Big enough the blind can see
Heart of the 'hood
05/09/2012 10:00 PM
Johnny Arreola knew when he decided to start Vision Films — a local movie production company — that he wanted to make the business into something monumental, as a tribute to his mom, Lydia.
“My mother is blind,” explained Arreola, the former Tony of “Tony & Tina’s Wedding,” at Piper’s Alley. “I wanted to create something special in Chicago, big enough so she could see it without seeing it.”
Arreola has been busy creating that special something for his mom, a romantic comedy called In Between Engagements, which not only stars local actors but also Hollywood honey Armand Assante. Arreola and his crew have been filming all around the Skyline area, and I caught up with him at the movie star-like, Mag Mile condo of Kathy Posner. They’ve also shot scenes on the lakefront, at Cite in Lake Point Tower, Yolk in Streeterville and Topo Gigio in Old Town.
Arreola has also been doing some serious dealing on the fourth floor of the Mag Mile’s Omni Hotel. He signed an agreement with Assante to create movies together, naming the company On 4 Entertainment (Get it?). He said he has “a dedicated crew looking to build the industry here in Chicago.”
“It’s one of my dreams to use the landmarks, the great talents and the great crews in this city,” said Arreola, executive producer of the feature length indie movie. “Chicago has great talent, great people.”
In Between Engagements, a romantic comedy which Arreola said will premiere in July, is like “The Hangover,” but in Woody Allen style, taking place during one wild and crazy night. And when Arreola finishes this film, he’ll immediately tackle HOA (Home Owners Association), a “Caddyshack-like” movie. For that, he’s working on landing Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd and/or Tim Allen.
Meanwhile, “This movie is going to be a lot of fun,” Arreola, 36, said of Engagements.
“You only live once, and I gotta do things that are big enough for my mother to see,” he said.
Go Johnny go … Cook County Commissioner John Fritchey was one of a bunch of brave (or crazy?) souls recently rappelling about 280 feet down the side of the 27-story Wit Hotel downtown. He did so during the Skyline Plunge, hosted by the Respiratory Health Association of Metropolitan Chicago to raise funds/awareness for local lung disease research and programs.
Fritchey said he, “simply couldn’t resist getting involved.” As someone who lost a mother to lung cancer, I thank him whole-heartedly.