Raquelle David, TV Exec Panelist
Raquelle David is a Producer and Literary Manager with Elevate Entertainment, a full-service Talent and Literary Management firm. They work with above-the-line creatives across the industry with high-profile, on-screen clients including Vinnie Jones (SNATCH, LOCK, STOCK, AND TWO SMOKING BARRELS), Daniel Portman ("Game of Thrones"), Tokala Black Elk ("THE REVENANT, "West World"), Serinda Swan ("Inhumans", "Ballers", TRON: LEGACY), Necar Zadegan ("Girlfriend's Guide to Divorce", "24", "The Good Doctor"), Jacki Weaver (SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK, "Animal Kingdom", THE DISASTER ARTIST), Simone Missick ("Luke Cage", "The Defenders"), Katie Leclerc ("Switched at Birth", "The Big Bang Theory", "Community"), Jessica Lu ("Awkward.", "Reverie", "American Horror Story"), Pierfrancesco Favino (RUSH, WORLD WAR Z), Brian Unger ("It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia"), Alexis Rodney (GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY), and Georgia Leva (LADYBIRD, "Turnt").
Elevate also works with masters of the craft behind the camera and on the page, including the Oscar-nominated Taylor Sheridan, writer of SICARIO, HELL OR HIGH WATER, WIND RIVER, and the upcoming Paramount series "Yellowstone". Other clients include Alexa Alemanni ("The Librarians", "Mad Men"), Robin Aubert (RAVENOUS), Graham Reznick (BUSHWICK), Brian Kelly ("Outlander", "Downton Abbey", "Torchwood"), Charles de Laurzirika (BLADE RUNNER, THE MARTIAN), Mary Cardenas ("Shameless", "Supergirl"), and Jesse Fox Chaney (EASY A, IRON MAN).
Raquelle David has worked across independent film and television as a producer as well. Her multiple film credits have garnered a number of accolades including nominations for Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival, Australian Academy Cinema and Television Arts (AACTA) Award and the Screen Producers Australia Award. Raquelle previously worked for Goalpost Pictures, Seven Network, Screen New South Wales in Australia and Rhombus Media in Toronto, Canada, under the tutelage of producer Niv Fichman (THE RED VIOLIN, ENEMY, BLINDNESS).
Bret Slater, TV Exec Panelist
Bret Slater is an LA-based producer with nearly a decade of experience in both Production and Development. Brett got his start in the industry working on features including TWILIGHT, THE PROPOSAL, and CONTRABAND, before assisting veteran producer Stephen Levinson on series including HBO's "Boardwalk Empire", "Entourage", "How to Make It in America", and "In Treatment".
Bret moved on to produce his own projects including television series and features. Bret produced the Emmy-nominated HBO series "Ballers", starring Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson and Rob Corddry, USA Network's "Shooter", starring Ryan Phillippe, Shantel VanSanten and Omar Epps, and Associate Produced the feature BROKEN CITY, starring Mark Wahlberg, Russell Crowe, and Catherine Zeta-Jones.
Bret is currently working on a series he co-created and sold to truTV with Reddit and Wahlberg attached to produce alongside him.
Mandi Hart, Investor Panelist
Mandi Hart is an attorney and filmmaker with a passion for quality storytelling. She received B.A.s in International Service and Law and Society from American University, during which time she studied abroad in Cairo, Egypt. Following her undergrad, Mandi earned her MFA in Film Production and Direction and worked for three years at DDC International, where she produced dozens of short films about international development projects. Mandi earned her JD summa cum laude from George Mason University Law School and focused her studies on intellectual property.
She is currently President of More Productions Inc, a creative content development firm, and President of Cave Pictures Publishing, an independent comics publisher developing spiritually meaningful stories.
Franco Samaco Producing Partner Panelist
Independent feature film producer Franco Sama boasts a remarkable and extensive history in public speaking, public relations and a nearly two decades of independent film development, production and financing experience.
Sama has Executive Produced and/or produced an impressive array of over twenty (20) successful independent feature films including most notably, “Guns, Girls and Gambling” starring Gary Oldman, Christian Slater and Dane Cook which is now a cult favorite; this film was released into theatres and acquired a worldwide distribution deal from Universal Pictures.
Other films Sama has produced include; “Black Limousine” starring David Arquette and Vivica Fox, “Tooth and Nail” starring Michael Madsen and Vinnie Jones, and "Paid" starring Corbin Bernsen and Tom Conti. Sama also serves as Executive Producer on the film festival darling “Petunia” starring Thora Birch, Brittany Snow and Academy Award winner Christine Lahti.
His shingle “Samaco Films, LLC”, which is headquartered in the Penthouse Suite at 1055 West 7th Street in Downtown, Los Angeles, is currently financing and producing a slate of several independent feature films, including three psychological thrillers “Stockholm”, “Séance”, and “Alexis Colette”.
In addition, Sama is also a highly sought after public guest speaker having launched his hugely popular film financing and distribution forum program “Finance Indie Road Map”, otherwise known as “The F.I.R.M.” which is designed specifically to educate and assist first and second time filmmakers in their quest to develop, fund, produce and release their first feature film(s).
In his constant effort to seek out and educate and assist new filmmakers, Sama travels the country educating emerging filmmakers on the business of film funding. He was honored to be chosen as a keynote speaker and guest panelist at the V.I.P. Film Summit held in Washington D.C. in August 2018 and again this coming April, 2019.
Sama also serves on the Board of Directors for the non-profit organization New Filmmakers, L.A.
Michael Tapia, TV Exec Panelist
Michael Tapia is an independent television development producer, with more than 10 years of experience in entertainment. Tapia specializes in the creation, development, and production of scripted, unscripted and digital content. For eight years, Tapia served as an executive at Bischoff Hervey Entertainment alongside Jason Hervey ("The Wonder Years") and Eric Bischoff ("WWE Raw"). During his time at BHE, Tapia developed series including: "See Dad Run" for Nickelodeon, "The Devils Ride" for Discovery Channel and "I Heart Nick Carter" for VH1. Tapia, additionally, helped develop the scripted series “See Dad Run” for Nickelodeon, where he served as an associate producer. Prior to his stint at BHE, Tapia was the Director of Development Breathless Films and Adore Creative under feature-film director Rupert Wainwright (“Blank Check,” “Stigmata,” “The Fog”) where he wrote and produced supplemental promotional films for Russia’s bid to host the 2018 FIFA World Cup. Most recently, Tapia sold a pilot to Facebook Watch.
Bash Naran, Manager/Agent Panelist
Bash Naran is a manager at Writ Large who's clients have worked with Netflix, Amazon, Imagine Entertainment, Twentieth Century Fox, Warner Bros., CBS, Syfy and more. Prior to Writ Large, Bash was a manager at Plattform where he worked with writers and directors, mostly in the genre space.
Before his work at Plattform, Bash worked at Creative Artists Agency (CAA) in Entertainment Marketing where he worked on teams consulting for numerous brands including Fender Guitars, Canada Goose, Chipotle, and many others. Before his work in entertainment, Bash was a successful consultant and helped oversee brand strategy for several brands. Bash was also a senior executive at New York-based color cosmetic brand, Doucce, where he oversaw global brand strategy and helped realize over 1000% growth and international sales expansion.
Stu Arbury TV Exec Panelist
Stu Arbury is the Director of TV & Episodic Content at Ramo Law with over ten years of experience in the entertainment industry. After graduating from Florida State University, Arbury began his career working in physical production on several series, including ABC’s Boston Legal and CBS’ Ghost Whisperer. He then worked for producer Mike Medavoy at Phoenix Pictures on the films THE PROMISE and THE 33 and National Geographic’s The Long Road Home, and for producer Joe Drake at Good Universe on the films NEIGHBORS, THE NIGHT BEFORE, and LAST VEGAS. Arbury was named a Creative Executive for TWC-Dimension, serving as the on-set executive for MTV’s Scream TV series. He joined the Ramo Law team after serving as Director of Development at Captivate Entertainment (THE BOURNE IDENTITY franchise) and at Canvas Media Studios (StyleHaul’s Vanity). Arbury is also the co-founder of award winning online channel Wolf Knife TV.
Donna Moore, Manager/Agent Panelist
Donna Moore is an entertainment manager, a comedy writer, playwright, director and producer and will still yuck it up on stage. She is also a CEO of a startup software company that truly began as a TV series she pitched last year. She wrote Cougar The Musical, which ran Off Bway for 2 years, is licensed by Samuel French and has played around the world in England, Seoul, Copenhagen, Poland, and Munich with a current tour in Berlin. She’s currently director and dramaturg for To Whom It May Concern; a concert-style-hybrid theatrical show being developed in New York. She’s also developing a TV series around her client, singer/songwriter, Mark White. Donna is the writer of "Four Single Chicks" a scripted podcast by Internet Media Entertainment, which is being produced in Los Angeles in March 2019. Donna's been in the biz since she was a kid on the PBS TV show, ZOOM. As such, she considers herself a creative warrior, who believes the measure of true success is a "life well lived, making a difference in the community you choose to serve, as well as being true to one's individual purpose and mission."
Antonio D'Intino, Manager/Agent Panelist
Antonio was born and raised in rural Ohio (Amish country to be specific) and attended Columbia College Chicago. After stints at Gale Anne Hurd’s Valhalla Entertainment and Principato-Young Entertainment he landed at APA in the feature literary department working with clients like Mike Flanagan and John Carpenter which continued to solidify his love of genre filmmakers. After nearly three years he left APA to join Jeremy Platt as he launched Plattform. Assembling a roster with a focus on the unique and left-of-center, he also assisted in the development of studio projects like DEATH NOTE and the TV series HAP & LEONARD. He helped manage Plattform’s first look deal with Amazon Studios.
In 2018 he moved to Circle of Confusion , which represents clients Michael Dougherty, Lana and Lilly Wachowski and Robert Kirkman among many others. Circle’s producing credits include THE WALKING DEAD, OUTCAST and DIRK GENTLY’S HOLISTIC DETECTIVE AGENCY. Antonio’s clients work across film and television, selling shows to Apple, Universal TV, eOne among others and their films have been recognized by numerous organizations and festivals including The Nicholl Fellowship, Cannes, Sundance and SXSW.
Josiah Henson, Investor Panelist
Mr. Henson is a principal at IPO Pang Xingpu and is a partner of Henson, Pang & Winnie, a premier international law firm and consulting group with offices in Washington, D.C. in the United States and Shanghai in the People’s Republic of China..
Mr. Henson represents a number of Hollywood and Broadway writers, producers, singers, and actors. He has worked with a number of production companies on fundraising and the production of full-length feature films and television shows. Mr. Henson also serves on a number of corporate boards for non-profit organizations with national and international missions.
Mr. Henson previously worked for major law firms in Boston, New York, and Washington, D.C., where he dealt with a wide variety of specialties ranging from international trade to federal energy regulations, with special involvement in negations. He has extensive experience in many aspects of corporate management, including marketing, strategic planning, operations and administration. Mr. Henson has also been involved in ethics litigation and proactive counseling representing government employees in ethics proceedings and advising private companies regarding the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. Some of his clients have included:
An award-winning biotech startup company providing prenatal genetic testing service to worldwide medial partners.
An Internet Service Provider of satellite-based Internet connectivity to Europe.
An international trade company providing security goods and services in international markets.
A major manufacturing company making patented technology fire retardant chemicals.
A manufacturing company producing high-tech ballistic protective garment to foreign governments and heads of state around the world.
(moved above) He also represents a number of Hollywood and Broadway writers, producers, singers, and actors. He has worked with a number of production companies on fundraising and the production of full-length feature films and television shows. Mr. Henson also serves on a number of corporate boards for non-profit organizations with national and international missions.
Sotti Koev, Investor Panelist
Sotti Koev is driving Business Development at Militello Capital and MilAdvisor. He is a U.S. Naval Academy graduate, where in 2013 he earned a Bachelor of Science in History and Russian Studies. Sotti was a forward-deployed Naval Officer onboard a missile-guided Destroyer, projecting American sea power abroad and protecting international trade around Africa, the Americas, Europe and the Middle East. Prior to entering the world of Private Equity, Sotti was a Real Estate Entrepreneur and a FinTech Startup Advisor. A Renaissance man, Sotti is fluent in foreign languages, enjoys philosophy, the arts and exploring the world. He is passionate about Veteran Entrepreneurship.
Larry Hummel, Manager/Agent Panelist
Larry Hummel is a talent manager and producer with over two decades of experience in the entertainment industry. A native New Yorker, he earned a political science degree from SUNY Albany and worked on political campaigns before moving out to Los Angeles, Jack Kerouac style in a 1973 puke green Buick convertible. For ten years he rose through the ranks at ICM in the voiceover world, eventually co-heading the animation voiceover department. He was involved in such hi-profile deals as Sam Jackson in The Incredibles, and Ellen DeGeneres and Albert Brooks in Finding Nemo.
Hummel currently runs his own management company, which represents actors, writers, and directors. In addition, he has several television and film projects in the works, including a film based on New York Times bestseller Wesley the Owl and a movie about famed boxer, Willie Pep. He is also helping his client, Justine Bateman, with setting up her directorial feature debut, Violet, starring Olivia Munn and Justin Theroux.
Nuala Quinn-Barton, Investor Panelist
Nuala Quinn-Barton is the CEO of Mania Entertainment LLC. She is an accomplished Executive, Producer, and Consultant with more than 30 years of success across the visual, and entertainment arts. Leveraging extensive experience in Film/Television Finance and Production, Talent Acquisition, Artistic Development, and Business Management, she is a valuable asset to any production, and her company Mania Entertainment in conjunction with their Financial affiliates provides innovative low-cost financial solutions to Film Production.
She has been or is currently involved in the following Films and Television Productions:-Glastonbury Isle of Light the Journey of the Grail, The Naughty Boys, Goodbye Christopher Robin, Marilyn Monroe Returns, Becoming Picasso, Funeral Fakers, Olympique, Barney McGrew, By Love Reclaimed the Untold Story of Jean Harlow and Paul Bern, Move Over Santa!, Ten Inch Blade, For the Love of a Butterfly, The Third Half, Homecoming,
Over the years she has worked closely with many Hollywood executives and most major studios, both in the United States and Britain.
Bob Higley, TV Exec Panelist
Bob Higley is the CEO of Upliftv and President of Upliftv Foundation. Upliftv is a unique faith and family network that feature inspirational movies, documentaries and ministry programs. Upliftv is filling a void by providing numerous faith based films and programs that are in demand by today’s savvy viewers. Upliftv is available in 24 million cable and satellite households including America’s premier service, DirecTV. The Upliftv Foundation is non profit charity project of the Capstone Legacy Foundation and raises funds to produce and acquire Christian and faith based programs, movies, documentaries and TV series.
As a television industry veteran Bob has over 30 years of experience including 2 1/2 years as CEO of Parables TV and 27 years as Vice President of Cable and Satellite Distribution for Trinity Broadcasting Network. Bob has a thorough knowledge of the cable and broadcast industry and is keenly aware of the many changes that are on the horizon. He sees many opportunities available to media organizations that strategically plan ahead.
John C. Lee, Jr., Producing Partner Panelist
John is a global media and entertainment executive, producer, screenwriter and author. His "The Producer's Business Handbook" is a standard professional media reference, is used by film and business schools the world over, is a best seller in its category and released in its fourth edition at AFM 2017. John has successfully led the vision, launch and/or expansion of five entertainment and media entities and provided business, funding and distribution services for 23 motion pictures, television network series and specials, with combined production costs of over $470 million and global rights earnings exceeding $4 billion.
John is the Managing Director of Entertainment Strategy, where he directs the development, global distribution, funding and oversight of ES’s and client productions and entertainment projects, new-media and entertainment companies, assuring their optimal success.
Alex Cresia, Manager/Agent Panelist
Alex Creasia is an Literary Manager and Producer at Pathfinder Media. He represents writers and directors around the globe focusing on all formats of TV, Film, books, podcasts and digital. Recently his company merged with UMedia an international finance and production services company to become their US branch. Alex recently produced the indie thriller, STILL which was sold to The Orchard. His next film ONLY a sci-fi drama is set to premiere in the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival. Alex got his start in the Hollywood industry at Universal Pictures, CAA and Ryan Murphy Productions on such shows as GLEE and American Horror Story. He went to college in San Francisco studying Film and TV business. Alex Creasia is a veteran of the US Marine Corps where he traveled the world as a Combat Cameraman.
Amanda Toney Producing Partner Panelist
As Managing Director for Stage 32 (the world’s largest online platform connecting and educating film, television and theater creatives), Amanda oversees operations and business development for the global business. She has curated over 1,000 hours of online education created exclusively for Stage 32 and works with hundreds of entertainment industry executives from around the world to serve as educators and mentors. She has spearheaded partnerships with such prestigious organizations as the Cannes Film Festival Marche du Film, American Film Market, SXSW, Raindance Film Festival, Hollyshorts Film Festival, PGA, WGA and DGA, as well as brands such as AT&T, Peerspace, ond5, Mandy, Bondit Media Capital and her personal favorite, Tito’s Handmade Vodka, which is the official vodka of Stage 32.
As a producer, Amanda has worked on the psychological thriller WHAT LIES AHEAD starring Rumer Willis and Emma Dumont, in theaters in March 2019 and DOLPHIN GIRL, an entire Stage 32 production in conjunction with the St. Petersburg Film Commission. She is currently producing an unscripted television show with 3 Ball Entertainment.
Amanda has spoken all over the world at the Cannes Film Festival (France), Hollyshorts Film Festival (US), Raindance Film Festival (UK), Fest Festival (Portugal) and Harvard (US) on the business of the entertainment industry.
Amanda is inspired by innovation and companies that change industries, something Stage 32 is accomplishing daily. She is a passionate entrepreneur, avid world traveler, and lives by the motto “if you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life.”
Steven Dunning, Investor Panelist
Steve Dunning came to the entertainment industry from a small East Coast town and for two decades has worked in the studio, network and independent arenas of entertainment.
Amblin, Universal, Fox, HBO, NBC and much more climbing up from a production assistant to writer, producer, director and film fund investment manager. Script, production, and investment consulting worldwide makes for a busy schedule.
For the Department of Defense, he has shepherded groups through active theaters of operation across The Middle East. His lifelong respect and admiration for our nation’s military only magnified with these firsthand experiences in the field with all of our Armed Forces.
His goals as the former national co-lead of the NBCUniversal Veterans Network and an original member of the Got Your Six campaign aim to deeply impact our military, past, present, and future, and their families in the ways most needed. Changing the national mindset of what it means to be a Veteran and the incredible assets they are- trained, motivated and highly qualified to lead, contribute and uphold and grow our nation’s great heritage.
Tom Malloy Producing Partner Panelist
Actor, writer and producer Tom Malloy, along with his company Trick Candle Productions, are known for their quality independent films that span a variety of genres.
Tom has most recently produced #SCREAMERS, a docu-horror that will be in theaters April 6th, 2018, and has twice been called the best Found Footage movie of all time, as well as SHATTERED, starring Ray Wise & Molly Burnett, HERO OF THE UNDERWORLD (released to VOD November, 2016), starring Malloy, Nicole Fox, and Quinton Aaron, and FAIR HAVEN (released theatrically February 2017, then to SHOWTIME), starring Tom Wopat and Michael Grant, as well as the teen drama ASHLEY, starring Nicole Fox, Michael Madsen and Jennifer Taylor, written by Domenic Migliore, and directed by Dean Ronalds. The film was in theaters in 2013 and is now on VOD everywhere. In 2011, the company produced THE INNER WEIGH, a self-help documentary that has been described as “The Secret” meets weight loss.
The roster of films written and produced by Malloy over the years also includes the 2009 Romantic Comedy LOVE N’ DANCING, which was directed by Rob Iscove (She’s All That), and stars Amy Smart, Malloy, Billy Zane, Rachel Dratch, and Betty White; the psychological thriller THE ALPHABET KILLER, directed by Rob Schmidt (Wrong Turn, Crime & Punishment in Suburbia) and stars Eliza Dushku, Cary Elwes, Malloy, Timothy Hutton, Michael Ironside, and Oscar Winner Melissa Leo; and a thriller directed by Mary Lambert (Pet Sematary) called THE ATTIC, starring John Savage, Malloy, and Elisabeth Moss.
Malloy also produced The World Championships of Country Dance (with Robert Royston) for GAC television. This was the first time a country dancing competition was ever broadcast on television.
Recent television projects for the company include the Amazon TV Series MIDTOWN, which is now in its 2nd Season, as well as the TV pilot THE FUZZ, which was directed by Art Wolff (who also directed the pilot for Seinfeld) and starred Malloy, Peter Jason and Gregory Harrison.
Malloy’s unique ability to both write projects and raise the funding for them has been a primary factor in the success of the company. In fact, Malloy shares his expertise on the subject in his best-selling book about independent film financing, BANKROLL, which is now in its 2nd edition and is considered the "gold standard" of indie film financing. In 2014, he partnered with distribution expert Jason Brubaker to create THE FILM FINANCE GUIDE. Currently BANKROLL has been converted to a video series at www.bankrollyourmovie.com
Malloy also is the President and Co-Founder of Glass House Distribution, an independent film distribution company that launched in 2015 and reps films and documentaries across all genres.
Monica Lee Bellais, Producing Partner Panelist
Monica Lee Bellais is an American screenwriter, producer, and global media expert. She is well known for bridging Hollywood with Washington, D.C. area subject matter specialists in all spheres of government, military, and the private sector.
Monica worked at James Cameron's Lightstorm Entertainment; in the Office of Jeffrey Katzenberg at DreamWorks; Warner Bros. Records; Discovery Communications; Smithsonian Networks; Public Broadcasting Service; and TeleProductions International. She has production experience in Canada, Egypt, England, France, Germany, Iceland, Italy, Japan, Lebanon, Mexico, Monaco, Pakistan, Thailand, and the United Arab Emirates.
Monica is a Council member for the Writers Guild of America, East, AFL-CIO (WGAE), a labor union representing thousands of members who write content for motion pictures, television, news and digital media. In Washington, D.C., she serves on the Advisory Committee for Women in Film & Video after four years as a Board Member.
She holds a Bachelor of Individualized Studies in Journalism and Mass Communication from New Mexico State University. Her professional memberships include the Producers Guild of America, the Writers Guild of America, SAG-AFTRA, National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences - Documentary Programming Peer Group, British Academy of Film and Television Arts, and The National Press Club.
Ron Newcomb, Organizer/Moderator
Director, Writer, Actor, and Producer of The Forge Studios: Ron has written and directed award-winning short and feature-length independent films. He founded the FCF, a network of over 1800 faith-based filmmakers and film enthusiasts, organized and co-leads the DMV Producers Association, as well as being involved in other film groups. He is also one of the founders of The Fantasy Network - it's a streaming fantasy platform. Under his Opening Act Production, LLC team, Ron developed the feature film, The Fellows Hip: Rise of the Gamers, a coming-of-age story about how a group of four friends learn there’s a little bit of geek and hero in all of us. Since its debut in 2013, TFH has been distributed internationally and has been dubbed in several foreign languages. Ron also produced, Made in the USA: A 30 Day Journey, which is a documentary that explores what the brand “Made in the USA” really means these days. Ron’s innovative transmedia concept, along with his strong IP of The Rangers will create a new, dynamic and lucrative model for independent filmmaking.