When Kim Palka, the manager at Grumpy’s Café in Riverside, noticed what looked like a film crew setting up shop in the St. Mary School parking lot early Saturday morning, she did what any good marketing-minded person would do – she brought over some iced coffee.
A half-hour later, about 6 a.m., Grumpy’s had become the makeshift production office for a commercial shoot featuring a Riverside resident and an internationally famous clothing designer.
“They were the nicest people in the world,” said Palka, noting that as many as seven people were camped out inside the small coffee shop, preparing for the day’s shooting schedule, which included stops at a home on East Burlington Street and the Riverside Public Library.
Attempts by the Landmark to talk to production staffers proved fruitless – “We all signed non-disclosure agreements,” said the man in charge of the makeshift production office inside Grumpy’s – as were attempts to contact the Riverside woman, Summer Rio, chosen to star in the commercial. She likely was under orders not to talk either.
But it wasn’t too hard to find the outline of the commercial and the part it will play in a cross-promotional ad campaign being rolled out this fall by Chevrolet and clothing designer Isaac Mizrahi.
A little more than a month ago, online casting calls in four cities – Chicago, New York, Los Angeles and Miami – were trumpeting a “documentary-style” campaign that would feature Mizrahi, one woman from each city and the Chevy Malibu.
Kim Houston Casting, which was looking for a likely candidate in Miami, let it be known that “Chevy Malibu is casting for fabulously, successful women, age 30-40 years,” who are “outgoing, friendly, passionate and a bit of a fashionista! These women must know their labels!”
The women selected would be Mizrahi’s local “guide” and the commercial, of course, heavily features Mizrahi’s “signature Chevy Malibu.”
Rio appears to have been a natural. A former art teacher at Morton West High School in Berwyn, she’s now a graduate student in art education at Northern Illinois University, according to an online profile.
“The content created from each featured woman’s day with Isaac will be broken into six different video segments that will air online,” according to Kim Houston Casting.
In addition, Mizrahi and each of the women apparently will make a TV appearance plugging the car and Mizrahi’s work, including “an accessory inspired by each woman” that Mizrahi will design.
On Saturday, film crews first set up across the street from the St. Mary parking lot at Rio’s home, where a shiny new Chevy Malibu was parked in the driveway. In the afternoon, the setting shifted to the Riverside Public Library.
Mizrahi and Rio did several takes, getting out of a white Malibu parked in front of the library and then casually walking toward the rear of the vehicle while Mizrahi expounded on the car’s stylish design.
The filming was not particularly intrusive, apart from prohibiting parking on Burling Road by the library. A Riverside police officer (whose salary was picked up by the production company) also stood by at all times.