Forum Schedule

Schedule of events for the 2017 Film Independent Forum

Please note: Forum schedule, speakers and panelists are subject to change at any time.

Jump to: FridaySaturday | Sunday

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 20

7:00 pm — Opening Night Film: Chappaquiddick

In the riveting suspense drama Chappaquiddick, starring Jason Clarke and Kate Mara, the scandal and mysterious events surrounding the tragic drowning of a young woman after Ted Kennedy drove his car off of the infamous bridge are revealed. This event not only took the life of an aspiring political strategist and Kennedy insider — it ultimately changed the course of presidential history forever. Through true accounts, documented during the 1969 investigation, director John Curran and writers Andrew Logan and Taylor Allen intimately expose the broad reach of political power, the influence of America’s most celebrated family and the vulnerability of Ted Kennedy in the shadow of his family legacy.

Featuring a Q&A with director John Curran and actor Jason Clarke, moderated by Jenelle Riley. The film and Q&A will be followed by a reception.

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 21

For more details and information about the moderators and panelists listed below, please visit the Forum Speakers page.

9:30 am — Welcome Breakfast and Check-In

Come early, check in, and meet your Forum peers as you enjoy a light continental breakfast. Distribber will be on hand hosting specialty coffee and providing Forum attendees with some very special offers!

Doors open at 9:30 am. You must be checked in by 10:45 am for a prompt 11:00 am start.

11:00 am — Getting Creative about Getting Money

Forget writing and directing. Strategic film financing is where things get really creative. But figuring out how to tap multiple resources takes imagination and planning. Picture a three-legged stool. The legs are: Pre-sales, Soft Money and Equity. You’ll need key contributors to help build each leg of the stool. Veteran producers explain how casting directors, sales agents, film commissioners, investors and more can all help you build your stool… and make your movie.

Moderator: Stu Pollard

Panelists: Danielle Behrens, Jordana Mollick, Brian O’Shea, Ilse Ronteltap

OR

Documentary: Making Docs and Making a Living

Step one: make a great documentary. Step two: pay the rent. Easier said than done, which is why we’re exploring the recent IDA/NEA report State of the Field: A Report from the Documentary Sustainability Summit. Some of today’s top nonfiction filmmakers discuss the tricky art of balancing their work alongside their checkbooks amid a world full of evolving technologies, distribution structures, legal frameworks and business models for independent film.

Moderator: Marjan Safinia

Panelists: Lisa Hasko, Grace Lee, Laura Nix, Rahdi Taylor

12:30 pm — Off-the-Record Networking Lunch (DGA Lobby)

In an effort to make the Film Independent Forum more accessible, we’ve reduced registration prices and are offering the networking lunches on Saturday and Sunday à la carte.

Grab a quick bite while informally chatting and connecting with some of Hollywood’s most seasoned and admired industry leaders. Lunch will not be available to purchase on site, so please purchase at the time you register.

1:45 pm — Pitching Clinic: Start Shopping Your Project

Observe as select Film Independent Producing Lab Fellows present their actual projects to an expert panel of industry “sharks.” Potential pitfalls are identified and advice is given — all in real time. Learn how to find the right kind of production support, and discover how to leverage your film’s raw elements to create an attractive pitch package for financiers and investors.

Moderator: Paula Manzanedo-Schmit

Panelists: Lorraine D’Alessio, Naomi Depres, Matthew Lessall, Ray Mansfield, Bec Smith

OR

Going Legal: The Defiant Ones Case Study

Before you embark on your next doc, you must take into account all the legal issues that bringing a “larger than life, true life story” to the screen might entail, and how to cover all your bases as you navigate production. Entertainment attorney Lisa Callif and members of the production team from the acclaimed HBO documentary The Defiant Ones will go through some of the legal challenges associated with producing the series, including licensing; fair use; appearance releases; delivery; and balancing talent, production and studio needs. These specific scenarios will help you identify the possible minefields in your own production and illuminate how to deal with the legal issues you may encounter.

Moderator: Lisa Callif

Panelists: Ryan Gallagher, Barbara Gregson, Doug Pray

3:00 pm — Industry Connect at the Forum (DGA Atrium)

3:15 pm — The Complete Picture: The Wide World of Episodic TV

Learn what “Peak TV” means for you and your career. Veteran TV executives, writers, directors and showrunners offer an expert perspective on telling stories for the small screen. How do you break through the noise to find your niche? What outlets are looking to produce new content? And how do they find talent? Discover how to be heard in this vast landscape.

Moderator: Debra Birnbaum

Panelists: Dana Calvo, Kat Candler, Warren Littlefield, Kat McCaffrey

OR

Film Independent Documentary Works-in-Progress

Don’t miss this exclusive chance to see works-in-progress from the 2017 Film Independent Documentary Lab. Get a sneak peek at clips and hear the filmmakers discuss their films’ creation, financing and production, featuring a wide range of stories and subjects. Film Independent’s Documentary Lab is a selective program designed to help nonfiction storytellers complete the production of their features.

SUNDAY, OCTOBER 22

For more details and information about the moderators and panelists listed below, please visit the Forum Speakers page.

10:00 am — Keynote Address: Jordan Peele

Jordan Peele recently made his directorial debut with the 2017 smash hit Get Out, which he also wrote and produced. Acclaimed by fans and critics alike, Get Out quickly became an indie horror sensation, bringing in over $250 million dollars worldwide and sparking significant discussions about race and the fetishization of black culture in America.

Previously, Emmy® winner Peele was the co-star and co-creator of Comedy Central’s Key & Peele. The hit series won a Peabody Award, an American Comedy Award and earned 12 Emmy nominations during it’s five season run.

Film Independent is thrilled to bring Peele to the 2017 Film Independent Forum to discuss his career, creative process and how Get Out broke barriers and became the most profitable film of 2017.

Moderator: Elvis Mitchell

Speaker: Jordan Peele

11:15 am — Case Study: Made in LA

Go behind the scenes with filmmakers to relive, in candid and straightforward detail, the ups and downs of production from inception to premiere, marketing and distribution.

Moderator: Paul Cowling

Panelists: Azazel Jacobs, Ben LeClair, Chris Stinson

OR

Homegrown: Brown Girls and The North Pole, Web Series Case Studies

Being a filmmaker is tough work and creating short-form web content is no exception. Hear how some of today’s top web series creators are able to balance the ever-evolving demands of a changing medium with the tools and techniques of traditional moviemaking. Filmmakers from Brown Girls and The North Pole pulled from their communities to create distinct stories on identity and culture meant to spark conversation. Now they will share how they blazed their unique paths to getting their original stories made and seen.

Moderator: Aaliyah Williams

Panelists: Sam Bailey, Aymar Christian, Josh Healey, Yvan Iturriaga

12:00 pm — Industry Connect at the Forum (DGA Atrium)

12:30 pm — Off-the-Record Networking Lunch (DGA Lobby)

In an effort to make the Film Independent Forum more accessible, we’ve reduced registration prices and are offering the networking lunches on Saturday and Sunday à la carte.

Grab a quick bite while informally chatting and connecting with some of Hollywood’s most seasoned and admired industry leaders. Lunch will not be available to purchase on site, so please purchase at the time you register.

1:45 pm — Marketing & Distribution Clinic: Discover Your Audience

No matter the film, there’s always someone out there waiting to watch it. Word of mouth. Social media. Cross-platform release dates. Whatever the strategy, filmmakers are increasingly experimenting with nontraditional marketing and distribution methods. Hear from industry experts and filmmakers who have managed to forge their own paths. The panel will also feature on-the-spot advice given to select audience members about how to best position their films in the marketplace.

Moderator: Jon Reiss

Panelists: Josh Braun, Mercedes Cooper, Alia Quart Khan, Missy Laney

OR

Short Circuit: VR, Digital and New Forms of Engagement

These are exciting times for short form storytellers. It used to be that shorts were limited to the festival circuit, proof of concept for a feature, or serving as a calling card. But with the plethora of new platforms for digital content and the advent of immersive storytelling through VR, shorts have been reinvented and are providing endless opportunities for creators to engage with audiences through myriad new and emerging platforms. There is an increasing market for shorts where content creators can do what they love and get paid. Alongside reps from some of today’s leading immersive, VR and short form digital outlets, top creators in the digital field will discuss how to navigate this exciting new creative space.

Moderator: Jennifer Cochis

Panelists: Mariana Acuña, Jessica Kantor, Marvin Lemus, Allen Maldonado

3:30 pm — Closing Keynote Address: Dee Rees

Dee Rees is an alumna of New York University’s graduate film program and a Sundance Screenwriting & Directing Lab Fellow. Dee’s Emmy Award-winning HBO film Bessie (2015) starred Queen Latifah as the legendary American Blues singer and was nominated for a total of twelve Emmy Awards. Bessie was also nominated for four Critics’ Choice Awards and Dee was the recipient of the 2016 Director’s Guild of America Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Movies for Television and Miniseries as well as the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Directing in a Television Movie.

Dee’s debut feature film Pariah, starring Adepero Oduye and Kim Wayans, premiered at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival where it was honored with the festival’s U.S. Dramatic Competition “Excellence in Cinematography” Award. Pariah went on to win numerous other accolades including the John Cassavetes Award at the Film Independent Spirit Awards (2011), the Gotham Award for Best Breakthrough Director (2011), Outstanding Film–Limited Release at the GLAAD Media Awards (2012) and seven NAACP Image Award nominations.

Moderator: Josh Welsh

Speaker: Dee Rees

4:30 pm — Closing Night Happy Hour

 

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