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Art of Film Finance

We’ve got so many great speakers lined up for the Art of Film Financing workshop, we couldn’t fit all their bios in the event listing. Find all their details below, and register for the program here!

March 7

1pm: Welcome

Neerja Narayanan, Head of Creative, Fox Star Studios (20th Century Fox), Host
Neerja Narayanan is an international film executive with 14 years of experience across Asia, Europe, and North America in multidisciplinary sectors across media and entertainment. Narayanan was most recently the Head of Creative Development in South Asia for Fox Star Studios, the South Asia film studio for 20th Century Fox / Fox International Productions, responsible for their feature film portfolio. Her career has included a focus on fiction and non-fiction feature films and broadcast TV, and she has been involved with over 45 features across Asia and Europe and for a US major distributor. She has handled individual feature film budgets of up to $30 million and has managed a development fund for a major US studio of up to $20 million per annum. Her projects have won numerous awards for excellence, including the National Awards for Best Feature in India, and been nominated for several more including Best Foreign Language Film at the BAFTAs. Narayanan has brought to bear in her career the capacity to adapt to different cultures and audiences to implement cultural awareness of universally appealing content with a global reach and local relevance.

1 – 1:45pm: ‘Around the World’

Panelists:

Anne Carey, President of Production, Archer Gray
Anne Carey is President of Production at Archer Gray, a media production, finance, and venture investment company based in New York City. In her career as an independent producer, Carey has been associated with filmmakers such as Ang Lee, Anton Corbijn, Bill Condon, Todd Field, Greg Mottola, Tamara Jenkins, Alan Ball, Mike Mills, and Nicole Holofcener. Carey’s films have been distributed by Fox Searchlight, Sony Picture Classics, Warner Independent, Focus Features, Miramax, and HBO; and her films have played and premiered at major domestic and international film festivals including the Sundance Film Festival, Telluride Film Festival, Berlin Film Festival, and the Toronto International Film Festival.

Dylan Leiner, Senior Executive Vice President, Acquisition & Production, Sony Picture Classics
Dylan Leiner is Sony Pictures Classics’ Senior Executive Vice President, Acquisitions & Production. Involved with the acquisition and production of a broad range of films dating back to Run Lola Run, The Spanish Prisoner, Pollock, The Triplets Of Belleville, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Cache, Friends With Money, The Lives Of Others, Frozen River, Rachel Getting Married, The Class, Waltz With Bashir, Coco Before Chanel, All About My Mother, An Education, A Prophet, The Secret In Their Eyes, Talk To Her, Welcome To The Dollhouse, Synecdoche, New York, Get Low, Animal Kingdom, A Separation, Amour, Inside Job, along with recent award winning films Whiplash, Foxcatcher, Leviathan, Mr. Turner, Still Alice and Wild Tales. Dylan oversees Sony Pictures Classics’ physical and post production services. He 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.

Nick Shumaker, Agent, Independent Film Group, United Talent Agency
Nick Shumaker is an agent in the Independent Film Group at premier global talent and literary agency, UTA, a position he has held since joining the firm in 2014. Based in New York City, Shumaker represents leading filmmakers in the independent world and helps package and arrange financing for independent films globally. Prior to UTA, Shumaker spent four years with Memento Films International; during his tenure, he acquired a diverse slate of films, including Compliance, Short Term 12, S VHS, Still Alice, Cop Car, and others. He also executive produced or helped set up financing for a slate including Still Alice, Blue Ruin, We Are What We Are, Cold In July, and the forthcoming Louder Than Bombs. He also is executive producing and developing Sundance Channel’s forthcoming series “Hap and Leonard”. Prior to Memento, Shumaker produced a number of features and docs independently, including Another Earth, HBO’s Me @ the Zoo, and Kino Lorber’s American Mystic.

2-2:45pm: Building Global Content Strategy

Panelists:

John Hadity, Executive Vice President, EP Financial Solutions
John Hadity is the Executive Vice President for EP Financial Solutions, the film financing subsidiary of Entertainment Partners, the global leader in entertainment payroll, residuals, extras casting, tax incentives, finance and other integrated production management solutions. Hadity specializes in the monetization of tax credits. With over 20 years of studio experience, Mr. Hadity previously served as the Executive Vice President of Motion Picture & Television Production Finance for Miramax Films. During his 12-year tenure with the company he was responsible for a portfolio of production budgets valued in excess of $4 Billion. Mr. Hadity is the Chair Emeritus of the Producers Guild of America East, and has served on the MPAA’s Worldwide Production and International Tax Committees. He is a graduate of Hamilton College.

Joshua Astrachan, Co-Founder, Animal Kingdom
In July 2012, Astrachan co-founded Animal Kingdom, the film and television production/finance company under whose banner he produced the acclaimed Short Term 12 by writer/director Destin Daniel Cretton (SXSW, LAFF, Locarno, 2013) and executive produced David Robert Mitchell’s It Follows (Critics’ Week, Cannes 2014; opening in the US on March 13, 2015). Currently in post production for the company: Joachim Trier’s English-language feature debut, Louder Than Bombs; Justin Tipping’s Kicks; and Trespass Against Us, written by Alastair Siddons and directed by Adam Smith. Prior to Animal Kingdom, Astrachan produced Jennifer Westfleldt’s Friends With Kids (Toronto International Film Festival, 2011) and three films with the legendary American director Robert Altman, with whom Astrachan worked for the better part of a decade: as co-producer on Academy-Award winning and seven-time Oscar nominated Gosford Park (2001), and producer on The Company (2003) and Altman’s last film, A Prairie Home Companion (2006).

Xavier Lardoux, Head of Film, Centre National du Cinéma et de l’Image animée (CNC) France
Before joining France’s National Film Board CNC, Xavier Lardoux was co-deputy chief of promotion at Unifrance Films. Prior to joining Unifrance in 2010, Lardoux worked at the Paris city hall, handling cultural affairs. While at Unifrance, Lardoux helmed MyFrenchFilmFestival, an online fest that garnered up to 4 million viewings in 2014. A showcase of French movies, the festival attracted 25 digital partners, including Amazon, iTunes and Google Play, Canada’s Shaw, France’s Dailymotion, Spain’s Filmin and China’s Youku. Last June, Lardoux published a report outlining an European policy on film education for the CNC, and he’s written various books, including Le Cinema de Benoit Jacquot. As topper of the CNC’s film department, Lardoux will report to president Frederique Bredin, and will be in charge of spearheading subsidy programs for films, as well as shaping up the board’s film policy.

3pm-3:45pm – VOD Revenue & Audience Data

Panelists:

Alexandra Marvar, Director of Marketing, VHX
Alexandra Marvar is the director of marketing at VHX, an internet distribution tech company that empowers filmmakers and video publishers to sell directly to their audiences. She came to VHX after pivoting her editorial, tech, and marketing experience from music toward film marketing and promotion. Previously, she wrote about music and cinema for VanityFair.com, Time Out New York, Cinespect, and other publications, and co-founded an arts non-profit, O+ Festival, which facilitates the barter of art and music for healthcare services.

Brian Newman, consultant, Sundance Institute Transparency Project
Brian Newman is the founder of Sub-Genre, a consulting company focusing on developing and implementing new business models for film and new media. Current clients include: Patagonia, developing film strategies, including distribution and marketing for the feature documentary DamNation; Sundance Institute on the Transparency Project, a new project to collect and analyze film revenue and expenses; Vulcan Productions; and several filmmakers on fundraising, distribution, and marketing. Brian is also the producer of Love & Taxes a narrative feature in post from Jake and Josh Kornbluth, and executive producer, Shored Up a documentary feature by Ben Kalina. Brian has served as CEO of the Tribeca Film Institute, president of Renew Media and executive director of IMAGE Film & Video. Brian is chair of the board of Rooftop Films, and serves on the board of Muse Film & Television. He authored “Inventing the Future of the Arts: Seven Digital Trends that Present Challenges and Opportunities for Success in the Cultural Sector” for the book 20 Under 40: Reinventing the Arts and Arts Education for the 21st Century. He was born in North Carolina and has an MA in Film Studies from Emory University.

Mickey Slevin, Director of Finance and Operations, FilmBuff
Mickey Slevin oversees all the finance and operations at FilmBuff, a leading curator of digital entertainment and distributor of content across digital media. Founded by John Sloss, FilmBuff designs innovative digital strategies to supply content to all on-demand outlets. Slevin’s previous industry experience includes Viacom and CESD talent agency. Slevin holds a BA from Boston University and an MBA from Columbia Business School. He served on the board of Arts To Grow, a nonprofit organization that sponsors after-school arts programs around the Tristate area.

3:45-4:30pm – Investors and You

Colin Brown, Editorial Director, Slated.com (Moderator)
An award-winning film journalist by background, Colin is a member of the senior team of Slated, the online film financing and networking platform that matches accredited investors with filmmaking teams. As Slated’s Editorial Director, Colin oversees the creation of informational tools that bridge the communication gap between the investment community and filmmakers closing deals. He also teaches “The Future of Film” & “Career Strategies” graduate class at NYU, run in conjunction with NYU’s Cinema Research Institute where he serves as an Advisory and Faculty Committee member, awarding fellowships to proposals that will help solve some of cinema’s enduring problems. Colin is also a partner in MAD Solutions, a Cairo- and UAE-based creative consultancy that launched a pan-Arab distribution company as part of plans to create Arab world’s first pan-regional independent film studio. He has been a longstanding industry consultant for the Dubai International Film Festival. Prior to joining Slated, Colin was Editor-in-Chief for Screen International and Contributing Editor at CNBC Business.

Michael Hansen, Managing Director, East Coast, Three Point Capital
Three Point Capital is a premier speciality finance company serving small to middle-market companies in a multitude of industries. Three Point Capital has worked on over 100 film and television projects since the company was founded in 2009. Our loans are typically secured by sales contracts, tax credits, film ultimates. Three Point Capital has closed loans secured by tax credits from 17 different domestic and international jurisdictions, and have loaned against projects with or without a completion bond. Three Point Capital has secured financing for acclaimed award winning titles such as Nightcrawler, Lee Daniel’s The Butler, Cake, The Immigrant, Life of Crime and What Maisie Knew. Michael Hansen oversees the New York office and is responsible for business development and capital raising. Before founding Three Point, Hansen worked in various facets of finance, including roles at UBS and Smith Barney managing municipal bond portfolios for private clients. He was an analyst at a real estate fund and started his career in operations for a stock plan services company.

Vicki Cherkas, Entertainment/Media Consulting (Birdman; La Vie En Rose)
Vicki Cherkas brings an extensive background in business development, strategic planning, raising capital, business affairs and legal counsel to Cherkas Strategic Consulting. Presently, her focus is to provide business, legal and financial guidance to domestic and international media companies launching new ventures or growing existing businesses. During the past three years, Cherkas has provided financial, business, and legal services on numerous films, including Birdman and others selected for major film festivals such as Cannes, Venice, Berlin, Toronto, and Sundance. Cherkas was previously Senior Executive Vice President of Operations at Picturehouse Films. During her tenure at Picturehouse, Cherkas was involved in such films as the Academy Award winning La Vie En Rose and The Women, among others. Prior to that, Cherkas headed business affairs, business development and new ventures at GreeneStreet Films and her first company position was at Miramax Films. She is a member of the PGA and of BAFTA.

4:30-5:30pm – Producer’s Happy Hour

Relax a little after a day of challenging inspiration with your peers. You earned it! Happy Hour is supported by Brooklyn Brewery.