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Accelerator 2024


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 – 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.

Alexia Melocchi

Alexia is an accomplished entertainment industry professional with a long-proven track record of success within both the domestic and international arenas. A vital contributor to the LITTLE STUDIO FILMS brand, Alexia Melocchi ‘s footing in the Entertainment Industry began in the international marketplace in the 1990s, as both a sales agent and buyer’s representative for eleven theatrical distributors. As a P.G.A producer with 30 credits,  she uses her professional relationships and expertise in screenplay development, film and television IP packaging, securing co- productions and arranging for US and International Distribution for her clients projects.  A regular participant at most major Film and Television markets as well as Festivals around the world, Alexia Melocchi still pursues international acquisitions and uses a global film marketing approach for the Projects of her Clients as well as the films she is producing under the Little Studio Films banner. During her tenure as a SalesAgent she sold more than 50 movies to profit on behalf of her producer clients and acquired more than 150 major Studio and Independent films on behalf of the Distributors she has ongoing relationships in Italy, Greece, Latin America, Spain, France, CIS and the Middle East.  She was behind the acquisitions of films such as PEPPERMINT, THE BOY 2, LA LA LAND, ANNA, NOW YOU SEE ME 2, BEAUTIFUL BOY, SHAUN THE SHEEP and many more.

Alexia Melocchi is fluent in French, Greek, Italian and Spanish and is frequently invited as an expert Panelist on the Global Entertainment Industry. She was invited to discuss her expertise at ITTV, SEE FEST, the LOS ANGELES GREEK FILM FESTIVAL, the NORTH HOLLYWOOD CINEFEST, three consecutive CANNES FILM FESTIVAL panels (hosted by the PGA, Stage 32 and the Producers Network )  and WOMEN IN ENTERTAINMENT. Her bestseller book “AN INSIDERS SECRET: MASTERING THE HOLLYWOOD PATH” is on Amazon worldwide.

Franco Sama

Franco Sama boasts a remarkable and extensive history in public speaking public relations and nearly two decades of independent film development, production, and financing experience.

Sama, a proud Producer’s Guild of America (PGA) member, he serves as Chair of the PGA’s Member Events Committee and has Executive Produced and produced/co-produced an impressive array of over twenty-four (24) successful independent feature films. These films most notably include “Guns, Girls and Gambling” starring Gary Oldman, Christian Slater, and Dane Cook, which is now a cult favorite; this film acquired a distribution deal from Universal Home Entertainment.

Other films Sama has executive produced include “Tooth and Nail” starring Michael Madsen and Vinnie Jones, and “Paid” starring Corbin Bernsen. Sama also serves as Executive Producer on the film festival darling “Petunia,” starring Thora Birch, Brittany Snow, and Academy Award winner Christine Lahti.

One of his most recent films include the Australian TV Movie, “Suka,” an action thriller recently also released in the United States, “Take the Night”, the action-packed thriller that enjoyed a limited theatrical release in the United States; and “The Shift,” the hugely successful faith-based drama starring Neal McDonogh and Sean Austin, which was released on December 1, 2023, and has enjoyed a worldwide theatrical release.

His shingle “Samaco Films, LLC,” headquartered at Los Angeles Center Studios in Downtown Los Angeles.
Sama is also the Executive Producer of the highly anticipated Elevated Musical Thriller, “Alexis Colette.” The film will be shot in France and New York, and directed by its writer and creator, Anthony W. Johnson.

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.

Christopher 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.

Previously, 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.

A 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.
He 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.

Contact Info:
E. [email protected]
P. 818-501-7663.

Sean Flanagan

Sean Flanagan is a New York based distribution executive, writer and producer. Studying at the New School, Sean began his entertainment career interning on the HBO film Taking Chance with Oscar nominated producers Ross Katz and Fred Berger. 
In 2011, Sean pivoted to a distribution career as a means of learning the backend of the business that seemed to be lacking in his interactions with other creatives. Working his way up from the reception desk at social justice distributor Cinema Libre Studio, Sean ran the marketing campaigns for dozens of films. He then moved to running Quiver Digital, helping to release over 1000 films for every independent distributor in North America including Sundance Institute, Samuel Goldwyn, Filmrise and Pokemon. He eventually went on to run distribution for additional companies including Visual Data Media Services, Buffalo 8 and Narrative Capital. He presently consults on acquisitions and business development for Synergetic. 
As a producer, Sean has worked on Shady Grove as well as Easy Does It! Starring Linda Hamilton and consulted on numerous other projects. His first feature, Killdeer, is in pre-production and set to shoot spring 2024. Other projects include the adaptations of Paperback Original, and White Ghosts. He is currently developing a project called To Create and Destroy with Screen Ireland and Eiru Films. Sean is repped by Zero Gravity Management.
As a means of promoting education, transparency and empowering filmmakers, Sean has served as a mentor and spoken at USC School of Cinematic Arts, Austin Film Festival, New Orleans Film Festival, Coverfly, Roadmap Writers, Big Apple Film Festival, Studio City International Film Festival and more.

Andrei Zinca

Andrei Zincă studied Film and TV Photography in Romania, and Directing and Film Production at the University of Southern California (USC) in Los Angeles. Before leaving Romania in 1982, Mr. Zincă worked as a Cameraman for eight feature films, produced at Buftea Film Studios, and produced, wrote and directed for Romanian Television “We, the people”, a travel documentary series, that brought him an award from the Union of Romanian Filmmakers (UCIN) for best documentary series. Outside Romania, his debut as a Director/Producer occurred in 1987, with “Rosa de America”, a six-hour period TV mini-series shot in Peru. In 1988, Mr. Zincă moved to the U.S., where he established himself as a leading Director/Producer for the TV Hispanic markets in the U.S. and Latin America, with more than 1500 hours of scripted television under his belt. In 1991, he was nominated for an Emmy Regional Award for “Conversaciones en el Vaticano”, a Special Program about Pope John-Paul II and the Vatican, which he directed and co-produced. In 2006, Mr. Zincă returned to Romania as a Line Producer for the feature film “Mirrors”, starring Keifer Southerland, directed by Alexandre Aja, a New Regency/20th Century Fox production. He also directed “La Urgență”, a local version of ER, winner of UCIN (the Romanian Association of Filmmakers) and APTR (the Romanian Association of TV Professionals) Awards for Best Series 2006. In 2013, he co-produced, directed, and co-wrote “Puzzle for a Blind Man”, his first theatrical feature, shot entirely in Romania and post-produced in the US. The US-Romania co-production was awarded for best picture, script, lead actors, and photography at various independent film festivals in the US, and was distributed by Netflix in Europe, and by various streamers in the US. The same co-production formula was applied to his second feature film, “So, What’s Freedom?”, inspired in a short novel by world-renowned Ana Blandiana. The film won the Audience Choice Award for Best Romanian movie at TIFF Cluj-Napoca 2020, as well as other Audience Choice Awards and Special Jury Mentions, at festivals in the US. The movie was distributed in Europe by HBO. In 2023, Mr. Zincă premiered his first production of a feature documentary, shot entirely in South Africa. After its World premiere at Thessaloniki Documentary Festival where it won three awards, “Who I Am Not” had its N. American premiere at SXSW, followed so far by selections in 67 international festivals, with 20 wins. The movie was shortlisted by The European Film Academy for Best Documentary, and in the US, was picked by the prestigious PBS/POV for its 2024-2025 slate. Mr. Zincă is the co-founder and CEO of Voxx Studios, a Los Angeles based audio post-production studio.

Carol Contes

Carol T. Contes is an experienced entertainment lawyer who assists clients with business and legal matters pertaining to the development, financing, and production of scripted and unscripted content for global distribution (i.e., independent films, television/streaming series, documentaries, etc.). She is also experienced with intellectual property licensing agreements and Broadway stage agreements and issues regarding celebrity estates. She is admitted to both the Arizona Bar and the California Bar. Carol was recently a Co-Producer of the international independent film, “The Bay of Silence.”

Michal Shany

Michal’s practice focuses on transactional entertainment matters related to feature films and series (scripted and unscripted). She advises studios, production companies, and networks across all stages of development and production.

She regularly negotiates on behalf of Amazon Studios and served as production counsel to Keshet International on the drama series Echo 3 set to premiere on Apple TV+.

Prior to joining Sheppard Mullin, Michal was an entertainment attorney at Manatt, Phelps & 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 & TV Industry panels selected for SXSW (2018 and 2020).

Michal received her law degree from Boston University School of Law where she was a Note Editor of the Journal of Science and Technology Law and the Entertainment Law Chair of the Communications, Entertainment, and Sports Law Association. During law school, Michal interned with the Content Protection Group at Fox Entertainment Group in Los Angeles, created and moderated a panel on the business of documentary distribution in Paris, and studied abroad at the University of Oxford (with a primary tutorial of media law).

Before law school, Michal received her Master in Documentary Film Directing from DocNomads, a two-year international program delivered by a consortium of three European universities: Lisbon’s Lusofona University, Budapest’s University of Theatre and Film Arts, and Brussels’ LUCA School of Arts. She directed, filmed, produced, and edited short documentaries in Portuguese, Hebrew, Hungarian, and French, and remains an active alumna.

Michal previously taught English through the Auxiliares de Conversación program in Madrid and completed a year of National Service working with Down syndrome adults in Be’er Sheva, Israel.

Hans-Martin Liebing

Hans is a European film and television producer and screenwriter with an extensive portfolio of feature films and documentaries spanning North America, Europe, and Asia-Pacific. Projects he has produced and co-produced have garnered domestic and international awards, been screened
theatrically, broadcast worldwide, and acquired by major streaming platforms such as Netflix, Peacock, and Amazon Prime.

He has served on numerous film festival juries, including Cine Las Americas, the Newport Beach Film Festival, deadCenter Film Festival, and SXSW, and has been a judge for the News and Documentary Emmy Awards. Together with SEEfest founder and director Vera Mijojlić, he established SEEfest’s Global Film and Television Project Accelerator and the Global Film
Business Breakfast Series, a bi-monthly think tank for global film industry professionals hosted by the Swiss Consulate in Los Angeles.

As CEO of London-based development and production company Cinigma Media Ltd, Hans has produced and co-produced projects with Emmy Award-winning, Golden Palm-winning Academy Award-nominated, and Golden Lion winning directors. Among his past projects are acclaimed PBS Independent Lens documentary “Hansel Mieth: Vagabond Photographer,” PBS documentaries “Tattooed under Fire” and “Cactus Jack: Lone Star on Capitol Hill,” award-winning Macedonian-Swiss feature film co-production “The War is Over,” and award-winning feature film comedy “Au Pair, Kansas,” recently acquired by Peacock.

Hans served as the Director of Development at LA-based production company Black Bird Fly Entertainment during development of the Imagen Award-winning Disney feature “McFarland, USA,” directed by Niki Caro and starring Kevin Costner, and NAACP Image Award and Humanitas Price-winning-Hallmark Hall of Fame movie “Firelight,” starring Cuba Gooding
Junior, and acted as the Director of International Development for Berlin-based production company MovieBrats Pictures, developing feature film co-productions and TV series for the international market. He got his start in the North American film and television industry by serving as a production intern at HBO Films, a development intern at Valhalla Motion Pictures during development of “Aeon Flux,” and Ang Lee’s “Hulk,” and as an assistant to producer Gale Anne Hurd during post-production of Marvel Studios’ “The Incredible Hulk.”

His current narrative slate includes several international feature film co-productions, a limited streaming series adapted from a Pen Award-winning author’s acclaimed non-fiction book, and domestic and international limited streaming series set in California, New Mexico, Arizona, Germany, Spain, Mexico, and the Philippines, several of them adapted from novels by a New York Times bestselling author. On Hans’ unscripted slate is a documentary project with New Zealand director Emily McDowell, currently in post-production. The trilogy, filmed in Washington, Alaska, Arizona, New Mexico, and New Zealand, explores the remarkable journeys of William Willoya, an Inuit activist whose work inspired the Greenpeace movement in the 1960s, and Greenpeace co-founder Susi Newborn.

Hans has been on the faculty of UCLA’s School of Theater, Film and Television since 2013, teaching courses in domestic and global film and television development, scripted and unscripted series development, entertainment industry economics, entertainment industry strategies, and
motion picture and TV marketing and distribution. He holds MA and PhD degrees in film production and media studies from the University of Texas at Austin, and an MFA degree in Film and Television Producing from UCLA’s School of Theater, Film and Television.


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 current projects in post production include three Italian feature documentaries: AI WEIWEI’S TURANDOT, which follows Ai Weiwei as he makes his operatic directorial debut at the Rome Opera House, bringing his activist/artistic vision to Puccini’s Turandot; VIVA VERDI!, which she is producing/writing about Casa Verdi in Milan, the home for retired opera singers built by Giuseppe Verdi in 1896; and FIGLI DEL FIUME / CHILDREN OF THE RIVER, three men in search of meaning find their ancestral roots along Italy’s Po River.  JUSTICE DEFERRED, a feature film in development based on Len Williams’ critically acclaimed legal thriller book is in development.  La Monte produced the Palm Springs International Film Festival Audience Award-winning short film, DANDELION DHARMA; the Gary Goldstein scripted play, “Three Grooms & A Bride,” and the syndicated television talk show, “Marilou” 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 & 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 & Sciences, La Monte is a member of the Academy of Television Arts & 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. She is on the Advisory Board of LA-based SEEfest, and is a frequent guest speaker/panelist at independent filmmaking events, including USC, UCLA and New York Film Academy; she has been the Chair of the Humanitas Awards jury panel for the past three years. With US/Italian dual citizenship, she divides her time between Los Angeles and Rome with her author husband, Len Williams.

Eleonora Granata

Eleonora Granata Jenkinson has had a decades-spanning career of success as a producer, executive, and festival director/programmer. Beginning her career climbing the ranks at RCS Film and Television in Italy. Eleonora moved to serve as a Senior Vice President at Pandora Films, running their U.S. office, and was responsible for film productions and acquisitions. She continued at Turner Pictures in the same capacity, before taking a post at The Venice Film Festival as the U.S. representative and senior program advisor for seven years. Returning to the studio side, Eleonora consulted for MGM and United Artists before beginning her career as an independent producer. As a producer, Eleonora has specialized in international co-productions, delivering films from 9 different countries. Her films have been selected in the main competition of the Berlin, Rotterdam, Locarno, and Venice Film Festivals. Her most recent film MONICA, starring Trace Lysette and Oscar nominated actresses Patricia Clarkson and Adriana Barazza, was nominated in two categories at the 2024 Independent Spirit Awards.

Matteo Jenkinson

Matteo Jenkinson is one of the most accomplished film creatives working at his age. At only 19, he produced his first feature film WHERE ARE YOU, starring legendary actor Anthony Hopkins. The film went on to premiere at the Locarno International Film Festival. He followed with MONICA, starring Trace Lysette and Oscar nominated actresses Patricia Clarkson and Adriana Barazza; which was nominated in two categories at the 2024 Independent Spirit Awards, after opening in main competition at The Venice Film Festival. As a writer, Matteo’s development series I’M WITH LEO, was picked up by renowned television executive Gary Marenzi as his first series as a producer. Matteo recently finished working on CTV’s SIGHT as a staff writer. On the directing side, Matteo has primarily worked in advertising. Shooting campaigns for companies like Doritos, Taco Bell, Amazon, and Popchew.

Dorottya Máthé

Dorottya Máthé  is a New York based Producer from Hungary with over 25+ film credits in her extensive portfolio, spanning both narratives and documentaries.

Serving as the orchestrator of all production aspects, from inception to distribution, Dorottya takes a hands-on approach, thriving amidst the vibrant cultural landscape of New York.

Currently, she is immersed in the development of RABBIT, an enthralling horror/fantasy tale exploring the intricate dynamics between a mother and son, as they take shelter in their rural home on the precipice of a climate disaster, while seeking solace and redemption within the realms of trauma. 

Among her notable credits is GOOD EGG, a female-driven adventure-comedy that sparks thought-provoking dialogues about women’s courageous journeys behind their reproductive choices. She also spearheaded SHOULD WE KID OR NOT?, an interview-based insightful documentary web series commissioned by PBS. Dorottya produced IMPOSSIBLE MONSTERS, a compelling psychological thriller starring Tony Award Winner Santino Fontana, and THE INDEPENDENTS, a whimsical folk ’n roll fable featuring cameo roles by Richard Kind and Tony Award Winner Kelli O’Hara.

Dorottya enjoys working across genres and produced an eclectic array of highly visible projects for various art institutions such as the prestigious Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, Baryshnikov Arts Center, and Here Arts Center.

She has been serving as a Producing Instructor for the Documentary Faculty at the New York Film Academy and as a guest lecturer at BMCC, mentoring emerging international filmmakers.

Additionally, Dorottya is an active member of Women Independent Producers, a global network dedicated to empowering and advancing the careers of female producers as well as fostering inclusivity and diversity within the film industry.

Website | Imdb | Linkedin | Instagram | Facebook

Ron Simons

Dr. Ron Simons, a trailblazing figure in the world of entertainment, boasts an impressive six-time Tony Award nomination and a remarkable four Tony Award wins, making him the highest African-American Tony Award-winning producer in history. As the visionary Founder and CEO of SimonSays Entertainment, he has dedicated his career to amplifying the narratives of underrepresented communities, exemplified by the company’s impactful mission, Tell Every Story®.

Dr. Simons leads strategic planning and development at SimonSays through the success of numerous theatre, film, and television projects. Notably, he received his recent Tony Award nomination for the groundbreaking production “for colored girls who have considered suicide / when the rainbow is enuf.” This nomination marks another milestone in his journey as the preeminent Broadway producer committed to fostering diversity on the stage.

His cinematic endeavors include Sundance Film Festival selections such as “Night Catches Us,” “Gun Hill Road,” “Blue Caprice,” and “Mother of George,” all celebrated for their compelling narratives and diverse perspectives. Dr. Simons’ dedication extends to documentaries, with his first, “25 to Life,” earning the prestigious Best Documentary award at the American Black Film Festival.

A distinguished academic, Dr. Simons holds a BA from Columbia College, an MBA from Columbia Business School, and a Ph.D. in the Arts from the University of Washington. With an illustrious portfolio that includes Tony Award-winning productions like “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder,” “The Gershwin’s’ Porgy & Bess,” “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike,” and August Wilson’s “Jitney,” he continues to shape the cultural landscape and redefine excellence in the entertainment industry.

Photo credit: Bobby Quillard

Deborah Kolar

Deborah Kolar is Managing Partner of Kean & Kolar Communications, a company formed in 2008 specializing in strategic guidance to the global screen industry.

The company’s services include awards campaigns, US and International media strategies, corporate and personal representation, film festivals and markets, events management, and entertainment industry consultation.

Film credits range from award-winning films such as Top Gun: Maverick, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem, Babylon, Rocketman, Downsizing, Fences, The Big Short, Selma, Noah, Nebraska, Flight, Hugo, True Grit, The Fighter, How to Train Your Dragon, Shutter Island, I Could Never Be Your Woman, Underworld Evolution, Aeon Flux, Rize, Leonard Cohen I’m Your Man and Up in the Air to documentaries, short films and numerous, prestigious foreign language films.  The principals have worked with a wide range of distributors that include Paramount, Disney, Sony, Universal, Fox and Warner Bros. As film festival and media consultants, Kean & Kolar has not only represented many films participating in major international film festivals and markets, but the company also consults to film festivals globally such as the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, Sarajevo Film Festival and Transilvania International Film Festival.

Award-winning and nominated foreign language films include Academy Award® nominee Katyn (Poland), Academy Award® nominee As it is in Heaven (Sweden), Academy Award® nominee Zelary (Czech Rep), Golden Globe nominee The Return (Russia), Academy Award® nominee Everything in this Country Must (Northern Ireland) and Academy Award® nominee Divided We Fall (Czech Rep).  

Kolar’s career in marketing and publicity began in the UK before transitioning to the US with George Lucas and Lucas Films.  Kolar worked with writer/director/producer David Chase (The Sopranos, I’ll Fly Away, Almost Grown) at Universal Television and Lorimar/Warner Brothers Television before becoming co-president of Mediaplanpr. Kolar joined Premier PR in 2005.  Kolar is a former member of the Board of Directors of BAFTA-LA and an Executive-Producer of the British Academy Britannia Awards.

Kolar was educated at Wycombe Abbey School and University of Sussex in the UK (BA Hons History).


Leon Ristov — Signs Of Life
Sidar Inan — The Story of the Pink Helmet
Soledad Cáceres, Rod Sáez Chávez — Danito
Brittany Mcvicker — Just Peachy
Carina Tautu — Fast Donkeys; And Restoring Embrace
Megan Smith — Covenant And Womb

Gordana Smudja — Steps On The Bridge
Vahagn Karapetyan — Wicca
Jay Miracle — Waking The Lion
Sean Lieberman — Crackshots
Eralda Lameborshi — Beatitudes
Chorik Grig  — Black Garden