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2014 Panel Topics and Guests



A Discussion & Meet-Up presented by the New Hampshire Film & Television Office

FRI. OCT 17, 11 a.m.

What do I need to know about filmmaking in New Hampshire? What resources are available to me? Who in the state should I be talking to? What’s the creative atmosphere like in New Hampshire? Whether you are new to the state, or are a Granite State filmmaker who wants to network and get more info, join us for a meet-up and discussion presented by the New Hampshire Film & Television Office.


Independent Producer

Karlina Lyons has been working in the media industry for more than 20 years. After graduating from film school, she spent a year working in film production in Los Angeles. Unable to tolerate all of that sunshine, she relocated to New York City where she spent eight years in the International Production Department of Sesame Workshop. In 2005, Karlina returned to her native New England where she became a consulting producer for the Cambodian Educational Media Initiative (CEMI), a partnership between WGBH and the global NGO World Education. Karlina’s work with CEMI included producing Cambodian versions of Sesame Street and Peep and the Big Wide World. She has worked as Line Producer, Production Manager and Producer on more than 20 film productions in the past 10 years. Her credits include Angkor’s Children, Astraea and Only Daughter. She is thankful to support she has received from NHFF and the NH Film and Television office and loves living and working in New Hampshire.


Commissioner, New Hampshire Department of Cultural Resources

Van McLeod has 40 years of experience producing and directing theatre and film as well as producing numerous other events and programs within the arts and entertainment industry. Prior to his job as Commissioner he served as Artistic Producing Director for the Papermill Theatre in Lincoln, NH and was the Founder and Producer of First Night New Hampshire in Concord. Van was honored by the New Hampshire Film Festival in 2008 and had an annual award named after him for achievement and support of the film industry in New Hampshire and in 2007 he won the Lifetime Achievement Award, at the NH Theatre Awards. Van has also won the Granite State Award for outstanding public service, was recognized by Business NH Magazine, “NH Leaders for the 21st Century” in 2000 and has been listed in Who’s Who in Entertainment. He was one of four American Fellows at the Salzburg Seminars, “The Power of Theater: Artistry, Entertainment, and Social Commentary.” He won the Gold Aurora Award for his work as Director/Producer the documentary film shot in Northern Ireland MURALS: ROMANTICIZING THE VIOLENCE. He attended the Orson Welles Film School in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and Parsons College, Fairfield, Iowa. Van lives in Concord, New Hampshire with his wife Joan and daughter Chelsea.


Director, New Hampshire Film & Television Office

Matt Newton is the director of the New Hampshire Film and Television Office in Concord, promoting the state as a destination for film, television, and other media projects and works to support New Hampshire’s in-state film and video industry. Newton is a 1997 graduate of the Film Production program at Keene State College in Keene, NH, where he returned to teach production in 2003 and 2004. He has also been a Production Coordinator and Editor at C.2K Entertainment, a commercial production company in Los Angeles, CA and has worked in a variety of capacities on feature film and television projects on the West Coast. Newton is co-founder of the New Hampshire High School Short Film Festival and has served as chair on the board of directors for Concord Community Television.



SAT. OCT 18, 2:30-3:30 p.m.

Each year, NHFF hosts industry representatives from some of today’s most successful and cutting edge companies in the independent movie business. Join this year’s insiders for a special panel discussion on the future of digital distribution.



Director of Crowdfunding & Community, Seed&Spark

Erica Anderson is Director of Crowdfunding and Community for Seed&Spark, and one of its founding members. Seed&Spark is a crowdfunding and distribution platform that was developed specifically for film and film related projects. An actress and producer, Erica brings 10 years of theater, film, and commercial experience to her role working with filmmakers to build audiences, where she has been responsible for the highest crowdfunding success rate in the business.


DAMIAN BENDERSdamianbenders

Senior Vice President, SnagFilms

Damian Benders is a leading digital entertainment executive and an independent producer with over 15 years of experience growing media brands and cultivating passionate audiences.  He is currently a Senior Vice President at SnagFilms, an award-winning social video-viewing platform that offers entertainment lovers an extensive library of free independent films available on demand. Prior to SnagFilms, Damian was the Head of Marketing for Cinetic Rights Management (FilmBuff) where he oversaw marketing for the digital release of such films as Exit Through the Gift Shop, The Way, Nice Guy Johnny and PressPausePlay. Damian has designed and launched digital media products on a national and international level in the print, music and film industries. As a successful technology and marketing executive, Damian has held senior digital leadership positions in a number of Fortune 500 companies including Knight Ridder, Inc., American Express and Metro International. Damian earned a BBA in Information Technology Management from The College of William & Mary and an MBA in Marketing and Media Strategy from New York University’s Leonard N. Stern School of Business.


Manager of Theatrical Sales, IFC Films

Justin DiPietro is the Manager of Theatrical Sales for IFC Films three distribution labels, IFC Films, Sundance Selects and IFC Midnight. In addition to this position, he is also the head of Non-Theatrical Sales for IFC Films, where he supplies films to colleges, universities and museums nationwide. Over the past six years with IFC, he has had the privilege to work on films that include Boyhood, Palme d’Or Winner 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days, Gomorrah, Sleepwalk With Me and the recent Academy Award ® nominee How to Survive a Plague. Prior to working at IFC Films, he worked in sales with Walt Disney’s Distribution Company, Buena Vista Pictures, which included work on films such as The Sixth Sense, High Fidelity, and Unbreakable. He spent time studying between SUNY Purchase and SUNY New Paltz.  He currently resides in Sea Cliff, NY.

aaronheadshot4AARON KATZ

Head of Acquisitions, Oscilloscope Laboratories

Aaron Katz is Head of Acquisitions at the NY-based distributor Oscilloscope Laboratories, where he is responsible for all initiatives related to acquiring finished films and bringing in projects at various stages of production for possible financing and distribution. Aaron also focuses on digital film initiatives and strategy for the release of upcoming Oscilloscope titles across all digital platforms. Previous Aaron worked at various film festivals as a coordinator of programing and filmmaker relations.

maureenmastersMAUREEN MASTERS

Director of Regional Publicity, Magnolia Pictures

Maureen is currently director of regional publicity and film festival bookings for Magnolia Pictures where she oversees regional marketing efforts for Magnolia’s theatrical slate. She began her film career in college writing indie film reviews, eventually earning a BA in Journalism from the University of North Texas. After graduation, she was hired by Moroch, Dallas, TX, doing film publicity. Continuing her career in film publicity, she moved to Philadelphia accepting a position in film PR. While in Philadelphia, she earned her Masters in Communication Theory from Villanova University. In 2010, Maureen moved to New York to work for Magnolia Pictures where she has overseen successful regional campaigns for Melancholia, Page One: Inside the New York Times, Jiro Dreams of Sushi, Queen of Versailles and most recently Blackfish and Life Itself.

REBECCA SOSArebecca-sosa2

Head of Digital Distribution, A24 Films

Rebecca Sosa oversees VOD, DVD and ancillary opportunities as Head of Digital Distribution for A24, the studio that recently released Harmony Korine’s Spring Breakers, Sofia Coppola’s The Bling Ring and James Ponsoldt’s The Spectacular Now. Prior to A24, Rebecca worked as the Programming Manager at FilmBuff devising digital release strategies for films and crafting the best approach to maximize exposure and revenue to platforms around the world. She has also held various roles at WE tv, City Lights Pictures, Focus Features, ABC News 20/20 and Seventeen Magazine. Rebecca is originally from the great state of Texas and now resides in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn.

Mike Lawson - New Head ShotMICHAEL LAWSON, Moderator

Independent Distribution Consultant

Michael previously held the position of Content Partnerships Tracking Manager at FilmBuff, a distribution company heavily focused on the digital space. Michael was responsible for finding the next best indie film. With an abundance of motion-picture viewing opportunities, it was evident that there was a tough selection process going. Since the ultimate goal was to stand out from the competition, it was imperative that he found compelling, high concept, thought provoking content that lent itself to the digital landscape. Michael was responsible for the distribution of indie cult favorites such as The Battery, Rewind This! and this past summer’s Frequencies. After 5 amazing years at FilmBuff, Michael decided to venture out on his own and is currently consulting and focusing on getting back behind the camera. He is consulting for Candy Factory Distribution, overseeing their programming and marketing departments. He also has a few projects in the works that he’s looking to secure financing for. With over 7 years of experience Michael hopes to bestow his knowledge onto others and guide filmmakers throughout the filmmaking and distribution process. Michael believes in embracing a pioneering spirit while using analytics to drive business strategy. With this combination, it allows no room for failure.



SAT. OCT 18, 4:30-5:30 p.m.

With a format that is one part Inside the Actors Studio and one part talk show, come prepared to listen, laugh and pose questions to our entertaining special guests as they share stories and anecdotes from their experiences about any and all things comedy.

mikeomalleyMIKE O’MALLEY

Actor, Writer, Producer

Truly a multi-hyphenate, Mike O’Malley got his start in front of the camera landing a job as the host for Nickelodeon’s iconic game show Guts. His success continued in television with standout roles in Yes Dear, My Name Is Earl, My Own Worst Enemy, Justified, and Mike’s Emmy-nominated performance as ‘Burt Hummel’ on the hit show Glee.  His feature work includes roles in Eat Pray Love, The Perfect Man, R.I.P.D., Cedar Rapids, Leatherheads, Meet Dave, 28 Days, and Deep Impact.  Also an accomplished writer, Mike wrote and produced the independent feature Certainty which he adapted from his own play.  In television, Mike served as a Consulting Producer on Shameless for Showtime, and he is currently the Executive Producer and Showrunner on the Starz scripted comedy series, Survivor’s Remorse.


ELISHA YAFFEElisha_Yaffe_headshot

Writer, Actor, Comedian

Elisha Yaffe is a writer, actor and comedian from Amherst, Massachusetts. Upon graduation from Emerson College in Boston, he made the trek west to pursue a career in film and television. He has performed stand up across the country. He co-created, wrote and starred in Downers Grove, a comedy series from Warner Brothers Digital. He has been seen on Mad Men, Comedy Bang Bang!, Tales of Metropolis, Southland, and CSI: NY. He is set to guest star in the season premiere of The Newsroom on HBO. More at

GregKretschmarGREG KRETSCHMAR, Moderator

Host, Greg and the Morning Buzz

Greg Kretschmar is the host of popular morning radio show Greg and the Morning Buzz, heard on 100.3 WHEB, Rock 101-WGIR FM, The Hawk- 104.9FM,  WWOD-93.9FM and KOOL 96.3FM during weekdays from 5:30 AM – 10 AM.  In his own words, “I’m a normal guy, in an abnormal job. I’m a NH guy, born and raised.  I have a wife (Valerie) and two kids (Caitlin and Tyler) – and because of them, I’m the luckiest guy in the world.  UNH Graduate (84) and proud of it.  I was the audio/visual aide in high school – so if you’re overhead projector needed fixin’ – I got the call over the p.a.  (Mad props to all my A/V geeks out there!)  I’ve been doing mornings since 1987 – and believe it or not – I still really enjoy it.  It’s great getting to come in to work everyday- work with the people I do, and talking to and with all of you tuning in!  We try to make the show like you were entering into your living room, and all of your friends are there.  Its casual, fluid,  and sometimes famous people drop in.”



A Workshop from Seed&Spark and TuggCLASS LOGO Concentric Audience Building Logo

SUN. OCT 19, 12-1:30 p.m.

The only proven path to independence as an artist is a direct connection to your audience. Crowdfunding is becoming a fundamental piece of most financing plans for independent film.  However, many filmmakers miss the opportunity to turn their film funding campaigns into audience-building opportunities that can last an entire career — and provide the groundwork for theatrical distribution that you control. Seed&Spark and Tugg are combining forces to invest in the future of independent film by offering a comprehensive Crowdfunding to Build Independence seminar.  This class for film-related projects will provide the crowdfunding action plan most likely to create a lasting, flourishing, direct relationship with your audience.

The course will cover:

  1. Finding Your Audience
  2. Successful Messaging
  3. Elements of a Great Plan
    1. Pitch Video
    2. Partners and Outreach
    3. Organization
  4. Executing a Great Plan
    1. Day-to-Day Campaigning
    2. New Outreach Materials
    3. Pro-tips
  5. After Campaign Audience Growth
  6. Festivals & Distribution

About Seed&Spark:

Seed&Spark is a truly independent film community where filmmakers and audiences join forces to fund, promote and watch the best new independent films.  Seed&Spark’s film-specific crowdfunding tool — the “WishList” — allows supporters to buy or loan specific items to a production.  Our fees are the lowest in the business, and our success rate is the highest (70%!).  Every time an audience member supports the making of a film, they earn rewards points called “Sparks” which they can spend to watch films on the streaming platform.  Supporting films gives audiences greater access to watch them.  Filmmakers who stream their films on Seed&Spark keep 80% of the transactional revenue, and 100% of the rights.  It’s your film!  Build your audience and earn your money.

About Tugg:

Tugg is a web platform that enables you to bring your film to your fans’ local theaters or community venues. Through Tugg, individuals are empowered to select a film, time, and nearby theater, and then spread the word to their immediate and online community. Once a necessary amount of people commit to attending, the event will be confirmed; and Tugg will reserve the theater, manage ticketing, and ensure delivery of the film, allowing the audience to sit back and enjoy the show. Tugg has partnered with over 85% of the screens in the country and has a growing library of hundreds of studio and independent films.