Ruth Louise Ratny, founder and editor of ReelChicago and Screen Magazine – and a friend to those of us at Mobius Awards and US International Film & Video Festival – died Feb. 21 in her sleep. The only daughter of German immigrants who settled in Chicago, she jumped from high school to become a dedicated and successful supporter of the Chicago film and advertising communities.
At the beginning of her career, Ruth worked as a producer in the post-production industry and earned an Emmy. In 1979, she founded the print-based advertising and film publication Screen Magazine and served as editor and publisher for 23 years before selling it in 2001. She founded the digitally exclusive ReelChicago.com in 2004 and continued editing and writing much of the publication’s content until last week. She filed her final story on Feb. 10, 2017.
Along the way, Ruth earned distinction as a Chicago and Midwest Ad Woman of the Year, a member of Today’s Women Chicago 100 Hall of Fame, an honoree on Newcity Magazine’s “Film 50” list, a recipient of the Hugo Legend Film Award and a recipient of the Chicago Film Critics Award, among others. Additionally, she served on dozens of film juries, discussion panels, volunteer organizations and awards shows.
Lee Gluckman, also a Chicago native and chairman of Mobius Awards and US International Film & Video Festival, which were founded in Chicago, had known Ruth “going back to the late ‘60s not long after I formed Producers Group Ltd., a Chicago-based production company,” he said. “I always had great respect for her approach and opinions on everything about the business in Chicago. It seemed that she knew everyone who was anyone in in advertising and film.”
Gluckman, now based in Los Angeles, kept in touch with Ruth occasionally in person and more often by phone. “She had a sharp wit and strong opinions, but she was usually right. I will miss her,” Gluckman said.
In her personal time, Ruth completed two film scripts that generated a number of offers, but none of them matched the deal that she had hoped for. One was a love story about a young couple on different sides of the U.S./Mexican border; the other, a feature documentary about Mahalia Jackson, “The Queen of Soul,” who earned her fame and spent much of her career in Chicago. Ruth was also a fierce supporter of liberal causes, especially those devoted to women and children. Her contributions to charitable organizations would have been legendary if she had chosen to publicize them, according to her staff at ReelChicao.com.
Thursday, February 23, 2017
Wednesday, February 8, 2017
As part of the 50th anniversary competition of FilmFest, we are revisiting past winners and have uncovered some real gems. “The Show Must Go On” video promoting the band Queen’s “Greatest Hits II” album was certainly one of those. This film is a rich to watch now as it was on first release. It received a Gold Camera award in the 1992 US International Film & Video Festival.
The Vienna, Austria, team of Rudi Dolezal and Hannes Rossacher –DoRo—won for the video, which was a montage of clips from the group’s 1981 to 1991 videos. Last year, Rossacher spoke to the 2016 gathering of the Queen Fan Club about working on the video. Queen’s “Latest Hits II” compact disc was released in the UK in October 199 and in the U.S. in February 1992.
Dolezal and Rossacher started in the industry producing TV series for Austrian and German stations. Then they stormed the music video world. DoRo produced a string of videos for artists that included The Rolling Stones, David Bowie, Miles Davis, and Frank Zappa. The team also produced documentaries, most related to the music world. The pair are known as the “Torpedo Twins” when they work together.
Both men ontinue to work as directors and producers. Dolezal’s credits include “Austropop-Legenden” (2012) and “Freddie Mercury, the Untold Story” (2000). Rossacher produced “Elvis in Las Vegas” in 2010, among other works.
Read more about Queen here: The Show Must Go On Promo
View the promo video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t99KH0TR-J4
View the promo video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t99KH0TR-J4
You can see his talk at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KepjnnHif_I
Monday, February 6, 2017
By VERN OAKLEY
CEO, Tribe Pictures
With 2016 finally in the rearview mirror, it seems like a good time to reflect on the trends we see happening in the world of video and how they may be addressed in 2017 and beyond.
1) Welcome to the video tsunami. Video is by far the way more and more people want to receive messages and information. We're at the crest of the wave, and the surf is up. By 2020, 84 percent of all Internet traffic will be video. That's an astounding number.
2) Video continues to move in-house. Many of the Global 1,000 corporations have in-house video departments. We worked with more internal video departments in 2016 than in any other year. The middle market is looking to outsource the whole video thing and avoid staff and space allocations.
3) There's a lot of bad video out there. The barrier to entry is so low in terms of money for the equipment, and business is so thirsty for video, which means that there is a profusion of mediocre video and much of it is ignored. Don’t believe me? Spend 10 minutes on YouTube, pick a category, and look at few videos and check out the number of views.
4) Smart businesses demand ROI and ROI demands context. To understand and create effective video content is a skill unto itself. What distinguishes the merely acceptable from the truly great in our field is an advanced level of strategic and creative thinking, a firm grip on the business challenges, and the societal context your audience is experiencing.
5) Virtual Reality is a contender. We've barely scratched the surface of VR's massive potential for corporate and institutional applications. While VR is currently in the "trough of uncertainty" stage of its development, there's no doubt that more immersive and interactive video experiences are here to stay. We [Tribe] did some exciting work with BASF with 360-degree video in 2016 and will continue to do a lot more of it in the coming years.
6) Culture beats strategy. Cultural differentiators are the most surefire (some might say only) way to stand out in a crowded global business environment. It starts at the top – no secret there. Most of Tribe’s work over the last year can all be categorized under the umbrella of "culture.” We found we have helped our clients most when solving a specific communication challenge around building and improving a company's culture.
7) Video is more global than ever. Video is the only truly common world language. Global companies, with global viewpoints balanced with U.S.-based operations; that sums up much of Tribe's 2016 corporate client list: Allergan, Pfizer, BASF, UBS, Verizon, KPMG, Colgate-Palmolive, BD, American Express, Stanley Black & Decker, Hubbel, Hess, Vera Wang and Lonza.
8) 30 Years of Pattern Recognition. Tribe celebrated 30 years in business in 2016, and while we're not patting ourselves on the back too much (we did pause for a celebratory Tribe lunch!), we feel we are at the top of our game, but must keep climbing higher. Having 30 years of experience allows us to notice patterns and execute projects in a more cohesive, cogent manner and more efficiently. (And we also have some very dynamic young people on staff to keep us honest and up-to-date.)
9) Business has two speeds: faster and faster. So much of our work in 2016 was completed under tight time constraints. This is result of the speed of business and the reality of the lives of our clients. In order to serve them properly, we need to understand their pressure and work with it. To survive and thrive we have to be a nimble business and so we've learned how to assemble pop-up teams at a moment's notice, and how to do great creative work under duress.
10) Publishing a book reveals who you are - really. This is a more personal one. I wrote a book called Leadership in Focus: Bringing Out Your Best on Camera, which will be published by Greenleaf in April of 2017. Figuring out just what I wanted to say and then the best way to share that message with the world has been an unparalleled experience and a lesson in self-discovery.