Thursday, July 20, 2017

Gene Siskel Film Center announces Associate Producers board


New Junior Board Works to Further Film Center’s Mission to
Present the Best in Filmmaking

The Gene Siskel Film Center (GSFC) of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago announces the inaugural Associate Producers board, a dynamic group of 25 – 40-year-old movie-lovers who will work in conjunction with the Advisory Board to further the Film Center’s mission of presenting eclectic international films, festivals and repertory series.

“It has always been a goal of the Film Center to create a junior board that will work to elevate the mission of the Gene Siskel Film Center through events and programs geared to celebrating our curated film program and attracting a younger audience,” said GSFC Executive Director Jean de St. Aubin. “We are thrilled to launch the Associate Producers with this extraordinary group of diverse, talented and eager young professionals, and we look forward to ushering in a new chapter for the Film Center.

Co-chaired by Katie Gorman and Carly Leviton, the initial group of members also includes Aymar Jean Christian, Felicia Mings, Sylvia Piszczor, Mary Elizabeth Rankin, Nicholas Serpico and Jewell Singletary. The group will work together to create and host new events, cultivate new relationships with community partners and expand the Gene Siskel Film Center’s reach to new audiences.

For more information or inquiries on the Associate Producers, please contact Dionne Smith at (312) 846-2072.

About the Associate Producers

Aymar Jean Christian
Aymar Jean Christian is an assistant professor of communication studies at Northwestern University and a Fellow at the Peabody Media Center. Dr. Christian’s first book, Open TV: Innovation Beyond Hollywood and the Rise of Web Television by New York University Press, argues the web brought innovation to television by opening development to independent producers. His work has been published in numerous academic journals, including The International Journal of CommunicationCinema JournalContinuum, and Transformative Works and Cultures. He leads Open TV (beta), a research project and platform for television by queer, trans and cis-women and artists of color. Open TV (beta) programming partners have included the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Art Institute of Chicago, Block Museum of Art, and City of Chicago, along with numerous galleries, community organizations, and universities. He has juried television and video for the Peabody Awards, Gotham Awards, Streamy Awards, and Tribeca Film Festival, among others. His blog, Televisual, is an archive of over 500 posts chronicling the rise of the web TV market, and he has written regular reports on TV and new media for IndiewireThe Wall Street JournalSlate and Tubefilter. He received a PhD from the University of Pennsylvania.

Katie Gorham
Bio forthcoming.

Carly Leviton
With more than eight years of experience in public relations, Carly Leviton is the Vice President at Carol Fox and Associates. She has worked on extensive Public Relations campaigns with clients including EXPO CHICAGO, The Auditorium Theatre, Chicago Trolley & Double Decker Co., The Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, The Chicago International Film Festival, Kavi Gupta Gallery, The Chicago Artists Coalition, Arts Alliance Illinois, River North Dance Chicago and the Gene Siskel Film Center, among others. Prior to joining CF&A, Leviton worked at the Goodman Theatre where she was able to foster her love of theater and the arts. Originally from Wilmette, IL, Carly received a Bachelor of Science degree in Journalism from Indiana University with a minor in Theater.

Felicia Mings
Felicia Mings is the Academic Curator in the Department of Academic Engagement and Research at the Art Institute of Chicago, where she leads the Andrew W. Mellon Summer Academy and Undergraduate Curatorial Fellowship Program, and assists with the Chicago Object Study Initiative (COSI). Mings’ scholarship and practice is focused on the intersections between curatorship, community-based arts education and contemporary art of the African diaspora. She has created educational programs and exhibitions such as Body and Soul at the Gene Siskel Film Center (2015), What We All Long For at SAIC’s Student Union Galleries (2014), Fine Color a series of short films for the Chicago Home Theater Festival (2014) and the Youth Film Club at Theaster Gates’ Black Cinema House (2013). Mings has also been a part of the inaugural teams at Nia Center for the Arts and the Council of Educators of Toronto, two not-for-profit organizations that work to enhance educational attainment, access to the arts and socio-economic opportunities for youth. Mings received her MA in Visual and Critical Studies from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2014 and her Honors BA in Art and Art History from the University of Toronto and Sheridan College in 2008.

Sylvia Piszczor
Over the past 8 years Piszcor has led a career in IT services, supporting fundraising entities of large, multi-layered healthcare systems. Within that time, she’s developed an interest in global aid and population growth/growth management. As a Systems and Application Analyst, she focuses on aligning fundraising business strategies with appropriate enterprise software solutions to allowing non-profits to better and more broadly deliver their mission throughout the communities they serve. Sylvia is bCRE-Pro certified, holds a BA in Architecture from Miami University in Ohio and is currently pursuing a MS in Global Health from Northwestern University.

Mary Elizabeth Rankin
Mary Elizabeth Rankin joined Chicago Loop Alliance in February 2017 after relocating back to the United States from London, England. Chicago Loop Alliance promotes and unites Loop businesses and organizations to support one another in creating a vibrant, flourishing Loop where people live, work, and play. In her role as Marketing Director, she is responsible for the implementation of the consumer marketing strategy targeting Loop workers, tourists and visitors. During her time in the London, Rankin held the position of Communications Manager at The Portman Estate, the property owner and management company of 110 acres across Marylebone in London’s West End. Previously, she led the communications strategy for Heart of London Business Alliance, a Business Improvement District (BID) representing 500 businesses and property owners in the West End. She was responsible for leading Heart of London’s B2B activity for destination marketing initiatives such as London Luxury Quarter, developing the communications strategy to establish the UK’s first Property Owner BIDs and project managing the West End’s involvement in Lumiere London. She holds an MA in Marketing Communications from University of Westminster and a BBA in International Business from University of Georgia.

Nicholas Serpico
As a Chicago native, Nicholas Serpico is a travel-lover crippled by the belief that there’s no place like home, and that home is far too cold 6 months a year. He fell in love with film when he learned that watching movies is the best way to travel without getting off the couch. When Nick isn’t spending his time watching the Great British Bake Off, he’s at Exelon, where he does his part to keep Exelon the best energy company in America – and that’s an objective fact.

Jewell Singletary
Jewell Singletary started her career in the fashion industry over 20 years ago as a sales associate.  She later studied at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City to work her way off the sales floor and into executive retail buying and wholesale offices across the country.  Throughout her career Singletary has lived and worked in every major U.S. city from New York to Los Angeles.  She currently resides in Chicago while working as a sales analyst for Nike, Inc.  While earning a bachelor’s degree at Rutgers University, she studied technical, foreign and American film which spurred a lifelong love of film as a visual art form. 
About the Gene Siskel Film Center
Since 1972, the Gene Siskel Film Center of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago has presented cutting edge cinema to an annual audience of 80,000. The Film Center’s programming includes annual film festivals that celebrate diverse voices and international cultures, premieres of trailblazing work by today’s independent filmmakers, restorations and revivals of essential films from cinema history, and insightful provocative discussions with filmmakers and media artists. Altogether, the Film Center hosts over 1,600 screenings and 200 filmmaker appearances every year. The Film Center was renamed the Gene Siskel Film Center in 2000 after the late, nationally celebrated film critic, Gene Siskel. Visit to learn more and find out what’s playing today.
About the School of the Art Institute of Chicago
For more than 150 years, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) has been a leader in educating the world’s most influential artists, designers and scholars. Located in downtown Chicago with a fine arts graduate program consistently ranking among the top programs in the nation by U.S. News and World Report, SAIC provides an interdisciplinary approach to art and design as well as world-class resources, including the Art Institute of Chicago museum, on-campus galleries and state-of-the-art facilities. SAIC’s undergraduate, graduate and post-baccalaureate students have the freedom to take risks and create the bold ideas that transform Chicago and the world—as seen through notable alumni and faculty such as Michelle Grabner, David Sedaris, Elizabeth Murray, Richard Hunt, Georgia O’Keeffe, Cynthia Rowley, Nick Cave, Jeff Koons and LeRoy Neiman.

The Gene Siskel Film Center and SAIC are part of The Art Institute of Chicago. For more information about the Art Institute please visit

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