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Speaker Bios

Alessandra, Pilar

Pilar Alessandra

PILAR ALESSANDRA started her career as Senior Story Analyst at DreamWorks SKG. In 2001, she opened the Los Angeles-based On the Page Writers’ Studio, dedicated to teaching and consulting with screenwriters and TV writers at all levels. She’s the author of the top-selling scriptwriting book, “The Coffee Break Screenwriter,” and host of the popular “On the Page Podcast.” An in-demand speaker, she’s taught at Disney Animation, ABC, CBS and MTV, and traveled the world coaching writers and producers in the UK, China, Poland, Vietnam, Colombia, Portugal and South Africa. Pilar’s greatest accomplishment is the success of her students, many of whom have won top competitions like the Nicholl Fellowship, are working on TV shows such as “The 100,” “Silicon Valley” and “Grey’s Anatomy,” and have sold scripts and pitches to studios including DreamWorks, Warner Bros. and Disney. For more information about Pilar, her classes, consultations, book and podcast, go to www.onthepage.tv

Adrian Alperovich

Adrian Alperovich is the Chief Operating Officer at Madison Wells Media’s (MWM) OddLot Entertainment. As the COO, Alperovich oversees business operations for the company’s film and television divisions, as well as managing new business initiatives.

For the past 25 years, Alperovich has worked in the entertainment industry with intimate involvement in the production, acquisition, distribution and financing of hundreds of projects. Prior to MVM’s OddLot, he was the COO for Focus Features following tenure as the COO at FilmDistrict, and as the Senior Executive Vice President and General Manager of Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions (SPWA), and the Senior Executive Vice President of International at Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

Alperovich is a graduate of Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Business and Cornell University. He started his professional career at publisher Bantam Books in the editorial department and later at the First National Bank of Chicago as part of their First Scholar program and then Corporate Banking Officer.

He is an active member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and he lives in Los Angeles with his wife and 2 daughters.

Tom Ara

Tom K. Ara focuses his practice on entertainment and media industry transactions, both domestic and international. He represents banks, private equity groups, hedge funds, investors and borrowers in financing and strategic industry transactions. In addition, he advises feature film studios, television networks, production companies, Internet and mobile-based content producers and distributors in corporate transactions as well as in the development, production and distribution of feature films, television programs and digital content. Tom’s clients also include entertainment, media and technology companies employing new methods and technologies to produce and distribute content and content experiences, including through augmented and virtual reality platforms, as well as financiers and investors active in these areas.


Tom has led multiple large financing and M&A transactions that have involved many of the major film and television studios and production companies and some of the most successful feature film and television franchises and several iconic comic book properties, including slate financing vehicles valued in the hundreds of millions of dollars, corporate credit facilities, investment, joint venture and restructuring transactions involving the ownership of film, television and comic book properties, and the acquisition and sale of feature film and television libraries. He has also led debt, equity and gap financing transactions for the production and distribution (including P&A expenditures) of numerous independent feature films, television series and digital content.

Armbrust, Tobin

Tobin Armbrust

Tobin Armbrust is currently COO and President, Production at Virgin Produced. Virgin Produced is the film, television and digital entertainment arm of Richard Branson’s Virgin Group. Armbrust is building a slate of content over multiple platforms that is disruptive, high concept and youth oriented.


Armbrust is an Executive Producer on the upcoming thriller “Winchester” from CBS Films, starring Hellen Mirren and Jason Clarke. He is also an Executive Producer on a documentary in production featuring the Los Angeles Lakers and their iconic owner Jerry Buss. Recently, Armbrust has produced digital pilots for EKO and West Fly and is overseeing development projects with JJ Abrams’s Bad Robot, Nickelodeon, Netflix, IM Global and Pete Berg’s Film44.


Virgin Produced also distributes original and acquired digital content through its airline, mobile, airport and hotel partners. Taken together, Virgin Produced and its strategic partners can reach well over 100 million viewers per month with its content.


Prior to joining Virgin Produced, Armbrust held the same position at Exclusive Media where he produced the romantic music comedy “Begin Again” starring Keira Knightley, Mark Ruffalo, Adam Levine and Hailee Steinfeld from writer/director John Carney. Previously, he executive produced Ron Howard’s epic action thriller “Rush,” starring Chris Hemsworth and Daniel Brühl, “Parkland” starring Paul Giamatti, Billy Bob Thornton, and Zac Efron, the box office hit “End of Watch” starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Peña, the fast paced thriller “Snitch” starring action superstar Dwayne Johnson and Susan Sarandon, and the action romantic comedy “Hit and Run” starring Dax Shepard, Kristen Bell and Bradley Cooper.


Additional films from Exclusive Media produced and/or executive produced by Armbrust include “A Walk Among the Tombstones” starring Liam Neeson, “Dark Places” starring Charlize Theron, and the follow up to The Woman in Black, “The Woman in Black: Angel of Death.” Other films Armbrust has produced include “The Quiet Ones,” starring Jared Harris and Sam Claflin, “The Woman in Black” starring Daniel Radcliffe, Matt Reeves’ “Let Me In”, “The Resident” starring Hilary Swank, “So Undercover” starring Miley Cyrus and Peter Weir’s “The Way Back” with Saiorse Ronan and Ed Harris. For Exclusive Media’s documentary feature label, Spitfire Pictures, Armbrust produced “Amazing Journey: The Story of the Who”, “Billy Joel: Last Play at Shea” and “Guys and Divas: Battle of the High School Musicals.”


In his capacity as Head of Production and Acquisitions, Tobin oversaw several films for the company in an executive role. He served as the key creative member on the green light committee that determined which films were financed and was ultimately responsible for the scripts, casts and budgets. In this role he oversaw George Clooney’s “Ides of March”, and the Academy Award winning documentary Undefeated”.


Prior to joining Exclusive Media, Armbrust served as a producer at Thunder Road, a production company with a first look deal at Warner Bros. Armbrust oversaw over thirty projects in various stages of development, and Co-Produced “Firewall” starring Harrison Ford and Paul Bettany. During his time at Thunder Road he helped develop “Clash of the Titans”, “We Are Marshall” and “Seventh Son”, all of which went on to be made. Before joining Thunder Road, Armbrust spent seven years at Intermedia serving under Co-Founders Nigel Sinclair and Guy East. At Intermedia he held positions as both a VP of
Business Development as well as a VP of Production. During his tenure, he helped oversee several feature films including “K-19” starring Harrison Ford, “Basic” starring John Travolta and Samuel L. Jackson, “The Wedding Planner” starring Jennifer Lopez and Matthew McConaughey, “Adaptation” starring Nicolas Cage, “National Security” starring Martin Lawrence, “Terminator 3” starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, “Welcome to Mooseport” starring Gene Hackman and Ray Romano, and “K-PAX” starring Kevin Spacey.


Armbrust began his career in the film industry as Head of Acquisitions at The Steel Company, a Los Angeles based agency that represented some of the largest film distributors in the world, including France’s Canal Plus, South Korea’s Samsung, and Japan’s Pony Canyon.


Armbrust received his Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science at UCSB and a Rotary Scholarship to study Business at the University of Munich, Germany. He has been a panelist and guest speaker at the USC School of Film, The American Film Market, Loyola Marymount, California State University, Los Angeles and several other industry events. He has been profiled in multiple newspapers and magazines, including, most recently, the Hollywood Reporter, Variety, Screen Daily and Deadline Hollywood.

Rebecca Arzoian

Rebecca Arzoian is the Vice President of Production at Focus Features, working on nearly thirty films on the studio’s slate including this summer’s The Beguiled, directed by Sofia Coppola and the upcoming release Mary, Queen of Scots, directed by Josie Rourke. She’s currently developing projects with Dan Clowes, Gregory Crewdson, Melina Matsoukas and Sarah Ruhl, among many others. Rebecca graduated from Yale with a degree in Literature and was an editor of the Yale Daily News.

David Austin

With forty years of sales, marketing and product development experience, including twenty years in the faith and family entertainment industry, David heads the BMG sales, marketing and operations teams that are focused on being the industry standard, and the favorite of content providers, for the distribution of faith-based and family-friendly entertainment worldwide.

Paul Bales

Paul is a partner and the Chief Operating Officer at The Asylum, a production and distribution company based in Burbank, California. The Asylum finances, produces and releases 25 films per year through its direct pipeline to its network of domestic and international partners. Since its founding in 1997, The Asylum has released more than 500 films and built a library of over 200 original productions, including the top-rated “Sharknado” films and the series “Z Nation.”


Prior to joining The Asylum, Paul was National Director of SAGIndie, the Screen Actors Guild outreach program for independent producers.

Robert Bernacchi

Robert began working in film at Dino De Laurentiis’ studio in Wilmington, North Carolina as assistant to producer Dino Constantine Conte, after which he moved to Italy where he was very active in the Italian television and film industry.


In 1999 Robert returned to the international arena as Associate Producer on Julie Taymor’s debut feature film “Titus” starring Anthony Hopkins and Jessica Lange. Soon after, Robert went on to produce for New Line Cinema, Miramax Films, Metro Goldwyn Mayer, Sony Screen Gems, Lakeshore Entertainment and HBO on such films as Guillermo Del Toro’s ”Blade 2″, “Highlander 4: Endgame”, “Blood and Chocolate”, “Madhouse”, “The Cave” and “Underworld”, of which many were shot in Romania.


“Snowpiercer”, the English-language debut of Korean director Joon-ho Bong is one of Robert’s last features, starring Chris Evans, John Hurt, Tilda Swinton, Jamie Bell, Ed Harris, Allison Pill and Octavia Spencer. It was  released in Korea where it quickly became the biggest box-office success of all time for a Korean film and has won many awards. Miramax released the film in the US.


Robert’s career as a producer took him to many European capitals. He worked in Rome, Budapest, Paris, Bucharest, Prague with directors Joel Schumacher, Agnieska Holland, Todd Phillips, Executive Producers Ridley and Tony Scott, Mark Walhberg,  Fred Ross, and many other great filmmakers.. His work garnished multiple nominations, including Golden Globes for Warner Bros’ “War Dogs”, and Sony Television/TNT’s mini series “The Company”.


Currently, Robert is VP of Production at Skydance Media where he oversees a slate of television productions for various networks including Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, AMC, ABC and others.

Andy Bohn

Andy Bohn is Co-Founder and Managing Director at The Film Arcade where he oversees the company’s releases across theatrical and home entertainment. Recent films include Mike Birbiglia’s Don’t Think Twice, Lake Bell’s I Do…Until I Don’t and Josh Mond’s James White. Bohn is an executive producer on Don’t Think Twice starring Keegan-Michael Key, Gillian Jacobs and Mike Birbiglia and I Do…Until I Don’t starring Lake Bell, Ed Helms and Amber Heard.

Bohn previously founded Might Entertainment, a digital distribution company that released 37 films including The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo trilogy through an output deal with Lionsgate. Might was acquired by GoDigital in 2012.

Prior to Might, Bohn was a development executive at Morgan Creek and MGM’s Trilogy Entertainment and also worked in the motion picture department at ICM. Before entering the entertainment industry, Bohn was an analyst at Deloitte Consulting focused on the globalization strategies of media conglomerates.

Bohn is a member of Film Independent’s Arts Circle and the Milken Institute’s Young Leaders Circle as well as a founding Board Member of Northwestern University’s Leadership Council of Southern California and a co-chair of the annual Reverse Rett Gala in Los Angeles. Bohn graduated from Northwestern with a Bachelor of Arts in Economics.

Andrei Boncea

Andrei is a highly experienced producer and production manager, known for Alexandre Aja’s “High Tension”, the Oscar nominated “Joyeux Noel”, directed by Christian Carion, and for “An American Haunting”, starring Sissy Spacek and Donald Sutherland. For many years Andrei was the General Manager of Media Pro Entertainment and Media Pro Pictures in Romania, and VP of Content for Ronald Lauder/Time Warner’s CME. He has been involved in numerous international productions filmed in Romania at Media Pro Studios, such as Costa Gavras’ “Amen”, Zeffirelli’s “Callas Forever”, Andi Garcia’s “Modigliani”, directed by Mick Davis, Terry Gilliam’s “The Zero Theorem”, or Claude Lelouch’s “Les Amours La”( a Media Pro Pictures co-production with Film 13).


Andrei has also produced award winning Romanian films such as “California Dreamin’(Endless)” ( winner “Un Certain Regard – Cannes 2007), and many successful television series for CME’s local market leaders PRO TV and Acasa TV.


In 2017 Andrei co-produced the English language movie “The Wanderers”, starring Armando Asante and a cast of Romanian, South Korean, and Israeli actors. The movie was entirely shot in Romania and post-produced in both Romania and the US.

Rick Bonn

As Director of Development and Acquisitions at Pure Flix Entertainment, Rick oversees the development of features (The Case For Christ, God’s Not Dead 3, Samson) for Pure Flix Entertainment, as well as original episodic series (The Encounter) and movies for PureFlix.com. He has purchased ten films for worldwide distribution in the last two years, including The Stray (opening Oct. 6) and independent films like Until Forever, Wish For Christmas, and the upcoming Little Notes From Heaven.


Having worked in development for over twenty years for companies like Nickelodeon, Keystone Films (Air Bud franchise), Providence Entertainment (Mercy Streets, The Omega Code), PorchLight Entertainment (Jay Jay the Jet Plane), and Wind Dancer films (Bernie), Rick has specialized in the independent side of faith and family programming in both live action and animation.


As a writer and storyteller, Rick has created and published comic books (Farm Noir, Rohrr!, Meow Meow Jones), been published in multiple magazines and newspapers, and been a regular contributor to online sites including Aintitcool.com.


A grad of Wheaton College, Rick makes his home on the Oregon Coast and in Los Angeles with his wife Shanda and three children.

Etienne Bonnin

Etienne Bonnin is from a small city in the West of France and has always wanted to live surrounded by books. After he studied international business, he started working for Glénat in 2006 as Foreign Rights Manager. He has sold every type of rights since, in France and abroad. He was appointed Rights & Licensing Director in 2017.


Richard Botto

Richard “RB” Botto is the Founder and CEO of Stage 32, the world’s largest platform for connecting and educating film creatives. Called “LinkedIn meets Lynda for film creatives” by Forbes, Stage 32 boasts a member base of over 500,000 and features over 1000 hours of film craft and business related education taught by over 500 industry executives across the globe. Stage 32 is also the official film networking and education platform of AFM.


RB is also a working actor, producer and screenwriter. As a producer, his films have played at dozens of festivals including Sundance and include the award winning feature, Another Happy Day, the documentary Crutch and the upcoming Rain-Beau’s End. His latest screenplay, The End Game, is currently in development at Covert Media.


RB was also commissioned to write the very first book on film crowdsourcing by Focal Press/Routledge under the American Film Market (AFM) imprint. The book was published last month and is available at the Focal booth at AFM.


A sought after speaker and mentor, RB has been a keynote speaker and panelist at such festivals and conferences as Cannes, Venice, AFM, Tribeca, Raindance, SXSW and Winston Baker, and has taught at institutions such as Harvard and Columbia University on the subjects of filmmaking, producing, film finance, screenwriting, social media, crowdfunding, crowdsourcing, entrepreneurship and business.

Ian Bricke

Ian Bricke is Director, Content Acquisition at Netflix, where he oversees independent film licensing and production, bringing the best of independent film to a global audience of 104+ million Netflix viewers. Recent and upcoming titles on the Netflix production slate include Macon Blair’s 2017 Sundance Grand Jury Prize winner “I don’t feel at home in this world anymore.,” Joshua Marston’s “Come Sunday,” Tamara Jenkins’ “Private Life,” Jeremy Saulnier’s “Hold the Dark,” and Craig Johnson’s “Alex Strangelove.” Before joining Netflix, Ian worked in acquisitions and programming at Epix, IFC TV, and Sundance Channel. He has a BA from Swarthmore College and an MBA from New York University’s Stern School of Business.

Sam Brown

Sam Brown oversees production and development as Head of Production for STXfilms, a division of STX Entertainment. Brown started his career as a development executive with New Line Cinema in 2002 and was most recently a Senior Vice President of Production for the division.

While at New Line, Brown executive produced the Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart comedy Central Intelligence, Key and Peele’s film debut, Keanu, the latest installment in the Vacation franchise starring Ed Helms and Christina Applegate, as well as the global blockbuster San Andreas starring Dwayne Johnson.

His other credits include the hit film Horrible Bosses and its sequel Horrible Bosses 2, the Adam Shankman musical Rock of Ages, the worldwide hit Journey 2: The Mysterious Island, the Harold & Kumar series, and the highly successful romantic comedies New Year’s Eve and Valentine’s Day.

Brown graduated from Harvard University.

Paul Broucek

Paul Broucek serves as President, Music, Warner Bros. Pictures, responsible for the overall creative direction of Warner Bros. Pictures’ music operations. He is charged with overseeing the department’s administrative, production and day-to-day business functions as well as the strategic development and deployment of music-related initiatives to meet the needs of Warner Bros. Pictures’ producers and directors. In addition, he has oversight of WaterTower Music.


Prior to taking his current role at Warner Bros. Pictures in 2009, Broucek launched Common Market, a music consulting, production and publishing company specializing in productions for film, television, records, online, commercials, games and new media. Previously, he served as President, Music at New Line Cinema from 2004 to 2008, culminating 12 years at the company during which he also served as Executive Music Producer for the Academy Award-winning “The Lord of the Rings” film trilogy among a number of other notable titles.


Broucek formerly headed up Fairlight Instruments of Australia’s U.S. operations before moving into the music supervision field to oversee a mix of television and feature films. Prior to that, he was on the recording staff at The Record Plant in Los Angeles, where he was a key member of the team that began the company’s film scoring division and implemented the modernization and re-opening of Paramount Studios’ famed Stage M. He also served as President/General Manager of The Plant Studios in Sausalito, California.


Broucek began his film music career working on the landmark film “Apocalypse Now” as an assistant engineer to Academy Award-winning sound designer and picture editor Walter Murch.

Effie Brown

Coming soon.


Wendy Calhoun

Wendy Calhoun is a writer and executive producer currently developing a true crime cable miniseries for FX, as well as a broadcast family soap for Fox. Her credits include Co-Executive Producing and writing the historic first season of Fox’s hit series EMPIRE. In addition, she’s written and produced for ABC’S NASHVILLE, FX’s JUSTIFIED, ABC’s REVENGE, and NBC’s LIFE. Calhoun wrote and directed the virtual reality short, LEFT BEHIND, sponsored by Google and honored as “Best in VR” at Digital Hollywood 2016. She was the Narrative Consultant for Electronic Arts’ BATTLEFIELD HARDLINE video game. She received a 2010 Peabody Award for JUSTIFIED. Born and raised in Dallas, Texas, Calhoun studied film and television at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts.

Rebecca Cammarata

Prior to joining Stay Gold, Becca Cammarata was the Creative Executive at Jake Gyllenhaal’s company Nine Stories Productions where she worked closely with producer Riva Marker on David Gordon Green’s STRONGER, Paul Dano’s directing debut WILDLIFE, and the 2017 Broadway revival of Stephen Sondheim’s classic SUNDAY IN THE PARK WITH GEORGE. Before Nine Stories, Becca was an executive at Red Crown Productions where she worked on a number of films, including Cary Fukunaga’s BEASTS OF NO NATON, Jason Bateman’s THE FAMILY FANG, and Michael Showalter’s HELLO, MY NAME IS DORIS. Becca holds a B.A. in Film from Loyola University Maryland.

Nathalie Carpentier

After studying literature, Nathalie Carpentier joined the Faculty of Law of Paris. She pursued a license in political sociology with Professor Nicos Poulantzas.


In 1974 she worked with her mother in her gallery that represented contemporary Gobelin tapestry. Between 1977 and 1984, Nathalie held 105 exhibitions around the world on the theme “From Lurçat to Calder.” In 1986 she set up her own gallery of paintings representing the movement of the French Figuration 50s and more particularly that of “l’homme témoin” (Man Witness) created by Bernard Buffet and Bernard Lorjou in opposition to the rising abstraction.


After the birth of their daughter in 1982, Nathalie accompanied Jean Marie Carpentier, her husband, on his travels and participated in his transactions to negotiate literary and audiovisual rights for works of le Fleuve Noir editions, for which he has served as the general secretary since 1962.


In 1996, Jean Marie Carpentier created the first agency in France dedicated solely to trading audiovisuals rights of literary works: literary and audiovisual creation (C.A.L.). At the time, C.A.L. represented the publishing houses Plon-Perrin and Fleuve Noir. In 2009, Nathalie took over the management of C.A.L., which today represents 12 publishers. www.calfrance.fr


Nathalie went on to create her own publishing house in 2016, French Pulp editions, which is dedicated to French popular literature. French Pulp editions has, to date, a collection of more than 2,000 titles. Each month it publishes 3 pockets books from the collection and 2 table books from contemporary authors. www.frenchpulpeditions.fr

Steve Chan

Up and coming Hong Kong film director Steve Chan graduated from the Academy of Film of Hong Kong Baptist University, majoring in Cinema and Television. His directorial debut in feature film “Weeds on Fire” was critically acclaimed and the film received nominations in eight categories in the 36th Hong Kong Film Awards, including Best Picture and Best New Director. It won Best New Performer and New Best Original Song in the Awards.


The film was also selected in the 53rd Taipei Golden Horse Film Festival, Hong Kong International Film Festival, Udine Far East Film Festival and New York Asian Film Festival. Apart from film, Steve was invited to direct and produce ViuTV drama “My Very Short Marriage”, starring Eason Chan. His other works include commercials, music videos and stage visual effects.

Chianese, Joe

Joe Chianese

Joseph D. Chianese is the Executive Vice President at EP Financial Solutions, a subsidiary of Entertainment Partners. He provides administrative, financial, tax and other consulting services for domestic and international film, television, and commercial productions. Mr. Chianese has almost 30 years of accounting, tax, and production experience, and has held positions at Sony Pictures Entertainment, The Walt Disney Company, The American Broadcasting Company, Paramount Pictures, and Ernst & Young.


Throughout his career, Mr. Chianese has been responsible for the tax, finance, and production structures for film and television productions in excess of $5 billion. He is also regarded as one of the leading experts in worldwide production incentives and other government subsidies.


Mr. Chianese is a CPA with a BBA in Accounting, a Masters in Tax, and an MBA.

Keith Clinkscales

Keith Clinkscales is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of First World Media, a media company founded on the belief that urban culture is the most influential force on this planet. Founded in 2017, First World Media is charting a path to provide products, services and events that celebrate the resonant culture driving the world.

Clinkscales is also the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Shadow League Digital, a multimedia company and digital publisher dedicated to providing journalistically sound sports and pop culture coverage through an influential cultural perspective. Clinkscales’ passion for quality journalism has earned him over 40 credits as an executive producer of films and documentaries, many of which were earned during his 8 years as a Senior Vice President at ESPN. During his time at ESPN, he co-created the award winning and critically acclaimed sports documentary series “30 for 30”. Clinkscales is also the former Chief Executive Officer of REVOLT Media & TV, a post he assumed in 2013 after being appointed by REVOLT Founder and Chairman Sean Combs.

Emmy Award Nominated and a two-time Peabody Award Winner, Clinkscales’ list of accolades is extensive. He has earned top executive honors from Crain Communications, Advertising Age, CableWorld Magazine, Black Enterprise and the American Advertising Federation Hall of Fame. He is also a two-time recipient of the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) Excellence in Journalism Award, has been listed among the 2014 and 2016 CableFAX 100 as an industry power player and is a proud member of the Producers Guild of America.

Clinkscales earned an MBA from Harvard Business School, where he received the “Professional Achievement Award” from the business school’s African-American Alumni Association. He earned a BS in accounting and finance from Florida A&M University, where he serves on the school’s Foundation Board.

Clare Crean

Coming soon.

Gerren Crochet

Gerren is a Packaging Agent in the Film Finance and Distribution group of The Gersh Agency where he puts together 40-50 films per year ranging in budgets from $500K to $35M as well as fundraising and strategic advisory across a portfolio of technology and new media companies. He grew up in Boulder, Colorado and attended Stanford University where he was a two-sport student athlete in football and track and field. After a brief stint in the NFL, Gerren went to work in capital markets and trading, investment banking, management consulting, and strategic intellectual property trading. Gerren received an MFA from the UCLA Producers Program and resides in Los Angeles with his family.

Mark Damon

Mark Damon, credited with having invented the foreign sales business as we know it today, and considered one of the world’s leading authorities on international distribution, has played a successful role in various facets of the entertainment industry for over 50 years.


He first entered the world of independent sales and production in the 1970’s while living and working in Italy where he saw a huge market of independent international distributors eager for top American movies. When Mark returned to the U.S. in 1977 he founded Producer Sales Organization (PSO). His goal was to sell important American pictures to international distributors, the first such company to compete with the major studios.


Mark Damon’s subsequent success with PSO led to his reputation as the inventor of the foreign sales business and the brains behind independent film production. His early visionary contributions to the international distribution of independently produced films are widely recognized, and he has developed a reputation in the entertainment industry as one of the leading producers and distributors of independent films. Over the past 25 years, Mark Damon’s productions have grossed over $2 billion in theatrical box office worldwide.


Mr. Damon has produced or executive produced over 70 films, and his films have received 10 Oscar nominations including the 2005 Oscar winner, Monster, starring Charlize Theron, the critically acclaimed, multi-Oscar nominated World War II drama, Das Boot, directed by Wolfgang Petersen, and The NeverEnding Story, also directed by Wolfgang Petersen. Other acclaimed films include The Upside of Anger, starring Oscar nominee Joan Allen and Kevin Costner; 9 1/2 Weeks, directed by Adrian Lyne; 8 Million Ways to Die, directed by Hal Ashby; Short Circuit, directed by John Badham; High Spirits directed by Neil Jordan; Choirboys directed by Robert Aldrich; The Lost Boys, directed by Joel Schumacher; Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book, directed by Stephen Sommers; Hurricane Heist directed by Rob Cohen; The Last Full Measure, starring Sebastian Stan, Christopher Plummer, William Hurt, Ed Harris, Samuel L. Jackson, and Peter Fonda, plus, the releases of 2 Guns, starring Denzel Washington and Mark Walhberg; and Lone Survivor, starring Mark Wahlberg and directed by Peter Berg.


Mr. Damon has been directly involved in the international licensing of over 300 feature length pictures, including such noteworthy box-office titles as the James Bond film Never Say Never Again, directed by Irvin Kershner and starring Sean Connery; Prizzi’s Honor, directed by John Huston and featuring Jack Nicholson and Angelica Huston; Once Upon A Time In America, directed by Sergio Leone and featuring Robert DeNiro and James Wood; Cotton Club, directed by Francis Ford Coppola and featuring Richard Gere; and The Final Countdown, starring Kirk Douglas.


Today, he is the Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of Foresight Unlimited, a company he founded in October of 2004. Mr. Damon is one of the original founding members of AFMA now known as the Independent Film and Television Alliance. His biography, From Cowboy To Mogul To Monster, was published in May 2008, chronicling his 50 years in the entertainment industry. Mark received his M.B.A. and B.A. degrees from the University of California, Los Angeles and resides with his wife in Beverly Hills.

Geena Davis

Geena Davis is an American actress, film producer, writer, voice actress, former fashion model, and former archer. She is known for her roles in The Fly (1986), Beetlejuice (1988), Thelma & Louise (1991), A League of Their Own (1992), The Long Kiss Goodnight (1996), Stuart Little (1999), and The Accidental Tourist, for which she won the 1988 Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.


In 2005, Davis won the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Television Series Drama for her role in Commander in Chief. In 2014, she returned to television portraying Dr. Nicole Herman in Grey’s Anatomy. She was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress along with her co-star Susan Sarandon for Thelma and Louise. Davis also starred as Regan MacNeil/Angela Rance in the first season of the horror TV series “inspired by” the best-selling William Peter Blatty novel The Exorcist, on Fox.

Shirley Davis

Shirley Davis is Executive Vice President, Physical Production at Alcon Entertainment.
The Alcon Production group has overseen projects such as DOLPHIN TALE 1 and 2, JOYFUL NOISE, BEAUTIFUL CREATURES, PRISONERS, TRANSCENDENCE, POINT BREAK and BLADE RUNNER 2049.
Shirley has been the production executive on films in multiple states and countries and most recently, dealt with a myriad of film incentives on Point Break, which filmed in 11 countries and 4 states.
Shirley has worked in film and TV production as a freelance line producer and production manager since1995. Shirley has worked for most of the major studios and HBO Films, amongst her many credits. She also worked at The Film Department as VP, Physical Production where the TFD Production group oversaw LAW ABIDING CITIZEN and A LITTLE BIT OF HEAVEN.
In addition to film and television production, she was co-executive producer for a number of digital projects for Mark Burnett Productions, MTV Networks, AOL and Yahoo.
Prior to working in film, television and digital, Shirley started her career in international sales distribution for Hearst Entertainment and Orion Pictures.
Shirley is a member of the Directors Guild of America and the Producer Guild of America.

Dennis Dreith

In addition to a career as an active film, television and jingle composer (The Punisher, Mobsters, The Shadow, Columbo), Dennis Dreith has orchestrated and /or conducted scores for such pictures as Misery, Addams Family, Heart and Souls and A League of Their Own providing services for John Williams, Lalo Schrifrin, Dominick Frontiere, Marc Shaiman, Hans Zimmer, Eliott Goldenthal, Mark Ishm and Clif Eidleman. In addition Mr. Dreith has served as Music Supervisor on several major motion pictures as well as Music Consultant on the legendary Barbra Streisand New Year’s Las Vegas Concert. Mr. Dreith also has composed numerous works for the concert stage.


Dreith served as International President of the Recording Musicians’ Association (RMA), in excess of 15 years, and served as a consultant and member of the American Federation of Musicians (AFM) Negotiating Committee. Dreith also addressed the U.S. Congress House Sub-committee on Intellectual Properties and worked with Congress in support of numerous IP issues.


Mr. Dreith was previously the Executive Director of the Film Musicians Secondary Markets Fund, and just recently retired as Executive Director of the AFM & SAG-AFTRA Intellectual Property Rights Distribution Fund.



Christine D’Souza Gelb

As an agent in the finance and distribution division at WME, Christine D’Souza Gelb’s focus is structuring financing and negotiating distribution deals on single pictures. She was recently involved in selling Sundance favorites Cory Finley’s “Thoroughbred,” Geremy Jasper’s “Patti Cake$,” and Michael Larnell’s “Roxanne, Roxanne”. She helped put together the Safdie Bros’ “Good Time” and Ruben Ostlund’s Palme d’Or winner “The Square.” She was also involved in selling Emmy-nominated documentary “Amanda Knox” from Brian McGinn & Rod Blackhurst and “The Ivory Game” from Kief Davidson. Previously Christine has sold such titles as Kenneth Lonergan’s “Manchester by the Sea,” Rick Famuyiwa’s “Dope,” Jonathan Glazer’s “Under the Skin,” and Robert Eggers’ “The Witch.” Previous to WME, Christine was the Vice President of Preferred Content running the sales & financing arm and sold “Keep the Lights On,” “Jiro Dreams of Suchi,” and “Another Earth.” Prior to domestic sales, she was the Manager of International Sales at Joni Sighvatsson’s Katapult Films. Christine started her career at Jerry Bruckheimer Films.

Kevin Downes

Kevin Downes, has a producing, acting, directing and writing career that spans over 20 years. He is the President/CEO of Kevin Downes Productions and the co-founder of South West Film Group, which has partnered with the Erwin Brothers on “Mom’s Night Out”, “Woodlawn” and the soon to be released “I Can Only Imagine”, starring Dennis Quaid. On screen, some of Downes’ fan favorite roles include Officer Shane Fuller in “Courageous” and the video-game-loving, best friend, Kevin, in “Mom’s Night Out.”


He produced the critically acclaimed “Like Dandelion Dust”, from best-selling author Karen Kingsbury, starring Academy Award winner Mira Sorvino. Most recently, Downes partnered with the Erwin’s on the theatrical documentary, “Steve McQueen: American Icon”. Behind the camera, Downes has directed “Amazing Love” starring Sean Astin and “Six: The Mark Unleashed”, starring Jeffrey Dean Morgan. Kevin recently executive produced and starred in a new sitcom with his longtime friend David A.R. White called “Hitting the Breaks,” with co-stars Rob Schneider and Tim Tebow, among others, and recently wrapped production on another sitcom with White, called “Malibu Dan” to be released in 2018.

Laurent Duvault

Laurent Duvault began his career as an independent journalist specializing in comic books and television critique. His first foray into the world of publishing was at Zenda, as press attaché. He then took on the role of Foreign Rights Manager at Delcourt and in 1995, became the Editorial Director at Dupuis and then at Soleil and Soleil Manga in 2004. In 2006, he was named the Director of Audiovisual and International Development of the Dargaud Group, that brings together various Dargaud publishing houses such as Dargaud itself, Dupuis, Le Lombard, Kana and Urban Comics. Laurent has also previously worked as a translator (Calvin & Hobbes, Gary Larson, The Simpsons) as well as a screenwriter (Kid Paddle, Spirou).


Bruce Eisen

Bruce David Eisen is a veteran entertainment attorney and media executive. Eisen’s legal practice focuses on the intersection of new and traditional media whose clients include Shout! Factory, RLJ Entertainment, Brainstorm Media, Rubicon Entertainment, Random Media, Hollywood Media Bridge and the Entertainment Merchants Association, as well as individual writers and producers, among others.


Eisen’s services include structuring and drafting various development agreements including option, writer, and JV agreements, providing production legal services, negotiation and drafting content acquisition and distribution agreements, negotiating film finance agreements, both domestic and foreign, and providing general legal/business affairs services for film, television and new media clients. Other recent activities include M&A legal work representing the seller of an entertainment company as well as the seller of a music library, each of which sold for seven figures.


Individuals and companies that Eisen has recently negotiated with on behalf of his clients include Bret Easton Ellis, James Franco, Cross Creek Pictures, Palm Star Media, Grindstone Entertainment, Voltage Pictures, Hulu, Redbox, iN DEMAND, Amazon, PlayStation Network, Showtime, HBO and Vimeo.


From 2009 through 2012 Eisen was the Vice President Online Content Development & Strategy for DISH Network where he negotiated agreements with most of the major television networks on behalf of DISH, licensing over 20,000 television shows for distribution and acquiring on-demand rights from the major Hollywood studios including VOD/EST/SVOD rights for distribution of their content across multiple platforms including set-top boxes, DishOnline.com, iPad, iPhone and Android devices.


Eisen was one of the principals who started CinemaNow in 1999 and, as the company’s general counsel, negotiated financing for the company in excess of $40 million, negotiated CinemaNow’s agreements with over 200 content licensors including all of the major Hollywood studios as well as agreements with local ISPs, portals and film distributors to bring CinemaNow to the U.K., the Netherlands, Taiwan, Philippines, Latin America, and Singapore. In addition, Eisen was instrumental in creating CinemaNow Japan, Inc., an affiliated entity that raised over $15 million in funding.


Eisen structured the strategy and business aspects of CinemaNow’s technology requirements to enable the efficient, cost-effective distribution of content on a worldwide, video-on-demand basis and, in that regard, licensed all required technology including agreements for content delivery network services, data services, data hosting, geo-targeting, recommendation engines, web analytics, network storage and customer relation management with companies such as Akamai, Limelight, Savvis, Intel, Microsoft, EchoStar, Qwest, RightNow Technologies and WebSideStory.


Eisen started his career as the head of Legal and Business Affairs for Trimark Pictures where his responsibilities included negotiating the company’s distribution agreements with companies including the Walt Disney Company, Miramax, The Samuel Goldwyn Company, Columbia Pictures, HBO and others. Eisen also negotiated and drafted Trimark’s development agreements as well as its production legal agreements including those with such talent as Samuel L. Jackson, Renee Zelweger, Peter Jackson and Jim Belushi. In addition, Eisen structured the company’s relationships with the Screen Actors Guild, the Directors Guild of America and the Writers Guild of America and was instrumental in negotiating Trimark’s $25 million line of credit with Bank of America and Trimark’s $75 million line of credit with The Chase Manhattan Bank as well as numerous production financing agreements with various lenders and bond companies.


Eisen received his J.D. from the University of Southern California in 1991 and his B.A. cum laude with high honors in Philosophy from Clark University in 1984.

Elwes, Cassian

Cassian Elwes

Elwes began his producing career with 1983’s “Oxford Blues” starring Rob Lowe and Ally Sheedy and quickly went on to make another 29 films, including “Men At Work,” with Emilio Estevez and Charlie Sheen, and “The Chase” with Sheen.


In 1994, Elwes joined William Morris and headed William Morris Independent for 15 years. He financed such indie hits as “Slingblade” and “The Apostle,” both of which were nominated for multiple Oscars. “Monster’s Ball” was their follow up, which won the “Best Actress” Oscar for Halle Berry, the first African American woman to do so.


Wikipedia calls Cassian Elwes one of the most important figures in independent cinema and an expert in the field of arranging financing and distribution for independent films, having done so for 283 films during his tenure at William Morris Independent.


Since leaving William Morris Independent 5 years ago, Elwes has either produced or executive produced 40 films including John Hillcoat’s “Lawless,” Lee Daniels’ “The Paperboy,” and David Lowery’s “Ain’t Them Bodies Saints”, which was nominated for a Gotham Independent Film Award for “Best Feature.”


Recently, Elwes produced the hit period drama “Lee Daniels’ The Butler,” which featured an all-star cast headed by Forest Whitaker and Oprah Winfrey. He also executive produced J.C. Chandor’s “All Is Lost” starring Robert Redford and executive produced and arranged financing for the Oscar winning hit “Dallas Buyers Club” directed by Jean-Marc Vallee, starring Matthew McConaughey, Jared Leto and Jennifer Garner.


Elwes executive produced the Kevin Costner release “Black and White”, directed by Mike Binder, and has produced both Werner Herzog’s “Queen of the Desert” and Eli Roth’s “Knock Knock”. His most current release was “Elvis & Nixon” starring Michael Shannon and Kevin Spacey. Cassian is in post on the 1980’s Los Angeles-set thriller “The Billionaire Boy’s Club”, starring Ansel Elgort, Taron Egerton, and Kevin Spacey.


Elwes most recently finished “Mudbound”, which was directed by Dee Rees, starring Carey Mulligan, Jason Clarke, Jason Mitchell, Mary J. Blige and Garrett Hedlund and premiered at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival.

Epstein, Clay

Clay Epstein

Clay Epstein is the President of Film Mode Entertainment, a leading worldwide sales agent and production entity, focusing on commercially driven feature films of all genres and budget sizes. Film Mode represents projects at all stages of the film-making process, often as Executive Producer, with the aim of helping our producers and distributors achieve maximum exposure for their films. Film Mode’s recent successes include SUGAR MOUNTAIN starring Jason Momoa, LITTLE PINK HOUSE starring two time Academy Award nominee, Catherine Keener and the SXSW official entry, THE GOOD NEIGHBOR starring the legendary James Caan. Upcoming productions include VIKING DESTINY starring Academy Award nominee Terence Stamp. In 2017, Film Mode launched DocMode to focus on award winning Documentaries that impact the world. Film Mode is based in Beverly Hills, CA. with a satellite office in New York City.

DeVon Franklin

DeVon Franklin is the ultimate multi-hyphenate. An award-winning Film & TV producer, best-selling author, internationally-known preacher and motivational speaker, he is committed to using the power of media as a tool to uplift and inspire the masses. A recognized authority on spirituality, faith and the entertainment business, Franklin has received praise from the likes of Beliefnet, who has called him one of the “Most Influential Christians Under 40, ; Variety Magazine, who named him one of the “Top 10 Producers to Watch”; and Ebony Magazine, who named him one of the “Top 100 Influential African-Americans in America.”


Franklin serves as President & CEO of Franklin Entertainment, a dynamic multi-media entertainment company that produces inspirational and commercial content. The company recently signed a new multi-year first-look film deal with 20th Century Fox. Up next for Franklin is the animated feature film “The Star,” which will hit theatres on November 17th. The film from Sony Pictures Animation tells the story of the first Christmas, but gives the classic tale a fresh take by telling it through perspective of the animals. The film, which marks the first faith-based animated film to be released by a major studio since The Prince of Egypt, has some incredible talent lending their voices to the project including Gina Rodriguez, Kelly Clarkson, Tyler Perry and Oprah Winfrey, as well as an original song for the soundtrack’s title song by Mariah Carey. Previously on the film side, Franklin produced the hit film “Miracles From Heaven” starring Jennifer Garner and Queen Latifah, made for a modest $13 million it grossed $73 million at the world-wide box office to date, making it one of the top-grossing faith-based films of all-time. In addition, Franklin has several projects in various stages of development including, film adaptations of the inspirational true story “The Impossible” and the powerful re-incarnation story “The Boy Who Knew Too Much” for 20th Century Fox; the high-profile reboot of “He-Man” and the “Masters of the Universe” franchise at Columbia Pictures; and a remake of the classic 1970s film “Cooley High” with Common at MGM. On the TV side, Franklin is also producing a reimagining of the iconic film “Foxy Brown” at HULU, with Meagan Good attached to star.


Along with his work as a filmmaker, Franklin is a New York Times Bestselling author and recently released his 3rd book entitled “The Hollywood Commandments: A Spiritual Guide to Secular Success.” In the book, he explores, explains, challenges and expands on the principles that will transform everything we think we know about God’s intention for our success by teaching us how to boldly live out the fullness of our calling in every area of our life: career, relationships and faith. Having achieved great success in every facet of his multi-dimensional career, Franklin is committed to sharing the knowledge he has gained over his career and hopes this book will serve as an inspirational tool that guides readers to their best lives, and the life that they have been dreaming of. His previous works include the New York Times bestselling “The Wait,” which he co-wrote with his wife actress Meagan Good, and his debut book “Produced by Faith.”


Franklin began preaching at the age of 15 and began interning for Will Smith at the age of 18. This unique combination of ministry and entertainment expertise has helped him develop a rare perspective on faith, love and success which has led to him becoming an in-demand public speaker and television personality. He is a regular contributor on The Dr. Oz Show and become the show’s go-to expert on spiritual wellness and life transformation. He’s also has made appearances on The Dr. Phil Show, CBS This Morning, Entertainment Tonight, The Meredith Vieira Show, The Real, CNN, FOX News, Iyanla’s Fix My Life and Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday.


Franklin is also a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ (AMPAS) Executive Branch, where he chairs the branch’s subcommittee on Diversity.


Prior to starting Franklin Entertainment, Franklin served as Senior Vice President of Production for Columbia Pictures, making him one of the highest ranking African-American studio executives. During his near tenure at Columbia Pictures, he built a name for himself overseeing films that had both uplifting contact and commercial appeal having championed box-office hits such as “The Pursuit of Happyness,” “The Karate Kid,” “Jumping the Broom” and “Heaven is for Real.”


Franklin earned a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with an emphasis in Entrepreneurship along with a minor in Cinema-Television from the University of Southern California. He currently resides in Los Angeles with his wife actress Meagan Good.

Patrick Frater

Patrick Frater has over 20 years of experience writing about and analysing the international film industry, with publications including Variety, Screen International.
He was Asia editor of Variety between 2005 and 2009 and re-joined the publication in July 2013.


In 2010, he co-founded regional film trade publication Film Business Asia which he operated for three years, as well as consultancy firm F Media.
Based in Hong Kong, Frater travels widely within the Asia-Pacific region, and is a regular radio pundit, conference host and public speaker.

Mihai Fulger

Mihai Fulger is the Director of Romanian National Film Archives, and an active member of the Board of the Romanian National Film Centre (CNC), which manages the funds allocated on an yearly basis to film production, co-productions, festivals and other type of film related events. He is a member of the Film Critics’ Association within the Romanian Filmmakers’ Union (UCIN) and of the International Federation of Film Critics (FIPRESCI). As a programmer he has collaborated with various film festivals in Romania, and served on FIPRESCI Jury in several major international film festivals. He is one of the founding editors of the “Film” quarterly magazine, published by UCIN.