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afm-2016

American Film Market 2017 – Insider Tips!

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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”.

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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.

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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!
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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 taking 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, will soon be taking the international stage featuring an epic saga of mysterious adventure, riddle solving treasure hunting and heart-pounding action that’s sure to ignite audiences around the world.

Created, written and executive 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 proposed filming locations around the world 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, USA the the UK are currently underway whom many will be converging  at the American Film Market in Santa Monica, CA this fall to meet and discuss the project.

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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 long anticipated film”, said Creator and Producer Scott A. Capestany.  “It’s been quite the journey to see this story evolve over the last few years.  We’ve remaining patient while strategically aligning the project with more partners to enhance the overall production and commercial value with new internationally proposed locations and alliances to compliment the  extraordinary story-line.”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 within Washington State.

His quite engaging “proof of concept” teaser         (VIEW HERE) and well developed ‘pitch deck’ has helped him generate interest from international investors, distributors and business partners from around the world.  The project was selected as a “pitch” finalist for the WA State Filmworks Innovation Lab which eventually was awarded to another project in lieu of WA State lengthy battle to increase it’s Motion Picture Competitiveness program (Film rebates/incentives).  That WA State program has now since been renewed and increased as of 2017.

This hurdle helped motivate him to continue his quest and look elsewhere for funding.  “Creative financing is a delicate and skillful craft that I’ve been fortunate enough to master with this project.  Film incentives are a major part of the financing equation with 21st century filmmaking.  Especially when the project will be filmed overseas and the budget exceeding a certain threshold.”, said Capestany.

With pre-production scheduled to begin in Summer 2018, Capestany’s endeavor is now on the fast track heading into the American Film Market where he will meeting with his team and film industry executives to push the needle closer to production.

Wide shot of actress Cindy Lemos reading the map.

The adventure team assembles in proof of concept filming.

“My ambition and strategy was to spend a few years developing global business partnerships and backing including ironing out the screenplay with the goal to positively impact both the Washington State and international filming locations economy through general interest, commerce and educational awareness of our delicate Rainforests.” he said.

“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.”

Committed to supporting WA State companies connected to the industry, Capestany is exploring  partnerships with both Emmy Award winning Seattle Post Audio design company BAD ANIMALS  along with KOERNER CAMERA to help facilitate his projects production needs.   “Our relationships with long standing highly acclaimed regional leaders are important not only for the economics of the Pacific Northwest regional industry but also from the high level of work they do”, Said Capestany.  “Bad Animals has been the premier leader in sound design in the Seattle market having worked with some of the greatest musicians of our generation including  Elton John, Stevie Wonder, Steve Miller and R.E.M.  And they are still winning Emmy’s!”

Scott’s strategic planning paid off by signing on 7 CEDARS CASINO in Sequim, Washington, as both a marketing and creative participant whose tribe’s history and legends will be accurately featured in the main storyline.

Jerry Allen, CEO of the 7 Cedars Casino, said, “We are honored to have this 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 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.

As creative director at Capestany Films, Scott has cut his teeth like all indie filmmakers whom most began their career operating outside the studio system.  Over the last handful of years, he has delicately cultivated key business relationships within the studio, network, agency and inner circles of the industry both as a reputable journalist and well seasoned producer.

Through these relationships, he has worked as a consultant for many creatives across the board in the entertainment space.  “This business is 100% about relationships. And the secret ingredients that bind these sacred alliances are integrity, transparency and consistency.”, he said.

Interior airfield hangar of cast looking at laptop.

Interior airfield hangar of proof of concept filming.

In this short time span, Capestany has been selected to pitch at multiple Hollywood networks, studios, production companies and some of the most recognizable film market events in the world.

Including 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 quite 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 will begin in February 2018 with the lead, Dr. Riley Stone, being considered for numerous well-known performers whose intellectual strength and heroic characters have graced current and recent Film + TV productions in Hollywood.

As one of the most fierce and vocal advocates in the independent film sector of the industry 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’s a very strong, intelligent and dynamic leader. But most importantly she is well-respected among her team.”, Capestany said.  MI

Follow both @MediaIncMag and @CapestanyFilms on Twitter.

 

Scott PGA BEst1

Media Inc Magazine appoints Scott A. Capestany Editor-In-Chief

In an aggressive move by Media Inc Publishing, one of the longest running print publication companies in the Pacific Northwest with over 25 publications, General Manager of the group John Rusnak announced the appointment of Award Winning Film Producer and Indie Film business executive Scott A. Capestany to helm Media Inc Magazine as its new Editor-In-Chief.

Long before the internet, the publication began in the late 1980s as the sole media+film resource and news platform to complement the growing indie film scene in the Seattle, WA market and also to keep its readers up on film festival news, regional film productions and also help production crews members to find jobs.

Over the years, the publication circulated among a regional footprint throughout the Pacific Northwest stretching from Seattle to Portland and Eastern Washington as a well known staple among cinephites.

Early in 2015, Capestany was commissioned by the publication to write a few editorials on the current landscape of Film/TV productions in the region. His cover story “TOP influential Women in Film and Media in WA State” gained the attention of Indie Film communities that quickly led to multiple partnerships with film festivals, businesses and organizations whose mission statements supported spearheading Women In Film, gender equality and diversity throughout Hollywood.   “We are very excited to see Scott take this publication into the 21st century and look forward to seeing his new vision enhance the publications reach and growth”, said Rusnak.  MI Publishing ownership said they were quite confident in Scott’s abilities to carry the torch of the magazine and has no doubt his choice as the successor will bring exciting new content, readers and partnerships around the world for the first time in the company’s history.

Soon after taking the reigns of the magazine, Capestany invited trusted film industry colleague, film financier and Producers Guild of America member ANNE MARIE GILLEN into the fold to further support him in his quest to promote and connect with emerging and high profile Women in Film in Hollwood.  “Scott’s resilience and drive over the years and watching him grow as a reputable player in the business was more than enough to join his team.” Gillen said.  “Scott is quickly evolving into one of Hollywood’s premier Impact Producers.  His explosive energy, ability to quickly formulate partnerships across industry platforms and communicate with the new digital age filmmakers and players is impressive”.

We got a chance to sit down with our new fearless leader to share with us his vision for the future of MI Magazine.

MI:  Congrat’s on your new appointment!

Scott A. Capestany:  Thanks.  When the ownership group approached me, the timing just happened to be perfect.  I’m eager to focus my attention with the new appointment in building a new editorial and mobile support team that will support and stand behind the new branding of the publication including my ongoing advocacy for Women In Film and diversity within the creative space.  Another component I’m excited about is adding a sports and artist lifestyle segment to the publication that highlights the explosive new media growth in those spaces.  The ambition is to eventually offer more of an international scope of entertainment + media related content to our publication online to compliment and grow our print publication still in circulation from its original roots in the Pacific Northwest.  

MI:  Tell us more about the new direction of the publication and how it’s fitting into the new digital media space.

SAC:  One of the first things we tackled was enhancing our online social media engagement component for our readers.  We are now platforming our brand and editorial content aggressively and consistently on twitter.  Many of our followers and engagers are some of the industry’s most active and vocal supporters of our primary editorial content coverage – Indie Film + Women In Film + Diversity in the entertainment space.  Which helps with the growth of our audience and exposure for our partners and advertisers.  With industry news and press coverage PR now primarily being streamlined through the various digital platforms on smartphones and tablets, our plan is to continue to grow our audience through these new technologies.  Secondly, we are aggressively partnering with top international and domestic film festivals as their exclusive Media partner.  The partnerships and press coverage we have in place at high profile indiefilm meccas and markets such as  Sundance, Tribeca, SXSW, American Film Market, Seattle International Film Festival and Whistler International Film Festival to mention a few, help bridge the gap of emerging filmmakers and creatives with the rapidly evolving media world.  Showcasing unique aspects of their festivals and events daily on our online platforms (twitter @MediaIncMag) and quarterly in print issues help connect more people to these unique film festivals and markets.  We are also slated to launch a series of interactive social experiences and events for our community through LIVE stream broadcasting and monthly mixers at our partners and film festivals around the world.

MI:  How did you get involved in the Film/TV business?

SAC:  Shortly after attending a Sundance Film Festival a while back, I found myself drawn to the energy of this extraordinary tribe of creatives called ‘Indie Filmmakers’.  They all seemed to have this contagious “rebel” almost “maverick” approach to getting things done.  Doing what ever took with limited resources to get a film made, find an audience, buyer and move to the next project swiftly.  Thinking  outside the box and bucking the traditional ways of creating and presenting visual arts was what really drew me in.  I found a way to apply my business background to this newly discovered world of brilliant creative artists and help them.  That’s when the producer was born.  I knew that I had something to offer the indie film world both as a writer, creator and most importantly someone who could connect and educate these creatives on the ‘business’ components of the industry.   Unfortunately, there is a very low number of indie filmmakers that know very much about the business side of the industry.  It’s mostly all about art and expression for creatives.  It’s radically improved in the last five years with the explosion of digital technology tools now available for creatives to create, market and share their content by themselves.  So the timing was perfect for me when I arrived into the scene.   

MI:  How would you describe what is taking place in the current landscape of Film/TV production?

SAC:  I call it the ‘Perfect Storm’ with the three most important  components converging simultaneously and changing so rapidly. Technology, creativity and consumption.  Many people dropped out of the entertainment industry business because of the lighting speed technology and the time it takes to develop and foster professional relationships.  So it’s really opened it up for new emerging creatives that understand the new digital landscape and are leveraging this technology to grow the “New Hollywood”.  You can now pitch a complete stranger at a film market, festival or conference and within days they are investing and often times partnering with you in your endeavor.  Technology has helped bridge the gap of uncertainty in our business.  Content is King in this business more than ever before.  With the emergence of digital distribution, everyone is looking for contact all all platforms and it’s more easy in today’s landscape to get projects pushed along to production if the relationships are there.  The demand for content is unparalleled from any other time in movie making history.  Netflix and Amazon combined are in the process of spending close to $10 Billion dollars for 2017 and likely to increase that aggressive content acquisition well into the future.   So I’m glad I stuck around for this amazing moment in time.  The growth curve for many these days is too much to stay on top of, thus they drop out and revert back to archaic business models that no longer work in the modern world of movie making.   Thanks to getting my first computer in 1981 for Christmas,  I’ve always been a “techie” kind of guy that’s had a computer and cell phone since they came out and have stayed well ahead of the curve within the new digital landscape.   Especially when it comes to engaging decision makers at the studio and network level.  They most all have brilliant tech minds and quite savvy withing the new Hollywood digital landscape.  So I speak their language quite well.  Applying and harnessing the latest technology allows me to navigate the terrain with ease and lightning speed efficiency.  Today’s landscape of film making truly is a manifestation of what I imagined it could become when I was a kid and young business professional in the 90s.  Most everything the imagination conceives in the story telling world now can be produced on screen for worldwide audiences and viewed at the touch of a button 24/7.    And now in this quite extraordinary time, at a fraction of what it cost 5-10-15 years ago.

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Scott A. Capestany pitching ‘My silent Voice’ on stage at the VARIETY Faith Based Film Summit. He was 1 of 12 selected from around the world.

 

MI : What film projects are you involved in as a Producer now?

SAC: My team and I are involved in multiple projects in a variety of production stages including our headlining project which is an action/adventure thriller feature film THE RAINFOREST .  (See story on page  15).   It’s a story about a group of international explorers and scientists that set out to a mysterious Rainforest to investigate a series of tribal legends, riddles and search for a ancient lost civilization myth.  We also are working on a magical family film MY SILENT VOICE that’s about a young deaf girl, her love for horses and her heroic journey to the equine winners circle.  

HOME-SLIDER-IMAGES-Capestany Films

 One of my personal favorite projects that I’m a creator on is an adventurous TV series titled THE ADVENTURES OF SAMMIE DRAKE.   It’s a story about a young 9-year girl who just graduated from the 3rd grade and convinces her parents that she’s old enough to join the family treasure hunting business.  If you remember the adventures of Pippy Longstocking and the illuminating moxy of little Punky Brewster (of the 80s) with a dash of Nancy Drew mystery, audiences and especially younger kids will quickly identify and connect with Sammie and her brave adventures.  Sammie’s bold and brave spirit allows her to do everything the boys can do highlighting our support and advocacy of gender equality.   We are also developing both an APP and VR interactive products with this series similar to the Dora the Explorer brand. 

MI: Tell us about your vision and new direction you are taking with MEDIA INC MAGAZINE.

SAC:  We are currently laser focused on re-branding the publication and designing effective “Editorial Impact” campaigns for our new generation of readers, influencers and strategic partners.  We’ve already partnered with multiple film festivals as their media affiliate providing coverage and connecting with indie filmmakers to help them promote their projects with solid press coverage.   It’s one thing to get a write-up on an unknown blog and another thing to get a write-up in a globally distributed magazine print publication and have a professional digital link coming from that legitimate digital source.  One of the first things we jumped on was the social media platform that this publication had very little exposure on.  We’ve grown our twitter, IG and FB pages 700% since taking over and still primed for fresh new engagement daily.  So being a fresh new print publication in the digital world has worked to our advantage growing our communities and engagers.   We are already becoming a well known media publication outlet both Nationally and Internationally within the Indie film world.  We have already covered Sundance, SXSW, Tribeca, Seattle International Film Festival and the American Film Market this Fall.  We are also very excited to add a new segment beginning with this publication –  SPORTS.    We’ll be doing editorials that have a new media focus within major organizations like the Pac-12 Network (See page 33) whom are expanding their digital new media footprint and audiences using the power of technology.  

Media Inc Cover BEST with Scott

MI:  What is the current distribution, circulation and frequency of the magazine?

SAC:  We are a FREE quarterly print publication circulating around 5K+/- throughout the Pacific Northwest and West Coast Cities (Seattle, Portland, LA and global film festivals). You can now find us on the racks (just to the right as you walk in the door) at LA’s largest Indie bookstore in Hollywood BOOK SOUP on sunset Boulevard.  We are strategically planning to expand circulation and take the publication to other markets through partnering with domestic and international film festivals, industry organizations and entertainment entities that support Indie Filmmaking. 

All photos, images, soundbites and writings of Scott A. Capestany are COPYRIGHTED and protected under US Copyright laws.

Scott is represented by Beverly Hills lawfirm Bloom Hergott Diemer Rosenthal LaViolette Feldman Schenkman & Goodman, LLP

You can follow MEDIA INC and CAPESTANY FILMS on Twitter/IG

For Scott’s full Biography – IMDB

 

 

Scilla Andreen

WA State’s Most Influential Women in Film, TV and new Media

Scott A. CapestanyBy Scott A. Capestany Editor-In-Chief

Over the past decade, a growing band of Pacific Northwest talented and fierce female creatives have taken the regional community of independent film, TV, media and music by storm. This two-part cover story takes us into the hearts and minds of some of Washington’s and Oregon’s most admired and influential women who have helped pave the way on how we consume media, create films/music, produce visual art (films) and empower others through their creative and artistic talents. Their work today continues to push the limits of innovation by contributing to the ever-growing and quickly-evolving landscape of our region’s multi-media sector. We are proud to call these women ‘our own.’ But most importantly, so very grateful for what they do for others through their leadership, inspiration and love within our communities.

For part one of this cover story, we are honored and excited to commemorate the careers and achievements of 18 unique and fascinating women from Washington State within the world of film, TV, media and creativity. Highlighting their profound and worthy contributions is just one factor we took into consideration. The other, which is equally important throughout the process of creative collaboration, is the leadership and teamwork skills that each of them have so admirably displayed over the years. Our selection is not in any order of significance, but rather a collective equal presentation celebrating women pioneers that have fought hard in their professions, stepped outside the box, made their voices heard and, most importantly, become game-changers that continue to push for equality and women empowerment in the entertainment space.

Congratulations to these outstanding women from the Pacific Northwest, and be sure to look for part two of this story, which will feature women in film from Los Angeles, in the next issue of Media Inc.

SCILLA ANDREEN, co-founder and CEO of Seattle-based IndieFlix, has truly become one of the most iconic empresses of women empowerment and influence within the world of indie filmmaking.

Scilla Andreen

Scilla Andreen

What Variety magazine calls ‘the Netflix of indie films,’ IndieFlix is now the world’s premier online indie film streaming service that specifically provides a platform for content representing independent thinkers, offering a unique and never-before-seen distribution and revenue model for filmmakers. Content that is featured on the IndieFlix platform allows filmmakers to get paid through metrics involving ‘minutes viewed’ and most recently can now access all their films’ data of their actual viewing audience.

“We created IndieFlix with the filmmaker in mind first that offered more than just a platform for showcasing their finished films,” Andreen said. Currently now in beta  testing, IndieFlix filmmakers can for the first time have access to all the necessary data as to who, where, and how consumers are viewing their content, which she believes is a game-changer in the industry.

As a veteran entrepreneur, Andreen’s work over the past two decades as an Emmy-nominated costume designer, award-winning filmmaker, producer, popular speaker, international film festival juror and dedicated advocate of independent film has helped open up doors and inspired millions of creative artists, both in front of and behind the camera. Her recent empowerment documentary project run through her IndieFlix foundation, which highlights ordinary women doing extraordinary things, recently returned home to Washington State after making a national tour around the country featuring a band of young female filmmakers interviewing and highlighting other women’s empowering stories. The documentary now is being screened at hundreds of schools across the nation. Her current project Screenagers is a fascinating look into today’s youth and their usage of digital technology, directed by Seattle physician and award-winning filmmaker Delaney Rustin. Visit www.indieflix.com and www.screenagersmovie.com for more.

Having directed every single one her seven feature films in Washington State, (Click HERE) our next woman of influence likely does not need a formal introduction. If you have had your eye on the Pacific Northwest Indiefilm line-up over the last decade, writer/director LYNN SHELTON has essentially embodied what women in film and Washington State filmmaking has become. Along with her good friend and Seattle producer Mel Eslyn, Shelton feels there needs to be a greater effort by Washington State legislation to see the value and benefit of making films and TV shows in Washington.  (This published prior to the renewal of the 2017 incentive program).

“The thing about the Motion Picture Competitiveness Program is that it’s so beautifully engineered and designed to benefit the Washington State economy and professional filmmakers,” said Shelton. “In fact, Washington State was the first state ever to create a film incentive that included union standards, like pension health benefits.”

Lynn Shelton

Lynn Shelton

Spending half her time in L.A., Shelton works both as a writer and director for a number of well-known network and studio projects. Her work has been seen on Netflix, Showtime, Fox and 20th Century TV in episodes of series such as Mad Men, Shameless, Master of None, Fresh Off the Boat, New Girl and Maron.

Shelton also feels that it is a very unique time for women in film. “I believe that we as women are upon a very special moment that I hope is not wasted,” she said. “A moment of opportunity… that I hope is not wasted.” Now that the conversation of women in film and the lack of gender diversity among directors in Hollywood has been brought to the forefront of the media, Shelton senses a much more profound willingness and actual  desire of women wanting to change the pattern by hopefully enhancing the numbers of women directors at large in the workplace. Shelton is actively pushing to bring her next feature to the Evergreen State, produced with our next featured woman of influence and her good friend, Mel Eslyn.

One of the most decorated and hard-working independent film producers from Washington State is MEL ESLYN. Having begun working on movie sets at the age of 14, Eslyn’s resilient and admirable work ethic has spanned two decades, leading her to producing over 15 films, including 3 of Lynn Shelton’s 6 major feature films. Over the last handful of years, she has produced a series of feature films that have screened at some of the world’s top film festivals, including Sundance, Toronto, Tribeca and SXSW. She recently won the prestigious Piaget Producers Award at the 2016 Film Independent Spirit Awards that honors emerging producers who, despite highly limited resources, demonstrate the creativity, tenacity and vision required to produce quality independent films. The annual award includes a $25,000 unrestricted grant funded by Piaget.

Mel Eslyn

Mel Eslyn

“One of the biggest hurdles for me as a producer has been my ability to bring more of my films to Seattle. Once projects reach a certain budget, a state film incentive comes into play quite significantly as to where the film is made,” Eslyn said. “It’s my goal in the next year to bring at least one, if not two, feature films to our market that in turn will help bring more awareness to legislation to see the huge benefits a feature film has on impacting local community’s business and economy.” One of Eslyn’s biggest contributions to the Washington State film scene over the years has been her loyalty to her crew and co-workers. Although a number of her films have been filmed outside of Washington State, she brings along many local crew people to work alongside her.

When it comes to connecting the Pacific Northwest’s growing pool of talented actors, casting director NIKE IMORU, CSA, is the one woman who not only gets the job done, but is counted on by the leading producers throughout Washington and now in Los Angeles to find the most talented performers in film and TV. Nike, pronounced “Nee-Kay,” has been a professional casting director in Washington for over 10 years and currently is the lead casting director for the state’s largest recurring cable TV series, Z Nation.

Nike Imoru

Nike Imoru

“It’s been my goal ever since I began casting to offer more to actors during the casting process than what typically they would get during an audition,” Imoru said. Known around the region as a true “actors coach,” she is a classically trained professional theater actor herself who hails from the U.K., where she also taught acting at a few prestigious schools before becoming a full-time CSA. She recently opened up a state-of-the-art casting studio facility in West Seattle, where she will be spending most of 2016 casting and supporting Z Nation. Visit www.nikeimorucasting.com or find Nike Imoru Casting on Facebook: ‘Act with Inspiration.’

With approximately 45 film festivals and competitions each year for filmmakers and folks to attend around the state, STEFANIE MALONE, executive director of the world’s largest youth film festival NFFTY, helms a quite impressive and quickly growing international festival in downtown Seattle each spring. Now in its 10th year, NFFTY (National Film Festival for Talented Youth) receives over 950 submissions from over 20 countries around the world made by youth filmmakers between the ages of 5 and 25.

Stefanie Malone

Stefanie Malone

An Emmy Award-winning producer herself, Malone’s work in the PBS arena for many years led her to Seattle, where she became the community engagement and education director for Seattle’s local PBS affiliate, KCTS. Although her full-time commitment to NFFTY year-round occupies most of her bandwidth, her ongoing relationship with KCTS and WETA (the Washington, D.C. PBS affiliate) allows her to pursue her true passion and love for developing and producing documentaries. “It’s hard to leave PBS entirely after being with them so long, so I’m grateful I can continue to work within that space where I still think it is an excellent platform for filmmakers to showcase their films and TV shows,” Malone said. Her team of likeminded leaders and growing numbers of supporting staff at NFFTY has allowed the festival to expand its annual events and festival offerings to the public. Visit www.nffty.org.

Working for the City of Seattle as executive director for the Film+Music Office, KATE BECKER leads a staff of seven who oversee a multitude of resources and permitting activities that help facilitate filmmakers, musicians and special events. Whether it be a feature film, TV series, commercial or new media production that involves city parks or hundreds of locations run by the city, Becker’s team truly is the ‘one-stop shop’ for the professional filmmaker. Each year, the city issues over 400 film permits for projects filmed in and around the city.

Prior to working with the city, Becker served in leadership roles at Kate BeckerSeattle Theatre Group, Art Share L.A. in Los Angeles, and the New Art Center in Newton, Massachusetts. She co-founded Seattle’s Vera Project and the Old Fire House, nonprofit art- and music-based all-ages venues that have helped build Seattle’s creative economy talent pipeline. Becker has also produced more than 1,000 all-ages shows and numerous major fundraisers and galas. Talking about women in film, Becker said, “I’m so happy to work in a market (WA State) where so many talented women are leading our local industry by producing and creating exceptional content which is a true feather in our cap.”

Becker also works quite diligently as one of Washington State’s top interactive advocates for helping bring new filmmakers to the state from around the world while attending national and international festivals and markets. “We are excited the members of the film industry are actively convening in pursuit of a production facility to be located in Seattle,” she said. “Something like this could do wonders for the film/TV and media landscape.” Visit www.seattle.gov/filmandmusic.

As co-founder and owner of Mighty Tripod Productions (MTP), one of Seattle’s most respected actor development, management and indie production companies, ANGELA DiMARCO truly has become an empowering woman of influence, both in front of and behind the camera. With a genuine heart to help others (she is known as ‘Mama DiMarco’ among her circle), she helps mentor and prepare actors for the rigorous road of working in the business.

Angela DiMarco

Angela DiMarco

“MTP is an evolution of who I was, growing up without having quality training and mentorship that I believe is a major cornerstone of becoming a professional artist,” said DiMarco, who runs the company with her talented and award-winning husband David Hogan, who himself has over two decades of theater, film, TV and talent leadership under his belt.

“David and I wanted to create a platform in Mighty Tripod Productions for Northwest actors taught by Northwest actors, available to all ages to hone their craft, build their confidence and, most of all, be mighty,” she added. You can find DiMarco on all social media channels under Mighty Tripod Productions, her own hashtag #dontwaitcreate and at www.mightytripod.com.

Once a creative artist decides he or she wants to take the plunge into the world of acting or modeling in the Seattle area, TERRI MORGAN’s TCM Models and Talent Agency would be considered by many one of the most well-known and reputable agencies in the state. Starting up in 1979 as a modeling agency over in Eastern Washington, Morgan decided to take her love for helping others within the industry to Seattle and opened up a new location downtown in 1990, where they remain today. By 1998, her well-seasoned staff established a new talent division that has provided actors opportunities in commercials, feature films, TV series and new media requiring on-camera talent.

Terri Morgan

Terri Morgan

“Coming from a modeling background myself, I know how hard it can be to break into the business not knowing how to navigate the oftentimes intimidating and rigorous demand of the business or how the auditioning and selection process works,” she said. “TCM specializes in counseling and advising talent by offering a well-developed road map for actors and models to utilize if they choose to enhance their careers.” Visit TCM at www.tcmmodels.com.

One of Washington State’s best known features is its rich and vibrant Native American culture and history. Our next woman of influence has spent over a decade developing an awareness  and sensitivity to the power of media and film as a modern storytelling tool for local communities, primarily the indigenous people of the region. As co-founder and executive director of Longhouse Media, now in their 11th year, TRACY RECTOR (Choctaw/Seminole Tribe) has produced over 350 film shorts, worked with over 40 tribes from around the United States, and has served over 3,000 youths by bringing filmmaking tools to tribal students from around the country to help them tell their own stories. Her work has been featured by Cannes Film Festival, ImagineNative and National Geographic’s All Roads Film Project, while also leading the first filmmaking team from Seattle to have a documentary on PBS’ Independent Lens and appearing in the Smithsonian’s Museum of the American Indian. Not to mention, she’s a recent Sundance Film Institute Lab fellow participant and Tribeca Film Festival all-access grantee to boot.

Tracy Rector

Tracy Rector

Aside from being an award-winning director/producer and advocate, Rector developed and launched the quite successful educational program ‘SuperFly,’ a program that challenged students to create 5 films in 36 hours, which then screened in conjunction with the Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF).

“SIFF’s decade-long collaborating with Tracy on ‘SuperFly’ was an exceptional opportunity that not only provided exemplary training and experience to youth across cultures, but built bridges between the Native community and their neighbors from cities across the USA. Today, Tracy’s new ‘4th World’ program continues that depth of intent, as we are proud to be working with her to fill the need for additional training for up-and-coming Native filmmakers,” said Dustin Kaspar, education director at SIFF.

Rounding off her admirable leadership throughout the communities of the Puget Sound, Rector currently sits as City of Seattle Arts Commissioner.

“My vision is to bring traditional and contemporary education together on a foundation based in environmental stewardship,” said Rector. As a monthly series, her ‘Indigenous Showcase’ program at the Northwest Film Forum also blends culture with community. She added, “The Indigenous Showcase program screens films made by Native Americans or in part supported by the Native American community.” Read more about Rector at www.longhousemedia.org and www.clearwaterstories.org.

Abby Dylan

Abby Dylan

With the growing number of actors and performers living and arriving to Seattle, ABBY DYLAN is a woman whose lengthy multi-decade experience in the industry has landed her passionate voice for actors at the top of the most prestigious organizations in show business. Dylan is an elected member of the SAG-AFTRA Board, where she serves as the National Chairman of the SAGIndie Committee and ViceChair of the Legislative Committee. In addition, she is also a director of the SAG-AFTRA Foundation Board, and was appointed to serve on the Board of Washington Filmworks by both Governor Christine Gregoire and Governor Jay Inslee. In 2016, Dylan also was appointed to the Board of the SAG Foundation as their new secretary. For more, visit www.sagaftra.org, www.sagindie.org, and www.washingtonfilmworks.org.

Every spring, Seattle ushers in one of the biggest and longest-running city-wide events, the Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF). Ranked as one of the top film festivals in the world, SIFF showcases over 450 films, shorts and documentaries from over 80 countries throughout a 25-day odyssey. BETH BARRETT, director of programming, spearheads the division along with her team of staffers and volunteers that help formulate the line-up and presentation of films each year. Barrett has been with SIFF since 2003, joining as an intern in communications and quickly moving along into the programming division. Over the course of her tenure, she has watched SIFF grow from 5 staff to now over 25 full-time staffers.

Programming essentially works with the incoming filmmakers each Beth Barrettyear, streamlines communication between programmers and watches hundreds of films leading up to the festival with the objective of bringing the best films they can find from around the world and our own region to screen in Seattle. To help local filmmakers from Washington State showcase their films on an international platform, SIFF offers a unique ‘Northwest Connections’ showcasing. “The program is designed to help elevate local filmmakers to international attention that essentially represent a microcosm of the work being done by Pacific Northwest artists with projects of all types of films, genres, styles and lengths,” Barrett said.

Her commitment to bring some of the best films from around the world made by women is a top priority while paying close attention to her final design of the festival’s programming. “It’s really important to me to have women from all around the world represented here at SIFF on an equal footing every year,” said Barrett.

Be sure to mark your calendars for May for this spectacular presentation of world cinema right here in Seattle by visiting www.siff.net for all the events, parties and screenings.

Recently winning the ‘Best TV Personality’ award put on by KING 5 in 2015, ANNY HAVLAND has been making a huge splash in the world of online empowerment through her uplifting reality TV/Web series called Talk It Up TV. Originally from Bellingham, Havland came to Seattle to explore more opportunities using her magical gift of connecting and inspiring others. In 2010, she co-founded and now produces her own series that boasts over 5,000 YouTube subscribers from all around the world.

Anny Havland

Anny Havland

Talk It Up TV is a new style of media that is reality TV at its best with a positive twist. Instead of reporting and highlighting negative tragedies, we share these real-life stories with our viewers and create a positive ending to each story with a shocking act of kindness that are unforgettable,” Havland said. Each episode is lined with a powerful, very uplifting and heartfelt message that offers a life-changing experience for the individual. Visit Havland online at www.talkituptv.com or by using the hashtag #tiuarmy.

One of Seattle’s most dynamic documentary filmmakers is ROSALIE MILLER. Her handful of films she has produced in just the last five years have screened at over 100 film festivals worldwide under her own banner, Wanderhouse Productions. Her independent production company focuses on producing micro-budget narrative and documentary projects with an emphasis on digital media production. The Wanderhouse website boasts: “We are dedicated to creative collaboration, compelling storytelling, and subject matter intended to inspire others.”

Rosalie Miller

Rosalie Miller

Miller’s resilient and fierce approach to the filmmaking process radiates wherever she goes with quite vocal and well-developed skills in pitching, fundraising and audience engagement. Her feature-length documentary Personhood (now in post-production), which documents the burgeoning personhood movement and the far-reaching impact of laws designed to protect the fetus, won both the Women in Film Seattle Professional Grant and the 2015 American Documentary Film Fund.

Aside from her work behind the camera, Miller is a member of SAG-AFTRA and is a well-known actress who has appeared in dozens of feature-length films, shorts, commercials and TV series in Washington State. Miller is currently in production on her next documentary, an intimate portrait piece about Seattle-based dance artist and drag queen, Jody Kuehner (aka Cherdonna Shinatra). Visit www.wanderhouseproductions.com and www.personhoodmovie.com for more.

Producer LEAH WARSHAWSKI has over a decade of experience in film and TV production. Warshawski has worked on some of TV’s biggest series, including Lost, Survivor and Alias. She recently wrapped her own feature-length documentary Big Sonia, which in 2015 won the prestigious $50,000 film grant award given annually by True Productions in partnership with the Seattle International Film Festival.

Leah Warshawski with her doc subject and grandmother, Sonia.

Leah Warshawski with her doc subject and grandmother, Sonia.

“The process of documentary filmmaking is becoming more about the films’ campaigns than just about the actual movie being made,” Warshawski said. “Big Sonia has been a story I’ve always wanted to tell about my own grandmother. So we decided early on to develop a nationwide campaign for major cities that would also educate and involve local communities around the country surrounding her story.”

Warshawski also is currently working with local filmmakers Jo Ardinger and Rosalie Miller on the doc Personhood as producer. “When Jo approached me to join the team, I just couldn’t say no because of the impact I knew this film would make on our communities and country,” she added. Her current projects can be found at www.bigsonia.com.

RYAN DAVIS is a professional film publicist, communications specialist and co-founder of Seattle’s Smarthouse Creative. With over 30 years of combined experience in film marketing, publicity, distribution, programming and exhibition, Smarthouse Creative helps filmmaking teams find their audiences and bring attention to their work during all phases of their projects, from fundraising to festivals to distribution. They also work with select film festivals, non-profits and startups to deliver digital strategy, publicity and audience engagement services to position clients at the forefront of their respective industries.

Ryan Davis

Ryan Davis

For over a decade, Davis has worked in nearly every aspect of the film business including documentary film producing, film festivals, distribution, exhibition and sales. She and Smarthouse have placed multiple projects on media platforms such as HBO, CNN, The
New York Times, newspapers and local radio. Independent film projects that Smarthouse has run PR/marketing on have screened all over the world. Prior to Smarthouse, Davis served as a marketing leader for multiple non-profit arts groups and organizations including the Northwest Film Forum and Northwest Folklife.

Smarthouse Creative gets Media Inc.’s vote for best local indie film PR & marketing firm! Visit  www.smarthousecreative.com.

If there is one woman creative in Seattle that personifies the fastest and hardest-working bird on earth—the hummingbird—it most certainly is producer/actor LORRAINE MONTEZ. For over a decade, Montez has appeared in over 20 films as an actress and over a dozen films as producer. She is known widely in the local film community for her unlimited amount of energy and drive she pours into her daily routine as a filmmaker, educator, mentor and actor.

Lorainne Montez

Lorainne Montez

After noticing that fewer roles were being offered in film and TV to more mature women as a performer in the local market, she took the initiative to begin writing and soon formed her own production company, Abundant Productions. “I strongly believe in the laws of attraction,” Montez said. “I wanted to create a company that would attract goodness, abundance and creativity.” A recent feature film she produced under her Abundant flagship, The Hollow One, was acquired by Raven Banner Entertainment for international and domestic distribution.

Montez has been a vocal and active member of Women in Film for many years and recently served as the marketing and communication chairwoman for WIF Seattle. As a producer who feels there needs to be a bigger pool of well-educated filmmakers in the art of marketing and producing skills, Montez also instructs a marketing and producing class at Shoreline Community College. She also heads up a monthly workshop called Abundant Creative Playground, a platform where writers and professional actors come together in an interactive creative setting to enhance literary material. It’s a process she calls “disrupting the writing process in a productive and unique way.” Find out more at www.abundantproductions.net.

Award-winning journalist MAUREEN FRANCISCO is a woman whose journey into the world of TV and media has been quite unique. After arriving from the Philippines as a young girl to Federal Way, Washington, she learned to speak English by watching the nightly news. Fascinated by The Oprah Winfrey Show, Francisco was quickly inspired to pursue a career in journalism, which led her to an early career working for major network affiliates (CBS, NBC, ABC and FOX) around the country as a news reporter after graduating from Pacific Lutheran University. Upon her return to the Puget Sound in 2004, Francisco continued her work in TV at Northwest Cable News.

Maureen Francisco

Maureen Francisco

By 2013, she joined her husband as co-executive producer of NW Productions. Their company produces live shows, including the Pacific Northwest qualifying events for the Miss USA and Miss Teen USA pageants from Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington
States. “We coordinate and produce all of the events for both pageants in our region including doing the PR for our title holders and contestants under a separate division of NW Productions,” Francisco said. “We are in charge of procuring sponsors, selecting judges, screening contestants for eligibility requirements and finding our host venues.”

NW Productions also produces red carpet events, women empowerment workshops, and reality/talk show programming throughout the Puget Sound. Visit www.maureenfrancisco.com.

With 1 in every 10 Americans now using online dating services, the number of people looking for love online has never been greater. SUSIE LEE, CEO and founder of the dating app Siren, took things into her own hands a few years ago by creating an entirely new approach to the virtual world of online dating. “Our members set the tone of our community; we focus on connections that matter in a respectful space,” said Lee. “Siren is a platform where wit and personality shine.” Lee’s brainchild won the App of the Year by GeekWire in 2015, and recently landed an additional $500,000 in funding to help expand their 20,000 membership base and operations.

Susie Lee

Susie Lee

The app works quite differently than most apps, in that members receive a “Question of the Day” asked by artists and other types of creatives in the local community. The questions ignite conversations, which in turn promote members to uncover their true personalities organically, rather than with a generic profile and photo.

A graduate of Yale, Columbia and UW with degrees in molecular biophysics and biochemistry, science education, and art, Lee uses her skills as a social sculptor to amplify humanity in technology. Her work has been collected by numerous institutions including the Denver Art Museum, Mitchell Center for the Arts, Frye Art Museum, and Crystal Bridges Museum of Art. For more, go to www.susiejlee.com.

We invite you to learn more about the women of influence within TV, film and media as we continue our coverage in our next issue, which will feature women from the state of Oregon.

Features writer Scott A. Capestany is an award-winning producer, educator and advocate for women in film. Visit him at www.capestanyfilms.com and all social media platforms @capestanyfilms. Email producer@capestanyfilms.com.

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SXSW 17′ – Women In Film: From Her POV

press_scottcapestany_mediaincmagazine

Editor In ChiefScott A. Capestany

March 9, 2017 – Austin, Texas

The 24th edition of the SXSW Film Festival opens this week in Austin, Texas.  With over 125 feature films screening, 84 World Premiers, 11 North American Premiers and 6 US Premiers will be presented.

To continue our coverage of highlighting and supporting the visual works by #WomenInFilm within the Independent film space around the world,  Media Inc Magazine congratulates the 80+ Women Directors & female Co-Directors whom will showcase their films and/or visual works of art  at #SXSX this year!

To begin (more category’s below), here’s a full comprehensive look at each feature length film (in competition) @SXSW this year Written and/or Directed by WOMEN.  Each film title is linked to all screenings + filmmakers bios + cast + crew. (Links and brief descriptions courtesy of SXSW)

Feature Length Competition

World Premieres- Selected from 1,407 narrative feature submissions in 2017.

A Critically Endangered Species

a-critically-endangered-species

Poland, United States –  World Premiere
Directors/Screenwriters: Zachary Cotler, Magdalena Zyzak –
An internationally respected poet announces she is going to kill herself and needs an heir and executor. Young writers drive up the mountain to compete for the position and are challenged intellectually, emotionally, and erotically. Cast: Lena Olin, Rosanna Arquette, Jordan Gavaris, Alexander Koch, Nathan Keyes, Chris Voss.

Fits and Starts

fits-and-starts-

World Premiere
Director/Screenwriter: Laura Terruso – @Fits_andStarts 
A struggling writer can’t seem to escape his wife’s literary success. When a road trip to a publisher’s salon takes an unexpected turn, he has to face his own creative shortcomings and find a way to regain control of his life and work. Cast: Wyatt Cenac, Greta Lee, Maria Dizzia, Alex Karpovsky, Ben Sinclair, Onur Turkel, John Rothman, Louis Cancelmi, Larry Murphy, Sam Seder.

The Light of the Moon

the-light-of-the-moon-F71271

World Premiere
Director/Screenwriter: Jessica M. Thompson –@TLOTMfilm  @jess_m_thompson
After her world is irrevocably changed, a successful New York City architect struggles to regain intimacy and control in her life. Cast: Stephanie Beatriz, Michael Stahl-David, Conrad Ricamora, Catherine Curtin, Olga Merediz, Cindy Cheung, Susan Heyward, Craig Walker, Cara Loften, Michael Cuomo.

MFA

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World Premiere
Director: Natalia Leite /  Screenwriter: Leah Mckendrick –@_natalialeite_
The accidental death of her rapist sets an art student on a course for justice, fueling the inspiration for her thesis exhibition. Cast: Francesca Eastwood, Clifton Collins Jr, Peter Vack, Leah Mckendrick, Marlon Young, David Sullivan, Michael Welch.

Most Beautiful Island

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Writer, Director, Producer and Actor Ana Asensio

Spain, United States – World Premiere
Director/Screenwriter: Ana Asensio – @AnaAsensio1
An undocumented young woman struggling to begin a new life in New York City is offered an opportunity she can’t pass up. But as day turns to night she discovers she’s been lured to the center of a dangerous game. Cast: Ana Asensio, Natasha Romanova, David Little, Nicholas Tucci, Larry Fessenden, Caprice Benedetti.

The Strange Ones

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World Premiere
Directors: Lauren Wolkstein, Christopher Radcliff, Screenwriter: Christopher Radcliff – @thestrangeones  @laurenwolkstein
Mysterious events surround the travels of two brothers as they make their way across a remote American landscape. On the surface all seems normal, but what appears to be a simple vacation soon gives way to dark and complex truths. Cast: Alex Pettyfer, James Freedson-Jackson, Emily Althaus, Gene Jones.

Documentary Feature Competition

Bill Frisell, A Portrait

bill-frisell-a-portrait-

Australia – World Premiere
Director/Screenwriter: Emma Franz
An intimate, behind-the-music portrait of one of the most unassuming yet influential creative artists of our time, guitarist Bill Frisell. Frisell said of the film, “It’s like the inside of my brain!” 

I Am Another You

i-am-another-you_NAnfu Wang

World Premiere
Director/Screenwriter: Nanfu Wang – @iaayfilm  @wangnanfu
Through the eyes of a young drifter who rejects society’s rules and intentionally chooses to live on the streets, Chinese filmmaker Nanfu Wang explores the meaning of personal freedom – and its limits.

Maineland

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China, United States- World Premiere
Director: Miao Wang – @mainelandfilm  @miaowang
Chinese teenagers from the wealthy elite, with big American dreams, settle into a boarding school in small-town Maine. As their fuzzy visions of the American dream slowly gain more clarity, their relationship to home takes on a poignant new aspect.

Mommy Dead and Dearest

mommy-dead-and-dearest

World Premiere
Director: Erin Lee Carr – @erinleecarr
Child abuse, mental illness, and forbidden love converge in this mystery involving a mother and daughter who were thought to be living a fairy tale life that turned out to be a living nightmare.

Served Like A Girl

served-like-a-girl

World Premiere
Director: Lysa Heslov – @servedlikeagirl 
Five women veterans who have endured unimaginable trauma in service create a shared sisterhood to help the rising number of stranded homeless women veterans by entering a competition that unexpectedly catalyzes moving events in their own lives.

The Secret Life of Lance Letscher

the-secret-life-of-lance-letscher

World Premiere
Director: Sandra Adair – @LLetscherdoc  @sadair20
Witness the collision of memory, color, and chaos in this unprecedented journey through the visionary mind of collage artist Lance Letscher.

Here’s the breakdown numbers of ALL #WomenInFilm projects directed or co-directed by #SXSW female creatives this year:

Narrative Features -20, Documentary Features – 15, Narrative Shorts – 14, Animated Shorts – 7, Documentary Shorts: 6, Music Videos – 5,  Texas High School – 14, Virtual Reality – 10+, Series – 1

Editor-In-Chief Scott A. Capestany is an Award Winning Film/TV content creator, writer and producer. Scott’s recent appointment to EIC has led to a full re-banding of the 20+ year publication running into a national and soon to be global Independent + Sport + Music + Art publication.  As a devout and long time advocate of #WomenInFilm and #Diversity in the industry, Scott’s ambition is to help women filmmakers and artists of under represented groups have an equal and strong voice in Hollywood.  He is represented by Bloom, Hergott, Diemer, Rosenthal, Laviolette, Feldman, Schenkman & Goodman, LLP in Beverly Hills, CA

Followed Scott @MediaIncMag + @CapestanyFilms

 

 

 

 

 

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Courtside with PAC-12 Networks President Lydia Murphy-Stephans

press_scottcapestany_mediaincmagazineMarch 2017

Seattle, WA – Key Arena

Shortly before the quarterfinals began at the 2017 Women’s Basketball PAC-12 Championship in Seattle, WA at the Key Arena earlier this Spring, we got a chance to sit down with PAC-12 Networks President Lydia Murphy-Stephans to get an inside look at the extraordinary transformation the conference has gone through since the advent of the PAC-12 Networks.  With one of the new segments of editorial content being ‘Media In Sports’ in 2017, we were honored to chat with this very dynamic leader who has helped transform the way we consume sports media both here in the United States, but also all around the world.

Q: Tell us about the inception of the PAC-12 Network

A:  We’re now in our fifth year of the PAC-12 Networks.  Our initial mission was to create a media company owned by the twelve universities and managed by the PAC-12 conference.  The impetus was to provide more exposure to the schools and student-athletes which today we are now producing 850 LIVE events across 32 sports each academic year.  Which means sports like Women’s basketball and all the olympic sports that didn’t get television exposure before now get  significant national and sometimes global exposure.  We are now achieving this through TV networks and across the digital platforms including social media.

Q: What  do you think has helped you achieved success in such a short period of time with the PAC-12 Network?

There was an amazing foundation in place.  The PAC-10, which became the PAC-12, had phenomenal athletic teams both in women and men’s sports as the conference of champions with 493 NCAA championships to call our own.  And what my staff and I have done since the inception of the network was to build on a stellar foundation that was already in place.   There was this amazing brand and level of athletic talent within the conference and so with the  media company what we did was build the infrastructure to be able to provide exposure for that talent.  I also think the advancement in  technology has helped us significantly over the last four years.  When we launched a handful of years ago, twitter was not streaming video, Instagram did not exist and Facebook was not streaming live.  And those are all different vehicles for us to now partner with and distribute content.  So we came along when the timing was just right with both technology and the content we had to showcase.

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PAC-12 Network President Lydia Murphy-Stephans

Q: Tell us about your leadership team.

A: At the initial stages when we were in the planning phases for the network, we were thinking of it as a multi-faceted media company. We never though of it as a set of family of TV networks, so we decided to run parallel paths of the liner side of the business and the digital side of the business that allowed both our network staff and conference staff to work together and side by side.  The PAC-12 network consists of around 185 full-time staffers and over 1500 freelance workers across our six states that bring a unique blend of highly skilled media people along with highly skilled tech savvy team members.

Q: Tell us about your Networks production footprint and structure in terms of operations and athletic coverage.

PAC-12 networks is owned by the 12 Universities.  We produce over 850 events and over 550 hours of content across six states – Arizona, California, Colorado, Oregon, Washington and Utah.  Our twelve Universities  include UCLA, USC, Stanford, University of California-Berkeley, University of Oregon, Oregon State, University of Arizona, Arizona State University, University of Washington, Washington State University, University of Colorado and the University of Utah where we have over 110 athletic venues.

Q: What’s new to PAC-12 Networks this year and what’s to come in the future?

A:  Being headquartered close to silicon valley certainly has its advantages for us.  Thus allowing us to strategically position ourselves to partner with all the technology that allows us to deliver our content.  This last year we added twitter LIVE and Sling TV.  PAC-12 Networks currently is also delivered over the top internationally on both YouTube and EverSport.  Making us available in every country in the world outside the United States that has Internet service. Our focus now is to maximize the distribution both domestically and internationally.   

Prior to becoming the President of the PAC-12 network, Murphy-Stevens cut her teeth as a young producer for ABC sports.  She also was a member of the 1984 Olympic speed skating team.

 

Danette Leighton

PAC-12 CMO Danette Leighton – Innovation and Excellence

Scott A. Capestany

Editor In Chief – Scott A. Capestany

March 2017- Seattle, WA

As the PAC-12 Woman’s NCAA basketball tournament unfolded this Spring at the Key Arena, Media Inc Magazine got a chance to sit down with two quite extraordinary PAC-12 conference executives whom together lead the nation’s most impressive linear and digital broadcast entities – the PAC-12 Network.  As part one of our two part featured ‘Women In sports’ coverage of the NCAA Women’s PAC-12 Conference tournament, we first caught up with first with the Chief Marketing Officer – DANETTE LEIGHTON.

Leighton, whom was appointed the first ever CMO in the history of the conference by commissioner Larry Scott , returned to the PAC-12 in 2010 after cutting her teeth with some of the biggest organizations in professional sports, the WNBA, NBA and Sony Sports.  Prior to her meteoric rise in the world of sports marketing as an executive, Leighton had a long-standing connection to the conference since graduating from the PAC-10’s (at the time) University of Arizona in 1993.

She realized this unique passion and connection to the world of sports and the now the PAC-12, suited her well when the call came from conference commissioner LARRY SCOTT to execute his elaborate vision to re-brand and enhance the conferences already impressive tradition of excellence.

Q: Tell us about your journey to the PAC-12 Conference & Network and the brands evolution to where it is today.

I’m a product of the PAC-10 (the former name of the PAC-12 before Colorado and Utah joined in 2011) where my father played baseball at UCLA and I went to Arizona so pretty much grew up in this league.  So, when I came back seven years ago, I already had a very strong passion for what this brand is and was.  I believe a brand is truly built on its genuine and authentic pillars that exist.  So, my job when I came on board was to really find the ones that differentiated us and start to “pound our chest”, so to speak, but to do it in a way to always be humble.

One of the first things I worked on with our commissioner, Larry Scott, where he was already well down a path of doing an overview of where the brand was and where we needed to go, was to examine the Pac-10 brand that we had and to fortify and strengthen the conferences three very strong brand pillars.  Innovation, geography and excellence.   Geographically speaking, it wasn’t only about the beauty of the mountains, deserts and ocean that made our regional footprint unique, but dating back to the covered wagons pilgrimage to the west coast, it represented a time where Americans moving west carried with them an innovative mindset and looking for a better way of life.

The history of our twelve Universities were each built on the foundations of this great academic success but through a very modern and progressive point of view.  Our strength of being on the west coast really tailored well into the innovation brand pillar we believe is so unique to us.  Blending three very innovative communities in our geographic footprint you can think about entertainment in Hollywood, the Pacific Northwest and Silicon Valley which is our biggest differentiator when you look at us across the landscape of sports compared to other conferences.  Our third pillar of excellence reflects our long and distinguished history of dominance within athletics.  Entering our 101 year of existence, we hold the most NCAA titles than any conference and what makes it so amazing we are currently at 493 national titles where our next closest counterpart is roughly half of that.  We not only have the dominance of the national titles, but we also have a strong Olympic success as well for both men and women.  I believe we made up roughly 80% of team USA which, if we were a country, we would have finished fifth in the overall medal count. Which complemented our progressive mindset of always offering these types of opportunities to both men and women and really value the importance of them.

So, one of my primary roles since I have arrived was tell the stories of these 7000+ student athletes that make up our PAC-12 through these distinguishable and long standing traditions in both athletics and academics.

Q: What experiences from your prior endeavors have helped you enhance the PAC-12 brand.

When I worked with the Monarchs of the WNBA managing the business side of things, I learned how to be scrappy, innovative and mindful of modest business operations and initiatives.  While working with the Kings of the NBA under the great commissioner of David Stern, I had the honor to work with some very dynamic owners who allowed me to work autonomously which Commissioner Scott has supported and embraced with my current position here at the Pac-12.  What I learned most was how different the two brands were and how to market to uniquely different to the men and women fan base of each of the organizations which has helped me tremendously here with the Pac-12.

Q: Tell us more about the creation of the PAC-12 Network.

One of the most impressive and innovative ideas that my commissioner Larry Scott conceived since my arrival has been the creation of the Pac-12 Network.  For the first time in conference history fans can experience LIVE linear and digital broadcasts of over 850 games across multiple platforms and multiple sports.  Where before the TV coverage was very minimal and nearly non-existent with many women sports.  We now LIVE stream our all our basketball press conferences on Facebook live and utilize multiple platforms like Twitter and Instagram to engage our fans around the world.

The network also has enhanced the relationship between student-athletes, fans and families.  Where some live quite far away from their kids and now have the technology to watch and experience their kid sporting events.  Not to mention how the network has helped and complimented the recruiting component allowing high schools coaches from around the county to watch incoming student-athletes.

Q:  What is the most exciting part of your job.

I love being a part of a team and leading a great group of humans. I think it’s very important to believe in what your organization stands for in terms of personal and cultural standpoint.  Although I feel very strong about our brand and our 12 universities, the role that I love so much is experiencing events like this one here in Seattle, the PAC-12 Conference Championship tournament.   I feel very lucky that my team gets to touch everything and experience it.   I value the autonomy commissioner Scott gives me to execute his vision every day at my job.

The one thing that impressed me the most in chatting with Danette was her fierce passion and genuine love she has for her Pac-12 team she works with every day.   But most impressively, her innovative vision she has reflecting her commissioners most impressive creative to date – the Pac-12 Networks.

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Anne Marie Gillen joins MI as Associate Editor

Media Inc Magazine welcomes Award Winning Producer Anne Marie Gillen (Producers Guild of America) as Associate Editor to compliment the publications efforts of increasing its global outreach and engagement within the independent film arena. She will help oversee industry, film festival and film market event editorial coverage primarily for Women In Film.

As former COO of Morgan Freeman’s production company ‘Revelation Entertainment’, Gillen’s work as a Producer, Consultant, Lecturer and Corporate/Executive Coach has spanned the elite levels of motion picture development and financing business for over 25 years.  Her work as Executive Producer on Universal Studios feature film ‘Fried Green Tomatoes’ paved the way for  global box-office success grossing over $110M.  As an expert in film finance, distribution, digital media and film development, Gillen also brings a plethora of top tiered industry relationship to Media Inc Magazine’s network.

She is the co-author of the The Producer’s Business Handbook published by Focal Press and co-branded by the American Film Market (AFM).  The AFM is produced by the Independent Film & Television Alliance®  The 4th and newest addition will premier at AFM 2017 with book signings at the Focal Press booth next to registration at the AFM headquarters inside the Santa Monica Lowes Hotel.

Her current projects featured at the AFM are the underwater sci-fi film Oceanus being sold by Evolutionary Films and 12-episode opera Vireo being sold by Altadena Films.

She is the CEO and President of ‘The Gillen Group, LLC’ whom specializes in working with ‘IndieFilm’ producers realize their projects.  Anne Marie can be reached at  amgillen@gillengroupllc.com 

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2017 Sundance Film Festival – Short Film Lineup!

This week, the Sundance Institute in Park City Utah will be presenting sixty-eight (68) short films that will compliment the feature length line-up at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival running January 19-29, 2017.

Media Inc Magazine will be reporting LIVE via TWITTER and FACEBOOK LIVE  throughout Park City interacting with filmmakers and bringing you daily/hourly updates on news and exclusive interviews with some of the worlds most talented creatives making the cut this year in all categories.  Our coverage this year will include some of the 40 featured length films Written and/or Directed by #WomenInFilm.  Over 175 total films (shorts, docs, animation and features) will be showcased at one of the worlds most prestigious film festivals over the course of 10 days.

To give you an idea how competitive the selection process was this year,  there were over 8000 films submitted!  With only 68 Shorts and 110 features (including docs) making the final cut.  Roughly 1 in every 40 films submitted got an invitation.

Sundance has been best known as the crown jewel of indie film festivals that have helped discover some of the greatest filmmakers now working in Hollywood over the last 35 years.

With more than 9,000 playwrights, composers, digital media artists, and filmmakers served through the Sundance Institute programs over the last 35 years, the Sundance community of independent creators is more far-reaching and vibrant than ever before.

If you have been selected for any Institute lab program or festival, you are a member of this community. Sundance alumni receive support throughout their careers, including access to tools, resources and advice as well as artist gatherings and more. Alumni are also encouraged to actively contribute to the Institute’s creative community and to our mission to discover and develop work from new artists.

The Institute’s support for short films extends internationally and year-round. Select Festival short films are presented as a traveling program at over 50 theaters in the U.S. and Canada each year, and short films and filmmakers take part in regional Master Classes geared towards supporting emerging shorts-makers in several cities. Sundance Institute’s Documentary Film Program, supported by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and in partnership with The Guardian and The New York Times’ Op-Docs, provides grants to makers of documentary shorts around the world, including new filmmakers in Cuba featured in a Special Event program at this year’s Festival.

Mike Plante, Senior Programmer for the Sundance Film Festival, said, “Each year we see more short films from around the country and from more regions around the world, which is exciting as we want to discover new voices to support. This year’s crop captures the full spectrum of what short films can be: emotional, hilarious, horrifying and touching — sometimes all at once.”

Among the shorts the Festival has shown in recent years are World of Tomorrow, Thunder Road, Whiplash, The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom, Gregory Go Boom and Edmond.

The Short Film program is presented by YouTube.

U.S. NARRATIVE SHORT FILMS

American Paradise / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Joe Talbot) — A desperate man in Trump’s America tries to shift his luck with the perfect crime in this story inspired by true events.

Cecile on the Phone / U.S.A. (Director: Annabelle Dexter-Jones, Screenwriters: Annabelle Dexter-Jones, Ellen Greenberg) — Overwhelmed by doubt and confusion after her ex-boyfriend’s return to New York, Cecile embarks on a series of telephone conversations that serve only to distract her from the one conversation she really needs to have.

Come Swim / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Kristen Stewart) — This is a diptych of one man’s day, half impressionist and half realist portraits.

GOOD CRAZY / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Rosa Salazar) — A complex chick deals with a vanilla beau, a shitty brunch and a dead coyote all in a Los Angeles day. There’s batshit crazy and then there’s good crazy—she fits somewhere in between.

Hardware / U.S.A. (Director: Stephen Jacobson, Screenwriters: Ellen Stringer, Stephen Jacobson) — An amateur electronic-drum enthusiast travels to a housewares trade show looking to strike up the perfect business partnership. When things don’t go as planned, he finds himself at the mercy of the electronic drumbeat playing in his head.

Hold On / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Christine Turner) — Family bonds are tested when a young man is left to care for his grandmother one morning.

Hot Seat / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Anna Kerrigan) — Teenaged Andrea uses a male stripper to gain the respect and admiration of cool girl Daphne in this exploration of coming-of-age sexuality and teen girls’ complex relationships, based on a true story.

I Know You from Somewhere / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Andrew Fitzgerald) — A young woman incurs the wrath of the internet after she inadvertently becomes a viral sensation.

Kaiju Bunraku / U.S.A. (Directors: Lucas Leyva, Jillian Mayer, Screenwriter: Lucas Leyva) — Here’s a day in the life of a husband and wife living in a world of giant monsters.

Laps / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Charlotte Wells) — On a routine morning, a woman on a crowded New York City subway is sexually assaulted in plain sight.

LostFound / U.S.A. (Director: Shakti Bhagchandani, Screenwriters: Shakti Bhagchandani, Emre Gulcan) — This story portrays a day in the life of a woman in the Nation of Islam.

Lucia, Before and After / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Anu Valia) — After traveling 200 miles, a young woman waits out Texas’s state-mandated 24-hour waiting period before her abortion can proceed.

New Neighbors / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: E.G. Bailey) — How far will a mother go to protect her children?

Night Shift / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Marshall Tyler) — Get a glimpse into a day in the life of a bathroom attendant in a Los Angeles nightclub.

Rubber Heart / U.S.A. (Director: Lizzy Sanford, Screenwriters: Lizzy Sanford, Anna Cordell) — After a painful dry spell, a woman attempts to have a one-night stand.

Shinaab / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Lyle Mitchell Corbine Jr.) — A young Anishinaabe man struggles with his place in the inner city of Minneapolis.

Toru / U.S.A. (Directors and screenwriters: Jonathan Minard, Scott Rashap) — An infant’s life is transformed by a new technology.

INTERNATIONAL NARRATIVE SHORT FILMS

5 Films About Technology / Canada (Director and screenwriter: Peter Huang) — Take a satirical look at the dumber side of technology.

And so we put goldfish in the pool. / Japan (Director and screenwriter: Makoto Nagahisa) — One summer day, 400 goldfish were found in the swimming pool of a secondary school. This is a story about the four 15-year-old girls who put them there.

And The Whole Sky Fit In The Dead Cow’s Eye / Chile, U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Francisca Alegría) — Emeteria is visited by the ghost of her patrón, Teodoro. She believes he has come to take her to the afterlife—but he has more devastating news.

Dadyaa — The Woodpeckers of Rotha / Nepal, France (Directors and screenwriters: Pooja Gurung, Bibhusan Basnet) — Atimaley and Devi’s village is haunted by memories. When a dear friend leaves the village without saying goodbye, the old couple faces a dilemma: keep living with the memories or leave the village for good?

Dawn of the Deaf / United Kingdom (Director and screenwriter: Rob Savage) — When a strange sound wipes out the hearing population, a small group of deaf people must band together to survive.

Dear Mr. Shakespeare / United Kingdom (Director: Shola Amoo, Screenwriter: Phoebe Boswell) — An exploration of Shakespeare’s intentions when writing Othello explores the play’s racial themes in historical and contemporary settings, and draws wider parallels between immigration and blackness in the UK today.

The Geneva Convention / France (Director and screenwriter: Benoit Martin) — As Hakim is waiting for the bus after class, he is caught in a vendetta between teenagers. He’s not exactly keen to be involved, but can he avoid it?

HEAT / Poland (Directors and screenwriters: Agata Trzebuchowska, Mateusz Pacewicz) — A young boy does an unusual favor for a friend, assuming his identity to visit his senile grandmother. The woman takes him for a walk, and tells him about the biggest mystery of her life.

Kao Shi (A Test) / China (Director and screenwriter: Zuxiang Zhao) — In a small-town high school, days before the college entrance exam, teacher Chen Jun finds out that the father of his most promising student has died in a mining accident. Telling him—or not—bears heavy consequences.

MappaMundi / Luxembourg, Austria (Director and screenwriter: Bady Minck) — Through the eyes of cosmic cartographers, the viewer takes a voyage through 950 million years of Earth history and 15,000 years of cartography. This accelerated journey visualizes the change in our world—a change unnoticeable in a single lifetime.

Mare Nostrum / France, Syrian Arab Republic (Directors: Rana Kazkaz, Anas Khalaf, Screenwriter: Rana Kazkaz) — On a Mediterranean shore, a Syrian father makes a decision that puts his daughter’s life at risk.

Pedro / Portugal (Directors and screenwriters: André Santos, Marco Leão) — Pedro gets home at dawn. Before the young boy falls asleep, his lonely mother drags him to the beach.

Slapper / Australia (Director: Luci Schroder, Screenwriters: Luci Schroder, Sam West) — A broke and rebellious teen navigates a suburban wasteland, hustling money for the morning-after pill—before it’s too late.

What Tears Us Apart / France (Director and screenwriter: Wei Hu) — A Chinese couple visits the daughter they gave up for adoption 30 years ago. While meeting the French adoptive parents, language barriers become apparent and the birth mother’s hidden emotions rise to the surface.

DOCUMENTARY SHORT FILMS

Alone / U.S.A. (Director: Garrett Bradley) — This investigation into the layers of mass incarceration and its shaping of the modern black American family is seen through the eyes of a single mother in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Bayard & Me / U.S.A. (Director: Matt Wolf) — Walter Naegle’s boyfriend, Bayard Rustin, was a famous civil rights activist 30 years Walter’s senior. In the 1980s, Bayard decided to adopt Walter for legal protection. This love story is about a time when gay marriage was inconceivable.

Close Ties / Poland (Director: Zofia Kowalewska) — Barbara and Zdzislaw will soon celebrate their 45th anniversary—despite their constant bickering, and the fact that Zdzislaw spent eight of those years living with another woman. This is a portrait of a relationship that, somewhat inexplicably, perseveres.

Deer Squad: The Movie / U.S.A. (Directors: Pipus Larsen, Kenneth Gug, Scott J. Ross) — Kelvin Peña, a charismatic 17-year-old from rural Pennsylvania, shares his story of going viral after befriending a group of wild deer in his backyard.

The Diver / Mexico (Director: Esteban Arrangoiz) — Julio César Cu Cámara is the chief diver in the Mexico City sewer system. His job is to repair pumps and dislodge garbage that flows into the gutters to maintain the circulation of sewage waters. THE NEW CLIMATE

Fish Story / United Kingdom (Director: Charlie Lyne) — Behind a fishy tale lies this search for the truth.

Hairat / Ethiopia (Director: Jessica Beshir) — One man’s nightly ritual brings solace to the lovelorn of Harar.

Legal Smuggling with Christine Choy / U.S.A. (Director: Lewie Kloster) — Academy Award–nominated documentary filmmaker Christine Choy undergoes an adventure of wild proportions when she accidentally smuggles cigarettes.

My Father’s Tools / Canada (Director: Heather Condo)— Stephen continues producing traditional baskets to honor his father and thus finds peace in his studio as he connects with the man who taught him the craft.

Project X / U.S.A. (Directors: Laura Poitras, Henrik Moltke) — A top secret handbook takes viewers on an undercover journey to the site of a hidden partnership. Based on NSA documents, this film reveals the inner workings of a windowless skyscraper in Manhattan.

The Rabbit Hunt / U.S.A. (Director: Patrick Bresnan) — On the weekends during the harvest season, 17-year-old Chris and his family hunt rabbits in the sugarcane fields of the Florida Everglades.

Ten Meter Tower / Sweden (Directors: Maximilien Van Aertryck, Axel Danielson) — People who have never been up a 10-meter diving tower must choose whether to jump or climb down in this entertaining study of people in a vulnerable position.

Tough / United Kingdom (Director: Jennifer Zheng) — New light is shed on childhood cultural misunderstandings when a Chinese mother and her British-born daughter speak as adults for the first time. Some things can only be understood with maturity.

Visions of an Island / U.S.A. (Director: Sky Hopinka) — Indigenous and foreign presences coexist on an Alaskan island in the center of the Bering Sea. THE NEW CLIMATE

Waiting for Hassana / Nigeria (Director: Ifunanya Maduka) — In 2014, 276 teenage girls came together for exams in Chibok, Nigeria—by dawn, nearly all had disappeared, and their school was burned to the ground. Jessica, an escapee, shares her haunting account of a friendship violently interrupted by Boko Haram.

White Riot: London / United Kingdom (Director: Rubika Shah) — In 1977, immigration divides Britain. What happens when a punk fanzine challenges the status quo?

MIDNIGHT SHORT FILMS

Do No Harm / New Zealand (Director and screenwriter: Roseanne Liang) — 3:00 a.m., 1980s Hongjing: In an aging private hospital, a single-minded surgeon is forced to break her physician’s oath when violent gangsters storm in to stop a crucial operation.

Fucking Bunnies / Finland (Director: Teemu Niukkanen, Screenwriters: Antti Toivonen, Teemu Niukkanen) — Raimo’s comfortable, middle-class bubble is burst when a Satan-worshipping sex cult moves in next door.

Hot Winter: A film by Dick Pierre / U.S.A. (Director: Jack Henry Robbins, Screenwriters: Jack Henry Robbins, Nunzio Randazzo) — One of the first films in American cinema to address climate change, Hot Winter: A film by Dick Pierre, was also a hardcore porno. All sex scenes have been removed as to not distract from the conscious message. THE NEW CLIMATE

A Nearly Perfect Blue Sky (Un ciel bleu presque parfait) / France (Director and screenwriter: Quarxx) — You might think that Simon lives a monotonous life, but you would be wrong—contrary to appearances, he doesn’t live alone among the ruins of an old farm. Between kidnapper and guardian angel, he never takes his eyes off his roommate.

Pussy / Poland (Director and screenwriter: Renata Gasiorowska) — Alone at home one evening, a young girl decides to have a solo pleasure session—but not everything goes according to plan.

The Robbery / U.S.A. (Director: Jim Cummings, Screenwriters: Jim Cummings, Dustin Hahn) — Crystal robs a liquor store—it goes pretty OK.

Summer’s Puke Is Winter’s Delight / Japan (Director and screenwriter: Sawako Kabuki) — Painful events become memories over time. Still, we vomit and eat again. Life is eco.

ANIMATED SHORT FILMS

The Bald Future / France (Director and screenwriter: Paul Cabon) — Being a bald man sucks. Knowing you’ll become one is worse.

Black Holes / U.S.A., France (Directors and screenwriters: David Nicolas, Laurent Nicolas) — Dave is about to lead the first mission to Mars when he’s teamed up with a sentient melon, who claims to be the reincarnation of a fashion designer, upstaging his big moment and driving him to the brink of madness.

Broken – The Women’s Prison at Hoheneck / Germany (Directors: Volker Schlecht, Alexander Lahl, Screenwriters: Alexander Lahl, Max Mönch) — This animated documentary about Hoheneck, the main women’s prison in former East Germany, is based on original interviews with former inmates. It’s a film about political imprisonment, forced labor and enormous profits on both sides of the Iron Curtain.

Drawn & Recorded: Teen Spirit / U.S.A. (Director: Drew Christie, Screenwriters: Drew Christie, Bill Flanagan) — This is the story behind one of the most iconic songs ever written, animated in the style of a pop-up book.

How’s your prostate? / France (Directors: Jeanne Paturle, Cécile Rousset, Screenwriters: Jeanne Paturle, Cécile Rousset, Cécile Mille) — One friend tells the other about the very strange time when, beside a swimming pool, she learned about her father’s prostate, his erectile function and his nighttime fantasies.

It’s a Date / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Zachary Zezima) — This film explores miscommunication, perceptions and vulnerability in the modern world. Everyone is an alien at first.

Jonas and the Sea / Netherlands (Director: Marlies Van der Wel, Screenwriters: Ruben Picavet, Marlies Van der Wel) — Jonas has dreamed of living in the sea all his life, but it’s impossible. Or is it?

The Laughing Spider / Japan (Director: Keiichi Tanaami) — The early childhood memory of aerial attacks leaves a lasting impression, with strong stimulus and disquiet.

LOVE / France, Hungary (Director and screenwriter: Réka Bucsi)— Abstract haiku-like situations reveal the changing atmosphere on one planet caused by a meteoric impact in a distant solar system. Inhabitants on this pulsing planet become one with each other, in various ways, in this three-chapter exploration of affection.

Nighthawk / Slovenia, Croatia (Director: Špela Čadež, Screenwriters: Gregor Zorc, Špela Čadež) — Attempting to remove an unresponsive badger from a dark road, a police patrol soon realizes that the animal is not dead but rather dead drunk. Things take an even stranger turn when the creature wakes up.

Nutag — Homeland / Canada (Director and screenwriter: Alisi Telengut) — This hand-painted visual poem explores the ideas of diaspora, homeland and the mass deportations of the Kalmyk people during World War II.

Summer Camp Island / U.S.A., South Korea (Director and screenwriter: Julia Pott) — Oscar and his best friend, Hedgehog, just got dropped off at summer camp. Once the parents leave the island, the strangeness lurking beneath the surface is revealed—aliens exist, horses become unicorns and there are monsters under the bed.

Trumpet Man / Hong Kong (Director and screenwriter: Emily Wong) — A turntable springs out a woman named Avocado; her instinct creates a man called Soul. Passion swings both, and an uncertain madness strikes Soul heavily. Seeds of passion breed conflict among five men, eventually leading Soul to a deeper understanding of life.

Victor & Isolina / U.S.A. (Director: William Caballero) — Creatively visualized through 3D printing, two elderly Latinos embark on a resonating he said/she said account of the events that led them to live separately after more than 50 quirky and stressful years together.

One film announced today was funded through a Kickstarter campaign: Black Holes.

The Sundance Film Festival®
The Sundance Film Festival has introduced global audiences to some of the most groundbreaking films of the past three decades, including Boyhood, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Fruitvale Station, Whiplash, Brooklyn, Twenty Feet from Stardom, Life Itself, The Cove, The End of the Tour, Blackfish, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, Super Size Me, Dope, Little Miss Sunshine, sex, lies, and videotape, Reservoir Dogs, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, An Inconvenient Truth, Precious and Napoleon Dynamite. The Festival is a program of the non-profit Sundance Institute®. 2017 Festival sponsors to date include: Presenting Sponsors – Acura, SundanceTV, Chase Sapphire®, and Canada Goose; Leadership Sponsors – Adobe, AT&T, DIRECTV, and YouTube; Sustaining Sponsors – American Airlines, Canon U.S.A., Inc., Francis Ford Coppola Winery, GEICO, Google VR, The Hollywood Reporter, IMDb, Jaunt, Kickstarter, Omnicom, Stella Artois® and the University of Utah Health. Sundance Institute recognizes critical support from the Utah Governor’s Office of Economic Development, and the State of Utah as Festival Host State. The support of these organizations helps offset the Festival’s costs and sustain the Institute’s year-round programs for independent artists. Look for the Official Sponsor seal at their venues at the Festival. sundance.org/festival

Sundance Institute
Founded in 1981 by Robert Redford, Sundance Institute is a nonprofit organization that provides and preserves the space for artists in film, theatre, and new media to create and thrive. The Institute’s signature Labs, granting, and mentorship programs, dedicated to developing new work, take place throughout the year in the U.S. and internationally. The Sundance Film Festival and other public programs connect audiences to artists in igniting new ideas, discovering original voices, and building a community dedicated to independent storytelling. Sundance Institute has supported such projects as Beasts of the Southern Wild, Fruitvale Station, Sin Nombre, The Invisible War, The Square, Dirty Wars, Spring Awakening, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder and Fun Home. Join Sundance Institute on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.

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Filmmaker Tracy Rector Speaks out for Indigenous people

Originally posted by THE STRANGER on Oct 31, 2016

Guest Editorial: Standing Rock Is a Wake-Up Call to All Americans

By Tracy Rector- Filmmaker/Advocatetracy-3-stanger-photo

Right now, corporations threaten the lifeblood of Mother Earth. There are thousands of water protectors mobilized against the Dakota Access pipeline (DAPL) in Cannonball, ND, on the traditional territories of the Standing Rock Sioux Nation, guaranteed to the Tribe in the 1851 and 1868 treaties with the US government. The activists at Standing Rock are not only concerned with protecting their sovereign rights, history, and land; they’re fighting for the health of the land and water for millions of US citizens along the Missouri River.

Frankly, they’re gifting Americans with an opportunity to critically analyze the state of our so-called democracy. Their resistance is a wake-up call. We are living in a time of great change and tribal prophecies have foreshadowed what’s to come.

My work as an artist and activist responds to the pervasive colonizer mentalities of racism, entitlement, misogyny, and domination plaguing this country. Native history is everyone’s history, here on the territories now called the United States of America. We Native people are still here on the land of our ancestors despite the calculated genocide of our relatives. Our life experiences are a strength that we can draw upon in times of need. Our people are superheroes poised to shake our collective sleepy psyches awake. It’s not just brown and black bodies these corporate psychopaths are sacrificing for blood money—it’s everyone.

Indigenous people all around the world have been facing environmental genocide for centuries. Colonial corporate greed permeates the air we breathe. But Energy Transfer Partners’ BLACK SNAKE (DAPL) should concern us all. Their investors and shareholders are raping the lands and poisoning the waters that nurture everyone’s lives. Chemicals released into the environment as the result of domestic oil and natural gas production can damage our reproductive health. Our future generations are facing genocide before they are even born.

Mainstream media often ignores the pattern of numerous pipelines that have leaked, spilled and broken as our capacity for domestic oil production continues to grow. The most recent spill happened just last week in Cushing, Oklahoma, when a section of one of the biggest pipelines in the country burst. On October 20, 55,000 gallons of gasoline spilled into a tributary of Pennsylvania’s Susquehanna River, and just a month before that, another pipeline ruptured and dumped 250,000 gallons of gasoline in rural Alabama. On October 13, the Heiltsuk First Nation characterized the oil spill just north of Vancouver Island as an “environmental disaster” to their clam beds. With these clear patterns of corporate pipelines failing, it’s not a matter of IF the Dakota Access Pipeline will break. It’s WHEN.

The way we treat the earth is inseparable from how our society treats women. Rapists rape because they feel entitled to do so, because they’re abetted by cultures that systematically dehumanize certain bodies and lands. But what if we re-educated all Americans to feel empowered and proud to protect Mother Earth? What if we prioritized healing the bodies of water and land over buying a new car every year, or created a culture that values sustainable practices? What if the majority of Super Bowl commercials made it feel exciting to be environmental stewards?!?!

This is why Natives and non-Natives alike must honor the sacrifices being made by the water protectors resisting another dangerous pipeline project. Let’s hold one another accountable for the waste of precious resources. Let’s nurture our children’s natural love for Mother Earth and reward them for being good stewards of the land. Our strength comes from protecting, not raping.

If you strip away the illusions of consumption and capitalism, you will realize that there is a connection to the earth that cannot be severed or ignored. Your bloodline is your heritage and your ancestry — the future generations, your parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, and all your relatives throughout history and the natural world. To stand up for what is right and to be a true warrior is about the importance of honoring the water ways, the lifeblood of Mother Earth, and the presence of our ancestors in every molecule and particle surrounding us today.

My final thoughts come directly from the woman who initiated the stand against the Dakota Access Pipeline. Ladonna Bravebull Allard, who founded Sacred Stone Camp, says: “How can we stand in the face of violence? Because I was born to this land, because the roots grow out of my feet, because I love this land and I honor the water. Have we not learned from history? I pray for each of the people who stand up. We cannot live like this anymore. It has to stop—my grandchildren have a right to live. The world has a right to live. The water, the life blood of the world, has a right to live. Mni Wiconi, Water of Life. Pray for the water, pray for the people.”

Warriors on the front lines are standing for land and life, not only for the sacred water here, but for water across the globe. One day, when this is over and we win this fight, I want my grandchildren to be able to say, “My grandmother fought for me so I could be here today.”

Tracy Rector is a mixed race Choctaw/Seminole curator and filmmaker, a co-founder of Longhouse Media, and serves as a Seattle Arts Commissioner. Rector has made 360 short films, is currently in production of her third feature documentary, CLEARWATER, and has most recently curated BLOODLINES, featuring contemporary works by Indigenous artists on the significance of ancestry, identity, and political action at Bridge Productions.