American Film Market to Host Global Industry Experts at Conferences, Roundtables and Workshops

American Film Market to Host Global Industry Experts at Conferences, Roundtables and Workshops

Speakers include Focus Features’ Kiska Higgs, Lionsgate’s Thomas Hughes, OddLot Entertainment’s Adrian Alperovich, Producer/Agent Cassian Elwes, Skydance Media’s Jesse Sisgold and STX Films’ Sam Brown

LOS ANGELES, CA – October 30, 2017: The American Film Market (AFM®) today announced its full list of speakers for their conferences, roundtables and workshops. A large number of leading independent producers, distributors, financiers and marketing executives are confirmed to participate. This year’s market is taking place November 1 – 8, in Santa Monica.

Conferences on finance, pitching, production and distribution connect attendees to thought leaders from across the industry, providing exclusive access to insider knowledge. Roundtables explore specialized topics and timely issues in an intimate setting.

Confirmed speakers and moderators, in alphabetical order, include:

  • Adrian Alperovich, COO, OddLot Entertainment
  • Adrian Ward, SVP & Manager, Entertainment Industries Division, Pacific Mercantile Bank
  • Adrian Alperovich, COO, OddLot Entertainment
  • Adrian Ward, SVP & Manager, Entertainment Industries Division, Pacific Mercantile Bank
  • Alexis Garcia, Partner, Global Finance & Distribution, WME
  • Alison Thompson, Co-President, Cornerstone Films
  • Andy Bohn, Co-Founder & Partner, The Film Arcade
  • Anjay Nagpal, SVP Production & Distribution, Bron Studios
  • Anna Godas, CEO, Dogwoof
  • Barbara Mudge, President & Founder, Worldwide Film Entertainment
  • Ben Stillman, SVP, Black Bear Pictures
  • Brian O’Shea, CEO, The Exchange
  • Bruce Eisen, President, Digital Advisors
  • Cassian Elwes, Independent Producer/Agent
  • Christine D’Souza Gelb, Agent, WME
  • Clay Epstein, President, Film Mode Entertainment
  • Cynthia Tollett, Assistant Executive Director, Directors Guild of America
  • Dana Lustig, Principal, Dana Lustig Productions
  • Darrien Michele Gipson, National Director, SAGindie
  • David Austin, EVP, Bridgestone Multimedia
  • DeVon Franklin, Producer & CEO, Franklin Entertainment
  • Felix Tsang, Sales and Acquisitions Manager, Golden Scene Company Limited
  • Geena Davis, Actress, Producer, Activist
  • Gerren Crochet, Packaging Agent, Film Finance and Distribution, The Gersh Agency
  • Hanny Patel, VP, Video Marketing, AT&T Entertainment Group
  • Ian Bricke, Director, Content Acquisition, Netflix
  • Jen McGowan, Director
  • Jesse Sisgold, President/COO, Skydance Media
  • Jim Whitaker, Producer, A Wrinkle in Time
  • Joe Chianese, EVP, EP Financial Solutions
  • John Penotti, President, Sidney Kimmel Entertainment
  • Kay S. Wolf, Senior Representative/Member Organizing Department, Writers Guild of America West
  • Kevin Downes, Producer & President, Kevin Downes Production & South West Film Group
  • Kevin Iwashina, Founder & CEO, Preferred Content
  • Kiska Higgs, Head of Acquisitions and Co-Productions, Focus Features
  • Laurens Grant, Director & Producer
  • Lisa Remington, Producer
  • Lisa Wilson, Partner, The Solution Entertainment Group
  • Lucy Mukerjee-Brown, Director of Programming, Outfest & Newfest
  • Mark Damon, CEO & Chairman, Foresight Unlimited
  • Martin Katz, Founder and President, Prospero Pictures
  • Neema Barnette, Director
  • Patrick Frater, Asia Bureau Chief, Variety
  • Paul Bales, Partner, The Asylum
  • Paul Hanson, CEO, Covert Media
  • Paul Hertzberg, President & CEO, CineTel Films, Inc.
  • Pilar Alessandra, Instructor/Consultant, On The Page
  • Rebecca Cammarata, Director of Development, Stay Gold Features
  • Richard Botto, Founder & CEO, Stage 32
  • Rick Bonn, Head of Development & Acquisitions, Pure Flix Entertainment
  • Russell Levine, CEO, Route One Films
  • Sam Brown, Head of Production, STXfilms
  • Shirley Davis, Executive Vice President, Physical Production, Alcon Entertainment, LLC
  • Stefan Lütje, Partner/Shareholder, Greenberg Traurig, LLP
  • Steve Chan Chi-Fat, Director, Weeds on Fire
  • Tania Jones, VP of Marketing & Customer Service, Shift72
  • Thomas Hughes, EVP, Worldwide Digital Distribution, Lionsgate
  • Tobin Armbrust, President, Worldwide Production & Acquisitions, Virgin Produced
  • Tom Ara, Shareholder, Greenberg Traurig, LLP
  • Vicky Wong, Director, Trivisa
  • Wendy Calhoun, Writer/Producer, EMPIRE, NASHVILLE, JUSTIFIED

Conference Schedule

Friday, November 3
Finance Conference I: The Big Picture

  • The Future of Global Film Finance
  • Spotlight Sessions

Saturday, November 4
Pitch Conference

  • Pitching Essentials
  • The 2-Minute Pitches

Sunday, November 5
Finance Conference II: Funding Films Today

  • Producing Studio Films with Independent Budgets
  • The Film Finance Matrix: From Script to Screen

Monday, November 6
Production Conference

  • Producing for the Pre-Sales Marketplace
  • What They Want: Inside the Studios

Tuesday, November 7
Distribution Conference

  • Working with Sales Agents
  • The Future of Video On Demand

Roundtable Schedule

Thursday, November 2

  • The Changing Hong Kong Movie Scene: What is New, How and Why?

Saturday, November 4

  • Building A Future For LGBTQ Film

Sunday, November 5

  • The Passion of the Film: Reaching the Faith Community
  • The Future is Female

Monday, November 6

  • Distributing & Monetizing Feature Documentaries

Tuesday, November 7

  • Working with the U.S. Guilds

Writers Workshop Sessions

Sunday, November 5

  • You Had Me At Page One
  • The Art of Cinematic Storytelling: Transforming Your Premise Into An Engaging Screenplay

Monday, November 6

  • ReVision: Seeing Your Script With New Eyes
  • Writing Compelling Characters

Special Events will include Engage: Navigating Hollywood’s Shifting Landscape, presented by Pepperdine Alumni Affairs and Pepperdine’s Institute for Entertainment, Media, and Culture.

Visit to view the full program.

The American Film Market is produced by the Independent Film & Television Alliance, More information on the AFM can be found at:

About the American Film Market

The American Film Market is the world’s largest motion picture business event. Over 7,000 industry leaders converge in Santa Monica for eight days of deal-making, screenings, conferences, networking and parties. Participants come from more than 80 countries and include acquisition and development executives, agents, attorneys, directors, distributors, festival directors, financiers, film commissioners, producers, writers, the world’s press and all those who provide services to the motion picture industry.

Unlike a film festival, the AFM is a marketplace – with over 200,000 square feet of exhibition space – where production and distribution deals are closed. In just eight days, more than US$1 billion in deals will be sealed — on both completed films and those in every stage of development and production.

Participants may view more than 500 screenings of 300+ films – 29 new films every two hours – the majority world or U.S. premieres. Titles range from big budget blockbusters that will be released by the major studios to lower budget art and genre films recognized at international film festivals.

With 7,000 attendees, 500 screenings, 300 exhibiting distributors, and the industry’s largest Conference series, AFM is the pivotal destination for independent filmmakers and business people from all over the world.

Media Contacts

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