2014 IFP/Chicago Filmmakers Conference

Meet the Panelist - Lawrence Daufenbach

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Meet the Panelist - Ruth Ratny

Ruth L Ratny, prolific editor/publisher of ReelChicago.com and chronicler of the Chicago visual media industry for 30 years, in 2010 was named the first Chicago Legend for her lifetime achievements, by the international Hugo Awards.

Before founding Screen magazine that forged a Chicago community where none had existed before, Ruth was writer/producer of non-theatrical films – TV commercials, branded entertainment, documentaries for America’s leading advertisers, which earned her multiple awards, including Clios, Emmys and Tellys.   

She was named Chicago and Midwest Advertising Woman of the Year by the Chicago Advertising Federation, received a Chicago Coalition Recognition Award,  Women in Film Recognition Award, was honored Lawyers for the Creative Arts community service and was elected to Today’s Chicago Women’s 100 Women Hall of Fame.

In addition to delivering daily industry news, Ruth is a screenwriter.  She is currently in development on two major motion pictures, to be filmed in Chicago.

Meet the Panelist - Timothy Kelley

Timothy S. Kelley, is an attorney in Chicago, and concentrates his practice in entertainment, art, intellectual property and not-for-profit issues.  Prior to entering private practice, he was Executive Director of Lawyers for the Creative Arts (LCA).  He teaches at Columbia College—Chicago, and has taught the American Academy of Art and the Arts Management Graduate Program at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. 

Mr. Kelley is a past Chair of the Entertainment Law Committee of the Chicago Bar Association, and was for many years on the board of Directors of the Independent Feature Project/Chicago. 

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 (www.sommerfilmworks.com) 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 (www.percolatorfilms.org), 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. 

Meet the Panelist - Josef Steiff

A former licensed social worker, writer/filmmaker Josef Steiff often creates films, installations, performance and written work that reflect his interest in the ways that people struggle to make personal sense out of random, impersonal events, exhibiting in the United States, Europe and Asia.

His short films include writing and directing the award-winning I Like My Boyfriend Drunk, Catching Fire and Borders as well as the documentary, How Will I Tell? Surviving Sexual Assault, in addition to Eclipse, Indian Summer and producing Safe Word.

His feature work includes writing/directing The Other One and the last installment of the Split Pillow experiment in collaborative filmmaking SoulMaid as well as producing Rhapsody. For MBC Television, he line produced More Beautiful Than A Flower, the first Korean feature-length film to deal openly with disabilities, and he has served as general crew on Michael Moore’s Roger & Me and Wendy Weinberg’s Academy Award nominated documentary, Beyond Imagining. His first feature, The Other One, received four Indie Awards and is currently screening at film festivals.

He contributed a sound installation to the first major art exhibition regarding HIV in the United States, "AIDS: The Artists' Response," and is the writer/performer of the critically acclaimed one-man show Golden Corral that reflects on his experience growing up and working in rural Appalachia. His books include Storytelling Across Worlds: Transmedia for Creatives and Producers, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Independent Filmmaking, Battlestar Galactica and Philosophy: Mission Accomplished or Mission Frakked Up?, Anime and Philosophy: Wide Eyed Wonder, Manga and Philosophy: Fullmetal Metaphysician and Sherlock Holmes and Philosophy: The Footsteps of a Gigantic Mind.


Some Girl(s) - photo by Kristin Klier

Some Girl(s) - photo by Kristin Klier

Producer Patty West in Attendance for Friday Screening and Saturday Case Study

SXSW Film Festival hit "Some Girl(s)" produced by Chicago native and Northwestern University Graduate Patty West will receive its Chicago Theatrical Premiere on Friday, October 10 at 7:00 pm at Columbia College Film Row Cinema (1104 S. Wabash) as part of IFP/Chicago's 2014 Filmmakers Conference (www.ifpchicago.org/conference).   

Producer Patty West will be in attendance at the screening on Friday and on hand for a case study of the film on Saturday, October 11.  Conference passes can be purchased at www.ifpchicago.org/conference-passes. Screening-only tickets may be purchased at the door.

SYNOPSIS: Based on his play, Neil LaBute's script follows a successful writer (Adam Brody) who, on the eve of his wedding, travels across the country to meet up with ex-lovers in an attempt to make amends for past relationship transgressions. Crisscrossing from Seattle to Boston, he reunites with high school sweetheart Sam (Jennifer Morrison), sexually free-spirited Tyler (Mía Maestro), married college professor Lindsay (Emily Watson), his best friend's little sister Reggie (Zoe Kazan), and "the one that got away" Bobbi (Kristen Bell). Daisy von Scherler Mayer ("Party Girl") directs this journey of a modern-day Candide stumbling through a landscape familiar to most men - messy breakups. (SXSW)

One of IFP/Chicago's most enduring events, the Conference screenings, panels, case-studies and guest speakers address topics important to the industry in 2014, making it the indie filmmaker event between the coasts and celebrating the entrepreneurial spirit of independent filmmaking.  The complete line up of sessions and speakers can be found at www.ifpchicago.org/conference.

2014 Conference Sponsors:  The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Cinespace Chicago Film Studios, Columbia College Chicago - Cinema Art + Science, Digital Professional Institute, The Illinois Arts Council Agency, Illinois Film Office and SAGIndie.  

Meet the Panelist - Mike McNamara

Mike McNamara is a Board Member for IFP/Chicago as well as the Co-Founder and Director of Programming for The Midwest Independent Film Festival, the year round festival solely dedicated to Chicago and Midwest filmmaking, www.midwestfilm.com.  Mike also serves on the screening committees for the Chicago International, Austin and Sundance Film Festivals.  He is a regular columnist for Screen Magazine, www.screenmag.com; his monthly series, “The Call Sheet,” gives readers a look at film and television production in and around the Chicagoland area.  Mike pays his rent as an actor in Chicago in theatre, commercials, television and film.

Meet the Panelist - Patty West

Patty West hails from the Chicago area and holds a B.S. from Northwestern University and a M.F.A. in Producing from the AFI Conservatory.

Patty began in Los Angeles working in freelance production and then went on to work for producer Carol Baum (FATHER OF THE BRIDE, THE GOOD GIRL) as a Creative Executive.

She has since worked for the AFI Conservatory programming the prestigious Harold Lloyd Master Seminars and has brought such guests as Luc Besson, David Cronenberg, Sam Mendes and Rian Johnson to the AFI campus. She also helped found the AFI Alumni Mentor Program and serves as Co-Chair.  Patty has taught producing workshops to undergraduate and graduate students at the University of New Orleans and the Athena Film Festival. Recently she was appointed Program Director to the AFI Directing Workshop for Women (AFI DWW).

As a producer, her short films have premiered at AFI FEST, been a New York Times Critic's Pick, screened at OutFest and aired on the Showtime Networks. Her first narrative feature film, SOME GIRL(S), premiered at the SXSW Film Festival and stars Adam Brody, Kristen Bell, Zoe Kazan, Mia Maestro, Jennifer Morrison and Emily Watson, was written by Neil LaBute (based on his play) and directed by Daisy von Scherler Mayer. The business model was featured in the Wall Street Journal, TIME and International Business Times, among others.

As an Executive Producer, Patty’s second narrative feature, FRESNO, stars Natasha Lyonne, Judy Greer, Allison Tollman, Ron Livingston and Fred Armisen, was written by Karey Dornetto, directed by Jamie Babbit and is currently in post-production.

Meet the Panelist - Kari Hess

Kari Hess is an acquisition equipment specialist and salesperson with AbelCine, a leader in equipment sales, education and rental to the Production Industry. Kari heads up Abel's Midwestern Production Sales division from an office here in the Chicagoland area. She is a former news photographer turned sales associate with 22 years of experience in the acquisition side of our industry. She has taught seminars and private classes on subjects ranging from "ENG Field Lighting" & "Choosing The Proper HD Camera Package" to custom equipment trainings on various cameras and stabilization systems to groups small and large.

Kari is a former news photographer turned sales associate with 19 years of experience in the acquisition side of our industry. She has taught industry seminars and private classes on subjects ranging from “ENG Field Lighting” to “Choosing The Proper HD Camera Package” to groups small and large.

Kari, a graduate of the University of Iowa’s Communication, Broadcasting and Film program, joined the Abel team in 2008. She heads up Abel’s Midwestern Production Sales from their newest regional location in Chicago.