15th Annual Film Independent Forum Keynotes and Panelists Announced

Contact: Alia Quart Khan, aqkhan@filmindependent.org


Keynotes with Ashok Amritraj, Elissa Federoff, Dawn Porter and Lulu Wang

Week-long Online Global Event July 31–August 7

LOS ANGELES, CA (June 30, 2020) — Today Film Independent announced keynotes, conversations and panelists for the 15th annual Film Independent Forum. This year’s edition features a US Filmmaker Keynote with Lulu Wang (The Farewell); a US Executive Keynote with Elissa Federoff, President of Distribution at NEON; a Documentary Keynote with Dawn Porter (John Lewis: Good Trouble, Gideon’s Army) and a Global Executive Keynote with Ashok Amritraj, Chairman and CEO of Hyde Park Entertainment Group. Traditionally a weekend event, the Forum has expanded to a full week-long event accessible online to global audiences the week of July 31 to August 7.

Panels at this year’s Forum range from financing, production and distribution of films to digital content across diverse platforms (film, TV, streaming, podcast), all within the frame of the current health crisis and social turning point, identifying the impact these have on our industry and exploring creative solutions in this unprecedented moment. The event is designed to inspire filmmakers to take charge of their film’s destiny and their careers as artists.

The program will also feature a series of special international conversations between Film Independent’s Global Media Makers Fellows and esteemed film and TV creators including Ramy Youssef (Ramy) with Egyptian filmmaker Ayten Amin (Souad, Cannes 2020); Alan Poul (The Eddy) with Egyptian filmmaker Amr Salama (Sheikh Jackson); and Feras Fayad (The Cave) with Nepali journalist/documentarian Subina Shrestha (Aljazeera).

“Our slate of keynotes – executives Ashok Amirtraj from Hyde Park, Elissa Federoff from NEON, and filmmakers Dawn Porter and Lulu Wang – speak to this moment in time, and to the fact that our industry is global and cinema is a truly universal language,” said Maria Raquel Bozzi, Senior Director of Education and International Initiatives. “Having a virtual, week-long Forum this year presents a great opportunity for broadening the scope to a global reach to serve many of the filmmakers and professionals we have been working with throughout our international programs.”

The 2020 Film Independent Forum is supported by Premier Sponsor SAGindie, and University Partner Loyola Marymount University School of Film and Television.

Additional Speakers Announced:

Ashok Amritraj, Hyde Park Entertainment
Justine Avera, ABI Insurance
Amra Bakšić Čamo, Sarajevo Film Festival
Paolo Bertolin, Venice International Film Festival
Josh Braun, Submarine Entertainment
Effie Brown, Gamechanger Films
Linda Yvette Chavez, Creator, Gentefied
Karin Chien, dGenerate Films
Elsie Choi, Rideback TV Incubator
Wendy Cohen, Picture Motion
Eric D’Arbeloff, Roadside Attractions
Sarba Das, A24 Documentaries
Feras Fayyad, Director, The Cave
Elissa Federoff, NEON
Lillie Fleshler, Picture Motion
Isabelle Glachant, Producer, 11 Flowers
Anita Gou, Producer, The Farewell
Hanaa Issam, Doha Film Institute
Leena Khobragade, NFDC Film Bazaar
Lisa Kleiner Chanoff, Catapult Film Fund
Grace Lee, Director/Producer, And She Could be Next
Jennice Lee, Dexter Studios
Marvin Lemus, Creator, Gentefied
Wendy Lidell, Kino Lorber
Stephen Love, Jr., Made With Love Media
Julie Lynn, Producer, Albert Nobbs
Alix Madigan, Producer, Winter’s Bone, 1982
Paula Manzanedo Schmit, Film Finances Inc
Alan McAlex, Producer, Once Again
Jordana Meade, ITVS
Dana Merwin, International Documentary Association
Hajnal Molnar-Szakacs, Documentary Fund Sundance Institute
Jordan Morris, Bubble
Oualid Mouaness, Director, 1982
Ted Mundorff, Arclight Cinemas
Lorenza Muñoz, Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences
Derek Nguyen, The Population
Rosevelt Noble, Black Cultural Center, Vanderbilt University
Luis Ortiz, Latino Public Broadcasting
Shari Page, Half Initiative
Nina Parikh, Mississippi Film Office
Janet Pierson, SXSW
Dawn Porter, Director, John Lewis: Good Trouble
Alan Poul, Producer/Director, The Eddy
Anayansi Prado, Impacto Films
Peggy Rajski, Dean, School of Film and Television, Loyola Marymount University
Anu Rangachar, Mumbai Film Festival
Manori Ravindran, International Editor, Variety
Tim Redford, Clermont-Ferrand Short Film Festival
Brenda Robinson, Gamechanger Films
Alison Roney, BRON Studios
Michel Ruben, Dynamo
Marjan Safinia, Director/Producer, And She Could be Next
Amr Salama, Writer/Director, Sheikh Jackson
Myriam Sassine, Producer, 1982
Georges Schoucair, Abbout Productions
Subina Shrestha, Aljazeera
John Sloss, Cinetic
Avril Speaks, Producer, Jinn
Kelly Todd, Endeavor Content
Christopher Tricarico, Tricarico Chavez LLP
Dr. Daniel Uslan, UCLA Health
Gülin Üstün, Meetings on the Bridge Istanbul
Caroline von Kuhn, Catalyst Program, Sundance Institute
Lulu Wang, Writer/Director, The Farewell
David White, SAG-AFTRA
Ramy Youssef, Ramy

For a full schedule of events and to register, visit filmindependent.org/forum.


Now in its 15th year, the Film Independent Forum is the preeminent conference for independent filmmakers and content creators in Los Angeles. Off-the-record conversations with working filmmakers make this the must-attend spring event for filmmakers and industry professionals. If you are anywhere near production or close to entering the festival circuit, join your peers for a weekend of solution-driven strategies, success stories, and opportunities to connect one-on-one with working artists and industry pros.

The 2020 Film Independent Forum takes place online July 31–August 7.

Conference passes are $49 for Film Independent Members and $99 for the general public. Filmmaker Pro and Arts Circle Members receive complimentary passes. For more information about this year’s Film Independent Forum, to purchase a pass or become a Member, please visit filmindependent.org/forum.


For over 38 years, Film Independent has helped filmmakers get their projects made and seen. The nonprofit’s mission is to champion creative independence in visual storytelling and support a community of artists who embody diversity, innovation and uniqueness of vision.

In addition to producing the Film Independent Spirit Awards, the organization supports creative professionals with Artist Development programs, grants and labs, and signature mentorship program Project Involve fosters the careers of talented filmmakers from underrepresented communities. Weekly Education events and workshops (currently virtual) equip filmmakers of all ages and experience levels with tools and resources. International programs include Global Media Makers, a cultural exchange program that provides career-building opportunities for international film professionals. Film Independent Presents is a year-round program offering screenings, conversations and other unique cinematic experiences to Members in Los Angeles and beyond, also currently available online.

While working to make the entertainment industry more inclusive, Film Independent provides access to a network of like-minded artists. Filmmakers, film lovers, industry professionals and anyone passionate about visual storytelling can become a Member at filmindependent.org and connect with @FilmIndependent across social platforms.