Alex Pissios started off as a real estate developer in 2003, immediately after graduating with a degree in English literature from Northern Illinois University. The late 2000s recession and real estate bust saw his real estate business crumble, ending his career and leaving him with more than $13 million in debts. Alex had to remain home and take care of their kids as his wife went back to work as a dental hygienist. Pissios states that the downfall was so bad that he did not shower for a month.
Pissios was invited to a wedding by a cousin in Toronto in 2008. He could not afford a trip to the venue, and his cousin had to hire a car for the couple to attend. Alex Pissios was able to interact with family members he had not seen in years. A cousin that Alex referred to as Uncle Nick would change his life forever. Nick Mirkopoulos, born in Greece and later relocated to Toronto, operated an electronics business with his brothers. In 1990, he took a separate path and founded Cinespace Film Studios in Canada. Cinespace was one of the largest film producers in the region.
Uncle Nick asked Alex to send him his loan documents once he got to Chicago. He later received a call, and Mirkopoulos informed Alex Pissios that he had no future in real estate. Nick flew to Chicago, and together with Pissios, they passed through the closest bankruptcy office and put down $25,000 to cover the cost of the filling.
Alex felt humiliated, but Mirkpoulos tapped him on his back and assured him that everything would be alright. Pissios had not heard those words for the last three years, and he remembers them to date. Nick told Pissios to look for a 100,000 square foot space in Chicago that could fit at least three soundstages. Cinespace Chicago Film Studios was born. This was a game-changer for Pissios and so he gave his all in the business.
Alex Pissios has grown Cinespace Chicago into one of the largest film production facilities where hits like “The Nanny,” “Empire,” and “Fargo” have been filmed. The film production now has 31 soundstages and three other soundstages in the neighboring village.