Jump to: Guest Speakers
Producer; Co-Founder, Killer Films; Artistic Director, MFA in Film
Christine Vachon is an Independent Spirit Award and Gotham Award winner who co-founded
indie powerhouse Killer Films with partner Pamela Koffler in 1995. Over the past decade
and a half, the two have produced some of the most celebrated American indie features
including CAROL (nominated for six Academy Awards), FAR FROM HEAVEN (nominated for
four Academy Awards), STILL ALICE (Academy Award winner), BOYS DON'T CRY (Academy
Award winner), ONE HOUR PHOTO, KIDS, HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH, HAPPINESS, VELVET
GOLDMINE, SAFE, I SHOT ANDY WARHOL, CAMP, SWOON and I’M NOT THERE (Academy Award nominated).
In television, Vachon recently executive-produced the Emmy- and Golden Globe-winning
miniseries MILDRED PIERCE for HBO and Z, an upcoming series on Amazon based on the
life of Zelda Fitzgerald. Other recent work includes: KILL YOUR DARLINGS, GOAT, and
WEINER DOG. Additionally, Christine has just wrapped filming on WONDERSTRUCK directed
by Todd Haynes from the bestselling book by Brian Selznick. Vachon is also the director
of the MFA program at Stony Brook University.
Director, MFA in Film
Magdalene Brandeis is a Producer, Novelist, and the Associate Director of the MFA Program in Film. Getting her start in development at Hollywood Pictures and Caravan Pictures, she went on to translate and adapt French films, and produce television series and pilots for ABC, AMC, Bravo, and MTV. She also served as the Executive Director of The Bridge Program, a non-profit, and as a juror for The March on Washington Film Festival. She holds a BA from Antioch University Los Angeles, and an MFA in Writing and Literature from Stony Brook Southampton.
Robert Reeves, Associate Provost of the Southampton Graduate Arts Campus, oversees the MFA in Creative Writing expansion. In addition to the new MFA in Film, the campus also offers an MFA in Theatre, a publishing venture, TSR Books, as well as a fine arts print venture, TSR Editions. Reeves is the founding publisher of TSR: The Southampton Review, an award-winning national literary and arts journal, which regularly features original works by writers and artists such as W.S. Merwin, Alan Alda, Eric Fischl and April Gornik, alongside the work of students and alumni.
As Founding Director of the MFA in Creative Writing and Literature, as well as Director of the esteemed Southampton Writers Conference, Reeves has recruited a large number of distinguished faculty, including former Poet Laureate Billy Collins, Frank McCourt, Meg Wolitzer, Roger Rosenblatt, Julie Andrews, David Rakoff, Elizabeth Strout, Richard Ford, Joyce Carol Oates, and Tom Wolfe.
A large number of Southampton’s MFA graduates have gone to highly successful careers in publishing and the arts. Soon-to be added will be a graduate program in digital filmmaking. Stony Brook Southampton offers courses in both Southampton and Manhattan, as well as winter courses in Florence, Italy, and Turkana Basin, Kenya. Semester by the Sea Honors Writing Program is a special addendum for undergraduates.
The author of two critically acclaimed novels, Doubting Thomas and Peeping Thomas, Reeves has also written screenplays, short fiction, essays, and literary criticism.
Reeves, who has taught at Harvard and Princeton, holds a B.A. and M.A. from Harvard
Co-Founder, Killer Films; Visiting Faculty; Producer
Pamela Koffler is an award-winning producer who in 1995 co-founded New York-based indie powerhouse Killer Films with partner Christine Vachon. Since founding Killer Films, she has gone on to produce some of the most celebrated American indie films including, Academy Award® winning films Far From Heaven, Boys Don't Cry, One Hour Photo, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Happiness, I Shot Andy Warhol, Dirty Girl, Then She Found Me, and Savage Grace. In television, Koffler executive produced the Emmy® nominated TV movie Mrs. Harris in 2005 and the Golden Globe winning miniseries, Mildred Pierce for HBO.
Most recently, Koffler produced two films with the award-winning directing team Wash
Westmoreland and Richard Glatzer: "The Last of Robin Hood" starring Kevin Kline,
Susan Sarandon and Dakota Fanning, which premiered at the Toronto Festival in 2013
and was seen in theaters in September 2014. "Still Alice," starring Julianne Moore,
Alec Baldwin and Kristen Stewart, premiered at TIFF in 2014. Koffler also produced
2015's "Carol," directed by Todd Haynes, starring Cate Blanchette and Rooney Mara.
Screenwriter and Memoirist
In the 11 years Alan Alda starred in the television series M*A*S*H, he was nominated for 21 Emmy Awards, winning five. He wrote (or co-wrote) 20 episodes and he was the first person to win Emmy Awards for acting, writing, and directing for the same series. In addition to his Emmys, Alda has won the Writer’s Guild Award twice and received the coveted Humanitas Award for writing the “Dreams” episode of M*A*S*H (from a story by Alda and James Jay Rubinfier). His first memoir, Never Have Your Dog Stuffed, was published by Random House in September 2005. His latest book is Things I Overheard While Talking to Myself.
Jennie Allen is a writer and filmmaker living in the Catskill Mountains of New York. She is developing the feature film Culebra with Fidelio Films, as well as a web series, The Mystical Clinic. Failing Better Now, a feature film Jennie wrote, is available on the Starz network. Her short play Wuss Out was produced at Nylon Fusion Theater Company. She hosts and writes for an annual Day of the Dead event called THE DEEP SIX. Jennie's short films have won awards from the USA Film Festival, the Columbus Film Council, Palm Springs, Brooklyn Arts Council, the Adrienne Shelly Foundation, Babelgum, Sound Lounge, and others. They have screened at festivals including Brussels, Woodstock, LA Shorts, and have been featured on NYC-TV, Film Shortage, and been distributed by Shorts International. Jennie is a 2016 NYFA Fellowship Finalist and a CineStory Finalist. She received the Lewis Cole Award for Excellence in Screenwriting from Columbia University, along with her M.F.A. She has taught writing and filmmaking at Columbia, Pratt Institute, and CUNY City College. Jennie used to work as a mental health counselor, and that experience has been invaluable both in filmmaking and in life.
BOGDAN GEORGE APETRI
Director, Writer, Producer
A former lawyer in Romania, Bogdan George Apetri moved to New York where he graduated from Columbia University's Film Program with a MFA degree in Film Directing and Cinematography. His student films screened and won awards at prominent short film festivals across the world (Clermont, Ferrand, Rotterdam, Palm Springs, Cottbus, Montreal, Aarhus, Rhode Island, Woodstock etc). He was a National Finalist at the Student Academy Awards in 2006.
In 2010, he directed and wrote the feature film Periferic (Outbound). Funded in part by Romania’s National Center for Cinema, the film was shown at some of the best festivals across the world (Locarno, Toronto, Rotterdam,New Directors/New Films) and won numerous international awards (Thessaloniki, Warsaw, Viennale) including the FIPRESCI Award (The International Federation of Film Critics Award) twice. Bogdan co-produced 3 Backyards by Eric Mendelsohn, a feature film that won the Best Directing Award at Sundance in 2010 and was selected for New Directors/New Films in New York. He co-produced Advantageous by Jennifer Phang (Jury Prize at Sundance in 2015), The Bravest, the Boldest by Moon Molson (Sundance 2014), The Mend by John Magary, Nobody’s Watching by Julia Solomonoff, and produced Love Hunter by Nemanja and Brane Bala. He will direct his next feature film in 2017, funded again by Romania’s National Center for Cinema.
JON ROBIN BAITZ
Playwright and Screenwriter
Jon Robin Baitz is the author of a number of plays including The Substance of Fire, A Fair Country, Ten Unknowns, Mizlansky/Zilinsky, Three Hotels, and The Paris Letter. He is a Pulitzer Prize finalist, Drama Desk winner, Humanitas winner, a Guggenheim and an NEA Fellow. Mr Baitz created the ABC drama Brothers & Sisters and has written for The West Wing. He also adapted his play The Substance of Fire for the screen, as well as the screenplay for the Al Pacino movie, People I Know. He is a founding member of Naked Angels Theatre Company, and on the faculty of the New School's graduate drama division. Most recently, Mr. Baitz has had a tremendously successful run of his play, Other Desert Cities, at Lincoln Center Theatre.
BRANISLAV "BRANE" BALA
Branislav "Brane" Balais a Serbian filmmaker based in New York City. He holds an MFA in film directing from Columbia University.
He has taught various film classes at the University of Hartford, The New School, Art Institute of Austin, Ramapo College, NJCU and was the chair of the Film Department at Katharine Gibbs School in New York City.
His short film Shades of Gray received the Milos Forman Fund and James Bridges Award for excellence in directing actors and was distributed by Doug Liman’s Hypnotic. His commercial spot Magic was one of the finalists in Coca-Cola Refreshing Filmmaker’s competition.
He co-produced two feature films: Across Dot Avenue, winner of the Silver Cup award at the Mexico International Film Festival and Romeo and Juliet in Yiddish, the Audience Choice Award winner at the Berlin Jewish Film Festival.
He often works with his brother Nemanja and their latest collaboration, a feature film Love Hunter premiered at the prestigious Warsaw Film Festival and was “among its highlights”, according to The Hollywood Reporter. During its opening week in New York, New York Times Critics’ selected it as the Pick of the week. New York Times called it "at once fantastical and gritty… one of the most refreshing New York independent films." It won several awards in Serbia including the FIPRESCI Award (The International Federation of Film Critics Award). Kino Lorber added the film to its catalogue and is available on Netflix and other streaming venues.
TV Writing Faculty
Scott Burkhardt is a graduate of Columbia University’s School of the Arts where he received an MFA in Film. His graduate thesis project, The Assastant, won the New Line Cinema Development Award and additional funding from the Milos Forman Foundation, The Caucus Foundation and the Carole and Robert Daly Foundation. The Assastant was a Faculty Selects film and went on to win the 20th Century Fox/Farrelly Brothers Outstanding Achievement in Comedy Award and the Student Choice Award for Best Writing. The film was also nominated for a Student Academy Award and played festivals around the world. The film was distributed by Cinetic Media as part of their FilmBuff series on Hulu.com.
Scott was a writer on the NBC one hour drama Smash and has developed and written projects for CBS Studios, Universal TV and Flower Films. He is currently developing several shows and casting his feature film directing debut, Slipstream. His scripts have been finalists in the Nicholl Screenwriting Competition, Slamdance Screenplay Competition and the Austin Film Festival.
Scott has taught screenwriting and television writing at the University of Pennsylvania, Columbia University and New York University's Tisch School of the Arts.
ANNETTE HANDLEY CHANDLER
Producer, Author and Screenwriter
Annette Handley Chandler has produced films for Paramount Pictures, Disney, PBS, ABC and CBS. In 2002, she won an Emmy as Executive Producer of Ansel Adams: A Documentary, directed by Ric Burns. A former literary agent, Ms. Handley Chandler was also a programming executive for ABC Entertainment in Los Angeles, overseeing development and the production of 20 films in four years. A member of WGA West, she has taught screenwriting at UCLA and Pepperdine University and NYU Tisch. She has written, directed and produced the East End's Plum TV documentary on vintner/sculptor Walter Channing. She is presently in development and pre-production on Recess, a narrative feature film and a documentary, along with director Anne Makepeace, on the Shinnecock nation of Southampton.
Lenny Crooks, is currently a New York based consultant advising European producers on transatlantic co-production opportunities and working with Killer Films on its development slate. Lenny's recent investments included Lynne Ramsay's WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN, Paddy Considine's TYRANNOSAUR and Ben Wheatley's KILL LIST. Crooks is the former head of the UK Film Council’s New Cinema Fund, where he backed Cannes Special Jury Prize winner Fish Tank and Bright Star. Crooks also ran the Glasgow Film Fund and the Glasgow Film Office. As director of the Glasgow Film Office, Crooks has supported the city's transformation into an internationally recognized creative hub and has also managed a successful public/private investment fund.
With 20 years of experience in the film industry, he has supported some of the UK's most exciting filmmakers including Gaby Dellal's On a Clear Day, Peter Mullan's The Magdalene Sisters, Ken Loach's My Name is Joe, Lynne Ramsay's Morvern Callar, and David Mackenzie's Young Adam.Crooks has a strong reputation for supporting filmmakers and his instinct has taken him from backing Andrew and Kevin Macdonald and John Hodge whose Shallow Grave became a spectacular international film debut for director Danny Boyle, to Gilles Mackinnon with Small Faces, writer Paul Laverty with Ken Loach's Carla's Song, Peter Mullan with Orphans, and Saul Metzstein and Jack Lothian with Late Night Shopping. He also supported the co-production partnership between Gillian Berrie's Glasgow-based Sigma Films and Peter Aalbeck Jensen's and Lars Von Trier's Danish production house, Zentropa Films and bankrolled the Advance Party slate which led to the production of Andrea Arnold's Red Road, winner of the Prix du Jury at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival. He is a visiting artist, leading students through screenplay development and "Dogme: the Series" with Stony Brook/Killer Filmmaking.
Cartoonist, Playwright and Screenwriter
Jules Feiffer’s Pulitzer-winning and internationally syndicated cartoon ran for 42 years in the Village Voice. His sensibility permeates a wide range of creative work: from his Obie-winning play Little Murders, to his screenplay for Carnal Knowledge, to his Oscar-winning anti-military short subject animation Munro. Other works include the Tony nominee Knock Knock, and the Pulitzer nominee Grown-Ups, as well as his screenplays for Popeye and I Want to Go Home, best screenplay winner at the Venice Film Festival. Taking inspiration from his three daughters, he has reinvented himself as a children’s book author with the award-winning books, Bark George, I Lost My Bear, and The Man in the Ceiling.
Film Critic, Biographer, Essayist
Neal Gabler is the author of four books: An Empire of Their Own: How the Jews Invented Hollywood, Winchell: Gossip, Power and the Culture of Celebrity, Life the Movie: How Entertainment Conquered Reality, and Walt Disney: The Triumph of the American Imagination. His essays and articles have appeared in numerous newspapers and magazines, including Vanity Fair, Esquire, Playboy, Newsweek, and Vogue, and he has been the recipient of two Los Angeles Times Book Prizes, Time magazine's nonfiction book of the year, USA Today's biography of the year, a National Book Critics Circle nomination, a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Public Policy Scholarship at the Woodrow Wilson Center, a Shorenstein Fellowship at the Harvard Kennedy School, and a Patrick Henry Fellowship at Washington College's C.V. Starr Center. He has also served as the chief nonfiction judge of the National Book Awards.
David Hinojosa is Head of Production & Development at Killer Films. He has overseen production on over a dozen features, including All She Wrote, Wiener Dog, Kyra, Goat, Frank & Lola, White Girl, Nasty Baby and Kill Your Darlings, as well as the upcoming Beatriz at Dinner from Miguel Arteta and Mercy from Tali Shalom-Ezer. Prior to Killer Films, David worked at The Weinstein Company and Focus Features.
Alan Kingsberg received his MFA from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts where his film Minors won an Academy Award as the top student film in the US. His work in television includes writing the ACE Award winning documentary Buy Me That for HBO, and writing and producing the BAFTA nominated animated series Cubix for FOX. Kingsberg has also written for Law and Order: Criminal Intent, and Kids classics like Are You Afraid of the Dark?, Shining Time Station and Doug. He was a showrunner on five animated series for Fox, The CW and Cartoon Network, including the hits Cubix, Pokemon Chronicles and Winx Club. He has written or produced over 250 half-hours of television for major broadcast and cable networks and has written feature films for DISNEY and UNIVERSAL PICTURES. He is currently writing on a new Netflix Original animated series.
Karen Offitzer received her MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Arizona, and an MA from NYU. She is the Founder and former Program Director of the MFA in Creative Writing at National University, where she also served as director of Writing Across the Curriculum. Her short fiction and essays have been published by several literary journals and magazines, and she has received grants and awards for her short documentary work, most notably for her short, I Am Not Who You Think I Am, exploring the effect of a year-long free humanities education program on the lives of those who were homeless and working poor. She has held teaching positions at Loyola Marymount University and Antioch University, served as Assistant Professor at The Institute for Writing Studies at St. John’s University in Queens, NY, and currently lives in Manhattan.
Producer, Visiting Faculty
Simone Pero is president and founder of For Impact Productions, a strategic marketing and production firm specializing in the confluence of content and social action. Simone is currently a producer on The Tale, starring Laura Dern, Ellen Burstyn and Common. She led film impact and outreach campaigns for The C Word, executive produced by Morgan Freeman, and the Emmy-nominated documentary hit Escape Fire: The Fight to Rescue American Healthcare, directed by Matthew Heineman & Susan Froemke. She co-produced the PBS award-winning short Body & Soul: Diana & Kathy and advised on last year's SXSW award-winner A Woman Like Me, starring Lili Taylor. In addition to her producing work, Simone is part of the leadership team creating SUNY's first-ever MFA in Film at Stony Brook in association with Killer Films. A former corporate executive in cable television, Ms. Pero was Vice President, Corporate Communications at MTV and Director of Communication and Marketing at Rainbow Media/Cablevision, and she began her career serving in the U.S. Government. Ms. Pero is the new incoming president of New York Women in Film and Television and is an alumna of Stony Brook University.
Playwright and Screenwriter
Partial list of credits: For the stage: Aven’u Boys (The Houseman, Obie Award); Hope Is The Thing With Feathers (The Drama Dept); The King Of Connecticut, The Talk, The Alarm, The Democracy Project (all with Naked Angels); Kaos (New York Stage and Film.) Regional: The Crazy Girl, Matty’s Place (NY Stage and Film, Gloucester Stage). Film: Born to Run (Fox); Undefeated (Hart-Sharp, HBO); Shot in the Heart (directed by Agineszka Holland, produced by Barry Levinson and Tom Fontana). Television: Night of the Living Dead, Homicide (WGA Award); Love and Blood, Fallen Angels (Cable Ace Nomination), Street-time, The Beat, Law and Order, Borgias and Copper. Frank teaches playwriting and screenwriting at Columbia University, Yale, and at The New School. He is on the nominating committee for the Cherry Lane Mentor Project. He was the former Artistic Director and is a current member of Naked Angels. He is also a member of The Drama Dept., and The Writer’s Group.
Jordan Roberts has been editing professionally for almost a decade and has cut a wide range of projects, many of which have garnered critical acclaim. He was mentored by Todd Sandler, an editor for JJ Abram's "Bad Robot Productions." One of his most recent projects was a web series entitled “Kelsey, “ which was named one of the top 25 series of 2013 by Indie Wire, and has amassed over 150,000 views since its premiere in late 2013. In addition to this he served as assistant and trailer editor for the feature film “Maybe Tomorrow,” which has played the festival circuit for several years and racked up multiple accolades. In addition to his feature and short work, Jordan has edited tribute reels and clip shows for names such as: Edward Burns, Todd Haynes, Jessica Lange, Akira Kurosawa, Paul Simon and Joe Berlinger. He has taught production and editing to students of all ages and strives to instill the value and importance of the process to his students.
Kathleen Russo is a producer of film, theater and radio. Currently she is Executive Director of HERE'S THE THING with Alec Baldwin for WNYC, a ntionally syndicated radio show and podcast. She is the Special projects Coordinator for SUNY Stony Brook, Southampton campus. Film credits include Executive producer for AND EVERYTHING IS GOING FINE and GRAY'S ANATOMY, both directed by academy award winning director Steven Soderbergh. Russo's theater credits include co-directing SPALDING GRAY: STORIES LEFT TO TELL (a play based on her husband's work) which ran for six months off broadway and toured across the country and the U.K. She is a key note speaker for suicide prevention conferences around the country. From 1990-2004, Kathleen was an artist manager at various agencies from Columbia Artists to Washington Square Films. She graduated from RIT with a BFA in Photo Illustration in 1986. She resides in Sag Harbor and is the mother of three children.
Alec Sokolow is a screenwriter by trade and a creator of brand-defining characters as well as a children’s book author, blogger and professor of creative writing. His credited work has topped 1 billion dollars in worldwide Box Office receipts and includes: Toy Story, Cheaper by the Dozen, Garfield, Garfield II, Evan Almighty, Daddy Day Camp and Money Talks.
Writer/Director Ramin Bahrani's films have premiered and screened at such festivals as Venice, Cannes, Sundance, Berlin and Toronto. He has won numerous awards such as the FIPRESCI prize for best film (MAN PUSH CART, London; GOODBYE SOLO, Venice), the "Someone to Watch" Independent Spirit Award (CHOP SHOP), and was the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship. He collaborated with Werner Herzog on his short film PLASTIC BAG and recently directed a music video for Sigur Rós. In 2010 Legendary American film critic Roger Ebert proclaimed Bahrani as "the director of the decade."
His new film, AT ANY PRICE (Dennis Quaid, Zac Efron) premiered in the main competition at the Venice Film Festival where it was nominated for the Golden Lion, and also screened as official selections of The Telluride (2012) and Toronto Film Festivals (2012).
After growing up in Beverly Hills to a non-entertainment couple, Jane stepped on a stage joining the all female band The Quisinarts, was a college DJ featuring New Wave and punk music and fell into the entertainment business on her own. As she attended UCLA's theater arts school, she worked with Tim Robbins, Dana Stevens, Shane Black and countless other now successful film and tv artists.
Jane found her art after attending the CAA mailroom and training under Ron Meyer. She became a talent agent in 1987 and has been in the entertainment business ever since. After enjoying a talent agent's career for almost 20 years, Jane turned to Handprint Entertainment to head up Benny Medina's production company. Jane then moved to New York and started working in philanthropy with Save the Children, creating and managing their Artist Ambassador Program, which she did for four years before joining Authentic as a talent manager.
Having been on the ground with artist ambassadors in Africa, Guatemala and the US, Jane is uniquely qualified to manage artists' philanthropy and to consult NGOs in the proper use of celebrity.
EFFIE T. BROWN
Los Angeles based producer Effie T. Brown received a degree in Film Production and Theater from Loyola Marymount University before going on to participate in Film Independent’s Project Involve. There, she quickly worked her way up to become the Director of Development for Tim Burton Productions in 1995.
Eager to try her hand at producing, Brown landed assignments as Line Producer on feature films including Desert Blue (1998), But I’m a Cheerleader (1999) and Things You Can Tell Just By Looking at Her (2000). Brown would soon take on the role of Producer on critically acclaimed, award-winning feature projects from HBO Films, including Stranger Inside (directed by Cheryl Dunne, 2001, World Premiere at Sundance Film Festival), Real Women Have Curves (directed by Patricia Cardosa, 2002, winner of Sundance Film Festival’s Audience Award and Special Jury Prize for Ensemble Performance), and Everyday People (2004, Jim McKay). She also executive produced, in association with Sony Screen Gems and Pathe International, In The Cut (2003, directed by Jane Campion). Effie’s next film Rocket Science won the Sundance 2007 Grand Jury Prize for Directing and was nominated for Best First Feature, Best Screenplay and Best Actress by the Independent Spirit Awards. Her most recent film The Inheritance starring Golden Brooks won Best Actress at the 2010 American Black Film Festival.
As stated in VARIETY, Effie T. Brown “is a case study of what it takes to get independent films off the ground in today’s marketplace: large doses of private equity, some location incentives and a little help from fests and script labs...”
Recently, Brown has re-teamed with the award winning producing/directing team of Jon Avnet and Rodrigo Garcia to produce WIGS, a brand new original content channel for Google/YOUTUBE. The channel premiered in May of 2012, with production of the second season currently underway. The channel features multiple original series showcasing A-list talent both in front of and behind the camera to present stories centered around the ever complex lives of women, and blazes the trail for scripted content released directly online.
Lauded by critics and audiences alike, Ed Burns gained international recognition for his first feature film THE BROTHERS MCMULLEN, which premiered in competition at the 1995 Sundance Film Festival, winning the Grand Jury prize. The film, which Burns wrote, directed and starred in, was shot on a budget of only $25,000 and went on to gross over $10 million at the domestic box office, making it the most profitable film of 1995. The film also won "Best First Feature" at the 1996 Independent Spirit Awards.
Burns' second film, the romantic comedy SHE'S THE ONE starring Jennifer Aniston and Cameron Diaz, reinforced Burns' versatile talent as a writer, director, and actor able to simultaneously and successfully wear multiple hats. His 11th feature film as a writer, director and actor is the drama THE FITZGERALD FAMILY CHRISTMAS, which had its world premiere at the 2012 Toronto Film Festival, and stars Kerry Bishé, Connie Britton, Caitlin FitzGerald, Ed Lauter, and Michael McGlone.
Burns continues to write, direct, star in and produce his films, including the Paramount Classics relationship comedy SIDEWALKS OF NEW YORK, PURPLE VIOLETS, NICE GUY JOHNNY and NEWLYWEDS. In a groundbreaking deal, Purple Violets was the first feature film to premiere exclusively on iTunes. Burns expanded on this new model of digital distribution to include cable Video on Demand to reach even wider audiences and successfully released two films, NICE GUY JOHNNY and NEWLYWEDS via these platforms in 2010 and 2011.
As an actor, Burns starred opposite Tom Hanks and Matt Damon in Steven Spielberg’s critically acclaimed World War II epic SAVING PRIVATE RYAN. He also starred in the thriller 15 MINUTES opposite Robert De Niro, CONFIDENCE opposite Dustin Hoffman, and the 20th Century Fox romantic comedy hit 27 DRESSES opposite Katherine Heigl.
Burns most recently starred opposite Tyler Perry and Matthew Fox in I, ALEX CROSS which was released in October 2012. His other acting projects include FRIENDS WITH KIDS, with Jon Hamm and Jennifer Westfeldt and MAN ON A LEDGE, opposite Sam Worthington and Elizabeth Banks.
Ed Burns was born in Woodside, Queens and raised on Long Island. While at Hunter College in New York City, Burns switched his focus from English to filmmaking before quickly moving on to make The Brothers McMullen, which won the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival. He lives in New York City with his wife and two children.
Filmmaker Tony Gerber is the co-founder (with playwright Lynn Nottage) of New York-based Market Road Films. His filmography includes—the Emmy-nominated feature documentary Full Battle Rattle (Winner: Special Jury Prize South-by Southwest Film Festival; World premiere: Berlinale 2008); the fiction feature Side Streets (Merchant Ivory Productions. World premiere: Venice Film Festival and US premiere: Sundance Film Festival). In addition to independent works and short films for TEDTalks, Gerber collaborates with cutting edge visual artists Allora and Calzadilla, Ann Sofi Siden and Matthew Barney. Gerber is a two-time Emmy recipient and has filmed, directed and written over half-a-dozen documentaries for the National Geographic Channel, filmed in some of the most remote regions of the world. He most recently wrote and directed The Snow Leopard of Afghanistan shot entirely on location for National Geographic Channel. He is the co-director with Maxim Pozdorovkin of a new film about Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout, the alleged Merchant of Death and the producer of Rachel Beth Anderson’s debut First to Fall, a Gucci/Tribeca grant recipient.
Mary Harron's most recent production is a television movie Anna Nicole Smith. Starring Agnes Bruckner, Martin Landau and Virginia Madsen, ANNA NICOLE premiered on Lifetime in June 2013. Her most recent feature film was THE MOTH DIARIES, starring Sarah Bolger and Lily Cole, which world premiered at the Venice Film Festival in 2011 and had its North American premiere at the Toronto Film Festival.
In 2005 she directed THE NOTORIOUS BETTIE PAGE starring Gretchen Mol, Lili Taylor and Jared Harris. The film debuted at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2005 to critical acclaim. In 2000 she directed the internationally successful AMERICAN PSYCHO, which she adapted from Brett Easton Ellis’ notorious bestseller. For her work on this film, she was nominated for “Director of the Year” by the London Film Critics Circle.
Harron made her debut as a feature-film writer / director in 1996 with I SHOT ANDY WARHOL. The film won star Lili Taylor a Special Jury Award at the Sundance Film Festival, and garnered an Independent Spirit Award nomination for best first feature film. It was also chosen to open the “Un Certain Regard” section of the 1996 Cannes Film Festival. Harron has also directed episodes of many acclaimed television series including “Homicide,” “Oz,” “The L Word,” “Six Feet Under” and “Big Love”.
Harron was born in Bracebridge, Ontario and studied at Oxford. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband, writer/director John C. Walsh (“Ed’s Next Move”, “Pipe Dream”, "Don't Ask Don't Tell") and their two daughters.
Marc Hirschfeld served as Executive Vice President-Casting for NBC Universal Television from 1999-2008, responsible for supervising all scripted talent and casting for the NBC broadcast network, USA Network, Syfy Network and Bravo. Since his departure in 2008, he has returned to his casting roots and cast dozens of television pilots and series for network and cable. Additionally, he has established a busy casting consulting business, serving as head of talent and casting for Starz Network, AMC Network and Gaumont International Television. He has multiple Emmy nominations for the original casting of such landmark series as "Seinfeld", "Married with Children", "That 70's Show", "The Larry Sanders Show" and an Emmy win for the HBO mini-series "From the Earth to the Moon".
Tom Kalin’s award winning, critically acclaimed work traverses diverse forms, from experimental video installations to narrative feature films. In his experimental work, Kalin often takes inspiration from literary sources and addresses contemporary issues such as displacement, urban isolation and homophobia. In these works and as a part of the AIDS activist collective Gran Fury, Kalin has done significant work to change public opinion of AIDS.
His first feature, Swoon, was awarded Berlin’s Caligari Prize, Stockholm’s Fipresci Prize, Best Cinematography at Sundance and the Open Palm at the Gotham Awards. It was named one of the top 100 American Independent films by the BFI. His film Savage Grace premiered in Cannes, played opening night in Zurich and screened at festivals including Sundance, Stockholm, London and Tribeca. It was nominated for a Spirit Award and named one of the top ten films of 2008 by the Los Angeles Times, Artforum and Paper. As a producer his features include I Shot Andy Warhol and Go Fish. He was a writer of Cindy Sherman’s Office Killer. He has also created shorts and installations including They are lost to vision altogether, Geoffrey Beene 30, Plain Pleasures, Third Known Nest, Every Wandering Cloud, Tigers, Hurricane and From Silence.
Kalin is a 2011 Guggenheim Fellow. He has twice been included in the Whitney Biennial. He is collaborating with musicianThomas Bartlett (Doveman) on an evening of live music and film and adapting the Christopher Isherwood novel Down There On A Visit for the screen.
Ellen Kuras, ASC (Director of Photography) is the first cinematographer to win the Best Dramatic Cinematography award at the Sundance Film Festival an unprecedented three times. She was first cited for her work on Ellen Bruno’s documentary Samsara (which also brought her the Eastman Kodak Best Documentary Cinematography Focus Award and the Student Academy Award). For Best Dramatic Cinematography, she was honored for her (black-and-white) work on Tom Kalin’s Swoon (which also brought her an Independent Spirit Award nomination), and for Rebecca Miller’s Angela and Personal Velocity: Three Portraits (which also brought her an Independent Spirit Award nomination).
Earlier in 2009, she was an Academy Award nominee in the Best Documentary Feature category, for The Betrayal (Nerakhoon). The film is Ms. Kuras’ directorial debut, in collaboration with the film’s subject, Thavisouk Phrasavath. She also shot and produced the feature, which was a highly personal project that she had worked on for years.
Ms. Kuras has twice been nominated for an Emmy Award, for her work on Spike Lee’s 4 Little Girls and the documentary/miniseries A Century of Women. She has collaborated several more times with Spike Lee, including on his features Summer of Sam and Bamboozled, his telefilm A Huey P. Newton Story, and his documentary Jim Brown All American. She has reteamed with Rebecca Miller on The Ballad of Jack and Rose (starring Daniel Day-Lewis and Camilla Belle), and shot segments of Jim Jarmusch’s Coffee & Cigarettes. She was reunited with Tom Kalin on 30, a half-hour narrative film commissioned by Geoffrey Beene.
She shot Martin Scorsese’s documentary No Direction Home: Bob Dylan and was then a camera operator on the director’s concert film Shine a Light. She has been the cinematographer on several concert films, including Jonathan Demme’s Neil Young: Heart of Gold; Julian Schnabel’s Lou Reed’s Berlin; and Michel Gondry’s Dave Chappelle’s Block Party.
For the latter director, she was also the cinematographer on the award-winning Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Be Kind Rewind. Ms. Kuras has additionally been the director of photography on such features as Ted Demme’s Blow, Mary Harron’s I Shot Andy Warhol, and Harold Ramis’ Analyze That. Her earlier films include Steve McLean’s Postcards from America, Jill Godmilow’s Roy Cohn/Jack Smith, Douglas Keeve’s Unzipped, Richard Wenk’s Just the Ticket, and Scott Silver’s The Mod Squad.
Her television credits include the original HBO feature If These Walls Could Talk, for which she was cinematographer on the segment directed by Nancy Savoca and starring Demi Moore.
Ilene Landress is executive producer of The Sopranos, before which she spent nine years freelancing on film and television projects. As a senior TV executive at DreamWorks, she oversaw the first years of Spin City. Additional network credits include Dear Diary, a live-action short, which garnered DreamWorks its first Oscar. She served as co-producer of Drunks and as production supervisor/UPM on The Perez Family, Naked in New York and Up Close and Personal. Landress also worked as production accountant on Quiz Show, Stranger Among Us, Q&A and Far and Away. Her studio films include Sea of Love, The Hard Way, Mortal Thoughts, The Freshman, Family Business and Crocodile Dundee. She learned film production on-the-job and has an B.S.in Biology/Psychology from Union College (where she was the first female student body president) and M.S. from Columbia.
Dylan Leiner is Sony Pictures Classics’ Executive Vice President, Acquisitions & Production. Involved with the acquisition and production of a broad range of films dating back to IN THE COMPANY OF MEN, RUN LOLA RUN, THE SPANISH PRISONER, POLLOCK, DOGTOWN AND Z-BOYS, THE TRIPLETS OF BELLEVILLE, CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON, CACHE, FRIENDS WITH MONEY, THE LIVES OF OTHERS, FROZEN RIVER, THE WACKNESS, RACHEL GETTING MARRIED, I’VE LOVED YOU SO LONG, THE CLASS, WALTZ WITH BASHIR, MOON, WHATEVER WORKS, COCO BEFORE BEFORE CHANEL, BROKEN EMBRACES, AN EDUCATION, THE IMAGINARIUM OF DOCTOR, THE WHITE RIBBON, A PROPHET, THE SECRET IN THEIR EYES, GET LOW, ANIMAL KINGDOM, and recent Academy Award winning films INSIDE JOB and IN A BETTER WORLD. Dylan oversees Sony Pictures Classics’ physical and post production services. Dylan has been named by The Hollywood Reporter as a member of its 35 under 35 “Next Generation Group” and by Crain’s New York Business among its 40 executives under 40. Dylan attended Wesleyan University in Connecticut where he played on the Men’s Soccer Team for 4 years, and contributed to what remains Wesleyan’s best season ever in 1991, where the team went 15-1-1, won the ECAC Tournament and was ranked #1 in New England. Dylan is also Co-Founder of NYFEST, the New York Film & Entertainment Soccer Tournament.
Douglas McGrath is a filmmaker and playwright. He began his career as a writer for SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE in what was incontestably the worst year in the show’s history. He collaborated with Woody Allen on the screenplay for BULLETS OVER BROADWAY for which they were nominated for an Academy Award. His first film as writer/director was his adaptation of Jane Austen’s EMMA. His other films include Dickens’s NICHOLAS NICKLEBY, which won the Best Ensemble Cast from the National Board of Review, COMPANY MAN, INFAMOUS, HIS WAY, and I DON’T KNOW HOW SHE DOES IT. His play CHECKERS opened the 30th anniversary season at New York’s acclaimed Vineyard Theater. He is the author of a new musical about Carole King, BEAUTIFUL, which will open in San Francisco this fall.
Sam Morrill is Senior Curator at Vimeo where he has worked since 2009. In Fall 2010, Sam began curating the celebrated Vimeo Staff Picks Channel and has since shifted his focus primarily toward video curation. He currently lives in his hometown of Brooklyn, NY following a few detours in Vermont and Havana, Cuba. In addition to his work at Vimeo, Sam has produced several short films and music videos and is also the co-founder of Rockabus.
Randall Poster has been working with director Wes Anderson for more than sixteen years. Moonrise Kingdom marks their seventh collaboration. Poster has also worked with directors Todd Haynes, Sam Mendes, Richard Linklater, Harmony Korine, and Martin Scorsese among others.
With over 20 years in the film industry, Raphael had been passionately devoted to bringing quality films to the US marketplace. Prior to founding required viewing, Raphael was Senior Vice president of Acquisitions and Co-productions at USA Films (now Focus Features. During that period he was involved in the theatrical campaigns for such films as: BEING JOHN MALKOVICH, GOSFORD PARK, and TRAFFIC.
At USA Raphael was responsible for acquiring and co-financing Mira Nair’s MONSOON WEDDING, Todd Haynes’ FAR FROM HEAVEN (nominated for four 2003 Academy awards) , Francois Ozone’s 8 WOMEN, the Dardenne Bros. ROSETTA (Winner Palm D’or 1999 Cannes Film Festival) and Wong Kar Wai’s IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE.
Prior to USA FILMS, Raphael was Sr. Vice President of Publicity and Marketing at Gramercy Pictures/ PolyGram where he was responsible for National Campaigns on FOUR WEDDINGS AND A FUNERAL, PRISCILLA QUEEN OF THE DESERT, DEAD MAN WALKING, ELIZABETH, FARGO, THE USUAL SUSPECTS, SHALLOW GRAVE, BOUND, THE BIG LEBOWSKI and COLD COMFORT FARM.
Raphael is a graduate of the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television. He is a past board member of the Film Independent (FIND), OUTFEST, THE DRAMA DEPT, and NEWFEST. Raphael currently is a member of IFP advisory committee and a consultant to the RIO Film Festival and Telefilm Canada’s Canadian Front held every year at MOMA. He lives with his partner in New York City.
James Schamus is an award-winning screenwriter (The Ice Storm) and producer (Brokeback Mountain), and is CEO of Focus Features, the motion picture production, financing, and worldwide distribution company whose films have included Moonrise Kingdom, Milk, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, The Pianist, Coraline, and The Place Beyond the Pines. He is alsoProfessor of Professional Practice in Columbia University’s School of the Arts, where he teaches film history and theory. He is the author of Carl Theodor Dreyer's Gertrud: The Moving Word, published by the University of Washington Press. He earned his BA, MA, and Ph.D. in English from U.C. Berkeley.
Greta Schiller is an independent director and producer of documentaries for television, festivals, theatrical and educational distribution. All Movie Guide writes “Director Greta Schiller has traveled the world making extensively researched and highly informative films”. Her career was launched in 1984 with the theatrical release and PBS broadcast of her first feature documentary film, Before Stonewall. A classic, Before Stonewall won two Emmy Awards and continues to dazzle. Time Out, London, called it: “A near perfect blend of personal story and historical archive”. She continues to make cutting edge films on a wide variety of topics- from human rights to environmental rights.
Marc Schiller, Founder and CEO of BOND Strategy and Influence, known, until recently, as Electric Artists, is an accomplished advertising and marketing executive with decades of industry and entrepreneurial knowledge, in the areas of brand strategy, creative corporate consulting, cultural curation and public relations. Marc and BOND create innovative influencer strategy campaigns that deliver success for a diverse client base, from independent films and media companies to hospitality giants and Fortune 500 corporations.
Recent agency clients include: American Express, General Electric, Tribeca Film Festival, The Economist, Starwood Hotels, Food Network, The History Channel, Microsoft, Netflix, and The Los Angeles Lakers. Marc currently consults on marketing strategy for a variety of film projects that include Banksy’s Academy Award-nominated film, “Exit Through the Gift Shop” and Asif Kapadia’s “SENNA.”
Marc’s relentless focus on social media and how people connect through technology is a signature of his career. Prior to launching BOND, Marc served as Corporate Vice President of House of Blues Entertainment, Inc. where he pioneered music and entertainment content on the internet to create a multi-platform presence for the brand. Before joining the House of Blues, Marc developed motion pictures for Warner Brothers, TNT, and 20th Century Fox.
Marc lives in New York with his wife, Sara, and their daughters, Samantha and Charlotte. He currently chairs the board of Eyebeam, a New York based think tank for the convergence of art and technology.
Michael Simmonds is a cinematographer with a long history of credits including Killer Films’ Deep Powder and At Any Price, The Civil War on Drugs, Project Nim, Plastic Bag, Goodbye Solo, Chop Shop, and Anna Nicole and at least four projects in post including The Last of Robin Hood.
John Sloss is the founder of Cinetic Media and a co-founder of FilmBuff. He is the founder of and a partner in the entertainment law firm Sloss Eckhouse LawCo LLP. He co-founded Producers Distribution Agency, the theatrical distributor of Exit Through the Gift Shop, Senna, The Way and Brooklyn Castle.
Through Cinetic Media, Sloss has facilitated the sale and/or financing of well over 400 films including Before Midnight, Prince Avalanche, Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry, Safety Not Guaranteed, Friends With Kids, We Need to Talk About Kevin, Red State, The Kids Are All Right, Precious, I’m Not There, Napoleon Dynamite, Little Miss Sunshine, and Super Size Me. Sloss has executive produced over 60 films including Before Midnight, Bernie, and the Academy Award®-winning The Fog of War and Boys Don’t Cry. His law clients include Killer Films, Richard Linklater, Kevin Smith, Bob Dylan, John Hamburg, Justin Lin, Jake Kasdan, the Isle of Man’s CinemaNX and Big Beach Films.
Prior to founding Sloss Law Office in 1993, Sloss was a partner at the international law firm Morrison & Foerster. Sloss received his J.D. and B.A. from the University of Michigan. He lives in New York with his daughter Loulou and son Henry.
Dan Steinman is an agent in the Film Finance Group of Creative Artists Agency (CAA), an entertainment and sports agency based in Los Angeles with offices in Nashville, New York City, London, and Beijing. Steinman works in the New York office, where he specializes in packaging and arranging financing for motion picture projects and handling the sales of finished films.
Prior to joining CAA in 2007, Steinman was a partner in Sloss Law Office, a boutique entertainment law firm where he represented producers, financiers, writers and directors, and negotiated the sales of finished films. Steinman began his career representing banks, private equity firms, entertainment conglomerates and other companies as a corporate lawyer at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett, in New York.
Among the many films in which Steinman has been involved are ZERO DARK THIRTY, KILLING THEM SOFTLY, THE IDES OF MARCH, THE WRESTLER, THE HURT LOCKER, LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE, and AN EDUCATION. Steinman holds BA and JD degrees from Harvard University.