IFO makes concerted effort for pro to fill job vacancy

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WHAT A CONCEPT! We hear that the IFO is making a concerted effort to making sure that one of the two vacancies designated for a location scout actually will be filled by an industry professional.

But in November, Gov. Quinn had already reserved one of those positions for Jen Celaya, who had worked as a member of his advance crew.  Despite denials to the contrary — that she was really, truly, actually working for DCEO (as do all IFO staffers as the IFO is one of its units) — by Jan. 2 she was ensconced in the film office. 

This is nothing against Celaya, who from all reports is regarded as smart and hard working by people who know her.  Rather, it’s an indictment against a state hiring system — in the case of our industry – that prevents qualified professionals from getting film office jobs.  At this moment, all current IFO employees got their jobs as governor appointees or were transferred from another state agency.

As we know, visual media production is multi-layered, very complex and involves huge sums of money.  Therefore it’s satisfying to hear that location candidates are being actively sought to fill one of the retiree’s slots, and it’s also a shame that qualified pros couldn’t have filled both of them.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Chicago Recording Company will receive a special Lifetime Achievement award from the 31st Chicago Music Awards for its major contributions to the music industry for the past 40 years.  The Awards, honoring 34 winners among 194 nominees, will be held at The Club in Burbank. 

THE SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL, Jan. 19-29, will abound with Chicagoans, not only to attend the end-to-end screenings, pitch their projects and rub shoulders with industry honchos – but to attend Brenda Sexton’s Windy City West at Sunday party Jan. 21.

The festivities take place in a magnificent 7,000-sq. ft. private home in Deer Valley, sponsored by the new Radisson Aqua Hotels.

More Chicago festivities the following day when the Midwest Independent Film Festival’s Mike McNamara hosts “Monday on Main St.,” a reception at Butcher’s Chophouse, located in the heart of the festival. Daufenbach Camera, Teletech, Pascal Runicke Casting, CIMMA Fest and Potenza Productions are some of the local sponsors.

A WARM WELCOME BACK to Bob Hudgins who returned to Chicago after spending five years as the director of the Texas Film Commission, where, during his tenure, the state generated $2.4 billion worth of film revenue. “It’s so good to be home and again be part of the Chicago community – a most welcoming place,” says Hudgins, who is working non-stop on a variety of productions.

Before moving to Austin, Hudgins was deputy director of the Illinois Film Office for many years under directors Brenda Sexton and Ron Ver Kuilen.  Reach him at 773/998-1834.

“IT’S BUSINESS AS USUAL,” says Patrick Glover, owner (with cousin Melissa Glover) of green systems Go Location Services and Go Rentals, following the recent departure of consultant Brad Wells. The Glovers operate five large trucks and a passenger van and are renovating a round barn in Ukrainian Village to complete green building standards. Reach Glover at 847/980-6616.

CELEBS. Matt Damon will headline a night of dramatic readings and songs, called, “The People Speak, Live!” Jan. 31 at Metro. Based on the Damon-produced doc, “The Preople Speak, it features actors and poets reading the works of rebels and dissenters. The show’s a sellout although watch for an extra tickets announcement.

Chicago native John Logan, Oscar-nominated screenwriter and Tony Award winner, will be saluted at the Oscar Wilde: Honoring the Irish in Film ceremony Feb. 23. Oscars.  Illinois native Melissa McCarthy and Michelle Williams are other honorees.  Logan’s latest screenplays are Steven Spielberg’s “Lincoln” and “Skyfall,” the new James Bond film. 

British and Broadway actor Simon Callow (“Four Weddings and a Funeral”) will star in the solo “Being Shakespeare” in April at Chicago Shakespeare Theatre. Callow is also a biographer of imposing actors (Oscar Wilde, Charles Laughton, Orson Welles) and his biography of Charles Dickens is due later this year.

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