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Welcome to the 2019 Panel information page for the 11th Annual Lady Filmmakers Festival! Special thanks to our wonderful speakers taking the time out to share their industry experiences and insights with our filmmakers and audience. Speakers below are scheduled but subject to change.

All Panels are at the Wilshire Screening Room in Beverly Hills, CA.

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Saturday,

9/28 2:15pm

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Gail Williamson,

Head of Diversity - KMR Talent

Gail Williamson is a talent agent and head of the Diversity Department at Kazarian/Measures/Ruskin & Associates in North Hollywood, CA.  She began her career as an advocate for talent with disabilities with the California Governor’s Committee for Employment of People with Disabilities working in their Media Access Office in Los Angeles in the early 90’s.  Gail also shares her years of knowledge with many organizations through participating on panels, serving as moderator, presenting keynotes and serving as an advisor.  



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Natasha Chandel, Actress/Producer

Natasha is an Indian-Canadian-American creative exec/producer (MTV, FOX, Disney), writer, actress, comedian and host, currently staffed on season 2 of Netflix’s “Mr. Iglesias”. She is best known for hosting her popular comedy dating podcast called “Kinda Dating”, helming and starring in 3 seasons, 28 episodes of her ravely reviewed comedy web series “Mumbai Chopra: Misadventures of an It Girl”, and recently wrapped producing Critical Role’s “All Work No Play”. As a performer, you can catch Natasha on Amazon Prime’s “Baker’s Dozen”, CBS’ “Seal Team” and Hulu’s “The Mindy Project: Final Season”, among others. More info: www.natashachandel.com

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Giovanna Morales Vargas, Director

Giovanna Morales Vargas received her journalism degree at the University of Manizales in Colombia, where she is originally from, during which she took a film course which sparked her interest in writing films. She started her career at a very early age at CityTV Bogotá as a field producer, and then quickly advanced on to become a producers assistant. Her creativity, innovative ideas and desire for telling stories through visual art propelled her career forward with directing television promos for MuchMusic as a division of the TV station CityTV.

Giovanna took the decision of leaving her home country in order to find her path through the art of writing, which for her, implies the exploration of the world through personal experiences. She visited New York, Boston, Toronto and finally found Vancouver as the place where pursuing her goals seemed so much more natural. While in Toronto she produced several short films and a feature. She wanted to learn more about the craft of editing and in Vancouver she went to film school after which she started editing short films and film trailers.

In 2018 Giovanna wrote and directed her first feature documentary film, A Perfect 14, which won for Best Documentary Feature award at the FIC AUTOR International Film Festival in Guadalajara Mexico and the Storyteller Award at the Women Texas Film Festival. The film also won the Founder's Award at its world premiere at the Miami Fashion Film Festival and has played in many festivals around the world. Giovanna is now currently producing and directing shorts and feature length films.



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James Earl O'Brien, Producer

James Earl O'Brien has produced and edited a number of award winning short and feature films and has also produced and edited independent features, TV series, documentaries and commercial productions.

In 1999 James was one of the founding members of a collective called RantMedia that focused on producing digital media for distribution across the Internet. RantMedia and its projects have been written about in Wired, Spin Magazine and The Globe and Mail. In 2003 he produced a multi-camera, live Internet broadcast called "The Sean Kennedy TV Show" which ran for 20 episodes and was an early innovator in streaming TV content over the Internet. This project got the attention of the New York Times and the Georgia Straight.

In 2004 and 2008 James filmed and edited twenty six episodes of an online TV series titled "Patrolling" which appeared on community TV stations in the US and on the satellite station SkyTV in the UK. In 2010 his editing and production work for the animated short film "Tales from the Afternow: Little Rocks" won him several awards including Best Audio Design at the Vancouver Short Film Festival and Best Animation Science Fiction at the Dragon*Con Independent Short Film Festival in Atlanta, Georgia. Also, he was editor and sound designer on the Japanese language film "Chishio" which garnered both the Audience Choice Award and Best Cinematography award at Bloodshots 2012.

In 2018 James produced and edited his first feature documentary film, A Perfect 14, which garnered him the Best Documentary Feature award at the FIC AUTOR International Film Festival in Guadalajara Mexico and the Storyteller Award at the Women Texas Film Festival. The film also won the Founder's Award at the Miami Fashion Film Festival at its world premiere and has played in many festivals around the world. James currently has a number of projects in development including another feature length documentary, feature length fictional film and an ambitious sci-fi live action short based on the award winning series Tales from the Afternow. 



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Jihan Amer, sylist, model

Jihan Amer is an international fashion stylist and a plus size model. Born in Mumbai, India and raised in Vancouver, Canada, she currently calls Los Angeles, California home. Her work has taken her to the fashion capitals of New York, London, Miami, Toronto and more. She’s had the pleasure of working with brands like Nordstrom, Macy’s, JC Penny, Goddess, 11 Honorè, Elomi and Loft to name a few. She showcases her unique style through thrifting and shopping at local markets in every city she travels to. Jihan is a passionate advocate for inclusivity in the fashion industry and believes style doesn't have a size.


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Saturday, 9/28 4:15pm

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Natasha Chandel

Natasha is an Indian-Canadian-American creative exec/producer (MTV, FOX, Disney), writer, actress, comedian and host, currently staffed on season 2 of Netflix’s “Mr. Iglesias”. She is best known for hosting her popular comedy dating podcast called “Kinda Dating”, helming and starring in 3 seasons, 28 episodes of her ravely reviewed comedy web series “Mumbai Chopra: Misadventures of an It Girl”, and recently wrapped producing Critical Role’s “All Work No Play”. As a performer, you can catch Natasha on Amazon Prime’s “Baker’s Dozen”, CBS’ “Seal Team” and Hulu’s “The Mindy Project: Final Season”, among others. More info: www.natashachandel.com

Elizabeth Snoderly

Dr. Elizabeth Snoderly, Writer/Producer

Elizabeth is not only a producer, but an anesthesiologist. Elizabeth initially became exposed to production in 2006 when she helped out on an educational TV show. She was fortunate enough to be mentored by some amazing professionals in the business, and she later had her own idea for a TV show which was inspired by her children, and led to the production and syndication of an educational TV series called “Passport to Explore”. She later ventured out to do a film, 3 Times a Charm, with the help of a female producer Nikki Love. She has continued to produce additional films and even started a graduate program at the Academy of Arts in San Francisco in TV and Film. Elizabeth has always loved the classic story of Pride and Prejudice, and so she wrote the story of Pride and Prejudice, Cut, but she knew that she needed a talented writer who would have to be a big Jane Austen fan, like herself, to do the story justice. She was thrilled to find Erin, who shared her passion and had a collaborative nature. She hopes to be a part of more amazing projects like these in the future.

https://www.imdb.com/name/nm3037403/?ref_=fn_al_nm_1

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Elizabeth Blake Thomas

Director ELIZABETH BLAKE-THOMAS is a British award-winning filmmaker based in Los Angeles, having recently completed her 7th feature film. Her latest film UNSEEN had its red carpet premiere on September 6th, followed by an Oscar-qualifying theatrical run. She is the founder and resident director of entertainment company Mother & Daughter Entertainment, whose team develops, directs and produces feature films, as well as other media. Elizabeth and Mother & Daughter Entertainment have multiple feature films and projects lined up, including the based-on-a-true-story feature Millie and Me filming later this year. She is also a published author, soon to be turning her book Arabella into a film. Being a female director, Elizabeth strives to make projects with at least a 50/50 female cast and crew. Through public speaking on various panels such as at Sundance and Cannes Film Festival, as well as being an active member in BAFTA and many female filmmaking groups like the Alliance of Women Directors and Women In Film, Elizabeth mentors wherever possible, ensuring she sends the elevator back down to all other female directors and filmmakers.

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Sunday, 9/29 2:15pm

SPEAKERS:

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Paul Weber, CSA

 As Former Executive In House Head of Television Casting and Feature Film Consultant for MGM Studios for 16 years, Paul Weber notably cast the wildly popular STARGATE franchise. Other TV credits include SPARTACUS: GODS OF THE ARENA, OUTLANDER, DEAD LIKE ME, SHE SPIES, POLTERGEIST, and THE OUTER LIMITS. These series and others have garnered numerous honors including 21 Primetime Emmy Award nominations. 

For the big screen, Weber has advised on numerous MGM features including the blockbuster JAMES BOND franchise, FAME, ZOOKEEPER with Kevin James, HOT TUB TIME MACHINE, RED DAWN with Chris Hemsworth, Joss Whedon’s CABIN IN THE WOODS, and ROBOCOP

Weber is now a fully independent casting director and producer. In addition to a number of independent features, recent and on going credits include projects for STARZ, NETFLIX, A&E, DISCOVERY NETWORK, HULU, WGN, LIFETIME, HALLMARK, COMEDY CENTRAL and the CW. He is a casting consultant for several Canadian and American production companies, studios and networks, recently completing US Casting for “PURE”, the highly praised limited series for HULU/WGN, and the 1/2 hour comedy CRAWFORD for Comedy Central. BUCKOUT ROAD, a supernatural thriller which he cast and Exec produced, is being released theatrically, and a second feature, SAFE STORAGE is in pre production. Under his production banner, “One on the Way Productions”, Paul and his producing partners are engaged in developing and producing new media and independent feature projects. 

Weber is a member of the Casting Society of America, the Writers Guild of America, has served on the Host Committee for the Annual Academy Awards and is a regular judge for the Emmy Awards. He is also a respected audition coach and teaches his Art of the Audition, Business of the Art Audition technique class worldwide, including a number of Liberal Arts Colleges and Universities. He was the first American Casting Director ever to be invited to teach a Master Class in South Africa and Cyprus. He also teaches and lectures extensively throughout Canada, Europe and Australia, recently returning from Barcelona, Berlin, Rome, Warsaw and Sydney, Australia, where he taught at the renowned Australian Institute of Performing Arts. His American University visits include USC, UCLA, the University of Texas, Austin, University of Virginia, Loyola Marymount College, University of Conn., University of Arizona, and Sante Fe College, Florida. He is also a regular teaching guest at the SAG-AFTRA Foundation. Paul was a recent guest speaker for the Rising Stars Program at the Toronto International Film Festival and also appeared on the prestigious SXSW Film Festival panel representing Film Casting Directors. Paul is currently working on a book for actors entitled “The Art of the Audition, the Business of the Art.”

Website: webercasting.com 





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Pam Dixon, CSA

Pam Dixon, CSA After graduating from The University of Southern California, Pam was hired by CBS Television. After a few months, she became Assistant to the Head of Casting. Six months later, she left CBS Television to become Vice President of Casting for ABC Television. A year later, she was promoted to Senior Vice President of Casting for the ABC Television Network. She oversaw the casting for all series, mini-series, television movies and daytime soaps. Pam left ABC Television to become a Production Vice President for Paramount Pictures under Michael Eisner. After several years as a motion picture and television executive, Pam decided to open her own casting company. For the last several years, Pam has been an independent feature Casting Director. During this time, she has cast numerous features: Zorro, City Slickers, Waterdance, The Craft, Angels in the Outfield, Tremors, Dick, The Moderns, Goldeneye, Music Box, Baby Boom, Cookie’s Fortune, Gosford Park, and Prairie Home Companion. She has been fortunate to work with many talented directors such as: Robert Altman, Alan Rudolph, Martin Campbell, Tom Hooper, Barry Levinson, and Paul Schrader.

Pam is a past President of The Casting Society of America, position she held for six years. She served on the Board of Trustees of The Wildwood School as chair of fundraising and as a Trustee of Pacific Hills School in West Hollywood. She teaches at UCLA in the Entertainment Studies Department and lectures at The Los Angeles Film School, Harvard University and USC. She is a member of the Media Access Task Force and is currently on The Western Council of the Actors Fund. She is an active member of the Motion Picture Academy Arts & Sciences and on the Casting Directors Peer Group of The Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. Pam is also a recipient of the Lady Filmmakers Illumination Award
https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0228938/?ref_=nv_sr_1