Industry Days Schedule

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Industry Days Schedule

The Festival’s hub for filmmakers and industry professionals to connect, share ideas and find inspiration, Industry Days examines current and future trends in the art and industry of the entertainment business. Note: Guests and speakers are subject to change.

Thursday, Oct. 11

4:00 – 5:30pm: Should I Stay or Should I Go: How to Sustain a Career in the Midwest and Beyond

Do Midwest filmmakers and content creators have to move to L.A. or N.Y. to become successful? Join these industry veterans who’ve found a way to balance careers that straddle the Midwest and the coasts.

Panelists: Anthony Kaufman (moderator), Bob Teitel (The Hate U Give), Colleen Griffen (An Acceptable Loss), Suzanne Jurva (Milwaukee Filmmaker Alliance)

6:00 – 9:00pm: Industry Days Networking and Kick-Off Party

Held at The Lounge at Lucky Strike


10:00 – 11:00am: Documentary Storytelling Workshop

Participants bring their documentary ideas to a panel of nonfiction experts for feedback and encouragement.  For Industry Days badge holders only.

Panelists: Tim Horsburgh (Kartemquin Films, moderator), Rebecca Parrish (Radical Grace), Anuradha Rana (Ring Laila), Gordon Quinn (Kartemquin Films)

11:30am – 12:30pm: DIY Distribution Workshop

Director Kyle Henry successfully booked his film Rogers Park in theaters around the country, grabbed great reviews, and launched it on digital platforms—all by himself. He’ll take you through his do-it-yourself distribution process, step by step.

Panelists: Ryan Ostereich (Music Box Films, moderator), Kyle Henry (Rogers Park)

1:00 – 2:00pm: Money Workshop: What’s the Right Budget and Source of Funds for Your Project?

There are as many sources of money and budget levels as there are types of genres. How do you know what types of investments, and how much make the most sense for your project?

Panelists: Nicole Bernardi-Reis (moderator), Ted Reilly (Chicago Media Angels), Eddie Linker (Forager Films), JJ Ingram (producer)

2:30 – 3:30pm: Virtual Reality Workshop: VR: What Is It Good For?

Virtual Reality is taking hold as a revolutionary new mode of storytelling, but what kinds of styles and subjects are best suited for the new medium, and how do filmmakers navigate this exciting new field?

Panelists: Aaqib Usman (Midwest Immersive), Fred Volhuer (Atlas V), Chip Sineni (Phosphor Games)

4:00 – 5:00pm: #ComedyRising

From #TimesUp to Black Lives Matter, women, people of color, and LGBTQ+ individuals across America are rising up—and they’re making us laugh. Whether it’s stars like Tiffany Haddish, or such boxoffice breakouts as Sorry to Bother You and Crazy Rich Asians, many of the year’s most exciting comedians and freshest comedic content represent diverse points of view. Join this group of comedy experts for a discussion about humor, and speaking truth through jokes. (Co-Produced by The Harold Ramis Film School)

Panelists: Ali Barthwell (The Second City), Bashir Salahuddin (Southside, Glow), Jeez Loueez (Signature Move, Easy), Jessica Hardy (Chicago Comedy Film Festival)


11:00am – 12:00pm: What Do Distributors Want?

What does it take to get acquired by a distribution company? Horror? Comedy? A-List stars? What’s the secret to getting picked up, and what kinds of deals typically exist for filmmakers?

Panelists: Brian Andreotti (Music Box Films), Evan Morehouse (The Orchard), Nick Royak (Gravitas Ventures), Kent Sanderson (Bleecker Street Films)

1:00 – 2:00pm: Sound + Image: Music & Film Workshop

Peter Golub, composer (The Great Debaters, Frozen River) and director of the Sundance Film Music Program, and Kubilay Uner, Director of Music Composition for the Screen at Columbia College Chicago, offer advice on the power of putting music to images.

2:30 – 3:30pm: Master Class with Oscar-winner Steve McQueen, director of Widows

Steve McQueen, the Oscar-winning director of Hunger, Shame, 12 Years a Slave, and this year’s Widows, will explain his filmmaking process, and the tools and preparations that go into creating astonishing and compelling cinema. Moderated by Milos Stehlik (Facets).

4:00 – 5:00pm: Keynote Conversation: Albert Berger

Oscar nominee Albert Berger is one of the most successful independent producers, having made the breakout blockbuster Little Miss Sunshine and worked with America’s greatest indie directors from Steven Soderbergh to Alexander Payne. Now also the chair of the Academy of Motion Pictures Art & Science’s “Future of Film” Committee, Berger will share his insights into what makes a great movie and the changes in the industry.


1:30 – 4:30pm: The Pitch (Co-produced with IFP/Chicago)

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, AbelCine, Stage18, Chicago Media Angels, and the Tribeca Film Institute, worth over $20,000.

5:30pm: Women in Cinema Screening + Panel: This Changes Everything

Tickets: $12 for Industry Days badge-holders
This Changes Everything is a timely investigation into sexism and gender disparity in Hollywood featuring testimony from an array of celebrities including Geena Davis, Meryl Streep, Taraji P. Henson, and Cate Blanchett. After the screening on Sunday, October 14, join us for an in-depth discussion about the systemic problems facing the industry—and ways to solve them.

Panelists: Tom Donahue, Maureen Ryan, Candace Straight

7:30 – 9:30pm: Women in Cinema Cocktail Party

Held at The Lounge at Lucky Strike