Panel 4: SUNDAY OCTOBER 23, 2016- 10am-12noon
Finance and Distribution: How to get the money to make your film!
Sponsored by The Governor’s Office of Film and Entertainment State of Florida
Venue: London West Hollywood 1020 N. San Vicente Blvd., West Hollywood 90069 (screening room)
If you are an independent filmmaker the hardest part is getting the funding to actually make your film. This panel of experts will provide real world solutions to your issues and illustrate methods that can be mastered to make your dream a reality. Q & A to follow.
Deborah Gilels – Moderator
Deborah Gilels currently is a media consultant representing screenwriters, directors, actors, production companies and book authors. Consulting duties include project development and packaging, public relations and marketing.
From January 2002 – August 2004, Deborah was an executive/consultant for Media Design Institute, a Japanese/American media company where she was instrumental in the creation of a video-on-demand/satellite network financed by NTT-Data, the content coming from the Lion’s Gate and Echelon Entertainment, as well as acquired film/television product for the Japanese territory (Television, Video/DVD).
Deborah also created and produced MAJESTIC STUDIO, an entertainment talk show for Japan television. Covering all aspects of the movie business and Hollywood, past participants include: actors Rachel Leigh Cook, Sean Astin, Charlize Theron, Diane Lane, Will Yun Lee and Lainie Kazan, A-List directors Paul Verhoeven, Peter Jackson and Jay Russell, Oscar winning producers Barrie Osborne, Lawrence Turman and Mark Johnson, and esteemed writer/director Nicholas Meyer. MAJESTIC STUDIO premiered in Japan October 2003, and is now being shown on SkyPerfect TV and Coming Soon TV, as well on several networks in Korea.
After attending both the University of Miami and Harvard University, Deborah moved to New York to work in the talent management office of famed musician Lionel Hampton. She went on to work in the literary and audience development departments at several top theater companies in Manhattan including: the Second Stage, American Place Theater, Theater of the Open Eye and Prism Theater. She also served as the Producing Director of Prism Theater’s 1985 Season and produced a slate of plays including ROCK ISLAND, which was nominated for an Oppenheimer Award.
In 1986, Deborah relocated to Los Angeles, where she worked in motion picture and television development for producers Kent Bateman and David Permut, studios such as Tri Star and Twentieth Century Fox, as well as The Agency, Innovative Artists and Leading Artists (UTA). In 1988, she was a producer on NBC’s CROSSING THE MOB, which starred Jason Bateman.
In 1990, Deborah became Vice President of Production at Blue Ribbon Films, supervising the company’s television deal at Warner Brothers and feature film distribution deal at foreign sales company PFG Entertainment. While at Blue Ribbon she also developed film projects for JVC, LIVE Entertainment (Artisan), Disney/Hollywood Pictures and Republic Pictures, as well as for actors Jean Claude Van Damme, Dolph Lundgren and the late Brandon Lee.
Among the projects she produced and developed are: SHOWDOWN IN LITTLE TOKYO (Warner Brothers/1992), PENTATHLON (LIVE/1994) and SPECTRE (Hollywood Pictures), a WWII action drama written by the late Donald Stewart.
In 1995, Deborah founded Torch Productions and currently has several projects in various stages of development and production. Among her collaborators past and present are actors Robert Duvall, Reese Witherspoon, Rachel Leigh Cook and Bill Pullman; writers and directors Hossein Amini, A. Scott Berg, Allan Scott, Gail Gilchriest, John Bishop, Michael Hirst, Nicholas Meyer, Jay Russell and Paul Verhoeven. Companies and producers she has been in business include Lucas Foster/Warp Films, Touchstone/Hollywood Pictures, Hearst Entertainment, ESPN, Phoenix Pictures, Baltimore/Spring Creek, Wind Dancer Films, DIC, Talent Entertainment Group, Alive Entertainment, First Look International and New Line Cinema
Julia Verdin has established herself as one of Hollywood’s leading independent producers, with over 31 critically acclaimed feature films produced to date. She founded and has been running Rough Diamond Productions since 1995.
Julia has produced acclaimed theatrical releases including the Newmarket release Stander, directed by Bronwen Hughes starring Tom Jane, Deborah Unger, Dexter Fletcher and David O’Hara; Sony Classics release The Merchant of Venice, directed by Michael Radford, and starring Al Pacino, Jeremy Irons and Joseph Fiennes; and Riding the Bullet based on a Stephen King story, directed by Mick Garris, and starring David Arquette, Jonathan Jackson, Erica Christensen and Barbara Hershey. Her recent faith based film, Lionsgate release, The Least Among You, starring Lou Gossett Jr., Lauren Holly and William Devane, premiered on Showtime and was featured in many major festivals. The film was nominated for the 2012 NAACP awards for Outstanding Television Movie and Best Lead Actor.
Julia’s recent film 2 Jacks, based on Leo Tolstoy short story “Two Hussars,” directed by Bernard Rose, and starring Danny Huston, Jack Huston, Sienna Miller, Jacqueline Bisset and Billy Zane, was released theatrically last year and is now currently playing on Netflix and VOD. Born of War, a film she Executive Produced, directed by Vicky Jewson, and starring James Frain and Sophia Black D’Elia was released by Lionsgate in 2015. This year she has just directed her first film Lost Girls staring Bar Paly, Marisol Nichols and Jamie Harris and produced The Unwilling directed by Jonathan Heap starring Dina Meyer, Jake Thomas and Lance Henriksen.
Some of the films Julia produced earlier in her career include I Witness, directed by Rowdy Harrington, starring Jeff Daniels and James Spader, Green Mail starring Steven Baldwin and Tom Skerritt, The Shipment starring Mathew Modine and Nick Turturro and Elisabeth Berkley, The Contaminated Man starring William Hurt, Peter Weller and Natascha McElhone and STYX starring Peter Weller, Angus MacFayden and Brian Brown, directed by Alex Wright, and all for Promark. Ballad of the Nightingale with Virginia Madsen, Maria Cuccinota (Il Postino), Seymour Cassell, Michael Madsen and Harry Dean Stanton, and Lone Hero directed by Ken Sanzel starring Lou Diamond Philips, Sean Patrick Flanery and Robert Forester, Slipstream starring Sean Austin and Vinnie Jones, and The Set Up, a bank heist thriller based on a James Hadley Chase best-selling novel, which stars Billy Zane, James Coburn, Mia Sara and James Russo for MGM/Showtime, and Temptation, an action-packed revenge thriller for Dino De Laurentis Communications starring Jeff Fahey, David Keith and Alison Doody, both directed by Strathford Hamilton.
She is currently developing various projects with well-established Hollywood writers and directors including Surviving Christmas, written and to be directed by Academy Award Nominated filmmaker James Dearden; An Invisible Army by acclaimed festival award winning writer/director Éva Gárdos; A.K.A. written by Phillip Morton and to be directed by Academy Award Nominated director Jonathan Heap; Curtains, a WGA Autumn Stories 2010 selected period piece about eccentric Parisian stage actress Sarah Bernhardt, written by Cynthia Riddle and will also be a co-producer on William Gibson’s Neuromancer to be directed by Vincenzo Natali.
Julia is based in Los Angeles, and still maintains a base in London. She served on the Board of Seven Arts Pictures PLC, a public film production and foreign sales company, from 2007-2010. She is currently on the Board of LA Femme Film Festival and also BAFTA LA Board of Directors.
Having worked in the film business for 30 years and hands on produced many films from idea inception all the way to release, Julia has an excellent overall knowledge of all aspects of film making from story development, casting and packaging, budgeting, financing, on set production skills, festival strategy, and getting films sold and out into the marketplace. Julia is also a top indie film consultant and speaks regularly on industry panels including BAFTA LA, American Film Market Seminars, Women in Film, WGA, and many film festival panels. She also regularly runs a “How to Produce a Low Budget Movie” workshop for Raindance and as well various other workshops on filmmaking. She also wrote the popular filmmakers’ guide to funding, making and finishing your film book Success in Film. Julia has through her consulting work helped many filmmakers to get their film into production.
Susan Simms has been the Los Angeles Liaison for the Florida Film & Entertainment industry for over 20+ years, spanning the administrations of 4 Governors. In addition to her tenure for the State of Florida, she also works for the statewide industry trade group, Film Florida, which represents some 60 local film offices, 16,000 businesses and 100,000 Floridians working in the film, TV and digital media industries. She has helped secure countless high-profile projects for the state including the current Emmy nominated ‘Bloodline’ for Netflix, shot in the Florida Keys and HBO’s new dramedy hit, ‘Ballers’, shot in Miami. In addition to numerous financial incentive projects, Simms also helps work on more than 1000+ projects a year, shooting throughout the State of Florida, the majority of which receive no incentive.
Adam Leipzig is the COO of Creative Future, a nonprofit organization that advocates for the rights of the creative community. He is the author of Inside Track for Independent Filmmakers and co-author of “Filmmaking in Action: Your Guide to the Skills and Craft” , the premiere college textbook on filmmaking. Previously, he has been the CEO of Entertainment Media Partners, a senior executive at Walt Disney Studios, and president of National Geographic Films. As producer, distributor and financier, Adam has been responsible for more than 30 films; he is also the publisher of CulturalWeekly.com. A frequent keynote speaker, Adam shares revelations from the media playbook to corporations worldwide.
An entertainment industry veteran with over 40 years professional experience in cable television, live events and new media, Larry Namer is a founding partner of Metan Global Entertainment Group (Metan), a venture created to develop and distribute entertainment content and media specifically for Chinese speaking audiences in China and abroad. An accomplished entrepreneur, Mr. Namer is the co-founder of E! Entertainment Television, a company now valued at over $3.5 billion USD, and the creator of several successful companies in the United States and overseas.
Among those companies are Comspan Communications that pioneered Western forms of entertainment in the former Soviet Union, including the syndication of the popular soap opera Santa Barbara, which ran for 10 years in the region, and Steeplechase Media that served as the primary consultant to Microsoft’s MiTV for developing interactive TV applications. Steeplechase was also involved in the early development of ITV programming, creating interactive episodes of Baywatch, Pacific Blue and over 250 episodes of Judge Judy. Mr. Namer was also the Primary Strategic Consultant to The Documentary Channel.
A cable industry pioneer, Mr. Namer began his career in 1971 at Time Incorporated Manhattan Cable, and served as Vice President and General Manager of Valley Cable Television (VCTV) in Los Angeles, the nation’s first 61-channel two-way cable system. His vision and direction garnered VCTV several Emmy and Cable ACE award nominations, as well as recognition by Forbes magazine as the national model for local cable television programming. In 1989, he was awarded the prestigious President’s Award from the National Cable Television Association. Most recently, Mr. Namer was honored with the “Outstanding Contribution to Asian Television Award” at the 19th Asian Television Awards in Singapore.
Mr. Namer is recognized as one of the world’s leading experts on new technology and how it is fundamentally altering the business of international media and entertainment. Among the companies that have enlisted his expertise are Microsoft, Paul Allen’s Digeo, World Digital Media Group (a joint venture of Radio Shack), EchoStar and Sirius Radio network.
Today, Mr. Namer serves as President/CEO, Metan. Metan’s flagship series is Hello! Hollywood, a weekly entertainment news series tailored to Chinese audiences, offering up the latest in celebrity, pop culture and lifestyle news. Since its launch in summer 2009, the series is now available on over 40 television stations in China and six in North America reaching over one billion Mandarin speaking viewers. Hello! Hollywood’s premier content is also available on 10 of China’s top online portals, reaching more than four million viewers weekly, and recently was revamped for Metan’s new HOLLYWOOD CHANNEL on Tudou.
Metan is currently adapting popular Western TV formats for localized versions, including Go Dance! from Ukraine and Elite Model Search. The company has also developed the original sitcom Return to Da Foo Tsun and the recently launched Web series Planet Homebuddies, that has garnered an online audience of over seven million only one month since its launch. Metan was instrumental in joining together top China production houses Mei Tian and H&R Century TV with Warner Brothers International Television Production and the creators of Gossip Girl to develop a groundbreaking new teen drama series for China, to which Metan is also a consultant. Recently, Metan and a coalition of North America’s top TV and film writers partnered to launch Metan Wen Zhi Ku, a joint venture linking Western writing talent with transmedia projects for the China market. He also serves as Senior Advisor, Strategic Development to Eurocinema On Demand and is the co-founder of MINGYIAN INC., a China brand management startup for Western celebrities and influencers.