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new film, A Good Man (coproduced with Kartemquin Films and American Masters), is making the festival rounds and garnering excellent reviews along the way. The Bill T. Jones documentary made its world premiere to a crowd of 500 at Full Frame Documentary Film Festival in Durham, N.C., and was subsequently praised by Slant Magazine, which you can read here:

Bill T. Jones with MPG and Kartemquin crew. Co-Directors Bob Hercules and Gordon Quinn (of Kartemquin Films) also attended a sold-out screening at Silverdocs in Washington, D.C. in June. The film played at Doxa Documentary Film Festival in Vancouver, Canada, as well as Screendance at Duke University, and plays in July at the Ventura Film Festival in California. In August Gordon Quinn will be attending a screening at Woods Hole Film Festival in Massachusetts. Director of Photography Keith Walker is unsurprised by the amount of attention A Good Man is receiving. “I think it’s well-deserved. Especially when you have a guy like Bill T. Jones. He has so much charisma, such a presence about him. You see him in one scene and he forces you to keep watching.” The film will have a week-long run at the Gene Siskel Film Center starting September 23 (with Q/A sessions after most screenings). For tickets go to: Also stay tuned for the broadcast premiere on PBS’ American Masters on November 11, 2011. The film’s Producer was Joanna Rudnick, it was edited by David E. Simpson and the Associate Producer was Rachel Pikelny. A Good Man is a co-production of Kartemquin Films, Independent Television Service (ITVS), THIRTEEN’s American Masters for WNET, and Media Process Group, with the cooperation of the Ravinia Festival. View the official trailer here:

Bob and Bill T. Jones at the Q &A.



June MPG’s Keith Walker traveled to Burundi, a landlocked country in East Africa, with Producer Jessica Stuart from LongStoryShortMedia (See more of her work at . They were accompanied by South African Sound Technician Kenny Geraghty, affectionately termed “the Gentle Giant.”

Photo by Keith Walker.

“This was one of three overseas projects that we are slated to do, for Jessica, on behalf of The Sabin Vaccine Institute,” Walker explained. “Our first destination was Brazil, followed by Burundi. The final country is India, which is scheduled for August, 2011.” Apparently Keith’s travels are far from over, but he loves the perspective. “Over the years my career has afforded me the opportunity to travel the world. Each moment is an eye-opening experience. I’m always amazed at all of the things we in this country take for granted. Each time I return I have a new appreciation for what we have.”

Kenny, Jessica, and Keith in Burundi.

Keith’s first passion was photography, and he took some gorgeous photos of Burundi. He particularly likes shooting in Africa because “their eyes tell so many stories.” The shoot included more than beautiful portraits, however. The Sabin Vaccine Institute is using this three-part project to document and research the living conditions in impoverished regions of the globe in order to develop new vaccines and save the lives of people suffering from preventable and neglected tropical diseases. Read more about their mission at

Photo by Keith Walker.



years in the making, MPG has just completed The Joffrey Ballet: Mavericks of In this archival photo, Robert Joffrey (right) directs several performers. American Dance, a feature documentary narrated by Mandy Patinkin. The film is the first to tell the full story of the Joffrey Ballet from their founding in 1956 to the present. Writer and Director Bob Hercules said, “It includes a phenomenal amount of previously unseen archival footage and photographs from some of the great ballet photographers over the years, as well as interviews with some of the Joffrey stars over the course of their whole history.” Hercules added, “I think people will find it to be a fascinating film because the story has so much drama in it. So many rises and falls. It’s a great story of resurrection, in a sense.” The film, produced by Jay Alix, Harold Ramis, Una Jackman and Erica Mann Ramis, will likely premiere this fall. DP’s were Mike Swanson and Keith Walker. The film was edited by Melissa Sterne and original music was composed by Mark Bandy. MPG’s Lisa Pooler was the Line Producer. Graphics were done by MPG’s Paul Garcia. Julie Johnson was the archival researcher.

Left to Right: Erica Mann Ramis, Keith Walker and Bob Hercules in New York.

Bob with Mandy Patinkin and Producer Una Jackman.



early May the veteran MPG crew traveled to the mountains of Colorado. While there they filmed one of the last big on-location shoots for the now-retired Oprah Winfrey Show: a one hour special on the famed icon of fashion, Mr. Ralph Lauren. This four-day shoot covered many areas of the 17,000 acre cattle ranch, including a tour of the main house and furnished teepees for all of Mr. Lauren’s guests, as well as interviews with Mr. Lauren & his family. Keith Walker and Mike Swanson, along with freelancers Alan Chow, Matt Vogel, and Stephan Mazurek, brought a slew of snazzy gadgets for catching the fashion legend in action.The equipment MPG utilized for the rugged terrain included 5 Panasonic HDX-900 cameras, stedicam, 25ft jibarm, fisher dolly, three HD “lipstick” cameras rigged to Lauren’s 1960’s jeep and a remote-controlled miniature helicopter camera. Rounding out the on-location crew was Harpo’s video shading engineer, Wade Bobbitt, and Lighting Director Sean Post, along with Mark Zurawiec on stedicam and jib operation.

Oprah and Ralph Lauren with the crew.

As The Oprah Winfrey Show has now ended, Mike Swanson expressed regret to see the end of the Oprah Era. “It’s pretty disappointing. I got to do some great things with the show. I got to go to Australia, to the White House. I’m certainly going to miss it.”

Oprah and Ralph Lauren in the rusty old Jeep.



Producer John McCarthy of InterImage just wrapped up production on a complicated new video for Phonak, a manufacturer of high-end hearing aids. Phonak is a global corporation, with US headquarters in Warrenville, Illinois. For the shoot, MPG’s Mike Swanson was the Director of Photography. Freelancers Hayden Jackson (audio engineer) and Andrew Yuncza (gaffer) rounded out the crew. Camping out in one of MPG’s cozy Avid editing suites, McCarthy, along with editor Todd Wood, hammered out the finished product in early July. McCarthy is proud of the result, and genuinely impressed by the unprecedented technology of the device profiled in the piece. “It’s called ‘StereoZoom.’ You can sit in a noisy restaurant and click this button and focus in on somebody who is eight feet away. Our own ears can’t do that! It has the option to do several things.”

A NEW HERCULEAN FEATURE IN THE WORKS MPG’s first narrative feature film, Waiting for the

Clash, is currently in development (i.e.: waiting for the cash). The film is a comedy set in 1978 in Kalamazoo, Michigan about the misadventures of a group of college deejays who push the envelope too far and risk getting their station shut down. In response they hatch an unlikely scheme to bring the British punk band, The Clash, to play a fundraiser to save the station. The screenplay was written by MPG’s Bob Hercules and former Second City writer/performer Jeff Rogers. When the film goes into production, Hercules will direct, with Keith Walker as Director of Photography and Lisa Pooler producing.


MEET ALEX ENSIGN, NEW OFFICE MANAGER MPG welcomed newest staff member Alex Ensign in May. After four years of dedicated service, our former office manager, Sterling Haukom Anderson, has moved on to bigger and better things. Alex has slowly been learning to fill those shoes and keep track of everyone’s picky lunch orders. Aside from the usual administrative upkeep, Alex has been upgrading MPG’s web presence with a little social media savvy. MPG’s Facebook page has been revamped and filled out and MPG now sports a sleek new YouTube channel! Check it out here:

Alex with Clyde, the new MPG mascot. Alex is incredibly excited to be so warmly welcomed here at MPG. With a degree from the University of Chicago in Cinema and Media Studies, Alex is a huge fan of film in general and MPG’s well-crafted documentaries in particular. When not working at MPG or watching grainy old French films, Alex is a sequential and graphic artist. She posts most of her work here:


random notes We just launched our brand new website at

The site contains some of your old favorite features with an upgraded media player and lots and lots of content. Check it out.

Two short webisodes we

produced for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra about their new Musical Director, Riccardo Muti, were shown at the Opera News Awards at the Plaza Hotel in New York on April 17 preceding Maestro Muti’s award. Riccardo Muti at the 2011 Opera News Awards.



booking crews or edit suites, contact Lisa Pooler at or call 312.850.1300.


documentary, “Radical Disciple: The Story of Father Pfleger,” recently won a Silver Plaque from the 2011 Hugo Awards in the Documentary: Social/Political category. The film also re-ran on WTTW this past May.

Summer Newsletter 2011  

See what MPG has been up to over the summer!

Summer Newsletter 2011  

See what MPG has been up to over the summer!