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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


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

China Conference

2:30pm – 4:30pm
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.




Miao Xiaotian, President, China Film Co-production Corporation

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

6:00pm – 8:00pm
Cocktail Reception
All China Conference participants are invited to a hosted Reception immediately following the Conference.

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

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, VP, Acquisitions, Alchemy

11:15am – 12:45pm
Marketing Expenses in Production Budgets: Beginning with the End in Mind
Films with the best commercial prospects, no matter the budget, begin with a clear view of the marketplace. From publicists to set photographers to electronic press kits, the path to a great marketing campaign begins in pre-production and flows into the production budget. Learn how to increase the odds for success before a film is made.


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

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 festivals will explore how to match your film with the right festival and explain the do’s and don’ts of the submission process.


Rose Kuo, CEO & Artistic Director, Qingdao Int’l Film Fest Planning

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

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


Richard Gray, Producer, Yellow Brick Films
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