A Practical Guide to Successfully Finance Your Independent Film and How to Navigate the Industry’s Current Challenges
Labor disputes, inflation, interest rates, ever-changing streaming industry: how to navigate the industry challenges. Lawyers, bankers, bonders, and sales agent veterans join together on this panel to offer practical and up-to-date insight to get your indie film financed as the industry continues to evolve.
Eric Paquette, CEO, Meridian Pictures
Andrew Kramer, Chair, Motion Picture, Television and Entertainment Finance practice, Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP
Brian O’Shea, CEO, The Exchange
Guillaume de Chalendar, SVP, Head of Media & Entertainment, Banc of California
Fred Milstein, CEO, Media Guarantors
co-presented by Banc of California and Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP
Brian O'SheaCEO, The Exchange
Currently, Brian O’Shea is the CEO of The Exchange, an international sales company founded in 2011. The Exchange is currently selling and financing Meet Cute (Kaley Cuoco & Pete Davidson), The Independent (Brian Cox, Jodie Turner-Smith, Kathy Bates, & John Cena), The Inventor (Daisy Ridley, Stephen Fry, Marion Cotillard, & Matt Berry), Violet (Olivia Munn) and Muti (Morgan Freeman). Past films include Universal’s 2 Guns (Denzel Washington & Mark Wahlberg), Netflix’s Shimmer Lake and Irreplaceable You; Sundance Award Winners Blaze, directed by Ethan Hawke, and We the Animals, directed by Jeremiah Zagar; Sundance and Independent Spirit nominees and winners, The Killing of Two Lovers, Spree, Dear White People, The Spectacular Now, Obvious Child; as well as, prominent documentary films including The Biggest Little Farm, Gleason, and Street Gang: How We Got to Sesame Street. Its first production, The Stand In, starring Drew Barrymore, was released by Saban in December of 2020, and its second production, The Independent, is currently in post-production and will be released by Relativity.
Prior to The Exchange, Mr. O’Shea was President of Worldwide Sales and Distribution for Affinity International, creating the entity five years ago then called Odd Lot International, turning it into one of the leading independent film production, sales, finance, and distribution companies in the United States.
In his role at Affinity, Mr. O’Shea was directly responsible for all international acquisitions, business affairs, sales, financing, and all distribution activities. Mr. O’Shea’s past success at Affinity includes the critically acclaimed Rabbit Hole starring Nicole Kidman and Aaron Eckhart, Casa de mi Padre starring Will Ferrell, Gael Garcia Bernal, and Diego Luna, Beastly starring Vanessa Hudgens and Alex Pettyfer from CBS Films and Drive starring Ryan Gosling and Carey Mulligan. Mr. O’Shea was previously Senior Vice President of Worldwide Distribution at Media 8, Senior Vice President of International Sales at First Look International and Vice President of Legal Affairs and International Sales at Concorde-New Horizons. During his tenure at those companies, Mr. O’Shea was instrumental in securing, financing, and selling such films as Monster, Upside of Anger, Before Night Falls, and Waking Ned Devine.
Brian is also a member in good standing of the State Bar of California.
Guillaume de ChalendarSVP, Head of Media & Entertainment, Banc of California
Guillaume has been an entertainment banker for 25 years, holding senior roles in commercial banks, private equity houses, and investment banks.
He post-graduated in French law in 1996, specializing in the entertainment industry, and started a Ph.D. in banking and media law at La Sorbonne in Paris.
After a short stint at a specialist law firm in Paris, he moved to media banking in London. Over the following period, he worked in London for 17 years and has been LA-based for the past eight years.
The Entertainment banking group he leads at Banc of California serves the Film, TV, Music and Touring industries.
Eric PaquetteCEO, Meridian Pictures
Eric Paquette – CEO Meridian Pictures has over thirty years of experience creating content for some of the biggest media companies in the world such as CBS News & Sports, Metro Goldwyn Mayer, and Sony Pictures. Paquette, a well-respected executive and producer, is currently the CEO of the film and television company Meridian Pictures and is the Founder and CEO of the co-viewing start-up LetScreen. For the past fifteen years, he served as Senior Vice President of Production at Sony Pictures Entertainment’s Screen Gems where he supervised the development and production of feature films with budgets ranging between $10 million to $60 million. Prior to joining Sony in 2005, Paquette served in senior executive positions at Metro Goldwyn Mayer and Phoenix Pictures. He started his career in media as a researcher for CBS Sports and as an Associate Producer for Dan Rather and Connie Chung at CBS News.
Eric was recently appointed by President Biden to serve on the President’s Committee on the Arts. Established in 1958 by President Eisenhower, the President’s Advisory Committee on the Arts (PACA) has played a valuable role in sustaining the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the National Cultural Center. Members of the Committee are civic and cultural leaders who are selected by the President of the United States to serve as representatives in their own communities.
He is an advisory board member for The Johns Hopkins School of Education and is the former President and current Commissioner of The Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs. Paquette is also a member of The Academy of Motion Picture, Arts and Sciences and was a previous member of the International Feature Film Executive Committee.
He co-founded Tudela Futbol Club Los Angeles and has run twenty-six marathons, including the Boston Marathon three times. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife Jessica Postigo and their two daughters, Libby and Nina. He and his family are beekeepers.
Fred MilsteinCEO, Media Guarantors
Fred Milstein is the CEO of Media Guarantors, a wholly-owned SpottedRisk subsidiary that provides Completion Guarantees to the Film & TV production world. With an impressive career in international entertainment finance and risk management, Milstein’s experience includes roles as a senior talent agent, production executive, entertainment insurance broker, and a film finance and completion bond authority. Milstein brings four decades of expertise from his previous senior positions at the William Morris Agency, MiramaxFilms, Completion Bond Company, cineFinance, and Aon/Albert G. Ruben to his current role.
Andrew Kramer Chair, Motion Picture, Television and Entertainment Finance practice, Willkie Farr and Gallagher LLPAndrew KramerChair, Motion Picture, Television and Entertainment Finance practice, Willkie Farr and Gallagher LLP
Andrew Kramer is Chair of Willkie’s Motion Picture, Television and Entertainment Finance practice group, and is a member of the Entertainment Transactions Practice. With over 30 years of experience working with leading global entertainment and film companies, Andrew focuses his practice on transactional matters related to domestic and international production, exploitation of motion picture, television and digital media content, legal issues, business affairs, project finance, acquisitions and global distribution of content. A seasoned lawyer and business executive, Andrew has held high-level legal and business positions in major film and television production and distribution companies across the industry. Andrew formerly served as a member of the Executive Committee as General Vice Chairperson of The Independent Film & Television Alliance (IFTA) overseeing the global trade association for the independent motion picture and television industry.