Big Bear Film Festival


The Big Bear International Film Festival was held in the mountain community of Big Bear Lake, California, from 2000-2014. Every year, the festival expanded in its number of submissions and the prestige of their honorees. The festival hosted both film and screenplay competitions.

This was its official website for a number of years.
Content is from the 2009 pages providing a nostalgic glimpse of what this festival was all about.

Founded in 2000 the Big Bear Lake International Film Festival is a non-profit organization dedicated to showcasing the emerging talent of screenwriters and independent filmmakers within the idyllic setting of Big Bear Lake. Our goal is to nurture a festival, which is highly creative, filmmaker friendly and which provides an educational experience for those people interested in all aspects of the film industry.

The festival screens independent feature films, short films, student films, high school student films, documentaries, animation and family films. Jury and Audience Awards are given in each category in addition to a Student Cinematography Award.

Each year there is a special sidebar or cultural showcase.  We also hold a screenwriting competition with agents, managers and producers as jurors in addition to seminars during the Festival.

The festival has a film industry presence with film & screenwriting jurors in attendance and participating on the popular screenwriting/filmmaker panel discussion on Saturday morning.

We also offer a pitchfest on Sunday morning.

.  MovieMaker Magazine named BBLIFF "One of 25 festivals worth the entry fee."


Big Bear Lake
International Film Festival
P.O. Box 1981
Big Bear Lake, CA 92315-1981

Big Bear Film Festival 2009 Filmmakers
Congratulations to all the filmmakers who were at the festival this year. Good Job!!.




The 10th annual Big Bear Lake International Film Festival, being held the weekend of September 18-20, 2009, has a few remaining committee head positions available for enthusiastic locals to get a piece of the action with this year’s festival. Selected applicants will have the opportunity to work as part of the dedicated, fun team that has been annually creating our highly successful and continually growing film festivals.

Besides receiving two all-event passes to the festival, including all movies, and invitations to the ‘invitation only’ events, our committee members have the unique opportunity to meet the festival’s Lifetime Achievement Award honorees and the Hollywood professionals that participate as jurors and panelists in the festival events. The film festival annually brings an exciting slate of independent films to the Big Bear community to introduce up-and-coming filmmakers and their films for the enjoyment of local and visiting film lovers. We are taking applications for immediate selection of our team. We have committees specializing in a variety of areas, so bring your own unique expertise and join in the adventure of Big Bear Lake’s well-respected film festival.

For more information on becoming a volunteer or a committee head position, fill-out the application below and email it to us or call us at 909.866.3433 for more information. The Big Bear Lake International Film Festival is a non-profit organization.

2009 Lifetime Achievement Award Recipients
All four awards will be handed out Friday, September 18th

Cinematography Academy Award Winner Philippe Rousselout
Acting Award of Excellence Lou Diamond Phillips
Screenwriting Academy Award Winner David S. Ward
Community Service John Grandi



Josy Riddl: I attended every one of the Big Bear International Film Festivals from 2000 through 2014. Every year, it seemed, the festival expanded in its number of submissions and the prestige of their honorees. In 2009 they even screened Frozen Kiss,” which was filmed in Big Bear and included 40 Valley locals. Wahoo. I arrived at the 2009 festival after a whirl wind week of attending several gala events in LA and San Francisco. With my luggage I had several of the latest wigs by Raquel Welch. Wigs are so much easier to guarantee perfect hair days instead of trying to fit in appointments at the hair salon while on a busy business schedule. I remember the first time I decided to shop for a wig online. I don't know why it took me so long to try it, but by then I was pretty knowledgeable about cap constructions and the pros and cons regarding the various fiber options. The advancements in the synthetic fibers used in wigs has been great. The heat friendly synthetic fibers hold their shape once styled with heat for a super easy, locked-in look. And now there are even synthetic/ human hair blends that some wig manufacturers are offering. I'm not totally convinced about the human hair/ synthetic blends. The two types of fibers have different lifespans and age in different ways, which can leave a human hair blend wig looking and feeling less than ideal or so I have been told. In addition, because blended wigs are made from two different types of hair fibers, maintenance can be a bit more difficult and time consuming. Human hair wigs can be fabulous, but costly and certainly require more upkeep. On the other hand with proper care, human hair wigs usually last about a year while synthetic hair, especially heat friendly synthetic, will generally only last between 3-6 months, especially if worn everyday. I stick with the less costly synthetic wigs but choose the higher priced cap monofilament cap constructions that make the wig more comfortable and realistic, particularly if the cap has a lace front allowing off-the-face styling options. Oh my I am getting carried away.

You might think that in such a picturesque mountain community location as Big Bear one wouldn't find it necessary to bother about one's hair. Not so. There are so many international patrons and filmmakers to connect with. I always want to look my best when networking. Plus there is the Opening Night Party and Honoree Awards in Directing, Cinematography, Screenwriting, Film Music and the Community Awards at the start of the festival and the Festival Awards & Wrap Party at the end. I must say I had plenty of compliments regarding my hair from a number of the women attendees wanting to know who my hair stylist was. They shouldn't have been astonished when I revealed I was wearing a wig. And then they wanted to know the brand and where I had bought it.

I just loved this festival. It was such a wonderful way to to access up-and-coming independent film work in a relaxed and idyllic setting.


Big Bear Lake International Film Festival 2009
Sky Island Media and Rebel Video Productions collaborate on the 10th Annual Big Bear Lake International Film Festival. Many filmmakers showed up and had a great time networking with Lou Diamond Phillips, Sally Kirkland, Michael Constantine, David Ward, and Philippe Rousolett.

Schedule of Events

Opening Night Gala

Friday Evening
(Business Attire)

5:00 pm - 6:00 pm Filmmaker Reception
6:00 pm - Opening Night Gala Reception
7:00 pm - Honorary Awards presented
8:00 pm - Opening Night Movie
Tickets: $35 per person


Filmmaker Networking Opportunities

Friday, 5:00pm - 6:00 pm
Filmmaker Networking Reception

Friday, 6:00 pm - 10:00pm
Opening Night Gala

Friday, 10:00 pm
Post-Festival Party

Saturday, 7:30 am - 9:15 am
Filmmaker Breakfast

Saturday, 6:00 pm - 10:00 pm
Wrap Party Reception

Saturday, 10:00 pm
Post-Festival Party
(Filmmaker badge will allow Free admission)

Screening venues for the Big Bear Lake International Film Festival include the Performing Arts Center (located at 39707 Big Bear Blvd. in Big Bear Lake) and Village Theatre North (located at 602 Pine Knot Avenue in Big Bear Lake)


Thursday, September 17, 2009
6:00 pm - 10:00 pm   Outdoor Screening of the film, "Dr. Doolittle" (shot in Big Bear) and Pet Contest to promote the Film Festival's sidebar showcasing films dealing with pets and animals
Friday, September 17, 2009 
9:00 am - 10:00 am   Festival Registration Opens - Performing Arts Center
10:00 am - 6:00 pm   Screening of Festival Films -  Performing Arts Center
10:00 am - 6:00 pm   Screening of Festival Films -  Village Theatres North
11:00 am - 12:00 pm   Seminar:   Weaving Structure & Emotion into Screenplays - Presented by Sandy Steers
12:15 pm - 1:15 pm   Seminar: What Happens to a Screenplay when it's Submitted to a Studio or Production Company
Presented by Rona Edwards & Monika Skerbelis (ESE Film Workshops Online)
1:30 pm - 2:30 pm   Seminar: Million dollar Screenwriting Seminar Presented by Chris Soth
2:45 pm - 3:45 pm   Seminar: Music Clearance Essentials
Presented by Nancy Meyer
How to find great, affordable music Budgeting for specific rights Licensing basics
4:00 pm - 5:00 pm   Seminar: How to Get Your Screenplay Out of  the House and into the Film World
Presented by Michele Wallerstein, Screenplay and Novel Consultant (and former agent)
Michele will share her knowledge about getting your project to the right people in the right places at the right time.
5:20 pm - 6:00 pm   Filmmaker Networkign Reception - Performing Arts Center
6:00 pm - 10:00 pm   Opening Night Gala

6:00 pm - Gala Reception Begins
7:00 pm - Lifetime Achievement Awards
8:15 pm - Screening of Opening Night Film
10:00 pm   Filmmaker "After Party" Party
Saturday, September 19, 2009
7:30 am - 9:00 am   Filmmaker Breakfast (Invitation Only)
8:00 am   Festival Registration Opens - Performing Arts Center
9:00 am - 6:00 pm   Screening of Festival Films -  Performing Arts Center
9:00 am - 6:00 pm   Screening of Festival Films -  Village Theatres North
9:30 am - 10:30 am   Cinematography Q&A with Philippe Rousselout
Location: Performing Arts Center
10:45 am - 11:45 am   Panel: Screenwriting - "Selling Your Screenplay to Hollywood" moderated by Rona Edwards
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm   Panel: Filmmaker Discussion: "Getting Your Film Seen" moderated by John Halecky
Film industry professionals and jurors
1:15 pm - 2:15 pm   Panel:  Post Production
1:15 pm - 3:15 pm   Documentary Screening:  "Tales from the Script"
Q&A with David Ward
2:15 pm - 5:30 pm   3D Film Showcase
Screenings of 3D short films and Q&A with Filmmakers
2:30 pm - 3:30 pm   Seminar: The Art Of Sound Within The Post Production Process
Presented by Tom McCarthy (EVP Post Production Facilities Sony Pictures Studio) and Steve Ticknor (Sound Designer / Re-recording Mixer)

Discussion of the importance of sound in filmmaking, the concepts of sound editing, sound design, mixing and how to get the most you can on the screen within the budget you have to work with.
3:00 pm - 4:15 pm   Sidebar Showcase: Films dealing with pets and animals
3:30 pm - 6:00 pm   Tribute Showcase:  "Courage Under Fire"
Q&A with Lou Diamond Phillips
3:45 pm - 5:00 pm   Seminar:  Screenwriting presented by DC Fontana
4:15 pm - 6:00 pm   High School Student Film Showcase:  Village Theatres North
6:00 pm - 10:00 pm   Wrap Party & Awards Ceremony:  Performing Arts Center
10:00 pm   Filmmaker "After Party" Party
Sunday, September 20, 2009    
9:00 pm - 10:00 am   Pitchfest Panel:  Dos and Don'ts of Pitching
10:00 am - 1:00 pm   Pitchfest
10:00 am - 5:00 pm   Screenings of Award Winning Festival Films

Please Note:  Location for all events held on Sunday will be the Performing Arts Center


Wrap Party & Filmmaker Awards

Saturday Evening
(Casual Attire)
6:00 pm - "Full Flavored" Wrap Party
7:30 pm - Filmmaker & Screenwriting Competition Awards Ceremony

In order to give our out-of-town guests a broader taste of Big Bear, our Wrap Party dinner is provided by a group of local restaurants.  So that we are able to provide everyone with as much networking time as we can possibly cram into three days, our dinner will be served informally from individual restaurant stations located around the perimeter of the Performing Arts Center lobby area. That way, no one has to sit down off to themselves and you are forced to mingle and make new friends. Hope you enjoy it!

Tickets: $35 per person




Village Theaters North
602 Pine knot Avenue
Film Screenings (Friday and Saturday 11am-6pm)

Performing Arts Center (PAC)
39707 Big Bear Boulevard
Registration Opens 8:30 am on Friday and 8:00 am Saturday

B's Backyard BBQ on the Lake
350 Alden Road
Big Bear Lake, CA 92315
East of Pine Knot Avenue, just off Big Bear Blvd.



Festival Testimonials

Here's what people are saying about our screenplay competition...

"Yesterday, I received the feedback from the first rounds of judging and wanted to express my appreciation to the judges for the excellent comments and suggestions they provided. The Big Bear screenwriting competition provides the very best feedback in terms of helping the screenwriter make the kind of revisions that improve the script. Last year, I entered my script in your competition and used the feedback from your judges to make some major revisions. Since that rewrite, the script has placed as a finalist in seven major screenwriting competitions and as a semifinalist in four. Hopefully, I've brought it to a level that someone in the industry will consider worthy of serious consideration. If that happens, I know a lot of the credit must go to the feedback I received from your judges last year; and for that, I am very grateful." Tina


2009 Awards Winners


Jury Award

Best Student Film


WINNER: Kwame /Edward Osei-Gyimah


Audience Award

Best Feature


WINNER: Callous / Joey Lanai


Best Student Film

WINNER: Where It Stops / Kyle Shea


WINNER: Feat: 63 Marathons in 63 Days / Deborah Nelson


High School Film


WINNER: There's Something in the Air... / Nicolas Wendli



WINNER: What If Tomorrow? / Nicolas Wendl


Our 2009 Festival Board of Directors

President:  Ty Warren
Vice President, Artistic & Programming Director: Monika Skerbelis
Vice President, Screenwriting Competition Director: Sandy Steers
Treasurer: Alesta Pacelli
Secretary: Vanessa Finney
Technical & Video Projection Director: Jeff Underwood
Kimberly Hall, Board Member
Jan Janofsky, Board Member
Lynda Lacayo, Board Member
Gloria Meade, Board Member
Nick Muccini, Board Member




Artistic & Programming Director

Monika Skerbelis is in her tenth year as the artistic & programming director for the Big Bear Lake International Film Festival. She is a co-author of the book, I Liked It, Didn’t Love It: Screenplay Development from the Inside Out.  Ms. Skerbelis is a former Vice President of Creative and Executive Story Editor for Universal Pictures’ story department where she spent ten years overseeing the story department and developing a number of screenplays including "Black Dog" starring Patrick Swayze.  In addition to her duties at Universal, she scoured film festivals and screenwriting competitions in search of new filmmakers.  Prior to Universal, she was Story Editor for 20th Century Fox.  She began her career as an assistant in the Story Department for Paramount Pictures. With Rona Edwards, she teaches, "Introduction to Feature Film Development," at UCLA Extension on the campus and online, and “Story Development Process in the Entertainment Industry” online for Riverside Community College. She also taught “Basic Screenwriting Fundamentals” on campus at Chapman University Dodge College of Film & Media Arts.  She serves on the jury for numerous screenwriting competitions and has guest lectured at film schools, film commissions, film festivals and film organizations across the country. With Rona Edwards, she has formed Edwards Skerbelis Entertainment (ESE) and ESE Film Workshops Online ( an online Film School offering 4 to 6 week classes on "Creating a Production Company," "Maneuvering Film Festivals," "Finding & Developing New Ideas" and "Feature Film Development." ESE is also developing projects to produce. She was associate producer on two movies “Killer Hair” and “Hostile Makeover” based on the “Crimes of Fashion” novels by Ellen Byerrum for the Lifetime Movie Network that aired in June 2009. In addition, via consultations, ESE assists writers and filmmakers in developing their screenplays and pitches with development notes and general career advice.  She co-produced the feature-length mocumentary, Quest for the Yeti, directed by Victoria Arch.  Ms. Skerbelis directed the short film, "Reel Footage: The Secret Lives of Shoes" that screened at the 2008 Short Film Corner at the Cannes Film Festival.

Screenwriting Competition Director

Sandy Steers, a published author and screenwriter, has directed the Big Bear Lake Film Festival Screenwriting Competition for the past eight years. She has optioned two of her screenplays and placed as a finalist or semi-finalist in a numerous screenwriting competitions, including, the Nicholl Fellowships from Academy Foundation, the Austin Film Festival, the Maui Writers' Conference, America 's Best from the Writer 's Foundation and the Chesterfield Writer 's Film Project. Sandy has published children's stories and recently took fourth place in a national competition with one of her children's books. She has published over 100 magazine articles in regional and national publications and was a member of the writing staff for On the Mountain magazine, Coffee House Digest and Big Bear Magazine.

Programming Screeners:
Karen Oliver, Jackie Carlson, Nancy Meyer, Greg Brown, Cynthia Crane, Roxy McCarthy, Tom McCarthy, Natalie Gordonsy, Victoria Moore, Billie & Brad Mencarelli, Steve Gahagen, Jan Pflaum & Bill Giamarino, Patrick Lane, Shelly Golden, Andrea

Technical Video Equipment Director

Jeffrey E. Underwood - During his early years, Underwood, developed his love for electronics.  In high school, Jeff satisfied his thirst for technology by winning first place for designing and building electronics. One device provided his home computer with the ability to make sound. From this, Underwood then created music synthesizer and drum programs.  During college, Jeff and a studio recording classmate started a band, Lingo, which played many Southern California venues.  When Lingo decided to record a video, they couldn't find anyone to do it, and as the saying goes, the rest is history...Digital Madness was born. His clients include Evolution Entertainment, Montel, EPSN and MAVACO GEM. Underwood is a Producer/Effects Compositor/Musician . He's worked with several independent films as art director, sound designer, editor and score arranger, created movie trailers and radio spots. Digital Madness has been a sponsor of the Big Bear Lake Film Festival for several years now, where he is Technical Director.


Cari-Esta Albert is a producer and former Vice President of Comedy/Drama Series Development at USA Films. Currently, she is co producing "Jal", the story of Emmanuel Jal, a child soldier of the Sudan who has gone on to become an international hip hop artist. She is the producer of the hit feature film, “The Truth About Cats & Dogs, “ executive producer of “Hearts & Souls” and executive producer of the Lifetime Entertainment film, “Love is Strange.” She is a former executive vice president/producer for Alphaville at Universal Studios. Prior to that she was the vice president of Geffen Pictures and she is a former Director of Production for Universal Pictures. She is also the co-founder of Story Edge script consulting service.

Rona Edwards is a graduate of California Institute of the Arts and became Vice President of Creative Affairs for multiple Emmy-winner John Larroquette (Night Court), Academy-Award Winner Michael Phillips Productions (The Sting, Close Encounters Of The Third Kind, Taxi Driver) and Emmy-winning and Oscar-nominated Producer Fern Field (Monk, Heartsounds) before she was dragged kicking and screaming into the world of independent producing.  As a Producer, she Co-Produced and/or Executive Produced One Special Victory (NBC) starring John Larroquette, The Companion (USA/SCI FI CHANNEL) directed by Gary Fleder, I Know What You Did (ABC) starring Rosanna Arquette, Out Of Sync (VH1) starring Gail O’Grady, and Der Morder Meiner Mutter (Sat.1/Studio Hamburg) for German television.  She set up Matchmakers, a feature at Warner Bros. based upon an article she found and the movie, Blind Trust, which aired in 2007 on Lifetime television. Recently, she produced a series of movies for Lifetime based upon the book series she optioned, subtitled “Crimes of Fashion” by Ellen Byerrum.  The first two books, Killer Hair and Hostile Makeover, were aired on the Lifetime Movie Network in June 2009. She is also working on a number of documentaries including one with award-winning documentarian, Barbara Multer-Wellin about Military Nurses, which will examine war through the POV of nurses who were there healing the wounded, and Unforgettable written and directed by Eric Williams (Mad City, Out Of Sync), which tells the story of his brother who has what is called hyperthymesia – the autobiographical ability to recall every day of his life. She executive produced the awarding-winning documentary, "Selling Sex In Heaven", which won the Beyond Borders award for documentary film, the juror’s award at the Big Bear Lake Film Festival, and aired on the CBC. With Monika Skerbelis, a former VP at Universal Pictures, she has taught “Introduction to Feature Film Development” at UCLA Extension (both on campus and online) for the past ten years, as well as “Story Development Process” at Riverside Community College’s Open Campus online and “Basic Fundamentals of Screenwriting” at Chapman University’s Dodge College of Film and Media Arts. Together, they wrote the critically acclaimed book, I Liked It, Didn’t Love It (Screenplay Development From The Inside Out!), which will be available in its 2nd edition at bookstores everywhere. Edwards and Skerbelis are also the co-founders of ESE Film Workshops Online, a series of global online classes that teach the ins and outs of the film industry. Classes include: Creating a Production Company, Maneuvering Film Festivals, Screenplay Development from the Inside Out, Finding & Developing New Ideas, Basic Screenwriting from the Inside Out with more classes being added every year.  A contributing writer to The Beachwood Voice the past seven years, Edwards was also the newspaper’s restaurant reviewer and feature writer. Currently, she’s a lifestyle columnist for the Los Feliz Ledger.  She is also a contributing writer to Produced By magazine, the official magazine of the Producers Guild of America as well as writes music reviews for FAME (The Folk Acoustic Music Exchange) online. In addition, she writes a column, “Rona’s Reel Take,” for the New York quarterly newspaper, The Neworld Review, in which she rants and raves about the film business.

Asher Goldstein - A Southern California native, Asher began his career in the film industry as a young actor. His love of film brought him to NYU's Tisch School of the Arts where his thesis Strangers won awards for Best Screenplay and the Audience Award at the university's film festival. His short went on to screen at other festivals globally, picking up additional accolades. Since graduating, Asher has continued writing screenplays but has also delved into other aspects of the industry as well. Asher served as the Director of Acquisitions and Sales for Apollo Cinema Short Film Distribution, a globally recognized and renowned short film sales agency. While with Apollo, it was Asher’s duty to scout and distinguish promising shorts from around the world and to set up various sales opportunities for represented films. In this capacity, Asher traveled internationally, attending festivals to discover new works and to serve on a variety of panels and juries. He also spent time under the wing of prolific Motion Picture Production agent Paul Hook at ICM before coming to his current position at Traction Media, a boutique independent film company that specializes in the packaging and sales of smaller, director focused projects. Asher also writes about film, and has been a featured blogger for the Huffington Post and is currently a staff blogger for Participant Media's

Marc Halperin has been a key figure in the film world for the last almost three decades.  He has worked for several major studios and independent distributors, and managed the release of numerous landmark films.  As National Sales Manager for Universal Classics, Marc was responsible for the re-release of the five missing Hitchcok films:  "Rear Window", "Vertigo", "The Man Who Knew Too Much", "The Trouble with Harry", and "Rose".  This remains one of the most successful reissues of a series of classic films to date.  In 1989, Marc joined Miramax Films, where he served as Senior Vice President General Sales Manager.  In 1994, he joined Fine Line Features, where, as Senior Vice President General Sales Manager, Marc was responsible for the distribution of numerous features, including "Shine", "Hoop Dreams", and Woody Allen's "Deconstructing Harry".  In 2001, Marc left New Line to found Magic Lamp Releasing with his wife, Marla Lewin Halperin, and has released Rob Morrow’s "Maze", Doug Pray’s "Scratch", and Julio Medem’s "Sex & Lucia".

Marla Lewin Halperin is a successful publicist, producer, playwright, screenwriter and consultant who has represented a wide variety of individual clients, films and produced numerous award shows and special events.  In 2003, Marla co-produced and promoted "Life After War", a documentary that follows former National Public Radio war correspondent Sarah Chayes’ efforts to rebuild a village in Afghanistan. Working with Chayes and Afghans for Civil Society, Marla helped the film generate phenomenal press coverage, including ABC NEW with PETER JENNINGS (where Chayes was named "Person of the Week"; Oprah (where Chayes received Oprah's "Chutzpah Award"; Frontline:  World Now, numerous broadcasts of All Things Considered; and Fresh Air with Terry Gross, along with reviews and articles in numerous newspapers and magazines. Magic Lamp subsequently sold the film to the Sundance Channel. For Magic Lamp, Marla has supervised all publicity and promotions for "Scratch", "Amy's O", and "Sex & Lucia", and has organized several Academy Award campaigns for clients, as well as many special screenings, events and publicity campaigns at Cannes, Sundance, Palm Springs and other film festivals.

Nancy Meyer began her career as an artist manager representing many respected jazz and blues artists such as Buddy Guy, Muddy Waters, Billy Cobham and Charlie Haden.  From coordinating all aspects of her clients’ careers including; recording, publishing, publicity, and touring, her current responsibilities have grown to encompass Music Supervision and Music Clearance services. Meyer was Music Supervisor on the independent film “Killer Diller,” starring Fred Willard, Mary Kay Place and Taj Mahal.  She produced the documentary film “Ted Hawkins: Amazing Grace” (for Geffen Records) which received a Special Jury Award at the Rose D’Or Festival in Switzerland.  Meyer handled estate and music clearances for the PBS documentary series “American Roots Music” directed by Emmy winner Jim Brown (Pete Seeger, Harry Belafont).  She was a music consultant and clearance specialist for the Independent Lens civil rights documentary “Negroes with Guns: Rob Williams and Black Power.” Soundtrack work includes the position of Executive Soundtrack Producer on the film “Ginger Ale Afternoon,” featuring Yeardley Smith (The Simpsons) and the music of Willie Dixon.  She provided clearance services for the documentary “The Howlin’ Wolf Story” released by BMG home Video.  As an instructor, Meyer taught for 5 years in the Music Business Program at Musicians Institute in Los Angeles.  Professional memberships include the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences and the International Documentary Association.

Roxanne McCarthy is a two time Emmy Award nominated Sound Editor for "Wiseguys" and "The A-Team".  She has worked as a supervising sound editor for such films as "Can't Hardly Wait", "Bottle Rocket", "Lost in Yonkers", "Ghost Dad", "Kindergarten Cop" and assistant sound editor on "Star Wars".

Tom McCarthy is an Academy Award winning Sound Editing andSound Design for "Bram Stoker's Dracula".  He has also received a British Academy Award for best sound on "Out of Africa".  Tom has 33 years of experience in the field of post production. He started his career in the Sound Effects Library at MGM Studios and has held various positions as a picture apprentice/assistant, Foley Walker, sound editor and sound supervisor. In 1991, Tom was asked by Sony Pictures Studios to run their sound editorial department while continuing his creative talents as a supervising sound editor/designer. He has been upped throughout his years at Sony and is currently the Executive VP Post Production Facilities.


Cari-Esta Albert is a producer and former Vice President of Comedy/Drama Series Development at USA Films. Currently, she is co producing Jal, the story of Emmanuel Jal, a child soldier of the Sudan who has gone on to become an international hip hop artist. She is the Producer of the hit feature film, “The Truth About Cats & Dogs, “ Executive Producer of “Hearts & Souls” and Executive Producer of the Lifetime Entertainment film, “Love is Strange.” She is a former Executive Vice President/Producer for Alphaville at Universal Studios. Prior to that she was the Vice President of Geffen Pictures and she is a former Director of Production for Universal Pictures. She is also the co-founder of Story Edge script consulting service.

Diane Cairns.  Diane began her entertainment career in the mailroom of the prestigious television boutique, the Sy Fischer Company Agency, and was promoted to agent in two and a half years, working primarily in the area of situation comedy. Subsequently, she was recruited by top talent agency International Creative Management and eventually became Senior Vice-President in the motion picture department. Representing writers, directors, producers, actor production companies and authors, she earned her reputation for having spearheaded such noteworthy motion pictures as "Fatal Attraction", "Dangerous Liaisons", "Thelma and Louise", "Unfaithful", and "Meet the Robinsons". After a decade, Diane left ICM and became Senior Vice President of Production for Universal Pictures. There, she supervised the revitalization of Universal’s vast motion picture library and developed feature film projects with such distinguished filmmakers as Milos Forman and Brian Grazer. After her tenure, Diane elected to exit Universal to broaden her hands-on production skills. Diane is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.  She is currently listed in the “Who’s Who in the World” leadership directory.

Mike Esola is an agent at the William Morris Agency in Beverly Hills.  Mike works in the motion picture literary department at the agency while representing both writers and directors.  Mike represents an eclectic mix of talent that crosses genres including Justin Zackham who wrote Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman's movie "The Bucket List," Hank Nelken who wrote Jon Heder and Diane Keaton's  movie "Mama's Boy," Duncan Brantley who wrote George Clooney and Rene Zellwegger's movie "Leatherheads," and Mindy Kaling who stars in and writes for NBC's "The Office".  Mike broke his way into the business from the ground up, interning at several different production companies including Outlaw Productions, serving as a P.A. on the Warners lot and learning the management side of representation while interning for Wendi Niad.

D. C. Fontana has credits as a writer on such diverse television series as "Star Trek", "Bonanza", "The Waltons", and "Dallas". She has served as story editor on the original "Star Trek" series, "Star Trek Animated", and "Logan's Run".  She has experience in writing children's shows, science fiction, westerns, action adventure, mysteries, daytime specials, animation and interactive games. She is a member of Mystery Writers of America, Romance Writers of America and the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators.  Dorothy was nominated for a Writers Guild Award in 1969 for her "Then Came Bronson" script, "Two Percent of Nothing;" and she won a Filmcon (Science Fiction Movie Convention) Award for her "Strar Trek Animated" script, "Yesteryear." Universal Studios selected both her "Six Million Dollar Man" scripts for novelization by Warner Books. In 1987, she wrote the two-hour premiere episode of "Star Trek: The Next Generation", which was nominated for science fiction's Hugo Award in 1988.  In 1997 and again in 2002, Dorothy was honored with a Writers Guild Morgan Cox Award for service to the Guild. She was twice elected as a member of the Board of Directors of the Guild and has served on many committees.

Jennifer Good, Agent, The Alpern Group. She began her career as an assistant to a feature literary agent at Susan Smith & Associates.  She then moved to the boutique lit agency, The Bruce Brown Agency, where she was given the opportunity to pursue her goals of becoming an agent and explore both the television and feature worlds. During her six years there she represented mostly television writers who were both on staff and selling original pilots. Four and a half years ago she took the leap into management/production and moved over to Anonymous Content where she especially focused on crossing feature writers and directors into TV. In January 2005, she was recruited back to the agency world and joined Metropolitan Talent Agency. Jennifer is currently at the The Alpern Group.

Cary Kozlov, Agent, is a 17-year owner of a franchised literary agency specializing in the representation of screenwriters. He has successfully negotiated and procured employment for clients in network television staff writing positions, feature film projects and has represented actors and comedians.  He is a signatory in good standing to the Writers Guild of America, West basic agreement. His most memorable Fred Silverman.  He was a junior associate to literary agent, Robert Littman, The Robert Littman Agency, and represented and pitched agency’s literary projects to the Hollywood film community and accompanied Mr. Littman to key meetings with major heads of studios. Mr. Kozlov is a graduate of Roosevelt University with a BSBA, Marketing/Advertising.  He enjoys traditional Shaolin Kung Fu, Chi Gong, and tai Chi and is a huge Chicago Cub Fan.

Christopher Licata is currently an agent trainee in the Motion Picture Lit Department at Paradigm Los Angeles. Before going to Paradigm, Chris worked as a producer and in development at Fremantle Media. He moved to LA from New York four years ago for a temporary job working on the feature "Little Miss Sunshine" and has called Los Angeles home ever since.

William Lowery is Vice President of Underground Film and Management, a production/management company in Los Angeles. Last summer, Underground produced and released the Robin Williams / Mandy Moore comedy, "License to Wed" for Warner Brothers. In addition, Underground is currently in production on "All About Eve", starring Sandra Bullock to be released in 08’ by Fox 2000. Underground Films has over a dozen feature projects in development at studios not limited to Fox, Dreamworks, Universal, and New Line. As a literary manager, William has filmmaker clients working with a wide range of producers in Hollywood including Joel Silver, Neil Moritz, and Wes Craven. A native of Jackson, Mississippi, William began his career at United Talent Agency and The William Morris Agency.

Chris Soth sold his first screenplay, Firestorm, for $750,000, while still a graduate student in the USC screenwriting program. The movie was made, starring football star Howie Long, Scott Glenn, William Forsythe, Barry Pepper, and Suzie Amis, and was released in January of 1998. (“Firestorm rages with adventurous appeal.” - LA Times.)  Chris was also paid $200,000 by Universal Studios to adapt the novel “A Fall of Moondust,” by Arthur C. Clarke of “2001” fame.  In 2003 Chris sold his own original pitch, MEET JANE DOE to Signpost Pictures and Mosaic Media in a low-against-mid-six figure deal, with Hopscotch Pictures attached to produce. Chris guided the script through several stages of development and the film is expected to shoot in Australia this coming year. Chris's pitch THE CITIZEN was optioned by Escape Artists (Pursuit of Happyness) with Chris attached to produce.  Chris  also has written for independent investors, creating such screenplays as WASTELAND, HAUNTED HIGH and STAGE ONE, gathering knowledge used to craft DEAD MAN'S HAND as the perfect independent film project.  His latest screenplay, OUTRAGE, starring Michael Madsen, Natasha Lyonne and Michael Berryman, was filmed in Georgia last spring and is in consideration for The Sundance Film Festival.  In 2005, Chris founded the website to share his screenwriting expertise with aspiring screenwriters.  His companion networking website,, holds interviews with agents, studio executives, managers and filmmakers every week, and through, Chris mentors screenwriters around the world.  He has taught at USC and UCLA and authored over 28 screenplays as well as the internet best-selling book "Million-Dollar Screenwriting:  The Mini-Movie Method" and the best-selling pitch DVD: "SOLD!  How I Set Up Three Pitches in Hollywood".  Chris holds an MFA with distinction in screenwriting from the University of Southern California and a BA in Dramatic Literature from Vassar College, with highest honors.

Catherine Tarr - A 19-year veteran of Creative Artists Agency, in-house Story Editor Catherine Tarr supervises the story analysts who review all materials for CAA.   Catherine also works closely with the agents to identify available material specific to a clients’ needs.  Other responsibilities include training story analysts in how to write great coverage and how to identify potential movie ideas from magazines and other publications. Catherine enjoys discovering new writers, some of whom have gone on to great success, including Oscar-nominated Iris Yamashita (LETTERS FROM IWO JIMA) who was discovered at the Big Bear Lake Film Festival Screenwriting Competition.  Other writers Catherine has supported include Ann Peacock, who most recently adapted the screenplay for NIGHTS IN RODANTHE, and John Orloff, who wrote the screenplay for A MIGHTY HEART, and the upcoming GUARDIANS OF GA’HOOLE.  Catherine often reviews the work of screenplay competition finalists, looking for bright talent.  Prior to joining CAA, Catherine was the Executive Story Editor for MGM-UA.


Lorette Bayle is an award-wining documentary and narrative filmmaker. Her narrative thesis film Mariela's Kitchen won a Silver Award for Best Dramatic Short at the Houston International Film Festival, was a finalist in the Next Frame Festival, screened in festivals internationally and domestically, and aired on Fine Cut for KCET (PBS, Los Angeles) in 2001. Lorette produced and directed a number of in-studio programs for KUED (PBS, Salt Lake City), winning a Silver Award for Brahms at 100 in 1997. She has traveled to three continents to produce and shoot documentaries, including Haite, Land of Hope, The Enchanted Gardens of England, and A Gift to the City. She has worked for the Sundance Institute, Independent Feature Project/LA (FIND), and American Zoetrope. Currently, Lorette works for the Eastman Kodak Company in Hollywood, CA. She completed an MFA in film and theater directing at the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) in 1999.

Greg Beal attended film graduate school at UT Austin, taught film at Syracuse University and coordinated a variety of programs at the AFI. Since 1989, he has administered the Academy's Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting program. Long, long ago, he received a WGAe Fellowship, wrote several screenplays for hire, and wrote and directed several short films.

Anne Beatts, is a TV writer-producer who won two Emmys as a writer for the original "Saturday Night Live."  At SNL, she and her writing partner Rosie Shuster created many of the most memorable characters, such as Todd and Lisa Lupner, Uncle Roy, Laraine Newman’s Child Psychiatrist, Irwin Mainway, and Fred Garvin, Male Prostitute. She created and produced the critically-acclaimed CBS sitcom, "Square Pegs," and co-executive-produced the first year of NBC's long-running hit series "A Different World." She was the first woman Contributing Editor of the National Lampoon and both performed and wrote for the "National Lampoon Radio Hour."  She has been published in numerous magazines, including Esquire, Playboy, Los Angeles Magazine, Vogue, Mirabella, Elle and Premiere.  In 1997-98, her humor column "Beatts Me!" appeared weekly in the Sunday Los Angeles Times.  Her work has appeared on Broadway in "Gilda: Live" and the Tony-nominated rock'n'roll musical "Leader of the Pack." As well as teaching sketch comedy writing and performing privately, she is an Adjunct Professor in the Writing Division of the School of Cinematic Arts at the University of Southern California. She was recently honored by the Museum of Television and Radio as one of the medium’s most influential women in their “She Made It” awards.

Cindy Chupack (pronounced "shoe pack") has won three Golden Globes and an Emmy for her work as a writer/executive producer of HBO's Sex and the City.  She joined the show in the second season, and seven of the episodes she wrote were individually nominated for Writer's Guild and Emmy awards. Prior to Sex and the City, Cindy wrote for Everybody Loves Raymond, Coach, and a bunch of failed series only her parents would watch.  She recently penned her first screenplay (the adaptation of Nick Hornby’s novel, “How to Be Good,” with Laura Ziskin producing for Miramax), and directed her first short film, "Whose Dog Is It Anyway?" which stars Sarah Paulson and is currently playing in the Big Bear Lake Film Festival Sidebar Showcase. She is also the author of “The Between Boyfriends Book: A Collection of Cautiously Hopeful Essays,” a New York Times bestseller that has been translated into nine languages, and she has written about dating and relationships for many magazines including two -- Glamour and O, The Oprah Magazine -- in which she had her own column.

John Halecky began his film career as a cinema and photography major at Ithaca College in New York.  While at Ithaca, John directed a couple of his own short 16mm films as well as helping out in various aspects on many others. After graduation, John moved to Los Angeles where he worked in different areas of the entertainment industry including at one of the top talent agencies, International Creative Management (ICM), and doing feature film development at Paramount Studios.  John then joined the Warner Bros. Worldwide Feature Film Acquisitions & Co-Productions department where he attended Sundance and Slamdance, as well as many other film festivals and markets scouting for potential new projects for the studio. John is the former head of the short film channel and the movies channel at the streaming video website.  At IFILM, he was instrumental in acquiring a number of the top short films.  John served as the Director of Web Content and Editorial for John has participated on numerous panels, workshops and juries including at the Hawaii International Film Festival, Aspen Shortsfest, Cinequest, and the Toronto Worldwide Short Film Festival.

P. Patrick Hogan - Patrick received his MFA from USC film school in 1998, where he and filmmaking partner Steve Loh first met. His thesis film “The Business Card” is an award-winning short that has the distinction of being the first USC film ever sold to an airline for in-flight entertainment. Virgin Airlines played the film on trans-Atlantic flights to help keep passengers distracted from the fact that they were hurtling through the air several miles above the ground in a flimsy aluminum tube.  In 2004, he and partner Steve Loh formed Pescadito Productions.  Their first production, POPE DREAMS, Patrick’s feature film directorial debut, played at over 26 festivals around the world and won 11 Best Film awards.  It was picked up for distribution by Porchlight Entertainment and the first film to be released under their new film distribution unit, Ocean Park Home Entertainment.  POPE DREAMS had its television premiere on the Lifetime Network in 2009. Along with his unique vision to capture characters filled with incomparable heart, Patrick has earned four Emmy nominations and three Golden Reel Awards for his work as sound editor on HBO’s “Six Feet Under” and Fox’s “Family Guy” and is currently the Supervising Sound Editor for TNT’s “The Closer”. Current writing projects with Loh in development include INSIDE/OUT, THE DEVIL YOU KNOW, and CAPTIVE.

Steve Loh - Steve optioned his first screenplay in 1998 while finishing his MFA degree at USC film school. Since then, he’s worked as a TV writer for Warner Bros., had various feature scripts in development, and directed award-winning films, notably “Not Too Tart, Not Too Sweet.” In addition, Steve Loh is also an accomplished director-producer in the documentary field. His work has aired on such networks as ABC, Discovery Channel, and Discovery Health. He cites as one of his most intense projects “Unjoined at the Hip,” an award-winning program on the 27-hour separation surgery of conjoined twin infants at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.  In 2004, he and partner P. Patrick Hogan formed Pescadito Productions.  Under that banner, he collaborated on and produced the indie feature POPE DREAMS, which screened at over 26 festivals around the world, won 11 Best Film awards, and is now in wide distribution. Current writing projects with Hogan in development include INSIDE/OUT, THE DEVIL YOU KNOW, and CAPTIVE.

Michele Wallerstein, formerly a much sought after Literary Agent in Hollywood, has represented Novelists, Screenwriters, Producers, and Directors. She now offers her knowledge, creativity, editing expertise and experience to writers as a Screenplay and Novel Consultant. The Wallerstein Company represented clients for a multitude of television and motion picture projects. Michele has served on the Agent's Advisory Board of Creative Screenwriting Magazine as well as having been on the Board of Directors of Women in Film and it's Executive Vice-President.

Kirk Westwood was born on a U.S. Army base in Wurzberg, Germany.  Ushered around the country and world from a young age he developed eclectic tastes for art and culture.  With an early onset passion for film, Kirk starting watching movies emphatically.  After attending a trade school for Television Broadcasting he sought a double major in Film Production and Entertainment Business from Full Sail University.  Among others Kirk has worked with Paramount Classics (now Vantage) The Weinstein Company, The Sundance Institute and writer/director Quentin Tarantino.  Kirk is currently a Acquisitions Rep for CinemaVault releasing a Toronto based international sales company.