The Business of Entertainment, Media & Sports: Leading Change in Challenging Times (morning - all tracks):
Adam Collis is an award winning filmmaker, a studio feature film director, and a film professor. He has also done extensive research on the independent film business and has created many programs, which connect the entertainment industry and academia.
As a graduate student at the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts, Collis directed the highly lauded MAD BOY, I'LL BLOW YOUR BLUES AWAY, a short film about a seventh grade girl giving her first Valentine. The film won top honors at over a dozen major film festivals including Aspen Shortsfest, Austin Film Festival, Chicago International Film Festival and Palm Springs International Festival of Shorts.
MAD BOY launched Collis’s professional directing career. Just six months after graduating, he was hired to direct SUNSET STRIP, a 20TH Century Fox feature about the Los Angeles rock ‘n roll scene in the early 1970s. It enjoyed favorable reviews in Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, The Los Angeles Times and other publications. The film, produced by Art Linson (Fight Club, The Untouchables, Heat), boasts an exciting young cast featuring Jared Leto, Nick Stahl, Adam Goldberg, Simon Baker, Rory Cochran and Anna Friel. At $15 million, the budget was unprecedented for a first-time director just out of film school. Collis has also directed several other short films and documentaries and has produced two comedy pilots, STORMY JUSTICE WITH JUDGE TONY CLIFTON and HAI-TV.
As a film producer, Collis developed the feature film script, for him to direct THE LONG BLUE YONDER, an uplifting coming of age story about a Montana teen and his eclectic girlfriend. The script was a Nichols Fellowship quarterfinalist, was on the Hollywood Blacklist of exceptional screenplays and has been lauded and supported by directors Alexander Payne (Sideways) and Jason Reitman (Juno) as well as by former Chairman and CEO of Fox Filmed Entertainment (20th Century Fox), Bill Mechanic. The film is being produced by Brunson Green, producer of the Oscar nominated film, The Help.
Collis is also nearing production on Car Dogs, which he will direct and which he describes as a Glengarry Glen Ross coming of age story on a car lot.
Collis received his MBA from UCLA Anderson School of Management where he led a six-month, six person study on current trends in independent film marketing, distribution and exhibition with over 300 industry professionals interviewed.
Collis teaches filmmaking at the University of Southern California and, for the past 3 years, he has served as Visiting Professor of Film Directing at Arizona State University where he revamped the Directing and Capstone programs. While at ASU, Collis also created the successful Skype-screening series, Hollywood Invades Tempe!, which has hosted over a dozen major Hollywood filmmakers, including the creative and producing minds behind STAR TREK, JUNO, TRUE BLOOD, AUSTIN POWERS, LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE, 2012, DAZED & CONFUSED, COLLATERAL, CAPOTE, MONEYBALL, THE HELP and more. Guests have included Bennett Miller, Richard Linklater, Bryan Burk (partner, Bad Robot/JJ Abrams), Larry Franco (producer Anonymous, 2012) and many others. Collis also facilitated and managed the ASU Industry Guest Lectures program, bringing major Hollywood producers and thought leaders to Tempe such as three time Sundance award-winning producer Ted Hope and film financing expert/author Jeremy Juuso.
Collis also founded and runs The Director’s Perspective Studio, which gives up-and-coming actors and writers the opportunity to work with and learn from top tier directors, producers and casting directors from film and television. Guest have worked on such films and television shows as TWILIGHT, JUNO, SOURCE CODE, LARRY CROWE, UP IN THE AIR, PRISON BREAK, DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES, GREY’S ANATOMY, WEEDS, MISSION IMPOSSIBLE: GHOST PROTOCOL, NO ORDINARY FAMILY and many others. Recent guests include Jason Reitman, Wyck Godfrey (producer, Twilight), Jeb Brody (head of production at Focus Features), and others.
Collis grew up in Lexington, Kentucky where he was an All-American soccer player. He received his BA in Religion from Duke University where he played soccer on the 1986 NCAA Championship team. He currently lives in Los Angeles with his wife and three children.
Lights, Cameras, Business: A Primer on the Film Industry (afternoon track):
Laith Massarweh, "a native of Amman, Jordan, Laith Massarweh holds an MBA from the UCLA Anderson School of Management as well as a BSFS from the Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University. Laith is currently the Director of Business Operations at LD Entertainment, a production and distribution company responsible for such films as The Grey and Killer Joe. His responsibilities include financial modeling on a film by film basis, corporate planning, foreign sales, and festival acquisitions. Laith has also worked for Paramount Pictures, Fox Filmed Entertainment, and Participant Media in a variety of functions and capacities, which helped him build an appreciation for just how difficult it is to corral a large number of people with varying specializations into producing a successful film. A self admitted "film nerd", Laith is a great teammate when playing Trivial Pursuit or other games where useless pop culture knowledge is involved.
Prior to his career in entertainment, Laith spent four years in management consulting at Accenture in the Washington DC metro area. During his time at Accenture, Laith was involved in strategic planning, project management, and business process improvement initiatives for the Department of Homeland Security and the Internal Revenue Service. Laith was also heavily involved in community service, as he frequently contributed to the After School Program at Mary House, a community based organization that provides transitional housing services, shelter and support programs for homeless and struggling families."
Music Industry in the Digital Age (afternoon track):
Nahshon L. Craig, Esq. is Sr. Vice President of Business and Legal Affairs at
Rush Communications, the holding company for Russell Simmons' worldwide fashion, entertainment, digital, and philanthropic activities. For the past decade, Nahshonâ?? s role has evolved from legal intern to point-person overseeing all commercial, licensing, shareholding, and litigation activities for the company, as well as playing a role in business development and marketing.
Craig also serves as Chief Operating Officer of All Def Digital (ADD), a company that promises to be the worldâ??s foremost digital media group targeting the NEW AMERICAN MAINSTREAM. Spearheaded by Russell Simmons, prolific film/TV producer-director Brian Robbins, and music impresario Steve Rifkin, ADD will be the go-to cross-cultural network for Millenials looking to satisfy their appetite for Music, Humor, Celebrity, Lifestyle and Social Voice & Connectivity.
Prior to joining Rush Communications, Craig served as a law clerk for Selverne, Mandelbaum & Mintz, LLP. While in law school, Craig gained valuable experience interning at edel Entertainment/RED Distribution and Loud Records. And as an extern with the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), Nahshon had a front row seat to examine the precedent-setting cases surrounding peer-to-peer sharing platforms, including Napster and Kazaa, which were being challenged by the RIAA.
Nahshon is currently serving his third three-year term on the Board of Directors of the New York Civil Liberties Union. He also serves as Secretary of the Board for both GlobalGrind.com (a digital media venture with Accel Partners) and the Diamond Empowerment Fund, a nonprofit international organization that supports education initiatives that empower economically disadvantaged people in African nations where diamonds are a natural resource.
Nahshon received his AB from Greenville Technical College, BA from the University of South Carolina (Upstate), JD from The George Washington University Law School, and MBA from Cornell University. He is an active member of the District of Columbia Bar and a member of its Arts, Entertainment, Media and Sports Law Section since 2005.
Social Media and Digital Communication (afternoon track):
Sports Marketing and Management (afternoon track):
Marc Francis, a native of Fredericton, NB, Canada, Mark holds both an MBA and MA in Sports & Recreation Administration from the University of New Brunswick and has recently completed a Certificate in Marketing (Social Media) from UCLA Extension. A life-long sports enthusiast Mark is a specialist in the areas of Sports Management & Marketing with significant interests in Brand Management, Marketing, Business Development, Law and the exciting field of Social Media Marketing. He boasts a wealth of experience at all levels of sport from academic, business, administrative and high-performance coaching perspectives that enable him to speak from experience when it comes to his business relationships and teachings. He speaks regularly on the topic of Sports Marketing & Management having spoken most recently at UCLA, UCLA Extension, Occidental College, University of New Brunswick and University of California Irvine. Through his current and prior professional associations with esteemed organizations including as the UCLA MEMES Center & Anderson School of Management, BaAM Productions, Gravity Summit, Los Angeles Kings (NHL), University of New Brunswick (CIS), British Columbia Lions (CFL), and numerous hi-level amateur sports organizations, Mark has developed an extensive professional network throughout all levels of the sports industry, many of whom appear annually during his Sports Marketing course delivered through UCLA’s Anderson School of Management.
Mark also has a strong history of community involvement having served for the past eleven years as a member of the Board of Directors for Fredericton Sports Investments Ltd., which has raised over $2.5 Million for underprivileged youth since 1983. At present he is serving as a Sports Marketing Consultant for the 4th Annual Gravity Summit which is the premier social media conference in North America at present. Mark also serves as volunteer Head Coach of the Men’s Hockey program at UCLA where he has recently been selected as one of two finalists for the PAC 8 Coach of the Year Award for 2012. He was also selected as Head Coach of the PAC-8 Selects at the ACHA National Championships in Philadelphia in March of 2011. Mark also serves as a proud volunteer and donor with BETHEMATCH.com which is an esteemed National Bone Marrow Donor program.