Rethabile Ramaphakela is Burnt Onion Productions’ co-owner and Creative Director. Burnt Onion Productions is a Johannesburg-based television and film production company founded by 3 siblings in 2008.
The company has produced short form and long from content, for various local and international broadcasters, including SABC1, SABC2, SABC3, Multichoice and Viacom (BET, MTV Base, MTV, Comedy Central, Nickelodeon). The productions include award-nominated and award-winning drama series, sitcoms, lifestyle shows and reality shows. Their 2017 award-winning comedy-drama series Bedford Wives is streaming worldwide on Netflix. Burnt Onion Productions is currently in development with a slate of nine feature films, funded by the National Film and Video Foundation in South Africa.
Rethabile Ramaphakela is an award-winning South African television producer and writer. She holds a BA degree in Motion Picture Medium from AFDA and has completed a screenwriting course from the New York Film Academy. Rethabile has worked across many formats and genres in the film and television space. She kick-started her career as a kids’ presenter on SABC, KTV and Supersport. Behind the camera, Rethabile has created and written successful and popular comedy TV series that include the award-winning mockumentary series ‘Check-Coast’ (2014), the sitcom ‘Thuli noThulani (2017)’ and the comedy-drama series ‘Bedford Wives’ (2017). In 2019, Rethabile was named a ‘Producer to Watch from Africa’ at the MIPTV market in Cannes.
In 2020, Rethabile co-directed her first feature film with her brother, Katleho Ramaphakela. The Netflix film, Seriously Single, premiered on the platform in July to rave reviews. The feature is a part of the NFVF Fiction Slate which Burnt Onion Productions was awarded in 2016. She is currently writing the screenplay Disaster Holiday which is set to go into production in 2021.
Rethabile has also created and produced the first Netflix African Original Holiday Special called How to Ruin Christmas: The Wedding. The 3-part comedy drama series will premiere on Netflix in December 2020.
Gary S. Raskin is an attorney based in Los Angeles, California and has been in private practice for over twenty-five years. He is a founding member and partner of Raskin Gorham Anderson Law (RGA), a boutique law firm founded in 2009 which focuses on transaction and litigation matters in the entertainment industry. RGA and Mr. Raskin are recognized as leading lawyers in U.S.-based and cross-border motion picture and other entertainment project financing. Mr. Raskin also regularly has been named as a top attorney in Los Angeles in the field of entertainment finance. Mr. Raskin has served as lead finance counsel to numerous lenders, borrowers and other parties in hundreds of financing transactions, the majority of which consist of entertainment finance transactions concerning, for example, short-term / bridge financing, permanent financing (senior, gap / mezzanine), tax credits, ultimate facilities, re-financings, corporate lines of credit, and equity financing transactions. Mr. Raskin received his Juris Doctor degree from Santa Clara University School of Law, where here served as a law review editor. Mr. Raskin is a frequent speaker on the topics of entertainment finance and secured transactions, including as an instructor for Boston University. He also served on the Board of Editors for Los Angeles Lawyer Magazine for over ten years, including as its Chair and as the Co-Chair of the annual Entertainment Law special edition.
Celine Rattray is a film producer who co-founded the production company Maven Pictures. She has 50 independent films under her belt as a producer, including films that won prizes at the Sundance Film Festival, Toronto Film Festival, Berlin International Film Festival and Cannes. She won a Golden Globe and received an Oscar nomination for Lisa Choldenko’s 2010 Oscar-nominated hit film The Kids Are All Right, starring Annette Bening, Julianne Moore and Mark Ruffalo. In 2017, The Kindergarten Teacher, which she produced, won the Best Director award at Sundance. In 2019, she Executive Produced Skin which won the Oscar for Best Short Film.
Prior to producing film, Ms. Rattray was the Director of Marketing and Business Development for HBO. Rattray graduated with a degree in Mathematics and Philosophy from Oxford University.
Born in Israel, raised in Manhattan, and living in Los Angeles, Orly Ravid is the Founder and Co-Executive Director of The Film Collaborative (TFC), an entertainment attorney at MSK (Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp LLP), and the Director of the Biederman Entertainment & Media Law Institute at Southwestern Law School. Orly has over 20 years of experience in independent film as an acquisitions and business affairs executive, and her experience encompasses all aspects of distribution, domestic and international sales/licensing, development, production, grassroots marketing, and festival programming. Orly started doing and publicly speaking about VOD distribution and splitting rights in the early 2000s and Orly launched TFC’s Digital Distribution Guide which the organization still updates and offers for free today. Orly was a distribution executive at Senator Entertainment and Wolfe Releasing and served as a Programming Associate for documentaries at Sundance Film Festival and a programming consultant at Palm Springs International and the Middle East Film Festival. A regular panelist, educator, and blogger about digital distributing, splitting rights, and distribution in general at film festivals worldwide, Orly has also contributed to indieWIRE, Ted Hope’s blog “Truly Free Film,” TFC’s blog, and Sundance’s Artists Services for which she was an advisor. Orly co-authored the book series Selling Your Film Without Selling Your Soul and recently contributed to How Not to Sign a Film Contract, and is a passionate advocate for filmmakers. www.TheFilmCollaborative.org
Debajyoti "Deb" Ray
Deb Ray leads the creation of RivetAI’s artificial intelligence platform to optimize content production and content discovery. Previously, Deb was the founder and Chief Data Officer for VideoAmp, a cross-screen data and buying platform for digital video and TV advertising, where he now serves as an Advisor. Prior to that, he founded Pasadena Labs, where he built a ML-based hyperlocal ad platform used by clients such as Microsoft and IAC. He developed computer vision products at Microsoft Research, and deep learning algorithms for high-frequency trading. Deb has been awarded several patents and his publications are highly cited. He completed his PhD at Caltech in Computation and Neural Systems. Also, he is an angel investor in several AI startups, and a fund advisor and investor in the VC firm Signalfire.
Originally from Chicago, Gina started her Hollywood career at International Creative Management talent agency in Motion Picture Production and transitioned to Film Development in her post with Ms. Salma Hayek’s production company, Ventanazul/MGM. Following her time at Ventanazul, Gina landed at 20th Century Fox Film as a Creative Executive in feature film development and made the move to television as Director for the Fox Writers Lab, Fox TV Directors Lab and the Fox/AFI Filmmakers Lab for Fox Broadcasting Company, 20th Century Fox Television, and 20th Century Fox Film. She then returned to content development in her role as the Director of Content Development for Story House Entertainment/Univision, where she focused on Spanish and English-language scripted series. She was also the Vice President of Scripted Development for both Film and Television, at Mitú, an English-language digital platform targeting the new mainstream American millennial audience before moving on to her current role as a television lit agent at Verve Talent & Literary Agency.
John is an independent film producer with a decade of experience working in the entertainment industry. He’s worked for Open Road Films’ acquisition team, acquiring and releasing such films as ‘The Grey’ starring Liam Neeson and ‘End of Watch’ starring Jake Gyllenhaal. Previously he worked as a creative executive at Media Talent Group for clients including Angelina Jolie and Nicole Kidman. John got his start in the industry as a development assistant and story editor at OddLot Entertainment, helping to develop such films as Academy Award-nominee ‘Rabbit Hole,’ the Cannes award-winning ‘Drive,’ and the sci-fi epic ‘Ender’s Game.’
Currently, John is producing a feature film at Netflix with details to be announced soon. John is Co-Founder of Screencraft.org, one of the industry’s top talent-discovery and screenplay development organizations.
Jaume Ripoll, (Palma de Mallorca), Filmmaking graduate at ESCAC (UB). Cofounder, Editor-in-chief and Development Manager of Filmin. Atlántida Film Fest Director. In 2005 he became part of Cameo, the prestigious distribution company of independent cinema, acting as Editor-in-chief. In 2007 he became one of the founders of Filmin, a reference website for independent cinema in Spain that has over 720,000 users, in which he serves as Editor-in-chief and Development Manager. In 2015, Filmin initiated an international expansion that has led the company to be an available platform in Mexico and Portugal. In 2010, Jaume Ripoll created Atlántida Film Fest, the first film festival offering the entire program online. Its 9th edition exceeded the 150,000 viewers in Mallorca and Filmin (online).
Jaume Ripoll has participated as jury member in Berlin, In-Edit, Cinergia, or Sitges film festivals, among others. Likewise, he has given lectures and workshops in Cannes, Locarno, Rotterdam, San Sebastián, EuropaCinema Prague, Unifrane Paris, DocsLisboa, Docs Barcelona, FicValdivia festivals, as well as in the Seville European Film Festival, CinemaJove, the Oursense Independent Cinema Festival, and many more. As a teacher, since 2013 he serves as director of the Master on Online Distribution at Universitat Oberta de Catalunya, apart from being guest lecturer at UAB, UB, UPF, ESCAC, Carlos III, and Camilo José Cela universities. In 2015 he made his debut as producer in “Barcelona, nit d’hivern” (Barcelona, Christmas night), a great blockbuster in Spain that had over 65,000 viewers and 7 Gaudí Awards nominations. On 2018 he has executive produced two new films, ”Jean François and the sense of life”, ”Samantha Hudson” and recently “Dark Eyes” (Best Picture Winner at Málaga Film Festival).
Gil L. Robertson IV
For nearly three decades, writer/author Gil L. Robertson IV has used the written word to enlighten, empower and uplift. The one-time political organizer initially made his mark in entertainment journalism, penning over 50 national magazine covers and contributing bylines to a wide range of publications that include the Los Angeles Times, the Atlanta Journal Constitution, Billboard, Fortune, Essence and Ebony. He is also the founder and creator of the nationally syndicated Arts & Lifestyle column, The Robertson Treatment, which began twenty years old with an interview with Samuel L. Jackson for Eve’s Bayou. Today, The Robertson Treatment has a reach of nearly two million.
As an author, Robertson has specialized in books that empower his readers, beginning first with the self-published Writing as a Tool of Empowerment (2003), a resource guide primarily aimed at young people interested in journalism. From there, he edited the groundbreaking 2006 anthology Not in My Family: AIDS in the African American Community where he gathered a diverse mix of voices that include Oscar winner Mo’Nique, Congresswoman Barbara Lee, legendary singer Patti LaBelle and former U.S. Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders, all addressing one of the most pressing public health and social challenges of our time. His subsequent anthologies—Family Affair: What It Means to Be African American Today (2008) and Where Did Our Love Go: Love and Relationships in the African American Community (2013)—ignited a national conversation about identity and love and relationships in the 21st century. In addition, Robertson has been a regular contributor to The African American Almanac (Gale Press). Accolades for his work include “Pick of the Week” selection by Publisher’s Weekly for Family Affair and a NAACP Image Awards nomination for Not in My Family.
Book of Black Heroes: Political Leaders Past & Present, his latest from Just Us Books, is a full circle moment for Robertson who began the first phase of his career in politics. The collection of biographies on game-changing elected political leaders like former President Barack Obama, pioneering Los Angeles mayor Tom Bradley, current U.S. Senator Kamala Harris and Reconstruction era governor Pinckney Benton Stewart Pinchbank is intended to introduce young readers especially to not only dynamic personalities but to the concept of individual and political leadership.
Never one to sit on the sidelines of any pressing issue, in 2003, Robertson rolled up his sleeves and got to work as the cofounder of the African American Film Critics Association (AAFCA), the largest collection of Black film critics in North America. As its president, Robertson oversees the annual AAFCA Awards, which has become a recognized fixture of the Hollywood awards season. In addition to highlighting African American achievement behind and in front of the camera, AAFCA works with the industry to usher in and support African Americans in the Hollywood community, uniting consumers, creators and gatekeepers. Robertson also serves as a public ambassador for diversity within the industry, appearing on numerous shows on networks like CNN.
Robertson earned a B.A. in Political Science from Cal State Los Angeles and is a professional member of the National Press Club, National Association of Black Journalists, The Recording Academy, The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences and the Motion Picture Association of America. He is also a national lecturer who speaks on such issues as fostering diverse representation in the entertainment industry, as well as personal and communal development.
For more information visit www.robertsontreatment.com
Alicia Rodis pioneered the role of intimacy coordinator in the United States. She serves as the intimacy coordinator for HBO studios, consulting on their policies and protocols as well as training and vetting the IC’s working on HBO sets. She is a co-founder of Intimacy Directors International (IDI) and is a part of the creative team behind the new company Intimacy Directors and Coordinators (IDC), which specializes in training performers and industry professionals to better approach intimate scenes, as well as trains and certifies intimacy coordinators for film and intimacy directors and choreographers for theatre.
An actor and dancer from a young age, Alicia attended Wright State University for Acting, and in the NY industry, she began specializing in movement, choreography, and staged violence. Her professional experience as an actor, fight choreographer, and stunt performer, eventually led her towards the choreography and coordination of romantic, sexual, and highly suggestive scenes.
Seeing an unfilled need, in 2015 Alicia co-founded the not-for-profit Intimacy Directors International with the progenitor of the phrase ‘intimacy choreographer,’ Tonia Sina. Together, they created an organization to research and promote the role of intimacy professionals in tv, film, and theater. She and her colleagues worked with directors, choreographers, psychologists, social workers, trauma experts, and other professionals to research and codify a system of addressing the performance of nudity, simulated sex, and intimacy.
After being hired by The Deuce on HBO, Alicia worked with long-time producer Nina Noble to craft a better system for intimacy on a major television series. A system that is now becoming the industry standard. Since then, Alicia has been advising best practices regarding the prevention of sexual harassment for theatre and film internationally and training new coordinators to fill the huge demand for safer and more authentic scenes of intimacy in film and TV. Alicia also choreographs at, helps develops intimacy protocols with, and has educated faculty and students for such places as The Juilliard School, New York University, Columbia University, and the Yale School of Drama where she intimacy choreographed the first production of Jeremy O’Harris’s “Slave Play”.
Alicia is an LGBTQIA+ and diversity advocate, a Mental Health First Aid and consent educator, and is trained in bystander intervention. This underpins her ethical and holistic approach to intimate scenes. She serves as a member of the Times Up Safety Committee and was extensively consulted on their newly released Safety Guidelines entitled Your Rights: Nude and Intimate Scenes. Alicia has also consulted with The Hollywood Commission, ACTRA, The Stage Directors and Choreographers Society (SDC), and, of course, is thrilled to be working with SAG-AFTRA on standardized intimacy protocols.
Alicia has intimacy coordinated on The Deuce (S2, S3), Watchmen, Plot Against America, Crashing (S3), High Maintenance (S4), I Know This Much Is True, The Undoing, and Lovecraft Country as well as trained the coordinators on Euphoria, Succession, Mrs. Fletcher, The Outsider, The Righteous Gemstones, Westworld and many others.
Lise Romanoff, Managing Director/ CEO of Vision Films, Inc. has been in the Distribution business for almost 30 years. Today, Vision Films is a Worldwide Distribution Company with a library of over 500 independent Feature Films and Documentaries. Vision Films releases 2-4 New Release titles each month in the Domestic market and licenses all Territories worldwide. Vision has a DVD label and their domestic VOD partners include premium Cable VOD services such as iNDemand, Vubiquity, Dish, Direct TV, and in Canada, Shaw, Rogers, Bell and Telus. Also all the Digital Platforms such as Amazon, iTunes, Xbox, PlayStation, Vudu, Vimeo, Google Play, and FandangoNow, and the SVOD Platforms such as Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime, as lastly but not least, the AVOD services such Tubi, Xumo. Pluto, the Peacock and YouTube.
Fortissimo Films General Manager Gabrielle Rozing grew up in Germany where she went to International School. After graduation she moved back to Amsterdam to study Film and Television Sciences and Arts Policy and Management.
She worked at the Netherlands Film Festival – Holland Film Meeting before joining Fortissimo Films in 2006. First as assistant to the MD, later in several functions in sales and finance and as producer liaison.
She also worked at innovative VOD platform Ximon and as film programmer for Filmtheater ‘t Hoogt in Utrecht before becoming Fortissimo Films General Manager Amsterdam in 2017. She works closely with Fortissimo’s Beijing office and next to company management handles sales to Europe and Latin America as well as acquisitions.
Independent feature film producer Franco Sama boasts a remarkable and extensive history in public speaking, public relations and a nearly two decades of independent film development, production and financing experience.
Sama has Executive Produced and/or produced an impressive array of over twenty (20) successful independent feature films including most notably, “Guns, Girls and Gambling” starring Gary Oldman, Christian Slater and Dane Cook which is now a cult favorite; this film acquired a distribution deal from Universal Home..
Other films Sama has produced include; “Black Limousine” starring David Arquette and Vivica Fox, “Tooth and Nail” starring Michael Madsen and Vinnie Jones, and “Paid” starring Corbin Bernsen. Sama also serves as Executive Producer on the film festival darling “Petunia” starring Thora Birch, Brittany Snow and Academy Award winner Christine Lahti.
His shingle “Samaco Films, LLC”, headquartered at Los Angeles Center Studios in Downtown Los Angeles, is currently financing and producing a slate of several independent feature films, including, VODUN, THE WHIPPING CLUB (IRELAND) and ALEXIS COLETTE” (U.K.). Their latest film “The Inheritance” has completed Principle Photography and will begin Distribution by the end of 2020.
In addition, Sama is also a highly sought after public guest speaker having launched his hugely popular film financing and distribution forum program “Finance Indie Road Map”, otherwise known as “The F.I.R.M.” which is designed specifically to educate and assist first and second time filmmakers in their quest to develop, fund, produce and release their first feature film(s).
In his constant effort to seek out and educate and assist new filmmakers, Sama travels throughout the United States and Internationally educating emerging filmmakers on the business of film funding and has been the keynote speaker and guest panelist at the 2018 & 2019 V.I.P. Film Summit held in Washington D.C. respectively.
Sama also serves on the Board of Directors for the non-profit organization New Filmmakers, L.A.
Gigi Saul Guerrero, born and raised in Mexico City, also known as “La Muñeca Del Terror” in Latin America.
She is a Mexican genre director/filmmaker and actress living in Vancouver Canada, she’s described by Variety as part of the new wave of Latino talent.Gigi graduated with honours at Capilano University’s BOSA CENTRE FOR FILM AND ANIMATION and is also a current Directing instructor at Vancouver Film School. She has been praised as one of the top, emerging directors in the horror genre by Empire, Dread Central, Fangoria and Bloody Disgusting. Guerrero is co-founder of Luchagore Productions In Vancouver Canada. Guerrero directed an action-packed episode for THE PURGE season 2. She directed her feature debut CULTURE SHOCK for Blumhouse Productions Television, and it is still 100% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes. Guerrero started her career with several genre short films including gore-fest El Gigante now available on Shudder, and viral hits like A Luchagore Christmas and Evil Dead in 60 seconds. In 2014, Guerrero participated in the Mexican horror anthology Mexico Bárbaro with its Day of the Dead segment while still in film school. Her series with Warner Brothers/Stage 13, La Quinceañera, won the Audience Award at the 2017 Morbido Film Festival.
Guerrero is also known for not just her talent behind camera but her beauty in front. She has posed for PlayBoy Mexico, and many pinup holiday themed pictures! She is also an actress and most commonly known for her voice over work such as NETFLIX SUPER MONSTERS as Vida, and MARVEL SUPERHERO ADVENTURES and Spider-Girl. Recently Guerrero has booked 2 leading roles in new anticipated animated series.
Andrea is Investment Director at Ingenious Media where he is involved predominantly in financing deals for studio and independent projects. He has over ten years history in arranging, structuring and executing investments in entertainment projects, advising on media investment strategies, and leading fund-raising initiatives.
Andrea has worked on more than 100 film, TV and venture capital deals, and he has completed over $500m in financing transactions. He has also executive produced over twenty-five projects including the recent Oscar winning film Judy.
James Schamus is an award-winning screenwriter (The Ice Storm), producer (Brokeback Mountain), and former CEO of Focus Features (Dallas Buyers Club, Lost in Translation, Milk, The Pianist). His feature directorial debut, an adaptation of Philip Roth’s Indignation, starring Logan Lerman, Sarah Gadon, and Tracy Letts, premiered at the Sundance and Berlin Film Festivals, and was released by Roadside Attractions. Recent works from his New York-based production company, Symbolic Exchange, include Kitty Green’s The Assistant, starring Julia Garner; Andrew Ahn’s Driveways, starring Hong Chau and the late Brian Dennehy; and Rhys Ernst’s award-winning trans comedy Adam, starring Margaret Qualley, released by Wolfe Releasing. Schamus is Professor of Professional Practice in Columbia University’s School of the Arts, where he teaches film history and theory.
Pascal Schmitz is the co-founder, executive producer and head of development and production at AAA Entertainment, a film and television sales and financing company based out of Johannesburg, Lagos and Hangzou. AAA Entertainment is the only African sales company with a stand at the Cannes Film Festivals Marche du Film representing African films for the past three years. Pascal has produced several feature films, documentaries and television series for the local and international markets. He has served as a board member of the Documentary Filmmakers Association (DFA) for three years from 2008 to 2010, including one year as treasurer. He also served one year on the SASFED council.
Michael Schneider is the Senior Editor, TV Awards, at Variety, and a contributor to Los Angeles public radio station KCRW, where he hosts “Screengrab,” a weekly segment about the TV industry, and contributes to “The Business.” At Variety he oversees Emmy coverage and special issues, in addition to writing about television programming and the entertainment industry for the publication. He also hosts the podcast “My Favorite Episode.”
Prior to that he was Executive Editor at IndieWire and an Editor-At-Large for Variety, and before that the Chief Content Officer for TV Guide Magazine, where he helped launch the website TV Insider. During his original tenure at Variety and Daily Variety, Schneider spent 12 years as TV editor.
With more than 20 years of experience covering TV business, Schneider regularly moderates industry panels with execs, showrunners and talent at events including San Diego Comic-Con, PaleyFest, the HRTS, NATPE, PromaxBDA, and countless other events. He has appeared on ABC “World News Tonight” and “Primetime Live,” NBC’s “Today” show and “Dateline NBC,” CBS’ “Early Show,” G4’s “Attack of the Show,” E! News Daily, CNN, MSNBC, “Entertainment Tonight,” “The Insider,” “Access Hollywood,” NPR and many other programs and outlets. He also served as a reality show judge on a Fox Reality Channel show you probably didn’t see.
Michael Schneider has been covering the business of television for nearly 25 years — most of that time at Variety. He also hosts “Screengrab,” a weekly segment about the TV industry, for KCRW. He was previously Executive Editor at IndieWire; the Chief Content Officer for TV Guide Magazine; and TV Editor at Variety and Daily Variety. Mike regularly moderates industry and TV show panels at events including Comic-Con, PaleyFest, HRTS, NATPE and others, and once won a staring contest with Jon Hamm on the Dolby Theatre stage.
Currently Associate Professor at the Dodge College of Film and Media in Chapman University where he is the lead undergrad and grad marketing professor in the Creative Producing Program. He is the author, in conjunction with Katherine MacDonald, of The Marketing Edge for Filmmakers, published late last year and available through the AFM/Focal Press industry series Russell also lecturers at the American Film Institute.
He is currently Co-Principal at Pandemic Marketing, which provides strategic consulting to the entertainment industry and has overseen the marketing and awards campaigns for a select group of films and independents every year, including the recent politically divisive film
Chappaquiddick. Prior to that he was President of Worldwide Marketing for Relativity Media and was formerly President of Marketing for New Line Cinema, where he created and managed the marketing campaigns for over 70 movies including The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, Wedding Crashers, Elf, Hairspray and The Notebook.
Ian Sharp grew up in Scunthorpe, UK with Van Damme and De Niro movies for inspiration. After training at the National Youth Theatre, his passion for film & TV led him to London and a scholarship at the Arts Educational Schools.
He founded Achilles Entertainments with Rebecca Sharp in 2009, merging entrepreneurial experiences with their passion for film & TV and co-founded Sharp House in 2016. Ian has produced and executive produced various features from The Marker, Pleasure Island, Incoming, Undergods, Northern Soul, and the documentaries Westwood: Punk, Icon, Activist and the official (2019) Sundance Film Festival selected Halston. You can see Ian’s work at www.sharp-house.com
Lily began her work with TV-3 in 2011. Over the course of her career, she went from the head of on-air promo department to becoming the CMO.
In 2015, she received an “A” rating on a list of young media managers in Russia compiled by Odgers Berndtson, with the participation of PwC and the support of Mikhailov & Partners.
In 2017, she was awarded the Russian Media Manager Prize.
At TV-3 Lily was leading the marketing campaigns of movies: “Gogol”, “Fidelity”, “The VIP Cop – New Year Disaster”, “The Blackout” and series: “Chernobyl: The Exclusion Zone” (season 2), “An Ordinary Woman”, “The Dead Lake”, “Top the Lake” and others
In 2016 she graduated from the Stockholm School of Economics (SSE), EMBA.
In 2002, Lily graduated with honors from the Department of Sociology at Lomonosov Moscow State University.
From 2002 to 2008 she was the editor of on-air promo department, then she became the executive assistant to the COO of the REN TV channel.
From 2008 to 2011, she worked at Content Union, a joint media project of the RTL Group, an international media holding, and Content Union SA. There she started as a chief of advertising, later was promoted to the CMO. She was responsible for the formation of brand and strategy of five pay-TV channels, participated in channels’ launch in the networks of the largest providers
Serban is a technology innovator, hands-on engineering leader, and entrepreneur. He is the co-founder and President of Eluvio. Eluvio’s Content Fabric is a global platform service for low latency, high-quality content distribution, monetization, and asset servicing, just-in-time. The platform allows content providers to manage and distribute video content directly from source as on-demand streaming, live streaming, and dynamic sequences, and without the use of any separate transcoding service, content distribution service, or aggregation service, and without creating file copies.
Serban previously founded Aspera in 2004, and created the core Aspera FASP™ transport technology, an Emmy-award winning technology, used in the digital media supply chain for high-speed, low cost, scalable and secure ‘bulk data’ and digital content transport. At Aspera, he led implemented the first versions of the product, and ran the engineering organization for 13 years, as the company grew to 250+ people, and through the acquisition by IBM in 2014. Prior to Aspera, he was with Cisco Content Networking group, as a lead software engineer at Digital Fountain.
Serban holds multiple patents with expertise in high performance software, networking and secure systems design and implementation. He has a B.Sc. degree in Computer Science from the Universitatea Politehnica Bucuresti in Bucharest, Romania, and a Master’s degree in Telecommunication Networks from Ecole Nationale Superieure des Telecommunications, where he finished first in his class.
Darian A Singer
Film Executive with experience in many sides of the Japanese and American entertainment industry, including foreign film sales, licensing sales, adaptation rights sales, and packaging productions based on Japanese IPs.
Expert in discussing and negotiating legal matters related to contracts, hiring agreements, co-production agreements and more.
Managerial and executive positions at largest Japanese corporations including Kadokawa Group and SEGA (Marza Co). With her focus on being the ultimate liaison and cultural bridge between Japan and the United States, Slawinski ensures smooth communication between countries, and guarantees that no one gets “Lost in translation”.
John Sloss is a principal at the media advisory firm, Cinetic and partner in Sloss Eckhouse Dasti Haynes LawCo. Through Cinetic, he produces motion pictures and television, provides various content sales and corporate advisory services, and presides over a rapidly growing talent management division. The films he has produced or executive produced include Richard Linklater’s BOYHOOD, LAST FLAG FLYING, and “BEFORE” Series, Todd Haynes’s WONDERSTRUCK and I’M NOT THERE, Peter Farrelly’s GREEN BOOK, Errol Morris’s THE FOG OF WAR, Kimberly Peirce’s BOYS DON’T CRY, Jennifer Westfeldt’s FRIENDS WITH KIDS, and Ethan Hawke’s BLAZE. In addition to his ongoing roles at Sloss Eckhouse Dasti Haynes LawCo and Cinetic Media, John founded Filmbuff, a digital distribution company, which he later sold. He founded Producers Distribution Agency in 2010, a theatrical distribution company which has released Banksy’s EXIT THROUGH THE GIFT SHOP, Asif Kapadia’s SENNA, Emilio Estevez’s THE WAY, and Katie Dellamaggiore’s BROOKLYN CASTLE among other titles. He also founded the groundbreaking digital production and distribution company InDigEnt alongside Gary Winnick and IFC Films.
John has handled the sale of over 600 films including NAPOLEON DYNAMITE, LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE, THE KIDS ARE ALRIGHT, PRECIOUS, EXIT THROUGH THE GIFT SHOP, AMY, KNOCK DOWN THE HOUSE, and many of the most iconic independent films of the past 25 years. In addition, he advises a range of corporate entertainment clients across film and television to shape business strategies and support the growth of production, distribution, and marketing capabilities.
Among the filmmakers he has had a long association with, a selection includes Richard Linklater, Ethan Hawke, Todd Haynes, Errol Morris, John Hamburg, Jake Kasdan, Brett Morgen, Justin Lin, Asif Kapadia, Kevin Smith, Gary Winick, Rebecca Miller, Matthew Heineman, Alex Gibney, Whit Stillman, Charles Ferguson, and Christine Vachon. He lives in New York with his partner Bronwyn Cosgrave, and his children, Loulou and Henry.
In 2015 Klaudia Śmieja-Rostworowska together with Beata Rzeźniczek founded MADANTS, a Warsaw-based production company with the aim to produce independent films with international festival and distribution potential. Since then it has become one of the most active Polish production outlets and produced such films as Claire Denis’ High Life (TIFF, San Sebastian FF 2018, US distribution by A24), which starred Robert Pattinson and Juliette Binoche and was shot partly in Poland, and co-produced Hafsteinn Gunnar Sigurdsson’s Under The Tree (Venice FF, TIFF, US distribution by Magnolia Pictures) and Babis Makridis’ Sundance-selected Pity, among others. See more of her work here.
In 2018, Śmieja-Rostworowska established NEM Corp – a collaboration between Madants and Ewa Puszczyńska (Oscar-winning producer of Ida and Cold War)’s Extreme Emotions and Jan Naszewski’s sales outlet New Europe Film Sales (sales company behind the international success of Rams, United States of Love and Summer 1993).
Abbey Spacil is a bi-coastal digital Script Supervisor working locally in Los Angeles and Atlanta. After studying directing at Prague Film School and earning a Master’s degree in Mass Media and Communication, Abbey moved from Georgia to Los Angeles and began training to become a Script Supervisor under Randi Feldman at her highly regarded school in Santa Monica. Since then, she has scripted several commercials, television shows and features including Borat Subsequent Moviefilm(2020). In 2019 she began working as a director and has won multiple awards for her documentary Sonya Slidez, and is currently in post-production on her latest project, GLAISTIG.
Nick is a founding partner of XYZ Films, an independent production company, financier and worldwide sales agency based in Los Angeles.
XYZ specializes in filmmaker-driven elevated genre films with a distinct global outlook. Nick has overseen the production and distribution of films from over 40 countries. In 2019, Nick and his partners launched a talent management division representing filmmakers from all around the world.
XYZ is known for its creative licensing structures and has been at the forefront of digital distribution since its inception. Prior to co-founding XYZ in 2008, Nick developed and produced unscripted television series and local-language feature films.
Nick received an MFA from the UCLA Producers Program in 2006. He majored in English, History and French at Rice University, where he was a National Merit Scholar. He graduated Magna Cum Laude in 2004. Nick was born in Seattle, Washington.
Mimi Steinbauer launched Radiant Films International to bring quality commercial films to the worldwide marketplace. With more than 20 years of experience in the film industry, Steinbauer brings knowledge and passion to the films that Radiant finances and/or sells.
Radiant Films International’s current slate includes the dramatic thriller Delia’s Gone starring Stephan James (TV’s “Homecoming,” IF BEALE STREET COULD TALK), Oscar-Winner Marisa Tomei (MY COUSIN VINNY, SPIDER-MAN: FAR FROM HOME) and Paul Walter Hauser (RICHARD JEWELL; I, TONYA), the suspenseful thriller Aftermath starring Ashley Greene (TWILIGHT franchise) and Shawn Ashmore (X-MEN franchise), and the timely drama Percy Vs. Goliath starring Oscar-winner Christopher Walken (THE DEER HUNTER, SEVEN PSYCHOPATHS), Christina Ricci (BLACK SNAKE MOAN, SPEED RACER), and Zach Braff (GARDEN STATE, TV’s “Scrubs”).
Prior to launching Radiant, Steinbauer ran Hyde Park International where she was instrumental in acquiring, financing and selling such films as the Academy Award nominated BLUE VALENTINE (starring Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams), Robert Rodriguez’s MACHETE (starring Robert De Niro and Jessica Alba), and GHOST RIDER: SPIRIT OF VENGEANCE (starring Nicolas Cage).
Steinbauer was previously Vice President of Distribution at New Line Cinema, Sales and Distribution Consultant for Voltage Pictures, President of International Sales and Distribution at Franchise Pictures, and Head of International Television at Trimark Pictures. Over the course of her career, Steinbauer has been key in securing financing and/or selling more than 500 films including THE LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy, THE HURT LOCKER, THE MATRIX, RUSH HOUR 2, THE NOTEBOOK and THREE KINGS.
Steinbauer, who began her career as an Assistant Director in Austria, has a Master’s degree in Film Producing from the Peter Stark Program at USC, as well as a Masters in Alternative Dispute Resolution and International Peacekeeping from Pepperdine School of Law. She has served as a teaching assistant at the Harvard Program on Negotiation and is a certified yoga instructor. She has also served on the Board of Directors of the International Film and Television Alliance.
Since launching Snowfort Pictures in 2010, Travis Stevens has produced a wide range of award-winning genre films that have premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival, Cannes Director’s Fortnight, Sundance, SXSW, Telluride, Tribeca, Fantastic Fest, AFI and many more.
Featuring the acting talent of Rami Malek, Alisha Boe, Cleopatra Coleman, Kaniehtiio Horn, Alex Essoe, AnnaLynn McCord, Lin Shaye, Matthew Gray Gubler, Kate Lyn Sheil, Pat Healy, Ethan Embry, David Koechner, DJ Qualls, Eamon Farren, Sheila Vand and Beth Grant, each of these projects sought to expand the emotional and intellectual boundaries of the modern genre film.
GIRL ON THE THIRD FLOOR was his writing and directing debut. “Scaring up a strikingly feminist message” (SyFy Wire), this gooey haunted house tale premiered at SXSW in 2019 (“The best of the (Midnighters) program” RogerEbert.Com) and traveled the world, eventually winning a Fangoria Chainsaw Award (“Best First Feature”) and terrifying audiences on Netflix (becoming the #2 most watched film on the streaming service and remaining in the top 10 for over a week).
His latest horror film JAKOB’S WIFE, starring Barbara Crampton, Larry Fessenden, Bonnie Aarons, Sarah Lind & Mark Kelly, is currently in post-production.
Lidia Strelnikova is Head of International Marketing and Sales at Wizart Animation – a major Russian Animation Studio, founded in 2007. She started her career at Wizart Animation back in 2018 as International Marketing Manager. During this time she:
- participated in preparation of the following premieres: Snow Queen: Mirrorlands and Sheep and Wolves: Pig Deal;
- worked on the launch and the promo campaign of Snow Queen: The Keepers of Wonders TV Show in Russia;
- supervised international releases of Snow Queen: Mirrorlands (2018) and Sheep and Wolves: Pig Deal (2019) in 70+ countries, including territories of LATAM, China, South Korea, US&Canada, UK, France, etc.;
- participated in the organization of Wizart’s position in such markets as Cannes Marche du Film, AFM, EFM, Key Buyers Event;
- represented Wizart at APD in Stuttgart and at Kids Kino Industry Forum in Poland;
- in 2020 got promoted to the position of Head of International Marketing and Sales;
Now her main responsibilities are promotion of Wizart’s animation brands, strategy for Wizart’s new shows Inside My Backpack and Tin’s Firebots, co-production partnerships and direct sales of Wizart’s feature films.
Joanna Syiek has significant experience developing global growth and marketing strategies for companies with international ambitions and holds an MBA from HEC Paris. She enjoys working at the intersection of entertainment and technology and has a background in digital marketing, strategic planning and new media initiatives, with a focus on VOD platforms. She has previously worked at Disney and the Independent Film and Television Alliance where she was charged with finding growth opportunities for 145 member companies.
As a specialty finance company, Forest Road works to empower responsible creators with the resources they need to bring their best work to life, and enrich the process along the way. Zach manages the company’s loan book, builds the project pipeline, and invests in various ancillary services and tax credits/rebates. In just two years, Forest Road has worked on over 130 projects including The Informer (starring Joel Kinnaman), I Used To Go Here (SXSW ’19), and Skin (Tribeca ’19, Berlin ’19, TIFF ’18). Prior to founding Forest Road, Zach was an Energy Sector Head in the Private Equity Group at Brookfield Asset Management, and spent 8 years analyzing public and private market distressed credit securities.
Natalie is an independent creative producer who collaborates deeply with filmmakers to tell diverse stories that are heartfelt, humorous, and socially/politically resonant.
She is an Associate Producer on the critically-acclaimed film THE LAST BLACK MAN IN SAN FRANCISCO — having developed the film since the Kickstarter campaign. She is the Co-Producer on the IDA and Gotham-nominated documentary series THE F WORD: A FOSTER TO ADOPT STORY distributed by SoulPancake. Short films she produced have screened at Sundance, SXSW, Tribeca, Frameline, Cannes Shorts Corner, and HotDocs.
As an impact producer, she designed and implemented community engagement campaigns for the Oscar-nominated documentary END GAME, as well as THE PROVIDERS and TRUE CONVICTION, both which premiered on PBS. She conduced community outreach for the theatrical release of Robert Greene’s BISBEE ‘17 and Fredrick Wiseman’s MONROVIA, INDIANA.
John Von Thaden
Alison Thompson is Co-President of UK and LA based international production, sales and finance outfit, Cornerstone Films. With a focus on feature films of enduring quality and distinctive story-telling, the current slate includes Craig Roberts’s The Fantastic Flitcrofts starring Mark Rylance and Sally Hawkins, Jon Wright’s , creature-feature, The Little People, the remake of cult classic The Changeling directed by Anders Engström and Mike Leigh’s untitled 2021 project, as well as a trio of Sundance 2020 world premieres including Euros Lyn’s Dream Horse starring Toni Collette and Damian Lewis; Phyllida Lloyd’s Herself starring festival breakout Clare Dunne and Shirley directed by Josephine Decker and starring Elizabeth Moss and Michael Stuhlbarg.
Her career spans three decades during which she has worked with many of the world’s leading filmmakers on films that have garnered commercial and critical success. Thompson started her career at Channel Four Television, following which she joined The Sales Company, a leading film sales company during the 1990’s where she rose through the ranks to become Chief Executive in 1996. In 2000 she joined Pathe Pictures International followed by an 8-year tenure at the helm of Focus Features International. Her career highlights include working with Stephen Frears, Neil Jordan, Ken Loach, Roger Michell, Pedro Almodovar, Nicholas Roeg, Jane Campion, Gurinder Chadha, Walter Salles, Mike Leigh, Phyllida Lloyd, Woody Allen, Wes Anderson, Sean Penn, Fernando Meirelles, Alejandro Inarittu, Sophia Coppola, Joel and Ethan Coen, David Cronenberg and Ang Lee.
Todd has over 15 years of experience in scripted film and television, working at the studio level and in the field as Producer and Production Manager on a variety of budget levels.
In 2018, Todd was the Line Producer on Netflix’s critically acclaimed film Dumplin, based on the New York Times best-selling novel. She has worked on productions all over the world having served as Unit Production Manager/Production Supervisor on an array of films and television pilots both studio and Independent, including Amazon’s Gringo and One Mississippi, as well as Fox’s Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. Previously, Todd worked in physical production at 20th Century Fox Feature Films coordinating on a dozen tent pole films.
Todd has a Bachelor’s degree in Communications from Quinnipiac University and has studied at Esra International Film School in Nice, France and Bond University in Queensland, Australia.