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Thursday, Oct. 4, 2012 03:31 pm

Hollywood comes to Petersburg

Everyone wants to be a movie star. That’s why actors who are “discovered” have such popular stories: they are everyday people plucked from everyday life and chosen to ascend the staircase to fame. Central Illinois acting hopefuls have a chance to meet some film and television veterans at a film convention later this month – and maybe even get discovered themselves.

Filmmaker Bob Bartel of Springfield is hosting the Central Illinois Film Expo and Trade Show in Petersburg on Oct. 26 and 27, bringing in writers, actors and an executive from one of the largest studios in the country.

Bartel is a member of the Central Illinois Film Commission, which promotes filmmaking in Illinois. He previously made a documentary film, A Beatle in Benton, Illinois, about a visit that George Harrison made to Illinois in 1963, before The Beatles made it big in America.

Though Bartel held a similar expo in 2011, he says this year is scheduled to be bigger and busier. He plans to have speakers ranging from James Betts, former head of the set department at Paramount Studios in Los Angeles, to Jonathan Rose, son of Reginald Rose, who wrote the 1957 classic film Twelve Angry Men. Alex Pissios, president of Cinespace Chicago Film Studios, is scheduled to talk about the company’s production space, which has hosted shows like NBC’s upcoming firefighter drama “Chicago Fire” and a new MTV series “Underemployed.” Bartel says his cousin Renee Russo, who stars on the VH1 reality series “Mob Wives Chicago,” will attend, and Bartel has invited the cast of “Chicago Fire,” which recently wrapped up shooting and debuts on Oct. 10. The event will feature casting calls, seminars on makeup and set design, film screenings and more.

“It’s like Hollywood comes to Petersburg,” Bartel says. “We have actors, models, makeup artists, dancers and more. We’re promoting the performing arts so that people will know we are doing things in Springfield and in Central Illinois.”

The expo is scheduled for Oct. 26 and 27 at the Riverbank Lodge, 522 South Sixth St. in Petersburg. Tickets are $15 for students, $20 for members of the Central Illinois Film Commission, and $25 for non-members. For more information, contact Bob Bartel at 960-0526 or robpb1@comcast.net.  
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