CIFF announces Gardner as keynote speaker

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The Chicago International Film Festival, presented by Cinema/Chicago, has announced this year’s Industry Keynote conversation with Academy Award-winning producer and president of Plan B Entertainment Dede Gardner. Her credits include 12 Years a Slave and Moonlight. Both presented at past editions of the Festival.

Additionally, Industry Days will host master classes with Academy Award®-nominated screenwriter John Logan (Skyfall, Penny Dreadful, Hugo) and six-time Grammy-winner and Oscar-nominated trumpeter/composer Terence Blanchard (BlacKkKlansman, Da 5 Bloods, One Night in Miami), along with a one-on-one conversation with trailblazing producer and CEO of Gamechanger Films Effie Brown (Dear White People).

“We are extremely honored to have Dede Gardner, an Illinois native, as this year’s Keynote,” said Anthony Kaufman, Industry Days and Chicago International Film Festival Senior Programmer.

He adds, “Ms. Gardner has not only produced many recent Festival favorites, including Moonlight, 12 Years a Slave, and Beautiful Boy, but she’s also a powerful force for change in Hollywood and a crucial champion of the most important filmmakers working today. Along with Ms. Gardner, we are also very proud to have with us such other luminary figures as Terence Blanchard, John Logan, and Effie Brown.”

Other confirmed guests include award-winning independent producer Mynette Louie (The Tale), Emmy-nominated producer Deniese Davis (Insecure), entertainment attorney Elsa Ramo (recently named to Variety’s 2019 Dealmaker List), and representatives from the following companies and organizations: Array Now, CAA, Cinetic Media, Endeavor Content, IFC Films, MPI Media, Music Box Films, Neon, Netflix, the Sundance Institute, and many more. 


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Industry Days is the Chicago International Film Festival’s hub for filmmakers and industry professionals to connect, share ideas, and find inspiration. This year’s Industry Days will offer all of its events virtually, including master classes, workshops on production, financing, and distribution, and networking events.

In addition, the festival will host The Pitch, our annual competition for feature films in active development, and intimate decision-maker round table meetings. For more information about The Pitch, visit here.


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The conference and all conversations will be live streamed and feature an interactive component, and will run October 14-18, 2020. Film and industry professionals interested in attending should apply for credentials at here.

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