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Reality Bites: Surviving the Film Biz in Your 20s

So you went to film school but you're not a filmmaker - now what? Hear from 5 young(ish) film nerds who navigated their way to interesting positions at interesting companies and organizations, working in criticism, programming, distribution, outreach, new media and sometimes even a little movie making...all before turning 30! After surviving the wear and tear of underwhelming internships, under paying entry level positions and mindless spread sheets, we found our way! We'll give tips on how to get ahead, being eager without conveying your desperation, and how to navigate big egos and pressure from higher ups. In this economy, only the tough (and crazy) survive.


MODERATOR Sara Kiener Dir of Mktg Film Presence

After 2 years as Exhibitor Relations Manager at Magnolia Pictures, Sara Kiener began her grassroots outreach tenure with Frederick Wiseman's LA DANSE: THE PARIS OPERA BALLET and Nicole Opper's OFF AND RUNNING before joining forces with Merrill Sterritt in early 2010 to create Film Presence. Since then, Film Presence has implemented grassroots outreach and social media campaigns for over 30 films as they prepare for their theatrical, DVD, broadcast and festival premieres, with an emphasis on organizational partnerships and community building. Highlights include the 2010 Oscar Nominated WASTE LAND, 2011 Oscar Nominated HELL AND BACK AGAIN and 2012 Oscar Shortlisted THE WAITING ROOM. Film Presene has also overseen the outreach and social media for multiple kickstarter campaigns, including THE SISTERHOOD OF NIGHT and AN HONEST LIAR, both currently in production. Sara currently resides in Brooklyn, NYC.

Kate Hurwitz Cinetic Media

Kate Hurwitz currently focuses on bringing in projects for sales representation at Cinetic Media. She previously worked for Cinetic’s sister company FilmBuff in acquisitions, and started her career in HBO’s publicity department. Kate graduated from Columbia University with a BA in English.

Farihah Zaman Filmmaker/Film Critic

FARIHAH ZAMAN began working in film as a Programmer for the Film South Asia documentary film festival before moving to New York in 2005, where she was the Acquisitions Manager at independent film distribution company Magnolia Pictures. In 2008 she coordinated IFP’s No Borders program, the only international co-production market in the U.S., before becoming Program Manager of The Flaherty Seminar until 2010. Farihah currently writes for The Huffington Post, Filmmaker Magazine, AV Club, and online film journal Reverse Shot, among others. She is co-directing a documentary with Jeff Reichert, REMOTE AREA MEDICAL, set for release in 2013.

Nicholas Kemp Digital Content Coord Film Society of Lincoln Center

Nicholas creates, edits, and otherwise "coordinates" digital content for the Film Society of Lincoln Center—from video to blog posts to social media, from year-round programming to the New York Film Festival and New Directors/New Films. He also does work for indie film site Hammer to Nail, where he helped create and launch their monthly Short Film Contest. Nicholas lives in Brooklyn.

Dan Schoenbrun Comm & Program Coord IFP

Dan lives and works in Brooklyn, where he helps manage the Independent Filmmaker Project’s (IFP) Emerging Narrative screenplay program, Independent Filmmaker Labs (for filmmakers in post-production on their first feature), Festival Forum (a community based interest group for film festival professionals), and a new partnership with Brooklyn’s rerun Theater. Dan also oversees IFP member events and screenings, and serves as the Associate Editor of Filmmaker Magazine. In addition to his work at IFP, Dan has served on programming committees for several film festivals, included the Hamptons and Nantucket, and was recently on the juries for the Brooklyn and Slamdance Film Festivals.