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Individual Investors, Private Equity and Co-Productions

This panel will include real stories about how Indie Dealmakers raise their financing - including working with another country to bring in the money. The different types of investors will be discussed: Debt, Mezzanine, and Private Equity Investors, as well as their motivations and expectations. The panel will also explore the changing landscape of Crowd Funding with respect to the new rules as of June 1, 2015 – using crowd funding as a tool to seek and manage investors.

Vicki Cherkas, provides guidance in the areas of business development, strategic planning, raising capital and business/legal affairs to domestic and international entertainment/media companies at her company Cherkas Strategic Consulting. She offers a full range of business/legal services with respect to motion picture and television financing, development, production, acquisitions, distribution, licensing and talent deals. Cherkas has furnished financial, business and legal services on numerous films selected for major domestic and international film festivals. She has also acted as a consultant for an equity financier of Birdman, 2015 Academy Award winner for Best Picture. Prior to starting her own company, Cherkas worked at Picturehouse, GreeneStreet and Miramax.

Lisa Cortes
, President of Cortés Films, helped spearhead the legendary rise of Def Jam Records. She was the first black female executive to have her own multimedia company at Polygram Records. At Lee Daniels Entertainment, she produced several films including Precious, which earned 6 Academy Award nominations. She is producing the narrative feature, Double Play and directing the documentary, Mothership:The Untold Story of Women and Hip Hop.

Mynette Louie is the president of Gamechanger Films, which finances narrative features directed by women. She is the winner of the 2013 Independent Spirit Piaget Producers Award. Producing credits include 2015 Spirit Award Cassavetes winner Land Ho! (Sundance 2014, Sony Pictures Classics), The Invitation (SXSW 2015, Drafthouse/Netflix), Addicted to Fresno (SXSW 2015, Gravitas), Cold Comes the Night (Sony/Goldwyn 2014), California Solo (Sundance 2012, Strand), Stones in the Sun (Tribeca 2012), Arcadia (Berlin 2012), Children of Invention (Sundance 2009), and Mutual Appreciation (SXSW 2005). Louie serves as an advisor to the Sundance Institute, SXSW, IFP and A3 Foundation. She was named one of Ted Hope’s "21 Brave Thinkers of Truly Free Film” and one of Indiewire’s “100 Filmmakers to Follow on Twitter.”

Debbie Vandermuelen,
the founder of Fusion Features, has successfully helped filmmakers turn their ideas into profitable cinematic entertainment. Adept in the various aspects of development, financing and distribution of both domestically and internationally launched films, Vandermeulen’s projects have earned recognition at renowned festivals including Cannes, Sundance and Toronto. She has served as the Executive Director for the Foundation of International Film Artists and has producer credits for several features, including: Guys Reading Poems starring Patricia Velasquez (The Mummy), My Eleventh with Executive Producer Bryan Singer and starring John Benjamin Hickey (The Big C) and Marin Hinkle (Two and a Half Men).

Thomas D. Selz
(Moderator) is a Founding Partner of Frankfurt Kurnit Klein & Selz, a member of the Entertainment and Corporate Groups and head of the IP Finance Group. Mr. Selz's practice includes advising on documentary film, fictional and fiction-based-on-fact feature films, television pilots, television series and miniseries, live stage productions, publishing, and clearance work. He has advised on film and television finance for more than 40 years, including on mergers and acquisitions, secured transactions, private placements, Internet public offerings under Regulation A, and other complex corporate work involving intellectual property assets. He is a frequent writer and presenter on crowdfunding and other evolving areas of entertainment law and finance.

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NYWIFT programs, screenings and events are supported, in part, by grants from New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and New York State Council on the Arts