Adam Leipzig

Adam Leipzig

Founder & CEO

Adam Leipzig, like everyone on the MediaU team, has a dual career commitment to both media-making and education. He is the author of Filmmaking in Action: Your Guide to the Sills and Craft, the standard university textbook on filmmaking (co-authors, Barry Weiss and Michael Goldman), and Inside Track for Independent Fimmakers, both published by Macmillan. Adam has been a producer, distributor, or supervising executive on more than 30 films that have disrupted expectations, including A Plastic Ocean, March of the Penguins, God Grew Tired of Us, Amreeka, Kekexili: Mountain Patrol, Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, Dead Poets Society, and Titus. His movies have won or been nominated for 10 Academy Awards, 11 BAFTA Awards, 2 Golden Globes, 2 Emmys, 2 Directors Guild Awards, 4 Sundance Awards, and 4 Independent Spirit Awards. He looks forward to working with you!
Adam Fratto

Adam Fratto


Adam Fratto is a seasoned creative executive and executive producer with proven track
records in development & programming, production, and strategy. With a specialty in drama
series, he is experienced in crafting international business models and launching creative
Adam currently runs the scripted programming division for US-based HISTORY, the flagship
channel for A+E Networks. In addition to developing new ongoing series and miniseries, he
oversees creative on current series, including PROJECT BLUE BOOK, which launched as
the #1 new drama on cable, and the global phenomenon VIKINGS, currently airing season
Prior to that, Adam set up a series division for international distribution and production
studio Reel One Entertainment. There, he rapidly built a presence in the drama space,
hiring experienced executives and assembling a buzzy slate of projects, including an
anthology series based on the catalogue of the late great thriller writer Mary Higgins Clark, a
multi-platform adaptation of Philip K. Dick’s SCREAMERS and a UK series based on awardwinning
Belgian format TEAM CHOCOLATE (now in development at Channel 4).
Before that, he was SVP of Drama for Pukeko Pictures, affiliate of New Zealand's Weta
(LORD OF THE RINGS, AVATAR, DISTRICT 9). The first of these, the award-winning
CLEVERMAN, aired on Netflix, SundanceTV, BBC3, and Australia's ABC and is in
development on season 3.
As an independent producer and consultant, Adam worked with clients from tech startups to
established networks. He Executive Produced YA movie SEA CHANGE (for Lifetime) and
originated and was co-EP of HAVEN, the cult hit supernatural drama based on Stephen
King’s “The Colorado Kid," for Syfy, NBCU Global Channels, and Canada’s Showcase.
Originally from New York, Adam is a graduate of Harvard College and USC’s graduate
program in Film & TV Production, where he produced Emmy-winning documentary
After starting his executive career at Michael Douglas's Furthur Films (WONDER BOYS,
SWIMFAN), Adam joined Piller/Segan as V.P. in 2002, working on hit series THE DEAD

Amy Lemisch


Amy Lemisch was the longest-serving head of the California Film Commission, where she oversaw the state’s efforts to facilitate and grow film, television and commercial production. In addition to administering California’s multi-billion dollar Film & Television Tax Credit Program, she oversaw a wide range of support services and coordinated with all levels of government to create a film-friendly environment.

Under her leadership, California maintained its competitiveness as a production locale amid intense global competition. She helped shepherd passage and implementation of the state’s first production tax credit program enacted in 2009. She is also credited with reducing red tape and launching a series of marketing initiatives including co-production of the annual Film in California Conference, publication of LOCATION CALIFORNIA magazine and administration of the Commission’s first program to expand education/training opportunities for aspiring entertainment professionals.

Prior to her work at the Film Commission, Ms. Lemisch served for more than 15 years as a producer for Penny Marshall’s company - Parkway Productions. Her credits include producer on With Friends Like These, Riding in Cars With Boys, The Preacher’s Wife and Renaissance Man; and associate producer on Awakenings, A League of Their Own, and Calendar Girl.

Ms. Lemisch is a member of the Directors Guild of America and the Producers Guild of America.

BK Fulton

B.K. Fulton

Board Member

B.K. Fulton is the founding chairman and CEO of Soulidifly Productions, LLC, a full feature film, stage and television investment and production company formed in 2017. With an unmatched output of four feature-length films produced in 2018, Soulidifly promotes a more inclusive narrative in major media. A charismatic intellectual and business-savvy entrepreneur, B.K. is also an accomplished corporate executive and innovator with decades of experience in both the public and private sectors. He also is chairman of Ario, LLC, an augmented reality productivity software company that increases safety and efficiency in industrial and manufacturing environments with their award-winning and patent-pending Ario Platform. In 2016, B.K. led a team of developers that invented EZ Reader, the world's first ophthalmologist approved digital reading glasses app.

Before becoming a full-time writer, filmmaker, and entrepreneur, B.K. held senior leadership roles in technology and policy development. He was vice president of the Mid-Atlantic Region for Verizon Communications, Inc. ($5.5B revenue), president of Verizon Virginia ($3.5B revenue) and president of Verizon West Virginia ($400M revenue). Prior to Verizon, he was in senior positions with the U.S. Department of Commerce, AOL Time Warner, and the National Urban League.

B.K. has been recognized as one of the “50 Most Influential African-Americans in Technology”. He is a Sloan Fellow and Computerworld Smithsonian Awards International Technology Laureates Medal recipient, with influential papers on technology permanently archived at the Smithsonian Institute. He earned his Juris Doctorate in Intellectual Property, Electronic Commerce and Telecommunications Law from New York Law School; a Master of Science degree in Management and Policy Analysis at The New School’s Milano School of International Affairs, Management and Urban Policy; a Professional Certificate in Public Policy Analysis from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University (Harvard Kennedy School); and a bachelor's degree in Urban Affairs and Planning, with two years of computer engineering and architecture, from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech).

A belief exemplified in how B.K. lives life is, “God blesses us all to turn our dreams and ideas into their tangible equivalents; we must have the faith, be willing to do the work and expect the outcomes.” As a servant leader, he sits on the boards of Norfolk State University, Bon Secours Health System, TowneBank and numerous civic, social and business entities.

Fulton, a native of Hampton, Virginia, is the middle child of Bennie and Flora Fulton. He is most inspired by his sister, who has Rett syndrome and authored a children’s book entitled, “Shauna,” lovingly portraying her influence on his life. He has twin sons, Joshua and Terrell. B.K. and his wife, Jacquelyn E. Stone, Esq. are community-minded residents of Richmond, Virginia.

Barbara Freedman Doyle

Barbara Freedman Doyle


Barbara Freedman Doyle began her career in film as Assistant to the Senior VP of Worldwide Production at Tri-Star Pictures and continued as Coordinator/Production Supervisor on projects for CBS, NBC, Disney, TNT, Showtime, Hearst Entertainment, Hallmark, 20th Century Fox, both in the US and in Canada. She made the transition into Film and Media education, first as Associate Dean of Production at the American Film Institute then as Chair of the Film Division at Chapman University’s Dodge College of Film and Media Arts, and Producing Program Coordinator and creator and director of Dodge College’s College to Career Program.

Doyle is the author of two widely used textbooks for Focal Press: Make Your Movie: What You Need to Know about the Business and Politics of Filmmaking; and Understanding Design in Film Production: Using Using Art, Light & Locations to Tell Your Story.

Dr. Bernard Luskin

Dr. Bernard Luskin

Executive Vice President

University Business Magazine selected Dr. Bernard Luskin as one who has had exceptional careers in psychology, education and corporate life. Luskin is a licensed psychotherapist (LMFT) and school psychologist with degrees in business and a UCLA doctorate in education, psychology and technology.

In education, Dr. Luskin has been CEO of eight colleges and universities. He has been Chancellor, Ventura County Community College District, President of Moorpark College, Oxnard College, Orange Coast College, founding president of Coastline Community College, including KOCE TV in Orange County, California and founding chancellor of Jones International University, the first accredited, fully web-based university, founding CEO of Touro University Worldwide, and president of Wright Graduate University. He continues as project director of the W. K. Kellogg Foundation Community College Leadership Legacy Project. He has taught at UCLA, USC, Claremont Graduate University, Pepperdine University, Touro University, California State Universities, Fullerton, Los Angeles, Fresno & Channel Islands; Kellogg College of the University of Oxford and other universities. In Washington, D.C. he served as EVP and COO of the American Association of Community Colleges, as Chair of the AACC Board of Trustees, and completed a Federal Legislative Specialist Program as a staff member in the U.S. Senate.

In corporate life, Bernie Luskin has been president and CEO of major divisions of Fortune 500 companies, including Philips Interactive Media, Philips Education and Reference Publishing and Jones International, Inc., including cable and satellite networks Mind Extension University, Knowledge TV, and Jones Education Networks. He has authored ten best-selling books on economics, information technology, leadership and education and produced award-winning television series and CDs. While president of Philips Interactive Media, Luskin partnered Philips with Paramount Studios to produce the first 50 movies in MPEG format CD, leading to DVD. He is credited with spearheading breakthroughs in many areas of distance learning and interactive technology including producing the world’s first CD programs such as Sesame Street, Grolier's and Compton's Encyclopedias and the first interactive movie on CD titled Voyeur; The Bible, with Charlton Heston and many more. While at Fielding Graduate University he launched the first Ph.D. program in media psychology and EdD programs in Media Studies and Community College Leadership. With UCLA Extension, he launched a successful MA degree program in Media Psychology and Social Change. He served on the Accrediting Commission for Collegiate Schools of Business, is founding board chair of HiTechHi, L.A., a California Distinguished Charter School and was appointed by the California Governor as a Commissioner on the California Post-Secondary Education Commission (CPEC).

Acknowledgments. Luskin has received two Emmys for documentary films, distinguished leadership and alumni awards from the UCLA Doctoral Alumni Association, California State University at Los Angeles, Community College League of California and The Bellwether Award from the AACC Futures Commission. He received the UCLA Dean’s Scholar Award and lifetime achievement awards from the California Community College CEO Association, Irish Government and the European Union. Luskin received a Lifetime Achievement Award for contributions to Media Psychology from the American Psychological Association, is an APA Fellow and President Emeritus of the APA Society for Media Psychology and Technology. He publishes articles regularly in Psychology Today Magazine in a column, “The Media Psychology Effect,” accessible through Google.

Education and Professional Activities: AA, Long Beach City College, BA, CSULA, MA, CSULB, Ed.D., UCLA, LMFT California Board of Behavioral Sciences, Clinical Member, American Psychological Association, California, Chief Administrative Officer and Designated Subjects Credentials in Accounting and Management. Certified Title IX and Civil Rights Investigator, Association of Title IX Administrators (ATIXA) and the National Association of Behavioral Intervention Team Administrators (NABITA).

Bernie Luskin lives in Moorpark, California, with his wife, Toni Luskin, PhD.

Bill Simon

Bill Simon


William D. Simon is a Senior Client Partner at Korn Ferry Los Angeles office and Global Sector Leader in Media and Entertainment.

Mr. Simon brings to the Firm an extensive background as an entertainment executive with a keen understanding of a wide variety of areas of the industry. The Media, Entertainment and Convergence sector that he oversees encompasses all aspects of traditional entertainment – film, television, home entertainment, music and publishing – and all digital content and platforms for broadband, games, wireless and mobile devices. Mr. Simon handles the full range of senior operating positions from CEO and COO through senior level creative and content positions.

Mr. Simon currently serves on the advisory board of councilors of USC Annenberg School of Communications and Journalism. In addition, he serves on the business advisory board of Los Angeles Kings.

Mr. Simon was recognized in Nancy Garrison-Jenn’s survey of the top 200 global executive recruiters and ranked among the top 35 in CableFax Magazine’s most influential in cable. Mr. Simon has served as the chairman of Korn Ferry’s shareholder’s committee and on the Firm’s worldwide board of directors.

Before joining Korn Ferry, Mr. Simon established the entertainment division at the investment banking and brokerage firm, Communications Equity Associates. He was involved in transactions that included music, home video, theatrical exhibitions and television programming. Earlier in his career, Mr. Simon served as vice president at Heron Communications, Inc., where he was involved in the development of new business for its home video company, Media Home Entertainment, as well as general corporate management.

Mr. Simon also served as the deputy staff secretary to President Jimmy Carter and he has held other government and political jobs. Mr. Simon earned a bachelor’s in political science from the University of California at Berkeley.

Brianna Ancel

Brianna Ancel


Brianna Ancel's 16 years of experience representing talent is rooted in her own career in the world of entertainment. She began as a dancer at the age of five in her hometown in Northern California. By eighteen, she was performing, teaching, and choreographing across the United States. After earning her Bachelor's in Fine Arts from the University of California, Irvine, Brianna worked as an Assistant Director for a major talent competition.

In 1998, she joined Kazarian/Spencer & Associates as an assistant agent and was promoted to Assistant Director of the Dance Department in 2000. Equipped with several years' experience and a life-long passion for the fine arts, Brianna launched the Theatrical Department at Clear Talent Group in 2003.

She was nominated for 3 consecutive years (2010, 2011 & 2012) by the Talent Manager's Association for a Seymour Heller Award for Adult Theatrical Agent of the Year.

She is currently Vice President of Clear Talent Group as well as the Director of the Theatrical Department.

Cary Brokaw


Cary Brokaw is a highly respected and award-winning film and television producer and entertainment executive with extensive experience in film and television production, development, marketing, and distribution. He has been President and Chief Executive Officer of Avenue Pictures since 1987.

Winner of Emmy Awards for Wit in 2002 and Angels in America in 2004, the PGA Vision Award in 2004, three Golden Globe Awards, three Spirit Awards, and two Peabody Awards, Brokaw has developed, financed and produced over 50 motion pictures including Kiss of the Spider Woman, Down by Law, Nobody’s Fool, The Player (nominated for five Academy Awards including Best Picture), Drugstore Cowboy (voted Best Picture of the year by the National Board of Review), After Dark, My Sweet, Short Cuts, The Field , Restoration (Winner of two Academy Awards), Closer (starring Julia Roberts, Jude Law, Clive Owen and Natalie Portman and Winner of two Golden Globe Awards), The Merchant of Venice (starring Al Pacino and Jeremy Irons) and Lullaby starring Garrett Hedlund, Richard Jenkins, and Amy Adams.

Brokaw and Avenue Pictures have over eighteen film projects in active development including: a contemporary version of Treasure Island, based on the classic novel by Robert Louis Stevenson, adapted by George Gallo and to be directed by Andrew Davis (Under Siege, The Fugitive, Holes) and star Samuel L. Jackson and Ansel Elgort (Fox), Almighty based on the graphic novel by Ed LaRoach and written by Ken Nolan which is currently out to directors (Universal Pictures), Garlic and Sapphires, based on the memoir by Ruth Reichl, adapted by Jonathan Tropper, and to be directed by Paul Feig (Bridesmaids, The Heat, Spy) (Fox), The Moviegoer based on the acclaimed novel by Walker Percy to be directed by Tom Hooper (John Adams, The Kings Speech, Les Miserables, The Danish Girl) (TriStar Pictures), Cities of the Plain based on the novel by Cormac McCarthy, adapted by Andrew Dominik, to be directed by Edward Berger (The Terror, Patrick Melrose) and star Timothee Chalamet, Channing Tatum and Javier Bardem (TriStar Pictures), and Krystle written and to be directed by Jeff Baena (Life After Beth, The Little Hours) and star Chloe Grace Moretz and Jason Segel.

Brokaw was partnered with acclaimed director Mike Nichols from 1999 to 2006. Brokaw and Avenue Pictures were also partnered with the late John Calley, former CEO of Sony Pictures Entertainment, at Sony Pictures Entertainment from 2004 to 2009.

Mr. Brokaw also supervises Avenue Pictures Television, which recently concluded a multiple-year first-look production agreement for series television with AMC Networks. The company had previously had a three-year overall production agreement with Warner Bros. Television. The company currently has over twenty series in active development, with seven series in development with HBO, USA, Showtime, AMC Networks and Fox amongst others. These series include The Mayor starring Alec Baldwin (HBO), Five Kings written by Daniel McBride (AMC), New Hope (AMC), Saigon (Showtime), High Wire (Fox) and The Player (WBTV).

In addition to Wit and Angels in America (winner of an unprecedented eleven Emmys, as well as five Golden Globes), Brokaw and Avenue Television also produced Normal, directed by Jane Anderson, starring Jessica Lange and Tom Wilkinson (nominated for six Emmy awards) (HBO); Path to War directed by John Frankenheimer starring Sir Michael Gambon, Alec Baldwin, and Donald Sutherland (nominated for eight Emmy awards) (HBO), and The Company starring Michael Keaton, Chris O’Donnell and Alfred Molina (nominated for 7 Emmy Awards) among many other limited series and films for television.

Avenue is also producing short-form content for other new and emerging streaming platforms including Quibi (#Dog Meets World) and Hulu (Sampled).

Brokaw began his career at 20th Century Fox, where he served as Director of Special Projects, Vice President Acquisitions, Vice President of Domestic Distribution, and Executive Vice President Domestic Distribution. He was actively involved in supervising the marketing and release of Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back, Breaking Away, All That Jazz, Alien and the phenomenon that The Rocky Horror Picture Show became a Midnight Show, amongst many other motion pictures. He also served as Executive Vice President, and then President, of the Cineplex Odeon Corporation from 1979 to 1983, during which time the company grew from the 19th largest to the 3rd largest theater circuit in the world. He was also President/CEO of Island/Alive and later Island Pictures from 1983 to 1987.

Brokaw received a BA from the University of California at Berkeley, and an MBA with Honors from the Anderson School of Management at UCLA, as well as an MFA from the UCLA School of Theater, Film, and Television.

Brokaw is a member of the Motion Picture Academy and the Producers Guild of America. He is divorced and has four grown daughters.

Chidi Ogene


Jude Chidi Ogene (“Chidi”) is the founder and chief executive officer of Charles Winnsboro Corporation, a consulting and advisory firm with a focus on sub-Saharan Africa and the African diaspora. The company’s main areas of expertise are corporate finance, infrastructure development, and higher education.

Before forming Charles Winnsboro, Chidi served in senior leadership roles with InfiLaw Corporation, a higher education management company sponsored by Sterling Partners. He joined InfiLaw in 2010 as its first General Counsel and led the transactional and regulatory aspects of over $300 million in follow-on investments in the company by private equity firms. Between 2013 and 2017, he took up operating roles with the company’s schools, serving as the Interim Dean of one school and as the President of another. He introduced several reforms at both schools, including establishing an online certificate program in regulatory compliance that doubled revenue on a year over year basis. He returned to the General Counsel role in 2017, where he worked to convert the company’s schools to non-profit institutions and restructure the company.

Prior to joining InfiLaw, Chidi practiced corporate and transactional law with law firms in New York and Washington DC. He began his legal career with Sullivan & Cromwell after graduating from Georgetown University with a combined Juris Doctor/Master of Business Administration. In addition to his degrees from Georgetown, Chidi has an LL.B. from the University of Nigeria and a B.L. from the Nigerian Law School.

Chidi is passionate about workforce development and lifelong learning. He has a green belt certificate in lean six sigma and recently completed his coursework for a certificate in blockchain strategy from Oxford University. His particular interest is in exploring how blockchain and other emerging technologies can democratize access to education, finance, and other competencies critical to personal and societal development.

Outside of his professional endeavors, Chidi volunteers with a number of pro bono organizations. He serves as the vice-chairman of the Board and General Counsel of AIDE Africa, an organization dedicated to the development of the African continent with initiatives in healthcare, agriculture, and renewable energy. He is the Chairman of the Board of AFGCEAA Corp., a 501(c)(3) public charity formed for the benefit of current students and alumni of Federal Government College Enugu (his alma mater). He is also a Trustee of the Great Alpha Foundation, a 501(c)(3) private foundation that provides financial and other assistance to the less privileged.

Aside from his wife and three children, music and movies are the loves of Chidi’s life. A birthday gift of three DVDs in 1999 (Saving Private Ryan, The Blair Witch Project, and The Matrix) started him on a quest to hear and see movies exactly the way the director intended. The quest is never-ending, but software and hardware advances have brought him much closer than he ever believed possible. And just like the Don Cheadle character from Boogie Nights, Chidi dreams of opening an audio/video store one day.

David Madden


David Madden is the President of Greg Berlanti's Berlanti Productions. He was recently AMC Networks’ President of Programming, Entertainment Networks, where he oversaw all scripted and non-fiction content development for AMC, BBC AMERICA, IFC, Sundance TV, and AMC Studios, brands that deliver some of the most popular and culturally elevant shows on television as well as an expanding studio operation. An accomplished and highly-regarded programming executive with a proven record of success, Madden joined AMC Networks in late 2017 after nearly two decades at Fox, where he most recently was President of Entertainment for the Fox Broadcasting Company, responsible for all programming and development, including series such as “Empire,” “911,” “Brooklyn 99,” “Masterchef Junior” and “Grease Live.”

Prior to that, Madden was President of Fox Television Studios, which developed and produced programming for a variety of broadcast and cable networks in the U.S. and internationally. Series produced by FTVS during Madden’s tenure at the studio included “The Shield” and “The Americans” for FX, “The Killing,” for AMC and later Netflix, “White Collar,” “Graceland” and “Burn Notice” for USA, and many others. At AMC Networks, Madden has most recently overseen a new slate of upcoming programming for AMC that includes the upcoming “Dispatches from Elsewhere,” from actor and writer Jason Segel and producer Scott Rudin, and “NOS4A2,” a supernatural horror series based on the Joe Hill novel of the same name. AMC also recently renewed the popular anthology series, “The Terror” and critically hailed drama “Lodge 49” for second seasons. Current programming on AMC includes “The Walking Dead,” “Fear The Walking Dead,” “Better Call Saul,” “The Little Drummer Girl,” “Preacher,” and “Into the Badlands.” On the unscripted side, AMC is home to original series such as “Talking Dead,” “Talking With Chris Hardwick,” “Ride with Norman Reedus” and year-round documentary series “AMC Visionaries,” which immerses fans in favorite topics and subcultures like comics, horror, rap, and science fiction all led by the masters themselves, such as Robert Kirkman, Eli Roth, Questlove and James Cameron.

At BBC America, Madden oversees programming that includes the critically acclaimed “Killing Eve;” top-rated phenomenon “Doctor Who;” Emmy® IDA-winning “Planet Earth II” and the producers’ next epic story of our planet, “Dynasties;” Emmy®-winning “Blue Planet II;” acclaimed drama “Luther;” ground-breaking unscripted series “Top Gear;” the buzzy and hilarious “The Graham Norton Show;” and the world’s largest darts championships. Upcoming series for BBC America include the punk rock thriller “The Watch,” based on Sir Terry Pratchett’s wildly popular “Discworld” novels. Madden heads programming and development for IFC, home to offbeat comedies such as “Documentary Now!,” created by Bill Hader, Seth Meyers and Fred Armisen, and produced by Broadway Video, “Brockmire,” starring Hank Azaria and produced with Funny Or Die, the fast-paced and irreverent “Baroness von Sketch Show,” and “Stan Against Evil,” starring John C. McGinley. Upcoming series for IFC include “Sherman’s Showcase,” an original musical variety sketch from “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” comedy duo Bashir Salahuddin and Diallo Riddle and executive produced by John Legend and “Year of the Rabbit,” a co-production with the UK’s Channel 4, starring Matt Berry as a drunk sleuth investigating crimes inspired by the world of Sherlock Holmes' Victorian-era London. At SundanceTV, Madden oversees a lineup of high-caliber dramas and documentary programming, including the Peabody Award-winning series “Deutschland 86,” the Leonardo DiCaprio executive produced documentary “Jonestown: Terror In The Jungle,” and critically acclaimed dramas “The Split” and “Liar.” SundanceTV’s newest series, premiering in 2019, is “State of The Union,” a ten-part short form comedy series written by the Academy Award®-nominated and BAFTA-winning writer Nick Hornby (“Brooklyn,” “An Education”) and starring Academy Award® and BAFTA-nominated Rosamund Pike (“Gone Girl,” “Hostiles”) and BAFTA-nominated Chris O'Dowd (“Bridesmaids,” “Get Shorty”).

Also central to his role at AMC Networks is Madden’s oversight of programming for the company’s expanding AMC Studios business, which allows the company to own and control more of the content it brings to fans on its national networks and emerging platforms. AMC Studios produces “The Walking Dead,” the highest-rated series in cable history, and a wide variety of popular and acclaimed originals including “Fear the Walking Dead,” “The Terror,” “Into the Badlands,” “Lodge 49” and others. The studio has also produced the Peabody Award-winning “Rectify,” and “Hap and Leonard,” as well as unscripted series “Cold Blooded: The Clutter Family Murders” and “The Jonestown Massacre” for SundanceTV.

Prior to his tenure at Fox, Madden was a producer and partner with the Paramount Pictures-based Cort/Madden Company, with more than 20 films to his credit. “Something the Lord Made,” featuring Alan Rickman and Mos Def, for HBO, won the 2004 Emmy Award for Outstanding Made for Television Movie and the DGA Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Movies for Television. Madden also produced “Save the Last Dance,” starring Julia Stiles, which grossed $90+ million domestically and sold three million soundtrack units. The Cort/Madden Company also developed a series version for FOX.

While at the Cort/Madden Company, Madden and his partner produced “Against the Ropes,” with Meg Ryan, and “The Out of Towners,” with Steve Martin and Goldie Hawn, among other films. Madden also executive-produced “Runaway Bride,” starring Julia Roberts and Richard Gere. The film grossed more than $150 million domestically.

Before Paramount, Madden was a producer and partner with Interscope Communications, where he developed and produced such films as thriller “The Hand that Rocks the Cradle,” with Rebecca De Mornay; “The Associate,” starring Whoopi Goldberg; “Operation Dumbo Drop,” featuring Danny Glover and Ray Liotta; “Renegades,” starring Kiefer Sutherland; and “Blind Fury,” starring Rutger Hauer.

Prior to becoming an executive at Interscope Communications, Madden was Vice President of Production at Paramount Pictures, supervising such hit films as “The Untouchables,” “Fatal Attraction,” “The Naked Gun,” “The Accused” and “Children of a Lesser God.” He also served as Vice President of Production at Twentieth Century Fox, where he supervised “Romancing the Stone,” “Jewel of the Nile,” “Revenge of the Nerds” and “The Fly.”

In addition to his producing career, Madden directed the Trimark feature “Separate Lives,” starring Linda Hamilton and James Belushi, and wrote and directed the Lifetime movie “A Part of the Family,” starring Robert Carradine and Ronny Cox.

Madden received a Bachelor’s Degree from Harvard University and a Master’s Degree from the University of California Los Angeles.

Daniel Auerbach


Daniel Auerbach has spent 30 years in Asia as an early pioneer and leader in the development of the region’s Private Equity industry. He is the Senior Managing Partner, Global Head, Eight Roads Ventures, a global venture capital firm principally backed by Fidelity and related entities. Daniel joined Fidelity International Limited in 1994 as the Senior Managing Director to establish the Asian principal and venture investing in the key geographies in China, India, and Japan. Through his business involvement, Daniel is associated with the establishment of some of the region’s most successful independent businesses. Daniel has held keyboard roles with companies, that include Alibaba, WuXi Pharmatech, iSoftstone, AsiaInfo, and Asia Renal Care. He continues to serve on a number of Boards of Asia’s leading emerging businesses, including Chairman of DeltaHealth, Board member of Hua Medicine, Innovent, Adagene, and many others. In 2000, Daniel was nominated by the World Economic Forum as one of its Young Global Leaders.
Eric Doctorow

Eric Doctorow


Eric Doctorow is a highly respected media executive who is well known for his leadership in the Home Entertainment market for over the past 40 years. Mr. Doctorow held senior management positions at Paramount Pictures for 20 years where he was President of Paramount Pictures’ Worldwide Home Entertainment division for 10 years. In this role he was responsible for managing a $2.5 billion division that employed over 600 employees around the world. His responsibilities included marketing, sales, manufacturing, film acquisitions, finance and business/legal affairs for the division. Mr. Doctorow’s responsibilities also included overseeing the distribution of other Home Entertainment franchises including MTV, Nickelodeon and CBS properties. While at Paramount Mr. Doctorow established many marketing and distribution strategies now standard in the industry, led the company’s entry into the DVD market and was responsible for distributing Titanic, the most successful domestic home video release of all time. For ten years prior to this Mr. Doctorow held various other Home Entertainment positions at Paramount, including President of its Domestic operation. He also served as a member of Paramount Picture’s parent company, Paramount Communications, Senior Technology Advisory Group.

After an extremely successful career managing a large corporate enterprise, in 2006 Mr. Doctorow was chosen to lead MGM’s new worldwide home entertainment business. As General Manager, MGM Worldwide Mr. Doctorow managed MGM's unique “company within a company” joint venture with Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment for five years. He was a key executive in helping to introduce the Blu-ray format as well as re-building the MGM brand with key retailers worldwide. While at MGM, Mr. Doctorow pioneered a long-tail content distribution model now used throughout the industry. This model, called Manufacturing On Demand, allowed MGM to create more value for its vast library than previously thought possible.

Furthering his entrepreneurial passion Mr. Doctorow joined Miramax in 2011. At Miramax, he was part of a new executive team after the company was purchased from The Walt Disney Company by an investor group. As Executive Vice President, Mr. Doctorow helped establish Miramax’s reputation as an important digital player when it entered leading-edge content deals with Netflix, Hulu, Facebook and other platforms.

Most recently, Mr. Doctorow founded Random Media in 2014 and brought together a management team consisting of some of the industry’s most experienced executives. The company acquires and distributes films and other content on a worldwide basis through movie theatres, conventional retailers, digital platforms, cable companies and television networks.

Mr. Doctorow also served as Chief Operating Officer of THQ, Inc. and Chief Operating Officer of Ventura Entertainment.

Mr. Doctorow is a past board member of the Video Software Dealer Association, the National Association of Record Merchandisers, and a founding member of The Digital Entertainment Group. He is a past inductee into the video industry’s Hall of Fame. He currently serves on various media company advisory boards.

Mr. Doctorow holds an MBA and BA from UCLA.

Fahad AlOtaibi


Fahad AlOtaibi is a writer and film director based in Saudi Arabia, and increasingly around the world, who has been working in the industry since 2010. Fahad works with world-class brands for TV commercials and creative campaigns. Fahad is the owner of RGB Production and is the co-founder of Jaras for Creative Writing.
Dr. Gloria Willingham

Dr. Gloria Willingham-Touré


Dr. Gloria Willingham-Touré has been described as a master networker who connects social entrepreneurs locally, nationally, and internationally. However, this description barely scratches the surface of her compelling personal life story and eclectic career trajectory. Originally from Little Rock, Arkansas she was one of the early graduates of newly desegregated Little Rock Central High School following the Little Rock Nine and a member of the first cohort to remain there for three consecutive years to graduation. This nationally acclaimed experience was a springboard to a lifetime of impactful work bringing issues of diversity, inclusion, equity, and institutionalized racism to the undeniable forefront of discussions in all aspects of her professional life. She brings a unique expertise in educational leadership and change informed by her years of experience and/or study of innovative educational systems in the USA, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Mexico, Thailand, South Korea, South Africa, Ghana, China and Malta.

She is currently the award-winning CEO of Afram Global Organization Inc, a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit charitable organization. In that role she has received awards in recognition of her successes in creating environments in which persons from diverse circumstances and experiences can come together and co-learn with each other in a way that bridges opportunity gaps, retains the respective cultures and ultimately benefits society.

Dr. Willingham-Touré is the Chair, Goddard College Board of Trustees; a charter member of the Claremont Graduate University Alumni Board of Trustees, a member of the Board of Governors- California State University Long Beach, and a member of The Nurses on Boards Coalition . She earned a PhD in Education at Claremont Graduate University; a Master’s degree in Nursing Science at University of Arkansas Medical Science Campus; and a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing Science at Regents External Degree Programs of The University of the State of New York (now Excelsior). She was a Fulbright Scholar/Fulbright Specialist in Public and Global Health on the Maltese Islands at the University of Malta Health Institutes. Additionally Dr. Willingham-Touré is a retired Lt. Colonel, US Army Reserves, Army Nurse Corps.

Fernando Ferro

Fernando Ferro


Fernando Ferro is an Emmy-nominated Venezuelan Film and Television Producer. At 24 he became showrunner to the first bilingual political satire show, 'Rick Sanchez.' Since then, he has produced telenovelas, alternative programming, and in 2016 - 2017 produced his first film, 'Vandal.' In late 2016 he formed his own banner, LA Familia Productions, with the main focus to finance, develop, and produce content for the Hispanic voices in the United States and abroad. He is currently directing his first film, with the entire process being documented for MediaU. Fernando is represented by Paradigm Agency.

Harold Fraser

Acting CFO

Since 2006, Harold Fraser has been a full-time instructor in the Steven G. Mihaylo College of Business and Economics at California State University, Fullerton. He has taught in the Management Department in the areas of Strategy, Operations, Entertainment & Hospitality Management, and Supply Chain Management.

He is a co-founder of Mihaylo College’s Entertainment & Hospitality Management program. Prior to joining CSUF, Fraser served as the head of global operations for Paramount Home Entertainment through most of the 1990's and subsequently helmed Panasonic's international optical disc manufacturing and distribution business based in London during the early 2000s.

In the 1980's Fraser ran marketing and supply chain operations for the motorcycle division of American Honda Motor Company. He received his BA from Stetson University and his master’s degree from the University of Southern California.

In addition to full-time teaching, Fraser is a consultant in the entertainment industry. Fraser resides in La Habra, CA with his wife Julie and has two grown children.

Harry Lennix


Harry Lennix is an accomplished film, television, and stage actor who was born and raised in Chicago, IL’s South Shore neighborhood. Growing up, Harry, the youngest of four children, was active in his local Catholic Church as an altar boy and seminarian. Harry exhibited natural acting ability at a young age, and soon gained a reputation as a gifted artist. Now hooked on performing, Harry turned his sights to acting as a career.

Harry received a scholarship to Northwestern University where he studied communications and literature. While attending Northwestern, Harry was a student leader and performed in several university-sponsored and local plays, receiving increasing amounts of praise for his developing talent.

Post-university, Harry continued to hone his craft while working as an English and Music teacher in Chicago public schools. Harry scored his first film role in The Package in 1989 and his second film with the perennial favorite, The Five Heartbeats, in 1991. With this momentum, Harry moved to Los Angeles, where he has enjoyed a distinguished career as a working actor on the big and small screens as well as on stage.

Harry currently plays Harold Cooper in the NBC hit, “The Blacklist.” He is universally regarded as one of the hardest working and most talented men in Hollywood. At 6’4”, he is known for his commanding stature, baritone voice, diligent work ethic, and multiple talents.

His prolific film career includes the recent Man of Steel and the highly anticipated Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice. He has also had leading roles in Ray, The Matrix: Reloaded, The Matrix: Revolutions, Barbershop 2, Love and Basketball, The Human Stain, and State of Play. His television career includes principal roles in the Golden Globe® nominated ABC television show Commander in Chief, the FOX hit series 24, ER, and Diagnosis Murder and the FOX series Dollhouse.

In addition to his distinguished film and television career, Harry has also starred in, or directed, staged productions across the country. In fact, in 2001, he was part of the first American company to be invited to the Royal Shakespeare Company in the production of Cymbeline. Harry made his Broadway debut in 2007 as the lead character in August Wilson’s final play, Radio Golf, which was nominated for a Tony Award®.

Harry remains active in the Los Angeles and Chicago communities, participating in various programs and events. Harry holds board or advisory positions with the following entities: The Goodman Theater Company, Northwestern University, Congo Square Theater, The Robey Theater Company, and The Northlight Theater.

He has recently turned his attention to directing and producing, with three movies in production or post: Mr. Sophistication, H4, and Revival.

Jack Kushnatsian

Jack Kushnatsian


Jack Kushnatsian is an experienced, results- oriented technology professional with 17 years of proven experience specializing in process improvement, management, team building, and leadership. He has provided support at the highest levels while also developing and executing technology systems using emerging technologies. Jack holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Information Technology, an MBA degree and multiple IT certifications including Microsoft and Cisco. He previously served as CTO for High Tech Los Angeles, a California Distinguished Charter High School and as CTO, Director of Production Services and university-wide Blackboard Administrator for the Touro College and University System. Jack Kushnatsian also served as a Lead Engineer and ultimately promoted to Regional Director, Technical Field Services for Cal Net Technology Group, Southern California’s premier managed services provider. Jack currently operates his own consulting firm, Simplified IT Consulting, providing managed IT and consulting services to businesses and educational organizations of all sizes in California and the rest of the US.
Jason Loftus

Jason Loftus


Jason Loftus is a Peabody Award-winning film producer and four-time Canadian Screen Award nominee. His work spans documentary, docuseries, virtual reality, narrative games, and animation. He is CEO of the Toronto-based Lofty Sky Entertainment and its film/tv subsidiary Lofty Sky Pictures. Jason's directorial debut in a documentary feature, Ask No Questions, premiered at Slamdance in January, 2020.
Jim Franklin

Jim Franklin


Jim Franklin is a principal and founder at Prodigy Capital Consulting, and along with an extremely talented team, is the Executive Director of The Incubation Network. Prodigy was formed from the business units of Franklin and Associates, Mr. Franklin’s private investment banking consulting firm, and Monticello Capital, a specialty investment bank in Northern Virginia, with which Jim remains an active associate. The Incubation Network is a non-profit organization providing a variety of consulting services to the entrepreneurial and early stage business community in Hampton Roads, Virginia. Jim specializes in strategic planning and financial services to clients within several industries including private insurance, aerospace and defense, international technology, entertainment, security, healthcare, pharmaceutical, transportation, logistics management, information technology, senior care, manufacturing, renewable energy, real estate development, and non-profit foundations.

Mr. Franklin is a retired senior US Air Force officer, and as a test pilot and combat fighter pilot commanded both flying and support units in a variety of locations including six countries on four continents and experience in flying over 20 aircraft. Jim served as foreign military sales director, technology development manager, logistics design and planning specialist, and research manager for a variety of cutting edge technologies. His last assignment in the USAF was with the Secretary of the Air Force handling over $7 billion of foreign military sales contracts and developing international cooperative technologies across the globe.

After retiring from the Air Force, Mr. Franklin started a successful consulting firm, Franklin and Associates, growing it to a respected practice in international business development and specializing in merger and acquisition structures supporting commercialization of advanced technology. Jim’s clients included: BAE SYSTEMS, MBDA Missile Systems, Textron, Boeing, Raytheon and Cessna Aircraft. After consolidating the business practice in defense, he joined two partners in forming a robotic aircraft company that eventually went public and is serving the intelligence community today.

Franklin and Associates joined with Monticello Capital to offer a full service investment banking and business strategy family of services to a varied client base. This partnership expanded Jim’s experience to include several new technology arenas including, pharmaceutical, security, logistics management, intermodal transportation services, renewable energy, resort development, and manufacturing, all while continuing with existing clients. In the process, Mr. Franklin has acted as Chief Financial Officer for nine early stage companies during capital financing and strategic business development.

Jim and his network partners provide small business advisory services in addition to strategic corporate consulting to Fortune 500 clients and mid-cap companies globally.

Jordan Ancel

Jordan Ancel

Chief Creative Officer

Jordan Ancel is an award-winning writer & director, serial entrepreneur, author, and artist with strong leadership skills and a commitment to inspiring success in others by providing CEOs, entrepreneurs, and artists with his unique brand of coaching and problem-solving.

With over 20 years of experience in the entertainment industry, startups, internet advertising, marketing, and branding, his profound understanding of these industries gives him the tools to conceive and execute high-concept ideas with great success.

He currently sits on the advisory board of the developing theme park, Game Nation, Inc.

Jordan consults CEOs entrepreneurs, and artists on creative direction, growth, product development, cause-based partnering, and Social Media Marketing. A partial list of clients includes The Actors Green Room, Smart Women Rising, Blu Jam Cafe Restaurant Group, True Remedies Beauty, Le French Butcher, Kettlebell Concepts, Inc., Adam Leipzig, among many others.

Previously, Jordan was integral in launching Amp'd Mobile, a cutting-edge multi-million dollar mobile entertainment company/MVNO/world-class e-commerce mobile media portal. He oversaw multiple teams, plus outside vendors, to produce the multi-million dollar website, including front-end design, back-end CMS, and original content by joint partners such as MTV, Warner Music, Sony Music, College Humor,, and BMI.

From Amp'd, Jordan joined 30sixty Advertising Director of New Media, a department he started, where he oversaw the production of online advertising campaigns for Paramount Pictures, Sony, Warner Bros., and HBO. He was also responsible for the creation and deployment of interactive games and websites to coincide with theatrical and DVD releases of feature films.

Lauren Hunter Rosenberg

Copy Creator

Lenneal Henderson, Ph.D.

Lenneal Henderson, Ph.D.


Lenneal Henderson, Ph.D. is currently Dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences and Eminent Scholar at Virginia State University, Petersburg, Virginia. He was appointed to the Board of Virginia Humanities in 2016 and reappointed by Governor Northam in 2018.

Dr. Henderson has worked in the U.S. Department of Energy, the Social Security Administration and the U.S. Department of State. He has Chaired the Boards of the Greater Baltimore Urban League and the Maryland Humanities Council and is currently on the Board of LifeNet Health, Inc., a global tissue bank, organ procurement agency and regenerative medicine research center.
Along with 33 other Public Policy and Public Administration professors, he was intensively trained in Disaster and Emergency Management at the Federal Emergency Management Academy in Emmitsburg, Maryland focusing on human-induced, natural and health disaster events and crises, including the H1N1, SARS, Ebola, and HIV pandemics.

He is also an actor who has portrayed Thurgood Marshall (“Thurgood is Coming”), A. Philip Randolph, W.E.B. DuBois, Cab Calloway, Frederick Douglass and Howard Thurman.

Dr. Henderson was a Kellogg National Fellow and a Ford Foundation, National Research Council Post-Doctoral Fellow at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. He is a Fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration and the International City Management Association. He received his A.B., M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of California, Berkeley. He currently lives in Claremont, Virginia.

Lucia Cottone

International Development

Marcia Dawkins

Marcia Dawkins, Ph.D.


Marcia is a master of persuasion and communication. Mixing time-tested principles with state-of-the-art instruction techniques, she won awards for her teaching on two continents, virtually, and in multilingual environments (Spanish, Chinese, and English). Along the way, she worked for a startup, earned a fellowship in the Ivy League, spoke at The Mayo Clinic and UNESCO, and gave a piano recital at Carnegie Hall. As a full-time professor at the University of Southern California, she used her expertise to create two original courses, author three books, 10 articles, and 80+ op-eds.

Her first book, Clearly Invisible, was nominated for the Grawemeyer Award. Her research has been recognized by the Social Science Research Council, the National Communication Association, the Eastern Communication Association, and the NAACP. Now a highly sought-after public speaker and media commentator, Marcia has appeared on BBC World, NPR, AOL Originals, ABC News, HuffPo Live, and a number of podcasts. Her CV includes being: corporate educator for Performance Learning Concepts, columnist for Truthdig, communication manager at FutureBrand, co-founder of app development firm Mix Mesh Blend, visiting scholar at Vanderbilt University Law School, and visiting scholar at Brown University.

Marcia is most passionate about “talentism;” mentoring her students, who have gone on to thrive professionally at places like Google and Harvard, to run for office in Los Angeles County, and to make the world more beautiful through their work in education, law, industrial design, stand-up comedy, dance, and documentary filmmaking. She lives in Los Angeles, CA with her husband and son.

Marissa Flaxbart

Project Coordinator

Marissa Flaxbart is a writer, filmmaker, and creative thinker based in Los Angeles. After graduating from the University of Chicago with a Cinema and Media Studies concentration, Marissa self-produced and edited a feature-length documentary while leading a team of technology lecturers at one of the first flagship Apple Retail stores. As a freelance writer, she has covered everything from electric cars to WNBA games, but now focuses primarily on more narrative forms. She holds an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman University.Ulli K. Ryder is an award-winning educator, consultant, writer, editor, and thinker. She facilitates discussions of race, ethnicity, identity formation and media to foster inclusion and create open dialogue. She is currently the Director of Intercultural Education at Rhode Island School of Design, in which capacity she supports all students of marginalized identities and helps craft campus-wide inclusive policies. Her expertise has been sought by institutions such as the University of Southern California, University of California Los Angeles, University of Rhode Island, Simmons University, and Brown University. Her expert opinion has been solicited by the New York Times, HuffPost, New York Post, WGBH (PBS), and MSNBC, among others. She has been a Visiting Scholar at Brown University since 2009. Ryder earned her Ph.D. in American Studies & Ethnicity from the University of Southern California. She also holds a Master of American Studies & Ethnicity and Master of Professional Writing (USC) and Master of African American Studies from UCLA.

Michela Scolari


Ph D in Comparative Studies, fellow of Columbia University in the city of New York, award-winning screenwriter and producer (Manchester, Ischia, Rome, Cannes, Durban) Michela Scolari has been working in TV and Film since graduating from Vassar College in 2003, collaborating in worldwide successes, with Giuseppe Tornatore, David Lynch, Christian Mungiu, Umberto Eco, Robbie Little and many other acclaimed filmmakers.

For the fun of it, she collected and published a variety of interviews with some Hollywood icons: Angelina Jolie, Scarlett Johansson, Lady Gaga, Robert De Niro and Pope Francis (not from Hollywood).

Her latest movie “Hannah Can You Hear Me” was awarded Best Art Film at Cannes 2019.

Mike Goldstein

Mike Goldstein

Senior Advisor

Mike Goldstein has a long history of close engagement with higher education. He is a Managing Director of Tyton Partners, a dynamic advisory firm that serves clients across the education, information and media markets within the global knowledge sector. He was the founding Director of New York City Urban Corps, the nation’s first large-scale student intern program designed to support access for less affluent students through the use of the Federal Work Study Program. He went on to lead a Ford Foundation-supported effort to establish similar programs in cities across the U.S. He returned to New York City government as Assistant City Administrator and Director of University Relations. From there Mike joined the then-new University of Illinois Chicago campus as Associate Vice Chancellor for Urban Affairs and Associate Professor of Urban Sciences. In 1978 Mike joined the Washington, DC law firm of Dow Lohnes to establish a new legal practice focusing broadly on issues confronting higher education. By 2014 when his firm merged with the global law firm Cooley LLP, the higher education practice he headed was the largest and one of highest regarded in the country. Mike has been a pioneer in the development of alternative mechanisms and institutional structures for the delivery of high quality postsecondary education, including helping to accomplish substantial regulatory reforms that made telecommunicated and then online learning broadly available. He is the recipient of the WCET Richard Jonsen Award, CAEL’s Morris Keeton Ward, the President’s Medal from Excelsior College, and USDLA’s Distance Learning Hall of Fame Award, as well as an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from Fielding Graduate University for his contributions to the field of adult learning. He is a graduate of Cornell University and New York University School of Law, and was a Loeb Fellow at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design. He and his spouse Jinny, an education and media consultant and former head of education for the Public Broadcasting Service, live in Washington, DC.

Nicolas Gonda


Nicolas Gonda is a film producer, media entrepreneur, and strategist. Most recently he was Chief Content Officer of Meow Wolf, responsible for building a trans-media content studio for its rapidly growing community of artists and audiences. He was named one of Indiewire’s inaugural “Influencers”, Variety’s “10 Producers to Watch” and Details Magazine’s “Digital Mavericks

Peter Baxter


Peter Baxter is a filmmaker and President and co-founder of Slamdance. Baxter has led Slamdance for 25 years as a revolutionary force synonymous with the discovery of emerging talent. Baxter’s recent directorial work includes “Spirit Game”, a documentary feature about the Iroquois Nationals battle to win a world lacrosse championship that premiered on Starz and was honored at the United Nations in 2018.
Peter D. Marshall

Peter D. Marshall

Facilitator, Directors & Actors Working Together

Peter is a filmmaker and film directing coach originally from Vancouver, Canada. He has worked in the Film and Television Industry for over 40 years as a Film Director, Television Producer, First Assistant Director, and TV Series Creative Consultant on both large budget Hollywood films and independent films. He is a graduate of Ryerson University in Toronto, the author of Making the Magic Happen: The Art and Craft of Film Directing (2017) and two other published works on film. Peter publishes a monthly blog, The Director's Chair, and delivers training seminars in the art and craft of directing around the world.
Peter Samuelson

Peter Samuelson


Peter Samuelson is a graduate of Cambridge University with a Masters in English Literature and as the son of Sir Sydney Samuelson, the fourth of five family generations employed in the film industry. After serving as production manager on films such as The Return of the Pink Panther, he emigrated from England to Los Angeles and produced Revenge of the Nerds, Tom & Viv, Wilde, Arlington Road and 20 other films. Peter served on the three person founding Board of Participant Media, Jeff Skoll’s pro-social media company. In 2012-13, Peter Samuelson was the first Managing Director of the Media Institute for Social Change at the University of Southern California. In 2013, Mr. Samuelson conceived of ASPIRE, the Academy for Social Purpose in Responsible Entertainment, which pilots across the UCLA campus in early 2014.
Mr. Samuelson divides his time between his educational initiative, ASPIRE at UCLA, motion picture production, and pro bono service as Co-Founder of the Starlight Children’s Foundation and, co-founded with Steven Spielberg, through its fifty offices. Mr. Samuelson is also Founder and President of the First Star Public Policy Initiative of Washington D.C. and the Everyone Deserves A Roof initiative of Los Angeles He holds U.S. Patent No. 10,227,791 for a Single User Mobile Homeless Shelter.
Richard Abramowitz

Richard Abramowitz


Richard Abramowitz, founder, and CEO of Abramorama is an innovative leader in the distribution and marketing of independent films. His company's focus is on music-themed and social impact film. Recent distribution projects include Ron Howard's The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years; the 50th anniversary re-release of The Beatles Yellow Submarine; Mitangi/Maya/M.I.A.; Pearl Jam: Let's Play Two; National Geographic's Jane; Banksy's Academy Award nominee Exit Through the Gift Shop, and Spirit Award-winning music documentary Anvil! The Story of Anvil!

Abramowitz's extensive work in music film also includes a 16-year relationship with Neil Young and projects with Stevie Nicks, John (Johnny Rotten) Lydon, Tony Bennett, and Bob Dylan.

Abramowitz was a co-founder of Stratosphere Entertainment, the independent distribution and production company financed by Carl Icahn. Stratosphere's releases included The Thief, Hideous Kinky, and Xiu-Xiu: The Sent Down Girl.

While President/COO of RKO Pictures Distribution, he handled the Shooting Gallery's acclaimed first feature, Laws of Gravity, directed by SUNY Purchase alumnus Nick Gomez and starring SUNY Purchase alumna Edie Falco. Previously, as a senior executive at Cinecom Entertainment, he distributed John Sayles's The Brother from Another Planet and Matewan, Jonathan Demme's Stop Making Sense and Swimming to Cambodia, Tom Stoppard's Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, and Merchant Ivory's A Room with a View, among many others.

Abramowitz is a frequent panelist and juror at film festivals around the world is on the Board of Directors of the Jacob Burns Film Center and the Advisory Boards of the SXSW Film Festival and The Hamptons International Film Festival.

Ron Thomson

Ron Thomson

Chief Corporate Officer

Ron Thomson is the Managing Director of of global business development firm Cameron Thomson Group Ltd. based in Toronto, London, Lake Como, Los Angeles, and Taipei. He is recognized as a leading entrepreneur in the media/entertainment and technology industry. Under Ron’s leadership Cameron Thomson Group has established a legacy of experience in building successful businesses. Ron is also founder and managing director of Nice Media Studios LLC., a subsidiary of Cameron Thomson Entertainment, Electric Panda Entertainment, and the founder of Cameron Thomson Group, WirelesStudios, Cyphertech Systems Inc., Audiotrack Watermark Solutions Corp., and the annual Como Forum on Media Content. He was also founding CEO of Taiwan-based Huallywood Film Studios. Ron also co-founded Hong Kong-based Cameron Thomson Asia Entertainment & Culture Ltd., and its CTE-Asia Production Fund.

Russell Schwartz

Chief Marketing Officer

Russell Schwartz has been President of Pandemic Marketing Corp since its inception in 2008. Pandemic Marketing provides strategic marketing, theatrical distribution, ancillary placement solutions and digital execution for the motion picture industry. Among the movies he most recently worked on were Chappaquiddick and the jazz movie, Bolden.

He is also currently the lead marketing professor in the Creative Producing Program at the Dodge College of Film and New Media at Chapman University.

Russell’s new book, The Marketing Edge for Filmmakers: Developing a Marketing Mindset from Concept through Release has just been published by Focal Press. Co-written with Katherine MacDonald, the book is an American Film Market presentation.

From 2013-2014, he was President of Worldwide Marketing at Relativity Media and was responsible for the entire slate including The Family, Don Jon and Beyond the Lights.

From 2001-2008, Schwartz was President of Theatrical Marketing at New Line Cinema where he oversaw all of the company’s marketing efforts which resulted in over 44 Academy Award nominations and extraordinary success at the domestic box office. Included in this list: The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, Hairspray, Wedding Crashers, Elf, RushHour 2 and 3, The Notebook, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, About Schmidt and Little Children.

Prior to that he was President of USA Films and released such films as Traffic, Nurse Betty, Topsy Turvey, Being John Malkovich and Pitch Black.

From 1992-1999, Schwartz was President of Gramercy Pictures and oversaw the marketing of Four Weddings and a Funeral, Fargo, The Usual Suspects, Elizabeth, The Big Lebowski, Dazed and Confused, Dead Man Walking and many others.

Steve Tao


Steve Tao is an experienced content creator of television, film, and digital media. He started his career as a film executive at Walt Disney Pictures working on films such as THE THREE MUSKETEERS and WHITE SQUALL. He then moved to television and became Head of Drama for ABC Television, where he oversaw the Emmy Award-winning dramas THE PRACTICE and NYPD BLUE. As Senior Vice President of original series and movies at VH1, he ran both the New York and Los Angeles development offices. As producer, he launched Gale Anne Hurd's television company Valhalla Television (WALKING DEAD). As head of scripted development at FremantleMedia, he initiated the sale of the company's international formats to the US and incubated the company's digital series into television ideas that led to Fremantle's first series for Comedy Central. As an executive for Bad Robot, he developed 11/22/63, ROADIES, and WESTWORLD, and forged strategic partnerships, including one with the United Nation.

He launched a sci-fi fiction website,, that showcases original series, movies, and proofs of concept. Since 2017, he has worked at The CW as an executive in the Current Department, overseeing shows such as RIVERDALE, SUPERNATURAL, and ALL-AMERICAN. A native Californian, he earned his B.A. at Claremont McKenna College in Claremont, California and an M.B.A. from the Anderson Graduate School of Management at UCLA. He currently volunteers as an Advisory Board Member of the Coalition of Asian Pacifics In Entertainment ( and of his alumni entertainment organization Claremont Entertainment & Media.

Ted Mundorff

Ted Mundorff


Ted Mundorff is President and COO of ArcLight Cinemas and Pacific Theatres.ArcLight Cinemas are known as a leading innovator in exhibition delivering a first-class moviegoing experience and unrivalled customer service to its guests. They have premier destinations throughout the U.S. including Chicago, Washington DC, San Diego, Boston and Los Angeles. Their flagship theater, the ArcLight Hollywood, is a major hub for not only showing the best in cinema, but hosting Q and A’s, film festivals and major premieres.

Most recently, Ted served as President and CEO of Landmark Theatres, where he led the Circuit’s rebranding and growth over his 15-year tenure. In addition to opening Landmark’s flagship locations in New York and Los Angeles, he was responsible for bringing the Landmark experience to Denver, Indianapolis, Washington DC, and Miami.

Prior to joining Landmark Theatres, Ted held a number of management positions in distribution and exhibition including over 20 years at ArcLight Cinemas and Pacific Theatres where he was Vice President, Film Buyer and co-head of Operations.

Additionally, Ted was Executive Producer on Steve Jobs: The Lost Interview, which was released nationally in 2012. He also wrote key chapters on four decades of exhibition in George Lucas’ book called Blockbusting: A Decade-by-Decade Survey of Timeless Movies Including the Untold Secrets of their Financial and Cultural Success.

Ted currently serves as a Vice Chair on the American Film Institute Corporate Council and as Treasurer of Film Independent, one of the largest non-profit organizations dedicated to independent film. He was selected as one of the “Top 50 People in Independent Film” by The Hollywood Reporter.

Terry George


Terry George is a native of Belfast, Northern Ireland. He moved to New York in 1981. His first dramatic work, the prison escape play, The Tunnel, was staged at the Irish Arts Center in New York in 1986. The Tunnel was the first of numerous collaborations with writer/director Jim Sheridan. In 1992 George and Sheridan wrote In the Name of the Father. The film was nominated for seven Academy Awards including best screenplay. In 1996 George was named Young European Film Director of the Year for his directorial debut Some Mother’s Son.

Since then he has written and directed numerous television shows and feature films including, The Boxer, A Bright Shining Lie, The District, Hart's War, Reservation Road ,Luck and The Promise. In 2004 he wrote, directed and produced Hotel Rwanda. The Film was nominated for three Academy Awards including Best Screenplay. In 2011 his short film The Shore, produced by his daughter Oorlagh George, won the Academy Award for best Live Action Short Film.

Ulli Ryder

Ulli Ryder, Ph.D.


Ulli K. Ryder, Ph.D., is an award-winning educator, consultant, writer, editor, and thinker. She facilitates discussions of race, ethnicity, identity formation and media to foster inclusion and create open dialogue. She is currently the Director of Intercultural Education at Rhode Island School of Design, in which capacity she supports all students of marginalized identities and helps craft campus-wide inclusive policies. Her expertise has been sought by institutions such as the University of Southern California, University of California Los Angeles, University of Rhode Island, Simmons University, and Brown University. Her expert opinion has been solicited by the New York Times, HuffPost, New York Post, WGBH (PBS), and MSNBC, among others. She has been a Visiting Scholar at Brown University since 2009. Ryder earned her Ph.D. in American Studies & Ethnicity from the University of Southern California. She also holds a Master of American Studies & Ethnicity and Master of Professional Writing (USC) and Master of African American Studies from UCLA.
Mark Smithyes

Mark Smithyes

Director of Corporate Development

Mark is a transformational leader with over 25 years’ experience in management, business and corporate development, communications, and commercialization. His extensive career includes senior leadership positions in Fortune 500 companies as well as founding, running, and exiting a successful start-up venture in Life Sciences. In concert with his role at MediaU, Mark leads a boutique consulting firm where he takes a hands-on approach with start-ups to build internal competencies in the areas of strategy, financial forecasts, commercialization, building teams and cultures, communications, and early-stage fundraising. Mark is a regular contributor and speaker at industry conferences and has extensive corporate and nonprofit governance expertise. He currently serves as Chair of the Board of Life Sciences Ontario and is a Director of Endeavour Consulting for Non-Profits. Mark holds a BA from Western University and an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management and the Schulich School of Business.

Share and Enjoy !