FestForums NYC 2016

Sponsored By

Panels & Speakers

Conference Master of Ceremonies:
Doug Green – OTW Safety

Coffee & Networking In The Exhibit Hall

State of the Festival Industry

The Festival market is in a state of economic flux. Some festivals sell out months in advance, while others are dying on the vine. What does the future hold for the film, music, food and beverage festival market?  Let’s hear from the experts.


Huntington Blackard – Creative Research Officer, Septien Entertainment Group


Peter Shapiro – Publisher,  Relix. Founder, Lockn’ Music Festival. Producer: Fare Thee Well: Celebrating 50 Years of the Grateful Dead

Lee Brian Schrager – Founder & Director, Food Network & Cooking Channel South Beach and New York City Wine & Food Festivals

Tom Russell – Co-Founder, Governors Ball Music Festival

Sharon Badal – Vice President of Filmmaker Relations and Shorts Programming, Tribeca

Anika Grant – Associate Director, Sponsorships, ESSENCE Festival


Networking & Coffee Break – Sponsored by FestDrive

11:30 am-12:30pm
Talent Buying, Programming and Identity

How much should you be paying for talent and their expenses (be it musicians, chefs, filmmakers, actors) as a percentage of your budget? Talent aside, what is that secret sauce that makes a festival a must-attend event? How does it maintain an identity without procuring the flavor of the month? Bring sponsors and audience pressure into the mix and you have a host of competing interests. It’s a delicate balance. Let’s figure this out…if we can.


Phil Gallo – Journalist & Author


Michelle Metter – Co-Producer, San Diego Bay Wine and Food Festival

Doug Richter – Managing Director, Global Partnerships, INVNT (Popfest, Playback Experience).

Christiane Pheil – Talent Curator, Firefly Music Festival

David Beame –  Event Director, Global Citizen Festival, Central Park NYC

Rose Anderson – Executive Director, New York Festivals®

Juels Pierro – Head of Marketing, Brooklyn Hip Hop Festival


Brief Remarks by Doug Richter

Lunch – Sponsored by INVNT

Safety and Security Is Within Your Reach

The news is flooded with stories of meteorological, medical, and monetary disasters at festivals. Within minutes a festival’s reputation and financial stability can be upended. But what if these disasters could be prevented, minimized or insurable? How can preplanning and on-site crisis management reduce or eliminate risk and reduce your festival’s exposure. We’ll learn how from our panel of professionals.


Jackie Eaton – Co-President, Duganworks, Event Producers (Gathering of the Vibes / The Big UP)


Angela Costello – Vice President, Marketing & Client Relations, AdAir

Raymond Martinez – Chief of Security, Ultra Music Festival

Maren Steiner – Health & Safety Director, Insomniac (Electric Daisy Carnival / Nocturnal Wonderland / Life is Beautiful)

Evan Korn – Managing Partner, iDEKO Productions (CBGB Music & Film Festival)

Scott Mirkin – Co-Founder & Executive Producer, ESM Productions (Budweiser Made in America Festival / Philly 4th of July Jam)

Jim Digby – President & Chair of the Board of Directors, Event Safety Alliance

Keynote: Sponsorship Disrupted

Lesa Ukman – Futures Director & Founder, ESP Properties & IEG

TNT-Technology N’ Ticketing: Exploding Technology

New technology: You can’t live without it. Ticketing, RFID, mobile apps & cashless payments are the festival’s best friends, when they work and its worst nightmares…when they crash. It also depends on sufficient WIFI. Speaking of connectivity, live streaming has become a must in today’s festival climate. We will talk about the latest technologies and how a premium live stream of your event can best benefit you, your sponsors and your audience.


Parag Bhandari – Founder and CEO, UG Strategies


David Alan Bernahl, II –  CEO, CLM, Pebble Beach & Los Angeles Food & Wine Festivals

William Litvack – Co-Founder, SquadUp

Gillian Zettler  Executive Director, Charleston Wine + Food

Matthew Belkin  VP Business Development, Live Nation Entertainment

Dusty Kraatz  Owner, XI Media Productions

The Future of Film: Is The Festival Model Broken?

As filmmakers shift to digital platforms (think Youtube and Netflix to name a few) for viewership and revenue, the film festival model of discovery and word of mouth faces challenges to stay relevant. As Ted Hope proclaimed, how do festivals “pivot” to remain a feeder for great film? Are there ancillary revenue streams that can supplement the core business? John Sloss holds firm that festivals are “magic” and Thom Powers considers them essential to the filmmaker ecosystem. Let’s hear from the experts on this important topic.


Laurie Kirby – Co-President, FestForums


John Sloss – Principal, Sloss Eckhouse LawCo/Cinetic Media (Boyhood, Before Sunrise)

Laurie Gordon – Director, Montreal International Animation Film Festival and Industry Conference (Animaze)

Thom Powers  Film Festival Programmer, DOC NYC, Toronto International Film Festival

Barbara Morgan  Executive Director, Austin Film Festival

Matthew Modine – Writer/Producer/Director


Cocktail Party & Networking – Sponsored by Eventbrite