AICP Midwest Chapter to Sponsor 2024 Chiditarod Team

The Midwest Chapter of AICP is taking to the streets with its first-ever sponsorship of a team in the 2024 edition of Chiditarod. With the cheeky, ‘Blues Brothers’ inspired name “Mission from God,” the AICP Midwest team is crewed by a group of independent freelance production assistants familiar to anyone who’s films in Chicago before, ably assisted by a core group of Midwest Chapter members.

Donations for the Chiditarod team will benefit the Greater Chicago Food Depository, which has been the beneficiary of AICP MW food drives in the past, all of which were channeled through the annual AICP Cares initiative. In a shift, the Midwest Chapter opted to donate a portion of proceeds from its gala screening of the 2023 AICP Awards, which was held last November. According to Midwest Chapter President Lisa Masseur of Tessa Films, the AICP Awards donation was enough to provide over 8,300 meals to needy families and individuals in the Chicago area.

To support the Chiditarod team, donation pledges are being accepted at the “Mission From God” page on the Chiditarod website, located here. Mushing on the MFG team will be Matt Bette, Ethan Eldridge, Jaime Herrera, Patrick Jennings, Cynthia Morales, Donavon Price, Sam Ramsey, Brandon Stevenson, Luis Trevino and Alex Von Bruchhaueser. Their unofficial trainer/manager is Jim Shearer of Essanay Studio & Lighting.

Pictured clockwise from lower left are Jim Shearer, Jaime Herrera, Alex Von Bruchhauser, Ethan Eldridge, Luis Trevino, Patrick Jennings, Matt Bette, Brandon Stevenson, Sam Ramsey, Irec Kriske, Cynthia Morales and Donavan Price.

Food donations for the “Mission From God” cart are being collected at various locations around Chicago. The team needs to collect a minimum of 140 pounds of non-perishable, shelf-stable food items to stock their carts before the event, which takes place on Saturday, March 2. Donations are being accepted the the following locations:

  • Essanay Studio & Lighting: 1346 N North Branch St.
  • Resolution Studios: 2226 W Walnut St.
  • Optimus: 161 E. Grand Ave.
  • Cutters: 515 N. State St. 25th fl.
  • Pilsen Studios: 2303 W 18th St.
  • Tessa Films/Quriosity Prods./STORY: 106 N Aberdeen St.

Now in its 19th year, Chiditarod is a combination charity food drive, fundraiser and, as it says on its website, “chaos generator.” Billed as an “Epic Urban Shopping Cart Race,” the event is essentially a mobile food drive, in which teams drive gaudily-decorated bespoke shopping carts laden with donated food through the streets of Chicago. In addition, the various teams are backed by dollar donation pledges, the proceeds of which are designed to help alleviate food insecurity experienced by those living in food deserts or impacted by rising food costs. 

Here’s a little more about the event, courtesy of WGN News…

“Our team has borrowed its name from what’s probably one of the most memorable and funniest films to be set in Chicago, and like Jake and Elwood Blues, our PAs are on a mission from god to feed the hungry,” says Shearer, who was assisted in pulling the team together by French Butter EP Irec Kriske and independent VFX EP Laurie Adrianopoli. “It’s our hope that the production community  here in Chicago, along with the agencies and clients based here, will pitch in to make the Mission From God team’s ride a huge success.”

Adds Masseur, “Efforts like these are an important part of our Chapter’s mission to not only serve our industry, but to contribute to the greater good of the communities in which we live and work.”

The Midwest Chapter members helping drive this effort urge all interested parties to come and cheer the “Mission From God” team as they hit the streets in their very first race. For details on the Chiditarod starting point and best places to watch, check out their race info page on their website here.

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