Sunscreen Film Festival | Film Workshops

2016 Workshops

All these events are held in the conference room at American Stage Theatre Company, 163 3rd St. N., St. Petersburg.

You MUST have a Filmmaker, Sponsor, Day, VIP or Volunteer Pass to attend that day’s workshops or panels.

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Schedule Subject to Change.

  1. DISTRIBUTION: Distribution (PANEL) – If you don’t get your feature films into the market, you won’t last long as an independent producer. The difficult subject of film distribution will be tackled by our panelists from an independent filmmakers view, but also from the studio side of things – Lionsgate, to be specific. If you’d like to make your second feature film, you can’t afford to miss this panel.  Moderator: Dave DeBordeSpeakers: Joanna Fang (Lionsgate), Bill Reeves (Working Title Agency), Richard Wolff (Breaking Glass Pictures), Matthew Pickart (GVN Releasing), Shaun Hill (Indican Pictures) Tim Warren (Green Apple Entertainment) and Dwight Cenac (Indyoh)

    Time: 10-11:30am, Friday, April 29th

    Place:  American Stage Conference room.

    1. FILM FINANCE: It’s not called Show-art, it’s show business! (Workshop) – We’re not going to mince words here – if you are an independent Film producer, this is the most important class you will EVER take on film financing and how it all works. Seriously, buckle your seat belt and take notes like a maniac! As someone who lives in this space everyday, Bill Reeves takes you through the up-to-date nitty gritty of how movie finance and marketing works.  

    Moderator: Dave DeBorde

    Speakers: Bill Reeves (Working Title Agency)

    Time: 11:45-1:00pm, Friday, April 29th

    Place:  American Stage Conference room.

    1. VIRTUAL REALITY: Experience Anything, Anywhere! (WORKSHOP) – This workshop takes you through the VR world: where it started, where it is and where it’s going.  

    Moderator: Jeffrey Travis (Positron)

    Speakers: Jeffrey Travis (Positron), and Christian D. Bruun (Light Cone Pictures).

    Time: 1:15pm – 2:30pm, Friday, April 29th

    Place:  American Stage Conference room.

    1. ACTING: Finding the Character’s Voice (WORKSHOP) – This is an interactive workshop that is focused on helping actors, find the distinct traits of their characters and how to effectively bring that to the screen.

    Moderator: Dave DeBorde

    Speakers: Gary Busey (Lethal Weapon), Jason Matthew Smith (Star Trek I,II & III),  Sabyn Mayfield (Girl With the Dragon Tatoo), Lucius Baston (Bad Lieutenant, Roots) and Mark Jude Sullivan (As The World Turns) Rose Rosen (CSA, Edward Scissor Hands).

    Time: 2:45-4:15pm, Friday, April 29th

    Place: American Stage Conference room.

    1. COMICON: Character Creation: Create a Compelling Character on the Fly (WORKSHOP) – Learn the art and science to creating a memorable character with a story that translates to all media in the world of Transmedia Storytelling. Discover the secrets to making a character instantly relatable and why the universes of Star Wars, Harry Potter, Pixar, the world of J.R. R. Tolkien, and the Marvel and DC superheroes inspire cult-like devotion with fans all around the world.

    Speakers: Tom Bancroft (Mulan, Lion King) and Leo Partible (Comic book guru).

    Time: 4:30pm-5:45pm, Friday, April 29th

    Place: American Stage Conference room.

    1. WRITING: Pitch Fest! (WORKSHOP) – This is your opportunity to pitch movers and shakers in the industry! There will be a sign up sheet and you will be given one minute to pitch and then receive two minutes of feedback from our panel of big industry machers. It will be 1st come, 1st serve and once the sheet fills up, there won’t be an opportunity to pitch your big idea to the panel. Do you have what it takes to be the next big thing? We’ll find out!

    Moderator: Dave DeBorde

    Speakers: Joanna Fang (Lionsgate), Bill Reeves (Working Title Agency), Richard Wolff (Breaking Glass Pictures), Mark Koch (Lost in Space), Matthew Pickart (GVN Releasing), Shaun Hill (Indican Pictures) and Dwight Cenac (Indyoh)

    Time: 10-11:30am, Saturday, April 30th

    Place:  American Stage Conference room.

    1.     LATINO: Film Through A Critical Lens (PANEL) – here has never been a more powerful bullhorn to shout out the truth than Cinema! Join us for a power packed session as our panel explores the role of Film regarding historical context and social issues!

    Moderator: Linda Ramirez, Attorney

    Speakers: Eva zelig (producer, An Unknown Country), Fermin Branger (producer, Gone With The River) and John Summa (producer, The Resurrection of Victor Jara)

    Time: 12:001:30pm, Saturday, April 30th

    Place:  American Stage Conference room.

    1.     FILMMAKING: Women in Film  (PANEL) –Explore the triumphs and setbacks of women in the industry. Expect to be challenged and inspired by our panel of experts.

    Moderator: Linda Brown (Producer/Director, You See Me & Head of Cinematography USC)

    Speakers: Linda Brown (Producer/Director, You See Me & Head of Cinematography USC), Eva zelig (producer, An Unknown Country), Joanna Fang (Lionsgate), Shaun Hill (Indican Pictures), Mara Lesemann (Writer, Detours), Blair Skinner (Transparent), Tara Westwood (Producer, Detours) and Jessica Levandoski (Producer, How It Ends).

    Time: 1:45pm-3:00pm, Saturday, April 30th

    Place: American Stage Conference room

    1.     WRITING: Writing the Studio Feature (WORKSHOP) – Learn from a bonafide Hollywood insider the protocol, un-spoken rules and skill of writing for a studio.  

    Moderator: Dave DeBorde

    Speakers: Robert Franke (Chronicles of Riddick).

    Time: 3:15pm – 4:45pm, Saturday, April 30th

    Place: American Stage Conference room.

    1. COMICON: Creating Stories for Every Medium in the World of Global Storytelling (WORKSHOP) – Technology and media is changing faster than ever with new platforms and new experiences like Virtual Reality and 4D. The Pixar Visionaries, Christopher Nolan, the duo of Stan Lee & Jack Kirby, and many other creatives have one thing in common: they are all Master Storytellers. Great storytelling remains a constant and needed now more than ever in an age where anyone can take a brilliant photograph with filters and the average Youtube video has a professional title. Learn why you need to become a game changing Master Storyteller and create a compelling brand with Relatable Characters that transcend cultural boundaries, stories with universal appeal that capture the imagination of people everywhere, the importance of the Iconic Silhouette, how Neurocinematics is used and why everything is a Remix..

    Moderator: Tom Bancroft and Leo Partible

    Speakers: Tom Bancroft (Mulan, Lion King) and Leo Partible (Comic book guru).   

    Time: 5:00pm – 6:00pm, Saturday, April 30th

    Place: American Stage Conference room

    1. DIRECTING: “But, What I Really Wanna Do Is Direct” (PANEL) – Learn from industry veterans, the essentials every director should know and the potential pitfalls. Also, expect a dose of healthy cynicism, with a dash of optimism in this directing panel.

    Moderator: Dave DeBorde

    Speakers: William Stribling (Director, Bear with Us), Eva Zelig (Director, An Unknown Country), Sabyn Mayfield (Boomtown), John Summa (producer, The Resurrection of Victor Jara) and Sean McNamara, (Soul Surfer).    

    Time: 10:00am – 11:00am, Sunday, May 1st

    Place: American Stage Conference room.

    1. MARKETING: Hey World, I’ve Got A Movie! (PANEL) – This is an in-depth look at how to strategically, and economically use social media and other means in order to get your movie out there.

    Moderator: Dave DeBorde

    Speakers: Joanna Fang, Lionsgate Exhibition and distribution, Antony Francis who owns Head of Lettuce (Social Media co.), Richard Wolff (Breaking Glass Pictures) Shaun Hill (Indican Pictures).

    Time: 11:15-12:15pm, Sunday, May 1st

    Place:  American Stage Conference room.

    1. CROSS DISCIPLINE: Creating Characters to Die For (PANEL) – An animator, a studio writer, an actor, a director…what do they all have in common? They are trying to create compelling stories and that starts with compelling characters! Listen to each one as they speak from their own experiences in their own corners of the industry on how they create characters we become passionate about!

    Speakers: Tom Bancroft (Mulan, Lion King) and Leo Partible (Comic book guru), Robert Franke (Chronicles of Riddick), Jason Matthew Smith (Star Trek I,II & III), Sean McNamara and Linda Brown (Producer/Director, You See Me & Head of Cinematography USC)

    Time: 12:30pm – 1:30pm, Sunday, May 1st

    Place: American Stage Conference room.

    1. CINEMATOGRAPHY: Mastering Shadows and Frame  (WORKSHOP) –A great Director of Photography will take us on journeys that aren’t possible without their visual genius. Come to this session and learn from an accomplished filmmaker and D.P. who has helped shape the future of the industry as the head of Cinematography at the world’s #1 Film school – University of Southern California.

    Moderator: Linda Brown (Producer/Director, You See Me & Head of Cinematography USC)

    Speakers: Linda Brown (Producer/Director, You See Me & Head of Cinematography USC)

    Time: 1:45pm – 2:45pm, Sunday, May 1st

    Place: American Stage Conference room

    1. FILM BUSINESS: How To Break Into The Business  (WORKSHOP) – It’s hard enough to get into the indie film world, but breaking into the big time – the studio system – seems reserved only for residents of Mount Olympus and not we mere mortals. Come and learn from people who have struggled and fought through the hard times (which are many) to work in the “legitimate industry.” Bring lots of notepaper and a couple of pencils because our teachers will speak fast and it will all be stuff you can’t afford to miss!  

    Moderator: Robert Franke (Chronicles of Riddick)

    Speakers: Robert Franke (Chronicles of Riddick), Sabyn Mayfield (Boomtown), Mark Koch (Lost in Space) and Jason Matthew Smith (Star Trek I,II & III).

    Time: 3:00pm – 4:00pm, Sunday, May 1st

    Place: American Stage Conference room.


Here are some of our past workshops:

  • Acting workshops taught by Patrick Wilson (The Conjuring, Watchmen), Ethan Suplee (The Wolf of Wall Street), Bill Cobbs (Night at the Museum), Alexa Vega (Sin City: A Dame to Kill For), Ayanna Berkshire (TV’s “Grimm” and “Parenthood”), and Solomon Trimble (Twilight).
  • Develop a Character and Deliver It with Confidence: Presented by John Jackson, casting director of the Oscar-nominated movie The Descendants.
  • Acting for Kids and Teens: Lauran Iron (TV’s “The Secret Life of the American Teenager” and “GCB”) shares her experiences breaking into the industry.
  • Creating a Killer Movie Comic: Presented by Leo Partible, author and producer; contributor to the book Who Needs a Superhero? Finding Virtue, Vice, and What’s Holy in the Comics. Partible also shares how to tell a visual story through storyboards.
  • Screenwriting Story Origins: Rules of the Game: Screenwriter David Paterson (Bridge to Terabithia) discusses adapting a script from another source, as well as optioning material.
  • Master Screenwriting Workshop by Dean Batali (producer and writer, TV’s “That 70’s Show,” “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”).
  • Indie Film Producing Workshop by Sean Covel and Chris “Doc” Wyatt (both of Napoleon Dynamite).
  • The Business of Blockbusters: Producer Ralph Winter (X-Men, X-Men 2, X-Men: The Last Stand, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Fantastic Four, Planet of the Apes) reveals the challenges, frustrations, and successes of producing movies in the range of $100 million and higher.
  • Build a Real Career in Entertainment: Tips from Phil Cooke, author, filmmaker and media consultant for both industry newcomers and longtime veterans.
  • Creating a Soundtrack and Acquiring Music: Presented by Michael Tolcher, composer and musician (Last Sunset, TV’s “One Tree Hill”).
  • The Power of Distribution: Finding the Right Audience with producer Ralph Winter (X-Men, X-Men 2, X-Men: The Last Stand, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Fantastic Four, Planet of the Apes) and Phil Cooke, author, filmmaker and media consultant.
  • Faith and Film Panel: Producer and director Steve Taylor (The Second Chance) and others explore the impact filmmakers’ faith has on the way they operate on set and within the industry.
  • How to Get a Sales Agent & Sell Your Film: An in-depth look into the business side of independent film sales.
  • Building Your Audience & Making Money: Digital distribution platforms and screens, branding and new media marketing offer film producers and distributors additional paths to building audience and making money.
  • How to Make a Film for Under $10K and Get Distribution: Producer Robert Enriquez (The Grind, John Leguizamo’s “Freak”) takes you behind the curtain and shares how to make a sellable film for little capital.
  • Social Media, Publicity and Branding: Presented by Antony Francis and Amber Osbourne of Head of Lettuce Media.
  • How to Get a Hollywood Talent Agent: Presented by veteran talent agent Michael Greenwald, who has worked with Ben Affleck, Adrien Brody, Sarah Michelle Gellar and Scarlett Johansson.

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