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2013 NYCFF Film & Finance Forum


Wednesday, April 10, 2013 from 7:00 PM to 10:00 PM (EDT)

2013 NYCFF Film & Finance Forum

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About The Event

New York City Film & Finance (NYCFF) will continue its popular annual gathering at AlleyNYC, one of NYC's best co-working environments. Their facilities are conveniently located in Midtown Manhattan near the Fashion District. This gathering is designed to foster productive relationships between our attendees as well as provide an unbiased insight into the business of film and film finance. The event features a powerful roster of highly topical panelists from film & finance industries as well as guests who represent Film Festivals & Crowdfunding. We are delighted to welcome real-world financiers among our guests! The evening's panel discussions address key issues relevant to filmmakers, financiers and anyone interested in the economics, business mechanics, and financial dynamics of both feature & independent film. Each panel is followed by a Q&A with the participants. Attendees will also have the opportunity to interact & network with our featured experts and fellow attendees.


Entrepreneurs, consultants, attorneys, bankers, investment managers, venture capitalists, angel investors and other professionals with an interest in the movie business will find this event worthwhile. Everyone who cares about independent film is cordially invited to join us. Are you considering taking an active role in film, or would you like to expand your current involvement? Don't miss this high-value yet low-cost learning experience and the opportunity to connect with like-minded peers. Established & aspiring filmmakers looking to raise capital for their projects, production companies, movie slates, film funds or other ventures are, naturally, more than welcome as well.


New to film finance? Need to brush up your topical knowledge? Want to deepen your understanding? Care to participate in an ongoing conversation & community dedicated to the subject? This uniquely valuable gathering is right for you! Gain crucial insights from leading experts in their field. Network with fellow film & finance professionals. Meet potential collaborators and future business partners. All this at a price that is hard to beat.



We represent a generation of young people striving to do work that matters and accomplished leaders who recognize the value of investing in them.

Our prospects are rebuilding the economy and reinvigorating our culture, but need financial flexibility and wisdom from those whose footsteps they follow. Now, we've created a new way to make that happen - an opportunity both pragmatic and visionary. We're asking you to join us.

For more information on Pave, please visit http://www.pave.com or follow them on Twitter | Facebook


About NYC Film & Finance Forum (NYCFF)

Organized by SCENEPR!™, New York City Film & Finance network (NYCFF) is a member community of individuals in both the film and finance industries interested in working together to produce independent & feature films for theatrical distribution.

For more information on NYCFF, please visit http://www.nyfilmfinance or visit us on LinkedIN | Do It In Person | Google+

SCENEPR!™ is a network of 6,500+ entrepreneurs & professionals from film/TV, fashion, music, art/photo, digital/online and green/eco, looking to build connections with other like-minded individuals for the purposes of doing business. The company plans and promotes public and private events in support of the above industries.

For more information, please visit http://www.scenepr.com/ or visit us on Twitter | Facebook


Film Funding 2.0: Crowdfunding Your Film

Deena Merlen | Partner, Reavis Parent Lehrer LLP

We will discuss crowdfunding via platforms like IndieGoGo, Kickstarter, etc. and their impact on the business of filmmaking. Crowdfunding is the new way in which film fans can become involved in the industry (and very soon, become investors, not just contributors).

The JOBS Act ('Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act') may revolutionize independent media financing in the way the cheap technology and the internet revolutionized production and distribution. This panel will also cover the SEC's release of the new Crowdfunding rules. This will be a must see seminar for anyone interested in financing their independent production. Be informed and get prepared.


lucie guernsey | Managing Director, Woodland Bay Capital Inc.,

Sal Lahoud | Co-founder and CEO, Pave.com

Neil Parent | Partner, Reavis Parent Lehrer LLP

John T. Trigonis | Writer, Filmmaker and Author

Fred Siegel | CPA: Indie Film & Tax Specialist

The Funded: Conversations with Successful Crowdfunding Filmmakers

STUART GINSBERG | Film Marketing Consultant and Independent Filmmaker

Frustrated with the traditional avenues of doing business? Join us for conversations with Filmmakers who have used crowdfunding as a way to successfully fund their cinematic works.

Hear about their stories, the ups and downs from these filmmakers who decided to take the 2.0 route toward funding their films.


David Seth Cohen | Director/Producer

David Mandel | Director/Producer

Emilie McDonald | Filmmaker, Writer & Actor

Eric Newman | Filmmaker & Documentarian

The Business of Film: On Festivals & Distribution

Roger Wu | Co-Founder, New YORK Crowdfunds

What happens after you have wrapped your indie film? How do you get eyes on your work?? We host this session to share with you what exactly what you need to know about the festival circuit, the distribution process and the new avenues for distributions that are available to you and how crowdfunding effects your festival participation & distribution.


Emily Best | CEO/Founder, SEED&SPARK

Michael Helman | Co-Founder, CrowdZu & CO-Founder, WILLiFEST

SETH UNGER | Executive Producer, The Food Film Festival


Stuart Ginsburg,
Film Marketing Consultant & Independent Filmmaker

A marketing and communications consultant for over 20 years, Stuart Ginsberg's extensive experience includes film festival strategies, branding, unit publicity and grassroots marketing. He has helped movies, production companies and entertainment professionals gain exposure and distribution deals through the development of innovative and creative campaigns. Mr. Ginsberg has developed low-budget "breakthrough" marketing strategies for feature film projects, TV pilots, games, comic books and short films, including projects that have appeared at the IFP, Comic-Con, Tribeca Film Festival, NY Television Festival and Fort Lauderdale Film Festival. Through his work, he has helped producers and directors achieve press coverage, raise money, achieve distribution and obtain representation for their projects. Mr. Ginsberg is also an active producer of independent films, currently working as a writer, director and producer on his independent documentary "Wednesdays at A's" about Lower East Side underground artist Arleen Schloss and the Sci-Fi feature "Shockwave, Darkside". His last producing project "Followers" garnered numerous film festival awards and received national distribution by Julian Schlossberg's Castle Hill Productions. For the film, he raised finishing funds and oversaw marketing and branding. Mr. Ginsberg was a founding member of the Back East Picture Show, a film festival in Hoboken, NJ, aimed at helping the independent filmmaker. He earned his BA from American University in Washington, DC and his MA from the New School University.


Deena R. Merlen is a graduate of Oberlin College (B.A., 1984) and New York Law School (J.D., summa cum laude, 1996), where she ranked first in her graduating class, was an Editor of Law Review, and a recipient of the Outstanding Editor Award, several American Jurisprudence Awards, the Trustees' Prize and a merit scholarship. After law school, Ms. Merlen was law clerk to Hon. Roger J. Miner of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and an associate at Debevoise & Plimpton, where she practiced for over five years in the corporate law and intellectual property practice groups.

Ms. Merlen's practice areas include intellectual property law, copyright, trademark, licensing, media and entertainment transactions, employment law and dispute resolution, business law, and commercial transactions. She has an extensive practice representing clients in employment and workplace matters including discrimination actions, mediations and dispute resolution, and investigations by federal or state agencies, as well as wage and hour claims and other labor law matters, and advising on and negotiating employment agreements, independent contractor arrangements, company restructuring and separation agreements, and other services-related arrangements. In addition to assisting with employment law matters, Ms. Merlen represents companies and individuals in transactional matters such as joint ventures, licensing arrangements, partnerships, the purchase or sale of businesses, and corporate matters such as company formation, capitalization and governance.

Drawing from her previous career in the arts, Ms. Merlen's practice also encompasses music, film, television, theatre, publishing, literary arts, performing arts, fine arts, design, digital and interactive media, technology, copyright, trademark, brands, licensing and more. She worked in the entertainment industry for a decade prior to commencing her law practice, and brings that business experience and acumen to her legal practice. She has worked on films and television programs, ranging from documentaries on challenging subjects such as The Redemption of General Butt Naked (2011 Sundance Film Festival® Excellence in Cinematography Award) and A Walk to Beautiful (2009 Emmy® Award for Outstanding Informational Programming – Long Form and winner of the International Documentary Association Best Documentary Award), to commercial fiction feature films, web television and web sites, publication of books, and music licensing and distribution.

Ms. Merlen has also been a guest speaker and moderator for intellectual property and entertainment industry panels on a variety of topics. Ms. Merlen is the Chairman of the Entertainment Law Committee of the Fairfield County Bar Association, a member of the Intellectual Property Law, Labor and Employment Law, and the Entertainment, Art and Sports Law Sections of the New York State Bar Association, and a member of the Greenwich Bar Association. She also is on the Board and President of Friendship Ambassadors Foundation Inc., a nonprofit organization and NGO involved in international cultural exchange and the arts. She is admitted to practice in Connecticut and New York. Ms. Merlen is a Partner of the Firm. Visit the Reavis Parent Lehrer profile on IMDb

Roger Wu,
Co-Founder, New York CROWDFUNDS

Roger Wu is the co-founder of Shopmine.co, a machine learning intelligence platform built on top of Pinterest. He is also the co-founder of GiftFinder.com, where gift suggestions are offered based on a recipient's social data. Prior, Roger was the Founder and President of KlickableTV, a platform that allowed users to click on items inside the video to learn more or buy. He was an "intrapreneur" at Bloomberg LP where he was a founding member of the Bloomberg Legal team and also had stints at Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley. He is the co-organizer of the Stamford Tech Meetup (sold to Built in CT), the New York Pinterest Meetup, and the producer of New York Crowdfunds, a crowd funding festival. In addition, he's a Webby Award honoree for Experimental video, a semi-finalist for the Bombay Sapphire Imagination Series, the winner of the Butterfinger Viral Video Contest, holds a Guinness World Record and owns three degrees from the University of Pennsylvania and the Wharton School, where he sometimes guest lectures. He teaches video at FIT in New York, competes regularly in stair climbing competitions and the NYC Marathon and is a member of SAG and AFTRA.


Emily Best,
CEO & Founder, Seed&Spark

Emily founded Seed&Spark to make a contribution to the truly independent community in which she would like to make moving pictures. In 2011, she had the great fortune of producing her first feature with a remarkable group of women. The spirit, the community and the challenges of that project, Like the Water, inspired Seed&Spark. Before producing Like the Water, Emily produced theater, worked as a vision and values strategy consultant for Best Partners, ran restaurants, studied jazz singing at the Taller de Musics, tour guided and cooked in Barcelona, and before that, was a student of Cultural Anthropology and American Studies at Haverford College.

David Seth Cohen,

In addition to manning the helm at Precision Pictures, in 2006 David founded Legitimate Rascal Films, which focuses on Feature Film and Television Production. Under Legitimate Rascal Films, David has numerous projects in development and one in post production, a documentary feature called "Finding Sandler," in which he serves as lead talent, producer, and director. The film has appearances by Adam Sandler, Billy Joel, Carmen Electra, Emeril Lagasse, Mick Foley and Dee Snider to name a few.

Michael Helman,
Co-Founder, CrowdZu | Co-Founder/Director, WILLiFEST

Michael Helman has a 26-year track record as a successful entrepreneur, business owner and consultant across all aspects of entertainment, media and technology. In 2012, Michael co-founded Crowdzu Inc., a multi-vertical website in the crowdsourcing and crowdfunding spaces. He also currently serves as director and co-founder of WILLIFEST INC., a not-for-profit organization that runs one of the largest film and music events in New York City, WILLiFEST - the Williamsburg International Film Festival. Additionally, Michael is a founding partner of Brooklyn Films, a 26-year-old entertainment and technology company that has provided multimedia production, editing and technology consulting services to companies such as ABCNews, IBM, Mount Sinai Medical Center and Bates Worldwide. Prior to Brooklyn Films, he founded Post Digital NYC, a pioneering computer-based editing facility, and served as product specialist for Discreet/AutoDesk. Michael has also directed and/or produced feature films, music videos, TV shows and commercials. Include his work as an editor and he has been responsible for thousands of hours of programming.

Sal Lahoud
Co-founder and CEO, Pave.com

Sal began his career in banking, starting at HSBC Global Banking and moving to Goldman Sachs in 2007. In 2008 Sal joined the Atlas team at the investment firm GLG in 2007, where he managed holdings and advised the partners on Special Situations, Media, Technology and Film. After leaving the financial world in 2010, Sal and his business partner Oren Bass co-founded an online-based charitable organization, The F-Cancer Project, which connects volunteers with cancer charities. Building on their personal experiences and financial acumen, Sal and Oren joined forces again in mid 2012 to realize Pave, which began as a simple arrangement made between friends and now is primed for worldwide launch. Sal holds a degree in Electronic and Information Engineering from the Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine in London.

David ManDel,

David Mandel recently produced the independent feature Pasadena, starring Peter Bogdanovich, Cheryl Hines, Alicia Witt and Ashton Holmes. Pasadena will make its world premiere as the spotlight film of the 2013 Sarasota Film Festival. He is also the Associate Producer on Drift, an Australia-based surf drama starring Sam Worthington and Xavier Samuel. Drift will be released theatrically in the US and globally later in 2013.

Mandel successfully raised over $10,000 via Kickstarter for Mulligan, a feature comedy he co-produced (premiering at this year's Friar's Club Comedy Film Festival). Recent projects include producing Indestructible: Baseball on the Isthmus, a documentary on the history of baseball in Panama. Mandel was born and raised in Washington, DC and holds a B.A. in English from the University of Chicago.

Mandel wrote a 3-part series about crowdfunding for Film Independent, "7 Things we Did to Ensure a Successful Kickstarter Campaign."

Emilie McDonald,
Filmmaker, Writer & Actor

Emilie McDonald is an NYC-based filmmaker, writer and actor who graduated from Vassar with a BA in film and drama. In 2012 she wrote, directed and produced a narrative short film, CROSSING THE RIVER, inspired by a true story of a modern-day hate crime. She wrote and directed OTHER PEOPLE'S HOUSES in 2010 (Big Apple Film Festival, NewFilmmakers, Blue Sky Film Festival & Flicks in the Garden) and was co-writer and producer of the short MY ELENA in 2008. She is currently in development on a feature film based on the true story of a doctor she knew as a child, a Bronx- born Jewish doctor who relocated to rural South Carolina in the 1950's (semifinalist Tribeca All Access 2010; semifinalist Creative Capital 2011). Emilie was Director of Development of Feature Films at Milk & Honey Films (L.A.), where she worked on developing Leonard Cohen's BEAUTIFUL LOSERS into a feature, and Creative Director at Filmmakers Alliance (L.A.), an independent filmmakers collective.

Eric Newman,

Always a student of film, an athlete and a creative Eric decided that after years of thinking about a career in film in production it was time to do it. Self taught on both the camera as a DP and editor on Final Cut Pro Eric began doing freelance work 10 years ago before establishing his own company, ENEW FILMS in 2011. Utilizing his NYC sports network he has produced a number of dynamic content pieces that feature different sides of basketball and numerous professional athletes. In 2012, Eric, shot, produced, directed, wrote and edited a 14 episode web series documenting one of New York's most talented AAU basketball teams, THE CITY, and their journey to the AAU Nationals in Little Rock, Arkansas. Narrated by New York native, NCAA national champion and current NBA player Kemba Walker, THE CITY aired on AWESOMENESSTV, one of the largest google/youtube platforms created. Eric is currently fundraising for a documentary film through Kickstarter called WAH-NEE PRIDE, producing Season 2 of THE CITY and writing short and long form film scripts and treatments along with collaborating on a variety of different client work here in New York City.

Emilie McDonald,
Filmmaker, Writer & Actor

Emilie McDonald is an NYC-based filmmaker, writer and actor who graduated from Vassar with a BA in film and drama. In 2012 she wrote, directed and produced a narrative short film, CROSSING THE RIVER, inspired by a true story of a modern-day hate crime. She wrote and directed OTHER PEOPLE'S HOUSES in 2010 (Big Apple Film Festival, NewFilmmakers, Blue Sky Film Festival & Flicks in the Garden) and was co-writer and producer of the short MY ELENA in 2008. She is currently in development on a feature film based on the true story of a doctor she knew as a child, a Bronx- born Jewish doctor who relocated to rural South Carolina in the 1950's (semifinalist Tribeca All Access 2010; semifinalist Creative Capital 2011). Emilie was Director of Development of Feature Films at Milk & Honey Films (L.A.), where she worked on developing Leonard Cohen's BEAUTIFUL LOSERS into a feature, and Creative Director at Filmmakers Alliance (L.A.), an independent filmmakers collective.

Neil Parent,
Partner at Reavis Parent Lehrer LLP

Neil Patrick Parent is a graduate of Amherst College (B.A., cum laude, 1975) and Boston University Law School. Mr. Parent's practice focuses on corporate and securities law, mergers and acquisitions and commercial transactions, as well as corporate governance and intra-company dispute resolution. His practice regularly includes work involving communications technology, the Internet, entertainment media and the arts. Mr. Parent's professional and transactional experience includes service as an investment banker with a Wall Street investment banking firm, president of a San Francisco-based international merchant banking group, an officer of a public company, and a director, officer and general counsel of several private companies. Mr. Parent has taught business law at Iona College and participates in industry panels on topics within his areas of practice. Mr. Parent is also skilled at employment arrangements, executive compensation, and company structuring and reorganization in a variety of industries. He is admitted to practice in New York and is fluent in French. Mr. Parent is a Partner of the Firm.

Fred Siegel,
CPA: Indie Film & Tax Specialist

Fred Siegel is the founder of Fred Siegel, CPA (est. 1997), a full service public accounting and business consulting firm located in New York City specializing in working with independent filmmakers and their development and production companies in both the narrative feature and documentary worlds, as well as film financiers, film funds, and other creative professionals. The focus of the firm is to provide a comprehensive set of services tailored to the client from pre-development to post-distribution, with services offered in a wide range of specialized areas such as structuring deals and cash flows; film production tax credits and financing; film taxation and accounting; production accounting, reporting, and payroll services for low budget films; distribution and participation accounting; collection agency; tax planning, tax representation, and tax return preparation. A former jazz musician and entrepreneur, Fred is a graduate of Columbia University, (B.A. Economics, Phi Beta Kappa, Magna Cum Laude) and also attended New York University's Stern Graduate School of Business (accounting; taxation). Fred has worked with independent film funds, film financiers, and a large range of both established and emerging independent filmmakers for over twenty years, including such well-known filmmakers as Christine Vachon and Killer Films ("Boys Don't Cry"; "Far From Heaven"; "Mildred Pierce"); Debra Granik ("Winters Bone"); Ira Deutchman and Emerging Pictures (digital theatre network); Paul Mezey and Journeyman Pictures ("Beasts of the Southern Wild"; "Maria Full of Grace"; "Half Nelson"); Chris Smith and Bluemark Pictures ("Collapse"; "American Movie"; "The Yes Men"); and Good Machine ("Happiness" - Todd Solondz, and "Safe" - Todd Haynes).

John T. Trigonis,
Writer, Filmmaker and Author

John T. Trigonis is a widely published writer, independent filmmaker, and author of Crowdfunding for Filmmakers: The Way to a Successful Film Campaign, published by Michael Wiese Productions.

Trigonis launched a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo for his short film Cerise, successfully raising $1,300 over his initial goal of $5,000 in only three months of active and innovative fundraising primarily through Facebook and Twitter. In fact, 70% of the funds he raised came from people he had never met before.

Cerise has since screened at over a dozen film festivals across the country, was nominated for four awards, won an "Award of Merit," and participated in the Court Métrage at the 2011 Cannes International Film Festival.

He's currently working with Indiegogo as the crowdfunding platform's Manager for Film, Web & Video while continuing to work on his own creative projects.


Seth Unger is the Executive Producer of The Food Film Festival...the only Festival in the world where guests get to "Taste What They See on the Screen". It currently hosts annual events in New York City, Chicago and Charleston, SC. A 3rd generation event producer by trade, Seth and his production company, Food * Films * America, have produced hundreds of events and tv shows around America. From eclectic music tours and concerts, to broadcast episodics about New York City, Seth's work has led him around the world of entertainment. Born in Miami Beach, Florida in 1975, he worked his 1st event in at the age of 5, serving Budweiser from the side of an 18-wheeler at a massive beach party. He attended the arts-magnet high school New World School of the Arts where he majored in jazz drumming. After graduating from Columbia University in 1997, he's been a part of many successful operations in food, tv and music, including Messenger Records, the Red Hot Organization as well as NYC TV 25, which he created for New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg. In addition to the Food Film Fest, Seth is currently working on additional projects with food personality David Rosengarten and Hamburger Expert and Travel Channel Host George Motz. You can download their hamburger app for free at BurgerGPS.com. Seth lives in Brooklyn with his wife and twin daughters, who join him on endless Ramen and Doughnut crawls.

Have questions about 2013 NYCFF Film & Finance Forum? Contact SCENEPR!

When & Where

500 7th Avenue
New York, NY 10018

Wednesday, April 10, 2013 from 7:00 PM to 10:00 PM (EDT)

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SCENEPR!™ supports the efforts of entrepreneurs by providing access to services and events that are specifically designed to help them grow and develop their businesses.

Through a network of trusted & experienced business partnerships, SCENEPR!™ is able to offer discounted business services for entrepreneurs. Some of the services include: CPA/Legal Services, PR/Marketing/Social Media, International Digital Film Distribution, Event Marketing, Writing/Editing, Brand & Business Consultation.

For ten years SCENEPR!™ has led the way creating one of a kind events for entrepreneurs like panels, conferences, fashion events, popup showcases, film festivals, networking mixers, VIP/Celebrity events, salons, music showcases, etc.

We have also developed content partnerships with industry leading organizations, companies, colleges and startups.

URL: http://www.scenepr.com
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/sceneprnyc





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2013 NYCFF Film & Finance Forum
New York, NY Events Conference

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