Panel 2: SATURDAY OCTOBER 22, 1pm–3pm
Connecting the Dots in Casting for Your Indie Feature
Venue: London West Hollywood 1020 N. San Vicente Blvd., West Hollywood 90069 (screening room)
This panel will explore the successful actions to get noticed by the diversity departments in the studio systems. What they are looking for and how to apply with your projects. Learn from the expert panel speakers who have done it and learn from their successes to make your own. This is a must see panel for content creators. Q&A to follow.
Denise Carlson – Moderator
Denise Carlson is a producer and development executive with 20 years of experience in the entertainment industry. Under her D’veloping Pictures banner Denise made the movie BAD HAIR DAY, which premiered on Disney Channel in February of 2015. She is currently developing CROSSING THE SAGAMORE, WAKE UP LITTLE SUSIE, and WEDDING’S EVE, among others. She is also developing the series UNCHAINED with Ted Kotcheff.
Denise was at Disney Channel for nine years as the Director of Original Movies, responsible for overseeing the development and production of 47 television movies, including the megahit HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL, as well as other highly successful films such as WENDY WU and THE CHEETAH GIRLS movies.
Currently Denise also teaches producing at the New York Film Academy’s Los Angeles campus, and she is proud to be a member of the LA Femme board.
Ilyssa Goodman is a veteran entertainment executive, who has increased the corporate value of some of the largest entertainment brands in the world, including: Disney, Fox, ABC Family Channel, Discovery and Warner Bros. With more than fifteen years experience in the entertainment industry, Ilyssa draws upon a unique dual perspective having served as both senior management for studios, broadcasters, production companies and distributors as well as performing as a producer and creator for more than a dozen movies and television series. Most notable among them is “A Cinderella Story” an its two sequels for Warner Bros. Additionally, Ilyssa recently produced and implemented a successful digital distribution strategy for the teen comedy “16-Love,” which went on to be a top performer for Warner Digital, iTunes and Netflix.
In 2012 Ilyssa contracted with RGH Entertainment to design and implement their distribution strategy, that includes traditional distribution models while leveraging all new and emerging digital distribution channels to fully maximize content value. For RGH, Ilyssa has sold branded content in more than 75 countries around the globe and has brought to the company, lucrative distribution deals with Paramount Pictures, The Shout Factory and with a number of digital platforms.
Ilyssa began her career working for Miramax Films with movies like “My Left Foot” and “Cinema Paradiso,” before taking a post with Universal Studios where she worked in development on a number of studio ten-poles. Ilyssa left Universal to become Vice President of Filmed Entertainment for Bonneville Worldwide Entertainment (BWE) where she oversaw production, marketing and distribution of more than a dozen highly rated network television movies and several award-winning motion pictures. Ilyssa left BWE to work with the Animal Planet Network on several of the specialty-networks highly rated original movies and television series.
Additionally, Goodman held a post with a branch of the Canadian government to arrange international co-productions and now consults for a number of production companies as well as continuing to produce and distribute independent films.
As an independent casting director coming from the studio level, Valerie uses her knowledge and her eye for talent to the producing capacity as well. She recently produced a film called LOST AND FOUND IN ARMENIA with Jamie Kennedy and Angela Sarafyan and she also
completed an award winning cancer documentary “Tumor, It’s in the System” in which she co-directed and co-produced. She also produced an award-winning film directed entitled NEO NED, starring Jeremy Renner and Gabrielle Union. Along with producing, Valerie also cast the critically acclaimed HARD CANDY(she put Ellen Page in her first American film), THE DUKES, WHAT THE BLEEP DO WE KNOW!?, and HERO WANTED with Ray Liotta and Cuba Gooding Jr. She also has worked with Academy Award director Guisseppe Tornatore on the film “Legend of 1900” starring Tim Roth.
From April 1994-2000, Valerie held the position of Vice President of Feature Film Casting for New Line/Fine Line Films. During her tenure at New Line/Fine Line, Ms. McCaffrey cast scores of films, developing strong relationships with all major talent agencies and management firms. Among the many highlights of her career, she cast Edward Norton and Eddie Furlong in New Line Cinema’s AMERICAN HISTORY X. Mr. Norton received an Oscar nomination for Best Actor for his gripping portrayal and Mr. Furlong’s performance was heralded as the best of his career. From 1985-94 as a casting executive at Universal Studios she cast James Cromwell in BABE, earning him an Oscar Nomination. She cast such films as HARD TARGET (John Woo’s first American Film) DARK MAN (Sam Raimi’s first studio film) among scores of others. She has scores of films in development, “Tad,” “Men of Granite” and the “Rene Caisse Story.” While at Universal Studios, she taught drama to inner city kids for three and a half years for the LAPD Gang Prevention Program. She served on the Board of Directors for the Casting Society of America and is a member of The Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. She is also on the Board of Directors for the World Children’s Transplant Fund, which provides life-saving organs to children.
As Vice President of Diversity for CBS Entertainment Jeanne Mau is responsible for overseeing the CBS Writer’s Mentoring Program and the CBS Director’s Initiative, part of the Network’s on-going Diversity Institute. These initiatives are designed to provide participants with access to key network decision makers in front of and behind the camera. As a committed advocate for aspiring writers and directors, she plays an integral part in helping to launch their careers. Mau directly oversees writer workshops and director shadowing mentorships which are vital in preparing new writers and directors with the skills and relationships needed to succeed in television.
Mau’s role also includes partnerships with various organizations including the DGA, WGA, CAPE, NAACP, USC, NALIP, NHMC, Google, and The East-West Players in an ongoing effort to reach into the community to build constructive relationships as well as provide a pipeline of access for emerging artists.
Prior to joining the Diversity Department, Mau was a CBS Current Programming Executive for 16 years overseeing such shows as: NCIS, NCIS: New Orleans, Two and a Half Men, Criminal Minds, CSI: New York, CSI: Miami, Cold Case, Numbers, Close to Home, Still Standing, and Yes, Dear. Mau began her career in the motion picture marketing department at Paramount Pictures. She is a graduate of The University of San Diego with a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications and Business Administration.
Gina Reyes started her career in Hollywood at International Creative Management talent agency in the Motion Picture Production department. After a great experience at ICM, she had the opportunity to work with Salma Hayek at her newly formed production company, Ventanazul, where Ms. Hayek had a film development deal with MGM. At Ventanzul, Gina had the opportunity to seek out intellectual property for potential film development and also had exposure to the television space in working with Ms. Hayek’s TV production company, Ventanarosa, where she had an overall deal with ABC Studios.
After four years at Ventanazul, Gina landed at 20th Century Fox Film as a Creative Executive in film development and recently made the move to the Audience Strategy group at Fox Broadcasting Company where she manages the Fox Writers Intensive and the Fox Global Directors Initiative.
Gina is a native of Chicago and attended Columbia College where she received a Bachelor of Arts in Broadcast Journalism and Television.
Danita Jones is a writer, producer, co-owner of Shoshin Entertainment. She’s a Chicago native, born and raised on the Westside of Chicago, graduated from Columbia College of Chicago with a BA in television writing and producing. Shortly after graduating, she was hired at WGN-TV, under Chicago’s broadcasting legend Merri Dee who became her mentor, where she produced and wrote Public Service Announcements.
Her career in Los Angeles began at Carsey-Werner in ’95 and she quickly catapulted to write for sitcoms “Sabrina, The Teenage Witch“ and Emmy-Award winning “Frasier”. She’s written feature films “Fish Market” for State Street Pictures, and her own independent “Pimps Anonymous,” which was optioned by National Lampoon and was a punch up writer for Lionsgate’s Animated Feature “Food Fight” starring Charlie Sheen and Hilary Duff. She served as the WGA’s Vice-Chair of the Committee of Black Writers in the early 2000s.
Although, Danita continues to write, her career has segued into producing Reality TV. Danita has produced numerous reality series, “My Fair Brady,” “Tori and Dean,” “LA Ink,” “Celebrity Rehab,” “Couples Therapy,” and Discovery Channel’s “Fast N’ Loud.”
A graduate of Wellesley College and UCLA’s Graduate School of Film & Television, Giese completed a short documentary and two short films including the Student Academy Award finalist, “A Dry Heat”. She was awarded a Master of Fine Arts degree in film production in 1994.
She wrote and directed the British feature film, When Saturday Comes (1996), starring Sean Bean, Emily Lloyd and Pete Postlethwaite. This film, shot on location in Sheffield, England for Capitol Films, was released theatrically around the world in 1996. Giese also wrote, directed and produced the digital feature film, Hunger (2001), her contemporary adaptation of Nobel laureate Knut Hamsun‘s 1890 existentialist masterpiece. The San Francisco Examiner called the film “A champion”, “A shot-on-video wonder” and named it the “The pick of the pack” at the San Francisco Independent Film Festival.
In addition, she has written two original feature films and is attached to direct the futuristic thriller, “Matching Blue”, as well as the feature film media satire, “Justice”. Giese re-wrote The North Star (1996) (uncredited), directed by Nils Gaup (Pathfinder (1987) (aka Pathfiner)), and starring James Caan, Christopher Lambert and Catherine McCormack. She also wrote the original feature drama, “The Life Story of Che Guevara”, and adapted the British novel, “Free To Trade”, for Capitol Films.
Giese is the recipient of numerous awards including two Cine Eagles, a Kovler Writing Award, a Spotlight Award, First Prize at the American International Film Festival, a Charles Speroni Scholarship, and an MPAA Award of Excellence. She lives in Beverly Hills and is a member of the Directors Guild of America.
Oona King is Diversity Executive at Channel 4 (since 2009), a member of the House of Lords (appointed Baroness King of Bow in Jan 2011), and was previously Senior Policy Advisor to the Prime Minister on Equalities and Diversity at 10 Downing Street. Oona was the second black woman elected to Parliament as MP for Bethnal Green & Bow from 1997-2005; she became PPS to the Minister for e-Commerce, and then PPS to the Secretary of State for Trade & Industry. Oona’s parliamentary roles in the Lords have included Shadow Broadcasting Minister, Shadow Education Minister, and Shadow Equalities Minister. Oona founded the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Genocide Prevention in the House of Commons, and received a commendation from the UN Security Council’s Expert Panel for her group’s work on peace-keeping. Oona has worked as a television presenter for Channel 4, BBC, Sky, Five and ITV. Oona’s political diary from her time as an MP “House Music” was published by Bloomsbury in 2007, and launched as an e-book in 2013. Oona lives with her husband and four young children (three of whom are adopted) in Tower Hamlets. In her spare time she listens to history podcasts in the middle of the night, and loves ice skating.