“Indie Film Showcase At Park City” Takes On The Issues During Sundance 2018

by Nicole Muj

Cloud21 and Kultura PR presented the “Indie Film Showcase At Park City” held Jan. 21 during Sundance Film Festival 2018.

The by-invitation only event featured a lively, five person panel that included entertainment industry veteran,  E! co-founder Larry Namer. Namer is the president/CEO of Metan Global Entertainment Group, a multi-media company focused on delivering Western entertainment content to China, and conversely, producing and exporting high-quality content in China to be sold and distributed internationally.  Namer spoke about his recently launched MGEG Film Fund I that provides loans against tax credits and incentives and other forms of secured financing to film and content companies around the world. He also discussed his new inspirational competition series The Bruce Lee Project, produced in conjunction with Company Films, co-owned by Keanu Reeves and Stephen Hamel, Bruce Lee Entertainment, LLC (Shannon Lee’s production company) and Benaroya Pictures. Namer spoke candidly on the current state of the U.S. content business.

Also on the panel was three-time Telly Award-winning filmmaker Sue Vicory who has been creating community-based films and projects within her not for profit production company Heartland Films, Inc. since 2003. Her works include  “Homelessness & the Power of One,” feature documentaries “One” and “Kansas City Jazz & Blues; Past, Present & Future” and short films “Absent” and “1898, The W.F. Norman Story. In 2015, she founded Team XX, an all female team of 25 filmmakers that created the award-winning film “Down Stage.” A tireless advocate for women in film, Vicory is a member of the LA based Alliance of Women Directors and creator of the site www.womendocumentaryfilmmakers.com.

The panel took a very serious tone with the discussion about the state of the U.S. healthcare system, discussed by panelists Jeff Witzeman and Suzy Hardy. Witzeman is the writer/producer/director of the controversial documentary “Cancer Can Be Killed” that currently is on the festival circuit, an official selection of the Sonoma International Film Festival and available worldwide on Amazon Prime, iTunes and Google Play. Witzeman was inspired to make the film after his wife Kerry was cured and cancer free after receiving non-traditional treatments in Europe, instead of opting for the often aggressive treatment methods promoted by the U.S. medical community.

Co-host of The Food Heals Podcast with Allison Melody, Hardy has been passionate about healing the body with nutrition and holistic medicine since she was 16. An actress, writer, licensed massage therapist, energy healer and voice-over artist, Hardy’s voice can be heard on the radio and podcasts, as well as in film and cartoons, in over 60 audiobooks. She has performed on both stage and screen and has just completed writing her first feature length screenplay. She is the founder of the beauty and wellness company CBD Fountain.

To round off the panel was Australian filmmaker and president of Bad Hat Films David Raynor, who presented his latest work “We Need To Talk,” a 42 minute short film about youth suicide prevention, a sensitive topic that he has handled with thoughtfulness and integrity. The film is being developed into a feature film in 2018, with an accompanying book and music video. His other notable works include “Hello Tom Sullivan,” “Karlisha and Morgan” and “So This Is It Then.” In 2018, he also plans to produce “Ubiquitous” a feature with a French film noir overtone.

The hour long panel was moderated by Monica Morrison of  I Entertainment News (www.ientertainment.news).  An advocate for children and filmmakers, Morrison recently launched FundIndies.org, a “pay it forward” niche crowd funding site for independent filmmakers and musicians. A portion of the proceeds go to the “Gracie-Maeve Institute for the Creative Arts,” a creative institute that promotes health and well-being for young adults who have been abandoned or neglected as children or who have grown up in the foster care system.

Following the panel, guests enjoyed a VIP reception where media and industry mixed and mingled with panelists. Guests included Big Bang Theory’s Alice Amter, beauty entrepreneur Shalini Vadhera Potts and film executive Tony Potts.

Event sponsors were MGEG Film Fund I, Heartland Films, Sinker Swim Productions, Bat Hat Films and Food Heals Podcast. Additional sponsors included Bodvar House of Rosés and Graffiti Wines, and guests walked away with a great swag bag sponsored by Jennifer Reeves Designs, featuring products by Kosmetikos, Reamir & Co, Third Wolf Designs, LDN by ENDZ, Butcher’s Bunches, The Power of One, The Bruce Lee Project and J’s Small Batch Hot Sauce.

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