Cassian Elwes to Deliver Keynote Speech at IFTA's 15th Annual Production Conference

Straight to...Theatrical!  The Expanding Arena for Independent Filmmakers”

Los Angeles, CA
Friday, March 21, 2014

The Independent Film & Television Alliance (IFTA) has set their 15th annual production conference for April 25th at the InterContinental, Century City.  The conference will open with a keynote speech from world renowned, independent film producer and financing expert Cassian Elwes (Slingblade, Monster’s Ball, The Paperboy).


The conference, “Straight to... Theatrical! The Expanding Arena for Independent Filmmakers”provides an opportunity to hear leading producers, financiers, distributors and exhibitors discuss the shift back to theatrical films for independent filmmakers.


Jean Prewitt, President & CEO of IFTA stated, “Our annual conference highlights the trends that matter for Independents and the professionals who work with them.  This year, the resonating message is that theatrical films are in high demand and that this demand is being satisfied largely by the Independents, not the major studios.  Our speakers will illuminate how producers can realize the rewards of this shift.”

This year marks the 11th time in the past 12 years that the Academy Award for “Best Picture” has gone to an IFTA Member film, as 12 Years A Slave (2014) joins The Artist (2012), The King’s Speech (2011) andThe Hurt Locker (2010) among recent winners. These independent films and others like American HustleDallas Buyers Club, Don Jon, End of Watch, and Olympus Has Fallen are successfully creating business models that focus on theatrical releases rather than video values. 


The IFTA Production Conference sessions will be moderated by, Pierre David, Chief Strategy Advisor (Reel One Entertainment), and Kathy Morgan,President (Kathy Morgan International).  Initial panelists include: Daniel Baur, CEO/Sales & Financing (K5 International), Hillary Bibicoff, Attorney (Holmes Weinberg, PC), Nicholas Chartier, CEO/President (Voltage Pictures), Kirk D’Amico, President & CEO (Myriad Pictures), Mark Damon, CEO & Chairman (Foresight Unlimited), Kevin Goetz,CEO (Screen Engine LLC), Avi Lerner, Co-Chairman (Nu Image/Millennium Films), Ted Mundorff, President/CEO

(Landmark Theatres) andMichael Ryan, Partner (GFM Films).  

For more information about the IFTA Production Conference and to learn how to register for: “Straight to... Theatrical! The Expanding Arena for Independent Filmmakers,” please visit:


2014 IFTA Production Conference

Straight to...Theatrical!
The Expanding Arena for Independent Filmmakers

DATE:                       Friday April 25th

TIME:                         8:00am-9:00am Registration & Breakfast

                                    9:00am-12:45pm Conference           

LOCATION:              InterContinental, Century City

2151 Avenue of the Stars

Complimentary Valet Parking

About Cassian Elwes

Elwes began his producing career with 1983's "Oxford Blues" starring Rob Lowe and Ally Sheedy and quickly went on to make another 29 films, including "Men At Work," with Emilio Estevez and Charlie Sheen, and "The Chase" with Sheen.

In 1995, Elwes joined William Morris and headed William Morris Independent for 15 years. He financed such indie hits as "Slingblade" and "The Apostle,” both of which were nominated for multiple Oscars. "Monster's Ball" was their follow up, which won the “Best Actress” Oscar for Halle Berry, the first African American woman to do so.

Elwes is considered an expert in the field of arranging financing and distribution for independent films having done so for 283 films during his tenure at William Morris Independent. 


Since leaving William Morris Independent 4 years ago, Elwes has been involved in arranging financing and distribution for 30 films including “Lawless,” directed by John Hillcoat, and starring Shia LaBeouf and Tom Hardy. The thriller “The Paperboy,” directed by Lee Daniels, starring Matthew McConaughey and Nicole Kidman, and “Ain’t Them Bodies Saints” starring Rooney Mara, Casey Affleck and Ben Foster, which was nominated for a Gotham Independent Film Award for “Best Feature.”

Elwes produced the hit period drama “Lee Daniels’ The Butler,” which featured an all-star cast headed by Forest Whitaker and Oprah Winfrey. He also executive produced “All Is Lost” directed by J.C. Chandor and starring Robert Redford and executive produced and arranged financing for the Oscar winning hit “Dallas Buyers Club” directed by Jean-Marc Vallee, starring Matthew McConaughey, Jared Leto and Jennifer Garner.

About The Independent Film & Television Alliance(IFTA)

The Independent Film & Television Alliance (IFTA) is the global trade association for the independent motion picture and television programming industry. Headquartered in Los Angeles, the organization represents more than 150 member companies from 23 countries, consisting of independent production and distribution companies, sales agents, television companies and financial institutions engaged in film finance. IFTA is dedicated to protecting and strengthening its Members’ ability to finance, produce, market and distribute independent films and television programs in an ever-changing and challenging global marketplace.

IFTA members produce more than 400 independent films and countless hours of television programming generating more than $4 billion in distribution revenues annually. The organization’s premiere event, the American Film Market, the largest Film Market in the world, takes place every year in November in Santa Monica.


Ethan Rabin,

Brooke Blumberg,