The Chicago Film Office, a division of the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) developed a 8-week hands-on skill-based program in partnership with local production, costumes, and camera industry unions and post-production.
The 25 students selected to participate have begun attending virtual and onsite instruction. Each participant is developing specific skill sets in production, editing, accounting, hair/make-up, costumes, grip, lighting, camera and many more industry pathways. A few students have also had the opportunity to work on the set of local productions, shadowing working professionals. One of those students is Jane Georges. A resident artist of the Chicago Art Department in Pilsen. Jane is a student in our set decorator pathway. She receives regular instruction at Big City Sets onsite at MK Studios provided by I.A.T.S.E. Local 476 - Chicago Studio Mechanics union trainers. Jim Hartnett Jr. 476 Training Coordinator says, "The students participating in the ChicagoMade program are displaying a strong desire to learn and work in our industry, and the instructors have all made mention of their positive attitudes and willingness to learn."
Brianna Cokley and Jubril Adeagbo are also ChicagoMade students who have participated in an onset production utilizing their new camera skills during pre-production on a new episodic series from FX. Brianna and Jubril also contributed to the preparation and shooting of a TV commercial. Over the last four weeks both students attended on-site classes at equipment rental houses - Keslow Camera and Panavision Chicago, instructed by International Cinematographers Guild, IATSE Local 600 trainers. Peter Kuttner, a Chicago-based Local 600 camera technician with over 45 years of feature and TV experience acts as a liaison between IATSE Local 600 and the ChicagoMade program. “ChicagoMade has been a longtime coming. As a lifelong Chicagoan, I am proud that my city sees the need to diversify our workforce in a very real way by paving a path to employment.”
As graduation approaches, students are preparing for upcoming internships and employment opportunities. The Chicago Film Office is coordinating partnerships with independent filmmakers as well as big budget studio productions like Netflix, NBC, and Disney starting this Spring.
The ChicagoMade program is managed by XD Technology Industry. A 10 year old latino owned MBE firm that has been responsible for delivering innovative workforce development solutions in the form of sustainable skill-based programs. Aimed at servicing the economic development needs of local residents throughout Chicago’s under-resourced neighborhoods. XD Tech CEO Xavier Hernandez states “Our goal is to transform this region's TV and Film industry into one of America’s most competitive sectors by 2025.” For more information and partnership connections please visit www.xdtechindustry.com/