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, President, Film Mode Entertainment
John Adams is a former British Army Officer who has close to 20 years experience in the entertainment industry, with a particular focus on the business of film. He is the co-founder and CEO of Evolutionary Films, the vertically integrated private equity finance, production, international sales and UK distribution company based at 3 Mills Studios in London. Evolutionary represents a catalogue of around 40 titles for international sales, including the Benedict Cumberbatch voiced feature documentary There’s A Hole In My Bucket screening at the AFM, and has released 10 films in the UK in 2018, most notably the theatrical feature documentary Looking For Lennon and the first film in its own internally financed and produced action franchise Vengeance, for which the company has just wrapped filming a sequel starring Vinnie Jones. Previously John has held senior roles at global sales agencies and as supervising producer to Discovery reality television content across Africa and Russia for Raw TV. A prolific writer, director, producer, AD, line producer and executive in the UK independent sector, John has also acted as a consultant to broadcasters HBO, ITV, the BBC and Channel 4 as well as working on major Hollywood productions including Steven Spielberg’s Band of Brothers, The Queen, Doom and the X-Men’ franchise.
Irina Albita is the co-founder of Big Couch, a fintech startup, establishing a new finance model called Crewfunding. Since 2017, Big Couch has been developing a new collection service product. FilmChain collects, allocates and analyses revenues for films and video digital content on the blockchain. The platform is developed in collaboration with Imperial College London and is backed by the UK Government.
Irina is passionate about exploring how blockchain technology can radically transform creative industries and is a guest speaker on the subject at tech conferences and major film festivals. Irina has over 9 years of experience in the London technology space having founded several tech-startups. Irina has a mathematics and computer science background and a Masters in Management and Finance from the London School of Economics.
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
Ashok Amritraj is Chairman and CEO of Hyde Park Entertainment Group and a United Nations India Goodwill Ambassador. An internationally renowned award-winning producer, Amritraj has made over 100 films with worldwide revenues in excess of $2 billion, starring the likes of Bruce Willis, Sandra Bullock, Sylvester Stallone, Angelina Jolie, Cate Blanchett, Dustin Hoffman, Andrew Garfield, Steve Martin, Antonio Banderas, Robert De Niro, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Jennifer Aniston, Nicolas Cage, and many more.
Amritraj has grown Hyde Park into a cutting-edge independent alternative to the traditional Hollywood system, fully realizing his vision for a progressive global company that incorporates the most essential elements of a full-fledged studio. Hyde Park’s mandate encompasses feature film, television, digital, documentary, and cross-cultural content, with the company possessing development, production, and financing capabilities in addition to handling worldwide sales and marketing.
Hyde Park’s current slate of projects include the supernatural thriller Prey, a co-production with Blumhouse Films, the Pulitzer Prize book Fordlandia, directed by Werner Herzog (Fitzcaraldo), Stephen King’s From a Buick 8 directed by Brent Bell (The Boy) and the starstudded documentary Louder Together with Coldplay’s Chris Martin, Rihanna, Jay Z, Kendrick Lamar, Pharrell, and many more, narrated by Hugh Jackman.
Amritraj’s box office hits include films such as Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance starring Nicolas Cage, Bringing Down the House starring Steve Martin, Premonition starring Sandra Bullock, Walking Tall starring The Rock, and many more; as well as critically acclaimed titles including 99 Homes starring Andrew Garfield and Michael Shannon, and Shopgirl starring Steve Martin and Claire Danes.
Hyde Park and its artists have received awards and recognition from the major award shows and film festivals including the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the BAFTA awards, the Emmys, the Independent Spirit Awards, the Cannes Film Festival, the Golden Globes, and more.
In addition to his work with the United Nations, Amritraj serves on the Producers Executive Committee at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the advisory board for the Dodge Film School at Chapman University, and the board of the Asia Society of Southern California.
Amritraj was bestowed an honorary Doctorate of the Arts from the University of East London and a Doctorate of Philosophy honoris causa from the Rai University in Ahmedabad, India.
Tobin Armbrust is currently COO and President at Virgin Produced. Virgin Produced is the film, television and digital and live entertainment arm of Richard Branson’s Virgin Group.
Armbrust just completed production on an untitled film for Nickelodeon due out in February 2019. For Virgin Produced he is also overseeing TV projects with ABC, Global Road, Amazon and Pete Berg’s Film44. His most recent film in theaters was the ghost story “Winchester” from CBS Films, starring Hellen Mirren and Jason Clarke
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. Recently, Virgin Produced has become the content curator for the Kaaboo music and comedy festival (Located in Del Mar, Cayman Islands and Dallas). In this role he has created short video programming and branded content for hundred of thousands live attendees as well as millions of live stream viewers.
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 including 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 “Sliding Doors” starring Gwyneth Paltrow.
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, UCLA, 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. He adores his wife, is tolerated by his children and is completely disrespected by the family puppy.
Belle Avery has worked in many facets of the entertainment industry for over 25 years, and has consulted with leading global financial institutions and companies including Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch, IMAX, Maurebeni of Japan and private banks as well as developed film funds with raises and spends of over $1.4B in Hollywood. Belle’s expertise is in aligning lucrative partnerships and buying, developing and financing projects that work on a global scale.
Avery is a creative writer/director/ producer who understands the aspects of creative side of film but understands equity financing, banking covenants and distribution agreements.
Belle started her career learning editing and copywriting at an award-winning trailer house, and has also worked as a script doctor on a wide range of films.
Belle wrote and directed several films, including adapting SUGIHARA for the screen. Belle optioned and executive produced Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead, Directed by Academy Award Winner Sydney Lumet, the film also won coveted AFI Award.
Avery also wrote and directed an independent film “Innocent Obsession” working w/Academy Award-winner Gerry Humphreys and also wrote & directed “Malevolence”, based on the assassination of Martin Luther King, which Paramount distributed.
Belle has spent 2010-2018 in China, with her company Apelles Entertainment’s focus being on consulting and developing co-productions with China. Belle optioned, developed and partnered with Gravity Pictures/CMC on THE MEG film and then partnered with Warner Brothers for distribution.
THE MEG film became the breakaway summer #1 hit at box office globally and brought in over 527m at the box office.
Currently Belle is working on MEG2 THE TRENCH and has several Chinese co-productions slated: The Loch, 18 Seconds, The Doll, A Vengeance and two television series.
Paul is a partner and the Chief Operating Officer at The Asylum, a production and distribution company based in Glendale, 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 250 original films, 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.
Miranda Bailey is a prolific producer, actor and director, known for producing high quality independent films. Her passion for bringing compelling, well-crafted stories to the screen has been the driving force in her distinguished 15-year filmmaking career. Bailey has produced over 20 films, among them the Oscar-nominated THE SQUID AND THE WHALE and the Spirit Award-winning THE DIARY OF A TEENAGE GIRL as well as James Gunn’s SUPER, the Sundance hit SWISS ARMY MAN and the critically acclaimed NORMAN.
Bailey’s directorial narrative feature debut YOU CAN CHOOSE YOUR FAMILY, an offbeat familiar dramedy premiered in the Spotlight Section at the 2018 SXSW Film Festival. She assembled a decorated cast including Grammy-nominated comedian, actor, writer, producer, and New York Times best-selling author Jim Gaffigan, two-time Emmy winning actress Anna Gunn, SAG-nominated Samantha Mathis and rising star Logan Miller. Ron Howard, Brian Grazer and Karen Kehela Sherwood of Imagine Entertainment produced the film alongside Amanda Marshall of Bailey’s Cold Iron Pictures.
Also in 2018, Bailey teamed with Gurl.com co-founder Rebecca Odes to launch CherryPicks, a groundbreaking aggregate movie review and rating service by female critics for the female audience, which they announced at the SXSW film festival. The aggregate data service will also be useful to a wide range of studios, researchers and other data-mining customers for the purposes of determining ticket sales, box office tracking, and demographics.
Bailey’s cinematic voice was first heard when her directorial debut GREENLIT – a humorous documentary examining the hypocrisy inherent in Hollywood’s “green” movement – premiered at the 2010 SXSW Film Festival to critical acclaim and was acquired by IFC International. The documentary is available on iTunes, Amazon & Hulu.
Bailey’s second documentary entitled THE PATHOLOGICAL OPTIMIST which follows one of the world’s most hated & controversial people, Dr. Andrew Wakefield who lay claim to vaccines creating autism in children, was released theatrically by The Film Arcade and on VOD by Gravitas.
A production powerhouse, Bailey’s Cold Iron Pictures has amassed an extensive list of critical and commercial successes including SWISS ARMY MAN starring Golden Globe-nominee Paul Dano and Daniel Radcliffe was released by A24 in July 2016. DON’T THINK TWICE, directed by Mike Birbiglia, starring Gillian Jacobs and produced with Ira Glass (This American Life) premiered July 2016. NORMAN, directed by Joseph Cedar (BEAUFORD, a Foreign Language Film Oscar nominee) in his first English-language movie, premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival and was released this past April by Sony Classics to rave reviews. Bailey’s I DO…UNTIL I DON’T directed by and starring Lake Bell and Ed Helms opened September 1.
Bailey look set to continue her success in 2018, with producing projects including Rob Zombie’s RAISED EYEBROWS and Camille Perri’s THE ASSISTANTS amongst other titles she is presently developing.
Robert Balinski studied Arts du Spectacle at Panthéon-Sorbonne in Paris. He joined the Polish Film Institute in 2008 and has recently been appointed Head of International Relations Department. His role includes co-managing the German-Polish Film Fund, project management in the Production Department and he is responsible for setting up the minority co-production scheme. He also is one of the Poland’s representatives in Eurimages, the cultural support fund of the Council of Europe.
Jonathan Barkan is the Editor-in-Chief of Dread Central, one of the largest genre websites, and has been an online critic and journalist for nearly a decade. He is also part of the acquisitions team for Dread Central Presents, the genre label of Epic Pictures Group that has already released nearly a dozen titles, including films such as The Lodgers, Terrifier, To Hell and Back: The Kane Hodder Story, Zombiology: Enjoy Yourself Tonight, and more.
Peter Baxter is a filmmaker and President and co-founder of the Slamdance Film Festival. Baxter has been responsible for developing Slamdance into an artist led community that supports and discovers new filmmakers. Alumni whose first work showed at Slamdance have gone on to earn over $15 billion at the Box Office. His latest documentary Spirit Game follows the Iroquois Nationals battle to win a world lacrosse championship and is described by Sports Illustrated as “a powerful story of identity, sovereignty and spirituality”. Baxter grew up in Gloucestershire, England and lives in Los Angeles with his family.
Beaudoin started his career in corporate finance at Hughes Network Systems in San Diego. After graduation from law school, he launched his 20-plus year career in the film and television industry. As a business affairs executive, he worked in film production and distribution on the Universal Studios lot. In 2000, he joined the entertainment finance group at French bank Natixis. Beaudoin was recruited to open the Los Angeles office of Bank of Ireland where he served as SVP & Manager and oversaw the U.S. film finance team. Following the financial crisis, he worked as the CFO for film and TV production and finance company Tower Hill Entertainment. In 2011, he returned to banking where he currently serves as Managing Director with the entertainment finance group at MUFG Union Bank.
In addition, Beaudoin teaches Commercial Banking at Loyola Marymount University’s College of Business Administration as an adjunct professor and lecturer in finance.
Beaudoin received his LL.M. from New York University School of Law, J.D. from Whittier Law School and B.B.A. in finance from the University of San Diego. He remains an active member of the California State Bar and holds his FINRA Series 79 and 63 securities licenses.
Shaked Berenson is an award winning filmmaker who produced and executive produced over 40 features and 2 TV series. While Berenson produced films across all genres, from family animation (SPACE DOGS), comedy (WHO GETS THE DOG?) and arthouse (ENTERTAINMENT), he is known in the horror community for
award winning and cult status films such as TALES OF HALLOWEEN, TURBO KID, BIG ASS SPIDER!, THE LODGERS and more lately THE GOLEM, which is coming out early 2019.
In 2016, Berenson led the acquisition of Dread Central Media and launched the horror label Dread Central Presents, which releases horror films in theaters, on demand and home video.
Berenson is a vocal advocated for independent films and have been on the Board of Directors of the
Independent Film and Television Alliance (IFTA). A public speaker on film production, financing and distribution in many forums including AFM, SXSW and USC. He co-founded Epic Pictures, which he sold in 2018. Berenson has a B.A. in Business Economics and an MBA from UCLA Anderson.
Michael currently serves as Executive Vice President of Programming & General Counsel of iN DEMAND. In that capacity he oversees the Programming and Legal departments of the company and is responsible for handling business and legal issues presented by the Company’s activities, including sports, film, event and other programming acquisition. He is also responsible for affiliate and distribution agreements, corporate compliance, and other major transactions such as joint venture and technology arrangements.
Other responsibilities include serving as corporate Secretary, developing and executing negotiation strategy, monitoring and managing protection, registration and enforcement of intellectual property assets of the company, management of regulatory affairs, human resources, and managing outside counsel. Michael has negotiated multiple agreements with MLB, the NBA, the NHL, UFC, WWE, and all motion picture studios.
Robert Binning, is an active cryptocurrency, blockchain, and distributed systems enthusiast. Robert was introduced to blockchain technology through mining Bitcoin back in 2012 and then Litecoin in 2013. In 2014 while experimenting with the 21Bitcoin distributed computing ecosystem, Robert created a text-based digital marketplace that accepted fractions of bitcoins for the viewership of pet photos. It was through this experimentation that the fundamentals behind StreamSpace were born.
Since founding StreamSpace in 2016, Robert has been traveling the world speaking on the future impact that blockchain technology and distributed computing systems will have on the film industry. Robert attended the University of Texas and is an active member of the National Eagle Scout Association.
Tamara Birkemoe serves as the President and Chief Operating Officer of Foresight Unlimited and oversees the day-to-day operations and all creative aspects of the company. Her primary responsibilities include overseeing acquisitions, development, production, sales and distribution of all feature films. Birkemoe brings more than 17 years of extensive hands on experience and knowledge of the entertainment industry. Throughout her career she has shepherded numerous projects from acquisition and development through worldwide sales and distribution.
Birkemoe is currently executive producing the The Last Full Measure, starring Samuel L. Jackson and Sebastian Stan. She most recently executive produced Category 5, directed by Rob Cohen, Blind, starring Alec Baldwin and Demi Moore, and And So It Goes,directed by Rob Reiner. She also executive produced 2 Guns, directed by Baltasar Kormakur and Lone Survivor, directed by Peter Berg.
Prior to Foresight Unlimited, Birkemoe was an executive at Media 8 Entertainment and at MDP Worldwide. Birkemoe was born in Italy and grew up in Italy and Sweden before moving to the United States. She is fluent in five languages and a graduate of the Film and Television program at the University of California, Los Angeles.
Peter Broderick spearheads the distribution of exceptional independent films and consults with filmmakers around the world. As President of Paradigm Consulting, he helps filmmakers and media companies maximize distribution, audiences, and revenues. Peter specializes in state-of-the-art strategies, including new approaches to global distribution.
Peter was President of Next Wave Films, which supplied finishing funds and other support to filmmakers from the US and abroad. He helped launch the careers of outstanding directors including Christopher Nolan and Amir Bar-Lev.
A key player in the growth of the ultra-low budget feature movement, Peter became one of the most influential advocates of digital moviemaking. Now focused on the revolution in film distribution, Peter gives keynotes and presentations internationally. He’s spoken to emerging filmmakers in Amsterdam, Berlin, Cannes, Durban, Guadalajara, Havana, London, Rio de Janeiro, Sydney, and Toronto.
Peter has written for The New York Times, The Times of London, The Economist, and Scientific American. He publishes The Distribution Bulletin about the latest in independent film distribution and marketing, which has 11,500 subscribers worldwide. To subscribe and read his articles, visit www.peterbroderick.com.
Peter is a graduate of Brown University, Cambridge University, and Yale Law School.
Ryan Broussard is Vice President of Production Incentives and Sales at Media Services Payroll. With over 15 years’ experience in the production payroll industry, Ryan’s area of focus has been helping clients discover the best filming locations, state incentives and local resources to maximize returns on their specific projects. He brings his expertise to payroll clients looking to combine the top digital tools with quality payroll service and incentives consultation.
Through relationships with film offices across the U.S. and a deep knowledge of current and upcoming incentives legislation, Ryan has helped productions large and small to navigate the application and audit processes required by the unprecedented variety of incentives programs available to filmmakers today.
Janet H. A. Brown is the EVP of Distribution at Gunpowder & Sky, an independent global studio, dedicated to creating, marketing and distributing video content unrestricted by form, genre or platform. Gunpowder & Sky collaborates with both emerging and established talent to generate premium video content ranging from 90-second to 90-minute stories on all platforms. Previously, Janet was the co-founder and CEO of FilmBuff, an award-winning full-service distribution company which she sold to G&S in 2016.
Janet oversees all of Gunpowder & Sky’s theatrical releases, including this year’s Sundance crowdpleaser, Hearts Beat Loud starring Nick Offerman, Kiersey Clemons, Ted Danson, Blythe Danner and Toni Collette. Recent releases include The Little Hours, Jeff Baena’s (I Heart Huckabees) acclaimed religious satire from Sundance; Summer of ’84, Gunpowder & Sky’s first original feature; and Ben Young’s Hounds of Love which won the Overlook Film Festival’s Jury and Audience Awards for Best Feature with Emma Booth winning Best Actress Award at the Venice Film Festival.
Janet has been an aggressive pioneer in the distribution of digital-first content, partnering with leading publishers/producers such as Conde Nast Entertainment, Hearst, Mashable, Machinima, The New York Times, Time Inc and Vice, and most recently closed a deal for G&S to distribute YouTube Red originals series and feature films. She has also created industry benchmarks for premium branded content distribution, working with brands such as GE, Audi, Kellogg, Cole Haan, Illy and Norton to enhance the reach and awareness of premium branded content.
Before selling the company to G&S, Janet has established FilmBuff as a one-stop shop for a wide range of content providers by handling distribution of all rights in-house, including festival strategy, theatrical, digital, MVPD VOD, linear television, and international sales and distribution on more than 1,500 critically acclaimed titles. Janet and her team worked with the best and most innovative filmmakers to release titles such as the Oscar-nominated Exit Through the Gift Shop, Sundance Audience Award winner Senna, Sundance Grand Jury Prize winner The House I Live In, Jared Leto’s Artifact, The Internet’s Own Boy, Codegirl, Burt’s Buzz, Spring, and the breakthrough indie hit The Invitation.
Janet was part of the media and entertainment strategy consulting practice at Accenture in London from 1998 until 2004 where she drove business strategy for clients including News Corp., Warner Music, Film Four, Telewest and Granada. After moving back to the U.S., she was a strategy consultant for Yahoo! Media Group and headed up research at Cinetic Media in New York.
A native of Toronto, Janet received a B.A., Joint Honors in economics and political science from McGill University and an MBA from Columbia University.
Richard “RB” Botto is the Founder and CEO of Stage 32 (stage32.com). Stage32 is the world’s largest online platform connecting and educating film, TV & digital creatives and executives worldwide. Since 2011, Stage 32 has emerged as an online community of over 500,000 creatives with over 1,000 hours of online education taught by over 500 industry executives. Stage 32 is also the official film education & networking platform of AFM.
RB is also a working actor, producer and screenwriter. As a producer, his films have played at dozens of festivals including the Sundance award winning feature, Another Happy Day, written & directed by Sam Levinson, the documentary Crutch, and the upcoming Rain-Beau’s End. As a writer, his latest screenplay, The End Game, is currently in development at Covert Media. As an actor, his latest film On the Corner of Ego and Desire is premiering at the 2018 Raindance Film Festival.
Botto is a best-selling author. His book Crowdsourcing For Filmmakers, was published by Focal Press/Routledge under the American Film Market Presents banner and quickly became one of their best selling titles. The book can be found at the Focal Press/Routledge booth by AFM badge registration and on Amazon, where it has over 60 5-star reviews.
A sought after speaker, teacher and mentor, RB has been a keynote speaker and panelist at such festivals and conferences as Cannes, AFM, Tribeca, Sundance, Raindance, SXSW, Portugal FEST and Winston Baker. He has also taught at institutions such as Harvard, USC and Columbia University on the subjects of filmmaking, producing, film finance, screenwriting, social media, crowdfunding, crowdsourcing, entrepreneurship and business.
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.
Chris Bueno is CEO of Ocean Avenue Entertainment — the destination for productions that offer hope to audiences looking for inspiration in entertainment. Ocean Avenue is committed to releasing films and television programming that are inspiring and redemptive. Its distribution strategy optimizes each release platform to find the widest possible audience theatrically on VOD, DVD and ultimately on global platforms like Netflix and Amazon. For more information, please visit www.oceanave.tv
Sasha Bühler is Head of Acquisitions at Constantin Film, Germany’s leading film production and distribution company. Reporting directly to the CEO, her duties include running the department, identifying and overseeing international co-productions, acquiring all rights to feature films for German-speaking Europe, as well as securing remake rights. Raised in the U.S., she is a graduate of Vassar College, and has lived in Germany for over 25 years.
Sasha’s professional career began in production, first in broadcast news and eventually moving into animation, becoming Creative Head of an animation company. Thereafter, Sasha taught at the Munich Film School (HFF), while still consulting and producing internationally on a freelance basis. In her next role as Head of Acquisitions for SquareOne Entertainment, she helped grow the company to be one of Germany’s most competitive licensing entities. During her ten-year tenure at Constantin she has brought in such diverse projects as DIRTY GRANDPA, FLORENCE FOSTER JENKINS, YOU WERE NEVER REALLY HERE, EVERYBODY WANTS SOME, WAR ON EVERYONE, ALL EYEZ ON ME, and the STEP UP and SCARY MOVIE franchises.
Caryn Capotosto is Head of Productions at Tremolo Productions and producer of the critically acclaimed documentary Won’t You Be My Neighbor? for Focus Features (2018). She received a 2016 News and Documentary Emmy Award Award for her role as Co-Producer on Best of Enemies and she was Associate Producer on the Academy Award and Grammy Award-winning documentary, 20 Feet from Stardom (2013). Her feature docs include Afghan Cycles (Executive Producer, 2018) The Music of Strangers: Yo-Yo Ma and The Silk Road Ensemble (Associate Producer, 2015), Filmage: The Story of Descendents / ALL (Co-Producer, 2014), and the Rolling Stones documentary, Crossfire Hurricane (HBO, 2012). Other recent projects include the documentary series Ugly Delicious (Co-Executive Producer, 2018), Abstract: The Art of Design and Chelsea Does (Supervising Producer for Tremolo, 2016) all for Netflix. Most recently she was Co-Executive Producer of the 2018 feature documentary about Orson Welles, They’ll Love Me When I’m Dead.
Elisabeth founded Storyboard Media with her partner Philip Kim as a production, finance and global sales company in mid-2017. In a short time, Storyboard Media has been involved in films such as Edward James’ Olmos’ THE DEVIL HAS A NAME, starring Martin Sheen, David Strathairn, Kate Bosworth, among others, now in post-production, FREAKS, staring Emile Hirsch and Bruce Dern which premiered at TIFF and sold strongly to the US market, and German 20th Century Fox produced horror film, HEILSTATTEN. Storyboard Media is now in production on ARKANSAS, staring Liam Hemsworth, Vince Vaughn, John Malkovich and Michael Kenneth Williams.
Elisabeth serves as President of Global Sales and Distribution at Storyboard Media, focused on acquisitions, production and strategic planning of sales and licensing of independent films in the foreign and US markets. Previously, Elisabeth was at AMBI and helped advance sales of “Rupture,” starring NoomiRapace, “This Beautiful Fantastic,” starring Tom Wilkinson and Jessica Brown Findley, a large budget animation, “Arctic Justice” and the sales of the 400 title Exclusive library comprising of the Icon, New Market and Sparta titles. She helped shepherd the Keanu Reeves and Lily Collins film “To the Bone,” which sold for top dollar at Sundance 2017 to Netflix along with the Mila Jovovich and James Franco action pic, “Future World,” and romantic comedy “Basmati Blues” starring Brie Larson. Elisabeth aided in the planning of the AMBI UK office as well as has brought in strategic partnerships in Korea and China.
Before joining AMBI, Elisabeth served as President of International Sales and Distribution at Voltage Pictures. During her 3 year tenure with Voltage, the company financed and sold the 3 time Academy Award winning “Dallas Buyers Club,” Joseph Gordon Levitt’s starring and directorial debut “Don Jon,” Gabrielle Muccino’s “Fathers and Daughters” starring Russell Crowe, Andrew Nicoll’s “Good Kill” starring Ethan Hawke and Natalie Portman’s starring and Directorial debut “A Tale of Love and Darkness” which was selected to Cannes 2015. In addition, she helped realize, market, finance, and distribute a multitude of third party films ranging in budgets of $3 million – $30 million.
Prior to working at Voltage, she worked at Lakeshore Entertainment for close to 14 years where in her last three years, served as Head of International overseeing Theatrical sales of Lakeshore’s high profile features (Fame, Runaway Bride, Autumn In New York) and helped launch films grossing over $100 million dollars worldwide such as the Underworld Franchise and 4 time Academy Award winner: Million Dollar Baby. Elisabeth also oversaw sales on Lakeshore’s 250 film library in addition to representing the Hearst International TV catalogue with over 500 hours of TV programming and series.
Elisabeth has served both on the Board and the Executive Board of IFTA and remains very active with the trade organization. She is a member of the Creative Coalition, on the Advisory Board of the Anti-Poaching Animal Rights Organization, STOP POACHING NOW!, a member of Women In Film, and is a graduate of Occidental College. Born in France and raised in New York City, she resides in Los Angeles.
Derek Doneen is an award-winning director, editor and producer from Los Angeles. His feature-length documentary THE PRICE OF FREE (fka KAILASH), produced by Davis Guggenheim, follows Nobel Peace Prize recipient, Kailash Satyarthi, on his quest to rid the world of child slavery. Derek spent the better part of two years with Kailash going undercover in New Delhi to expose child-trafficking rings and reunite missing children with their families. THE PRICE OF FREE premiered at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival where it won Grand Jury Prize in the US Documentary Competition. It was also the recipient of a $500k grant by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival. THE PRICE OF FREE is slated for a November, 2018 release on YouTube.
Derek met Guggenheim while working at Participant Media on his film WAITING FOR “SUPERMAN”, and soon after, the two began a creative partnership. Derek produced Guggenheim’s film, THE DREAM IS NOW about Dream Act hopefuls; edited his 2016 convention film for President Obama; and directed SPENT: LOOKING FOR CHANGE, about Americans who are locked out of the traditional banking system. SPENT was viewed nearly 13 million times on YouTube and inspired an op-ed in Business Insider by Senators Jerry Moran and Tom Cotton advocating for the American Savings Promotion Act, which was signed into law six months later.
Derek story produced and edited WHAT HAUNTS US, which debuted on STARZ in May, 2018 and was nominated for an Emmy for Exceptional Merit in Documentary Filmmaking; produced SHOT IN THE DARK alongside Dwayne Wade and Chance the Rapper about a high school basketball team on Chicago’s westside, which premiered February, 2018 as part of Fox’s Magnify series; and edited KOBE BRYANT’S MUSE (2015) for Showtime.
Derek was named one of Variety’s 10 documentary filmmakers to watch in 2018.
Diane Drake is screenwriter, former development executive, author,
instructor, international speaker and story consultant.
Her produced original screenplays include ONLY YOU, starring Robert
Downey, Jr. and Marisa Tomei, and WHAT WOMEN WANT, starring Mel
Gibson. Her script for ONLY YOU sold for $1 million, and WHAT WOMEN
WANT is the second highest grossing romantic comedy of all time (Box
Office Mojo). In addition, both films have recently been remade in China
featuring major Chinese stars, and this year WWW has been remade
again by Paramount as WHAT MEN WANT, with Taraji Henson starring in the Mel Gibson role.
Prior to becoming a screenwriter, Diane served as the Vice President of
Creative Affairs for Academy award-winning director/producer Sydney
Pollack working with him to find and develop material.
Diane, who is a member of the Writers Guild of America, has taught
screenwriting through the UCLA Extension Writers Program and served as a speaker and judge for numerous film festivals and screenwriting groups and contests, including the Austin Film Festival, the Atlanta Film Festival and the Humanitas Prize. Last summer she served as a mentor at the Rocaberti Writers Retreat in a 14th century castle in Dordogne, France, and next month she will travel to Russia to speak at the VII Annual International Cultural Forum in St. Petersburg, and then to Moscow to lead a 2-day workshop at the Bondarchuk School of Cinema.
She recently authored her first book, GET YOUR STORY STRAIGHT, a step-by-step guide to writing your screenplay. She does private consulting, private workshops and offers her own guided online course exclusively through her website, www.dianedrake.com.
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.
Anna E. Dziedzic is a PR specialist with over ten years of experience in the film industry in the field of planning and implementing promotion strategies. Currently, she is responsible for promoting financial incentives and the audio-visual industry for the Polish Film Institute. Formerly, she worked for Film Commission Poland and the Polish Producers Alliance (KIPA). She was also the spokesperson of the Krakow Film Festival and the head of the PR and marketing department at Alvernia Studios.
Scott Edel understands the complexities of today’s evolving media and entertainment landscape, serving as a trusted business advisor and legal strategist to traditional Hollywood players and major digital platforms. A dealmaker, a problem solver and a quarterback for Loeb’s elite team of entertainment attorneys, Scott brings decades of industry experience and relationships to help clients create and exploit motion picture, television, digital and interactive entertainment content.
Scott represents film and television production companies, investors and financiers in complex development, production, distribution and financing transactions. His clients include some of the world’s leading digital platforms and web content producers, multichannel networks and streaming services. In addition, he counsels domestic and international television companies, executive producers and rights holders in non-scripted/reality and scripted programming deals. With a background in the music business, including as former managing director of a music management firm, Scott has a diverse practice that also addresses issues at the intersection of music and audiovisual content.
Known for his multi-pronged, business-centric approach, Scott has built a reputation around bringing together the right legal specialists and partners to help bring entertainment projects to life. He has been recognized as a leading entertainment lawyer by Chambers USA and The Best Lawyers in America, and he serves as a board member of the USC Gould School of Law – Beverly Hills Bar Association Institute on Entertainment Law and Business.
Outside the office, Scott’s passions include his family and a love of skiing and cycling. He and his family are supporters of the JDRF Ride to Cure Type One Diabetes and participate each year.
Bruce David Eisen is a veteran entertainment attorney and media executive. His legal practice focuses on the intersection of new and traditional media and the technology powering them. Eisen’s current and recent clients include Shout! Factory, Brainstorm Media, Rubicon Entertainment, Shoreline Entertainment, among others.
Eisen’s services include structuring, drafting and negotiating film development agreements, content acquisition and distribution agreements, film finance agreements, technology agreements, production legal services as well as and providing general legal/business affairs services for film, television, new media and other clients. Other recent activities include M&A legal work on multi-million dollar deals representing the Hollywood Film Awards in its sale to Dick Clark productions.
Eisen was recently engaged by the Entertainment Merchants Association (“EMA”) to represent the trade association and negotiate its agreement with Premiere Digital Services with respect to the EMA’s Video Repository. Eisen has recently negotiated with individuals and companies on behalf of his clients including, but not limited to, Allison Janney, Sean Hayes, James Cromwell, Bruce Dern, Bret Easton Ellis, James Franco, Cross Creek Pictures, Palm Star Media, Voltage Pictures, Netflix, Amazon, PlayStation Network, Showtime, Starz, HBO, and Vimeo.
In addition to his legal practice, Eisen is head of Content Strategy and Acquisitions for Nagra’s myCinema (www.mycinema.live) an event cinema initiative, that uses new technology to bring a broad variety of specialized content to movie theaters across the United States.
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 and Qwest.
Eisen received his J.D. from the University of Southern California and his B.A. cum laude with high honors in Philosophy from Clark University.
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.
A second generation Los Angeles native, Maya Emelle studied at the Art Institute of Hollywood earning her BS in Digital Cinema and Video Production. She began her career working on various live televised productions such as the Latin Grammy’s, iHeart Award Shows and Concerts, and the Latin American Music Awards. While at Morgan’s Mark she served as the Senior Vice President of Development overseeing all scripted and non-scripted entities. Maya has produced several independent feature films such as award-winning JINN which had its SXSW 2018 premiere, directed by Nijla Mu’min and will be released theatrically by Orion Classics in November of 2018;SOLACE which won the award for Best Ensemble at Los Angeles Film Festival, 2018 directed by Tchaiko Omawale; and the upcoming film WORKINGMAN directed by Bob Jury and JIM directed by Chris Black. Additional credits include award winning short A Girl With No Brain directed by Royce Adkins. With more on the way Maya is dedicated to producing content that gives marginalized people a larger presence in mainstream media.
Clay Epstein is President of Film Mode Entertainment, a leading worldwide sales agent, production entity and distribution company, focusing on commercially driven feature films of all genres and budget sizes. Film Mode represents projects at all stages of the filmmaking process, often as Executive Producer, with the aim of helping producers and distributors achieve maximum exposure for their films.
Film Mode’s recent successes include SUGAR MOUNTAIN starring Jason Momoa, LITTLE PINK HOUSE starring Academy Award nominee Catherine Keener and VIKING DESTINY starring Academy Award nominee Terence Stamp. Upcoming releases include CRYPTO starring Kurt Russell, Beau Knapp, and Alexis Bledel, STAGE MOTHER starring Academy Award nominee Jacki Weaver, Lucy Liu, and Adrian Grenier, and BURN starring Josh Hutcherson and Suki Waterhouse. Additional titles include THE GOOD NEIGHBOR starring Academy Award nominee James Caan, and GANGSTER LAND starring Milo Gibson, Sean Faris, Jason Patric, and Jamie-Lynn Sigler. DocMode, Film Mode’s Documentary label was launched to focus on award-winning Documentaries that impact the world. BALLERINA, the first film under the label had its American debut in 2018. Film Mode is based in Beverly Hills, CA.
Germaine is the first Latina composer invited to join the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, music branch. She creates music and songs that reflect her extensive training as an orchestral musician, an electronic music programmer, a multiinstrumentalist, and a lover of world music, dividing her time working on studio blockbusters, independent features, television, VR, and immersive reality projects.
Tag, her highest profile, big studio feature (directed by Jeff Tomsic for New Line Cinema and Warner Bros.) was released this summer, making her the first female composer to score an R-Rated comedy for New Line. On Coco, Franco collaborated with filmmakers Lee Unkrich, Adrian Molina, and Darla K. Anderson as a songwriter, music producer, additional composer, arranger and orchestrator. She wrote five original songs with Molina, including “Un Poco Loco” and “Proud Corazón”, and produced, arranged, and orchestrated the Oscar®-winning song “Remember Me”. Additional composing work includes Dope, directed by Rick Famuyiwa (Open Road Films), Vida for Tanya Saracho (Starz’), Motiongate (DreamWorks Animation), and Kung Fu Panda – The Emperor’s Quest Immersive Attraction at Universal Studios Hollywood.
Honors include the ASCAP Shirley Walker Award, the ASCAP Top Box Office Film Award (Coco), the Annie Award for Outstanding Achievement for Music (Coco), Sundance Music and Sound Design Fellow, Women In Film Music Fellow, and a Black Reel Award Nomination (Dope). Univision honored Germaine as one of “15 Latinas Who Are Changing The World As We Know It” on International Women’s Day 2018. She is an Advisory Board Member of Women in Media, a Board Member of the Alliance for Women Film Composers, and is the first female composer to be hired by DreamWorks Animation and Pixar. She holds both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in music from Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music.
For more information about Germaine, go to www.germainefranco.com
Arianne Fraser is a founding partner of Highland Film Group (HFG), an independent worldwide sales, production and film financing company launched in 2010 alongside Delphine Perrier.
HFG has had success across a wide range of film genres and platforms, building a reputation for handling high-octane films in the action/horror/thriller space, focusing on cast, director, filmmaker driven content. Highlights include Vaughn Stein’s Terminal starring Margot Robbie, which released earlier this year; Lin Oeding’s thriller Braven starring Jason Momoa; the sleeper hit Instructions Not Included, directed by and starring Eugenio Derbez; The Baytown Outlaws, starring Billy Bob Thornton and Eva Longoria; Revenge for Jolly, starring Kristen Wiig, Elijah Wood, Ryan Phillippe and Adam Brody; and Someday This Pain Will Be Useful To You, starring Ellen Burstyn, Marcia Gay Harden, and Lucy Liu.
HFG’s diversified production and sales slate currently includes: Joe Carnahan’s Boss Level starring Frank Grillo, Naomi Watts and Mel Gibson; Michael Cristofer’s The Night Clerk starring Tye Sheridan, Ana de Armas and Helen Hunt; Marc Meyer’s thriller We Summon the Darkness starring Alexandra Daddario; Shawn Ku’s action thriller A Score to Settle starring Nicolas Cage; the star-studded Berlin, I Love You with Helen Mirren, Keira Knightley, Jim Sturgess, Mickey Rourke, Diego Luna, and Jenna Dewan Tatum; Steven C. Miller’s action thriller Escape Plan 2: Hades starring Sylvester Stallone and Dave Bautista; and Kevin Connolly’s mafia thriller Gotti starring John Travolta and Kelly Preston.
Arianne currently resides in Los Angeles, and continues to use her unique and integral approach for film sales and her passion for commercial and quality packages to assist in financing films and bringing them to audiences worldwide.
Patrick Frater has over 20 years of experience writing about and analyzing 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.
John Friedberg serves as the studio’s President of International Sales, for STX Entertainment, overseeing all aspects of STX Entertainment’s international sales strategy for the company’s growing slate of motion pictures, as well as developing strategic partnerships for international acquisitions.
Prior to joining STX, Friedberg served as the Executive Vice President of International Sales and Distribution at QED International, supervising all facets of the company including the company’s production and financing activities, international sales and distribution, and administrative operations. During his tenure at QED, Friedberg developed innovative financing and distribution strategies for such films as Fury, directed by David Ayer and starring Brad Pitt, Elysium, directed by Neill Blomkamp and starring Matt Damon and Jodie Foster, and District 9, directed by Neill Blomkamp.
John is a native New Yorker and a graduate of Wesleyan University.