We hope The AFM Sessions bring you actionable information that you can apply to your projects and businesses, as well as inspiration for your work during these challenging times. We encourage you to watch, share and discuss The AFM Sessions with your colleagues and peers.
Finance Conference: Producing Without a Completion Bond
The current climate indicates very few films are headed into production fully bonded. Our panel explores how some productions are attempting to mitigate risk by negotiating insurance, self-bonding, and working with independent equity financiers.
Panelists: Brad Krevoy, CEO, Motion Picture Corporation of America | Brian O’Shea, CEO, The Exchange | John Sloss, Founder, Cinetic Media
Moderator: Jill Goldsmith, Co-Business Editor, Deadline
Keep Calm and Carry On Filming
In partnership with the British Film Institute (BFI)
As the UK industry continues to be impacted by Covid and Brexit, the session will examine how film production has restarted with a panel that has direct hands-on experience of getting things back up and running. It will focus on what films are being made, by whom and how.
Panelists: Adrian Wootton, Chief Executive, Film London and the British Film Commission | Anna Mansi, Head of Certification, British Film Institute | Julia Oh, Senior Commissioning Executive, Film4 | Alison Thompson, Co-President, Cornerstone Films
Moderator: Jeremy Kay, Americas Editor, Screen International
Pandemic Production Challenges & Solutions
Getting films into production safely is the biggest obstacle the global industry is facing. Executives, producers and those creating and overseeing production guidelines talk the protocols, costs, and risks associated with production in the time of a pandemic.|
Panelists: Chris Moore, Producer, Almost Never Films | Celine Rattray, Partner & Producer, Maven Pictures | Jennifer Westin, SVP, Production, MarVista Entertainment
Moderator: Richard Botto, Founder & CEO, Stage 32
How to Make Movies, From Indies to Studio Features & Working On Set
Dan Mazer, writer of Borat and Director of I Give it a Year and Home Alone (reboot), joins Director and Host Giles Alderson and Producer/Financier Ian Sharp to talk how to make movies, from indies to studio features, working on set and the writer/director/producer relationship.
Hosts: Giles Alderson, Creator & Host, The Filmmakers Podcast | Ian Sharp, Founder, Sharp House
Guest: Dan Mazer, Writer & Director, LBI Entertainment
The Future of Film: A Conversation with NEON’s Elissa Federoff
Elissa Federoff, President of Distribution, NEON, looks ahead to the future of feature film distribution and exhibition; expected challenges and finding ground in a new normal.
Moderated by Brent Lang, Executive Editor, Film & Media, Variety
Who Did I Offend Now? Cultural Competency in Storytelling
presented in partnership with the NAACP
A long line of films, including epics like Birth of a Nation and Gone with the Wind, have been praised for cinematic prowess and ironically denounced for cultural insensitivity. At a time when social perspectives are largely shaped by an endless barrage of deliberately designed media images, film and television content creators are being challenged for contributing to a world of misinformation and division. Are they perpetuating negative stereotypes? Is bias an unavoidable element of art? Should artistic license be subject to revocation in the pursuit of representational equity? What steps can be taken to ensure cultural competence in media?
The NAACP will probe these questions and lead an exploratory forum on the power and social responsibilities that accompany mass media storytelling.
Panelists: Darnell Hunt, Dean of the Division of Social Sciences and Professor of Sociology and African American Studies, UCLA | Brittany A. Little, Vice President, Drama Development, Universal Television | Britta Wilson, Vice President, Inclusion Strategies, Pixar Animation Studios
Moderator: Kyle Bowser, NAACP
What’s Working in the Pre-Sales Marketplace?
Pre-Selling to territorial Buyers is key to financing most independent films. What are they looking for? Which genres and talent? How do you set a budget that will reflect the marketplace? Discover which projects are most likely to sell globally before they are made.
Panelists: Kimberly Fox, Partner & Head of International Sales, MadRiver International | Jeffrey Greenstein, President, Millennium Media | Nat McCormick, EVP, Worldwide Distribution, The Exchange
Moderator: Jeremy Kay, Americas Editor, Screen International
Europe! How to Co-Produce Between The US and Europe?
presented in partnership with the European Film Promotion (EFP)
How to combine the very different financing and production systems. The speakers are producers who share their experiences.
Panelists: D.J. Gugenheim, Producer, President, ALP Andrew Lauren Productions USA | Klaudia Śmieja-Rostworowska, Producer, Founder, Madants & NEM Corp. Poland | Olivier Théry-Lapiney, Producer, Alcatraz Films
Moderator: Sonja Heinen, Managing Director, EFP
The Future of Film: A Conversation with Solstice Studios’ Mark Gill
Mark Gill, President & CEO, Solstice Studios, explors the future state of the industry; predictions of how independent film, the marketplace, and audience consumption will change.
Moderated by Anthony D’Alessandro, Managing Editor, Deadline
Raising Money in A COVID World & The Future of Film Distribution
In this session filmmaker and Founder of Indie Film Hustle Alex Ferrari and film financier Franco Sama discuss raising money in the times of COVID-19. They also discuss the ever-changing landscape of film distribution, how filmmakers can position their films for success and how to avoid bad distribution deals.
Host: Alex Ferrari, Founder, Indie Film Hustle
Guest: Franco Sama, CEO, Samaco Films
Low Budget Films with Huge Profit Potential
Everyone in the film business is looking for that next low budget unicorn. Industry decision makers discuss what makes a film investment-worthy and the keys to huge revenue potential.
Panelists: Jillian Apfelbaum, EVP, Content, Village Roadshow Pictures | Nick Spicer, Partner, XYZ Films | Zachary Tarica, CEO & Director, The Forest Road Co.
Moderator: John Rhodes, Co-Founder, Screencraft
Screenwriting on a Micro-Budget: How to Make an Impact With Your Story While Embracing Limitations
Producing micro-budget films has become more accessible than ever in recent years, at least from a technical standpoint. But many filmmakers wrestle with the same question – How can I adapt my creative concepts to work on a smaller canvas? This question serves as the foundation for our discussion, and a framework for understanding how to balance creative intent with budgetary limitations, to ultimately create the most viable finished product.
Host: Noam Kroll, Director & Host, Show Don’t Tell Podcast
Guest: Bryan Hill, Screenwriter, The Bryan Hill Project
Distribution Conference: Standing Out in the Streaming Game; What Platforms and Audiences Want
Gaining attention in an increasingly saturated market is challenging to say the least. Platform leaders will speak to their acquisition needs and strategy, and reveal what types of content have a greater chance at VOD success.
Panelists: Scilla Andreen, Co-Founder & CEO, IndieFlix | Cameron Douglas, VP of Home Entertainment, FandangoNOW
Moderator: Erick Opeka, President, Cinedigm Networks
The Keys to Crowdsourcing
In the age of Covid, learning how to crowdsource has never been more important. Join Stage 32 CEO and Author of Crowdsourcing for Filmmakers: Indie Film and The Power of the Crowd for a class that will explain how to put crowdsourcing to use to establish your personal brand and the brand of your projects by using social media, offline efforts and other tools. You will learn all aspects of crowdsourcing including how to identify, engage, and move an army of supporters on your behalf.
Instructor: Richard Botto, Founder & CEO, Stage 32
Managing Financial Risk from Script to Screen
Industry experts talk about finding and keeping investors as a film moves from development through distribution.
Panelists: Ryan Broussard, Vice President, Sales & Production Incentives, Media Services Payroll | Gregoire Gensollen, COO, Tucker Tooley Entertainment |
Gary Raskin, Managing Partner, Raskin Gorham Anderson Law LLP
Moderator: David Offenberg, Associate Professor of Entertainment Finance, Loyola Marymount University
Writers Workshop: The Art of Cinematic Superstructure
One of the greatest challenges facing screenwriters is developing an engaging premise into a compelling, well-structured story. This workshop explores the art of superstructure; the essential narrative turning points that have held together great stories throughout the history of filmmaking. From the opening scene to the emotionally engaging climax, learn how critical scenes work in synthesis with one another, how to avoid the pitfalls of a poorly structured story, and gain a greater understanding of what holds a great story together.
Instructor: Steven Wolfson, Screenwriter/Instructor, UCLA
Global Sales and VOD
presented in partnership with The Film Collaborative
Industry experts discuss current strategies and trends for global film sales and VOD distribution. Get insight into the varying business models, the state of the marketplace, “all rights” versus direct VOD platform deals, and expectations for 2021 and beyond.
Panelists: Wendy Bernfeld, Founder/CEO, Rights Stuff | Gabrielle Rozing, General Manager, Fortissimo Films | Todd Olsson, President of International, Highland Film Group | Brian O’Shea, CEO, The Exchange
Moderator: Orly Ravid, Founder & Co-Executive Director, The Film Collaborative and Attorney, Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp LLP (MSK)
Made by Africans, Watched by the World
African film and television content is on the rise in their home market and globally, especially in the US. Meet the producers and talent behind successful productions that have found global audiences with their stories and find out what the secret is to their success.
Panelists: Mayenzeke Baza, Head Of Distribution & Financing, AAA Entertainment | Bradley Joshua, CEO & Executive Producer, Gambit Films | Rethabile Ramaphakela, Co-Owner & Creative Director, Burnt Onion Productions
Moderator: Pascal Schmitz, Co-Founder / Executive Producer / Head of Development & Production, AAA Entertainment
U.S. Film Incentives: From Application to Audit
As production ramps back up, film offices have opened the floodgates for tax credit applications. Producers are seeking locations that not only support set safety but also deliver the most savings. Join our film tax incentive experts as they do a deep dive on each of their disciplines: the application process, preselling your credit for financing, brokering a transferable credit and getting through the audit. An A-to-Z film incentives course from recognized leaders in the field.
Panelists: Nicole Ameln, President and Founder, North Star Incentives, Inc. | David Benavente, Vice President Independent Sales and Independent Services, Cast & Crew Entertainment Services | David Brauer, CPA, Brauer & Co., PC | Marco Cordova, Director of Film Finance and West Coast Tax Credit Investments, Monarch Private Capital
Moderator: Ryan Broussard, VP of Production Incentives and Sales, Media Services Payroll
Diverse, Dynamic, Sustainable: Evolution of a European VoD Sector
presented in partnership with EUROVOD
European indie VoD platforms are playing an essential role in a changed audiovisual ecosystem and society, where editorial choices and cultural diversity are key, building a diverse, dynamic and sustainable sector. In 2020 lessons have been learned about how to build on audience behavior when we speak about specialized, independent and local content, proving the value of cooperation between on-demand services, cinemas, festivals and local cultural operators.
Panelists: Denis Février, Executive Director & Co-Founder, Polkatulk / Scenso.tv and VP, Tënk | Agustina Lumi, Tech Project Manager, EUROVOD | Jaume Ripoll, Co-Founder, Filmin | Jean-Baptiste Viaud, General Delegate, LaCinetek
Moderator: Michael Gubbins, Founder, SampoMedia
How to Secure the Right Cast for a Greenlight
Attaching talent to your project is an important step towards getting it financed. Casting directors and producers share how to carefully target the right talent and what it takes to attract them.
Panelists: Jenny Jue, Owner & Casting Director, Downtown Casting | Laura Rister, Producer, Untitled Entertainment
Moderator: Caroline Couret-Delegue, Managing Director, Film Seekers
The Director/Producer Relationship
Learn the best ways directors and producers can work together to ensure a film’s success. Prominent filmmakers and producers share their intimate knowledge, tips, insights, and horror stories.
Panelists: Gigi Saul Guerrero, Director / Actor, Luchagore Productions, “Culture Shock” “The Purge TVS2” | Travis Stevens, Founder & CEO, Snowfort Pictures | Lisa Whalen, CEO, Company X / SpectreVision
Moderator: Shaked Berenson, CEO, Entertainment Squad
Deciphering Streaming Models & The Path to VOD Distribution
With the global VOD space continuing to evolve, these distribution experts provide current insights into the marketplace and platforms so you can better navigate both the streaming opportunities and challenges for independent content.
Panelists: Audrey Delaney, SVP, Distribution & Worldwide Marketing, Blue Fox Entertainment | Linda Nelson, CEO, Indie Rights | Lise Romanoff, CEO & Managing Director, Vision Films | James Schamus, CEO, Symbolic Exchange
Moderator: Bruce Eisen, President, Digital Advisors
Building a Marketing Toolkit for Independent Features
presented in partnership with SAG-AFTRA
Motion picture marketing executives walk you through the key pieces of a successful marketing plan to ensure no opportunities are overlooked in production and that the filmmaker captures and delivers everything needed for the ideal marketing toolkit.
Presenters: Katherine MacDonald, SVP, Animation, Paramount Pictures | Russell Schwartz, President, Pandemic Marketing Group
Navigating and Negotiating Intimacy on Set
Intimacy coordinators are creating safer, more comfortable workplaces for actors, while helping film and television productions run efficiently. Our panel provides expert information on the benefits of working with intimacy coordinators and what producers can expect.
Panelists: Amanda Blumenthal, Founder, Intimacy Professionals Association | Gabrielle Carteris, President, SAG-AFTRA | Jim Kleverweis, Executive Producer, “Euphoria,” “Insecure,” “Silicon Valley” | Alicia Rodis, Executive Team, Intimacy Directors and Coordinators (IDC)
Moderator: David White, National Executive Director, SAG-AFTRA
Writing Compelling Characters
Memorable characters can get movies made. Explore the most effective techniques for bringing characters to life on the screenplay page and what it takes for the reader to empathize with and root for your story’s protagonist.
Instructor: Billy Mernit, Universal Studio Story Analyst & Former UCLA Extension Instructor
The Future of Film – Breaking The Mold: Using Artificial Intelligence to Inform Success
AI is slowly becoming part of the process; it can analyze story, streamline pre-production, assess performance, and determine geographically where movies are likely to find an audience. Innovators in the field of film-oriented AI discuss how they acquire and utilize data to predict and articulate a project’s potential for success.
Panelists: Nadira Azermai, Founder, Scriptbook | Tobias Queisser, Co-Founder & CEO, Cinelytic | Andrea Scarso, Investment Director, Ingenious
Moderator: Debajyoti “Deb” Ray, CEO, RivetAI
Brainstorming Through the Block
Have an idea, but don’t know where to go with it? Wrote a scene, but need to make it more engaging? Stopped in your tracks by where to go next with a character or a piece of dialogue? Writing coach Pilar Alessandra will get your story out of your head and onto the page with actionable writing tools to help you push through writer’s block and finish your script.
Instructor: Pilar Alessandra, Author/Consultant, On the Page
Blockchain Streaming Platforms
presented in partnership with the Blockchain Global Entertainment Alliance
Blockchain innovators discuss the growth and future of digital distribution platforms and the blockchain solutions that will be available to producers and filmmakers.
Introduction: Patrice Poujol, Founder & CEO, Lumiere Project
Panelists: Jake Craven, VP, Content Partnerships, Breaker | Adrian J. Garelik, CEO, Flixxo | Serban Simu, President & Co-Founder, Eluvio
Moderator: Trinabh Gupta, Assistant Professor, University of California Santa Barbara
How To Budget A Film
Geared towards writers and producers early in their career, our instructor provides insight on how to assess scripts, develop budgets, and be ready to approach the pitch with a sound interpretation of how finances will support the project.
Instructor: Michael Mandaville, Producer, michaelmandaville.com
in partnership with Blockchain Global Entertainment Alliance
Understand how blockchain can help amplify your revenue streams through rights managements and royalty payments based on decentralized and transparent systems.
Introduction: Manuel Badel, BGEA, Badel Media
Panelists: Nicole d’Avis, Managing Director, Berklee Institute for Creative Entrepreneurship / Open Music Initiative | Steven Haft, Head of Global Partnerships, Consensys | Jason Kelley, General Manager, IBM Blockchain Services
Moderator: Jaime Otero
New Zealand: Challenges and Opportunities for Film in a COVID World
presented in partnership with the Screen Production and Development Association of New Zealand
A 360 degree look at the film industry in New Zealand from local production and international co-productions to locations and crews and the ways in which the country has stayed nimble in the wake of the pandemic.
Panelists: Richard Fletcher, Co-President, SPADA, Managing Director, Libertine Pictures | Rob Tapert, Producer, Executive Producer, Ghost House Pictures, Renaissance Pictures | Chelsea Winstanley, Producer, Executive Producer, Director, This Too Shall Pass
Moderator: Patrick Frater, Asia Editor, Variety
Producing Comedy in Today’s Hollywood, A Serious Business
presented in partnership with The Producer’s Guide: Todd Garner & Hollywood’s Elite Podcast
Join Todd and his special guest John Cena, WWE wrestler turned blockbuster superstar and comedy master, for this unique AFM episode as they discuss their passion for creating and delivering comedy, the unique challenges the genre presents, and the importance of comedy as catharsis in today’s reality.
Host: Todd Garner, Veteran Producer and Head of Broken Road Productions
From Networking to Getting Reads to Landing a Rep to Selling Your Work: The Do’s & Don’ts of a Successful Screenwriting Career
Give yourself the best chance to break in and learn the guidelines on how to sustain a high profile and successful career as a screenwriter. Learn common mistakes and how to avoid them, how to get the all-important read, strategies for landing representation and finding producers for your work, and how to assure you’re listening to the right voices. Over nearly a decade of writing screenplays (with multiple paid options/sales) and running Stage 32, Richard “RB” Botto has seen and heard it all. In this class he will provide you the blueprint on how to give yourself the best chance at success in the current environment.
Instructor: Richard Botto, Founder & CEO, Stage 32
Distributing & Monetizing Feature Documentaries
The Documentary marketplace is quickly transforming. New platforms and alliances are providing opportunities for stories that can support a long-form treatment. Producers and distributors examine diverse sources of revenue and which co-production models can achieve success.
Panelists: Anna Godas, CEO, DogWoof | Kevin Iwashina, Agent, Endeavor Content | Krista Wegener, former EVP, Sales and Distribution Participant, Participant Media | John Von Thaden, Head of Acquisitions, Magnolia Pictures
Moderator: Gregg Goldstein, Contributing Writer, Variety
What Types of Film and TV Content Perform Best on SVOD?
SVOD is a critical distribution avenue for films, yet most platforms do not make their performance data available. Film business researcher and author Shephen Follows shares his new methodology that reveals how different kinds of film and TV content perform on major subscription VOD platforms.
Presenter: Stephen Follows, Founder of Story Agency & Film Data Expert
Movie Marketing for Producers & Filmmakers
Successful filmmakers and producers have a deep understanding of marketing. Learn the fundamentals and how to effectively collaborate with marketing professionals at every stage of your movie’s journey to the audience.
Instructor: Richard Baker, President, Silk Factory
Script Supervisor: Pre-Production to Production
Script Supervisors oversee continuity from all departments from script to screen. Understand the skills and duties of the script supervisor, what they bring to a project to keep your film’s vision on track, and why they are such a valuable member of your crew.
Instructors: Randi Feldman, Founder, Cinema Workshops | Abbey Spacil, Script Supervisor & Script Editor