The Documentary Summit comes to Chicago! April 21st and April 22nd, 2012

Following on from the success of the London Doc Summit, we are now bringing this exciting event to Chicago!

DATE: APRIL 21st and 22nd (Saturday/Sunday, 9.00am to 6.00pm)

VENUE: Film Row Cinema at Columbia College Chicago, Chicago. U.S.A.

The Chicago Documentary Summit is brought to you by the following:

Chicago Summit Industry Speakers 2012

John Siskel and Greg Jacobs of Siskel/Jacobs Productions, a Chicago based television and documentary production company who produced LOUDER THAN A BOMB, 102 MINUTES THAT CHANGED AMERICA. MORE HERE...

Gordon Quinn - Producer and co-founder Kartemquin Films

Gordon has been making documentaries for over 40 years. With Kartemquin, Gordon has created a legacy that is an inspiration for young filmmakers and a home where they can make high-quality, social-issue documentaries. MORE HERE...

Jeff Spitz

Co-founder of Groundswell Educational Films, Jeff Spitz organizes public engagement campaigns around issues that evolve from documentary films. MORE HERE...

RUTH LEITMAN - Documentary Director/Producer

Leitman has directed 5 award winning feature documentary films. MORE HERE...


TOD LENDING - Documentary filmmaker

Tod Lending is an Academy Award®-nominated and national Emmy-winning producer/ director/ writer/ cinematographer. MORE HERE...

Bob Hercules - Veteran television producer/director

Bob is a co-founder of Media Process Group and his work has been seen widely on PBS, the Discovery Channel, the Learning Channel and the Independent Film Channel. MORE HERE...

Shuling Yong - Social Media Expert

Shuling is a filmmaker with a passion for socially conscious documentary and a social media geek. MORE HERE...

ALICIA SAMS - Emmy award winning Director/Producer

Alicia Sams has extensive production experience in both documentary and fiction media.   She is currently producing and directing  the national public television series Arab American Stories with Detroit Public Television. MORE HERE...

ERIN SORENSON - BeCause Foundation

Erin is the Chief Programs Officer at the BeCause Foundation in Chicago. She has vast experience in the development of non-profit policies and procedures.

THOMAS LEAVENS - Leavens, Strand, Glover & Adler LLC.

Thomas is a partner in the above entertainment, media and intellectual property law firm. Tom’s career as an attorney has involved transactions, counseling, and litigation in all areas of performing, visual, and literary expression, new media, intellectual property, and technology.


Michael Caplan is an independent film director, producer and educator.

 He is currently in production on Algren, a feature length documentary that explores the life and legacy of Nelson Algren, the National Book Award-winning author of Man With the Golden Arm and Walk on the Wild Side.


A Magical Vision, is a film that spotlights Eugene Burger, a magician, philosopher, and guru of the magical arts. The film premiered at the Gene Siskel Theatre in Chicago in 2008 and was an award winning film at international film festivals. Caplan also directed Stones from the Soil, a personal documentary on his father, which showed on national PBS in 2005 through 2007. hHe is


As a producer, he has produced three critically acclaimed feature films, including The Night Larry Kramer Kissed Me, which was critically acclaimed by The New York Times as “praiseworthy, intense, frenetic, frank, and touching… preserving not just a performance but the spirit of a time.”


He is an Associate Professor and an Associate Chair of the Film & Video Department at Columbia College Chicago.


The Problem We As Documentary Filmmakers All Face

Documentaries are often pioneered by a single person, or a partnership. That’s great as doc teams need to be lean and dynamic. But making a documentary requires such a broad and diverse skill set that very few people can cover all the bases. There are always blind spots and weaknesses in your plan.

And that’s where we come in.

THE DOCUMENTARY SUMMIT will take you through EVERY step of the process, discussing the more important aspects with our visiting industry experts.


You will…

  • Learn how to turn your good idea into a worldclass killer proposition.
  • Go through the whole process, step by step.
  • Documentaries are not facts, they are truths, and therefore stories, so we will teach you about story structure.
  • Figure out the best technology for your documentary, camera, editing, sound.
  • Find out where to get crew and partners.
  • Get your legal questions answered and leave with form contracts and releases, the paperwork you need.
  • Learn what attracts broadcasters to invest in your film, or buy it.
  • How to bypass traditional routes to funding and distribution (and why you should)
  • How to get your film into cinemas and on TV
  • What to do next, this is a career!


Terms and Conditions

If you need to cancel your ticket purchase you can get a full refund up until 30 days prior to the first event. After that we cannot offer refunds. Refunds will be paid back promptly although there will be a 10% admin fee deducted. Alternatively, tickets are transferable to other people if you can find someone to replace you. We are happy to change the name on the ticket. Please allow 48 hours for this change to take place.

We reserve the right to decline admission and offer a full refund at our discretion.

We reserve the right to change the venue.

We reserve the right to cancel the event and offer a full refund.