2013 SEMINARS

The on-site edition of the “Free Minds Film Distribution Seminar” took place on September 21, 2013

at the historic Culver Hotel in downtown Culver City, California, “The Heart of Screenland.”

Presenters Included –

  • Courtney Moorehead Balaker is an award-winning filmmaker, feature film producer, Off-Broadway theatre director, and co-founder of Korchula Productions, a film and new media production company devoted to making important ideas entertaining. Courtney has produced for the likes of Dimension Films, the Oprah Winfrey Network, PBS, and Universal Pictures. She spent five years in New York City directing Off-Broadway plays, including the New York revival of Austin Pendleton’s Uncle Bob starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Courtney served as Vice President of Development for Neo Art & Logic, a feature film production company with an overall deal with Dimension/Weinstein Company. Courtney’s feature film producer credits include The Collector (Josh Stewart), American Pie Presents the Naked Mile (Eugene Levy), and Pulse (Kristen Bell, Ian Somerhalder). Courtney was a contributing producer during the launch of the Oprah Winfrey Network, and a producer on America in Primetime, a four-hour PBS documentary series that examines the creative process behind television’s most groundbreaking shows. The series features interviews with Larry David, Norman Lear, Alec Baldwin, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Jon Hamm, among others. Courtney wrote and directed The Conversation and Cute Couple, which won a combined three audience choice awards on the film festival circuit. Courtney holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Colorado at Denver, and a master’s degree in theater directing from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and King’s College London.
  • Ted Balaker is a writer, think tank analyst, award-winning filmmaker, and founding partner of Korchula Productions, a film and new media production company devoted to making important ideas entertaining. Ted is a founding producer of ReasonTV, which received the Templeton Foundation’s “Innovative Media Award” during his tenure, and is co-creator of The Drew Carey Project, a series of documentary shorts hosted by Drew Carey. Ted is an executive producer on the feature documentary Honor Flight (a Freethink Media production), which broke the Guinness World Record for largest film screening when it attracted an audience of more than 28,000 at its 2012 premiere. Ted spent five years at the John Stossel Unit at ABC News and three years at Reason Foundation, writing on topics ranging from urban policy to international trade. His written work has appeared in dozens of publications, including The Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, and The Washington Post. Ted is co-author (with Sam Staley) of the book The Road More Traveled (Rowman & Littlefield, 2006), which Chapman University’s Joel Kotkin says “should be required reading, not only for planners and their students, but for anyone who loves cities and wants them to thrive.”
  • Matt Edwards is a producer with Korchula Productions. Prior to joining the team, he was directing and producing in reality television and web-based live programming. Matt has directed and produced for networks like History Channel, Travel Channel, TruTV and Spike, and has produced on The Dead Files, Invention USA, Flip Men, and Storage Hunters. Matt was the director and founding member of The Room Live, a revolutionary live-streaming studio based in Hollywood, CA, where he directed live, multi-camera celebrity driven original programming. Matt was the technical coordinator for Adult Swim’s Tim & Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! on Cartoon Network. Matt has  been involved in the production of multiple award-winning short films, and is a producer on Sweethearts of the Gridiron: An American Story, a feature documentary that chronicles the world-famous Kilgore College Rangerettes of Kilgore, Texas.
  • Michael Emerson has produced extensively for outlets such as History Channel, The Biography Channel, A&E, and The Disney Channel. Michael recently completed work on The History Channel’s critically acclaimed, award-winning ten-hour series World War II in HD, and is in pre-production on a series of new specials for A&E and History Channel. Michael has directed and co-produced many of History Channel’s award-winning two-hour television specials, including When Cowboys were King, Hollywood’s Greatest Villains, and 70’s Fever. He has been honored with sixteen national and international awards for his film and television achievements, and was nominated for the Advertising Industry’s prestigious Clio Award. Michael is author of the book Winning the Corporate Media Wars, and he lectures extensively on media and its impact on our lives. Michael is a member of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.
  • Clay Epstein is Vice President of Sales and Acquisitions at Arclight Films, one of the world’s leading international sales companies. Arclight has sold more than 130 films, including CRASH, the 2004 Academy Award winner for Best Picture. Clay has previously held the position of Vice President of Sales and Acquisitions at The Little Film Company, where he packaged, developed, and executive produced new projects, including Wrecked starring Adrien Brody, A Doll’s House, starring Ben Kingsley, and Tsotsi winner of the 2005 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.
  • Melanie Miller is a producer, film festival director, and Vice President of Acquisitions for Gravitas Ventures, a Video-on-Demand (VOD) distributor that has access to more than 100 million North American homes and more than 1 billion homes worldwide. Melanie heads up a team that distributes approximately 500 films per year through partnerships with cable, satellite, and online outlets. Melanie is also an expert in the world of film festivals and has served as program director of the Jackson Hole International Film Festival. In 2009 she launched the production company Fishbowl Films, which recently released it first feature, DETOUR.

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The virtual online edition of the “Free Minds Film Distribution Seminar” took place on October 19, 2013

broadcast from downtown Culver City, California, “The Heart of Screenland.”

Presenters Included –

  • Courtney Moorehead Balaker is an award-winning filmmaker, feature film producer, Off-Broadway theatre director, and co-founder of Korchula Productions, a film and new media production company devoted to making important ideas entertaining. Courtney has produced for the likes of Dimension Films, the Oprah Winfrey Network, PBS, and Universal Pictures. She spent five years in New York City directing Off-Broadway plays, including the New York revival of Austin Pendleton’s Uncle Bob starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Courtney served as Vice President of Development for Neo Art & Logic, a feature film production company with an overall deal with Dimension/Weinstein Company. Courtney’s feature film producer credits include The Collector (Josh Stewart), American Pie Presents the Naked Mile (Eugene Levy), and Pulse (Kristen Bell, Ian Somerhalder). Courtney was a contributing producer during the launch of the Oprah Winfrey Network, and a producer on America in Primetime, a four-hour PBS documentary series that examines the creative process behind television’s most groundbreaking shows. The series features interviews with Larry David, Norman Lear, Alec Baldwin, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Jon Hamm, among others. Courtney wrote and directed The Conversation and Cute Couple, which won a combined three audience choice awards on the film festival circuit. Courtney holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Colorado at Denver, and a master’s degree in theater directing from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and King’s College London.
  • Ted Balaker is a writer, think tank analyst, award-winning filmmaker, and founding partner of Korchula Productions, a film and new media production company devoted to making important ideas entertaining. Ted is a founding producer of ReasonTV, which received the Templeton Foundation’s “Innovative Media Award” during his tenure, and is co-creator of The Drew Carey Project, a series of documentary shorts hosted by Drew Carey. Ted is an executive producer on the feature documentary Honor Flight (a Freethink Media production), which broke the Guinness World Record for largest film screening when it attracted an audience of more than 28,000 at its 2012 premiere. Ted spent five years at the John Stossel Unit at ABC News and three years at Reason Foundation, writing on topics ranging from urban policy to international trade. His written work has appeared in dozens of publications, including The Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, and The Washington Post. Ted is co-author (with Sam Staley) of the book The Road More Traveled (Rowman & Littlefield, 2006), which Chapman University’s Joel Kotkin says “should be required reading, not only for planners and their students, but for anyone who loves cities and wants them to thrive.”
  • Laurie Eddings  has more than 12 years experience in the motion picture industry.   She began her career with Miramax Films in New York City, where she developed expertise in production and research  before continuing into marketing analytics and distribution.  Laurie was then handpicked to establish and run the market research department at  The Weinstein Company.  Starting at the script level through release, Laurie directed all market research activities including audience screenings, ad testing,  tracking, exit polling and media relations.  As a member of the MPG team, Laurie’s focus is on International markets, where she utilizes her broad range of  research knowledge and client-side understanding, to effectively manage a range of projects, ensuring they run smoothly and deliver clear, actionable findings.
  • Matt Edwards is a producer with Korchula Productions. Prior to joining the team, he was directing and producing in reality television and web-based live programming. Matt has directed and produced for networks like History Channel, Travel Channel, TruTV and Spike, and has produced on The Dead Files, Invention USA, Flip Men, and Storage Hunters. Matt was the director and founding member of The Room Live, a revolutionary live-streaming studio based in Hollywood, CA, where he directed live, multi-camera celebrity driven original programming. Matt was the technical coordinator for Adult Swim’s Tim & Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! on Cartoon Network. Matt has  been involved in the production of multiple award-winning short films, and is a producer on Sweethearts of the Gridiron: An American Story, a feature documentary that chronicles the world-famous Kilgore College Rangerettes of Kilgore, Texas.
  • Melanie Miller is a producer, film festival director, and Vice President of Acquisitions for Gravitas Ventures, a Video-on-Demand (VOD) distributor that has access to more than 100 million North American homes and more than 1 billion homes worldwide. Melanie heads up a team that distributes approximately 500 films per year through partnerships with cable, satellite, and online outlets. Melanie is also an expert in the world of film festivals and has served as program director of the Jackson Hole International Film Festival. In 2009 she launched the production company Fishbowl Films, which recently released it first feature, DETOUR.
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