The Summit will explore themes of sustainability, radical re-imagination, and evolving leadership and their impact on the future of the independent film exhibition sector. The programming will feature engaging workshops, thoughtful breakouts, hands-on activities, and inspired speakers over three days, all aimed at questioning where we’ve come from and how we can build a more equitable, inclusive eco-system moving forward. 

Programming and venue partners include Gene Siskel Film Center, FACETS, Full Spectrum Features, Music Box Theatre, and Chicago International Film Festival.

Review the schedule by day below.

FilmEx Welcome Happy Hour 
7:00PM - 10:00PM

The Godfrey Hotel Rooftop Bar
📍127 W Huron St, Chicago, IL 60654

Accessibility: This venue is wheelchair accessible. 

Join us for a casual happy hour at The Godfrey Hotel to mingle with your colleagues and celebrate the beginning of FilmEx! Cash Bar.

9:00AM - 5:00PM

Gene Siskel Film Center
📍1164 N State St, Chicago, IL 60601

Accessibility: The Film Center is fully ADA accessible.

Morning Coffee

Doors open to the Gene Siskel at 9:00 AM. Come early, and pick up your FilmEx swag and a cup of coffee as we prepare for the first day of the Summit.

Our Thru-Lines
We’ll start off the day discussing our thru-lines as leaders, what drives us to do the work we do, and how we ended up here, now. Plus, you’ll get a chance to meet your fellow participants and introduce yourself.

Sound Bite with B Glick
A short talk with B. Glick, president of GQue Films, on accessibility and exhibition.

Shifting Our Mindset
Dr. Grishma Shah (Artist, Psychologist, DEIA Consultant) leads us through new ways of thinking about accessibility. Join us for a session on "Shifting Our Mindset" as we explore the relationships we have with our audiences and the mindsets we carry as film festival organizers and exhibitors.

We’ll lunch together at the Gene Siskel and take an opportunity to compare notes from our morning’s sessions. Lunch generously supported by Elevent.

Sound Bite with Milwaukee Film
A short talk between Cara Ogburn, Artistic Director, and Jonathan Jackson, Executive Director, of Milwaukee Film, on operating as both a film festival and year-round venue.


Afternoon Workshop - TBA

Breakout Sessions
We’ll wrap up the first day with two breakout sessions. You’ll meet with a cohort to dive into one of several pressing topics, ranging from staff management to business growth to audience development. Now is the time to get specific and ask the same of your colleagues.

Opening Keynote Dinner
7:00PM - 10:00PM

Chicago Cultural Center
📍78 E Washington St, Chicago, IL 60602

Join us down the street at the beautiful Chicago Cultural Center for our opening night dinner. We’ll be welcomed to the city by Jonah Zeiger of the Chicago Film Office, followed by a keynote address from Sundance Film Festival's Eugene Hernandez. Dinner and drinks are generously supported by Eventive.

Accessibility: The wheelchair-accessible entrance, located street level at Garland Court and Randolph Street, leads to the westernmost Randolph Square entry doors which have power-assisted openings. All restrooms and elevators in the Chicago Cultural Center are wheelchair accessible.

9:00AM - 5:00PM

📍1517 W Fullerton Ave, Chicago, IL 60614

Accessibility: FACETS main entrance is accessible via a covered ramp and has limited in-theater wheelchair seating. Restrooms are wheelchair accessible, single use, and gender neutral.

Morning Coffee
Doors open to FACETS at 9:00am. We’ll grab a quick cup of coffee and drive straight into our first session by 9:15am.

Developing a Culture of Feedback within Your Organization
Led by Marty Martin, professor and trained facilitator, this workshop will focus on the value of feedback as a critical tool for growth in your organization. Learn how to set expectations, provide feedback in a clear, direct manner, and how to receive feedback, even at the executive level. 

Sound Bite with FACETS and Full Spectrum Features
A short talk with Karen Cardarelli (FACETS) and Jason Matsumoto (Full Spectrum Features) about integrating a culture of feedback into their organizations.


In Conversation: Troy Pryor and NK Gutierrez
Join us for an expanded conversation with Troy Pryor (Creative Cypher) and NK Gutierrez (Black Harvest Film Festival) on their expansive approach to radical re-imagination in the festival sphere in Chicago, from the Black Harvest Film Festival to the newly re-envisioned XL Film Festival.


Join us for lunch generously supported by Kinema as we download and share notes from the morning’s sessions. 

Breakout Session
Connect with your cohort to discuss one of several pressing topics, ranging from staff management to business growth to audience development. Now is the time to get specific and ask the same of your colleagues.


Sound Bite with AAFF
A short talk with Leslie Raymond, Executive Director of Ann Arbor Film Festival, about developing an effective, enthusiastic, and engaged board.

Breakout Sessions
We’ll wrap up the second day with two breakout sessions. You’ll meet with your cohort to dive into one of several pressing topics, ranging from staff management to business growth to audience development. Now is the time to get specific and ask the same of your colleagues.

Happy Hour with Chicago Alliance of Film Festivals at FACETS
5:00PM - 7:00PM

With support from Music Box Films and beverages provided by Revolution Brewing Chicago, we’ll toast to our convening, renewed relationships, and new colleagues with Summit attendees and members of the newly-formed Chicago Alliance of Film Festivals.

9:00AM - 11:00AM

Music Box Theatre
📍3733 N Southport Ave, Chicago, IL 60613

Accessibility: The main entrance is accessible to all mobility devices at street level. Accessible seating is available in the theater.

Coffee & Bagels
For our final morning together, join us at the Music Box Theatre for coffee and the world’s best bagels, followed by a closing conversation in the main theater.

Closing Keynote Conversation
In the face of increased corporatization, award-winning filmmaker Lilly Wachowski (The Matrix, Work in Progress) discusses the challenges and potential paths forward for creators in helping to maintain a sustainable, inclusive, and equitable industry. Moderated by Anthony Kaufman, Senior Programmer, Chicago International Film Festival.