NYWIFT 2021 Finance Institute Day 2: Creating Your Business Plan

Join us for this three-part virtual finance series to refine your business strategies. 

Gain fresh insights from some of today’s leading experts in the industry and position your projects for optimum success. Hear from industry professionals who have successfully funded documentary and narrative projects. During this three-part finance institute, panelists will provide insider perspectives and frank advice on what it takes to get noticed. We will take a critical look at fundraising campaigns, the art of the pitch, and what industry and foundations are looking for during the pandemic. 

Day 2: Tuesday, September 14th, 11:30 AM EST – 1PM EST (virtual program)

Whether you are ready to start or still deciding what route to take, join us for a conversation on how to kickstart your business. Learn business practices, and how to set your LLC, form your production company, and successfully sell your project. We speak with leaders in the industry who can guide you on a path to success.

This conversation will include the following Erika Easter (EMinutes), Carolyn Hepburn (Motto Pictures), Anjanette Levert (Documentary Filmmaker), Anikah McLaren (Participant), Emelyn Stuart (Founder of Stuart Cinema & Cafe) and Calla Videt (Senior Strategy Manager in Worldwide Production at Amazon Studios). Moderated by NYWIFT Board Member, Maria Miles.

For NYWIFT Members: $40 per day; or $100 for a 3-day package ($20 discount)
For Non-members: $45 per day; or $120 for a 3-day package ($15 discount)
Become a member today to receive discounted access: email membership@nywift.org to join



Erika Easter has been an attorney at eMinutes since 2007.   Erika obtained her undergraduate degree in Spanish Literature at Dartmouth College and attended law school at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles. She lives in Santa Barbara with her husband, Mike, and their three sons, Max, Teddy and Benji, where she enjoys cooking, running, spending time at the beach and with family.


Carolyn Hepburn is an Emmy and Peabody Award-winning producer. She most recently produced Todd Haynes’ The Velvet Underground (Cannes Film Festival) and Nanfu Wang’s In The Same Breath (Sundance Film Festival). Hepburn executive produced Socks on Fire (2020 Tribeca Grand Jury Prize); Oscar-nominated The Mole Agent and produced Gotham and IDA Award winner A Thousand Cuts. She co-produced Life, Animated, nominated for the 2017 Academy Award. Other recent film projects include: One Child Nation; Bully. Coward. Victim. The Story of Roy Cohn; Charm City; Ringside; Love, Gilda; Take Your Pills; Weiner; 3½ Minutes, Ten Bullets; Art and Craft and Showtime series Murder in the Bayou.

Anjanette Levert is a documentary filmmaker, producer, curator, coach and professor. At Spelman College she is the Documentary Filmmaking Program Director. Recently she added the podcaster title after creating the first season of “Future Forward” where BIPOC docmakers discuss futures with the opportunity opened by the pandemic. She is the Producer of The Only Doctor by Matthew Hashiguchi and Associate Producer for Black Voters Matter by Daresha Kyi, Producer Trevite Willis. Her production company Le Vertical is producing a short on Mobile, Alabama’s Mardi Gras, a short online film development course and developing the Stonehouse artist retreat in Atlanta, GA.

As Executive Vice President of Narrative Film, Anikah McLaren co-heads the development and production of narrative film for Participant, the leading media company dedicated to entertainment that inspires audiences to engage in positive social change. Prior to joining Participant, McLaren most recently served as Senior Vice President of Production at Fox Searchlight Pictures, where she oversaw last year’s The Old Man and the Gun, as well as development on an eclectic group of projects, including a feature film about iconic choreographer, Alvin Ailey, to be directed by Barry Jenkins. Prior to Fox Searchlight, McLaren was a production executive at Universal Pictures, where she worked on a wide variety of films, including Scott Pilgrim vs. the WorldThe Bourne LegacyThe Best Man Holiday and Lone Survivor. McLaren also held positions at Focus Features and Miramax Films. McLaren received a BA in English from The George Washington University. She currently is a member of AMPAS in the Executive Branch and sits on the Executive Panel for the AFI Directing Workshop for Women.

Emelyn Stuart embodies all things are possible when you marry purpose, passion, serious work ethic and commitment. Producing wasn’t an obvious path for this businesswoman that doesn’t deem herself an innate “creative” but it has proven to be a great fit for an extraordinary woman that has allowed making a difference propel her to uncharted territory. With a degree in business and less than a decade in the industry, Stuart has exemplified leadership and provided inspiration to filmmakers globally. A vast range of projects that includes a successful off-Broadway play makes Stuart different from her collaborators, but also garners her recognition internationally. Her wildly successful web series, 12 Steps to Recovery, earned Emelyn the Best Producer award at the 2011 LAWebfest. Stuart is partly responsible for multiple award-winning feature films including The Turnaround and Title VII. Her feature film Life Is Too Short premiered to sold out audiences in New York during its debut screening and in 2017 it was awarded Best Feature Film domestically and internationally at various film festivals. In 2018, Stuart opened an independent movie theater in New York called Stuart Cinema & Cafe. It will offer distribution deals to independent filmmakers and be a resource hub for artists. 

Calla Videt is a creative entrepreneur, producer, and business strategist. Currently a senior strategy manager in worldwide production at Amazon Studios, she has led strategic, business development, and innovation initiatives at other media companies such as WarnerMedia, Turner Broadcasting, NBC News, BET Networks, DIRECTV, and Lincoln Center. In 2010, she founded a nonprofit arts incubator – Sightline Arts – committed to creating original, interdisciplinary media and performance work. She graduated from Harvard with a BA in Physics and Theater and received her MFA from NYU Tisch Graduate Film and her MBA from NYU Stern School of Business.

Maria C. Miles, Esq. (moderator) is the founding partner of an entertainment law firm with offices in New York. Maria’s practice focuses on all areas of entertainment law including, film (narrative and documentary), music, publishing, fashion and new media. Her experience also includes a diverse range of matters including webisode production, technology licensing, trademarks and copyrights. Maria has worked with award-winning producers, directors, writers, actors, television hosts, multi-platinum recording artists, and corporations in the fashion and sports industries related to their entertainment matters. Maria is an Adjunct Professor at The Feirstein Graduate School for Cinema and the School of Visual Arts.

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September 14 @ 11:30am
11:30 am — 1:00 pm (1h 30′)



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#nywift | @nywift

NYWIFT programs, screenings and events are supported, in part, by grants from New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Kathy Hochul and the New York State Legislature.