RVC To Train Filmmakers For Illinois Film Production Jobs

Illinois is losing opportunities to bring film production to areas outside of Chicago due to a lack of skilled production talent. The Illinois Film Office (IFO) is teaming up with Rock Valley College to change that. In January 2023, the RVC Mass Communication department will offer a free, 80-hour, intensive training course that will prepare individuals for entry-level work in the motion picture industry. All program completers will be credentialed and added to a talent pool with the IFO. 

“We are excited to offer this exciting new initiative that will give participants real-world and hands-on experiences. This free training will prepare them for production assistant and other related high-demand jobs in Illinois television and film production,” said Jerry LaBuy, Program Manager and Instructor at Rock Valley College.  

The course is now accepting applications, and seating is limited. This program is intended to particularly increase the participation of women, gender non-conforming, LGBTQ+, and people of color in the creative workforce. Participants must be 18 years or older and must have a high school diploma or GED. No prior experience in film and TV is required.  

According to LaBuy, “We are looking for area residents of all backgrounds who want to build a career in Illinois’ growing television and film industry. The industry is growing here in Rockford and in all areas outside of Chicago, and we need to have skilled workers to meet that increasing demand.” 

Students will learn: 

  • An introduction to the film industry, 

  • How to be a production assistant, 

  • And will get assistance with career coaching and creating their resume.  

The program will take place over four weeks, beginning on January 11, 2023. Classes will be held on Wednesday and Thursday evenings and will include a special field trip on Saturday, January 14. Program completers will be recognized in a ceremony on Saturday, February 4.  

The course is made possible through funding from the Illinois Film Office through the Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity.  

Contact program manager and instructor Jerry LaBuy at j.labuy@rockvalleycollege.edu or call (815) 921-3360. 


Jerry LaBuy, Program Manager and Instructor 

RVC/IFO Film/TV Set Workforce Training Program 

Jerry LaBuy has worked in radio, journalism, television, and film production for over 25 years. During his career, he has worked with filmmakers such as Lawrence Turman ("The Thing" "American History X"), Elizabeth Allen ("Ramona and Beezus" "Purple Hearts"), and Bing Liu ("Minding the Gap" "All These Sons"). 

Mr. LaBuy's extensive background includes award-winning work in news, advertising, documentary, and narrative production as well as sound design. He is a graduate of Columbia College Chicago (B.A.) and DePaul University (M.F.A.). Prior to his production career, he was on staff with the University of Southern California’s School of the Cinematic Arts. He is currently the chair of the Mass Communication program at Rock Valley College. 

Mr. LaBuy is also the Executive Director of the Mosaic World Film Festival; an event held every September in Rockford, IL. In addition to teaching, he runs his own film production company, The Caledonia Night Sky Co., which focuses primarily on commercial production and narrative filmmaking. 


Thomas Ciciura, Instructor 

Thomas Ciciura is an Emmy award-winning Illinois-based film professional since 1991 and has credits on films such as “Ali”, “War of the Worlds”, “Contagion”, “Ocean’s Twelve”, “Fantasia 2000” & “Into the Blue”; TV shows “Chicago Fire”, “Chicago PD”, “Empire”, “Sirens” and “Early Edition” plus hundreds of commercials for brands like Coca Cola, Adidas, Nintendo & Gatorade. He is a member of the International Cinematographer’s Guild and the IATSE Local 476 Studio Mechanics, and has extensive training and several certificates including Special Effects and Stunt Safety and all of the Contract Services Safety Pass training required to be listed on the Hollywood Experience Roster. Mr. Ciciura has taught film studies at Huntington University and several cinematography and lighting workshops to many age levels including jr. high, high school and college and has also taught Radio/TV/Video/Film and TV writing at Northwestern University’s National High School Institute.