Interview

Oscar Week: Podtalks with Nominated Best Director Adam McKay on His Filmmaker Philosophy

Vice, Adam McKay

CHICAGO – Director Adam McKay has come to the meatiest part of his long and successful career. He began with comedy in TV and film, and was first known for hilarious movies like “Anchorman,” “Talledega Nights,” and “Step Brothers.” Recently, he has moved into more complex filmmaking, like the highly touted (and Oscar nominated for Best Picture and Director) “The Big Short” in 2015, and this year’s “Vice,” nominated again for Best Picture, Best Director and for his Best Original Screenplay.

Oscar Week: Directors Betsy West & Julie Cohen on Their Nominated Documentary ‘RBG’

RBG Ruth Bader Ginsburg

CHICAGO – Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the notorious “RBG,” has been a steady and abiding voice on that high court since 1993. But how much do we really know about this unassuming and highly admired jurist? Co-directors Betsy West and Julie Cohen answer this question in their documentary “RBG.” The film is one of five nominees competing for gold in the Feature Documentary category, to be given on Sunday at the 91st Academy Awards.

Podtalk: Director Stephen Merchant for ‘Fighting with My Family’

CHICAGO – Stephen Merchant is well known for his hilarious takes on über-tall (he’s six-foot-seven) and awkward comedy. He helped create the British “The Office” TV series with longtime collaborator Ricky Gervais, and HBO shows like “Extras” and “Hello Ladies.” He writes and directs his first major feature, the pro wrestling film “Fighting with My Family.”

Oscar Week: Podtalk with Director Bing Liu of Oscar nominated Feature Doc ‘Minding the Gap’

Minding the Gap, directed by Bing Liu

CHICAGO – All through the 2019 Oscar Week, HollywoodChicago.com will rerun significant articles from 2018 that feature the nominees associated with Sunday’s Academy Award ceremony. Today is a Podtalk with director Bing Liu, who was the filmmaker behind a Best Documentary Feature nominee, “Minding the Gap.” The film seems to be a nostalgic profile of Liu’s youth in Rockford, Illinois, as he goes back to his hometown to explore the skateboarding culture that kept him balanced while growing up in a difficult home environment. What he found out about himself was an organic reveal in the film, both shocking and cathartic.

Podtalk: Midwest Independent Film Fest Opener is ‘An Acceptable Loss’ on Feb. 5, 2019

An Acceptable Loss

CHICAGO – Some extraordinary local and outside talent coordinated to produce the film “An Acceptable Loss” in 2018, including featured stars Jamie Lee Curtis and Tika Sumpter (“Southside with You”). Producer Colleen Griffen and writer/director Joe Chappelle, who hail from Chicagoland, helped to create this passionate thriller, with echoes of paranoid government oversight films like “All the President’s Men” and the recent “Vice.” The Midwest Independent Film Festival has made “An Acceptable Loss” the kickoff film for their 2019 season. Click here for tickets and details.

Podtalk: Director Richard Yeagley Observes ‘The Sunday Sessions’

Sunday Sessions, The

CHICAGO – The film ”Boy Erased” was released in November, a star-studded “based on real events” memoir film about the topic of “gay conversion therapy” (the rejected-by-the-medical-world notion of using techniques to convert a gay individual to straight). Director Richard Yeagley has produced a documentary on the same subject, “The Sunday Sessions,” which has more authenticity because it’s completely real. One more screening of the film will take place on January 16th, 2019, part of Gene Siskel Film Center’s “Stranger Than Fiction” series. Click here for tickets and details.

Podtalk: Mike Kwielford on Midwest Independent Film Fest’s ‘Best of the Midwest,’ Jan. 17, 2019

CHICAGO – Local Awards Season is coming up with the Best of the Midwest, honoring the 2018 film year of the Midwest Independent Film Festival. The Gala is on Thursday, January 17th, 2019, click here for tickets and information.

Interview: Recording Artist Jennifer Zhang Debuts Video for ‘Flying High’ on Jan. 12, 2019

Flying High

CHICAGO – Asian American musician, model, actress, influencer, producer and entrepreneur Jennifer Zhang, based in Chicago, is making waves in the U.S. and global music scene with the premiere of her latest single and video, “Flying High.” The song is East meets West, with Chinese instruments and sounds blending with an energetic contemporary beat.

Interview: Local Band whitewolfsonicprincess Releases ‘The Alternate Boot’ on Jan. 8, 2019

wwspfront.jpg

CHICAGO – The album premiere is a cause for celebration, and the local Chicagoland band whitewolfsonicprinces (wwsp) is debuting their third album, a double set release called “The Alternate Boot Vols. 1 & 2” on January 8th, 2019. For more on the album release and all things wwsp, click here.

Podtalk: Director Nadine Labaki Creates ‘Capernaum’

Capernaum

CHICAGO – One of the best films of 2018 is “Capernaum.” The title means “Chaos,” and co-writer/director Nadine Labaki certainly created a form of that action in the crazy quilt journey of the main character of Zain, an undocumented immigrant boy in Lebanon. From a story that takes us from his street survival to a court of law… suing his parents, “Capernaum” is a multi-layered masterpiece.

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  • It's NOT ALL About You John Michael

    CHICAGO – John Michael epitomizes the art of the monologue. The Chicago transplant, by way of Dallas, is moving on (he says temporarily) from the city that inspired his last show, “Meatball Seance,” after notorious and successful runs of his other one-man shows, “John Michael and the Order of the Penix” and “Dementia Me.” His farewell performance is his latest, another laugh riot, “It’s NOT ALL About You John Michael,” and will take place at Mary’s Attic in Chicago’s Andersonville neighborhood on March 1st, 2019. Click here for details, including ticket information.

  • Soccer Player in the Closet, The 2

    CHICAGO – Connecting to the theater collective Nothing Without a Company means a couple of things. One, you may visit parts of Chicago you’ve never seen before – in this case a plant store in an industrial area south of Humboldt Park – and two, you will see some daring and outside-the-box stagings. “The Soccer Player in the Closet” is their latest production – a World Premiere – and it provides what the title implies and beyond. The play runs through March 17th, 2019. Click here for more details, including ticket information.

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