NOVEMBER 6 - 13, 2019 • SANTA MONICA

Speaker Bios

2019 Speaker Bios U-Z

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.

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.