Sign of spring: IFP’s 3rd annual Producer Series with stellar speakers starts March 31 to May 5

IFP/Chicago’s third annual Producers Series gets down to the business of film and getting it to market with lectures and panels by proven experts from throughout the country, including favorite Bob Brown, the business expert behind Jeff Daniels’ indie films.

“The Art of Getting it Done” series kicks off March 31 and runs Saturdays through May 5.

Each year the series outdoes itself over the previous year and the 2007 line-up should fill all 200 seats of the college theatre, said executive director Elizabeth Donius.

“This series feature sessions with producers, casting agents, publicists and producer’s reps, an in-depth business plan workshop, a script breakdown seminar and a chance to pitch your film to the pros,” Donius added.

MARCH 31 ? “CASTING: Do You have the Talent?” is the first of the all-day sessions, starting with “Cutting the Deal,” from 10 till noon.

Attorney Tim Kelley leads in-depth panel discussion of how to navigate the business side of the casting process, featuring producer Steven A. Jones (“The Merry Gentlemen,” “Quebec”); Ocean Pictures’ associate producer Laurel Ward (“Ice Harvest”); Maria E. Nelson and Ellyn Long Marshall, Orpheus Casting (“Maria Full of Grace,” “Girl Fight”) and Jennifer Rudnicke, TPR Casting.

Casting Case Study of “Padre Nuestro,” 2007 Sundance Grand Jury Prize winner: 1:30-3 p.m. Featuring “Padre Nuestro” casting directors/ associate producers Maria E. Nelson and Ellyn Long Marshall.

“Crime Fiction” Mock Casting Session, 3:15-5 p.m. Featuring Jennifer Rudnicke leading a mock casting session for two lead roles in “Crime Fiction,” during an actual audition before casting audiences and audience. Audition scenes as they appeared in the finished film will be shown.

A cocktail (wine and beer) reception to celebrate the series opening follows at 5:15 p.m. on the 8th floor.

APRIL 14 – “BUSINESS PLAN/BREAKDOWN: Putting It Together Workshop,” 1:30?5 p.m. is led by Stu Pollard, nationally known business plan consultant and L.A. producer/director.

He has raised millions of dollars through his business plans, including films of his own (“Nice Guys Sleep Alone,” “Keep Your Distance”). He wrote the business plan and was an associate producer for “Ira and Abby,” the 2006 L.A. Film Festival Audience Award winner.

“Raising Money: Case Study of “Bonneville,” 3-5 p.m., with Michigan-based Bob Brown who helps fund all Jeff Daniels’ indie films. He will talk about raising money, working in “Hollyweird” and from your own backyard.

“Bonneville” premiered at the 2006 Toronto International Film Festival and stars Kathy Bates, Jessica Lange, Joan Allen and Tom Skerritt.

The nuts-and-bolts “Script Breakdown Seminar: Using ?Crime Fiction’s’ Script,” 1:30-3 p.m. with a local line producer.

APRIL 28 ? “POST-PRODUCTION: Fix it in Post?” 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. a before-and-after look at what needs to be fixed, how to fix it and what it costs. Also: The importance of sound design, color correction and digital intermediate to the low-budget indie.

“MARKETING: Selling Your Film,” an all day, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. workshop on trailers and materials, developing a website and finding publicists and producer’s reps. Extra: Pitch Your Film to Industry Pros,” lead by Michael Moore’s producer, Jim Czarnecki (“Fahrenheit 9/11”).

At 1104 S. Wabash, 8th floor. Registration, 9 a.m., sessions 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Lunch provided, noon-1:30 p.m. Fees: All-session pass, members, $125 $40 per session; non members, $200/$60; students, $150/$30; Columbia College students, $10 per session.

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