A Conversation With Len Amato
Len Amato is president, HBO Films, for Home Box Office, responsible for overseeing the development and production of original HBO Films for the network. With Amato at the helm since October 2008, HBO Films has garnered numerous awards and accolades. The 2009-2015 awards seasons produced 43 Emmy® Awards and 12 Golden Globes® for HBO Films overall. The Academy of Television Arts and Sciences awarded HBO Films the Outstanding Made For Television Movie Emmy® in 2009, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015 (Grey Gardens, Temple Grandin, Game Change, Behind the Candelabra, The Normal Heart and Bessie, respectively), for a total of 20 Best Movie Emmys® since 1993. Behind the Candelabra, with 11 wins and 15 nominations, was the most-honored program at the 2013 Emmys®.
Before becoming president, Amato served as HBO program executive and executive producer on 2008’s multiple Emmy®-winning film Recount, starring Oscar® winner Kevin Spacey and Oscar® nominee Tom Wilkinson. Recount garnered 3 Emmy® Awards including Best Made for Television movie, which resulted in an Emmy® for Amato as Executive Producer. The film began Amato’s association with director Jay Roach and writer Danny Strong who would later repeat their creative collaboration on Game Change.
Amato joined HBO in March 2007 as senior vice president, HBO Films, continuing his long relationship with the network which began in 1997 in New York when he produced Charles Dutton's directorial debut First Time Felon, starring Omar Epps and Delroy Lindo, and executive produced Iron Jawed Angels, starring Academy Award® winners Hilary Swank and Anjelica Huston in 2004. Amato appeared on the fourth season of the HBO series Project Greenlight.
Prior to joining HBO, Amato was president, Spring Creek Productions. His producer/executive producer credits include: Analyze This and Analyze That, starring Academy Award® winner Robert De Niro; Possession, featuring Oscar® winner Gwyneth Paltrow and Aaron Eckhart; Deliver Us From Eva, with LL Cool J and Gabrielle Union; Rumor Has It, featuring Jennifer Aniston, Kevin Costner and Oscar® winner Shirley MacLaine; as well as the Golden Globe® and Oscar®-nominated Blood Diamond, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Djimon Hounsou and Academy Award® winner Jennifer Connelly; and The Astronaut Farmer, with Academy Award® winner Billy Bob Thornton.
Earlier, Amato was Story Editor for Robert De Niro’s newly formed Tribeca Productions in New York where he worked on such films as Michael Apted’s Thunderheart and Irwin Winkler’s Night in the City. Amato began his film career in New York as a story analyst for various independent producers and studios.
Prior to his career in the film industry, Amato was a musician and actor, performing at such renowned downtown venues as CBGB’s and La Mama Experimental Theatre in New York City.
He is a member of the Producers Guild of America.
Amato is a graduate of Columbia College in Chicago and was awarded an honorary doctorate in 2015.
The “Conversation with the Cast and Creators of the new One Day At A Time”, is a reimagining of the classic Norman Lear comedy. Speakers: Rita Moreno, Justina Machado, Gloria Calderon
Octogenarian Rita Moreno still remains one of the busiest stars in show business and is currently working on the Latino remake of Norman Lear’s classic sitcom, “One Day at a Time” for Netflix.
Rita belongs to an elite group of only eight living performers who have won entertainment’s grand slam of the industry's most prestigious awards: The Oscar, The Emmy, The Tony and The Grammy. Her Oscar win came in 1962 as Latina spitfire Anita in the film version of “West Side Story” for which she also won The Golden Globe. The Tony was for her 1975 comedic triumph as Googie Gomez in Broadway's “The Ritz.” The Grammy was for her 1972 performance on The Electric Company Album, based on the long-running children's television series. She won not one, but two Emmys--the first for a 1977 variety appearance on “The Muppet Show” and the following year for a dramatic turn on “The Rockford Files.”
Ms. Moreno has served on The National Endowment for the Arts and as a Commissioner for The President’s White House Fellowships. Rita was also recently honored by her peers as the 50th recipient of the Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award.
José Bastón is President of Content and Television of Grupo Televisa, the largest media company of the Spanish-speaking world and a prominent force in the international entertainment industry.
Mr. Bastón has been a part of Grupo Televisa for 25 years. He joined in 1989 as Marketing Manager for Channel 12 of Tijuana. Later, he occupied executive positions in Televisa’s key areas, such as programming, acquisitions, strategic planning and content development, till he reached the Corporate Vice Presidency of Television.
He was appointed President of Content and Television in 2008. The businesses for which he is responsible generate more than 50% of the group’s consolidated revenues and operating income.
With Mr. Bastón as President, Televisa has maintained its leadership in Mexico’s Broadcast TV market and made an efficient transition into digital convergence and the company’s internationalization. Today, Televisa is present in 80 countries around the world and produces content in five languages. Televisa’s programs are translated into 30 languages and unfold across every platform: four broadcast TV channels, 25 pay-TV signals, 44 local channels, one of the most visited web portals in Spanish, a platform for video on demand (OTT), cinema, and digital content for mobile devices and the Internet.
Mr. Bastón is also a member of the company’s Board of Directors and Executive Committee and a member of the boards of Cablevisión, SKY and Univision Communications.
With more than 18 years as a stand-up comedian, Al Madrigal has found success as an actor, correspondent and podcaster as well as on the live stage. He has been on numerous shows including The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, and NBC's About A Boy co-starring David Walton and Minnie Driver. In 2013, Madrigal starred in his first hour-long stand-up special Why Is the Rabbit Crying on Comedy Central and in 2015 he released his award-winning and critically acclaimed docu-comedy Half Like Me. Now, Madrigal is involved with the All Things Comedy network (ATC) that has 6 million downloads per month, and soon he will begin production on the Jim Carrey produced Showtime series I’m Dying Up Here where he will star as a series regular and serve as a consulting producer.
Juan José Campanella is an Argentine film and television director with international prestige. He is also a well renowned writer, producer and editor. He developed his film career in the United States, working as a director on television series such as Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, House, 30 Rock, Halt and Catch Fire, and Colony.
Back in Argentina he already had made several films that won him numerous awards, including “El Mismo Amor, La Misma Lluvia” (1999), “El Hijo de la Novia” (2001), “Luna de Avellaneda” (2004) , and ”El Secreto de Sus Ojos” (2009), winner of the Academy Award for Best Foreign Film in 2010 and “Metegol” (2013).
Among other works in television, he directed, produced and wrote the mini series “Vientos de Agua” (2006), which won 5 Martin Fierro awards (the Argentine Emmys), and in 2012 returned to the small screen with another mini series called “El Hombre de tu Vida”, followed by “Entre Caníbales” in 2015.
In 2013 he made his debut in stage direction with “Parque Lezama”, fulfilling one of his long life dreams, which continues its success in Argentina.
Patricia Riggen was born in Mexico. She began her film career as a writer for television documentaries and as an executive director for the Mexican Film Institute.
She studied a master’s degree in Directing at Columbia University. Her first short film, La Milpa, received 20 international awards; among them the Student Academy Award. Her documentary film, Family Portrait, won the Jury Award at the Sundance Film Festival ‘05.
Patricia directed and produced her first full-length feature, Under the Same Moon, which premiered at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival and was quickly acquired for worldwide distribution by Fox Searchlight and The Weinstein Company. It opened to weekend record numbers for a Spanish language film.
Patricia then directed the Lionsgate/Pantelion’s Girl in Progress, a coming-of-age comedy and the musical Lemonade Mouth for the Disney Channel, which received a DGA nomination and garnered 12.5 million viewers in its first two airings.
In 2015 Patricia released the Chilean mining drama The 33, with leading stars Antonio Banderas and Juliette Binoche.
Patricia’s latest movie is the box office hit Miracles from Heaven, starring Jennifer Garner.
Born in Caracas, Venezuela, Jonathan Jakubowicz completed in 2016 the epic movie about the legendary boxer Roberto "Hands of Stone" Duran starring Robert De Niro, Edgar Ramirez, Ana de Armas, Ellen Barkin, Ruben Blades, John Turturro and Usher.
Hands of Stone was Written, Directed and Produced by Jakubowicz through his Company Epicentral Studios, which he owns with his wife and Producing Partner Claudine Jakubowicz. Hands of Stone will have it's world premier on May 16th as part of the Official Selection of the Cannes Film Festival 2016 and will be released by The Weinstein Company in the United States in 2600 screens on August 26th , making it the widest release in history for a Latin movie.
Jakubowicz jumped to international recognition in 2005 after he wrote, directed and produced Secuestro Express; the frightening story of one young couple's ordeal as they career through the underbelly of Caracas in the hands of three thugs who've made them their latest payday. The thriller became Venezuela's highest-grossing film, eclipsing such movies as "Titanic" and "The Passion of the Christ."
Cris Abrego serves as Co-Chairman, Endemol Shine Americas and Co-CEO, Endemol Shine North America.
Abrego, alongside colleague Charlie Corwin, leads the North American division of Endemol Shine Group, the newly merged global independent content creator, producer and distributor with a diverse portfolio of companies that are behind some of the most prominent hit television formats and series in the world including “Big Brother,” “MasterChef” and “The Biggest Loser."
In January, both Abrego and Corwin added oversight of Endemol Shine’s Latin American operations to their current North American responsibilities.The former co-founder and chief executive of Endemol Shine-owned 51 Minds Entertainment (“Flavor of Love”), Abrego is one of the leading creators and producers of reality television in the U.S., recognized globally for pioneering a new genre of unscripted programming with the breakout celeb-reality series “The Surreal Life.”
NOTE: This Signature Conversation session is part of the overall NALIP Media Summit 2016 schedule. It is not a luncheon and it is open to ALL Summit pass holders on a first come first serve basis.
Thirteen time Emmy Award-winning journalist Teresa Rodríguez is co-anchor of Univision’s primetime award-winning weekly newsmagazine program, “Aquí y Ahora,” (Here and Now), which features investigative and consumer stories on a number of important issues facing U.S. Hispanics, as well as interviews with leading newsmakers, politicians and celebrities.
Rodríguez joined Univision in 1982 as co-anchor of the national newscast, becoming the first woman ever to host a national primetime Spanish language newscast in the U.S.
She is the recipient of a Silver Angel Award for Excellence in Media and a George Foster Peabody Award, and was recognized by The Hollywood Reporter for having one of the top 10 highest Q scores for Spanish-speaking U.S. Latinos.
Additionally, Rodríguez is the best-selling author of the book, “The Daughters of Juarez: A True Story of Serial Murder South of the Border” and a contributing author of “Count on Me: Tales of Sisterhood and Fierce Friendships,” a collection of essays.
A strong supporter of empowering girls and young women, Rodríguez has served as the Spanish-language national spokesperson for the American Heart Association’s “Go Red for Women” campaign and is a key proponent of Univision’s health and education initiatives. She is also a Steering Committee Member of Univision’s Women’s Leadership Council.
Rodríguez has two sons and resides in Key Biscayne, Florida with her husband.
Lucas Akoskin was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina and has been working in the film industry for over two decades. Lucas' latest producing endeavor, On The Milky Road, directed by two time Palme d'Or winner, Emir Kusturica starring Kusturica and Monica Bellucci is currently in post production.
Lucas’ producing credits include the Emmy and Golden Globe nominated HBO film Nightingale, starring David Oyelowo; The Automatic Hate, staring Richard Schiff, Joseph Cross, Adelaide Clemens and Debora Ann Woll; Captive, starring Kate Mara and David Oyelowo, distributed by Paramount Pictures; and the international shorts compilation Words With Gods, featuring world renowned directors Bahman Ghobadi, Hideo Nakata, Mira Nair, Álex de la Iglesia, Hector Babenco, Guillermo Arriaga, and others. Lucas has produced films in locations throughout the world, including Mexico, Argentina, Colombia, Brazil, Chile and Spain. Lucas resides in Malibu, CA with his wife Leonor Varela and their two children.
Alex Fumero is Vice President, HBO Programming, for Home Box Office, responsible for the development and production of original alternative and comedy programming, as well as digital and non-linear programming for HBO Now and HBO Go. He joined HBO in this role in January 2016.
Fumero’s current projects include Any Given Wednesday with Bill Simmons, After the Thrones and the Untitled Jon Stewart Project for HBO Now.
Prior to joining HBO, Fumero was senior director of Programming & Development for Fusion, a joint venture between Disney/ABC Television and Univision, targeting millennials. A member of the founding launch team at Fusion, he co-created F-Comedy, a digital news satire studio. There, he was responsible for Paul F. Tompkins’ No, You Shut Up!, Mondo Media’s animated series Like, Share, Die and the national debut of The Chris Gethard Show, executive produced by Will Ferrell, Zach Galifianakis and Adam McKay and produced by Funny Or Die. Fumero has a diverse background including production, writing and performance in film, TV and theater, with his work has appeared at the Sundance Film Festival and the New York International Fringe Festival. Fumero holds a BFA in Theatre from New York University.
Davy Perez is currently a writer on the long-standing fan favorite series SUPERNATURAL for CW. Prior to this, Davy was on the Emmy Award Winning series AMERICAN CRIME on ABC where he wrote and also produced episodes of the groundbreaking series. Born on Halloween night in East Los Angeles, performing for his siblings and classmates inspired Davy to attend the Playhouse West Repertory School to study acting. Davy has taught drama at the Los Angeles Music & Arts School, played guitar with local garage punk bands, and worked in Creative Development at ABC Studios and Universal Cable Productions. In 2013, Davy was selected for a NALIP/HBO Latino Writer Fellowship and was a participant in the 2014 Disney ABC Writing Program. Davy is married to producer Amanda Hernandez Perez and they share a lovely home in Studio City with their feisty yet faithful dog, a Chihuahua named Pablo.
Helen was born in Beijing, China and immigrated to the Silicon Valley when she was six. Her interest in writing for TV sparked in middle school, after she fell in love with The X-Files and felt inspired to write her own episodes. Helen graduated from Princeton University with a B.A. in English, and moved out to Los Angeles to pursue a career in TV screenwriting. She was a member of the CBS Diversity Writers Program in 2009 and a fellow in the CAPE New Writer’s Fellowship in 2014. Her first writing staff job was on Hannibal (NBC), where she co-wrote her first episode of TV with a former writer of The X-Files. Helen has just started as a story editor on Hawaii Five-0 (CBS).
Don’t be daunted by the long name (Judalina Zoila Neira) or the unusual upbringing (raised on Navy military bases in Virginia, Maryland and Hawaii), Judalina is very much like the other Puerto-Rican, yoga-aficionados you may know and love. After earning her B.F.A. in Creative Writing from Emerson College, Judalina spent four years club-hopping the Lower East Side as a music business talent scout before settings her sights westward. In LA, she segued into TV as a Writers’ Assistant on the NBC drama, “Do No Harm.” Judalina is a graduate of ABC/NBC’s National Hispanic Media Coalition television writing program and a 2012-2013 NBC Writer on the Verge. She recently developed an hour-long drama for NBC with Lionsgate TV Studios and Christina Aguilera. Previously, she worked on the VH1 dance drama, “Hit the Floor.” Judalina is currently an Executive Story Editor on CW’s The Flash.
Born and raised in Los Angeles, Natalie Chaidez is the Executive Producer of 12 MONKEYS and HUNTERS, a series for Gale Anne Hurd/SyFy. Best known for TERMINATOR: THE SARAH CONNOR CHRONICLES and HEROES, Ms. Chaidez is currently the only Latina working as a creator/showrunner in US television.
Ms. Chaidez is known for her edgy female characters, hard-hitting action and genre-pushing story-telling. Her parents’ jail time and heroin addiction shaped a voice that is dark, infused with compassion and fascinated with exploring a world just beyond our own. After graduating from UCLA film school, she was a participant in the prestigious Disney Writers’ Fellowship.
She is a proud parent to Julian, a Math PhD student, and Chloe, lead singer of the band “Kitten”. In her spare time she takes to the track as a member of California’s premiere roller derby league, L.A. Derby Dolls.
Graduated from UT Austin-MFA in Film Production with three award winning films and was honored by the Princess Grace Foundation. While working at Troublemaker Studios in the Visual FX Department, she developed her own projects through her independent company Bloodbank Productions, focusing on genre films, showcasing her writing and directing as she creates stories that portray deep interpersonal connections and unique idiosyncrasies that connect us all as humans.
Jaime co-founded Campanario Entertainment and runs the day-to-day operations of the company. Working from a unique cross-border perspective, Campanario is a Los Angeles-based media company that produces innovative scripted and unscripted television and digital content across multiple platforms and languages.
At the company’s inception, Jaime consulted on the production of Campanario’s hit series, Camelia La Texana, which was broadcast on Telemundo in the US, and acquired by Netflix as an exclusive premiere in Mexico.
A former executive at Bravo, he specialized in developing new unscripted formats for the television network including The People’s Couch, The Week by Bravo, The Extreme Guide to Parenting—which he created — Best New Restaurant, and Secrets and Wives.
Most recently, Jaime and Campanario acquired the Spanish-language rights to produce the hit format, The Bachelor, for Mexico and executive produced the American adaptation of Spain’s hit, El Chiringuito de Pepe, for ABC this past development season.
Robert Katz has more than 27 years experience in worldwide film production, development and finance. Katz’s track record includes working on more than 25 motion pictures alongside highly accomplished writers, directors, actors and crews - with 13 Academy Award nominations, 3 wins and more than $850,000,000 in world wide revenues.
Recently, Katz produced the feature film, “The 33”. The movie was filmed in Colombia and in Chile.
Prior to that, Katz was President Of Production at The Film Department where he oversaw acquisitions, development and production. During that time, he produced “Law-Abiding Citizen”, “The Rebound” and “Earthbound”.
Preceding The Film Department, Katz produced “Slipstream” which was written, directed and starred Sir Anthony Hopkins.
Katz also served as the head of Production at the Yari Film Group, where he oversaw the production of 18 films over a period of 2 1⁄2 years, including the 2006 Academy Award wining best picture, “Crash” as well as “The Illusionist”, “Prime”, “The Matador”, “Hostage”, “The Hoax “The Painted Veil”, and “Dave Chappelle’s Block Party.
Prior to joining the Yari Film Group, Katz supervised production on such hit films as “Seabiscuit” and “One Hour Photo”.
Gabriel Mena is an agent in the motion picture literary division of Paradigm. He comes from an independent producing background where he ran a fund out of Spain that financed production on a number of films including the 2008 Sundance title MANCORA. Gabriel’s efforts at Paradigm are focused on representing actors and directors as well as being intimately involved in the growing Latin American market and the Hispanic American market stateside. He represents Academy Award Nominee Ciro Guerra (Embrace of the Serpent), Goya Award Winner Alejandro Brugues (Juan of the Dead, New Faith), Emiliano Rocha Minter (We Are The Flesh), Oscar Jaenada (The Shallows), and Lorenza Izzo (Feed The Beast).
Chicago native, Rebecca Murga, is an award-winning filmmaker who works in Los Angeles as a writer and director. Her work has been featured on Mundo FOX, ABC, and CBS and clients have included Comcast, ESPN, and FOX Sports Network.
Rebecca served as a Captain in the US Army, and has been deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. In 2011 she was one of the first women attached to Special Operations Command in Afghanistan, working with NAVY SEALS and Special Forces.
In 2015, Rebecca was one of ten filmmakers selected for the prestigious AFI Conservatory Directing Workshop for Women.
Rebecca is a passionate advocate for veterans and women's issues with articles published in The New York Times, The Global Journal, and San Jose Mercury News,. She has appeared on ABC's "Good Morning America," and "The View." Most recently, she was featured on NPR as the director of a short film “War Ink” .
Rebecca is a finalist of the NALIP Latino Lens: Short Narrative Incubator. Her short film "One Halloween" will be screened at the Latino Lens Showcase on June 24, 2016 at the NALIP Media Summit.
Noland manages a portfolio of ITVS-funded programs, co-curates the Emmy Award-winning Independent Lens series, and provides curatorial analysis and program development feedback to producers. He has been a writer, producer, and director on numerous award-winning documentaries. Walker served as creative advisor for the Sundance Institute’s New Frontiers Lab, has advised for the Creative Lab at Canada’s Hot Docs Film Festival, and continues to consult for Sundance Fellows.
Craig Parks is Vice President, Programming for Watchable, Comcast’s new cross-platform video service that curates a selection of the best content from popular online video networks and shows. Craig joined Comcast in June of 2015 and is responsible programming, editorial, and operations for the service.
Prior to Comcast, Craig worked for Pivot (Participant Media), where he served as SVP of Live & Event programming. In this role, he was responsible for the network’s live talk show, “TakePart Live,” the Peabody Awards, the creation of digital and interstitial content video content for TakePart.com and branded content for sponsors and partners. Before that, Craig worked at IFC as Senior Vice President, Digital Media & Alternative Content, where he led the charge in building the network’s online presence and growing fan base around its roster of original comedy series.
Prior to joining IFC in 2007, Craig held production and creative roles across various networks including AMC Networks, ABC Family, MTV and VH1. Craig is a graduate of University of Florida. He is also an alumnus of CTAM’s executive management program, CTAM U, at Harvard Business School.
Alejandra Campoverdi is Director of Multicultural Content at the Los Angeles Times. Previously, Alejandra served as founding Managing Editor of #EmergingUS at the Los Angeles Times, a digital platform founded by Jose Antonio Vargas focused on race, immigration, and identity. Prior to joining the Times, Alejandra served as Senior Advisor for Innovation and Communications Strategy for Univision Network News and was a part of the team that launched Fusion. From 2009-2012, Alejandra worked in The White House, most recently as Deputy Director of Hispanic Media. In this role, she developed and implemented the White House’s multimedia communications strategy in relation to the U.S. Hispanic community. Alejandra holds a Master of Public Policy from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government and graduated cum laude from the Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism at the University of Southern California.
Anikah McLaren is currently a Senior Vice President at Fox Searchlight. Previously, she was a Vice President of Production and Development at Universal Pictures and was an executive at NBC Universal for over ten years. During her tenure, Anikah oversaw a wide array of films, including Lone Survivor, Dracula Untold, and The Best Man Holiday. Prior to becoming a vice president, she was a junior executive at the company.
Before rising through the ranks at Universal, Anikah was the NY-based Manager of Acquisitions at Focus Features, Universal’s specialty label, where she was responsible for acquiring films for domestic and international territories. She also acted as assistant to Co-Chairman and filmmaker James Schamus.
After receiving a BA in English from The George Washington University in 1998, Anikah worked in the editorial division of St. Martin's Press and in product development at Bertlesmann’s e-commerce venture, bol.com.
Presently, Anikah is in production on MY COUSIN RACHEL and working on the release of the Sundance Grand Jury Award winning film, THE BIRTH OF A NATION, as well as overseeing several projects in development. In addition to her professional duties, she is a mentor in The Hollywood Reporter's Women In Entertainment program and a member of the Executive Circle for the AFI Director Workshop for Women.
Originally from New York, she now lives with her husband in Los Angeles.
Jen Goyne Blake is the Senior Manager of the Sundance Institute Episodic Story Lab. Previously, Jen had a first look production deal with Relativity Media to develop television and film projects. She also worked as a script analyst at William Morris Agency in the television department and got her start as an assistant at the Robert Evans Company and Tregan Entertainment. She is an alumna of the University of Texas at Austin and proudly displays a longhorn sticker on her purse.
Pat Shah is the Head of Original Content Licensing for Spotify AB, the world’s leading digital music service headquartered in Stockholm and operating in over 50 countries worldwide. Today, Spotify serves over 100 million consumers every month across the globe with a catalog of over 30MM songs and a rapidly expanding video offering.
Prior to joining Spotify, Pat led global licensing teams at both Universal Music Group and EMI Music, where he served as Vice President of Global Digital Business. In that role, Pat led industry transforming licensing transactions with Google, Amazon, Microsoft, Tidal, among others.
Pat began in his career on Wall Street at Salomon Smith Barney in New York City and received his MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.
As PBS’ Senior Vice President, Station Services, Juan represents the perspective of PBS’ independent member stations in the ongoing management and strategic direction of PBS to ensure that PBS programs, products and services support each station’s connection to its community and audience.
Prior to that, he served as Executive Director of the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics where he designed and led the first-ever White House Hispanic Policy Conference along with a series of Hispanic Community Action Summits across the country that brought together representatives of White House offices and federal agencies with Latino community leaders to build relationships and partnerships to tackle key community issues.
Juan is the third Latino ever awarded a Rhodes Scholarship. He graduated from Harvard College with a B.A. in Government and also holds a B.A. in Politics, Philosophy & Economics from The Queen’s College, Oxford University and a J.D. from Stanford Law School.
Claudia Puig has been a film critic on KPCC’s Film Week since 2005. She was lead critic at USA Today for 15 years, and hosted their video series The Screening Room. She has been a featured guest on KCRW, NBC, CBS and CNN and a juror at film festivals from Ashland to Zurich. In 2015 she was program director for the Napa Valley Film Festival and in 2016 a diversity consultant for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
Claudia frequently hosts film panels and Q&As, including last year’s Zocalo Public Square and Smithsonian series “What it Means to be American,” moderating a lively conversation with Teatro Campesino founder Luis Valdez and producer Moctesuma Esparza. Claudia began her journalism career in 1986 at the LA Times where she covered crime, courts, Spanish language media, radio and film. She is fluent in Spanish and Italian and studied at Universidad Ibero-Americana and Cambridge University. She has a B.A. from UCLA and an M.A. from USC’s Annenberg School of Communications.
Praveen Pandian is a television agent at leading entertainment and sports agency Creative Artists Agency (CAA). Pandian works in the Los Angeles Office and represents many of the world’s leading writers, directors, and producers, including Dan Harmon, Michael Mann, Adam Wingard, J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot, Justin Lin’s Perfect Storm Entertainment, and George Clooney’s Smokehouse Pictures.
Pandian began his career at the Walt Disney Company in 2011, joining CAA in 2012.
Pandian graduated from Pennsylvania State University with degrees in Marketing & Advertising/PR.
To the great shame of her parents, Crystal Liu is neither a doctor nor a lawyer. Liu graduated from UCLA with a BA in Film and Television, adding salt to the wound. Since she is single and childless, it is irrelevant that her award-winning short films have played at festivals across the world. In 2014, Liu had the privilege of being one of ten writers selected for the Sundance Institute’s inaugural Episodic Lab. Liu currently serves as Executive Story Editor on FX's Emmy-winning American Horror Story.
Ben Odell is partner of 3Pas Studios with Mexican comedian and filmmaker Eugenio Derbez. 3Pas has first-look deals with Pantelion Films, the joint venture between Lionsgate and Televisa, and Universal Television.
Odell was previously Head of Production for Pantelion, overseeing development and production onSpare Parts, starring George Lopez, Jamie Lee Curtis and Marisa Tomei, and the comedy, Girl in Progress, starring Eva Mendes and Patricia Arquette.
Prior to this, Odell produced such movies as Sebastian Borensztein’s Un Cuento Chino and the thriller,Sangre de mi Sangre, which won the grand jury prize at Sundance (2007).
Odell first worked as a journalist before becoming a Spanish-language television and film writer, creating over 300 hours of Spanish-language television including, Fuego Verde, and co-writing the Colombian political satire film, Golpe de Estadio, which was nominated for Spain's Goya Award in 1999, and was Colombia's nomination to the Oscar in 2000.
Television and Film Producer Jay Weisleder recently completed the production of the feature film “Hands of Stone”, the upcoming biopic of Roberto Duran starring Robert De Niro, Usher and Edgar Ramirez. Weisleder is currently producing feature films “Clemente”, the Roberto Clemente biopic with Legendary Pictures. Weisleder has a long history of scripted television development with companies such as Reveille Productions, ABC Studios, NBC TV Studios, FOX, WGN, Scarlet Fire, Madhouse Entertainment, Shine, and Electus.
Born in San Jose, Costa Rica, Weisleder started his career in the entertainment industry while working at Miami-based Sony Music Latino, where he worked closely with many established and rising musicians. Weisleder later transitioned into television working at Telemundo’s bilingual cable network, Mun2.
After Telemundo, Mr. Weisleder turned to his ultimate passion, to develop and produce film and television, which led him to the foundation of Fuego Films; an independent production company focused on worldwide intellectual property rights through scripted and alternative television and film formats. Jay Weisleder lives in Studio City, California.
Ligiah Villalobos is the Writer and Executive Producer of the independent feature film Under the Same Moon, (La Misma Luna). She won a Humanitas Prize in 2013 for the movie, Firelight, produced by Alicia Keys and Mary Martin. Villalobos has developed projects for multiple studios and networks. She co-produced two HBO movies, Dancing in September and Walkout. She was the Head Writer for Nick Jr.’s hit Go, Diego! Go!, Consulted on two Pixar movies and the SPROUT series, Nina’s World. Before becoming an independent writer/producer, Villalobos was a studio executive at Disney where she oversaw all television production in Latin America and their Writing Fellowship Program and Directors Training Program. She is currently working on a pilot for Starz/Encore based on a NY Times best-selling book. Villalobos is on the Board of the Writers Guild Foundation and the Advisory Board of Girls, Inc., Latino Initiative. She completed her MFA in Creative Writing from Antioch University in December 2015.
Evette Vargas is emblematic of Hollywood’s new breed of multiplatform storytelling talent. Named by the NY Times as an “Artist to Watch,” Evette is an award-winning writer, director and 360 multiplatform creator. Evette’s work includes series for MTV, Bravo, DirectTV; branded ent., apps & games for FAST & FURIOUS, LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy and Madonna. Evette EPed, wrote and directed her digital series DARK PROPHET, starring Henry Rollins, which was in contention for two Emmys and premiered at Sundance. The Virtual Reality series premiers on the Sony Playstation VR. A member of the WGA, ATAS and PGA, Evette was born in the Bronx and learned to tell stories at the dinner table with her family where the imagination ruled. Evette kick boxes; is a tennis fanatic; collects action figures, typewriters, shoes; has past lives as a DJ, a fashion designer and is a recovering NY advertising Art Director. Follow @VargasGirl
Ana Flores is the founder and CEO of Latina Bloggers Connect, as well as of#WeAllGrow Events and SpanglishBaby.com. She commands over 15 years of experience as a content creator, writer and television producer with a passion for empowering Hispanic America.
After co-founding SpanglishBaby.com, an award-winning online community for parents raising bilingual and bicultural kids, and co-authoring the book Bilingual is Better, Ana graduated from blogger to CEO in 2010 when she launched Latina Bloggers Connect, a boutique digital influencer marketing agency. Initially attracting the attention of prominent Fortune 500 companies as a one-woman show, LBC is now the first and largest network of digital Latina influencers in the country, with a focus on creating strategic content that connects brands and social causes with Latina women online.
In 2010, Ana appeared on the cover of Hispanic Business Magazine as “The New Face of Social Media.” Most recently, she was recognized by the prestigious Holmes Report among their 2015 Innovator 25 and invited to speak at the White House Conference on Helping our Children Explore, Learn, and Dream without Limits: Breaking Down Gender Stereotypes in Media and Toys. She's a member of the BlogHer 2016 Advisory Board, on NALIP’s Diverse Women in Media Initiative Advisory Committee and Common Sense Media’s Latino Advisory Council.
Philip Alberstat is the Chief Operating Officer of Contend, where he is responsible for strategic partnerships, business affairs and operations.
Prior to Contend, he was EVP and Head of Production at Los Angeles advertising agency Omelet and before that, was an advisor to global agency JWT in relation to branded content and entertainment.
Alberstat is well known for his role at the William Morris Agency within their independent film team. He worked on such noted films as Thank You for Smoking, Away from Her, Factory Girl, and Bobby. He has produced numerous films and television series and won an Emmy Award for his work on the film The Incredible Mrs. Ritchie. He was also shortlisted for an Oscar for the documentary Downstream. Prior to William Morris he was an entertainment lawyer based in London, England specializing in media finance. He is the author of several books including “The Insider’s Guide to Film Finance.”
Jonathan Levy graduated from The University of Florida and has a master of arts in International Business from the University of Florida. He also has a law degree from New York University. Jon got his start at United Talent Agency working as an assistant to the head of business affairs/independent film financing group. He is currently an independent film financing agent at UTA. He represents and manages feature films for packaging, financing and distribution sales.
Nancy Kanter is Executive Vice President, Original Programming and General Manager, Disney Junior Worldwide.
Under her direction, the 24-hour channel has ranked as the #1 preschool-dedicated TV network since its debut. Kanter oversees development and production on Disney Junior's slate of hit series including Peabody Award-winning "Doc McStuffins" and Emmy Award-winning "Sofia the First," among many others. She also oversees Disney Channel's upcoming "Elena of Avalor," which will introduce Disney's first princess inspired by diverse Latin cultures.
Kanter joined Disney Channel in 2001 and led the successful rebrand of Playhouse Disney to Disney Junior, a brand which has been established as a global powerhouse, with 33 Disney Junior channels in 24 languages.
A native of New York, Kanter graduated Magna Cum Laude from Hunter College. She currently sits on the board of the Hollywood Health & Society at USC's Annenberg School for Communication. Kanter is based in Burbank, California.
David Cárdenas is a character designer on Disney's "Elena of Avalor," which follows Princess Elena, Disney's first princess inspired by diverse Latin cultures and folklore.
Born in Mexico City, 25-year-old Cárdenas has brought a wealth of personal knowledge and culture to "Elena of Avalor" including incorporating Mayan glyphs into the designs and special effects, and creating logograms based on Mayan symbols that are displayed when the character Mateo, a wizard-in-training, is performing spells.
Cárdenas moved to the United States in 2009 to attend The Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City, where he graduated with a BFA in Illustration in 2013. "Elena of Avalor" is his first foray into television animation.
In his spare time, Cárdenas enjoys trying to improve his artwork, playing video games, finding new places to eat with his girlfriend and playing with his three cats – Gatsby, Manny and Shadow.
Emmy-nominated composer and musician Tony Morales is composer of Disney's "Elena of Avalor."
Morales began his career as a staff composer with Hans Zimmer’s Media Ventures. He earned his first Emmy nomination as a score composer for the miniseries "Hatfields & McCoys," and has also composed for such television series and feature films as "Scorpion," "Bloodline," "Alaska: The Last Frontier," "In Your Eyes," "Rocky and Bullwinkle" (short) and "Enemies Closer."
Morales has been an arranger for some of the film music industry's top composers such as John Debney, Harry Gregson-Williams and Brian Tyler, and has contributed to the scores of such films as "Iron Man 3," "Now You See Me," "Fast Five," "Unstoppable," "The Town" and "The Change-Up.
Morales attended the University of Southern California's Advanced Studies in Film Scoring program and graduated with a degree in film scoring from Berklee College of Music.
Morales currently resides in Los Angeles.
Humanitas Award nominated writer and alumna of the Disney-ABC Writers Program, the Warner Brothers Writers’ Workshop and the National Hispanic Media Coalition's Television Writers Program, Silvia Olivas is story editor of Disney's "Elena of Avalor," which follows Princess Elena, Disney's first princess inspired by diverse Latin cultures and folklore.
Olivas began her career in television as a stage manager on "El Show de Paul Rodriguez." She served as a writer-producer on the hit series "Moesha," and wrote and co-executive produced "The Brothers Garcia," for which she was nominated for a Humanitas Award.
Wanting to try her hand in the world of television animation, Olivas wrote her first animation script for Disney Channel's "The Proud Family." Her additional animated television credits include Disney Junior's "Special Agent Oso," "The Misadventures of Maya and Miguel," "Martha Speaks," "Fatherhood," "Pound Puppies" and "Olivia."
She currently resides in South Pasadena with her husband and son.
Emmy Award winner Craig Gerber is creator and executive producer of Disney's "Elena of Avalor."
Gerber also developed and serves as executive producer of Disney Junior's hit animated series "Sofia the First," for which he won an Emmy Award for writing the series' theme song. He has also written for the Disney Fairies film franchise.
A graduate of the University of Southern California's School of Cinema-Television, Gerber's career took off after he participated in a screenwriting showcase at the university that led to a major Hollywood studio optioning the first script he had ever written. Gerber is also an award-winning short film director whose comedic short "Hang Time," won Best Narrative Short at the Sonoma Valley Film Festival and Best Digital Short at the Sedona Film Festival in 2003.
Originally from New York, Gerber currently resides in Los Angeles with his family.
Blanca Gonzalez brings nearly 20 years of experience and leadership to the industry. In 2002, Blanca started her Nike career in LA in Nike Entertainment Marketing, then moving on as the Brand Manager for Nike’s iconic “BLU House” energy center, connecting Nike with top influencers from LA and across the globe. Blanca has developed her merchandising and general management skills with positions across Geography, Territory and Global, including GM of Sportswear and Action Sports for Nike de Mexico, which allowed her to fulfill her dream of experiencing her culture and heritage once again. She currently holds one of her #DreamJobs as the VP/GM of the Nike West Territory.
Norma Garcia-Muro is Director of Marketing and Communications at ITVS and the principal of NGM Consulting. She was the head of international marketing at Lucasfilm overseeing Star Wars outside of US and Canada and worked closely with George Lucas and Rick McCallum. Her two-decade career in entertainment mobilized some of the world's most well-known entertainment brands. She previously held positions at Paramount Pictures, NCM, THQ and Bertelsmann Music Group.
Norma is a member of AR/VR Academy based in San Francisco and a Producer of an upcoming VR film based on diversity.
Jeffery Kissinger is a unique blend of creative roots balanced with analytical leanings that have allowed him to flourish at the intersection of content, data and audience development. In his current role at Scripps Networks Interactive he manages short-form digital video distribution for the company’s lifestyle portfolio including HGTV, Food Network and Travel Channel. Over the past three years he has lead his team to push the boundaries of big data analysis for the optimization and monetization of distributed video.
Prior to this role, Kissinger was instrumental in bringing analytics to all reaches of the business, laying the foundation for the company’s CRM and DMP initiatives. He also built and accelerated the company’s digital marketing and social media strategies. In 2004, Kissinger joined HGTV in 2004 as the architect for its on-air strategy and planning team driving increased viewership. Prior to Scripps Networks, he had a successful career at CNN.
As Vice President, Programming and Development, Megan Lawrence oversees west coast development operations for both Food Network and Cooking Channel. In this capacity, she vets all incoming submissions, generates internal concepts and spearheads production of original programming.
Prior to joining Scripps Networks Interactive, Megan served as Senior Director of Development for WE tv where she was instrumental in developing a number of WE tv's popular series, including the network's popular Marriage Boot Campfranchise, Braxton Family Values, Mary Mary, Kendra on Top, L.A. Hair, Tamar & Vince, and SWV: Reunited.
Prior to joining WE tv, Lawrence was a creative executive at The Weinstein Company managing their slate of television projects including the perennial hit series Project Runway and critically-acclaimed The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency.
Lawrence began her career in casting working on Extreme Makeover, The Biggest Loser, Beauty and the Geek and For Love or Money. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Film Production from USC's School of Cinematic Arts.
Vanessa Erazo has always been a big film fan. Growing up bilingual in California, she eventually discovered the rich variety of Latino films but noticed they were hard to find. The search for these movies led her to work for Latino film festivals in San Francisco, New York, and Mexico City. After receiving an M.A. in Latin American Studies from New York University, she served as the Documentary Programmer at the New York International Latino Film Festival and is now the Film Editor at Remezcla. She is also the co-creator of LatinoBuzz, a weekly column on Indiewire, and Co-Founder of Cinelandia, an online guide to Latino films playing across the U.S.
Dilcia Barrera is the Associate Curator of Film Program at the Los Angeles County Musueum of Art and a Short Film Programmer for Sundance Film Festival. Since 2007, she has worked for numerous film festivals including The Los Angeles Film Festival and Outfest and has previously served as Senior Programmer at AFI FEST, Programmer for The Philadelphia Film Festival, and a screener for the Sundance Institute’s Documentary Film Program. A Los Angeles native, Dilcia has a Spanish/Portuguese Literature degree from UCLA.
Sergio Agüero most recently executive produced FOX’s series “Red Band Society” with Amblin, and has produced /exec-produced studio and indie movies that have grossed $180 million worldwide, such as Academy Award nominee “Y Tu Mama Tambien” and Warner’s “No Reservations”.
At LA based Campanario, he produces television and digital content for multiple platforms by both adapting proven Latin intellectual property (books, formats, movies) and developing original content with Latin creators. He is currently working on family dramedy based on a Spanish hit series at Twentieth Fox Television.
Former Endeavor packaging agent and Executive VP at publicly traded Trimark Pictures, he started his entertainment career in international film and television sales.
Rosy Ocampo (born Rosa María de la Luz García Ocampo on November 11, 1959), is a Mexican multi award winning television producer. She holds a BA in Communications from the Universidad Iberoamericana, and since then she has amassed over thirty years of experience in the creation of world-class TV content.
Her production team is widely recognized for its creativity, efficiency and high impact on the constant reinvention of Telenovelas, one of the main genres of contemporary entertainment throughout the world. La Telenovela is the cornerstone of Televisa’s (1) products and Ocampo is the most prolific and innovative Telenovela producer today.
As Director of the Innovation Department at Televisa, Ocampo fosters various research and development initiatives on a daily basis. She uses this research to extend the depth and platform reach of her productions, while providing the tools and knowledge to find different strategies for enriching the protocols and processes in the company. Her most recent contribution is a set of groundbreaking strategies that enable instant interaction, taking viewers beyond the TV screen through storytelling with widespread reach across digital and social platforms.
Producer, director and writer, Alejandro Sugich studied Economics with specialty in finance in Universidad de Sonora (UNISON). He studied english as second language in Brigham Young University (BYU) in Provo, Utah. Sugich worked for five years in Motorola Broadband Communications Sector in Nogales, Sonora and in San Jose, California. In 2008 he founded Sulafilms SA de CV.
He studied a one year program of Filmmaking and Cinematography in Los Ángeles, CA at New York Film Academy (NYFA). He also studied Production and Executive Production at UCLA in the program called “MicroBudget Films” Los Ángeles, CA. He took the Acting for Directors Workshop under the prestigious actress and producer Judy Weston, among many other courses and trainings.
His productions have been chosen for the film festivals as Morelia, Guadalajara, Mexico City, Cannes ShortCorner, Morbido, Ventana Sur, St Kitts, Los Angeles, Sochi Rusia, San Diego, Portland, Guanajuato (Expresión en Corto) and Oaxaca. He won in the Oaxaca film Festival and Expresión en Corto Guanajuato, both in 2010. His productions have been nominated for 8 Diosas de Plata, 2 Arieles and 2 Canacine Awards. In 2014 he founded Neverlanding Pictures, a mexican indie film distribution company that became in his first year the #6 ranking of 25 Mexican Distribution Companies. In 2015 Co-founded with Media Artist Jens Kull the company SumoVR A 360/VR/AR production company based in Venice CA and Mexico City.
Alejandro Sugich is member of the IQ International Quorum of Motion Picture Producers that holds more than 200 members in 20 countries, Sugich and Sulafilms are representing Mexico.
Adrian J. Feliciano (A.J.) is the Manager of Alternative Programming, USA and Syfy, and oversees strategic development and production on original programming hits FaceOff (2015 Critics’ Choice Award, Best Reality Competition), GhostHunters, and ParanormalWitness. Throughout his tenure, A.J. has developed and executed a multitude of series including GeeksWhoDrink with Zachary Levi, Joe Rogan Questions Everything, WizardWars, The Wil Wheaton Project, Heroes of Cosplay, OppositeWorlds, and many more.
Before joining Syfy, A.J. was part of the programming and development team at NBCUniversal Television Distribution, responsible for first-run syndicated programming series Maury, JerrySpringer, AccessHollywood, AccessHollywoodLive, and TheSteveWilkosShow.
Feliciano holds an MBA in Communications, Media Management, and Marketing from Fordham Gabelli School of Business and a BA in Journalism & Media Studies from Rutgers University.
Miles Perkins brings a wealth of experience to Jaunt in the fields of media communications, entertainment and emerging technologies. Before coming to Jaunt, Miles was a 23 year veteran of Lucasfilm where as Head of Corporate Communications he was responsible for the development and implementation of communications and public relations across all Lucasfilm companies globally, including Industrial Light & Magic, Skywalker Sound and LucasArts. Prior to this role Perkins served as Director of Marketing and Communications for Industrial Light & Magic. During his tenure he was central in developing and managing the ILM brand and possesses a deep knowledge of the creative and post-production process. At ILM he worked on a wide range of projects including the Star Wars prequels, the Jurassic Park series, the Pirates of the Caribbean series, Iron Man 1 & 2 and is credited on films such as Super 8, Rango, Star Trek, Transformers 1 & 2, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull and Iron Man.
Joseph Tovares is Senior Vice President and Chief Content Officer at the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. CPB is the single largest funder of public media content in the United States. Joseph came to CPB after an award-winning career as a public media and executive producer. Joseph was formerly Senior Vice President of Diversity and Innovation at CPB and oversaw the Diversity and Innovation Fund which has supported more than $47 million in primetime and children’s content since 2010, including: The Longoria Affair; Ruben Salazar: Man in the Middle; On Two Fronts: Latinos and Vietnam; Willie Velasquez: Empowering The People; and Pedro E. Guerrero: A Photographer’s Journey. In his current role, Tovares oversees television, radio, digital, and journalism content support. He works closely with national producers, producing stations and independent producers. Tovares has represented U.S. public media in Spain, Mexico, El Salvador and Chile. He is a native of San Antonio, Texas.
Dontae Rayford is a business development professional in San Francisco. He was born and raised in Lynwood, CA and completed his undergraduate studies at Stanford. He completed his MBA in 2014 and spent six years total working at Google, with a specific focus on #VR while working with the Google Cardboard team from 2014 through 2016.
Tiegen Kosiak is the Director of Development for Cinestar Pictures, which produces TV, feature, digital, scripted & unscripted content. The partners/producers are Cisely, Mariel & Zoe Saldana. The company has a first look deal with Lionsgate / Televisa & an additional deal to create content for two channels under the AwesomenessTV banner.
Previously, Tiegen worked with the President of Production & Literary Management at Untitled Entertainment. Prior to that, Tiegen worked in commercial production in West Los Angeles, video production in New York City & live show production in Las Vegas. She also spent two years in the AmeriCorps VISTA program.
Tiegen has a MFA in Poetry from Minnesota Statue University Moorhead & a BA in Communications from Marymount Manhattan College. She is a member of Scriptwriters Network, the Junior Hollywood Radio & Television Society (JHRTS) & Film Independent as well as the co-founder of the Young Hollywood Mafia (YHM).
Olga Rodriguez-Aguirre has been practicing labor law in the context of the entertainment industry for over 19 years. As a law graduate of UC Hastings College of the Law, she joined Bush Gottlieb (formerly Geffner & Bush), a union-side labor boutique in Burbank, CA where she represented many of the entertainment guilds and plans- SAG, DGA and WGA among others for 8 years in the area of financial assurances and ERISA. Olga has been with SAG-AFTRA (formerly known as Screen Actors Guild, Inc.) for 7 years practicing in the areas of secured transactions, labor, copyright and bankruptcy, specializing in negotiating with producers and attorneys for the payment of additional compensation to SAG performers working in independent pictures in the Financial Assurances department. Currently, she is the National Director of Theatrical Contracts where she oversees the signing of producers to the various Union collectively bargaining agreements. @oaguirre2
Jaime Ferrar has over 30 years experience in the entertainment industry as an actor, director and talent agent representative. He is the current owner of JFA Jaime Ferrar Agency, representing actors in film television and theater as well as commercials. He has been the proud owner of this agency for the last 12 years. As an actor, Jaime was involved in many committees at SAG-AFTRA, he participated in the negotiating team for the commercials contract among others. With his experience in the industry, he is able to dialogue with actors from an acting perspective as well as a business perspective.
Pamela A. Aguilar is director of programming and development for PBS. In this role she identifies, develops and oversees the production of original content and acquisitions for PBS Primetime in the genres of science, history, natural history, culture, independent film and a segment of scripted. She also co-curates the PBS partner documentary series’ POV, Independent Lens and LPB’s VOCES.
Prior to joining PBS, Aguilar worked as an independent writer, producer, director creating innovative content on race relations, education, social justice, pop-culture and health for national primetime television and the web. Her television career began in TV commercial production where she worked on top brand named client advertising and marketing campaigns. She loves getting lost in distant lands, her toes in the sand, making new friends, trying new foods, and collaborating on all things creative!
Hector Galán is an independent documentary filmmaker based in Austin, Texas. He has contributed over forty hours of programming to the national PBS schedule, including eleven films for the PBS series FRONTLINE, two films for The American Experience, the landmark PBS series, Chicano! History of the Mexican American Civil Rights Movement, and the six episode series Visiones: Latino Art & Culture. PBS aired Galan’s feature documentary, Los Lonely Boys, Cottonfields and Crossroads in 2007 and Children of Giant in 2015. Ancient Roads form Christ to Constantine is currently airing on PBS nation-wide. Willie Velasquez Empowering the People, a documentary about the man who started a grassroots movement that paved the way for Latino political power is currently in production and will be part of the PBS Election line-up in the Fall 2016.
Karla Legaspy is an L.A. based MeXicana Indigena Filmmaker and Actor. She is the Writer, Director and Producer of Gold Star the short film, winner of the Latino Public Broadcasting New Media Grant. She is company Co-Producer of AdeRisa Productions whose feature film Bruising for Besos will premiere summer of 2016. Karla’s filmmaking experience ranges from Production Coordinator in New Media projects, Directing/Producing music videos, and Line Producer/Producer in Films. Currently, she’s developing an episodic series DIX and a feature film, Marisol.
Karla has starred in films, such as Flor de Naranja, Roses of April, Betrayed, and Pura Lengua, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2005. Also, she is the Co-Founder and Director of Programming of the Latin@ Queer Arts and Film Festival/Cine Arte Film Festival. Karla envisions her work as the best tool for activism and her contribution to empowering her community.
As Managing Director, Mr. Ortiz oversees the development, financing and production of Latino-themed programming which is distributed for broadcast on public television. He manages the operations of the organization, headquartered in Burbank, CA, and maintains the West Coast presence for LPB. He also administers LPB’s Public Media Content Fund process and supervises the distribution of LPB funded programs to PBS. Mr. Ortiz also serves as Series Producer for their signature Latino anthology series Voces, a showcase of documentaries that highlights the rich spectrum of Latino-American culture.
William D. Caballero is a NYC/NJbased filmmaker, producer, composer, video artist, and multimedia storyteller. Caballero obtained the Bill Gates Millennium Scholarship and graduated from Pratt Institute (BFA Digital Art) and New York University (MA The Arts and Humanities in Education). His work has premiered at over 50 film festivals, featured as a Vimeo Staff Pick, highlighted on Upworthy, and featured on HBO, BET, and PBS.
His short film, HOW YOU DOIN,’ BOY? VOICEMAILS FROM GRAN’PA, a comedic short film featuring 3D modeled/printed miniatures of his grandfather, debuted on NUVOtv 2014. The project, partially funded by the National Association of Latino Arts and Culture was turned into a webseries called GRAN’PA KNOWS BEST. The show debuted on HBO Latino in September 2015.
Currently, Caballero is working with Univision, as director and creator of THE DESTINY OF DREAMERS’, a webseries featuring stories of the Dreamers movement.
Caballero has been featured America Reframed (PBS) and NBCLatino.com.
Gaby Natale is a multiple EMMY-award winner media personality, entrepreneur and influencer. She is the executive producer and host of the TV show SuperLatina that airs nationwide in PBS en español (VmeTV).
Gaby Natale is one of the few women in the entertainment industry who owns not only the rights to her TV show but also a television studio.This unique situation has allowed her to combine her passion for media and her entrepreneurial spirit.
On May 2016, Gaby and SuperLatina won the Daytime Emmy award for Outstanding Daytime Talent in a Spanish Language Program and Outstanding Entertainment Program in Spanish, respectively, making it a first for an independently-produced Spanish language show.
In the digital world, Gaby has developed a thriving fan base, with over 50 million views on Youtube (growing at a pace of 1 million per month) and 85,000 Twitter followers of @GabyNatale.
She is also the co-founder and President of AGANARmedia, a marketing company with a focus on Hispanic audiences. AGANARmedia’s clients include Fortune 500 companies such as Ford Motor Co., AT&T, Ebay and Amazon, to name a few.
Gaby’s upcoming project includes the launch of Celebrastic, a mobile app and digital platform dedicated to special events and celebrations.
Ben began his career as an MTV intern, before producing and writing for several seasons of Cribs, MTV News, VH1, and many of the VJ’s on-air. Next, Ben launched his production company Diamante Pictures out of his apartment, eventually growing it into a full-service production & post facility in the heart of NYC, delivering 100+ hours of television, plus hundreds of commercials, webisodes, music videos, and dvd titles. On YouTube, his videos have reached over 300 million views.
Now as head of NGL Studios, which he co-founded with John Leguizamo and David Chitel, Ben DeJesus directs, produces, and creates a growing slate of branded content, television, digital and documentary projects. Current projects include the Romeo Santos’ concert tour documentary featuring the superstar’s historic sellouts at Yankee Stadium and a PBS American Masters documentary film on the renowned Puerto Rican actor Raúl Juliá. Through NGL Studios, Ben directs dozens of branded content campaigns for brands including Ford, P&G, Valvoline, Lexus, Amtrak, Schick, Claritin, Jack Daniels, Buchanan’s, US Army, and more.
Ben also directed the PBS documentary Tales from a Ghetto Klown, capturing John Leguizamo’s struggles to mount his one-man show on Broadway and beyond. Produced by Ben and Oscar-winner Fisher Stevens (The Cove), the film premiered nationwide and received the NALIP Estela Award. Ben was recently selected as one of 10 directors in the ABC/Disney Director’s Program, where he is now prepping to direct episodic television.
Bonnie Pan serves as President, Endemol Shine Beyond USA, since March 2016.
Endemol Shine Beyond USA, a division of Endemol Shine North America, is an award-winning digital production and distribution studio specializing in premium online content and channels. Endemol Shine Beyond USA recently launched the ICON Network, the first worldwide premium lifestyle network with digital pioneer Michelle Phan and eSports and gaming SMASHER Network with flagship series “Legends of Gaming.” Its content is available across more than 20 platforms including YouTube, Roku, TiVo, DailyMotion, Vessel and Amazon Fire TV.
Before joining Endemol Shine Beyond USA, Pan was Executive Vice President of Programming at Maker Studios, where she was responsible for original series in the Gaming, Lifestyle, Family and Entertainment categories since August 2014. While with Maker, Pan oversaw the development and distribution strategy on more than 70 scripted and unscripted series, including a recent ground-breaking deal with History Channel for late night comedy programming. She also spearheaded strategic partnerships with Maker Labs creators including James Franco, Will.i.am, Warrior Poets (Morgan Spurlock) and more to co-create and develop content for digital environments.
In 2009, Pan was named Director of Entertainment Programming & Operations at Yahoo! Entertainment. In that role, she built Yahoo!’s first original programming team which included content across music, lifestyle, celebrity, TV and movies. She first joined Yahoo! in 2007, as Executive Producer and Product Lead of Yahoo! Broadway. Pan created custom-built product experiences around the world of Broadway, including original non-scripted series with top theater producers.
Pan began her professional career working on Tom Stoppard's Broadway production of "Jumpers" followed by Manhattan Theatre Club, where she worked in the office of the Executive Producer.
Pan holds an M.F.A. in Theatre Management & Producing from Columbia University and a B.A. in Drama from Catholic University of America.
Jana Díaz-Juhl is a producer and a founder of La Panda, a production company offering international production services with emphasis in bridging the Spanish and U.S. film industries. Jana produced the L.A. love story Cry Now and CHIRLA’s Know Your Rights, a video about immigrant rights used by organizations countrywide. Other projects include the Latin Grammy Award nominated music video “Licenciado Cantinas”, La Santa Cecilia’s “El Hielo” and Aloe Blacc’s “Wake Me Up”. Jana is also director of operations of Ambulante California, a traveling documentary film festival. As for La Panda, it has co-produced Open Windows, produced 10.000 KM (of which Jana was a producer), and the documentary Next, among many other projects.
Christine Davila has over ten years of experience in film programming at various top-notch festivals. She has been a Programming Associate at Sundance Film Festival since 2008, and is the Programmer of Curaçao International Film Festival Rotterdam’s Yellow Robin Award Competition, dedicated to promoting emerging Caribbean filmmakers. Davila tracks Latino films and the festival scene on her blog chicanafromchicago.com.
Maja is a founding partner of MOTIVO FILMS US and has been producing films in Europe, L.A. and in Latin America. She is Swiss born, holds a degree in Photography from the Kunstgewerbeschule in Zurich and earned a BA in Film (directing and producing) from ART CENTER COLLEGE OF DESIGN in Pasadena. She is fluent in German, English, French, speaks a basic Spanish and received a greencard for people with extraordinary abilities.
As an independent producer Maja is focusing on international narrative feature films for a global audience, most recently as a co-producer on the Chilean drama AQUÍ NO HA PASADO NADA- Much Ado About Nothing by Alejandro Fernandez Almendras (2016 Sundance, Berlin-Panorama, Guadalajara, Miami, Cartagena, Fribourg), the Mexican Prison-Thriller LA 4a COMPANIA by Amir Galvan and Vanessa Arreola (2016 Guadalajara) and two Colombian Dramas; PORFIRIO by Alejandro Landes (2011 Directors Fortnight Cannes, Toronto, San Sebastian), JARDIN DE AMAPOLAS (2012 Primer Corte and Best Film for Peace winner) by Juan Carlos Melo.
Sal graduated from the ABC Writing Fellowship in 2006. However, his first writing job was working for a domestic violence clinic in the San Fernando City courthouse, drafting restraining orders to prevent harassment and abuse. He also worked for three years as a paralegal and as a court interpreter. He eventually transitioned into entertainment,working at the FX Network as a research analyst. Sal has been lucky enough to have worked for some of the most successful showrunners in television including Shonda Rhimes, Calrton Cuse, David Shore and Graham Yost. Sal is currently a producer on Sneaky Pete, an original drama on Amazon created by David Shore and Bryan Cranston.
A veteran entertainment industry showrunner, executive, consultant and author, DMA (Donna Michelle Anderson) guides TV networks, digital channels, production entities and startups through branding, launching, accelerating and scaling their content and companies. Over the past 20 years, she has helmed top-rated programming for CBS, Bravo, BET, A&E, TLC and more, created groundbreaking patented production software, and championed diversity across multiple industries, including founding the Hollywood Diversity Network. She is a graduate, with distinction, of Stanford University and is an active member of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, the Producers Guild of America and American Mensa. For more information, please visit www.planetdma.com or follow @planetdma.
Ingrid M. Duran is CEO & Founder of D&P Creative Strategies, a company that she and partner Catherine founded in 2004 to increase the role of corporate, legislative and philanthropic efforts in addressing the concerns of Latinos, women, and gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) communities.
Prior to starting D&P, Ingrid was President & CEO of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute, where she expanded on an already extensive professional network that included members of Congress, elected officials and Fortune 500 executives.
Ingrid also ran the Washington, D.C. office of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials, where she was responsible for representing Latino community interests to Congress and the Administration.
Her efforts as a strong and steadfast advocate for the LGBT and Latino communities have garnered her numerous honors, including the 2003 Premio Dignidad Award from LLEGO. Both HISPANIC and Poder magazines have named her among the Nations 100 Most influential and powerful Hispanics, and the former has recognized her as a Latina of Excellence in 2004 & 2005. She was recognized by the Hispanic Women's Corporation and The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force with their 2012 Leadership Awards. In 2013 Latino Magazine recognized her as a Power Player along with the Working Mother Magazine who recognized her at their Women's National Conference with their Legacy Award and Hispanic VIP with the Premio a la Excelencia for her work in the Hispanic community. In 2014 Latino Magazine recognized her in the Top 10 of 2014 and People en Español named her one of 25 Most Powerful Latinas in the U.S.
Ruth Vitale has been at the forefront of independent film production and distribution for more than three decades, including as Founder and Co-President of Paramount Classics and as President of Fine Line Features.
During her tenure at these companies, she launched the careers of many successful filmmakers such as Paul Greengrass, Sofia Coppola, Scott Hicks, John Hillcoat, and Craig Brewer. She has also worked with established talent such as Sam Raimi, Roger Michell, Jonathan Demme, Paul W.S. Anderson, Patrice Leconte, and Barbet Schroeder. Her films have won three Oscars and received 16 nominations as well as 18 Golden Globe nominations and two wins.
At Paramount Classics, she released such award-winning films as The Virgin Suicides, Sunshine, You Can Count on Me, Sidewalks of New York, Bloody Sunday, Mostly Martha, The Singing Detective, Enduring Love, The Machinist, Mad Hot Ballroom, and Hustle & Flow.
Fine Line produced and distributed such highlights of independent film as the Academy Award-winning Shine; The Sweet Hereafter; Love! Valour! Compassion!; Twelfth Night; Gummo; and The Winter Guest.
Ruth also served as President of UBU Productions’ feature film division from 1988 to 1991. Among other positions, she was Senior Vice President of Production for United Artists, where she oversaw production on Child’s Play, I’m Gonna Git You Sucka, and Roadhouse. As President of Production for Vestron Pictures, she broke ground with the highest-grossing independent film of the time, Dirty Dancing. She was also Director of Acquisitions for The Movie Channel. Most recently, Ruth was President of First Look Pictures and the owner of The Film Collective, a consultancy business that helps financiers and companies with the strategic planning for their films in the worldwide marketplace from development and production through distribution.
She is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, a member of the Advisory Board of Carnegie Mellon University/Master of Entertainment Industry Management Program, and Special Projects Mentor for The Peter Stark Producing Program, USC School of Cinematic Arts, University of Southern California.
Mario Solis-Marich, is a Latino opinion leader in the United States with an extensive background in Latino focused radio, television, and new media.
Mario Solis-Marich served as the Vice President of Programming for BabyFirst Americas an off shoot of BabyFirst TV during it's formative years of 2011 to 2016. BabyFirst Americas is a cable TV channel that reached over 55 million households.
Solis-Marich is also one of the co-founders of media start up "Feel Good TV" along with Sheila E, Peter Michael Escovedo, George Lopez and Daisy Fuentes.
Mario was an early pioneer in the blogger movement and instrumental in laying the early landscape for English language online content targeted at Latinos.
Mario Solis-Marich participated in the formative years of LATV. LATV was the first bi-lingual, bi-cultural television effort targeted at the American Latino demographic. Mario was instrumental in extending the initial reach of the now national channel that began as a local Los Angeles television station.
While working with the distribution team of LATV Solis-Marich also produced and hosted a breakthrough television program for the channel named L.A. Chatroom. L.A. Chatroom was the first English-language television political talk show that focused on issues of concern to the Latino community. L.A. Chatroom successfully aired on LATV for a period of five years.
Mario produced and hosted a daily award winning bi-cultural English language talk radio program that aired in Colorado on the full power Clear Channel owned radio station KKZN and was streamed nationally on IheartRadio. The program was on the air for four years and was awarded the prestigious “Best News Talk Radio Show” honor by the Colorado Broadcasters Association in 2011.
Dr. Nelson Granados is the Academic Director of the Institute for Media, Entertainment and Culture at the Graziadio School of Business, Pepperdine University. He holds a Ph.D. in Information Systems, a Ph.D. minor and M.S. in Economics, and an MBA. He consults with technology companies in the travel, media, and entertainment sectors. His research on market transparency and digital distribution, published in top journals like Management Science and Information Systems Research, has won numerous academic awards (best conference paper, best IS paper of the year) and has been featured in premier business media outlets such as the L.A. Business Journal and Financial Times. He is a contributor to Forbes’ Media & Entertainment section, where he discusses the topic of piracy, among others.
Ornella is a natural-born filmmaker with 13 years in the industry. During her career, she’s headed a great variety of productions, ranging from independent films to monumental car commercials with union crew. In 2012 she founded DDN Pictures, an independent film, TV, commercial and documentary production company, with the mission to create original content for multiple platforms and provide production services for foreign film companies who seek to shoot in the US. She holds a B.A. in Communications from the renowned Instituto Tecnológico de Monterrey – Campus Querétaro, where she gladly returns once a semester as a guest teacher. She enjoys giving back to her community and sharing her experience with the new generations of filmmakers.
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Guillermo holds degrees in screenwriting and directing from the International School of Cinema and TV in Cuba. Guillermo’s feature films as director and screenwriter include THE OTHER SHOE and DE ESPALDAS AL MAR which have been in Festivals and distributed in Spain.
He is now based in Los Angeles, where has been working for Migrante Content, 3RoundBurst, HTV and other companies producing feature films like Our boys directed by Leonardo Ricagni , CALIFORMA a reality show for Fox International Channels and several commercials for Mundofox and Tr3s and music videos for artist like Bunbury and Jencarlos Canela. He is a founder and executive member of LA PANDA Productions and an Executive Producer with 3ROUNDBURST.
Commissioner Catherine J.K. Sandoval was appointed to the California Public Utilities Commission on January 25, 2011, by Governor Jerry Brown. Commissioner Sandoval has worked as an associate professor at Santa Clara University School of Law since 2004. She previously served as Undersecretary and Senior Policy Advisor for Housing with the Business, Transportation, and Housing Agency from 2001 to 2004. She was vice president and general counsel with Z-Spanish Media Corporation from 1999 to 2001 and was the Director of the Office of Communications Business Opportunities for the Federal Communications Commission from 1994 to 1999.
Commissioner Sandoval was an associate with Munger, Tolles & Olson from 1991 to 1994. She earned a J.D. from Stanford Law School, a Master of Letters in political science from Oxford, where she was a Rhodes Scholar, and a B.A. from Yale.
Christian Sarabia has long been a driving creative force behind one of unscripted tv's most original and audacious production companies, 51 Minds. Starting at the bottom, Sarabia paid his dues on the ground level of the celebreality explosion, assisting, coordinating, and producing a number of memorable VH1 hits that put reality on the map. After stints on The Surreal Life and Flavor of Love, Sarabia worked his way up as an assistant director, supervising producer and, finally, executive producer on such successful series as VH1's For the Love of Ray J and CBS' Same Name. Solidifying his position as a seasoned showrunner, Sarabia shepherded future hits Marrying the Game and TI & Tiny: The Family Hustle from early development to television mainstays. Having subsequently produced and sold hundreds of hours of reality programming to cable and broadcast networks alike, Sarabia took the reins at reality mainstay 51 Minds in 2014.
As Vice President for Production and Technology at KLRU-TV, Sara Robertson is responsible for strategic planning and execution of station production and engineering infrastructure. In her tenure, she helped turn KLRU into Texas' biggest producing PBS station. Most recently she launched BBQ with Franklin which is distributed by PBS and was the first national series that began as a web series. Before coming to public media, Sara worked in broadcast news.
Cecilia Aldarondo holds an M.A. from Goldsmiths College and a Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota. Her personal documentary MEMORIES OF A PENITENT HEART is a co-production of American Documentary | POV, ITVS, and Latino Public Broadcasting. The film had its world premiere at the 2016 Tribeca Film Festival and will be broadcast on POV in 2017. MEMORIES has received additional support from the MacDowell Colony, the Sundance Institute, Arcus and Time Warner Foundations, Jerome Foundation, Firelight Media, and New York State Council on the Arts, among others. In 2015 the film was selected for IFP's Independent Filmmaker Labs as well as Sundance Institute's Edit and Story Lab, and was the winner of the 2015 Paley DocPitch. Aldarondo is Assistant Professor of Film Studies at Skidmore College, was the inaugural recipient of the Roberto Guerra Documentary Award in 2015, and has been named by FILMMAKER Magazine as one of 2015’s ‘25 New Faces of Independent Film.’
Carmen Marron’s debut hip hop indie feature, “GO FOR IT!” was distributed by Lionsgate in theaters across the US. She wrote, directed, produced, edited, cast the actors and co-composed the theme song for this well-received inspirational dance drama. The film sold out at festivals from coast to coast and won four Audience Awards. It was also Gina Rodriguez’s (Jane The Virgin) first feature role.
Carmen’s second feature “ENDGAME”, which she also wrote, directed and produced, will be premiered on HBO in July 2016. This coming-of-age was based on true events in Texas and stars Rico Rodriguez (Modern Family) in his dramatic lead debut.
Carmen is currently developing a pilot with a production company. When time permits, she travels on behalf of the US State Department as an international guest speaker for US Embassies in South and Latin American countries.
She holds a BA in Business and a Master’s Degree in Educational Psychology.
Juan Carlos is currently Director of Content & Community at Onward, a startup aimed at helping folks overcome behavioral addictions, and until recently he was Director of Social Impact at Participant Media. Previously he wrote and directed the award winning foster care film “Know How” and virtual world documentary “Second Skin.” He founded White Roof Project, a non-profit curbing climate change by painting black tar rooftops white, in 2010, and with the help of 1,000's of volunteers has painted over 250,000 square feet of rooftops white.
Juan Carlos is a storyteller focused on creating honest content that connects audiences to other's lives through universal truths. He sees the work as a focal point for dialogue and action. His projects are meant to inspire social change through powerful stories and drive folks to participate.
A 25-year film industry veteran, Paul Hudson was the co-founder of independent US distribution, production and sales company Outsider Pictures, and now runs the company. Since its launch in 2005, Outsider has released Adam’s Apples, Klimt, London to Brighton, Academy award winner Guiseppe Tornatore’s The Unknown Woman and Baaria, and award winning Argentinean director Daniel Burman’s Empty Nest. In 2012, Outsider released the Portuguese Academy nominated film Jose and Pilar, Cuban zombie film Juan de los Muertos and Camera D’or winner Las Acacias. Recent acquisitions include Cannes winners Heli and Land and Shade, A Wolf at the Door and the Goya winners Vivir es facil con los ojos cerrados and Marshland.
Outsider has also recently expanding its activities into online streaming, launchingwww.todocinelatino.tv a site devoted to the best in independent Latin American cinema.
Prior to founding Outsider Pictures, Hudson was Vice President of International Theatrical Distribution, Operations and Finance for MGM in Los Angeles where he was responsible for all of MGM and United Artists’ theatrical distribution activities outside of the United States and Canada. A 14-year veteran of United Artists/MGM, Hudson had worked his way up through the studio’s ranks working in London, England, and in Film Production (The Man In The Iron Mask) before segueing into international distribution. While at MGM, Hudson established an independent distribution network for the studio’s art-house pictures (Saved, Igby Goes Down, Personal Velocity). In addition, Hudson developed long-term relationships with world-wide distributors to help MGM sell some its production slate (Out of Time, Walking Tall).
Hudson began his career in London, where he worked as a financial analyst for United Artists. He is a graduate of the University of Bournemouth at Bournemouth, England.
Chris Hastings, Executive Producer / Editorial Manager of Content, WORLD Channel and WORLDChannel.org
Chris Hastings oversees content development, acquisition, and production, as well as day-to-day operations of WORLD channel. As Executive Producer, he is co-curator of the award-winning documentary program “America Reframed,” and “Local, USA” and “Your Voice, Your Story.” “America ReFramed” has won three Telly Awards and a Gracie honor for “outstanding series” featuring programming for and by women. The series has been nominated for a national News and Documentary Emmy and by the International Documentary Association for Best Curated Documentary Series.
Hastings has presented at various conferences, including Integrated Media Association, MiT5 at MIT, The Achievement Gap Initiative at Harvard University, Silver Docs Festival, AFI Festival, and SXSW Film Festival. Hastings is a regular collaborator and content advisor to National Black Programming Consortium, Vision Maker Media, Pacific Islanders in Communication, American Documentary, Inc., and National Association of Latino Independent Producers. He also served as a juror for the Center for Asian American Media CAAM Fest 2015.
Garrett Combs volunteered to serve in the U.S. Army in 2004 and was deployed to both Iraq and Afghanistan. His personal experience transitioning back to civilian life held an equally weighty challenge, though, as his unit lost at least ten members to post-deployment suicide. Garrett’s story was was chronicled in the CNN feature documentary, The War Comes Home, Soledad O’Brien Reports. Today, Garrett is a photographer and filmmaker, continuing to develop a nuanced understanding of veterans’ issues and the world around him.
Dez Hernandez is a natural-born storyteller, though he is most passionate about documentary filmmaking. Originally from Miami, FL, he recently joined Kindling Group in Chicago to produce the Veterans Coming Home project. Earlier this year, Dez completed his first feature-length documentary, The Balloonists: Brazil’s Guerrilla Folk Artists, which chronicles the struggles of Brazil’s underground artists pursuing the dangerous and beautiful passion that fuels them. He previously spent 7 years in Los Angeles, producing for major network and cable TV in various key roles; ranging from Casting and Development to Story and Post-Production, his credits include hits such as NBC’s American Ninja Warrior and HBO’s Luck.
Danny Alpert is an award-winning producer, director, and leader in using media for change. As Executive Director of Kindling Group, his documentaries (@home, The Calling, Do No Harm, A Doula Story) have aired on HBO, PBS, and around the world, sparking engagement campaigns with enduring impact. As co-founder of See3 Communications, Alpert’s online media and campaigns for social causes have advanced the work of organizations like UNICEF, World Wildlife Fund, Planned Parenthood, American Cancer Society, and the Kellogg Foundation. The cross-pollination of Danny’s documentary and interactive work fuels innovation and his belief in the power media as a tool for change.
Samuel Douek has a strong passion for promoting Mexican cinema.
He’s done so for most of his professional career trough the Hola Mexico Film Festival which initiated in Sydney, Australia. Since then, the festival has played in more than twenty cities worldwide. However, Los Angeles had been the heart & soul of the festival with a yearly event with more than 10,000 attendees, 50 million impressions and more than 50 guests from all over Mexico including high profile personalities like Damian Alcazar, Kate Del Castillo, Cecilia Suarez and hundreds more.
Recently, Douek launched Tomorrow’s Filmmakers Today, a seminar to help 20 young latino filmmakers of East LA to help their career and close the gap between Mexicans in LA and Mexico.
Marketing, event management and sponsorship are his passions, thus making possible for the Hola Mexico Film Festival to flourish as the largest Mexican film event outside Mexico.
Scarlet Gruber was born in Caracas, Venezuela. She is the daughter of Gabriel Fernandez (El Chamo Gabriel), a famous Venezuelan actor and singer and Astrid Gruber, a recognized Venezuelan soap opera star. When she was eight years old she started her artistic journey training as a ballet dancer at the Miami City Ballet. She continued her training as a ballet, modern, jazz, and hip hop dancer when she was selected to attend the prestigious New World School of the Arts High School. Shortly after graduation, she began her acting studies focusing on the Sanford Meisner technique. She also studied intensively in a two month course by herself with Academy Award Nominated actress Adriana Barraza. Her hard work paid off as she scored successful roles in Spanish television such as "Cosita Linda" where she interpreted twin sisters. Her last starring role in the NBC Universal/ Telemundo's award winning soap opera "Tierra de Reyes" earned her an award for Best Lead Actress. She recently traveled to Spain to shoot her latest film "Santiago Apostol." Other short films include, "El Tatuaje" and "Los Ocho."
Guy Garcia is an award-winning author, digital media entrepreneur and noted expert on evolutionary social trends. His latest book, Swarm, is a cyber-noir thriller that fuses political intrigue with cutting-edge concepts of bio-emergence, neuro-technology, and the dark side of social media to forge an incendiary expose’ of who we are today and what we might become tomorrow. He is also the author of The New Mainstream, The Decline of Men, Skin Deep, Obsidian Sky and co-author of Self Made (with Nely Galan). Guy is President of New Mainstream Initiatives for EthniFacts Inc., and a co-founder of Total New York, an online urban site that pioneered the use of geo-based interactive content, live webcasting and virtual avatar environments. A contributor to The New York Times, The Huffington Post, the National Review, PBS, NPR and CNN, he is a frequent presenter at social innovation and technology events, including the Disney Ideation Summit, the Harvard University Kennedy School of Government Leadership Conference, and SXSW Interactive in Austin. He lives in New York City.
Jeff Valdez is a serial entrepreneur and President of Valdez Productions. Jeff has been producing, writing and directing TV and film for over 25 years, with the likes of Nickelodeon, Lifetime, Disney, Showtime and NBC. Jeff has also consulted and been a keynote and strategist for organizations looking to maximize their reach into the Latino market, with companies like Coca Cola, Miller Beer, Time Warner Cable, Summit Entertainment, and many others.
He has been credited with pioneering a new category in American television; the English Language Latino Market, which represents the vast majority of American Latinos. Jeff is a multi-faceted expert, on how to address the multitude of opportunities in this new landscape.
Mr. Valdez made history as Co-founder, Chairman and CEO of SiTV (now known as Nuvo/Fuse TV). He launched and oversaw all operations for the critical maiden voyage of the first ever national cable network owned and run by Latinos in the United States. Jeff not only created a lineup of award winning original shows, he also convinced over fifty major brands, to buy advertising on the nascent channel, as well negotiated all the affiliation deals with satellite and cable companies, which led to a majority of the organic growth of Nuvo’s national footprint.
After launching SiTV, Jeff went on to Chair the largest Latino social network at the time, QuePasa Corp (NASDAQ), helping grow the stock from $1 to 15 a share and simultaneously Co-Chaired a film distribution company in the US, Maya Entertainment.
His newest venture has him teamed with former Accenture global COO, Raul Alvarado and data scientist Samy Montechristo. They are all principal’s in Themographic Solutions. The company is in the process of launching, “GEENY” a Cognitive, cloud based content platform that puts brands at its epicenter. GEENY identifies consumer wishes and brand needs then aligns and connects them through relevant, granular, topic & value driven content.
Jeff has a regular blog on the Huffington Post.
Born in Pueblo, Colorado, he now lives in Beverly Hills, with his wife Ana and their two sons, Alex and Max.
Ana Valdez, Principal and Co-Founder of Valdez Productions & Consulting, Inc., is an American marketing, media and political consultant. She was born and raised in Mexico City, studied and worked in Spain, Switzerland and the U.S., and currently lives in Los Angeles. She currently supports The Latino Donor Collaborative as the Executive Director to lead the growth of the organization in all aspects.
After graduating in business from the prestigious Tecnologico de Monterrey in Mexico in 1986, Ana was the third woman ever hired to be a Client Service Executive in the history of AC Nielsen Mexico. She earned the title of Nielsen’s Executive of the Year two years in a row, and then segued to a position as Chief of Staff at Banamex (now Citibank), Credit Card Business Division, where she additionally overlooked the newly founded slate of International Financial Products, and the Public Relations Department.
After finishing her Master’s Degree in International Relations in Madrid, Ana worked at the United Nations Organization in Geneva, in the Human Rights Commission. Several years later, she moved to Washington, D.C., to work in the Clinton/Gore re-election campaign, and after a stint at the White House in the Office of Presidential Personnel, she received a Presidential Appointment from Bill Clinton to act as a Special Assistant for Latin America at the US Department of Energy.
In 1997 she moved to Los Angeles and began officially blending her multiple passions, media, marketing and politics, becoming and expert in building bridges for clients that are reaching out and working with the Hispanic community and all emerging communities: she knows and is part of the multi-layered, multicultural Latino market, and the Hispanic world on both sides of the border.
She along with her husband Jeff started Valdez Productions Inc. to create media content, media platforms, and strategies that serve the new multicultural American market, both in English and Spanish. The company has produced TV shows, launched the national cable channel SiTV, created political campaigns, and advised a diverse group of companies and organizations in reaching out to the new mainstream. Some of her clients have been Summit Entertainment, Fox Channel 11, SiTV-NuvoTV, Bill Richardson for US President Campaign, Dolores Huerta Foundation, Los Angeles Universal Preschool, Latino Donor Collaborate, Children’s Bureau, Latino Donor Collaborative, and others.
Mitch Levine is the founder of The Film Festival Group, a global consulting firm for filmmakers, festivals, distribution companies and the independent film world. He served as Executive Director and CEO of the Palm Springs International Film Festivals and co-created and produced the first two editions of First Time Fest in New York (featuring Martin Scorsese, Darren Aronofsky, Julie Taymor, Michael Moore, Peter Bogdanovich, Sophia Coppola, Robert De Niro and many more). He just produced and moderated the Refugee Voices in Film Conference at the Cannes Film Festival. He produced the first Bahamas International Film Festival, the first International Emerging Talent Film Festival in Monaco and served for many years as the Production Director of the AFI and LA Film Festivals. Mitch has written, produced and directed tributes to many of the world’s greatest cinema artists, directed the Spirit of Independence Award for Film Independent and was the founding producer and host of the AFI’s Great Filmmakers series. He teaches directing at the School of Film and Television of Loyola Marymount University and provides extensive editorial consulting to producers and filmmakers and helps design festival, market, acquisition and distribution strategies for their films.
Mitch is a member of BAFTA and was a Fellow at the American Film Institute and the Juilliard School. His Holocaust drama SHADOWS won awards around the globe. He directed the films IN CONFIDENCE (Cannes 2015), HUNGRY IS THE TIGER and MORPHING GRAVITY. Mitch was Artistic Supervisor of the opera EINSTEIN ON THE BEACH, collaborated with Peter Gabriel and Moses Pendleton on the mixed-media/dance work PASSION and has directed stage productions around the world. For many years, he was Production Director of MOMIX Dance Theatre and a Special Representative to the United Nations.
Alex Flores, a Mexican producer, has worked with Shoreline Entertainment in various capacities since 2002 and is now Director of Latino Content at Shoreline Entertainment.
The key projects on which Alex has collaborated with Morris and Shoreline are “Tiempo Real”, directed by Fabrizio Prada, winner of the Guinness World Record for the longest movie shot in just one take, “Marilyn Hotchkiss’ Ballroom Dancing & Charm School” (Robert Carlyle, Marisa Tomei and John Goodman) in the raising of film finance, and “The
Fifth Patient” directed by Amir Mann, a Mexico-Israel co-production starring Isaach de Bankole, Mary Sheldon, Nick Chindlund and Peter Bogdanovich.
Alex is also a lead producer on the first U.S.-Mexico co-produced animation feature film “El Americano”, starring Edward James Olmos, Rico Rodriguez, Lisa Kudrow, Paul Rodriguez, Eric Estrada, Cheech Marin, Adal Ramones, Kate del Castillo, Aleks Syntek and Gabriel Iglesias. “El Americano” was released theatrically in Mexico in January 2016 and is now selling around the world.
Director of Latino Content at Shoreline Entertainment.
Carlo Olivares Paganoni is a Director, Writer and Producer living in Los Angeles, CA. His experience includes directing spots and campaigns for MTV Tr3s, Disney XD, as well as several short films.
Originally from Mexico, Carlo studied Screenwriting at UCLA and later graduated with an MFA in Film from Art Center College of Design, in Pasadena. His thesis short film "Cardboard Camera" won a student Emmy®.
Previously, Carlo worked as an On-Air Writer/Producer for Cartoon Network Latin America where he was Executive Producer of Santo Contra Los Clones, an animated series based on the famous Mexican superhero-wrestler Santo, El Enmascarado de Plata.
As a Creative, his work has been recognized by Cannes Lions, The One Show, Art Directors Club, The New York Festivals, FIAP, HOW, Ad Age Hispanic Awards, Círculo de Oro México, El Ojo de Iberoamérica, LIMA Licensing Awards, Promax Latin America & Promax BDA.
As a Director, his work has been recognized by several film festivals, including LA Shorts Fest, International Family Film Festival, Big Bear Lake International Film Festival, "Cortos de Yahoo!" Yahoo en Español and San Diego Latino Film Festival.
He currently works for Disney XD, where he writes, produces and directs on-air promo campaigns and content.
Kevin Koloff has over 30 years of experience representing clients in all aspects of the music, film and television industries, including 12 years as Senior Vice President of Music Business Affairs at Paramount Pictures (where the motion pictures for which Mr. Koloff put together complex music deals include Forrest Gump, Save The Last Dance, Runaway Bride and the all-time soundtrack champion, Titanic). Mr. Koloff currently handles financing, production and distribution matters for major film and TV production companies (including behemoths like Netflix and Lucasfilm), and represents music publishers, record labels and stage productions, as well as all kinds of talent in the entertainment industry (composers, screenwriters, actors, recording artists, directors, etc.).
Philip Sanchez is a vice president and relationship manager with City National’s Latin Entertainment Initiative, which is dedicated to expanding City National’s expertise to the Latino entertainment community.
Mr. Sanchez has more than 20 years of banking experience, with a majority serving the entertainment community. Active in the community, Mr. Sanchez is co-chair of the bank’s Latino Caucus, an organization responsible for colleague development and community outreach.
A lifelong Angelino and first-generation American, he attended public schools in Los Angeles and then California State University, Northridge before beginning his banking career. Philip credits his achievements to his mother’s strong work ethic and his upbringing in government housing, in addition to the opportunities given to underprivileged youth.
Ana Y. Perez is a vice president and relationship manager with City National Bank’s Entertainment division. In this capacity, she serves business managers, accountants, attorneys, music artists, writers and publishers. In addition, she helped start the bank’s Latin Entertainment Initiative, which is dedicated to expanding City National’s expertise to the Latino entertainment community.
With more than 18 years of financial services experience, Ms. Perez most recently served as a senior entertainment account manager with City National. She began her career as a customer service specialist in the bank’s Beverly Hills branch.
Ms. Perez earned her bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in business administration from the University of La Verne. In addition, she co-chairs City National Bank’s Latino Caucus. She resides in La Mirada with her husband and three children.
Bel Hernandez is President/CEO of Latin Heat Media, LLC, a multi-media entertainment company comprised of the entertainment site www.latinheat.com; TV and film production; and the OTT platform latinheatcinema.com.
Her career began as an actress which lead to publishing Latin Heat, an entertainment trade and producing the LEMI entertainment conference for six years. For her work, Moviemaker Magazine dubbed her the “Godmother of Latino Hollywood” in 2000. She has been recognized for increasing visibility of Latinos in the entertainment community by NHMC, Hollywood Reporter, CNN, La Opinion, NCLR ALMA Awards among others. Her work lead to being asked to serve six years on the prestigious Peabody Awards Board.
She is the executive producer of HOLA! LA, the first TV talk show with a Latina POV, airing locally in L.A. on KCAL9 and KCBS2.
Fanny Véliz, is an award winning actor and filmmaker from both the United States and Venezuela. She writes, directs, and produces projects that offer new opportunities for Latino Americans to portray human characters with depth and texture beyond the stereotypes that are common in current entertainment faire.
After being turned down by several distributors for her feature film HOMEBOUND, Véliz turned to crowd sourcing for distribution. After 12 successful TUGG screenings, all around the country put on by the community the film received limited theatrical release as well as TV and DVD distribution. Véliz travels the country and speaks at colleges and universities about the importance of diversity in the media.
She served on the board of the Non-Profit Nosotros for 3 years. She now serves on the board of Latin Heat Media Institute an organization that supports developing Latino filmmakers. She works at Kontakto Entertainment as a directors representative.
Frank Bennett Gonzalez is the Executive in Charge of Diversity, Programs, and Committees for The Directors Guild of America (DGA). He is responsible for coordinating the guild's diversity strategy, managing its new and existing diversity programs, oversight of the Guild's national membership diversity committees, and leading the guild's efforts to implement and enforce employers' increased contractual diversity-related obligations. Gonzalez has worked for more than 13 years on diversity initiatives for the Disney/ABC Television Group, serving as Director of Creative Talent Development for the Talent Development & Diversity team. During his time at Disney/ABC, he developed and refined the writing program from a training program to one of the most respected writer staffing programs in the television industry.
Pantelion Films CEO and Televisa USA Managing Director Paul Presburger has made a successful career catering to niche audiences across Europe, Asia, and Latin America as well as the US Hispanic Market. Presburger was the architect of the Pantelion Films joint venture, the only Hollywood Studio focused on the U.S. Latino Audience. In 2013, Pantelion Film’s Instructions Not Included, became the highest grossing Spanish language picture of all time in the U.S. Presburger has launched several international ventures during his career including the recently announced Globalgate Entertainment. He joined Lionsgate in 2007 to help orchestrate its growth into international markets and developed strategic partnerships with Televisa, StudioCanal among other companies. He has an MBA from INSEAD in France, a JD from the University of Pennsylvania and a BA from the University of California, Los Angeles.
Margie Moreno is vice president of programming at NBC UNIVERSO, the modern, general entertainment cable channel for Latinos. She is responsible for overseeing all programming, including current programming and development. Margie has more than fifteen years of television experience, having served as both a producer and network executive. Prior to NBC UNIVERSO, she was head of development for Imagina U.S./Promofilm U.S. and director of original programming at TBS Superstation. Margie currently serves as Board Chair of NALIP and was previously on the board of the Television Academy Executive Peer Group.
Marcos Vergara del Carril is an attorney of the internationally acclaimed entertainment, technology and advertising practice group of Sheppard Mullin. He focuses on transactional entertainment matters, advising clients on all aspects of the development, financing, production, acquisition and distribution of motion pictures, television, and digital programming, music publishing, record label agreements, sponsorship and endorsement deals. He is working on such projects as “Club de Cuervos”, the first Netflix original in Spanish, Nosotros Los Nobles, “Camelia La Texana”, Kill The Messenger, 200 Cartas, and Hands of Stone, amongst others. Marcos has represented artists such as Ricardo Arjona and Diego Torres and has also published ¡Déjame hablar!, a book on freedom of expression and media consolidation in the U.S.
Jairo Alvarado is a manager at Circle of Confusion. He reps writer Brian Miller (All Our Yesterdays); photographer/filmmaker Greg Williams who co-wrote and is attached to direct Samarkand; “American Dad!” writer Jordan Blum; writer/ director Kealan O’Rourke (Emily the Strange); and Josh C. Waller of horror label SpectreVision. Jairo’s eye to develop high concepts and genre work is what led him to Circle, which produces “The Walking Dead”. Previously, Jairo was a creative executive at Warner Bros. and was credited for spotting Uruguayan director Fede Alvarez and his short, Panic Attack! In 2011, while building a reputation for identifying up-and-coming talent, Jairo joined 3 Arts Entertainment as a manager.