(PITTSFIELD, Mass.) – The second annual Western Massachusetts Film and Media Exchange will feature a diverse series of panels and workshops of interest to the film and video community and the business community who want to utilize film and video in their marketing and social media efforts. The event, presented by the Berkshire Film and Media Collaborative (BFMC), will take place on Friday, October 23, 2015, from 9:30am to 5:30pm at the Baystate Health’s Whitney Avenue Conference Center in Holyoke, Mass.
Cynthia Wade, the Academy Award-winning Berkshires-based filmmaker, will be the Keynote Speaker. Wade won the Oscar for her short documentary, “Freeheld,” the story of a New Jersey police officer who was diagnosed with cancer and wanted to give her benefits to her same-sex partner. The acclaimed documentary has been turned into a motion picture of the same name, starring Julianne Moore, Ellen Page, and Steve Carrell, which opens nationally on October 16. Wade is a producer of that venture. She also won an Oscar nomination for her documentary “Mondays at Racine”, the stories of women undergoing chemotherapy.
According to BFMC Executive Director, Diane Pearlman, “In today’s marketplace, it’s important for businesses to tell their story visually – whether in a commercial, an in-house presentation, a promotional video or on the web. We want to demystify the process of making a video by discussing what it costs to make a good, effective product and the impact that video can have.”
A panel specifically for businesses, “How Your Business Can Use Video Effectively,” will feature the President of MassLive, Allison Werder and the Vice President of Marketing for Baystate Health, Suzanne Hendery, and John Hesslein, Station Manager of Western Mass News.
Other panels during the conference will be geared to filmmakers and their interests. Entertainment lawyer Fred Fierst, who led a standing-room-only seminar last year, will bring a panel of lawyers and filmmakers to discuss every legal aspect of getting a project done – from concept to script, to raising the funding, to attaching cast and crew and dealing with the unions, to negotiating and closing the distribution deal, tax credits, and gap financing. Another panel, “Funding Your Film” will include with leaders in crowdfunding and how to source local production grants.
Several panels will be geared to all of the attendees: “How to Market Yourself and Your Business” will be led by Rachael Frank of Gravity Switch of Northampton. Frank will discuss how companies of any size need to find their voice and how to effectively use the digital marketplace to promote themselves and their business.
The “Local Success Stories” panel will feature industry professionals living and working in the region. Participants include director Diego Ungaro, whose feature, “Bob and the Trees,” was featured at Sundance this year and won the Grand Prize at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, and Craig Crawford of Cadence Visual Effects whose work can be seen on “Game of Thrones” and several Hollywood feature films.
Businesses will be able to connect with local filmmakers by watching their reels on the Exhibit Floor, meeting one another during lunch or at the cocktail networking event. There will be a large “connecting” board for businesses and filmmakers to exchange business cards as well.
The Exchange will feature a full Exhibit Hall with many of the latest technologies (cameras, lights, and drones!), as well as local production and media companies.
“This is going to be an exciting and informative event for an industry that is growing in our region,” says Pearlman, “The Exchange is a place where filmmakers and businesses can meet and make connections. We have incredible talent in our region and we are able to produce high-level content for much less than if you went to New York or Los Angeles. We are all about keeping production dollars staying here in our State. For those in the business and those who want to know more about it – you can’t afford to miss The Exchange.”
Panelists, workshops and participants are listed at www.berkshirefilm.org. All programs are subject to change.
Tickets for the Exchange are $55 in advance and $65 at the door; students $25. Admission includes full access to all Exhibits, workshops/panels and demos, along with breakfast, lunch and a networking cocktail party to conclude the conference. For tickets, sponsorship opportunities and more information, go to BFMC’s website or call Laura Gratz at 413.528.4223.
The Berkshire Film and Media Collaborative (BFMC) creates educational, workforce and production opportunities in the film and media industry as an economic initiative for the western Massachusetts region. BFMC develops educational and workforce enrichment courses, offers networking events for industry professionals, acts as a resource for visiting productions, creates jobs within our communities in the film industry and provides an on- line production guide and locations database as a resource for filmmakers. BFMC was formed in 2009, and is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.