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2006 BAFF to Offer Free Destribution Panel with Special Guests from First Run Features, Avatar Films and Producer David Paterson

September 1, 2006

This year the 2006 Big Apple Film Festival is proud to present a free panel discussion on independent film distribution. The discussion will include information for aspiring filmmakers on distribution outlets, strategies in securing distribution, as well as new opportunities available to filmmakers today.

The panel discussion will include special guests Cleo Godsey, Director of Business Affairs, First Run Features, Jason Leaf, co-president, Avatar Films and writer/producer David Paterson. The panel will be moderated by Aaron Levine of the Gen Art Film Division.

Cleo Godsey

Cleo Godsey joined First Run Features in 2003 as Director of Business Affairs working in the areas of business development/marketing, general management, acquisitions, and television sales. Prior to First Run, Ms. Godsey worked in sales and marketing for independent fashion designers and a fine art consulting company. She has worked as a producer, director, and actor on various off-off-Broadway theater and independent film projects since 1991. For example, she was a leading actress in the hit Polish feature, "Young Wolves" (1995), and recently was the Associate Producer of a children's DVD, Hiroshima No Pika, narrated by Susan Sarandon (2005). Ms. Godsey holds a B.A. in Literature and Theater Studies from Yale University, a M.A. in Performance Studies from Tisch School of the Arts, NYU, and studied fashion design at Parsons School of Design.

Jason Leaf

Completely self-financed and founded in 1999, Avatar Films has grown from handling foreign television sales of documentaries to theatrically releasing some of the more successful and critically-acclaimed films over the past half-decade, in the most prestigious art house theatres across the United States.

As with many small companies, Jason wears a number of hats for Avatar, including handling acquisitions, devising promotional materials, editing theatrical trailers, securing theatrical and non-theatrical bookings, and handling television and video sales.

Among Avatar's releases are Mohsen Makhmalbaf's KANDAHAR (Best Film of 2001, Richard Corliss, TIME Magazine), Elia Suleiman's DIVINE INTERVENTION (Best Foreign-Language Film, British Academy Awards 2002) Benoit Jacquot's TOSCA, Cesc Gay's NICO & DANI (Krampack), Ben Coccio's ZERO DAY, and the gay-marriage documentary SAINTS + SINNERS.

David Paterson

David Paterson's 2005 film, "Love, Ludlow" was an official selection of the Sundance Film Festival. The film received distribution through Washington Square Films and Warner Home Video, and ultimately screened on Time Warner Cable On-Demand, as well as Starz and The Sundance Channel. The film was described by Roger Ebert as "Another Sundance Treasure." 

Mr. Paterson's next project, "Bridge To Terabithia", is being produced in conjunction with Walden Media and Walt Disney and will be released in February, 2007.

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