All posts by Scott A. Capestany

attends the Sundance Institute Benefit presented by Tiffany & Co. in Los Angeles held at Soho House on June 6, 2012 in West Hollywood, California.

PGA Awards – Diversity is an “Absolute Must” In Industry – Ava DuVernay

ScottCApestany_PressHS_Web_2017

Scott A. Capestany – Editor In Chief

Beverly Hills, CA

As the #WomenInFilm movement and conversational climate in Hollywood continues to escalate regarding an industry wide push for gender equality and inclusion across all platforms, this weekends recipient of the 2018 PGA Visonary Award went to one of the most recognizable  and empowering voices among the #WomenInFilm movement – AVA DUVERNAY.

Hosted at the marquee Hilton Hotel Beverly, industry producers gathered to celebrate the annual achievements by guild members.

After being presented the Award by colleague and Academy Award Winner REESE WITHERSPOON (Wrinkle In Time), DuVernay quickly turned the conversation and acceptance speech into challenging Hollywood to rethink their stance and perspectives on gender equality, inclusion and societal awareness.

“I was excited to come here today because we’re gathering on another historic day of the women’s march. It’s an interesting day because we had the women’s march in the midst of a government shutdown,” she said. “We have moments where people like me are at the intersection of Black Lives Matter and Me Too and Time’s Up. In shirt, we’re in the midst of times that will be long remembered , and I can’t help but ask the question of how will we be remembered in these times.”

Recognizing  ALLISON SHEARMUR, DuVernay talked about how the late producer, who recently unexpectedly passed away due to complications from lung cancer, created opportunities for people of color and marginalized voices in the entertainment industry.

“That is what we should be remembered for, the work that we put in this world.  Ever more importantly is the way that we work.  The people we actually choose to see, that we choose to amplify in the moments when everyone is looking.”

As one of the leading advocates for gender and racial equality in Hollywood, DuVernay mentioned that there are now conversations within the entertainment community about  “rights and wrongs in the industry”.

She went on to say, “I just want to take a second to say you don’t do it because it’s the right thing to do, to pivot from prejudice.  It’s not a trend, it’s reality! A reality that our industry has betrayed in so many ways over the decades. So not to think of diversity as a good thing to do, think of it as an absolute must, something that must be done.”

The Producers Guild of America recognizes and one individual each year for the Visionary Award in Film, TV or new media producers whose contributions are unique and uplifting to our culture through inspiring storytelling or performance.  DuVernay’s recognition comes from  work as a writer, director, producer, marketer and film distributor whose work embodies and highlights social issues.

Her work includes the Oscar nominated and Emmy winning documentary 13th about racial issues and the prison system in America. Other noted work is her highly acclaimed drama series she collaborated on with Oprah Winfrey’s Harpo Productions and distributed by her OWN Network- Queen Sugar  

DuVernay, whose forged her path in the industry as a leading publicist and highly skilled marketer dating back too 1999,  also recently became the first black woman to direct a film (Disney) budgeted over $100 Million and the first women of color to win the Sundance Best Director award in 2012 with Middle of Nowhere.

She is represented by Creative Artists Agency. 

Cover photo courtesy of Makers.

 

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SLAMDANCE Film Festival Short + Beyond 2018 Line-ups!

ScottCApestany_PressHS_Web_2017Los Angeles, CA

The SLAMDANCE FILM FESTIVAL announced their 24th addition of Beyond and Short programs this week.  Each of the films were selected from a very competitive and large pool of submissions which include the return of some  Alumni in the Beyond lineup.  Each film is presented by emerging filmmakers that are primarily heading in to their sophomore film.

“The films in the Beyond Program exhibit singular directorial vision while sharing a common commitment to challenge audiences to step outside their comfort zones,” says Slamdance Beyond programmer, Josh Mandel. “These bold and adventurous filmmakers represent the most current voices in American independent film, and will continue to push boundaries in the years ahead.”

Slamdance 2018 will showcase a short film lineup made up of productions from 26 countries, including: North America (US+Canada), Iran and beyond.

Short Films  in the Narrative, Documentary, Animation, Anarchy and Experimental sections are all eligible for the 2018 Oscar® Qualifying Shorts competition.

Anarchy Shorts ushers in another year of incendiary works of cinema.  “The Department of Anarchy has curated a diverse program of sublime, dangerous, and deviant films that provide shock therapy to the soul.” says Anarchy Shorts programmer, Noel Lawrence. “We hope to provoke, challenge, and enlighten audiences by smashing the status quo on any and all levels.”

Narrative Shorts programmer Taylor Miller had this to say. “In the spirit of Slamdance as an alternative film festival, this year’s slate of narrative shorts contains many films that challenge our conceptions of what constitutes a narrative, what stories are capable of, and what stories are for. We also have embraced works displaying unique talents and voices working in a raw, unpolished filmmaking style. We believe that once again Slamdance will be a place to find vital and bold works valued over short attempts to replicate mainstream accessibility.”

BEYOND PROGRAM

Back at the Staircase
(USA) World Premiere – 77 minutes
Director: Drew Britton

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Synopsis: Distant siblings are unexpectedly tasked with planning for the future after their elderly mother suffers a life-threatening accident on the eve of her milestone birthday party.
Cast: Jennifer Lafleur, Stephen Plunkett, Leonora Pitts, Mickey O’Hagan, Logan Lark, Heather LaVine

Funny Story
(USA) World Premiere – 84 minutes
Director: Michael Gallagher

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Synopsis: After years of being a neglectful father, a womanizing TV star decides to crash his estranged daughter’s same-sex destination wedding.
Cast: Matthew Glave, Emily Bett Rickards, Jana Winternitz, Nikki Limo, Lily Holleman, Jessica Diggins, Pete Gardner, Reginald VelJohnson

My Name is Myeisha
(USA) World Premiere
Director: Gus Krieger

MyNameIsMyeisha2 - Gus K
Synopsis: A beloved teenager crosses over into a hip-hop-musical dreamscape at the moment of her tragic death and contemplates her life; what it was and what it could have been.
Cast: Rhaechyl Walker, John Merchant, Dominique Toney, Dee Dee Stephens, Yvette Cason, Gregg Daniel

The Rainbow Experiment
(USA) World Premiere
Director: Christina Kallas

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Synopsis: An investigation uncovers more than just blame at a Manhattan high school when a science experiment permanently injures a student.
Cast: Chris Beetem, Francis Benhamou, Christian Coulson, Kevin Kane, Nina Mehta, Laura Pruden, Connor Siemer, Lauren Sowa, Swann Gruen, Christine McLaughlin

Savage Youth
(USA) World Premiere
Director: Michael Curtis Johnson

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Synopsis: The lives of six troubled teens in a racially-divided small town take a violent turn over drugs and broken hearts. Based on true events.
Cast: Grace Victoria Cox, Tequan Richmond, Will Brittain, Chloe Levine, Mitchell Edwards, J. Michael Trautmann, Sasha Feldman, Tomas Pais

ANARCHY SHORTS PROGRAM

AniMal
(Iran)
Director: Bahram Ark, Bahman Ark

A man disguises himself as a ram to cross a border into another land.
Cast: Davoud Nourpour

Breaker
(Japan)
Director: Philippe McKie

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In tomorrow’s Tokyo, the technologically-enhanced body of a young mercenary hacker is overrun by a sentient data weapon.
Cast: Yuka Tomatsu / Arisa Hanzawa / Kazuya Shimizu

Clipping. – “Back Up”
(USA) US Premiere
Director: Anna Zlokovic

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An unnamed filmmaker stumbles upon a horrifying discovery—an underground cult-like society where adults have baby faces and milk is the drug of choice.
Cast: Daveed Diggs, Antwon, Signor Benedick The Moor

Information Superhighway
(USA) World Premiere
Director: Mathew Nelson

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A man participates in an experiment to test artificial intelligence in driverless cars.
Cast: Luke Banham, Elias Harger, Anna Faye Hunter , Michael Lee

Little Wonder
(USA) World Premiere
Director: Jojo Carlman

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This refreshing tale of puppet sexuality follows Username: Stray_Cat as he trolls internet dating sites and vaguely meditates on the loneliness of death.
Cast: Christine Moore, Daegan Palmero, Brisco Diggs, and David Breen III

Love After TIme
(Taiwan)
Director: Tsai Tsung-han

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After a nuclear explosion, two mutant humans fall in love.
Cast: Lee Hong chi, Nana Lee

Manila Death Squad
(Phillipines, USA)
Director: Dean Colin Marcial

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An ambitious journalist challenges the leader of a violent vigilante group to a high-stakes drinking game. Its outcome may score her a scoop… or a bullet to the head.
Cast: Sid Lucero, Annicka Dolonius

The Order of the Orchid
(USA) World Premiere
Director: Alex Italics

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A lonely spinster’s failed attempt at arranging flowers summons an ominous shadowy figure that sends her into a psychedelic netherworld to confront her own mediocrity.
Cast: Juliette James, Sean T. Randolph

Santa Ana
(Spain, USA) North American Premiere
Director: César Pesquera

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Part art-film, part documentary, Santa Ana aims to elucidate the link between evil and the famed Santa Ana winds, extremely dry down-slope winds in Southern California supposedly responsible for a tense, uneasy, wrathful mood among the people of Los Angeles.

Steve’s Kinkoes
(USA) World Premiere
Director: Emma Debany

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A man copies posters for his missing (and dead) cat at an otherworldly 24/7 photocopy shop. What will happen to him if he stays forever?
Cast: Timmy Gibson, Chance Bartels, John Archer Lundgren

Media Inc Magazine again will be covering the Slamdance Film Festival this year leading up to and reporting LIVE on the ground at the Treasure Mountain Inn Headquarters in Park City, UT.

HISTORY OF SLAMDANCE

Founded in 1995 by a group of filmmakers including Dan Mirvish, Peter Baxter, Jon Fitzgerald, Shane Kuhn and co-conspirator Paul Rachman whose own film submissions to the Sundance Film Festival were rejected decided not to get angry but rather even.  The rebellious band of artists decided to set up their own film festival across and up the street at the Treasure Mountain Inn Hotel on Main Street in Park City.

Fast forward just over two decades and Slamdance has now evolved into one of the worlds most iconic film festivals within the true and organic #IndieFilm space.

Slamdance Film Festival discoveries and famous alumni include Seattle Filmmaker Lynn Shelton,  Directors Christopher Nolan (The Dark Knight Trilogy), Steven Sodenbergh (Ocean’s Eleven Trilogy), Jonathan Demme (Silence of the Lambs) Marc Forster (Monster’s Ball), Jared Hess (Napoleon Dynamite), Oren Peli (Paranormal Activity), Benh Zeitlin (Beasts of the Southern Wild) and Seth Gordon (Horrible Bosses).

 

Seattle film summit

Seattle Film Summit line-up includes TOP Women In Film + Hollywood leaders December 9-10

ScottCApestany_PressHS_Web_2017Seattle, WA

The 2017 Seattle Film Summit is set to arrive along the beautiful shores of Lake Washington just east of downtown Seattle December 9-10.  The two day summit, founded by Washington State Filmmaker and Actor Ben Andrews, is designed to bring together Pacific Northwest community partners in the film + digital media space.

This years Summit will feature a number of well known Women In Film industry leaders from both Hollywood and around the PNW region that include film school leaders, writers, producers, directors, actors, casting directors and talent booking leaders that have worked on over over 250 films and TV/Web shows combined.

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Ben Andrews and David S. Hogan – Seattle Film Summit

Women In Film leader and British Casting Director NIKE IMORU, one of Media Inc Magazine’s Women of Influence in Film + Media almuni whom is one of the most reputable and  extraordinary professionals in the industry is scheduled to appear.

Imoru also is a well versed Actor, Director, Writer who carries a PhD and an array of credits in the entertainment industry covering thirty years and twenty one countries.  She has been the Casting Director for SYFY Channel Z-Nation for all four seasons.

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Casting Director Nike Imoru

Another ‘Women of Influence’ Media Inc Magazine alumni Lorraine Montz, whom is leading the logistical charge of the summit along with Andrews,  also will be spearheading her own creative story lab at the summit Abundant Story Playground.  “The Summit is a conduit to connect storytellers with content consumers,” she said. “I’ve been a part of the entertainment industry since I was a kid, but I’ve found our storytelling world is changing. This event is part of that change.”

Lorainne Montez

Lorainne Montez

One of the summits biggest names arriving from Hollywood is the CEO and Founder, Richard “RB” Botto whom heads up the worlds largest digital platform that connects and educates Film and Creative artists around the global – STAGE 32.

Called “LinkedIn meets Lynda for film creatives” by Forbes Magazine, Stage 32 proudly boasts a member base (It’s FREE) of over 500,000 and features over 1000 hours of film craft and business related education taught by over 500 industry executives across the globe.  Over the years, Media Inc Magazine has met and heard from RB at global festivals and markets.  His wisdom and industry knowledge as a moderator has always been filled with enriching and educational dialogue.

www.stage32.com (subscribe for FREE)

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Richard “RB” Botto – CEO and Founder of STAGE 32

Other notable Woman In Film special guest will include Northwest Film Forum (NWFF) Executive Director Courtney Sheehan.

While guiding the vision and strategy of the NWFF, Sheehan oversees all the artistic programs and services, operations, finances, and fundraising activities.  She also has has curated film programs and produced events for theaters and festivals on three continents.

Seattle Film Summit FULL SCHEDULE Here!

Follow the summits leadership team on Twitter!

@BenAndrewsActor @LorraineMontez @TheDiMarcoActor @SeattleActorDSH

 

WFF

Whistler Film Festival – Women In Film take home multiple awards!

ScottCApestany_PressHS_Web_2017Whistler, British Columbia, Canada

The 17th annual edition of The Whistler Film Festival (WFF) came to a close this  weekend with Women In Film headlining much of the buzz.  With this years line-up of presentations, 30% (14 features and 16 short films) of the 87 movies were crafted and engineered by female filmmakers.  The winners were announced this morning on the final day of one of North America’s most iconic Winter resort destination film festivals on the planet.

Actress Evan Rachel Wood, star of the Canadian produced film A WORTHY COMPANION, was the recipient of this year’s Best Performance in a Borsos Competition Film Award. The WFF jury said “Evan gives a brave, raw nuance performance that explores the grey areas between predator and victim”.

A worthy companion poster

The actress stars in the drama film as Laura, a troubled woman who has an obsession with a teenage girl (Julia Sarah Stone) after suffering abuse and failed relationships in the past.

Despite not being in attendance,  she took to Twitter to share her joy.

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Best Cinematography in a Borsos Film, presented by I.A.T.S.E. Local 669, went to cinematographer Sara Mishara for A WORTHY COMPANION. 

The World Documentary Award was presented to director Kate Novack for her film THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO ANDRÉ.  “The winner of the world documentary award delivers a fascinating portrait of a larger-than-life personality, but admirably escapes the trappings of simple biography by revealing how a towering, influential figure still thrives in an imperfect world.”, said the WFF jury.

VENUS, a feature film about a woman in transition Directed my Eisha Marjara, won the EDA award for Best Female-Directed Feature Film.

In the short film category, director Sharren Lee took home the Best Female-Directed film award for her film THE THINGS YOU THINK I’M THINKING. 

Emmy and Golden Globe Winning Actress Kyra Sedgwick won the EDA Jury Award for her directorial debut of A STORY OF A GIRL.

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The Story of a Girl

Whistler Film Festival’s Short Work Student Award went to emerging Writer, Director and Producer Natalie Murao for her film FLOATING LIGHT.

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Natalie Murao – Writer, Director and Producer FLOATING LIGHT

The MPPIA Short Pitch Award which included a hefty $15,000 cash prize and up to $100,000 in production services went to Director Veronika Kurz for her film 20 MINUTES OF LIFE.  The finished film is scheduled to premier at the 2018 Whistler Film Festival.

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Veronika Kurz (Middle) and Short Pitch Award finalists

You can follow us and our Editor In Chief  Scott A. Capestany on Twitter  @CapestanyFilms + @MediaIncMag

 

 

WIDC

Whistler Film Festival – Filmmaker Sonia Bonspille Boileau wins prestigous WIDC Award!

ScottCApestany_PressHS_Web_2017Whistler, BC – Whistler Village

Heading into the weekend at the 17th Annual edition of the Whistler Film Festival,  Women In Film already are already taking center stage.

Celebrating at a special reception hosted by Whistler Westin Hotel, Award Winning Canadian Bilingual Mohawk Filmmaker Sonia Bonspille Boileau was presented with the quite lucrative National Feature Film Award from the Women in the Director’s Chair program.

CEO Carol Whiteman of WIDC Canada presented the award – which is valued close to $200,000 – includes cash, production equipment and services that helps winning recipients apply toward a future film production.

“Sonia’s beautifully written script really caught the peer jury’s attention as did her directorial voice in Le Dep.” says Carol Whiteman, award-winning WIDC producer who provides executive producing services as part of the award.

Bonspille Boileau intends on applying the awards resources to her follow-up sophomore film ‘Rustic Oracle’.  A drama surrounding the life of 8-year old Mohawk girl searching with her mother for her missing teenage sister.

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CEO Carol Whiteman of WIDC Canada (l) and Filmmaker Sonia Bonspille Boileau (r)

“I’m extremely honoured. To me this is much more than an award to help me make my next film,” said Sonia Bonspille Boileau. “It’s an opportunity to be a part of the WIDC family; a community of women filmmakers and mentors I know I will be able to count on, and companies I want to work with as my career moves along. I look forward to giving back the same kind of mentorship and support to others in the future.”

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2017 WIDC Feature Film Winner! (Bio courtesy of WIDC)

Sonie Bonspille Boileau is a bilingual Mohawk filmmaker and graduate from Concordia University’s Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema. Over the last decade Sonia has developed and produced television projects in English and French ranging from children’s programming to socially driven documentaries. She won the PRIX DE LA DIVERSITÉ at the 2011 Gala des Prix Gémeaux for her documentary Last call indian. In 2014, Sonia’s first feature film, Le Dep, premiered at the prestigious Karlovy Vary International Film Festival in the Czech Republic.  Since then it has won awards and made the official selection of several festivals around the world. She also made a feature documentary about the impacts of the 1990 Oka Crisis called The Oka Legacy, which earned her a Golden Sheaf award at the 2016 Yorkton Film Festival. Sonia is also the 2016 recipient of the APTN Award of Distinction given during the Montreal’s First Peoples Festival. Sonia is now an alumna of the WIDC Story & Leadership where she is developing her sophomore feature film, Rustic Oracle.

Since 2009, the WIDC Feature Film Award has supported the completion of six multiple award-winning feature-length films by Canadian women directors.

Mentors for this year’s program include directors Gail Harvey (Never Saw it Coming) and Siobhan Devine (The Birdwatcher), along with writer and Simon Fraser University professor Dr. Carolyn Mamchur, story consultant Linda Coffey (These Arms of Mine), and actor and filmmaker Lori Triolo (Cold Squad). Principa Productions Lael McCall, Telefilm’s Lauren Davis and Harold Greenberg Fund’s Alan Bacchus will all participate in the program as industry guests.

Women In the Director’s Chair (WIDC) was founded in 1997 by ACTRA, The Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity and Women In Film and Television Vancouver and is administered by national non-profit society Creative Women Workshops Association. WIDC offers mentorship for Canadian women screen directors, along with project development and production awards to help them get their narrative stories on screen. With more than 230 award-winning director alumnae across Canada, over the last twenty years WIDC has advanced the voices of a generation of women screen directors.

Follow @WIDC_ca + @CarolWhiteman on Twitter!

Tickets for Whistler Film Festival HERE 

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#MediaIncMag SPECIAL EVENT:  Friday December 1st from 7-8pm. 

Come join us at The AAVA WHISTLER HOTEL for complimentary Beverages + Food! 

RSVP for Media Inc Magazine 2nd Annual Whitler Village Winter Mixer!

 

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Whistler Film Festival Women Filmmakers + Artists set to arrive this week

Scott Cover_BEST_JpegWhistler, BC

As the 17th annual Whistler Film Festival kicks off this week high in the Northern Canadian Mountains at the iconic Whistler, BC winter resort, MEDIA INC MAGAZINE returns as an official media sponsor to provide exclusive coverage and support of Women In Film.

This year, 40 Canadian females out of 82 (49%) will be participating in 11 different talent programs.

“The Whistler Film Festival’s female focused initiatives are aligned with several industry wide mandates launched last year, and we are committed to promoting the shared goal of breaking the celluloid ceiling and increasing the number of women in the director’s chair, addressing the imbalance of industry diversity behind the camera and supporting the collaborative efforts to bring more female written and directed narratives to screen,” says Shauna Hardy Mishaw, WFF Executive Director. “With strong representation both in front of and behind the camera in our films, and talent programs this year, Whistler is maintaining a timely leadership role for women in the industry, when the need is not only apparent, the collective is calling for it.“

WFF’s second annual Women on Top Keynote and Breakfast will be held at the top of Whistler mountains Gondola hosted by STEEPS GRILL & WINE BAR December 2nd between 9am-11am.

Attendees are invited to arrive at the top with their  ski/snowboard gear so they may ride down after the event if they wish.

Attendees must check in between 8:00am and 8:15am at the Westin (outside of the Firerock Filmmakers Lounge) and upload on the Whistler Mountain Gondola between 8:15am and 8:30am for a 25-minute ride to the top.

WOMEN In Film @WhisFilmFest

Supporting their commitment to champion women in the industry and to celebrate participating women directors and talent at this year’s fest, this event is open to all with the purchase of both a gondola lift and event ticket. (TIX Here).

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2016 Women on Top speakers and guests – Photo Courtesy of WFF

The keynote presentation will be delivered by American Film Producer and co-founder of Resonate Entertainment Susan Cartsonis. 

Cartsonis has worked as an Executive at 20th Century Fox, is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and serves on the Independent Committee of the Producer’s Guild. She also teaches Advanced Producing at USC’s School of Cinematic Arts and is a fierce advocate for Women In Film at all levels of the industry.

Cartsonis’ long list of producing accolades include film premiers at Toronto International Film Festival,  a recent Netflix original film premier at Sundance Film Festival and is currently Executive Producing the Disney Channel Musical ‘Freaky Friday The Musical’.

“It’s not unreasonable to expect that women should be 50 percent of those creating content, considering more than 50 percent of us are consuming the content,” says Cartsonis. “I think it’s really important that women mentor both men and women. I’m well aware that some encouragement, direction and advice can change the course of your life. And when women mentor men, we change the way they view the abilities of women.”

Women In Film – SPECIAL Guests!

WIF guests attending the keynote breakfast include Creative BC CEO Prem Gil, Canada Media Fund President and CEO Valerie Creighton, National Film Board of Canada’s Executive Producer of Pacific and Yukon Centre Shirley Vercruysse and Telefilm Canada Feature Film Executive – English-language Market Stephanie Azam.  Also in attendance will be the current Women in Film and Televisions Chair of Advocacy Committee and Vancouver Honorary Lifetime Member, filmmaker and UBC professor, Sharon McGowan.

WOMEN In FILM – Leaders + Creatives

While increasing their WIF programming and high profile female industry attendees to a record high this year, the WFF has invited many other talented WIF creatives and leaders this year to round off their support of gender equality and inclusion throughout all festival events.

Guests include Borsos Jury member Camille Sullivan and Award Winning Director + WFF alumni Ingrid Veninger who is showcasing her feature film Porcupine.  First time feature director Jackie English will be screening her BECOMING BURLESQUE and Director Darcy Hennessey Turenne, will be WFF’s closing gala film THE MOMENT.

Other notable WIF guests include Sarah Rotella who will be presenting her film as Director of NOBODY FAMOUS and Michelle Ouellet director PRODIGALS, acclaimed director Éva Gardos with BUDAPEST NOIR, first time feature directors and WFF alumni Hannah Cheesman and Mackenzie Donaldson with THE DEFINITES, acclaimed director Camille Thoman with the American Indie selection NEVER HERE, Kyra Sedgwick director of STORY OF A GIRL, award winning director Eisha Marjara with VENUS, American director Lori Stoll with HEAVEN’S FLOOR, Gail Harvey director of NEVER SAW IT COMING, and Jordan Canning and Renuka Jeyapalan co-directors of ORDINARY DAYS. Add to that industry leaders from all of Canada’s public agencies and the high level female executives that will be attendance, including Kim Fox – Partner, MadRiver Pictures, Christina Rogers – Director, Content Acquisitions, Netflix, Kristin Harris – VP, Acquisitions and Distribution, Good Deed Entertainment, Joanna Miles – VP, Marketing, Films Canada, eOne, Viviana Zarragoitia – Vice President, Three Point Capital, Amanda Archibald – VP, International Marketing and Publicity, IM Global, Gosia Kamela – Production Executive, Drama & Feature Film Original Programming, Bell Media, Christina Davila – Creative Executive, Stage 13/Warner Bros Digital Network, Tania Natscheff – Director of Programming, VICE Media Inc.

Among the 2017 class of Screenwriters being honored at the Signature Series TOP screenwriters to watch include women scribes Liz Hannah, THE POST; Hallie Meyers-Shyer, HOME AGAIN; Maggie Betts, NOVITIATE; Tracy Oliver – co-wrote GIRLS TRIP, Dorothy Blyskal – “THE 15:17 TO PARIS”, and Sarah Ruhl, MY LIFE ON THE ROAD.

Other female-focused talent programs that WFF supports includes the Women in Film & Television Vancouver Film Market Preparation Mentorship, which provides the recipient with experience in preparing her feature film project for market by immersing her in the festival, and the Women In the Director’s Chair (WIDC) with eight Canadian women directors recently announced to attend the 20th anniversary session of the highly acclaimed script development and director mentoring program WIDC: Story & Leadership. A major component of the program takes the form of an Industry Immersion at the Whistler Film Festival, and culminates with each director receiving individually tailored coaching to advance her project to the next stage over the three months following face-to-face sessions. These eight directors-to-watch will join the ranks of WIDC’s prestigious alumnae network of over 220 women directors across Canada. Between 2006 and 2016 over 60% of Telefilm Canada funded features directed by women were directed by WIDC alumnae. One of the directors will win the WIDC Feature Film Award valued at nearly $200,000 including in kind services and rentals from companies across Canada, and $35,000 cash investment from Harold Greenberg Fund, will be presented to a Canadian woman director to help her complete her fiction feature film at the Whistler Film Festival.

WFF is also providing a platform for the fifth consecutive year to present three female-focused awards including the juried Alliance of Women Journalists EDA Awards – for Best Female-Directed Narrative Feature and for Best Female-Directed Short Film to recognize and honor excellent work by female directors. Eligible female-directed films are being screened as part of the festival’s regular program, and are being nominated for EDA Awards consideration by Whistler Film Festival’s administration and programmers. The Narrative feature jury includes: Marina Antunes – Row Three, Vancouver, Nikki Baughan – Screen International, London, Betsy Boszdech – Commonsense Media, San Francisco, Jennifer Merin (Chair) – Cinema Citizen, New York, Gill Pringle – The Independent, Los Angeles; Short Film Jury includes: Katherine Brodsky (Chair) – Variety, Vancouver, Lexi Feinberg – Big Picture, Big Sound, Berkeley, Karen Martin – Arkansas Online, Little Rock, Diana Saenger – East County Gazette, San Diego, Susan Wloszczyna – RogerEbert.com, Washington, DC. The EDA Awards will be presented to winners at the Whistler Film Festival’s awards ceremony on December 3.

Follow @MediaIncMag for LIVE daily updates on screenings, events, panels and more!

RSVP Here for our Whistler Mountain Magazine Winter Mixer on Friday Dec 1st from 7-8pm.

Swing by for some complimentary food and an ice cold beverage before heading over the screening of James Franco’s new film THE DISASTER ARTIST at the Rainbow theater @9pm

Special thanks to our event sponsors! 

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Mudbound best1

2018 Film Independent Spirit Robert Altman Award going to MUDBOUND

The biggest NETFLIX pick up at the 2017 Sundance Film Film Festival – MUDBOUND – Directed by Dee Rees, has been selected to receive the prestigious Robert Altman Award presented at the 2018 Film Independent Spirt Awards to be held in Santa Monica March 3rd.

The Award was created in 2008 to honor the fabled film director Robert Altman whose widely praised for creating memorable ensemble casts.  The award is given to one film director, casting director and ensemble cast.

The film was co-written and directed by Dee Rees based on the Hillary Jordan novel of the same name in which the story takes place in the 1940s before, during and after WW2 that follows two familes – one white and one black – living on a rundown Mississippi farm.

Full list of nominees + official TRAILERS!

(Click TITLES for Trailers)

BEST FEATURE

Call Me By Your Name
Producers: Peter Spears, Luca Guadagnino, Emilie Georges, Rodrigo Teixeira, Marco Morabito, James Ivory, Howard Rosenman

Get Out
Producers: Jason Blum, Edward H. Hamm Jr., Sean McKittrick, Jordan Peele

Lady Bird
Producers: Eli Bush, Evelyn O’Neill, Scott Rudin

The Florida Project
Producers: Sean Baker, Chris Bergoch, Kevin Chinoy, Andrew Duncan, Alex Saks, Francesca Silvestri, Shih-Ching Tsou

The Rider
Producers: Mollye Asher, Bert Hamelinck, Sacha Ben Harroche, Chloé Zhao

BEST FIRST FEATURE
Columbus
Director: Kogonada
Producers: Danielle Renfrew Behrens, Aaron Boyd, Giulia Caruso, Ki Jin Kim, Andrew Miano, Chris Weitz 

Ingrid Goes West
Director: Matt Spicer
Producers: Jared Ian Goldman, Adam Mirels, Robert Mirels, Aubrey Plaza, Tim White, Trevor White

Menashe
Director/Producer: Joshua Z. Weinstein
Producers: Yoni Brook, Traci Carlson, Daniel Finkelman, Alex Lipschultz           

Oh Lucy!
Director/Producer: Atsuko Hirayanagi
Producers: Jessica Elbaum, Yukie Kito, Han West

Patti Cake$
Director: Geremy Jasper
Producers: Chris Columbus, Michael Gottwald, Dan Janvey, Daniela Taplin Lundberg, Noah Stahl, Rodrigo Teixeira

JOHN CASSAVETES AWARD

Dayveon
Writer/Director/Producer: Amman Abbasi
Writer: Steven Reneau
Producers: Lachion Buckingham, Alexander Uhlmann

A Ghost Story
Writer/Director: David Lowery
Producers: Adam Donaghey, Toby Halbrooks, James M. Johnston

Life and nothing more
Writer/Director: Antonio Méndez Esparza
Producers: Amadeo Hernández Bueno, Alvaro Portanet Hernández, Pedro Hernández Santos

Most Beautiful Island
Writer/Director/Producer: Ana Asensio
Producers: Larry Fessenden, Noah Greenberg, Chadd Harbold, Jenn Wexler

The Transfiguration
Writer/Director: Michael O’Shea
Producer: Susan Leber

BEST DIRECTOR

Sean BakerThe Florida Project

Jonas CarpignanoA Ciambra

Luca GuadagninoCall Me by Your Name

Jordan PeeleGet Out

Benny Safdie, Josh Safdie, Good Time

Chloé ZhaoThe Rider

BEST SCREENPLAY

Greta Gerwig, Lady Bird

Azazel Jacobs, The Lovers

Martin McDonagh, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Jordan Peele, Get Out

Mike White, Beatriz at Dinner

BEST FIRST SCREENPLAY

Donald Cried
Kris Avedisian
Story By: Kyle Espeleta, Jesse Wakeman

The Big Sick
Emily V. Gordon, Kumail Nanjiani 

Women Who Kill
Ingrid Jungermann 

Columbus
Kogonada

Ingrid Goes West
David Branson Smith, Matt Spicer

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

Thimios Bakatakis
The Killing of a Sacred Deer 

Elisha Christian
Columbus       

Hélène Louvart
Beach Rats    

Sayombhu Mukdeeprom
Call Me by Your Name          

 Joshua James Richards
The Rider

BEST EDITING

Ronald Bronstein, Benny Safdie
Good Time

Walter Fasano
Call Me by Your Name          

Alex O’Flinn
The Rider

Gregory Plotkin
Get Out          

Tatiana S. Riegel
I, Tonya   

BEST FEMALE LEAD

Salma Hayek
Beatriz at Dinner   

Frances McDormand
Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri

Margot Robbie
I, Tonya

Saoirse Ronan
Lady Bird        

Shinobu Terajima
Oh Lucy!        

BEST MALE LEAD

Timothée Chalamet
Call Me by Your Name

Harris Dickinson
Beach Rats    

James Franco
The Disaster Artist

Daniel Kaluuya
Get Out          

Robert Pattinson
Good Time    

BEST SUPPORTING FEMALE

Holly HunterThe Big Sick

Allison JanneyI, Tonya

Laurie MetcalfLady Bird

Lois SmithMarjorie Prime

Taliah Lennice WebsterGood Tim

BEST SUPPORTING MALE

Nnamdi AsomughaCrown Heights

Armie HammerCall Me By Your Name

Barry Keoghan,  The Killing of a Sacred Deer

Sam RockwellThree Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Bennie SafdieGood Time

ROBERT ALTMAN AWARD

Mudbound best1

Mudbound
Director: Dee Rees
Casting Directors: Billy Hopkins, Ashley Ingram
Ensemble Cast: Jonathan Banks, Mary J. Blige, Jason Clarke, Garrett Hedlund, Jason Mitchell, Rob Morgan, Carey Mulligan

BEST INTERNATIONAL FILM

BPM (Beats Per Minute)
France
Director: Robin Campillo

 A Fantastic Woman
Chile
Director: Sebastián Lelio

 I Am Not a Witch
Zambia
Director: Rungano Nyoni

Lady Macbeth
U.K.
Director: William Oldroyd

Loveless
Russia
Director: Andrey Zvyagintsev

BEST DOCUMENTARY

The Departure
Director/Producer: Lana Wilson 

Faces Places
Directors: Agnés Varda, JR
Producer: Rosalie Varda

Last Men in Aleppo
Director: Feras Fayyad
Producers: Kareem Abeed, Søeren Steen Jespersen, Stefan Kloos 

Motherland
Director/Producer: Ramona S. Diaz
Producer: Rey Cuerdo 

Quest
Director: Jonathan Olshefski
Producer: Sabrina Schmidt Gordon

BONNIE AWARD – Bonnie Tiburzi Caputo joined American Airlines in 1973 at age 24, becoming the first female pilot to fly for a major U.S. airline. In her honor, the inaugural Bonnie Award will recognize a mid-career female director with a $50,000 unrestricted grant, sponsored by American Airlines.

So Yong Kim
Lynn Shelton
Chloé Zhao

JEEP TRUER THAN FICTION AWARD – The 23rd annual Truer Than Fiction Award, funded by the Jeep brand, is presented to an emerging director of non-fiction features who has not yet received significant recognition. The award includes a $25,000 unrestricted grant funded by the Jeep brand.

Shevaun Mizrahi
Director of Distant Constellation

Jonathan Olshefski
Director of Quest

Jeff Unay
Director of The Cage Fighter

KIEHL’S SOMEONE TO WATCH AWARD – The 24th annual Someone to Watch Award, funded by Kiehl’s Since 1851, recognizes a talented filmmaker of singular vision who has not yet received appropriate recognition. The award includes a $25,000 unrestricted grant funded by Kiehl’s Since 1851.

Amman Abbasi
Director of Dayveon

Justin Chon
Director of Gook

Kevin Phillips
Director of Super Dark Times

PIAGET PRODUCERS AWARD – The 21st annual Producers Award, funded by Piaget, honors emerging producers who, despite highly limited resources, demonstrate the creativity, tenacity and vision required to produce quality, independent films. The award includes a $25,000 unrestricted grant funded by Piaget.

Giulia Caruso & Ki Jin Kim
Ben LeClair
Summer Shelton

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AMERICAN FILM MARKET 2017: Full Line-up of GLOBAL INDUSTRY EXPERTS!

LOS ANGELES, CA – October 30, 2017 

AFM2017_WORKER_14x21Courtesy of AFM PR @DDAGroup

The American Film Market (AFM®) today announced its full list of speakers for their conferences, roundtables and workshops. A large number of leading independent producers, distributors, financiers and marketing executives are confirmed to participate. This year’s market is taking place November 1 – 8, in Santa Monica.

Speakers include Focus Features’ Kiska Higgs, Lionsgate’s Thomas Hughes, OddLot Entertainment’s Adrian Alperovich, Producer/Agent Cassian Elwes, Skydance Media’s Jesse Sisgold and STX Films’ Sam Brown

Conferences on finance, pitching, production and distribution connect attendees to thought leaders from across the industry, providing exclusive access to insider knowledge. Roundtables explore specialized topics and timely issues in an intimate setting.

Confirmed speakers and moderators, in alphabetical order, include:

  • Adrian Alperovich, COO, OddLot Entertainment
  • Adrian Ward, SVP & Manager, Entertainment Industries Division, Pacific Mercantile Bank
  • Alexis Garcia, Partner, Global Finance & Distribution, WME
  • Alison Thompson, Co-President, Cornerstone Films
  • Andy Bohn, Co-Founder & Partner, The Film Arcade
  • Anjay Nagpal, SVP Production & Distribution, Bron Studios
  • Anna Godas, CEO, Dogwoof
  • Barbara Mudge, President & Founder, Worldwide Film Entertainment
  • Ben Stillman, SVP, Black Bear Pictures
  • Brian O’Shea, CEO, The Exchange
  • Bruce Eisen, President, Digital Advisors
  • Cassian Elwes, Independent Producer/Agent
  • Christine D’Souza Gelb, Agent, WME
  • Clay Epstein, President, Film Mode Entertainment
  • Cynthia Tollett, Assistant Executive Director, Directors Guild of America
  • Dana Lustig, Principal, Dana Lustig Productions
  • Darrien Michele Gipson, National Director, SAGindie
  • David Austin, EVP, Bridgestone Multimedia
  • DeVon Franklin, Producer & CEO, Franklin Entertainment
  • Felix Tsang, Sales and Acquisitions Manager, Golden Scene Company Limited
  • Geena Davis, Actress, Producer, Activist
  • Gerren Crochet, Packaging Agent, Film Finance and Distribution, The Gersh Agency
  • Hanny Patel, VP, Video Marketing, AT&T Entertainment Group
  • Ian Bricke, Director, Content Acquisition, Netflix
  • Jen McGowan, Director
  • Jesse Sisgold, President/COO, Skydance Media
  • Jim Whitaker, Producer, A Wrinkle in Time
  • Joe Chianese, EVP, EP Financial Solutions
  • John Penotti, President, Sidney Kimmel Entertainment
  • Kay S. Wolf, Senior Representative/Member Organizing Department, Writers Guild of America West
  • Kevin Downes, Producer & President, Kevin Downes Production & South West Film Group
  • Kevin Iwashina, Founder & CEO, Preferred Content
  • Kiska Higgs, Head of Acquisitions and Co-Productions, Focus Features
  • Laurens Grant, Director & Producer
  • Lisa Remington, Producer
  • Lisa Wilson, Partner, The Solution Entertainment Group
  • Lucy Mukerjee-Brown, Director of Programming, Outfest & Newfest
  • Mark Damon, CEO & Chairman, Foresight Unlimited
  • Martin Katz, Founder and President, Prospero Pictures
  • Neema Barnette, Director
  • Patrick Frater, Asia Bureau Chief, Variety
  • Paul Bales, Partner, The Asylum
  • Paul Hanson, CEO, Covert Media
  • Paul Hertzberg, President & CEO, CineTel Films, Inc.
  • Pilar Alessandra, Instructor/Consultant, On The Page
  • Rebecca Cammarata, Director of Development, Stay Gold Features
  • Richard Botto, Founder & CEO, Stage 32
  • Rick Bonn, Head of Development & Acquisitions, Pure Flix Entertainment
  • Russell Levine, CEO, Route One Films
  • Sam Brown, Head of Production, STXfilms
  • Shirley Davis, Executive Vice President, Physical Production, Alcon Entertainment, LLC
  • Stefan Lütje, Partner/Shareholder, Greenberg Traurig, LLP
  • Steve Chan Chi-Fat, Director, Weeds on Fire
  • Tania Jones, VP of Marketing & Customer Service, Shift72
  • Thomas Hughes, EVP, Worldwide Digital Distribution, Lionsgate
  • Tobin Armbrust, President, Worldwide Production & Acquisitions, Virgin Produced
  • Tom Ara, Shareholder, Greenberg Traurig, LLP
  • Vicky Wong, Director, Trivisa
  • Wendy Calhoun, Writer/Producer, EMPIRE, NASHVILLE, JUSTIFIED

———————————————————-

Conference Schedule

Friday, November 3

Finance Conference I: The Big Picture

  • The Future of Global Film Finance
  • Spotlight Sessions

Saturday, November 4

Pitch Conference

  • Pitching Essentials
  • The 2-Minute Pitches

Sunday, November 5

Finance Conference II: Funding Films Today

  • Producing Studio Films with Independent Budgets
  • The Film Finance Matrix: From Script to Screen

Monday, November 6

Production Conference

  • Producing for the Pre-Sales Marketplace
  • What They Want: Inside the Studios

Tuesday, November 7

Distribution Conference

  • Working with Sales Agents
  • The Future of Video On Demand

Roundtable Schedule

Thursday, November 2

  • The Changing Hong Kong Movie Scene: What is New, How and Why?

Saturday, November 4

  • Building A Future For LGBTQ Film

Sunday, November 5

  • The Passion of the Film: Reaching the Faith Community
  • The Future is Female

Monday, November 6

  • Distributing & Monetizing Feature Documentaries

Tuesday, November 7

  • Working with the U.S. Guilds

Writers Workshop Sessions

Sunday, November 5

  • You Had Me At Page One
  • The Art of Cinematic Storytelling: Transforming Your Premise Into An Engaging Screenplay

Monday, November 6

  • ReVision: Seeing Your Script With New Eyes
  • Writing Compelling Characters

Special Events will include Engage: Navigating Hollywood’s Shifting Landscape, presented by Pepperdine Alumni Affairs and Pepperdine’s Institute for Entertainment, Media, and Culture.

The American Film Market is produced by the Independent Film & Television Alliance, IFTA-online.org. More information on the AFM can be found at AmericanFilmMarket.com

The American Film Market is the world’s largest motion picture business event. Over 7,000 industry leaders converge in Santa Monica for eight days of deal-making, screenings, conferences, networking and parties. Participants come from more than 80 countries and include acquisition and development executives, agents, attorneys, directors, distributors, festival directors, financiers, film commissioners, producers, writers, the world’s press and all those who provide services to the motion picture industry.

Unlike a film festival, the AFM is a marketplace – with over 200,000 square feet of exhibition space – where production and distribution deals are closed. In just eight days, more than US$1 billion in deals will be sealed — on both completed films and those in every stage of development and production.

Participants may view more than 500 screenings of 300+ films – 29 new films every two hours – the majority world or U.S. premieres. Titles range from big budget blockbusters that will be released by the major studios to lower budget art and genre films recognized at international film festivals.

With 7,000 attendees, 500 screenings, 300 exhibiting distributors, and the industry’s largest Conference series, AFM is the pivotal destination for independent filmmakers and business people from all over the world.

afm-2016

American Film Market 2017 – Insider Tips!

ScottCApestany_PressHS_Web_2017

By Editor-In-Chief:  SCOTT A. CAPESTANY

One of North America’s most high-profile international film markets will again arrive this November 1-8 along the beautiful shores of the Santa Monica Beachfront.

Since 1991, the American Film Market (AFM) will again bring together over 8000+ industry professionals from 80+ countries around the globe to their host location SANTA MONICA LOEWS HOTEL at 1700 Ocean Avenue.  With 2,000+ new films & projects, 1,000+ production companies, 700+ screenings, 400+ distributors, 100+ speakers and over $1 billion in deals closed every year, the AFM will be ground zero for Hollywood year ending deal-making push heading into the Fall awards season.

AFM 2017

The AFM will be screening a record 400+ films this year for buyers throughout 15 theaters in Santa Monica including nine HD screening rooms at multiple surrounding hotels whom all are seeking some form of distribution.

Aside from the impressive line-up of panels, conferences, networking mixers and private events throughout the week-long odyssey of the AFM, I’ve always been impressed with  how both the AFM and the SANTA MONICA LOEWS staff interface and treat attendees with class.

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The Loews Santa Monica Hotel – Courtesy of hotel website

Which leads to our #MediaIncMag TIP #1: 

Respect the AFM and host hotel staff.  Many staffers from both teams have been working this event for multiple years.  There’s an old saying “Don’t bite the hand that feeds you”.   Giving these hard working men and women the respect that they deserve will go along way at this spectacular event.

Arriving early to pick up your badges is always a good idea.

Credential Hours:

9:00am – 6:00pm:       October 30 –  October 31
8:30am – 6:30pm:       November 1 – November 4
9:00am – 6:00pm:       November 5 – 8

#MediaIncMag TIP #2: Download both the MyAFM and CINANDO App.  These two digital tools will be  valuable resources for your to use at AFM.   They will enhance your entire experience, enhance your time management skills and help you locate key individuals for your meetings.

Media Inc Magazine has partnered with CINANDO at both this years AFM and Sundance 2018 to help filmmakers access the most current industry information.  This year, every AFM badge holder will receive a FREE one-year subscription to Cinando!

Cinando

This helpful international online networking tool and festival database will up your game exponentially.  The resource guide will give you contacts, films, projects in development, market screening schedules, market attendees and more!

The MyAFM app is a handy tool as it allows you to view all the attendees and request professional meetings instantly via an interactive live calendar. You can also upload materials (treatments, pitch decks, etc.) for executives to view in advance.  This tool is sure to keep you a step a head of everyone else when it comes to scheduling meetings.  The app also will allow you to interface with other attendees. Great way  to expand your network and meet new partners, business alliances and maybe even make new friends. #MediaIncMag TIP: Narrow your contact list down to around 30-50 companies to reach out to.  Not every company will be a good match for your project, so do your research.

GET YOUR PITCH ON!  A few years ago I have the honor of being selected to “pitch” one of our feature film projects at Capestany Films to a massive ball room packed with international press and over 500+ industry professionals. The opportunity helped move my career needle in a positive direction exponentially.  Around fifteen or so were selected from around the world representing approximately eight countries.

During our presentations, we each were given three minutes to pitch our project and get feedback from a legend in the independent film world.

CASSIAN ELWES, whose extraordinary career as one of the most connected producers within the independent film space will again provide insight to producers during this conference.  Hollywood Reporter once said that he was “involved in a virtual who’s who of every great independent film of the last ten years”.

Cassian AFM 1

Producer Cassian Elwes – Expert in Financing and Distribution 2016 AFM

As an expert in financing and distribution at William Morris Independent, Elwes helped Shepard over 280 films during his tenure at WMI from 1994-2009.  Since his departure, he has been involved in over 30 films including some of Indy films most high profile productions in the last handful of years including ‘Mudbound’ which sold to Netflix at Sundance earlier this last year for a record $12.5M and will open the AFI Fest November 9th at the historic TCL Chinese Theater.

Aside from being a master negotiator that has yielded extraordinary profits on most projects he’s involved in,  his loyalty to both preserving and growing the world of independent film  has recently led him on a new path of giving back to the community exponentially.  He has recently launched projects and initiatives that are bringing more women and people of color (See our Sundance/Nextfest press write-ups) into the industry as creatives including the launch of The Black List’s Cassian Elwes Screenwriting Fellowship  and The Horizon Award.

Elwes helpful insight during my pitch ignited my project with genuine, practical and powerful words from someone whom I consider a legend in the Indie Film game.  Shortly after walking off the stage, my team was approached by a number of financiers and buyers on the floor surrounding me interested in helping guide my endeavor.

Moderating the Pitch conference again this year is one of the industry’s leading experts in the “Art of the Pitch”, Pilar Alessandra from ON THE PAGE.  As a trusted industry colleague of mine and magnificent “go to person” for screenplay consulting to some of the biggest names in the literary community, her workshops are packed with very helpful industry insider intel that’s sure to help tighten up your pitch decks and IP.

Bonus TIP: This conference is earmarked by #MediaIncMag as a must attend.

AFM-Pitch-Conference-2016

AFM Pitch conference – (L-R) Producers Torbin Armbrust, Cassian Elwes and Moderator Pilar Alessandra. (pitch finalist far right unknown) Photo courtesy of AFM

Strategy + Cost   The AFM is well worth the registration fees and highly recommend to go ALL IN for the best All-Access badge you can afford. We recommend the Industry Plus badge if you are on a budget.  If you have the budget, highly recommend not going cheap and get the Executive Plus badge for the entire event.

Click here for Registration badges.

There are a number of strategies to make your AFM experience effective, however these additional insider tips could really help you move your career needle in the right direction.

Dress to impress  – Being presentable is 90% of the first 30 seconds in meeting a decision maker.  the other 10% is your timing.  Over the years I’ve seen numerous industry folks make the mistake of treating this market as a casual conference.  Showing up in inappropriate attire, shabby sneakers and jeans.   What seems to be the appropriate wardrobe standard are sport coat + pressed dress shirt (no tie required) for men and modest professional ensemble for women.

Tech – Remember this is a deal-making week and it’s well into the 21st century.  Hundreds of deals are done at the AFM each year.  A great app to add to your quiver of digital tools when entering the deal making phase of your meetings is DOCU-SIGN (Free APP + free for 30 days as of this publication).  You can have your NDA’s loaded and other documents at your finger tips to e-send and receive e-signatures.    Suggest bringing your fully charged + power laptop and/or tablet loaded with all your digital materials, pitch decks, etc.  to present instantly and professionally when discussing your project.  (** always consult with your Lawyer on contracts ** )

Professional updated resume –  Make sure you have an updated IMDB pro page and Linked IN pages.

Research – When you arrive at AFM, be current and up to speed  on what’s trending in the industry feeds, news and channels.  When laying out your master plan for AFM, you will want to do your due diligence with every person + company you plan on meeting.  Arrive well-informed with digital VOD distribution trends (it’s 95%+ of what’s being talked about) and sharpen up on the plethora of other industry insider intel available online.  Follow AFM on TWITTER and download their handy APP.

Social Media – Who you follow, are followed by, post and engage with defines much of who you are as a professional and often times as a person.  Update your LINKED IN profile to reflect your current projects and recommendations from other industry colleagues.

A well versed industry expert in the social media space within the entertainment space is STAGE 32 CEO RB Botto (See below).  Highly recommend joining the Stage 32 social media community (It’s FREE) and diving into the plethra of well written and insightful blogs + podcasts on the industry including great wisdom on effective social media skills when interacting with industry professionals.  He’s a guru on the topics of crowdfunding in which he has recently launched his new book, “Crowd Sourcing for Filmmakers: Indie Film and the Power of the Crowd” available both online (click link) and at the #AFM2017.   RB is stand up guy and an extraordinarily gifted professional writer himself.

Meetings – With over 400 production + distribution companies having offices set up throughout the hotel, be sure you research which ones would be a good fit for your project. Research them and find out their slate + mission statements. Especially who their executives and decision makers are.   These are the men and women in acquisitions, development and production.  See what they are doing in the industry trades as well.

BONUS TIP: Google + IMDB  are great sources.

Always be on time and be prepared to be “bumped” or moved to another time slot last-minute.  Selling comes before buying at this market so don’t take it personal.

Bonus TIP: Your objective with your meetings is not to SELL your project, but to schedule a second meeting.

  1. Tools – Utilize the AFM and Cinando APPs strategically.  Recommend being clever and professional when reaching out to companies while never sending them IP electronically (scripts, pitch decks, etc.) unless they request it in a reply.  Always consult your lawyer when sharing IP.  They are FREE downloads on both Google play Apple store.
  2. Legal – Email your entertainment lawyer with your schedule of meetings.  Make sure they are up to speed with what projects you will be presenting, pitching, etc.  Decision makers will generally ask who your lawyer is if they are interested in your project/s.  So prepare them with a simple outline of your weeks activities and if they are available at odd times.  Remember, this is a “deal making” market with people working from very early in the mornings to very late throughout the week.
  3. Your PITCH – Strongly suggest you hire a consulting producer that knows the AFM’s terrain (if you are a newcomer) that can help you and your team present your project to industry decision makers.   This will do wonders for your projects if you are not a seasoned and gifted salesperson or know how the business mechanics of the industry work.  TIP: Two great sources we can recommend if you want to have a go at it yourself is learning more on the “Art of the Pitch” (prior to your arrival) from two of the industry’s TOP pitch consultants I’ve personally worked with.  Stephanie Palmer from GOOD IN A ROOM and this years AFM pitch conference moderator Pilar Alessandra from ONE THE PAGE.  Both women are wizards in the realm of pitching!
Pilar-Alessandra (1)

Pilar Alessandra – ON THE PAGE

Final TIP:  For those of you wanting to up your film finance game from an industy insider, you’ll want to attend the FINANCE CONFERENCE II.  Hosted by an industry pro whom I highly respect and always enjoy learning from – RB Botto.  CEO and Founder of Stage 32.  He will be chopping it up with seasoned producers eager to share ‘insider intel’ on how how to stretch budgets and get films made using creative financing.

Date: Novemeber 5, 2017 Time: 9:15am-12:45pmLocation: Starlight Ballroom; Fairmont Hotel 

Richard-Botto-Stage-32

RB Botto – CEO of Stage 32

Visit AMERICAN FILM MARKET (AFM)

Follow them on Twitter @AFMOfficial 

We will be reporting LIVE throughout the entire market this year via our TWITTER! @MediaIncMag

 

 

 

Scott on the set of one of his latest projects, The Rainforest.

THE RAINFOREST: Action/Adventure Thriller set to take International stage!

Scott Capestany standing in front of field monitor.

Creator/Director Scott A. Capestany standing in front of field monitor.

The highly anticipated Feature Film The Rainforest, currently in development by Capestany Films, soon will be taking the international stage featuring an epic saga of legends, mysterious riddle solving treasure hunting and heart-pounding action that’s sure to ignite audiences around the world.

Created, written and produced by Award-Winning filmmaker Scott A. Capestany, The Rainforest carries quite the adventurous story-line about a group of international explorers that set off into the heart of a mysterious Rainforest in search of an ancient lost civilization that also uncover the truth of an ancient mystical legend that protects is rumored existence.

International locations currently being considered include exotic mountainous parts of Southern China and South East Asian (Borneo) regions including originally proposed lush temperate Rainforest regions of the Pacific Northwest (Canada and WA State).

The story boasts of rich and authentic indigenous tribal legends within the North American proposed filming locations woven cleverly into a ‘Raiders of The Lost Ark’-style treasure hunting and pulsating  cinematic adventure.

Co-Production meetings with international partners from China, Canada, South America, and the USA are currently underway. Capestany is also taking meetings with dozens of the worlds leaders in outdoor apparel and  eco-friendly products + services sectors while actively having conversations with Hollywood’s leading groups in the Indie Film Finance space.

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Scott A. Capestany (Creator/Producer) on stage at an early PR event hosted by the S’Klallam Tribe Casino 7 Cedars in Western Washington.

“We are very excited to be expanding the overall scope of this project.”, said Creator and Producer Scott A. Capestany.  “It’s been a very satisfying journey to see this story and global interest with new partners evolve over the last few years.”

“Crowdsourcing is a much overlooked yet vital  business model component in the indiefilm marketing landscape.  The model has existed long before the internet, but has exploded in it’s effectiveness with the advent of social media and the way we consume media.” he said.  “Many emerging filmmakers are still rushing to make their films without strategically planning an effective + lengthy distribution and marketing campaigns to support the life of their projects long after the cameras stop rolling.   Our approach has been to remain active yet patient with the process while strategically aligning the project with qualified partners and audiences long before entering the production phase.   Which has now enhanced the overall production and commercial value exponentially.”, he said. The Rainforest BAnner

The story was conceived by Capestany during the filming of his cable TV series, NW Waters, while on a river fishing expedition deep in the heart of one of the largest temperate rainforests in the Western Hemisphere a handful of years ago.

The quite engaging “proof of concept” teaser         (VIEW HERE) and well developed ‘pitch deck’ has helped Capestany and his team generate interest from international investors, well-known talent, distributors and business partners from around the world.  The project was selected as a “pitch” finalist for the WA State Filmworks Innovation Lab when the project was in its infancy as a proposed TV series.  But with interest in global brand partners and the much more fluid and accessible landscape of feature film digital distribution opportunities exploding in recent years (Netflix, etc.), the project has since taken on a much more bold and elaborate feature film presentation model that will be sustainable and accessible on all platforms said Capestany.

“Creative financing is a delicate and skillful craft that I’ve been fortunate enough to stay well ahead of in this new climate of filmmaking.”, said Capestany.  “With international film incentives (‘soft-money’) opportunities at an all time high in the filmmaking business, these new resources have become a vital component of the financing model in the 21st century.”

“International brands are much more aggressive with their marketing dollars spent in the entertainment space and many see The Rainforest an exceptional vehicle to introduce their products both within our story line and well beyond the filming stages of the film supporting our global educational and environmental impact campaign attached to the property.

“Our proposed international film festival tour and strategic theatrical distribution campaign involves well crafted partnership proposals with National Parks and International organizations whom support Rainforest preservation including multiple brands that actively participate in both wildlife and sound environmental practices.”, he said.

Wide shot of actress Cindy Lemos reading the map.

The adventure team assembles in proof of concept filming.

Capestany’s ambition and long term strategy from the beginning was to spend a few years developing the story and most importantly take his time in establishing the support of global business partners. And to delicately craft and maintain a crowdsoucing campaign to support the multiple components of the projects scope.

“Connecting our proposed filming locations around the world to their local communities will ultimately enhance these regions exposure to the world where our audiences can lean more about these unique travel destinations and delicate ecosystems while being entertained and engaged with a heart pounding global adventure.”

Jerry Allen, CEO of the 7 Cedars Casino in Washington State, said, “We are honored to have established a new partnership with Scott. I think this is a compliment to the tribe that Scott wants to do something like this. We are excited to be part of it. There were a lot of choices. When you think about the number of tribes that circle this peninsula and the fact that we were able to put this together, we are very, very flattered.”

Capestany has proposed to weave authentic Pacific Northwest Indiginous tribal legends of Allen’s Sk’lallam tribe into a few parts of the  story line including filming some locations in Washington State.

Capestany on his Satellite phone.

Capestany on scouting trip with his Satellite phone.

Preserving the delicate ecosystems within the proposed filming locations are a primary objective for Capestany.  His goal of formulating key international  partnerships with leading outdoor and environmental brands whose leaders support sustainability + actively advocate environmental awareness will remain at the forefront throughout each stage of the production.

In just a handful of years, Capestany has been patiently establishing himself as an emerging  content creator by cultivating key business relationships with leaders in the entertainment industry while penetrating the inner most circles of Hollywood’s echelon.

He strategically signed on in 2017 with Hollywood most prestigious entertainment Law Firm to represent his slate and new media brands whose clients also include luminaries Kathleen Kennedy (President Lucasfilm – Star Wars franchise), Jerry Bruckheimer (Pirates of the Caribbean franchise) and multiple Academy Award Nominee Writer/Director Christopher Nolan to mention a few.

Scott and Jerry Bruckhiemer

Scott A. Capestany (l) and Producer Jerry Bruckheimer

Through these relationships, he has been assembling strategic global partnerships that support his mission and slate of productions.  “This business is 100% about relationships. And the secret ingredients that bind these sacred alliances are integrity and transparency”, he said.

Interior airfield hangar of cast looking at laptop.

Interior airfield hangar of proof of concept filming.

In recent years, Capestany has been selected to pitch and moderate at multiple International Film Festivals and Hollywood events.

He’s successfully pitched projects at both the both Variety Magazine’s Faith-Based Summit and the American Film Market in Southern California.  The later (AFM), is where he was pulled aside by industry veteran and Producer Guild of American member Anne Marie Gillen to help guide his new endeavors through the quite complicated terrain of Hollywood business and finance.

Gillen was the former COO of Morgan Freeman’s production company – Revelations Entertainment and is a well known industry player in the financing and business realm.

“Scott’s engaging presence on the AFM stage in recent years illustrated to me clearly that he’s a well refined and savvy producer that has a successful future ahead of him.”, Gillen said.

(See Featured story on Anne Marie Gillen HERE).
Scott meeting with Sklallam tribe

The Rainforest is a hero’s journey about a sophisticated and intellectually skilled female professor, Dr. Riley Stone, who one day is visited at her college campus by a young girl claiming her great-grandmother’s story of a Rainforest legend should be examined further. After recognizing a very rare necklace the girl shows up wearing, Dr. Stone agrees to set off to her small town located in Western Washington to meet with the woman. Upon her arrival, Dr. Stone learns more about the legend and discovers some extraordinary clues that leads her to assemble a world-class team of explorers to join her for an expedition of discovery and adventure. Soon after the team gets underway, bizarre things begin to affect the expedition, sending them all on a death-defying race of survival and psychological mystery.

Casting for the film is slated for Spring 2018 with the lead, Dr. Riley Stone, being considered for numerous well-known performers whose intellectual strength and heroic characters will embody the all new Hollywood push for gender equality in the business.

As one of the most fierce and vocal advocates in the independent film sector for Women in Film, Capestany is strategically positioning  this partnerships with some of Hollywood’s elite leaders in this current fight for equality and diversity in the work place.  “My lead character Dr. Riley Stone is a reflection of some of the strongest and most influential women I have met in this business and throughout the world whom I respect.  I hope that audiences and particularly women will embrace her.  She is a very strong, intelligent and dynamic leader.”, Capestany said.  MI

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