All-Access GOLD PASS 2017

11th Los Angeles Greek Film Festival

Egyptian Theatre, Hollywood | June 7-11, 2017


5-Day Festival All-Access GOLD PASS

Over 50 films and special events spanning 5 days and nights in Hollywood.


DAY 1 | Opening Night | Wednesday, June 7

AMERIKA SQUARE (Plateia Amerikis)
Greece/UK/Germany, 2016, 86 min, West Coast Premiere

Director: Yannis Sakaridis

Amerika Square is a Square in Athens. It’s the Casablanca of our times. A triptych revealing the opposing forces of today’s humanitarian challenges. Two friends, Billy, a tattoo artist and Nakos, a “banal” Greek racist, come head to head in Amerika Square in Athens because of the survival journey of Tarek, a Syrian refugee.

Greece, 2016, 26 min, Documentary

Director/Producer: Daphne Matziaraki

A coast guard captain on a small Greek island is suddenly charged with saving thousands of refugees from drowning at sea.

Opening Night Reception in the courtyard of the Egyptian Theatre to follow the screening

Presented by Gold Patron, G.P. Kolovos & Associates and Silver Patron, Earth Friendly Products

Opening Night Reception in the courtyard of the Egyptian Theatre to follow the screening – Greek delicacies and wines by Petros


DAY 2 | Thursday, June 8
All Day/Evening Screenings
including a Tribute to iconic director Nikos Koundouros
with a Special screening of his masterpiece

Greece, 1956, 103 min

A peaceful innocent man is mistaken for a serial ravisher and killer who looks very much like him. He finds himself on the run by everyone that knows him, and finally hides inside a nightclub owned by small crooks. In his face, they see the leader that will give them everything they desire.

DAY 3 | Friday, June 9
All Day/Evening Screenings
including a Tribute to Maria Callas
with a Special screening of

OUR OWN MARIA CALLAS (I diki mas Maria Kallas)
Greece, 2016, 95 min, West Coast Premiere, Documentary

Director/Writer: Babis Tsokas

This Maria Callas dramatized documentary is a voyage to the mythical world of Maria Callas, the soprano we all know. Her life was one with the roles she interpreted, Medea, Norma, etc. Drama rules supreme. The glory from her art only gives way to the love for life. Rejection, pain, loneliness follow. Towards the end she returns to Greece. This film required the selfless work of hundreds of volunteers, while it was filmed in Neohorion Oihalias, place of origin of Maria Callas, Meligala, Kalamata, Tripoli, Athens, New York City, Verona, Milano, Paris and the island of Scorpio.

DAY 4 | Saturday, June 10
All Day/Evening Screenings
including the CLIFFS OF FREEDOM
Actors Panel & Case Study


DAY 5 | Closing Night | Sunday, June 11
All daytime screenings
including Closing Night Film & Orpheus Awards

SON OF SOFIA (O gios tis Sofias)
Greece/France/Bulgaria, 2017,111 min, West Coast Premiere

Director/Writer: Elina Psykou

11-year-old Misha is coming from Russia to Athens during the 2004 Olympic Games to live with his mother. He does not know there is a father waiting for him. While Greece is living the Olympic dream, Misha will get violently catapulted into the adult world, riding on the dark side of his favorite fairy tales.

LAGFF 2017 Orpheus Awards ceremony with the added talent of

Demetri Martin is a standup comedian, writer, actor and director. He began doing standup comedy in New York City, where he worked as a staff writer at Late Night with Conan O’Brien. Martin became a regular performer on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. He created and starred in his own television series for Comedy Central called Important Things with Demetri Martin. He has also appeared in feature films and television shows including Ang Lee’s TAKING WOODSTOCK, Steven Soderbergh’s CONTAGION, Lake Bell’s IN A WORLD, Fox’s New Girl and Showtime’s House of Lies among others. Martin recently wrote and directed his first feature film, DEAN, which won the Founder’s Prize at the Tribeca Film Festival for best narrative American feature film, and is in theaters now.


Wet the Hippo offers a place and an infrastructure to support a widening community of performers and makers who value and encourage a shared search for the ridiculous, sincere, funny, and sublime. The group promotes a loose collection of autonomous shows, experimental in form and content, that abandon fixed rules and seek connection to a live audience.


Founder and Artistic Director of Wet The Hippo, John Gilkey, has performed internationally for more than thirty years in circus, variety, comedy clubs, theater and television. Gilkey has played a lead role in four Cirque Du Soleil productions; Quidam, Dralion, Varekai, and Iris. Gilkey’s career in circus, comedy and theater also includes creative projects with Pixar, Dragone and a whole bunch of others.


The 11th annual Orpheus Awards, honoring Oscar-winning filmmaker, Alexander Payne, will follow the screening.

Alexander Payne will receive the 2017 Orpheus Award at the 11th Annual Los Angeles Greek Film Festival. Payne was selected by the festival committee to receive this year’s honor because of his worldwide contributions to movies and his extraordinary dedication to the preservation of its history. The award will be presented as part of the Orpheus Awards ceremony following the closing night film on June 11 in Hollywood.

Presented by Platinum Patrons, Aegean Entertainment and Onasis Foundation

Closing Night Reception in the courtyard of the Egyptian Theatre to follow Orpheus Awards
Greek delicacies and wines by Petros


LAGFF congratulates EARTH FRIENDLY PRODUCTS on 50 years of Green Cleaning Innovation

Earth Friendly Products Celebrates 50 Years of Green Cleaning Innovation

Gala Celebrations to be Held in Conjunction with Earth Day 2017

Earth Friendly Products, the maker of ECOS™ environmentally friendly cleaning products, is celebrating 50 years of green cleaning innovation, a significant achievement in the cleaning products industry. 2017 marks the 50th anniversary of the family-owned and –operated company, and it will celebrate this important milestone with gala celebrations at its four sustainable manufacturing facilities across the U.S. The celebrations will occur throughout the month of April in conjunction with global Earth Day celebrations, in honor of the company’s long-standing commitment to environmental protection.

Earth Friendly Products has achieved many firsts in developing safer cleaning products. The company has received many awards for its advances in safer green chemistry, including the U.S. EPA’s coveted Safer Choice Partner of the Year. In 2016, Earth Friendly Products was the first cleaning products company to use the safer ethylhexylglycerin as a preservative in its formulations, partnering with the U.S. EPA to establish it as a Safer Choice–recognized chemical.

“I’m proud to continue our company’s legacy as an eco-pioneer while making Earth Friendly Products a model for green business practices,” says Kelly Vlahakis-Hanks, president and CEO of Earth Friendly Products. “It’s important to me that we continue to lead as an American manufacturer, creating green jobs and supporting local economies. Since the beginning, our mission has been to make plant-powered cleaners that are safer for people, pets and the planet, and to do that for 50 years while supporting our employees and our communities is very rewarding.”

Earth Friendly Products is also a nationally recognized leader in corporate social responsibility, paying one of the highest minimum wages in the nation and supporting its employees with numerous family friendly benefits such as paid healthcare, sick time, and maternity and paternity leave. The company also offers its employees financial incentives to adopt green lifestyle choices, such as purchasing a lowemissions vehicle, installing solar panels, and relocating close to its facilities to reduce carbon emissions and long commutes.

“Earth Friendly Products is a model for manufacturers across the U.S. that shows you can do the right thing for customers, employees, and the planet and be successful,” says David Levine, co-founder and CEO of American Sustainable Business Council. “Their 50 years of continued growth is a testament to the fact that companies can do good and do well.”

Founded in 1967, Earth Friendly Products was launched at the dawn of the environmental movement in the same year that saw the passage of the Air Quality Act and the founding of the Environmental Defense Fund. The company was an early supporter of Earth Day, which traces its roots back to 1970.

The anniversary events will be held at Earth Friendly Products’ facilities in Parsippany, New Jersey, on April 13th; Lacey, Washington, on April 18th; Addison, Illinois, on April 21st; and the company’s headquarters in Cypress, California, on April 28th. Guests will enjoy an exciting program featuring a locally sourced organic lunch, VIP guest speakers, and the world premiere of videos honoring the company’s legacy in the green movement and its unprecedented achievements in sustainable manufacturing. VIP speakers will include Senator Bob Menendez of New Jersey, Governor Bruce Rauner and Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi of Illinois, and state and local representatives at all facilities.

During its anniversary celebrations, Earth Friendly Products will present donations to its key non-profit partners at each facility, including Seattle Children’s Hospital in Washington, the Discovery Cube Museums in California, Roosevelt University in Illinois, and the American Sustainable Business Council in New Jersey. “We’re honored to have so many federal and state dignitaries, non-profit partners, and community members join us to celebrate this important milestone in our company’s history,” says Vlahakis-Hanks.

ECOS™ cleaners are produced in the U.S. in carbon neutral, water neutral, and Platinum Zero Wastecertified facilities. ECOS™ laundry detergents are among the over 100 Safer Choice-certified products made by Earth Friendly Products. The U.S. EPA’s Safer Choice program is designed to help consumer find products that are safer for human health and the environment and have superior performance. Earth Friendly Products has more Safer Choice-certified products than any other manufacturer.

About Earth Friendly Products

Family owned and operated since 1967, Earth Friendly Products is the maker of ECOS™ Laundry Detergent and over 200 other environmentally friendly products that are safer for people, pets and the planet. Made with plant-powered ingredients, ECOS™ cleaners are thoughtfully sourced, pH balanced, readily biodegradable, easily recyclable and never tested on animals. Earth Friendly Products is a primary manufacturer that makes its own products in sustainable manufacturing facilities located across the U.S. All Earth Friendly Products facilities are carbon neutral, water neutral and Zero Waste Platinum certified, saving over 53 million pounds of carbon dioxide annually and diverting over 95% of all waste from landfills. Over 100 ECOS™ products have received the coveted U.S. EPA Safer Choice certification, which means that every ingredient is the safest in its class and that the product has proven superior performance. ECOS™, Disney Baby ECOS™, ECOS for Pets! and ECOS™ Pro cleaners are available at selected major retailers throughout the U.S., in over 60 countries and online at

For more information about Earth Friendly Products and ECOS™ products, please visit

A World of Emotions Exhibition – Ancient Greece, 700 BC – 200 AD

“…a strange and wonderful exhibition” – The New York Times

Don’t miss this exhibition—A World of Emotions—full of ancient art and timeless feelings!

Stunning Greek masterpieces bring emotions to life in a groundbreaking exhibition, prompting questions about how we express, control, manipulate, or simulate feelings in our own society. More than 130 ancient artworks from world-renowned museums—the Acropolis Museum, British Museum, Louvre, National Archaeological Museum of Athens, Vatican Museums, and many more—open pathways to a wide world of unending, conflicting, universal emotions.

A World of Emotions: Ancient Greece, 700 BC – 200 AD

On view at the Onassis Cultural Center New York through June 24
(645 Fifth Avenue; entrance on 51st or 52nd street)


FREE guided exhibition tours every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 1:00 PM through June 24.

Public Programs for all ages

Orpheus Awards Winners 2016 LAGFF

(L-R) Aris Katopodis, Christopher Papakaliatis, J.K. Simmons and Dorothea Paschalidou

(Los Angeles, CA June 6 ) – The 10th Anniversary of the Los Angeles Greek Film Festival came to a close Sunday, June 5 with a screening and N. American Premiere of “Worlds Apart” and the star­studded Orpheus Awards produced by Dorothea Paschalidou and directed by Yorgos Karamihos and hosted by Mena Suvari.

In his opening remarks, Festival creative topper Aris Katopodisremarked “This 10th LAGFF is almost history, but it is also one that made history.Most films than ever, 56, most filmmakers present, 58, most North American Premieres 24, largest attendance and the belief that the future LAGFF will continue to shine, full of hope for Greek film, filmmakers and Greek culture, here in Los Angeles.”

The sold out Egyptian theatre was peppered throughout with 40 students from the Stella Adler Acting Academy dressed to honor the various eras since cinema began.

Katopodis introduced festival co­founders Ersi Danouand Angeliki Giannakopoulos. Danou thanked the many professionals including Executive Producer Alex Kalognomos and co­producer Eleni Arvaniti, the 50 volunteers and sponsors who have grown the festival to one of the premier summer events in Los Angeles. Giannakopoulos spoke to the filmmakers and the fact that when they conceived the idea for LAGFF all the festival directors in town told them they would not last four years emphasizing how wrong they were.

Kelly Vlahakis­Hanks took the stage to give out the night’s first Jury prize the Van Vlahakis Short Film Awardto Alexander Swart’s “Stagnation.”

LAGFF’s director of development Paschalidou thanked all the sponsors for making the 10th special. She then gave out the second Jury Prize – Best Documentary­ to Evangelia Kranioti’s “Exotica, Erotica, Etc.”with a special mention going to Loukas Stamellos ‘ “Golden Dawn: A Personal Affair”.

Anastas Michos ASC, juror, on behalf of all the jury, gave the Best Fiction Feature Orpheus honors to Panos Karkanevatos’ “Riverbanks.”

Next up, “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” star Louis Mandylorannounced the final Jury Prize for Best Performance to actress Maria Kavogiannifor her portrayal of the older love interest to J.K. Simmons in “Worlds Apart.”

The Orpheus for Audience Choicewas then awarded to Christopher Papakaliatis for his touching triptych to love affairs and closing night film “Worlds Apart.”

The International Project Discovery Awards were handed out by IPDF alumnus Paolo Marinou ­ Blancowith honors and scholarship going to Turkish­born Nazli Elif Durlufor her project “Zuhal.” An honorable mention went to Haris Raftogiannisfor his pitch “The River”.

HBO/Cinemax’s Kary Antholisintroduced the first honoree of the evening 20th Century Fox Chairman & CEO Jim Gianopulos.

Papakaliatis then presented his film’s star J.K. Simmons, recipient of the night’s second honorary Orpheus.

The Orpheus Awards concluded five days of screenings and master classes and events for the patrons and participants of the festival. The fest began with raves from the crowd for the North American premiere of Tassos Boulmetis bitter­sweet “Mythopathy” introduced with a live performance by world­renowned singing sensation Alexia Vassiliou accompanied by guitarist George Karpasitis. The opening night party which kicked off the five days of screenings, master classes, and culinary events was DJ’d by KCRW’s Chris Douridas.


  • Jim Gianopulos, Chairman & CEO 20th Century Fox
  • Academy Award ® Winner J.K. Simmons


  • “Worlds Apart”


  • Best Fiction Feature Film: “Riverbanks”
  • Best Documentary Film: “Exotica, Erotica, Etc.”
  • Best Documentary Film – Honorable Mention:
  • “Golden Dawn: A Personal Affair”
  • Best Short Fiction Film – Van Vlahakis Award: “Stagnation”
  • Best Performance Award: Maria Kavogianni (“Worlds Apart”)


  • MFI Scholarship and Aegean Award Nazli Elif Durlu for “Zuhal”
  • Honorable Mention Harris Raftogiannis for “The River”

LAGFF Networking Mixer in West Hollywood

Networking Mixer – Wednesday, April 20 in West Hollywood






LAGFF Networking Mixer at E.P. & L.P.  Wednesday, April 20, 6-9 p.m.

You are cordially invited to a networking mixer for the 10th Los Angeles Greek Film Festival. Meet other professionals working in the entertainment industry.
Wednesday, April 20
6-9 p.m.
Rooftop of E.P. & L.P.
603 North La Cienega Blvd.
West Hollywood, CA 90069
Parking – street meter or valet ($10) 
Please RSVP to A guest list will be in place at the door.


LAGFF Supports Upcoming LMU Events

Monday, April 11, 5 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
Screening of KISSES TO THE CHILDREN and Q&A with Vasslis Loules
LMU – Ahmanson Auditorium (UH-1000)
RSVP required. To register, visit:
Tuesday, April 12, 11 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Teaching with Film: Conversation with Vasslis Loules and Cuban director Enrique Pineda Barnet
LMU – Ahmanson Auditorium (UH-1000)
The event is free and open to the public

MY BIG FAT GREEK WEDDING 2 – Week 3 in Theaters!

Congratulations to Nia Vardalos and the cast and crew of MY BIG FAT GREEK WEDDING 2 which has garnered close to $40 million at the box office. Playing on over 3,175 screens across the nation, the sequel to the record-breaking MY BIG FAT GREEK WEDDING (2002) unites all of the original cast members. This weekend marks the third weekend of the film’s release. For screening times and more information about the film, visit the film’s official website

GREEN GIANTS Screens at Writers Guild, Thursday, April 21

The official screening of GREEN GIANTS will be held on April 21, 2016 at 6:30pm. A cocktail reception and a Q&A with the director will follow.
The film highlights the innovators leading the Green Revolution, includingVan Vlahakis, founder of Earth Friendly Products. Tickets sold will help Green Giants achieve their goal of planting one million trees.
For tickets, click here.

IPDF 2015 Industry Projects

As IPDF we have been working with Balkan feature films for three years now, and a big challenge is international distribution. Online is where a true bridge between Balkan content and an international audience can be built. We are hosting two industry roundtables this year: the first on International Distribution, where we will discuss current trends and whether there is a place for European films in the American market. The second event is about online content: a discussion with Fullscreen’s CEO George Strompolos followed by an exciting, high-energy pitching event for episodic web content, where filmmakers get to pitch to a panel of judges and in front of an audience.

On International Distribution

Industry Roundtable

Saturday, June 6, 12:00 – 2:00 PM, Spielberg/Egyptian Theatre
Free event, open to the public
Many independent movies are made every year but never get to their intended audience, many independent European films never get distribution in the US – and vice versa.
Join us for a discussion with leading distributors and sales agents on the current distribution trends and how the digital age is changing the game of International Distribution.

Open Floor Pitch

June 6, 3:00 – 5:00 PM, Spielberg/Egyptian Theatre
Web Content Pitch Application Form
Web Content Guest Release
Open to the public – FREE

George Strompolos presents his work with Fullscreen. To be followed by a high-energy web-series short pitch in front of a jury of leading web content producers. Creators have (3) minutes to pitch their ideas for episodic online content to a panel of judges and the audience. The first (15) proposals get priority (in order of submission). The others are put on a waiting list.

The Jury:

  • Niccolo Bello
  • Charles Como (Founder,
  • Salil Mehta (President of Content Management, FOX)
  • George Strompolos (CEO, Fullscreen)

Each one of the judges will select their favorite project which will receive a consultation with the judge who selected it.

IPDF 2015 Selected Projects


DORA – Bulgaria

Director: Milko Lazarov
Writers: Milko Lazarov and Simeon Ventsislavov
Producer: Veselka Kiryakova
Production Company: Red Carpet

An elderly, famous retired actress, Dora finds herself sharing her municipal housing flat with Ivan and Yasna, a couple of young actors. Ivan’s obvious admiration for Dora and Dora’s sarcastic attitude towards Yasna creates a tense triangle between the three. Together they face a challenge that will change their lives. An intimate film about the irrevocable, one that explores the clash between the beauty of the body and the beauty of the soul.

* Previous feature film Alienation trailer



Director: Hüseyin Karabey
Writer: Hüseyin Karabey
Producer: Hüseyin Karabey
Production Company: Asi Film Productions

In 1970s Turkey, a group of young leftist students are fed up with the fascist undertakings of the government. They determine to accomplish a groundbreaking political act. As they struggle to start a revolution, they will begin losing their innocence along the way. Hamarat Apartment is a political thriller based on the true story of the kidnapping of Eprahim Elrom – the Israeli Consul General in Istanbul.

*Previous feature film Come to My Voice trailer



Director: Arsenis Polymenopoulos
Writer: Dimitris Emmanouilidis and Arsenis Polymenopoulos

You can beat everything except the beast that hides inside you. The true story of a quiet, reserved family man who rises to become the best-known sports radio announcer in Thessaloniki… until his dark side takes over.

* In the Arena will be Arsenis Polymenopoulos’ feature film debut.


SATELLITES – Serbia/France

Director: Nenad Mikalacki
Writer: Jelena Marjanovic and Nenad Mikalacki
Production Company: 25 Films and Druid Film

Where I am, that is my home. I am my own home. After the playful childhood and violent teenage years spent in a Belgrade’s remote neighborhood, two friends find themselves living in Paris, where they are illegal, homesick and lost. Blaza uses his power of perception to break into Parisian apartments, and Srdjan drifts around the city in search of a normal job, discovering the world of underdogs along the way.

* Satellites will be Nenad Mikalacki’s feature film debut.


SEVENTEEN (17) – Greece

Director: Nikolas Kyritsis
Writer: Nikolas Kyritsis
Producer: Phaedra Vokali
Production Company: Marni films

A contemporary drama, 17 is a portrait of three teenagers who explore their sexual identity and place in society while their dreams collapse against harsh reality. Abandoned by his girlfriend Sofia, Zaharias struggles with his feelings for their newborn baby and Petros, Sofia’s best friend, helps him raise it. The boys find their way as an unorthodox family but when Sofia returns, their world turns upside down.

* 17 will be Nikolaos Kyritsis’ feature film debut.


THEBES – Greece/France

Director: Basile Doganis
Writer: Basile Doganis
Producer: Maria Drandaki
Production Company: Homemade Films

The Odyssey of a daredevil French reformed petty criminal in search of his Greek roots, who will learn about commitment the hard way in the ancient town of Thebes. Yanis must search through the complex underworld of hardboiled activists in a crisis-struck Greece in order to find the truth about his origins and his identity.

Thebes will be Basile Doganis’ feature film debut. His short film Citizen Day screening at the Festival.

IPDF 2015 Filmmakers


Basile Doganis is a Greek director who grew up in France. During his studies in Philosophy, he spent 3 years in Japan where he made the documentary ON THE EDGE and was 1st AD on Limosin’s YOUNG YAKUZA (Cannes 2007). He worked as a script doctor for Celluloid Dreams and was selected at the 2010 Berlinale’s Talent Project Market for the feature script LIFELINED, which was also awarded the 2010 Amiens FADS grant. In 2011, after attending the Binger Filmlab (Directors Lab), he directed his first fiction short, HIS BROTHER’S KEEPER. He followed the Atelier Scénario de La Fémis in 2013 and directed his second short CITIZEN DAY, which was selected in many festivals (including Clermont-Ferrand, Sydney Flickerfest, Athens, Brussels, and LAGFF 2015).


Hüseyin Karabey‘s involvement in the democracy movement in the 90s and his background as a documentarian determined the style and the content of his subsequent film work. GITMEK – MY MARLON AND BRANDO, his first feature film, was selected for 37th Rotterdam International Film Festival and had its North American premiere at 6th New York Tribeca International Film (Best Director Award). To this date, the film has been screened in 36 international film festivals and won numerous awards. He was involved as Artistic Director in the production of an Omnibus project entitled Do not Forget me Istanbul. His last movie COME TO MY VOICE had its world premiere in Berlinale 2014.


Veselka Kiryakova is a producer working in Bulgaria. Her first feature movie as a producer was ALIENATION (2013), conceived and directed by Milko Lazarov. The premiere of ALIENATION was at Venice ’70 in the official selection of Venice Days, and it won two awards there. ALIENATION received several awards from other festivals and was presented in film festivals in Sofia, Warsaw, Athens, Vilnius, Naples, Barcelona, Busan, Sao Paolo etc. She is the main producer for the production company Red Carpet.


Born in Greece in 1986, Nikos Kyritsis has lived in Berlin and Athens and worked on various film and art projects. He also worked as video artist for several Greek companies and organizations, including the National Theatre Company of Northern Greece. For the past two years, he has been working in the advertising and film industry. He was a member of the Youth Jury in Athens IFF (2005). He took part in Berlinale Talent Campus (2013) and Sarajevo Talents (2014). His first short drama KING KONG premiered at Rotterdam IFF 2014 and is, at the moment, in the international festival circuit. SEVENTEEN is his feature debut and won the Yapim Lab award in Sarajevo’s Pack&Pitch 2014.


Nenad Mikalacki was born in Novi Sad, ex-Yugoslavia in 1975. In 2001he graduated in Film and TV Directing from the National University of Drama and Film (UNATC) in Bucharest/Romania. He wrote and directed short films and documentaries, among them MR. MR., THE LAST SWAN LAKE and AT HOME, the winner of Robert Bosch Stiftung coproduction prize (2009). He participated in Script2Pitch MFI workshops 2014, Balkan film connection 2014, Berlinale Talent Campus (2013), Euro Connection short film coproduction market at Clermont-Ferrand film festival (2013), Sarajevo Talent Campus (2008) and Ex Oriente (2008). In 2005 he founded the production company DRUID dedicated to creation of arthouse films.


Arsenis Polymenopoulos was born in Thessaloniki, Greece in 1974. He has directed and produced 3 short films. In Thessaloniki, he worked as an editor and assistant director for music videos, commercials, TV programs and documentaries. In 2004, he moved to Athens where he works as an assistant director in films and as a director for TV.



IPDF 2015 Meet The Experts


Niccolò Bello is a writer, director, producer and actor based in Los Angeles. His work in Italy and the US spans from TV to commercial to web content. He collaborates with creative agencies such as Armando Testa, Leo Burnett, Saatchi & Saatchi for international brands such as Nestlè, Samsung, Toyota. Nic’s web series CINZIA, YOUR SKIN FRIEND won 12 awards, and since August 2013 he runs the NIC AND PANCHO YouTube comedy channel, with more than 8 millions of views.


Steven Bernstein is an award winning cinematographer, writer, director and producer. He is a member of the American Society of Cinematographers, and wrote a major textbook titled Film Production. Past films as a cinematographer include LIKE WATER FOR CHOCOLATE and MONSTER as well as another 60 major film projects. Bernstein produced, wrote and directed the award-winning DECODING ANNIE PARKER starring Helen Hunt, Samantha Morton and Aaron Paul, and DOMINION (currently in post-production) starring John Malkovich, Rhys Ifansand Rodrigo Santoro. His screenplay WICKED CITY in being made into a major science fiction film that shoots next year. Bernstein also acts as a creative consultant to producers, writers and filmmakers.


Pau Brunet, co-founder of LA-based La Panda Productions, is a producer with over 10 years of experience in development, international sales and production. Pau is executive producer on OPEN WINDOWS, 10,000KM and upcoming PEOPLE YOU MAY KNOW. With LA Panda, he’s developing the thriller, A TEXAS STORY, a fantastic/horror film, THE TURNED and the dramedy DON’T FUCK AROUND WITH LOVE. Pau also works as a box-office, marketing and development analyst in Spain and the States. Since 2007 Pau has overseen the marketing of more than 15 movies. He also manages the website


Called “Hollywood’s Developer to the Stars” by the Discovery Channel, the “Face to Watch in New Media” by the Los Angeles Times and “A Cyber-Whiz” by USA Today, Charles Como, CEO and Founder of Underground Network, previously founded Hollywood’s first comprehensive Internet solutions company, BoxTop Interactive, which merged with iXL and went public with a valuation hitting $3.5 billion. His clients included such names as Capital Records, Warner Brothers Records, Fox Entertainment, Fox Television & Fox Kids, UPN, A&M Records, Guess?, Mattel’s Barbie and Hot Wheels, Major League Soccer, Van Halen, Kid Rock, and Sting, just to name a few. Como later founded HotForWords, which created one of the first YouTube channels to hit 500 million video views and over a $1 million a year in ad revenue. Currently Como is building a mobile app and TV show designed to get people more active in politics and to actually have an impact on their government’s decisions at all times.


With 14 years of experience in distribution, James Eowan has overseen fiction and non-fiction films from as early as post production through festivals, theatrical, non-theatrical, broadcast and home video at 7th Art which has been distributing films for over 20 years. He has planned and executed campaigns that saw films receive multiple awards including Academy Award nominations, Emmy Awards, and Independent Spirit Awards among others. The company is known for such films as the Academy Award® winner, THE LONG WAY HOME and the Academy Award® nominees: THE FARM, ANGOLA USA, SPEAKING IN STRINGS, LONG NIGHT’S JOURNEY INTO DAY and BALSEROS: CUBAN RAFTERS. THE WILDEST SHOW IN THE SOUTH: THE ANGOLA PRISON RODEO, EYEWITNESS: THE LEGACY OF DEATH CAMP ART and INCIDENT IN NEW BAGDAD were nominated for Best Documentary Short Subject at the Academy Awards®. The festival favorite, 45365, received the Truer Than Fiction Independent Spirit Award. James is currently in post production on a feature length documentary to be completed in 2015.


Since founding the Burton Theatre in Detroit MI, Nathan Faustyn has worked in programming festivals throughout the country. He currently works as the Director of Non-Theatrical Sales and Acquisitions for Strand Releasing in Culver City, as well as a member of the experimental video collective Loose Meat.


Paul Federbush joined the Sundance Institute in 2013 with 17 years experience as an acquisitions and distribution executive, spanning both the independent and studio film communities. Federbush worked hands-on with exhibitors and media outlets to market and distribute nine independent documentary and feature films while partnered in distribution company Red Flag Releasing, as well as serving as Senior Vice President of Production and Acquisitions at Warner Bros’ specialized division, Warner Independent Pictures (WIP).


Ernesto M. Foronda is a Los Angeles-based filmmaker and screenwriter, who has written both independent and studio features. Currently, Ernesto is writing an adaptation of Scott Heim’s (Mysterious Skin) latest novel, WE DISAPPEAR and ELEVEN MISSING DAYS, about Agatha Christie’s brief disappearance in her thirties, to be produced by Thick As Thieves Productions (WRISTCUTTERS:A LOVE STORY, THE WORDS, LOVELACE) and Fortitude. Ernesto also wrote and produced BETTER LUCK TOMORROW which premiered at Sundance 2002 and had a theatrical release by Paramount Classics and MTV. Ernesto has written on studio features for Fox, Fox 2000, Universal, Focus, Rogue, WB, and Sony. Ernesto’s directorial debut SUNSET STORIES, which he also co-wrote, premiered at SXSW 2012. In addition, Ernesto is a shorts film programmer for Sundance, LAFF and Outfest Los Angeles.


Michael Frost Beckner launched his writing career in the early 1990’s with three record-making “spec” script sales. Today, with dozens of screenplays and rewrites for major studios and ten pilots for commercial and cable networks, Beckner has, from his first film, SNIPER, built a reputation as a film and television writer of realistic, character-based military and espionage dramas. Beckner’s most recent big-screen success came with the Universal Pictures, Tony Scott directed, SPY GAME (2001) starring Robert Redford and Brad Pitt. The release of that film coincided with the debut Beckner’s CBS series, THE AGENCY (Creator, Executive Producer, Writer; 2001-2003) that holds the distinction of being the only dramatic series ever allowed to film at CIA Headquarters in Langley, Virginia. Beckner has also developed a working profile in European television writing the miniseries THE PLAN (UK; Purecom Entertainment and Freemantle) based on Alex Dryden’s bestsellers Red to Black and Moscow Sting, Beckner is currently working on CITY OF LIES which continues his creative partnership with director Wolfgang Petersen they began with THE AGENCY (Endemol-Shine/Radiant Pictures/ZDF Network). As a personality and commentator on American espionage he has appeared on CNN, Fox New, TF1 in France, and was a featured guest on Bill Maher’s “Politically Incorrect.” As a Civil War speaker, he has spoken at universities and to private organizations on the history behind his upcoming Civil War Event Mini-Series, TO APPOMATTOX. Recent credits also include CSI (LAS VEGAS) and MUIR’S GAMBIT.


Jonathan Grant (Open Floor Pitch Host) is a writer and performer from Los Angeles. He can currently be seen performing at iO West with “It’s the Cops!” on the second Sunday of every month.


Ernest Marrero began his career as an avant-garde filmmaker in New York City where he studied experimental filmmaking at the Whitney Museum of American Art Independent Study Program. His film, ONE DAY FRANZ BROUGHT ME TO HIS HOUSE is in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art. BEFORE THE RISE OF THE PREMONITION was exhibited at the 1987 Whitney Biennial. He studied film and visual arts at the State University of New York, College at Purchase, and directing and screenwriting in the graduate film program at UCLA. He is a produced screenwriter, member of the WGA, and co-wrote (un-credited) the final produced version of THE MOTHMAN PROPHECIES staring Richard Gere and Laura Linney. Ernest currently serves on the faculty in the graduate film directing program at CALARTS, where he teaches screenwriting.


Salil Mehta is the President of Content Management at Fox Filmed Entertainment, where he is responsible for coordinating the studio’s content distribution in all media. Mehta oversees the company’s strategic planning and business development, as well as the digital media division, Fox’s technology and engineering activities, and the studio’s worldwide television distribution activities. Prior to Fox, Salil served as COO and CFO for NBCUniversal’s Entertainment & Digital Networks and Integrated Media Devision following his role as President of Business Operations, Strategy and Development. Before NBCUniversal, Mehta was the EVP of ESPN Enterprises, and served as the EVP of Corporate Business Development and Strategic Planning at the Walt Disney Company.


Born in Granada (Spain), Rocio Mesa graduated as a journalist from the University of Seville. She worked for several Spanish production companies and TV networks as producer and video director. After graduating from the New York Film academy in Los Angeles, Mesa has been the video producer for the International Documentary Association and has worked as post-production producer for advertising. In 2013 Rocio Mesa premiered ORENSANZ, her first documentary feature film as a director, nominated for Best Andalusian Documentary and screened on international film festivals (SEFF, BAFICI, Alcances) and independent theaters. Mesa is currently the director of L.A. OLA, the Spanish Contemporary Cinema Exhibition in Los Angeles, and she is working on her next film project as a director.


Athena Nash works in International Sales and Distribution for Nu Image/Millennium Films. Athena first served as Director of Digital Marketing for a number of select independent films, where she was responsible for the development and execution of a variety of successful online campaigns. She then accepted a position in International Sales and Acquisitions for Arclight Films before transitioning to her current role with Nu Image.


Beverly Neufeld holds an MFA from UCLA in Screenwriting. Her indie script, BROWN WIDOW won the Samuel Goldwyn Award. She has also won competitions and awards for her TV writing such as Slamdance’s TV competition for her one hour drama, THE CLAYTONS. She did a rewrite of the indie film, WAJDA, the first film by a female Saudi American filmmaker and is currently rewriting the script A GIRL THING for Lucky 13 Productions. As a writing consultant Beverly has read and given notes on more than 4000 scripts for such companies as: CAA, Showtime, IFP West/FIND, Granada Entertainment, Fox TV Studios, Slamdance Screenplay Competition, Angel Ark Prods, Avnet Kerner, PAGE Writing Competition and Quality Artists Agency, as well as for independent writers and producers. Beverly was a Development Executive for Blackbird Fly Productions helping a producer find and develop multiple projects, and most recently was the Director of Development for Juntobox Films under Nina Yang and Forest Whitaker.


Orly Ravid has a 15-year background in the film industry. In 2009 she founded The Film Collaborative (“TFC”), the first non-profit to focus on film distribution without taking filmmakers’ rights. At TFC, Orly co-authored and published the multi-format book Selling Your Film Without Selling Your Soul (I & II) and distributed Oscar-nominated and top festival-winning documentaries and narrative feature films. Previously, Orly was a Programming Associate at Sundance and a Programming Consultant at Palm Springs International (PSIFF) and the Middle East International Film Festival (MEIFF). Other past affiliations include Senator Entertainment (VP Acquisitions and Distribution); Wolfe Releasing (Director: Acquisitions, Theatrical, Non-Theatrical/Festivals, Business Affairs and Digital Distribution); Maxmedia (Development); and Outfest (Board of Directors).


Srdjan Stakic (Final Presentation panelist) was born in former Yugoslavia. He moved to the US at age of 16. After earning an MFA in Film Producingfrom USC, he joined Justin Lin‘s YOMYOMF, where he served as the in-house line producer/producer, overseeing production on 40 web series each year. Stakic also executive produced YELLOW FACE (2013), a feature film based on a Pulitzer Prize-nominated play by Tony Award®-winning playwright David Henry Hwang. After leaving YOMYOMF, Srdjan produced NEWCOMER starring Anthony LaPaglia (currently in last stages of post-production) and has recently wrapped on a feature documentary film shot in Syrian refugee camps in Jordan. He has recently partnered with Allison Abbate (THE LEGO MOVIE, CORPSE BRIDE, FRANKENWEENIE, TALENTED MR. FOX) to produce her directorial debut entitled TWO TOES: THE COUOTE LEGEND OF GREEN RIVER.


George Strompolos is Fullscreen’s Chief Executive Officer and Founder. Prior to founding Fullscreen, he served as strategic partnerships manager at YouTube and was responsible for establishing distribution channels with new media companies and content producers. In 2007, Strompolos co-created the YouTube Partner Program, which provided new monetization opportunities for a new class of online content producers around the world. He also led YouTube’s first multimillion-dollar programming fund and spearheaded key initiatives, including Seth MacFarlane’s Cavalcade of Cartoon Comedy. He began his career in various business development roles at WIRED Magazine, CNET Networks, and Google. To date, Strompolos has been named one of Advertising Age’s “40 under 40” in 2013 and one of The Hollywood Reporter’s “Top 35 Executives Under Age 35” in 2008.


Matthew Takata is the Manager for the Feature Film Program’s international work at Sundance Institute. His focus is on international outreach and selection for the Institute’s Screenwriters and Directors Labs, and the annual Sundance Institute Mahindra Global Filmmaking Award.


Kelly Thomas has more than 10 years of experience producing independent features and is VP of JuntoBox Films’ Incubator Initiative. Prior to JuntoBox, she was the Producer in Residence for Film Independent’s Artist Development programs and in that capacity managed and curated labs for writers, directors, producers, and documentary filmmakers. Kelly has worked with acclaimed directors Rodrigo Garcia, Phedon Papamichael, Robin Swicord, and Brad Silberling.


Oscar Torres is a writer/producer of INNOCENT VOICES a film that went out to win over 70 National and International top honors including Mexico’s official submission to the 77th Academy Awards and the Berlin FF Best Picture Award. Amongst his latest work as writer/producer are the films BRAVETOWN which was released in theaters and OnDemand. Starring Josh Duhamel, Laura Dern, Maria Bello and Lucas Till, the film is currently being sold worldwide; PULLING STRINGS starring Mexican leading man Jaime Camil, Laura Ramsey and Tom Arnold, produced by Pantelion Films (Lionsgate and Televisa), became one of the top three most successful Mexican films releases of 2013 in the U.S. and Mexico. In the same year, Oscar was a Creative and Script Consultant on the runaway hit INSTRUCTIONS NOT INCLUDED starring Eugenio Derbez, which became the most successful Spanish Speaking film of all time grossing over $44 Million in the U.S. alone. To date, its worldwide cume exceeds the $100 Million mark. Oscar’s latest films to hit DVD are VIENTO EN CONTRA starring Mexican leading lady Barbara Mori and Sundance’s Official Entry MANCORA, helmed by Peruvian director Ricardo de Montreuil. And most recently completed in Santiago, Chile is TIERRA DE SANGRE (The Vineyard) starring Mexican star Aislinn Derbez. His company Goldtower Entertainment is currently developing several films with a Latin DNA with business partners Jeff Goldberg and Cuban-born actor William Levy.


Alesia Weston was appointed Executive Director of the Jerusalem Film Festival, Jerusalem Cinematheque and Israel Film Archives where she oversaw the 2012 and 2013 annual programs and festivals. Prior to that, she spent a decade at Sundance Institute, in charge of the international Feature Film Program. There she spearheaded the Sundance-modeled Screenwriters and Directors labs in the Middle East as well as in India, Israel and Turkey. Through the labs, the Sundance/NHK Award and Mahindra International Filmmakers Awards, she shepherded films and filmmakers from over 40 countries. Now an independent consultant, she serves as an advisor to independent and international filmmakers, film festivals and training programs around the world.

IPDF 2015 Schedule




For IPDF Filmmakers and Experts: Check in for the 9th LAGFF Opening Night ceremony, have your red carpet picture taken, pick up your Festival Pass.
Spielberg Theater @ The Egyptian Theater, 5pm




The IPDF Filmmakers present their projects under the guidance of award winning director and writer Steven Bernstein, who will give them feedback on their story and on their pitch, as well as moderate the discussion among the group.
30 minutes/ each project (including presentation & discussion).
Spielberg Theater @ The Egyptian Theater, 10am-2pm




The Filmmakers pitch their projects to our Experts in one-on-one meetings. A great chance to get in-depth feedback on their presentation, as well as on their projects, by industry professionals with years of experience in development, such as Matthew Takata from the Sundance Institute and Alesia Weston.

Each expert meets with all presenting teams, 30 minutes/ each project (including presentation & detailed notes).
Spielberg Theater @ The Egyptian Theater, 12pm-3pm



Screenwriting Experts and the Selection Committee of the 2015 IPDF dedicate this afternoon to meeting with the Filmmakers to discuss their stories and screenplays.

Spielberg Theater @ The Egyptian Theater, 3pm-6pm




Many independent movies are made every year but never get to their intended audience, many independent European films never get distribution in the US – and vice versa. Join us for a discussion with leading distributors and sales agents on the current distribution trends and how the digital age is changing the game of International Distribution.
Spielberg Theater @ The Egyptian Theater, 12pm-2pm



George Strompolos presents his work with Fullscreen. To be followed by a high-energy web-series short pitch in front of a jury of leading web content producers.

Spielberg Theater @ The Egyptian Theater, 3pm-5pm




The Final Presentation is the culmination of our intensive 4-day workshop. The IPDF Filmmakers, having gathered feedback and advice, will now present their projects to a panel of leading industry professionals specializing in International Independent Cinema. Each presentation will last 20 minutes, including presentation, feedback and discussion. After that, the Panel will deliberate to determine the winner of the Aegean Award that will be presented during the Closing Night Ceremony.

Spielberg Theater @ The Egyptian Theater, 10.30am-2.30pm