The Seattle Film Summit features Washington State community, industry, and governmental leaders.
Moderator: Ben James
Matt Hooper. Having served as a film producer and entertainment executive prior to practicing law, Matt brings extensive industry experience and knowledge to Foster Pepper’s Arts and Entertainment Group. Matt counsels clients on film financing, securities compliance, union agreements, performer agreements, production agreements, and distribution agreements.
Among his many clients, Matt represents the 2012 Academy Award-nominated production company Purposeful Productions and the 2012 Academy Award-nominated documentary “The Barber of Birmingham,” the motion picture “One Square Mile” (Spring 2013 release; Kim Basinger, Richard Jenkins, Cam Gigandet starring), and several other motion pictures, authors, digital media celebrities and companies, and many other entertainment companies. Matt has drafted and negotiated artist agreements, producer and director agreements, literary agreements, crew agreements, agency agreements, SAG and AFTRA agreements, music license agreements, distribution agreements, and related technology and entertainment contracts.
Stephen Salamunovich brings a diverse background to his work as a casting director. He began his professional life as a musician performing and recording as a vocal soloist with such groups as the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the San Francisco Opera Company, the Los Angeles Master Chorale, the soundtrack of The Godfather and the Disney recording of It’s a Small World. As a studio drummer, keyboardist and vocalist he has worked and recorded with numerous artists including contemporary jazz artists Gerald Albright and Peter White and can be heard on the last four releases by Michael Tomlinson with whom he still tours and records. In 1984, he was offered an opportunity to work for the seminal, Los Angeles casting firm, Anderson, McCook & White and what began as a part-time interest became a full-time passion. After a five-year apprenticeship under Nancy McCook and Catherine White, he moved to Seattle, Washington in an effort to embrace a better quality of life and founded Complete Casting.
Stephen has worked with such Academy Award-winning directors as Milos Forman and Bernardo Bertolucci. His television credits number well over two thousand projects including the series Simon & Simon, Ferris Bueller and In Living Color as well as CLIO-award winning commercials and feature films. Salamunovich is also the recipient of a 2005 Artios Award®, casting’s highest honor bestowed by his peers in the Casting Society of America®. He holds the distinction of being the only lead casting director in the award’s history to win an Artios® outside of New York or Los Angeles. It is one of two nominations he has received for the award. He is a frequent guest speaker and facilitator to numerous professional groups and acting workshops and has made many appearances on television and radio as an industry expert. He has served on the boards of the IFP and the Centerstage Council of the Seattle Theater Group and is a strong advocate for arts education and outreach programs that support the involvement of youth in the arts. As a presentational coach, Stephen has prepared many public and private figures for appearances on such shows as The Today Show, The Tonight Show, Good Morning America and CBS This Morning. His work with such sports stars as Kareem Abdul Jabbar and bodybuilder Rachel McLish, as well as CEO’s, political figures, chefs, entrepreneurs and sales teams is based on authenticity as a fundamental cornerstone for personal expression and communication.
Moderator: Kat Schroeder
Jennifer Roth is a 20 year veteran of the film industry. She was recently the executive producer of Darren Aronofsky’s film Black Swan which stars Natalie Portman, Vincent Cassel and Mila Kunis. In 2008 she was the executive/line producer on the Darren Aronofsky film The Wrestler starring Mickey Rourke which won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival. Her other producer credits include World’s Greatest Dad,Smart People and The Squid and the Whale. Her early production credits include Bad Lieutenant, Smoke, The Crowand Deadman.
Chris Swenson is the Film Program Coordinator at the Seattle Office of Film + Music. Chris began his 13-year freelance film career in 1994 after surving five years as an independent Seattle record label owner and band manager. He has worked on feature, corporate and commercial productions across the country. His credits include Production Designer for David Russo’s The Immaculate Conception of Little Dizzle and John Jeffcoat’s Outsourced (Seattle locations), and Art Director for feature films Homeland and Man Maid plus over 75 Mariners TV commercials. He is a member of the UW Film and Artist Trust EDGE advisory boards. Chris was raised in the Seattle area and makes his home in West Seattle with his wife and two children.
Moderator: Steve Edmiston
Amy Lillard is the Executive Director of Washington Filmworks, the private non-profit organization that manages Washington State’s film and production incentive programs. Serving in this capacity since 2006, Amy has worked with over 81 projects as part of the production incentive program. These projects have had over $150M of economic impact across Washington State and created over 5000 jobs for Washington workers.
Amy started her career as an independent film publicist out of New York and Los Angeles designing the release campaigns for groundbreaking films such at “The Blair Witch Project,” “American Psycho” and “Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels.” Amy retired from publicity in 2000 and took a trip around the world. Two years and 42 countries later, she settled in Seattle where she has worked in various capacities including, director of publicity and promotion (SIFF 2003-04), festival director of the Reel Cinerama Film Festival (2003 and 2004), and producer of the Fly Filmmaking Challenge (2003-11).
Amy lives in Magnolia with her five year old son Daxson.
Moderator: Ben James
Sue Corcoran. Sue’s feature All I Want is Christmas (starring David DeLuis, Elliott Gould, Cynthia Geary and Elijah Nelson) won Best Comed Feature at the International Family Film Festival in LA and was in the Best of SIFF. ALL I WANT IS CHRISTMAS comes out on VOD and DVD on November 13th, 2012. Sue’s first feature Gory Gory Hallelujah (2003) won Best Feature at Shockerfest and was awarded Bravest Feature of the Bend Film Festival by film Director Gus Van Sant. Sue’s directorial style has been described as “Felliniesque” by visual effects pioneer Douglas Trumbull (2001: A Space Odyssey, Star Trek, Blade Runner) and many others. Her short film Circus of Infinity won Best in Show at the Accolade Awards, and was awardedBest Short by the Nell Shipman WIF/Seattle Awards. Sue was named One to Watch by the Seattle Stranger Genius Awards in Film and was the Associate Producer of Director Lynn Shelton’s feature film Humpday. Sue produced 22 documentary pieces (and directed 3) which were launched for the Lynn Shelton web series $5 Cover on MTV. Sue’s second feature Ira Finkelstein’s Day of the Dead is slated for production in March 2013.
Moderator: Steve Edmiston
Beth Barrett is the Director of Programming at the Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF). Beth has been with SIFF since 2003, and is currently responsible for managing all aspects of film programming, the staff of film programmers, and securing films and guests for the 25 day Festival. She is also instrumental in the programming and management of SIFF Cinema at the Film Center and the Uptown, as well as SIFF’s other year-round programs. An aficionado of short films, she secured SIFF’s status as an Academy Award® qualifying festival in 2008. Beth has been in Seattle for 19 years and holds an MA in Northern Renaissance Art History.
Mark Lipsky is a respected film industry veteran and former executive at companies including Miramax Films, The Independent Film Channel (IFC) and Lot 47 Films. For over a dozen years, Mark has been at the bleeding edge of digital media innovation. In 1999 and 2000, he led business development and marketing at multimedia search service Singingfish.com (now an AOL property.) In 2008 he developed and launched Gigantic Digital which, for the first time, bridged traditional and internet film distribution. More recently, he led Microsoft’s effort to introduce the company’s 2D barcode technology, TAG, to the entertainment industry.
Today, Mark is in the process of launching a Seattle-based start-up that will represent an entirely new approach to meeting the challenge and reaping the enormous untapped benefits of global online film distribution.
Adam Sekuler is the Program Director at Northwest Film Forum. Adam has brought Northwest Film Forum into a national leadership position in alternative film exhibition, curating individual films, thematic series, director retrospectives and film festivals since 2006. In 2007 he organized a nineteen-film, nationally touing Shohei Imamura retrospective that travlled to nine venues in North America. Since 2008 he’s also organized tours of major international films that went without traditional theatrical distribution, through a network of North American film organizations. Films that benefited from that program include Lisandro Alonso’s Liverpool, Pedro Costa’s Ne Change Rien, Albert Serra’s Bird Song and Oliver Laxe’s You Are All Captains, to name a few. Before arriving in Seattle, Adam was the programmer for the nation’s first and only dedicated non-fiction theatre, The Bell Auditorium. He is also co-founder of Search and Rescue, an ongoing effort to present and preserve discarded archives of 16mm films.
John Sinno was raised in Beirut, Lebanon where he acquired a BA in Business Administration from the American University of Beirut. He moved to the USA in 1984, continuing his graduate education in Southern California. There he obtained an MA in Communication Theory as well as an MFA in Film Production, winning the 1989 Arkoff Award for his short film, “Killing a Deer.” In 1990, Sinno founded Video Press, an Orange County-based video production company that he operated until he moved to Seattle in 1993. There, he joined Arab Film Distribution (AFD), becoming president of the company in 1998. Since its inception, AFD has acquired hundreds of feature and documentary films for distribution, offering North American audiences and educational institutions unprecedented access to films from and about the Arab world. In 2005 Sinno founded the Typecast label, which released the controversial Italian drama “Private” to US theaters, as well as Nacer Khemir’s critically-acclaimed film, “Bab’Aziz: The Prince Who Contemplated His Soul.” Sinno also produced the documentary film “Iraq in Fragments,” which won three top prizes at Sundance in 2006 and earned him an Oscar nomination in 2007.
John produces and curates the Seattle Arab and Iranian Film festival and has served on the board of several organizations, including the Arab Center of Washington and Northwest Film Forum. He was awarded the Maya Loren Community Service Award in 2001 and won the City of Seattle’s Small Business Award in September 2008. In 2010, his most recent production, “ZMD: Zombies of Mass Destruction,” was released nationally by Lions Gate Films in the USA.
Moderator: Kat Schroeder
Forest Gibson is the Executive Director of Seattle-based Cheezburger’s Know Your Meme web series. His personal youtube channel LaughPong has received nearly 11 million views since its creation. Forest co-produced co-wrote and acted in a Seattle web series titled Job Hunters, and co-created the Photographic Novel series Night Zero.