Monday, October 12, 2015

Media Release: Panels and Workshops and WMass Film and Media Exchange


(Pittsfield, MA) The Berkshire Film and Media Collaborative (BFMC) is pleased to announce that the 2nd Annual Western Massachusetts Film and Media Exchange will feature a diverse series of panels and workshops of interest to the film and video community and the business community who want to utilize film and video in their marketing and social media efforts. The Exchange will take place on Friday, October 23rd from 9:30am – 5:30pm at the Baystate Health’s Whitney Avenue Conference Center in Holyoke, MA. 

Cynthia Wade, the Academy Award-winning Berkshires-based filmmaker will be the Keynote Speaker. Wade won the Oscar for her short documentary “Freeheld,” the story of a New Jersey police officer who was diagnosed with cancer and wanted to give her benefits to her same-sex partner. The acclaimed documentary has been turned into a motion picture of the same name, starring Julianne Moore, Ellen Page, and Steve Carrell, which opens nationally on October 16th. Wade is a producer of that venture. She also won an Oscar nomination for her documentary “Mondays at Racine”, the stories of women undergoing chemotherapy. For information on Cynthia Wade:

According to BFMC Executive Director, Diane Pearlman, “In today’s marketplace, it’s important for businesses to tell their story visually – whether in a commercial, an in-house presentation, a promotional video or on the web. We want to demystify the process of making a video by discussing what it costs to make a good, effective product and the impact that video can have. A panel specifically for businesses, “How Your Business Can Use Video Effectively” will feature the President of MassLive, Allison Werder and the Vice President of Marketing for Baystate Health, Suzanne Hendery, and John Hesslein, Station Manager of Western Mass News.

Other panels during The Exchange will be geared to filmmakers and their interests. Entertainment lawyer, Fred Fierst, who led a standing room only seminar last year, will bring a panel of lawyers and filmmakers to discuss every legal aspect of getting a project done – from concept to script, to raising the funding, to attaching cast and crew and dealing with the unions, to negotiating and closing the distribution deal, tax credits, and gap financing. Another panel, “Funding Your Film” will include with leaders in crowdfunding and how to source local production grants. 

Several panels will be geared to all of the attendees. “How to Market Yourself and Your Business” will be led by Rachael Frank of Gravity Switch of Northampton, MA. Rachael will discuss how companies of any size need to find their voice and how to effectively use the digital marketplace to promote themselves and their business. 

The “Local Success Stories” panel will feature industry professionals living and working in the region. Participants include Diego Ungaro, Director of “Bob and the Trees” which was featured at Sundance this year as well as won the Grand Prize at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, Craig Crawford of Cadence Visual Effects whose work can be seen on “Game of Thrones” and Steve Porter of Porterhouse Media, whose mash-ups have promoted everything from breakfast cereal to Good Morning America. 

Pearlman adds, “We also want our businesses to look to our local talent for their projects instead of going to New York City or Los Angeles.” Businesses will be able to connect with local filmmakers by watching their reels on the Exhibit Floor, meeting one another during lunch or at the cocktail networking event. There will be a large “connecting” Board for businesses and filmmakers to exchange business cards as well. 

The Exchange will feature a full Exhibit Hall with many of the latest technologies (cameras, lights, and drones!), as well as local production and media companies.

 “This is going to be an exciting and informative event for an industry that is growing in our region,” says Pearlman, “The Exchange is a place where filmmakers and businesses can meet and make connections. We have incredible talent in our region and we are able to produce high-level content for much less than if you went to New York or Los Angeles. We are all about keeping production dollars staying here in our State. For those in the business and those who want to know more about it - you can’t afford to miss The Exchange.”

Panelists, workshops and participants will be listed at All programs are subject to change.

Tickets for the Exchange are $55 in advance and $65 at the door.  Admission includes full access to all Exhibits, workshops/panels and demos, along with breakfast, lunch and a networking cocktail party to conclude the conference.  For tickets, sponsorship opportunities and more information, go to BFMC’s or call their office 413.528.4223

Sponsors to date include: AJA Video Systems, Anzovin Studios, Baystate Health, Boris F/X, Economic Development Council of Western Massachusetts, Gogel and Gogel, Hunt’s Photo, IMAGINE Magazine, Jx2 Productions, LEF Foundation, Mark G. Auerbach Public Relations, Massachusetts Cultural Council, MassLive, Maureen Sullivan Media Group, New England Public Radio, Take Magazine, Vitec Videocom, The Westfield News Group, and WGBY Public Television for Western New England.

The Berkshire Film and Media Collaborative (BFMC) creates educational, workforce and production opportunities in the film and media industry as an economic initiative for the western Massachusetts region. BFMC develops educational and workforce enrichment courses, offers networking events for industry professionals, acts as a resource for visiting productions, creates jobs within our communities in the film industry and provides an on- line production guide and locations database as a resource for film

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