Our Experts (in order of appearance)
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. Currently Ms. Guernsey is 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.
Karyn Edwards is Senior Counsel, Global Film at Netflix Inc. Karyn provides corporate and production legal and business affairs for all of the company’s business and entertainment endeavors. Prior to joining Netflix, she was at Thunderbird Films with more than eleven years of experience in entertainment law, a decade of which was spent at Brightlight Pictures, a Vancouver-based film and television start-up company where she served as Vice President, Business & Legal Affairs, was on their board of directors and rose to the level of Executive Vice President, Business and Legal Affairs. While at Brightlight, Edwards had a dual role in legal affairs and as a producer on several feature film and TV projects as she structured a host of international and inter-provincial co-productions. She also closed around $300 million in financing on film and TV shows, and worked with a host of foreign partners, including Mandate Pictures, Voltage Pictures, Fox 21, Red Granite Pictures, Mandalay Pictures and The Weinstein Company. Edwards’ executive producer credits at Brightlight included the theatrical feature 50 Dead Men Walking and the TV mini-series Delete. Prior to joining Brightlight Pictures, Ms. Edwards launched her own production outfit, Pictopia Pictures, were she was responsible for all aspects of production including develop, finance, and produce her own TV series and theatrical features.
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.
Audrey Delaney is currently the Senior Vice President of Marketing & Acquisitions for Santa Monica-based Myriad Pictures. In this job she is responsible for overseeing the company’s acquisition activities, as well as developing and managing the worldwide marketing campaigns for the company’s slate of pictures. At Myriad, Audrey has handled the acquisitions and marketing of such high profile films as You’re Not You starring Hilary Swank, Emmy Rossum and Josh Duhamel, Five Flights Up starring Diane Keaton and Morgan Freeman, and Frontera starring Ed Harris, Eva Longoria and Michael Pena. Prior to Myriad, Audrey served as the Vice President of Acquisitions, Business Development and Marketing for Lightning Entertainment, an independent production and distribution company based in Santa Monica. At Lightning, Audrey oversaw the acquisitions process for both international and US releases, for the company’s output deals with Lionsgate, Anchor Bay, and VOD platforms. At Lightning Audrey acquired the romance Love and Honor starring Liam Hemsworth and Teresa Palmer, Struck By Lightning with Chris Colfer and Rebel Wilson, and the comedy The Hot Flashes starring Brooke Shields, Virginia Madsen, Wanda Sykes, Daryl Hannah, and Camryn Manheim. Prior to Lightning, Audrey served as the VP of Acquisitions and Marketing for Media 8 Entertainment, an independent production, financing, and international distribution company. At Media 8, she worked on the production and distribution of numerous independent films including Monster, for which Charlize Theron won an Academy Award, The Upside of Anger (starring Kevin Costner and Joan Allen), Running Scared (starring Paul Walker), and Man About Town (starring Ben Affleck). At Media 8, Audrey’s acquisitions included films such as Jackboots on Whitehall (featuring Ewan MacGregor and Tom Wilkinson), Cash (starring Sean Bean and Chris Hemsworth), and Brief Interviews With Hideous Men (starring John Krasinski and Dominic Cooper). Audrey began her career in entertainment at Jersey Films, working for producers Stacey Sher, Michael Shamberg, and Danny DeVito. While at Jersey, she worked on the development and production of films such as Garden State, Along Came Polly, Be Cool, and Skeleton Key. Audrey received a BA in Political Science from Yale University, attended the MFA film program at Columbia University (New York), and received an MBA with honors from the USC Marshall School of Business.
David Dinerstein is one of the most accomplished industry executives and has been responsible for distributing many of the most significant independent films in the past 20 years. Dinerstein has a broad range of experience in entertainment marketing, distribution, production, programming, acquisitions, finance, and international sales. He has built and managed several independent companies from their inception. Dinerstein has 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. Some of Dinerstein’s films include Pulp Fiction, The Illusionist, The Full Monty, Hustle & Flow, Mad Hot Ballroom, 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. More recently he worked on the release of American Hustle and Her. This past year, Dinerstein Executive Produced Winter On Fire, an Original Netflix documentary which received an Academy Award nomination for Best Documentary. Dinerstein built and managed several independent companies from their inception. He co-founded Paramount Classics and was one the original architects of Fox Searchlight. He served as the President of Lakeshore Entertainment. Dinerstein started his career at Miramax Films where he served as the Head of Marketing. Dinerstein is a graduate of Boston University and is a voting member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences.
Bec Smith is an agent at United Talent Agency representing screen writers and directors. Her clients include directors Garth Davis, David Michôd, James Ponsoldt, Mia Hansen-Løve, Lake Bell, and Joshua Oppenheimer (THE ACT OF KILLING) along with screenwriters Luke Davies and Frank John Hughes. She is also a member of United Talent Agency’s Independent Film Group, specializing in film finance and sales. Titles she has worked on in this capacity include I Feel Pretty, Unabomber, Mary Magdalene, The Circle, Landline, Diary of a Teenage Girl, Margin Call, The Spectacular Now, The Skeleton Twins, In A World, Beginners and Animal Kingdom. Smith joined UTA from the Sydney office of Working Title Films, where she was head of development. A former journalist, Bec edited Inside Film (IF) magazine before taking over as the Australasian Bureau Chief of The Hollywood Reporter. She produced the live televised IF Awards, Australia’s version of the Independent Spirit Awards. She was an executive producer on David Michôd’s Animal Kingdom, which won the Sundance Film Festival’s ‘Dramatic World Cinema Jury Prize.’ Additionally, Smith is on the Advisory Board of LA-based cinematheque The Cinefamily. She also served on the Independent Filmmaker Project (IFP’s) Advisory Board and routinely attends major international film festivals and markets including Cannes, Toronto, Sundance and the American Film Market. Smith holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communications (Journalism) from the University of Technology in Sydney. She also earned a diploma in teaching English as a Second Language (ESL) and lived and worked in Japan, Thailand and France prior to moving into film.
Russell Schwartz is Co-Principal of Pandemic Marketing Group since its inception in 2008. The company provided strategic marketing, theatrical and alternative platform distribution, ancillary placement and social media execution for feature films.
From 2013-2014, Russell was President of Theatrical Marketing for Relativity Media and was responsible for the planning, strategy and execution of marketing campaigns for each of the studio’s theatrically released motion pictures.
From 2001 to 2008, Schwartz was President of Theatrical Marketing at New Line Cinema, overseeing all of the company’s marketing efforts. Films released during his tenure received 44 Academy Award nominations and earned billions at the domestic box office. Some of the films for which Schwartz managed and created marketing campaigns included The Lord of the Rings trilogy, Hairspray, Wedding Crashers, Elf, Rush Hour 2 & 3, The Notebook, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, About Schmidt and Little Children.
Before that he was President of USA Films, where he released such films as Traffic, Nurse Betty, Topsy Turvy, Being John Malkovich and Pitch Black. From 1992 to 1999, Schwartz was President of Gramercy Pictures. There he oversaw the marketing of Four Weddings and a Funeral, Fargo, The Usual Suspects, Elizabeth, The Big Lebowski, Dazed and Confused, Dead Man Walking and many others.
Dama Claire is a Special Incentives Consultant at Entertainment Partners. Dama is one of the foremost experts in governmental production incentives. She works closely with studios and independent film producers to help identify the best location and production incentive packages to save money. She helped set up location-based financing for “Dear John” in South Carolina, “American Ultra” and “Looper” in Louisiana, “Nightcrawler” in California, “Red Dawn” in Michigan and “Nice Guys” in Georgia, and co-produced Universal’s “Lone Survivor” in New Mexico and Fox Searchlight’s “Conviction” in Michigan. She has also helped draft film tax legislation in various states including; Alaska, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Ohio and South Carolina.
Dama Claire began her entertainment career at Warner Bros. working with Malpaso Productions (Clint Eastwood), and has served as West Region Director of Entertainment Tax for Price Waterhouse, Vice President of Tax at Carolco Pictures and Twentieth Century Fox, and served with the Domestic Taxation committee of the MPAA. She is a member of the British Academy of Film and Television (BAFTA), Producers Guild of America (PGA) and Women in Film. Ms. Claire co-authors the “Guide to US Production Incentives” and holds a Masters of Business Taxation (MBT) from the University of Southern California.
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 involved in financing up to 350 independent movies including the television series Leverage and True Justice and movies including Kingdom of Twilight, Spartan, Monster, Alex and Emma, My Big Fat Greek Wedding, Virgin Suicides, Cookies’ Fortune, and The English Patient. Peter has served on the International Film and Television Association Board of Directors and the Advisory Board of Directors for the American Film Institute Festival. He is a frequent speaker on industry panels and a guest lecturer. Peter graduated from the US Merchant Marine Academy in 1980 and earned an MBA from UCLA’s Anderson School of Management in 1990.
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.
David C. Friedman is currently Executive Vice President and General Counsel of New Regency Productions in Los Angeles, where he oversees all legal affairs for the Company. Prior to joining New Regency, Mr. Friedman established his own legal and consulting firm, Chapter 2 Media Advisors, Inc., where he advised entertainment clients. Previously, Mr. Friedman was Executive Vice President and Deputy General Counsel for Lions Gate Entertainment and General Counsel for Summit Entertainment in Santa Monica, California. At Lions Gate, Mr. Friedman worked on a variety of matters, including financing, corporate and international transactions, licensing and merchandising, and management of the Company’s trademark portfolio and litigation. In that position, Mr. Friedman concluded a ground-breaking slate financing and distribution transaction with a large Chinese film and television company. Having joined Summit in 2007, Mr. Friedman had primary responsibility for all legal matters, where the areas of focus of his legal department included film development and production, acquisitions, marketing, distribution and international licensing, financing, corporate transactions and litigation supervision. Prior to joining Summit, Mr. Friedman served as Executive Vice President, Corporate Transactions and Deputy General Counsel for Paramount Pictures, where his chief areas of responsibility included individual and slate motion picture financing and co-financing transactions, and significant business transactions. Prior to joining Paramount in 1995, he was a partner in private practice representing production companies, individual producers and other talent. Mr. Friedman received his B.A. in Economics from UCLA and his J.D. degree from UC Berkeley (Boalt Hall).
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.