Amy Baer’s experience in the entertainment industry uniquely spans major studios, independent financiers, and producing. Collectively, the films she has supervised and/or produced have grossed nearly $2 billion in worldwide box office. Her first film as a producer was the 2013 hit LAST VEGAS (starring Michael Douglas, Robert DeNiro, Morgan Freeman, and Kevin Kline) which grossed $136MM worldwide.
In 2012, Baer raised a 7-figure development fund and launched Gidden Media, a content incubation and production company. Its first film, the romantic drama MARY SHELLEY starring Elle Fanning (THE BEGUILED) and directed by Haifaa al-Mansour (WADJDA), had its World Premiere at the 2017 Toronto Film Festival. It was released by IFC in May 2018.
GM’s next film, the inspirational true story BRIAN BANKS, had its World Premiere at the Los Angeles Film Festival on September 22nd, 2018, and won the LAFF Audience Award. Starring Aldis Hodge (“Underground”) and Oscar nominee Greg Kinnear (LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE) and directed by Tom Shadyac (BRUCE ALMIGHTY) the film tells the story of Brian Banks, an All-American high school football player whose life was upended in 2002 when falsely accused of rape. With the help of the California Innocence Project, Banks got his conviction overturned and his name cleared in 2012 after a decade of wrongful imprisonment and parole. Bleecker Street will release BRIAN BANKS on August 9, 2019.
Before starting her own company, Baer served as President & CEO of CBS Films (2007-2011), launching the division for CBS Corp. Baer spent the previous 17 years at Sony Pictures Entertainment, where she oversaw such hit films as 1997’s MY BEST FRIEND’S WEDDING, Oscar-nominated ADAPTATION (2001), S.W.A.T. (2002), SOMETHING’S GOTTA GIVE (2003), and the 2006 holiday hit THE PURSUIT OF HAPPYNESS, which earned Will Smith an Oscar nomination. She also developed the 2011 Oscar-nominated Sony hit MONEYBALL, starring Brad Pitt. She began her career at Creative Artists Agency in 1988 as an assistant to the late Jay Moloney.
Baer became Board President of Women in Film in June 2018, stepping into the role at a critical juncture in Hollywood, as the entertainment industry faces a broad reckoning over gender disparities and sexual harassment. Founded in 1973, Women In Film advocates for and advances the careers of women working in the screen industries—to achieve parity and transform culture.
Baer graduated magna cum laude from Georgetown University in 1988 with a B.A. in English literature. She is married to producer Matt Baer (UNBROKEN) and has two sons.
Deborah Liebling has been a significant comedy influencer in film and television, both as an executive and as a producer. She recently partnered with renowned film director Sam Raimi in a new TV company with Skydance Media. Together, they have set up a new series and a feature film at Amazon, as well as a series at UCP. Debbie is also currently producing several comedy television shows for Comedy Central and TruTV, as well as having just completed a feature film for Studio 71.
Deborah was president of Red Hour Films where, with her partner Ben Stiller, she has produced four new television series—”Another Period” (3 seasons) and the critically-acclaimed “Big Time in Hollywood, Florida”—which join “The Meltdown with Jonah and Kumail” (3 seasons) on Comedy Central and “The Birthday Boys” (2 seasons) on IFC, which she produced with Bob Odenkirk.
Prior to joining Red Hour, she was President of Production at Universal Pictures where she oversaw the development and production of many hit films including BRIDESMAIDS, THE CHANGE-UP, PITCH PERFECT, TOWER HEIST, AMERICAN PIE 2, CONTRABAND, SAFE HOUSE, TED, and WANDERLUST.
In 2009, Deborah served as President of Fox Atomic Pictures, a start-up genre division of 20th Century Fox that released JENNIFER’S BODY, I LOVE YOU BETH COOPER, and THE ROCKER. As Executive Vice President of features at 20th Century Fox Deborah was responsible for the hits BORAT, DODGEBALL, JOHN TUCKER MUST DIE, BECAUSE OF WINN DIXIE, STUCK ON YOU, and many other successful feature films.
Deborah was chief development and production executive for Comedy Central for the previous seven years. There she was solely responsible for the development and realization of the cultural phenomenon “South Park” (as well as Producer on the film SOUTH PARK: BIGGER, LONGER, AND UNCUT), THE MAN SHOW (starring Jimmy Kimmel and Adam Carolla), WIN BEN STEIN’S MONEY, BATTLEBOTS, PRIMETIME GLICK (with Martin Short), and many other original series on the channel.
Deborah is a graduate of Boston University, College of Communications where she was asked to come back and deliver the Commencement Speech in 2010 and received a Distinguished Alumni Award. She has been nominated for several Emmy Awards as Executive Producer of “South Park.”
Deborah holds board positions at:
Stephanie Allain produces award-winning films by writer-directors that make headlines, launch careers, and shape the cultural landscape.
She started her film career as a reader at CAA and worked as a Story Analyst at 20th Century Fox, Warner Bros., and Columbia Pictures. In 1990, she supervised John Singleton’s BOYZ N THE HOOD and was promoted to Senior Vice President of Columbia Pictures, where she worked for a decade.
Allain founded Homegrown Pictures in 2003 and has produced HUSTLE & FLOW, SOMETHING NEW, BEYOND THE LIGHTS, DEAR WHITE PEOPLE, BURNING SANDS, FRENCH DIRTY, LEIMERT PARK, and many more.
From 2011-2016 she serves as Director of the Los Angeles Film Festival, turning it into the most diverse festival in the world, attracting celebrated artists and tens of thousands of attendees.
She is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Writers Guild of America, Producers Guild of America, and the Dramatists Guild of America. She sits on the board of Women In Film and is a founding member of ReFrame. She teaches at the USC Peter Stark Program.
Stasia Washington is a financial advisor and fiduciary assisting individuals and families to achieve their goals and objectives. She also helps family foundations and public charities to realize their long-term financial objectives through strategic planning, cash, and investment management. Ms. Washington has extensive experience and knowledge in the fields of investment management, trust services, loans, deposits, and philanthropic services.
Ms. Washington’s honors include the 2019 Distinguished Alumnus of the Year Award, Pepperdine University Graziadio Business School, 2018 Los Angeles Business Journal Most Influential Wealth Manager List, the National STEM Top Woman in Finance Award, the American Cancer Society Award of Merit, and the NAACP Los Angeles Chapter Outstanding Leader of the Year Award. The Mexican-American Business Coalition and the Asian Business Association honored her as an Outstanding Business Leader.
Washington currently serves her community as a member of the Corporate Advisory Council for the Girl Scouts of Greater Los Angeles, and as Treasurer for Women In Film’s Board of Directors. Previously, Washington served on the Board of Directors of KCET Public Broadcasting Television, MusiCares Foundation for the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, and the Greater Los Angeles YWCA, to name a few.
Washington is a graduate of Pepperdine University, George Graziadio Business School of Business and Management with a Master of Business Administration degree and University of California at Los Angeles, Anderson Business School’s Leadership Institute.
Tara Kole is a partner at Gang, Tyre, Ramer & Brown. She has an extensive film and television practice, representing a number of major actors, directors, producers, and writers in their entertainment transactions, including Academy Award- and Emmy-winning talent. She has structured and negotiated groundbreaking transactions in the media and entertainment industries, resulting in both lucrative financial deals for clients as well as extensive creative control. In addition, she has helped clients identify and exploit important ancillary revenue sources, such as publishing, endorsements, and merchandising. She has also helped clients build major digital companies that have begun to challenge and shift traditional paradigms in the entertainment and lifestyle business.
Tara is also a professor at the USC Gould School of Law, where she teaches a course in entertainment negotiations. She has been featured in The New York Times, The Guardian, Variety (in their “Dealmakers Impact Report”), The Hollywood Reporter, and is an Op-Ed contributor to The Washington Post, and is a regular speaker at entertainment industry events, including the USC Entertainment Law Symposium, the UCLA Entertainment Law Symposium, and the Harvard Law School Bicentennial. She is also on the Director’s Council of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles.
She is a member of the Board of Directors of Women In Film, where she also serves as a mentor to aspiring female filmmakers and writers, and is on the Board of Directors of Film2Future, which provides education and technical skills focused on the entertainment industry to a select group of dynamic and diverse high school students.
Prior to attending law school, Tara was an executive in the Acquisitions Department at Lionsgate Films, where she also started their New Media division. She graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Amherst College with a B.A. in English and graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Law School, where she served as the Articles and Commentaries Chair for the Harvard Law Review. She was a law clerk for Judge Alex Kozinski of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and for the Honorable Justice Antonin Scalia of the U.S. Supreme Court. Tara lives in Los Angeles with her husband Michael Dore and their son Henry.
Orly Adelson has been recognized as one of the most influential women in entertainment, music, and sports programming, boasting an extensive and diverse background that encompasses reality television, live-event shows, scripted series, and feature length movies. She most recently served as president of ITV Studios America, where she oversaw production and development of such properties as “Hell’s Kitchen” and “Best Time Ever with Neil Patrick Harris.” Prior to that, she was president of dick clark productions, where she executive produced shows like “The American Music Awards,” “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve,” “The Academy of Country Music Awards,” and “The Golden Globe Awards,” for which she received three consecutive Primetime Emmy nominations. Currently, she is executive producing the “Good Witch” series for Hallmark, based on the successful seven-movie franchise, which she also executive produced.
Adriana Alberghetti is a partner at WME|IMG in the Motion Picture department. Her clients include Shane Black (THE NICE GUYS, IRON MAN 3), Scott Derrickson (DOCTOR STRANGE, THE EXORCISM OF EMILY ROSE), Michael Cuesta (AMERICAN ASSASSIN, “Homeland”), Laeta Kalogridis (ALTERED CARBON, SHUTTER ISLAND), Marti Noxon (TO THE BONE, “Unreal”), Jamie Vanderbilt (TRUTH, WHITE HOUSE DOWN), William Oldroyd (LADY MACBETH), Lisa Joy (“Westworld,” INTERSTELLAR), Akiva Goldsman (A BEAUTIFUL MIND, I AM LEGEND), Brian Lynch (THE SECRET LIFE OF PETS, MINIONS), Brie Larson (CAPTAIN MARVEL, ROOM), Lenny Abrahamson (ROOM, FRANK), Jim Brooks (EDGE OF SEVENTEEN, “The Simpsons”), Tommy Kail (Hamilton). She has three children and resides in Los Angeles with her husband.
Rowena Arguelles is a Motion Picture Agent at entertainment and sports agency Creative Artists Agency (CAA). Arguelles works in the Los Angeles office and represents screenwriters and directors, including Patty Jenkins (WONDER WOMAN), Ezra Edelman (“O.J.: Made in America”), Ava DuVernay (A WRINKLE IN TIME, 13TH), Catherine Hardwicke (TWILIGHT), Charles Randolph (THE BIG SHORT), Erin Cressida Wilson (GIRL ON THE TRAIN), Noah Oppenheim (JACKIE), Abi Morgan (IRON LADY), Alex Dinelaris (BIRDMAN), and Chris Terrio (ARGO, STAR WARS: EPISODE IX).
Arguelles is on the board of Women In Film, a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and a founding member of the Time’s Up movement. She graduated with general and departmental honors from Vassar College.
Lake Bell, director, writer, and actor, is an unabashed creative force and distinct voice of her generation.
Bell has several projects in the pipeline for 2019, most notably a FOX pilot which she is co-writing with Liz Meriwether, executive producing, directing, and starring in, called “Bless This Mess.” In 2017 on the big screen, Bell directed her second feature film, I DO…UNTIL I DON’T, which she also wrote and starred in opposite Ed Helms, Mary Steenburgen, Paul Reiser, Amber Heard, Wyatt Cenac, and Dolly Wells.
In 2013, the actress made waves at the Sundance Film Festival when she premiered her debut feature IN A WORLD… which she wrote, starred in, and directed. The film received rave reviews and Bell won the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award. Lake received a number of nominations and awards for this film including an Independent Spirit Award nomination for Best First Screenplay, the New Voices in Screenwriting Award at the Nantucket Film Festival, an American Comedy Award nomination for Comedic Actress – Film, the Phoenix Film Critics Society Award for Breakthrough Performance Behind the Camera, a Chicago Film Critics Association nomination for Most Promising Filmmaker, and Alliance of Women Film Journalists nominations for Best Woman Director and Best Woman Screenwriter, among others. The film was named one of the Top 10 Independent Films of 2013.
Bell recently ended her seven-year stint as a series regular on the Emmy Award-winning Adult Swim series “Childrens Hospital,” created by Rob Corddry. In addition to appearing on the show, Bell directed several of its most acclaimed episodes. Her other credits include films such as NO ESCAPE, MAN UP, IT’S COMPLICATED, WHAT HAPPENS IN VEGAS, BLACK ROCK, PRIDE AND GLORY, and MILLION DOLLAR ARM.
Esther Chang is a partner at WME and co-head of the agency’s talent department. She represents a diverse roster of leading talent such as Eric Bana, Priyanka Chopra, Daveed Diggs, Drake, Dave Franco, Naomie Harris, Riley Keough, Yifei Liu, Dylan Minnette, Elisabeth Moss, Bob Odenkirk, Keri Russell, Ty Sheridan, Dan Stevens, and Letitia Wright.
Chang began her career at the William Morris Agency, and was promoted to agent in September 2001. She is a graduate of Columbia University, where she majored in English literature and minored in Asian American studies.
Chang resides in Los Angeles with her husband and two young children.
For the past 30 years, Bonnie Eskenazi has regularly handled some of Hollywood’s most high-profile and landmark entertainment disputes for some of the industry’s leading performers, directors, writers, producers, rights holders, studios, and talent agents. In litigation, she represents plaintiffs and defendants in a variety of litigation matters, primarily focusing on entertainment disputes over issues such as royalties and profit participations, copyright ownership, idea theft, contracts, defamation, invasion of privacy, merchandise and licensing, music distribution, and new technology. She also acts as outside general counsel for the Bob Marley Estate. She teaches Entertainment Law at Stanford Law School and is a guest lecturer at Harvard Law School’s Entertainment Law class. She is a founding member of the Los Angeles nonprofit organizations Festival of New American Musicals and Reprise 2.0. Ms. Eskenazi is the only woman on the management committee of her firm and she created an all-female marketing pod to mentor some of the young female lawyers at her firm in ways to help them become rainmakers. Throughout her career, Ms. Eskenazi has spoken out on gender issues and the importance of supporting women in all aspects of the business world.
Jane Fleming is a founding partner with Mark Ordesky in Court Five, a multi-platform media company focused on developing and converting diverse intellectual property and brands into bold filmed entertainment for distribution in all media worldwide. Over the last three years, she has been a prolific producer of film and television, including LOVELY MOLLY, THE FROZEN GROUND, #REALITYHIGH, and the critically acclaimed ABC series “The Quest.”
Ms. Fleming forged her career as a senior executive at New Line Cinema, ultimately holding the position of Senior Vice President, Business Development. From 2006-2010, Ms. Fleming served as Board President of Women In Film. She is also a member of the Producers Guild of America and the Television Academy.
Nisha Ganatra is an Emmy nominee and Golden Globe winner for her work as the Director/Producer of “Transparent.” Currently Nisha is directing the feature film LATE NIGHT starring Mindy Kaling and Emma Thompson. She is writing a one-hour pilot script for ABC and recently sold a half-hour pilot to NBC/UTV with Amy Poehler producing. She was the Co-Executive Producer/Director of “Better Things” and she was the Co-Executive Producer/Director for “You Me Her.”
Nisha’s acclaimed debut feature, CHUTNEY POPCORN with Jill Hennessy, won audience awards at the Berlin International Film Festival, Newport Film Festival, Outfest Los Angeles, Frameline—the San Francisco International LGBTQ Film Festival—and many more.
Her sophomore feature COSMOPOLITAN, starring Carol Kane and Roshan Seth, premiered at the South by Southwest Film Festival and was selected by Input as one of the top ten films shown on public television. It was the only narrative film chosen for this distinction.
Nisha wrote and directed the episodes “Beholder” and “Code Academy” for the ITVS/PBS series “Futurestates,” a modern day “Twilight Zone” series. Both screened at the Tribeca Film Festival and South By Southwest Film Festival.
Nisha has directed episodes of “Mr. Robot,” “Girls,” “Last Man on Earth,” “Transparent,” “Shameless,” “Red Oaks,” “The Mindy Project,” “Dear White People,” “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” and “Love.”
Laura W. Gordon, CPA founded Gordon & Associates, An Accountancy Corporation, in January 1992, which is currently located in Encino, California. Gordon & Associates is a business management firm representing elite entertainers, professional athletes, small business owners, executives, and high net worth individuals. Gordon & Associates has emerged as a premiere boutique firm with an internationally-renowned clientele. Clients include award-winning actors, comedians, recording artists, writers, directors, and producers. Clients have won multiple awards including Oscars, Emmys, Golden Globes, Grammys, Image Awards, Stellar Awards, and Video Music Awards.
Gordon & Associates also provides accounting, tax, and small business consulting services. The firm helps clients build wealth, protect assets, and secure their financial future. The firm’s comprehensive financial services include: wealth management, small business development, strategic budgeting, tax planning, and preparation.
Gordon & Associates’ mission is to provide business management and accounting services at the highest level of professionalism and integrity based on sound business practices and biblical principles.
Laura began her career with a regional CPA firm specializing in governmental and nonprofit audits. She graduated from the King’s University Seminary with a Master of Divinity, and from UCLA with a Bachelor of Arts in Economics.
Jamila Hunter was named Senior Vice President, ABC Comedy, in October 2016. She is responsible for managing the comedy department and overseeing the development and production of all new network sitcoms. Before stepping into this role, Jamila was vice president of ABC Comedy for five years where she worked on projects ranging from the Emmy-nominated and Peabody Award-winning series “black-ish” to audience favorites “Fresh Off the Boat” and “The Real O’Neals.” During her first year at ABC she also supervised Tim Allen’s return to network television, “Last Man Standing,” which ran for six seasons.
Prior to this position, Jamila was a key member of the creative team that launched OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network and Senior Vice President of Alternative and Digital Programming at NBC Entertainment. With an emphasis on developing unscripted comedies at NBC, Jamila shepherded projects that marked the return to network television of two high-profile comedians, Jerry Seinfeld (“The Marriage Ref”) and Rosie O’Donnell (“Rosie Live!”). In addition to her primetime development duties, Jamila worked closely with NBC’s digital studio to target writers, directors, and talent for their original internet series.
Before she was appointed to her position at NBC, Jamila served as Vice President of Comedy Development for 20th Century Fox Television. During her time at the prolific studio, Hunter was responsible for developing and overseeing new comedies (live-action and animation) for network television. She joined the comedy team as they launched two successful series: “My Name is Earl” at NBC and “How I Met Your Mother” at CBS. In this capacity, she worked with well-renowned producers, directors, and talent including Liz Meriwether (“New Girl”), Steve Levitan (“Modern Family”), Dan Harmon (“Community”), Darren Star (“Sex and the City”), Robert Smigel (“Saturday Night Live”), and Marlon Wayans. In addition to maintaining relationships with established talent, Hunter was also instrumental in identifying and fostering relationships with promising new comedians, writers, directors, and animators—both in the United States and abroad.
Jamila served as Vice President of Development and Production at Bravo preceding her time at 20th Century Fox. She joined Bravo shortly after it was acquired by NBC and was an integral part of the creative team that rebranded the channel and launched seminal shows such as “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy” and “Project Runway.” As the head of Bravo’s west coast development team, Hunter was charged with building a Los Angeles-based staff while targeting and shepherding new programming ventures at the expanding cable channel.
Hunter served as Vice President of Alternative Programming for NBC Entertainment prior to her post at Bravo. She was the second executive to join the network’s nascent alternative department and was responsible for supervising all aspects of development, production, and post-production in the rapidly growing area of alternative programming. During her tenure at the network, the alternative team launched numerous iconic reality series including “Last Comic Standing,” “Fear Factor,” and “The Apprentice.” Before donning her VP stripes, Hunter served as Director of Alternative Programs at NBC, a position she held from July of 2001 to December of 2002.
From July 2000 to July 2001, Hunter was Director of Movies and Miniseries at NBC. In this role she oversaw the development and production of various longform projects. She was promoted to that position after serving as Manager of Movies and Miniseries from August 1999 to July 2000. Jamila briefly left NBC from June 1998 to August 1999 and worked at Robert Greenwald Productions, acting as the Manager of Development for the independent production company. Ms. Hunter started her career at NBC as an assistant in the Movies and Miniseries department in May of 1997.
A native of San Diego, California, Hunter holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia. She currently resides in Studio City, California.
Ghen Laraya Long is an experienced international technology and entertainment attorney. She specializes in transactional contracts for the creation, production, and distribution of traditional media content over new media platforms. Her most recent project was permissions on Nell Scovell’s memoir Just The Funny Parts. She has a roster of technotainment clients including from producers, directors, writers, musicians, and actors as well as startups for whom she provides advice and production attorney services.
Prior to being VP of Business and Legal Affairs for Mandalay Digital Group Inc. and its wholly-owned subsidiary Digital Turbine Inc., she was the Assistant General Counsel and Director of Mobile Partnerships for CBS Corporation, International Corporate Counsel for Amp’d Mobile, and Business and Legal Affairs Counsel for Tokyopop! Inc.
Tracy McGrath served as the Senior Vice President of Physical Production for Miramax/Dimension Films and The Weinstein Company, overseeing such films as GOOD WILL HUNTING, THE GREAT DEBATERS, and BAD SANTA, to name a few. She also was the Senior VP of Physical Production at CBS Films when they first formed in 2009, and was a contributor in establishing the nascent physical production department.
Previously, McGrath was Director of Physical Production and Production Finance for Disney’s Buena Vista Pictures where she oversaw film projects for Buena Vista, The Walt Disney Company, and Miramax/Dimension Films. Some of these films included the critically acclaimed 10 THINGS I HATE ABOUT YOU, COP LAND, and MUSIC OF THE HEART. In 2015 she joined New Regency Productions as the SVP of Physical Production where she oversaw production on ASSASSIN’S CREED as well as the completion of photography on THE REVENANT and pre-production of WIDOWS and AD ASTRA before joining Amazon Original Movies in 2017 as a Senior Physical Production Executive, where she is currently employed.
McGrath earned a Master of Fine Arts degree at the American Film Institute where she was awarded the Mary Pickford Foundation Scholarship for the work she completed there. She also received a Master’s degree in French literature and language from New York University while studying at the Université de Paris.
Tracy McKnight has earned a place in the entertainment industry as a highly sought-after music supervisor and creative executive. With roles as former Head of Film Music for Lionsgate, prolific music supervisor, record producer, and label co-founder, her kinetic enthusiasm pushes her to find new ways of sharing her passions with an ever-growing audience seeking quality projects and music.
Current projects include music consulting on Disney’s A WRINKLE IN TIME directed by Ava DuVernay, critically-acclaimed 2018 Sundance Special Jury Award-winner MATANGI / MAYA / M.I.A., National Geographic’s Academy Award-winning documentary feature FREE SOLO, Ed Burns’ latest SUMMERTIME, and Dana Adam Shapiro’s DAUGHTERS OF THE SEXUAL REVOLUTION: THE UNTOLD STORY OF THE DALLAS COWBOYS CHEERLEADERS which premiered at SXSW 2018. McKnight has worked with some of today’s most acclaimed and influential directors including Cary Joji Fukunaga, Ava DuVernay, John Waters, Jim Jarmusch, McG, Michel Gondry, and Harold Ramis.
In her post at Lionsgate, Ms. McKnight oversaw projects including THE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE and the franchise’s first installment THE HUNGER GAMES—a record-breaking worldwide box office phenomenon. The Hunger Games: District 12 & Beyond soundtrack album debuted at #1 on Billboard’s Top 200 chart and was the top selling soundtrack for 2012. Both soundtrack albums garnered Golden Globe and Grammy nominations. She was also responsible for soundtracks for NOW YOU SEE ME, RED 2, A MADEA CHRISTMAS, WARRIOR, director John Singleton’s ABDUCTION, THE NEXT THREE DAYS by Academy Award-winning director Paul Haggis, and the hit action film THE EXPENDABLES.
Prior to Lionsgate, Ms. McKnight was a celebrated Music Supervisor with years of experience spanning a diversity of genres. Her resume of over one hundred films boasts a balance of studio films (ADVENTURELAND, EL CANTANTE, THE HOAX, FRIENDS WITH MONEY, THE ICE HARVEST), acclaimed documentaries (BORN INTO BROTHELS, NO END IN SIGHT, MURDERBALL, WORDPLAY, MY ARCHITECT), and independent films (THE MESSENGER, DELIRIOUS, OFF THE BLACK, COFFEE AND CIGARETTES, RAISING VICTOR VARGAS).
Before her tenure at Lionsgate, Ms. McKnight co-founded Commotion Records with former Sony Records head Walter Yetnikoff. Commotion Records released an impressive slate including the acclaimed film soundtracks from HOTEL RWANDA, THE COOLER, DEDICATION, MYSTERIOUS SKIN, and MY ARCHITECT. Ms. McKnight also previously headed two independent film companies’ music departments—at Good Machine, founded by renowned producers James Schamus and Ted Hope, and at Cary Woods’ Independent Pictures.
Ms. McKnight sits on the highly prestigious board of directors of Women In Film; she chairs the music committee. She is also the first music supervisor to be invited to sit on the TV Academy Peer Group Executive Committee.
Andrea Nelson Meigs, a Senior Talent and Literary Agent at ICM Partners, was invited to join the 2016 Membership Class of the prestigious Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. For over 18 years, she has built a clientele that consists of actors, writers, producers, and directors. In addition to negotiating multi-million dollar deals in television, film, and theater, she has also brokered book deals, brand endorsements, and speaking engagements.
Andrea’s clients are ones that impact and influence pop culture all around the world. To name a few, she represents: Beyoncé Knowles Carter—multiple Grammy-winning artist, Golden Globe nominee, international superstar and icon; Quvenzhané Wallis—the youngest actress to be nominated for an Oscar in the history of the Motion Picture Academy for her performance in BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD and nominated for a Golden Globe in the all-American/iconic role of ANNIE; Ellen Burstyn—the Tony, Emmy, Oscar, and Golden Globe-winning actress who is about to make her directorial debut, at the young age of 85, this year.
In addition to having represented Tracee Ellis Ross, Jurnee Smollett Bell, and Cristina Saralegui (known as “the Latina Oprah”) over the years, Andrea currently represents: Nathalie Emmanuel (Emmy Award-winning actress in “Game of Thrones,” THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS franchise, and THE MAZE RUNNER); J. Cole (one of the best-selling rap artists of 2018 with upcoming documentary film and TV projects); Jill Scott (multiple Grammy-winning artist and acclaimed actress in the late Anthony Minghella’s THE NO. 1 LADIES’ DETECTIVE AGENCY); both Brandon Bell and Deron Horton (starring in “Dear White People” for Netflix); Emayatzy Corinealdi (Ava DuVernay’s early film MIDDLE OF NOWHERE, MILES AHEAD opposite Don Cheadle, and star of the upcoming new series for CBS called “Redline,” produced by Greg Berlanti); Alfred Enoch (“How To Get Away With Murder”); Aunjanue Ellis (Jordan Peele’s “Lovecraft Country,” Ava DuVernay’s “When They See Us,” and the star of BOOK OF NEGROS which garnered her a Best Actress Critic’s Choice nomination). Lastly, she represents writer/director Tina Gordon, who wrote the upcoming Paramount Players film WHAT MEN WANT, and wrote/directed the upcoming Universal Studios film LITTLE, which will star Regina Hall (GIRLS TRIP), Marsai Martin (“black-ish”), and Issa Rae (“Insecure”).
Andrea received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Tufts University during which time she studied in Madrid at the Universidad de Autónoma and became fluent in Spanish. She received her Juris Doctor degree from Duke University School of Law and is a member of the California State Bar. After working with Congresswoman Maxine Waters during law school and the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office after law school, she decided to change paths and pursue a career in the entertainment industry. She left the practice of law and started in the mailroom at Creative Artists Agency (CAA). She worked her way up the ranks to become a Motion Picture Talent Agent and started working with Halle Berry, Jon Voight, Christina Applegate, Jamie Foxx, Jada Pinkett Smith, and Idris Elba, to name a few. At the time, she was the only African-American Talent Agent at CAA and only the second in the agency’s history. She has since become a dominant force in the entertainment business as a trailblazer—breaking ground for other young women and people of color to follow.
Andrea appeared on the cover of Black Enterprise in their “Hot List: Best and Brightest Under 40” issue. She was on the cover of Essence magazine’s Hollywood Issue, and in a subsequent issue was profiled as the “Woman On Top” in the “Career” section. Additionally, she has been profiled and interviewed by Billboard magazine, The Hollywood Reporter, a book entitled Daughters of Men, Duke Magazine, Tufts Magazine, UCLA Medical website, Ebony magazine, and Directors magazine. In 2009 Andrea received the “P.T. Barnum Award for Excellence in Entertainment” from Tufts University, and in 2013 she became a History Maker, where her interview is archived in the permanent collection of the Library of Congress.
Along with being a member of the Council of the Motion Picture and Television Fund, Andrea was recently invited to be on the Entertainment Board of TIME’S UP. For years, she has been a Steering Committee member of American Black Film Festival (ABFF), on the Advisory Committee for the Black Filmmakers Foundation (BFF), and is a new member of the Ebell of Los Angeles. She is also a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. (an international community service organization). She regularly attends West Angeles Church with her family. Lastly, she is an active fundraiser for Cure SMA (Spinal Muscular Atrophy), a charitable organization that provides support and helps to raise funds for research in an effort to find a cure and treatment for SMA—a disease which is the number one genetic cause of death for children under the age of two.
Hannah Minghella is President of TriStar Productions and works to fulfill TriStar’s mandate to make quality commercial films from the industry’s most acclaimed filmmakers. TriStar recently released director Danny Boyle’s TRAINSPOTTING 2 with the original cast returning, as well as writer/director Edgar Wright’s BABY DRIVER starring Kevin Spacey, Jamie Foxx, Jon Hamm, Ansel Elgort, Lily James, and Eiza González. TriStar’s emphasis on quality literary material led Minghella to acquire such beloved titles as C.S. Lewis’ THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA: THE SILVER CHAIR, Paulo Coehlo’s THE ALCHEMIST, Graeme Simsion’s THE ROSIE PROJECT, Kristin Hannah’s THE NIGHTINGALE, and Norton Jester’s THE PHANTOM TOLLBOOTH.
Prior to her appointment to TriStar Productions, Minghella served as President of Production for Columbia Pictures. In that role, Minghella oversaw all aspects of development and production at the legendary motion picture label, including such films as SAUSAGE PARTY, AMERICAN HUSTLE, CAPTAIN PHILLIPS, ZERO DARK THIRTY, THE EQUALIZER, 21 JUMP STREET and 22 JUMP STREET, THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 1 and 2, and SKYFALL, the most successful James Bond film of all time.
Born in England, Minghella sits on the boards of Women In Film and City Year, Los Angeles and is a founding member of the Los Angeles Women’s Collective, a political action committee that empowers women to influence political and legislative progress.
Vanessa Morrison was named President of Fox Family in October of 2017 after serving as President of Twentieth Century Fox Animation since 2007. She previously operated as Executive Vice President at Twentieth Century Fox (live action), Senior Vice President of Production, and Vice President of Production for the studio.
Focusing on a wide range of family film projects (live action and hybrid) and animated kids television, Fox Family represents the studio’s commitment to growing its presence in the family film and television space, an important part of the unique variety TCFF offers to both filmmakers and moviegoers.
Before the creation of the new Fox Family division, Ms. Morrison oversaw the 20th Century Fox Animation film FERDINAND from director Carlos Saldanha from Blue Sky Studios, which was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature.
Prior to that, the studio released ICE AGE: COLLISION COURSE. With this fifth installment, the popular ICE AGE series has amassed more than $3.2 billion worldwide to date, making it the highest-grossing animated franchise, internationally.
In 2015, Morrison oversaw THE PEANUTS MOVIE, in which the gang we know and love from Charles Schulz’s timeless Peanuts comic strip made their big-screen debut—like they’ve never been seen before, in state-of-the-art 3D and CG animation.
Along with Reel FX Animation Studios, she oversaw the critically-acclaimed BOOK OF LIFE, produced by Guillermo del Toro, directed by Jorge R. Gutierrez, and released in October 2014. Earlier in 2014 came RIO 2, the follow-up to Fox Animation Studios’ 2011 hit RIO. Together the films, directed by Carlos Saldanha, have grossed nearly a billion dollars worldwide.
The 3D animated comedy-adventure EPIC, directed by Chris Wedge, was released in 2013. Prior to that, Morrison oversaw the 3rd and 4th installments of the ICE AGE film franchise, which includes the second- and third-largest worldwide grossing animated films; and the critically acclaimed FANTASTIC MR. FOX.
She also contributed to the success of the $295 million worldwide grossing DR. SEUSS’ HORTON HEARS A WHO!, an adaptation of Dr. Seuss’ beloved children’s book.
During her tenure at Twentieth Century Fox (live action), Morrison spearheaded the production of GARFIELD: THE MOVIE, GARFIELD: A TALE OF TWO KITTIES, CHEAPER BY THE DOZEN, CHEAPER BY THE DOZEN 2, DR. DOLITTLE 2, and FAT ALBERT.
Morrison received her B.A. from the University of California at Berkeley and an MFA in Film and Television from UCLA. She serves on the UC Berkeley Chancellor’s Board of Visitors and on the Women in Animation Advisory Board. In 2017, Morrison was recognized and honored on the Variety500 Most Influential Entertainment Business Leaders & Icons list; Black Enterprise’s 300 Most Powerful Executives in Corporate America list, and the Ebony Power 100 List. She also received the Ashley Boone Award from the African American Film Critics Association.
Gaude Paez is Vice President and Head of Corporate Communications at Hulu, where she leads the team responsible for all external communications in support of Hulu’s corporate brand, business strategy, products, technology, advertising sales, and content acquisition.
Ms. Paez joined Hulu in April 2016 from Fox Broadcasting Company (FOX), where she served as Senior Vice President, Corporate Communications & Digital Publicity for the network. Prior to that, Ms. Paez served in senior communications roles at Yahoo!, where she oversaw strategic communications for the company’s search advertising business, television startup Veoh Networks, and global public relations agency Burson-Marsteller. She began her career at New York-based Bozell Sawyer Miller Group, now Weber Shandwick, where she provided corporate communications and investor relations services to Fortune 500 clients.
Ms. Paez holds a B.A. in Psychology from Harvard College and resides in Sherman Oaks, CA with her husband, Jeff.
Ilene Kahn Power is an Emmy Award-winning and multiple Golden Globe-nominated producer of movies and miniseries such as GIA starring Angelina Jolie, ROSWELL starring Martin Sheen, WHO IS CLARK ROCKEFELLER? starring Eric McCormack, STALIN for HBO starring Robert Duvall and Julia Ormand (for which she won the Emmy for Outstanding Television Movie, WHITE MILE starring Alan Alda for HBO, ELVIS starring Jonathan Rhys Meyers for CBS, “Traffic” the miniseries for USA, FATHERLAND for HBO, and BUFFALO SOLDIERS for TNT starring Danny Glover.
Kahn Power has the distinction of being the only producer in history to have three out of five films nominated as Best Miniseries or Television Film for the Golden Globe Awards: ROSWELL, starring Kyle MacLachlan and Martin Sheen for Showtime; WHITE MILE, starring Alan Alda, Peter Gallagher, and Robert Loggia for HBO; and FATHERLAND, starring Rutger Hauer and Miranda Richardson for HBO.
She is the Executive Producer of the Lifetime film ROMEO KILLER starring Eric McCormack and Matt Barr, and is Executive Producer on the recent award-winning documentary feature REMOTE AREA MEDICAL directed by Jeff Reichert and Farihah Zaman, which played theatrically in 12 cities in December of 2016. She was also Executive Producer on BUFFALO SOLDIERS, starring Danny Glover for Turner Network Television. Her film THEY CALL ME SIRR, which starred Academy Award nominee Michael Clarke Duncan (THE GREEN MILE) for Showtime, was nominated for an Emmy as Outstanding Children’s Special.
Kahn Power is a former Vice President of HBO Films where she developed and oversaw the production of over sixty films including MURDERERS AMONG US: THE SIMON WIESENTHAL STORY, JOSEPHINE BAKER, and CITIZEN X. She and her husband Derek Power are principals of Kahn Power Pictures, a production and management company. She chairs and produces WIF’s Legacy Series and is a member of Northwestern University’s C100, a select group of alumnae from many professions which mentors young female graduates. Kahn Power is currently developing limited event series, series, and movies for networks and streaming platforms such as FX, TNT, Amazon, Lifetime, and HBO, as well as two documentaries, INTO THE HEART and I, RAONI, directed by J.P. Dutilleux.
Keri Putnam is CEO of the nonprofit Sundance Institute whose mission is to support, champion, and amplify independent artists in film, media, and theatre, and grow an engaged community to champion their work. Putnam oversees the Institute’s annual Sundance Film Festival, as well as its wide array of programs to support storytelling artists around the world annually, including signature residential labs, year-long fellowships, workshops, direct granting, strategic and educational resources, and ongoing mentorship.
Since Putnam joined Sundance Institute in 2010, the organization has launched international festivals and labs in China, India, the MENA region, the UK, and Morocco; launched new labs and festival programs featuring expanded episodic content, VR and new media, and short-form storytelling; expanded its creative producing initiative to support finance, marketing, and distribution of independent work; and built several keystone initiatives to foster inclusion in independent film, including the Women at Sundance program.
Prior to joining Sundance, Putnam was President of Production at Miramax films, a division of the Walt Disney Company, where she oversaw Acquisitions, Development, Production, Post-Production, and Production Finance, and made or acquired films including The Coen Brothers’ NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN, Paul Thomas Anderson’s THERE WILL BE BLOOD, Ben Affleck’s directorial debut GONE BABY GONE, Stephen Frears’ THE QUEEN, Greg Mottola’s ADVENTURELAND, and Julian Schnabel’s THE DIVING BELL AND THE BUTTERFLY. During her 4-year tenure at the company, Miramax films were recognized with 34 Academy Award nominations and 7 wins.
Putnam spent the first 15 years of her career at HBO, starting as an assistant in original programming and ending as EVP of movies and miniseries overseeing the creative team in this area. She supervised production of 48 films and mini-series, which collectively were nominated for or won over 50 Emmy Awards, as well as numerous Peabody Awards, Golden Globes, and other honors. She was also a key leadership team member in building and launching a theatrical division called Picturehouse, in partnership with New Line Cinema, that made and released several acclaimed films including MARIA FULL OF GRACE, AMERICAN SPLENDOR, and Gus van Sant’s Cannes Palme d’Or winner ELEPHANT.
Pat Quinn started Quinn Media Management in 2008. The company opens doors to Hollywood for international companies. QMM finds deals, makes introductions, and creates profitable business ventures for clients.
QMM clients consist of international television series and formats, leading European broadcasters, and other media companies. Current and recent clients include Big Mountain Productions, Audiovisual Finland, Aetios Distribution, Waddell Media, Fiction Factory/Severn Screen, Grace Blue (global executive search), Wild Rover Productions, Northern Ireland Screen, Screen Leaders EU, and TRC’s International Development Programme sponsored by the UK channels BBC and Ch 4, TV2 (Norway), and TV3 (Ireland).
CEO and Founder Pat Quinn began her career as an agent, representing, actors, writers, and producers at the following Hollywood agencies: ICM, Metropolitan Talent Agency, and Paradigm Agency. As a studio executive, she was Vice President of Series Development at Warner Bros. Television. She developed, marketed, and produced projects for major U.S. theatrical companies including the American Conservatory Theater, the American Repertory Theatre, and the National Playwrights Conference.
Rena Ronson heads the Independent Film Group and is a partner at leading global talent and entertainment company United Talent Agency. One of the industry’s preeminent packaging and finance executives, Ronson specializes in global film finance, distribution, and marketing strategies for independent and co-financed features, helping the world’s most acclaimed independent filmmakers see their work reach global audiences.
Ronson oversees a group of agents known for packaging and representing many high-profile and critically-praised independently financed films from a diverse range of American and international filmmakers, including Greta Gerwig, Asghar Farhadi, Wes Anderson, Michael Showalter, Judd Apatow, Marielle Heller, Haifaa al-Mansour, Noah Baumbach, James Ponsoldt, and Mike White, to name a few.
Most recently, Ronson played an integral role in the 2018 Academy Award nominated films I, TONYA, CALL ME BY YOUR NAME, and LADY BIRD, as well as Bryan Fogel’s Oscar-winning documentary ICARUS. Throughout her career, Ronson has been involved in numerous productions and co-productions, packaging, structuring, financing, and selling hit films, including the Apatow production THE BIG SICK, Craig Gillespie’s I, TONYA, Amy Schumer’s I FEEL PRETTY, and Ted Melfi’s HIDDEN FIGURES.
She also helped structure the intricate UK/Irish/Canadian co-production financing and packaging of the 2016 Academy Award-nominated film ROOM and secured the first-ever co-production between Germany and Saudi Arabia for al-Mansour’s 2013 film WADJDA. Ronson is also known for working with acclaimed filmmakers on their directorial debuts, including Greta Gerwig’s LADY BIRD, Don Cheadle’s MILES AHEAD, Marielle Heller’s DIARY OF A TEENAGE GIRL, Jill Soloway’s AFTERNOON DELIGHT, and Jonás Cuarón’s DESIERTO, among others.
Cathy Schulman, a Best Picture Academy Award-winning producer and veteran film executive, is the President and CEO of Welle Entertainment, a film and television production and finance company that opened its doors in 2017. Schulman was most recently the Head of Production for STX Entertainment. Having joined the company as one of its initial senior executives, Schulman managed an annual twelve picture slate. Recent films under Schulman’s purview include the Summer 2016 hit BAD MOMS, written and directed by THE HANGOVER’s Jon Lucas and Scott Moore and starring Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell, and Christina Applegate; and the critical darling THE EDGE OF SEVENTEEN, written and directed by Kelly Fremon Craig, and starring Woody Harrelson and Hailee Steinfeld, for whom it garnered a Golden Globe nomination. Under her own Bull’s Eye Entertainment banner, Schulman produced CRASH, directed by Paul Haggis and starring Sandra Bullock, Don Cheadle, Matt Dillon, and Terrence Howard. In addition to Schulman receiving the film’s Best Picture Oscar in 2006, CRASH received Academy Awards for Best Original Screenplay and Best Editing. Among many of the notable films Schulman has produced are HORNS, VOICES, BERNIE, SOUL SURFER, THUMBSUCKER, and THE ILLUSIONIST. She also developed and arranged the financing for Martin Scorsese’s GANGS OF NEW YORK.
Schulman served as the Board President of Women In Film, the industry’s leading advocacy organization for women in media, from 2011 to 2018. Schulman is also a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, a USC Stark Program producer’s mentor, and has taught graduate level film producing at UCLA and the Dodge College of Film Media and Arts at Chapman University, where she was awarded an Honorary Doctorate. She has also served as a judge for the prestigious Samuel Goldwyn Writing Awards. She is a notable industry spokesperson and public speaker and most recently gave the 2016 media address for International Women’s Day at the United Nations. Schulman is a graduate of Yale University, with a double major in Theater Studies and History of Art. She is the mother of one daughter and resides in Los Angeles, California.
Syrinthia Studer serves as Executive Vice President of Acquisitions for Paramount Pictures. She is responsible for acquiring films for theatrical release as well as for worldwide distribution across multiple platforms. Among her acquisitions are the breakout comedy BOOK CLUB starring Jane Fonda, Diane Keaton, Mary Steenburgen, and Candice Bergen, and the action-packed caper OVERDRIVE starring Scott Eastwood.
Studer previously held the position of Senior Vice President of Marketing and Acquisitions for Paramount Pictures’ Worldwide Home Media and TV Licensing divisions, where she launched and managed the studio’s efforts focused on ancillary-driven acquisitions, overseeing the negotiation and acquisition of groundbreaking domestic and international films. She was responsible for a multi-picture relationship with IFC Films that included the home media release of the award-winning feature film BOYHOOD, film festival favorites THE INTERVENTION, GOAT, A.C.O.D., ASHBY, and LOVE, ROSIE, and numerous internationally-distributed features, including Academy Award winner SPOTLIGHT, for select territories. She additionally oversaw home entertainment marketing efforts on behalf of Paramount’s network and cable brand partners including CBS, MTV, Comedy Central, Nickelodeon, BET, and Showtime.
Prior to Paramount, Studer served as Vice President, Strategic Marketing for Loews Cineplex Entertainment, where she set the strategic vision for the theater chain’s domestic new business development unit and oversaw all ad sales relationships and revenue-generating promotions for the company. Her career also included business development and promotional marketing roles with Fortune 500 companies including General Mills and IBM.
Studer holds a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from Michigan State University.
Talitha Watkins is a Motion Picture Talent Agent at leading entertainment and sports agency Creative Artists Agency (CAA). Watkins is based in the Los Angeles office and represents many of the world’s leading directors and actors. In addition, Watkins helps build out the agency’s multicultural business and capabilities and creates enterprise opportunities around diverse talent. Watkins also provides insights on multicultural audiences and markets to CAA’s motion picture, music, marketing, and television clients.
Watkins began her career at CAA after six years as Vice President of Multicultural Marketing at Universal Pictures, where she worked across all marketing divisions, including publicity, media, digital, creative, research, and partnerships, to maximize the studio’s outreach efforts to African-American audiences. While at Universal, she worked on numerous films, including the multicultural blockbusters FAST & FURIOUS 6, FURIOUS 7, and the record-breaking STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON. She was also instrumental in supporting the success of African-American films, such as the box office hits THE BEST MAN HOLIDAY and RIDE ALONG.
Prior to Universal Pictures, Watkins was an Assistant General Manager with Telepictures Productions, Inc. and oversaw operations, sales, and marketing for five female-focused digital properties in the Warner Bros. portfolio, including Ellentv.com, Extratv.com, and TyraShow.com, as well as worked in a development capacity for Essence.com.
Watkins received her B.B.A. in Marketing from the Fox School of Business at Temple University.
Lauren Williams is a talent manager and producer at Echo Lake Entertainment, and represents clients such as Lana Condor (“To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before,” “Deadly Class”), Italia Ricci (“Designated Survivor,” “Chasing Life”), Samantha Isler (CAPTAIN FANTASTIC, MOLLY’S GAME), Daisy Betts (“Last Resort”), Annika Noelle (“The Bold and the Beautiful”), and Dan Liu (“The Walking Dead”). She began her entertainment career in 2008 working for Sean Freidin in the TV Literary department at ICM Partners. In 2010, she was promoted to agent in their Talent department. She transitioned from ICM Partners to Echo Lake Entertainment in 2018, and now collaborates with her clients on their producorial pursuits as well as their talent careers.
Lauren graduated from University of California at Santa Barbara with a B.A. in Directing for the Theatre and a minor in Women’s Studies. Lauren is also an avid animal lover and a board member of Much Love Animal Rescue.
Lisa Callif is a partner at the entertainment law firm Donaldson + Callif, LLP. She was named as a Hollywood Reporter Power Lawyer for three years in a row (2016 to 2018), by the Daily Journal as one of the Top 100 Women Lawyers in 2014 and 2016, and by Variety as one of The Best and The Brightest in 2011. Her primary focus is on representing independent producers in all aspects of creating a project, including development, production, and distribution. As part of her practice, Lisa does a significant amount of clearance work for documentaries and narrative projects, including rendering fair use opinion letters, which permits her clients to use limited amounts of unlicensed material in their films under the fair use doctrine. Lisa co-wrote with her law partner Michael Donaldson The American Bar Association’s Legal Guide to Independent Filmmaking and Clearance and Copyright, 4th Edition.