AFM Programs & Events


AFM Conferences give attendees knowledge, insight, access, value and a rare opportunity to hear from the industry’s global thought leaders, decision makers and experts who all converge annually at the AFM.

Finance Conference I: The Big Picture

Friday, November 3     |     9:15am – 12:45pm     |     Starlight Ballroom, Fairmont Hotel

The Future of Global Film Finance

Leading CEOs, filmmakers, financiers and studio executives explore the future of independent film financing, emerging trends and the impact of new platforms on global film finance.


Joe Chianese, EVP, EP Financial Solutions


Tom Ara, Shareholder, Greenberg Traurig, LLP

Spotlight Sessions

One-on-one discussions with industry visionaries.


Pitch Conference  sponsored by Creative Industries Hawaii

Saturday, November 4    |     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


Finance Conference II: Funding Films Today

Sunday, November 5     |     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.


Joe Chianese, EVP, EP Financial Solutions


Stefan Lütje, Partner/Shareholder, Greenberg Traurig, LLP


Production Conference sponsored by IndieCo

Monday, November 6     |     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

Mark Damon, CEO & Chairman, Foresight Unlimited

Alison Thompson, Co-President, Cornerstone Films


What They Want: Inside the Major Studios

The major studios are always in search of the next great script. But what do they really want and need? Producers who are working with the majors today share their experiences and discuss the key elements that the studios look for in scripts and pitches.


Distribution Conference sponsored by MPS Labo

Tuesday, November 7     |     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


Martin Katz, Founder and President, Prospero Pictures

Dana Lustig, Principal, Dana Lustig Productions

Lisa Wilson, Partner, The Solution Entertainment Group


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


Andy Bohn, Co-Founder & Partner, The Film Arcade

Paul Davidson, EVP, Film & TV, The Orchard

Thomas Hughes, EVP, Worldwide Digital Distribution, Lionsgate

Tania Jones, VP of Marketing & Customer Service, Shift72

Hanny Patel, VP, Video Marketing, AT&T Entertainment Group



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


The Changing Hong Kong Movie Scene: What is New, How and Why?

Thursday, November 2     |     3:00pm – 4:30pm     |     AFM Studio, Loews Hotel

Hong Kong films have been well recognized in the international film industry over the years and now exciting young talent are on the rise. Hong Kong’s young directors and producers are winning international awards with their debut productions which are known for their distinct local flavour and relatively low budgets. They are regarded as a fresh “Hong Kong New Wave Cinema”, one comparable to the generation in the 1970s. Two iconic directors will explore what is happening now in the Hong Kong movie scene.
Patrick Frater, Asia Bureau Chief, Variety
Steve Chan Chi-Fat, Director, Weeds on Fire
Felix Tsang, Sales and Acquisitions Manager, Golden Scene Company Limited
Vicky Wong, Director, Trivisa


Building A Future For LGBTQ Film

Saturday, November 4     |     5:00pm – 6:30pm     |     AFM Studio, Loews Hotel

A discussion of the independent film landscape, using case studies of specific financing models, in order to identify a sustainable way forward for LGBTQ representation in cinema.

Presented in partnership with Outfest.
Lucy Mukerjee-Brown, Director of Programming, Outfest & Newfest
Kiska Higgs, Head of Acquisitions and Co-Productions, Focus Features
Christine D’Souza Gelb, Agent, WME
Ian Bricke, Director, Content Acquisition, Netflix


The Passion of the Film: Reaching the Faith Community

Sunday, November 5     |     10:00am – 12:00pm     |     AFM Studio, Loews Hotel

Producers and distributors are serving the faithful and finding their audience in the increasingly digital world. Filmmakers and marketers reveal the essential elements of story, ministry and outreach that will optimize exposure to reach and serve their audience.
10:00am – 10:30am Networking and refreshments
10:30am – 12:00pm Roundtable
Barbara Mudge, President & Founder, Worldwide Film Entertainment
DeVon Franklin, Producer & CEO, Franklin Entertainment
Kevin Downes, Producer & President, Kevin Downes Production & South West Film Group
David Austin, EVP, Bridgestone Multimedia
Rick Bonn, Head of Development & Acquisitions, Pure Flix Entertainment


The Future is Female

Sunday, November 5     |     5:00pm – 6:30pm     |     AFM Studio, Loews Hotel

It is no surprise that Wonder Women is the highest grossing action movie in 15 years. Women make up over half of the world’s population, and are a driving force in theatrical box office as well as television, cable and digital viewing. This Roundtable will highlight how female driven stories can expand your audience and profitability. Our panel will explore the benefits of developing strong female leads and hiring women directors, producers and writers for your next mega-hit.

Presented in partnership with the Alliance of Women Directors.
Wendy Calhoun, Writer/Producer, EMPIRE, NASHVILLE, JUSTIFIED


Distributing & Monetizing Feature Documentaries

Monday, November 6     |     5:00pm – 6:30pm     |     AFM Studio, Loews Hotel

The Documentary marketplace is quickly transforming. New platforms and alliances – creative, geographic and financial – are providing opportunities for stories that can support a long-form treatment. This session will examine the diverse sources of revenue and reveal which co-production models can achieve success.
Presented in partnership with IDA.
Kevin Iwashina, Founder & CEO, Preferred Content


Working with the U.S. Guilds

Tuesday, November 7     |     3:00pm – 4:30pm     |     AFM Studio, Loews Hotel

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


Special Events

AFM Special Events are unique opportunities to connect and learn.


NIFS Finance Summit
Sponsored by PWC Nigeria and Silverbird Distribution

Friday, November 3     |     2:00pm – 5:00pm     |     AFM Gallery, Loews Hotel


Keynote Address
Nigeria’s Commitment Towards An Enabling Environment For Investment Into The Nigerian Film Business Ecosystem.

Alhaji Lai Mohammed, Minister of Information and Culture, Nigeria

Keynote Address

The Opportunities, Possibilities and Challenges of the Film Business in Nigeria: The Past, the Present and the Future.

Senator Ben Murray Bruce, Chairman, Senate Committee on Privatization; Vice Chairman, Senate Committee on Media and Public Affairs; Founder, Silverbird Group


Engage: Navigating Hollywood’s Shifting Landscape

Friday, November 3     |     2:30pm – 5:45pm     |     Starlight Ballroom, Fairmont Hotel


Engage is the Pepperdine Alumni Affairs and 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 event features provocative panel discussions and invaluable insider information about the film, television, and new media landscape from a diverse group of notable creative producers and executives in the entertainment industry.

Edward Allen, COO, Pantilleon
James Lopez, Producer, Head of Motion Pictures, Will Packer Productions
Keith Clinkscales, Founder and CEO, The Shadow League
Effie Brown, Film and Television Producer, Project Greenlight
Haylen Van Koppen, Chief, Human Resources, Legendary Entertainment


Shoot the Book! LA: French Publishers Present Original Literary Works with Film Adaptation Potential

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


Five French publishing houses – Au Diable Vauvert, Dupuis, Gallimard, Glenat and Plon – will pitch titles selected by a jury of professionals composed of Jacqueline Lyanga, AFI Fest’s Director, Dana Spector, Literary Agent from Paradigm, Andrea McCall, from Amblin Partners, Bob Bookman, manager of Bob Bookman Management, and Mike Medavoy, from Phoenix Pictures. The roundtable will be followed by a reception, where audiovisual rights licensors and producers can discuss the day’s events and future contacts. This event is organized by the French Cultural Services in Los Angeles and supported by the Institut Français.
Steven Gaydos, Vice President & Executive Editor, Variety
Etienne Bonnin, Film & TV Rights, Glénat
Marie-Pacifique Zeltner, Rights Manager, Au Diable Vuvert
Frédérique Massart, Film and Theatre Rights Director, Gallimard
Laurent Duvault, Director of Audiovisual Development, Mediatoon
Nathalie Carpentier, Audiovisual Rights Manager, CAL France


NIFS Distribution Summit
Sponsored by FilmHouse Cinemas and Filmone Distribution

Saturday, November 4     |     2:00pm – 5:00pm     |     AFM Gallery, Loews Hotel


Box Office in Nigeria: A Case Study

Kene Mparu, Managing Director, Film House Cinema

Bridging the gap for International Distribution of Nollywood Films

Nollywood Versus Hollywood in Nigeria


NIFS Production Summit and Talent Spotlight
Sponsored by ASCEND Talent Agency and Jambo Play

Sunday, November 5     |     2:00pm – 5:00pm     |     AFM Gallery, Loews Hotel


Production Summit

Broad discussions covering new dimensions in production; the importance of casting; international production/co-production as the next frontiers for Nigeria producers; budgets, timelines and the benefits of the quick turn-around; and Nigeria as a viable production location.

Ascend Talent Spotlight


Romania Welcomes Hollywood

Monday, November 6     |     11:30am – 1:00pm     |     AFM Studio, Loews Hotel


30%-35% savings over Prague, 50% savings or more over London, up to 80% savings over U.S. prices, landscape galore, experienced crews by US standards and great actors, internationally acclaimed local producers now ready for co-productions with the U.S., and an EU mandatory quota of local content for both broadcast and streaming – are these strong enough arguments to think “Romania” for your next project?

We’ll have an open conversation about all aspects of shooting and/or co-producing in Romania. Brought to you by Double 4 Studios and Romanian Filmmakers Association (UCIN). Reception to follow under the auspices of The Consulate General of Romania in Los Angeles.

Andrei Zinca, Director/Producer; Owner, Double 4 Studios US
Robert Bernacchi, Producer/VP of Production, Skydance Media US
Andrei Boncea, Producer/Co-Owner, Frame Film Romania & Former VP of Content, CME
Mihai Fulger, Member of the Board, Romanian National Film Centre & Director, National Film Archives
Bogdan Moncea, Producer, Castel Film Studios Romania
Ada Solomon, Producer/Owner, Hi Film Productions Romania


Only in Louisiana

Monday, November 6   |   2:00pm – 6:00pm   |   AFM Gallery, Loews Hotel


For over 15 years, Louisiana has set the standard for motion picture production incentives throughout the world. 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. Recent enhancements to the tax credit program in Louisiana is guaranteed to set the bar even higher. Join officials from the state of Louisiana, regional representatives, trade organizations, and Louisiana businesses as they discuss recent changes to Louisiana’s incentive program.


How to Get the Best Music For Your Project and Save Time & Money

Monday, November 6     |     3:00pm – 4:15pm     |     AFM Studio, Loews Hotel


Original film score or licensed music? From hiring a Composer or Music Supervisor to clearing your music and music-related residuals… we will answer real world questions and explain how to stick to your critically important post-production budget.
Presented in partnership with Film Musicians Secondary Markets Fund.
Dennis Dreith, Perseverance Records Recording Artist; Owner, Magic Closet Music
Kim Roberts Hedgpeth, Executive Director, Film Musicians Secondary Markets Fund
Stefanie Taub, National Director, Music, SAG-AFTRA
Paul Broucek, President, Warner Brothers Music
Reggie Wilson, Owner/President, Guardian Music Services


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.

Qualified Attendee badge holders are invited to attend one Carousel Cocktail. Evening receptions will take place Friday – Monday, November 3, 4, 5 & 6, from 5:00 to 7:30.