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Speaker Bios

2019 Speaker Bios A-C

Pilar Alessandra

Pilar Alessandra

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

Tobin Armbrust

Tobin Armbrust

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.

Amy Baker

Amy Baker

As Co-Founder and Managing Partner of WINSTON | BAKER, Amy Baker oversees the company’s Global Strategic Planning, Business Development and vendor relationships. Amy Co-Founded the FILM FINANCE FORUM® in 2008, which provides the leading series of events dedicated to bringing finance and entertainment executives together from around the world.

Prior to establishing Winston/Baker, Amy successfully directed B2B and B2C business development efforts for over 10 years by leveraging innovative sponsorship methods to engage business professionals. At ALM, as Vice President of Business Development, she provided finance executives and marketers with targeted channels for reaching decision-makers within the legal, entertainment, healthcare and tech sectors. In her previous position, Director of Business Development at RPMC, she worked with entertainment, music, and sports companies, creating event marketing programs, travel incentive services, sweepstakes, and media promotions. Amy received a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology with honors from New York University. Amy proudly sits on the National Board of Advisors for the Moffitt Cancer Center.

Paul Bales

Paul Bales

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.

Floris Bauer

Floris Bauer

Floris Bauer is Co-Founder and President of Gunpowder & Sky, a fast growing independent global entertainment company, creating premium content unrestricted by format, as well as genre-specific destinations for the streaming generation. Since its inception in 2016, Gunpowder & Sky has released more than  30 feature films and series, as well as hundreds of short films theatrically, on TVOD as well as in partnership with leading platforms such as  HBO, Netflix, MTV, Hulu, Sky, Showtime, DirecTV, Amazon, Facebook, YouTube, and soon Quibi and HBO Max. 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.

Prior to founding Gunpowder & Sky, Bauer spent more than nine years at Endemol Shine Group, a global leader in entertainment (Peaky Blinders, Black Mirror, Mr. Bean, Big Brother, Master Chef, Deal or No Deal, Fear Factor, Wipeout, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition,). Part of Endemol Group’s management team and international board, he was ultimately responsible for global strategy, corporate development and M&A across divisions, including TV/film production, distribution, FTA/Pay TV channels, digital video and gaming. During his time at Endemol, he grew its global presence, instigating and overseeing numerous new territory and business launches, as well as completing over 40 acquisitions, investments and exits in 15+ countries. Prior to that, Bauer served as a lawyer and worked in private equity.

Bauer currently sits on the Board of Cut and Shareability, as well as on the Advisory Board of White Rabbit Films. Bauer received his Masters degree in Law from Erasmus University Rotterdam, and lived in the Netherlands, Spain and the United Kingdom before moving to the United States.

Blumenthal, Amanda

Amanda Blumenthal

Amanda Blumenthal is the premier intimacy coordinator in Los Angeles, whose credits include Euphoria (HBO, Season 1),The Affair (Showtime, Season 5), and The L Word: Generation Q (Showtime, Season 1), among others. She is passionate about creating safe spaces on set in which actors can do their best work while also achieving the director’s creative vision, and advocating for authentic portrayals of gender and sexuality on screen. Amanda is the founder of Intimacy Professionals Association (IPA), through which she trains other intimacy coordinators and helps to connect productions with other types of intimacy professionals for film and TV, such as trans consultants, gender consultants, erotic dance choreographers, and expert consultants on topics related to gender and sexuality (e.g. kink, BDSM, polyamory, etc.). She is a sought-after speaker on the topic of intimacy coordination and has presented at Netflix, FX, Freeform, Women In Film, Film Independent, and the USC Peter Stark Producing Program.

Prior to her career as an intimacy coordinator, Amanda worked as a sex and relationship coach with private clients. Amanda has been actively involved with advocacy work related to sexuality since college, serving in leadership positions in groups such as Advocates for Survivors of Sexual Assault and Sex Positive Los Angeles. As a member of these groups she has led workshops on LGBTQ+ issues, consent, kink, and many other topics. She graduated from the University of Southern California School of Gerontology with a degree in Human Development and Aging. To learn more about Amanda Blumenthal’s work and IPA, please visit and

Richard Botto

Richard Botto

Richard “RB” Botto is the Founder and CEO of Stage 32 ( 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.

Braun, Josh

Josh Braun

Josh Braun is the co-president of Submarine Entertainment, a hybrid sales, production and distribution company. Mr. Braun is an executive producer of the documentary features APOLLO 11, WHIRLYBIRD, CIRCUS OF BOOKS and TELL ME WHO I AM. Submarine’s recent and upcoming series titles include Evil Genius, The Keepers, Lenox Hill, Untitled Cleveland Project and WILD WILD COUNTRY for which Mr. Braun won the Emmy for best documentary series this year. Recent sales titles include American Factory, Honeyland, One Child Nation, Untitled Amazon Johnathan Documentary, Midnight Family, Sea of Shadows, Three Identical Strangers, Shirkers, The Oslo Diaries, Crime and Punishment, Legend of Cocaine Island, Pick of the Litter, Kusama: Infinity. Submarine has been responsible for the sale of five out of the last ten Academy award winning documentaries; Citizenfour, 20 Feet From Stardom, Man on Wire, The Cove and Searching for Sugar Man and Submarine has represented the grand jury prize winner at the Sundance Film Festival for the last five years consecutively.

Effie Brown

Coming soon..

Myfa Cirinna

Myfa Cirinna

Myfa Cirinna has a degree in Economics from New York University and over 30 years of experience in the entertainment industry, with various positions concentrating on labor management, payroll, and production accounting for motion pictures, television, and broadcast commercials.

After 24 years of participation and support of the independent production community in New York and the Northeast, Cirinna now leads the Marketing and Sales group at Entertainment Partners’ Burbank headquarters. Cirinna and his team support the major motion picture and television studios and independent and commercial production community, helping filmmakers navigate the challenges and complexities of production finance management as related to project cost reporting, proper cash flow management, and labor management.

Cirinna has taught at New York University on subjects including entertainment unions, guilds, and their related contracts, and at a variety of institutions on production scheduling and budgeting. In addition, he has been a regular guest speaker for the film programs of The School of Visual Arts, The New York Film Academy, The Independent Feature Project, and Columbia University, and has been a panelist at numerous entertainment industry-related forums.

Crafts, Trevor

Trevor Crafts

Trevor Crafts is an entrepreneurial producer with a depth of experience in many aspects of media production. Founder and President of Macrocosm Entertainment®, Trevor is currently completing post production on Street Gang (2020) a feature length documentary on the origins of Sesame Street that will be distributed by Focus Features.

Trevor has spent 10 years in the film industry creating dynamic stories with striking visuals that feature strong characters and unique worlds. With a true understanding and passion for the cinematic arts, his track record of leading studio teams to produce innovative story-driven content has helped film projects like 7 Splinters in Time (2018) 12 Feet Deep (2016), Sundance favorite Experimenter (2015) starring Peter Sarsgaard and Winona Ryder, Manson Family Vacation from the Duplass Brothers (2015), Deep in the Heart (2013) and Smokewood, Nevada (2013).

Facile in many aspects of production, Trevor also recently created and published The Not-So Secret Society original graphic novel for young readers, published by BOOM! Studios, under their KaBoom imprint and is developing Macrocosm’s slate of original IP which includes Lantern City® also published by BOOM! Studios.

Trevor’s work has won an Emmy®, the LATV Festival, and 13 other industry awards.

Trevor lives in Studio City, CA with his wife and producing partner Ellen Scherer Crafts, their daughter, and hilarious dog Audrey Hepburn.