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NOVEMBER 6 - 13, 2019 • SANTA MONICA

Speaker Bios

2019 Speaker Bios U-Z

Tony Vassiliadis

Tony Vassiliadis

As Chief Operating Officer for MarVista Entertainment, Tony Vassiliadis oversees key areas of the company’s business strategy ranging from co-production and distribution, corporate partnerships and deal-making, and overseeing initiatives that improve the company’s operations and profitability.  Tony has negotiated several co-production slates ranging from partnerships with independent filmmakers (including Spectrevision / Company X), output deals with major studios, agency relationships to identify emerging filmmakers and talent to fuel MarVista’s significant independent film pipeline, and several deals related to building out MarVIsta’s music strategy ranging from an in-house music library to a global music partnership with Universal Music Publishing Group.  Tony also oversees MarVista’s production team and its global production strategy, including managing Joint Ventures in Canada and Latin America.

Tasked with developing more efficient processes across all business groups, Tony has completed Vista Equity Partners’ exclusive High Potential Leadership Program and implemented best practices from across the entertainment and technology sectors to build an efficient and scalable content creation platform at MarVista.  He reports to MarVista’s Founder & CEO, Fernando Szew.

He joined MarVista January 2013 rom Deloitte Consulting, where he served as a Senior Consultant within the company’s Strategy and Operations group for two years.  During his time with Deloitte, Tony analyzed the business case for Deloitte’s acquisition of Monitor consulting group, identified growth opportunities for Deloitte’s European subsidiaries, and delivered a recommendation on internal growth strategies and challenges to Deloitte’s own executive leadership team.

Simultaneously, Tony Co-Founded KarmaGoat.com, a social media venture that raised money for non-profits.  He designed the business model and internal processes for the site, and established partnerships and negotiated terms with charities, businesses and student groups to source donations.  Prior to KarmaGoat.com, Tony served as a sales and marketing consultant to Fortune 100 companies.

Tony earned his Bachelor of Science degree in International Management and Computing Information Technology from Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Mellon University-Tepper School of Business before continuing with UCLA’s Anderson School of Management to earn his MBA in Strategy and Entrepreneurship in 2011.

David White

David White

David White is CEO of SHIFT72, the end-to-end online video platform provider helping innovative Businesses lead with online video in today’s ever-evolving multi screen world. Their solutions come with everything needed to securely host, management and deliver stunning video experiences via exceptionally designed AVOD, SVOD, TVOD or Private Video Channels. Their customers include The American Film Market, Marché Du Film, SXSW, Lonely Planet and many more.

SHIFT72 is also currently working alongside Cinemas and Distributors to explore the introduction of a new Premium Video On Demand window that would allow Cinemas to deliver films direct to audiences at home much earlier than currently possible. This comes as the Box Office faces slowing revenue growth and Streaming Services skyrocket. There’s a lot of skepticism towards what the future of Cinema will look like and SHIFT72’s aim is to equip Cinemas to continue leading in premium film delivery.

Wiessner, Benjamin

Benjamin Wiessner

Benjamin Wiessner is a producer and distributor based in Durham, North Carolina. He was named to Filmmaker Magazine’s 25 New Faces of Indie Film in 2012 as part of ornana films, where he began producing and self-distributing shorts and features with broadcast partners across the world, including Canal+ and PBS. He has produced over a dozen short films in both hand-drawn animation and live action, with awards at festivals including SxSw and Sundance. He has also worked on ten features, including producing THUNDER ROAD (SxSw 2018 Grand Jury Prize). He consults, mentors, and consoles numerous early career filmmakers. Raised by educators, he frequently speaks about distribution and film marketing at film schools, festivals, and conferences such as The Southern Producer’s Lab, Sundance Institute’s Self-Distribution Workshop, as well as many others. In 2019, he co-founded the Short to Feature Filmmaking Lab.

Katherine Winston

Katherine Winston

Katherine Winston has been at the forefront of marketing, event production, and emerging trends for nearly twenty years. As the co-founder and managing partner of WINSTON | BAKER, she oversees event production, marketing strategies, business operations, and new initiatives. Winston created 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 throughout the year. Prior to founding Winston Baker, she was Director of Marketing for RealD and was in charge of creative advertising, public relations, events, product launches, and screenings. Prior to RealD, Winston was Senior Marketing Manager for GoTV Networks, where she was responsible for all aspects of marketing strategy, including corporate and consumer marketing, new media advertising, experiential promotions, public relations, and brand partnership deals. Before GoTV, Winston was Conference Producer for Strategic Research Institute where she was responsible for producing high profile investment conferences for various sectors, including e-commerce, nanotech, medtech, defense & aerospace, biotech, law, real estate, and entertainment. Winston earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology with honors from the University of Washington and is a Phi Beta Kappa member. As a fervent advocate of entrepreneurialism, Winston is dedicated to connecting creators and innovators with seasoned professionals who can fuel development and growth.

Jonathan Wolf

Jonathan Wolf

Jonathan Wolf is Managing Director of the American Film Market and Executive Vice President of the Independent Film & Television Alliance. Jonathan’s full bio is on his LinkedIn page.

Steven Wolfson

Steven Wolfson

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.