IFP Chicago and the 53rd Chicago International Film Festival are proud to announce the five projects chosen for THE PITCH at this year’s Industry Days. The five projects are listed below.

“The Pitch” at Industry Days will take place from 2pm-5:30pm on Sunday, October 22 at Embassy Suites, Chicago Downtown Magnificent Mile (511 N Columbus Dr, Chicago). 

This year’s jury at THE PITCH is comprised of a distinguished group of veteran film professionals: Tom Quinn, founder and CEO of Neon; Amy Hobby, Vice President of Artist Programs, Tribeca Film Institute; and Aijah Keith, Acquisitions Manager of IFC Films and Sundance Selects.

THE PITCH is open to an audience who can watch and learn about what makes a good pitch and what professionals are looking for from independent filmmakers. Accredited Film Festival, Press and Industry Days badge holders can attend.

Girl With Child - In a small town in Ecuador, teenager Diana escapes from an institution for troubled girls with her toddler. The goal: to pick up her younger sister from their abusive childhood home and start a new life. But along the way, Diana ends up down and out and must figure out how to survive with her young son, whom she’s not even sure she wants.

Director: Maria Abraham

Producer: Luz Agudelo Gipson

Girl with Child was selected for the 2016 Film Independent Screenwriting Lab and Producing Lab, and was awarded a Fulbright Grant to research and write the script. The proof-of-concept short film of the same title won Best Short Short at Aspen Shortsfest and the Chicago Award at the Chicago International Film Festival.

Maria Abraham

Maria Abraham

Luz Agudelo Gipson

Luz Agudelo Gipson

Once Upon A River - Once Upon A River is an American odyssey with the perfect cocktail of action, adventure, and heart. A midwestern gothic from the perspective of Margo, a girl who is struggling to figure out life, it is at once harrowing and dark, but also inspirational as we witness Margo’s strength when faced with difficult challenges in her quest for freedom.

Director: Haroula Rose
Producers: David Macias, Julian West, Heather Rae, Jacqueline “JJ” Ingram

Writer/director Haroula Rose’s screenplay for Once Upon A River was part of Nantucket Screenwriter’s Colony and a finalist for Sundance Screenwriter’s Lab. Her works have screened at over 40 festivals including Cannes, Newport Beach, Sun Valley, Salerno. Her producing credits include Fruitvale Station, Permanent, and Heaven Adores You.

Rainbow Farm - Rainbow Farm is the story of two queer visionaries who built a counterculture community in rural Michigan, only to see it brought to a violent end by the FBI during an armed standoff just one week before 9/11. Through a hybrid approach that conjugates rich archive with narrative depiction, this film interrogates the parameters of “American freedom” through the fate of Tom and Rollie, two hippie libertarian life partners who decided to burn down their utopia rather than hand it to the government.

Director: J.P. Sniadecki
Producers: Sara Archambault, Shane Boris

J.P. Sniadecki is a filmmaker and anthropologist active in China and the United States whose films have screened and won awards at festivals such as the Berlinale, BFI London, Locarno, New York, AFI, Edinburgh, Rotterdam, San Francisco, and the Viennale, as well as at the 2014 Whitney Biennale, the 2014 Shanghai Biennale, and the Guggenheim. His latest feature, El Mar La Mar (2017) premiered at Berlin where it won the Caligari Award and is at the Chicago International Film Festival. A 2017 Guggenheim Fellowship recipient, Sniadecki's work is in permanent collections of New York's Museum of Modern Art and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and he currently teaches filmmaking at Northwestern University.

Revival - For one day in rural central Wisconsin, the dead come back to life. Now it’s up to Officer Dana Cypress to find the murderer of her undead sister and maintain order in a town separated by ideological differences.


Director: Luke Boyce

Producer: Brett Hays

Luke Boyce is one of the co-founders of Shatterglass Studios. In 2013, he won a regional Emmy for his documentary showcasing the 14th Annual Ebertfest. In 2017, his short film, The Pooka, premiered at the Palm Springs International Shortfest. Over the decade he has worked with Oliver Stone, Tilda Swinton, Spike Lee & more, as well as promotional work for the Chicago Blackhawks and Chicago Bulls.

The Year Between - Clemence goes clinically nuts and drops out of college. She heads to her suburban hometown to be treated for Bipolar Disorder. Through YouTube yoga, high school parties, and a tumor that threatens the person she needs most, Clemence learns that “healing” means growing the hell up. A comedy about the year between an earth-shattering diagnosis and an earth-shattering comeback.

Director: Alex Heller
Producers: Julia Rose Duray, Eugene Sun Park

Alex Heller is a filmmaker and comedian working between Oslo and her parents' basement in Chicago. Her film Handjob won Best Comedy at Chicago International Film Festival’s CineYouth Festival.  She directed Word, a sitcom pilot funded by Julia Louis-Dreyfus, and has animated for Nickelodeon artist Eric Patrick. Her stand-up will be featured on the next season of Norway’s Got Talent.


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.