2015 Chicago Documentary Summit


Subject to change based on panelist availabilty


Saturday, October 3, 2015


9:00 AM - Arrival and check-in


9:15 AM - Introduction by Andrew Zinnes


9:30 AM - Session 1: What's The Story? 

The plot is the thing! This session's presenters look at how they craft a story structure from either a brand new idea or a hard drive full of footage.


Jeff Spitz | Groundswell

Floyd Webb | Filmmaker


10:45 AM - Session 2: Got To Have Character

People go to movies to see the people in them. That goes for docs, too. Our presenters discuss some of the best characters they've filmed, their techniques for interviewing and what to do when your ethics are tested.


Maria Finitzo | Filmmaker

Melody Gilbert | Filmmaker


12:00 PM - Session 3: Theme: the meaning behind the madness

What is your film about, really? Delving deeper into the higher messages of your film and tying it to your story could be the difference between rave reviews and getting passed over. 


Nicole Bernardi-Reis | Filmmaker

Debra Tolchinsky | Filmmaker/Northwestern University 




2:30 PM - Session 4: Chicago Filmmaker Case Study

A Doc Summit tradition! A local filmmakers discusses how they made their film - from idea to distribution/engagement. Always informative and inspirational.


Shuli Eshel | A Voice Among The Silent

Heidi Kanter | A Voice Among The Silent



Time 4:00p-6:30p

Location TBD


Sunday, October 4, 2015


9:30 AM - Session 5: The Technical Minefield

With 4k here and 5k on the horizon, plus a myriad of other things to consider  the tech specs needed to get your film accepted by festivals, distributors and online portals seem to change continuously. Our panelists will discuss where we are with this in 2015-2016.


Bill Baykin | Filmmaker/Tribeca Flashpoint

John Otterbacher | Filmmaker/Tribeca Flashpoint


10:45 AM - Session 6: Interactive & Branded Storytelling

Transmedia. Cross-platform. Multi-screen. Branded storytelling. All these buzzwords have been floating around for the past few years, but what do they mean today? This session will look at what's possible now and what's coming in the next few years. 


Beckie Stocchetti | Kartemquin

Anuradha Rana | Filmmaker/Isthmus Films

Nat Soti | Zero One Projects

12:00 PM - Session 7: Legal Issues of Storytelling

When you try to find the truth, you can sometimes thump a hornet's nest. This session will discuss ways to protect you and your project from getting stung.


Jerry Glover | Leavens, Strand & Glover, LLC




2:30PM - Session 8: Chicago Filmmaker Case Study 2

Greg Jacobs and Bob Hercules will discuss SCHOOL PROJECT and the ins and outs of using filmmaking skills in the interactive workspace. 


Bob Hercules | Filmmaker/Media Process

Greg Jacobs | Filmmaker/Siskel/Jacobs Films