The 2019 edition of Industry Days at the 55th Chicago International Film Festival will take place October 17-20.
Industry Days is the Chicago International Film Festival’s hub for filmmakers and industry professionals to connect, share ideas, and be inspired. This year’s Industry Days will offer networking events, workshops, and master classes examining the current and future of the media landscape, in addition to a competitive pitch session and expanded opportunities for intimate one-on-one and roundtable meetings.
An Industry Days badge is required for all Industry Days events (unless otherwise noted).
Thursday, October 17
4:30-5:45pm: Chicago Industries: Breaking Through to the Mainstream
The Windy City’s entertainment sector is blowing up, from TV shows to commercials, independent feature films to web series. Experts from diverse sections of the business discuss the widening options for media careers in Chicago and how to sustain the rise.
Panelists: Betsy Steinberg (moderator), Kwame Amoaku (Chicago Film Office), Carrie Holt de Lama (Unit Production Manager), Lisa Masseur (Tessa Films), Jennifer Reeder (Knives and Skins)
6:00-9:00pm: Industry Days Happy Hour
Cocktail reception with hors d’oeuvres at Lucky Strike Lounge, 322 E. Illinois St.
Friday, October 18
9:30 – 10:00am: Networking Breakfast (by Theatre 16)
10:00-11:00am: Capturing the Real: Documentary Development Workshop
A panel of nonfiction experts offer the skills needed to develop documentary projects and offer feedback and encouragement to participants. Come prepared, with your idea or inquiry submitted beforehand.
Panelists: Michael Caplan (moderator), Jolene Pinder (Kartemquin Films), Diane Quon (Minding the Gap), Debra Tolchinsky (Fast Talk)
10:00-11:00am: From Script to Nuts: Fiction Development Workshop (co-produced by Stage 18)
Join industry pros for a discussion on the development process, and why your film needs it more than you think it does — especially when it comes to the script. With a diverse professional panel, we’ll discuss all the different elements you need to pull together before you start making that shot list, some key DOs and DONTs, and why development is actually the most important stage of production.
Panelists: Angie Gaffney (moderator), Brittani Ward (Casting Director), Eugene Park (Full Spectrum Features), Bob Teitel (The Hate U Give)
11:30am-12:30pm: Money Talks: The Many Ways to Finance Your Project
Making media requires capital, but there are many ways to fund a project, from grants and donations, to tax incentives and private equity. These experts will show you the various avenues to take.
Panelists: Nicole Bernardi-Reis (moderator), Julie Goldman (Motto Pictures), Brian Hieggelke (New City), Cesar Lopez (Illinois Film Office), Yvonne Welbon (Sisters of Cinema)
1:30pm-2:30pm: They Are the Champions: Accessing Lawyers, Agents and Managers
“It’s all about who you know” — which is why having representatives who can help advocate on your behalf is so important! How do you find reps and how do you get them to most effectively work for you?
Panelists: Laverne McKinnon (moderator), Jeffrey Becker (entertainment attorney), Nick Ogiony (CAA), Ross Putman (Verve)
3:00-4:00pm: Career Building Through Distribution
Don’t just throw your project on a platform or at a film festival: Be strategic. Find out how to work with exhibitors and distributors that help you sustain your career over the long term.
Panelists: Aymar Jean Christian (moderator), Chris Charles (Throughline Films), Alysa Nahmias (The New Bauhaus), Sarah Colvin (Neon), Ryan Oestreich (Music Box Theatre)
4:30-5:30pm: Keynote Conversation: Theatrical Campaigns and Streaming Wars with Bob Berney
A preeminent force in the film world for more than two decades, Berney was most recently Head of Marketing & Distribution at Amazon Studios, where he oversaw theatrical distribution for a vast array of critically acclaimed titles, including Manchester by the Sea and The Big Sick. Prior to joining Amazon Studios, he released some of the biggest indie films of all time, including Insidious, My Big Fat Greek Wedding, and Memento. Berney will discuss surviving the streaming wars and the seismic shifts in the entertainment landscape.
Moderator: Anthony Kaufman
7:00-9:00pm: Industry Night Party
Chez, 247 E. Ontario St.
Cocktail reception with hors d’oeuvres
Saturday, October 19
10:30 – 11:00am: Networking Breakfast (by Theatre 16)
11:00am-12:00pm: Case Study: Clemency
Clemency seemingly came out of nowhere to win the Grand Jury Prize at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. What was the secret to their success–and how did the filmmakers develop, finance, and produce this low-budget, female-driven Oscar contender?
Panelists: Darrien Michele Gipson (moderator), Chinonye Chukwu (director), Bronwyn Cornelius (producer)
12:30-1:30pm: Hit Me With Your Best Shot: Cinematographers’ Tricks of the Trade
Cinematographers talk the tools of their craft, break down their most impressive sequences, cameras, lenses, and gear, and discuss best practices for collaborating with directors and crew.
Panelists: Megan Donnelly (AbleCine, moderator), Christopher Rejano (Knives and Skin), Tommy Maddox-Upshaw (On My Block), Scott Thiele (Girl on the Third Floor)
2:30-3:30pm: Master Class in Screenwriting with Steve Conrad
Steven Conrad is the writer of The Pursuit of Happyness, The Weather Man, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, and wrote and directed the Amazon series Patriot and the Epix series Perpetual Grace, LTD.
Moderator: David Wolinsky
4:00-5:00pm: Master Class in Production Design with Oscar-winner Hannah Beachler (Chicago Cultural Center)
Hannah Beachler made history this year as the first African American to win the production design Oscar for her visionary work on Marvel’s blockbuster Black Panther. Previous credits include Oscar-winner Moonlight, Creed, Fruitvale Station, and Beyoncé’s Lemonade. This event is free and open to the public.
Moderator: Jacqueline Najuma Stewart (University of Chicago)
6:00-7:00pm: Industry Days Happy Hour
Lucky Strike Lounge, 322 E. Illinois St.
Cocktail reception with hors d’oeuvres.
Sunday, October 20
12pm-1pm Master Class in Production Design with Oscar-winner Adam Stockhausen
Oscar-winning production designer Adam Stockhausen’s long-standing collaboration with filmmaker Wes Anderson has yielded some of the most mesmerizing design in recent memory, including The Grand Budapest Hotel, for which he won the Academy Award. Other credits include Steven Spielberg’s Bridge of Spies and Ready Player One, and Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave and Widows. $5 tickets will be available for the general public. Learn more…
1:30-5:00pm The Pitch (Chicago Cultural Center)
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, including Keslow Camera, Stage18, Chicago Media Angels, and the Tribeca Film Institute, worth over $20,000. This event is free and open to the public.
Pitch Judges: Stephen Cone (Princess Cyd), Bryce Norbitz (Tribeca Institute), Josh Foster (Cinetic)
Saturday, October 26
4:30-6:00pm Stacy Smith: Changing the Faces of Hollywood
Dr. Stacy L. Smith, Founder and Director of the Media, Diversity, and Social Change Initiative at U.S.C.’s Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism, is one of the premiere experts and researchers on the underrepresentation of women, racial and ethnic groups, the LGBTQ community and people with disabilities in Hollywood films, the music industry, and film criticism. In this inspiring discussion, Smith examines how we can work together to create sustainable industry change.