Flashpoint, the Academy of Media Arts and Sciences hosted a high profile party during the 2008 Sundance Film Festival to celebrate the best in independent filmmaking in Illinois. Held on Friday, January 18, 2008 from 7 to 9 p.m. at the SKY360º by Delta—Park City venue at 449 Main Street, Flashpoint Academy brought out the movers-and-shakers from the Illinois film and entertainment industries to rub elbows with the Hollywood indie moviemaking elite. The event recognized the Illinois Film Office and honored the festival premiere of “The Merry Gentleman,” filmed entirely in Illinois.

With Paula Froehle, Dean of Flashpoint Academy as hostess, the entire producing team of “The Merry Gentleman,” along with the writer Chicagoan Ron Lazzeretti attended the pre-reception to their critically received movie. With this being his directorial debut, actor Michael Keaton was welcomed by both Froehle and Betsy Steinberg, Managing Director of the Illinois Film Office, to a frenzy of flashbulbs before heading to the movie’s screening.Actor Jimmy Jean-Lewis of the hit NBC show HEROES, stopped by the party to support the growing motion picture community in Illinois along with countless others from the Hollywood film industry. Chicago was also well represented within the 300 guests that were in attendance with the likes of Ereka Vetrini, co-host of In The Loop with iVillage and Billy Dec, President and Partner of Rockit Ranch Productions along with the film’s cast and crew all making the trip from the "Windy City to Park City" for the Illinois independent film festivities.

As guests arrived they were treated to a darling pre-recorded introduction from Howard Tullman, President and CEO of Flashpoint Academy and Froehle followed directly by an entertaining and informative clips about the Academy on the eight plasma screens throughout the venue.The evening wrapped up with thanks from Froehle and Steinberg followed by a raffle prize of a weekend stay at the Peninsula Chicago, Keaton’s resident while shooting “The Merry Gentleman,” awarded to none other than one of the film’s producers and co-stars Tom Bastounes.

Kiran Advani
Group Director, Lifestyle