 476 Studio Mechanics nominated, without opposition, business manager Mark Hogan, to his fourth consecutive three-year term in the organization he’s belonged to and served for four decades.
TYLER JAY’S TANDEM, INC. conceptualized and produced another in the series of Grub Hub spots, the latest a video called “Winner Picks Lunch,” now airing nationally on broadcast and playing on YouTube.
In December, director Luke Jaden finished production on “King Ripple,” a post – apocalyptic thriller about four friends who unwittingly fall prey to a blood curdling villain in the frozen grime of an industrial slum during the dead of winter.
BUSY WEEKEND, BUSY WEEK of events starts Thursday fright night as 2,500 guests (and counting) in costume congregate at the Bottom Lounge to attend Cutters’ “Bloodbath in Wonderland” annual Halloween party. And it’s no surprise that the event has been closed to RSVPs.
Even when he was lieutenant governor of Illinois, Pat Quinn was out there promoting the film industry when and wherever he could. He is a strong proponent of the state’s 30% tax incentive and was the force behind the conversion of a long idle industrial plant into the biggest stage complex east of Hollywood.
Chicago native Shira Piven, now of LA, is one of four prominent leaders in film and advertising who will be honored at Women in Film Chicago’s annual Focus Awards at a luncheon Wednesday, Nov. 5 at the Museum of Broadcast Communications.
The three outstanding local leaders receiving the honor are Susan Credle, Leo Burnett’s chief creative officer; Erin Sarofsky, film company owner and creative director, and Cristina Varotsis, feature producer and unit production manager on features and TV shows.
Erin Sarofsky’s five-year old design, concept and production company — the only one in Chicago that Hollywood calls on to create titles for blockbuster movies — is aiming for more business closer to home, namely commercials.
OSCAR-NOMINATED FILMMAKER Tod Lending’s documentary, All the Difference, five years in the making, has received a $1.1 million grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting for its production, post, promotion and community engagement.
Last Friday, studio owner/executive creative director Erin Sarofsky of eponymous Sarofsky held a party to celebrate the theatrical release of Disney/Marvel’s “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” for which her company, the underdog from Chicago, won the job of creating the titles. She and her 70 guests then went to see the movie in 3D at the ICON Theatre.
THE LATEST AWARD for the Illinois Lottery was the top “Batchy Award” bestowed upon its multi-faceted “Anything’s Possible” campaign by NASPL (North American Assn. of State and Provincial Lotteries) in the Corporate/Beneficiary category. It competed with submissions from 40 other US and Canadian lotteries.
SHAMELESS SELF PROMOTION. As many of you may know, I’ve been working on a feature, the dramatic music biopic about Mahalia Jackson, the world’s greatest gospel singer and Civil Rights Champion, whose music and money amplified the vision of Dr.
When? When? When will the madness end?
We’ve watched for years, decades — an eternity it seems — as Chicago has continued to grapple with that most pressing of marketing issues: How do we make this city a hotspot for tourists?
With Rahm Emanuel now at the city’s helm, it appears he has instructed his small circle of business buddies — including potential gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner — to double down and come up with some fresh answers to a question that has proved unanswerable for so long.
DIRECTOR JOHN McNAUGHTON is back in the horror film business with The Harvest, “the first horror script I’ve been interested in in 25 years,” he says, adding, “it’s kind of cool to return to the genre.”
Chicago production had its busiest year ever in 2012. A total of 406 total projects across all visual media shot 1,808 days. This is up 45%, when 391 projects shot 1,234 days the year before, according to stats provided by the Chicago Film Office direct Rich Moskal.
The tally was bolstered by a record-breaking four episodic TV series shooting entire seasons in Chicago.
“The closest we came before was in ’98 or ’99 when we had three shows shooting,” Illinois Film Office director Betsy Steinberg says.
CUTTERS HALLOWEEN PARTY Thursday night, one of the two biggest, must-attend parties of the year (along with AICP’s big night Nov. 15) expects a record-breaking 800 guests – 90% of them wearing costumes.
The party, themed as “Bloodbath on the Orient Express,” takes place at The Bottom Lounge, 1375 W. Lake, starting at 6 p.m. The costume contest winners will be announced at 9:30 and the winner of the most outrageous/creative/daring costume will go home with a thousand bucks, second place winner with $500.
Let the Games begin. Starting tomorrow, most of the world’s sports enthusiasts (as well as many who have no particular interest in athletics) will turn their attention to London, England, where the 2012 Summer Olympic Games will formally commence with the usually thrilling opening ceremonies.
Here for the sixth consecutive year is ReelChicago’s exclusive and roundup of entertainment and commercial production activity for the previous year, based on official Chicago Film Office reports.
On the heels of 2010’s record $161 million in in-state production spending, 2011 was a mixed bag, with the loss of two TV series, the addition of at least one series, and just one studio production — albeit a big one.
Since their soft launch three months ago, Go Locations Services and Go Rentals has serviced Shameless, The Playboy Club, Man of Steel, and more than 50 commercials in Illinois, Indiana, Missouri and South Carolina. They have shoots scheduled locally this winter as well as in Florida and Michigan.
A GUESSTIMATED 135 INDIVIDUALS went home with golden Emmy statuettes last Sunday, Nov. 6, at the 53rd annual Emmy Awards, the winners in more than 60 broadcast categories. About 30 of those categories were non-news, a la documentaries, PSAs, cultural and other programming. Out of these categories and sub-categories, we could only discern three shows that were not produced as a broadcasting entity.
JOB OFFERS KEEP POURING IN for Roscor’s former skilled employees, 100 of whom were suddenly and sadly terminated from the 35-year old Mt. Prospect-based AV equipment company on Black Friday, Oct. 28. Many had been with the company for 20 years, and some as long as 30 years.
Companies from all over who learned about the mass layoffs have reached out to the former staffers with job openings!
Invitations to send in letters, resumes and applications appear in the BackTalk, or comments section, following our recent Roscor stories.
ONE AT OPTIMUS has expanded its Chicago-Santa Monica directorial roster with the addition of L.A.-based Jim Matlosz, who will focus on sports and product/tabletop, and Ryan Bosworth, who has a heavy design and visual effects background.
Both directors have been freelancing, with Matlosz wrapping a series of Milka Chocolate spots in Mexico. Bosworth’s current national campaign is for Verizon.
The timing couldn’t be worse. The much-anticipated Cinespace Chicago film studio was into construction on the first phase of the soundstages when the House rushed to pass Senate Bill 4 that calls for ending Illinois’ tax incentives in five years.
The 350,000-sq. ft. soundstage is the first of the plan for be eight contiguous stages on the 48 acre former Ryerson Steel Campus between Ogden and Western Avenues on the Near Southwest Side.
PRODUCERS OF “THE BOSS” correctly chose Chicago over Pittsburgh for the location of the 8-episode series starring Kelsey Grammer as a Chicago mayor who faces the news he’s developed a degenerative mental disease.
When Lionsgate Television sets up a local production office in mid-March, it will be among three TV shows the city is hosting.
ANOTHER TV SERIES is set in Chicago but, like Shameless, The Good Wife and Mike and Molly, is not being filmed in Chicago. The location is Toronto, which all too often substitutes for our town.
The family/cop drama, a genre beloved by TV networks and cable, follows policewoman Abby Kowalski (Rachael Carpani) who causes a rift with her three cop brothers when she decides to join the department’s Internal Affairs. It also stars Treat Williams and Kathy Baker. Universal Cable Productions is producing.
“Salvaging,” the short film that won IFP’s 2010 Production Fund Competition, was written and directed by Joe Lyons, who works as a Local 476 union electrician and grip.
“I’ve always wanted to be a writer/director and finally had the chance to go for it, as the IFP Fund allowed me to finally produce one of my scripts,” Lyons says.
“Salvaging” was the recipient last year of a grant worth $100,000 in in-kind services donated by local vendors that allows a filmmaker to complete his project.
FOR DRAFTFCB, 2011 will not start off with a proverbial bang, as S.C. Johnson, its major client of 58 years, plans to review its $1 billion marketing accounts for its entire global brand.
Draftfcb has handled advertising for many of Racine-based S.C. Johnson brands, including Pledge, Windex and Raid. Incumbents, which include RG/A, Ogilvy and Mullen, will be invited to participate in an agency review (gulp) early next year.
TAKING OVER THE REINS of the Independent Feature Project, Chicago’s 25-year old hub of indie filmmaking is Christy LeMaster, who has run IFP’s recent and successful fund-raising galas. She succeeds Ryan Jewell, who returned to his native Oklahoma City for family reasons.
LeMaster, who has a Masters in English from Truman State University, has a background in programming film festivals, starting with the True or False doc fest in Columbia, Mo.
A MAJOR AGENCY CHANGE is at hand as Bob Winter will join Y&R as chief creative officer of the Chicago office, starting in December. He moves over from Leo Burnett where he was SVP/ECD for more than three years on Altoids, Kellogg’s, Greenpeace and Caesars Palace.
Winter succeeds Ken Erke whose departure shocked Michigan Avenue when he joined digital agency R/GA a few months ago as executive creative director. Erke joined Y&R in2000 from Cramer/Krasselt.
AN OPEN EXTRAS CASTING CALLS for Steven Soderbergh’s big budget, big cast “Contagion” will be held by Rich King Casting of L.A. Sept. 25 at the Lincoln Park Cultural Center, 2045 Lincoln Park West, 10:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. and Sept. 26 at the Annoyance Theatre, 4830 N. Broadway, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
King says he’s looking for adult men and women, 18 and older, all sizes, shapes, types and ethnicities. It’s a paid gig and meals are included.
“Contagion,” will spend two months shooting in and around Chicago, starting Oct. 19, arriving here from filming in Hong Kong.
WELCOME BACK, ROGER! It looks like Roger Ebert is returning to television with a new syndicated movie review show from Chicago, expected to be taped at WYCC/Ch. 20.
Ebert’s TV return was announced in the briefest of terms on Oprah’s Pre-Oscar Celebration show Monday, with Ebert and his wife Chaz, and pretty much confirmed by a station executive.
As part of the Eberts’ appearance on the show was “A Day in the Life of ?” which included scenes of the couple arriving at WYCC/Ch. 20.
Ebert has a full-fledged production company and t’is said that Ch.
“ER” executive producer John Wells is returning to Chicago Jan. 13 to shoot scenes for the pilot for his new Showtime series, “Shameless,” starring William H. Macy.
Like “ER,” “Shameless” is set in Chicago and it, also, will be filmed in Los Angeles while local crews will shoot exteriors quarterly to catch the changing seasons.
Roger Anderson of Sterling Films, who was Wells’ Chicago producer/production manger on “ER” for 14 of its 15 years on NBC, heads the local shoot.
You have to admire Bill Whirity’s moxie. A college sophomore at the time, he produced a feature length comedy on a minescule budget, rented a neighborhood theatre for a June 15 premiere, and is shamelessly beating the drum like the best of Hollywood flacks to promote it.
(His friends bombarded ReelChicago to write a story. See what we mean?)
In 2003, Whirity, 23, was a 20-year old Columbia College film student when he wrote and directed “Broke,” a road-trip comedy aimed at teen boys, inspired by the popular genre of the ’80s.