Reid Brody: Movie mogul in the making

Reid Brody’s lifelong dream to produce features is being realized with the Dec. 12 opening of “Nothing Like the Holidays,” which his 2DS Productions co-produced with State Street Productions.

The movie shot in Humboldt Park (its original title) early this year and stars Humboldt Park native Freddy Rodriguez and a strong Latino cast.

The story is about the surprises a Puerto Rican family reveals during one eventful week together at home in Chicago.

Industry marketing pro Nancy Reid teams with ReelChicago

A FIRST FOR THE REEL!  After years of managing the Reel solo, I am delighted that industry pro Nancy Reid has joined the Reel as VP/development.

In that role, Nancy will spearhead the Reel’s expansion in the coming months.  We plan to widen our coverage and become involved in multiple media to connect and serve our growing readership and advertisers the best way possible.

Super star colorist Carlucci joins Filmworkers Club

After an intense international search Filmworkers Club has hired super star colorist Brian “Crash” Carlucci, whose work for top agencies, A-list directors and projects in all genres spans four continents.

Carlucci officially joins Filmworkers as senior colorist Nov. 17 from a Bangkok post house, and he will be introduced to the ad community at Thursday’s AICP Show at the Cultural Center, says Filmworkers’ president, Reid Brody.

Multi-million S-3D investment for Filmworkers

Filmworkers Club is getting set for the new world of stereoscopic 3D with a multi-million investment in four top-of-the-line FilmLight Baselight color grading systems with S-3D capability.

Two new Baselight EIGHT systems will be installed in Chicago and two more systems go into its Dallas and Nashville facilities, enabling Filmworkers to establish complete non-linear post-production workflows, said Filmworkers president Reid Brody.

High-end colorist Fred Keller of New York heads Filmworkers Club’s ambitious telecine expansion

WHO HE IS: Bronx native Fred Keller was hired by Filmworkers’ Reid Brody in April of last year as fresh new talent to match a new facility upgrade.

WHAT HE DOES: Operates one of its three $1 million Spirit telecines, including a new 2K DataCine, and one of three DaVinci upgrades to 2K-Plus.

He color corrected Oprah Winfrey’s 2007 Oscar special and spots for McDonald’s, Hallmark, Capital One, Allstate and Blue Cross Blue Shield and KFC.

“Anything tastes good” in Roadhouse spots

Filmworkers Club provided the post services for Element79 Partners’ first-ever spot campaign for Roadhouse Bar-B-Que with three spots built around the premise that “the stuff makes anything taste good. Period.”

The spots were directed by Epoch Films’ Matt Lenski.

Both companies had collaborated with the agency on past projects. Moreover, Filmworkers Club president Reid Brody had been instrumental in bringing Element79 and Roadhouse together.

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.

Fred Keller makes leap from Gotham to Chicago to join Filmworkers Club as its fourth colorist

When New York native and film colorist Fred Keller interviewed with Reid Brody back in December, he had never been to Chicago before. Ever.

Evidently Keller liked what he saw of Filmworkers Club and the city, and accepted Brody’s offer to become Filmworkers’ fourth colorist.

Keller, who started April 2, occupies a third color correction suite, upgraded with a new Spirit Datacine 2K and a new da Vinci 2K Plus.

Keller is one of a very few film and agency professionals to transplant from the Big Apple to the Big Onion. Usually it’s the other way around.

Director Tyler Davis joins Tessa Films

Director Tyler Davis, a wry, funny and multi-talented filmmaker, writer, musician and improv artist, has brought his unique combination of talents to the roster of Tessa Films, the production company launched by Executive Producers Lisa Masseur and Reid Brody. The director’s Tessa career is off to a hot start with his long-form spot for Images … Continue reading “Director Tyler Davis joins Tessa Films”

What’s the perfect way to shoot a spot during lockdown?

A look behind the scenes with Tessa Films at putting together the perfect spot during lockdown. What’s the perfect dish for a lockdown night at home? Why pizza, of course! And not just any pizza, but a Screamin’ Sicilian Premium Craft frozen pizza. That’s one takeaway from a fast-paced, light-hearted new spot from Blue Chip, … Continue reading “What’s the perfect way to shoot a spot during lockdown?”

Tessa Films taps Sydney Thomson as Head of Production

  Highly experienced line producer is well-known in the Chicago community   Tessa Films has named Sydney Thomson, an experienced freelance producer and production supervisor who’s a fixture in the Chicago production community, to the newly-created position of Head of Production. The appointment was announced by Lisa Masseur, Tessa’s EP and Co-Founder. The move marks … Continue reading “Tessa Films taps Sydney Thomson as Head of Production”

Tessa Films’ Toben Seymour takes Mr. World on a spin

New campaign by The Richards Group stars a spokespuppet who dances, ziplines, and scuba dives while touting the benefits of Eyeglass World A personable and highly adventurous puppet known as Mr. World trips the light fantastic, dives into shark-infested waters, and zips through the treetops with the greatest of ease in a new three-spot campaign … Continue reading “Tessa Films’ Toben Seymour takes Mr. World on a spin”

Tessa Films adds Director Amanda Speva

Her work in commercials, short films and music videos taps comedy, emotion and storytelling with a distinctively quirky sensibility.   (Chicago & Los Angeles — 12 November 2018) Tessa Films has signed director Amanda Speva to its directorial roster. A native of Chicago, Speva brings a talent for capturing comedy and emotion shaped by a … Continue reading “Tessa Films adds Director Amanda Speva”

Tessa, Blind Barber, and Bryce Harper’s bathroom secrets

Tessa Films partners with Blind Barber to introduce All-Star Bryce Harper as company spokesperson for signature product line Tessa Director / Writer Tim Mason and Creative Director Duncan Wolfe’s multi-faceted online strategy generates viral success, media coverage and brand awareness   (Chicago, Los Angeles — 17 April 2018) The new online campaign for Blind Barber, … Continue reading “Tessa, Blind Barber, and Bryce Harper’s bathroom secrets”

Tessa, mcgarrybowen, Arc, Jenny Milkowski on the move

Puppet master and stop-motion specialist join Tessa Films’ roster Meghann Artes and Toben Seymour have joined the directorial roster at Tessa Films. The duo arrives at Tessa Films with skillsets that are bound to overlap in both conventional and unconventional ways. Artes is a master of stop motion. Seymour is a master of puppetry.   … Continue reading “Tessa, mcgarrybowen, Arc, Jenny Milkowski on the move”

Tessa Films’ cozy and familiar “Holiday Wish”

Chicago-based production company Tessa Films offers something for everyone in a season greeting that premiered yesterday on YouTube. Titled, A Holiday Wish, the cozy and humorous minute-long film shows how social media can disrupt even the warmest of family gatherings. Flawless visuals and smart camera work establish a mood that is not only believable but … Continue reading “Tessa Films’ cozy and familiar “Holiday Wish””

Davies, Zehme to produce Johnny Carson mini-series

NBC is developing a scripted mini-series based on Chicago writer Bill Zehme’s Carson the Magnificent: An Intimate Portrait, a biography of Johnny Carson, legendary host of The Tonight Show from 1962-92.

“There’s a new generation running Hollywood and they’re already starting to forget about the real ‘King of Late Night,’” says John Davies, who is executive producer of the mini-series with Zehme.

Filmworkers hires Skillicorn as first Midwest rep

For the first time in its 22 years of business, Filmworkers Club, specialists in visual effects, compositing and color grading, has hired a Midwestern rep to expand its reach between coasts.

Nathan Skillicorn’s company, Heart, Brains & Nerve, will also sell for Filmworkers’ local affiliates: hybrid production studio Vitamin and creative retouching and pre-media specialist Giannini Creative, for advertising projects.

MoFest7 a mo’strous hit with 900 guests

One hundred to 200 guests who turn up at an industry event is standard, 300 is darn good – but the 650 people who work as crew members attending last Saturday’s MoFest7, organized by producer Mo Wagdy, was spectacular.

Held at the imperiled 1,200-seat Portage Theatre, the men (it’s safe to say that since women workers, wives and/or dates were few in number) had a great time talking, drinking and devouring massive amounts of food.

The number of guests hit an all-time high of 900 over the two-day Saturday and Sunday fest.

John Mahoney to honor Kelsey Grammer at Hugos

AN ADDED SPECIAL TREAT for Hugo Awards attendees.  John Mahoney will be on hand to honor his “Frasier” co-star Kelsey Grammer at the Hugo awards ceremony Thursday, April 19 at the new Chicago Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel, 221 N. Columbus Drive. 

Mahoney, an Oak Park resident, and Grammer, star of Starz series “Boss,” played Dr. Martin Crane, father of Dr. Frasier Crane in the comedy series that ran a record-breaking 11 years on NBC. Tickets are $100 and may be purchased at or by calling 312/683-0121.

Regardless of DSLR popularity, Rosen stays sold on film

Film is better. So there.  Regardless of whether film has more resolution, or whether it is more or less convenient, whether it is cheaper or more costly compared to the newer digital data technologies, I still believe film is more authentic and organic with its genuine film grain and more complex soulfulness.  

Some top cinematographers also think that if you want the best you should shoot film. Wally Pfister, cinematographer of The Dark Knight, Inception and  the upcoming Moneyball, is emphatic.

Ewww! A line around the block to see Paris Hilton

FORGET IMPORTANT SPEAKERS and breakthrough cable technology at The Cable Show Wednesday at McCormick Place.  The exhibition floor, filled with about 500 booths, was jammed with a line around the block to meet Paris Hilton, who needs no introduction to tabloid readers.  How interesting it would’ve been to hear what she had to say about working in cable — on that one show long ago gratefully long forgotten. 

June screening schedule has something for everyone

FILMMAKERS AND FILM BUFFS will have no problem finding a festival, screening series or premiere offerings to their varied tastes this month.

SHOCK THEATRE’S new monthly series from the second Golden Age of Horror, the late ‘50s and early ‘60s, starts running the first Friday of every month, June 3, through December, at the new Wicker Park Arts Center. 

“Playboy” pilot shoot starts in mid-March

“PLAYBOY,” THE NBC PILOT, about the start of the Playboy Clubs in Chicago, about the opening of the first Playboy Club in Chicago in 1963 (at the site of what is now the 100 E. Walton St. building) will shoot here for 13 days starting in mid-March, reports Local 476’s Mark Hogan.

Starring as iconic Playboy bunnies are Laura Benanti (“Eli Stone”) an established Playboy Club star who knows her days as a Bunny are numbered, according to Deadline Hollywood.

Chicago cop series shoots in Toronto

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.

John Davies’ doc tribute to a local star maker

Behind the title of John Davies’ feature-length doc, “Phunny Business: A Black Comedy,” is a story of “what happens when you combine comedy, race and Chicago politics,” about the spectacular rise and tragic fall of a Chicago comedy club that launched the careers of many contemporary black comedians.

The doc heads for prime time cable after its Feb. 5 premiere at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival.

Chicago #4 in Variety’s ’10 Greatest Locations’

VARIETY NAMED CHICAGO the number four filming location on a list of “10 Greatest Locations in North America,” in a special issue published next month. We rank behind California, of course, New York, right, and New Mexico.

Speaking of locations: The recent six-day Buick shoot by Form of L.A., racked up the most locations, on 59 city blocks, or 53% of the locations used for filming, during the month of September, so far.

The 2016 Olympic films came in second with shoots on 14 blocks or 22% of locations used, according to

Sweet Home Illinois a sweet night in L.A.

SWEET HOME CHICAGO was a spectacular success Monday at the Le Grande Orange restaurant in Santa Monica, when 350 Chicagoans in the industry turned out for a night of meetups, fun and some down home Chicago food favorites.

Sweet Home was picked up by former IFO director Brenda Sexton after a four-year hiatus, Lettuce Entertain You’s Rich Melman and entertainer Tom Dreesen, who emceed the first party 20 years ago and most of the 15 since then.

Relax, the tax incentives will go into effect

IRONICALLY, GOV. BLAGOJEVICH was going to sign the Illinois 30% tax credit bill into law next Monday at Essanay Studios! The unconfirmed signing ceremony was being set up because the governor had the time to do so.

We can safely assume that the gov’s photo op signing will be put indefinitely on hold.

That doesn’t mean the bill will languish as it did earlier this year — delayed first by the senate action and then by Blago’s demand for a photo op surrounded by celebs, taking it into May.

Blagojevich will remain governor, however, for the forseeable future.

Story of Chicago’s lengendary Chess Records to film here, starring Matt Dillon and Jeffrey Wright

ACTOR MATT DILLON will portray Leonard Chess, the legendary founder of the South Side Chicago blues label Chess Records, in Sony/BMG Film’s “Cadillac Records.”

Written and directed by Darnell Martin (“Prison Song”), filming of the 1950’s story is set to begin in January in New Jersey and Chicago. Jeffrey Wright also stars.

Chess, who was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987, scoured the South, checking out the various blues scenes and selling records from the back of his Cadillac.

Mary O’Gara joins Filmworkers Club

FILMWORKERS CLUB hired Mary O’Gara as executive producer, replacing Kathy Hurley who moved over to Vitamin as executive producer.

O’Gara, who goes back to the Editel days with Filmworkers’ president Reid Brody, has spent the last 12 years in L.A. She joined Company 3 last year?her second stint there, and previously worked at R!OT in Santa Monica as operations manager and finishing producer. Vitamin is Filmworkers’ design-based motional graphics division.