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afm-2016

American Film Market 2017 – Insider Tips!

ScottCApestany_PressHS_Web_2017

By Editor-In-Chief:  SCOTT A. CAPESTANY

One of North America’s most high-profile international film markets will again arrive 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 deal-making heading into the Fall.

AFM 2017

The AFM will also 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 first TIP #1: 

Respect the AFM and host hotel staff.  Many have been working this event for multiple years.  The valet, front desk, concierge and restaurant staff are at the top of their game.  There’s a old saying “Don’t bite the hand that feeds you”.

One of the biggest mistakes that producers can make (new and seasoned) is failing to treat film market staff and host property employees with dignity and respect.  Professional patience will be your strong suit beginning at check-in at the AFM.  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

If you are well prepared and examine our tips outlined here, there will be no need to rush people and treat those helping with the event poorly.

TIP #2: Download both the AFM and CINANDO App.  These two digital tools will be some of your most valuable assets at AFM.   They will enhance your entire experience 10 fold.   Media Inc Magazine has partnered with CINANDO at both this years AFM and Sundance 2018 to help filmmakers access the best and 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!

GET YOUR PITCH ON!  I had the honor of being selected a handful of years ago to “pitch” one of my own feature film projects to a massive ball room full of international press and over 500+ industry professionals.   Around 15 or so were selected from around the world representing around 7-8 countries.

During our presentations, we each were given 3 minutes to pitch our project and get feedback from panelists Cassian Elwes and Torbin Armbrust of Virgin Produced.

CASSIAN ELWES, whose epic career as a producer in independent film has spanned decades. Hollywood Reporter once said that he was “involved in a virtual who’s who of every great independent film of the last ten years”.

Cassian AFM 1

Producer Cassian Elwes – Expert in Financing and Distribution 2016 AFM

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

Elwes helpful comments and insight following my pitch ignited my project with genuine and powerful inspirational words from someone whom I consider a legend in the Indie Film game.  Moments after I walked off the stage, I 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 and “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.  This conference is earmarked my #MediaIncMag as a must attend.

AFM-Pitch-Conference-2016

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

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

Click here for Registration badges.

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

  1. 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.
  2. 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 ** )
  3. Professional updated resume –  Make sure you have an updated IMDB pro page and Linked IN pages.
  4. 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.
  5. 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’s launching his new book at #AFM2017 and is an extraordinarily gifted professional writer himself.
  6. 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.  TIP: Google + IMDB  is your primary source and best tools.  Narrow it down to around 25-45 companies to reach out to. 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. TIP: Your objective with your meetings is not to SELL your project, but to schedule a second meeting.
  7. 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.  Both They are FREE downloads on both Google play Apple store.
  8. 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.
  9. 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 

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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

Follow us to receive insider TIPS on ways to enhance your experience.

 

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 agressively partnering with top international and domestic film festivals as thier exclusive Media partner.  The partnerships and press coverage we have in place at high profile indiefilm meccas such as  Sundance, SXSW, AFM, Seattle International Film Festival and Whistler International Film Festival to mention a few, help bridge the gap of emerging filmmakers and creatives with the media world.  Showcasing unique aspects of their festivals and events that mainstream media skip over primarily on our online platforms (twitter @MediaIncMag) and quarterly 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 world wide film festivals  around the world.

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

SAC:  Shortly after attending a Sundance Film Festival in the early 2000s, 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 5 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.  I’d say 80% of the people my age gave up in this business because of the lighting speed technology and the time it takes to develop and foster professional relationships.  You can now pitch a complete stranger in a hotel lobby after a conference and within days they are investing in your endeavor and doing business with you.  Technology has helped bridge the gap of uncertainty in our business. 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.   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 for 30+ years and stays on top of the new digital landscape.   Especially when it comes to engaging decision makers at the studio and network level as they mostly are in their 30s and grew up on technology.  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 now in 2017, 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 an action/adventure feature film THE RAINFOREST .  A story about a group of international explorers and scientists that set out to a South East Asian Rainforest to investigate a tribal legend and 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 live action 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, then audiences and especially little girls will quickly identify and connect with Sammie and become fans of her and the brave adventures she undertakes.  Sammie’s bold and brave spirit allows her to do everything just as good and even better than the boys 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 “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 regional 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 500% 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 or been invited to cover Sundance, SXSW, Tribeca and  Cannes Film Festivals this year.   Which is allowing us to expand our coverage in new markets.  We are also very excited to add two new segments to the publication; SPORT and ARTIST LIFESTYLE focusing on stories of artists outside their creative lives and also sports stories that are intriguing and original.  Not typical sports reporting, but rather overview of how their leagues and organizations work together to engage the general public through new media. 

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). We are strategically planning to expand circulation and take the publication to other creative markets through partnering with domestic and international film festivals, industry organizations and entertainment organizations. 

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 few years, 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 made five of her six feature films in Washington State, our next featured woman of influence likely doesn’t need a formal introduction. If you have your eye on Pacific Northwest filmmaking or have attended any major local film festival or event, writer/director LYNN SHELTON has essentially embodied what women in film and Washington State filmmaking have 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.

“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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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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Women In Film of Sundance 2017

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Sundance17: Women in Film – From Her POV

By Scott A. Capestany – Editor In Chief

With Sundance Film Festival 2017 opening this week in Park City, MEDIA INC MAGAZINE will be on the ground exclusively covering films, news, VR projects and panels presented, curated  and hosted by WOMEN IN FILM.

This year, 40 feature films will be screening in competition written and/or directed by some of the worlds most talented and emerging female filmmakers.

To give you a birds eye view and look into these fascinating works ‘From HER POV’, Media Inc Magazine has compiled the exclusive WIF list (Film synopsis, Filmmaker Bios and screenings schedule) of each film in their perspective categories for you to add to your Sundance experience this week.

Now, let’s meet the 2017 #WomenInFilm at Sundance Film Festival!

US Documentary Competition

U.S. Dramatic Competition

World Documentary Competition

World Dramatic Competition

Documentary Premieres

Premieres

Spotlight

NEXT

MIDNIGHT

 

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

The Rainforest: FEATURE FILM to highlight WA State + SouthEast Asian locations!

Scott Capestany standing in front of field monitor.

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

The upcoming Feature Film The Rainforest has become quite the buzz around town and in many Western Washington regions where parts of the project is slated to be filmed in 2018.

Created, written and executive produced by Award-Winning filmmaker Scott A. Capestany, ‘The Rainforest’ carries quite the exotic and adventurous story-line that’s sure to captivate global audiences while experiencing fascinating footage of both South East Asian (Borneo) and Pacific Northwest Rainforest regions. The story boasts of rich and some authentic indigenous tribal legends woven cleverly into a ‘Lara Croft’-style treasure hunting, swashbuckling action and bold adventure.  Filming locations slated include the jungles of South East Asia’s BORNEO region and the Pacific Northwest Region of  Western Washington which will be the central settings for this extraordinary feature film.The Rainforest BAnner

The story was conceived by Capestany during the filming of his TV series production, NW Waters , while fishing in Western Washington.  His quite engaging “proof of concept” teaser (VIEW HERE) has helped him generate interest from investors and global business partners from around the world.  The project was selected as a “pitch” finalist for the WA State Filmworks Innovation Lab, which in turn led to multiple Hollywood meetings.

With pre-production scheduled to begin in Summer 2017, Capestany’s endeavor is now on the fast track, having gained quite extensive support from well known PNW cast and crew, from statewide businesses and organizations, as well as from some very well known Hollywood players.

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 South East Asian’s 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 delicate ecosystems while being entertained and engaged with a heart pounding global adventure.”

Committed to keep 100% of The Rainforest produced in WA State, Capestany will be using local Emmy Award winning Seattle Post Audio design company BAD ANIMALS  along with KOERNER CAMERA to facilitate his projects camera needs.  “Our relationships with long standing highly acclaimed regional leaders are important not only for the economics of our local industry but also from the high level of work they do”, Said Capestany.  “Bad Animals has been the premier leader in sound design in our 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 recently 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 filming locations and their delicate  environments are a primary objective for Capestany. His goal of attracting more PNW, national and international outdoor apparel, products and services (that will be functional as both props and woven into the storyline) that support sustainability and environmental awareness will remain at the forefront in the coming months with The Rainforest.

As creative director at Capestany Films for a number of years, Capestany has cut his teeth like all indie filmmakers operating outside the studio system.  He’s created a quite impressive Hollywood network ranging from relationships with major players in the industry to actively participating annually in dozens of international panels and workshops educating creatives on the business side of the industry.  He has worked as a consulting producer and film financier for over a decade on multiple creative endeavors and likes to keep his business involvement with many well known films modestly at bay when asked about them.   “My goal as a financier has always been about the filmmaker, not about how we arrived there.”, He said.  “If I can help an artist guide his creative endeavor early on by removing the money equation that hampers 90% of films and often times contaminates the creative process with all involved, then the projects our group typically gets behind most always seem to find a way to be realized and produced.”

After reading the book Rebel without a Crew by Robert Rodriguez, he launched Capestany Films on Main Street in Park City, Utah, during the 2000 Sundance Film Festival, where he was serving as a volunteer at the Slamdance Film Festival under the watchful eye of founders Peter Baxter and Dan Mirvish. He still carries his first “creative” business card he made that year in his wallet as a daily reminder that “if you can dream…you can achieve.”

Interior airfield hangar of cast looking at laptop.

Interior airfield hangar of proof of concept filming.

To date, 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 recently in Beverly Hills at the Variety’s Faith-Based Summit and the American Film Market, where he met one of his current consulting producers, Anne Marie Gillen. After hearing one of his explosive and engaging pitch presentations, Gillen quickly decided to join Capestany Films 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 currently an expert in business development and finance for indie filmmakers around the world.

“After watching Scott on that stage in front of the world, his passion and resilience told me I had to be a part of what he was doing,” Gillen said.Scott meeting with Sklallam tribe

The Rainforest is “a hero’s journey” about a quite intelligent and 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 January 2017 underway with the lead, Dr. Riley Stone, being considered for numerous named Hollywood Female lead actors whose intellectual strength have already graced well know Film/TV productions.

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 in my business travels whom I respect”.  She’s what I consider an authentic representation of a person that women can and should aspire to be.  Strong (emotionally and psychologically), Intelligent, dynamic leader and most importantly well-respected among their male counterparts”, Capestany Said.  “The days of commercially viable scripts describing a woman as sexy, beautiful and alluring are reaching a breaking point and soon to be replaced by stories of strength from within”.

Capestany has begun assembling quite the impressive Pacific Northwest crew, including Seattle producer Ben Andrews (founder of the Seattle Film Summit) and Vashon Island resident Tim Everitt (SFX animator who has worked on Pirates of the Caribbean and The Last Samurai). Capestany is a frequent speaker at regional industry events and an instructor at the Northwest Film Forum teaching emerging filmmakers the importance of connecting commerce and creativity.

Production for The Rainforest is slated for late August 2017 with a projected 22-day filming schedule. The official films proof of concept launch party was held this summer at the 7 Cedars Casino in Sequim, WA, August 29th.  Story intro to the general public, live music by award-winning singer/songwriter Melanie Dekker (www.melaniedekker.com), catered food, raffle and gaming were part of the festivities.  More can be found on Facebook (Capestany Films & The Rainforest) and  on Twitter @CapestanyFilms and @MediaIncMag. All inquiries may go to producer@capestanyfilms.com.

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Ashland Named A Best Place to Live and Work as a Filmmaker by MovieMaker Magazine for Third Year in a Row

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By Ginny Auer Executive Director, Southern Oregon Film and Media (SOFaM)
Photo by Sean Bagshaw

When thinking of Ashland, most people’s minds go to the Tony Award-winning Oregon Shakespeare Festival, the powder atop the slopes of Mt. Ashland or the many local wineries and breweries. But after a third year in a row on the list of best places to live and work as a filmmaker in MovieMaker Magazine, Ashland’s reputation as a filmmaking hub is solid as well.

Ashland was recognized by MovieMaker Magazine as the #2 Town to Live and Work as a MovieMaker in the nation for 2014, and then was honored with a bump to #1 in January of 2015! In 2016, MovieMaker changed the criteria for the award to combine small cities and towns. Ashland beat out film hubs with populations of more than 150,000 and more robust incentive packages, ranking at #5 on the list this year. How is it that this small town of 20,000 is getting such accolades? MovieMaker cited “a bustling culinary scene, a no-big box store policy (and no state sales tax!), film festivals, independent theaters and a super-supportive film organization called Southern Oregon Film and Media (SOFaM).”

SOFaM supports the local film industry by promoting the region to both local and out-of-area producers, and works to connect productions with local film professionals, actors, equipment and resources via its online directory. With its large database and deep reach across the entire region, SOFaM is a great place to start for any film or media project.

In recent years, Ashland has shown up on big and small screens quite a bit. Wild, with Academy Award winner Reese Witherspoon, featured the downtown area, as well as nearby sections of the scenic Pacific Crest Trail. Ashland was also seen in Night Moves with Jesse Eisenberg and then again in the locally-produced independent film Black Road. Companies like Hewlett-Packard and even John Deere are finding Southern Oregon a great place to film.

Ashland has a film-friendly community, with low- to no-cost permits, strong state incentives, no sales tax and unexpectedly large numbers of filmmakers, technicians, equipment, support services and on-screen talent.

And then there are the kinds of resources you don’t expect to find in a town this size. Beyond the talented performers that join the Oregon Shakespeare Festival each year, OSF’s costume rental shop is just as impressive. The shop is the size of a football field with costumes from nearly every era, and it regularly rents to theaters, film and TV productions across the country, including Saturday Night Live.

Ashland is in the center of a filmmaker’s goldmine. Southern Oregon boasts a unique and beautiful coastline, high desert to the east, and many small towns with a host of unique venues for shooting. Medford, situated at the heart of the region, is the location of an airport with direct flights to and from Los Angeles, Portland, Seattle, San Francisco, Denver, Salt Lake City and Phoenix. When taken as a whole, the MovieMaker designation of Ashland as a best place to live and be a filmmaker really applies to all of Southern Oregon.

Cameras are rolling in Southern Oregon like never before and SOFaM extends an invitation for new and returning filmmakers to join in and see what all the buzz is about!

The staff of Three Dollar Bill Cinema with Maureen Bradley, director of the 2015 Best Narrative Feature, Two 4 One.

THE 2016 TRANSLATIONS

The staff of Three Dollar Bill Cinema with Maureen Bradley, director of the 2015 Best Narrative Feature, Two 4 One.

The staff of Three Dollar Bill Cinema with Maureen Bradley, director of the 2015 Best Narrative Feature, Two 4 One.

Seattle Transgender Film Festival is a constellation of shining stars & original stories

By Sam Berliner Festival Director
Photos courtesy of Three Dollar Bill Cinema

The 2016 edition of Translations: Seattle Transgender Film Festival is all about connecting audiences with stars and stories. This year we are excited to celebrate some of the champions who have led the way for transgender communities and highlight connections through an array of voices and perspectives.

One of the most visible and highly acclaimed transgender-centered series is the groundbreaking Transparent. Join us during this year’s festival for an exciting discussion with some of the remarkable talent behind the making of this captivating show, including pioneering star Alexandra Billings—the first openly trans woman to have played a transgender character on television back in 2005. Our guests will share some inside scoop, thoughts on the broader implications of the show’s success, reflections on what it means being transgender both in front of and behind the camera, and where they see trans representation going in the future.

Festival director Sam Berliner

Festival director Sam Berliner

We’re incredibly excited for the Northwest premiere of Major! about Miss Major Griffin-Gracy, the 73-year-old Black transgender woman who has fought for the rights of trans women of color for over 40 years. From the 1969 Stonewall Rebellion to the Transgender
Gender Variant Intersex Justice Project (TGIJP), Miss Major’s life is a testament to the fierce survivalism, resilience and celebration of a community that has been historically traumatized and marginalized. The film, which recently sold out its San Francisco premiere at the historic Castro Theatre, shows one woman’s journey, a community’s history, and how caring for each other can be a revolutionary act.

And when it comes to unique stories, Suited fits to a tee. This documentary—fresh from its Sundance premiere and produced by Lena Dunham—tells the story of Bindle & Keep, a Brooklyn tailoring company that makes custom suits for gender -nonconforming and transgender clients. Among the people on the gender spectrum sharing their stories are a trans boy preparing for his Bar Mitzvah, a New York City cab driver, a young Southern law student and a trans man preparing for his wedding. At its heart, the film is an intimate journey of coming into a new identity, accepting difference and living bravely in one’s own skin. It’s another Northwest premiere!

Co-directors of last year's Best Documentary Short Film, Passing, Lucah Rosenberg Lee (left) and J. Mitchel Reed (right).

Co-directors of last year’s Best Documentary Short Film, Passing, Lucah Rosenberg Lee (left) and J. Mitchel Reed (right).

Translations: Seattle Transgender Film Festival is not only a groundbreaking film festival that provides the Pacific Northwest with a venue for films by, for, and about transgender people and the issues facing the transgender community, but one of only a few transgender film festivals in the world. The goal of the event is to place emphasis on visibility and positive representations. Join us for four days of shining stars and exciting stories from our community.

Translations takes place May 12-15 at the Northwest Film Forum and 12th Ave Arts. To read more or purchase tickets, visit www.translationsfilmfest.org and www.threedollarbillcinema.org.

Photo by Sherry Zheng

Asian American Festival Bridges Culture in Seattle

Photo by Sherry Zheng

Photo by Sherry Zheng

This past February, audiences enjoyed the Seattle Asian American Film Festival, which screened at the Northwest Film Forum over four days. Media Inc. spoke with the co-directors of the festival, Vanessa Au and Martin Tran, to hear about the festival’s contribution to the Seattle film and cultural landscape.

Media Inc: Tell us a bit about the Seattle Asian American Film Festival. It had been on hiatus starting in 2007, and then it was resurrected in 2013. What about the festival has changed?
Vanessa Au and Martin Tran: Since SAAFF’s resurrection, we’ve made several changes. We kick off every festival with an opening night party featuring live performances from local Asian American musicians, artists and dancers. We’ve also tried hard to bring the filmmakers to the festival so that they can network with one another and meet the audience, whether that’s during post-film Q&As, panel discussions or in the theater lobby. Finally, we’ve spent a lot of time doing outreach to the Asian American community through our co-presenters program. We get at least one API (Asian Pacific Islander) nonprofit group to promote each program and in turn provide them with a table to distribute info about their organization and a few minutes at the start of the screening to tell the audience about their org.

Photo by Amy Zhong

Photo by Amy Zhong

MI: What are some of your goals with the festival? How does it contribute to the Seattle community?
VA/MT: One of our top goals is to contribute to the Asian American community by bringing attention to various organizations and bringing community organizers to the festival. Some of the groups who’ve participated as co-presenters include API Chaya, Asian and Counseling Resource Services (ACRS), Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) Seattle, Vietnamese Friendship Association, Organization of Chinese Americans (OCA) Greater Seattle, Trikone, International Community Health Services (ICHS), and others. We also use the opening night party to feature local live Asian American talent.

MI: What were some highlights about this year’s festival?
VA/MT: The biggest highlight this year was the number of filmmakers that were in attendance. It was amazing to see them meet one another and the greater Seattle community, be it at official events like our Opening Night Party, Filmmaker Brunch, VIP party, and Q&As after their screenings, to more casual settings like the lobby of the Northwest Film Forum, or in our VIP Lounge or at an impromptu dinner the last night of the fest. It was just really wonderful to see people coming together, and to share our wonderful city with these visiting filmmakers.

Photo by Amy Zhong

Photo by Amy Zhong

MI: Can you speak about some of the Northwest filmmakers that were showcased in the festival?
VA/MT: Every year we do our best to showcase local filmmakers, and we were lucky to have so many great short films to share. Tadd Mitsui told a touching story about a man and his place in our ever-changing city in The Car Doctor Pat Abe. Jade Justad brought such a beautiful visual eye and drew out naturalistic performances from her young actors with her short film, Creased, about a young Asian American woman struggling with self-image and what it means to be beautiful, let alone “normal,” in this world. She brought a deft touch to the issue of Asians having the double eyelid surgery that makes them look more “White.”

We also showcase films from ACRS Southeast Asian Young Men’s Group, shepherded by Joseph Mills. This year we screened Model Minority Stereotype by Minhkennedy Pham and Chanthadeth by Chanthadeth Chanthalangsy. Both films spoke to our perceptions of identity, on both very personal and political levels.

MI: Thanks so much for sharing about the festival. We look forward to it in 2017!

More information about the Seattle Asian American Film Festival is available online at www.seattleaaff.org.

ompa-logo

Shokrian Leads the OMPA

By Mary Erickson Associate Editor
Photo by Owen Carey

Janice Shokrian has worked around the film industry for years. Now she’s firmly embedded within the industry as the new head of Oregon’s industry association, the Oregon Media Production Association (OMPA).Janice

After Tom McFadden resigned his post as Executive Director in February 2015, the OMPA has been in the interim hands of Nathaniel Applefield. The OMPA’s Board of Directors conducted a search to find McFadden’s replacement, and selected Shokrian to lead the OMPA in December 2015.

Ever since, Shokrian has been hitting the ground running. She’s traveled around the state, familiarizing herself with the myriad of individuals involved in Oregon’s media industry. Also on the agenda: getting familiar with the SourceOregon Directory and determining how to maximize its impact, particularly with regards to state incentive programs.

“The directory isn’t just a place to have your name. It has a greater purpose. It’s also a show of force for legislators,” Shokrian comments. “This message needs to resonate more fully.”

Shokrian brings a trove of arts management experience, having worked in volunteer management and marketing over the course of her career. She most recently served as the Executive Director of the Portland Actors Conservatory, and she also ran a boutique marketing company for 12 years, working with a Grammy Award-winning musician, an opera singer, and other clients from the nonprofit arts world. “I’ve always wanted to work in the nonprofit world,” says Shokrian. “It’s important that I have a cause and a drive to my work.”

Although she hasn’t been directly involved much in the film industry prior to her appointment with the OMPA, Shokrian is committed to understanding the dynamics within the organization and around the state. “I’m looking at the OMPA from a 30,000 feet viewpoint…this perspective allows me to look at our work from a different vantage point.”

She’s excited to be a champion for the industry and to provide support, especially working within Oregon’s film community. “I feel proud of our state. It’s not pretentious. Everybody stands shoulder-to-shoulder. There’s a real giveback sense in the community.” Shokrian hopes to continue that sense of involvement in the community while building the OMPA’s membership, which currently stands at roughly 800 members. Shokrian will also work with organizations around the state, such as Southern Oregon Film and Media (SOFaM), to ensure that the sense of community is supported and sustained throughout Oregon.

“We represent the whole state, not just Portland,” she says. “We’re Oregon-centric.”