BY JUDY CARMACK BROSS
The Facets Screen Gems Benefit, which took place on May 5th, centered on celebration, fêting not only the media arts organization’s hard work – and its Oscar winners – but also, and most importantly, the career in early childhood education of its honoree, Harriet Meyer.
Chicago Tribune writer, and the evening’s master of ceremonies, Rick Kogan told the glamorous audience that films premiered at the Facets’ Chicago International Children’s Film Festival won eight Academy Awards this year and were nominated for 35. Milos Stehlik, who founded Facets over 40 years ago, noted that funds raised that night will benefit critical education programs for underserved children. Over 550,000 children are graduates of Facets’ programs. Audiences were delighted by the speeches given by two such young alums, showing eloquence beyond their years and such enthusiasm for their experiences with Facets.
Two short films captivated the 200 guests in the chic Arts Club theater: Bear Story, this year’s Oscar winner from Chile, which premiered at Facets in 2014, and a tribute to Harriet Meyer, President of the Ounce of Prevention Fund and tireless leader in advocacy for early education.
Benefit co-chairs Lisa Bailey, Doris Conant, Mitchell Cobey and Michael McPherson shared in telling Facets’ terrific story. And Mitch received special kudos for the chocolate bark he made for each table, a Facets tradition for the beloved caterer who is now retired. Christie’s Steven Zick masterfully conducted the paddle raise, adding substantial funds that evening towards scholarships.
Sue and Harvey Camins, Janet Reali, Noelle Brock and Tom Keim, Pat and Mike Koldyke, Suzette Bulley, Biba Roesch, Liz Stiffel, Bernice Weissbourd, Alice York and Aaron House, and Karen and Tom Howellwere spotted in the happy audience.
Funds for this year’s benefit will support scholarship tickets to the Chicago International Children’s Film Festival, documentary filmmaking immersion for at-risk middle school students, science and math-inspired animation and coding workshops, and the No Bullies Please! program, which teaches tools towards resolving conflict before it starts.