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Podtalk: Writer/Director Paul Schrader Blesses ‘First Reformed’

CHICAGO – Paul Schrader can absolutely claim the title of Cinema Icon with his 40 plus years of influence and involvement as writer or director in memorable films such as “Taxi Driver,” “American Gigolo,” “Raging Bull” and “Auto Focus.” His latest written-and-directed-by film is “First Reformed,” featuring Ethan Hawke.

Podtalk: Filmmakers Bill Holderman & Erin Simms Join ‘Book Club’

CHICAGO – If your impression of a book club is one of staid pseudo-intellectuals creating pithy symbolism out of nothingness, then your impression is about to change. Jane Fonda, Diane Keaton, Candice Bergen and Mary Steenburgen star in the new comedy “Book Club,” co-written by Erin Simms and director Bill Holderman.

Podtalk: Programs Manager Ana Wright on Opening of New ‘Chicago Filmmakers’ Home

Chicago Filmmakers

CHICAGO – One of the gems of the local cinema scene is the organization known as Chicago Filmmakers. Their 43 year old mission? To make the world of filmmaking available to anyone who wants to learn, thereby allowing new and diverse voices to emerge. Chicago Filmmakers recently moved into their ultimate home, a converted fire station in the Edgewater neighborhood, which is ideally located and suited for any local resident to learn the nuts and bolts of moviemaking, or to take in their screen offerings. Ana Wright is the Programs Manager for the nonprofit center.

Podtalk: Jerry Vasilatos on May 8, 2018, Opening Registration for Chicago 48 Hour Film Project

2018 48 Hour Film Project

CHICAGO – If you ever had a hankering to get a film onto the big screen, the 48 Hour Film Project (48HFP) is your opportunity. The short-movie-creating competition is coming back to Chicago for the 14th straight year, and Jerry Vasilatos is the producer for the 4th year. The registration period has opened on May 8th, 2018, and will continue through July 3rd. For complete details, click here.

Podtalk: Filmmaker Clare Cooney on ‘Runner’ at Chicago Critics Film Festival, May 6, 2018

Runner/Clare Cooney

CHICAGO – When a notable filmmaker debut takes place, the cinema universe takes notice. Clare Cooney debuted her short film “Runner” on the festival circuit in 2017, and won Best USA Short Film at the Fairhope (Alabama) Film Festival. She brings the made-in-Chicago short back to its city of origin, as “Runner” screens as part of the 6th Chicago Critics Film Festival on Sunday, May 6th, 2018, part of “CCFF Shorts Program #1.” For details and ticket purchase info, click here.

Tribeca 2018: Author Tawni O’Dell on the Screenplay Adaptation of Her Book, ‘Back Roads’

Tawni O'Dell of 'Back Roads'

CHICAGO – For a first book author, there is probably no greater literary blessing than their work becoming a “Oprah’s Book Club” selection. Tawni O’Dell experienced that honor in 2000, for her novel “Back Roads.” Fast forward years later, and O’Dell adapted that novel – with Adrian Lyne – into a screenplay that became the film “Back Roads,” which screened at the 17th Tribeca Film Festival on April 20th, 2018.

Podtalk: Brent Kado, Founder of Chicago Independent Film & TV Festival, April 28-29, 2018

ChicIndie2018 logo

CHICAGO – Another spring film festival is blossoming up in the Rogers Park neighborhood, the Chicago Independent Film & TV Festival (CIFF). This is the first one, and its goal is to highlight local, U.S. and international indie films from all styles of creators. The festival takes place on Saturday, April 28th and Sunday, April 29th, 2018, at The New 400 Theater and Damen (Loyola University) Cinema, and all the information regarding the weekend fest can be accessed by clicking here.

Podtalk: Brian Zahm on ‘Tea Party’ at Chicago’s Sound of Silent Film Fest on April 14, 2018

2018 Sound of Silent Film Festival

CHICAGO – Chicago has a wealth of film festivals this spring, and one of the coolest ones will take place on Saturday, April 14th, 2018, at the historic Davis Theater. The 13th Sound of Silent Film Festival combines cutting edge filmmakers – like Brian Zahm of “Tea Party” – and pairs their short works with Chicago-area musicians in all styles, who will provide live in-theater accompaniment. There are two shows, 7pm and 9:30pm, and to purchase tickets to one or both click here.

Podtalk: Malin Akerman of ‘Rampage’ on Michigan Avenue Cover

CHICAGO – The restaurant Katana, in the River North neighborhood of Chicago, was the setting for the unveiling of Michigan Avenue Magazine’s latest cover on April 3rd… their 2018 Spring Style issue. Actress Malin Akerman (“Billions,” “The Heartbreak Kid”), whose latest film is “Rampage,” graced the front of the issue.

Podtalk: J. Wilder Konschak & Stirling McLaughlin on Digital Release of ‘Cold War’

Cold War

CHICAGO – Local filmmaking is thriving, thanks to the many creators who choose to make independent movies in Chicago. Co-directors Stirling McLaughlin and J. Wilder Konschak (also writer) brought their cast and crew to the Windy City to make their comedy, “Cold War.” The film made its digital debut on April 6th, 2018, and will be available on iTunes, Google Play, FandangoNow, Amazon, Vudu and more.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Jesus Christ Superstar, Lyric Opera

    CHICAGO – As a wee lad, I would often go into my parent’s record collection. One day, out of the blue, that brown double album with the gold embossed angels appeared, like a gift from the divine. “Jesus Christ Superstar” began as a record album “rock opera” in 1970, evolved to a Broadway show and film, and then was interpreted through a myriad of stage revivals over the years. The latest is an exciting piece of stagecraft at the Lyric Opera of Chicago. The show has a various evening/matinee run through May 20th, 2018. Click here for more details, including ticket information.

  • Cornerstone, Nothing Without a Company

    CHICAGO – We all need some help. The stage play group Nothing Without a Company realizes that, and has collaborated with the organization “Cornerstone” to provide that assistance. Cornerstone is a seminar and a happening in downtown Chicago, facilitated by “experts” to generate your potential. The presentation has a Thursday-Sunday run at Michigan Avenue’s Artspace 8 through May 6th, 2018. Click here for more details, including ticket information.

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