• ShortFest Forum | Panel

    Panel: Funding, Funding, Funding

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How do you build your audience, crowdfund, attract a financier, or find a way to get your film off the ground? The industry's leading experts are here to discuss the realities of independent producing, fundraising and getting your project made. Our panel of experts will walk you through the basics and give you the tools you need to get started.


Emily Best | Seed&Spark | CEO
Emily Best is the founder and CEO of Seed&Spark, a subscription video streaming and crowdfunding platform that gives filmmakers the power to take control of their careers. In 2011, she produced the feature film, Like the Water. Since then she has served as executive producer on a host of film and virtual reality projects. Most recently she co-created and co-directed the web series F*ck Yes!, which Refinery 29 called, "The sex education you wish you had in high school." Emily was named a 2013 Indiewire Influencer, a 2014 New York Woman of Influence, was included on the 2015 Upstart 100 list, and graduated from the 2016 class of Techstars Boston. She has raised millions of dollars in traditional funding, equity crowdfunding, and rewards based crowdfunding, and contributed to over 300 crowdfunding campaigns to date.

Natalie Difford | Cinereach | Head of Filmmaker Development
Natalie Difford is responsible for designing and overseeing Cinereach's highly personalized Fellowships program, an incubator for creative exploration. Prior to joining Cinereach, she was Senior Program Officer of the non-profit film fund Chicken & Egg Pictures. She has extensive film industry experience, from development to festival programming, having worked with This is That, IFP, London Film Festival, Tribeca Film Festival, and on various TV productions for A&E, Comedy Central, IFC and MTV Productions. As an independent producer, Natalie was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award for Adam Leon's feature debut, Gimme the Loot and co-produced Leon's Tramps. She also produced the interactive documentary 11/4/08. Natalie is on the Film Advisory Board for SXSW, and was named one of the "Jezebel 25 Amazing and Kick-Ass Women" in 2012.

Sara Murphy | PASTEL | Producer
Sara just recently premiered at Sundance 2017 with Dustin Guy Defa's PERSON TO PERSON as well as Mia Lidofsky's series STRANGERS, produced alongside Beachside Films and which will be distributed by Refinery 29 in spring of 2017. PERSON TO PERSON will be released by Magnolia Pictures this summer and stars Michael Cera, Abbi Jacobson, Tavi Gevinson and Philip Baker Hall. She produced Aaron Katz' GEMINI starring Lola Kirke and Zoe Kravitz which premiered at SXSW 2017 and will be released by NEON this fall. Sara produced HUNTER GATHERER by first-time filmmaker Josh Locy, which was nominated for the John Cassavetes Spirit Award and was released by The Orchard in February 2017.

Peter Van Steemburg | ICM Partners | Agent, MP International & Independent
Peter Van Steemburg began his film career at the international distribution division of Miramax Films before joining the film finance department at Cinetic Media.  He joined Magnolia Pictures and Magnet Releasing in 2008, and during his tenure, worked on the negotiation of films such as Joe Swanberg's "Drinking Buddies," Lars von Trier's "Nymphomaniac," Nicolas Winding Refn's "Bronson" and others.  Peter currently works for ICM Partners as an agent in the Motion Picture International department. 

Hailey Wierengo | United Talent Agency | Agent
Hailey Wierengo is an agent in the Independent Film Group at leading talent and literary agency UTA, where she focuses on the packaging, financing and sales of independent film.  In this capacity she has worked on titles including Mike Mills' 2011 film BEGINNERS, Lynn Shelton's YOUR SISTER'S SISTER, Jill Soloway's AFTERNOON DELIGHT, Kyle Patrick Alvarez's STANFORD PRISON EXPERIMENT, Chris Rock's TOP FIVE,  Michael Showalter's HELLO, MY NAME IS DORIS and Mills' upcoming film 20TH CENTURY WOMEN.  Wierengo joined UTA's agent training program in 2008 and was promoted to agent in 2011. Raised in Chicago, Wierengo attended the University of Michigan where she studied Film and Media Studies and Art History.  

Event Details

Date: Jun 22 2:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. Buy Tickets


John Horn | The Frame | Host

2017 ShortFest