Full Schedule 2023

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Industry Days Schedule 2023

Welcome to Industry Days at the 59th Chicago International Film Festival!

Industry Days is the Chicago International Film Festival’s hub for filmmakers and industry professionals to connect, share ideas, and be inspired. Join our many discussions, events, networking opportunities, and don’t forget to sign up for our Decision-Maker Roundtable meetings (coming soon), where you can meet up close with top executives from major entertainment companies.

Since its inception, Industry Days has hosted an impressive lineup of film executives, entertainment professionals, and major talents, including directors Steve McQueen and Darren Aronofsky, screenwriters John Logan, Tarell Alvin McCraney, Virgil Williams; composers Terence Blanchard and Mychael Dana; producers Dede Gardner, Ted Hope, Gigi Pritzker, Brenda Gilbert, James D. Stern, and Charles D. King; and veteran distribution executives Michael Barker, Richard Lorber, and Tom Quinn.

All events are open to registered Industry Days passholders only, unless otherwise noted. Speakers are subject to change.
All Industry Days panels and conversations will be open-captioned.
All industry events are first-come, first-served—entry is not guaranteed.

Industry Days Schedule

Thursday, October 12

4:00 – 5:00pm Chicago Stories; Global Impact

Flyover country, be damned. Whether it’s TV shows like The Bear, independent films like Perpetrator or We Grown Now, award-winning commercials, or the occasional Hollywood blockbuster that passes through town (such as David Fincher’s The Killer), Chicago continues to be a creative and production hub. But how do Chicagoland artists and stories break out of their backyards and reach the masses? Successful creators speak about their craft, telling authentic stories rooted in their Midwest background, and reaching audiences around the country and the world.

Minhal Baig (We Grown Now), Carrie Holt de Lama (The Bear), Jennifer Reeder (Perpetrator), Haroula Rose (All Happy Families)
Anthony Kaufman
AMC NEWCITY 14, 1500 N Clybourn Ave | Map It >

Logo: Illinois Production Alliance 125x129

5:00 – 6:00pm Industry Days Mixer

Kizuki Ramen & Izakaya, 1457 N Halsted St |  Map it >

logo: CineCity Studios 156x125

Friday, October 13

10:00 – 11:00am Documentary Deep Dive: Producing and Financing

Take a deep dive into the funding, financing, and producing of documentaries in ways that are effective, responsible, and sustainable. These veteran nonfiction producers will break down best practices in equity financing, the granting landscape, fundraising, budgeting, and bringing your film from idea to reality.

Caryn Capotosto (Little Richard: I Am Everything), Chris Renteria (Whose Streets?), Yvonne Welbon (Sisters in Cinema)
Ines Sommer (Doc Chicago)
Gene Siskel Film Center, 164 N State St | Map it >

11:15am – 12:15pm Documentary Deep Dive: Help, No One Is Distributing Docs!

“To say the documentary marketplace is cold is generous; it’s fucking freezing,” a documentary producer recently told Filmmaker Magazine. What are nonfiction filmmakers and episodic creators to do when companies aren’t acquiring their work? Experts will discuss the ways nonfiction distribution can still thrive via both conventional and alternative strategies.

Andrew Carlin (Oscilloscope Laboratories), Whitney Spencer (Kartemquin), Lisa Trifone (Bright Iris Film Co.)
Ines Sommer (Doc Chicago)
Gene Siskel Film Center, 164 N State St | Map it >

1:00 – 2:00pm Keynote Conversation with James Schamus

James Schamus is an award-winning screenwriter (The Ice Storm), producer (Brokeback Mountain), director (Indignation), and former CEO of Focus Features, which released such classic independent films under his tenure as Lost in Translation, The Kids Are All Right, and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. He continues to produce films under the banner of his production company, Symbolic Exchange, including Kitty Green’s The Assistant, Andrew Ahn’s Driveways, and Minhal Baig’s We Grown Now. A professor at Columbia University’s School of the Arts, and a negotiating committee member of the Writers Guild of America, Schamus will offer his unique perspective on the past, present, and future of the entertainment industry.

Gene Siskel Film Center, 164 N State St | Map it >

2:30 – 3:30pm Master Class in Directing the Actor with Michael Shannon

Oscar-nominated actor Michael Shannon (Nocturnal Animals, The Shape of Water) brings his feature film directing debut Eric LaRue to this year’s Festival, but Shannon is a veteran theater director and artistic visionary, whose work at Chicago’s A Red Orchid and Steppenwolf Theatre dates back over 25 years. In this Master Class discussion, Shannon will discuss the ways that directors and actors can work most effectively together and offer advice and inspiration on how to make powerful work together.

Yasen Peyankov, Head of Theatre, School of Theatre and Music at UIC and Steppenwolf Theatre Ensemble
Gene Siskel Film Center, 164 N State St | Map it >

4:00 – 5:00pm Innovations in Editing

How do we craft amazing stories through editing? How can new technologies help in this creative process? Whether it’s the embrace of AI or working remotely with a director, traditional filmmaking workflows may be long behind us. This panel brings together leading editors & storytellers to discuss the latest in post-production technology and best-practices for filmmaking.

Michael X. Flores (Love Means Zero), Melissa Sterne (Punch 9 for Harold Washington), Matt Tarr (Quriosity Productions), Angelo Valencia (Optimus)
Kyle Henry (Rogers Park)
Gene Siskel Film Center, 164 N State St | Map it >
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5:00 – 7:00pm Industry Days Mixer

Gene Siskel Film Center, 164 N State St | Map it >
logo: Adobe Premiere Pro 217x75

Saturday, October 14

9:30 – 11am Solidarity Breakfast

Coffee, pastries, and conversation with union members and other special guests.
AMC NEWCITY 14, 1500 N Clybourn Ave | Map it >

10:30 – 11:30am International Awards Contenders: Making Movies that Transcend Borders

This event is open to the public. Tickets for the public are $10. Get tickets now…
Industry Days registered badge holders do not need a ticket for this event.

The Chicago International Film Festival has a long tradition of hosting the year’s best films from around the world, with many of the selections submitted as their country’s entry in the Oscar race for Best International Feature Film (this year’s Festival has more than a dozen). Meet some of this year’s most acclaimed global auteurs, and hear how they’ve crafted movies that resonate with audiences around the world.

İlker Çatak (The Teachers’ Lounge), Amr Gamal (The Burdened), Rodrigo Moreno (The Delinquents), Lina Soualem (Bye Bye Tiberias), Anh Hung Tran (The Taste of Things)
AMC NEWCITY 14, 1500 N Clybourn Ave | Map it >

12:00 – 1:00pm Power to the People: Can Labor Unions, Collectives, and Alliances Save Independent Creators?

In the wake of The Great Resignation and historic strikes by the entertainment unions, workers are harnessing the power of their collective strength to mount a vigorous fight for better pay and a better way of life. Hearing from representatives from unions, doc collectives, and other advocacy organizations, independent filmmakers and creators can learn how to change our industry and find strength in numbers.

Charles Andrew Gardner (SAG), Rebecca Green (Dear Producer), Brett Neveu (WGA), Naeema Torres (Mezcla Media Collective)
Darrien Michele Gipson (SAGindie)
AMC NEWCITY 14, 1500 N Clybourn Ave | Map it >
Logo: SAG Indie 163x100

2:00 – 3:00pm Amplifying Black Voices; Expanding Black Audiences

In 2020 Black writers made up just 15.5% of episodic writers, 9.7% of plot writers and only 7% of screenwriters. No wonder half of Black viewers feel there is not enough content for them. What can creators and industry do to help tip the scales, expanding and cultivating more Black talent and making content that both resonates with and grows a diverse audience base for their work.

Sam Bailey (You’re So Talented), Charlene Polite Corley (Nielsen), Nikki Love (ALLBLK)
Aymar Jean Christian (OTV co-founder, Northwestern University)
AMC NEWCITY 14, 1500 N Clybourn Ave | Map it >
logo: Nielson 215x40

3:30 – 4:30pm Think Bigger: Can Short Films Meet Outsized Expectations

What role do short films play in the media landscape and creators’ careers? Can they be money-makers on their own? Are they simply calling cards? Can they help lead to a feature film or TV career? Filmmakers and industry representatives share their experiences working with short films and discuss the various ways they can be used to leverage money, attention, and project advancement.

Melika Bass (Creature Companion), Mark Glassgow (Chicago Media Angels), Spencer Parsons (Bite Radius)
Peter Hawley (Illinois Film Office)
AMC NEWCITY 14, 1500 N Clybourn Ave | Map it >

5:00 – 6:00pm Comedy’s Trickiest Weapons

This event is open to the public. Tickets for the public are $10. Get tickets now…
Industry Days registered badge holders do not need a ticket for this event.

Ever since Ancient Greece’s Homeric parody The Battle of Frogs and Mice, parody and satire have been potent tools for skewering the popular forms and belief systems in our society. At this year’s Festival alone, films such as Vera Drew’s The People’s Joker, Emerald Fennell’s Saltburn, and Kristoffer Borgli’s Dream Scenario poke fun at everything from the dominance of cis superheroes to the corruption of capitalism and social media. Join visiting filmmakers and local comedians for this discussion about what’s funny about popular culture, fair use, and how such comic forms have the power to radically transform and restructure the ways we view our world.

Katie Caussin (IO Theater), Vera Drew (The People’s Joker), Anna Libera (Columbia College Chicago), Sam Rocha (comedian), Bashir Salahuddin (South Side)
Kelly Leonard (The Second City)
AMC NEWCITY 14, 1500 N Clybourn Ave | Map it >

Logo: The Second City 329x75

6:00 – 7:00pm Industry Days Mixer

Kizuki Ramen & Izakaya, 1457 N Halsted St |  Map it >
Logo: SAG Indie 163x100logo: Periscope Post & Audio 308x100

Sunday, October 15

1:30 – 4:00pm The Pitch

A curated selection of filmmakers with new narrative projects in active development will take part in a competitive pitch session. The winning project will receive an awards package of in-kind services from Chicago-area production facilities and organizations—to include consultation, production, and post-production services.

Jenny Halper (Maven Pictures), Ana Leocha (Tango Entertainment), Kiva Reardon (Pastel)
Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E Washington St | Map it >

Logo: Panavision 185x85Logo: Light Iron 275x75logo: Periscope Post & Audio 308x100Logo: Camera Ambassador 172x150logo: All Senses Go 276x75PR Casting, Ramo Law

2023 Industry Days Sponsors & Supporters

logo: Adobe Premiere Pro 217x75Logo: All Senses GoLogo: Camera Ambassador 172x150Logo: Caption Consulting 164x150logo: CineCity Studios 156x125Logo: Cinelease 270x100Logo: Dark Matter Coffee 125x125Logo: Illinois Production Alliance 125x129logo: Nielson 215x40Logo: Panavision 185x85Logo: Light Iron 275x75Logo: Periscope Post & Audio 154x50Logo: Revolution Brewing 355x100Logo: SAG Indie 163x100logo: Sanpellegrino 213x100Logo: The Seeker 210x75

Additional Support

Logo: NEA 293x100Logo: Illinois Arts Council - 133x100logo: Illinois Film OfficeLogo: DCASE Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events 311x100Logo: DCASE/Chicago Film Office (202) - 450x75

This program is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts, a grant from the Illinois Arts Council Agency, and a CityArts Grant from the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs & Special Events.