NOVEMBER 9 - 13, 2020 • ONLINE

Speaker Bios

2020 Speaker Bios U-Z

Elia Urquiza

Elia Urquiza is one of the founding partners of La Panda Productions, a creative collective company formed by a group of Spanish filmmakers and producers in Los Angeles in 2012. After operating in the US for four years, La Panda opened offices in Spain in 2016 to help breach the gap between Hollywood and their native country. The company offers production services in both countries and specializes in developing international independent coproductions focusing on the Spanish speaking market. As such, La Panda has co-produced such acclaimed films as Carlos Marques Marcet´s “10,000 Km” and “Anchor and Hope”, Julia Solomonof’s “Nobody’s Watching”, Koldo Serra’s “70 Binladens”, or Lila Aviles´ “La Camarista”, selected by Mexico as their last years Oscars contender

Jean-Baptiste Viaud

Jean-Baptiste Viaud is the General Manager of LaCinetek, the first European platform solely dedicated to classic films with a catalogue of movies chosen and presented by directors from all over the world. In link with its board, he coordinates the operational team and implements its development strategy, running overall projects and ensuring the growth of the platform. He is in charge of acquisition of rights and works with over a hundred rights holders and distributors both in France and abroad. He was also up to 2019 a deputy member of the Commission for “Advanced funds on Earnings” for the French National Center of Cinematography (CNC).

With degrees in Foreign Languages and International Affairs in Paris and Vienna as well as in Cultural Journalism at the Sorbonne Nouvelle, he has been a journalist specialized in International politics at the French TV channel TV5Monde. He was also editor-in-chief for the movie webzine www.iletaitunefoislecinema.com and has worked for Arte.tv as a movie journalist.

Andrew Wallenstein

Andrew Wallenstein is President and Chief Media Analyst of Variety Intelligence Platform, a new extension of the Variety brand focused on market research. He has been with Variety since 2011, previously as Co-Editor-in-Chief. Wallenstein received the Luminary Award for Career Achievement from the Los Angeles Press Club in 2017. He was an on-air contributor for NPR’s All Things Considered for nearly a decade and also hosted the PBS series “Variety Studio: Actors on Actors” and TV Guide Channel’s “Square Off,” a weekly primetime series about the TV industry. Wallenstein has a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University. His work has appeared in the New York Times, Boston Globe and Business Week. He was at The Hollywood Reporter from 2002 to 2010.

Donna Washington

Donna Washington has been with FilmLA since July 1995.  When the City and County of Los Angeles chose that year to merge and privatize their respective film permit offices, Donna was one of two employees from the City to staff the newly-created film office.

In her present role as Vice President of Operations for FilmLA, Donna works to partner and collaborate with our community representatives, filmmakers, and government clients in the Greater Los Angeles area to help the local economy thrive.  Donna oversees permit operations, production planning, and field services for the organization. In partnership with her team, Donna strives to provide the gold standard in customer service in support of the organization’s goals and mission.

Prior to the merger that formed FilmLA, Donna began her career with the City of Los Angeles in the City Film and Video Permit Office. There, Donna gained experience mediating disputes between production companies and communities, and negotiating with government departments to balance the needs of the film industry and the communities in which they film. In 1995, the City of Los Angeles Board of Public Works presented Donna with a certificate of commendation for her record of service to the film industry and the City of Los Angeles.

Donna is a trusted advisor on a broad range of key filming issues and her longevity and intimate knowledge about all facets of on-location film production have led her to be respected by community and industry representatives alike.

Donna has a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California, Los Angeles in Political Science.  She currently resides in Long Beach.

Krista Wegener

Krista Wegener serves as Executive Vice President of Sales and Distribution for Participant, overseeing global sales and distribution for all of Participant’s film and television content, including narrative and documentary releases.

Wegener first joined the company in 2016 as Senior Vice President of Sales and Distribution and has overseen negotiations on behalf of Participant for high-profile sales, including Steve James’ acclaimed docuseries, City So Real (Nat Geo) and America to Me (Starz); David Byrne’s American Utopia (HBO; Universal), Academy Award®-winning American Factory (Netflix; Barack & Michelle Obama’s Higher Ground Productions); Victor Kossakovsky’s Aquarela (Sony Pictures Classics), Sundance Grand Jury Prize winner The Price of Free (YouTube); Chiwetel Ejiofor’s directorial debut, The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind (Netflix); and Ai Weiwei’s Human Flow (Amazon Studios).

Wegener also has overseen international sales and worldwide distribution strategy on such films as Mimi Leder’s On the Basis of Sex, Todd Haynes’ Dark Waters, Oscar® Best Picture winner Green Book and Alfonso Cuarón’s Academy Award®-winning Roma, on which she worked closely with Netflix to execute the worldwide theatrical release, leading up to the film being exhibited on nearly 2,000 screens in more than 40 countries.

Prior to Participant, Wegener spent six years as a key member of the Miramax executive team that relaunched the company after it was acquired by private equity investors in 2010. Prior to Miramax, she held senior finance and operational roles at Alliance Films and Universal Pictures International. Wegener started her career at The Walt Disney Company.

Wegener spent much of her career living and working internationally and was based in London for 10 years. She earned a BA in Economics from UCLA and holds an MBA from London Business School.

Jennifer Westin

Jennifer Westin is SVP, Production at MarVista Entertainment, overseeing a slate of 60+ movies per year across multiple genres for worldwide multi-platform distribution. At MarVista, Jennifer has overseen production of titles including the Netflix Original Movie, Falling Inn Love, starring Christina Milian and Adam Demos, which was one of the ten most popular shows on the streaming platform in 2019, NAACP nominated,  A Christmas Winter Song starring Grammy Award winner Ashanti, and Lifetime’s VC Andrews’ Casteel Family series, starring Jason Priestley.

Prior to joining MarVista, Jennifer was an independent producer of films including Caught, directed by Maggie Kiley, starring Anna Camp; The Big Ask featuring Gillian Jacobs, Melanie Lynskey, and Jason Ritter, distributed by Tribeca Films; and Mutual Friends with Caitlin FitzGerald. Jennifer also produced a host of short form and new media content that has played at festivals including Sundance, Tribeca and London.

She was a member of the producing faculty of the School of Cinematic Arts at USC and producer for Global Media Makers – an artist development program partnering Film Independent and the US Department of State.

Jennifer has a BA from USC and an MFA in film from Columbia University.

Lisa Whalen

Lisa is a partner and CEO of Company X, SpectreVision, and Company X Marketing. While working for various cable networks at NBCUniversal, Lisa partnered with SpectreVision, the genre company founded in part by Elijah Wood, on the Chiller Films production of “The Boy”. Shortly after the film’s premiere at the 2015 SXSW Film Festival, Lisa joined SpectreVision as CEO. Prior to that, Lisa held corporate positions with NBCUniversal, FOX Broadcasting and Katz Media, focusing on Scheduling, Strategy, and Research. Since joining the company, Lisa has overseen the creation of eight feature films, an award-winning VR game with Ubisoft, multiple TV series, a first-look deal with Legendary TV, as well as the launch of their non-genre production entity, Company X, and the acquisition of an entertainment Marketing firm, now Company X Marketing. Some of the Company X / SpectreVision titles include “Mandy”, “Two Sentence Horror Stories”, “Seven Stages to Achieve Eternal Bliss”, “Color Out of Space” and the upcoming “Archenemy”. Company X wrapped production on their latest feature, “No Man of God” in September 2020.

David White

David White is the national executive director and chief negotiator of Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artist (SAG-AFTRA). In this role, White serves as chief executive officer and strategist for the world’s largest entertainment union with approximately 160,000 members worldwide who work in film, television, broadcast news, commercials, music, video games and emerging media.

Prior to rejoining SAG-AFTRA, where he previously served as general counsel from 2002 to 2006, White was managing principal of Los Angeles-based Entertainment Strategies Group LLC, providing consulting services to the entertainment industry. He was a labor and employment attorney at O’Melveny & Myers LLP before joining the executive ranks of SAG-AFTRA. Prior to law school, White was the executive director of an innovative youth services organization, Youth Opportunities Unlimited.

A Rhodes Scholar, White is a graduate of Grinnell College, Stanford Law School and The Queen’s College, Oxford University. He serves as a board member of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco and USC’s Center for the Digital Future. He is past board chair and current trustee of the SAG-AFTRA Health Plan, past board chair and current trustee of the SAG-Producers Pension Plan, former chair of the board of trustees of Grinnell College, and former vice chair of the Industry Advancement and Cooperative Fund. He is a trustee of the AFTRA Retirement Fund, a board member of the Motion Picture and Television Fund, the SAG-AFTRA Foundation, and The Actors Fund. White serves as a Commissioner for the Industry Commission on Eliminating Sexual Harassment and Advancing Equality in the Workplace, and is a member of both the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

White has served as a Los Angeles area commissioner for urban planning and development.  He has been a contributing writer for the Los Angeles Lawyer, has been featured in various publications including the Los Angeles Magazine, and has served as a commentator on national and industry publications, and television and radio shows. He has received numerous awards throughout his career, including the John M. Langston Bar Association’s Attorney of the Year award (2014), the National Bar Association’s Entertainment, Sports & Art Law Section Attorney of the Year (2010), and the Association of Media and Entertainment Counsel’s Labor and Personal Representation Counsel of the Year (2009).

Chuck Williams

A 21-year Disney Feature Animation veteran, Chuck has served as a development executive, writer, editor and producer on many worldwide films.  During his early years at Disney, he worked on Beauty & the Beast, Lion King, Aladdin, and several other films, and also wrote the approach to and produced the Academy nominated Brother Bear (Disney’s 40th animated feature).  Afterwards, Chuck moved to California, and produced and wrote several films in development at Disney Features. Under Pixar’s John Lasseter and Ed Catmull, Chuck was asked to head the Disney Shorts program which was the vanguard for the Pixar development process into Disney.

Earlier this year, Chuck was one of the producers on the hit film Sonic the Hedgehog.  He developed the feature for 3 years while working with SEGA, producer Neal Moritz (Fast & Furious franchise) and Tim Miller (Deadpool).  He currently runs his own company called LIGHTBEAM ENTERTAINMENT and is working on several large, worldwide brands to turn them into live-action and animated films and series.  Some of his partnerships include companies like Toei Animation, Bandai-Namco, SEGA, Konami, and Kadokowa.

Chuck is a passionate filmmaker, a veteran in emotional, big scale stories, and a relentless pursuer of quality, family entertainment.

Britta Wilson

Coming Soon.

Chelsea Winstanley

Chelsea Winstanley is a New Zealand Academy-Award nominated film producer known for producing 2018 documentary Merata: How Mum Decolonised the Screen, What We Do in the Shadows and Jojo Rabbit (2019). Returning to New Zealand in 2020, Winstanley announced the launch of LA and Aotearoa-based production company This Too Shall Pass — to tell “authentic stories with unique cultural perspectives”. Under her new company she is directing the feature documentary Toi Tū Toi Ora – Visual Sovereignty and producing KAPŌ a Hawaiian drama. 

Katherine Winston

Katherine Winston

Katherine Winston has been at the forefront of marketing, event production, and emerging trends for over 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 EVP of the Independent Film & Television Alliance (IFTA) and Managing Director of the American Film Market. Since his appointment in 1998, he has guided the growth and repositioning of AFM – now the world’s largest film market – into a global production and distribution marketplace which annually hosts over 7,000 industry professionals from 70+ countries.

Jonathan expanded the AFM with conferences, networking events, online screenings, the MyAFM community and, in 2017, LocationEXPO®, all leading to steadily increasing attendance and production and distribution deals done at the market which total more than $1 billion each year. He also launched The Film Catalogue, IFTA’s comprehensive industry resource featuring over 10,000 motion pictures and projects.

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.

Adrian Wootton

Adrian Wootton OBE is Chief Executive of Film London and the British Film Commission. Adrian is a Programme Advisor to the BFI London Film Festival, Venice Film Festival and Noir in Fest, Milan. He is Founding Director of Shots in the Dark Festival, Nottingham. In 2012, Adrian received an Honorary Doctorate in the Arts and was appointed Visiting Professor of Film & Media at Norwich University of the Arts. In 2014, he received an Honorary Doctorate of Letters from the University of East Anglia and in 2017 was awarded an OBE for Services to Film. Most recently, Adrian has led the British Film Commission’s work to develop the COVID-19 Production guidance for Film and High-end TV drama, as part of the BFI’s wider COVID-19 Screen Sector Recovery Task Force.

Adrian is also a member of the British Academy of Film & Television Arts (BAFTA), the European Film Academy (EFA), the British Screen Forum, and a member of the DIT Creative Industries Trade and Investment Board.

Steve Yandrich

Steve Yandrich is the Co-Founder of Saniset, a COVID 19 Return to Work Solutions Company, which has serviced over 200 productions in getting back to work safely and responsibly.

His experience also includes 14 years of Physical Production globally.

Steve currently splits his time between Los Angeles and Beijing.

Sophia Yen

Recently named to Variety’s “2020 Legal Impact Report” and 2019 “Dealmakers List,” Sophia Yen provides business strategy and legal services to a wide range of stakeholders in the entertainment industry – from smaller production companies and high net-worth individuals, to larger companies, financial institutions and studios, both domestically and abroad. She is known and sought out for her expertise in structuring equity and debt financing deals. In addition to financing, Sophia provides counsel to her clients throughout the life cycle of a film, television or digital project, including during development, production, distribution and licensing deals. She also has experience in film foreclosures, dispute settlements, purchasing distressed entertainment assets, and negotiating with the guilds. She is well-versed in the emerging fields of the entertainment industry and in recognizing for clients the strategic value of digital media and China entertainment sectors.

Sophia graduated with a B.S. in Business Administration from the Walter A. Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley and obtained her law degree from Boston University School of Law. Before becoming a lawyer, Sophia was a CPA and financial auditor at Ernst & Young LLP. In her free time, she enjoys drinking wine and spending time with her family.

Joy Young-Sang

Coming soon.

Viviana Zarragoitia

Viviana Zarragoitia began her career in the entertainment industry working in production accounting at Millennium Films and Bold Films. She then spent 5 years at Lionsgate, where she started working in the accounting department and segued into the finance division, specifically, profit participation. While working in profit participation, she oversaw the preparation of multi-million dollar film and television distribution deals. She was then promoted to the group’s audit division, where she managed film and television royalty audits of producers’ profit participation statements. In 2013, she joined Three Point Capital, a boutique firm that specializes in senior lending on film and television projects. While at Three Point Capital, Viviana has been involved in the financing of over 70 independent films, and worked with such producers as Cassian Elwes, Rob Barnum, Anthony Bregman, James Schamus, Aaron Gilbert, Kimberly Steward, Nicolas Chartier and Kevin Frakes, among others. As Vice President, Viviana closes the financing on every film that the company is involved in, as well as manages the company’s operations in its satellite offices (Ohio and Louisiana). Viviana has received over a dozen Executive Producers credits on titles she has financed. She graduated Cum Laude with a double-major in Business and English from Loyola Marymount University