The 56th Chicago International Film Festival announced a slate of four narrative feature film projects in active development that will be pitched live in front of a virtual audience and a panel of distinguished industry judges during the Festival’s Industry Days on Sunday, Oct. 18, 2020.
Now in its sixth year, The Pitch at Industry Days has established itself as a leading industry showcase spotlighting bold, original work from the Chicago region.
Past projects from The Pitch at Industry Days have gone onto completion, including Jennifer Reader’s Signature Move, and two films showing at last year’s Chicago International Film Festival: Knives and Skin, also directed by Jennifer Reeder, and Haroula Rose’s Once Upon a River.
This year’s filmmakers represent a diversity of voices that continue to reinforce the breadth and vitality of Chicago-area filmmakers and projects: from a sci-fi comedy horror film set in the suburbs to a drama set along the Mexico-American border, to the story of a sexual assault within a Black community and an estranged daughter in an Iraqi-American family who impersonates her recently deceased father. See below for loglines.
The winning pitch receives an awards package of in-kind goods and services worth tens of thousands of dollars. Contributors include Keslow Camera, IFA Chicago and The Story Stage at CineSpace, Chicago Media Angels, Ramo Law PC, and the Sundance Institute.
“Right now, during the pandemic, it’s the perfect time to develop, workshop, hone, and fine-tune feature film projects and make them great,” said Chicago International Film Festival and Industry Days Senior Programmer Anthony Kaufman. “The Pitch is a terrific way for the Festival to support and encourage local filmmakers and help push their projects forward.”
This year’s Pitch will be hosted by IFA Chicago Executive Director and producer Angie Gaffney, and this year’s jury includes: Bronwyn Cornelius, producer of Sundance Film Festival Grand Jury Prize winner Clemency; Ilyse McKimmie, Deputy Director for Sundance Institute’s Feature Film Program; and Yvonne Huff Lee, co-CEO of Lagralane Group.
The selected projects for 2020’s The Pitch at Industry Days are:
After witnessing his father nearly beat a Mexican immigrant to death while patrolling the desert border, a thirteen-year-old boy growing up in the Arizona Border Militia finds solace in an unlikely place — the arms of the new undocumented migrant girl in town.
- Screenwriter: Anna Hozian
- Director: Danny Mooney
- Producer: Dale Armin Johnson
Go to the Body
After Sanaa, a rising racial justice organizer, is sexually assaulted by a fellow activist, she tries to push past her trauma and return to her normal life. The only thing standing in the way is her fianceé, Kendrick, an overprotective boxer who has his own idea of justice.
- Writer/Director: Kyra Jones
- Producer: Angellic Ross
Invasion of the Housewives
In order to survive the night, a group of suburban housewives attempts to sort rumor from reality when their girls’ night is interrupted by an alien invasion.
- Writer/Director: Zach Lorkiewicz
- Producer: Grace Hahn
An outsider to her Iraqi/American family, runaway Izza Bet’Yusuf, returns home fifteen years later and reconnects to her estranged roots by impersonating her freshly dead father.
- Writer/Lead Actor: Atra Asdou
- Producer: Karla Huffman
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About Industry Days
The Chicago International Film Festival’s hub for filmmakers and industry professionals to connect, share ideas and inspire each other, the Industry Days (Oct. 14-18) program includes panels and workshops as well as roundtable meetings, networking events, and a competitive pitch session, which all take place during the Festival (Oct. 14-25, 2020).
This year’s Keynote Conversation, “At the Vanguard with Dede Gardner, Producer of Moonlight and The Big Short” will take place on October 15. Other highlights include conversations with screenwriter John Logan, composer Terence Blanchard, and producer and CEO Effie Brown.
Since its inception in 2015, Industry Days has hosted an impressive lineup of film executives and entertainment professionals, including Michael Barker (Sony Pictures Classics) and Charles D. King (Macro), Hollywood producers Gigi Pritzker and James D. Stern, and award-winning and celebrated filmmakers, including Stephen Cone, Julie Dash, Steve McQueen, and Sam Pollard.
The Pitch at Industry Days will take place at 3pm CST on Sunday, October 18th, 2020.
To register for Industry Days, click here.