Panelists include directors Jonathan Levine, Mike Mills & Jeff Nichols


Harry Lennix, Robin Swicord, and HitFix’s Gregory Ellwood to Moderate


LOS ANGELES (January 26, 2012) – Film Independent, the non-profit arts organization that produces the Spirit Awards and the Los Angeles Film Festival, announced the guest speakers and program for the 11th annual Film Independent Directors Close-Up series, taking place every Wednesday from February 8 – March 7, 2012 at The Landmark – West Los Angeles. Directors Jonathan Levine, (50/50), Mike Mills (Beginners), Jeff Nichols (Take Shelter), Writers Will Reiser (50/50), Phil Johnston (Cedar Rapids), Sound Designer Will Files (Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, Tree of Life, Take Shelter) and Composer David Wingo (Take Shelter) will be this year’s series panelists, with more to be announced. Actor Harry Lennix (Man of Steel, Ray), writer/director Robin Swicord (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button) and HitFix Editor-in-Chief Gregory Ellwood will be moderators.

Over the course of five consecutive weeks, filmmakers and film lovers will hear first-hand from prolific directors whose originality, ingenuity, and talent have set them apart as leaders in their craft. Each night will delve into specific aspects of directing—sound, writing, cinematography, casting and eliciting compelling performances from actors. The 2012 Film Independent Directors Close-Up sponsors include Skywalker Sound, The Landmark Theatres, the Directors Guild of America, SAGIndie/Screen Actors Guild and HitFix (

“The Film Independent Directors Close-Up provides a rare opportunity for cinephiles, and filmmakers alike, to hear candid stories from esteemed directors about the joys, trials and tribulations of making a film. This series really pulls back the curtain on the collaborative process in an intimate setting, and allows our audience to ask those burning questions they have about independent filmmaking,” said Director of Education Maria Bozzi.

This year’s panels will cover the following topics:

February 8 – Sound Advice: Moving Beyond the Picture

February 15 – The Storytellers: Writers and Directors

February 22 – The Independent Spirit: A Directors Roundtable

February 29 – The Actors: Getting Great Performances

March 7 – The Creative Team: Executing the Vision

Past panelists include Lisa Cholodenko, Bill Condon, Guillermo del Toro, David Fincher, Ruben Fleischer, Marc Forster, Rodrigo García, Alejandro González Iñárritu, Susannah Grant, Paul Haggis, Catherine Hardwicke, Nicole Holofcener, Tamara Jenkins, Spike Jonze, Miranda July, Richard Kelly, Neil LaBute, Kasi Lemmons, Justin Lin, Tom McCarthy, Alexander Payne, Jason Reitman, Eli Roth, Walter Salles, Julian Schnabel, Kevin Smith, Mike White and many more.

All panels will take place at The Landmark – West Los Angeles (10850 West Pico Boulevard at Westwood Boulevard) on Wednesday evenings from 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. For more information on the schedule, panel descriptions and participants, and to buy passes, please visit or call 310-432-1222.


Film Independent is a non-profit arts organization that champions independent film and supports a community of artists who embody diversity, innovation, and uniqueness of vision. Film Independent helps filmmakers make their movies, builds an audience for their projects, and works to diversify the film industry. Film Independent’s Board of Directors, filmmakers, staff, and constituents, is comprised of an inclusive community of individuals across ability, age, ethnicity, gender, race, and sexual orientation. Anyone passionate about film can become a member, whether you are a filmmaker, industry professional, or a film lover.

Film Independent produces the Spirit Awards, the annual celebration honoring artist-driven films and recognizing the finest achievements of American independent filmmakers.  Film Independent also produces the Los Angeles Film Festival, showcasing the best of American and international cinema and the Film Independent at LACMA Film Series, a year-round, weekly program that offers unique cinematic experiences for the Los Angeles creative community and the general public.

With over 250 annual screenings and events, Film Independent provides access to a network of like-minded artists who are driving creativity in the film industry. Film Independent’s Artist Development program offers free Labs for selected writers, directors, producers and documentary filmmakers and presents year-round networking opportunities. Project Involve is Film Independent’s signature program dedicated to fostering the careers of talented filmmakers from communities traditionally underrepresented in the film industry.
For more information or to become a member, visit


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