Industry Days

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Industry Days 2017

The Festival’s hub for filmmakers and industry professionals to connect, share ideas and find inspiration, Industry Days (Oct. 19-22) examines current and future trends in the art and industry of the entertainment business.

All events take place at the AMC River East 21 (322. E. Illinois St) and are available to registered Industry Days badge-holders. Select panels, noted below, are open to the general public and cost $5 to attend.

Industry Days Registration is Now Closed. If you have questions, please email
Select panels, as indicated, are open to the public.

Industry Days Events Schedule


4:30 – 5:30pm: The Chicago New Wave: Meet the Producers Making Movies Happen Here

Chicago is experiencing a renaissance of independentTV and filmmaking. Who are the top movers-and-shakers making movies in the Windy City?What are the best-kept secrets for producing, financing, and sustaining a film and media career in the Midwest?

Panelists: Jack Newell (Harold Ramis Film School), Angie Gaffney (Public Housing Unit, Stage 18 Chicago), Eugene Park (Signature Move), Carrie Holt de Lama (Shameless) JJ Ingram (Chasing the Blues)


10:00 – 11:00am: Doc Worskhop:Master Class with Sam Pollard

Oscar-nominated and Emmy-winning editor and accomplished documentary director Sam Pollard (4 Little Girls, Eyes on the Prize) offers his best practices, editing tips and documentary life lessons in this moderated master class.

11:30am – 12:30pm: Doc Workshop: What’s Your Story?

Participants should bring their doc-making questions and documentary ideas for an open-mic-style feedback session with nonfiction experts. Come prepared, with your idea or inquirysubmitted beforehand, and those selected will get the answers to the most pressing questions about the creative and business challenges of documentary filmmaking.

Panelists:  Nicole Bernardi-Reis (Radical Grace), Michael Caplan (Algren), Sara Archambault (The DocYard), Gordon Quinn (’63 Boycott), Betsy Steinberg (Kartemquin Films), Tim Horsburgh (Kartemquin Films, moderator)

1:00 – 2:00pm: Dollars & Sense: Case Study, from Production to Distribution with Stephen Cone

Filmmaker Stephen Cone is one of the most prolific indie directors working today in Chicago, having made six feature films in the last six years, from The Wise Kids to Henry Gamble’s Birthday Party to this year’s Princess Cyd. Get the nitty-gritty details of financing, budgeting, producing and distribution deals with Cone and producer Grace Hahn.

Moderator: Catherine Carrigan (Northwestern)

2:30 – 3:30pm: Casting Up: Working with Agents to Get the Best Talent for Your Project

Join industry experts for an in-depth discussion about navigating Los Angeles agencies, Chicago reps, finding the right actor for the right role, and the creative and collaborative art of casting talent for your project. (Co-produced by IFP/Chicago)

Panelists: Jonah Zeiger (IFP Chicago, Northwestern University, moderator), Ryan Muckenthaler (UTA), Claire Simon (Simon Casting), DeAnna Cooper (Elston Films), Dawn Gray (Gray Talent)

4:00 – 5:00pm: The Moonlight Effect: The Expanding of Black Cinema—Or Not?

After Barry Jenkins’ Oscar-winning art-film triumph Moonlight and the box-office smash of Jordan Peele’s subversive horror film Get Out, is the film industry expanding its definition of what African American cinema is and can be? Join this panel of filmmakers and insiders for a provocative discussion about whether the industry is changing. Or are these films the exception, and not the new rule?

Panelist: Sergio Mims (Shadow and Act, moderator), Iyabo Boyd (For Akheem), E.G. Bailey (The New Neighbors), Tracey Bing (Southside with You), Mariama Diallo (Sketch)


10:00 – 11:00am: Making Digital Distribution Work For You

Meet executives from some of the top indie film distribution companies who specialize in digital distribution, and discover the ins, outs, deal structures, and revenue models for online releasing.

Panelists: Anthony Kaufman (Chicago International Film Festival, moderator), Evan Morehouse (The Orchard), Richard Wolff (CEO and Co-President, Breaking Glass Pictures), Brendan M. Gallagher (Gravitas Ventures), Jordana Meade (Thousandfold Consulting)

11:30 – 12:30p.m.: Do Movie Theaters Matter?

Many filmmakers dream about seeing their projects on the big screen. But in an industry where theatrical distribution is increasingly crowded and competitive, do you really need a theatrical release? Meet distributors and exhibitors and learn about the changing role of movie theaters, film distribution, and whether the traditional model of exhibition is right for you, and if so, how to get your film on the silver screen.

Panelists: Spencer Parsons (Northwestern University, moderator), Ryan Oestreich (Music Box Films), Andrew Carlin (Oscilloscope Laboratories), Milos Stehlik (Facets)

1:00 – 2:00pm: Stop, Don’t Shoot! Developing and Prepping Better Movies

When are you ready to actually start making your project? How do you know your script is complete? What can you do to prevent problems down the road during production? Join veteran producers and filmmakers as they reveal the secrets of development and pre-production.

Panelists: Ron Falzone (Columbia College Chicago, moderator), Kyle Henry (Rogers Park), Antonio Méndez Esparza (Life and Nothing More), Patrick Brice (Creep 2)

2:30 – 3:30pm: Resistance and Satire: How I Learned to Stop Worrying about Politics and Love Comedy

In times of trouble, comedy and satire can be an artist’s best weapon against oppression and depression. Meet these funny people who are responding to challenging political times with a lacerating sense of humor and a sharp sense of irony. (Co-Produced by Harold Ramis Film School)

Panelists: Norm Holly (Second City/Harold Ramis Film School, moderator), Matt Powers (ClickHole), Cory Bowles (Black Cop), Fawzia Mirza (Signature Move)

4:00 – 5:00pm: Closing Keynote Conversation: Joe Swanberg, filmmaker

As one of the most prolific Chicago writer-director-producers, Joe Swanberg has sustained a remarkably diverse career in film and TV> In the last 12 years, he’s made 18 feature films, TV episodes, and short films; and he’s recently completed the second season of his Netflix series Easy. Join Swanberg for an intimate conversation about rising through the ranks of indie film and sustaining and autonomous career, all the while remaining rooted to Chicago.


2:00 – 5:30pm: The Pitch

This event will be held at Embassy Suites: 511 N Columbus Dr, Chicago, IL 60611
A curated selection of filmmakers with new narrative projects in active development will take part in a competitive pitch session. The winning pitch, selected by a jury of noted film experts, will receive an award of in-kind services from Chicago Production Facilities. (Co-produced with IFP/Chicago).

The Pitch jury: Amy Hobby (Tribeca Film Institute), Aijah Keith (IFC Films), Brian Hieggelke (Signature Move, Easy)