Chicago Int’l Film Fest releases Industry Days schedule

Headliners include
Oscar-­winning director
Steve McQueen,
Emmy-­nominated writer
Bashir Salahuddin, and
award-­winning producers
Albert Berger and Bob Teitel

(Chicago — 26 September 2018) The complete program of Industry Days (Oct. 11­14) at the 54th Chicago International Film Festival was announced today with an impressive list of guest speakers to inspire and illuminate the Midwest film community.

Highlights include a Master Class with Oscar-­winner Steve McQueen, director of Widows; a discussion around diversity in comedy with actor and Emmy­nominated writer Bashir Salahuddin (Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, GLOW), executive producer of the new Comedy Central show South Side; a conversation about Midwest filmmaking featuring Bob Teitel, producer of the Barbershop films and this year’s The Hate U Give; and a panel on the challenges facing women in the entertainment industry after a screening of This Changes Everything, a hard­hitting look at sexism in Hollywood.

This year’s Industry Days Keynote Conversation will take place with leading independent producer Albert Berger (Election, Little Miss Sunshine) who is also the chair of the Academy of Motion Pictures Art & Science’s “Future of Film” Committee.

The Chicago International Film Festival’s hub for filmmakers and industry professionals to connect, share ideas and inspire each other, the Industry Days program includes panels, workshops and screenings as well as one­on­one meetings, networking events, and a competitive pitch session co-­produced with IFP/Chicago, which all take place during the Festival (Oct. 10­21, 2018).

All events are held at the Festival’s main venue, the AMC River East 21, located in the Streeterville neighborhood in downtown Chicago,and are open to registered Industry Days badge­holders. Select panels are open to the general public and cost $5 to attend. Tickets are available at the Festival Box Office. For full schedule information, registration, and other updates visit:

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 King (Macro), Hollywood producers Gigi Pritzker and James D. Stern, and award­winning and celebrated independent filmmakers, including Joe and Kris Swanberg, Sam Pollard, Patrick Brice, and Stephen Cone.

Industry Days Schedule

Thursday, October 11
4:00pm – ­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)


Friday, October 12
10:00am­ – 11:00am
Documentary Storytelling Workshop
Participants bring their documentary ideas to a panel of nonfiction experts for feedback and encouragement. To be considered, please submit your logline or a short description beforehand to
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 do­it­yourself distribution process, step by step.
Panelists: Ryan Oestreich (Music Box Films, moderator), Kyle Henry (Rogers Park)


1:00pm – ­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 Bernardi­Reis (moderator), Ted Reilly (Chicago Media Angels), Eddie Linker (Forager Films), JJ Ingram (producer)


2:30pm – ­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)


4:00pm­ – 5:00pm
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. (Co­Produced by The Harold Ramis Film School)
Panelists: Ali Barthwell (The Second City), Bashir Salahuddin (South Side, GLOW), Jeez Loueez (Signature Move, Easy), Jessica Hardy (Chicago Comedy Film Festival)


Saturday, October 13
11:00am – ­12:00pm
What Do Distributors Want?
What does it take to get acquired by a distribution company? Horror? Comedy? A­Listers? 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)

1:00pm – ­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.


2:30pm­ – 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).

4:00pm­ – 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.

Sunday, October 14
1:30pm­ – 4:30pm
The Pitch (Co­produced 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 in­kind services from Chicago Production Facilities, including Keslow Camera, AbelCine, Kayquarii Productions, Stage18, Chicago Media Angels, and the Tribeca Film Institute, worth over $20,000.


Women in Cinema Screening + Panel:
This Changes Everything

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 in­depth discussion about the systemic problems facing the industry—and ways to solve them.

Tickets: $12 for Industry Days badge­holders
Panelists: Tom Donahue, Maureen Ryan, Candace L. Straight

Industry Days are made possible by the help of our partners: Illinois Film Office, Chicago Film Office, and IFP Chicago.

Send your event notices to Reel Chicago Editor Dan Patton,