Film Independent, the non-profit arts organization that produces the Film Independent Spirit Awards and LA Film Festival, announced today that the 11th annual Film Independent Forum will open with Bleecker Street’s Trumbo, directed by Jay Roach, written by John McNamara, starring Bryan Cranston, Louis C.K., Elle Fanning, John Goodman, Diane Lane, Michael Stuhlbarg and Helen Mirren on Friday, October 23. The film will be followed by a Q+A with director Jay Roach (Game Change, Meet the Parents). Also announced today, filmmaker Jon M. Chu (Step Up 3D, G.I. Joe Retaliation, Jem and the Holograms, Now You See Me 2) will give the Filmmaker Keynote on Saturday, October 24. In addition, the Forum will close on Sunday, October 25 with director Lynn Shelton(Humpday, Your Sister’s Sister, Touchy Feely, Laggies) in conversation with Illeana Douglas (Easy to AssembleGhost World, Grace of My Heart).


“I couldn’t think of a better film to kick off the event than Jay Roach’s Trumbo. It fits exactly the spirit of the Forum: the idea that artists should ‘stick to their guns’ to tell stories that matter to them,” said María Raquel Bozzi, Film Independent’s Senior Director of Education. “I am thrilled to have Film Independent Fellow Jon M. Chu, from the 2002 Project Involve class, return to our fold to share his accomplishments and incredible journey in his Keynote; and to close the  Forum with a special conversation with Lynn Shelton, a filmmaker who has managed to create a career path that is truly her own. She will be joined by the multitalented Illeana Douglas, who will soon launch a series for Turner Classic Movies titled Trailblazing Women. 


Previously announced, Blumhouse Productions Founder and CEO Jason Blum, along with members of his team will participate in an Executive Conversation. Additional panelists include producers Miranda Bailey (The Diary of a Teenage Girl), Nina Yang Bongiovi (Dope, Fruitvale Station; Partner, Significant Productions), writers Bridget Bedard (Transparent, Mad Men), Wendy Calhoun (Empire), Sonay Hoffman (American Crime) and Dana Calvo (Narcos), Josh Braun, Co-President of Submarine Entertainment, Submarine Deluxe and Jessica Lacy, Head of International & Independent Film at ICM Partners, to list a few. The Forum will take place during the weekend ofOctober 23-25 at the Directors Guild of America (DGA) in Los Angeles.


At the Forum, Film Independent will present the Sloan Producers Grant, which provides a $30,000 production grant to a Film Independent Fellow accepted into the Producing Lab that is developing a narrative film with a scientific, mathematical and/or technological theme. The Producing Lab is one of Film Independent’s highly selective Artist Development programs. In addition, Loyola Marymount University School of Film and Television will host a reception during the Film Independent Forum to celebrate documentary filmmakers.


The 2015 Film Independent Forum is presented by Indiewire. Additional sponsors include Premier Sponsors Directors Guild of America, SAGindie, Indiegogo, Netflix, Singani 63 and Principal Sponsor Montana Film Office.


Panelists for the 2015 Film Independent Forum include:

Miranda Bailey, producer, The Diary of a Teenage Girl

Hend Baghdady, producer, Stone Quackers, Lucas Bros Moving Co, The Andy Milonakis Show

Bridget Bedard, writer, Transparent, Mad Men

Debra Birnbaum, Executive Editor, TV, Variety

Jason Blum, Founder & CEO, Blumhouse Productions

Nina Yang Bongiovi, producer, Dope, Fruitvale Station; Partner, Significant Productions

Josh Braun, Co-President, Submarine Entertainment, Submarine Deluxe

Wendy Calhoun, writer, Empire

Dana Calvo, writer, Narcos

Lisa Kleiner Chanoff, Co-Founder, Catapult Film Fund

Jon M. Chu, director, Step Up 3D, G.I. Joe Retaliation, Jem and the Holograms

Wendy Cohen, President, Picture Motion

Forest Conner, Data Scientist, VHX

Mercedes Yolanda Cooper, Director of Marketing, ARRAY

Dennis Dortch, Founder & Chief Creative Officer, BLACK & SEXY TV

Illeana Douglas, actor, Grace of My Heart, Ghost World, Easy to Assemble

Alex Fumero, Director of Programming & Development, Fusion

Laura Gabbert, producer/director, City of Gold

Elena Greenlee, producer, Manos sucias

Kirk Hamilton, Vice President of IndieWorks, a division of Business Affairs, Inc.

Sonay Hoffman, writer, American Crime

Marc Hofstatter, Head of Film, Indiegogo

Olivia Humphrey, CEO, Kanopy

Azazel Jacobs, writer/director, Doll and Em

Mette-Marie Katz, Director of Sales, XYZ Films

Simon Kilmurry, Executive Director, IDA

Danielle Kramer, Talent & Development Executive, JASH

Jennifer Kushner, Director of Artist Development, Film Independent

Jessica Lacy, Head, International & Independent Film, ICM Partners

Angela Lee, producer, Songs My Brothers Taught Me

David Magdael, President/CEO, David Magdael & Associates

Nicole Malek, Community Manager, Seed&Spark

Paula Manzanedo-Schmit, Vice President, Film Finances, Inc.

Márcia Nunes, producer, Manos sucias

Paul O’Neill, Business Development, Premiere Digital for Quiver

Tommy Pallotta, writer/director, Last Hijack

Nicole Papincak, Esq., Associate Attorney, Business Affairs, Inc.

Martha Pierce, Director of Audience Development, ATTN

Neha Potalia, Manager of Social Media at Broad Green Pictures

Felicia Pride, Director of Independent Film, Tugg

Jay Roach, director, Trumbo, Game Change, Meet the Parents

Couper Samuelson, Head of Motion Pictures, Blumhouse Productions

Lynn Shelton, director, Humpday, Your Sister’s Sister, Touchy Feely, Laggies

Amanda Shuckman, Social Media Strategist

Rahdi Taylor, Film Fund Director, Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program

Terri Taylor, Head of Casting, Blumhouse Productions

Michael Tringe, Co-Founder, CreatorUp

Michele Turnure-Salleo, Director of Filmmaker360, San Francisco Film Society

Evette Vargas, Creator, Dark Prophet

Emily Verellen, Senior Director of Programs, The Fledgling Fund

Lois Vossen, Independent Lens Executive Producer, ITVS

Femke Wolting, writer/director/producer, Last Hijack


Topics for this year’s panels are:

Viable Films: Your Budget Vs. The Market

Market Report: Documentaries

Five F#@*Ups And How To Fix Them

Doc Case Studies: Measuring Impact, Sponsored by Netflix

Gatekeepers And Enablers: Documentary Funders, Sponsored by Netflix

Television: The Writers Room

Your Film + Your Audience: Marketing & Distribution Clinic

Interactive Documentaries, Sponsored by Netflix

Conquering The Web: One Episode At A Time

Social Media Tools: The Nitty Gritty Details

New Media: POV And Film Independent Story Hackathon


For more information about this year’s Film Independent Forum or to purchase a pass, visit FilmIndependent.org/Forum or call 310.432.1213.


About Film Independent Forum

Now in its 11th year, the Film Independent Forum is the pre-eminent conference for independent filmmakers and content creators in Los Angeles. Off-the-record conversations with working filmmakers make this the must-attend fall 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 2015 Film Independent Forum takes place October 23-25 at the Directors Guild of America (DGA) in Los Angeles, CA. For a full schedule of events, speakers and to register, visit FilmIndependent.org/Forum.


About Film Independent

Film Independent is a 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 www.FilmIndependent.org.

The Latest In Your Scene: