September 5, 2023

Make the Best of Film Independent Forum 2023

Loring Weisenberger
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The Film Independent Forum is a can’t-miss experience within the independent filmmaking community. Every year, it gathers hundreds of artists and industry leaders for two days of meeting, greeting, and learning.

The upcoming 2023 Film Independent Forum promises to deliver all that and more.

This post will walk you through everything you need to know about attending the top conference for independent filmmakers and content creators in the United States. We’ll tell you what the Film Independent Forum is, highlight film forum events you can’t miss, and show you how to make the most of your 2023 Film Independent Forum experience.

What is the Film Independent Forum?

The Film Independent Forum is an annual conference that aims to inspire and empower members of the independent filmmaking community. It’s designed to build community and foster talent by providing opportunities for networking and education.

The film forum schedules a wide variety of events, including:

  • Screenings
  • Panels
  • Workshops
  • One-on-one meetings
  • Networking lunches
  • Receptions
  • And more

Through these events, the Film Independent Forum ultimately offers a deep dive into the nuts and bolts of independent filmmaking. The film forum provides an in-depth exploration of the financing, producing, and distribution of independent visual media. 

Who runs the Film Independent Forum?

If the pitch isn’t convincing on its own, check out the film forum’s credentials. As its name suggests, Film Independent organizes the Film Independent Forum.

Film Independent is the leading professional group for independent filmmakers in the U.S. The nonprofit organization champions creative independence in all forms of visual storytelling and has the history to prove it. 

For more than 30 years, they’ve offered development labs, grants, screenings, classes, and the Film Independent Spirit Awards. Most importantly, they’ve nurtured a thriving community for independent filmmakers. 

In other words, the Film Independent Forum has some serious street cred. The guests are heavy hitters, the knowledge is high quality, and the experience is invaluable. If you’re an independent filmmaker, the film forum is one of the best networking events around for you.

Here at Wrapbook, our mission is to put more power directly in the hands of filmmakers to create a stronger filmmaking community. That’s why Wrapbook is a proud sponsor of the 2023 Film Independent Forum and why we’ve put together this guide. 

Below, we’ll talk about how to access the 2023 film forum and how to get the most out of your experience.

Where and when is the Film Independent Forum?

The 2023 Film Independent Forum is set to take place Friday, September 29 and Saturday, September 30 at the Directors Guild of America in Los Angeles, California. Events will be held all day, both days, starting from 10:00 am. 

This year’s forum will be the first to be held entirely in-person since 2019. There will also be no online component this year, so attendees should lock down their tickets as soon as possible.  

How do I get tickets to the Film Independent Forum?

Tickets to the 2023 forum are on sale now for both the general public and members of Film Independent. Members receive a significant discount on forum passes. The amount varies by membership level. 

Here’s a quick breakdown:

  • Non-Member Tickets: $189
  • Member Tickets: $149
  • Arts Circle Members: FREE

You can purchase tickets to this year’s forum here.

If you’re not a Film Independent member, consider joining now. Each level of membership includes unique benefits, like access to free screenings, educational resources, and networking events. 

When a sizable ticket discount for the Film Independent Forum is just the cherry on top, you know the offer’s worth a look. 

What’s awesome at the 2023 Film Independent Forum?

What is the Film Independent Forum? From one point of view, it’s a collection of the coolest and most valuable events specifically designed for independent filmmakers in any given year. Screenings, panels, presentations, and awards - the Film Independent Forum has it all.

Here are a few highlights from this year’s schedule:

Celebrate the inaugural Changemaker Award

This year, the Film Independent Forum will present its first ever Changemaker Award. The Changemaker Award celebrates filmmakers who exemplify Film Independent’s mission to “champion independent voices and create impactful, positive change.” 

These artists are producing high-quality work with wide-reaching impact in both the industry and their own communities.

The 2023 Changemaker Awards will be presented to Smriti Mundhra, Pamela Ribon, and Kim Yutani. You can join them at the presentation ceremony at 7:00 pm on Friday, September 29.

Get inspired with Justin Simien’s keynote address

This year’s filmmaker keynote by famed writer, director, and former Film Independent Fellow Justin Simien. With a credit list ranging from indie breakout like Dear White People to studio productions like Haunted Mansion, Justin Simien knows a thing or two about navigating the world of independent production.

His thoughts on the state of the industry and advice to upcoming filmmakers is sure to be a can’t-miss experience. 

You can catch Justin Simien’s keynote address at 10:15 am on Saturday, September 30.

Upgrade your funding strategy with Ryan Broussard at the Financing Clinic

Independent film financing can be tricky. In this session, a panel of producers, financiers, and industry experts will show you how to leverage your project’s unique characteristics to form an attractive package for investors. 

The panel is set to include Wrapbook’s very own Ryan Broussard, an expert in film industry tax incentives and finance optimization.

Make the Best of Film Independent Forum 2023 - Wrapbook - Ryan Broussard
Join Wrapbook’s Ryan Broussard at the Film Independent Financing Clinic.

The financing clinic will cover both narrative and documentary funding strategies. Pitches from Film Independent fellows will provide real-world examples that will be workshopped throughout the session. 

You can jump in with Ryan Broussard and the rest of the Financing Clinic at 11:15 am on Saturday, September 30.

Chart a successful career path with the Film Independent Fellows Panel

The only thing more difficult than making a film is sustaining a career as a filmmaker. This forum session assembles a panel of former Film Independent Fellows who have managed to do just that.

The panel will leverage its collective experience to explore getting first projects off the ground, sustaining a creative career, and what the future holds for independent filmmakers.

The Film Independent Fellows’ insight into career management is sure to be a unique and invaluable resource for independent creators. Don’t miss it at 3:30 pm on Saturday, September 30.

How to crush it at Film Independent Forum 2023

Now that you understand the basics of the Film Independent Forum, let’s talk about how to make the most of your experience. Below, we’ll dive into pro tips and best practices for making the most of this year’s events.

1. Set your objectives

The indie film community is diverse, and the Film Independent Forum is sure to have a little something for everyone. Before attending, it’s important to examine what you want to get out of your experience. 

It’s far easier to know what to do if you first understand why you’re doing it. 

For example, if you’re a producer with a slate of would-be independent projects, you might attend the forum with a goal of leveling up your financing knowledge.

If you’re a director in search of partners for a new project, you might instead attend with a goal to meet producers or other potential colleagues.

If you’re a lover of independent film, you might attend to simply see new movies and hear from your favorite filmmakers.

All of the above objectives are possible at the Film Independent Forum. Understanding your own motivation upfront will help you navigate your forum experience as it unfolds.

2. Schedule your time

The Film Independent Forum packs a lot of events into just two short days. To make the most of your experience, you’ll want to review the official schedule and plan your time in advance. 

Try to prioritize events that align with your objectives, but don’t be afraid to stay flexible when necessary. As with building a production schedule, your forum timeline should be used as a guide, not a cage. 

If you discover that a particular event is more appealing than initially expected, allow yourself the freedom to deviate from your initial plan. 

3. Prepare your materials

If your goal for attending the Film Independent Forum is to push a project forward in a particular way, be sure to prepare adequate materials to support that effort. That could mean a script, budget, pitch deck, 3D pre-viz, or something else entirely. It all depends on the specifics of your project and what you’re looking to achieve at the forum.

Note that the Film Independent Forum isn’t a film festival or a marketplace. It’s not an event that directly facilitates sales or deals. 

However, it is an excellent source of networking opportunities. By having the right materials to pitch your project (or yourself), you’ll have the tools to network in a focused, productive way.  

4. Take notes

The Film Independent is, at its core, about sharing knowledge... Do your brain a favor and come ready to take serious notes. The simple combination of pen and paper can upgrade the long-term value of your forum experience exponentially.

This is especially true in 2023. Remember that there will be no online component for this year’s event. That means there will be no streams and no recordings. If you want to remember every word of Justin Simien’s keynote, you’ll have to write it down yourself.

5. Follow up

The Film Independent Forum is a community-oriented event. The most surefire way to get the most out of your forum experience is to maintain the connections you make there. 

As is the case for any networking event, it’s crucial that you follow up with people after an initial meeting. It’s a small step that takes you from being a person they met to a person they know.

Thanks to Film Independent, you’ll also have a built-in excuse for reaching out. By being an active participant in the independent community, you’ll have established meaningful common ground. With a little work, you can turn a random forum encounter into a creative partner or even a friend. 

Wrapping up

The 2023 Film Independent Forum will be a celebration and exploration of independent filmmaking and content creation. 

The two-day event is an opportunity to upgrade your skills, expand your circles, and put yourself on the fast-track to becoming a business-savvy filmmaker. Attendees will have unprecedented access to their peers as well as industry experts like Ryan Broussard.

The 2023 Film Independent Forum is set to be a can’t-miss event. Wrapbook will certainly be there, and we hope you will, too.

Last Updated 
September 5, 2023


At Wrapbook, we pride ourselves on providing outstanding free resources to producers and their crews, but this post is for informational purposes only as of the date above. The content on our website is not intended to provide and should not be relied on for legal, accounting, or tax advice.  You should consult with your own legal, accounting, or tax advisors to determine how this general information may apply to your specific circumstances.

About the author
Loring Weisenberger

Loring is a Los Angeles-based writer, director, and creative producer. His work has been commissioned by a diverse range of clients- from Havas Worldwide to Wisecrack, inc.- and has been screened around the world. Through a background that blends project development with physical production across multiple formats, Loring has developed a uniquely eclectic skillset as a visual storyteller.

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