AFM Programs & Events


AFM Conferences provide attendees with knowledge and insights from industry thought leaders, decision makers and experts.

The Global Perspective

Friday, November 2     |     9:15am – 12:45pm     |     Starlight Ballroom, Fairmont Hotel
View From The Top

Jean M. Prewitt, President & CEO, Independent Film & Television Alliance
Charles H. Rivkin, Chairman & CEO, Motion Picture Association of America
Erich Schwartzel, Film Industry Reporter, The Wall Street Journal

The Producer & Financier Perspective
Leading Producer/Financiers share their companies’ strategies in the era of platforms, subscriptions, and evolving consumer options.

From the Frontlines: The Buyer Perspective
Distributors from all corners of the world reveal how the marketplace is evolving, from consumer preferences and behavior to shifting windows and new platforms.


Pitch Conference 

sponsored by Creative Industries Hawaii

Saturday, November 3    |     9:15am – 12:45pm     |     Starlight Ballroom, Fairmont Hotel
Pitching Essentials
A good pitch can get a bad film made while a bad pitch can leave a terrific project languishing on the shelf. Pitching is part art (it’s creative), part science (it needs to follow a tight script) and part sales (you have to wow them). Conference attendees will learn the essential rules and tools of pitching from the experts.

The 2-Minute Pitches
Volunteers selected in advance will pitch to our expert panel. They will give unvarnished feedback on each pitch – explaining what worked, what didn’t – and why.

Pilar Alessandra, Instructor/Consultant, On The Page

Tobin Armbrust, President, Worldwide Production & Acquisitions, Virgin Produced
Cassian Elwes, Independent Producer/Agent


Blockchain Conference

Saturday, November 3    |     2:30pm – 5:30pm     |     Starlight Ballroom, Fairmont Hotel

Democratizing Finance and Distribution 
Through decentralized transactions and transparency, Blockchain can attract stakeholders, reduce production costs and empower producers. Blockchain promises a frictionless ecosystem with immediate cash-flow from transactions, direct access to global audiences, transparent royalty payments and reduced piracy risk. Six presentations will cover the breadth of Blockchain’s potential to transform independent film production and distribution.

Moderator & Host
Nelson Granados, Ph.D., Director of The Institute of Entertainment, Media, and Culture and The Center for Applied Research,  Pepperdine Graziadio Business School
Irina Albita, Co-Founder, Film Chain/Big Couch UK
“Run Your Money Flows with Blockchain – From Global Distributors to Filmmakers’ Pockets”
Andrea Iervolino, CEO, AMBI Media Group/TaTaTu
“New Business Models for the Film Industry: How Can Blockchain Support the Financing and Monetization of Your Movie?”
Florian Glatz, Co-Founder, Cinemarket
“Motion Protocol: A Unified Ecosystem for the Film Value Chain”
Robert Binning, CEO, StreamSpace
“How Blockchain Technology Will Revolutionize the Independent Film Distribution Industry”
Sam Klebanov, CEO, Cinezen Blockchained Entertainment AB
“Bringing Blockchain-VOD to the Real World: Possibilities, Challenges and Solutions”
Alan R. Milligan, CEO, White Rabbit
“Is Blockchain Enough to Change Digital Distribution, or Do We Need More?”


Finance Conference

Sunday, November 4     |     9:15am – 12:45pm     |     Starlight Ballroom, Fairmont Hotel

Producing Studio Films with Independent Budgets
Production quality and talent are more crucial than ever. Producers need to be strategic with their budgets – talent, locations, special effects, crew, everything! Seasoned producers and experts share their advice on how to stretch budgets and get every dollar, euro, pound, yen or franc “on the screen.”

Richard Botto, Founder & CEO, Stage 32

The Film Finance Matrix: From Script to Screen

Our panel of experts will be presented with five film packages – each with partial or limited funding. They will explore and disclose how each film could be fully financed. Five case studies; five solutions.

David Offenberg, Associate Professor of Entertainment Finance, Loyola Marymount

Anthony Beaudoin, Managing Director, Union Bank
Tamara Birkemoe, President & COO, Foresight Unlimited
Ryan Broussard, VP of Sales & Production Incentives, Media Services



Production Conference

sponsored by Castilla La-Mancha Film Commission

Monday, November 5     |     9:15am – 12:45pm     |     Starlight Ballroom, Fairmont Hotel


Producing for the Pre-Sales Marketplace

Pre-Selling to territorial Buyers is key to financing most independent films. What are they looking for? Which genres and talent? How do you set a budget that will reflect the marketplace? Discover which projects are most likely to sell globally before they are made.

Paul Hertzberg, President & CEO, CineTel Films, Inc.

Paul Bales, Partner, The Asylum
Robert Menzies, Producer, Zed Films
Shawn Williamson, President, Brightlight Pictures


Casting for a Greenlight

Attaching talent to your screenplay doesn’t guarantee that you will get your film financed but it can certainly increase your chances. Producers and casting directors reveal what it takes to attract talent and get them attached before the financing is in place.

John Sloss, Founding Partner & President, Sloss Eckhouse LawCo. & Cinetic Media

Distribution Conference 

sponsored by StreamSpace

Tuesday, November 6     |     9:15am – 12:45pm     |     Starlight Ballroom, Fairmont Hotel

Working with Sales Agents

To reach the global audience, an independent producer’s best ally is their international Sales Agent. Our panel of experts will discuss how to find and work with the right Sales Agent.

Clay Epstein, President, Film Mode Entertainment

Lisa Gutberlet, EVP, International Sales & Acquisitions, Blue Fox Entertainment
Basil Iwanyk, Founder, Thunder Road Pictures
Andee Ryder, Managing Director, Misfits Entertainment


The Future of Video On Demand

VOD is now the largest source of revenue for many films. Are we heading towards a future where all films will be available worldwide and where every film will be discoverable by its audience? Producers, distributors and platforms will disclose who is making money, how they are doing it, and what the future holds – separating fact from fiction.

Bruce Eisen, President, Digital Advisors

Michael Berman, EVP, Programming InDemand
Janet Brown, EVP, Distribution, Gunpowder & Sky
Dave McIntosh, SVP Content Licensing & Strategy, Shout! Factory
John Orlando, VP/Head, Digital Development, Sony Crackle



Learn how to shape your screenplay into a compelling narrative that will resonate with studios, investors and a global audience.

Writers Workshop I

Sunday, November 4     |     2:30pm – 5:30pm     |     Starlight Ballroom, Fairmont Hotel


You Had Me At Page One
Make the reader love you on the first page! Learn writing techniques that help your script hit the ground running. Through examples from your favorite scripts, we take a hard look at word choice, scene direction, dialogue approach, and the nuances of the page.

Instructor: Pilar Alessandra, Instructor/Consultant, On the Page

The Art of Cinematic Storytelling: Transforming Your Premise Into An Engaging Screenplay

The greatest challenge facing all screenwriters, whether novice or professional, is the process of transforming a premise into a compelling, sustainable story. This workshop focuses solely on the art of the story, with an emphasis on such fundamentals as character development, super-objective, rising conflict, scene work, and three-act structure. Participants learn how to spot critical mistakes often made in the initial development of a screenplay’s narrative. The final goal of the workshop is a greater understanding of what makes a story work and a series of tools that participants can immediately apply to their current screenplay.

Instructor: Steven WolfsonUCLA


Writers Workshop II

Monday, November 5     |     2:30pm – 5:30pm     |     Starlight Ballroom, Fairmont Hotel


Get Your Story Straight: Structuring Your Screenplay to Sell
Creating an engaging cinematic narrative can be deceptively difficult, and story structure is often one of the most challenging, yet critical, things for any screenwriter to master. There are no “formulas,” but there are time-tested principles which can help guide you and enable you to craft your story into its most satisfying form. Diane will cover the tools and elements essential to grounding your story in a solid screenplay structure utilizing film clips from commercially and critically successful films.

Instructor: Diane Drake, Instructor & Story Consultant, UCLA Extension Writers’ Program


Writing Compelling Characters

No matter what genre you’re working in, getting your reader to empathize with and root for your story’s protagonist is one of the most important goals – if not THE most important goal – for a screenwriter to achieve. Using film clips, screenplay pages, and brief exercises, this workshop explores how to create powerful, memorable characters, and the most effective techniques for bringing them to life on the page.

Instructor: Billy MernitUCLA Instructor & Universal Pictures Story Analyst


AFM Roundtables are open-ended discussions that explore specialized topics and timely issues in an intimate setting.

Using Intellectual Property to Boost the Visibility of LGBTQ Characters

Saturday, November 3     |     5:00pm – 6:30pm     |     AFM Gallery, Le Merigot Hotel

Films based on intellectual property (IP) are considered less risky by financiers since an audience has already been established. This makes adapting existing IP a viable route to getting more LGBTQ stories onto the screen. We’ll discuss how to leverage news articles, short stories, biographies, novels, comic books and digital series with queer and trans lead characters, in order to get more LGBTQ feature films into production. Presented in partnership with Outfest.

Lucy Mukerjee, Director of Programming, Outfest & Newfest


The Passion Of The Film: Embracing Our New Opportunities

Sunday, November 4     |     2:30pm – 4:00pm     |     AFM Gallery, Le Merigot Hotel

Today’s rapidly evolving marketplace presents new and exciting pathways for films to reach and inspire families and the faithful. We’ll explore who is succeeding, why, and where the industry is heading.
Barry Landis, Chairman & Co-Founder, Ribbow Media Group


International Awakening: Investing in Gender Diversity for Expanding Audiences around the Globe

Sunday, November 4     |     5:00pm – 6:30pm     |     AFM Gallery, Le Merigot Hotel

International film boards, public broadcasters, government agencies and civic institutions have launched robust initiatives to increase the number of female producers, writers and directors working in film. We’ll explore the mandatory and voluntary programs that are driving change in storytelling and employment opportunity for women in front of and behind the camera. The discussion will also include best practices and procedures that you can implement now to ensure that your productions are tuned into these new marketplace demands. Presented in partnership with ReFrame.

Kirsten Schaffer, Executive Director, Women in Film


Producing Passion Documentaries

Monday, November 5     |     2:30pm – 4:00pm     |     AFM Gallery, Le Merigot Hotel

Audiences are seeking out more documentaries than ever before. What elements will help a doc stand out? Producers and distributors will discuss producing for success in the documentary marketplace.

Matt Holzman, Host/Producer, KCRW’s “The Document”

Ryan Suffern, Head of Documentaries, Kennedy/Marshall
Caryn Capotosto, Producer, Head of Productions,Tremolo Productions
Derek Doneen, Filmmaker
Khaliah Neal, Producer


Distributing & Monetizing Feature Documentaries

Monday, November 5     |     4:30pm – 6:00pm     |     AFM Gallery, Le Merigot Hotel

The Documentary marketplace is quickly transforming. New platforms and alliances are providing opportunities for stories that can support a long-form treatment. Producers and distributors will examine the diverse sources of revenue and discuss which co-production models can achieve success.

Peter Broderick, Distribution Strategist, Paradigm Consulting


Boosting Your Micro-Budget

Tuesday, November 6     |     2:30pm – 4:00pm     |     AFM Gallery, Le Merigot Hotel

High quality micro-budget films are no longer a novelty, making it essential for producers to follow the key principles of producing for the marketplace. Learn from experts how to maximize every dollar and how to create a small film that will be destined for big success. Presented in partnership with Slamdance.

Peter Baxter, President & Co-Founder, Slamdance Film Festival, Filmmaker

Respecting The Genre: Why Do Some Horror Films Work While Others Don’t?

Tuesday, November 6     |     5:00pm – 6:30pm     |     AFM Gallery, Le Merigot Hotel

Hundreds of horror films are made every year but only a few really stand out. Why is that? What makes the successful films resonate? Producers, distributors and influencers will explore what makes the genre work for global audiences at every level, from marketing to release to longevity in the horror community. Presented in partnership with Dread Central.

Jonathan Barkan,


Spotlight Events

AFM Spotlight Events are unique opportunities to connect and learn.

Content, Funding and Talents: The New International Dynamics in Hong Kong

Thursday, November 1     |     3:00pm – 4:30pm     |     AFM Studio, Loews Hotel

Hong Kong films have been well recognized in the international film industry over the years, and it is even more exciting to see more and more young talents on the rise. They are regarded as a fresh “Hong Kong New Wave Cinema”, who produce movies of a wide range of themes and are supported by pitching schemes such as HAF (Hong Kong – Asia Film Financing Forum) and WIP (Work-in-Progress).

Director from the generation will show you what is new in the market, while the pitching scheme organiser will let you know how and why they were funded and recognised in the fierce competition in the international market.
Presented by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council.


Korea CG/VFX Pitching Showcase

Friday, November 2     |     10:00am – 11:30am     |     AFM Studio, Loews Hotel

Meet with the leading CG/VFX companies in Korea. CG/VFX accounts for a significant part in K-wave, just like K-POP, K-Drama, K-Movie. Don’t miss your chance to experience the latest technology of K-CG/VFX.
Buyer Business Meetings will take place in Escondido on the 8th floor after the session.


Producing Successful Content for A Global Market

Friday, November 2     |     2:30pm – 3:30pm     |     AFM Studio, Loews Hotel

With the Chinese box office set to take over the U.S. box office soon, producers are challenged to create content that appeals to an ever-increasing international box office. Many producers are entering into co-productions to help break into foreign markets. Hear how experts navigate the production process across borders to create box office victories. Presented by the US China Film & TV Industry Expo.


Engage: Navigating Hollywood’s Shifting Landscape

Friday, November 2     |     2:30pm – 5:45pm     |     Starlight Ballroom, Fairmont Miramar Hotel

Engage is Pepperdine’s Institute for Entertainment, Media, and Culture (IEMC) signature diversity and inclusion event where creative entrepreneurs will have the opportunity to learn from high profile industry professionals. This half-day symposium features provocative panel discussions and invaluable insider information about the film, television, and new media landscape from a diverse group of notable creatives, producers, and executives in the entertainment industry. This year’s symposium theme, “21st Century Creatives and Storytelling,” will focus on the burgeoning trends in the industry for creatives and business entrepreneurs.

Understanding Distribution In China

Friday, November 2     |     4:00pm – 5:00pm     |     AFM Studio, Loews Hotel

With the influx of new streaming platforms, and the continued increase in the number of theaters in China, experts give insights on the distribution options in the Chinese market. Presented by the US China Film & TV Industry Expo.


How to Build, Manage and Grow Your Own Video On Demand Business

Sunday, November 4     |     8:30am – 9:30am     |     AFM Studio, Loews Hotel

Home Entertainment revenue hit $47.8 Billion in 2017, with digital spending up 41% from the year before. This presents an opportunity for film, television and media brands to launch and manage their own video on demand operation. This discussion will explore how you can grow new audiences and generate more revenue with your own video on demand business. Presented by the online video experts at SHIFT72.
David White, Founder & CEO, SHIFT72
Mathew Joubert, VP of Marketing, SHIFT72


The Louisiana Advantage

Sunday, November 4     |     5:15pm – 7:30pm     |     Filmmakers Lounge, Le Merigot Hotel

Since 2002, only Louisiana has set the global standard for motion picture production incentives. With a competitive film production incentive; tax credits for full time, permanent jobs; and funds for investment in education and workforce development – the Louisiana Advantage is clear. The year-old enhancements to the Louisiana Entertainment Incentives have already set the bar even higher. Join officials from the state of Louisiana as they provide insight into the Louisiana Advantage.


Success factors of Korea CG/VFX and Korea-Global Co-Production

Monday, November 5     |     10:00am – 11:30am     |     AFM Studio, Loews Hotel

Overview the latest technology from Korean CG/VFX which is growing sharply and rapidly. Also check out the current works of leading Korean CG/VFX companies and explore the secrets of rapid success through a Q&A session.
Buyer Business Meetings will take place in Escondido on the 8th floor after the session.


Score It Great! How To Get The Best Possible Film And TV Music For Every Budget

Monday, November 5     |     2:30pm – 4:00pm     |     AFM Studio, Loews Hotel

George Lucas was right when he said “The sound and music are 50% of the entertainment in a movie.” Hire a composer or use licensed music? What clearances and sets of rights do I need, and for how long and how much will they cost? Should I get Festival rights? What makes a film’s soundtrack commercially successful? How do I find a Composer and or a Music Supervisor? These questions and all of yours will be answered. Presented by the Film Musicians Secondary Markets Fund.
Dennis Dreith, Chairman and Co-founder of Transparence Entertainment Group
Paul Broucek, President, Music, Warner Bros. Pictures
Germaine Franco, Composer and Music Producer
Kim Roberts Hedgpeth, Executive Director, Film Musicians Secondary Markets Fund 


Working With the U.S. Guilds

Tuesday, November 6     |     4:00pm – 5:00pm     |     AFM Studio, Loews Hotel

DGA, SAGindie and WGAW representatives explain how to secure talent agreements for directors, actors and writers and make your project signatory to the guilds’ agreements.
Darrien Michele Gipson, Executive Director, SAGindie
Cynthia Tollett, Assistant Executive Director, Directors Guild of America
Kay S. Wolf, Senior Representative, Writers Guild of America West


Carousel Cocktail

AFM hosts the world’s producers and decision makers to four networking receptions at the historic Merry-Go-Round on the Santa Monica Pier. The AFM’s Carousel Cocktails provide a unique and memorable experience as participants connect and relax at the beach.

Carousel Cocktails will take place Friday – Monday, November 2, 3, 4 & 5, from 5:30pm to 8:00pm. Qualified Attendee badge holders are invited to one reception. The choice of evening is selected when each badge is purchased.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.