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Accelerator 2023


SEEfest Project Accelerator is a 2-week-long opportunity for filmmakers to present their projects in development. Up to twelve chosen artists are invited to 2-weeks of virtual workshops hosted by industry experts in April – May. Some of the topics covered are marketing, impact strategies, pitching, target audience, streaming, technology, and entertainment law. Accelerator facilitates creative connections and cross-cultural collaboration, and in 2021 launched a spinoff Writers Group with former participants.


Toni Bell

Toni Bell is a documentary consultant, archival researcher, and impact producer for films like The American Dream and Other Fairy Tales and Fruits of Labor. She’s been a mentor and industry representative at Berlinale, Doc Society’s Good Pitch Local, Hot Docs, Sheffield, Korea Communications Agency, Big Sky, and more. She’s the former Filmmaker Services Manager at the IDA, overseeing the fiscal sponsorship program. She’s the creator/host of the u0022What’s Up with Docsu0022 Podcast and holds an M.A. in Visual Anthropology from USC, M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Naropa University, and a certificate in professional screenwriting from UCLA.

Christopher Fink

Christopher Fink is a writer, director, and producer, a member of the Writer’s Guild of America, having written films and television projects for companies including Disney Studios and Paramount Pictures. He has written, produced, and directed two feature films, Moving August and None, as well as commercials, an award-winning political ad, and promotional trailers for film and tv projects.u003cbru003eu003cbru003eChristopher has been working recently for an international sales company to help set up a film financing fund and oversee a film development and production division.u003cbru003eu003cbru003ePreviously, while exploring Louisiana for a film production, Christopher discovered a need for infrastructure and co-founded Louisiana’s largest movie studio complex and first Hollywood-class motion picture studio, the $60 million, 23-acre Celtic Studios. In the process, he also gained valuable knowledge about the workings of tax credit programs both in the U.S. and internationally, worked with state and local officials in Louisiana including the Lieutenant Governor and the Mayor of Baton Rouge, and one of his proposals was passed by the Louisiana state legislature in an update to Louisiana’s tax credit law.u003cbru003eu003cbru003eA regular attendee at major film festivals and markets including the Cannes Film Festival, Christopher is very knowledgeable about film finance, sales and marketing of films, and international co-production.u003cbru003eu003cbru003eHe was selected as Mission Leader for an international film mission to Beijing, China to explore coproduction, serves annually as a mentor for a filmmaker’s workshop at SEEfest, and worked on the WGA Constitutional committee, drafting a successful revision to enhance open elections.u003cbru003eu003cbru003eHe can be contacted by email at:u003cbru003eEmail: [email protected] u003cbru003ePhone: 818-501-7663.

Alessandra Tarisi De Jacobis

Alessandra Tarisi De Jacobis – A veteran international entertainment and business affairs attorney, Alessandra Tarissi De Jacobis is admitted both to the Italian and California Bar. She has recently founded her own business and legal affairs boutique after having headed the U.S. division of a leading global law firm. Her oversight includes audiovisual financing, production and coproduction negotiations, talent agreements and contracts, licensing and development, and union/guild regulation. Alessandra serves as a governor of the Beverly Hills Bar Association (BHBA) Board of Governors and of IALA (Italian American Lawyers Association) board, chair of the BHBA’s international committee, and chair of the IP Committee of the American Bar Association, International Law Section.u003cbru003eu003cbru003eu003ca href=u0022

Lydia Ianni

Lydia Ianni is the VP of Acquisitions and Development at Film Mode Entertainment, where she works to find and license projects with global appeal for the FME slate as well as oversees the development of many of the company’s titles. She has over 10 years’ experience in the industry and prior to joining Film Mode, was the Head of Acquisitions and Operations at Cinema Management Group, an international sales agency that has licensed over 100 titles, and the Manager of Acquisitions at Cohen Media Group, a U.S. distribution company with multiple Academy Award nominations. She holds a B.A. from Emory University and a M.A. from the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts. She is a proud member of BAFTA North America and has volunteered with their BAFTA Outreach program that works with aspiring filmmakers. In addition, she has been an invited guest to the MIFF 37° South Market at the Melbourne International Film Festival, member of the Jury at the Naples International Film Festival, a panelist at the Telefilm Canada Now event, and advised filmmakers at the Sloan Film Summit, Film Independent’s Indielink Forum, and the National Association of Latino Independent Producers.

Hans-Martin Liebing

Hans is a film and television producer, writer, and lecturer at UCLA’s School of Theater, Film and Television, where he is teaching courses in domestic and global film and television development, scripted and unscripted series development, entertainment industry careers and strategies, entertainment industry economics, and marketing and distribution. He has produced and co-produced film and television projects in Europe, Asia, Asia-Pacific, and North America. Narrative and documentary films he has produced and co-produced have screened theatrically, on PBS Independent Lens, PBS, ABC Australia, Televisa, Netflix and Amazon and have won numerous awards at film festivals around the world. He has worked with Academy Award-nominated, Golden Palm, Golden Lion and Emmy Award-winning directors, co-founded SEEfest’s Project Accelerator program, served on numerous film festival juries, including Cine Las Americas, the Newport Beach Film Festival, deadCenter Film Festival, and SXSW, and served as a judge for the News and Documentary Emmys. Hans holds a Masters degree in Film Production and International Communication and a PhD in Media Studies from the University of Texas at Austin, and an MFA in Film and Television Producing from UCLA’s School of Theater, Film and Television.

Kevin A. Mardesich

Kevin A. Mardesich began his Hollywood career running the Story Department at three-time Oscar-winner Oliver Stone’s development company. Next, Kevin helped execute corporate communications for Fox’s entertainment channels. These included National Geographic, FX, Fox Movie Channel, and Fox Sports. He currently runs Mardesich Communications u002du002d a full-service communications practice for film, television, and other industry leaders. Kevin specializes in writing and helps each client tell their story u002du002d from press releases, to scripts. Sample global projects include 14 communication campaigns for the marketing agency, Troika (ESPN, E!, HGTV, and Kevin also wrote and co-produced MTV’s Emmy-winning interactive films, “Take A Stand Against Violence.” These films helped decrease youth violence and were praised by The White House. Additionally, Kevin led documentary-short projects for nonprofits in Los Angeles, Chicago, and Cali, Colombia as well as recently in Eastern Europe for US AID (Agency for International Development). Here, he trained young activists and PhDs in documentary-shorts for social media to help stand-up to authoritarianism. Schedule permitting, Kevin teaches these same story and marketing skills part-time at UCLA Extension. Please see sample work and courses at Mardesich Communications.u003cbru003eu003cbru003eu003ca href=u0022https://KevinMardesich.comu0022u003eKevinMardesich.comu003c/au003e

Alexia Melocchi

Alexia Melocchi, a partner in Los Angeles based Little Studio Films has a broad, global sense of the film and television industries. Her experience spans production, consulting, marketing, and distribution. She to Creative Screenwriting Magazine about her career experience in both the producing and selling space. She started Little Studio as a boutique management company before expanding into production.u003cbru003eu003cbru003eLittle Studio Films is about “creating synergies and collaboration between the international marketplace and talent by opening doors into Hollywood and vice versa,” said Melocchi. “We represent 11 major international distributors and facilitate sales and pre-sales in the early stages of film and TV project development.”

Michal Shany

Michal Shany is an associate in the Entertainment, Technology and Advertising Practice Group in the firm’s Century City office.u003cbru003eu003cbru003eMichal’s practice focuses on transactional entertainment matters related to feature films and series (scripted all stages of development She regularly negotiates on behalf of Amazon Studios and served as production counsel to KeshetInternational on the drama series Echo 3 set to premiere on Apple TV+.u003cbru003eu003cbru003ePrior to joining Sheppard Mullin, Michal was an entertainment attorney at Manatt, Phelps u0026amp; Phillips, LLP in Los Angeles. She handled a wide variety of entertainment matters, from motion picture distribution and financing on behalf of independent producers to music rights and live touring on behalf of artists, as well as corporate and CCPA compliance matters. Michal has organized two Film u0026amp; TV Industry panels selected for SXSW (2018 and 2020).

Jeremy Wall

Jeremy Wall, in production, over the past years, has independently developed a slate of commercial film projects and arranged production financing of $60MM for the feature films either privately or as a consultant with other companies. He has closed a South African/UK co- production, a Canadian/New Mexico co-production, shot in Morocco and Chile. He recently closed and produced DEAD FOR A DOLLAR directed by Walter Hill starring Christoph Waltz ad Willem Dafoe, which entered into the Venice Film Festival. He is now working in a Joint Venture to do three films a year in the action/thriller genre.u003cbru003eu003cbru003eJeremy’s rare skill is the ability to combine a working hands on approach with direct budget responsibility. He is able to pivot to detailing a complicated financial structure with senior bankers and contribute creatively with top talent. His in-depth business and creative skill-set and experience in finance, development and production development has uniquely equipped him to excel where others have failed.u003cbru003eu003cbru003eHe led a multi-national team to Morocco to film THE OBJECTIVE which turned profitable before it was shot and was responsible for on time and on budget production.u003cbru003eu003cbru003eHe has structured, raised and closed an $18MM international co-production for ASK THE DUST, starring Colin Farrell with Tom Cruise producing. He led 140 people on location to Morocco on one of his productions, THE OBJECTIVE, directed by Blair-Witch creator Dan Myrick. He has consulted numerous production entities, new media companies and Paul Allen, providing detailed advice, know-how and strategic reports for monetizing digital and/or media opportunities. His films have also returned a profit for investors.u003cbru003eu003cbru003ePrior to forming his own independent production company, Polaris Pictures, in Los Angeles, Jeremy was an executive at Sony Pictures Entertainment in Culver City, where he was involved in all aspects of green lighting Columbia TriStar, Screen Gems and Sony Pictures Classics films from the inception of the movie to its release. He was an instrumental part of a team that raised $750MM for Sony for an international film acquisition fund and oversaw UK, Argentinean and German co-financing. Jeremy structured talent, director and producer deals at the highest level and has in-depth on-set experiences with direct financial and production responsibilities as producer. After Sony, Jeremy worked for Kevin Tsujihara at Warner Bros. on a plan to development interactive TV via the Time Warner family of companies. He successfully led a multi-company team to broadcast interactive triggers via set-top boxes across cable networks.u003cbru003eu003cbru003ePreviously Jeremy was a producer for BBC business news and directed for several TV shows in the UK.u003cbru003eu003cbru003eJeremy Wall was awarded an MBA at the renowned International Graduate Business School, the Institut Européen d’Administration Des Affaires, or INSEAD, in Fontainebleau near Paris, France, where he specialized in entrepreneurism and advanced finance. He also holds an MA (Honors) from Cambridge University where he specialized in Natural Sciences.


Claire Aguilar

Claire Aguilar is an award-winning documentary film producer and film consultant providing analysis and strategic planning for independent producers.  She has served as a film curator, film festival director and public television commissioning editor and broadcaster.  A second-generation Filipina American, she holds a BA in Communications Studies and an MA in Film and Television Studies from UCLA. Claire is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and serves on the Academy’s Executive Documentary Branch Committee. She is Vice President of the Board of directors for Women Make Movies, and serves on the boards of Firelight Media and the Why Foundation.  

Julie Carmen

Julie Carmen, actor / producer / member of Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences. Julie sat on the Board of Directors of IFP/West Film Independent and the Board of Directors of Women in Film. Julie starred in John Cassavetes’ ‘Gloria’, Robert Redford’s ‘Milagro Beanfield War’, John Carpenter’s ‘In the Mouth of Madness’, Michael Mann’s ‘Drug Wars Part Two’, Tommy Lee Wallace’s ‘Fright Night Part Two’. On television Julie recently played a triple organ transplant survivor on Grey’s Anatomy and plays La Doña in the AMC anthology Tales of the Walking Dead. As producer Julie acquired the film rights to produce four films based on books. Her passion project is the documentary feature film called ‘Lico Jiménez the Ebony Liszt’. about child prodigy Afro Cuban post romantic composer and pianist from Trinidad, Cuba, Jose Manuel (Lico) Jiménez Berroa, (1851-1917). Julie holds a Masters Degree in Clinical Psychology and worked for 20 years as a licensed marriage and family therapist and certified yoga therapist.

IMDB Profile

Christine La Monte

Christine La Monte, producer/director/writer and former film marketing executive at Universal, Disney and Orion, is founder of La Monte Productions where feature documentaries in postproduction include VIVA VERDI!, about Casa Verdi in Milan, the home that Giuseppe Verdi built for retired opera singers; and FIGLI DEL FIUME (CHILDREN OF THE RIVER); JUSTICE DEFERRED, a feature film in development based on Len Williams’ critically acclaimed legal thriller book is in development. She is a charter member of the diverse global Creative Compass Collective (CCC), where the feature documentary, PAUSED: Life Under C-19 is currently in postproduction. La Monte produced the award-winning short film, DANDELION DHARMA; the Gary Goldstein scripted play, “Three Grooms u0026amp; A Bride,” and the syndicated television talk show, u0022Marilouu0022 starring Marilu Henner. Her directing credits include the Screen Actors Guild’s “A Heart United” with Sharon Lawrence and Jo Beth Williams, and “The Angina Monologues” with Brenda Strong. La Monte spent over 6 years at the public relations/marketing firm, Rogers u0026amp; Cowan as the Executive Vice President of the Motion Picture Group; as an international strategic marketer, she worked at Italian studio, CineCittá in Rome, and served as Marketing Executive, at TV 3 New Zealand, while living in Auckland. A long-time member of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts u0026amp; Sciences where she serves as a member of the Executive Committee of the Student Academy Awards, La Monte is a member of the Academy of Television Arts u0026amp; Sciences, and the Alliance of Women Directors. She is a past faculty member of New York’s School of Visual Arts where she initiated the Dusty Awards, an annual festival of student short films and awards ceremony, and a member of PEN America’s Los Angeles Committee and SEEfest’s Advisory Board. She is currently serving as a jury member on the Documentary panel of the 2023 Humanitas Prizes. La Monte divides her time between Los Angeles and Rome with her author husband, Len Williams.

Marlon West

Marlon West (Visual Effects Supervisor) has worked on Paperman, and served as Head of Effects Animation for Feast, both shorts won Academy Awards. He also was Head of Effects Animation for Frozen and Encanto, each won the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature. He started his career producing educational films for Encyclopedia Britannica, after graduating from Columbia College in 1985. In 1989, he moved to Los Angeles and started freelancing, working on special effects for music videos, television commercials, and motion pictures. Marlon joined Walt Disney Animation Studios in 1993 as an effects animator on The Lion King.u003cbru003eu003cbru003eAfter transitioning to CG animated films and working as a digital artist animating and designing special effects on Chicken Little and Meet the Robinsons. Marlon helped to usher the return of traditional, 2-D animation (as well as the cartoon short form) back to the studio with his work as Artistic Coordinator and Visual Effects Supervisor on How to Hook Up Your Home Theater. Marlon was also the Head Of Effects Animation on The Princess and the Frog, Winnie The Pooh, Moana, Frozen 2, and Encanto. In 2010 Marlon and several of his venerable peers African-American animators were honored by The Black Hollywood Education and Resource Center (BHERC). He was given Animation Magazine’s Game Changer Award in 2019.u003cbru003eu003cbru003eHe is currently serving as Visual Effects Supervisor on Iwájú for Disney+. Always a music fan, he has worked as a DJ in various venues and styles. A native of St. Louis, Marlon resides with his family among thousands of books and records in Glendale, California.


Post Grad, Feature; Deven Ladson
Start Life From Scratch, Documentary; Kate Kotsiuba
Hamlet, the Director’s Cut, Feature; Vahagn Karapetyan
In Transkei, Feature; Derya Durmaz
Malick, Feature; Cassio Tolpolar
Noor Inayat Khan: the Forgotten Spy, Feature; Almanya Narula

The Big Slava, Feature; Ivana Strajin
Half Mother, Half Child, Documentary; Alice Reiner
Danito, Documentary; Soledad Cáceres
Spectres, Feature; Eralda Lameborshi
Lost Threads and Illuminations, Documentary; Natasha Ravnik
Eternity Road, Feature; Shahrzad Dadgar