Powerhouse panels at lst Women in Entertainment event

ArcLight Cinemas in Lincoln Park on Monday, Oct. 24, will present Women in Entertainment to Chicago for the first time, as an extension of the Los Angeles’ ArcLight Women in Entertainment (WIE) program, with panels comprised of local leading filmmakers.

The keynote address will be delivered by Sanaa Hamri, “Empire” executive producer and director, who has also worked in Chicago on “Shameless.”

ArcLight’s LA-based Gretchen McCourt, EVP of cinematic programming, who is making a special trip to Chicago for the event, is co-hosting the program with Nicole Bernardi-Reis, executive director of IFP Chicago and Carrie Hunter, president of Women in Film Chicago, who also will deliver opening remarks.

ArcLight’s EVP Gretchen McCourt“We are excited to partner with ArcLight to bring this event to Chicago,” says Bernardi-Reis. “It’s an honor to participate in a program that features such powerhouse women, whose work is respected around the world, and who choose to make Chicago their home.

“As a filmmaker, I’m grateful for ArcLight’s continued commitment to independent voices and to amplify the issues that shape how and why we do our work.”

Women in Entertainment’s goal is to focus on diversifying women’s role in entertainment, mentoring the next generation of creative women, how the film industry is impacted by women, and how women can work together to portray a unique perspective across the different categories of entertainment.

The first of two panels is “Diversifying Women’s Roles in Entertainment,” is moderated by Rich Moskal, Chicago Film Office director, an exploratory conversation on branding and diversifying your role in entertainment.

Keynote speaker Sanaa HabriPanelists sharing their experiences on carving their path in the industry are Susie Linker, co-founder of Elevated Films; Oriana Oppice, writer, producer, director and actor, and Women in Film programming director; Leslie Neilan, producer and screenwriter, and Fawzia Mirza, actor, writer and producer.

Becky Stocchetti, the CFO’s independent and local film initiative director, moderates the second panel, “Women Driven Storytelling Across Entertainment,” which takes a look at how the film industry is impacted by female professionals.

Panelists are Betsy Steinberg, Kartemquin Films’ executive director; Maria Finitzo, documentary filmmaker; Jennifer Reeder, filmmaker, associate professor at the University of Illinois and filmmaker Bernardi-Reis.

ArcLight Theatre Lincoln Park is housed in the New City development at 1500 N. Clybourn. The evening starts with a 5:30 p.m. reception sponsored by 90+ Cellars and Knife & Tine. Tickets are $25 and may be purchased here.

IFP Chicago and Women in Film Chicago can sign up for a free ArcLight membership at the event.