Monday, February 04, 2008

HBFF: Film Finance & Distribution Summit

Saturday morning. 8 AM. Most of Hollywood was still slumbering peacefully. After a long week of work or working to find it, we finally had a chance to "power down". But for about 100 or more enthusiastic filmmakers, myself included, Saturday was not a day to kick back, but a day to kick in--really kick in our hustle to get past the creative and get down to the real business of filmmaking.

To help us "creatives" do just that, the Hollywood Black Film Festival (HBFF) held its 2nd Annual Film Finance and Distribution Summit at the Writer's Bootcamp in Santa Monica. As an extension of the festivals goal to promote and support independent films and filmmakers, the summit gives filmmakers, "an opportunity to gather information and gain insights from an array of leading film financing and distribution professionals," says HBFF Founder and Executive Director, Tanya Kersey.

So what exactly was covered in this amazingly informative event? Here's a short list:
  • Raising Money for Movies: Piecing Together the Financial Puzzle
  • Packaging, Structuring, & Negotiating Step by Step
  • The Five Most Common Film Finance/Distribution Scenarious
  • What Are Buyers Looking For?
And who were some of the experts there to share their wisdom and experience? Here are just a few:
  • Adrian Ward, VP Entertainment, Sports & Media Group, Israel Discout Bank of New York
  • Steve Belser, Independent Financier
  • Alexis Garcia, Agent, Independent Packaging Group, Endeavor Talent Agency
  • John W. Cones, Esq.
  • Stacey Parks, Founder of Film Specific, Insiders Guide To Independent Film Distribution
  • Roger Bobb, Supervising Producer, Tyler Perry Studios
Truly, the wealth of information shared in one day was well worth the sacrifice of my usual Saturday activities. And as most successful people know, this industry is NOT a nine to five, five days a week endeavor. It's a 24/7 commitment; the work nor the hustle never ends when you are on your grind. Even the panelists I talked to said they gained something from attending. So after a few discussions, I asked some of them and the attendees why they thought events like the HBFF Finance & Distribution Summit were so crucial to our success.

Darrell D. Miller, Esq., and Kibi Anderson, Relationship Manager, Broadway Federal Bank

Lita Richardson, Lita Richardson Entertainment

Cherisse Nesbit, Creative Executive, Lionsgate Films

Festival Attendees

Repeated often throughout the day by the experts was "Do The Research!". So to help you inspiring filmmakers out there start the process, below are some websites and books to check out that were mentioned by some of the panelists. Just click the highlighted names or urls.

John W. Cones Books

Insiders Guide To Independent Film Distribution

Film Specific

Independent Film & Television Alliance

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