OCTOBER 21-23, 2011

Additional Panelists Announced

LOS ANGELES (September 22, 2011) – Film Independent, the non-profit arts organization that produces the Spirit Awards and the Los Angeles Film Festival, announced that acclaimed director Werner Herzog (Cave of Forgotten DreamsThe Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call – New Orleans) will be the keynote speaker and answer filmmaking questions from the audience at the seventh annual Film Independent Forum, presented by indieWIRE. The must-attend conference is a weekend packed with real world discussions, solutions, and case studies, which reflect the reality of our industry today, and will be held October 21-23 at the Directors Guild of America.  Werner Herzog was born in Munich on September 5, 1942.  He grew up in a remove mountain village in Bavaria and never saw any films, television, or telephones as a child.  He started traveling on foot from the age of 14.  He made his first phone call at the age of 17.  During high school he worked the nightshift as a welder in a steel factory to produce this first films and made his first film in 1961 at the age of 19.  Since then he has produced, written, and directed more than fifty films, published more than a dozen books of prose, and directed as many operas.

“I am thrilled to have such a quintessential independent filmmaker like Werner Herzog open the Forum.  He tells stories across all genres, pushes the boundaries of the medium and continues to surprise us at every turn with his very personal and unique vision,” said Film Independent Director of Education, Maria Bozzi. “I can’t wait for him to share his invaluable filmmaking advice with our attendees and empower them to take control of their film from start to finish.”

The 2011 Film Independent Forum is presented by indieWIRE, the leading news, information, and networking site for independent-minded filmmakers, the industry and moviegoers alike. Additional sponsors include Premier Sponsors Directors Guild of America and SAGIndie/Screen Actors Guild and Principal Sponsors Universal Studios and Montana Film Office.

As previously announced, the remainder of the weekend will be filled with thought-provoking discussions on production, distribution and new media for both narrative and documentary films, inspirational success stories and a chance to connect one on one with working artists who are thriving in changing times.

Additional panelists include:

  • Jason Michael Berman, producer, Learning Uncle Vincent
  • Sheldon Candis, director, Learning Uncle Vincent
  • Leslie Fields-Cruz, National Black Programming Consortium
  • Marc Fienberg, writer/director/producer, Play the Game
  • Paul Hanson, QED International
  • Doug Jones, Los Angeles Film Festival
  • Karyn Kusama, director, Jennifer’s Body
  • Elise Pearlstein, producer, Food, Inc.
  • MJ Peckos, Dada Films
  • Don Roos, screenwriter, Happy Endings
  • Katherine Fairfax Wright, director, Call Me Kuchu
  • Malika Zouhali-Worrall, director/producer, Call Me Kuchu


IndieLink Tables are another integral experience for attendees and sponsors at the Film Independent Forum. Hosting an IndieLink Table offers companies the opportunity to meet one-on-one with attendees for brief sessions. Current companies participating include: Canon U.S.A., Inc., Deluxe Entertainment Services Group, Killer Tracks, konsonant/, music for film, Mississippi Film Office, Montana Film Office, NAB Show, SAGIndie/Screen Actors Guild, Universal Studios and more. To host an IndieLink Table, please contact Sophia Alexander at 310.432.1254, SAlexander@FilmIndependent.org.


All those who wish to attend this year’s Forum can save up to $100 by purchasing a pass before September 30. Regular conference passes are $259 for Film Independent members and $299 for non-members. For more information about this year’s Film Independent Forum or to purchase a pass, visit FilmIndependent.org or call 310.432.1222.



Film Independent is a 501(c)(3) non-profit arts organization that champions independent film and supports a community of artists who embody diversity, innovation, and uniqueness of vision. Film Independent helps filmmakers make their movies, builds an audience for their projects, and works to diversify the film industry. Film Independent’s Board of Directors, filmmakers, staff, and constituents, is comprised of an inclusive community of individuals across ability, age, ethnicity, gender, race, and sexual orientation. Anyone passionate about film can become a member, whether you are a filmmaker, industry professional, or a film lover.

Film Independent produces the Spirit Awards, the annual celebration honoring artist-driven films and recognizing the finest achievements of American independent filmmakers.  Film Independent also produces the Los Angeles Film Festival, showcasing the best of American and international cinema and the Film Independent at LACMA Film Series, a year-round, weekly program that offers unique cinematic experiences for the Los Angeles creative community and the general public.

With over 250 annual screenings and events, Film Independent provides access to a network of like-minded artists who are driving creativity in the film industry. Film Independent’s Artist Development program offers free Labs for selected writers, directors, producers and documentary filmmakers and presents year-round networking opportunities.  Project:Involve is Film Independent’s signature program dedicated to fostering the careers of talented filmmakers from communities traditionally underrepresented in the film industry.
For more information or to become a member, visit FilmIndependent.org.


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