The Chicago International Film Festival’s Industry Days (Oct. 20-23) will kick off this year with an Industry Tribute to Chicagoland native Jim Stern, a prolific producer of stage and screen, whose distinguished resume includes mainstream movies (Harold & Kumar Go To White Castle, Looper, Lord of War), prestigious awards contenders (I’m Not There, An Education, Side Effects), Tony-award- winning theater productions (The Producers, Stomp, The Diary of Anne Frank, Twilight) and directing his own documentaries (Michael Jordan to the Max, Every Little Step, The Year of the Yao).
In a widely referenced speech in 2009, Stern famously offered his advice to film industry professionals:
Mitigate risks. Target our audience. Watch where the deals are taking the industry. experiment intelligently. Basically, learn to use new muscles. And we’ve got to do this together, not at cross-purposes. We also need to keep our perspective. Things are rarely as bad or as good as they seem.
Stern founded Endgame Entertainment to produce and finance films in 2003. Since its inception, Endgame has financed or co-financed more than 30 films, several Broadway shows, and various other entertainment properties. Endgame is now one of the fastest-climbing companies in Hollywood. Current Endgame films include Charlie McDowell’s The Discovery, starring Robert Redford, Rooney Mara and Jason Segel; Oliver Stone’s drama Snowden, starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Edward Snowden; and Larry Charles’ comedy Army of One starring Nicolas Cage and Russell Brand. Additionally, Last Chance U, a reality series about a junior college football program will premiere on Netflix in July, and The Encounter will open on Broadway this fall.
Held over the second weekend of the 52nd Chicago International Film Festival, Industry Days will feature four days of networking, receptions, master classes, panel discussions, and workshops, ending with a competitive Pitch Session co-produced by IFP/Chicago. The winner of the Pitch Session will receive a package of in-kind services and filmmaker support resources.
Industry Days is a place for attendees to connect and inspire each other in the midst of a bustling Festival. Registered Industry Days attendees will receive first-hand, nuts-and- bolts practical tools to making, finishing, and releasing their films through frank, organized conversations with industry leaders and insightful workshops and meetings. Programs will examine current and future trends in the art and the industry of the entertainment business. The complete schedule of panels, conversations, lists of speakers, and events will be announced in August. Early discounted registration is now open.