The Summit Speaker Series

Sun, Mar 3, 2019 at 11am

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In collaboration with the Seattle Film Summit and TheFilmSchool, the Northwest Screenwriters Guild is proud to present the first installment of our Summit Speaker Series.

Join David Stem, writer of the SHREK and SMURF franchises, as he dissects SHREK2 in front of a live audience! The discussion will be led by Jonathan Keasey, Executive Director of TheFilmSchool, and will cover David’s experience as one of the minds behind a franchise that’s earned billions of dollars at the international box office.


And that’s not all!


Stick around for a panel discussion with experts from the Northwest about how to emulate SHREK in the Northwest. Moderated by Jeremy Dodd of the Northwest Screenwriters Guild, the panelists are:


  • Brent Stiefel – Founder, VOTIV

  • Amy Lillard – Exec Director, WA Filmworks

  • Breven Warran – Distributor, Breaker


Together, in a town hall format, we’ll discuss what’s happening in the animation world today, and do a deep dive into ways to spark more animation opportunities in our very own backyard.


More details below. You don’t want to miss this amazing event!



About the Summit Speaker Series

To boost ties with Hollywood, the Seattle Film Summit, TheFilmSchool, and the Northwest Screenwriters Guild will host quarterly screenings of culturally significant film and TV projects while providing access to the people who made them. To be among the first to find out when these events will occur, sign up to become an NwSG member today.


About Writer/Director J. David Stem

With over $2.4 billion in box office, the films co-written by J. David Stem have had massive world-wide appeal, starring Eddie Murphy, Neil Patrick Harris, Ice Cube, Hank Azaria, Mike Myers and many others.

He is currently co-executive producer/head writer for one of the anchor shows that will launch Disney’s new premium streaming service, and is co-writing a remake of the classic movie, “Harvey” for Netflix. Prior to his successful screenwriting career, Stem worked as journalist and an award-winning advertising writer/director.

See Dave’s IMDb credits.



About Jonathan Keasey

Jonathan H. Keasey is an Adjunct Professor of Screenwriting at Seattle University. Jonathan is a member of the prestigious Writers Guild of America and has penned films for Sony Studios, Columbia Pictures and China’s Fundamental Media among others. For his work, Jonathan was recently voted onto Hollywood’s “Young and Hungry” list by industry insiders. In addition to writing, Jonathan is currently developing projects for Germany’s Telepool GmbH and Norman Lear’s Act III Productions. Prior to his career as a writer, Jonathan worked in development at Warner Brothers Studios and handled coverage for ICM. As such, Jonathan brings over twelve years of Hollywood experience and industry know-how to his film courses. Jonathan holds a B.A. from the University of Washington, a law degree from Washington University in St. Louis, and is currently represented in all creative matters by CAA, Zero Gravity and Hirsch, Wallerstein Matlof and Hayum.



About Brent Stiefel

Owner, Producer – Obvious Child, As You Are, Super Troopers 2

Brent Stiefel is the founder and CEO of VOTIV, a music, film and entertainment firm that specializes in independent, boundary pushing arts and ventures. In addition to his extensive work in music, Brent has helped produce a number of high profile independent feature films that have garnered the attention of film festivals and awards ceremonies alike. Brent is best known for his work on FREE IN DEED (nominated for four 2017 Independent Spirit Awards), AS YOU ARE (2016 Sundance Special Jury Award winner), and OBVIOUS CHILD (nominated for two 2015 Independent Spirit Awards).


See Brent’s IMDb credits.



About Amy Lillard

Amy Lillard is an executive strategist for uniquely structured entrepreneurial endeavors, private non-profit organizations and arts-based initiatives. Her extensive background in film production and publicity, finance and legislative lobbying, as well as her advocacy for artist-support, informs her exceptional perspective on the cultural landscape as it relates to both the creative and business elements of economic development.


Lillard started her career as an independent film publicist out of New York and Los Angeles designing the release campaigns for groundbreaking films such at “The Blair Witch Project,” “American Psycho” and “Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels.” Amy retired from publicity campaigns in 2000 and took a trip around the world. Two years and 42 countries later, she settled in Seattle and seamlessly integrated into the film community where her breadth of experience, global awareness and business background quickly made her a pivotal lynchpin in the thriving community.


Lillard spent several years as Director of Publicity and Promotion at SIFF, Festival Director of the Reel Cinerama Film Festival, and Producer of the Fly Filmmaking Challenge, expanding her sphere of influence at home while at the same time shining a spotlight on Seattle to the world community of filmmakers and industry tastemakers.


In 2006, Lillard launched Washington Filmworks, the private non-profit organization that manages the state film and production incentive programs. Under Lillard’s decade-plus leadership as Executive Director, Washington Filmworks has financially supported over 120-film projects that have completed principal photography through the incentive program, bringing an estimated $125 million directly into Washington’s statewide economy.




About Breven Warren

Breven is currently developing the artist support programs and creative educational initiatives for content creators at SingularDTV, a blockchain entertainment studio.


With a unique passion for supporting artists, her experience combines decades of work in independent film and nonprofits with over twelve years of accomplished festival directing, programming and curating.


Breven’s own nonprofit hosts film mentorship programs, a community building festival, and urban farming initiatives. She recently received a Masters in Art Education, focusing on nontraditional filmmaker education programs and continues to pursue higher education to challenge her understanding and practice of how to best support artists.


Her belief in making a sustainable and positive impact in all that she does is deeply grounded in her Pacific Northwest roots.




About Jeremy J. Dodd

Jeremy J. Dodd is an award-winning writer, director, and producer whose work spans commercial television, show development, and corporate communications. Most recently he’s worked as a writer and producer at Microsoft, articulating the company’s vision for the role of artificial intelligence in people’s lives. Prior to Microsoft, Jeremy spent 10 years in the advertising industry running his own agency where he produced national and regional campaigns for clients such as Boeing, Behr Paint, Virginia Mason Hospital, Service Brands International, and many others. Jeremy holds a B.A. in Economics from the University of Washington, and currently serves as President of the Northwest Screenwriters Guild.

SIFF Film Center

305 Harrison St.
Seattle, WA 98109

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