Showtime to air Davies and Brody’s “Phunny Business”

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SHOWTIME WILL AIR John Davies and Reid Brody’s acclaimed feature-length doc “Phunny Business: A Black Comedy,” Feb. 23 at 8:30 p.m. in celebration of Black History Month.  The airdate follows a number of festival appearances “where it got great reviews and played well with all audiences,” notes Brody, who heads Filmworkers Club. 

Meanwhile, the show can be accessed on Video on Demand. 

Written and directed by Davies and co-produced by Brody, the story is about the rise and fall of the “All Jokes Aside” comedy club on the South Side. 

As one of the first black comedy clubs in the country just about every African American talent (Dave Chappelle, Chris Rock, Jamie Foxx, MoNique, Bernie Mac, Carlos Mencia, D.L. Hughley, Cedric The Entertainer, etc.) performed there at one time or another during its 22 years of existence.

“We’re now looking at video distribution, including Video on Demand, DVD and Netflix, through L.A-based Indican Pictures,” says Brody, “and the show is going into broadcast syndication with Baruch Entertainment of L.A.” He adds that after this airing they’ll be close to breaking even on the cost.

CINESPACE STUDIOS is going to be one busy place this spring with the filming there of NBC Universal’s “Chicago Fire” pilot and season two of Starz’ “Boss.”  Filming of the two TV shows will overlap: “Chicago Fire” shoots March 14-April 1, and “Boss” March 19-July 11. 

WITHOUT NOTICE, Ford/Aria models and talent agency abruptly closed its four-person Milwaukee office after five years of operation.  The agency’s New York office crisply called it “a business decision.” Ford bought the agency from original founder Arlene Wilson who started her company in 1996.

CHANGING TIMES: Sonia Blum has joined Hilly Reps as a sales rep, after several years as a director of business development at Daily Planet.  Earlier, she was an account management at Draftfcb and Euro RSCG… And Daily Planet added graphic artists Dan Moore and Tim Berthiaume

Moore had been an associate producer at Towers Productions and came to Daily Planet after a year and he his wife spent as volunteers in Jerusalem. Berthiaume had been freelancing in motion graphics since 2007.

NOT A GOOD SIGN for the ratings-challenged “The Rosie Show” with Rosie O’Donnell on the OWN network as staff and studio were downsized in recent weeks.  Some 30 employees and contract workers have been let go and the show now tapes more one-on-one conversations without an audience in a small studio, instead of Oprah’s old, big studio, reports Crain’s Chicago Business.

“Rosie’s” ratings have hovered around 200,000 since the show’s October debut.

FORTUNATELY, THE COLONIE has plenty of high-and-wide wall space to exhibit local artist Joe Morris’ large scale rockabilly-street style poster art, at the post house’s Annual Party and Morris Exhibit Opening Feb. 23. 

Guests will immediately recognize Morris’ work.  His art is owned by some of the world’s biggest companies in the world like his 100th Anniversary mix media painting for Kellogg’s, portrait of Leo Burnett, Indy 500 Champions series, Michael Jordan Motorsports Champions work, Chicago Blackhawks Legends series, and the Ultimate Fighting Championships official fighter series and muchmuchmuch more.

In addition to which, there’s good food, drinks and company, music by DJ Rafael Garo, at The Colonie’s studio on Fairbanks Court.

A VIRAL VIDEO, created by Foundation Content to promote the release of director Steven Soderbergh’s “Contagion” last year, was nominated for a prestigious TED “Ads Worth Spreading” award.

The 2-minute viral piece, titled “How a Virus Changes the World,” was directed by Kyle Shoup and produced by Stacy Paris for Denizen, the Culver City-based social media company. 

The video has been included on “Contagion’s” DVD release, and originally was posted on the website of Soderbergh’s Participant production company.

WHAT’S NOT TO LOVE?  Agency Galatea, Grossman & Jack Talent and G&J Models will host a “Love Fest” event Feb. 16 to “celebrate models, bottles (as in vodka) and talent” at an invitation-only cocktail party.

Keep those news items coming!  People want to know what’s going on.  That’s why the Reel has readers from all over.  Send items to Ruth@reelchicago.com

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