Film matters.

IFP Chicago empowers Midwest filmmakers at all stages of their careers to create bold, original content that reaches audiences and impacts culture by providing mentorship, community, and connection to industry and each other. We provide programming and services designed to strengthen diverse artistic visions and enable filmmakers to create sustainable careers by connecting them with local and national opportunities, greater audiences and each other. We encourage quality and diversity in independent production and assist filmmakers at all levels of experience in realizing their unique vision.

The IFP Chicago story...

IFP Chicago started 30-years-ago, when a handful of filmmakers got together for a beer in the back room of The Red Lion Pub. Inspired by their hometown and its stories, these artists chose to live and work in the city, but felt cut off from the larger film industry. They offered each other support, shared knowledge and created a community.

A lot has changed in 30 years. What hasn’t changed is filmmakers’ need for support, access to industry and community. The need for diverses, independent stories is even more important today, in a world where media creates reality as much as reflecting it.

Today IFP Chicago provides year-round support to hundreds of filmmakers in Chicago and across the midwest. We host educational and  professional development opportunities like our “75 minutes with…” series, Master Sessions, Pitch Sessions and Industry Workshops. Our filmmaker services include work-in-progress screenings and fiscal sponsorship, which provide artists with the tools they need to create impactful independent work. Through screening opportunities such as the  Chicago Underground Film Festival, the longest-running underground film festival in the world, and the Illinois Film Tour Pilot Program, we connect audiences across the state with high quality, independent media they can’t normally access, sparking deeper conversations about the world and a greater empathy for each other.

Staff + Board Members.


IFP Chicago was founded in 1987 as a small group of filmmakers that met in bars around the city to view each other’s work. In 1992 we introduced an annual conference that brought together filmmakers and film lovers from around the Midwest and Great Lakes regions. In 2004 we began hosting filmmaker workshops and independent film screenings. Today IFP Chicago not only offers a full slate of year round community programs and filmmaker services it also runs the Chicago Underground Film Festival, the longest running underground film festival in the world.


Executive Director: Gregory Collins

Chicago Underground Film Festival Programmer & Artistic Director: Bryan Wendorf



Are you looking for volunteer opportunities or a way to be more engaged in the midwest film community? We are always looking for help and would love to hear from you! Email us at info@ifpchicago.org.


Contact Us.

PHONE: 773.998.1082



IFP Chicago gratefully acknowledges support of its programs by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council Agency.


Lisa Swanson, IT Strategist

Vice President
Ines Sommer, Co-Founder and Executive Director, Percolator Films

Vice President
Jonah Zeiger, Northwestern University

Christopher Johnson, Founder, Johnsonese Brokerage LLC

Travis Life, Leavens, Strand & Glover, LLC

Past Presidents
Carrie Holt de Lama, Independent Producer
Nicole Bernardi-Reis, Independent Producer

Jeff Becker, Chair of Swanson, Martin & Bell, LLP’s Entertainment and Media Law Practice Group

Meggie Cramer, Assistant Director, University of Chicago Booth School of Business

Amelia Dellos, Writer & Producer, Corn Bred Films

Jessie Fairbanks, Producer & Project Manager

Angie Gaffney, Producer & Manager, Black Apple Media

John Mossman, Director, Mossman Films

John Otterbacher, Producer & Director, Orange Chair Productions, Ltd.

Lisa Trifone, 11th Street Lot Marketing & Publicity

Laurel Ward, Independent Producer