IFP Chicago and the 52nd Chicago International Film Festival are proud to announce the six projects chosen for THE PITCH at this year’s Industry Days.  From a “period piece” set in a community radio station in Kalamazoo to a supernatural dramatic comedy set in the Hispanic community, this year’s six projects are a diverse and eclectic collection of independent feature films in development, representing unique voices from the Chicagoland area. “The Pitch” at Industry Days will take place from 2pm-6pm on Sunday, October 23 at Gallery at GreenRiver (259 E. Erie St, 18th Floor).

"The Pitch at Industry Days is designed to show the breadth of talented filmmakers working in Chicago” said IFP Chicago Executive Director Nicole Bernardi-Reis. “Chicago is experiencing an independent film renaissance, as both experienced filmmakers and new talent alike are making the city their creative home. Each project was chosen because they are filmmakers with a distinct viewpoint, a compelling story and wildly diverse approaches to filmmaking.”

The selected filmmakers include a veteran documentarian, a network showrunner, and experimental filmmaker making her first feature film. The selected projects are:

Birthday Suit - On Elaine's 55th birthday, she realizes that she is becoming invisible to her husband, her family and her town. So she decides to be seen in a radical way: she takes her clothes off, and doesn’t put them on again.

Director: Aemilia Scott  / Producer: Holli McGinley

Birthday Suit is Aemilia’s first screenplay. In September, the project was selected for IFP Film Week. Her first short, Best if Used By, won a BAFTA LA Award at Aspen, as well as honorary mentions from REGARD Quebec Film Fest and USA Dallas Film Fest. Aemilia’s second short, For a Good Time, premiered this year at Aspen.

Rantoul and Die - Rallis and Debbie’s marriage has reached its expiration date. In fact, it’s soured and stuck to the bottom of the carton. She wants him to pack his stuff and hit the bricks, but he’s clingin’ to the past like a cat on a screen door. How far will a man go to hang on to his lady fair? It’s a thin line between love and hate. A kiss and a punch. An ice cream cone and a beer bottle to the back of the head.

Director: Mark Roberts

Producer: Brett Hays, Jen Shelby, Luke Boyce

As a comedian, Mark Roberts appeared several times on The Tonight Show, as well as comedy specials on Fox, HBO, and Showtime. As an actor, Mark was seen on such shows as Seinfeld, Friends, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, The Larry Sanders Show, The Practice, and was a series regular on The Naked Truth. As a writer, he has penned the stage plays Welcome to Tolono, Enter at Forrest Lawn, Whitey, Couples Counseling Killed Katie, Rantoul and Die, Parasite Drag, and Where the Great Ones Run. He also spent seven years as head writer and executive producer on Two and a Half Men, three seasons as an executive consultant on The Big Bang Theory and three seasons as creator-showrunner and occasional director on Mike and Molly.


The Real Life Adventures of Jimmy de las Rosas It's a hot summer and people from the hood are disappearing, can Jimmy de las Rosas turn up the heat on his mutant abilities to find them?

Director: Ricardo Gamboa and Reshmi Hazra Rustebakke

Producer: Scrappers Film Group

Ricardo Gamboa is an award-winning artist and activist working in his native Chicago and NYC. His first film The Southside Has Many Beauty Queens won "Best Short" at the Chicago Latino Film Festival. His first feature Maydays premiered there to standing-room-only crowds before touring festivals and schools.


In 2016, he was a finalist for Sundance Film Festival’s Latino Filmmakers Fellowship for his film The Real Life Adventures of Jimmy de las Rosas. He is a doctoral candidate at New York University.

Static - Offbeat Internet radio host Gio LaRocca finds himself stripped of his identity and is forced to finally define himself amidst all the Static.


Director: Rocco Cataldo

Producer: Mary Kay Cook, Rocco Cataldo, Mike Kwielford

Our goal is to develop a feature film in tandem with a web series designed as the marketing tool. We have begun to create interest and awareness through the web series and will grow that audience through Festival Screenings.

Episodes of the series hosted by the lead actor from the film will serve as additional marketing upon final release.

Three Sisters - In 2011, forty-two immigrants were trapped inside a suffocating box truck for several hours during the peak of the Texas summer. One of those who made it out alive tells her harrowing story, emigrating from southern Mexico to Chicago and how she survived that fateful night in Texas.

Director: John Rangel

Producer: Margaret Byrne

Three Sisters-image.jpg

John’s first feature-length movie, South Loop, was an Official Selection of the Seattle True Independent Film Festival (’11). His second, The Girls on Liberty Street, premiered in the New Directors Competition of the 2013 Chicago International Film Festival and was named “Ten Best Films of 2013” (Senses of Cinema). His most recent feature, Remember Our Days, is currently in post-production.

Waiting for the Clash - It’s Kalamazoo, Michigan in 1978. Desperate to save his college radio
station from losing its license, station manager Wade Russell and his Midwestern
posse of punk rock pals hatch an unlikely scheme to bring the British punk band, The
Clash, to play at a fundraising concert. This sets off a wild and unpredictable series
of events that force Wade to choose between saving the station or ensuring his

Director: Bob Hercules

Producer: Bob Hercules, Jeff Rogers and Lisa Pooler

Bob Hercules is a independent filmmaker whose new film, Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise, premiered at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, won the Audience Award at AFI-Docs Festival and Best Feature film at the Black Harvest
Film Festival. It airs on PBS’ American Masters February, 2017. His 2011 film, Bill T. Jones: A Good Man, played at many festivals including Full Frame, IDFA,DOXA, and the Southern Circuit.


IFP Chicago is a non-profit organization committed to the idea that independent film is an important art form and powerful voice in our society. We provide information, community, education and professional development opportunities for independent filmmakers, industry professionals and independent film enthusiasts. We encourage quality and diversity in independent production and assist filmmakers at all levels of experience in realizing their unique vision. To find out about upcoming programs & events, or to sign up for the IFP Chicago newsletter visit  Find IFP Chicago on Facebook IFP-Chicago and Twitter @IFPCHICAGO.


About Cinema/Chicago

Cinema/Chicago, the presenting organization of the Chicago International Film Festival, is a year round not-for-profit arts and education organization dedicated to fostering better communication between people of diverse cultures through the art of film and the moving image. Proceeds from the Festival benefit Cinema/Chicago’s programs throughout the year, including the International Screenings Program, the Chicago International Television Festival, CineYouth Festival, the Education Program and Members Film Screening Series. Celebrating its 53rd edition October 12-26, the Chicago International Film Festival is North America’s longest-running competitive film festival.