Two companies came together to establish a brand new headquarters for Chicago’s indie filmmaking community. On Friday, July 12th, the official launch of the new space with the Grand Opening event Striking! attracted over 350 guests to celebrate it together with Eleven04 and Third Beacon. 


During the Grand Opening, there were many highlights for filmmakers to pay attention to. First, was definitely about the space. We introduced most of the features of the space to all guests - an innovative co-working space designed for filmmakers, a 10-person conference room, an editing suite, a full-service kitchen, a spacious lounge, two warehouses, and a 40’x40’ sound stage. 


We transformed the space for the event and shows what it’s capable of to filmmakers. We had collaborations with local artists, and turned our long hallway into an artwork showcase space. In the kitchen area, we provided free beer, milk tea from Hello Jasmine, food from Northern Fork, snacks, and drinks. Guests were playing video games in our lounge area where we plan to have more game nights for filmmakers to gather in the future. 


Through the collaboration with a Production Design company Invisible Landscapes, we created a space with three elaborately designed sets in one of our warehouses. Three DPs were invited to design and light the sets. These three sets turned out to be a popular spot to surprise people at the night. 


Before the event, we collected over one hundred submissions of local filmmakers’ short films and selected eight films to compose an one-hour short films screening at our sound stage during the event.   In the future, we will host more film screenings from and for the local filmmakers.


Light Modifier also joined us as a partner to create the lighting ambiance at the space. They are a local lighting equipment rental house, and their lighting effect created a really dreamy atmosphere for us. 


Finally, the highlight of the night was definitely the raffle. We had partners that generously provided a lot of amazing and practical prizes to our guests. Here is a special shout out to all of our partners. Without you, we couldn’t have done it. Abelcine, ActionVFX, Blackmagic Design, Filmstro, Hurlbut Academy, iZotope, Light Modifier, Musicbox Theater, Triune Films, Writerduet, thank you all! 


The Grand Opening event was a blast for 350 Chicago filmmakers to gather and connect with each other. This is the goal for the event, we want to create more opportunities to unite all Chicago indie filmmakers and photographers. Networking and connection is the key in this industry, and by creating an inclusive Chicago filmmakers community here at Indie Co-Lab, we believe all indie filmmakers can grow with each other.