IN THIS SECTION
Over 30 guest speakers will be speaking in the upcoming program. The following guests have taught for this program consistently over the years. Due to the nature of the industry, we are unable to confirm that all listed below will be available to teach in the upcoming program. The full roster of guest instructors will be available on the first night of class. It will include the majority of these guests, as well as additional notable industry professionals.
AMY ADRION (DOCUMENTARIES)
Amy is a director, producer and writer whose work has screened at the Sundance, SXSW, and Tribeca Film Festivals, been broadcast on STARZ, PBS and MTV, and won numerous awards.
HALF THE PICTURE, Amy’s debut feature, celebrates the groundbreaking work of women and non-binary film directors and had its World Premiere at the Sundance Film Festival in 2018. HALF THE PICTURE was released theatrically by Gravitas Ventures and has been sold to broadcast networks around the world. HALF THE PICTURE won the #WhatNext Award at Sundance: London, the Audience Award for Best Documentary at the Lighthouse Film Festival and the Impact Award at the Through Women’s Eyes Film Festival.
Amy won a Directors Guild of America (DGA) Student Film Award for her narrative short SHOEGAZER, which was Executive Produced by Miranda July.
Amy is a graduate of the MFA Film Directing program at UCLA, with an undergraduate degree in Literature and Theology from Georgetown University. She currently teaches filmmaking at Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) and produces and directs narrative and non-fiction work including directing and producing five episodes of the SAG/AFTRA Foundations’s long running literacy series STORYLINE ONLINE, with Angela Bassett, John Lithgow, Seth Meyers, Lea Michelle and Sutton Foster.
WES AMBRECHT (THE INDEPENDENT PRODUCTION COMPANY)
Wes is a writer, producer and the current Vice President, Development & Production at Foundation Films. The eldest of three children, he originally hails from Bellmore, New York. Prior to joining Foundation Films, Wes helped launch the production arm of Paper Plane Entertainment and served as the Director of Development at Viewfinder Pictures. Wes’ credits include Killing Animals starring James Franco and Joey King and the upcoming feature film Together Now starring Freida Pinto and Juliette Binoche. His work has shown at festivals worldwide, most notably Santa Barbara International Film Festival and Cannes, and has been recognized by both the Sundance Institute and the Sprite Young Filmmaker Series. He holds a MFA in Film/TV Production from UCLA and a BS in Media Communication from Cornell University.
Lisa A. Callif (Legal Issues)
As a Founding Partner of Donaldson Callif Perez, Lisa Callif is the go-to attorney for all things clearance. Lisa specializes in representing independent producers and production companies in all aspects of content creation, including equity financing, production and distribution with extensive experience in fair use, copyright and personal rights issues. Lisa is the recipient of numerous prestigious awards – among her many accolades are recognition as a Hollywood Reporter Power Lawyer and a Daily Journal Top Entertainment Lawyer, as well as her recognition by Variety on the Women’s Impact Report and the Best and the Brightest list. Lisa cuts through red tape for her clients and works tirelessly to preserve artists’ voices so that they can shine a light on stories that otherwise might not be told.
In addition to representing filmmakers, Lisa serves as counsel to the not-for-profit organizations, Film Independent (which produces the Independent Spirit Awards) and Women in Film (whose mission is to promote gender parity in all aspects of media). Lisa is also one of the few attorneys in Los Angeles to represent live theaters—she represents the Ahmanson Theatre, the Mark Taper, the Geffen Playhouse and other Los Angeles-based theater companies.
Along with Partner Michael Donaldson, Lisa has co-written two books: The American Bar Association’s Legal Guide to Independent Filmmaking and Clearance and Copyright, 4th Edition. She regularly publishes articles about emerging issues in entertainment and copyright law, and is often quoted in publications such as the Wall Street Journal, Variety, Intellectual Property Magazine and more. Lisa and Michael were featured on the cover of LA Lawyer Magazine, for which they co-authored an article about fair use and its application in documentary films.
Lisa graduated summa cum laude from New York University with a BS in communications, and worked in the music industry in New York and Los Angeles before obtaining her JD from Southwestern University School of Law. She previously served as an adjunct professor at Southwestern, and is a frequent speaker/panelist for various organizations, including Film Independent, the International Documentary Association and UCLA, where she also teaches legal basics at the UCLA Professional Program in Producing.
Lisa lives in Los Angeles with her husband, Dustin, and her two children, Diggy and Liam.
Notable projects: Time (2021 Oscar nominee), American Factory (2020 Oscar winner, Best Documentary), Free Solo (2019 Oscar nominee), Won’t You Be My Neighbor? (2019 Oscar nominee shortlist, 2018 Sundance premiere), Eighth Grade (2018 Sundance premiere), The Game Changers (2018 Sundance premiere), CNN’s The Sixties, The Seventies, The Eighties, The Nineties and The 2000s (Emmy nominee), Making a Murderer (2016 Emmy winner), Weiner (2016 Grand Jury Prize, Best Documentary, Sundance), He Named Me Malala (2015 Academy Award shortlist), 20 Feet From Stardom (2014 Academy Award and Film Independent Spirit Award winner), Boyhood (2014 Academy Award and Golden Globe Awards winner), Inside Job (2011 Academy Award winner), The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers (2010 Academy Award nominee).
CHRISTOPHER CARABALLO (Physical Production)
Christopher currently serves as Physical Production Executive at the Walt Disney Studios where he oversees the production of a diverse slate of live action films for both Theatrical and HBSVOD release. Prior to that he oversaw the Budgeting Department where he managed budgets for Disney’s slate of films. Christopher was Vice President of Finance and Production at Mandalay Sports Media, a diversified sports content and media company, overseeing all physical production and financial operations.
SHIRLEY DAVIS (Physical Production/Line Producing)
Shirley is a seasoned film and television production executive and producer. She launched her own production company, Rose Colored Pictures with her producing partner, Sara Spring last year. Prior to this, Shirley consulted at Imagine Entertainment where she worked closely with Imagine Television to set up their production department. Shirley also was the Co-Producer on Wu-Tang Clan: An American Saga, Season 1. Also, Shirley was the Executive Vice President and Head of Physical Production at Alcon Entertainment, where she was a production executive on projects such as Blade Runner: 2049, Point Break, Prisoners and Dolphin Tale 1 and 2. In addition to numerous film and television credits, Shirley was Co-Executive Producer for several digital projects for Mark Burnett Productions, MTV Networks, AOL, and Yahoo, where she had an inside view of tech first meeting entertainment. Shirley is a member of the Producers Guild of America, the Directors Guild of America, and a board member of Outfest. In Fall 2017, Shirley served as Guest Lecturer at the Graduate Producers Program at the UCLA School of Theatre, Film, and Television and also, has taught at the Peter Stark Program at USC Film School. She is currently teaching Physical Production for the Creative Producer. Shirley received her BA in English from the University at Albany.
CHRIS DONAHUE (Producing the One Hour Television Drama)
An Academy Award and Emmy winning producer, Chris is skilled and knowledgeable in the creative, financial, and physical production aspects of film, television, and new media. A proven entrepreneurial leader that takes projects from inception through delivery. He has built and lead teams of up to 150 and budgets reaching 50 million. He's successfully led and grown inclusive for-profit and non-profit companies reporting to both corporate and advisory boards. Donahue's skills as a producer have led him to solve problems that others see as intractable and innovate with new technology, programs, and procedures. Donahue has raised capital and formed brand alliances on multiple projects. His skills include project management, negotiating, handling sensitive personal/corporate issues, and building successful and diverse teams.He recently returned to teaching at UCLA and Chapman University, creating innovative classes that prepare the next generation of storytellers while managing a diverse set of projects inside and outside the studio system for his company West Main Street Productions. He is a coach and consultant for individual investors, institutions, and companies. His current interests include: Artificial Intelligence, Creativity, Native Language Content, Immersive Storytelling (VR, AR, 360) Social Impact Entertainment, and Streaming.
ALLEN FISCHER (Representation)
Allen is a partner at Artists First, a top-tier management and production company. After graduating from the prestigious Wharton School at the Universal of Pennsylvania, Allen started his career at Creative Artists Agency and transitioned into the growing field of management and production in 2000. Allen is a committee member in the Representation Peer Group of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, and his clients are some of the top writers and directors in the business. Director clients include Jon M. Chu (CRAZY RICH ASIANS, IN THE HEIGHTS), Alex Hardcastle (SENIOR YEAR), Scott Waugh (EXPENDABLES 4, SNAFU starring Jackie Chan), Matt Shakman (upcoming THE CONSULTANT, WANDAVISION, GAME OF THRONES, THE GREAT), Amanda Lipitz (FOUND, STEP), Doug Pray (DEFIANT ONES), Ari Sandel (THE DUFF, WHEN WE FIRST MET), Sylvain White (UMBRELLA ACADEMY, FARGO), Mike Tiddes (NAKED, SEXTUPLETS), Dan Attias (MARVELOUS MRS. MAISEL, THE AMERICANS, WALKING DEAD, HOMELAND), Tim Hill (SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS 3, WAR WITH GRANPA), and Clay Kaytis (Upcoming A CHRISTMAS STORY 2, THE CHRISTMAS CHRONICLES). Allen also has clients who excel in writing and directing, such as Jeff Wadlow (FANTASY ISLAND, KICK ASS 2, TRUTH OR DARE) and RICH TANNE (CHEMICAL HEARTS). Television writer clients include Patrick Somerville (STATION 11, MADE FOR LOVE, MANIAC), Jonathan Wilson (THE CROWN), David Hancock (Upcoming HOUSE OF THE DRAGONS), Alissa Nutting (TEENAGE EUTHANASIA, MADE FOR LOVE), Amy Andelson and Emily Meyer, the Emmy-winning writing duo for TRINKETS on Netflix. His clients have been involved in such TV shows as: BILLIONS, JUST ADD MAGIC, MODERN FAMILY, SUCCESSION and many more. Allen also represents actor/writer/producer Ed Helms who recently wrapped production on season 2 of the RUTHERFORD FALLS for Peacock. Allen previously produced THE SEA OF TREES, directed by Gus van Sant and starring Matthew McConaughey which was released in 2015. Allen is attached to produce numerous features at every major studio and is responsible for selling many scripts and pitches every year. Artists First has offices in Los Angeles, New York, and Chicago and is one of the largest management companies in the business.
ADAM FOGELSON (Feature Film Marketing)
Adam is the Vice Chair of the Lionsgate Motion Picture Group. In this role he oversees worldwide marketing, theatrical distribution, and is part of the Motion Picture Group’s leadership team involved in all aspects of planning and executing their content strategy.
Prior to Lionsgate, Fogelson was the STX Entertainment Motion Picture Group Chairman for 8 years. There he built a notable feature slate of mid-budget films, aimed at specific demos, that crossed over to wider audiences. They include Jennifer Lopez’s highest-grossing pic at the domestic box office, Hustlers ($105M, $158M worldwide); the $314M-grossing Bad Moms franchise; The Upside ($125M WW); and The Gentlemen ($115M WW), among others.
Before joining STX, Fogelson was chairman of Universal Pictures from 2009 through October 2013, where he led the studio to three of the most successful years in the studio’s history. Fogelson oversaw worldwide operations for the motion picture group, including its global theatrical, home entertainment, partnerships & licensing, finance, human resources and communications divisions. In 2012 and again in 2013, under Fogelson’s leadership, Universal celebrated its highest-grossing years at the global box office in the company’s 100-plus-year history at that time. During his tenure, Universal released hits including Ted, Bridesmaids, Contraband, Safe House, Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax, Snow White and the Huntsman, Identity Thief, Pitch Perfect, Mama, The Purge, Les Misérables. Despicable Me 1 and 2, Fast Five, and Fast & Furious 6. Other films greenlighted while Fogelson was Chairman include Jurassic World, Lone Survivor, Ride Along, Non-Stop, Neighbors, The Purge 2, Fifty Shades of Grey and Lucy. Fogelson’s work on Universal’s diverse theatrical slate earned him recognition from Advertising Age as 2009’s Entertainment Marketer of the Year. He also managed the marketing campaign for Universal’s Tony Award-winning smash-hit musical Wicked.
Fogelson joined Universal in 1998, beginning as VP Creative Advertising and rising to President of Marketing and Distribution in 2007. During his time in Universal’s marketing operations, Fogelson worked on all the films in the Meet the Parents, Bourne, American Pie and The Fast and the Furious franchises, along with other box office successes including Mamma Mia!, American Gangster, Knocked Up, Bruce Almighty, Seabiscuit, The 40-Year-Old Virgin, 8 Mile, The Break-Up, Erin Brockovich, Notting Hill, Bring It On and Ray.
ADAM FRATTO (INTERNATIONAL PERSPECTIVES ON TELEVISION)
A seasoned creative executive with a proven track record in TV development, programming, and production, Adam recently launched a series division for international distribution and production studio Reel One Entertainment. There, he has rapidly built a serious presence in the drama space, hiring experienced executives and assembling a buzzy slate of high profile projects. Before that, he was Head of Drama for Pukeko Pictures, affiliate of New Zealand's Weta (LORD OF THE RINGS, AVATAR, DISTRICT 9). The first of these, the award-winning CLEVERMAN, airs on Netflix, SundanceTV, BBC3, and Australia's ABC. As an independent producer and consultant, Adam consulted with clients from tech startups to established networks. He Exec Produced YA movie SEA CHANGE and was co-EP of HAVEN, a hit supernatural drama based on Stephen King’s “The Colorado Kid," for Syfy.
TIMOTHY GOOD (Post Production Editing)
Timothy Good, ACE is a film editor, producer, director and educator. He hails from Oak Park, Illinois - the location of many Frank Lloyd Wright homes which inspired him to build models as a child leading to a career in building film and television stories. He attended Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois majoring in Radio/TV/Film. He has edited a wide variety of TV series including THE UMBRELLA ACADEMY, THE RESIDENT, FRINGE, THE O.C. and the original GOSSIP GIRL which was his first pilot. He also co-edited the feature film DEAD MAN DOWN directed by Niels Arden Oplev (THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO) and was an editor on UCLA alumnus Dustin Lance Black’s LGBTQ+ miniseries WHEN WE RISE. He is a visiting lecturer at the UCLA Graduate School for Film and Television and has taught creative editing to directors and cinematographers for 15 years. He is a big believer in mentorship, and all of his past assistant editors have gone on to become editors in their own right, including EMILY MENDEZ, his current co-editor for the HBO series THE LAST OF US.
PAUL GREEN (CASE STUDY: THE REVENANT)
Paul was the president & COO of Anonymous Content. He joined Anonymous in April 2004, after having previously worked with Anonymous CEO Steve Golin at Propaganda Films. At Anonymous, Green oversaw the operations of AC's film, television and talent management divisions, and was responsible for strategic planning for film, commercial (broadcast and internet) and music video production. He assisted with development, financing, production and distribution of films, television, commercials and digital projects. His duties included securing and negotiating outside capital and production financing. In addition he has executive produced or produced the recent films The Revenant, Fun Size, Big Miracle, 44 Inch Chest, The Beaver, Laggier, Adult World, Scenic Route, U Want Me 2 Kill Him?, The Loft and The Fifth Estate. Previously Paul served in executive positions with Icon Productions, Beacon Communications, Propaganda Films and the Walt Disney Motion Pictures Group.
RANDY GREENBERG (Theatrical Distribution)
Randy is an executive producer, producer and past studio executive with an emphasis on marketing and distribution, business affairs, licensing/merchandising, product placement, financing as well as product strategy and entertainment operations. Over the past 25 years, Greenberg has been involved in the green-lighting, marketing and distribution of 200+ films, and his strategies have produced over $5 billion in theatrical box office. Over the past decade, Greenberg has served as Executive Producer at The Greenberg Group, a global entertainment content and investment advisory and marketing/distribution consultancy, executive producing three feature films including the China/US feature film “The Meg” (which was released worldwide by Warner Bros. and Gravity Pictures in August 2018 and took in over $530 million at the worldwide box office making it the #1 U.S/China Co-Production to-date), “Cowboys and Aliens” and “Dylan Dog: Dead of Night.” Greenberg is currently working on several feature films and television series in development for multiple clients. In addition to The Greenberg Group, Greenberg founded the Resolution Talent Agency, was the Executive Vice President Business Affairs and Marketing for Platinum Studios, Head of / Senior Vice President International Theatrical Marketing and Distribution at Universal Pictures; Vice President, International Theatrical Marketing at MGM and UA Pictures; and an Account Executive & Publicist at Dennis Davison Associates (DDA) International Public Relations. Greenberg is an instructor at UCLA Extension in the Fall and the Spring quarters for the Entertainment Studies class, The Business of Entertainment. When not working, Greenberg can be found body surfing in Marina del Rey or making or searching for the next great plant-based meal with his author/illustrator wife, Ruthie Briggs-Greenberg and their two kids.
KRISTY GUEVARA-FLANAGAN (DOCUMENTARIES)
Kristy is an Associate Professor at UCLA’s School of Theatre, Film and Television where she heads the MFA Directing Documentary concentration. She has been making documentary films that focus on gender and representation for nearly two decades, starting with a 1999 experimental documentary about a blow-up doll (which screened at the Los Angeles Country Museum of Art, among other venues). Guevara-Flanagan’s documentary and experimental films have screened at the Sundance, Tribeca, SXSW, and HotDocs film festivals and the Getty Museum. Her work has been broadcast on PBS and the Sundance Channel, received numerous awards, and been funded by ITVS, the Sundance Institute, the Tribeca Institute, Latino Public Broadcasting and California Humanities.
JEREMIE GUIRAD (INTERNATIONAL SALES)
A French citizen, Jeremie grew up in Cannes where he attended the Cannes Film Festival every year. After graduating from La Sorbonne University with a degree in Cinema Studies, Jeremie got his Master in Management from ESCP Europe and his MFA Producers Program from UCLA. In 2010, He started his career working for leading tech companies such as Google/YouTube and LinkedIn and transitioned to the film and TV industry after moving to Los Angeles in 2012. In 2014, Jeremie got his start in the industry as an associate at Bridge Media Partners, a production and management company behind the SYFY show Blood Drive and then went on to work for producer Glenn Williamson. At Lotus Entertainment since 2016, he has been instrumental in raising financing on several high-profile features such as Kidnap, starring Halle Berry and Replicas with Keanu Reeves. Jeremie produced/EP several features including Killing Animals, starring James Franco, Endless directed by Scoot Speer, the animated film Mosley and the documentary on the pop icon Madonna and the Breakfast Club.
SHEILA HANAHAN-TAYLOR (Creative Producing and PITCHING)
Shelia is the founder of Practical Pictures, a Production Company specializing in studio pictures with a global appeal. Known as a cradle-to-grave producer, Sheila’s skill set includes story development, marketplace analysis, fundraising and budgeting, on-set creative producing, and editing room savvy. Sheila has been involved with numerous studio franchises including Universal’s American Pie and New Line’s Final Destination 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5. Sheila also recently produced Breaking In, starring Gabrielle Union, and the Australian-set family film Oddball. In total, the films Sheila worked on as an executive or a producer have grossed over $2 billion dollars in World Wide Box Office, from a total production cost of $448 million. Prior to establishing Practical Pictures, Sheila was a Senior Executive at Zide/Perry Entertainment, a production company and management firm known for grooming young screenwriters. During her 6 years at Zide/Perry she was responsible for the development and coaching on some of the industry’s highest-profile pitches and spec scripts, leading to numerous sales including an unestablished writer’s idea to Touchstone Pictures for $1 Million. Prior to Zide/Perry, Sheila worked for Steppenwolf Theatre, writer/director Garry Marshall, and Oscar Nominees Gil Netter and the Zucker Brothers, developing such films as My Best Friend's Wedding. Sheila also sits on numerous film boards and teaches at Universities around the globe. From 2000 to 2008 Sheila was a visiting associate professor for UCLA’s graduate Producers Program, teaching core curriculum and serving as thesis chair. Sheila currently works with Film Independent, Carnegie Mellon, Pixar, USC’s Stark School, Columbia College Chicago L.A. and Fox Studios. At Fox, Sheila develops TV pilots with their Writers Intensive Program and films with their Global Directors Initiative.
JUDE HOPE HARRIS (DOCUMENTARIES)
Jude (she/they) is a director and producer living and working in Los Angeles California. She has a BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design and an MFA in Film Directing from UCLA. She currently works at Hearst Magazines, partnering with premium producers and studios to develop articles from Esquire, Cosmo, Elle, Men’s Health and all of Hearst’s brands into scripted films, series, docuseries and documentaries.
Her work as a documentary producer includes the 2023 Oscar shortlisted documentary Bad Axe, the Hulu documentary 69: The Saga of Danny Hernandez, and the 2021 SXSW documentary Kid Candidate.
As a narrative producer, Jude produced the reboot of the animated series Liquid Television, the digital comedy series Fast Food Heights, and the music series $5 Cover, directed by Craig Brewer (Hustle & Flow, Coming to America 2) and Lynn Shelton (Humpday, Laggies). She produced the Jackass-style reality show Too Stupid to Die for MTV and the sci-fi miniseries ALT for AT&T’s Audience Network.
As a director, Jude has directed music videos for Capitol Records, Innovative Leisure Records and Joyful Noise. Her short Gay Haircut premiered at SXSW 2022. Her previous short I Am An Expert Haggler at Garage Sales was a Vimeo staff pick. Her latest short Funny Face will be premiering at SXSW 2023.
SIMON HERBERT (CASE STUDY: INDIE FILM)
WEIKO LIN (How to Work Creatively With China’s Film Industry)
A finalist of AMPAS Nicholl Fellowship and recipient of a Samuel Goldwyn Writing Award, Weiko earned his MFA in Screenwriting and B.A. in English (Creative Writing) at UCLA.
He is currently developing two original one hour series for Disney Plus Asia and a WWII bio pic for Oscar Nominated producer Andrew Lazar. Previously, he adapted the U.S./China co-production feature in development based on the New York Times best-selling memoir River Town by MacArthur Fellow Peter Hessler for Fugitive Films and acclaimed director Lu Chuan (Disney's Born in China) and has adapted a TV pilot for Super Deluxe (former digital studio of Turner/Warner).
Weiko has written projects for The Mark Gordon Company, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, Ivanhoe Pictures, Don Mischer Productions, and Wanda Pictures. He produced and wrote the original story for the Chinese language romance film 100 Days 真爱100天 which was released theatrically in Taiwan and was an official selection at the prestigious 2014 Golden Rooster Hundred Flowers Film Festival in Mainland China. As producer and original story writer, Weiko's Chinese language action thriller Retroactive 追击日 is set up at Wanda Pictures. His other international writing credits include 2016 Shanghai Disney Opening Ceremony and 2014 Huading Global Film Awards executive produced by Emmy winner Don Mischer.
From publisher of Save the Cat! and The Writers Journey, Weiko's book CRAZY SCREENWRITING SECRETS: How to Capture a Global Audience is available wherever books are sold with the traditional Chinese edition 好萊塢劇本創作術 released in 2022 for Greater China.
A Fulbright Senior Specialist, he has also served as an advisor at Sundance Collab. A current active member of Writers Guild of America West and Dramatist Guild, he is represented by Anonymous Content and United Talent Agency
Jennifer Manel (Marvel: Producing Branded Content)
Jennifer has spent over a decade working in various facets of the entertainment industry. While pursuing a bachelor’s of science degree in Forensic Psychology at St. John’s University in New York City, Jennifer booked talent in TV, features and commercials for a talent management company, sought out and cast talent for independent films, television and Broadway and worked alongside notable celebrity publicists both at Slate and ID PR. Upon her receiving her MFA in Film & Television Production from UCLA through their Producers Program, she worked at 20th Century Fox Film (Now 20th Century Studios) in feature film development and as a Senior Producer creating custom branded content with major brands like Amazon, World Market and Hasbro to establish themselves in the digital market. Currently, Jennifer serves as Director, Development & Partnerships Planning for Marvel Entertainment.
ERIC MARIN (Post Production Sound/Sound Design)
Eric is a filmmaker and editor with extensive experience in picture editing, sound design and audio mixing. His passion for international cinema, independent film and world cultures has been influenced by his Salvadoran and Canadian heritage along with his work on such films as the Brazilian feature, Vestido de Noiva (Wedding Dress), based on the play by the renowned Brazilian playwright Nelson Rodrigues, Skins, a poignant story of two brothers on the Pine Ridge Reservation based on the novel by Adrian C. Louis, and the documentaries Un Beso a Esa Tierra (A Kiss to This Land) about early 20th century Jewish immigrants to Mexico and Dreams at Sea about Syrian war refugees. Eric’s interest in diverse subjects is further exemplified by his work on the feature documentaries Occupy the Farm about urban farming as a way to combat food scarcity, Breaking the Maya Code about deciphering the Mayan hieroglyph system, Women of Mystery (featuring three leading American female mystery writers), Looking Like the Enemy (about the war experiences of Asian American veterans) and The Art of Observing Life about the founders of the direct cinema movement.
Additionally, Eric’s background in music, has led him to produce, direct, shoot and edit several contemporary music and performance documentaries including Lou Harrison: Cherish, Conserve, Consider, Create and Baschet: The Transfiguration of Daily Life (awarded Best Art Documentary at the Parnu International Documentary Festival 2004 and Grand Prix de la Recherche at the Festival International du Film d’Art, Paris, 2003). His works have been seen on PBS and The Learning Channel and have been screened at festivals and various venues worldwide. Other film awards include the Nissan FOCUS documentary award, the Bronze Apple from the National Education Festival, the CINE Eagle award, and the Western States Regional Media Fellowship.
Eric Marin has been teaching various courses in postproduction and postproduction sound at UCLA since 1997. He is also the recipient of UCLA’s prestigious “Distinguished Teaching Award” for 2007.
MICHAEL MENDELSOHN (FILM FINANCE)
Michael currently manages a senior “stretch” financing facility and principal capital investment fund totaling up to $500 million specializing in project production finance and film IP acquisition in the entertainment industry. His past credits include: “Cut Throat City” directed by The RZA (Wu Tang Clan) starring Terrence Howard, Wesley Snipes, T.I., Demetrius Shipp Jr., and Shameik Moore; “Running With The Devil” starring Nicolas Cage and Laurence Fishburne; “Hangman” starring Al Pacino, Karl Urban, and Brittany Snow; “Vengeance: A Love Story” starring Nicolas Cage and Don Johnson; “Zeroville” starring James Franco, Seth Rogan, Will Ferrell, Megan Fox, and Danny McBride; “My Name Is Lenny” starring Josh Helman and current UFC Middleweight Champion Michael Lisping; as well as “The Matrix”, “Underworld”, “What Women Want”, “Reservoir Dogs”. He is a graduate of The University of Pennsylvania, Wharton School, where he majored in Finance and Entrepreneurial Management and minored in English and Russian Literature. He often lectures at his alma mater, as well as AFI, Harvard, NYU, UCLA and USC. Mr. Mendelsohn resides in Los Angeles, California. He is the CEO and Chairman of Patriot Pictures, LLC. Patriot Pictures, LLC. packages film production elements including upcoming Nick Cassavetes written and directing GOD IS A BULLET based on a book by Boston Teran; Ron Shelton directing TYSON; Sion Sono directing PRISONERS of the GHOSTLAND; and completed films such as CUT THROAT CITY directed by RZA and starring Ethan Hawke, Terrence Howard, Wesley Snipes, T.I. and Eiza Gonzalez; ZEROVILLE starring James Franco, Seth Rogan, [Will Ferrell], Megan Fox, and Danny McBride; RUNNING WITH THE DEVIL starring Nicolas Cage, Laurence Fishburne, Leslie Bibb, and Barry Pepper; HANGMAN starring Al Pacino, Karl Urban, and Brittany Snow; and I AM WRATH starring John Travolta.
MATTHEW MILAM (Navigating the Studio System)
Originally from Knoxville, TN, Matt got his start in the business working for Joe Drake and Nathan Kahane at Mandate Pictures (JUNO, HAROLD AND KUMAR GO TO WHITE CASTLE). After his time at Mandate, Matt moved to Warner Brothers as a junior executive where he was able to work on a myriad of pictures, including CLASH OF THE TITANS, SUPERMAN, JUSTICE LEAGUE, COP OUT, THE INFORMANT, OBSERVE AND REPORT, GANGSTER SQUAD amongst others. He then left Warner to join Skydance Productions as Vice President of Production. While there, he produced THE HITMAN’S BODYGUARD, MISCONDUCT and helped oversee MISSION IMPOSSIBLE 5 & 6 as well as GI JOE. After Skydance, he joined Sony Pictures where he oversaw DARK TOWER, ROBOTECH, MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE, FANTASY ISLAND and several other high profile projects. He now works at Amazon Studios overseeing the hit series JACK RYAN as well as DAISY JONES AND THE SIX and JACK REACHER.
CHRIS MODOONO (Case Study: Indie Film and TV)
Chris has to be among the tallest directors working today. At a towering 6 feet 5 inches, he possesses the unique competitive advantage of being able to spot colleagues in a crowded area quickly. An experienced Writer/Director, Chris’s most recent project was the feature film Tenured which he co-wrote and directed for Fox Digital. It premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival, won the audience award for comedy feature at the Maui Film Festival, and is now on Netflix. He co-wrote and directed the pilot Its A Hit! for The Orchard starring Abby Elliott, Tim Matheson, and Tyler Hilton. In the commercial world Chris worked on Tide’s Super Bowl campaign with Hungry Man Productions, directing several online companion spots. He has also worked with the CBS Early Show, The CBS Evening News, Food Network and HGTV on their promotional campaigns.
ROBIN PELLECK (New Media)
Robin is a Television Director, Showrunner, Writer and Executive. A news intern role at the CNN Studios in NYC, led to many years in network sports television.
Robin is proud of her years learning from the sports television legends at Moxie Video Productions, CBS Sports and ABC Sports. She has worked on hundreds of live, pre-game, studio shows, taped events and sports documentary from network control rooms and Moxie’s post edit suites and mobile units. Some of those include: NFL, NCAA, NBA, MLB, PGA Golf, Nascar, Superbowl, World Series, Monday Night Football, Final Four, US Open Tennis, The Masters, Indy 500 and NBA Finals.
On the Network side, Robin served as Vice President, Digital Content TNT & TBS Original Programming where she oversaw the creative development and production of multi-platform content for scripted drama and comedy, as well as unscripted series and specials for TNT and TBS Original Programming.
Robin's award-winning and vast background includes long and short form sports and entertainment documentary, television and digital series, large scale studio, quick turnaround, remote production and branded content. A journalistic storyteller, Robin specializes in high profile and sensitive on camera interviews for documentary, content, series and longform news. She is the founder of order24 productions and Great Job, Kid!, a creative and production services company that focuses on multi-platform creative and production. Clients and friends include: Disney (ABC Television, ABC News Longform and ESPN), NFL and NFLPA, Viacom Networks, A&E Networks, Food Network, Facebook, NBC Studios, Sundance Channel, OWN as well as, numerous digital content providers, production companies, technology leaders and advertising agencies.
Robin is a lecturer at UCLA's School of Theatre, Film & Television, leading graduate level and master classes in the creative development and production of television and digital content. She is a member of the Directors Guild of America, Producers Guild of America, the Television Academy/Emmys, HRTS and Women in Film.
CHRISTOPHER L. PEREZ (LEGAL ISSUES)
Chris specializes in all aspects of the Donaldson Callif Perez firm’s practice, including representing independent filmmakers through development, financing, production, rights clearance and distribution. He has helped hundreds of productions secure the E&O insurance necessary to distribute their films and has established himself as an advocate for artists’ rights. In addition to representing filmmakers, Chris serves as counsel to writers, podcast producers, radio personalities, museums and foundations, as well as Film Independent, which produces the Spirit Awards and supports independent filmmakers around the world.
Chris has lectured on production, distribution, financing, and clearance issues at the Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business in Beijing, China, UCLA Producers Program, USC Law, the USC School of Cinema, UC Irvine, Cal Arts, the School of Visual Arts, Columbia College of Chicago, and other institutions. He has also lectured for members of the International Documentary Association and Film Independent, and has appeared on panels at various film festivals and the Producers Guild of America. Chris has also written several op-ed pieces for the Daily Journal, LA Lawyer and Realscreen.
Chris has also been a leader on several of the firm’s advocacy projects, including the landmark Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) exemptions secured for filmmakers in 2009, 2012, 2015 and 2018.
Chris graduated from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor with a BA in American Studies and a minor in Film and Video Studies, where he produced, directed, and wrote several student films. He earned his Juris Doctorate at the USC Gould School of Law. Prior to working with Donaldson Callif Perez, Chris worked for California Lawyers for the Arts, Technicolor, and the Cyberlaw Clinic at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School.
Chris also sits on the Board of Directors for the International Documentary Association.
Alissa Ferguson Phillips (Creative Producing)
Alissa is a Film and Television Producer as well as a full time Career Instructor in the Department of Cinema Studies at University of Oregon. Some of Phillips’ film producing credits include MONEYBALL, I FEEL PRETTY and DRACULA UNTOLD. Some of Phillips’ streaming credits include Hulu’s “CULTURE SHOCK” and “PURE,” as well as Frank Darabont’s limited series “Mob City.” Prior to University of Oregon, Phillips was an Adjunct Instructor of Film at Portland State University, and Lewis & Clark College. Phillips lives in Lake Oswego, Oregon with her three daughters.
BILLY RAY (Story Structure)
Billy wrote the Oscar-nominated screenplay for Captain Phillips, for which he won the WGA award. He also wrote, directed, and executive-produced Showtime's The Comey Rule, which had the biggest debut of any limited series in that network's history. Ray's films as writer, co-writer, or writer-director include The Hunger Games, Richard Jewell, Shattered Glass, and Breach. His current feature projects include 68: the true story of Olympic medalists Tommie Smith and John Carlos, and The Silent Wife for Nicole Kidman. Ray has served on the Board of Governors of AMPAS, and the Board of Directors of the WGA. He believes in democracy, justice, and the Dodgers.
JONATHAN REINER (UNSCRIPTED TELEVISION)
An Emmy-winning writer-producer, Jonathan specializes in entertaining and empowering content that stops audiences in their tracks and demands they pay attention. Credits in 2020 include having two formats optioned by major production companies, and shooting an HBO Max series in the field in Los Angeles during the summer pandemic. Reiner began his television career as a senior writer and producer on True Entertainment’s very first show, SoapCenter. Since then he’s tackled every genre of the unscripted world (with the exception of naked survival shows). Prior to television, he wrote for major print and online outlets (including Variety, The New York Post, TVGuide.com). A native New Yorker, Reiner has a degree in subway turnstile dynamics (not true), and completed Master’s level studies in Spiritual Psychology at the University of Santa Monica (true).
ADAM SAUNDERS (Case Study: Making Your Film)
Adam is the CEO of Footprint Features (www.footprintfeatures.com). He has served as the lead producer of Footprint’s first four films: the 2018 Netflix Original When We First Met (dir. Ari Sandel) starring Adam Devine (Workaholics, Pitch Perfect) and Alexandra Daddario (True Detective, Baywatch) which debuted at #1 on the platform in 120 countries for the entire first month of its release; the 2017 Netflix Original Shimmer Lake (writer/dir: Oren Uziel (22 Jump Street) starring Benjamin Walker, Rainn Wilson, Rob Corddry, and Ron Livingston), About Alex (writer/dir: Jesse Zwick, starring Nate Parker, Maggie Grace, Aubrey Plaza, and Max Greenfield) alongside Oscar winning filmmakers Edward Zwick and Marshall Herskovitz, which played the 2014 TriBeCa Film Festival and was sold to Sony Worldwide, and Family Weekend (dir: Benjamin Epps, starring Kristin Chenoweth, Matthew Modine, Joey King and Shirley Jones) also alongside Bedford Falls, which was sold to Paramount worldwide and released in 2013. He was the co-founder and Artistic Director of the professional theater company Footprint on the Sun, upon whose foundation Footprint Features was built. He holds a BA in Drama from Duke University and an MFA in Acting from the Yale School of Drama.
Eric W. Shamlin (IMMERSIVE MEDIA)
Eric is a two-time Emmy winner, 12-time Cannes Lion winner and 20-year member of the Television Academy where he holds seats on the Digital Strategy Committee, Interactive Media Peer Group and co-chairs the Experience Design Work Group. Eric is also co-founder and creative partner of the Sandbox Immersive Festival, the largest immersive tech and storytelling festival in China.
At MediaMonks, he heads-up entertainment and technology partnerships focusing on the future of storytelling. With a background at the intersection visual effects, emerging tech and live action storytelling Eric has spent the last two decades delivering creative and technical innovation across a range of mediums.
ROSS SIEGEL (The New Digital)
Ross has been the Head of Development and Management at 1stAveMachine since October 2017. Prior to 1stAveMachine, he was the Director of Development and Programming Strategy at Maker Studios, part of the Walt Disney Company, and the Head of Features from 2014-2017, working in feature film development and production while spearheading Maker’s entry into the digital movie business. He also worked in both television and short-form video series development. In 2015, Ross oversaw the acquisition of Maker’s first released feature, SUMMER FOREVER, starring YouTube music star Megan Nicole, and development and production its second, INTERNET FAMOUS, a co-production with Lakeshore Entertainment, which was bought by Netflix. Ross oversaw series Maker produced in conjunction with Key & Peele, Freeform, Skybound Entertainment, and CBS Studios & CBS Network, YouTube Red, among others. Ross transitioned over to digital media side of entertainment in 2012, working for Fullscreen. There, he held several positions, working in Branded Entertainment and Influencer Marketing, helping to grow several of the company’s core businesses by pairing Fullscreen’s top influencers with blue chip entertainment brands such as MTV, VH1, CBS, 20th Century Fox, AOL, Disney, among others. The marketing platform Ross helped to mount, Influencer+, was acquired and whitelisted by WPP in 2013. Before moving over to digital media, Ross spent over a decade in the film business as a producer and executive. He was named the Director of Creative Affairs at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios (MGM) in 2007, one of two production executives overseeing the studio’s slate of Direct-to-DVD and Made-for-TV movies. Some of the films Ross oversaw included PICTURE THIS starring Ashley Tisdale, INTO THE BLUE 2: THE REEF, STARGATE: CONTINUUM, LEGALLY BLONDES, among others. Ross was Director of Development from 2003 to 2007 at the Paramount-based production/management company Guy Walks into a Bar, which produced ELF starring Will Ferrell and MEET DAVE, starring Eddie Murphy, during his tenure. He also set up projects at numerous studios and networks during his tenure, including 20thCentury Fox Pictures, Paramount Pictures, New Line Entertainment, Universal Studios, 20thCentury Fox Television, Touchstone Television, Revolution Studios, and Lakeshore Entertainment, among others. In 2000, Ross started his career at 20thCentury Fox Television as a writer’s assistant on the CW one-hour drama Roswell, and then later joined the William Morris Agency, serving there as an assistant in both the Motion Picture Talent and Motion Picture Literary Departments until 2003. Ross graduated with an M.F.A. from the UCLA Producer's Program in 2002. There, he cofounded the Producers Program Marketplace, which still runs annually today. He earned his B.A. in Film Studies and English at UC-Santa Barbara in 2000.
LINDA SILLS (DOCUMENTARIES)
Linda enjoyed a 26 year career at the BBC where she worked in a variety of journalistic capacities. In her most recent role, Linda joined the launch team as resident filmmaker for My World, Angelina Jolie’s current affairs program for teens which is co-produced with the BBC and Microsoft. Linda produced and directed high profile elements for the pilot series including the first location documentary special from the Brazilian Amazon about the destruction of the rainforest.
Prior to that, Linda spent 13 years as Series Producer on the BBC’s foreign affairs documentary strand Our World, which reaches a potential global audience of more than 400 million. As part of her brief, she executive produced and co-managed a slate of 38 films per year, overseeing the commissioning and production of stories from inception to air.
As a filmmaker she has more than 35 documentary credits variously for producing, writing and directing, including Saudi’s Secret Uprising which won the Best Investigative Documentary award from the Association of International Broadcasting – My Stolen Childhood which won in the Human Interest category in 2018 and was also shortlisted for a Grierson Award - and the ground-breaking Fallout 9/11 which earned her a nomination in the environment category from the Foreign Press Association.
Prior to Our World, Linda was Senior Producer on the RTS award-winning interview program, HARDtalk, producing more than 250 interviews on location around the world with leading figures including Nelson Mandela, Donald Trump and the Dalai Lama.
She holds an M.A. in International Journalism from the City University in London and studied International & Comparative Politics at the London School of Economics.
SARA SPRING (Physical Production/Line Producing)
Sara has been a physical production executive for over 20 years. She was an executive on Queen and Slim and the pilot Hombre. Prior to this, Sara was an Executive VP at Sony Pictures overseeing Ang Lee's Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk. Before Sony, Sara was a Senior VP at Paramount for 17 years. She oversaw numerous movies including The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Tin Tin, Flight, True Grit, Anchorman and Mean Girls. Prior to Paramount, Sara worked in freelance production on films including The Bodyguard, Other People’s Money and The Doors. Sara is a member of the Producers Guild of America.
MATT TAUBER (GETTING INDIE FILMS MADE)
Matt was most recently the Co-Executive Producer of Project Blue Book for History, A+E Studios and Robert Zemeckis’ Image Movers. Previously, Matt produced the first two seasons of the AMC /Sony series Preacher created by Sam Catlin, Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg. In film, Matt developed and produced Meadowland, Reed Moreno’s directing debut starring Olivia Wilde, Luke Wilson, Giovanni Ribisi, John Leguizamo and Elizabeth Moss; The Great New Wonderful featuring Maggie Gyllenhaal, Edie Falco, Jim Parsons and Stephen Colbert; and The Architect featuring Viola Davis, Sebastian Stan and Walton Goggins which Matt wrote and directed with the assistance of the Sundance Institute as a Sundance Screenwriting Fellow. As a theatre director, Matt founded Kitchen Theatre Company in Ithaca, NY, directed the Jeff Nominated, Victory Gardens hit Phyro-Giants and received the Jeff Award for his direction of the play American Divine in Chicago.
CADDY VANASIRIKUL (INTERNATIONAL SALES)
Caddy is a Producer and the current Head of Production & Acquisitions at The Exchange. Born and raised in Bangkok, Thailand, Caddy began her entertainment career in unscripted television, serving as a Production Coordinator for popular American series such as The Bachelorette, The Amazing Race, and Dual Survival.
In 2012, she moved to Los Angeles to attend the UCLA Producer’s Program. During her time at UCLA, Caddy produced the institution’s first TV pilot, Doubleblind, which went on to win the Caucus Award for Best Television/New Media Program and the feature film KILLING ANIMALS starring James Franco. She also was awarded both the Audience and Judges’ Award at the 2014 UCLA Producers’ Marketplace for her thesis project, LADYBOY.
Caddy interned for The Exchange, while still enrolled at UCLA, and after graduation was hired full-time. Currently in her seventh year at The Exchange, she championed many indie darlings, including the Netflix Original films SHIMMER LAKE and IRREPLACEABLE YOU, as well as Good Deed Entertainment’s AFTER EVERYTHING. She and her team also regularly attend film markets and festivals to acquire finished films for international sales. Among their recent acquisitions are TRAGEDY GIRLS, THE BIGGEST LITTLE FARM, Peabody-winner WELCOME TO CHECHNYA, and five-time Spirit Award Nominee WE THE ANIMALS.
Caddy also serves as president of NEXT Productions, The Exchange’s stand-alone development fund and production company found in 2021. In this role, she curates a slate of projects to be fully financed and produced in-house with a direct pipeline to The Exchange’s international sales operation. For the first film under this model, Drew Barrymore’s THE STAND IN, Caddy arranged financing and ran point as the creative producer on set. The film was released on Netflix in early 2021. Caddy recently served as EP on MEET CUTE, starring Kaley Cuoco and Pete Davidson, arranging financing for the production. Shortly thereafter, she developed, financed, and produced THE INDEPENDENT, starring Jodie Turner-Smith, Brian Cox, John Cena, and Ann Dowd.
EVETTE VARGAS (Multiplatform Storytelling)
Evette is an award-winning writer, director, producer and immersive storyteller, featured in Forbes and named by the New York Times as an “Artist to Watch.” Vargas has produced series for Amazon, MTV, Bravo, DirectTV; and interactive content for Fast And Furious, Lord Of The Rings trilogy, Madonna and Wu-Tang Clan. Vargas executive produced, wrote and directed her digital series Dark Prophet, starring Henry Rollins, which was in contention for two Emmys. Vargas is currently producing her series, CONFESSIONS, has a series set up with Hypnotic Pictures and developing the television slate for Hidden Empire Film Group. Vargas is also developing a series for Shout! Factory and Twentyone14 Media, writing a feature film for Reyes King Productions, and sold her drama series, Muses, to TNT Super Deluxe. Vargas has recently launched, Verses Studios, a Metaverse Production Studio, taking 2D intellectual into 4D. Vargas is the creator and host of the New Hollywood Clubhouse Podcast, a weekly award-winning show, exploring New Hollywood paradigms and empowering storytellers through community. Vargas wrote The Current War VR Experience, a companion piece for the film, starring Benedict Cumberbatch. Vargas was commissioned by Final Draft to create the Evette Vargas Immersiveplay, the professional script writing template for VR, AR, XR writing. A staunch activist for inclusion and equity, Vargas founded The Writers Room 5050 to mentor storytellers and create opportunities for their next-level success. A member of the Writers Guild of America, Academy of Television Arts and Sciences and Producers Guild of America, Vargas was born in the Bronx and learned to tell stories at the dinner table where imagination ruled. Vargas collects action figures, typewriters and shoes; has past lives as a DJ, a fashion designer, and is a recovering New York City advertising Art Director.
KURT WOOLNER (COMPLETION BONDS)
Kurt entered the film business in 1975 with Dimension Pictures, a small production/distribution company specializing in the low-budget exploitation market. In 1978, he moved exclusively into film production working on nine pictures over a 6 year period. Productions include The Outsiders, Rumblefish, and The Cotton Club. Kurt started with the completion bond firm Film Finances, Inc. in 1984 helping to establish its Los Angeles office and eventually growing the company into the global market leading company issuing completion bond’s. Kurt became Co-owner and Co-Chairman of Film Finances in 2008. He sold his equity stake in 2016 and retired from a full time position at the company after serving as President thru 2018. He remains a consultant to the company. From 1984 to 2018, Kurt has been personally involved in more than 7,000 productions that required completion bonds. Kurt is also Co-Founder and Co-Owner of CASHet Card LLC. The company was formed in 2012 and is now the leading digital payment solution company in the entertainment industry. Kurt also volunteers his time teaching math & writing to elementary schools.
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Applications are now being accepted for the Summer 2022 Professional Program in Producing.