Panel 1: SATURDAY OCTOBER 22, 11am-1pm
Columbia College Hollywood Presents: Point of Entry to Industry: Short Films or Web Series
Venue: The London West Hollywood: 1020 N. San Vicente Blvd., West Hollywood 90069 (screening room)
This panel will explore the real methods used to get your short film or web series noticed and launch your career. Learn from the experts that have actually done this with their short films and learn tangible lines you can follow. Learn from those who created shorts and won the attention of Hollywood. Columbia College is presenting this expert panel. Q&A to follow.
Jennie Lew Tugend – (Moderator)
A film veteran in the Hollywood movie business, Jennie Lew Tugend’s expertise bridges film and TV development, production, financing, marketing and distribution. She has produced and co-produced some of the industry’s most memorable franchises: Free Willy, Lethal Weapon and HBO’s Tales from the Crypt.
As former Co-President of Kadokawa Pictures USA, Tugend was a producer on One Missed Call, a WB release and two episodes of Showtime’s “Master of Horror”. Today, she and producing partner, Lauren C. Weissman have developed five new IP’s from Kadokawa Publishing, which are in development at various production companies.
At Warner Bros., Tugend produced Free Willy, the box office smash hit, which has now become a family film classic. She went on to produce the sequel Free Willy 2: The Adventure Home and completed the trilogy with Free Willy 3: The Rescue.
Tugend co-produced Lethal Weapon 1, 2 and 3. These Mel Gibson and Danny Glover buddy cop movies are now classics in the action comedy genre.
Tugend produced family films, Local Boys starring Mark Harmon and Star Kid, which received an Award of Excellence by the Film Advisory Board; and for MGM, the romantic comedy, Return to Me starring David Duchovny and Minnie Driver.
Serving as Executive VP of Richard Donner Productions, Tugend co-produced Radio Flyer for Columbia Pictures and Scrooged for Paramount Pictures starring Bill Murray. For HBO, she co-produced Tales From The Crypt and was instrumental in the development and production of The Goonies and The Lost Boys.
Tugend was a mentor in the prestigious Peter Stark Producing Program at USC for 15 years and is an active member of the Producer’s Branch of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the Producers Guild of America. She is also teaching film production at UCLA Extension and Columbia College Hollywood.
A member of the Producers Guild of America (PGA), Larry is the President of Production at international digital production house SXM, where he has produced numerous digital programs. The first series was NBC’s ‘Ctrl’ starring Tony Hale and Steve Howey. Since, Larry has produced for top networks and brands including Disney, NBC, CBS, VEVO, Dailymotion, MTV, Break Media (now DEFY Media), Comedy Central, IKEA, Samsung, Coca-Cola and Smuckers. These series have been viewed more than 1 billion times over both traditional and new media, and have garnered multiple awards at BANFF, SXSW, NATPE, MIPTV, Cannes and The Webbys. The series have been covered by media outlets worldwide and SXM has been profiled by publications such as Fast Company, Variety and The Hollywood Reporter. Larry has produced projects directed by and starring James Franco and Joseph Gordon Levitt. Notable titles produced include Fact Checkers Unit, Easy to Assemble, Armed Response, SOS Island, Matumbo Goldberg, The Comment Show, Kitchen Jam, Diagnosis Stories, Jump Outs, In a City and Extreme Retreat among others. In addition to his work at SXM, Larry also serves as Co-Founder and Executive Director of NewFilmmakers Los Angeles (NFMLA), an organization committed to highlighter emerging filmmakers worldwide. NFMLA provides the Los Angeles community of entertainment professionals and film goers with a constant surge of monthly screening events. NFMLA provides a forum where filmmakers can be recognized for their contributions, have open audience discussions about their projects and connect with industry professionals for insight on distribution, production, acquisition and representation.
Efren Rodriguez received his first exposure to television development while working at El Norte Productions (US) where he worked alongside writer and director Gregory Nava. While at El Norte, he worked in the development department during the production of the PBS series, American Family and the feature film, Bordertown (2006). After he left El Norte, Efren worked in different areas of production such as camera operator and post-production freelance editor. Furthermore, he has written and helped produced short films, both personally and professionally.
After a couple of years of working strictly on short films, Efren became a member of the Shorts International/Shorts HD-The Short Movie Channel team in 2012. He assisted in the theatrical release of the Academy nominated live-action and animated short films and the theatrical release of Stars in Shorts. Efren is now part of the acquisitions team where he licenses short film content for the US and European territories, as well as iTunes and Amazon Instant Video.
Efren is an Angeleno and attended The Art Institute of Los Angeles where he received his Bachelor of Science in Digital Video Production and Motion Picture.
Stacy Ekstein produces commercials, scripted series, and films for studios and independents with clients including Warner Brothers, The Jim Henson Company, Children’s Hospital, Condé Nast, and American Airlines. Her work has been selected for a Telly (2014), Producers Award (2013), the American Pavilion’s Emerging Filmmakers in Cannes (2012) and nominated for an African Academy Award (2013) as well as premiering in prestigious international film festivals.
She is currently developing Weight of Blood and Bones with Jason Patric, Danny Trejo, Marc Boone Jr., Rose McGowan and Marisa Coughlan. The short prequel premiered at Palm Springs Festival and won Best Director and Best Western at Action on Film Festival (2015). Stacy has developed television series with Revelations Entertainment (Morgan Freeman), J.K. Livin’ (Matthew McConaughey) and Roddenberry Productions (Star Trek). Her passion for social justice drove her to produce Elegy for a Revolutionary, a film based on true anti-apartheid activists in South Africa, as well as a pilot on women in military combat (Private War) with Emmy award-winning director Richard Gasparian (The Simpsons).
Before producing, Stacy attended Parsons School of Design and managed accounts exceeding 10 million dollars for Van Heusen/IZOD in New York. Mrs. Ekstein studied law and screenwriting while in Columbia University’s Social Work Masters Program and has a B.A. in Literature and Psychology from Texas A&M University. She is an active member of the Producer’s Guild and the American Film Institute and founded Market Street Productions in Venice CA with her husband, commercial cinematographer Chris Ekstein (AFI alumnae) in 2005. Mrs. Ekstein just completed production in Los Angeles for the independent feature Missed Connections starring Elisabeth Rohm (American Hustle, Joy) with director Jessica Janos (AFI alumnae) as part of Mar Vista’s initiative to support the advancement of female directors.
New media pioneer Scott Zakarin created the first entertainment “web series” The Spot. The interactive comedy series was best known for introducing groundbreaking techniques to spark a new, interactive storytelling format. Many hit web series were to follow and have achieved over 2 billion views on YouTube. Several of his web series, went on to TV and film, including: Kill Reality for E!, Mind Meld, featuring William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy. Hail Sid Caesar for Showtime. And Comic Book the Movie, released by Miramax.