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Vanessa McMahon


Vanessa is a novel writer, screenwriter, rep and a film producer. She shares her discoveries and film surprises. :-)

 


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Interview With Kayvan Mashayekh About PGA "Producers Without Borders" @ 70th annual Cannes Film Festival

 

PGA Producers Without Borders panel @ 70th annual Cannes Film FestivalPGA producer Kayvan Mashayekh 

PGA “Producers Without Borders” started in Cannes three years ago by PGA member Kayvan Mashayekh and the general manager of The Royal Film Commission of Jordan Geroge David. The event is sponsored by The Royal Film Commission of Jordan.

 

After having helped to cast the various panelists myself for this year's 3rd annual PGA PWB edition, I interviewed Kayvan. Here is what he had to say:

 

How did the PWB panel begin 3 years ago and what is the aim?

KAYVAN: PWB began over a casual dinner conversation at Pastis four years ago during the Cannes Film Festival with my dear friend and colleague, Mr. George David of The Royal Film Commission of Jordan. I was frustrated over the fact that there were so many filmmakers running around making the same mistakes I made when I was first starting out and no one was there to help them through the mine field of making a film. I created Producers Without Borders as the step-by-step collaborative process of how to launch your film from concept to distribution with the proper team of creative professionals. Born out of my own challenges of how to successfully produce an international film across multiple international territories, it is wholly based on my own struggles in finding answers to questions that no one at the time was willing to help me understand. Since film schools are primarily focused on teaching the craft theoretically, nothing can properly prepare someone to embark on a film venture other than hands on experience. My aim is three-fold for my panelists as well as my audience. 

 

KAYVAN CONT'D: For my panelists, my goals are:

1. For them to share their vast knowledge unselfishly with people who never have access to their expertise, but desperately need their wisdom and experience to guide them forward productively.

2. To engage with their co-panelists to work on problem areas in the film business that are begging for adaption to a more cohesive working environment.

3. De-mystify and be disruptive in eliminating unnecessary middle men that cloud the experience and damage the reputation of a declining business model as the industry shifts rapidly from the traditional old school theatrical model to multi-platform digital distribution outlets with collapsing release windows.

 

KAYVAN CONT'D: For my audience, my goals are:

1. A.B.L….always be learning! Take on a proactive approach in educating yourself and constantly ask questions about areas filmmakers know nothing about from people who have walked the line.

2. Realize the value of collaboration and how to put together a proper team. The Producers Guild of America is ALL about building your team and I’m proud to be a member of a guild that has helped me so much in my development as a filmmaker.

3. Learn what not to do, as much as what you are supposed to do based on what someone else tells you, you should. You can only reach your goals through your own path of conquering the challenges that lie in your path…that requires what I call, the 3 P’s…Persistence, Passion and Perseverance!


 

You are on the PGA Middle East division. Most people don't know there is one. Can you speak about it?

KAYVAN: I’m The MENA Representative for The Producers Guild of America. Basically, as a member of our International Committee, I am tasked with the objective of promoting, nurturing and developing collaborations with other producers in the talent rich region in the hopes of creating a window of opportunity to work on projects with our guild members. Our primary and most important affiliate in the entire region is The Royal Film Commission of Jordan, and had it not been for the stellar support of my colleague there, (George David), over the past 8 years, the bonds that have tied us would never have lasted that long.


 
This year at Cannes you had the PWB panel over two days. What kinds of subjects did you cover?

KAYVAN:We started with how to take an idea and memorialize into a fixed tangible form through copyrighting and then discussed an array of topics leading up and through distribution. So basically, Development, financing, pre-production, production, post-production, marketing and distribution…the whole ball of wax. The entire two day event was live streamed on the Producers Guild of America Facebook page and anyone can watch it for free at: https://m.facebook.com/pga/


 
Who were the panelists?

KAYVAN:

Sunday, May 21st panelists:

Gareth Wiley - Producer - “Vicky Christy Barcelona” “Match Point” CEO/ Screenadvantage

Steven C. Beer- Attorney - Franklin, Weinrib, Rudell and Vassallo
Bernie Stampfer - Partner - International Film Partners, Germany

Jerry Zimmermann- Jerry Zimmermann Casting, UK

Bill Bromiley - President, Saban Films
John Hadity - EVP - Entertainment Partners - Emeritus Board Member, PGA 

Monday, May 22nd panelists:

Craig Emanuel - Attorney - Loeb and Loeb
Steven C. Beer - Attorney - Franklin, Weinrib, Rudell and Vassallo

Jeff Most - Producer - “Razor” “The Crow”
Brian Beckman - CFO - Arclight Films
Mohamed Hefzy - Producer - Film-Clinic

Scott Martin - Partner - Archstone Distribution 
Michael Slifkin - Partner - Archstone Distributional 
Jeffrey Greenstein - Millenium Films
(Cameo by producer, Phil Goldfine 
- Producer - Hollywood Media Bridge)


 
Was this info useful to producers do you think?

KAYVAN: I certainly hope so…we’ll see.


 

What have been the reactions to the panel?

KAYVAN: Overwhelmingly welcomed and well received. Could not have been any happier that ALL my panelists were enthusiastic about it and want to return for further editions in the future. I was also very encouraged by the plethora of congratulatory messages and posts, likes, and comments on the Producers Guild of America fb page.


 
Many people have criticized you for only having male guests on both panels. Can you explain why?

KAYVAN: True, I did receive some criticism. But it was completely out of my control. We had 5 women over the course of both days in the mix originally and they were ALL unavailable due to work/schedule conflicts..it's a working market and the ratio of available, qualified women with the 10-15 years of experience I wanted for my panel on the dates and times I needed was extremely limited. I’m going to try much harder because we ABSOLUTELY need women on my panels because their opinions and expertise is much needed to give a broader perspective.

 

Will this go on the road?

KAYVAN: There are serious expansion discussions on the table due to its success so far, but we need proper sponsorship to roll out globally at film events or other related venues where we can be hosted. I’m optimistic.


 
How was the 70th annual Cannes Film Fest in your POV?

KAYVAN: As the sun set on my 14th year up those 24 famed crimson colored steps, I was reminded of how blessed I was to celebrate global cinema in these changing times where the dreams still flourish for those creative minds that still dare to embrace their inner voice. Whether or not the artist's images and sounds are accepted by the world is a mystery. The magic happens only when the story unveils itself effectively and touches us inside never letting go, reminding us of our humanity. I’m looking forward to 2018 and a bigger PWB session next year so the flame continues to burn inside me.

PGA Producers Without Borders panel @ 70th annual Cannes Film Festival

PGA “Producers Without Borders” @ 70th annual Cannes Film Festival.

 

PGA Producers Without Borders panel @ 70th annual Cannes Film Festival

PGA member Kayvan Mashayekh and panelist attorney Steven Beer.

 

PGA Producers Without Borders panel @ 70th annual Cannes Film Festival

Brian Beckman, Steven C. Beer, Jeff Most, Scott Martin, Michael Slifkin, Jeffrey Greenstein, Phil Goldfine and Craig Emanuel. 

 

PGA Producers Without Borders panel @ 70th annual Cannes Film Festival

Brian Beckman, Steven C. Beer, Jeff Most, Scott Martin, Michael Slifkin, Jeffrey Greenstein, Craig Emanuel and Mohamed Hefzy. 

 

PGA Producers Without Borders panel @ 70th annual Cannes Film Festival

Kayvan Mashayekh, Brian Beckman, Steven C. Beer.

 

PGA Producers Without Borders panel @ 70th annual Cannes Film Festival

Brian Beckman, Steven C. Beer, Jeff Most, Scott Martin. 

 

PGA Producers Without Borders panel @ 70th annual Cannes Film Festival

Kayvan Mashayekh, Brian Beckman, Steven C. Beer, Jeff Most, Scott Martin. 

Interview by writer/producer Vanessa McMahon

Photos by Vanessa McMahon
 

 

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