Mo Abudu, an entrepreneur with a predilection for television, launched EbonyLife TV, Africa’s first global black entertainment and lifestyle network, in 2013. Her primary goal for the channel was to create a more positive narrative around Africa. What followed was a string of aspirational TV series to include Castle and Castle, Fifty, The Governor and Sons of the Caliphate amongst others that have all been licensed to Netflix.
In her quest to change global perceptions about Africa, Abudu took the plunge into filmmaking with the creation of EbonyLife Films in 2014. She executive produced Fifty, the only Nigerian film selected to screen at the 59th BFI London Film Festival. In 2016, Abudu co-executive produced The Wedding Party, which premiered at The Toronto International Film Festival in 2016 and became the highest-grossing title of all time at the Nigerian box office. In 2017 she went on to co-executive produced The Wedding Party 2: Destination Dubai. The sequel surpassed the original movie in terms of domestic and international revenues, making The Wedding Party 2: Destination Dubai the highest-grossing Nollywood film of all time. Mo Abudu has gone on to produce several other feature films to include The Royal Hibiscus Hotel, again it made its debut at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2017. In 2018, Chief Daddy, the ‘Official Number 1 Nollywood film of 2018’ and the third-highest grossing Nigerian film. In 2018, Abudu executive produced Òlòtūré, a feature film about a young, naïve, female journalist who goes undercover to expose the shady business of human trafficking in Nigeria and encounters a brutal underworld. This film will premiere on Netflix as a Netflix Original on 2nd October 2020.
In 2018, Sony Pictures Television (SPT) announced that they had concluded a three-year deal with EbonyLife TV that would include co-production of The Dahomey Warriors, a series about the legendary Amazons who took on French colonialists in a 19th-century West African kingdom. In 2019, AMC Networks (USA) announced its partnership with EbonyLife to produce Nigeria 2099, an afrofuturistic crime-drama created by EbonyLife. In June 2020, Netflix signed a multi-title deal with EbonyLife to create two original series and multiple branded films and a series.
As CEO of EbonyLife Media, Abudu has made her mark through various endeavors in the corporate world, and Forbes described her as “Africa’s Most Successful Woman” while CNN said she was “Africa’s Queen of Media who conquered the continent.” Abudu oversees the EbonyLife Group, which includes all EbonyLife Media assets and EbonyLife Place, Nigeria’s first luxury entertainment resort.
Abudu is highly sought after for her knowledge of the African and global creative industry. She has spoken at the Wharton School of Business, Cambridge University Judge School of Business, and Harvard University, and she has received many international recognitions. She was listed in Hollywood Reporter’s 25 Most Powerful Women in Global Television in 2013 and 2017. Abudu received an Honorary Doctorate Degree (Honoris Causa) from Babcock University, Nigeria’s premier private university. In 2018, the University of Westminster awarded Mo an honorary degree of Doctor of Arts, in recognition of her outstanding services to broadcasting and enterprise in Nigeria.
In the same year, Abudu was appointed a Director of the International Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, the organization responsible for staging the world-famous International Emmy Awards. She was named on The Powerlist 2018, an annual list of the UK’s top 100 most influential people of African and Caribbean heritage. Abudu was nominated to serve as a member of the Advisory Group on Technology and Creatively for Nigeria in 2018 as well. Abudu was one of 4 honourees to receive the 2019 Médailles d’Honneur in Cannes at MIPTV.
Abudu began her career in the UK as a recruitment consultant in 1987 and went to work with ExxonMobil (Nigeria) as head of Human Resources and Training. She left in 2000 to establish Vic Lawrence & Associates Limited, a specialist human resources development company. While running VLA, Abudu conceptualised and developed the Protea Hotel in Oakwood Park, Lagos, a specialized resort for corporate retreats.
Abudu attended Ridgeway School, Mid Kent College, and West Kent College. She earned her MA in Human Resources Development from the University of Westminster in London. Abudu has two children: a daughter Temidayo, who is a film and TV producer, and a son Adekoyejo, who is a budding art consultant.
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 www.onthepage.tv.
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. https://www.indieflix.com/
Born and raised in the border town of Nogales, Arizona, Aaron comes from a long line of multicultural, multiracial, storytellers. He holds degrees in both Media Arts and Creative Writing from The University of Arizona and an MFA in Screenwriting from The American Film Institute. As the Director of Production and Development for Pantelion Films in conjunction with Pantaya he is truly interested in collaborating with storytellers and filmmakers from all walks of life, sharing his experience and expertise to help them bring their stories to life.
Nadira is founder of ScriptBook, the AI-driven content validation & financial forecasting platform that aims to democratize the business of storytelling through AI. Nadira studied Engineering & Applied Economics at the University of Ghent (Belgium).
ScriptBook was conceived when Nadira wrote her Master’s thesis on the use of artificial intelligence to quantify story-parameters into predictive modelling.
Nadira’s mission with ScriptBook is to build a lasting eco-system for the film industry where AI & Art can co-exist.
Moses Babatope has over 18 years’ experience in film exhibition, production, distribution, marketing and operations management. As Managing Director of FilmOne Entertainment, Moses has been the mastermind behind the global distribution of blockbuster films such as The Wedding Party & The Wedding Party 2, A Trip to Jamaica, King of Boyz, Okafor’s Law, to mention a few. He has also spearheaded international distribution partnerships with companies such as 20th Century Fox, Warner Brothers, Empire Entertainment, and recently, Walt Disney. He is one of the Executive Producers of Sugar Rush, The Set Up and Merry Men 2, to mention a few.
He is also co-founder of Filmhouse Cinemas, Nigeria’s biggest cinema chain and partners to IMAX and Mediation (MX4D).
Moses holds a Bachelor’s degree in Money banking & Finance and a Master’s degree in International finance, both from Middlesex University London. He was endorsed as an Endeavor Entrepreneur in May 2019, and has been a panelist and speaker in several international film conferences. Moses is currently a Jurist of the 2020/21 Nigeria Oscars Selection Committee.
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).
As Co-Founder and Managing Partner of WINSTON | BAKER, Amy Baker oversees the company’s global strategic planning, business development and vendor relationships. Amy created and founded the FILM FINANCE FORUM® SERIES with Co-Founder Katherine Winston in 2008, a series of conferences across the globe dedicated to bringing film and finance executives together.
Prior to establishing Winston Baker, she 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. In 2018 Amy was honored to join the National Board of Advisors for the Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, Florida.
Amy recently became a Certified COVID-19 Compliance Officer.
Anastasia Bankovskaya has an active seller of the Russian films and tv series worldwide for 18 years. A a student she started her first job at TV Channel Russia’s sales department in 2003, where she was responsible for television sales. Then Anastasia joined Central Partnership where she was the deputy head of international sales until 2010 when she joined Planeta Inform as International Sales and Acquisitions Director where she is still working.
Mayenzeke Baza is the Head Of Distribution & Financing at AAA Entertainment a film and television sales, distribution and financing company based out of Johannesburg,Hangzhou, and Lagos. Mayenzeke was selected as one of Mzansi’s 100 by The Young Independents as an Innovator as well as being nominated and selected as on of the Top 40 under 40 young business people in Mandela Bay, the city he previously lived in. Through AAA Entertainment and Mandela Bay Pictures, his work pushes innovation in both production, sales and distribution across South Africa, the continent, and the world, from TV and cinema to new mobile content.
Brian Beckmann has two decades of hands-on, multifaceted executive finance experience. He has worked for start-up firms, as well as, established companies ranging from small businesses to publicly traded companies. Beckmann has worked in a variety of industries including advanced technology and entertainment media. He is a producer in his own right and some of his films include DOG EAT DOG, starring Nicolas Cage and Willem Dafoe and Paul Schrader’s critically acclaimed FIRST REFORMED starring Amanda Seyfried and Ethan Hawke which was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Screenplay, the acclaimed ESCAPE FROM PRETORIA starring Daniel Radcliffe and TWIST featuring an ensemble cast headlined by Michael Caine and Lena Headey.
Beckmann’s well-rounded experience has resulted in expert skills in strategic business planning, establishment of operational and financial controls, transaction structuring, systems integrations, business affairs and producing.
At Arclight Films, Beckmann oversees all legal, financial and accounting functions of the organization including its production operations and it’s 300+ library of feature films. During his tenure he has spearheaded the financing of over $150 million dollars in productions and dozens of acquisitions.
Prior to Arclight Films, Beckmann managed the financial operations for the media division of GenesisIntermedia, a publicly traded NASDAQ company. While there, he helped facilitate two rounds of Series A public funding and three equity spinoffs. Beckmann also managed the financial activities of Brand Sense Partners, which manages more than 200 partnerships for its Fortune 500 clients with approximately $1.5 billion in retail sales in the consumer products, media, technology, celebrity and fashion industries.
Beckmann’s strengths lie in his experience as a hands-on accounting, financial, and operations executive, as well as, his knowledge of big picture issues like strategy, financing, producing, and growth. He has a proven track record of increasing profits and company value by strengthening and building corporate infrastructure.
Beckmann has a background in mechanical engineering and holds a degree in Business Administration with an emphasis in Finance, Real Estate, and Law from California Polytechnic University at Pomona. His MBA in Finance was earned at the University of La Verne. Brian also attended Southwestern University of Los Angeles, in pursuit of his law degree.
Beckmann is a native of Los Angeles and lives there with his daughter.
As Cast & Crew’s Vice President of Independent Sales and Independent Services, David oversees Cast & Crew’s financing unit, Cast & Crew Financial Services, US tax credit administration and Canadian tax credit administration under Cast & Crew Capital, and has a sales and advisory role with Media Guarantors, a full service completion bond company, founded through Cast & Crew.
Prior to joining Cast & Crew in 2016, most of David’s career was spent as a senior finance executive at both the studio level, SVP Finance & Administration – Warner Bros./Telepictures, and at a major independent studio, SVP Finance & Administration – Reveille/Shine America.
David also worked in sales as the entertainment liaison for Tax Credit Co. where he implemented, at most major studios and many independents, various non-production related tax credits programs such as WOTC, R&D tax credits and the California Enterprise Zone tax credit program.
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.
Wendy Bernfeld, former Montrealer and founder/CEO of Rights Stuff (Amsterdam) www.rights-stuff.com, is a passionate film buff with 25+ years in film/paytv/VOD channel startup ,biz dev and content/programming experience in N.A. and EMEA/international. This includes (before Rights Stuff) prior multi-region roles as CEO Canal+ International, MD Alliance Atlantis and earlier on as entertainment lawyer.
Wendy has a J.D./LLB from Queens University, after one year of BA/MBA at McGill & University of Toronto. She was earlier, one of 10 Law Clerks to Chief Justice, Supreme Court and remains a member of the Ontario and UK bars.
Since founding Rights Stuff consulting/digital agency in ’99, she provides content strategy and pragmatic licensing, including curation, acquisition, distribution and development, to maximise rights/windows/audiences across an evolving digital landscape. Key expertise is international pay/svod/OTT licensing and Originals deals – whether traditional, digital-first/webseries, cross platform ,blockchain and/or VR), and going beyond just the big5 to other thematic and regional services – the new buyers and funders – who compete and complement them.
Wendy is also frequent lecturer on digital media and VR (business), as well as a strong supporter of the production/festival sectors, including advisory boards (IDFA, Binger Film Institute, The Film Collaborative etc). IN 2010, Wendy was named as one of the “Brave Thinkers of Indie Film, 2010” by Oscar-winning independent producer Ted Hope.Her most recent article, for the Film Collaborative, was published in May 2020 here.
Tamara Birkemoe serves as the President and Chief Operating Officer of Foresight Unlimited and oversees the day-to-day operations and all creative aspects of the company. Her primary responsibilities include overseeing acquisitions, development, production, sales and distribution of all feature films. Birkemoe brings more than 17 years of extensive hands on experience and knowledge of the entertainment industry. Throughout her career she has shepherded numerous projects from acquisition and development through worldwide sales and distribution.
Birkemoe is currently executive producing the The Last Full Measure, starring Samuel L. Jackson and Sebastian Stan. She most recently executive produced Category 5, directed by Rob Cohen, Blind, starring Alec Baldwin and Demi Moore, and And So It Goes,directed by Rob Reiner. She also executive produced 2 Guns, directed by Baltasar Kormakur and Lone Survivor, directed by Peter Berg.
Prior to Foresight Unlimited, Birkemoe was an executive at Media 8 Entertainment and at MDP Worldwide. Birkemoe was born in Italy and grew up in Italy and Sweden before moving to the United States. She is fluent in five languages and a graduate of the Film and Television program at the University of California, Los Angeles.
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 www.intimacycoordinator.com and www.intimacyprofessionalsassociation.com.
Richard “RB” Botto is the Founder and CEO of Stage 32 (stage32.com). 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 https://www.instagram.com/rbwalksintoabar/.
David Brauer, CPA,Brauer & Co. – has been working in the entertainment industry for 25 years. For the last 10 years, he has been involved with tax incentives audits throughout the United States, including, but not limited to New York, New Jersey, Georgia, North Carolina, New Mexico, California, and Hawaii. Additionally, he has worked with incentive programs on drafting audit procedures to test compliance.
Ryan Broussard has been working in the production payroll and incentives space for over 12 years. On a daily basis, he assists Media Services Payroll clients navigate film tax incentives throughout the United States, most prominently in New Mexico, Louisiana and Georgia. From application assistance to budget flagging to reporting, Ryan prides himself on his customers’ success maximizing their film and TV incentive returns. He is a frequent panelist and podcast contributor on the subject of production incentives throughout the United States.
Presently: Film Commissioner at Portugal Film Commission
Formerly: Executive Coordinator of CED Portugal and responsible for the MEDIA Subprogramme; Executive Coordinator at MEDIA Desk Portugal; Adviser to the Cultural department of the Lisbon City Hall; Adviser to the alderman of Culture of the Lisbon City Hall. Degree in Political Science and International relations by the Universidade Nova de Lisboa; Post graduation in Cultural Practices for Municipalities by the Universidade Nova de Lisboa.
Bryony Cole is an Actress, Writer and Producer from the UK, based in Amsterdam, and the Brand Ambassador for Apojo Publications. Bryony’s credits include: Red Heart, Blank Face, You Listen, Always and The Unveiling. She is Co-Director of the international theatre company Actors Anonymous. She co-wrote the comedy ‘WET,’ (Screw Productions) which enjoyed success in both London and Amsterdam and she is currently writing a full-length play, which will premiere in Amsterdam in 2021. Bryony is passionate about comedy and making relatable work with an important message. www.spotlight.com/4066-9084-9452
Megan Colligan joined the Company in February 2019 as President, IMAX Entertainment and Executive Vice President, IMAX Corporation. Prior to joining the Company, Ms. Colligan served in executive roles at Paramount Pictures from 2006-2017, most recently as Worldwide President of Marketing and Distribution. She spearheaded the marketing and distribution efforts for many of Paramount’s most successful franchise properties and oversaw Paramount’s Home Entertainment division, a $1 billion dollar annual business for the studio.
A member of AMPAS, Colligan was also the winner of the 2013 Sherry Lansing Award from Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Greater Los Angeles. She has served on the organization’s Board since receiving the honor. She chairs the marketing committee and serves on the executive committee and fund development committee. She graduated from Harvard University with a B.A. in American history and African American studies.
Ryan Connolly is a filmmaker, Internet personality, and presenter best known for his web series Film Riot, which has gained over 1.6 million subscribers. He has also written and directed 16 short films, including PROXiMITY, UFOh Yeah, Ghost House, SENTiNEL, BALLiSTIC, and his Latest There Comes a Knocking, which serves as a proof of concept for his first feature. All together, Ryan’s short films have amassed over 13 million views.
Currently Ryan is working with 3Arts, developing feature films.
After working in feature film production in Hollywood on movies starring Rob Schneider, David Carradine, Jennifer Morrison, Winona Ryder, Wes Bentley, Steve Buscemi, to name but only a few, Caroline chose to come back to Europe and relocate to London in 2008 as Director of Development & Marketing at Seven Arts Pictures. In 2011, she joined AV Pictures where she gained invaluable knowledge in deal structuring from the company’s founder, Vic Bateman.
In May 2014, she launched Metrodome International, the international sales arm of the Metrodome Group handling a wide range of feature films from third party producers to in-house productions.
She then left Metrodome to launch her own company, Truffle Pictures, a London based international sales agency and production house, in 2016, and subsequently Film Seekers Ltd since February 2018.
Caroline is a French native based in London who speaks fluent French, English and Spanish. She holds two post-graduate master degrees one in Chemistry from the University of Versailles and the second one in Business Management from the University of Bordeaux.
She is a member of BAFTA and sits on the board of two major lobbying associations: Film Export UK and the Independent Film and Television Alliance.
Marco Cordova has over 20 years of progressive tax credits and incentives experience, working for both large entertainment companies and Big Four accounting firms, and is recognized as one of the leading experts of production incentives and state tax credits in the nation. He currently heads the film division of Monarch Private Capital, the largest broker of Georgia film tax credits and market leader of various tax credit syndications in several U.S. jurisdictions, where he is responsible for the overall planning, investment strategy and acquisition of film, TV, and digital entertainment tax credits. Marco is also a tax credit placement specialist and trusted advisor for many Fortune 500 companies and other large institutional organizations, and he has worked with over $1 billion of tax credit placement and equity investment transactions throughout his career.
Marco is an active California CPA and Registered Representative with FINRA. He has an MBT from USC and graduated with honors from LMU, where he currently serves on the Accounting Advisory Board. Marco also serves on the board of the Asian Pacific Community Fund and has authored several production incentives publications and tax credit articles throughout his career.