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AFM Conferences give attendees knowledge, insight, access, value and a rare opportunity to hear from the industry’s global thought leaders, decision makers and experts who all converge annually at the AFM.


AFM Conferences will take place Friday Nov. 6 – Tuesday Nov. 10 and will include Conferences on Finance, China, Pitching, Production, Festivals and Distribution. From treatment to screen, it’s all covered!


presented by


Akin Gump logo                       Entertainment Partners logo

Friday, November 6

Finance Conference

9:15am – 10:45am
Current Issues in Film Finance
Leading CEOs, filmmakers, financiers and executives explore the state of independent film financing, emerging trends, where the money is and what the future holds.


P. John Burke, Partner, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP


Initial Panelists
Bennett C. Pozil, Executive Vice President – Head of Corporate Banking, East West Bank
Roy A. Salter, Senior AdvisorFTI Consulting Inc


11:15am – 12:45pm
The Film Finance Matrix: From Script to Screen
Our team of experts will review five film packages and disclose how they would finance each film.
Check back here in mid-September to learn how your film could be one of the five!


Joseph Chianese, EVP, Entertainment Partners


Micah Green, Co-Head, Film Finance, CAA
Brian O’Shea, CEO, The Exchange
Chris Spicer, Counsel, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP
Paul Steinke, SVP Production Finance, Walt Disney Studios
Adrian Ward, SVP, Entertainment Industries Division, Pacific Mercantile Bank
Gareth Unwin, CEO & Founder, Bedlam Productions

China Conference

sponsored by Max Screen Distribution


2:30pm – 4:00pm
Producing in China
Leaders from China’s film industry will reveal how producing in China can be different than the west. From talent and crews to culture and restrictions to the daily realities of producing and co-producing, everything will be covered.


Peter Shiao, Founder & CEO, Orb Media Group


Dr. Shi Jianxiang, Chairman, Shanghai Kuailu Investment Group
Rick Nathanson, Producer, “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: The Green Legend”, “Bunraku”, “Red Cliff”, “Dragon – The Life of Bruce Lee”
Miao Xiaotian, President, China Film Co-production Corporation
April Ye, CEO, Film Finances China

4:30pm – 6:00pm
Marketing & Distributing in China
Unencumbered by legacy infrastructures and business models, Chinese companies are reinventing film marketing and distribution on a massive scale. The companies that are leading this revolution will share their visions and disclose what the future holds.


Patrick Frater, Asia Bureau Chief, Variety


Initial Panelists
David Jourdan, SVP of International Business Development & Operations, IM Global

Saturday, November 7

Pitch Conference

sponsored by ROSKINO


9:15am – 12:45pm
Pitching Essentials
A good pitch can get a bad film made while a bad pitch can leave a terrific project languishing on the shelf. Pitching is part art (it’s creative), part science (it needs to follow a tight script) and part sales (you have to wow them). Conference attendees will learn the essential rules and tools of pitching from the experts.


The 2-Minute Pitches
Volunteers selected in advance will pitch to our expert panel. They will give unvarnished feedback on each pitch – explaining what worked, what didn’t – and why.


Stephanie Palmer, Founder, Good in a Room


Tobin Armbrust, President, Worldwide Production & Acquisition, Virgin Produced
Cassian Elwes, Independent Producer/Agent


Start preparing your AFM pitch now!  Read AFM’s Pitching Essentials, prepared by Stephanie Palmer, AFM Pitch Conference Moderator and Founder, Good in a RoomTo be considered to pitch on stage, you will need to submit a 2-minute video pitch. For details on how to submit your pitch, read AFM Pitch Conference Guide To Creating An Effective Video Pitch.

Sunday, November 8

Production Conference

sponsored by .film


9:15am – 10:45am
Producing for the Pre-Sales Marketplace
Pre-Selling to territorial Buyers is key to financing most independent films. What are they looking for? Which genres and talent? How do you set a budget that will reflect the marketplace? Discover which projects are most likely to sell globally before they are made.


Paul Hertzberg, President & CEO, CineTel Films, Inc.


Initial Panelists:
Paul Bales, Partner, The Asylum
Steve Break
Arianne Fraser, Founding Partner & CEO, Highland Film Group

11:15am – 12:45pm
Marketing & Publicity in Production: Beginning with the End in Mind
Let’s assume you’re setting out to make a great movie. Let’s also assume your movie will secure distribution and you’d quite like audiences to buy tickets. Great marketing and publicity don’t happen by accident and the path to a great release begins in pre-production. Get practical advice from marketing, creative advertising and publicity professionals and learn about the advantages of being ‘audience focused’ from the outset.


Richard Baker, EVP, Marketing & Creative Advertising, FilmNation Entertainment


Initial Panelists
Rachel JoynesEmpire Design

Monday, November 9

Festival Conference

sponsored by FilmFreeway


9:15am – 10:45am
Navigating the Festival Circuit
Why are festivals important? Which festivals should you submit to? What do festivals really want? Distributors and producers will explore how to match your film with the right festival and explain the do’s and don’ts of the submission process.


Jeremy Kay, U.S. Editor, Screen International


Initial Panelists
Charlotte Mickie, President, Mongrel International

11:15am – 12:45pm
Creating a Successful Festival Strategy
Once a film is an official festival selection, the work truly begins. How do you leverage the selection to achieve your goals – before, during and after the festival? A panel of producers, distributors and sales agents will share their successes and share their advice on how to build an effective festival strategy.


Kevin Iwashina, Managing Partner, Preferred Content


Initial Panelists
Glen Basner, CEO, FilmNation Entertainment
John Sloss, Principal, Cinetic Media

Tuesday, November 10

Distribution Conference

sponsored by Rightscorp


9:15am – 10:45am
Working with Sales Agents
To reach the global audience, an independent producer’s best ally is their international Sales Agent. Our panel of experts will discuss how to find and work with the right Sales Agent.


Clay Epstein, SVP Sales & Acquisitions, Arclight Films


Initial Panelists
Richard Gray, Producer, Yellow Brick Films
J. Todd Harris, Founder & President, Branded Pictures Entertainment
Sonia Mehandjiyska, Head of International Distribution, Electric Entertainment

11:15am – 12:45pm
Navigating the VOD Landscape: What Every Producer Needs to Know
VOD may soon be the primary source of revenue for independent filmmakers. Many see a future where all films are available worldwide and every film finds its audience. The session will disclose who is making money, how they are doing it and what the future holds.


Russell Schwartz, Co-Principal, Pandemic Marketing Corp


Initial Panelists
Paul Davidson, SVP, Film & TV, The Orchard
Steve Nickerson, President, Home Entertainment, Broad Green Pictures
Lise Romanoff, Managing Director/CEO Worldwide Distribution, Vision Films

Conference Location:

Fairmont Hotel, Starlight Ballroom – 101 Wilshire Blvd, Santa Monica  AFM Campus Map
Doors & Will Call Open at 8:00am


Additional Information

Speakers are announced as confirmed on this page.

Conference tickets may be ordered with or without an AFM badge. See Badges & Prices for more information