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As a development executive and producer, JP Sarni has worked in the entertainment industry for the past fifteen years. He began in development at HBO Films before moving on to aid+abet as an executive working on such films as PARIAH (Sundance 2011) and UNA NOCHE (Berlinale 2012).
As VP of Development & Literary Acquisitions at Sonar Entertainment, he oversaw the company’s Los Angeles office and an extensive slate of series, miniseries and feature films produced and acquired for the international market including: THE SHANARRA CHRONICLES (MTV), THE SON (AMC), TABOO (FX), SOUTH OF HELL (WeTV) and THE DRAKE EQUATION (Pivot).
In 2014, he joined Laurence Fishburne’s Cinema Gypsy Productions as Head of Development and Current, where he
developed new properties for the company and worked on their current ABC series, BLACK-ISH. Under first-look deals at eOne and ABC Studios, the company set-up several projects across multiple formats, including: scripted series, unscripted series, MOW and digital. Those credits include SNOWY DAY (Amazon – Daytime Emmy Award Winner), GROWN-ISH (Freeform) and the 10-part audio series, BRONZEVILLE, written by Academy Award nominee, Josh Olson (A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE).
In 2018 he joined Greg Silverman’s new production entity, Stampede, where he focuses on sourcing IP in all its forms from the international market that can be adapted for film and television. Recent acquisitions for feature development include the forthcoming books REVENGE OF MAGIC by New York Times best-selling author, James Riley (Aladdin, March 2019) and WHEN WE WERE LOST by Kevin Wignall (JIMMY Patterson Books, June 2019).
He holds a BFA in Media and Performing Arts from Savannah College of Art and Design.
Kirsten Schaffer is the Executive Director of Women In Film, Los Angeles the preeminent organization promoting gender parity in Hollywood. Previously, she spent fourteen years at Outfest, as Director of Programming before being appointed Executive Director in 2009. She is widely credited as having grown Outfest into the leading LGBT media arts organization that it is. During Schaffer’s tenure at Outfest, she launched three new programs for the organization: The Outfest UCLA Legacy Project, the Fusion LGBT People of Color Film Festival and OutSet, the Young Filmmakers Project from the Los Angeles LGBT Center and Outfest. Kirsten has extensive experience in film programming, small business management and arts administration. She is a graduate of National Arts Strategies Chief Executive Program and the Wells Fargo New Executive Director Institute. Kirsten was named one of POWER UP’s “Top 10 Women in Show Business,” and was the recipient of a “Women in Business” Award from Senator Liu.
Russell Schwartz has been President of Pandemic Marketing Corp since its inception in 2008. Pandemic Marketing provides strategic marketing, theatrical distribution, ancillary placement solutions and digital execution for the motion picture industry.
From 2013-2014, he was President of Worldwide Marketing at Relativity Media and was responsible for the entire slate including The Family, Don Jon and Beyond the Lights. He also established the Relativity Marketing Council comprised of young execs from the Relativity divisions of sports, music, brand, television, distribution and marketing.
From 2001-2008, Schwartz was President of Theatrical Marketing at New Line Cinema where he oversaw all of the company’s marketing efforts which resulted in over 44 Academy Award nominations and billions of dollars at the domestic box office. Some of the films Schwartz managed and created marketing campaigns for included The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, Hairspray, Wedding Crashers, Elf,RushHour 2 and 3, The Notebook, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, About Schmidt and Little Children.
Prior to that he was President of USA Films and released such films as Traffic, Nurse Betty, Topsy Turvey, Being John Malkovich and Pitch Black.
From 1992-1999, Schwartz was President of Gramercy Pictures and oversaw the marketing of Four Weddings and a Funeral, Fargo, The Usual Suspects, Elizabeth, The Big Lebowski, Dazed and Confused, Dead Man Walking and many others.
Erich Schwartzel has covered the film industry for The Wall Street Journal since 2013. For the past several years, his work has focused on Hollywood’s relationship with foreign markets. Last year, he led a series on China’s entangled relationship with Hollywood, reporting from Los Angeles and Beijing.
Prior to joining the Journal, Schwartzel covered energy for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, where his work on fracking in Appalachia won the Scripps Howard Award for Environmental Reporting. He lives in Los Angeles.
Daeyong SHIN has been working as a supervisor in creating various kinds of content such as films and TV series for 19 years. His representative work includes ‘The Rookies’ directed by Alan Yuen, which will soon be releasing, ‘Meow’ directed by Benny Chan, ‘The Thousand Faces of Dunjia’ directed by Woo-Ping Yuen and more. He is in charge of domestic and international films as a supervisor of Asian leading VFX studio, 4th CREATIVE PARTY.
4th CREATIVE PARTY is Korean representative CG studio and creator group, producing technologies and creativity which are necessary making words to be visualized.
We have a reputation for having top-tier CG production system and providing wide range of services from pre to post including character and creature development, pre-visualization, CGI environment, crowd simulation, FX, motion graphic design, matt painting, look-development, on-set supervision and CGI R&D solution amongst rapidly growing Korean VFX studios.
Working with globally acknowledged Korean directors including Chan-wook Park, Joon-ho Bong and Dong-hoon Choi, we have produced VFX for the films which are critically acclaimed by many renowned international film festivals. As was selected as top 10 contenders in the Visual Effects category for the 90th Academy Awards in 2018, our world-class creative talent has been recognized.
In addition to our award-winning visual effects work, we are known for an outstanding animation studio. Based on the rich experience of CGI animation production for the theatrical feature and TV series, we are currently working on the animation projects originally developed and created by our in-house production team.
We also have strengthened capabilities of planning, producing and managing as an integrated content company by developing special venue films such as immersive content and theme-park content so as to expand the business territory to the globe including China, Europe and Hollywood.
John Sloss is a partner in Sloss Eckhouse LawCo. and a principal at the media advisory firm, Cinetic. Through Cinetic, he produces motion pictures and television, provides various content sales and corporate advisory services, and presides over a rapidly growing talent management division. The films he has produced or executive produced include Richard Linklater’s BOYHOOD, LAST FLAG FLYING, and “BEFORE” Series, Todd Haynes’s WONDERSTRUCK and I’M NOT THERE, Errol Morris’s THE FOG OF WAR, Kimberly Peirce’s BOYS DON’T CRY, Jennifer Westfeldt’s FRIENDS WITH KIDS, Peter Farrelly’s GREEN BOOK, and Ethan Hawke’s BLAZE.
Additionally, he has handled the sale of over 600 films including NAPOLEON DYNAMITE, LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE, THE KIDS ARE ALRIGHT, PRECIOUS, EXIT THROUGH THE GIFT SHOP, AMY, and many of the most iconic independent films of the past 25 years. Among the filmmakers he has had a long association with, a selection includes Richard Linklater, Ethan Hawke, Todd Haynes, Errol Morris, John Hamburg, Jake Kasdan, Brett Morgen, Justin Lin, Asif Kapadia, Kevin Smith, Gary Winick, Rebecca Miller, Matthew Heineman, Alex Gibney, Whit Stillman, Charles Ferguson, and Christine Vachon. He lives in New York with his partner Bronwyn Cosgrave, and his children, Loulou and Henry.
Radoslaw Smigulski was appointed the General Director of the Polish Film Institute in December, 2017. In recent years his posts have included Head of the Film Agency of Polish Television and General Director at Syrena Films. He spent several years at Totalizator Sportowy as Deputy Marketing and Sales Director and held a position on the board.
He is a graduate from the Department of Law and Administration at the University of Warsaw.
Eric Smith is an Industry Manager for Entertainment at Facebook. He oversees a team working with a host of major and independent film studios to create impactful media and marketing campaigns across Facebook’s family of apps and services. Passionate about the industry, Eric has been deeply involved in the creation of the native ticketing offering on Facebook and the development of Facebook’s film measurement solutions.
Prior to Facebook, Eric was SVP of Distribution at Sony Pictures Television. In this role, he launched and distributed hit television programs like The Dr. Oz Show, Community, King of Queens and Seinfeld. Eric started his career in entertainment at TeleRep working with local TV stations and national advertisers supporting ad campaign launches for films such as The Perfect Storm and How the Grinch Stole Christmas.
Bill Sondheim is President of Cinedigm Entertainment Group, overseeing all content rights management across all distribution channels that Cinedigm serves. This includes managing all sales of physical and digital goods to retail partners and all transactional and subscription digital outlets. He is responsible for all label deals and licensing partnerships for both Marketing and Brand Management and Supplier Relationships, as well as related Operations and Post Production activities. Currently, he is spearheading Cinedigm’s expansion into the Chinese Market and has established relationships with leading content providers, streaming services, and government agencies.
Before joining Cinedigm, Mr. Sondheim served as Gaiam’s President of Entertainment and Worldwide Distribution. From 2005 to 2007, he helmed the development of Sony Music Entertainment’s dual disc technology initiative. Prior to Sony, he was President of GT Brands LLC, and President of Polygram Filmed Entertainment’s video distribution entity. Through his career Mr. Sondheim has managed properties associated with the NFL, NBA, MLB, Reebok, Scholastic, Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer, and Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, and fitness personalities including Jillian Michaels, Richard Simmons, and Kathy Smith.
Mr. Sondheim graduated from Kenyon College and attended the London School of Economics for Advanced Management Training. He sits on The Board of the Digital Entertainment Group and is a Board Member of the Fairfield Theater Company.
Fred Stiehl is a manager of the Distribution & Investment department of Redrover Co., Ltd., one of Asia’s largest independent studios. Redrover has collaborated with international partners to produce and distribute global animated features such as THE NUT JOB and SPARK as well as a number of TV series including BUBBLE MARIN and THE BEET PARTY. Released in 2014, THE NUT JOB currently holds the record for the largest weekend opening for an independent animated feature. Its sequel, THE NUT JOB 2: NUTTY BY NATURE was released in August of 2017 on over 4,000 screens. Redrover is currently in production of the sci-fi action-adventure animated feature, MEGARACER.
Fred has also participated in the English screenplay adaptation for the Korean-British Co-production, DUET.
Ben Stillman is Senior Vice President of Black Bear Pictures, where he has worked since the company’s formation.
Ben has been a part of the creation and production of a number of films and television series while at Black Bear including the upcoming film BEN IS BACK starring Julia Roberts and Lucas Hedges, ALL IS LOST starring Robert Redford, and GOLD starring Matthew McConaughey. In addition to producing these and other films, Ben was also actively involved in the development and production of eight-time Academy Award-nominated THE IMITATION GAME, directed by Morten Tyldum and starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley.
In 2016, Ben was named one of Variety’s Ten Producers to Watch. He also serves on the Board of Directors for prominent Canadian distributor Elevation Pictures.
Prior to Black Bear, Ben worked at Cinetic International, selling international distribution rights for such films as EXIT THROUGH THE GIFT SHOP, MEEK’S CUTOFF, and Diego Luna’s ABEL.
Ben earned a Bachelor of Arts in Film Studies and a minor in English with a concentration on Creative Writing from Stanford University. He lives in Los Angeles.
In her role at Paramount, Studer has spearheaded and cultivated Paramount’s international film partnerships and acquisitions. Among Studer’s accomplishments, she was responsible for the acquisition of Book Club (at AFM last year!), which has garnered over $68M to-date, and previously launched a multi-picture relationship with IFC Films that included the home entertainment release of Boyhood, film festival favorites The Intervention, Goat, A.C.O.D, Ashby and Love, Rosie, and numerous internationally distributed features, including Academy Award® winner Spotlight, for select territories. She additionally oversaw home entertainment marketing efforts on behalf of Paramount’s network and cable brand partners including CBS, MTV, Comedy Central, Nickelodeon, BET and Showtime.
Studer’s most recent home entertainment acquisitions include Overdrive and Social Animals. Beyond her role at Paramount, Studer serves as a mentor for the Women in Entertainment Program.
Soumya Sundaresh is a creative executive and producer. She is currently a producer alongside Deepak Nayar and Tabrez Noorani on two feature films, both based on standalone novels, two TVseries both based on YA novels, and a feature film based on a short film. She has worked for and with Deepak Nayar and Tabrez Noorani for 14 years.
As the head of the documentary division for The Kennedy/Marshall Company, Ryan Suffern has an active role overseeing a full slate of films. He and Frank Marshall have collaborated on numerous documentaries, including three projects for ESPN Films, one of which Ryan directed for their popular 30 for 30 series. In 2016, Ryan directed FINDING OSCAR, a feature-length documentary about the search for justice in the case of the Dos Erres massacre in Guatemala, which Steven Spielberg executive produced. In 2017, Ryan produced THE CHINA HUSTLE, which was released by Magnolia Pictures, and he co-produced the Emmy-nominated WHAT HAUNTS US. Most recently, Ryan produced and co-wrote SATAN & ADAM, which was filmed over 23 years and documents the unlikely blues duo of the same name who were discovered playing together on the streets of Harlem. The film made its world premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival and is currently playing the festival circuit. Ryan is presently executive producing a documentary on legendary country singer Johnny Cash, and he’s just finished directing a short documentary for Netflix, chronicling the finishing-of Orson Welles’ last film THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WIND.
Ryan has written a feature screenplay on assignment for DreamWorks Studios, and as a photographer, his pictures have been published by the New York Times, the LA Times, Rolling Stone Magazine, Huffington Post and the Associated Press. He currently lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Kim, and their two daughters, Pearl & Iris.
Sung Jin, Yoo studied Visual Communication Design, BFA at Koomin University and worked as a Producer and First Assistant Director at a commercial production company.
During his profession, he became fascinated in content production within the Western culture and attended the City University of London in the United Kingdom where he received a BA in Content development & Production.
Currently as Senior Producer at Alfred Imageworks in Seoul he works in film, TV and new platform content based on humanities as a communication.
Sung Jin believes that media content should allow more opportunities for consumer interaction and plans to develop more content that integrates characters and self-reflections of individuals.
Alison Thompson is Co-President of international sales and production outfit, Cornerstone Films. Her career spans three decades during which she has worked with many of the world’s leading filmmakers on films that have garnered commercial and critical success. Current titles include Mike Leigh’s PETERLOO, THE BOY WHO HARNESSED THE WIND directed by and starring Chiwetel Ejifor, Bart Freundlich’s AFTER THE WEDDING starring Julianne Moore and Michelle Williams and Gurinder Chadha’s BLINDED BY THE LIGHT.
Prior to Cornerstone, Thompson spent 8 years as Co-President of Universal’s Focus Features International. During her tenure at Focus, she worked with Woody Allen, Pedro Almodóvar, Wes Anderson, The Coen Brothers, Alejandro Iñárritu, Ang Lee, Mike Leigh, and Gus Van Saint. Thompson started her career at Channel Four Television, following which she joined The Sales Company, a leading sales company during the 1990’s. She rose through the ranks to become Chief Executive in 1996 before leaving in 2000 to go to Pathe Pictures International. Her career highlights include: AMY, BLUE JASMINE, BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN, THE CONSTANT GARDENER, MOONRISE KINGDOM, THE MOTORCYCLE DIARIES, MR TURNER, TOUCHING THE VOID and VOLVER. Thompson is a board member of The Independent Film and Television Association (IFTA) and a Trustee of BAFTA.
As Assistant Executive Director, Tollett oversees the DGA’s Signatories department and aids in the enforcement of the Guild’s contracts. Tollett joined the DGA in 2009, where she previously served as Associate General Counsel and Assistant General Counsel in the Legal Department until her promotion to Assistant Executive Director in 2017. Prior to the DGA, Tollett was an attorney at Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton, where she focused on mergers and acquisitions and corporate governance issues. She received a B.A. from the University of Texas, an M.A. from Rice University, and a J.D. from the UCLA School of Law.
Harris E. Tulchin is a producer, author, and entertainment lawyer who has produced or executive produced over a dozen motion pictures including The Devil’s Double directed by Lee Tamahori (Once Were Warriors and the James Bond classic Die Another Day), The Lightkeepers starring Richard Dreyfuss and Blythe Danner, The Golden Boys starring Bruce Dern, David Carradine, Muriel Hemingway, Rip Torn, and John Savage, Guy, an intense psycho-sexual film directed by Michael Lindsay-Hogg and starring Vincent D’Onofrio and Hope Davis that premiered at the Venice Film Festival, and the critically acclaimed To Sleep With Anger starring Danny Glover and directed by Charles Burnett.
As Senior Executive of Business Affairs and Legal Consultant, Tulchin supervised production of The Third Person, a Belgian/Italian coproduction with Corsan, NV, and Cinecitta Studios written and directed by Paul Haggis (Crash and In the Valley of Elah), starring Liam Neeson, Mila Kunis, James Franco, Olivia Wilde, Adrien Brody, Maria Bello, and Kim Basinger; Killing Season starring Robert De Niro and John Travolta; and Singularity directed by Roland Joffe and starring Josh Hartnett and Tamsin Egerton.
Mr. Tulchin recently executive produced American Terrorist, which will premiere at the 2018 Hollywood Film Festival, and DieRy, which just finished principal photography in Los Angeles.
Tulchin is currently executive producing, The Lowe Men, a British comedy about identical twins, one a bank robber and one a policeman. Framed, based on the acclaimed book of the same title by Tod Volpe with screenplay by Terence Winter (The Sopranos, Boardwalk Empire) based on Tod Volpe’s journey from art dealer to the stars, to his incarceration for tax fraud and his ultimate repentance; and StarStruck, a five-part mini-series written by Andrew Chiaramonte based on the life of the genius and convicted heretic and father of the scientific revolution, Galileo Galilei.
As writer, Tulchin Co-Authored the first, second, and third editions of a book considered one of the bibles of the motion picture industry entitled The Independent Film Producer’s Survival Guide.
A graduate of Cornell University and Hastings Law School, Tulchin has practiced entertainment, communications, and multimedia law since 1978. He served as Senior Vice President of Business Affairs and General Counsel for Cinema Group; General Counsel and Head of Business Affairs for KCET Television; Senior Counsel for United Artists; Director of Business Affairs at MGM Television; and Counsel for American International Pictures and Filmways Pictures, Orion Pictures. He has been an Adjunct Professor of Entertainment Law at the Entertainment Law Institute of Southwestern University Law School and has lectured extensively at UCLA, USC, AFI, IFP, IFTA, The Sundance Producer’s Conference, Cannes, Venice, Toronto, Berlin, Bangkok, Beijing, Shanghai, Moscow, Rio, to mention a few.
Mr. Tulchin is on the board of advisors of the Hollywood Film Festival and Cinezen Blockchained Entertainment AB, for which he is also legal counsel.
Ryan Turek is the VP of feature film development at Blumhouse Productions and co-producer of Halloween (2018), Unfriended: Dark Web, Truth or Dare and Happy Death Day. He is a former journalist who ran the horror website ShockTillYouDrop.com and penned articles for Fangoria and Rue Morgue magazines. You can hear him discuss the horror genre weekly on the podcast Shock Waves with his co-hosts Rebekah McKendry, Robert Galluzzo and Elric Kane.
Farhaad Virani is currently Associate General Counsel at Amazon Studios where he oversees the legal team supporting development of all of Amazon’s original scripted series and feature films, including Comedy, Drama, Genre, Kids, and Young Adult programming, as well as local-language content for India, Japan, Europe and Latin America. Prior to his time at Amazon Studios, Farhaad supported Amazon’s music business in Seattle, and prior to that he was a transactional real estate attorney working in the wine industry, clean tech, and commercial real estate in San Francisco and Houston. He is currently co-chair of the Outfest board of directors and also serves on the board of the ACLU of Southern California. Farhaad graduated from Harvard Law School in 2004 and from Rice University with a B.A. in Economics in 2001.
Gary Michael Walters is the Chief Executive Officer of Bold Films, the independent entertainment production and finance company, dedicated to providing an artistic haven for creative talent, which has been fully financed for the past 14 years. Bold Films’ mission is to produce original, studio-quality Academy Award- nominated films, which have worldwide commercial and universal appeal. Founded in 2004 by Mr. Walters and Michel Litvak, Bold Films encompasses all aspects of filmmaking including production, development, distribution, and finance.
Bold Films financed and co-produced the title for the British biographical drama COLETTE, which was one of the most sought-after film acquisitions at Sundance 2018, and mark’s the company’s first foray into the U.K. Directed by Wash Westmoreland, and screenplay by Westmoreland and Richard Glatzer, COLETTE is based on the life of the French novelist, played by Keira Knightley, who is pushed by her husband to write novels under his name. Upon their success, Colette fights to make her talents known, going to extraordinary lengths to reclaim her voice, while challenging gender norms. The film also stars Dominic West, Fiona Shaw, Denise Gough, Eleanor Tomlinson, and Aiysha Hart.
Bold alongside Andrew Lauren Productions, produced the musical/ drama VOX LUX, which stars Oscar winner Natalie Portman and Academy Award/ Golden Globe nominee Jude Law, which follows the rise of ‘Celeste’ from the ashes of a major national tragedy to pop superstardom. The film includes a powerful soundtrack, featuring all original songs written by Grammy-nominated artist Sia.
Mr. Walters executive-produced Damien Chazelle’s Whiplash, which won the 2014 Sundance Film Festival’s Audience Award and Grand Jury Prize and then went on to win three Academy Awards as well as Oscar-nominated for Best Picture. That same year, Dan Gilroy‘s Nightcrawler (writer/director), earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Screenplay as well as Golden Globe, BAFTA, and Screen Actors Guild Award nominations for Best Actor (Jake Gyllenhaal). Bold has since formed an exclusive relationship with Mr. Gyllenhaal and his company Nine Stories Productions, to finance and build projects in development with him, which also include Stronger, in which he starred and produced.
Among the company’s other successes have been Bobby, which received a 2016 Golden Globe nominee for Best Motion Picture about the assassination of U.S. Senator Robert F. Kennedy, featuring a star-studded ensemble cast: Anthony Hopkins, Sharon Stone, Shia LaBeouf, Demi Moore and Martin Sheen. Additional projects include: The Dowdle Brothers’ No Escape, starring Owen Wilson, Pierce Brosnan, and Lake Bell; and Nicolas Winding Refn’s Drive, which won the Best Director prize at the Cannes International Film Festival and was Oscar-nominated for Best Sound. Bold reunited with the director on Only God Forgives and The Neon Demon, and with lead actor Ryan Gosling on the latter’s directorial debut, Lost River, starring Saoirse Ronan.
Krista Wegener, Senior Vice President of Sales & Distribution at Participant Media, is responsible for implementing an overall sales and distribution strategy for Participant’s content, collaborating with distributors and sales agents on the execution of international social impact campaigns. Wegener joined Participant after serving as Senior Vice President, International Distribution at Miramax. While there, she was a founding member of the executive team which successfully relaunched the company after it was acquired from The Walt Disney Company in 2010. Prior to Miramax,
Wegener lived in London where she was Senior Vice President of Finance and Operations at Alliance Films. Before joining Alliance in 2005, Wegener spent five years in various international finance roles for Universal Pictures. She has also held similar positions with Virgin Entertainment and began her career at The Walt Disney Company. Wegener holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from UCLA, and earned her MBA from the London Business School.
Lisa first worked with SpectreVision on the Chiller Films production of “The Boy” which premiered at the 2015 SxSW Film Festival. Shortly after that premiere, Lisa joined the team full-time as CEO. Lisa has previously held corporate positions with NBCUniversal, FOX Broadcasting and Katz Media, focusing on Scheduling, Strategy, and Research. In addition to her contributions on The Boy, The Greasy Strangler, and the VR game Transference, Whalen served as Executive Producer on the films Bitch, Seven Stages…, and Mandy, as well as the series Two Sentence Horror Stories. For both Company X and SpectreVision, Lisa oversees all business interests, encompassing film and television production, gaming, and all avenues of future expansion. In 2015, Lisa became the fourth partner in SpectreVision
David White is Founder and CEO at SHIFT72 – the Film industries leading online video platform provider, specialising in Video on Demand and Live Stream solutions. Over the last 8 years he has built up a global customer base of prestigious brands, including AFM, Festival De Cannes, SXSW, POFF Film Festival, PBS, Blue Ant Media, HGTV and Lonely Planet. Leading this market acquisition has been SHIFT72’s reputation as a trustworthy and reliable online video platform provider; one who excels at protecting valuable films – they have the security tick of approval from all leading Film Studios; including Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures, Warner Bros., Universal Pictures and 20th Century Fox.
David is also an advisor on video on demand distribution and digital film marketing. Currently he is working with a number of Film Distributors and Entertainment brands on the introduction of a new streaming service to the global marketplace.
Shawn Williamson is the President of Brightlight Pictures, a leading production company successful in developing, financing and producing feature films and television series.
With over 25 years of experience as a film and television producer, Shawn has risen to the forefront of the Canadian entertainment industry. He has established strong relationships in the global entertainment industry working with top studios and networks such as ABC (The Good Doctor), Netflix (Haters Back Off!), Voltage Pictures (COLOSSAL), Fox (THE INTERVIEW, LOOKINGLASS), Columbia Pictures, Disney Channel (ADVENTURES IN BABYSITTING, DESCENDANTS 2), and Hallmark, to name a few.
With well over 100 credits, he has produced hit films such as 50/50 (Seth Rogen, Joseph Gordon-Levitt), THE INTERVIEW (Seth Rogen, James Franco), WHITE NOISE (Michael Keaton), COLOSSAL, starring Anne Hathaway and Jason Sudeikis, and most recently, SUMMER OF ’84 (Graham Verchere, Cory Gruter-Andrew) which will hit theatres this August and world premiered at Sundance.
Kay S. Wolf is the Writers Guild of America West’s Senior Representative in Los Angeles. She conducts outreach to writers, encouraging them to use WGA contracts both domestically and in international markets, and executes WGAW screenwriter programs within the Member Organizing Department. From 2000 through 2017, Kay managed the Guild’s independent film activities. Kay started at the WGAW in 1995, overseeing many of the Guild’s new media, animation and nonfiction activities. During a brief hiatus from the Guild, she worked for a year at IFTA (Independent Film & Television Alliance) as the Director of Producer Services. Before her WGAW work, Kay was at ABC Productions/The Hemisphere Group in Los Angeles developing and producing international TV co-productions and at Saban Entertainment in development. Kay received a B.A. in Telecommunications and Broadcast Journalism from Indiana University.
Steven Wolfson has taught screenwriting, play writing and creative writing at The Writers Program at UCLA for the past 20 years and holds the distinction of having created the most new classes, workshops and seminars of any instructor in the program’s history. He has been awarded The Outstanding Instructor of the Year award twice, in both screenwriting and creative writing.
As a highly sought-after story consultant and dramaturg, Wolfson’s clients span the worlds of film, television, theater and prose. He has worked one-on-one with several A-list Hollywood writers and directors, shepherding new projects from inception to production. Wolfson’s series of unique writing exercises have been secretly passed throughout Hollywood for years.
As a screenwriter, Wolfson has sold projects to Fox, Lions Gate, TNT, MTV, Langley Entertianment, Beacon Films and producer Arnold Rifkin. Wolfson wrote the independent romantic comedy, Dinner and Driving, which premiered at The Austin Film Festival and went on to win audience awards at several film festivals and was sold to HBO. Wolfson also wrote and co-produced the critically acclaimed Lionsgate feature, Gang Tapes, a coming-of-age drama set in South Central, Los Angeles. Gang Tapes played to sold out audiences at film festivals in both The United States and Europe.
Wolfson is a founding member of the Mark Taper Forum’s Mentor Playwrights Project . His original plays have been produced and workshopped at The Mark Taper Forum, Taper Too, The Getty Museum, Cornerstone Theater Company, The Virginia Avenue Project and The Geffen Contemporary. His most recent play, The Absence of Wanting, premiered in Berlin.
A Golden Globe and Emmy Award-winning Hollywood producer with deep roots in China, Janet Yang has worked with some of the most formidable directors and actors in the world. She came to prominence through her collaboration with Steven Spielberg on Empire of the Sun (Warner Bros). That was followed by a long partnership with multiple Academy Award-winner Oliver Stone—where she served as Executive Producer on the iconic The Joy Luck Club (Disney), and as a Producer on the Golden Globe-winning The People vs. Larry Flynt (Columbia Pictures).
She is currently in production on an animated feature based on her original story inspired by the Chinese moon goddess. Iconic animator Glen Keane directs the movie for Netflix and Pearl Studios.
Among her many other credits are: the Sundance award-winning Dark Matter with Meryl Streep and Chinese star, Liu Ye; The Weight of Water (Lions Gate) directed by Academy Award winner Kathryn Bigelow; Fox’s High Crimes with Morgan Freeman; a Chinese adaptation of the acclaimed Disney franchise High School Musical; and cult favorites Zero Effect, by Jake Kasdan, and Shanghai Calling with China Film Group.
Yang has been named one of the “50 Most Powerful Women in Hollywood” by the Hollywood Reporter.
Yang began her career by running the first distribution company to market Chinese films into North America. She also brokered the reintroduction of American cinema to the Chinese marketplace on behalf of several studios after a decades-long hiatus.
Committed to fostering global understanding, Yang has been a long-standing member of the Committee of 100, and an advisory board member of Asia Society Southern California where she also chairs its highly regarded US-CHINA FILM SUMMIT.
A voting member of the Oscar’s Academy of Motion Pictures, Yang serves on the Executive Committee of the Producers Branch, its International Outreach Committee, its Diversity Membership Committee, as well as an Academy Museum Committee.
Yang has been featured in The New York Times, LA Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Variety, South China Morning Post, Harper’s Bazaar, as well as on numerous television and radio shows across the US and Asia such as CCTV and Beijing TV. She is frequently asked to consult on projects and sought after for public speaking engagements.
Fluent in Mandarin Chinese, Yang holds a B.A. from Brown University in Chinese studies and an M.B.A. from Columbia University. She is currently a visiting scholar at the University of Southern California.
Cody Zwieg is Senior Vice President, Development & Production of Gunpowder & Sky, an award-winning 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. With in-house development, production, marketing and distribution capabilities, the company operates as a full 360-studio and oversees a library of over 1500 titles.
Zwieg has produced several films which have grossed a total of a quarter billion dollars in worldwide box office. While at Gunpowder & Sky, Zwieg has produced the 2018 Sundance Film Festival selection SUMMER OF ’84 directed by RKSS and Slamdance Festival Grand Jury, and Audience Award winner ROCK STEADY ROW. In 2015, he collaborated with Jason Blum and Blumhouse Productions on the horror-thriller THE LAZARUS EFFECT.
Prior to Gunpowder & Sky, Zwieg worked alongside writer-director Wes Craven on several films: he was a Co-Producer on the remake of Craven’s THE LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT, an associate producer of THE HILLS HAVE EYES and a Co-Producer on its sequel THE HILLS HAVE EYES 2. Zwieg also served as the VP of Production and Development at Craven’s company, Midnight Entertainment.
Following his long tenure with Craven, Zwieg was an executive producer on APOLLO 18 for Dimension Films. Zwieg is a graduate of the USC School of Cinematic Arts. He was born and raised in Watertown, SD.