Chicago Pilots Heating Up

Chicago Pilots Heating Up

The highly competitive New York TV Festival (NYTVF) considers thousands of the best pilots from all over the world for its annual festival. This year, FIVE Midwest-made pilots - four out of Chicago - were selected. Coming up this Tuesday at the Midwest Independent Film Festival in Chicago, attendees can enjoy all five pilots and meet the creators at their annual Midwest Pilot Showcase.

You can check out the full list of pilots, enjoy the trailers and purchase your tickets at

MEET BOBBY AND IZA... THEN VOTE FOR THEM: NBC has announced that Chicago improvisers and writing team Bobby Richards and Avery Lee are NBC Playground finalists. NBC Playground is the network’s first national grassroots comedy initiative. Out of over 2,100 applicants, Richards and Lee were chosen as one of eight finalists to produce a pilot presentation.

"It’s exciting to be the only team not in New York or LA," said Avery Lee. "And it's been great representing Chicago, where we’ve been able to work with some of the country's smartest, funniest talent, both in front of and behind the camera."

Their pilot is called BOBBY & IZA. It is about a young couple living in Chicago, dealing with meddling parents and career chaos, while planning for their future. The pilot was directed by Second City alum Alex Fendrich, and produced by PJ Fishwick and Cap Gun Collective.

Here's where you come in... Bobby & Iza is available on the NBC Playground website for an online vote through September 3. The winner will be developed as a digital show.

Richards invites you to watch. "We can't wait for people to see our show. A win means more opportunity for Chicago comedy to work with NBC." So get out and vote, people! Repeatedly! Today!

PUBLIC ACCESS GETTING ATTENTION: Writer/Director Kevin Hanna's TV comedy pilot PUBLIC ACCESS made its Midwest Premiere this past Saturday August 29th at the 20th Annual Indie Gathering International Film Festival, and walked away with some lovely accolades as 2nd Place Comedy TV Pilot Award Winner. Do you love 30 ROCK or PARKS AND RECREATION? Are you a fan of WKRP IN CINCINNATI or THE OFFICE? PUBLIC ACCESS might be your not-so-guilty pleasure to fill the absence. The pilot was filmed in Evanston, producers include John Xydis, cast includes Jillian Weingart, Mark Ursa, Wendye Clarendon, Christopher Biewer and Michelle Thompson-Hay. As PUBLIC ACCESS continues its run toward a potential series, I'll keep you posted!

Mike McNamara is the Co-Founder of The Midwest Independent Film Festival, Mike pays his rent as an actor in Chicago in theatre, commercials, television and film. More from Mac at