Your First Look at Five Illinois Indie Features for 2020

Your First Look at Five Illinois Indie Features for 2020

As we peek ahead to 2020, there are five Illinois features in the works that deserve a spot on your radar. Let's take a look...

All five filmmaking teams will take center stage this Sunday, October 20 as The Chicago International Film Festival hosts THE PITCH at Industry Days, 1:30 – 4:30pm, at the Chicago Cultural Center. With the goal of spotlighting and supporting high quality work from Chicago and the Midwest, THE PITCH offers filmmakers with narrative features in late stage development the opportunity to present their projects in front of a live audience and a panel of industry judges.

The five Illinois indie features in the works are:


A single mother living on the edge in Chicago’s Humboldt Park has three hours to find someone, anyone to care for her child, or risk losing the job that keeps both of them from losing their home. Director/Writer: Aemilia Scott, Producer: Holli McGinley


Carrie moves to Chicago to start over, but gets herself entangled in a messy affair with an ex-boyfriend and his new girlfriend instead. Director/Writer: Tayler Vee Robinson, Producer: Eugene Sun Park


In 1979, on a warm summer night in Chicago, a middle-class family teetering on the brink of divorce is forever changed when actor John Belushi — who just so happens to be filming a scene for The Blues Brothers down the street — knocks on their front door and invites himself in for dinner. Director/Writer/Producer: Justin Shady, Director/Producer: Neal E. Fischer


Following a traumatic breakdown, a bratty young art student is forced to recover in the isolation of her father’s mid-construction home. But as she works to rebuild her world, she stumbles across a dark, decades-old mystery. Director/Writer/Producer: Jim Vendiola, Writer/Producer: Shelley Gustavson


An undocumented bathroom attendant at a seedy vaudevillian nightclub longs to be a famous singer and strikes a deal with the devil to make her dreams a reality. Director/Writer: Emily Esperanza, Producers: Brian Khan, Eugene Sun Park

And to the winner goes...

The winning pitch, selected by a jury of noted film experts, will receive an award of in-kind services from Chicago production facilities, including Keslow Camera, Stage18, Chicago Media Angels, and the Tribeca Film Institute, worth over $20,000.

Past award-winning projects have been invited to the Tribeca Film Institute All Access Fellowship, IFP New York’s 2016 Project Forum Film Slate No Borders program, and Tribeca Film Institute’s TFI Network. Signature Move (The Pitch 2015 Honorable Mention) had its world premiere at SXSW and closed a distribution deal with Amazon Video Direct’s Film Festival Stars program. Other recent Pitch projects include Knives and Skin (2019 Berlinale premiere) and Once Upon a River (2019 Bentonville Film Festival premiere).

Alongside the Chicago International Film Festival, the sponsors for THE PITCH include DCASE, Chicago Film Office, Keslow Camera, Chicago Media Angels, Swanson Martin & Bell LLP, Tribeca Film Institute, and Stage 18. The hosts for THE PITCH are Nicole Bernardi-Reis and Jonah Zeiger and the mentors include Ericka Frederick, Anna Hozian, Bernardi-Reis, and Zeiger. Judges include Stephen Cone (Princess Cyd), Bryce Norbitz (Tribeca Institute), Josh Foster (Cinetic).

THE PITCH is free and open to the public. The Chicago International Film Festival hosts The Pitch at Industry Days this Sunday, October 20, 1:30 – 4:30pm, at the Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E Washington St., Millennium Park Room, 5th floor.