by Jessica Shulsinger
FilmBureau 606**, a new Chicago-based organization designed to bring together people involved in all aspects of filmmaking, will hold its kickoff event, Circus ’98, on Mar. 24 at a local venue, Subterranean. The impetus for FilmBureau 606** came from four Chicago area industry members, all frustrated at the difficulties filmmakers experience in finding people and resources as they progress toward completion of their projects. Since its inception in June 1997, FB606** has gathered a database of over 6,000 industry-related, Midwest-based film, television, theater and video people.
Liz Owen of GirlieGirl Productions and Chris McKay of BrandX FilmWorks joined forces when Owen read a letter to the editor of a local alternative newsweekly in which McKay expressed his frustrations about securing help to complete production on a film. Owen identified with McKay’s vexations immediately, got in touch with him to make sure he was good for his word, and FB606** was born. The two other founding members are Nicole Bernardi-Reis of PerformInc and Rob Rownd of OnSet Digital – both Chicago-based companies.
In a conversation with indieWIRE, Owen said that the sponsors’ response was intially, and continues to be, overwhelming. The Independent Film Channel, the Chicago Underground Film Festival, Screen magazine and Kodak are just some of the companies and organizations who have agreed to support FB606** and Circus ’98 with either services or funds. Circus ’98 will show 30 reels and feature readings of six scripts by 12 local theater companies, as well as provide countless opportunities for industry networking.
“We want to be as filmmaker friendly as possible,” says Owen. In addition to sharing contact information, FB606** plans to create a combined calendar of local industry events, so that filmmakers’ efforts will amass as much support as possible. Owen says FB606** is in the process of applying for non-profit status.
Acknowledging the intended networking and advocacy presence and purpose of the IFP/Midwest, Owen says that the collective and increasingly prevalent frustrations of filmmakers made it clear that another organization was needed. “It’s not a sour grapes thing,” says Owen, emphasizing that FB606** has contacted all of IFP/Midwest’s board members with an invitation to attend Circus ’98.
+ RESPONSE: Owen Discusses “FilmBureau606**” and IFP/Midwest
February 27, 1998
[Reacting to yesterday’s “FilmBureau606**” article, organiztion board member
Liz Owen sent the following email message to indieWIRE]
Thank you, IndieWIRE for the article on FilmBureau 606**. The coverage was
great, however, after reading the final paragraph, I felt some clarification
FilmBureau 606** started because we saw a need to connect the wide variety and
islands and pockets of talent in the film/video/television industries in
Chicago. Our organization did NOT start as a reaction to our or anyone’s
frustration with IFP/Midwest. We have, in fact, been in contact with the
IFP/Midwest board in hope that they, like many other local organizations, will
join our effort.
IFP/Midwest is a huge and terrific resource for indie filmmakers in our area,
and our intention has never been and will never be to do the things they do.
Our goals and those of the IFP/Midwest are very different – I cannot speak to
the mission of IFP/Midwest, but I can tell you that FilmBureau 606** isn’t
focused only on the indie film industry; that is just one area of many we are
focusing on. Hence our desire to work in concert with them, should they
decide to do so.
On a personal note, and to speak directly to the heart of the matter — I am a
current member of IFP/Midwest and got into this industry after attending their
spring conference last year. It was because of the contacts I made there, and
the panels and seminars I attended there that I made the decision to start my
company, Girlie Girl Productions. I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing if I
Thanks for the opportunity to clarify these comments.
Executive Board Member