November 5 - 10, 2024

Speaker Bios

2019 Speaker Bios A-C

Steven Adams

Steven Adams is a producer on the upcoming feature REDEMPTION DAY starring Andy Garcia and Gary Dourdan, currently in post production. 

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

Lise Anderson

Lise Anderson began working at the Guild in 1998 as Associate Counsel in the Legal Department. She supervised the Contracts Department from 2001 through 2014, when she started her current position as Assistant Executive Director. In this capacity, she has strategic, legal and administrative/operational responsibilities. She plays a key role negotiating the WGA MBA and oversees its drafting and final publication.  She advises members and their representatives as well as company representatives regarding the Guild’s collective bargaining agreements.  She has been a Trustee/Director on the WGA’s Health Fund and Pension Plan since 2009.  Lise graduated from UC Berkeley in 1988 with degrees in English and Political Science.  She graduated from USC Law School in 1991, after which she was a Staff Attorney for the ACLU Foundation of Southern California and later represented plaintiffs in employment discrimination cases and antitrust cases while at the law firm of Hadsell & Stormer.

Andreen, Scilla2

Scilla Andreen

Scilla Andreen (pronounced Sheila) is the CEO and Co-Founder of IndieFlix and an award-winning film and TV industry veteran working at Sony and Warner Bros before co-founding IndieFlix, a global edutainment focused streaming & screening service of 5000+ titles. She’s Included in Screening International’s Women To Watch, Variety’s Women’s Impact Report and a popular speaker at Sundance, Cannes, CES, SXSW, Women in Film and the Hong Kong Mental Health Summit. Scilla is the Founder of IndieFlix Foundation, Executive Producer of social impact films, Nevertheless, Angst, Screenagers, and Empowerment Project. and the director of LIKE a documentary about the the impact of social media on our lives and The Upstanders a new film about cyberbullying and resilience. Scilla screens these films in thousands of schools, corporations and organizations globally and is on a mission to change the world with film.

Tobin Armbrust

Tobin Armbrust

Tobin Armbrust is a producer and former COO and President at Virgin Produced. Virgin Produced is the film, television and digital and live entertainment arm of Richard Branson’s Virgin Group . At Virgin Produced Armbrust oversaw 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.

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.

Paul Audley

Paul Audley

As the President of FilmLA since 2008, Paul Audley, helps to unite communities, filmmakers and government entities to streamline the filmmaking process in the Greater Los Angeles region.

In his time with FilmLA, Paul has negotiated new long-term contracts from client municipalities and school districts, initiated two public education campaigns, “Film Works” and “LA Loves Film”; and has overseen improvements in the organization’s online permit system. Paul is recognized for raising the public image and reputation of FilmLA, and for greatly improving the internal management of the company. Paul is the third, and longest tenured, president of the organization since its establishment in 1995.

Paul joined the organization after extensive work with community-based non-profit organizations and in local government and community relations. Having served as mayor of Fairfield, Connecticut, the chief of staff and counsel to Connecticut congressman, Christopher Shays, and later Connecticut’s deputy secretary of state, Paul is notably well-versed in corporate management, organization, restructuring, public policy and relations, as well as community development.

Paul is also known for his work with arts, education and nonprofit organizations having served on the boards of the Connecticut Zoological Society, two scholarship organizations, a municipal arts council (founder), a support organization for high school performing arts (founding member), the Regional Youth/Adult Substance Abuse Project, Fairfield County Children’s Choir (founding president), a children’s museum, Creative Leaps International (a performing arts education group), Regional Economic Development Commission (chair), Metropolitan Planning Organization for Greater Bridgeport, Connecticut Conference of Municipalities, Governor’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Open Space, National League of Cities and the United States Conference of Mayors.

Ayuko Babu

Ayuko Babu

Ayuko Babu, co-founder of the Pan African Film Festival (PAFF) along with Danny Glover and Ja’Net DuBois (Good Times), has been the Executive Director of PAFF since 1992. He currently serves as a permanent member of the jury of the annual Africa Movie Academy Awards (AMAA), headquartered in Lagos, Nigeria, the world’s largest Pan African film awards event, covering the continent of Africa and its worldwide Diaspora. From 2016-2018, Mr. Babu served on the California Film Commission. In 2015, Mr. Babu was honored by the California Legislative Black Caucus for his work as founder and executive director of PAFF as part of the Black History Month Celebration “A Century of Black Life, History and Culture.” The special ceremony was held on the floor of the State Assembly in Sacramento. He was nominated for this honor by State Senator Holly J. Mitchell. In February, 2019, Mr. Babu was honored on the floor of the City Council during the Black History Month celebration at the initiative of Los Angeles City Council President Herb J. Wesson, Jr.

Babu is currently developing formal ties with the National Film and Video Foundation of South Africa, a government agency whose mission is to develop and promote the South African film industry. In 2013, he was a presenter and delegate at the Travelling Caribbean Film Showcase in Havana, Cuba. Under his leadership PAFF has established institutional ties with the Pan African Festival of Cinema and Television (FESPACO) in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, the world’s largest Pan African film festival. He also serves on the juries of the Zanzibar International Film Festival in Tanzania and the Rwanda Film Festival in Kigali, Rwanda. He was a presenter at the UNESCO Conference on Images of the South and was a guest of Fund South at the 2004 Cannes Film Festival in France.

Mr. Babu holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from California State University, Los Angeles and attended the UCLA School of Law.

Badel, Manuel

Manuel Badel

Manuel has worked for 18 years in film, TV and digital media sectors, and has started to explore, understand and experiment blockchain applications in our industry 4 years ago. In this spirit, in 2016-17, Manuel initiated, with his client Groupe Média TFO, Blockchain TFO, the first experimentation in the Canadian broadcasting sector. Early 2018, mandated by Telefilm Canada, he designed and organized the first conference on blockchain in a major film festival (Berlinale-European Film Market). In May 2019, his research on blockchain and media industries was published. A first in Canada. He is now an internationally recognized speaker and gives conferences in major industry events on a regular basis. Prior to founding Badel Media, Manuel worked as a senior advisor and manager at Telefilm Canada for digital projects financing as well as industry initiatives and policies. He was then Deputy Director for the administration of CMF programs, continuing with the positions of Director of the AQPM Web Sector (Quebec producers association), and Director of Film, Television and Production Tax Credits at SODEC (Quebec public body).

Miranda Bailey

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.  Karen Kehela Sherwood of Imagine Entertainment produced the film alongside Amanda Marshall of Bailey’s Cold Iron Pictures. The film was recently released theatrically.

In 2018, Bailey teamed with 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 and now boasts over 1000 female critics. 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 looks set to continue her success  with producing projects including RAISED EYEBROWS and Camille Perri’s THE ASSISTANTS amongst other titles she is presently developing.

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 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.

Basner, Glen

Glen Basner

Glen Basner is founder and Chief Executive Officer of FilmNation Entertainment. A leading distributor, financier and producer of independent films and television, FilmNation has worked with many of the world’s most renowned filmmakers and storytellers including Steven Soderbergh, Sofia Coppola, Pedro Almodóvar, Jonathan Glazer, Jennifer Kent, Armando Iannucci and Denis Villeneuve. The company has established itself as a home for specialty filmmaking with global appeal by focusing on a highly selective group of filmmakers and projects that emphasize both creative integrity and commercial potential, and in recent years has strategically diversified its avenues of storytelling with television, theater and podcasting.

Consistently ranked as one of the highest-grossing independent international film distributors, FilmNation has intensified its focus on content creation in recent years, bringing to life award-winning box office hits that include Denis Villeneuve’s ARRIVAL starring Amy Adams and Kumail Nanjiani’s and Emily V. Gordon’s THE BIG SICK. FilmNation productions releasing in theaters in 2019 include: Sebastian Lelio’s GLORIA BELL starring Julianne Moore, and Nisha Ganatra’s LATE NIGHT starring Emma Thompson and Mindy Kaling. Coming to theaters in 2020 are GREYHOUND starring Tom Hanks, Armando Iannucci’s THE PERSONAL HISTORY OF DAVID COPPERFIELD starring Dev Patel, Dominic Cooke’s IRONBARK starring Benedict Cumberbatch, Emerald Fennell’s PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN starring Carey Mulligan, and Sean Durkin’s THE NEST starring Jude Law.

Three recent FilmNation feature films have received ReFrame stamps, a mark of distinction for projects that have demonstrated success in gender-balanced films, including LATE NIGHT, Jennifer Kent’s THE NIGHTINGALE starring Aisling Franciosi and Sam Claflin, and Veronika Franz’s and Severin Fiala’s THE LODGE starring Riley Keough.

FilmNation sold and internationally distributed four time Academy Award winner THE KING’S SPEECH starring Colin Firth, Pedro Almodovar’s DOLOR Y GLORIA starring Antonio Banderas and Penelope Cruz, THE IMITATION GAME starring Benedict Cumberbatch, and Lenny Abrahamson’s ROOM for which Brie Larson garnered the Academy Award for Best Actress. The company’s production and sales titles have garnered more than 45 Academy Awards nominations and 8 wins, including Best Picture for THE KING’S SPEECH.

The independent studio has a number of high-profile global television projects lined up including: Derek Cianfrance’s I Know This Much Is True, currently in production, starring Mark Ruffalo for HBO; an adaption of Isabel Allende’s The House of the Spirits for Hulu; Daisy Goodwin’s American Heiress; and John Updike’s Rabbit Run, a co-production with U.K. outfit Lookout Point. The company announced in early 2019 the launch of its UK-based television production company with Nordic Entertainment Group. The company has broadened its platform with strategic investments into other storytelling arenas, including theatrical production (it produced the 10 Tony winning musical The Band’s Visit), virtual reality, as well as digital and short form content.

Prior to FilmNation, Basner was President, International for The Weinstein Company, where he oversaw all international operations, and Executive Vice President, International Sales & Distribution at Focus Features. He started his career at the venerable New York based indie production and sales company Good Machine.

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 is Board member of Cut and 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.

Steven Beer

Steven Beer

Steven Beer represents industry-leading film, television and music companies and has acted as counsel to numerous award-winning directors, producers as well as successful production and distribution companies.

Steven has been listed annually in Super Lawyers New York Metro edition. Research and Markets listed him as one of the top lawyers in Entertainment Law, Settlements and Negotiations. The Wrap online magazine cited Steven as one of “21 Great Thinkers of Indie Film.”

Steven regularly attends major film festivals — including Cannes, Sundance, SXSW, Toronto and Tribeca — where he negotiates distribution rights deals. In addition to acting as production and distribution counsel for many independent films.

He frequently writes and lectures about film and music issues. In 2012, his article “The New Renaissance Paradigm – A Break-through Time For Artists” was published in the inaugural edition of the Berkeley Entertainment Law Journal and his article “Life After Sundance: Distribution and Marketing for the 99 Percent” was published in Indiewire. Steven currently co-authors Documentary Magazine’s Legal FAQ column.

Steven serves as a trustee to the City Parks Foundation and is co-chair of the Arts Committee responsible for SummerStage, NYC’s largest free performing arts festival. He is also a Rooftop Films board member and plays ice hockey in his spare time.

Benjamin, Roxanne

Roxanne Benjamin

Coming soon.



Benny was adopted from a rescue in 2014 as an 8 month old and began his film training. His sweet demeanor and sharp intelligence quickly turned him into a movie star. Benny has starred in numerous titles, including the Chinese film Adored and LD Entertainment’s Dog Days.

Berenson, Shaked

Shaked Berenson

Shaked Berenson produced and executive produced over 40 features and two television series including the animation franchise SPACE DOGS, which generated over 100mil in worldwide revenue and Walmart’s A TIGER’S TAIL.

In the past 15 years, Shaked financed, marketed, and distributed over 120 films across all genres.  He served as a Board Director for IFTA™ (Independent Film & Television Alliance) since 2011, a PGA (Producers Guild of America) member since 2013 and currently on the advisory board of The Film Collaborative, a non-profit committed to distribution education and facilitation of independent film.

His production and distribution outfit, Entertainment Squad, mission is to create and promote content with strong role models and positive value. Its first release is a documentary about Quentin Tarantino

Shaked has an MBA from UCLA/Anderson. He has been a guest speaker at various forums including USC, SXSW, and AFM.

Jason Michael Berman

Jason Michael Berman is the President of Mandalay Pictures. Berman has produced feature films that have debuted at premiere film festivals around the globe, including the Sundance Film Festival, Cannes Film Festival, Toronto International Film Festival, SXSW, Tribeca, Berlinale, and Edinburgh.

Berman was named in the 2016 Variety Dealmakers Impact Report, in Variety in 2011 as one of the Top Ten Producers to Watch, and by Deadline Hollywood in 2012 as one of the Top Ten Producers to Watch at Sundance.

Berman recently produced Edson Oda’s Nine Days starring Winston Duke, Zazie Beetz, Bill Skarsgård, and Benedict Wong, Olivier Megaton’s The Last Days of American Crime starring Edgar Ramírez, Prentice Penny’s Uncorked, Cindy Chupack’s Otherhood, Clark Johnson’s Juanita, Jonathan Helpert’s IO, Gerard McMurray’s Burning Sands, Ryan Koo’s Amateur, Eli Craig’s Little Evil, and Nate Parker’s The Birth of a Nation.

Berman’s past producing credits include Approaching the Unknown, Mediterranea, The Benefactor, Little Accidents, The Dry Land, Jess + Moss, Seven Days in Utopia, Brooklyn Brothers Beat the Best, LUV, and Struck By Lightning. Prior to producing, Berman worked at the William Morris Agency, MGM Studios, and for writer/director Gary Ross.

Berman is a member of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, and the Producers Guild of America. He is a 2006 graduate of the University of Southern California, School of Cinematic Arts, where he is now an adjunct professor. Berman helped to develop and start the Catalyst Initiative at the Sundance Institute. He lives in Los Angeles, California, and is originally from Baltimore, Maryland.

Bibbiani, William

William Bibbiani

Coming soon.

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 “RB” Botto is the Founder and CEO of Stage 32 ( Stage 32 is the world’s largest online platform connecting and educating film, TV & digital creatives and executives worldwide. Launched in 2011, the Stage 32 community has grown to over 500,000 creatives and features an educational library of over 1,000 hours of webinars and classes taught by over 500 industry executives. Stage 32 is recognized throughout the industry as an incubator of talent and is the official film education & networking platform of AFM.

RB is 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, starring Ellen Barkin, Demi Moore and Kate Bosworth and written & directed by Euphoria creator Sam Levinson, What Lies Ahead, starring Rumer Willis & Emma Dumont, the documentary Crutch and the upcoming Rain-Beau’s End. As a writer, he has two features and a TV pilot in active development. As an actor, his latest film On the Corner of Ego and Desire premiered at the 2018 Raindance Film Festival.

Additionally, RB’s book Crowdsourcing For Filmmakers: Indie Film and the Power of the Crowd, was published by Focal Press/Routledge under the American Film Market Presents banner and quickly became one of their best-selling titles. It has hit #1 in 6 different film and business related categories on Amazon and Audible. The book can be found at the Focal Press/Routledge booth by AFM badge registration and on Amazon and Audible, where it has garnered over 90 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, Austin, SXSW, Cinequest, ITVFest, Portugal FEST, Trinidad and Tobago 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. You can follow RB at

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.

Ryan Broussard

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.

Effie Brown

Effie T. Brown is an award winning film, television, and digital Producer, known for her highly acclaimed, multiplatform repertoire as well as championing inclusion and diversity in Hollywood, both behind and in front of the camera.

Brown’s long and illustrious career began as a Film Independent fellow in the prestigious “Project Involve” program. During her fellowship, she gained invaluable insight into the film industry. Her incredible work ethic and creative freedom allowed her to advance quickly through ranks becoming Director of Development for Tim Burton Productions in 1995. Decades later, Brown now serves as a Film Independent Board member and mentors the new generation of fellows.

Throughout her career, Brown has produced several critically acclaimed HBO Films and award-winning projects including, Stranger Inside (directed by Cheryl Dunne, 2001, World Premiere at Sundance Film Festival), Real Women Have Curves (directed by Patricia Cardosa, 2002, winner of Sundance Film Festival’s Audience Award and Special Jury Prize for Ensemble Performance), Everyday People (2004, directed by Jim McKay), In The Cut (directed by Jane Campion, 2003) and Rocket Science (directed by Jeffrey Blitz, 2007, winner of the Grand Jury Prize for Directing at Sundance and recipient of three Independent Spirit Awards nominations, including Best First Feature, Best Screenplay and Best Actress). In 2010, her film The Inheritance, starring Golden Brooks, won the Best Actress award at the American Black Film Festival.

In 2011, Brown made a daring venture beyond television and film. With a love of multiple platforms, she reteamed with the award winning producing/directing duo Jon Avnet and Rodrigo Garcia to focus on digital episodic content. Together they produced over 130 episodes of WIGS, an award winning, original content channel funded by Google/YouTube and FOX Broadcasting. The channel features multiple original series showcasing “A list” actors, writers, and filmmakers to present stories centered around the ever complex lives of women, and blazes the trail for scripted content released directly online. Currently, WIGS is the number one scripted channel for drama on YouTube and has recently been picked up for wider distribution via Hulu.

Effie T. Brown then went on to produce the highly acclaimed independent feature, Dear White People. The film won multiple awards, including the Special Jury Prize for Breakthrough Talent at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival and Best First Screenplay at the 2015 Independent Spirit Awards.

Given her longstanding relationship producing successful content with the network, HBO recognized Brown’s ability to mold a low budget film into a critically acclaimed success and invited her to join the controversial reboot of Project Greenlight (Executive Produced by Matt Damon & Ben Affleck). The show’s premise is to take an original screenplay and give a first time filmmaker the opportunity to work with industry professionals to create a feature film. In 2015, she served as producer and mentor to the show’s fresh new director.

Brown joined Lee Daniels Entertainment in 2016 to Executive Produce Season 1 of the hit series Star on FOX. In keeping with her commitment to inclusive and diverse content Effie Executive Produced Disney Channel’s Zombies which premiered in 2018. The high school musical delivers an inspirational story about tolerance, inclusion, individuality and conviction…but with zombies.Currently, Brown returns to her love of inclusive genre film & television (Thriller, Action, Sci-fi, Horror) by securing several “big concept” IP told through an inclusive storytelling lens. Her company, Duly Noted Inc. continues to be dedicated to ground breaking narratives that use genre to challenge and advance our culture in a disruptive way. Her dream is to change the world through film and TV – celebrating our differences while bringing us all closer together.
George Campanellas

George Campanellas

George Campanellas is a graduate of the Department of International and European Studies of the Athens University of Economics and Business with post-graduate studies in Public Sector Management (Master’s in Public Sector Management) and Business Administration (MBA in Oil & Gas and Energy Management). Throughout his 16-year career in the public sector, he gained valuable experience working directly with the Minister of Energy, Commerce, Industry and Tourism and the Minister of Health. Mr. Campanellas has been actively involved in drafting the regulatory framework and incentives for attracting Foreign Direct Investment in sectors of strategic importance to the economy.

Amongst others, Mr. Campanellas dealt for a number of years with the Cyprus Oil & Gas activities, as well as with the development of nationwide large-scale infrastructure projects, such as the natural gas liquefaction terminal (LNG) and the Cyprus TechnoPark. Appointed by the Ministerial Council, Mr. Campanellas  also served as Project Manager for the City of Dreams Mediterranean Integrated Casino Resort, the country’s largest FDI project and the largest integrated casino resort in Europe. He also served for many years in various governmental committees. Throughout his career, he has been participating as a speaker in a number of conferences in Cyprus and abroad, presenting investment opportunities in different sectors of the Cyprus economy.  Since May 2018, he holds the positions of the Director General of Invest Cyprus and the Vice President of the Cyprus Investment Funds Association.

Caplan, Seth

Seth Caplan

Seth Caplan is an award-winning filmmaker who has written and produced an acclaimed collection of feature films, animated movies and documentary programs. Seth has won numerous awards including the audience award for best film in the Next category at the Sundance Film Festival for First Girl I Loved and a Film Independent Spirit Award in the John Cassavetes category for his film In Search of a Midnight Kiss.

His movies have been released theatrically around the world and featured at top film festivals including The Sundance Film Festival, Tribeca Film Festival, Toronto International Film Festival, SXSW, LA Film Festival, Edinburgh International Film Festival and many more. In addition, his films have been televised on Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, Showtime, PBS and NBC/Universal Sports Network.

Seth has served on the jury for the Austin Film Festival and for the Piaget Independent Producer of the Year award. He holds degrees from the University of Texas at Austin and an M.F.A. from the American Film Institute.

Jennifer Chavarria

Jennifer Chavarria is a passionate individual who thrives on exploring new frontiers in storytelling through immersive media. Jennifer currently serves as Head of Studio at Kite & Lightning, an award-winning production company known as one of the leaders of the new virtual reality movement. Some of Kite & Lightning’s noteworthy projects include original VR Mini Opera, Senza Peso; a VR experience for NBC’s The Voice featuring Pharrell Williams, Blake Shelton, and Gwen Stefani; and Lionsgate’s first VR narrative for the Insurgent Divergent Series starring Kate Winslet, Mekhi Phifer, and Miles Teller. In 2018, Kite & Lightning took home the SIGGRAPH Best Real-Time Graphics and Interactivity Award for their fullperformance motion capture pipeline demonstration from the studio’s latest original VR Gaming IP, Bebylon Battle Royale. Before joining the Kite & Lightning team, Jennifer has held roles as an Executive Producer, Head of Production and Producer in the entertainment industry. As a Post and VFX Producer, she worked on projects seen on NBC, FOX, ABC, Amazon, and HBO, and led numerous post-production and VFX teams to deliver work that received an Emmy nomination, two VMA Awards, and an MVPA Award. Currently, Jennifer’s focus is on the production and launch of Bebylon, while bridging the gap between the community and immersive technology through the studio’s DEV_VR Outreach Program.

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.

Sherryl Clark

Sherryl oversees all aspects of development and production across The H Collective’s slate. Before joining The H Collective in May 2018, Clark founded Busted Shark Productions where she produced PLUSH with Jason Blum for director Catherine Hardwicke; FATHERS & DAUGHTERS starring Russell Crowe, Amanda Seyfried, and Aaron Paul; VIRAL directed by Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman for Blumhouse Productions and Dimension Films; WISH UPON starring Joey King; and BLACKBIRD starring Susan Sarandon and Kate Winslet which premiered at the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival. She just finished JOLT directed by Tanya Wexler and starring Kate Beckinsale. Prior to that, Clark was Head of Film at J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot and has produced and overseen the following films: CLOVERFIELD, STAR TREK, MISSION IMPOSSIBLE IV, MORNING GLORY and SUPER 8. Clark has been in the business for over 25 years, having begun her career at The Walt Disney company and subsequently rising through the ranks at Kopelson Entertainment (FUGITIVE, SE7EN) where she started as Vice President of Creative Affairs and ascended to President of Production.

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.