SPEAKERS AT THE 2014 RAINDANCE WEB FEST
Below is a list of our confirmed moderators and speakers that took part in Raindance Web Fest panels and events. Click here for the Panel schedule Passes to this year's Raindance Web Fest are available now.
As Executive Producer at Orama.tv, George Aliferis helps brands to grow online by creating optimized videos and building channels that reach and engage desired audiences across YouTube and other social media. Orama.tv delivers high impact, integrated video solutions for brands. From an initial concept or script to the wide distribution of content across the web, working with a vast array of Food, Tech and Luxury Lifestyle brands including The Gordon Ramsay Group, Nestle, Unilever and Graff Diamonds. Their videos have been watched by over 4,000,000 people and ensure that they consistently reach their audience.
Ansley is a writer/producer with over ten years’ experience in both scripted and unscripted content. Her last produced feature, the Chinese comedy “Red Light Revolution”, sold to China’s equivalent of Youtube. It garnered over 8 million views, and was nominated for Best Picture at China’s largest online awards. The film went on to win several festival awards before landing on Hulu. Ansley is the writer of “Miss Mustard Glade”, a Subway Sandwiches branded series which launched at SXSW 2014 and is currently running on My Damn Channel. She also just finished co-writing the feature adaptation of “Don Quixote” for a James Franco USC class. She has an MFA in Producing from the Peter Stark program at the University of Southern California, where she was awarded the Women in Film Scholarship 2014. She hopes to produce more digital content that can bridge China and the west.
Christin founded tellofilms out of passion to provide modern and relevant lesbian-focused stories for the under-served lesbian community. With 15 amazing, original tello-produced projects under her belt and just as many in various levels of pre and post-production, Christin is determined to provide the lesbian community with the quality entertainment that they deserve and the stories that they crave. This hands-on producer is a storyteller at heart, brimming with timely and engrossing ideas, and she’s determined to bring together the right team to bring each one to life. Follow Christin on Twitter to see if you can predict her next move.
MARK BENMORE (Content Media)
Based in London, Mark is responsible for digital sales of Content Media's TV and feature film portfolio for major international subscription and ad funded VOD platforms as well as overseeing the UK and international new release TVOD/EST business. Mark’s role also encompasses VOD, television and feature sales in Italy, Central and Eastern Europe, including Russia, CIS and Turkey. He also leads exciting and original new content initiatives as part of the continued growth of Content Media, expanding the company’s portfolio through development and acquisitions in genres such as live sport. Mark has a wealth of valuable experience in digital distribution, having previously co-founded digital media business MoMedia; managing global distribution of content across multiple platforms. Prior to this, Mark was Head of Digital Media at advertising and marketing consultancy Liquid Communications and Co-Founder and Director of innovative viral marketing agency Vitamin E Media.
CHRIS BINGHAM (YouTuber)
Christopher Bingham is a veteran on the indie online video scene, comedian, talent manager and lecturer of film and technology at Ravensbourne University. He is best known for his sketch comedy and ongoing web series Hi, I’ma Draw Ya!, and is deeply involved in many areas of the online video community.
Elisar over 25 years in the film and television industry working in both production and international film and TV sales. His most recent film productions are Deadly Virtues (recently premiered at FrightFest) and zombie comedy Ibiza Undead currently in post-production. He sat on the Board of Directors of the New Producers Alliance in the 1990s and sat on the Board of Directors of Film Export UK - an industry body representing the UK international sales sector where he worked with both the UK Film Council and BFI in maintaining lottery funds support for the international promotion of British films.. Elisar also has taught feature film marketing and selling at Raindance, London Film Festival and National Film and TV School courses. An advocate for filmmaking online and producer of the internationally award-winning web series 3some, Elisar is the founder of Raindance Web Fest, programmes the VidfestUK area of MCM London Comic Con and is the founder of Digital Creators UK.
Darren has over twenty years in filmmaking, production, distribution and festival programming. In 2007 he returned to college to complete an MA in Screenwriting at the University of Arts London. After graduation he found most TV opportunities filled by more established writers displaced by the recession. Instead, he began creating content online, culminating in the multiple award-winning webseries The Bloody Mary Show. Since then he has written for radio, stage and cinema, as well as continuing with his online work. He has also spoken about creating successful web narratives in both the US and Hong Kong.
Crystal Chappell won an Emmy in 2002 for Outstanding Supporting Actress as Olivia on CBS-TV’s “Guiding Light” as well as a 2011 Emmy for Outstanding Special Class Short Format and the 2014 Emmy for Outstanding Drama New Approaches for her web-series “Venice,” which she wrote, produced and created. In 2009 Crystal founded Open Book Productions, a successful digital media company. Recognizing that media was moving in a new direction she developed and executed an in-house subscription-based business model to monetize the web. Using motion picture production techniques, Emmy winning talent and state of the art technology she created and stars in the award winning Venice the Series, the digital pilot The Grove, and most recently she partnered with Bella Productions to produce Beacon Hill, in which she also stars.
Susan E. Clarke is a Writer and Producer who has had her work showcased at several celebrated film festivals around the world, including the Edinburgh International Film Festival, Sci-Fi London Film Festival, Raindance Web Fest and LA Web Fest. The latter of which saw her webseries, Chronicles of Syntax, walk away with six awards for a sci-fi/fantasy show, including ‘Best Series’. Sue has spent the last year as an official selection for most web fests in America and Canada and will be finishing her run in Miami this month. In the meantime Susan helps out at Raindance, being one of the founding members of Digital Creators UK, and sometimes lends her writing skills as a ‘journalist’ for USA based webzine Webvee Guide. If she’s not writing her latest project then you’re more than likely to find her hiding out at Comic Con!
ROCHELLE DANCEL (Bats In Belfries)
Rochelle Dancel is a partner at Bats In Belfries where she works on branded content and multi channel projects; she is also an associate brand experience strategist at global agency, SapientNitro. Her portfolio includes projects for Johnson & Johnson, Microsoft, PayPoint, MTV, TUI Travel and SABMiller beer brand, Kozel. Rochelle is a producer on 'B.J. Fletcher: Private Eye', a Canadian web series that debuted on AfterEllen.com (Logo Network/MTV) amassing 12.5 million views over three seasons, and the critically acclaimed 'Producing Juliet', made in New York by Tina Cesa Ward, that premiered at the inaugural Raindance London Web Fest in 2013. She is currently working on British/Canadian co-production, 'Witch Like Me', a multi-platform series with long-time collaborator, Regan Latimer.
Sam Delaney is the editor in chief of Comedy Central, overseeing all the brand's online content. He built a new digital department and new website which showcases the best new comedy from their US channel plus a slate of original digital commissions. Comedy Central's first major online commission, KSI: Demolished generated 3 million views in its first two weeks. CC.co.uk also secured a number of other breakout hits, including exclusive sketches made with Slash, Cheryl Cole, Keith Lemon and Eamonn Holmes. Sam has been a broadcaster and journalist for the past seventeen years. His writing appears in The Guardian and The Telegraph and he has previously written for everyone from the NME to The Big Issue. He was editor in chief of Heat magazine from 2009 to 2011. He is the author of two books - Get Smashed, published by Scepter in 2007; and Night Of The Living Dad, published by John Murray in 2009. His third book, Made Men and Bad Men, is about political advertising and will be published by Faber in January 2015. He presents radio shows on talkSPORT and BBC London and has written and presented documentaries for Channel Four, Channel Five and BBC Three.
Paul has experience of managing online content creation from a brand’s perspective – from the initial pitch right the way through to final delivery. He has a background in managing behaviour change campaigns in the charity sector and has implemented innovative strategies aimed at engaging hard to reach audiences. Until recently he managed the British Red Cross’ award winning Life. Live it. campaign, which aimed to bring first aid into the 21st Century and make it cool and relevant to young people – not an easy task but one which achieved phenomenal results.
Having produced countless specialist music shows and documentaries for the BBC, Alex set up Pixiu, an agency leading the field in the production of podcasting and audio for online. Alex has been responsible for the audio offerings of the UK’s major broadcasters including Channel 4 and UKTV and currently produces a wide range of award winning content, including literary programming for British Airways, comedy for Dave and news for Channel 4.
REBECCA FRANKEL (Little Dot Studios)
Rebecca Frankel works at Little Dot Studios, a hybrid production company bridging TV and online platforms. She oversees the content distribution strategy, working with partners such as YouTube, AOL On, Dailymotion and Yahoo! She also recently launched a network to develop the skills and grow the YouTube channels of make up addicts. Rebecca spent the previous 8 years managing online projects for Channel 4, ITV and BBCWW, and on the side produced independent films and ran the eduction programme at Branchage Festival.
Originally started her career as an artist and musician before she succumbed to the world of digital content where she has over 10 years experience. Joining Dailymotion in 2008 she was part of the content team that grew the site to the 35th largest in the world. Her passion for filmmaking meant that a lot of the internet 'firsts' she achieved have been in that space, where as far back as 2009 she launched a feature length catalogue of over 10,000 films on the site, limited period online streams of films prior to theatrical release and exclusive premiers of independent content. She is set to launch the site's first commissioned scripted drama in September 2014 with Manchester based production company 'Future Artists'.
LISA GIFFORD (Capital City Entertainment)
Lisa is an award winning screenwriter and playwright, and the creator of the popular internationally award-winning webseries '3some'. She is also a director and producer and is one half of the London-based production company ‘Capital City Entertainment’. Previously, Lisa spent eight years working as an international sales agent, travelling to film festivals and TV markets to broker deals on behalf of producers with broadcasters and distributors worldwide.
Ben Grass is CEO of Pure Grass Films, a production company partly owned by Christophe Charlier, Chairman of the Brooklyn Nets NBA Basketball team. Pure Grass Films are currently developing and producing television series with partners including Tim Kring (Heroes), Justin Lin (Fast & Furious), James Manos (Dexter) and Stephen Hawking (A Brief History of Time). Select Pure Grass Films production credits include Kirill, which was nominated for a Digital Emmy, and Beyond the Rave, starring Jamie Dornan. Ben previously headed Sony Pictures Digital Division in Europe and prior to that was Senior Advisor, Corporate Strategy at the BBC. Ben studied Modern History at Oxford, and did an MBA at INSEAD in France.
Writer, Director & Animator, Lee Hardcastle, began claymation full-time in 2010 after success with The Evil Dead in 60 seconds. The following year he sold all his belongings to support an unpaid career and created short films that screened at Cannes and won a place in the feature film The ABCs Of Death. He’s gone on to work with Momentum Pictures, 20th Century Fox, Sufjan Stevens, Kill The Noise, Portugal. His fan film tribute Claycat’s The Raid so impressed the filmmakers it was included on the official The Raid DVD release. Recently Lee received the MTV Clubland Video of Year award and regularly features in Rude Tube charts
Right at the fore of the new media revolution, Jack Howard has racked up more than 26 million views, nearly 700,000 subscribers and over 140,000 Twitter followers, across his online channels. Through various collaborations with other creators, he has established himself at the forefront of new comedy formats, advertising campaigns, movie reviews and brand content. Not satisfied with just appearing in front of the camera, Jack is also an incredibly motivated writer and director. As well as a series of short films and sketches, his online credits include four-part series, "Project: Library" which was described as 'a coming of age for YouTube in the UK' (Huffington Post), a role in the short film “Strangers In A Bed”, new music video " Consent", starring comedian Katherine Ryan and a number of advertising campaigns for "Pepsi Max”, “OXFAM” and "Bombay Sapphire".
After originally training as an actor, Vicky soon graduated to writing, writing on films such as AMOC and Invalid Debris as well as stage musicals such asRequiem for Tomorrow and Flamingo Blues. In 2009 she founded Systir productions with her sister and writing partner Amy and produced short films and webseries including web series The Syndicate which went on to win several awards at international festivals. The Syndicate is now in development as a feature film. Her short film 616 has recently been developed into a web series. Outside of Systir Vicky has directed web series The Bloody Mary Show as well as other short films. In 2012 Amy and Vicky set up Frostbite UK in collaboration with Canada’s Frostbite Pictures to develop high quality web series.
Baby Isako is an entrepreneur with an ultimate vision, committed to turning all her goals into reality. An accomplished writer, editor and creator she received critical acclaim for her successful theatre production Love is a Losing Game. Her short film Bag Ladies was screened at the Cannes Film Festival Short Film Corner. She received mainstream attention in The Guardian as the creator and writer of romantic comedy web series Venus Vs Mars (produced alongside Purple Geko). There really is no stopping her.
TANYA LAIRD (Digital Jam)
Tanya has been working in the digital industry across entertainment IP for the last ten years working with gaming and entertainment titles that have won BAFTA, Golden joystick, Develop, Chartered Institute of Marketing, The Queen’s Award for Enterprise (Innovation) and Telly Awards respectively. Responsible for acquisition in excess of 20 million subscribers to MMO and virtual world games, Tanya has worked across multiple platforms / devices in creative development and Cross Media Storytelling for the last decade. Key clients and titles Tanya has worked with include Star Wars, Marvel, MindCandy, Disney and Jagex.
Regan Latimer is Executive Producer at Toronto-based production company, Bee Charmer Productions. Skilled across both creative and technical disciplines, Regan’s credits include Emmy award-winning trailers and promo spots for Colorado’s Rocky Mountain PBS and Denver Centre Media, and her short film, Harmony Love Matches for Life Inc., was award nominated at the 2008 Great Lakes Independent Film Festival. She has done extensive promotional video work, including commercials, promos, documentary shorts, and is currently in post production on a new short film, Lindy Calls Tracy. A veteran of web series production, Regan is the writer, director and producer of the popular web series, B.J. Fletcher: Private Eye, and is currently working on a British/Canadian co-production, Witch Like Me, a multi-platform series with long-time collaborator, Rochelle Dancel. Regan is also a founding member of the Independent Web Series Creators of Canada (IWCC), and served as Producer and Programming Director for the Toronto Web Series Festival, TO Webfest 2014.
Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, Bridgett Lawrence is passionate about creating universal stories that speak to the heart, mind, and spirit. Bridgett discovered a love for the arts in high school when she began writing and acting with The Sullivan Street Players and Faces, an improvisational theatre troupe with whom she toured for several years performing throughout New York and as far as Germany. Bridgett attended New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, where she earned her BFA in Film and Television Production and Dramatic Writing. After moving to Los Angeles to pursue a career in television writing, Bridgett decided to take charge of her Hollywood dreams by transforming her award winning television pilot, The Value of Ex, into a web series. Since premiering in the spring of 2014, The Value of Ex has been selected for numerous festivals including the American Black Film Festival and now the Raindance Web Fest. Bridgett is very excited to share her work with the UK and the world.
JAMES EDWARD MARKS (Screenage Renegade)
Indie Video Entertainment Specialist, James E. Marks, has associate produced several original YouTube creator projects such as Ashens & The Quest For The Game Child - The Movie, Lee Hardcastle's A Good Clay To Die Hard, Clay Cat's Hitman Absolution, Harry Partridge's Skyrim cartoons and the award-winning British Red Cross social video for social good series featuring popular UK YouTube stars Ali-A, KickthePJ, Danisnotonfire, AmazingPhil, Crabstickz, Sprinkleofglitter and TomSka.
A writer and filmmaker lurking in the city of York which is nestled warmly in the North East of England. He eats a lot of soup and drinks more coffee than medically advised. Having spent a decade directing and acting in theatre, he had a spark of an idea to attempt to make a web series in early 2010. He didn’t have a clue what he was doing. Jump forwards to present day, he has quite a lot more knowledge on the subject, and has become particularly skilled at crafting ambitious projects from little more than ideas and caffeine. He watches far too many films and TV shows, but it’s fine because it’s obviously research.
After graduating from King’s College London with a BSc in Mathematics and cutting his teeth on several short films, Chris took his first steps in the web series world when he joined the team of the UK sci-fi web show Chronicles of Syntax, directing two of the six episodes and editing half of the 3-hour long series, as well as taking on the role of consulting producer and all-round tech geek. Currently working towards a second season, Chris has helped take Chronicles of Syntax to the MCM Expo London Comic-Con and festivals around the world, including Raindance Web Fest, TO Web Fest, LA Web Fest (where the series won 6 awards, including Outstanding Science-Fiction/Fantasy Series and Outstanding Editing) and Roma Web Fest. He is a founding member of Digital Creators UK.
Ted Shiress is a number of things in a number of different degrees of reality but for the purposes of this panel he is a web series creator and a comedian. His brutal take-no-hostages and ‘yes I do suffer’ approach to having cerebral palsy has caused the odd blogger to call him a minor cult figure but brought him very few paid gigs. This approach to life is heavily exaggerated throughout his stand-up and this exaggeration forms the basis of his unsavoury character in his webseries Cynic. Contrary to popular belief Ted is actually a nice and reasonable man off-stage and off-screen with an ability to air provocative but in no way inflammatory opinions about disability, comedy, music and many more; let’s just hope this Ted is the one on the panel.
BRETT SNELGROVE (BuzzMyVideos)
Heralding from Australia and now based in London, Brett is a writer/producer who has successfully forged a career in television/digital production, social media and streaming video. He works as the Content & Acquisition Manager at the BuzzMyVideos YouTube network and is YouTube Certified. He also the co-creator/writer/producer of the sci-fi web comedy New Eden, which was commissioned by ChannelFlip to air on their HuHa! YouTube channel.
Rory Uphold started her career as a solo pop artist, where she was lucky enough to work with artists like E-40 and Elan Atias. Her songwriting credits include shows like Teen Wolf and GIRLS and commercial placements like Ikea, Expedia, and 2013 Deion Sanders Super Bowl commercial. Last year she made her short film debut with, “Safety”, an award winning dark comedy she wrote, produced, directed, and starred in. Most recently, Rory wrote, produced, directed, and starred in HelLA, a web series about the comedic perils of life in LA. The series currently has over 2.2 million views on Youtube and FunnyorDie. When she’s not busy creating her own projects, she’s busy acting in other people’s. She’s terrified of balloons. Yes, balloons.
Eline van der Velden is a three time Best Online Comedy Lovie Award Winner with an odd background in Physics who decided to go into acting/producing/directing comedy. Starting with the hit Dailymotion show “Miss Holland” she is now producing “Sketch My Life” for Endemol Beyond.
Phillip trained as a professional actor in America and has a variety of credits to his name ranging from work with The Royal Court Theatre, Secret Cinema, BSkyB, NBC, The BBC and New Line Cinema. His theatre company has won multiple awards for productions and he is an award winning playwright. He went on to set-up Fyrian Films – with Chloe Seddon – after winning The Raindance Webseries Pilot competition for ‘The Vessel’ which is now a successful show available online. He has produced/written and directed a few short films which have also garnered notices from The Guardian, Sci-Fi London and various film festivals around the globe.
Jesse Whittock is the deputy editor of Television Business International, the leading news and features publisher for the global television production and distribution industry. He has written about international TV for a variety of publications for number of years and also worked at Travel Trade Gazette and Bauer Media.
BARNEY WORFOLK-SMITH (Th@t Lot)
Barney Worfolk-Smith has successfully planned, made and distributed content for brands since 2007. Commercially leading ChannelFlip from start up to sale in 2011 to Elisabeth Murdochs' Shine, he saw Youtube creators become the diverse and fabulous talent source that they now are for brands. Then as Head of Creative Solutions at Unruly, he worked with clients and their agencies to imbue their content with data driven insight, ensuring its shareability and effective brand linkage whilst commissioning work and ensuring its ability to get seen. Latterly, he now leads That Lot, a social content company who specialise in helping brands with their digital tone of voice and delivering a wide variety of output on all major social platforms.