Chicago Nitrate is dedicated to preserving the silent film industry's connection to Chicago. It was created by Janelle Vreeland and Gary Keller. If you wish to contact either of them, please fill out the form on our Contact page.
Janelle Vreeland is a former volunteer for Essanay Studios in Chicago. During her stay, she built, created and managed social media accounts for Essanay and maintained the official site. She did research on behalf of the studio, and worked on-site during the studio's open house during Open House Chicago 2013. She also networked with other silent film fans, bloggers and supporters to help build awareness of the studio. In addition, she built and promoted a crowdfunding project that would have helped restore the iconic Essanay entrance and would've laid the foundation for the establishment of the Essanay Centers for Early Film and Cultural Performance.
In addition to her work for Essanay, Vreeland has written several silent film and Chicago hisotry-related pieces for a variety of online publications, including Classic Movie Hub, The Chicago Architecture Blog and Reel Chicago. She also maintains a separate silent film blog dedicated to silent film-related reviews, as well as brief biographies of lesser known and forgotten silent stars, called Curtains.
Professionally, Vreeland has worked as a writer and editor for a nationally distributed collegiate magazine, has been a ghostwriter for local and national corporations, and has helped build, manage and maintain social media accounts and blogs for local and national corporations.
Gary Keller is CEO of Xomix Ltd, a Chicago based accelerator for global technology commercialization and strategic initiatives. He has previously served as Vice President of Essanay Studios and Strategic Initiatives at St. Augustine College and was responsible for the restoration and reuse of the iconic entrance and Studios A/Charlie Chaplin Auditorium of Essanay Studios as the Essanay Centers for Early Film and Cultural Performance.
Keller served as President of the Uptown Historical Society based on his expertise in the history of film in Uptown, restored the John Ferris House in Sheridan Park, and has held numerous leadership roles related to the redevelopment of Uptown as an entertainment district. He appeared as a historic preservationist related to the Uptown Theatre and Essanay Studios in the 2013 documentary film Save the Paramount by Hemmings House on the restoration of an art Deco Theatre in New Brunswick, Canada. As well, he participated in the development and moderated portions of the 2014 Open Innovation Conference of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) specifically related to the film industry.
Gary Keller is an executive leader in the technology business development, fundraising, corporation relations and strategic technology based partnerships. Keller has significant experience in intellectual property, strategic initiatives, the establishment of new organizations and companies.
Uptown Chicago Initiatives: (partial)
• Restoration of John Ferris House, Nickelodeon and Silent Film Theatre Owner 1996-2002
• Founder and President – Uptown Historical Society – 1997-2002
• Board Member – Uptown Chicago Commission – 1999- 2002
• Board Member – Uptown Theatre and Center for the Arts – 2001-2003
• UPCORP Entertainment Planning Committee – 1997-1999
• Wilson Yards Planning Committee – 1998-1999