November 5 - 10, 2024

Speaker Bios

Josh Mandel

Josh Mandel is a film, commercial and digital content producer, as well as a senior film festival programmer. He began his filmmaking career in music videos with artists like Eminem and Sean Paul before segueing into features and commercials. Josh’s films have screened at dozens of festivals worldwide, including the Venice Film Festival, New York Film Festival, Tribeca, Rotterdam, Locarno, Edinburgh, London BFI, True/False and Deauville. Josh’s first feature was the Lord of the Rings documentary, “Ringers,” released worldwide by Sony Pictures. Josh produced Nathan Silver’s breakout drama, “Uncertain Terms,” which was named one of the Best Films of 2016 by outlets like The New Yorker and Indiewire.
Josh produced the first two films from Humphrey Bogart’s revived production company: “This Last Lonely Place,” which was released theatrically Summer 2016, and “White Orchid,” starring Olivia Thirlby and Jennifer Beals, which will be released theatrically in 2019. Josh executive produced Mark Jackson’s debut feature, “Without,” which won an Independent Spirit Award and was released by Slamdance Presents and ArcLight Cinemas Fall 2017. Josh produced “Thirst Street,” a French/US co-production that premiered at Venice and Tribeca, and was released by Samuel Goldwyn Films Fall 2017.
Josh produced Mark Jackson’s latest film, “This Teacher,” which won the top Jury Prize at the 2018 LA Film Festival. Josh is currently in Post-Production on “Homewrecker,” a Canadian feature starring Alexandra Essoe and set to premiere at festivals in Spring 2019. Josh is in Pre-Production on his ninth feature, “Paris is in Harlem,” the latest multi-protagonist opus from Christina Kallas, to be shot in New York early 2019. In between films, Josh produces tv commercials and digital content for Mattel, Warner Bros, Disney, Universal, Marvel, DC, Dreamworks and WWE. Josh is also a Senior Programmer at the Slamdance Film Festival, one of the Top 5 film festivals in North America. As a producer and festival programmer with a keen eye for discovering emerging talent, Josh works year-round to create and curate content for diverse audiences worldwide.

Dave McIntosh

Dave McIntosh is SVP, Content Licensing & Strategy for Shout! Studios where he oversees Shout’s content windowing strategies across all platforms, including theatrical releases, SVOD & broadcast deals, and transactional digital sales (EST, TVOD and MVPD VOD). He previously served as SVP Business Affairs & Digital Distribution and has been with Shout! Factory from its early days and has been a key driver in the company’s ongoing transition into multi-platform distribution.
Prior to joining Shout! Factory, Dave was the Senior Corporate Counsel for, an early distributor of online music and audiobooks. He started his career at Rhino Entertainment where he licensed hundreds of CDs and Box Sets from just about every record label on the planet.
A graduate of California Western School of Law and Fairfield University, Dave lives in Culver City with his family. In his free time, he watches far too much television.

Maarten P Melchior

After a career in corporate lending at ING Bank, Maarten worked as international film financier at Pierson, Heldring and Pierson, a subsidiary of ABN AMRO Bank. He subsequently co-initiated the collection account management services that are nowadays part of Fintage Collection Account Management in the Netherlands, the pre-eminent service provider to the worldwide film industry. Apart from having in-depth knowledge about the film business, he is part of a global network of film producers, sales agents, film financiers, film investors, completion guarantors and entertainment lawyers, resulting from travel to the top film markets in the world. Originating from the Netherlands, he resides in Toronto, Canada.

Robert Menzies

Robert Menzies has produced over 40 feature films in the US and Canada through his Zed.Film production company (opened in 2007). These include the box office hit “The House at the End of the Street”, starring Academy Award winner Jennifer Lawrence, and the thriller “Penthouse North” starring Michael Keaton. Other features include the recently released Netflix Original “I Am The Pretty Thing That Lives in the House”, starring Ruth Wilson (The Affair), which also premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival. “There Are Monsters” written and directed by Bryan Bertino (The Strangers), starring Zoe Kazan had a theatrical run with A24. Another wide release in 2017 with A24 was the horror/thriller starring Emma Roberts “The BlackCoat’s Daughter” which also premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival.
Robert has been a guest speaker at several Universities, Colleges and events around the globe, where he openly shares his passion for this industry. Robert continues to actively produce, with a slate of 2-3 movies per year.

Billy Mernit

Known as “the guru of rom-com” for his bestselling screenwriting textbook, Writing the Romantic Comedy, Billy’s first novel Imagine Me and You was published by Random House in 2008. He currently works as both a private script consultant and a story analyst at Universal Pictures, while teaching at the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program and at seminars here and abroad.


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Alan R. Milligan

Alan R. Milligan is a film producer with awards from Cannes, Venice, Gothenburg and more than 50 other awards and nominations since 2014. Prior to this Alan was a software entrepreneur, developing MCIS, a database for safe transportation of chemicals at sea and an automated stowage system for chemical tankers. MCIS has become the global industry standard for the chemical tanker industry and was sold to Heidenreich Innovation in 2008. Alan holds an MA in International Relations and International Business.
Alan founded White Rabbit in 2017 to ensure data collection and monetization of the peer-to-peer market, for fans, rights holders and investors.
White Rabbit is a browser plugin that recognizes content being streamed peer-to-peer and allows fans to pay rightsholders directly, without the need for multiple streaming subscriptions or searches to find and pay for films and series.

Maria Mineiro

Vice President of the Portuguese Film and Audiovisual Institute (ICA).
Our mission is to support the development of cinematographic and audiovisual activities, from the creation to the dissemination and national and international circulation of works, fostering the emergence of new values, contributing to the diversity of the cultural offer and to the cinematographic and audiovisual sectors.

Lucy Mukerjee

Lucy is a Senior Programmer at the Tribeca Film Festival, where she is dedicated to championing underrepresented voices. Previously Lucy was the Director of Programming at Outfest, where she oversaw the curation of three of the country’s most prominent LGBTQ film festivals, Outfest Los Angeles, Outfest Fusion and NewFest. While at Outfest, she also helmed various year-round educational programs dedicated to increasing the visibility of the queer community within the entertainment industry.
Lucy has two decades of experience in the entertainment industry, including as a Producer and Development Executive for Lionsgate and Warner Bros. She is a two-time Film Independent fellow, and a member of BAFTA and the Producers Guild of America. She can regularly be found moderating discussions about queer cinema and speaking at panels and events for various media outlets, organizations and colleges.
Lucy’s most recent Producor credit, Jack Of The Red Hearts won the Grand Jury Prize at Geena Davis’ inaugural Bentonville Film Festival, and was released in theaters nationwide. Lucy is also proud to be a part of a group of cultural changemakers – the Queer Producers Collective.

Dana Nachman

Dana Nachman is an award-winning filmmaker of both fiction and documentary films. Nachman’s 2018 feature documentary Pick of the Litter was sold to IFC Films within 48 hours of its premiere at the Slamdance festival and is in theaters now.
Nachman’s 2015 film Batkid Begins was bought and distributed by Warner Bros./New Line Cinema. Previously she wrote, directed and produced the documentaries Witch Hunt, which was executive produced by Sean Penn and premiered at the 2008 Toronto International Film Festival; Love Hate Love, which premiered at the 2011 Tribeca Film Festival; and The Human Experiment. She has won dozens of awards over the course of her career, including three regional Emmy Awards, The Edward R. Murrow Award, Jury and Audience Awards at film festivals.
In an effort to showcase strong female protagonists, Nachman is working on a trilogy of romantic comedies. Each short will have a female of a different generation as the lead. Nachman has finished “The Final Show” first which features an elderly woman. In the coming months she will finish post production on “Hook Up 2.0” and later in 2018 will shoot the third part of the trilogy, which will focus on a middle-aged heroine.

Sunwoo Nam

As the Producer of W2Studios, Sunwoo conducts each producing departments to meet the schedule and establishes a relationship with global studios in Film, VFX, Animation, Game industry.
Her first co-produced feature length animation, “The Boxcar Children : Surprise Island” has been screened in LA, distribute by Legacy Classics, USA.
Prior to W2Studios, Sunwoo received a B.F.A in Integrated Media from Ontario College of Art and Design University, Canada.

Khaliah Neal

Khaliah Neal has worked at a wide range of prominent production companies and film studios including, The Weinstein Company, Jean Doumanian Productions, and Focus Features. Neal, now an independent producer, served as Alternative Marketing and Outreach Manager on the Oscar nominated documentary TROUBLE THE WATER and was a Field Producer on director Marc Silver’s Sundance 2015 award winning documentary, 3 1/2 MINUTES, 10 BULLETS that addresses Florida’s controversial Stand Your Ground law. She also produced 25 TO LIFE, a Ford Foundation and Sundance Lab supported documentary feature that premiered at the 2014 American Black Film Festival and won the CNN Grand Jury Prize for Best Documentary. Recently, she produced THE RACHEL DIVIDE, a Netflix original documentary with Executive Producer, Roger Ross Williams. Neal has also produced a wide range of things in the scripted space, including, X, a short film and the directorial debut of Yara Shahidi and FRENCH FRIES, another short film and directorial debut of acclaimed showrunner Janine Sherman Barrios. Both shorts were apart of Refinery29 and TNT’s Shatterbox anthology series that aims to empower women filmmakers. Likewise, she has a TV series in development with Starz, created by award winning playwright Katori Hall. She is also producing THE LAST BLACK MAN IN SAN FRANCISCO with Plan B and A24, currently in post-production, and also has numerous other projects across film, TV and documentary. Khaliah is a graduate of Howard University with a BA in Broadcast Journalism.

Dr. Steven Nia

Dr. Steven Nia is a true visionary and entrepreneur with over 20 years of experience in Entertainment and Technology industries. As Chief Executive Officer of Wardour Studios, Wardour Street Pictures, Wardour Digital Effects, Nia commands a wide range of business, creative and strategic resources, providing them with expert leadership. Nia’s multi-disciplinary expertise and educational background, provide him with high levels of expertise and highly specialized skills to strategically direct such organizations.
Nia’s education and experience, previously as an attorney, and now through entertainment business and in technology, has enabled Nia to become an expert commentator, with national and global media experience, delivering various public and professional speeches, and opinions. Nia is a frequent speaker on a variety of subjects, in national and global conferences, as well as other entertainment and professional forums, such as Sasin Forum, Peace Federation, and etc.
Prior to co-founding Wardour Studios, a full-service studio for film, TV, and commercial production, Nia champions the interests of the large studios and independent producers and is an advocate of the film industry, and its impact in global culture and understanding. Nia’s skills in business and technology, and his enthusiasm for Hollywood’s creativity and stars, have empowered Nia to manage and grow with changes, at a time when television, the Internet, and social media are transforming the entertainment industry and greatly expanded the influence of celebrity culture.
Together with executives at Wardour Studios, Nia has brought Wardour Street Pictures into a leading global entertainment company with a fast growing and diversified presence in motion picture production and distribution, television programming and syndication, home entertainment, family entertainment, digital distribution, new channel platforms and international distribution and sales.
Nia is the visionary force and the strategic mind behind a number of successful entertainment and technology ventures. These include deals and or production of entertainment and film events, as well as investments and or creation of innovative technology ventures, aimed at creating a better life and a better world. Nia’s aims and inspirations stem from his clear vision of creative and technological changes, which are transforming our lives through media, cinema, theatre, arts, social media and technology.
Nia’s expertise and experience in the entertainment industry dates back to 20 years. Originally, as an entertainment attorney, addressing various production and distribution agreements, as well as considerations of IP protection. Subsequently, Nia has continued his work in the entertainment industry, in film finance and distribution, as well as creation and development of shows and events, such as Cyber Challenge (aired on NBC and PBS), as well as film events such as the Olympia Awards (in Development), and previously aired Family Film Awards (aired on CBS and Prime Star).
Nia winning strategy is to strive for, and to achieve, optimized exploitation of entertainment values, while delivering a message of cultural excellence and global understanding. Such attributes will ultimately empower us to transform and excel our next generations, thus breaking down cultural barriers through motion pictures, arts, innovation and new technologies. Fostering a sustainable future, for our children and their children, is a global responsibility, involving everyone.
Nia received Juris Doctor (JD) degree from Western State University, California, and served as a member of the California State Bar, for over 10 years. Nia studied Film Finance, Production and Distribution, and Entertainment Intellectual Property rights and protections, at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA). Nia received his Master’s Degree (MSCE), in computer and information systems engineering from the prestigious University of Michigan and also received his Bachelor’s Degree (BSEE), in electrical and computer engineering from the Lawrence Technology University, Michigan.

Raymond C. Nutt

Ray Nutt is Chief Executive Officer of Fathom Events, the leading domestic distributor of event cinema, and one of the largest overall distributors of
content to movie theatres. He brings more than three decades of experience in the entertainment business at Regal Entertainment Group and United Artists Entertainment to his role as CEO of Fathom Events.
Ray is a seasoned veteran and collaborator in the media business with the majority of his career spent in the theatrical exhibition and cable television industries. In his most recent post, Nutt was the Senior Vice President of Business Relations for Regal Entertainment Group where he oversaw Regal’s interests in several joint ventures and Regal’s Corporate Box Office division. He was also a Board Director for Fathom Events.
Prior to Regal Entertainment Group, Nutt had a significant amount ofsuccess growing established and startup businesses for Regal CineMedia and United Artists Theatres.
Previously, Ray experienced a diverse background of employment in the telecommunications, health care and insurance industries. He graduated from Illinois State University in 1983 with a double major in Industrial Technology and Occupational Safety.
Ray lives in Lone Tree, Colorado with his wife and they have two children. Outside of work, he enjoys running, fly fishing, skiing, ATV riding, music, charitable involvement and spending time with his family.

David Offenberg

Dr. David Offenberg is an Associate Professor of Entertainment Finance in the College of Business Administration at Loyola Marymount University. Additionally, he is the Director of the Business of Film Certificate Program at LMU, which teaches filmmakers the business fundamentals that they need to get their films financed, produced and distributed.
His alumni work across the industry, at the major studios, independent studios, agencies, and financial firms. Dr. Offenberg’s innovative teaching has received national recognition from academic finance organizations. He also provides financial and analytical consulting services to independent filmmakers and studios. Dr. Offenberg received his Ph.D. in finance from Purdue University.

John Orlando

John Orlando is Sony Crackle’s Head of Content, where he oversees the team responsible for the development, production and acquisitions of original movies and series for the free streaming network. Recent notable titles include Sony Crackle’s most-watched drama series, “The Oath,” from executive producer Curtis ’50 Cent’ Jackson, “StartUp” with Mira Sorvino, Ron Perlman and Adam Brody, “Snatch,” starring Rupert Grint, the Emmy-nominated stop-motion adult animated comedy series, “SuperMansion” with Bryan Cranston, Rob Riggle’s Ski Master Academy starring Rob Riggle and “Mad Families,” starring Charlie Sheen and Tiffany Haddish.
John began his career at the William Morris Agency, WMA, where he worked in the feature and television literary departments. Following his time at WMA, John made the move into development, working in features development at John Wells Productions and subsequently at United Artists. In 2005, he went on to work as a talent and literary manager at Circle of Confusion. In 2007, John joined Contradiction Films, an independent producer/financier based in Canada to run production and development. At Contradiction, John was a producer on one of the most successful worldwide digital projects to date, MORTAL KOMBAT: LEGACY, which he oversaw for Warner Bros. and launched on Machinima.
Now residing in Los Angeles with his wife and two young daughters, John got degrees in English Literature and Environmental Studies from Dickinson College in Pennsylvania.
John is a member of the Producers Guild of America and Television Academy.

William Pfeiffer

William Pfeiffer is Executive Chairman and Co-Founder of Globalgate Entertainment, a global local-language film production and financing company that includes Lionsgate, Televisa, and Nordisk as shareholders. The Globalgate consortium consists of 11 film production/distribution companies, including Gaumont, Kadokawa, and Lotte. Pfeiffer is also Senior Advisor to Lionsgate.
As CEO of Dragongate Entertainment, a feature film production and financing company launched in 2012 with backing from Lionsgate, Pfeiffer produces feature films in English and Asian languages and raises corporate financing as well as film financing.
From 2008-2012, Pfeiffer was CEO & Founder of Tiger Gate Entertainment, a partnership among Lionsgate Entertainment, Saban Capital, and Pfeiffer. He launched TV channels including KIX and Thrill. Tiger Gate merged with Celestial’s TV channels in 2012, and Pfeiffer is still a significant shareholder of the merged entity: Celestial Tiger Entertainment.
As CEO of Celestial Pictures from 2001-2008, Pfeiffer launched several TV channels including Celestial Movies and produced many successful TV series. Celestial Pictures owns the largest Chinese film library, including Shaw Brothers. Celestial produced multiple award-winning films such as “Perhaps Love” and “WuXia”.
From 1992-2001, William Pfeiffer was the most senior executive in Asia of Sony Pictures and Columbia TriStar and simultaneously was responsible for production, distribution, and TV channels. He initiated local film production that produced multiple award-winning local-language films such as “Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon” and “Lagaan”. At Sony, he launched 20 TV channels and produced thousands of films / TV programs.
From 1987-1992, Pfeiffer was the most senior executive of The Walt Disney Studios in Asia and launched its television production and home entertainment businesses in Asia.
Pfeiffer has lived in Asia for 33 years. He studied at the University of Notre Dame and Sophia University (in Tokyo) as an undergraduate and at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business. He is a board member of several global organizations, including the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA), Avex International, and BAFTA (Asia).

Marguerite Pigott

Marguerite is Vice President of Outreach and Strategic Initiatives for the Canadian Media Producers Association. She is responsible for the CMPA’s initiatives related to innovation, digital business models and diversity, and for delivering professional and business development tools and opportunities. She also produces Canada’s leading media conference Prime Time.
Marguerite currently serves as Vice Chair of Ontario Creates and is Chair of the Strategic Planning Committee. Previously, Marguerite was Head of Creative Development for the national, pay television broadcaster Super Channel, where she oversaw the pre-licencing of series and features, and led the team that invested Super Channel’s development fund. Marguerite has also served as Vice President of Development and Production for Odeon Films, An Alliance Atlantis Company, where she Executive Produced Fubar, Saint Ralph, waydowntown and many more. For the Toronto International Film Festival, Marguerite programmed the Canadian selection for the 2006 and 2007 festivals. As a development executive, she has been the Executive Story Consultant on prime time dramas such as Bomb Girls (Shaw, Reelz) and Played (Bell), and many films including One Week, Poor Boy’s Game and My Awkward Sexual Adventure.

Sarah Platt

Sarah Platt has over a decade of experience as a filmmaker. Her motion picture credits include Warren Beatty’s latest film Rules Don’t Apply, Source Code, Untraceable, Blood & Chocolate and Norman.
As a development and production executive at The Koch Company, Platt learned the ropes around a film set from her mentor, Hawk Koch, former President of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences. The two now work closely together, both in developing projects and in implementing production plans on set.
In the course of her work, Platt has been fortunate enough to work with a multitude of directors including Warren Beatty, Billy Ray, Phil Alden Robinson, Duncan Jones and Gregory Hoblit.
However, her true passion as a filmmaker is in working with up-and-coming talent to develop their voices for the screen and their story and characters for the page. Platt’s short, The Gunfighter, made with Eric Kissack, went viral when it was launched online and became eligible for an Oscar nomination.
Apart from motion pictures, Platt produced a four-hour experimental film that plays behind Parsifal, which opened at The Metropolitan Opera in 2013 and she was a producer on Funny In Love, a web series supported by FreeMantle. Currently, Platt heads International Production and Business Development for Wanda Studios.
Platt is a member of the Producer’s Guild of America and sits on the board of The Morningstar Commission.

Milan Popelka

Milan Popelka is the Chief Operating Officer at leading independent entertainment company FilmNation Entertainment. Popelka’s responsibilities include overseeing all day-to-day operations, strategic planning/business development, and finance for the company. FilmNation is consistently ranked as one of the highest-grossing independent international distributors globally, and has garnered a total of 45 Academy Award nominations (including 8 wins) across their sales and production titles.
Popelka served as Executive Producer on Denis Villeneuve’s epic Arrival starring Amy Adams and Jeremy Renner, which was nominated for 8 Academy Awards, including Best Picture. He has overseen many of the company’s recent notable production/finance titles, including Judd Apatow-produced comedy The Big Sick (NFF 2017 Opening Night Film), John Lee Hancock’s The Founder starring Michael Keaton, and Sebastian Lelio’s Disobedience starring Rachel Weisz and Rachel McAdams. Upcoming, FilmNation has This Is Us creator Dan Fogelman’s Life Itself, which is set to be released in September 2018, and Tom Hanks WWII epic Greyhound which Sony Pictures will distribute worldwide in early 2019.
International sales credits include, among others: Academy Award Best Picture winner The King’s Speech starring Colin Firth; Academy Award Best Picture nominee The Imitation Game starring Benedict Cumberbatch, Alexander Payne’s Academy Award nominated Nebraska, and Rian Johnson’s sci-fi hit Looper.
Prior to joining FilmNation, Popelka oversaw creative/finance at production and financing outfit Samuels Media, which financed and produced Tony Gilroy’s Michael Clayton starring George Clooney, and In the Valley of Elah starring Tommy Lee Jones and Charlize Theron. He also previously worked in the Independent Finance Group at Creative Artists Agency (CAA), and served as a management consultant in the entertainment practice of McKinsey & Company.
Outside of his professional work, Popelka is a standing member of the Executive Committee of the Science & Entertainment Exchange, an organization within the National Academy of Sciences that brings together the world’s best storytellers with leading science professionals to catalyze the use of science across all entertainment fields. He was included in Hollywood Reporter’s 2013 class of “Next Generation” leading Hollywood executives, and received a B.A in Economics with Honors from Harvard College.

Bennett Pozil

Bennett Pozil heads the Corporate Banking Division at East West Bank and is a leading industry expert on U.S.-China cross-border entertainment financing. His team also specializes in commercial banking, trade finance and developing business opportunities on both sides of the Pacific.
Media and entertainment lending has expanded substantially over the past seven years under Pozil’s leadership, making East West Bank one of the premier entertainment financers in both the U.S. and Greater China, and the only bank with a significant presence in both markets. With strong ties in the entertainment industries of both countries, East West Bank is able to add value in financing and facilitating landmark partnerships, like financing for Bona’s investment in TSG for a slate of tent pole films produced and released by Twentieth Century Fox including The Martian. East West Bank also took the lead on debt financing for the co-investment deal between Lionsgate Entertainment and Hunan TV & Ltd. In addition, East West Bank is the lead arranger of the deal between Perfect World Pictures and Universal for the co-financing of 50 studio releases.
The entertainment lending team has made over $3 billion in loans since 2011 to finance the production and distribution of film and TV projects in the U.S. and China markets. For example, East West Bank was the lead lender for the production of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny (2016), and has provided financing for such titles as Wind River (2017) and Marshall (2017). In addition the team has financed several popular Netflix drama series including Orange is the New Black and Marco Polo, plus multiple Tyler Perry television series for the OWN Network among others. In the Chinese market, the team has financed many top local language films and television programs including director John Woo’s two-part film blockbuster The Crossing (2014-2015), director Chen Kaige’s film Monk Comes Down the Mountain (2015), Skiptrace (2016) starring Jackie Chan and Fan Bingbing, the recent theatrical release Wu Kong (2017), the hit television show, The First Half of My Life (2017) and the upcoming series Ying Tian Xia starring Fan Bingbing. They also have created banking relationships with the major Chinese studios including Bona Film Group, Enlight Media Group, New Classics Media, Talent Television & Film and Huayi Brothers. The entertainment team has also made a dedicated push into the digital media space, working with such companies as Fullscreen, Scopely, Mitú, Cinedigm and Mondo Media.
During his career, Pozil has structured the financing of hundreds of motion pictures, including major Hollywood films like Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000), Hero (2004), Fearless (2006), and Lost in Translation (2003). In March 2015, Pozil was named as one of the Most Influential Lenders in Los Angeles County by Los Angeles Business Journal. In 2017, Pozil was named one of the Variety 500, a list of the most influential people in the global media business. As a leading industry voice on U.S.-China joint ventures, Pozil is a frequent speaker and panelist on cross-border film partnerships and financing at international film festivals and summits. Recent speaking engagements include the BOAO Forum for Asia, the Producers Guild of America’s Produced By Conference, the Beijing International Film Festival, the Asia Society U.S-China Film Summit, the Golden Rooster and Hundred Flowers Film Festival, and keynote presenter at the inaugural 2014 U.S. China Film & Television Industry Expo. Pozil is a regular lecturer and adjunct professor at the Beijing Film Academy.

Jean M. Prewitt

Jean M. Prewitt is President and Chief Executive Officer of the Independent Film & Television Alliance (IFTA®), the global trade association of independent distributors and producers of motion picture and television programming. Headquartered in Los Angeles, the organization represents and provides significant entertainment industry services to more than 140 member companies from 21 countries, consisting of independent film and TV production and distribution companies and sales agents — those companies that operate without the benefit of a wholly-controlled global distribution network, thus relying upon licenses to local distributors for the financing and exploitation of their productions.
Since her appointment in April 2000, IFTA and the services it provides to its members have dramatically evolved. Its most visible service continues to be the annual American Film Market (AFM) in Santa Monica, which has grown to be the world’s largest film market. Markets, in contrast to festivals, focus on the conclusion of financing and licensing deals to place films and programs into theatrical, television and digital distribution around the world. Each year, AFM hosts more than 7,000 industry leaders from 80 countries for eight days of deal-making, 500 screenings, networking and the industry’s preeminent conference series.
With wide-ranging expertise in motion picture distribution, new technologies and public policy, Ms. Prewitt spearheads IFTA’s activities to foster broad-based growth of the industry. As the voice and advocate for the independents, IFTA speaks out on matters of critical importance and actively lobbies governments around the world in regard to measures directly affecting the industry, including media consolidation, trade barriers, net neutrality, the impact of new technology on traditional business models, piracy and the need for strong legal frameworks for copyright protection. IFTA also delivers a wide array of services that assist independents to compete effectively in today’s marketplace. Among those services is working toward clear industry standards for licensing, and IFTA’s frequently updated model licensing agreements are in standard use around the world.
Before joining IFTA, Ms. Prewitt was a Principal from 1994 to 1999 at a major Washington, D.C.-based lobbying and public relations firm, representing some of the world’s most prestigious entertainment and high technology companies. Prior to that, she served as a senior government official with the U.S. Department of Commerce. In this role, Ms. Prewitt represented the White House and Executive Branch on international communications and information policy.

Ms. Prewitt also worked for eight years as Senior Vice President and General Counsel of United International Pictures (UIP), the foreign distribution arm of Paramount, Universal and MGM studios, implementing the initial creation of the global distribution network and managing legal and government affairs on a worldwide basis. She began her legal career at the New York firm of Donovan Leisure Newton & Irvine, where she specialized in federal tax, antitrust and copyright litigation.

Charles H. Rivkin

Charles H. Rivkin is Chairman and CEO of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA). He leads its global mission to advance and support the U.S. motion picture, television and home entertainment sector. Rivkin works with international businesses, governments, and law enforcement agencies to promote policies that drive production, strengthen creativity and protect creative content. He is also responsible for the MPAA’s Classification and Rating Administration, which has been supporting and informing audiences with the nation’s movie ratings system for over 50 years. The MPAA’s member studios currently include Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Twentieth Century Fox, Walt Disney Studios, Universal Studios, and Warner Bros. Entertainment.
Prior to joining the MPAA, Rivkin served as the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs from 2014 to 2017. He led the U.S. State Department’s Bureau responsible for managing trade negotiations, investment treaties, economic sanctions, intellectual property rights protection and global internet policy, visiting over 40 countries and 70 cities to advance U.S. economic diplomacy. In addition, Rivkin provided guidance to the Department’s 1,600 economic officers around the world and to the U.S. Mission to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
From 2009 to 2013, Rivkin served as the United States Ambassador to France and Monaco. In this role, he guided America’s oldest and one of its largest diplomatic missions, with six constituent posts throughout France and representing more than 50 U.S. government agencies. Described as a “dynamic and visionary non-career Ambassador” by the Independent Office of the Inspector General, Rivkin strongly championed U.S. commercial exports into Europe, established and energized the embassy’s social media platforms and pioneered youth outreach programs in disadvantaged communities throughout France.
Before serving the U.S. government, Rivkin worked in the media and entertainment sector for more than 20 years where he was President and CEO of award-winning entertainment businesses such as The Jim Henson Company and Wildbrain. Rivkin helped reinvigorate The Jim Henson Company (then home to such character franchises as The Muppets, Fraggle Rock, Bear in the Big Blue House, Farscape, The Dark Crystal and Labyrinth) and helped engineer the sale of the company in 2000 for nearly $1 billion. During his business tenure, Rivkin served as Executive Producer of award winning children’s television shows and was named one of the 100 Most Creative People in Business by Fast Company.
Ambassador Rivkin received his bachelor’s degree from Yale University in 1984, graduating with distinction in political science and international relations. He received his M.B.A. from Harvard University in 1988. Rivkin was personally awarded the Légion d’honneur (rank of Commander) by French President François Hollande. He received the city of Paris’ highest honor – la Grande Médaille de Vermeil de la Ville de Paris from Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo, and was presented with the US Navy’s Distinguished Public Service Award by the U.S. Secretary of the Navy. He serves as a Board member of the Pacific Council on International Policy and was accepted as a member of the American Academy of Diplomacy.

Paul Ruddy

For nearly two decades, Paul has cast numerous, wide ranging feature films, television series, movies, and web series, for Lifetime, Hallmark, Syfy, NBC/Universal, Disney and Dreamworks as well as many Los Angeles theatre productions. He is a proud member of The Casting Society of America.

Celina Tavares

US Director for the Portuguese National Tourist Office and Tourism Attaché to the Ambassador of Portugal in the United States. Based in New York and responsible for the marketing, product development and public relations for the Portuguese Tourist Office in the United States.