Birgit Kemner is a French-German producer who has headed up successful co-productions for nearly a decade. All of her productions have been selected and awarded in renowned festivals such as the Cannes, Tribeca or Venice Film Festival. Birgit was previously Head of Marketing and Festivals at the MK2 group and has worked on international releases of over 50 films directed by filmmakers such as Gus van Sant (ELEPHANT, LAST DAYS, PARANOID PARK), Olivier Assayas (SUMMER HOURS) and Gela Babluani (13 TZAMETI - Lion of the Future at Venice, Jury Prize at Sundance and European Discovery at the European Film Awards) as well as numerous international film retrospectives of directors such as Charlie Chaplin, François Truffaut and Claude Chabrol. Full Bio »
As the world becomes flatter and technology brings us closer together, opportunities for international cooperation continue to abound. For producers or creatives looking to find or bolster their next indie project, there’s a huge amount of potential in joining forces with companies or teams from other countries and pooling your resources together, creating something larger than the sum of its parts. Forming an international co-production can give you access to more funding and financing opportunities, more access to locations, actors and crew, and more sales and distribution opportunities after the film is finished. But while international co-productions can reap great rewards, they also present unique challenges. After all, each country has its own set of rules and regulations, its own red tape, and its own processes for getting things done. Navigating this transnational world requires a set of skills and wherewithal that can be hard earned but is hugely valuable.
International co-productions are becoming more common in both mainstream cinema and the indie space. But while it yields results, it’s not a science. Collaboration never is. If you have your sights set outwards and are interested in working across country lines to create your next film, be prepared for some unique hurdles. For one, how do you even get started? How do you find international talent or partners in the first place? And once you find them, how do you woo them into working with you? How do you manage financing and how do you make compromises that make all parties happy? After all, collaboration is challenging no matter what, but working with people in another country, people who might not even share the same first language as you, amps that challenge up to another level.
Birgit Kemner is a French-German producer who has headed up successful co-productions for nearly a decade. All her productions have been selected and awarded in renowned festivals such as the Cannes or Venice Film Festival. Birgit was previously Head of Marketing and Festivals at the MK2 group and has worked on international releases of over 50 films directed by filmmakers such as Gus van Sant (ELEPHANT, LAST DAYS, PARANOID PARK), Olivier Assayas (SUMMER HOURS) and Gela Babluani (13 TZAMETI - Lion of the Future at Venice, Jury Prize at Sundance and European Discovery at the European Film Awards) as well as numerous international film retrospectives of directors such as Charlie Chaplin, François Truffaut and Claude Chabrol. Birgit is bringing her years of successful co-production experience exclusively to the Stage 32 community.
Birgit will use her extensive background to walk you through every step of creating a successful international co-production. She will begin by discussing tips on how to choose good projects in the first place and how to identify the right partners for you and your vision. She’ll teach you how to network and attract partners, especially in international markets when you often have ten minutes or less to make an impression. Birgit will then go over the challenges of funding and the resources available, especially in European markets. She will then talk about strategies and tips for your transnational partnership to survive and thrive, including tools to communicate, effective contracts, cash flow schedule, and how to determine who does what when. Finally, Birgit will delve into steps to take after the film is complete to bring it to the international market, get it into festivals, and optimize both marketing and sales. Simply put, you will be learning from one of the best.
Birgit will illustrate all of these points by using two of her own films as case studies, HUMAN CAPITAL, which played in competition at Tribeca Film Festival, and EL ARDOR, which was an official selection at Cannes Film Festival.
Praise for Birgit's webinar:
"Birgit gave me more information about international co-productions than I even knew existed. I now feel totally prepared and energized to tackle my next project"
"Great slides and great information!"
- Marisé S.
"Awesome! Birgit covered the bases and inspired me to look outside the box."
"Very informative, helpful information and guidance to take our next step into making our film. Thank you!"
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Learn directly from an Oscar & BAFTA winner exclusively on Stage 32. Think VFX is only for films or digital projects with high budgets? Think again. In fact, understanding how VFX can be worked into your project can help you save costs before you ever step on set. Understanding (and removing your fear of) VFX ahead of time can actually help you trim some shooting days, save money and give you more opportunity to make your film shine and stand out from the crowd. Independent filmmaking and the creation of quality digital content calls for being creative with your budget. But for most producers and filmmakers, the idea of adding VFX to their projects seems like a budget breaker. The reality is quite the opposite. Not only can VFX be quite affordable, but also be a game changer for your project. Accounting for VFX in pre-production may also allow for less "fix it in post" issues which, in turn, will actually help you save money and stay on schedule! Christopher M. Anthony is an Oscar and BAFTA winner and the Senior Director of Kayfabe Films. He is also one of the most sought after VFX masters in the business. Just some of the films Christopher has worked on include Guardians of the Galaxy, the X-Men franchise, Harry Potter, and The Jungle Book. But don't let those big budget films fool you. Christopher cut his teeth on smaller independent shorts, features and digital projects. He gets hired because he knows how to save money and bring projects in under budget. And now, exclusively for Stage 32, Christopher is going to teach you all his tricks of the trade. Chris is going to lead you through the entire VFX process in an easy to understand format. Using 19 carefully chosen VFX clips and examples, Chris will distill VFX down to the nuts and bolts. You will easily see how VFX can work for you no matter what format or budget you're working with. "Chris is quite the gent and a caring one at that. You can see how much time and effort he put into this webinar. The examples were priceless and opened my mind to an entirely new world that, to be honest, I thought was unattainable for me as a filmmaker." - Antonio C.
Exclusive opportunity only available on Stage 32! Stage 32 Masters of Craft Series Presents: Paul Watling, Head of Story for Oscar-Winning SPIDER-MAN: INTO THE SPIDER-VERSE and Conrad Vernon, Director of Oscar-Nominated SHREK 2. Animation is one of the most in-demand genres of film and television with a wide audience appeal. Whether it's billion dollar box office hits like THE LION KING, ZOOTOPIA, MINIONS or FROZEN or Emmy-winning television like THE SIMPSONS, BOB'S BURGERS or RICK AND MORTY, there is always a need for fun, fantastic and unique storytelling through animation. Animation as a medium is much different than its live action counterpart and requires a unique series of skills. One of the most important among them is pitching. A good pitch stands between you and your greenlight. Pitching animation is unlike any other storytelling. First, you are in charge of not only nailing a perfect pitch complete with character and story arcs, but you are also in charge of helping your audience visualize something that doesn't exist yet. Being able to do both and succeed can be challenging. You have to know how to map out your story, how to lay out your storyboards and how to verbally hone in on a perfect pitch. Missing a key element can mean you will get a pass. To make sure you put your best foot forward, Stage 32 is thrilled to bring you an exclusive Masters of Craft webinar with Paul Watling, Head of Story for Oscar-Winning SPIDER-MAN: INTO THE SPIDER-VERSE and Conrad Vernon, Director of Oscar-Nominated SHREK 2. Paul Watling has orbited the animation industry for the past two decades, honing his skills as a director, story artist and designer, joining Nickelodeon. He was head of story on Sony Pictures Animation’s Academy award winning feature, SPIDER-MAN INTO THE SPIDER VERSE and contributed to numerous television and feature productions most recently, as a director on Craig McCracken's Netflix series KID COSMIC. He served as a story artist on several other Sony Pictures Animation films, including SMURFS: THE LOST VILLAGE and HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA 2, along with a multitude of feature development projects. Paul relocated to Los Angeles from Toronto, Ontario where he worked as a storyboard artist, designer and director on a variety of television productions, such as GROJBAND, SIDEKICK, TOTAL DRAMA ISLAND, YIN YANG YO, ATOMIC BETTY and ED, EDD N EDDY. Conrad Vernon is an American director, writer, storyboard artist and voice over artist best known for his work on the DreamWorks Oscar-Nominated animated film series SHREK as well as other films such as MONSTERS VS. ALIENS, MADAGASCAR 3: EUROPE'S MOST WANTED AND PENGUINS OF MADAGASCAR. He also co-directed the adult animated film SAUSAGE PARTY and the newest release of the animated movie THE ADDAMS FAMILY. Conrad is now tapped to direct an animated movie version of THE JETSONS for Warner Bros. In this exclusive Stage 32 Masters of Craft Webinar Paul and Conrad will go over what a story pitch is for animation and how it can affect your story board. They will teach you how to prepare for a story pitch and how to plan a pitch story board. They will share from their decades of experience things that work well and things that do NOT work well in a pitch. And, exclusively to Stage 32, you will see video of the actual in-room pitch Conrad did for SHREK 2 - complete with the live pitch, the story boards and the final product! Paul will even do a live pitch to the class. You will get to see how the top pros pitch! Join us for an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at how two of the top people in animation today pitch - you'll walk away with creative ideas on how to apply it to your future pitches! PRAISE FOR CONRAD'S TEACHINGS: "Conrad teaching is like a master class in animation." - Miguel V. "Wit, wisdom and no bull-sh*t. Conrad was clear in what it takes to work in animation. Bring him back please!" - Tiffany F. "Conrad is a terrific instructor who I learned a tremendous amount from. I especially like how thorough he is in explaining technical details." - Paul I.
“So, what do you do?” – the inevitable question that always comes when networking You know how they say you never have a second chance to make a first impression? It is absolutely true in the creative industry. Networking and meeting new people always begins with how you introduce yourself. Any connection you make comes from your ability to sell "you" in an intriguing and inviting manner to make another person want to connect with you. Sometimes you have only 10 seconds, sometimes you have 1-2 minutes, and each pitch approach is different. The elevator pitch for the current day is about standing out by being interesting and memorable! With so many distractions - cell phones, social media, videos, etc. - you must GRAB someone when you're introducing yourself. Your Stage 32 Educator, Jessica Sitomer, is going to teach you how PLUS provide live examples from fellow creatives on how to craft the perfect pitch. Jessica is a long-time expert in the entertainment industry having worked in all areas, from writing and acting to directing and development. She's produced a sitcom pilot as well as two television series, one for MTV and one that is now in post-production. This is the webinar you need to feel confident on how you can creatively answer “So what do you do?” next time you are asked.
Your Definitive Guide to Microbudget Filmmaking Learn how you can make your movie for under $50k from a microbudget expert who's produced features for Legendary, Lakeshore Entertainment, Netflix, and IFC Films, as well as series for Fox Television Studios, Hulu, FreeForm, Netflix, and 20th Century Digital. PLUS! Get sample budgets, schedules, lookbooks, storyboards and film festival packages! The barrier to entry for making a film is at an all time low. With access, opportunity and new distribution options you can now take your film idea from concept to distribution easier than ever before. Best of all? You get to collaborate with people you choose to make that story a reality. How can you do that? By making your film independently on a microbudget under $50,000. This process means you don't have to pitch to studio executives and major financiers who will have their own notes about your story and what it should be and who to sell it to -- all of which you and your team might disagree with. In fact, you are in full control of the process from start to finish. Microbudget filmmaking is a path to creative freedom, and one that is paved with profits if done correctly. To make your story see the big screen, you're going to need to spend extra time working to make sure you're doing everything right because you have no time or money to waste. We have the perfect Stage 32 Educator, Michael Wormser, who is here to show you how to develop, produce, and distribute your microbudget movie. Michael is an award-winning producer who specializes in microbudget filmmaking and has produced over 70 projects including features for Legendary, Lakeshore Entertainment, Netflix, and IFC Films, as well as series for Fox Television Studios, Hulu, FreeForm, Netflix, and 20th Century Digital. Through an interactive 4-part virtual class, Michael dives deep into the four key areas of microbudget filmmaking that you must master in order to be successful: Development, Planning, Production, and Distribution. Each of these four phases comes with unique challenges and opportunities that Michael will show you how to use to your advantage to produce the best microbudget film possible and get it out to your audience to enjoy. You'll walk away from these sessions with everything you need to know to collaborate and produce your own microbudget film. You will have assignments between each session to put to practice what you learn for your own film, and you will also get documents that will help you on your own journey: Budget and Schedule Examples Look book Examples Storyboard Examples Film Festival Package Examples Don't miss out on this incredible opportunity to work with an acclaimed producer who's helped countless creators bring their microbudget projects to life! Praise from Michael's previous class: "Michael is the real deal. His tricks to the process blew my mind. I can't thank you enough for all you taught us!" - James P. "Run, no, sprint to learn from Michael. His knowledge and attention to detail is bar none. I highly recommend Michael as a teacher. I've produced projects before but he has an incredible knowledge base on all aspects to help streamline processes." - Aimee M.
Hello Creative Army! Over the last few months, the entire team here at Stage 32 has been working tirelessly to help you stay connected, creative, motivated, and informed. As always, we are committed to bringing you networking opportunities, education and mentoring from top-level industry executives and professionals, and access to decision-makers around the globe all from the safety of your own home. Since the beginning of the quarantine mandates brought about by the spread of COVID-19, I've promised you free education designed not only to keep you inspired and entertained, bit to provide up-to-date, no BS information regarding how the industry is handling business during the better at home orders and give you a glance into what lies ahead. We have brought in top executives in television and animation for state of the industry roundtables, partnered with film festivals to bring you top of the line virtual panels, and even hosted a virtual happy hour and table read, to name just some of our COVID-19 free education initiatives. Every day, the Stage 32 team is on the phone and communicating with industry professionals. Our goal is to have our finger on the pulse of what's happening in the moment. Additionally, since launching Stage 32 Screenings I have had the privilege of speaking with hundreds of entertainment industry creatives and professionals including festival directors, distributors, sales agents, financiers and other executives to get their take on how they're navigating these challenging times. I can think of no better time to host another free AMA (Ask Me Anything) so I can share what I've been hearing and experiencing in my personal creative pursuits and to take your questions on all things craft and business. In June I hosted a new AMA. You brought your questions and energy and I provided a couple of hours of no-holds-barred shop talk. All creatives were welcome to join no matter their profession(s), skill level, or geographical location. We came together for some inspiration, motivation, and community. I had fun spending quality time with you all. As always, registering for my AMA is completely FREE! And the more the merrier, so do invite any of your fellow creative friends and peers to watch. Should any of your contacts not be members of Stage 32 already, you can send them an invite here! If you missed my last few AMA's, you can view them here! Cheers! RB
Learn directly from Jon Reiss, a distribution and marketing specialist who's worked with Paramount Pictures, Screen Australia, Film Independent, and is the year-round distribution and marketing lab leader at the IFP Filmmaker Labs. Filmmakers all over the world are confronted with a changing distribution landscape for their work – how are they to approach the myriad of options whether traditional or emerging? No matter how you release your film filmmakers must be grounded in what their goals are and knowing how to engage their audience. This webinar will cover the essentials that all filmmakers need to consider before marketing and distributing their film: goals and audience. We will first examine the five main goals possible for a films release followed by three steps of the Think Outside the Box Office (TOTBO) audience engagement process: identification, connection, value.