AFM Panels: From Money to Chick Flicks

Harvey Weinstein, Cathy Schulman, Sacha Gervasi among participants at American Film Market’s panels and seminars

While awards campaigns are being waged in screening rooms around town, and the AFI Fest 2010 showcases more hopefuls in Hollywood, a gathering of filmmakers, financiers and industry execs will be meeting in Santa Monica to figure out how best to make and pay for the independent films of the future – i.e., the ones that may figure in awards seasons yet to come.

AFM panelThe 2010 American Film Market (AFM) on Tuesday announced the panel and seminar schedule for its eight-day event. The panels will attract participants ranging from Weinstein Company co-chairman Harvey Weinstein to Mandalay Pictures chief Cathy Schulman to “Anvil!” director Sacha Gervasi.

Topics covered at the event, which includes the two-day AFM Finance Conference, will include U.S. and overseas financing, piracy, and the changing face of the chick flick. (That’s the AFM’s term, not mine.)

The seminars and panels will take place at the AFM between Thursday, November 4 and Tuesday, November 9. The AFM itself runs from the 3rd to the 10th. Complete information is available at

Here are the American Film Market panels and seminars:

Thursday, November 4 (AFM Seminars):

Hong Kong: Asia's Co-production Centre and Gateway to the China Market
Programmed by: Hong Kong Trade Development Council
Moderator & Panelists: TBA

Friday, November 5(AFM Finance Conference, Day 1):

De-mystifying the Economic Implications of Electronic Delivery and the Recession on Film Performance
Moderator:  P. John Burke, Partner, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP
Initial Panelists:
Harvey Weinstein, Co- Chairman, The Weinstein Company
Patrick Russo, Founding Principal, The Salter Group

The Expanding Role of Local Distributors in Production and Finance
Moderator: Mike Goodridge, Editor, Screen International
Nick Meyer, President & CEO, Sierra Pictures,
Danny Perkins, CEO; Optimum Releasing;
Graham Taylor, Head of Global Finance & Distribution Group, WME;
Stewart Till, Chief Executive, The Icon Group

Saturday, November 6 (AFM Finance Conference, Day 2):

International Tax Incentives: Annual Update
Moderator:Will French, President, Film Production Capital, LLC
Mary Ann Hughes, VP, Film & Television Production Planning, The Walt Disney Company;
Mark Manuel, EVP of Structured Finance, Lionsgate
Steve Ransohoff, President, Film Finances, Inc
Jake Rose, Head of Movies & Mini-Series Production, Sony Pictures Television;
Trevor Short, Chief Financial Officer, Nu Image

Driving Original Productions Through U.S. Pre-Sales
Moderator: Paul Hertzberg, President, Cinetel Films, Inc.
Elizabeth Cullin, VP, Scheduling & Acquisitions, Lifetime Entertainment;
Kevin Kasha, EVP, Worldwide Acquisitions & Co-Productions, Anchor Bay Films;
Thomas Vitale, EVP, Programming & Original Movies, Syfy
Tom Zappala, EVP, Program Acquisitions & Scheduling, ABC Cable Networks Group

Saturday, November 6 (AFM Seminars):

Pitch Me!
Moderator: Caroline Baron, Producer, A-Line Pictures
Panelists: TBA

Sunday, November 7 (AFM Seminars):

Film Marketing & New Social Media – Maximizing Exposure in the Internet Era
Programmed by: British Academy of Film & Television Arts, Los Angeles                       
Moderator: John Alan Simon, Writer/Director, Radio Free Albemuth; Member, BAFTA/LA Board of Directors
Sheri Candler, Marketing/Engagement Media Strategist
Philippe Dias, Chairman & Founder, Cinema Libre Studios
Sacha Gervasi, Director, Executive Producer, "Anvil! The Story of Anvil"; Screenwriter, "The Terminal"
Susan Jackson, President & Co-Founder, Freestyle Releasing
Jill Jones, SVP, International Marketing & Publicity, Summit Entertainment LLC
Beth Portello, SVP, Marketing & Publicity, Cinema Libre Studios

Piracy: The Real Cost of Free
Programmed by: Film Independent
Moderator: Michael Donaldson, Donaldson & Califf; author of Clearance and Copyright
Initial Panelists:
Tony Knight, Senior Project Manager, Rovi
John Sloss, Founder, Cenetic Media and Cenetic Rights Management

Monday, November 8 (AFM Seminars):

Resources for Independent Filmmakers
Programmed by: SAGIndie and Writers Guild of America, West
Moderator: Todd Amorde, Member Services Representative, WGAW
Lise Anderson, Senior Director of Contracts, WGAW;
Mark Friedlander, National Director of New Media, SAG;
Darrien Michele Gipson, National Director, SAGIndie;
Kay Schaber Wolf, Independent Film Executive, WGAW

Studio Finance and Distribution
Programmed by: ScreenPlayLab
Moderator: Robin Rowe, President,
Chris Aronson, SVP Domestic Distribution, 20th Century Fox;
Steve Bersch, President, Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions Group;
Ron Hohauser, CFO, Summit Entertainment;
Jeff Small, President & COO, DreamWorks

Tuesday, November 9 (AFM Seminars):

The "Chick Flick" Grows Up
Programmed by: Women in Film International Committee
Moderator: Jane Fleming, President of Women in Film Los Angeles: Partner, Amber Entertainment
Panelists: TBA

New Strategies on how to Package and Finance Your Independent Project Overseas
Programmed by:Producers Guild of America
Moderator: William Stuart, Producer, Aurora Productions, International Committee Co-Chair, PGA
Richard Gladstein, President, FilmColony;
Paul Green, President, Anonymous Content
Bill Johnson, Partner, Inferno Entertainment
Larry Kopeikin, Attorney, Morris, Yorn, Barnes & Levine, P.C.
Stacey Parks, Film Specific;
Cathy Schulman, President, Mandalay Pictures