Meet the Panelist - Ines Sommer

Ines Sommer is a Chicago-based filmmaker, cinematographer, and curator. She has directed genre-crossing films for more than two decades, ranging from experimental shorts to the human rights documentary "Beneath the Blindfold,"  which was named "Best Political Documentary of 2012" by the Chicago Reader's Ben Sachs. 

Ines is currently at work on "Count Me In", an hour-long broadcast documentary that follows several ordinary Chicagoans who are taking part in an exciting experiment in direct democracy that gives community members direct say over taxpayer spending and public projects in their neighborhoods. WTTW-11, Chicago's primary PBS station, has just signed on to co-produce the film with Ines' company Sommer Filmworks LLC ( and will present "Count Me In" to the national public television system in late 2015.  

In addition to directing and producing, Ines frequently collaborates with other filmmakers as a cinematographer. Her camerawork has been featured in many award-winning broadcast documentaries, including projects for Chicago's Kartemquin Films and the Kindling Group.  

Besides making films, Ines has a longstanding interest in engaging audiences with independent cinema and has held positions as a film programmer and film festival director. In 2008, she co-founded Percolator Films (, a non-profit media arts organization that produces and presents independent films. Percolator's programs have included an ongoing documentary and discussion series; itinerant film events; a film festival; and fiscal sponsorship services for filmmakers.  

Ines holds an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and joined IFP/Chicago's Board of Directors in 2014.