All Panels will be on Sunday October 8th 2017 at the AMC Theaters in Times Square. 

Time: 10:00am - 11:30am

Place: AMC Theater #25

Panel Title: Navigating a Career in Film and Media


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Lyall Bush
(Cornish College of the Arts)

Lyall Bush is a writer, editor, teacher, producer, former executive director of Northwest Film Forum and Richard Hugo House and currently the Chair of the Film department at Cornish College of the Arts. He has published personal essays, feature essays, and reviews for a variety of publications, including The Iowa Review, Film Comment, MovieMaker, The Seattle Times, The Stranger, and Cinema Studies Journal. His writing has been feature on the National Public Radio station KUOW 94.9, at Bumbershoot (Seattle's music and arts festival), and his book and film recommendations were regular parts of Art Zone, hosted by Nancy Guppy. In 2006 he was selected by The Stranger as "One to Watch" in its annual "genius" awards.

From 2008 to 2015 he was executive director of Northwest Film Forum, Seattle's premiere film arts center. An interview on KUOW 94.9 catches up on news at the Film Forum since 2010. He is writing a collection of stories, two of which appeared in public, each time in collaboration with Devin Sullivan, who wrote (and sang) songs in, and about, sections of the stories. He has taught film and film history for two decades and is the executive producer of What She's Having, a show pilot about food.

Brenda Mills
(Florida State University)

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Brenda Mills is a writer and editor with a background in marketing. Her calling is to support storytellers. Before she began working with nascent filmmakers at the FSU College of Motion Picture Arts in 2008, she ran FC2, a small, independent press that published experimental fiction.

Michael Chaney
(Savannah College of Art and Design)


Michael Chaney is a professor of Film and Television at SCAD. His films and time based media projects have been exhibited internationally. As an educator, artist, and specialist in short film form he has been working with emerging story telling platforms such as virtual reality (VR) cinema and interactive social media. He challenges his students with the task of developing their own unique voice with emerging cinematic practices and has mentored young filmmakers searching for focused creative direction.

Time: 11:30am - 1:00pm

Place: AMC Theater #25

Panel Title: How to make your independent film without breaking the bank

Moderated by Apple join a lively discussion about advances in technology and workflow that let anyone produce a cinema quality film without going bankrupt! The panel will discuss how you can make “prototype” films to hone your skills, and how as you gain more experience you can graduate to making a full length cinema-grade feature for less than a cost of a car.


Sam Mestman


Sam Mestman is the CEO of Lumaforge the makers of industry leading shared storage solutions for video production. He has done numerous Final Cut Pro X integrations around the world, most notably for places like Ted Talks, Direct TV, and the first studio feature to be edited with FCPX, Focus. 

His true passion is filmmaking, though, and he is also the CEO and Founder of We Make Movies, which, as far as he knows, is the world’s first community funded production company. Sam truly believes anyone can make a great looking film using technology they probably already own.

Time: 1:00pm - 2:30pm

Place: AMC Theater #25

Panel Title: Point Park New Directions in Writing for the Media

Host: Point Park Dept of Cinema Arts


Fritz Kiersch


Kiersch began his career in Hollywood in 1975 in television commercial production in the camera department working for Caleb Deschannel, John Hora and other notable cinematographers. In 1981 he open the doors of the Kirby/Kiersch Film Group where, along with producing partner Terry Kirby, he successfully directed and produced numerous advertising and corporate products.  

In 1983 he crossed over into feature films, directing the original Stephen King's ‘Children of the Corn’ motion picture which created a franchise in the horror film genre.  This was followed by a number of feature films and eventually, cable, television episodics and other commercial film assignments. 

In 2000 he further expanded his interests by transitioning into academia as a Professor and Chairman of a University moving image art department. He has subsequently accepted appointments at two other Universities where he shares his focus today, advancing the theories and industrial practices of the discipline while administrating other academic interdisciplinary programs.

Kiersch continues to be very active in the production of product as a ‘hyphenate’. His recent film work includes executive producing ‘First &Female’ a documentary exploring the role of Oklahoma women in leadership and‘Unsolved’, a feature horror film currently in home entertainment release.  In his primary capacities of directing and writing, he’s completed ‘The Hunt’, a docu-fiction cable feature,  ’12: Is There Life in Recovery’, a peer to peer documentary voicing the honestperspectives of teens after struggling with their addictions and‘Surveillance’, a psychological thriller starring Armand Assante. 

View his full filmography, here.

Rick Hawkins

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Rick Hawkins is an Emmy-winning screenwriter, whose decades-long career in Hollywood includes twenty-four consecutive seasons of success as a television executive producer, head writer, studio executive, and international media consultant.  Beginning with The Carol Burnett Show, where his now iconic “Went With the Wind” sketch contains the longest sustained laugh in television history, Hawkins went on to pen the ABC telefilm, The Love Boat, which piloted the long running series. Hawkins’ writing credits include landmark variety series, top rated sitcoms and dramas, for which he has earned seven Emmy Award nominations and five WGA Award nominations.  Hawkins has penned the book for several musicals, including the “Lunch,” which had it’s West Coast premier in January of 2014.  Hawkins has served as lecturer and teacher at the University of California Los Angeles and the University of Moscow, as well as the Television Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Warner Brothers Comedy Writing workshops.   He is currently serving as a Senior Teaching Artist in the Cinema Arts Department of Point Park University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania where is focus of instruction is screenwriting (for screens large and small.)  


With Special Industry Guests to be announced