Steven Adams is a Partner at Buffalo 8, the Santa Monica based media company, where he is actively creating marketing strategies, developing new business and consulting for International Media & Finance companies. He also works closely with all other divisions including Bondit Media Capital and Buffalo 8 Marketing. He is a producer on the Netflix Original adaptation of Roger Guenveur Smith’s solo performance piece RODNEY KING, directed by Academy Award nominee Spike Lee. Adams recently collaborated on the marketing of Spike Lee’s hit series SHE’S GOTTA HAVE IT, and the Academy Award winning BLACKKKLANSMAN,as well as such series as DELHI CRIME STORY & the Sundance indie pilot IT’S NOT ABOUT JIMMY KEENE. Management clients include Media companies based in Mumbai, London, Africa and the Middle East., He also served for 4 years as a VFX Executive Producer representing Paris-based VFX house BUF to the US Studio system. Adams brought in such Academy Award winners as James Cameron’s AVATAR, Ang Lee’s LIFE OF PI, THOR for Marvel Studios, as well as GREEN LANTERN, GREEN HORNET, Stephen Sommers’ ODD THOMAS, and Tim Burton’s DARK SHADOWS. Steven was also VFX Executive Producer for French VFX house Digital District whose credits include the Academy Award winning features THE ARTIST & THE INTOUCHABLES. Adams previously served as President of FilmPro Finance, consulting and developing new business for such film finance based clients as Bloomberg/Cite and its predecessor the Atlas Film & TV Finance Summit, Film Production Capital, and various global film commissions and festivals. Television credits include 3 seasons as Consultant on THE CULTURE CLASH SHOW and Executive Producer on DEAD SOULS, distributed by Universal with a later broadcast on NBC/Universal’s Chiller Network. Adams also served as Co-Producer on the web series DRONE with Executive Producer Justin Lin (“Fast and Furious). An accomplished host, Adams co-produced and hosted the web series Show Me The F$#!ing Money: How to Invest, Raise Finance, and Recoup Money in the Film Business, featuring interviews with over 150 top names in the world of Film Finance. He is a frequent public speaker at Cannes, NATPE, Sundance, Content London, Toronto and a host of other international festivals on a wide variety of topics. Steven began his career at the Paradigm Talent and Literary Agency. Steven is a member of the Producers Guild of America, the Television Academy, Board member for Content London and the Catalyst Content Festival, and the Los Angeles Art Association Advisory Board.
Often appropriately deemed as a "Jac of all trades", Jaclyn Amor is an international freelance director, producer and writer with a unique background in creative direction, fine arts and performance. Jaclyn’s work includes music videos, fashion editorial films, branded content, influencer campaigns, digital series, VR projects, narrative shorts and features. From being the youngest director of the Asian American International film festival to creating content for the likes of ABC Australia, Bravo, College Humor and Conde Nast, Jaclyn has worked passionately towards highlighting the talents of fellow creators from diverse backgrounds, in hopes to contribute to the positive change in the entertainment industry.
Literary Manager, Untitled Entertainment
Jen Au is a literary manager at Untitled Entertainment representing writers, directors, and authors across all genres and in all mediums. Jen began her career working at an independent production company followed by time at The Firm and CAA, and was previously a literary manager at Caliber Media. She is a graduate of the USC School of Cinematic Arts.
Agent - Alternative Programming, Digital Media, Licensing & Branding, Abrams Artists Agency
Derek Blum focuses his work in the unscripted television and digital space with a roster of clients spanning top production companies, showrunners, and on-camera talent in the broadcast, cable, syndication, and digital markets. He previously worked for APA in Alternative & Factual Programming and for Paradigm in Unscripted Television.
CEO, Wonder Worldwide
Mark Burton is CEO of Wonder Worldwide. Mark has produced/executive produced 15 films and television series, including the Academy Award nominated film Water. Mark was mentored by the legendary Indian producer Boney Kapoor, and early in his career worked on a number of iconic Bollywood films with India’s most successful actors including Shah Rukh Khan, Sridevi, Salman Khan, and Anil Kapoor. Mark is a member of The Producers Guild of America and The British Academy of Film and Television Arts. He is a graduate of the University of Southern California.
2019 Catalyst Key Note Speaker
As an Emmy & Annie Award-winning actress, Nancy Cartwright is best-known as the spiky-headed underachiever Bart Simpson but is also the unique voice behind The Simpsons characters Ralph Wiggum, Nelson Muntz, Rod Flanders, Kearney, Database and Maggie. In keeping with her history of playing popular characters on such animated series as Richie Rich; My Little Pony; Snorks; Pound Puppies, Animaniacs and Pinky and The Brain, Nancy also became a hit with the millennials as the voice of Chuckie in Rugrats and Rufus—the naked mole Rat—in Kim Possible. In 2017, Nancy completed a life-long dream of writing and producing the film, “In Search of Fellini” based on an adventure she took in 1985 when she traveled to Italy to find the great Italian director, Federico Fellini. Impassioned by her creative journey on In Search Of Fellini, Nancy decided to continue writing and recently wrote her first episode of The Simpsons titled “Girl’s In the Band”. Under her production company banner, Spotted Cow Entertainment, Nancy has produced several feature films, television series and digital series. She is currently in development on a rom-com titled “The Wallet,” a drama titled “Purple Heart” and will next be writing, producing and voicing a CGI animated TV series based on the social media sensation Rhea the Naked Birdie.
Lenay is a singer-songwriter from Minnesota. While living in Chile a few years ago, Lenay started her Spanish-speaking YouTube channel, which now boasts over 6 million subscribers. As a young girl, Lenay dreamed of being a Spanish teacher, while simultaneously never setting down her parents’ video camera. Lenay fell into hosting when she was a ‘Red Bull girl’ when Red Bull asked her to host TV and online shows for them. At the same time Lenay was beginning to write her own original songs; Red Bull loved her early song “Drive For Miles”, and licensed it for one of their series’ “Exit Vine.” While living in Nashville, MTV noticed her hosting and producing skills and flew her out to New York City 3 days each week to host her own show “MTV’s 10 on Top”, where she co-hosted with celebrities such as: Ariana Grande, Harry Styles, Selena Gomez, Jonas Brothers , Victoria Justice, and Zendaya just to name a few. While always having a passion for music, she will be releasing her long-anticipated new music featuring some amazing collaborators and producers. Currently, Lenay just released her new single “Freaking Best” (produced by Whakaio Taahi) which lends inspiration from Taylor Swift and is an anthem to empower people to know that they are the ‘freaking best’, no matter what life throws at them. Lenay currently lives in Los Angeles, CA.
Nickelodeon, Director of Production & Development, Digital
Brent Coble currently serves as the Director, Production and Development for newly-formed Viacom Digital Studios at Nickelodeon. In this role, Brent leads digital content strategy, development, and production across Nickelodeon’s platforms. Previous to joining Nickelodeon, Brent directed original content for Google, The Grammys, NBCUniversal, Blumhouse, Legendary Pictures, Paramount Pictures, and more.
Since 2010, Carrie Cutforth has been at the forefront of cutting-edge interactive storytelling in Canada. She has served as the roles of consultant, advisor, producer, and evaluator for all types of interactive projects including VR, AR, transmedia, web series, alternate reality games, and more. She has served on numerous boards and juries in service to the interactive storytelling/screen-content industries. In addition to her own creative practice as a professional writer and creator/producer, Carrie consults on audience development and discoverability plans for interactive and cross-platform funding applications for films and TV & digital series.
Tim is a specialist in broadcast and web based video content services for a marketing and media affairs advisory, practicing in New England & Canada. Via offices in Sugar Hill, NH, & Waltham, MA he researches; build relationships with; creatively implements; and analyzes the power of - media for business, education and government clients. He is an Executive Producer/Writer of media and marketing content for communications company Conductor in Boston, MA. As well, an Executive Producer/Director of broadcast television programming for at Moody Street TV in Waltham, MA. He has two New England Emmy Awards as Writer/Director/Producer, among his 28 Emmy Nominations during his 25 plus year career in New England. He is a Part-Time Professor at sister schools in the Vermont Sate College System: since January 2014 teaching in the Visual Arts, English/Philosophy/Film and Business Departments at NVU-Lyndon; since Spring of 2016 teaching in the Business department at NVU-Johnson and in 2016 named Co-Director of NVU’s incubator Without Walls, that supports small business development with experienced student labor. In 2019 he was elected Alternate Delegate of the Part/Time Faculty Union Chapter VT-AFT Local 7810. With a nod to media industry development, in 2012 he was named inaugural Marketing Chairman for the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences until 2018 when it was incorporated into his new role: Co-Chair of Strategic Planning. He served as National Trustee in 2010-2012, after two terms as President of the New England Chapter and Founding Co-Chair of Presidents Council for NATAS, from 2006 to 2010. Upon moving to NH, in 2011 Tim was appointed as Business Representative/Media Advisor to The NH/Canada Trade Council. In 2017 he was elected a VP for the NE/Canada Business Council; in 2016 appointed Treasurer of Catamount Arts in St. Johnsbury, VT. In 2018 he was elected to the NH House of Representatives for Grafton District #2. He is a principle in Sugar Hill Associates, a forward thinking media training firm teaching the power of media exposure and help clients maximizing it. Along with communication content clients, he is a media advisor to The Canadian Consul-General of New England, NBC Boston, NECN, The New England Canada Business Council, MIT’s Technology Review, PA Consulting, Vermont State Colleges and legislative officials in Mass. & NH. He was a media services consultant to: Presidential Campaigns of Sen. Joe Biden (DE.) in 2008 & Gov. Jerry Brown (CA.) in 1992, Lt. Gov. Tim Murray (MA) in 2010, Sen. President Therese Murray (MA) & Jim King for US Senate in 2012 (MA) and the 2014-16 NH House Of Representatives - Environmental Caucus. In his spare time he received an M.S. in Marketing (’15) magna cum laude at SNHU.edu and lives in/enjoys the White Mountains of NH with his wife Betty & daughter Maggie.
Katherine Fisher is an Emmy nominated and Gotham, Peabody, and GLAAD award-winning producer with 15 years of experience in narrative and documentary filmmaking in the U.S., UK, Kenya, and Congo. Her work has been screened at Sundance Film Festival, Berlin International Film Festival (winner 2018 Special Prize), SXSW (winner 2019 Short Film Jury Award), LA Film Festival, New Orleans Film Festival, Atlanta Film Festival, BlackStar Film Festival, among others. Recent producing credits include the 2019 short film Five Times A Day written by Fawzia Mirza and directed by Tchaiko Omawale, and the 2018 short films Liberty written and directed by Faren Humes, and A True Crime written and directed by Marques Green. Past credits include Ink from writer/director Rosie Haber, and the Emmy nominated series Her Story, directed by Sydney Freeland. Documentary works include One Billion Rising, and the award winning Netflix Original City of Joy. Katherine recently made her directorial debut with the short film Proof Of Loss staring Dylan McDermott, currently in post production. From 2004-2015 Katherine worked with V-Day, the worldwide movement to end violence against women and girls. She is a member of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, and is a 2018 Film Independent Project Involve Fellow, a 2018 New Orleans Film Society Southern Producers Fellow, and a 2018 20th Century Fox Global Inclusion Fellow.
Writer / Showrunner / Executive Producer
KARL GAJDUSEK is a writer, showrunner, and executive producer. Current projects include THE KING’S MAN at Fox/Disney with Matthew Vaughn directing this next film in the KINGSMAN franchise starring Ralph Fiennes. Also at FOX the sci-fi feature COURAGE with Matthew Vaughn attached. His film THE LAST DAYS OF AMERICAN CRIME will premiere on Netflix in 2019. Television work includes Executive Producer of Season 1 of STRANGER THINGS at Netflix, creator and showrunner of ABC’s LAST RESORT with Shawn Ryan (THE SHIELD, TIMELESS, SWAT), and RIVERVIEW with Daren Aronofsky at HBO. Most recently Karl has created FLICKERMEN for NBC’s new streaming service and is adapting the novel AGE OF LIGHT about the artist Lee Miller with Carson Kreitzer and Kimberly Pierce (BOYS DON’T CRY). Previous credits include the Tom Cruise film OBLIVION, the Pierce Brosnan thriller THE NOVEMBER MAN, the Nicole Kidman and Nicholas Cage TRESPASS, Story Editor for the Showtime show DEAD LIKE ME, and BLOOD BROTHERS at Lionsgate. Other endeavors include Showrunning season 2 of Z: THE BEGINNING OF EVERYTHING at Amazon, the science-fiction series THE SPARK at HBO, and an adaptation of the Gary Shteyngart Novel SUPER SAD TRUE LOVE STORY. Before establishing himself in TV and film, Karl was a playwright who’s plays have been produced in New York and across the country. They include GREEDY, FAIR GAME, SILVERLAKE, MALIBU, and WACO TEXAS MON AMOUR. Karl has a B.A. from Yale University and an M.F.A. in playwriting from the University of California at San Diego.
Abrams Artists Agency
A graduate of Arizona State University with a degree in Broadcasting, Aron's first job out of school was working for CNN as a Production Assistant on "Showbiz Today". That opportunity led him to his next position as a Production Assistant on the successful NBC Sitcom 'Mad About You'. There he became the primary talent liaison between the Guest Cast and the show's producers. He then became an Executive Assistant to one of the principal Managers at Banner Entertainment (which later evolved into In-House Entertainment) This took Aron to 3 Arts Entertainment where he spent the next 6 years in Talent Manager representing leading actors and comedians in Television and Film. Aron was then offered the opportunity to become a Talent Agent in the Theatrical Talent Division at Paradigm before The Collective recruited Aron to join their new company where he became an integral part of the company's core Talent Team helping solidify The Collective as a leading full service, multimedia management and production company. Always looking for new challenges, Aron accepted an opportunity to become the Director of Entertainment for Auto Club Speedway / International Speedway Corporation where his expansive responsibilities included packaging and integrating entertainment programs inclusive of live music/concert performances during the NASCAR event weekends within the motor sport organization. Aron was also solely responsible for creating, selling and implementing various entertainment, multi-media and marketing integrations, including cross-over campaigns that involved the music industry, Fortune 200 companies, film studios, television networks, and nationwide music festivals, among other corporate entities. After achieving success at the Corporate level, the passion for talent management and representation pulled Aron back to The Collective which then led him to becoming a talent agent at UTA for six years before joining Abrams Artists Agency in November, 2018.
CEO, Starlight Runner
Jeff Gomez is a leading expert in the fields of brand narrative, story world development, transmedia franchise design, and immersive entertainment. He specializes in the expansion of entertainment properties, premium brands, and socio-political themes into highly successful multi-platform communications and international campaigns. Jeff's pop culture work has impacted such blockbuster properties. He served as Transmedia Producer on Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean, James Cameron's Avatar, Hasbro's Transformers, Sony Pictures' Spider-Man and Men in Black, Microsoft's Halo, Nickelodeon's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and most recently the global multiplatform revival of Tsuburaya Productions’ Ultraman. Jeff's transmedia methods have also been applied to educational and geo-political causes, accelerating positive self-organized social movements and increasing resistance to crime, violence, extremism, and corruption. Through applications of his Collective Journey and transmedia population activation models, Jeff has helped optimize communications for large non-profits such as World Vision, and address crises in Mexico, Colombia, Australia, and the Middle East North Africa region.
Agent - Literary, Abrams Artists Agency
Max Grossman has a roster of clients that spans writers, composers, directors, and designers for theater, opera and television. Prior to joining Abrams Artists Agency, he was the Creative Executive at Scott Rudin Productions in charge of theatrical development, where he covered material across all media, with an eye toward stage and screen adaptation.
Exec. Director, Muslim Anti-Racism Collaborative
Margari Aziza-Hill is the Co-Founder and Executive Director of the Muslim Anti-Racism Collaborative (MuslimARC), a media based human rights education organization. She is an independent researcher and freelance writer with articles and chapters published in Time , Huffington Post, and How We Fight White Supremacy . She is a consultant and prolific educator with experience training screenwriters, consulting media and entertainment, teaching at primary, secondary and post-secondary institutions, serving as an instructor, curriculum designer, professional development trainer, and drafter of school policy. Hill has an M.A. in History of the Middle East and Islamic Africa from Stanford University. Her research includes anti-colonial resistance among West Africans in Sudan during the early 20th century, transformations in Islamic learning in Northern Nigeria, International Student programs at Al-Azhar and Cairo University, and the criminalization of Black Muslims in the U.S. She is a public speaker who lectures in universities and community centers throughout the country.
Erica Kraus is a Producer, Development & Production Executive, and Creative Strategist, working in film and television. Erica was an Executive Producer with Ripple Entertainment, developing a slate of documentary and scripted original films & series. She recently produced the critically acclaimed series Take My Wife for NBCU, and feature documentary Origin Story, currently playing on Amazon Prime. Of late, Kraus was a Production, Development, and Creative Strategy Executive at Rampante, working with Time Inc. to develop a film and TV initiative across their many brands. While there she greenlit projects including emmy-nominated Mars Generation (2017 Sundance Film Festival opening night film.) Prior, Erica served as the Executive Director, Production and Development, Digital, for Reveille / Shine America, developing and producing long and short form series, branded content, and features, as well as ancillary content for series including The Biggest Loser and Masterchef. Kraus was also the Executive Producer at Ogilvy Discovery, producing documentaries for clients of the agency including American Express and Kodak. She has developed and produced documentary, scripted, and unscripted TV and film for studios and networks including NBC, Fox, Showtime, Bravo, Warner Bros., PBS, Disney Channel and Youtube. Kraus is currently developing a slate of narrative and documentary features and series, and is in production on two feature docs. Kraus is a 2017 Sundance Documentary Fellow, and member of the Producers Guild of America and the Television Academy.
Managing Partner, Lehmann PLC
Walter G. Lehmann is managing partner of Lehmann PLC (formerly Lehmann Strobel PC). With over 25 years of experience as an attorney and business consultant, Lehmann has represented independent producers, artists, and writers, as well as museums and arts and cultural organizations off all kinds. He has served on the board of directors of numerous arts-related nonprofits, including the Landis Valley Museum Associates and the North Museum of Natural History and Science, where he also served as interim Curator of Collections. Lehmann was also a member of the Walters Art Museum Collections Committee. He is currently a member of the Minnesota Museum of American Art (“The M”) governance committee and a board member of the Friends of The M. A regular contributor to scholarly and industry publications, Lehmann is a co-author of Rights and Reproductions: the Handbook for Cultural Institutions (Roman Littlefield 2018). Lehmann is also a frequent participant in conferences, workshops and other arts-related presentations and programs. Lehmann has been on the faculty of the ABA ¬continuing legal education course “Legal Issues in Museum Administration” and served as Co-Chair of the ABA ¬IPL Copyright Policy Committee. He has taught undergraduate and graduate courses on art and museum law and ethics at Johns Hopkins University, George Washington University and Mitchell Hamline Law School, and is currently an adjunct professor of law at Case Western Reserve Law School.
Agent - Literary, Abrams Artists Agency
David Lopez is a specialized literary agent at Abrams Artists Agency where he works across a number of different divisions at the company. Prior to joining the agency, David worked for CAA where he spent five years working across agency divisions in Television Business Affairs, Motion Picture Talent, and the company’s Television, Digital, and Talent Packaging Departments.
Senior Agent, Alternative Programming and Podcasts, Abrams Artists Agency
Amanda is a Senior Agent in the Alternative Programming, Digital Media, Licensing, Branding and Podcast Department at Abrams Artists Agency in Los Angeles. Amanda specializes in bolstering the personal brands of top Influencers and celebrities who have amassed a substantial digital footprint across various digital platforms such as Youtube, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, etc. In addition to brand building, Amanda specializes in crossover strategy, leveraging digital platforms to segue into linear television, publishing, licensing, merchandising, touring etc. Prior to working at Abrams Artists Agency, Amanda worked in the Alternative Programming Department at Kaplan Stahler Agency focusing on personal appearances and branding for unscripted talent. Amanda is extremely passionate about educating assistants and future agents. She helped develop and currently sits on the board of the Agents In Training Program. She recently started the Podcast department and spearheaded the expansion of the in-house the Abrams Podcast Studio. Amanda Marzolf specializes in bolstering the personal brands of influencers across digital platforms including YouTube, Instagram, and Snap. In addition to facilitating lucrative opportunities on these platforms, she has carried out crossover projects using them to break into traditional avenues such as linear television and film, publishing, licensing, and merchandising.
CEO, Daymaker Productions
Sofia Monroe moved to Las Angeles on a leap of faith to pursue a career as an entrepreneur and to help ideas come into full-focus as a film producer. Shortly after the move, Sofia found mentors who gave her the opportunity to help launch and establish their independent production company called Dream Factory Entertainment where she became head producer in 2012. The six micro budget feature films Sofia and the team produced there were distributed internationally and domestically. Her early career experience inspired Sofia to start her own company in 2016. Daymaker Productions is an independent company where Art, Marketing, Philanthropy and talented, innovative minds meet to create quality content for social and community impact, commercial and entertainment purposes. Daymaker Productions has produced award winning content, for notable artists, influencers and for brands such as Doritos, Caesars Palace, Luxor and Pepsi. In addition to producing social and traditional content, the company launched a Community and Education program to be a resource, and support to students, the arts, community programs and non profits. Most recently, Sofia became a co-founder of a 501c3 called "Be Remarkable" - a foundation that works with influencers and brands worldwide to create and promote social media for social good. For over 11 years, Sofia has been on production teams for various networks, production companies, award shows, independent projects, development and casting teams.
Sometimes called “the man of a thousand faces,” Navid Negahban is most widely regarded for his role as “Abu Nazir” on the Emmy® Award-winning series Homeland opposite Claire Danes, Mandy Patinkin and Damian Lewis. His quiet and composed portrayal of the dangerous al-Qaeda leader won him worldwide recognition and made his character a household name after just two seasons. Negahban most recently starred as Jasmine’s father, the Sultan, in Disney’s remake of Aladdin, directed by Guy Ritchie. In this live-action retelling of the classic 1992 animated film opposite Will Smith, Naomi Scott and Mena Massoud. Additional film credits include Twelve Strong: The Story of the Horse Soldiers. Produced by Jerry Bruckheimer Films and Black Label Media, the film follows a team of U.S. Special Forces who head into Afghanistan following the aftermath of September 11th and enlist the help of a local warlord to fight off Taliban forces. American Assassin, the espionage thriller Damascus Cover, Gerard Barrett‘s Brain on Fire, the independent film Baba Joon, which won five Ophir Awards, the equivalent of the Israeli Oscar, and Clint Eastwood’s American Sniper which became the top grossing film of 2014 and was nominated for countless awards including six Academy Award® nominations. Negahban’s diverse television portfolio includes the portrayal of “Amahl Farouk/The Shadow King” on FX’s Legion, which gave him the opportunity to be the first Farsi speaking character in the Marvel Universe thanks to the writer Noah Hawley, as well as “Jamot” on the final season of 24 and guest work on Curb Your Enthusiasm, The Catch, Scorpion, Law & Order: SVU, Veep, The Messengers, CSI:NY, The Closer, The West Wing, Without a Trace and The Shield, among others. Negahban recently received a historic BAFTA nomination for his performance as “Hajj Agha” in the video game “1979 Revolution: Black Friday,” marking the first time a Middle Eastern and Muslim actor has been nominated in this category. The game, based on the Iranian revolution, was granted support from the Doris Duke Foundation in partnership with Sundance Institute’s New Frontier Program for the Islamic Art’s New Frontier Fellowship. Born in Mashhad, Iran, Negahban’s passion for acting led him to Germany where he spent eight years honing his theatrical skills prior to arriving in the United States. He is fluent in English, Farsi and German.
Alexandra Park can most recently be seen opposite Julia Roberts and Lucas Hedges in the independent feature film “Ben Is Back” written and directed by Peter Hedges. Alexandra starred for four seasons in the E! network’s flagship series “The Royals” opposite Elizabeth Hurley and William Mosely. Her other recent film credits include “12 Feet Deep” directed by Matt Eskandari and “Shooting in Vain” directed by Jared Januschka. Park’s career took off with her role on the well-known Australian series “Home and Away,” as well as additional roles in Australian series “Packed to the Rafters” and “Elephant Princess.”
Damian is the CEO of Revry, the groundbreaking new LGBTQ digital content streaming service for Apple TV, Chromecast, Roku, Android TV Amazon Fire, Pluto TV, IOS, Android and the Web. Revry now reaches over 50 million people in over 100 countries across the globe. Previously Damian has worked for top-name brands like Chevrolet and Cadillac to develop new media opportunities for product promotion and marketing. Damian also worked as head of Business Development for Make.TV a German based live streaming technology and represented Make.TV in Dubai, Singapore and all over North America and Europe. Damian also served as adjunct professor for Columbia College Chicago and instructor at YouTube Space LA and NYC, with over 15 years’ experience in the digital and new media world.
Founder and Chief Creative Officer, No Mimes Media
An Emmy-winning experience designer, Steve has worked on some of the world’s biggest and most innovative interactive experiences, including design and consulting work for Disney Imagineering R&D, Google, Microsoft, PBS, Legendary Television and Niantic Labs. His work has spanned games, interactive entertainment and education, live events and puzzles, with some of his latest appearing in a Super Bowl commercial. In addition to founding No Mimes Media, Steve was VP of Experience Design at Fourth Wall Studios, overseeing a wide range of new media, VR/AR and transmedia projects, including the interactive series “Dirty Work” and “6 Minutes to Midnight” experience for the feature film “Watchmen.” Previously, Steve was an Experience Designer at 42 Entertainment where he worked on numerous projects including the ARGs “Why So Serious” for the feature film “The Dark Knight,” and “Year Zero,” for Nine Inch Nails. Steve founded the Alternate Reality Gaming Network, the first online community for ARG enthusiasts. He has lectured at schools including USC, the Royal College of Art, Georgia Tech and Cal Arts, and spoken at media conferences around the world. Projects he's worked on have won multiple awards including an Emmy®, Cannes Lions Grand Prix, SXSW Web, One Show Entertainment and Webby Awards.
COO, Abrams Artists Agency
Todd Quinn is a financial, business management, and operations professional with 20 years of experience in strategy and planning, and mergers and acquisitions. He formerly served as CFO of Paradigm for 11 years, and previously held the same title at the Gersh Agency and Endeavor. Todd began his career in Los Angeles at The Walt Disney Company.
Haroon “Boon” Saleem
President, Day Zero Productions
Haroon Saleem was recently appointed President of Productions of Day Zero, an international production and distribution company led by Trevor Noah, host of The Daily Show. Prior to Day Zero, Haroon was EVP of Production and Development to Nicky Weinstock and Ben Stiller's Red Hour Films. Haroon EP'd Pierce Brosnan's November Man as well as the critically lauded indie Into the Forest starring Ellen Page and Evan Rachel Wood. He produced the pre-show for the Stand Up to Cancer telecast, which raised millions of dollars for cancer research. He led development and production of several features including Prince Caspian, Voyage of the Dawn Treader (the 2nd and 3rd installments of The Chronicles of Narnia series, The Tooth Fairy with Dwayne Johnson and Chasing Mavericks with Gerard Butler and worked with Will Smith developing such hits as The Pursuit of Happyness, Hitch, I Am Legend and Hancock. Haroon has been working in the entertainment industry for nearly 20 years, currently serving as the President of Production of Day Zero Productions, an international production and distribution company led by Trevor Noah, host of The Daily Show. From 2017 to 2019, Haroon served as Nicky Weinstock and Ben Stiller’s EVP of Production and Development at Red Hour, having most recently produced the upcoming Friendsgiving for Endeavor Content, Dinner in America, and the raunchy digital hit, The Package for Netflix.
Co-Managing Partner, Abrams Artists Agency
Alec Shankman is a Co-Managing Partner at Abrams Artists Agency. He started his career in Hollywood at AAA in 2003 where he personally launched the very successful Alternative Programming, Digital Media, Licensing & Branding Division. Alec and his team represent many of the top TV personalities, producers, and influencers across linear and digital media. Linear projects and talent/casts that he has been directly involved with include examples such as A&E's Duck Dynasty, Discovery's Gold Rush, Nat Geo's Wicked Tuna, MTV's Teen Mom, NBC's The Biggest Loser, Discovery/Travel Channel's Expedition Unknown, Bravo's Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, History Channel's Swamp People, Travel Channel's Ghost Adventures, Discovery's Street Outlaws, etc. Digital clientele include personalities such as Mr. Kate, GuavaJuice, Andrea Brooks, Brodie Smith, Dove Cameron, and Poppy, as well as many more. In 2009, Alec also co-founded GotCast.com, which was the Internet's premier interactive casting site & social network for talent. Under his supervision, GotCast innovated the talent sourcing business, casting over 750,000 entertainment projects. He also launched MediaBlastr, GotCast's popular social media-based contest platform. MediaBlastr powered hugely successful campaigns sponsored by top brands like Mercedes-Benz, Sony Playstation, L'Oreal, Dove, Charles Schwab & Garnier Fructis. In 2010, GotCast was honored by the Los Angeles Business Journal for Innovation & Vision. Alec's 1st book, 'Moving to Los Angeles: The ABC's of Making Your Hollywood Dreams Come True,' was published in 2010. His 2nd book 'Moving to Los Angeles: The ABC's of Getting an Agent,' was published in 2012. Specialties: Social Media, Entertainment, Marketing, Talent, Negotiations, Digital Media, Licensing
Director/CCO, Gasket Engines Running
Director and Chief Creative Officer, Fearless Founder of Gasket Studios, Artist and dad of three. Greg is one of the most passionate people you will meet. A director, steeped with training as a designer, editor, and VFX artist. He’s a storyteller and has been doing it since 2000. He has the unique ability to visualize a finished piece from its inception and is fed by his love of various media. It allows him to see stories unfold in unique ways.
Josh Stifter began making movies and cartoons before he can even remember. After "borrowing" his dad's home video camera, he was hooked. His Minnesota based production company, Flush Studios, has worked with clients such as Troublemaker Studios, Troma Entertainment, CNN, Xcel Energy, and SModco, as well as creating two feature films, The Good Exorcist and Greywood's Plot. Josh was also featured as one of the filmmakers on Robert Rodriguez' television show Rebel Without A Crew.
Director of Programming, SeriesFest
Claire Taylor currently serves as the Director of Programming for SeriesFest, a non-profit organization dedicated to championing artists at the forefront of episodic storytelling. With year-round educational programs, initiatives supporting underserved voices, and professional development opportunities, SeriesFest inspires, educates, and connects a worldwide community of creators. Each June, SeriesFest culminates in a highly-curated and celebrated Denver-based festival and marketplace. As Director of Programming, Claire over sees all programming for year-round initiatives and the festival including the Pitch-A-Thon!, Digital Short Series, Late Night, Storytellers Initiative, and Independent Pilot Competitions. Before joining the SeriesFest team, Claire focused on applying her passion for storytelling through producing theater and television for Triptyk Studios based in NYC (An American In Paris, Amelie: The Musical, Xanadu).
Attorney, Sennott, Williams, Rogers
Matthew Valentinas advises an array of clients covering all transactional entertainment matters including authors, screenwriters, directors, producers, production companies, publishers, life-story rights, estate rights, comedians, broadcasters, actors, podcasters, and radio and television personalities. Matthew has also held business affairs positions for a major studio, an international sales agency, and two independent film and television distributors. In his role as production counsel for projects Matthew handles everything from loan-out company formation and production financing through development, pre-production, production, post-production, sales and exhibition. Matthew is also an affiliated agent with the New York and Boston literary agency, Kneerim & Williams, LLC. Kneerim & Williams is a full-service literary and dramatic rights agency. Additionally, he also is the literary manager for numerous authors and screenwriters under his Mom’s Basement Management banner handling long term career strategy for clients. Managing tasks include providing submission services, screenplay and manuscript coverage, and advising on book proposal creation. Matthew also serves as an Executive Producer on numerous film and television and digital media productions through Mom’s Basement Media Inc. which packages and produces projects based on rights acquired or represented by Matthew. He frequently speaks on panels at film festivals, colleges, and law schools including The New Hampshire Film Festival, The Boston Globe Documentary series, Harvard Square Script Writers, The Independent Television Festival, Bright Lights Series at Emerson College, Northeastern University, University of New Hampshire Law School, and New England Law School. Matthew has been interviewed by numerous radio and television shows, magazines, and newspapers including The Hollywood Reporter, Le Figaro, Deadline Hollywood, The New York Daily News, Der Spiegel, Elle Magazine, The National Enquirer, RTL Television, NPR, RT, The Daily Mail, The Guardian, and The Boston Globe among numerous other publications and podcasts. Matthew received his BFA in film and television production from the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University and earned his JD from Suffolk University Law School. He is admitted to practice in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts.
National Board Member, PGA / Former Sr. Agent, ICM / Adjunct Professor, USC
Jesse Albert is a board member of the Producers Guild of America New Media Counsel and is the President of Xpansive Media LLC through which he produces scripted and unscripted television, film and digital content. Previously Albert worked for Entertainment One to build a digital to television practice and is also a former Sr. Agent at ICM where he focused on digital and branded entertainment strategy and engagements for world leading clients and brands. His efforts crossed all divisions, including digital, publishing, video games, venture capital, music, and others. Prior to ICM, Albert led US digital entertainment for Simon Fuller’s 19 Entertainment, creator of American Idol where he helped establish the first American Idol/iTunes relationship and launch the careers of a number of artists. Albert also teaches a graduate level course on Digital Media & Entertainment in the USC School of Cinema’s renowned Peter Stark Producing Program. For more information:
Agent - Talent, Abrams Artists Agency
Jake Attermann is a talent agent at Abrams Artists Agency where he represents talent that can be seen on television, film, and more. Prior to joining Abrams Artists Agency, Jake was at Paradigm where he rose through the ranks and worked his way to become a talent agent.
Agent, Abrams Artists Agency
Sara Barkan is an agent in the TV/Film Literary Division at Abrams Artist Agency, a talent and literary agency representing clients in the fields of motion pictures, television, publishing, music, theater, branded entertainment and digital media. Ms. Barkan is a jack of all trades and represents production companies, IP, writers, directors and playwrights for scripted television and film. She joined Abrams in 2018, after five years in the Development & Original Programming Department at truTV (division of Turner/WarnerMedia). Previously, she worked at both CAA and UTA and was a Creative Executive at Propaganda Films.
Chairman Abrams Artists Agency
Adam Bold is a self-made entrepreneur who has started, bought, grown, and sold numerous companies. He is best known for disrupting the financial world when he founded The Mutual Fund Store in 1996. His company focused on helping the mass-affluent (people with $50-$500,000 to invest) for clients, a largely underserved market by major investment firms. The company grew to be one of the largest independent investment management firms in the country and was purchased by Financial Engines Inc. in 2016. Through his investment company, Superbrands Capital, LLC Bold has made investments in a wide range of companies, primarily in the technology, clean energy, and the entertainment industry. In September 2018, Bold purchased Abrams Artists Agency, one of the largest talent agencies in the world, and is now Chairman and partners with long-time company veterans Brian Cho and Robert Attermann. Bold saw an opportunity for necessary change in the entertainment industry, especially within the culture of talent agencies, and has a vision to foster an inclusive, diverse and dynamic work environment, where the client always comes first. In addition, he also partnered with well-known director and producer Paul Feig and industry veteran Laura Fischer to launch Powderkeg Media, a digital and television content company that champions female and LGBTQ creators and filmmakers of color. Bold is also an investor in Toonstar, which is the nextgen animation network that partners with creators + influencers to bring their stories to life.
JOSHUA BUTLER is an award-winning independent filmmaker and one of the most prolific television directors of his generation, with over 60 hours of content to his name. Joshua wrote and directed the cult horror feature VLOG for the producers of SAW and is currently writing and directing the sequel. With his production company Iceblink Films, Joshua produced and directed acclaimed LGBTQ+ short films HOUSE NOT HOME (Official Selection at Outfest and NewFest) and DOGHOUSE (winner of Best Short Film at Catalyst Content 2017), multiple movies-for-television (including Christmas classic PRANCER RETURNS) and numerous music videos, including festival-favorite “Baby You’re Like A Drug”, starring Joshua Jackson. Among his television credits are 6 episodes of Syfy’s hit THE MAGICIANS, 5 episodes of FOX’s THE FOLLOWING starring Kevin Bacon, 11 episodes of the CW sensation THE VAMPIRE DIARIES and multiple episodes of Disney/Freeform’s SHADOWHUNTERS, PRETTY LITTLE LIARS, RAVENSWOOD and TWISTED. Joshua has also directed Kurtzman/Orci’s CBS show LIMITLESS produced by and starring Bradley Cooper, Robert Rodriguez’s MATADOR for El Rey Network, Irv Gotti’s TALES for BET, Joe Carnahan’s STATE OF AFFAIRS for NBC, Kevin Williamson’s THE SECRET CIRCLE and THE ORIGINALS for the CW, as well as action classic NIKITA, starring Maggie Q. Joshua was profiled by MTV News, Emmy Magazine, Wetpaint, Parade, and ExtraTV, and was named a Shorty Awards finalist as "Best Director in Social Media". In recognition of his humanitarian and activist work, Joshua was awarded the prestigious Scenarios REAL DEAL Award and The Association of Black Sexologists and Clinicians’ Director’s Award.
Leif Cervantes de Reinstein
Leif Cervantes de Reinstein is a partner in the Entertainment and Digital Media Practice Group in the firm's Century City office. He heads his group’s diversity & inclusion efforts.
Areas of Practice
Leif is a leading entertainment attorney for all business transactions related to television, digital and feature films. He has a strong focus in all commercial and legal aspects of scripted TV and streamed programming. Having previously worked in corporate finance, been a partner at a talent boutique law firm, and led an in-house team at Fremantle, Leif is a "go-to" outside general counsel and business affairs lawyer who advises his clients from all sides of the table. He also represents writers, directors, actors, and production companies, especially those seeking to amplify their industry presence via financier relationships, studio-building, and digital & advertiser deals. New entrants to the television marketplace, in particular, hire Leif to help them ramp up their TV units and portfolios. He represents all categories of institutions looking to finance, produce and license or own content including media conglomerates, major television networks and premium subscription video on demand (SVOD) exhibitors, feature film and TV studios, advertisers, well-leveraged production companies, equity funds, foreign investors and high-net worth individuals. Leif adds value to his clients’ businesses by providing them with commercial dealmaking prowess, complicated rights and chain-of-title analysis, company structuring and operations advice, risk management, leveraging of his industry relationships, and general marketplace strategy.
Leif also leads media teams on mergers and acquisitions; handles entertainment-related investment agreements and joint ventures; and negotiates successful U.S. and overseas television and SVOD licenses, co-production and co-financing arrangements. He recently structured a venture between three networks to start a new SVOD platform for British content, Britbox. On the corporate media front, Leif counsels 101 Studios for all business and legal matters, advised Miramax on its sale to beIN Media, Fremantle in its purchase of Italian studio Wildside and a music publishing company on film/TV/live stage assets in its $600-million acquisition of a library.
President, Abrams Artists Agency
Brian Cho began his career at Abrams Artists Agency as an executive in the Business Affairs Department in 1999. Over the past 20 years, Brian steadily rose to Manager, to Vice President of Finance in LA, and to Chief Financial Officer of LA and NY, before eventually acquiring the company from founder Harry Abrams in 2018 and thus becoming President of Abrams Artists Agency.
Partner - Talent, Abrams Artists Agency
Sheree Cohen has 20 years of experience working in the entertainment industry across talent agencies, casting, and talent management. She previously served as SVP of Talent for six years at Buchwald after 11 years at Kohner. Initially an internship in casting led to her love of actors and moving on into the agency business.
Producer, Issa Rae Productions | ColorCreative
Deniese Davis got her start in the industry by producing indie low-budget projects including music videos, short films and digital content. In the web-series realm she is best known for producing Issa Rae's award-winning web series “The Mis-Adventures of Awkward Black Girl”. She is currently a Producer on the HBO comedy series INSECURE and Robin Thede’s A BLACK LADY SKETCH SHOW. She also serves as COO of ColorCreative, which provides access and opportunities for diverse and emerging writers and recently sold their first feature film LOVE IN AMERICA to Universal. Originally from Las Vegas NV, Deniese is an alum of CUNY-Brooklyn College and the American Film Institute Conservatory.
Kaylani Esparza is a television producer from San Diego, California. She works for Lorne Michael’s production company, Broadway Video, and most recently co-produced The Other Two on Comedy Central (and is enthusiastically at work on Season Two).
Sid Fohrman is a partner in the firm’s acclaimed Entertainment and Digital Media Practice Group and Leader of the firm’s Music Industry Team, and Leader of the firm's Esports Industry Team.
Sid represents a diverse client base comprised of public and private companies, on and off-screen talent, artists, influencers, and entrepreneurs across the full spectrum of the entertainment industry, including, music, esports, fitness, sports, technology, event, film and television industries. He often acts as outside general counsel to music and entertainment companies, and regularly handles multi-faceted corporate and entertainment transactions. Sid advises on new media business models and joint ventures, and handles content and licensing deals related to technology and new media exploitation; endorsement and sponsorship deals; publishing, licensing and other copyright and trademark transactions; and production, labor, trade and venue matters in connection with live events.
A nationally-recognized top music lawyer, Sid’s practice is anchored by his significant experience representing both talent and institutional clients in all aspects of the music industry. He has represented some of the world’s largest media companies and most prominent artists and producers on recording and music publishing agreements, content licensing, composer and producer agreements for film and television, and has represented live event promoters in connection with all aspects of music festivals and live concert events.
Sid brings to his transaction practice extensive prior experience as a commercial litigator in which capacity he represented public and private companies in complex contractual disputes, business torts, copyright and trademark infringement, antitrust, and finance. He has appeared before state and federal courts, at both the trial and appellate levels, and has considerable experience with alternative dispute resolution.
Agent - Literary, Abrams Artists Agency
Katie Gamelli represents playwrights, television writers, composers, lyricists, directors, and designers at Abrams Artists Agency. As a passionate advocate for new play and musical development, she has served on the Artist’s Board for City Center’s Encores! Off-Center and the Musical Theatre Factory Advisory Board, and is a proud member of The Drama League.
President, Spotted Cow
President of Spotted Cow and Producer, Monica Gil has worked in the movie production business for over a decade. Having worked on the finance side as well as the press tours for the marketing and distribution phase for a bevy of major motion pictures. These titles include: Disney’s WILD HOGS, New Line Cinema’s HAIRSPRAY, Disney’s BOLT, Sony’s THE TAKING OF PELHAM 123, Europa French Production FROM PARIS WITH LOVE. As President and Producer, she is handling the connection for financing, development and producing of the companies’ projects. Under her tenure at Spotted Cow she has produced, IN SEARCH OF FELLINI and Executive Produced on a film with Myriad Pictures, which was released on Freeform for Christmas 2016, HOLIDAY JOY, starring Bailee Madison. Spotted Cow is currently in development on an animated TV series, RHEA THE NAKED BIRDIE. And on several other live action projects.
EVP, Original Content & Programming, Tiny Horse
Emilienne Gray is EVP, Original Content & Programming at TINY HORSE, LLC, where she brings over 25 years of experience in the industry, overseeing the creation and development of the company’s original content slate. Prior to joining Tiny Horse, Ms. Gray was Vice President, Multiplatform Programming & Promotional Strategy at REVOLT Media & TV. Previously, Emilienne Gray was Senior Vice President, Talent & Music Programming and Strategy, MTV & VH1. In this position, Ms. Gray was responsible for helping create and implement the music programming strategy for MTV and all its relevant services including sister network MTV2; mtvU, MTV's network created specifically for the college audience; digital networks MTV Jams and MTV Hits; as well as MTV On-Demand and MTV Mobile. She also oversaw music strategy for the successful VH1 and VH1 Soul brands.
Executive Producer, RuPaul's Drag Race
San Heng is an Emmy nominated producer with over 15 years of TV experience as a director, showrunner, and executive producer. She’s created hit shows and formats for a wide range of networks, including Bravo, Lifetime, VH1, MTV, WE, Oxygen, and HGTV. Since co-producing the pilot of "Say Yes to the Dress," which is now a global franchise, San has made hit shows like Little Women: LA, Jersey Couture, and RuPaul’s Drag Race. She was nominated for an Emmy for her work on Ru Paul's Drag Race: Untucked. She resides in Los Angeles with her insanely adorable children and rugged, yet chiseled husband.
Founder, Elevate Pictures
William Jehu Garroutte
William Jehu Garroutte is a screenwriter in Los Angeles, California. He has written on shows for Showtime and ABC, and is an alumnus of NBC's Writers on the Verge program, the ABC/Disney Television Writing Program, and the LA Skinsfest Native American TV Writing Lab. He is one of a very few number of drama writers in Hollywood who knows what Four Loko tastes like.
Jacob Krueger Studios
Dani Faith Leonard
Co-Founder, Big Vision Empty Wallet
Dani Faith Leonard is a Comedian, Writer, and Producer. In 2010, she co-founded BIG VISION EMPTY WALLET (with Alex Cirillo), an inclusion-focused incubator that develops and amplifies unique voices in film and TV. Along with Bobby Farrelly, Dani Executive Produced Jenna Laurenzo’s debut feature film LEZ BOMB starring Bruce Dern, Cloris Leachman, Kevin Pollack and Steve Guttenberg, which was released theatrically in Fall 2018 and is available on Netflix and iTunes. She also served as an EP on feature film THE LIGHT OF THE MOON, which won the Audience award at SXSW 2017 and was released later that year. Other recent films include COAST (Producer, post-production), POWER OF PEARL (Producer, RED WHITE & WASTED (Co-Producer, Tribeca 2019 Premiere). She is currently in development on her first feature film as a writer, a dark comedy called RUSH ISLAND. Dani writes and hosts the live show ADULT SEX ED, which aims to plug the holes in your sex education (through comedy) and has been called the “ultimate teaching platform.” Whether for film or tv, her writing projects all share similar qualities: They are funny; They are about bold women who are called upon to be brave; They are impeccably researched and often deal with history and sexuality. You can catch her performing stand up or storytelling but she is the most easy to catch right in front of her Brooklyn building when she searches for her keys in her purse for about 10 minutes.Follow her on Twitter or Instagram @danifleonard.
Juliet López is a digital producer/director/writer based in Los Angeles. She cut her industry teeth working in the production and accounting offices of big budget features such as Red State, Zero Dark Thirty, and Jane Got a Gun. Her foray into the digital world began when she was brought on to OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Networks’s first push into digital content with #OWNshow, after which she joined the freelance ranks by creating brand content for YouTube, Black Pills, and Adaptive Studios. She currently works with Condé Nast Entertainment producing and directing viral-reach celebrity and non-celebrity focused content for brands including Wired, Vanity Fair, GQ, Glamour, Teen Vogue, and Vogue.
Barbara McCarthy began her career in entertainment business affairs but soon moved into the more creative, challenging world of casting. Having worked her way up from Casting Assistant to Casting Director, her efforts had been noticed by the community at large and she was offered a Casting Executive position at Paramount Pictures. Working in the casting department under the legendary Gail Levin, she spent 9 years casting and overseeing hundreds of Paramount films. While there, she worked closely with studio executives, producers and directors such as Cameron Crowe, JJ Abrams, Jay Roach, Kenny Ortega and many others. Along with supervising all the Paramount films during her tenure, some casting credits include 'Vanilla Sky', 'Elizabethtown' and 'How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days'. Barbara left the studio to return to her indie casting roots in 2010. Her post-Paramount casting highlights include the Sundance Festival Competition Selections: 'The Spectacular Now', 'For a Good Time Call...', 'Celeste & Jesse Forever', 'The Stanford Prison Experiment' and 'Summer of '84'; the Tribeca Film Festival selections: 'Caroline & Jackie', 'In Your Eyes', 'Electric Slide' and 'Dreamland'; the Toronto Film Festival Selections, 'We Gotta Get Out of This Place (aka Bad Turn Worse)' and 'I Kill Giants' and the SXSW selections, 'Operator' and 'Mr. Roosevelt'. Along with independent festival films, she has cast major studio releases such as 'The Duff', 'Blended', 'Pixels' 'Mother's Day', Netflix's 'The Christmas Chronicles' and 'The Last Summer' and the CBS Films' current hit, 'Five Feet Apart'. She has also expanded into television with the series, 'Tim & Eric's Bedtime Stories' and 'Finding Carter' and the Emmy winning mini-series 'The Kennedys'.
Senior Agent - Voiceover, Abrams Artists Agency
James Murray has been at Abrams Artists Agency well over a decade as a voiceover agent and carries with him extensive experience working across commercial, television and feature animation, interactive and promos, and narration. James’ focus in television and feature animation has led him to represent the leads in hit shows and feature-length animated films.
Alison Norrington is a storyteller, writer & producer, Founder & Chief Creative Director of storycentral, a London-based entertainment studio that incubates and develops ground-breaking IP with global partners in film, television, animation, publishing, advertising, branding, theme parks, Virtual Reality and gaming. As a Creative Director/Strategist Alison has worked on a range of intellectual properties that are founded on robust story worlds with strong core themes and have genuine and relevant touch points across a host of media channels. As a Writer/Experience Designer, Alison is a best-selling novelist, playwright, journalist & story/script consultant, a PhD researcher with a Masters in Creative Writing & New Media. She has worked with and consulted to SundanceTV, CBS Interactive, Walt Disney Imagineering, FOX International, AMC Networks, BBC, DR (Denmark), Harlequin Mills & Boon, McCann, Coca Cola, DeBeers Group of Companies, UK Metropolitan Police Force, Schleich GmbH, F&W Media, European Broadcasting Union, Cedars-Sinai Medical Centre. As a Talent Development Exec & Trainer Alison works with emerging film-makers and storytellers at Walt Disney Imagineering, CBS Interactive, Sundance TV, London Film School, New York Film Academy, Singapore Media Academy & MediaCorp, Swedish talent incubator Boost HbG and Akademie für Kindermedien. Alison is Conference Chair for StoryWorld Conference, Exec Producer of the Virtual Reality Thread for Children’s Media Conference, is a two-time TEDx speaker and has presented at a number of entertainment and media conferences worldwide. She is featured on the BAFTA Guru series and is a member of the International Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, The Writers Guild of Great Britain and Women in Film & TV.
Agent - Talent, Abrams Artists Agency
Sharon Paz has been with Abrams Artists Agency for 16 years where she advocates for and represents clients working across television, film, and theatre. She began with the company in 2002 and quickly worked her way through the ranks from mailroom, onto a theatrical desk, and finally to an agent.
Director of Podcast Network at Studio71
Stephen the Director of the Podcast Network at Studio71, overseeing business development and creative of over 60 podcasts. Based in Los Angeles, Perlstein has worked in podcasts for 9 years, before Studio71 as the Sales and Advertising Director for Feral Audio. Perlstein has also written for the New Looney Tunes that airs on Cartoon Network, and Dance Moms on Lifetime. Stephen’s also a runner, reader, vegetarian, film buff, meditator, and producer, just like everyone else in Los Angeles.
Executive Director, FilmNorth
Andrew Peterson received his MFA from NYU Graduate Film School, where he was named Best Director and Best Screenwriter. His short films have played at numerous film festivals, the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences (AMPAS), the American Film Institute (AFI), Directors Guild of America (DGA), and on US and British television. His first producing credit was for World and Time Enough, which won the Audience Award at the Frameline Film Festival and was distributed by Strand Releasing. From 2008-2012 he was VP of Production for Werc Werk Works where he co-produced writer/director-driven films including Howl, directed by Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman; Life During Wartime, directed by Todd Solondz; Thin Ice, directed by Jill Sprecher; and Darling Companion, directed by Lawrence Kasdan. Andrew has dedicated his career to supporting filmmakers through his work as Executive Director of FilmNorth, Director of Programing for the Provincetown Film Festival, as a film professor at Middlebury and Macalester Colleges, and as a consultant.
Director Drama Dev., NBC UNI
Christine Pham is a Drama Development executive at Universal Television, an award winning studio that produces long-form series for broadcast networks, cable and streaming platforms . Previously, she worked at AwesomenessTV producing long-form digital content for YouTube, Hulu and Netflix. Prior to that, she was a network executive at Pivot Network, and held various creative roles at The CW, Warner Independent, and Creative Artist Agency. She graduated from University of California, Berkeley with a dual degree in Political Science and Mass Communications.
Co-Founder, Nice Moves
Agent, Literary, Abrams Artists Agency
Helen Schultz is an agent at Abrams Artists Agency based out of New York City. She also carries experience as a critic with her work having appeared on HowlRound, Broadway.com, TheaterMania, and Stage & Candor. She is the recipient of the 2015 Playwrights Horizons fellowship and a member of Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of America.
President and CEO, National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences
Adam Sharp has forged a distinctive career of more than twenty years at the intersection of media, politics and technology. He currently serves as the President and CEO of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, overseeing the annual presentation of the coveted Emmy® Awards for Daytime, Sports, and News & Documentary television, as well as achievements in television Technology & Engineering. From 2010 through 2016, Sharp was Head of News, Government and Elections at Twitter, advising journalists, news organizations, candidates and government officials in more than 20 nations. He appears regularly as a noted expert and speaker on media trends, digital communications, political affairs and strategy, and issues related to “fake news” and disinformation. Sharp served U.S. Senator Mary L. Landrieu, D-La., from 2004 to 2009, first as a spokesman and later as Deputy Chief of Staff. He played an integral role in the creation of the Senate Centrist Caucus; the “Gang of 14” agreement to approve Supreme Court nominees and delay for nearly a decade the so-called “nuclear option;” bipartisan compromises on the federal budget and energy policy; and the federal response to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. He has held leadership roles at NBC News and C-SPAN; is a former President of the bipartisan U.S. Senate Press Secretaries Association and Term Member of the Council on Foreign Relations; and currently serves on the Board of Directors of the National Press Foundation, the Advisory Board of the Centre for Responsible Leadership, and the Advisory Board of the Millennium Alliance. An alumnus of Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, George Washington University’s Graduate School of Political Management, and of the Hotchkiss and Greenwich Country Day schools, Sharp lives in his childhood hometown of Stamford, CT, with his wife and young daughter.
Brendan Sokler is as Brooklyn based actor/producer who could recently be seen the Off Broadway Midsummer: A Banquet and the Joel Schumacher helmed Neighborhood 3. His company Punching Up Productions has previously been at Catalyst with The Grown Up Adventures of Fink and Puzzy, The ADULT-ish podcast(with Ming Chen and Mike Zapcic of AMC's Comic Book Men), and this year they are attending with the short film Lose It. Presently Punching up is finishing up their first feature called The Declaration of Independent Wrestling covering professional wrestling during the week of Wrestlemania. Check out or for more information ...or just ask him...he's probably around.
Caissie St. Onge
Writer / Producer
Caissie St.Onge, was the Showrunner, Executive Producer and a writer of E!’s late night talk show, “Busy Tonight,” hosted by Busy Philipps and Executive Produced by Tina Fey. St.Onge joined “Busy Tonight” after nine years as Co-Executive Producer of Bravo’s “Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen.” She started her career at “The Late Show with David Letterman” and was a writer on all six years of "The Rosie O'Donnell Show" for Warner Brothers. She has been a writer and producer on VH1's cult classic, "Best Week Ever!" and has worked with BBC star, Graham Norton, on several shows in the US and the UK. St.Onge has also written for several awards shows including the Tonys and the Grammys, children's television shows including "The Wonder Pets" and Sesame Street's 30th anniversary special, as well as writing live material for beloved performers including Joan Rivers and Bette Midler. St.Onge is a multiple Emmy-nominee.
Mindjam Media, Executive Producer
Zeke Rodrigues Thomas is an award-winning filmmaker, showrunner, and on-camera talent who has been creating comedic projects for over a decade. Having shot to YouTube stardom in 2011 with viral video success on the Murderbot YouTube channel he parlayed that success into working with some of the top companies in media including: Skybound Entertainment, Legendary Pictures, DEFY Media, and Viacom Digital Studios (VDS). As Executive Producer at Mindjam Media he produced 'Don't Go Alone', a scripted Halloween anthology series for Nickelodeon as well as serving as showrunner on e-sports docu-follow Minecraft: City Champs also for Nickelodeon. Most recently he’s served in a creative development capacity on season one of 'Annie vs. Hayley: LeBake Off', ‘Throw Back with Nickelodeon’, and many other VDS projects. In addition to producing a number of podcasts for Mindjam Media Zeke hosts the FightStuff podcast that takes a topical deep dive into the world of combat sports.
VP Scripted Programming, AwesomenessTV
Jennifer Vasquez is Vice President of scripted programming at Awesomeness, a leading media company for Gen Z. In her role, she is responsible for developing, overseeing, and launching new series. Her extensive television experience includes over ten years in scripted drama development across all platforms including broadcast, premium, basic cable and streaming. She is currently overseeing ONE NIGHT FOREVER, a Jonathan Abrahams project for Quibi. Prior to joining Awesomeness, Vasquez was a Senior Director, Scripted Programming, at Lifetime where she oversaw shows including the wildly popular thriller, YOU, starring Penn Badgley, from Berlanti Productions and Alloy Entertainment. Vasquez began her career at Warner Bros. Television where she fostered a slate of projects from development to pilot production that included The 100, Secret Circle, Studio City, Scruples, The Selection, IZombie, 666 Park Avenue, Flash, Hail Mary, Dolly Parton’s Christmas of Many Colors: Circle of Love. A California native, she is a graduate of San Diego State University and currently resides in Los Angeles.
Electus/CollegeHumor, Executive Creative Director
Thom Woodley is the creator of the first scripted webseries, The Burg, along with award-winning series The All-For-Nots, All's Faire, and Greg and Donny. He was the writer for the first four years of commercials for Dos Equis' Most Interesting Man in the World, as well as the James Bond: World of Espionage mobile game, and helped to create the writing element of the Episode Interactive Storytelling app. He has written three novels and directed two feature films and two longform pilots, has served as a Professor of Web Video and Storytelling at SVA, NYCDA and Miami Ad School, was a founding member of the International Academy of Web Television and the Writer's Guild New Media Caucus, and has addressed a Congressional panel on the topic of net neutrality. Currently he serves as Executive Creative Director and Director of Creative Partnerships for CH Media (formerly Electus), the company that owns and develops content for CollegeHumor, Dorkly, Drawfee and the new subscription service Dropout, alongside television shows like Adam Ruins Everything and Hot Date.
CEO, Abrams Artists Agency
Robert Attermann has been with Abrams Artists Agency for over 30 years, starting in the Talent Division in New York. In 2015, while Head of the Talent Division, he was promoted to COO while continuing his Co-Managing Director role for the New York office. In 2018, Robert, along with Adam Bold and Brian Cho, acquired the agency from founder Harry Abrams and became CEO.
Founder, Casting Influence
Tanya is an Emmy-nominated producer and digital video pioneer who has worked with digital talent since before the term “YouTuber” existed. She’s not only developed multiple YouTube celebrities, but guided traditional media figures like Larry King into becoming multi-platform digital icons. She was Creative Director for the world’s first influencer marketing company, TadCast. She has experience working with a wide variety of clients from StateFarm and Purina to Disney, NEON, Legendary Pictures, Visionary Films, and DreamWorks. Her company, Casting Influence, is an all-in-one influencer marketing, casting, talent strategy and creative agency that has been profiled in Forbes Magazine as the “first of its kind.” The company was founded by Tanya in 2015 and was recently featured in the documentary New Kings.
Manager, Drama Development, CBS Television Studios
Marissa was born and raised in Pittsburgh, and attended Syracuse University; she studied Television, Radio and Film, and Information Management and Technology. She also studied “abroad” in Los Angeles for a semester, getting her first taste of Hollywood. Three months after graduation, she moved to Los Angeles and got her first job in production. Marissa is now a Manager at CBS Studios in Drama Development, where she has worked for almost three years.
Co-founder, Rogue Wave Media
Jonathan Cane is an unscripted television development executive with over 21 years of experience creating, curating, developing and producing fun and fresh reality content. He’s known for his international format acumen, and being an experienced showrunner with an eye for comedy, game and talent. He has delivered immersive content to a wide range of outlets from network to cable, digital to the streamers. He is currently a partner in Rogue Wave Media. Previously, he served as Head of Development for Back Roads Entertainment where he grew a slate of diverse projects ranging from traditional unscripted formats to sketch comedy and variety shows. Prior to that, he was Vice President of Development for BBC Worldwide Productions and FremantleMedia North America, with specific focus on the domestic cable landscape. In his run, he delivered the buyers a wide variety of content, resulting in commissions ranging from full series orders to pilot and presentation orders. The array of those commissions is distinctive, with buyers including Fox, MTV, CW, Bravo, E!, GSN, Discovery, Oxygen, Style, Lifetime, VH1, National Geographic, TLC, We, Red Bull, and A&E. Some of those shows include Bravo’s Married to Medicine franchise, GSN’s Idiotest, CW’s Perfect Score, A&E’s Psychic Tia, Lifetime’s Living With The Enemy, and Oxygen’s Quit Your Day Job. Jonathan got his start working at MTV News in 1998, which provided an amazing opportunity to hone all of his production and development skills. From there, Jonathan moved on and up, ultimately showrunning a diverse slate of shows on the channel; from doc-reality, game shows, and dating shows, delivering a total of over 250 hours of aired content. He’s produced episodes of the documentary series True Life and Diary, as well as developed and served as showrunner for the wildly popular dating show franchise Parental Control and the comedy game show Yo Momma. Jonathan attended The University of Chicago, and currently holds a BFA with honors from New York University's Tisch School of the Arts. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife Aimee and his two daughters, Jack and Ellorie.
Leif Cervantes de Reinstein
Partner, Entertainment and Digital Media Practice Group, SheppardMullin
Leif is a leading entertainment attorney for all business transactions related to television, digital and feature films. He has a strong focus in all commercial and legal aspects of scripted TV and streamed programming. Having previously worked in corporate finance, been a partner at a talent boutique law firm, and led an in-house team at Fremantle, Leif is a "go-to" outside general counsel and business affairs lawyer who advises his clients from all sides of the table. He also represents writers, directors, actors, and production companies, especially those seeking to amplify their industry presence via financier relationships, studio-building, and digital & advertiser deals. New entrants to the television marketplace, in particular, hire Leif to help them ramp up their TV units and portfolios. He represents all categories of institutions looking to finance, produce and license or own content including media conglomerates, major television networks and premium subscription video on demand (SVOD) exhibitors, feature film and TV studios, advertisers, well-leveraged production companies, equity funds, foreign investors and high-net worth individuals. Leif adds value to his clients’ businesses by providing them with commercial dealmaking prowess, complicated rights and chain-of-title analysis, company structuring and operations advice, risk management, leveraging of his industry relationships, and general marketplace strategy. Leif also leads media teams on mergers and acquisitions; handles entertainment-related investment agreements and joint ventures; and negotiates successful U.S. and overseas television and SVOD licenses, co-production and co-financing arrangements. He recently structured a venture between three networks to start a new SVOD platform for British content, Britbox. On the corporate media front, Leif counsels 101 Studios for all business and legal matters, advised Miramax on its sale to beIN Media, Fremantle in its purchase of Italian studio Wildside and a music publishing company on film/TV/live stage assets in its $600-million acquisition of a library. Throughout his 22+ year career, Leif has been at the forefront of digital media. He has worked with new media companies since the Internet’s inception and, while in-house, led programming initiatives for Fremantle’s digital unit. He has since parlayed that experience into advising streaming exhibitors from their earliest stages of organization, helping them to build studio divisions, and assimilating them to the entertainment industry landscape and practices. Leif now represents some of the largest and most premium SVOD platforms, plus has helped or assists emerging new media market entrants like Britbox, SoulPancake and IMG. Some of Leif’s current and recent small-screen projects include "Billions," "Ray Donovan," "Penny Dreadful: City of Angels," "Dummy," "The Power," "The New Pope," "Servant," "Yellowstone," "Perpetual Grace, LTD," "Wu Assassins," "The I-Land," "America to Me," "The Rookie," "Twin Peaks," and "When They See Us." Leif has also worked on recent feature films like "Rocketman," "The Current War," the "Halloween" reboot, the Coen Brothers' "The Ballad of Buster Scruggs," "Under the Silver Lake," "Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile," and "To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before 2." Born and raised in Los Angeles, Leif is a Hollywood insider and authority on the film and TV business. He is also well-versed in corporate, finance and digital matters, all of which uniquely informs his advice to clients in an increasingly inter-disciplinary time for content creation. Leif offers bespoke solutions to the most complicated and high-level audiovisual issues, deals and projects. He prides himself on informed, holistic counsel at all stages of the pipeline - from creative inception and company capitalization, through to content development and production, and finally in helping with monetization strategies for programming, films and libraries. With this suite of services, Leif is a lawyer who helps to maximize creative companies’ and individuals’ brands and value. Leif is a member of the firm's Out at Sheppard LGBTQ Group.