2022 festival title
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Discovery Days 2023

Meet the Experts

JURY Giulia Caruso

GIULIA CARUSO (JURY) is the Director of Catalyst and Industry at Sundance, overseeing the year-round film financing program of the Institute. Prior to joining Sundance, Giulia co-founded the independent production company Nonetheless Productions. She was nominated for a Piaget Producers Award with partner Ki Jin Kim and received a Spirit Award for Andrew Ahn’s debut feature SPA NIGHT. Her work as producer spans critically acclaimed debut features, including HOLY EMY (dir. Araceli Lemos) and COLUMBUS (dir. Kogonada), award winning short films, documentary series and branded content.

DREA CLARK (JURY) is a longtime film festival programmer, currently at Geena Davis’s Bentonville Film Festival and Sundance Film Festival, and previously with Slamdance and LA Film Fest. As a producer, Drea has released four independent features, including A VIEW OF THE WORLD FROM FIFTH AVENUE (director Fiona Robert) which is playing festivals in 2023. She’s also produced numerous shorts, music videos, webseries, and a pilot for FX directed by Charlie Day. She is currently Producer-in-Residence at Film Independent, as well as the Nominations Producer for the Spirit Awards. Drea co-hosts Maximum Film!, a weekly movie podcast with comedian Ify Nwadiwe and film critic Alonso Duralde, on the Maximum Fun network.

JURY Drea Clark
ONE ON ONE Panos Iosifelis

PANOS IOSIFELIS (ONE-ON-ONE MEETINGS) is a Screenwriter, Professor in Screenwriting for Cinema and Television – School of Film, Faculty of Fine Arts of Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. He is a Coordinator and Professor of Cinema and Television Writing at the Postgraduate “Creative Writing” Program of Hellenic Open University. He has written scripts for 5 feature films, 322 one hour long episodes for TV series, 8 scripts for short films, 2 feature length documentaries and an educational web series of 50 episodes. The feature films he has written have participated and won awards in many Greek and International festivals. He is a member of the evaluation and advisory committee for script selections and funding at the Greek Film Center, and is the Head Programmer for the National Student Competition Program at Drama International Short Film Festival. He is also a member of the Scriptwriters Guild of Greece and the Head of the Film School of Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, and is a member of the Senate of Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (2018-2020).

JASON JAKAITIS (SCREENPLAY FEEDBACK) is an Associate Professor in the Communication Department at Saint Mary’s College of California, where he teaches digital media production and community storytelling. A creator of augmented reality and personal documentaries, much of his work explores themes of family and disability. Jason’s documentary MOTHERSBANE won the Jury prize at the 2011 South by Southwest Film Festival. Jason also served as Director of Independent Media at the Bay Area Video Coalition, where he supervised numerous community media programs, including San Francisco’s Public Access Television Station and the National Media Maker Fellowship. Jason lives in Oakland, California with his wife and two daughters.
SCREENPLAY FEEDBACK Jason Jakaitis
SCREENPLAY FEEDBACK Pavel Jech

PAVEL JECH (SCREENPLAY FEEDBACK) is a graduate of the Columbia University Film Division as well as of FAMU, The Film and Television School of the Academy of the Performing Arts in Prague, where he served two terms as dean from 2008 to 2016. During his terms, FAMU was ranked among the top film schools in the world, and student films met great success at some of the world’s top festivals. Previously, Jech was the founding chair of FAMU International, a department for English speaking students, and also the faculty liaison for NYU-Tisch, American University, Yale and other programs for American students visiting Prague. He is an active instructor of screenwriting and script analysis, and works as an expert advisor for Sundance Labs, Berlinale Talents, the Mediterranean Film Institute and for the Midpoint Center, which he co-founded and serves as head of studies. Jech lectures internationally, and his manual on dramaturgy for short films, The Seven Minute Screenplay is used by film students around the world. He also worked in over ten countries as a screenwriter and script editor, including for the feature film GRANTHOTEL (Berlinale premiere 2007), has worked as a creative collaborator on some of the most recent films of Jan Nemec, and has directed a short film presented at the European Film Academy Award ceremony.

KI JIN KIM (ONE-ON-ONE MEETINGS) is a Korean filmmaker based in LA. As a filmmaker of color, and a proud Asian immigrant, Kim’s community-based projects center marginalized ethnic communities in the US and Europe, and their diasporic experiences. Kim is one of the founding members of the independent production company Nonetheless Productions and has served as producer and cinematographer on award-winning feature films, including HOLY EMY (dir. Araceli Lemos) , COLUMBUS (dir. Kogonada), DRIVEWAYS and SPA NIGHT (dir. Andrew Ahn).

ONE ON ONE Ki Jin Kim
ONE ON ONE Ana Leocha

ANA LEOCHA (ONE-ON-ONE MEETINGS) is a producer and development executive who has worked at Tango Entertainment since 2018. She was a co-producer on AFTERSUN (dir. Charlotte Wells), RESURRECTION (dir. Andrew Seman), THE DROP (Sarah Adina Smith), and SHORTCOMINGS (Randall Park), among others. She works across film and television and is passionate about emerging filmmakers and new voices.

JASON LEW (ONE-ON-ONE MEETINGS) is a Chinese-American filmmaker based out of Los Angeles. He wrote and directed THE FREE WORLD, which premiered in Dramatic Competition at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival. The film stars Elisabeth Moss, Boyd Holbrook & Octavia Spencer and was distributed by IFC. His first screenplay, RESTLESS was directed by Gus Van Sant and produced by Ron Howard. Recently, Lew has been writing/producing on multiple TV projects (INSECURE, BALLERS) for HBO, including an original pilot developed for Lebron James’ banner, Springhill. Current: a scripted podcast for Qcode, a western-feature currently in development, a drama series with Tessa Thompson’s VIVA MAUDE and writing/producing credits on Damon Lindelof’s latest show for Peacock. Jason was a Cinereach fellow and is a grad of NYU, where he studied acting, directing and design for theater.

ONE ON ONE Jason Lew
SCREENPLAY FEEDBACK Casey Modderno
JANE CASEY MODDERNO (SCREENPLAY FEEDBACK) is a Los Angeles based writer-director of TV and films. In addition to the listed work, she wrote both seasons of the Facebook Watch horror series, THE BIRCH and served as head writer + Co-EP on the Peacock series THE GIRL IN THE WOODS. She’s an out and proud trans woman, raised on a diet of ghost stories and punk music.

NICOLE OTERO (JURY) is a writer, director and editor. In 2020, Otero’s directorial narrative debut, SLIP, was acquired & distributed by Kino Lorber/Dedza, as part of a collection highlighting emerging and underrepresented directors. SLIP is currently streaming on the Criterion Channel. Her next narrative short, WHEN THERE WAS WATER, premiered at BAMcinemaFest in New York. She is a recipient of the 2022 NALIP Latino Lens grant for her latest film WAIT FOR NIGHT, a spiritual proof of concept for her upcoming feature project in development. In addition to her work as a director, Otero has also edited several films for major museum exhibitions, including MoMA, the New Museum in NY, the Hammer Museum, and more. She edited THE AFRICAN DESPERATE, a feature film that premiered at the 2022 International Film Festival Rotterdam and New Directors/New Films at Lincoln Center. She also served as a writer on CIVIC, a short film which played IFFR and Clermont Ferrand in 2023.

Nicole Otero
JURY Yannis Sakaridis

YANNIS SAKARIDIS’ (JURY) career has spanned thirty years in film production. He is the director of AMERIKA SQUARE, a multi awarded film and Greece’s official selection for Best Foreign Film for Oscars 2017, and he is Artistic Director of Drama International Short Film Festival. He has previously directed WILD DUCK which premiered at the Toronto Film Festival in 2013. The film went on to enjoy a successful festival run. AMERIKA SQUARE was released in the US, China, Spain, UK, Turkey, Greece and has been aired by many TV stations including HBO Europe. It premiered at the 2016 Busan International Film Festival and went on to play the prestigious 2016 Chicago Film Festival and 2017 Palms Springs Film Festival. Amerika Square won: Audience Award in Beijing IFF, FIPRESCI Award in Thessaloniki IFF, Special Youth Jury Award in Thessaloniki IFF, Special Mention to the actor Vassilis KoukalaniI in Thessaloniki IFF, Erasmus Youth Jury Award in Trieste IFF, Best Feature Film in 2017 Los Angeles Greek Film Festival, Best Film in Open Frontiers Contest, Best Screenplay in CineDays, IOM Special Mention in Global Migration Film Festival. Yannis has won the Best Editing Award from Hellenic Film Academy.

IAN SAMUELS’ (SCREENPLAY FEEDBACK) hybrid work has screened internationally at festivals and venues including Sundance, SXSW, Telluride and Slamdance. He has worked for the Jim Henson Company and Sesame Street. Ian received his MFA from California Institute of the Arts in film directing, a BFA from Bard College in film / video, and is a 2014 Film Independent Project: Involve fellow. Ian’s latest film Amazon’s Original Movie, THE MAP OF TINY PERFECT THINGS starring Kyle Allen and Kathryn Newton was nominated for a 2022 Critics Choice Award. Ian’s previous films include SIERRA BURGESS IS A LOSER which premiered on Netflix in 2018 and MYRNA THE MONSTER which premiered at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival.

SCREENPLAY FEEDBACK Ian Samuels
SCREENPLAY FEEDBACK Terrie Samundra
TERRIE SAMUNDRA (SCREENPLAY FEEDBACK) is a Director and Screenwriter whose debut feature, the Netflix Original film KAALI KHUHI, was released globally in October 2020. Samundra’s short films have screened internationally, garnering accolades. Samundra is an alum of the Sundance Screenwriters Lab, the Sundance WIF Finance Lab and is a current directing fellow of ReFrame Rise; a partnership between the Sundance Institute and Women in Film. She is a SFFILM Rainin fellow, a Princess Grace recipient and a member of the WGAW. She recently wrapped the writer’s room for an undisclosed Netflix series. A multicultural artist, Samundra grew up between a rural village in India, a small farming town in Missouri, and along the coast of California. She is represented by the Gersh Agency and Circle of Confusion and teaches at AFI.

Screenwriter JEFF STOCKWELL’s (GROUP INTRO) produced credits include Sundance film THE DANGEROUS LIVES OF ALTAR BOYS, BRIDGE TO TERABITHIA and A WRINKLE IN TIME for Disney, Writer’s Guild Award-nominated WILDER DAYS for TNT and, most recently, IVY & BEAN for Netflix. He has done uncredited work on a range of films including ARTEMIS FOWL and PERCY JACKSON & THE OLYMPIANS: THE LIGHTNING THIEF. Jeff has worked as a consulting writer at several major animation companies, including a year’s residence at Pixar. He has a range of unproduced projects in various stages of development – from “happening soon – we promise!” to “stored in that warehouse somewhere next to the Lost Ark.” Jeff is a longtime active instructor/mentor for labs and programs sponsored by Film Independent, Global Media Makers, USC’s American Film Showcase and the Writers Guild of America. He is currently on strike!

GROUP INTRO Jeff Stockwell
JURY Martine Syms by Heidi Slimane

MARTINE SYMS (JURY) is an artist who has earned wide recognition for a practice that combines conceptual grit, humor, and social commentary. She has shown extensively including solo exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, ICA London, and The Hammer Museum, among others. She is the recipient of a 2023 Guggenheim Fellowship in Film-Video and the recipient of the 2022 Herb Alpert Award. She is also the recipient of a creative Capital Award, a United States Artists Fellowship, the Tiffany Foundation Prize, and the Future Fields Art Prize. She is in a band called Aunt Sister and hosts CCartalkLA, a monthly radio show on NTS. She also runs Dominica, a publishing imprint for artist books.

MATTHEW TAKATA (ONE-ON-ONE MEETINGS) is the Manager for the Feature Film Program’s international work at Sundance Institute. His focus is on international outreach and selection for the Institute’s Screenwriters and Directors Labs in Utah, FFP’s international labs and workshops in Greece, Cuba and Japan, and the annual Sundance Institute Global Filmmaking Awards and Sundance/NHK Award. Previously, Takata worked in development at GK Films, following a stint at Key Creatives and International Creative Management. Takata attended the University of California, Los Angeles, and is a native of the San Francisco bay area.

ONE ON ONE Matthew Takata
SCREENPLAY FEEDBACK Daniel Talbott

DANIEL TALBOTT (SCREENPLAY FEEDBACK) is an award-winning writer and director, a Lucille Lortel Award winning theater producer, and the artistic director of Rising Phoenix Rep. His first feature film co-written and co-directed with Samantha Soule, MIDDAY BLACK MIDNIGHT BLUE premiered at SIFF in Seattle in 2022 and will be released in June 2023 by Good Deed Entertainment. His horror drama pilot ROME, GEORGIA (starring Mary-Louise Parker) is in development with Vertigo Entertainment. His feature script GRAY is in active development in Denmark with Motor Productions, with Martin de Thura attached to direct. Other TV writing includes THE MIST based on the Stephen King novella, and THE CONNERS on ABC. He is a graduate of Juilliard.

COLIN WEST (AUDIOVISUAL WORKSHOP) is an award-winning writer and director from Columbus, Ohio and now based in LA & NYC. His films include LINOLEUM (SXSW Film Festival, 2022) starring Jim Gaffigan, Rhea Seehorn, Katelyn Nacon, Michael Ian Black and Tony Shalhoub, and DOUBLE WALKER co-written by and starring Sylvie Mix. He also produced the Stacy Keach led film SURVIVAL SKILLS, sponsored by Film Independent.

ONE ON ONE Colin West
ONE ON ONE Alesia Weston
For a decade, ALESIA WESTON (ONE-ON-ONE MEETINGS) ran Sundance Institute’s International Feature Film Program, spearheading the international labs and grants program for emerging filmmakers from the Middle East, Latin America, Europe and Asia. She shepherded both US and International writer-directors through the Sundance/NHK Award Program. In 2013, she was appointed Executive Director of the Jerusalem Film Festival, Cinematheque and Archives where she oversaw the international festival and year-round programming. She has since been a guest curator for the Beirut International Film Festival and New Zealand International Film Festival, a mentor at screenwriting labs at TIFF, New Zealand and the pop up first cut lab. In 2018, she co-founded Starfish, a creative accelerator for mid-career BIPOC storytellers. She currently serves as an advisor and thought partner to foundations funding arts programs. She is part of a team of curators developing a program that brings together investigative journalists with industry creatives for adaptations. A trained coach, her practice is devoted to supporting creatives, executives and leaders. She is a founding member of the Advisory Boards of the Torino Film Lab and Jerusalem International Film Lab.

Meet the Filmmakers

A Girl Named Zeus Director Nikos Dayandas

NIKOS DAYANDAS (A GIRL NAMED ZEUS, Director / Writer) was born in Crete, and studied Archaeology & Filmmaking in London. He has directed some of Greece’s most acclaimed international documentary co-productions LITTLE LAND, SAYOME and blue-chip TV series, and is the only Greek filmmaker to have helmed a NATGEO TV production to date, BURIED SECRETS OF KEROS (2020). His films have been supported by ARTE, ZDF, ERT, Greek Film Center, National Film Board of Canada, AVRO, History TV et.al and have been distributed worldwide, as well as having won many awards including the FIPRESCI award, the WWF award, and even best documentary at the LAGFF in 2012. His fiction feature project for kids and families, A GIRL NAMED ZEUS, is the first Greek project ever selected by the prestigious Cinekid Writers Lab.

IRIS BAGLANEA (ACHINOS, Director / Writer) grew up in Corfu, Greece, and is a director and performer. As a director, GOADS was her first film that has been awarded and special mentioned in many International and Greek festivals, Drama IFF, Athens IFF, Trieste IFF; Best short film at BUFF; Further, GOADS has been officially selected by Zinebi-Bilbao International Short And Documentary Film Festival, Riga IFF, Go Short IFF Nijmegen, Rhode Island IFF, while it continues its festival adventure. Her next short film ZANGE will be filmed in January 2023. Recognizing the therapeutic aspect of performing arts, she studied Dramatherapy in Berlin and has worked with mentally ill patients and unaccompanied refugee children in Greece. As a performer, she has won the Grand prix Europa 2015 with AndCompany&Co for the performance «Orpheus in der Oberwelt» and has participated in numerous International Theatre Festivals such as HAU Hebbel am Uffer, Mousonturm, Forum Freies Theater, Hippodrome, Steirischerherbst, Belluard Bollwerk International.

Achinos director Iris Baglanea
Black Water Director Isabella Margara

ISABELLA MARGARA (BLACK WATER, Director / Writer) is a Greek director and medical doctor. Her first short film THE BLIND TURTLE AND THE ENDLESS SEA (2020) screened in Oscar-qualifying festivals, and following its festival run it was acquired by CANAL+ in Central Europe and COSMOTE TV in Greece and Cyprus. Her second short script NOTHING HOLIER THAN A DOLPHIN was awarded by one of Europe’s largest environmental organizations as a story offering great environmental insight. The film premiered in January 2023 at Clermont-Ferrand where it received the International Audience Award. Isabella obtained funding by the Greek Film Center for her third short film, currently in pre-production. She is interested in the therapeutic aspect of art and the transformation point between reality and fantasy.

DIMITRIS TSAKALEAS & LIDA VARTZIOTI (FRIENDS, BIRTHDAYS, MURDER, ECT, Directors / Writers) are a directing duo currently based in Athens (Greece). They have directed a number of shorts including SAD GIRL WEEKEND (2019), HAPPY ENDING (2022), and GOOD GIRLS CLUB: A VIRGINITY ODYSSEY (2023), which have traveled to film festivals around the world (Karlovy Vary IFF, Palm Springs ISF, Cairo IFF, Sarajevo IFF, Trieste IFF, etc) and were screened at Directors Notes. They are graduates of the School of Film, Faculty of Fine Arts of Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Stavros Niarchos Artworks Fellows, Sarajevo and Berlinale Talents Alumni. Right now, they are in the funding process of their first feature film FRIENDS, BIRTHDAYS, MURDER, ETC, produced by Atalante Productions, while they are dealing with their coming-of-age and post-university realness.

Friends,Birthdays,Murder Etc Directors Lida Vartzioti and Dimitris Tsakaleas
Green Director Fokion Bogris

FOKION BOGRIS (GREEN, Director / Writer) was born in Athens, Greece in December 1979. He never attended any film school, obtained his BA in Communications, and started making his own DIY movies in 2002. He Made his first independent feature film titled CATHARSIS (starring Vangelis Mourikis) which premiered at the Athens International Film Festival in 2009. He has won the Best Newcomer Director Award at the Drama International Short Film Festival for FAMILY TREE (2012), and his independent feature film AMERCEMENT (2020) won a Best Supporting Actor Award at the Hellenic Film Academy Awards, having a highly successful theatrical run in Greece and receiving great reviews from Variety and Screen Daily. Fokion Bogris has also directed music videos, documentaries for Greek National Television, and recently a trailer for Onassis Foundation.

ALKI POLITI (STORY FROM A SOUTHERN COAST, Director / Writer) was born in Athens in 1988 and grew up in Rethymno, Crete. She studied at the Cinema Studies Department of the School of Fine Arts in AUTH and obtained her MA in Direction, Screenwriting and Producing at the University Panthéon / Sorbonne Paris I. She has co-written and co-directed the mini series GEFYRA (ANT1+, 2022) and is currently working as a director for the ΑΝΤ1 series MAGISA. She has written and directed various short films like GÉNÉRATION PERDUE (2017) and HOMO PERFECTUS (2022) which have been featured at the Angers European First Film Festival and the Drama ISFF respectively. Her feature project STORY FROM A SOUTHERN COAST was granted with the development fund of the GFC.

Story From A Southern Coast Director Alki Politi

Selected Projects

A Girl Named Zeus

A GIRL NAMED ZEUS

(Greece)

Director / Writer: Nikos Dayandas

Producers: Kyveli Short & Marie-Gabrielle Paucelle

 

12 year-old Zeus looks up to her father Babis, leader of a struggling metal band. Her mother takes her away to the village of Babis’ estranged and ill father, where she connects with her heritage and a precious family heirloom. In doing so, she sets in motion events that lead her to a rude awakening.

Achinos

ACHINOS

(Greece)

Director / Writer: Iris Baglanea

Producer: Ioanna Bolomyti

 

Athanasia with her little sister Eleftheria live secluded, close to a village of the Peloponnese. Thimios, their father, learns that he is ill and soon to die. He makes the decision not to be hospitalized, and devotes himself to the training of his children on his perception of the circle of life.

Black Water

Black Water

(Greece)

Director / Writer: Isabella Margara

Producers: Kyriaki Virou

A father and his disabled son Christophoros struggle to survive in a nearly deserted village on the mountains of Epirus, which is ravaged by smugglers and an ecological disaster. One by one the remaining inhabitants either leave, go mad or die. But the Father and Christophoros have a weapon that can endure even the end of the world: their immense love for each other.

Friends,Birthday,Murder, Etc

FRIENDS, BIRTHDAYS, MURDER, ETC

(Greece)

Directors / Writers: Dimitris Tsakaleas & Lida Vartzioti

Producer: Ioanna Bolomyti

 

A group of friends book a remote cabin in the middle of the forest to spend a weekend celebrating the birthdays of their two best friends, Olga and Nefeli. As the celebration commences, an evil figure is watching them from the outside. Members of the group disappear one after the other until the killer finds the right offering for his sacrifice ritual.

Green

Green

(Greece)

Director / Writer: Fokion Bogris

 

Green, an amateur music producer, is envious of his friend Ramon- a popular rapper of the Greek underground. He wants the rockstar kind of life that his friend enjoys; the fame, the followers and especially the young girls. As Green’s friendship with the rapper deteriorates, he gets in an open relationship with Vaso, a 20-year old OnlyFans model with a soft-spot for her mobster dad.

Story of a southern coast

Story from a Southern Coast

(Greece)

Director / Writer: Alki Politi

Producer: Haris Tsampas

 

An idyllic beach at the southern coast of Crete transforms into an apocalyptic place, where the adults of western society find themselves unable to co-exist and disconnected from reason. Among them, Mary, 17, obsessed with finding love and acceptance, rises as a messiah and a leader.

Schedule

Wednesday, June 7
  • DISCOVERY DAYS MEET-UP – 1:00 pm , location TBD
  • LAGFF FILMMAKER WELCOME PARTY – 6:30 pm @San Marino
Thursday, June 8
  • GROUP INTRO – 9:30 am – 2:30 pm, @Regal LA Live (Closed event) The DD filmmakers meet officially for the first time, and present their projects under the guidance of Jeff Stockwell, screenwriter and expert, who will give initial feedback on stories and pitches, and moderate a discussion among the group. Approximately 30 minutes per project.
  • “HOLLYWOOD SCENE AND BE SEEN PARTY” – 8:00pm, @Sunset House
Friday, June 9
  • ONE-ON-ONE MEETINGS – 9:30 am -1 pm, @Regal LA Live (Closed event) The DD filmmakers will pitch their project to our film experts in one-on-one meetings. A great chance to get feedback on their presentation and projects from experienced industry professionals who will meet with each presenting team.
  • SCREENPLAY FEEDBACK – 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm, @Regal LA Live (Closed event) Screenwriting experts, who will have read the material in advance, dedicate this afternoon to meeting with the DD filmmakers for an in-depth discussion of your work.
Saturday, June 10
  • LAGFF FILMMAKER BRUNCH – 10:00 am – 12:00 pm, @Greek Consul General House
  • AUDIO/VISUAL WORKSHOP – 1:30 pm – 3:30 pm, @Regal LA Live (Closed event) Under the guidance of the Discovery Days team and an invited expert, we will review the A/V materials the filmmakers have prepared for the final presentations.
Sunday, June 11
  • TECHNICAL REHEARSAL – 9:00 am – 10:00 am, @Regal LA Live
  • DISCOVERY DAYS FINAL PRESENTATIONS – 10:30 am – 2:00 pm, @Regal LA Live The final presentations are the culmination of our intensive 4-day workshop. The Discovery Days filmmakers, having gathered feedback and advice, present their projects to a jury of leading industry professionals specializing in international independent cinema. Each presentation will last approximately 25 minutes, including feedback and discussion. The jury will determine the winner of the $1000 Discovery Days award which will be announced at the LAGFF closing night ceremony.
  • LAGFF CLOSING NIGHT / AWARD CEREMONY – approximately 3:30 pm – 11 pm, @Pacific Design Center, West Hollywood
  • Red carpet, 3:30 pm
  • Closing night film screening: LISTEN, 5:00 pm
  • Awards, 7:30 pm
  • Reception, 9:00 pm