Meet our Experts!
David Steinberg is a business lawyer and Partner at Dentons Canada LLP, specializing in the areas of entertainment, media and intellectual property. David primarily practices in the film, television, music, and book publishing industries. He acts for film and television producers and distributors, broadcasters, Internet service providers, publishers, creators and manufacturers of home entertainment products and merchandise. David advises his clients in both Canada and the United States on matters related to film and television financing, production and distribution, the licensing of intellectual property for integrated media products and the sale and acquisition of rights. David is a dynamic advisor who consistently applies a pragmatic approach to his practice. As a result, he has developed strong, long-lasting relationships with his clients. David is highly service-oriented and committed to assisting his clients in achieving their goals. He combines superior legal skills, industry experience and an adaptable approach to communicating and negotiating in all types of business transactions. David is a frequent speaker and lecturer on various media and entertainment law related topics in both Canada and the United States. He is peer-rated as “most frequently recommended” in the annual Canadian Legal Lexpert® Directory and is recognized by Best Lawyers in Canada 2015 as one of Canada’s leading lawyers in the area of Entertainment Law (2006-2015).
Lucie L. Guernsey has had over 25 years of credit, financial and commercial banking experience in the global Media and Entertainment Industries. Her 25 years’ experience encompasses the film, television, cable, broadcasting, music, gaming and publishing industries and her broad expertise includes activities such as Structured Loans, Single Purpose Loans, Private Equity, European Capital Markets, Bank Syndications and Private Placements. Ms. Guernsey has had experience in the specialized area of Media and Entertainment in both traditional and investment banking areas. Ms. Guernsey recently resigned as a Board Member (Non-Executive) of First State Holding Co (Jersey) Ltd which is a Fund that owns and manages a large music catalog. She is also a Managing Director, USA, at Woodland Bay Capital Ltd, a Vancouver based company organized to arrange for a variety of production services, including arranging for the monetization of Canadian tax rebates for content copyright owners. Ms. Guernsey was also the Chief Investment Officer for the fully allocated Cedar Lane Entertainment Fund. Ms. Guernsey has also worked at IDB Bank’s Entertainment, Sports and Media team. Prior to IDB, Ms.Guernsey ran a global Media and Entertainment Group at WestLB. Ms. Guernsey has spoken at a number of seminars and panel discussions at Columbia University, The New York Film Forum and New York University’s MBA School.
David Henry is a First Vice President and Senior Relationship Manager Bank Leumi USA Media & Entertainment Group. Previously, he was Senior Vice President and Managing Director, East West Bank’s Entertainment Banking Group in Beverly Hills. Bank Leumi USA provides customized financial services to the entertainment industry, with a focus on film and television clients in the U.S., Canada, United Kingdom and Europe. Prior to that he was Senior Vice President & Manager of the Entertainment Banking Group at Bank Leumi USA and the Entertainment Industries Group at U.S. Bank. During his 20 year tenure in the media & entertainment industry, Mr. Henry has been involved with the financing of over 200 motion pictures and television series.
Nicholas Tabarrok is a prolific film and television producer whose company, Darius Films, has offices in Los Angeles and Toronto. Since 1998, he has produced over twenty feature films that have received both commercial and critical success. Many of them have premiered at the world’s top film festivals: The Life and Hard Times of Guy Terrifico (Toronto International Film Festival, SXSW), Hank and Mike (Karlovy Vary 2007), Surviving Crooked Lake (Slamdance 2008), Weirdsville (Toronto International Film Festival and opening night gala of the Slamdance and Raindance Film Festivals), Coopers’ Christmas, starring Samantha Bee, Jason Jones, and Dave Foley (Toronto International Film Festival 2008), and Defendor (Toronto International Film Festival 2009).
The Art of the Steal, starring Kurt Russell, Matt Dillon, Jay Baruchel and Terence Stamp, premiered at TIFF 2013 with a Gala Presentation and was distributed by Radius-TWC and Sony Pictures. The Calling, starring Susan Sarandon, Ellen Burstyn, Donald Sutherland and Topher Grace was released by Sony Pictures in September 2014.
In 2015, Sony Pictures released The Intruders, starring Miranda Cosgrove, Donal Logue, Austin Butler, and Tom Sizemore. In addition, Man Vs., starring Chris Diamantopoulos, premiered at the Sci-Fi-London Film Festival in May 2015.
Most recently, Nicholas has produced three highly anticipated feature films: The Padre, starring Tim Roth, Nick Nolte, and Luis Guzmán. Stockholm, starring Ethan Hawke, Noomi Rapace, and Mark Strong. Benjamin; directed by and starring Bob Saget, as well as Rob Corddry, Kevin Pollak, Mary Lynn Rajskub, Dave Foley, and Cheri Oteri.
Nicholas also produces television; the adult animated series, Fugget About It, has completed three seasons and is entering a fourth. Nicholas has several other television projects currently in development with networks and studios including the historical drama The Lords of Opium with Oscar-winner Paul Haggis as Executive Producer for HBO Canada and the BBC.
He is a proud member of the Producer’s Guild of America, the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, the British Academy of Film and Television Arts, and the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television. Nicholas was honored by Variety Magazine as one the “Top Ten Producers to Watch” in 2008.
David Dinerstein is and award-wining producer and one of the most accomplished industry executives. Dinerstein has distributed and released over 200 movies and helped launch the careers of numerous iconic filmmakers including Quentin Tarantino, Steven Soderberg, Paul Greengrass, Justin Lin, Sofia Coppola, Baz Luhrman, Jane Campion and Kevin Smith. His films have garnered over 96 Academy Award Nominations and 15 Academy Awards. Dinerstein co-founded Paramount Vantage and was one the original architects of Fox Searchlight. He was involved in the marketing and distribution of a wide range of films including “American Hustle,” “Her,” “Pulp Fiction,” “The Illusionist,” “The Full Monty,” “Hustle & Flow,” “The Virgin Suicides,” “You Can Count On Me,” “The Brothers McMullen,” “The Ice Storm,” “The Piano,” “The Crow,” “sex, lies and videotape,” “The Crying Game,” “My Left Foot,” “Reservoir Dogs,” and “Clerks.” In addition to his slate of narrative feature films, Dinerstein specializes in documentaries. He produced “Winter On Fire,” an Original Netflix documentary which received an Academy Award nomination for Best Documentary, and for which Dinerstein was nominated for an Emmy Award. He also produced “Cries From Syria” which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and was acquired by HBO. Dinerstein distributed the pre-eminent documentaries “Mad Hot Ballroom,” “Madonna: Truth Or Dare,” “Paris Is Burning,” and “Jay-Z: Fade To Black.” Dinerstein is a graduate of Boston University and is a voting member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences.
John Evershed is the founder and former CEO of Mondo Media, the leading digital distributor of animation for young adults. He continues to serve on the board of Mondo and is advising two new digital entertainment start-ups. Evershed led Mondo’s evolution from a YouTube channel with over 4 billion video views for its short format series into a standalone branded channel on AT&T Time Warner’s VRV SVOD platform, home to multiple original, long form, Mondo-owned series. Evershed oversaw the growth of Happy Tree Friends from a humble web-series into an Annie award-winning multimedia franchise that included a TV series that aired in over 30 markets and a ground-breaking global merchandise program.
Russell Schwartz is currently President of Pandemic Marketing, which provides marketing solutions to boutique and independent producers and distributors. Among the companies he has worked with are Anonymous Content, Liddell Entertainment, National Geographic, Cinetic Media and Constantin Films. He is currently leading the marketing team on the Entertainment Studios release of CHAPPAQUIDDICK, scheduled for April 6th.
Russell is also the lead Marketing professor in the Creative Producing Department of The Dodge College of Film and New Media at Chapman University where he teaches in both the undergraduate and graduate programs. He also teaches marketing in the Producing Fellows program at the American Film Institute.
Peter Graham is a Managing Partner of 120db films and has been actively involved in financing entertainment companies and film production for over 20 years. He has recently partnered with Cabinet Finance to help them with the television production and did a location scout to the Republic of Georgia, were we are planning to shoot our series the Syndicate. He has been actively involved in financing entertainment companies and film production for over twentry years. He was formerly a Managing Director of the Lewis Horwitz Organization (LHO), one of the premiere companies specializing in financing independent film and television production. Prior to LHO (1997 to 2005), he was a Vice President with Union Bank of California’s Entertainment Department (1992 to 1997) lending to independent film productions. Mr. Graham began his entertainment financing skills with First Interstate Bank from (1990 to 1992). He graduated from the US Merchant Marine Academy in 1980 and earned an MBA from UCLA’s Anderson School of Management in 1990.Mr. Graham has expertise in complex international film financing and distribution. His specialty is developing creative deal structures encompassing both debt and equity.
He has been involved in financing over 250 independent movies including “Kingdom of Twilight”, “Spartan”, “Monster”, “Alex and Emma”, “My Big Fat Greek Wedding”, “Virgin Suicides”, “Cookies’ Fortune”, and “The English Patient”. Mr. Graham is currently on the I.F.T.A Board of Directors and has served on the Advisory Board of Directors for the American Film Institute Festival. He is a frequent speaker on industry panels and a guest lecturer for university courses. Peter graduated from the US Merchant Marine Academy in 1980 and earned an MBA from UCLA’s Anderson School of Management in 1990.
Marco Cordova is Director of West Coast Tax Credit Investments for Monarch Private Capital. Marco’s production incentives and tax expertise has benefited countless film and TV projects for the past 20 years. Marco is one of the nation’s leading tax credit brokers, primarily representing Major Studios and Fortune 500 companies in placing film and TV tax credits throughout the U.S. Marco also specializes in federal and state investment tax credit opportunities, including renewable energy, historic rehabilitation, and low income housing, for corporate taxpayers and high net worth individuals.
Prior to joining Monarch, Marco was a VP of Entertainment Partners, where he worked on over $1 billion in film tax credit placement and production procurement transactions. Marco was also the creator and co-editor of EP’s widely distributed domestic and international production incentives publications. Prior to working with EP, Marco worked for Sony Pictures Entertainment, where he managed the company’s tax credit projects and represented the studio in the MPAA’s domestic and international production incentives committees. Marco started his career in public accounting working for Arthur Andersen and Deloitte, specializing in entertainment tax outsourcing and consulting engagements.
Marco is a California CPA and registered securities representative with FINRA. He graduated with honors from Loyola Marymount University and holds a Master’s Degree in Business Taxation from the University of Southern California. Marco currently serves on LMU’s Accounting Advisory Board and is an active member of the Institute of Professionals in Taxation, which awarded him the 2017 Tax Article of the Year for his write-up on production incentives.
Nancy Rae Stone’s experience as a producer provides an invaluable background to her work with the California Film & Television tax credit program – both old and new. Ms. Stone was extensively involved in structuring the original tax credit program and now oversees the expanded program which enables California to provide competitive incentives to productions that, in turn create employment and increase economic development throughout California. Ms. Stone’s production expertise has been instrumental in the development and successful implementation of the film and television tax credit program in California.
Ms. Stone has worked as a producer, line producer, executive and consultant in the motion picture industry for over 20 years. She most recently executive produced Words & Pictures, starring Clive Owen and Juliette Binoche, which was released by Roadside Attractions in 2014. Ms. Stone worked for nearly a decade as the Executive Vice President of Production at Beacon Pictures, where she supervised physical production of notable theatrical films ranging from $4 million to $90 million dollars, including Air Force One (post-production), Spy Game, Bring It On, Family Man, and 13 Days. Ms. Stone’s independent producer credits include The Last Seduction with Linda Fiorentino, Femme Fatale with Colin Firth, Playing God with Angelina Jolie, and American Heart, starring Jeff Bridges.
David Acosta – With over a decade of experience in the entertainment and media finance business, David is a senior vice president at City National Bank and runs the Film, TV and Sports Team in Los Angeles. This entails sourcing and structuring of single and multiple picture film financings, financing for television productions, financings for sports teams and other media businesses. Prior to CNB, David worked for Israel Discount Bank of New York, where he was a senior vice president and head of the entertainment, sports and syndicated finance group and head of mid-corporate banking. There, he led a team of bankers who managed relationships with sports and entertainment companies. Earlier in his career, David worked with Lazard Freres & Co., in New York. David earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Columbia University in New York.
Jeff Geoffray, is the Co-Founder and Managing Director at VX119 Media Capital, where he helped raise a fund of $100 million to finance movies and television with Wall Street firm, Crayhill Capital Management. The company’s first films will be released in the US starting in the Summer of 2018 and include A24’s Under the Silver Lake, starring Andrew Garfield; and, Open Road’s City of Lies, starring Johnny Depp.
Jeff Geoffray, is a challenge-driven professional with an established record of success in film production, distribution and financing. In any given month, a dozen or more films produced or financed by Jeff and his related companies, are showing at theaters, or across the cable, and television spectrum. Jeff is a graduate of USC’s School of Cinematic Studies where upon graduating he produced his first feature film, Witchboard, which went on to be a commercial and critical success. After forming Blue Rider Pictures in 1991 with Walter Josten – and in an effort to give them a competitive financial advantage — Jeff and Walter became some of the first producers to take advantage of international tax credits in Canada, the UK, the Isle of Man, the Netherlands and Germany. During that time, Jeff produced or executive produced many successful pictures, including family films such as Call of the Wild and installments of the Leprechaun, Children of The Corn and Wishmaster series. So well known was Jeff’s depth of knowledge in production and international tax credit financing that Walden Media made Jeff one of its first hires to help them decide where in the world it was most advantageous – from a creative and financial standpoint – to make their films. Jeff worked on all of Walden’s films up to The Chronicles of Narnia. As such, he was part of the team that oversaw the pre-production of Jim Cameron’s groundbreaking 3D HD IMAX film, Ghosts of the Abyss, and he was an executive on Holes, Around the World in 80 Days and other Walden titles. Because of Jeff’s background in both production and financing, he was able to help create a new financial product for the film industry called bridge financing. A bridge loan helps producers finance their pre-production and production prior to having their permanent production loan in place. Since 1999, Jeff has been a driving force behind over 70 successful bridge loan transactions with his companies, Blue Rider Pictures and Blue Rider Finance. In the process, Jeff qualified for his own California Commercial Lender’s License for transactions that represented over $600 million in film production. These projects included high-profile theatrical releases such as Werner Herzog’s Rescue Dawn, as well as Then She Found Me, Helen Hunt’s first directorial effort. Known by most of his colleagues as someone others can depend on, Jeff’s track record has led investors and investment firms to put hundreds of millions of dollars in his control and to administer the safe return of fees and interests.
Karen Robson is a Partner and heads Pryor Cashman’s Los Angeles office and is a member of the firm’s Media + Entertainment, Banking + Finance, Intellectual Property, Corporate and Digital Media Groups.
A native of Australia, Karen is a self-described “multicultural aficionado” who closely follows the entertainment industry’s emerging markets around the globe and the business, financial and technical innovations that are shaping its future. Before embarking on a legal career, she had a brief career as an actress in Australia, including a major role in the Peter Weir cult favorite “Picnic at Hanging Rock.” She also worked as a producer and in direct distribution of feature films and documentaries. Karen’s insider perspective and entrepreneurial outlook enhance her ability to negotiate cutting-edge joint venture, production and distribution agreements, film financings and acquisitions.
A seasoned professional, Karen has represented domestic and foreign motion picture and television financiers, banks, equity investors, hedge funds, studios, broadcast and cable TV networks, and production and distribution companies for many years. She also advises individual content creators, including writers, directors and producers, particularly women creators.
Clients rely on Karen to effectively negotiate and close financial arrangements and distribution deals. She helps lenders and producers structure film financings, including senior and mezzanine debt and equity, as well as crowdfunding transactions.
Karen is sought after by well-known film and television production companies, including those involved in visual effects, animation and reality television. She helps them take advantage of audience expansion opportunities in alternative channels, including Internet and digital media platforms. Karen advises on intellectual property transactions, including new ways to optimize and monetize audio-visual content through licensing and merchandising arrangements and collaborations with video game and publishing ventures, especially in the family/children’s arena.
Adrian Ward is a Senior Director Market Executive, Entertainment at Barc of California inLos Angeles. Adrian joined the pioneering entertainment lender The Lewis Horwitz Organization (LHO) in 1991, where he was involved in the development and structuring of some of the first ever bank-financed production loans based on international sales contracts. In the following years he was instrumental in the risk analysis that led to gap finance transactions and rapidly became one of the leading lenders within the division. In 1998 Adrian returned to his hometown of London, England, as LHO’s European Representative where he specialized in packaging multi-party co-production transactions involving many of the available European tax incentives. Returning to Los Angeles in 2005 as the Portfolio Manager for ICB Entertainment Finance (ICBEF), he was responsible for oversight of production loans with an aggregate value of approx. $200,000,000. Titles funded at LHO/ICBEF included Big Fat Greek Wedding, Monster, and The Tudors. In April 2008, he became Senior Vice President of National Bank of California’s Entertainment, Sports & Media Department and provided financing for over 60 films, representing over $175,000,000 in production budgets, including The Tempest, Red Dog and The Ward.
In January, 2013, Adrian joined Pacific Mercantile Bank (PMB) and in the ensuing years built a dynamic lending group known for its innovation and customer service. Under his guidance, PMB was at the forefront of independent film and TV financing. As of April, 2018, that experience and leadership is being put to work at Banc of California (BoC) as the new Head of Entertainment Banking. BoC, a bank with assets of approx. $10 billion, is known for its unrivalled service and product range and is set to become one of the leading lights in the entertainment business.
Adrian’s breadth of knowledge, amassed over approximately 700 film and TV transactions, gives BoC the ideal platform to become an industry-leading institution for many years to come.