Alece is a distribution expert who has held various positions in marketing and development at New York Film Festival, Film Society of Lincoln Center, BAMcinématek, Rooftop Films, and Fandor. Alece is based in Los Angeles and works for GoDigital, Inc: a Netflix-Preferred Aggregator and parent company to Distribber, where her role is to develop and strengthen partnerships with filmmakers, distributors, and streaming platforms to ensure independent film content is distributed worldwide. Alece received her Masters in Film Studies from Columbia University in the City of New York and graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in English and Communications at Winston-Salem State University.
Festival Programmer, Producer
Born in Brazil, Ana Souza was raised in Amsterdam. She holds a BA from the University of Warwick and an MA from USC. Souza has produced a number of shorts and has contributed to numerous film-related publications, including Indiewire, We Eat Film, Front Row Reviews, and The Artifice. She has worked in various capacities with Sundance, NEXTFEST, Outfest, Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles, Slamdance and Project 168 Film Festivals. Ana is currently the assistant to Trevor Groth, the Director Of Programming at Sundance and programs films for The Sundance Film Festival, The Los Angeles Film Festival and Outfest, among others.
Anna manages the sales department at Gravitas Ventures. A North Carolina native (who moderately retains her accent), she graduated from UNC and UNCW with degrees in Business Administration and Film Studies, respectively. Anna’s experience at Vertigo Entertainment and Deluxe On Demand led her to join the Gravitas team in the spring of 2015.
Cain Devore's ("Mitzi and Joe", "Interstate 5", "Melancholy Baby", "Pablo Ferro – Untitled") recent projects include the music video "Memory Girl", the short films "Rose Petals" and "Untethered" and dittoing the dance film "Disintegrate/Devour". He most recently co-wrote and executive produced the feature film "Cold Brook" with actor William Fichtner, who made his directorial debut on the film. Cain is a proud founding member of Filmmakers Alliance and currently teaches Acting for Camera and filmmaking at AMDA.
DAVID ALBERT PIERCE
Pierce Law Group LLP
David is the Managing Member of Pierce Law Group LLP, a full-service boutique law firm serving the creative community with a specialty in representing indie filmmakers. David’s law practice includes entertainment law, intellectual property (copyright, trademarks, right of publicity), film finance, production counsel, and labor & employment issues affecting the entertainment industry with an emphasis on film, television and new media.
Savvy in her approach to using tax incentives and maximizing investors’ ROI, Debbie travels the globe talking about financing, development and marketing. Innovative and positive, Debbie’s projects have earned recognition at renowned festivals, including Cannes, Sundance and Toronto.
Emily Best is the founder and CEO of Seed&Spark, an entertainment platform built to increase diversity and inclusion for filmmakers and audiences. Seed&Spark’s curated streaming platform is fed by its crowdfunding platform, which has the highest campaign success rate in the world. In 2011, she produced the feature film, Like the Water, starring Caitlin FitzGerald (Masters of Sex, UnREAL). Since then, Emily has served as executive producer on a host of film and virtual reality projects that have played at festivals from Sundance to SXSW to Tribeca and beyond. Most recently she co-created and co-directed the web series F*ck Yes!, which Refinery 29 called, "The sex education you wish you had in high school." Emily was named a 2013 Indiewire Influencer, a 2014 New York Woman of Influence, was included on the 2015 Upstart 100 list, and graduated from the 2016 class of Techstars Boston. She has raised millions of dollars in traditional funding, equity crowdfunding, and rewards based crowdfunding, and contributed to over 300 crowdfunding campaigns to date.
Gerry Maravilla is an independent filmmaker and the Head of Crowdfunding at Seed&Spark, a subscription video streaming and crowdfunding platform with the highest crowdfunding success rate in the business (75%!). As an independent filmmaker, Gerry ran a successful campaign for his short film, ͞Cross͟— the story of Filipino-American backyard boxer in the San Fernando Valley. "Cross͟ continues to screen at festivals across the country. After completing his campaign, Gerry joined the Seed&Spark team where he advises filmmakers in reaching their audience building and crowdfunding goals.
Ina Pira is a curator at Vimeo. She was previously the Senior Programmer at the Hamptons International Film Festival, the Montclair Film Festival, and the Sarasota Film Festival. In addition to festivals, Ina has worked as a freelance editor and research assistant on feature length documentaries. Prior to her work in lm, Ina has enjoyed work as a professional photographer and photo editor.
Jen McGowan’s first feature, KELLY & CAL, starring Juliette Lewis, Cybill Shepherd and Jonny Weston premiered at SXSW where she won the Gamechanger Director Award. McGowan studied directing in the MFA program at USC where she was honored with a scholarship from Women in Film and a grant from The Caucus Foundation. She received her BFA in Acting at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, studying under David Mamet, Bill Macy & Sam Shepard at the Atlantic Theatre.
McGowan also created filmpowered.com, the online skill-sharing site for women in film & tv and she just completed her second feature film, the elevated thriller, RUST CREEK.
Jon-Paul Harrison is the Senior Sales Solution Manager at Shutterstock and was formerly the Senior Manager of Content Licensing at GoPro. Prior to that, he was the Executive Director of Sales and Business Development at Tandem Stills + Motion, Inc.
Kat Coiro is currently shooting, prepping and/or posting "Mozart In The Jungle" for Amazon, "Brooklyn 99" and "The Mick" for Fox and "Alone Together" for ABC freeform. She also directed "The Girlfriend's Guide To Divorce" for Bravo. Coiro has sold and developed multiple comedy pilots for NBC and ABC and is currently working on a cable half-hour with Fabrik. She has also done a handful of shorts and features including her first feature, the ultra, low-budget indie "Life Happens". Of Coiro's second feature "And While We Were Here”, which she wrote and directed, Variety wrote: "Between the architectural pillars of Renaissance Italy and Kate Bosworth, helmer Kat Coiro hangs a gossamer tale of ruined love and liberation. Bosworth blossoms beautifully and Claire Bloom delivers a vocal performance so deft that her character seems to take palpable form." Coiro and her husband have three children.
Liz Manashil is a feature filmmaker and the Manager of Sundance Institute's Creative Distribution Initiative. Post Film School graduation, Liz spent several years as a film critic for the PBS/Hulu series JUST SEEN IT (which she also helped produce and direct). Overlapping this, Liz worked with distribution guru Peter Broderick. Her debut feature, BREAD AND BUTTER, was called “an absolute must-watch for women everywhere” by HelloGiggles. It was released by The Orchard and can be seen on VOD nearly everywhere (including Hulu!). Liz is currently in pre-production on her next two feature films and lives in Los Angeles with her dog, Laura Palmer.
Founder, No-Budget Film School
Mark Stolaroff is an independent producer, consultant and film instructor who specializes in micro-budget production. He is currently finishing the no-budget feature DriverX, his fifth collaboration with award-winning writer/director Henry Barrial. He also recently completed Devil’s Whisper, a low budget horror film that world premiered in June and will be released in October 2017. Stolaroff was previously an executive at IFC’s Next Wave Films, where they provided finishing funds to exceptional low-budget feature films, including the first features of filmmakers Christopher Nolan, Joe Carnahan and Amir Bar Lev. In 2005 Stolaroff founded No Budget Film School, a unique series of classes specifically designed for the micro-budget filmmaker, and has taught hundreds of filmmakers the fine art of no-budget filmmaking since that time.
Michelle Morgan is an American writer and director. She has been crafting scripts for film and television for over a decade. Her short film, "K.I.T". premiered at Sundance in 2013. Her feature debut, "L.A. Times", premiered most recently at Sundance, 2017 to a very warm reception. Also, she loves cats.
Mo Perkins has a BA in film studies from UCSC and a Masters in directing from UCLA’s School of Film and Television. Her thesis film, PISS HAT was selected for the UCLA Director’s Spotlight Award and was a nominated for a Student Academy Award. Her writer/directorial debut feature "A Quiet Little Marriage" won the Grand Jury Award for best narrative feature at Slamdance, the Audience Award at Austin Film Festival and was picked up for distribution by IFC. Her second feature film, "The Last Time You Had Fun" premiered at the LOS ANGELES FILM FESTIVAL and was distributed by Gravitas Ventures. Most recently Mo directed the second season, twelve episodes, of a romantic musical comedy called I SHIP IT for the CW Seed which will air in November. She has been a programmer for many years at the SLAMDANCE Film Festival and is the co-chair of the LA FILM FATALES.
Color Space Finishing
Peter Swartz is the founder of Color Space Finishing Peter began his career in the color world in 1996 at Post Logic, one of the premiere Hollywood Commercial post houses. Cutting his teeth first in telecine and digital color correction, under the tutelage of veteran Colorist Mike Eaves, he started off by assisting and eventually learning his craft hands-on from some of the top commercial colorists in the industry. His body of work over the last half a decade has opened up opportunities both in the commercial world (doing high-end coloring for world famous photographer Mark Seliger) and special high-end projects. He is now turning his sites on Hollywood studio and large independent features offering his unique brand of care and attention to detail.
Roger Mayer is a writer-producer, noted film theorist/historian and founding partner of Brooklyn Reptyle Films. He has worked for the Sundance Film Festival the past 14 years and was also the Programming Director of both the Silver Lake Film Festival and the Downtown Film Festival - Los Angeles. Roger’s producing credits include "AntiBirth" (Sundance 2016) with Natasha Lyonne and Chloe Sevigny, “The Oregonian” (Sundance 2011) by writer-director Calvin Lee Reeder and starring Lindsay Pulsipher of HBO's "True Blood", “The Rambler” (Sundance 2013) also by Reeder, “Big River Man” (Sundance, 2009), “Boppin' at the Glue Factory”, “Audie and the Wolf”, the punk rock cult film “The Sugar On Top”, “Carlos Spills the Beans” featuring Harry Dean Stanton and “The Bang Bang Brokers” by underground theater legend David N. Donihue.
Sean Hood is a screenwriter, filmmaker and blogger best known for horror (Fear Itself, Masters of Horror), and more recently, action/fantasy (Hercules: The Legend Begins, Conan the Barbarian 3D). Hood graduated from Brown University, with a double major in pure mathematics and studio art, and then spent several years working in Hollywood as a set dresser, prop assistant and art director working with filmmakers as diverse as James Cameron, David Fincher and David Lynch. He continued his studies at the USC School of Cinematic Arts, graduating with an MFA in production. Early in his career, Hood sold his first spec screenplay to MTV Films and went on to sign a deal with Dimension Films, which included rewrites on Halloween: Resurrection and Cursed. His most recent directing project is the short film Melancholy Baby. His current writing projects include The Dorm, a mini-series he created for MTV, and SICK, a TV pilot for The CW network. Hood also writes the popular blog, genrehacks.com, which, along with screenwriting tips, covers the convergence of future technology and storytelling.
Siena Oberman is a young award winning producer that went to USC for business and cinema. She was Futurist on board USC's Cinematic Honors society and interned at Plan B Entertainment, Management360, UTA, Paramount Pictures, and IM Global. Prior to entertainment, Siena worked on a National level doing media and marketing for the American Red Cross. As a filmmaker, her first three shorts premiered in Cannes and her first three features are beginning their festival rounds. She will spend the next year producing viral quality content, series, and indie features. She loves telling inspirational stories with diverse characters that explore technology, psychology, or social justice.
THOMAS ETHAN HARRIS
Film Consultant, Producer and Programmer
Thomas Ethan Harris is a Written/Visual Property Consultant and Film Producer. Harris’s feature credits include THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT (1999), BLUE VALENTINE (2010), PURSUIT OF LONELINESS (2012, Sundance Film Festival) and LIKE YOU MEAN IT (2015). Mr. Harris’s short film clients have been nominated for Academy Awards six times – two victoriously. Thomas is also the Co-Creator/former Director of Programming of the Los Angeles Film Festival (1995-2004). He is credited with having introduced such acclaimed contemporary filmmakers as Academy Award Nominee Bennett Miller (CAPOTE), Academy Award Winner, Dustin Lance Black (MILK), New York Film Critics Winner, David Gordon Green (GEORGE WASHINGTON), and Academy Award Nominee Jason Reitman (JUNO) to the film world. Since 2007 Mr. Harris has served as the primary film educator at the American Cinematheque in Los Angeles. In the fall of 2016, Mr. Harris joined the faculty of Chapman University where he teaches courses on contemporary narrative and visual design.