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Dallas Buyers Club is Opening Night Film

LOS ANGELES, CA (September 18, 2013) — Film Independent, the non-profit arts organization that produces the Film Independent Spirit Awards and Los Angeles Film Festival, announced today that Ted Sarandos, Chief Content Officer, Netflix, will deliver the Executive Keynote address launching the Forum on Saturday, October 26. This will be followed the next day by the Filmmaker Keynote address given by writer/director Ava DuVernay (Middle of Nowhere, Venus VS.) on Sunday, October 27. Focus Features’ Dallas Buyers Club, directed by Jean-Marc Vallée and starring Matthew McConaughey, Jennifer Garner, and Jared Leto, will kick off the 9th annual Film Independent Forum as the Opening Night Film on Friday, October 25; the screening will be followed by a Q+A session and reception. The annual forum for independent filmmakers, which is headed by Film Independent, will take place the weekend of October 25-27 at the Directors Guild of America (DGA) in Los Angeles.

About his upcoming Executive Keynote address, Ted Sarandos had this to say, “I have had a long relationship with Film Independent and look forward to talking through the possibilities and the risks ahead for filmmakers in this new media age.”

“Through the Forum, Film Independent carves out a very special time and a very special place for filmmakers and film lovers to congregate and learn from one another. I’m thrilled to be a part of such a wonderful gathering. And I look forward to sharing, listening and growing, which always seems to happen when I’m there,” said Filmmaker Keynote speaker Ava DuVernay.

“No other executive in the industry today embodies the content revolution we are currently experiencing better than Ted Sarandos. He has spearheaded the creation of quality original content and game-changing ways of delivering it, revolutionizing the way content is being consumed. I couldn’t think of a better thought leader to set the stage for our weekend-long discussion of all things content,” said Film Independent Director of Education, Maria Bozzi. “Our filmmaker Keynote speaker, Ava DuVernay, represents the fearless artist entrepreneur that can sustain a career in this new age. Not only is she making films that matter, but she is also a marketer and a distributor who has helped many filmmakers reach their audiences. She is truly an inspiration, and I am sure she will generously share her experience. I am thrilled for both of their participation in this year’s Forum.”

The 2013 Film Independent Forum is presented by Indiewire, the leading site for independent filmmakers, the industry and moviegoers alike. Additional sponsors include Premier Sponsors Directors Guild of America, SAGindie, IMDbPro and Principal Sponsors the Montana Film Office and FilmL.A., Inc. Icelandic Glacial Natural Spring Water is the Official Water and Renwood Winery is the Official Wine for the Film Independent Forum.

As always, the Film Independent Forum will close with the Sloan Foundation reception where the Sloan Producers Grant award, which provides $25,000 in development funds, will be awarded to a Producing Lab Fellow developing a narrative film with a scientific, mathematical, and/or technological theme.


Panelists for the 2013 Film Independent Forum include:

Hadrian Belove, Founder and Executive Director, Cinefamily

Julie Parker Benello, Co-Founder, Chicken & Egg Pictures

Nina Yang Bongiovi, COO & Head of Film, JuntoBox Films; Head of Production, Significant Productions

Josh Braun, Co-Founder, Submarine Entertainment

Lisa Callif, Partner, Donaldson + Callif

Lisa Kleiner Chanoff, Co-Founder, Catapult Film Fund

Karin Chien, producer, Circumstance

Russell Collins, Conference Director, Art House Convergence

Stuart Cornfeld, Partner, Red Hour Films

Babacar Diene, Vice President of Acquisitions, Voltage Pictures

Neal Edelstein, 
Founder, Hooked Digital Media

Craig A. Emanuel, Partner & Chair, Loeb & Loeb

Nicolas Gonda, Co-Founder & CEO, TUGG

Lauren Greenfield, producer/director, The Queen of Versailles

Matthew Greenfield, Senior Vice President of Production, Fox Searchlight

Marc Hofstatter, Film Lead, Indiegogo

Chris Horton, Director, Artist Services, Sundance Institute

Daniel Kellison, Founder, JASH

Pedro Kos, editor, The Crash Reel, Waste Land

Jennifer Kushner, Director, Artist Development, Film Independent

Lisa Leeman, writer/director, One Lucky Elephant

Judi Levine, producer, The Sessions

Ben Lewin, writer/director, The Sessions

John Lightfoot, Program Officer, The California Documentary Project

Dylan Marchetti, Founder, Variance Films

Andy Merkin, Head of Special Projects/Transmedia, Mirada Studios

Luis Ortiz, Managing Director, Latino Public Broadcasting

Nicholas Ozeki, writer/director, Mamitas

Lisanne Pajot, director/producer/cinematographer/editor, Indie Game: The Movie

Greg Pak, writer/director, Robot Stories; writer, Vision Machine

Stephan Paternot, Co-Founder & chairman, Slated

Casey Pugh, Co-Founder, VHX

Samuel Roberts, Festival Director, IndieCade; Assitant Director, Interactive Media Program, USC School of Cinematic Arts

Mike Rosenstein, Director of Digital Content, Red Hour Films

Gary Rubin, Executive Vice President, Cohen Media Group

Marc Schiller, CEO, Bond Strategy and Influence

Paula Manzanedo Schmit, Vice President, Film Finances, Inc.

Jill Soloway, writer/director, Afternoon Delight

Jonathan Stern, Executive Producer & writer, Abominable Pictures

James Swirsky, director/producer/cinematographer/editor, Indie Game: The Movie

Rahdi Taylor, Film Fund Director, Sundance Documentary Film Program

Michele Turnure-Salleo, Director, Filmmaker360, San Francisco Film Society

Lucy Walker, director, The Crash Reel, Waste Land

Jamie Wilkinson, Co-Founder, VHX


Topics for this year’s panels are:

“What’s In It For Me?”: The Million Dollar Question

Fund That Doc

Shopping Your Project: A Financing Clinic

Extreme Docs: Documentary Case Studies

Made In L.A.: Production Case Studies

Game Change: The Evolving Narrative Of Video Games

U-Finance: Crowdfunding Comes Of Age

Find New Docs: Works In Progress From Film Independent Fellows

What’s Behind A Great Marketing Campaign?

Lucy Walker: Secrets Of Documentary Editing

Reports From The Distribution Test Lab

Wisecracking On The Web: Indie Comedy Online

Theatrical Re-Invented: One Theater At A Time

There’s An App For That: Handheld Content

New Content Relations: From Byte To Binge

Conference passes are $275 for Film Independent members and $325 for non-members. For more information about this year’s Film Independent Forum or to purchase a pass, visit or call 310.432.1222.

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About Film Independent Forum

For the past eight years, the Film Independent Forum has gathered industry insiders, thought provokers and game changers for a not to be missed weekend of panel discussions, seminars and one of a kind networking sessions. It is a weekend like no other — a true field guide to independent producing — and an incredible opportunity for filmmakers at all levels looking to expand their circle of connections.

The 2013 Film Independent Forum takes place October 25-27 at the Directors Guild of America (DGA) in Los Angeles, CA. For a full schedule of events, speakers and to register, visit

About Film Independent

Film Independent is a non-profit arts organization that champions independent film and supports a community of artists who embody diversity, innovation, and uniqueness of vision. Film Independent helps filmmakers make their movies, builds an audience for their projects, and works to diversify the film industry. Film Independent’s Board of Directors, filmmakers, staff, and constituents, is comprised of an inclusive community of individuals across ability, age, ethnicity, gender, race, and sexual orientation. Anyone passionate about film can become a member, whether you are a filmmaker, industry professional, or a film lover.

Film Independent produces the Spirit Awards, the annual celebration honoring artist-driven films and recognizing the finest achievements of American independent filmmakers. Film Independent also produces the Los Angeles Film Festival, showcasing the best of American and international cinema and the Film Independent at LACMA Film Series, a year-round, weekly program that offers unique cinematic experiences for the Los Angeles creative community and the general public.

With over 250 annual screenings and events, Film Independent provides access to a network of like-minded artists who are driving creativity in the film industry. Film Independent’s Artist Development program offers free Labs for selected writers, directors, producers and documentary filmmakers and presents year-round networking opportunities. Project Involve is Film Independent’s signature program dedicated to fostering the careers of talented filmmakers from communities traditionally underrepresented in the film industry.  For more information or to become a member, visit

For More Information, Contact: 

Film Independent
Alia Quart Khan
[email protected] or 310.432.1287