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"There's Always Another Movie", a film project.

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In our documentary, There's Always Another Movie, the acclaimed film critic Michael Wilmington faces professional and personal crises—making a transition from lead critic at a leading newspaper to writing for social media, while also dealing with his mother’s death and his Parkinson’s diagnosis—but all the while maintaining his lifelong passion for movies.

We have more than 80 hours of footage of Michael—a close friend of director Michael Reano—as he teaches classes, talks about his career and passion for the movies, visits his childhood home, throws a birthday party for his mother, and even acts in a short fiction film, Night of the Shrieking Dead, woven into our documentary. Now we need the funding to craft the footage into a gripping and inspiring film. Help us bring this important project one step closer to the finish line, so Michael Wilmington’s story can be told to the world! And be sure to watch our video at the top of this page.

We need $35K for post-production to complete the film.

Please give as generously as you can, at any dollar amount, but here are some suggested giving levels:

$20 $25 $50 $100 $500 $1000 $2500

A sum of $250 – and over - is eligible for a tax deduction using the FilmNorth fiscal sponsorship method. If you intend to give at the $250 level, or more, and a tax deduction is important to you, you can learn how to give to the production and receive a full tax deduction here.

Please note, our campaign's GoFundMe contributions are not tax-deductible.

Donations of $2000 and above will put you in the Producer’s Circle, with a special mention in the credits. But, donations of any size, whether $5 or $500, will make a big difference!

To provide an incentive for those who might like a Michael Wilmington treasure, we have made available a gift item of a favorite fable written by Michael Wilmington entitled “Bartholomew Croy and the Bubbula Bush”; a Seussian fable from the Feb. 2000 Chicago Tribune Magazine for anyone who gives $250 or over.

Everyone who contributes, at whatever level, will have their names appear in the final credits of the film.

Please consider a donation today.

I do take [reviews] seriously, the critics that I respect: Roger Ebert; Michael Wilmington; people like that.
Spike Lee/BBC interview 2004

About The Film

Our documentary feature film There’s Always Another Movie portrays the life of one of America’s great film critics, Michael Wilmington, as he faced professional and personal crises in the early 2000s. He lost his position as lead film critic of the Chicago Tribune in the midst of having to deal with his beloved mother’s death and later his own Parkinson’s diagnosis. And yet he continued to maintain his lifelong passion for movies. His story illustrates the plight of many writers in the arts as the culture shifted from print to social media; at the same time, it’s the story of a son and his mother: their devotion to the movies and each other.

Michael Reano met Michael Wilmington in 1974 at UW-Madison—the beginning of a long friendship based on a powerful interest in film. It was much later, when Michael was the lead film critic for the Chicago Tribune, that we had the idea of making a documentary about the life of a film critic who truly lived “a life in film.”

The Original "Research" Team

In 2000 with co-director and film-making partner Bud Young of Synapse Films, we started filming his classes and his activities at the Tribune as well as other locations around Chicago. We also sat down with Michael and other Chicago film people for interviews. Originally the film was going to be about a day in the life of the man Reano called “the hardest working film critic in the business.” The original title was 24 x 24 (24 frames per second, 24 hours a day); as his friend and colleague Dann Gire once said on camera, “Michael Wilmington’s life is the movies–he has no other life.” Of course, this was only partly true: we soon realized that another essential part of the story was Michael’s love and devotion to his mother, Edna, whom he took care of in her old age, until her death at 96.

In 2008, our story of Michael’s life took a dramatic turn when the Tribune forced him into early retirement as the lead film critic, and in 2013 he decided to move back to Los Angeles. One of our last sessions of filming with Mike was having him play a “fictional” role, as his film-reviewer alter ego Mick Wolverton, in a short comic film called Night of the Shrieking Dead, in which he shined as a writer and actor. Dwight Irwin joined our team in 2013 as director of photography for Night of the Shrieking Dead.. He is also part of the Synapse Films editorial staff and will be working with Bud Young on post-production.

Mindy Duvernet came on as a producer and story editor in 2019 to help with the project.

Sadly, Michael Wilmington passed away in 2022. Following the loss of our collaborator, inspiration and dear friend, we are faced with the task of completing our portrait of someone who had a very strong impact on our lives as filmmakers. With over 80 hours of footage recorded over all these years, our goal now is to raise the money to finish editing the film, for release in early 2024.

If you are interested in helping with this effort, please DONATE by clicking on the donate button. You can also comment on our website to let us know your interest and to provide your email, which will be added to our list for the There’s Always Another Movie Quarterly newsletter update. On Facebook, you can search for Michael Wilmington Film Critic and follow us there.

A Few Testimonials

I am counting on Michael Reano and Bud Young’s documentary to elevate Michael Wilmington to the place that he deserves: among America’s very greatest film critics. For we in the cinema world, “There’s Always Another Movie” is an essential work in our field. I, for one, can’t wait for it to be finished and become a staple at film festivals across America.

Gerald Peary, Film Critic, The Arts Fuse (Boston)

I look forward to the completion of this worthy documentary film project and know it will be a fitting and important tribute to a major American film critic and reviewer. "There’s Always Another Movie" will help elevate Mike Wilmington’s public profile as well, for his modesty and eccentricities somewhat limited the prominence he amply deserved. I was one of the cohosts for the recent online memorial tribute to Mike, which drew a large and enthusiastic audience of his admirers, and I believe that the film will also serve as a heartfelt, entertaining, and historically valuable tribute to Michael Wilmington. I strongly recommend that it be supported for funding.

Joseph McBride, Professor, School of Cinema San Francisco State University

Who We Are:


Michael Reano - Director, Producer, 2nd Camera. Michael is an independent filmmaker and artist. He received his MFA in Film Production and Film Theory/History from Ohio University. He has made more than 20 films and videos over the past 40 years. His work has been shown at film and video festivals nationally and has been showcased locally as part of the TPT/MNTV program. He has taught film/video courses at Columbia College in Chicago, as well as colleges in Massachusetts, Nebraska, and New Jersey. Reano was a recipient of a Minnesota State Arts Board Artist Initiative Grant in 2004. He has also taught film classes locally for Film North, St. Scholastica, and Minneapolis Community Technical College. He received a Jerome Travel and Study grant in 2010, during which he spent time with artist James Benning of the California Institute of the Arts. Currently, he works in freelance video production. Reano is most recently the director of Night of the Shrieking Dead.

Bud Young – Co-director, Producer, Director of Photography, Editor. Bud is an award-winning video producer, writer, videographer and editor of documentary or corporate projects for companies including Kraft Foods, Motorola and Blue Cross Blue Shield; educational institutions such as The Art Institute of Chicago and non-profits like the Jewish United Fund and Catholic Charities. Co-owner of one of the oldest video production companies in Chicago: Synapse Film & Video Inc, Bud also volunteered his time to travel to Africa to make an AIDS documentary to help the people of Lesotho, Africa in 2005 and has mentored students in Chicago housing projects in a filmmaking program. After graduating from Rochester Institute of Technology in 1979 with a BFA in filmmaking, Bud worked as a film editor in Buffalo, New York before moving to Chicago and founding Synapse in 1986.

Mindy DuVernet - Story Editor, Producer. Mindy graduated with a BA from the University of Minnesota, and she has an Associate Degree in Filmmaking from Film in the Cities. She has spent most of her career working for Fortune 500 companies as an Analyst. She has served on the board of the Screenwriters Workshop from its inception in 1988 to 1992 as VP of Communications. While she makes her home in Minnesota, she often travels to Portland, Oregon. Her work includes two novels: Pushkin’s Ode to Liberty (about the life and loves of Alexander Pushkin, the Russian poet) and Bones of Skull Island (a middle-grade young adult book about a boy who embarks on an archaeological adventure with his amateur archaeologist father and encounters a 700,000-year-old hobbit and Bigfoot).

These three filmmakers, along with award-winning director/producer Chris Newberry, have joined forces to make this film. Mike, Bud, and Mindy all have their own stories about their love of movies, and they are deeply touched by Michael Wilmington’s passion for film and his legacy. They are dedicated to honoring Michael’s life by telling an unsparing, comprehensive, and hopeful story of how he touched so many lives. Our film begins as a simple story about a writer’s passion for the movies, but along the way, as his life unfolds, it reveals the struggles and disappointments of that man, as well as his resilience, through his continuing love of cinema as an entertaining and revelatory art.

Thank You!
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Donations 

  • Maureen Kane Berg
    • $100 
    • 22 d
  • Emily Bartolme
    • $150 
    • 1 mo
  • Anonymous
    • $15 
    • 2 mos
  • Susan Bartolme
    • $20 
    • 2 mos
  • John Mammarappallil
    • $300 
    • 10 mos
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Organiser

Michael Reano
Organiser
Apple Valley, MN

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