Thursday May 9th - 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM
21c Main Gallery Stage

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Although opportunities have improved in the last 40 years, women and minority filmmakers still struggle to secure funding and distribution to bring their films to life and in front of audiences.

This panel will discuss how filmmakers can “make the argument”, leverage the realities of emerging technology including the ever evolving landscape of release strategies, smart business, branding, and marketing models to solidify that pitch to get their stories told and in front of an audience.


Chevonne O'Shaughnessy

Chevonne O’Shaughnessy began her career as the President of International sales for PM Entertainment. Her 10 years in the position resulted in the production and sales of over 176 feature films and two successful television series.

In 2000, Chevonne founded American Cinema International, along with George Shamieh, with the goal of distributing and producing high quality commercial motion pictures throughout the world. In less than ten years, ACI produced 20 feature films with international sales and domestic prime time broadcasts on USA, SyFy, and HBO Premier. She has also served as the executive producer of numerous films and TV mini-series including the Jack Hunter trilogy, El Dorado, Born to Race, and Love Finds You series.

In 2008, she co-founded Mission Pictures International with the goal of creating a brand of quality content to best serve inspirational and family-oriented market. During her time, MPI acquired over a hundred films for theatrical, home video and TV release, and became the international destination for films appealing to the family and faith market. With Chevonne’s departure from MPI in 2014, she created ACI INSPIRES with George Shamieh, the newest brand of inspirational entertainment focusing on family films for everyone.

Rachel Derrico

Rachel currently leads programming and development for Vudu's free offering which features over 8,000 tv shows & movies, all for free. She is an executive producer on the upcoming Vudu series “Mr. Mom” and previously spent 4 years on the program planning and scheduling team at Showtime.

Yrthya Dinzey-Flores

Yrthya’s portfolio of responsibility at Warner Media includes philanthropy, diversity & inclusion, corporate social responsibility, sustainability, and community partnerships. Her contributions, professionally and civically, have earned her recognition including: 2018 Fortune Most Powerful Woman Summit List, 2017 MAKERS Awardee, 2016 City & State Responsible 100.
Yrthya currently serves on the boards of Hispanic Federation, John Jay College Foundation, Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM), Corporate Advisory Board of Cultural Vistas and the D&I Advisory Board of the NY Public Radio.

Jason George

Jason George is an established film and television actor with over nine series regular television roles to his credit in primetime television and fifty guest-starring roles. George graduated from the University of Virginia in 1994 with a double major in Rhetoric and Communication Studies and Drama. He landed his first major role on Aaron Spelling’s NBC daytime drama “Sunset Beach.” George can currently be seen co-starring in Shonda Rhimes’ ABC drama series “Station 19,” after having been on “Grey’s Anatomy” for several seasons as Dr. Ben Warren, an anesthesiologist and husband to Miranda Bailey (Chandra Wilson).

Maria Aspan

Maria Aspan is an award-winning business journalist and an editor-at-large at Inc. magazine, where she writes features about startups, technology, finance, and gender. She has also covered business and finance for The New York Times, Thomson Reuters, and American Banker. Her weekly newsletter, Lady Business, covers the intersections of gender, business, and culture. Her first book, Startup Money Made Easy: The Inc. Guide to Every Financial Question About Starting, Running, and Growing Your Business, was published by Harper Collins in February. She lives and works in New York City.