Michelle Manning has been a respected member of the motion picture industry as a studio executive, producer and director for film and television for over thirty years. As President of Production for Paramount Pictures, Ms. Manning was responsible for managing all aspects of the development and production for Paramount Pictures motion pictures division.
Michelle joined Paramount in 1991 as Senior Vice President of Production and was promoted to Executive Vice President, Production in 1993. In 1997 she became President of Production, overseeing Paramount classic films like Forest Gump (winner of six Academy Awards, including Best Picture), The Hours, (nominated for nine Academy Awards including Best Picture), Sydney Pollack’s The Firm starring Tom Cruise, The Talented Mr. Ripley, starring Matt Damon, Saving Private Ryan, starring Tom Hanks, and James Cameron’s Best Picture Winner, Titanic.
Before joining Paramount Pictures, Ms. Manning was Vice President of Production at Orion Pictures, where she served as production executive on Academy Award winning Best Pictures, The Silence of the Lambs and Dances With Wolves.
Gail Levin is a veteran Hollywood producer and casting director best known for her work with Oscar-winning filmmaker Cameron Crowe. Her credits include Jerry Maguire, Lethal Weapon 2, Almost Famous, Vanilla Sky, and How To Lose A Guy in 10 Days. She cast a young Leonardo DiCaprio to star opposite Johnny Depp in What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, which earned DiCaprio his first Academy Award nomination.
Levin served as the Senior Vice President of Casting at Disney Telefilms from 1996 – 1999, and Executive Vice President of Features Casting at Paramount Pictures from 1999-2009. She is a member of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences and the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.
Currently, Levin is casting the behind-the-scenes rock and roll comedy Roadie’s for HBO. Written and directed by Cameron Crowe, the series is produced by JJ Abrams and his Bad Robot Productions.
Kelly Rodriques became CEO of Pensco Trust in 2010 to help navigate the company through its next phase of growth and has a proven track record of leading high-growth companies. His executive experience spans private equity, software, and communications, with a particular focus on using technology to enable growth.
As Operating Partner with Ignition Growth Capital, a private equity firm based in Seattle, Kelly worked with emerging industry leaders to bring a rigorous system of assessment, strategy, and execution to their organizations. As CEO of Novo/Publicis, an internet marketing company, and Totality, a software and managed services provider, Kelly was instrumental in growing annual revenues and successfully selling these companies to Fortune 500 buyers.
A highly sought-after speaker, Kelly is well regarded for his passion and in-depth knowledge of how to use IRA retirement funds to invest in alternative investments — like private equity and real estate. Kelly is also an angel investor and advisor to innovative growth companies such as MFoundry and Offermatica. He lives in Marin County, California with his wife and three children.
For the past two decades, Michael Steele has been working in venture capital and equity finance at the world’s prominent financial institutions. He is known for rebuilding equity businesses for the top investment banks in Asia as the Head of Equities & Trading for Merrill Lynch, Credit Lyonnais and Nomura International Securities in Taiwan.
In 2013, Michael left equity finance to pursue more creative projects as a private investor and venture capitalist. His first major investment as a private investor was launching Ocean Night Entertainment (ONE), a media investment company comprised of investors and film industry experts from North American and Greater China.
Prior to equity finance, Michael was Partner at Howard Commercial, a venture capital arm of McDonald’s focused on bringing leading retail brands to Asia. Some of his clients included Starbucks, Costco and Warner Village Cinemas to name but a few. In 1997, Michael founded Enterprise Utilities, one of the first companies of its kind to provide integrated cloud based communication services to Asia’s medium sized manufacturers.
He later sold Enterprise Utilities to a venture arm of President Enterprise, Taiwan’s largest retail conglomerate. Published in various technology publications, Michael continues to advise a number of emerging startups in Greater China and the Middle East. He and his wife are active philanthropists and live in Taipei with their daughter.
Eric DelaBarre is an award-winning author and filmmaker who began his career with Executive Producer Dick Wolf on NBC’s Emmy Award winning drama, Law & Order. After six seasons with Law & Order, and gaining membership to the Writer’s Guild of America, Eric left Wolf Films to become a Freelance Writer/Director. He wrote, produced and directed “Stop the Cycle,” a national, anti-smoking commercial for The American Lung Association and was nominated Best Director for the ITS Monitor Award.
Maxing out 22 credit cards, DelaBarre wrote, directed and produced the indie feature, Kate’s Addiction. Shot with a shoestring budget of $78,000, Eric was awarded “Filmmaker of the Future” at the Newport Beach International Film Festival and sold the picture to Lions Gate Films and Saban Entertainment for $490,000. The psychological thriller went on to gross more than $4.5 million in the domestic market alone.
Eric is a keynote speaker for elementary ‘Lit Jam’ festivals, past president of the Santa Monica Boys & Girls Club Council, and a best-selling ghostwriter with Random House/Harmony Books. He lives and works in Santa Monica, California with his wife, Julie (www.juliedelabarre.com) and their two children.
Upon graduating from U.C. Berkeley and going on to earn his MFA in theatre, Scott Putman began working in production in the early 90’s. Mr. Putman has Produced Television, Commercials, Web content, and 30+ Feature Films, is bondable by all motion picture completion companies, is a Director’s Guild of America member Unit Production Manager, and has shot both domestically and internationally. Locations include Russia, Hungary, Bulgaria, India, Israel, Thailand, the Turks & Caicos, Puerto Rico, Mali, Niger, Libya, Egypt, Panama, the jungles of Guatemala, and the beautifully remote South Pacific.
Mr. Putman was staff Line Producer for Mark Burnett on the CBS mega hit, “Survivor”, delivering 3 seasons of the series. He’s worked with and learned from industry pros such as Gale Anne Hurd (“Last Man Standing”, MOW), Betty Thomas (“Dash for Cash”, pilot), Oscar winners James Moll & Matt Damon (“Running the Sahara”, documentary), John Herzfeld (“Reach Me” feature with Sly Stallone) and twice with Jon Avnet (“Righteous Kill” feature with Robert DeNiro & Al Pacino, and “Have a Little Faith” MOW with Laurence Fishburne).
Across the ‘States, Putman has worked in California, Utah, Georgia, Massachusetts, North and South Carolina, and Michigan where he shot everything from a “SWAT” sequel for Sony, to a Shia LaBeouf experimental short, to Whitney Houston’s final picture, “Sparkle.”
With deep knowledge of various tax incentives and strategic relationships with foreign sales & banking executives, Mr. Putman is well-positioned to structure and guide both independent and studio projects for film, TV, and web distribution. A seasoned line producer, he’s skilled at meshing responsibility to budget with a full realization of the creative vision. Mr. Putman lives in LA with his family, and currently has multiple projects in development.
Alex Wake began his film career at Red Wagon Entertainment (Gladiator, Girl Interrupted) with producers Doug Wick and Lucy Fisher. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree from the School of Cinematic Arts at USC and currently oversees the development slate for MM Productions in Santa Monica, California.
Alex has been with MM Productions since 2011 and recently served as Associate Producer on their upcoming Mary Agnes Donoghue film, Jenny’s Wedding, starring Katherine Heigl and Tom Wilkinson.