Lecturer and Associate Director of the MFA in Documentary Media program
Ines Sommer is a filmmaker, curator, and media arts advocate whose films have tackled topics including the environment, the arts, participatory democracy, and human rights. Her recent documentary Seasons of Change on Henry’s Farm follows organic farmer Henry Brockman as he grapples with the impact of a changing climate on his family farm in rural Illinois. The film is currently making the festival rounds and won the “Best Documentary” award at the 2020 Vail Film Festival. Other projects include the human rights documentary Beneath the Blindfold and the MacArthur Foundation-funded Count Me In, which aired on PBS stations across the nation in 2016. Ines has also directed a good number of short experimental and hybrid projects and her camerawork has been featured in numerous award-winning documentaries by Chicago’s Kartemquin Films, Kindling Group, and many other filmmakers.
Besides making films, Ines has a longstanding interest in engaging audiences with independent cinema. She has held positions as a film programmer and arts administrator, served on the Board of Directors of Chicago Filmmakers and IFP Chicago, and is co-founder and executive director of Percolator Films, a 501c3 non-profit media arts organization. Percolator Films’ public programs have included film and discussion events, festivals, and most recently the Doc Chicago conference, which brings regional documentary filmmakers together. Ines is particularly interested in audience engagement, community-based programming, and sustainability efforts for the documentary field. Ines was included in New City magazine’s annual Film 50 list three times for being “one of 50 individuals who shape Chicago’s film scene.” Ines holds an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.