Entertainment Industry Conference | 5161184A

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Entertainment Industry Conference 2016

Our annual Entertainment Industry Conference approaches its 46th year and continues to provide CPAs, business managers, attorneys, CFOs and controllers with insights and practical advice for handling entertainment business issues. Learn everything from optimizing revenue while minimizing risk with social media to international tax and estate planning for entertainers and athletes, as well as critical legislative and regulatory developments. Stick around for the reception following the conference to socialize and meet the speakers, committee, and peers.

We are delighted to welcome our lunchtime keynote, Dana Brunetti—two-time Oscar nominated Producer and President of Relativity Studios. We are also excited to welcome back our lunchtime host, Joe Sutton, Host/Archiver MPTF's Channel 22 and Heart of Hollywood Behind the Silver Screen.*





All CalCPA Education Foundation conferences includ free Wi-Fi, discounted parking, continental breakfast, networking lunch and afternoon refreshments.


  • Identify key legislative and regulatory updates critical to the entertainment industry.
  • Recognize top issues facing the industry.
  • Recall recent changes to industry standards and protocols.

Major Subjects:

  • Business management
  • Branding
  • Philanthropy in the entertainment industry
  • Domestic and international tax update

Advanced Prep:


Misc. Information:

Wireless Internet access, continental breakfast and plated lunch will be provided at this event and are included in your registration fee.

Pay the lowest price and save up to 60% with the CalCPA Education Foundation’s discount programs.

To ensure that all credit is properly recorded, please review your information and update your CPA, CFP, CTEC or Bar license number(s).



Jeffer Mangels Butler & Mitchell LLP

Reception Host
Valensi Rose PLC
Level of Difficulty:
Field of Interest:
Specialized Knowledge and Applications

General understanding of accounting and tax. Experience in the entertainment industry is helpful.

Designed For:

CPAs, business managers, attorneys, bankers, CFOs and controllers who work for, or have clients in, the entertainment industry.

View digital brochure

Materials are provided as an ebook.

The CalCPA Education Foundation Accountant of the Year Award Nominees

Visit our hot topics blog to view the 2016 Entertainment Accountant of the Year nominees.

The winner will be selected by a subcommittee of the Entertainment Industry Conference Planning Committee and recognized at the 2016 Entertainment Industry Conference on Wednesday, June 15, 2016.

Materials are provided as an ebook.


Barbara Allen-Watkins
Barbara Allen-Watkins is senior vice president and manager, entertainment treasury management consulting services, at City National Bank, where she manages a team of 10 individuals responsible for meeting the entertainment industry’s needs as they relate to treasury and risk management. She has over 30 years of experience in consulting with clients and prospects related to treasury management services, and has also spent the last several years educating clients and prospects on the current trends related to cyber fraud, identify theft and internal embezzlement. Her industry association memberships include the Association of Financial Professionals and the Southern California Association of Financial Professionals (SCAFP).
Jake Black

Jake Black is head of virtual reality (VR) at Create Advertising, where he oversees all of the creative aspects for the company’s VR projects. Black’s in-depth knowledge of motion graphics, gaming, and the latest advances in VR technology have helped Create to organically grow into this new arena. Black began his career in entertainment at Create Advertising in 2006, where he has held numerous positions including designer, post-production supervisor, associate creative director, as well as creative director.

Black has been integral to marketing campaigns for franchises and projects including: “The Amazing Spider-Man,” PlayStation 4, “God of War,” ”Dark Souls 2,” “Just Dance,” and “Alice in Wonderland.” He led the team that created “Can You Walk the Walk? VR Experience” for Sony Pictures Entertainment, winning awards at Digital Hollywood’s Best in VR and a Silver CLIO Key Art Award. He was also part of the team at Create Advertising that received a Golden Trailer Award for best motion graphics for the film adaptation of “Hitman.”

David Boyles

David Boyles is a virtual reality (VR) producer and director who understands the creative process and how to get it done! He has over 20 years of experience producing and creating conceptual services. He is an expert experienced in developing, implementing, managing and producing scripted and non-scripted projects for VR, television, film, games, entertainment, education, industry, and government. He possesses VR industry experience with a complete understanding of digital and display advertising, analytics, demographics, behavior and contextual targeting and optimization strategies.

For a detailed listing of his production credits, please visit his page at IMDb: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0102359/

Dana Brunetti

Dana Brunetti was recently named president of Relativity Studios where he heads up and oversees film and TV. Prior to that, he was president of Trigger Street Productions, a company he ran with producing partner Kevin Spacey. He has produced multiple films, including his most recent, “50 Shades of Grey,” which grossed over $500 million at the box office, and “Captain Phillips,” which picked up six Oscar nominations including Best Picture nomination. He’s currently in production on “50 Shades Darker,” the second installment in the E.L. James trilogy.

In 2009, he produced the film “The Social Network,” a screenplay adaptation written by Aaron Sorkin and directed by David Fincher. “The Social Network” received numerous awards, including eight Academy Award nominations. Brunetti won a Golden Globe for the film, amongst many other awards including The National Board of Review and The Critics’ Choice Award. Other credits as a producer include “21,” “Fanboys,” and HBO’s “Bernard & Doris,” starring Ralph Fiennes and Susan Sarandon, which received ten Emmy nominations.

As the architect of several groundbreaking deals, Brunetti helped secure the mega-deal with Netflix as part of their new slate of original programming for TV with the political thriller “House of Cards,” for which he serves as Executive Producer, and is currently in production on its 4th season. The show debuted in 2013 and became an instant success garnering multiple Emmy and Golden Globe nominations and wins across its first two seasons.

Bradford S Cohen, Esq.

As a partner at Jeffers Mangels Butler & Mitchell LLP (JMBM), Brad Cohen’s practice emphasizes business planning related to complex corporate and partnership transactions, including mergers and acquisitions, financing and business succession planning, income tax planning, and estate tax planning, all on an integrated basis. Cohen is best known for his business and tax advice related to the motion picture, television, music, emerging media and sports industries. One of the focuses of his practice is coordinating the relationships among the entertainment, advertising and nonprofit industries. He has incorporated his personal commitment to philanthropy into a key element of his legal practice, providing multi-faceted counsel to clients regarding their involvement in charitable endeavors, including developing strategic plans, outlining the associated tax benefits and identifying the appropriate corporate brands and sponsorships.

Cohen acted as principal counsel representing the lead donor who financed the acquisition, delivery and permanent exhibition of the Space Shuttle Endeavour located at the California Science Center in Los Angeles. He also advises clients on tax controversy, executive compensation (including deferred compensation) and tax aspects of marital settlement negotiations. He currently represents a production icon in the creation and operation of the Compton Performing Arts Center. Cohen was also a lobbyist before the United States Congress for the Tax Reform Research Group. He is also an Ironman Triathlon finisher. Cohen’s clients include ultra-high net worth individuals and their closely held businesses. He has also represented studios, record companies, production companies and sports teams, as well as high-profile performing artists and behind-the-scenes individuals. His clients have also included former presidents of the United States and a United States senator.

Cohen is a director of the Motion Picture Tax Institute and a past chair of the Entertainment-Tax Subcommittee of the Tax Section of the Los Angeles County Bar Association. He was a delegate to the Los Angeles County Bar Association Tax Section, Washington, DC Delegation and a former chairperson of the Taxation Section of the Century City Bar Association. He is on the planning committee for the CalCPA Education Foundation’s Entertainment Industry Conference. Cohen earned his master of laws in taxation from the New York University School of Law in 1981; his juris doctor degree from Hofstra University School of Law in 1979; and his bachelor’s degree, cum laude, from Northeastern University in 1976.

Peter J. Dekom, Esq.

Peter J. Dekom practices law in Los Angeles and was formerly “of counsel” with Weissmann Wolff Bergman Coleman Grodin & Evall and a partner in the firm of Bloom, Dekom, Hergott and Cook. Dekom’s clients include or have included such Hollywood notables as George Lucas, Paul Haggis, Keenen Ivory Wayans, John Travolta, Ron Howard, Rob Reiner, Andy Davis, Robert Towne and Larry Gordon among many others, as well as corporate clients such as Sears, Roebuck and Co., Pacific Telesis and Japan Victor Corporation (JVC). He has been listed in Forbes among the top 100 lawyers in the United States and in Premiere Magazine as one of the 50 most powerful people in Hollywood. Dekom has been a management/marketing consultant, and entrepreneur in the fields of entertainment, internet, and telecommunications. As a consultant to the state of New Mexico for almost a decade, he was instrumental in creating, writing and implementing legislation to encourage film and television production in the state and supervised the film loan program portion of that incentive structure until the spring of 2011. Dekom has also provided off-balance sheet, insurance-backed financing for major motion picture studios.

Dekom served on the board of directors of Imagine Films Entertainment while the company remained publicly traded and was a board member of Will Vinton Studios and Cinebase Software, among others, leaving upon change of ownership. He has also served as a member of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences and Academy Foundation, board of directors, chairman (now emeritus) of the American Cinematheque, and on the advisory board of the Shanghai International Film Festival. He recently served on the board of governors for the America Bar Association’s Sports and Entertainment Law Section, where he often authored articles, delivered lectures and continues to be an active participant. The Beverly Hills Bar Association honored Dekom as Entertainment Lawyer of the Year in 1994, the Century City Bar Association accorded him the same honor in 2004, and the Family Assistance Program named him Man of the Year in 1992 for his work with the homeless. In 2012, the American Bar Association, through its Forum on Sports and Entertainment Law, honored Dekom with its highest recognition for entertainment lawyers, the Ed Rubin Service Award.

Author of dozens of scholarly articles, Dekom also is the co-author of Not on My Watch; Hollywood vs. the Future (New Millennium Publishing, 2003) with Peter Sealey, and author of Next: Reinventing Media, Marketing and Entertainment (HekaRose Publishing Group 2014). He has served as an adjunct professor in the UCLA Film School, a lecturer (entertainment marketing) at the University of California, Berkeley Haas School of Business, as well as being a featured speaker at film festivals, corporations, universities and bar associations all over the world. Dekom graduated from Yale in 1968 (bachelor’s degree), and graduated first in his class in 1973 from the UCLA School of Law with his juris doctor degree.

Georgina Espinosa

For the past eight years, Georgina Espinosa has been working in the central withholding agreement program of the IRS, which ensures compliance with withholding requirements of nonresident alien foreign athletes and entertainers. Prior to this, she worked in various functions of the IRS including in the Taxpayer Advocate and Small Business/Self-Employed Divisions.

Espinosa recently completed a management training program in the Large Business and International Division of the IRS, as well as a four-month acting assignment as manager in the CWA program. She received a bachelor’s degree in business administration from California State University, Long Beach.

Christopher Fenton

Chris Fenton is the president of DMG Entertainment Motion Picture Group and general manager of DMG North America. He worked as a motion picture and television agent at the William Morris Agency from 1994-2002. Since then, he has been the chief architect in creating new business opportunities for DMG – a multi-billion dollar global entertainment, media, and technology company with its China operations publicly traded on the Shenzhen Exchange – with North American and international partners as well as identifying, negotiating, and activating strategic M&A. Fenton has complemented those efforts by initiating collaborations with Hollywood’s major studios for the development, financing, production, marketing, and distribution of various forms of globally-focused entertainment content.

Fenton has worked as the general manager of DMG’s North American Operations since 2002, and was additionally named president of DMG Entertainment’s Motion Picture Group in 2012. Fenton’s relationship with DMG dates back to his tenure as an agent at the William Morris Agency in the 1990s. Early on as GM, Fenton focused on creating new business for DMG’s advertising and marketing operations by signing U.S.-based companies such as Fruit of the Loom, Behr Paint, Spalding, and Under Armour, and has increased his responsibilities over the years to include procuring and creating television and film content and IP, forging alliances with key North America-based marketing partners, negotiating music publishing and talent contracts, consulting on physical production, co-production, and financing issues in China, producing film and television content, representing content creators and artists, forming media distribution strategies and alliances, hiring executives and other personnel for DMG’s various divisions, cultivating key business, investment, and M&A opportunities, nurturing educational and government relationships, and educating media outlets, universities, and government entities on various DMG and China-oriented issues.

Fenton has produced or supervised as a credited production executive 20 films ranging from the big budget franchises, “Iron Man 3,” “Point Break,” and “47 Ronin,” to the more niche-oriented films, “Looper,” “Waiting,” and “Autobahn,” orchestrating efficient collaboration between DMG and multiple divisions of Marvel, Disney, Warner Brothers, Universal, Sony, and Alcon. Fenton graduated from Cornell University in 1993 with a bachelor’s degree in engineering. He serves as a trustee on the board of the U.S.-Asia Institute, the Cornell University Hollywood Program, and the China Hollywood Society. He’s also an ex officio board member of Valiant Entertainment and Hero Ventures, LLC as well as a voting member of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. He lives with his wife and two children in Manhattan Beach, CA.

Ron Fiamma

Ronald Fiamma is global head of private collections, consumer lines at AIG Private Client Group. Based in New York and with AIG since 2002, Fiamma manages the firm’s global insurance portfolio of client collections of fine art, jewelry, vintage automobiles and wine. Among his responsibilities are the maintenance of underwriting and risk selection standards, procurement of reinsurance, new business development as well as oversight of the portfolio P&L.

Prior to joining Private Client Group, Fiamma spent five years in the financial institutions division of AIG as an underwriting manager of professional liability for hedge funds, family offices, investment advisors, and securities broker/dealers. He first joined AIG after 20 years in the financial services industry as a broker, trader and analyst. Fiamma graduated from Vanderbilt University with degrees in art history and philosophy, and continued his graduate work in Rome and Florence, Italy in art history, archaeology and art restoration.

Linda R Flemins, CPA

Linda Flemins is an entertainment & media industry and deductible and capital expenditures technical specialist for large business & international (LB&I) at the IRS. In her role of technical specialist, Flemins advises IRS revenue agents and tax specialists on tax issues that arise in the examination of media and entertainment entities and individuals nationwide. In addition, she advises on issues involving intangibles and cost recovery. She also coordinates issues involving intangibles, film, music, theater, broadcasting, publishing and advertising.

Flemins’ IRS career includes being a revenue agent, field examination manager, international tax haven manager, and LB&I team manager where she managed the examinations of corporate conglomerate entertainment entities. She has been a member of a LB&I Compliance Strategy Design Team; LB&I Industry Issue Resolution Team; and IRS Commissioner Shulman’s Workforce of Tomorrow. Flemins is a graduate of California Polytechnic University, Pomona and is a CPA registered in the state of California.

Andrew Forchelli
Andrew Forchelli is responsible for overall strategy and operations for HUB International in Los Angeles, a $50 million branch with over 250 employees dedicated to insurance and risk management solutions for middle market businesses and high-net-worth (HNW) families and individuals. In addition, Forchelli is president of HUB’s national entertainment practice, with six locations across North America providing insurance for film and TV productions, live entertainment events, music concerts and festivals, business management firms/clientele, theatre and performing arts productions, and video game developers and publishers.
Elizabeth Glasgow, Esq.

As a partner in the wealth planning group at Venable LLP, Elizabeth R. Glasgow concentrates her practice on estate planning and wealth management. She works with business owners, entrepreneurs, real estate investors, and other high-net worth individuals to implement strategies that maximize the preservation of wealth by mitigating income, estate, gift and generation-skipping transfer taxes and managing the exposure of a family’s wealth and business assets to future creditors. Glasgow frequently works with clients to integrate asset protection strategies, business succession planning and charitable giving structures into their estate plan, to achieve the client’s goals of a comprehensive wealth preservation and transfer plan. Her practice also includes tax planning for non-U.S. citizens contemplating residency in the United States.

Ilan Haimoff, CFE, CFF, CIA, CPA, CPACFE

Ilan Haimoff leads the entertainment and media practice and the contract compliance and forensics department. His specialty includes profit participation and forensic accounting on behalf of talent, investors and co-producers at both the major and mini studios. Haimoff has over 23 years of accounting experience in public accounting and private industry serving clients primarily in the entertainment, financial services and distribution service industries. He has written various articles and other publications as well as participated in various speaking engagements, focusing on entertainment, profit participation, royalty, internal controls and anti-fraud.

Haimoff is a member of the Motion Picture and Television Fund Professional Advisory Council, the CalCPA Entertainment Conference planning committee (co-chair at least four times), the California State University Chancellor's Advisory Council on the Entertainment Industry, the Institute of Internal Auditors, the Beverly Hills Bar Association, the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners and the AICPA. Haimoff is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), a Certified Internal Auditor (CIA), a Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE) and Certified in Financial Forensics (CFF) by the AICPA. He holds an accounting bachelor's degree from California State University, Northridge.

Bill Harris

Bill Harris is a partner in the business management group of Nigro Karlin Segal Feldstein & Bolno, LLC. He is responsible for providing business and financial management services to clients in film, television, music and sports, in addition to his work with entrepreneurs and family offices. Prior to joining the business management community, he spent nine years in programming finance with HBO.

This is the eighth time Harris has co-chaired the annual Entertainment Industry Conference for the CalCPA Education Foundation. Over the years, he has produced many well-received panels for the conference. He is a past chair of the Entertainment Industry Business Council as well as a former member of the Professional Representatives Peer Group Executive Council for the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, where he continues to be a member. Harris has served on the executive board of Women in Film as its CFO. He received his bachelor’s degree from California State University, Northridge with a dual emphasis in accounting and finance.

Eileen R. Heisman, ACFRE

Eileen R. Heisman, ACFRE, is the president and CEO of NPT. She is a nationally-recognized expert on charitable and planned giving. Heisman has been interviewed about philanthropy and donor-advised funds on CNBC, PBS, NPR, CNN International, and Bloomberg TV and by nearly every national newspaper and major trade publication, including the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Washington Post, Bloomberg, CBS MarketWatch, Financial Advisor and Investment News. She was among the first fundraising professionals to earn the distinguished ACFRE certification. In both 2011 and 2014, she was named by The NonProfit Times as one of their Power and Influence Top 50, an annual listing of the 50 most influential executives in the philanthropic sector.

In 2013, Heisman was invited by the Chinese government to speak to their emerging nonprofit sector about philanthropy. She is a recipient of the 2013 American Association of Ben Gurion University of the Negev Mid-Atlantic Chapter’s Women of Distinction Award. She is also the Association of Fundraising Professionals’ 2014 Outstanding Fundraising Professional. Heisman is a member of the faculty at Leadership Philadelphia, as well as an adjunct faculty member at the University of Michigan’s School of Social Work graduate program and a lecturer at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Social Policy and Practice. She is a regular lecturer for the Nonprofit Board Leadership Program at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School and a member of the Governance Committee for the Nonprofit Leadership Program at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Social Policy and Practice.

Heisman serves on the advisory board at New York University’s George H. Heyman, Jr. Center for Philanthropy and Fundraising, the Community Foundation of Singapore, and the University of Michigan's School of Social Work. She is also a member of the board of directors at the Arden Theater Company and chair of the board at CultureTrust. Heisman has a bachelor’s degree with honors in psychology from Carnegie Mellon University and a master’s degree in social work with a major in social program evaluation from the University of Michigan. She is a member of the third Wharton Fellow Class at the University of Pennsylvania and completed the Executive Program for Philanthropy Leaders at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business.

Bob Jason

Bob Jason is an internationally-recognized tax expert who has advised many of the world’s most famous celebrities and athletes, as well as businesses from startups to public companies. He has lectured all over the country and has published numerous tax articles that he suspects no one has ever read. Jason is a principal at Nigro Karlin Segal Feldstein & Bolno, LLC, where in addition to entertainment, music, and sports, he works extensively in the areas of international tax, mergers and acquisitions, LLCs and partnerships, technology companies, startups, real estate, executive compensation, and more.

Jason graduated with honors from Harvard College, where he was a math major, and Harvard Law School, where he was an editor of the Harvard Law Review, after Chief Justice John Roberts and before Barack Obama. He has been a member of the Board of Contributing Editors of Entertainment Law & Finance since 1995, and he is also a longtime member of the Motion Picture and Television Tax Institute. He is active in community and charitable affairs, including Imagine L.A., through which he mentors families to help empower them to transition from homelessness to self-sufficiency.

Stacy K. Marcus, Esq.

Stacy Marcus is a partner in the entertainment and media industry group at Reed Smith LLP. She is a member of the advertising, technology and media group. She concentrates her practice in advertising, entertainment and technology law, and advises clients on all facets of advertising and marketing law, including, social media marketing, crowdfunding, branding, trademark and copyright-related issues, celebrity endorsement and talent agreements, agency-client agreements, branded entertainment deals, media buying agreements, music licensing, software licensing and development, app development, sweepstakes and promotions, corporate sponsorships, mobile marketing and telemarketing.

Marcus has counseled clients in a wide variety of services available through the internet and mobile platforms, including issues related to social media, user-generated content and premium SMS promotions. Her clients include both global and regional advertisers and advertising agencies, financial institutions and social media platforms. She is also counsel to the Joint Policy Committee on Broadcast Talent Union Relations (JPC), the multi-employer bargaining unit for the advertising industry that negotiates multi-billion dollar commercial collective bargaining agreements with SAG-AFTRA and the American Federation of Musicians.

Marcus is a member of Reed Smith’s social and digital media task force. She co-authored the advertising and marketing chapter of the social media white paper, “A Legal Guide to the Commercial Risks and Rewards of the Social Media Phenomenon,” and was a co-editor for the entire white paper. Prior to joining Reed Smith, Marcus assisted in the defense of FTC, state attorneys-general and class action consumer protection actions involving deceptive trade practices, CAN-SPAM, state spam laws and federal telemarketing rules, such as the 900 Number Rule, TDDRA and the TCPA. She earned her juris doctor degree from St. John’s University School of Law in 2005, and her bachelor’s degree from Boston University, cum laude, in international relations and economics in 2001.

Brian J. Marler, CFA

Brian Marler is a member of Houlihan Lokey’s technology, media, telecom and financial advisory services groups. His experience includes valuing closely-held and publicly-traded businesses and providing financial advisory services in a range of transactions, including mergers, acquisitions, spin-offs, sales, repurchases of minority and controlling interest blocks, and other corporate finance activities. He has also provided valuations for tax and financial reporting purposes, gift and estate tax purposes, ESOPs, and dispute analysis. Marler has performed complex financial analyses and has broad experience in valuing intellectual property in the media and entertainment industries. He has worked extensively with leading media, sports, and entertainment companies, including Sony Pictures, NBC Universal, DreamWorks, Live Nation and Warner Bros.

Marler speaks and writes frequently on the media, sports, and entertainment industries and co-authored chapter two, “Intellectual Property Valuation,” in Intellectual Property in Business Transactions (Oakland: Continuing Education of the Bar, 2008), edited by Suzanne L. Weakley. Before joining Houlihan Lokey, Marler was a controller at Polygram Filmed Entertainment, responsible for financial reporting, film accounting, and budgeting. Earlier, he was a member of Spelling Entertainment’s corporate finance group, responsible for accounting, budgeting, strategic analyses, and SEC reporting. He holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration/finance from California State University, Northridge, and a master of business administration from the University of Southern California. He holds the designation of Chartered Financial Analyst.

Michael R. Morris, Esq

Michael R. Morris has blended his tax law expertise with his passion for music and entertainment, resulting in a practice that is unique. As a former trial lawyer for the IRS and a Certified Specialist in Taxation Law, Morris provides insightful resolutions to his clients’ complicated tax, estate and business transaction issues. In the entertainment industry, he has developed a strong reputation of providing valuable and effective business solutions in areas such as copyright and contractual matters. Although his core competency is within the tax arena and entertainment, Morris has developed significant expertise covering a wide range of businesses. His diverse client base includes major studio executives, recording artists (including Grammy winners), production companies, film and TV composers, talent agencies, payroll companies, skin healthcare companies, post-production houses, software companies, and an award-winning winery.

Morris’ professional leadership includes serving as co-chair of the CalCPA Education Foundation’s Entertainment Industry Conference (2013, 2014, 2015); selection as a “Southern California Super Lawyer” (2006-2016) and by the Los Angeles Business Journal as one of “L.A.’s Top 100 Lawyers” (2009); and serving as president of the California Copyright Conference (2005). He earned his juris doctor degree from the University of Arizona’s James E. Rogers College of Law (1978) with highest distinction, where he received the Order of the Coif and served as a case note writer for the Arizona Law Review (1976). He earned his master’s and bachelor’s degrees from the University of Pennsylvania (1975) where he wrote for the Daily Pennsylvanian and Pennsylvania Voice and was a member of Phi Beta Kappa.

Shane Nix, Esq.

Shane Nix counsels companies and individuals on various business transactions with an emphasis on transactional tax matters relating to the acquisition, disposition and restructuring of businesses, corporations and partnerships. Nix has a broad range of experience in corporate, international and partnership taxation.

At Venable, Nix advises clients in many different industries, including technology, real estate, hospitality, media and entertainment with significant experience advising actors, actresses, musicians, producers, directors and financers on a wide range of individual, corporate, and partnership tax issues specific to the entertainment industry. Nix also has significant experience advising executives in connection with equity compensation matters.

Prior to joining Venable, Nix was an associate tax attorney at a global American Lawyer 100 firm in Silicon Valley where he represented both sell-side and buy-side clients in M&A transactions and advised technology and media companies with respect to choice of entity formation and various tax matters.

Sam Olchyk, CPA, Esq.

Sam Olchyk is a partner at Venable LLP, based at its Washington, DC office. Olchyk provides general tax advice for businesses and individuals. In addition, he provides strategic advice on federal tax issues that require representation before the Congress, the Treasury Department, or the IRS. Relying on his experience with the tax legislative process and his background as a licensed CPA, Olchyk is able to provide strategic advice and solutions to business tax problems. In his eight years as a tax attorney for the United States Congress, Olchyk worked on numerous tax legislative proposals that were enacted into law. For example, Olchyk was involved with several tax proposals that were included in the Job Creation and Worker Assistance Act of 2002, the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001, the Community Renewal Tax Relief Act of 2000, and the Ticket to Work and Work Incentives Improvement Act of 1999.

As a Legislation Counsel with the congressional Joint Committee on Taxation, Olchyk also worked on several special reports and investigations that were conducted by the Joint Committee staff. In 2003, Olchyk coordinated the Joint Committee staff business team in its investigation of Enron Corporation. In 2001, he worked on a Joint Committee study regarding the simplification of federal tax laws. In 2000, Olchyk worked on a report investigating allegations relating to the IRS handling of tax-exempt organization matters. In 1999, he worked on a study of the tax laws relating to corporate tax shelters.

As a Tax Counsel with the Senate Finance Committee, Olchyk was involved with several tax proposals that were included in the IRS Restructuring and Reform Act of 1998, the Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997, the Small Business Job Protection Act of 1996, and the Self-Employed Health Insurance Act of 1995. Olchyk is a member of the State Bar of Texas Section of Taxation, and the DC Bar Association Tax Section. He is a licensed CPA in the State of Texas. He earned a master of laws from New York University in 1987 and a juris doctor degree from the University of Texas in 1982.

Rosemary L. Ringwald, Esq.

Rosemary L. Ringwald, Esq., is a managing director for the West Division Wealth Planning Solutions group at U.S. Trust, Bank of America Private Wealth Management. In this role, Ringwald leads the West Division’s senior planners and personal tax professionals in developing strategies and ensuring the quality and timely delivery of planning and tax services. She joined U.S. Trust in 2005. Prior to joining U.S. Trust, she spent over 10 years in public and industry accounting, and financial, tax and investment planning. In her previous positions with Ernst & Young LLP and PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, she provided financial, compensation and retirement counseling, along with estate planning and gift tax consulting for many executives and high-net-worth individuals.

Ringwald graduated cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in history from the University of California, San Diego and completed her juris doctor degree at Southwestern University School of Law. She is a member of the California State Bar and the Beverly Hills Bar Association. Ringwald is a past president of the Los Angeles Estate Counselors Forum and serves on the Budget Committee of the Beverly Hills Bar Association and the Leadership Council at the Music Center. She is an adjunct faculty member of the Sotheby’s Institute of Art, Los Angeles Claremont Graduate University, The Drucker School of Management.

Mark Roesler, Esq.

Mark Roesler is the founder of CMG Worldwide, one of the most prominent and well-known entertainment agencies in the world. Roesler was featured on the 2009 season premiere of “60 Minutes.” In this exclusive episode, television journalist Steve Kroft said, “No other agent in the world represents more famous people than Mark Roesler. Stroll down Hollywood Boulevard with him, and he’ll point out 62 of his clients who are immortalized with their own stars on the ‘Walk of Fame,’ stars such as Errol Flynn, Gloria Swanson and Ginger Rogers.” During his 35-year career, Roesler has represented and worked with over 1,000 of the most famous celebrities and/or their estates, including icons Elvis Presley, Norman Rockwell, Sophia Loren, Michael Jackson, Hugh Hefner and Marilyn Monroe. Roesler is also the recognized authority on the valuing, marketing, and protecting of celebrities’ valuable intellectual property rights. Roesler is credited with almost single-handedly establishing the rights for deceased celebrities. Roesler is recognized around the world for his groundbreaking efforts in establishing those rights.

Roesler is responsible for helping set the groundwork to create the finest and most far-reaching celebrity rights bill in the world. Roesler led the effort to enact a right of publicity law in Indiana, which was formally passed as the Indiana Rights of Publicity Act in 1994. Recognized as the most progressive of such laws, it enables celebrities to promote themselves through licensing activities and to stop unauthorized commercial uses of their personas. Celebrities have benefited greatly by his efforts in the legislature and by his presence in the licensing industry. Without Roesler’s persistence and dedication to gaining rights for celebrities and the estates of deceased celebrities, most personalities were receiving next to nothing financially in terms of their right of publicity. Roesler has a master of business administration from the Indiana University Kelley School of Business, and a law degree from the Indiana University School of Law.

Henry W. Root, Esq.
Henry W. Root is a partner in the entertainment law firm of Lapidus, Root, Franklin & Sacharow, LLP. He has over 30 years of legal and business affairs experience in the music, television, and media industries, including providing counsel in the areas of sponsorships, endorsements and branding. Root is a member of the governing committee of the American Bar Association Forum Committee on the Sports and Entertainment Industries, for which he previously chaired the Music & Personal Appearances Division for six years. He is also chair of the executive board of the Entertainment Law Initiative, a nationwide essay-writing contest for law students, which is co-sponsored by NARAS (the Recording Academy) and the ABA. He is a frequent panelist and lecturer on music, media and internet legal issues. Root’s practice is concentrated on providing strategic planning advice to sophisticated clients and the negotiation of complex content agreements, including with regard to the valuation aspects of intellectual properties and the analysis of complex rights acquisition and licensing issues.
James L. Sanders, Esq.

Jim Sanders is a partner at Reed Smith LLP, where he is co-leader of its global regulatory enforcement group. His practice concentrates on securities litigation, white-collar criminal defense, and the representation of clients in investigations by criminal and civil authorities. He is a Fellow in the American College of Trial Lawyers, an honor given to no more than one percent of the lawyers in any state.

Sanders has extensive experience handling securities litigation, business crimes investigations, and civil and criminal trials, and has unique experience in representing clients in parallel SEC and criminal investigations. He is one of the few attorneys nationwide who has worked both for the SEC and as a federal prosecutor. From 1989 to 1991, he was in charge of the SEC’s Regional Office located in Los Angeles; and, prior to that, was an attorney with the SEC's Regional Office in Chicago. He also was a federal prosecutor in the Special Prosecutions Division of the United States Attorney's Office in Chicago, and in the Major Frauds Division of the United States Attorney's Office in Los Angeles. As a prosecutor, Sanders was involved in more than 40 federal criminal trials, including trials involving stock market manipulation, insider trading, RICO offenses, and bribery of public officials.

In addition to criminal cases, Sanders has tried civil securities actions, SEC injunctive actions and administrative proceedings. He has also represented brokerage firms and individuals in securities arbitrations, and in disciplinary proceedings before the National Association of Securities Dealers and the New York Stock Exchange. As a regular part of his practice, he represents clients in a wide variety of civil and criminal cases, and in investigations conducted by the SEC, the U.S. Attorney’s Office and other governmental entities. Sanders has garnered a number of professional accolades. In addition to his membership in in the American College of Trial Lawyers, he has been selected for inclusion in Best Lawyers in America; in the “business crimes” sections of Who's Who Legal: California; in the International Who's Who of Business Lawyers; and in Southern California Super Lawyers.

Kirk Scott

Kirk Scott is a sports and entertainment advisor in philanthropy with a background in all aspects of foundation and nonprofit development and management. As the founder of Kirk Scott Consulting, he works to create community change with professional athletes, entertainers, established nonprofits, and startups. Additionally, Scott is the director of the sports and entertainment division for the Edward Charles Foundation. In each of these roles, Scott works closely with business managers, wealth advisors, agents, and others to create a comprehensive and sustainable philanthropic plan based on the athletes or entertainers passion.

Before launching Kirk Scott Consulting, Scott served as the vice president of the Magic Johnson Foundation. At MJF, he was responsible for strategic direction, oversight, coordination and implementation of all fundraising initiatives. During his time with MJF, he also created business opportunities on the enterprise side of the company and was a member of its executive team. Before working with MJF, Scott spent five years at the Urban Youth Workers Institute as the development director and also launched a national mentoring program for community leaders. During his tenure, he launched and directed 23 learning communities in 14 major U.S. cities. He also spent 10 years in public education and as a teacher/coach and administrator in both Oregon and California. He has a bachelor’s degree from Oregon State University and a master’s degree in cross-cultural studies with an emphasis in leadership.

Mark S Segal, CPA

Mickey Segal, CPA, is the managing partner of Nigro Karlin Segal Feldstein & Bolno, LLC. Segal graduated cum laude in accounting from California State Polytechnic University at Pomona. In 1997, he was inducted into their Accounting Hall of Fame and he received the Distinguished Alumni Award from the University’s business school. He is a member of the AICPA and CalCPA. Segal has served 12 years on the Arcadia City Council and served as Mayor four times. He also chaired the City of Arcadia’s Financial Advisory Committee.

Segal is involved in numerous philanthropic activities. He chaired and completed the $2.5 million Capital Campaign to raise money for the Arcadia Unified School District’s Technology Plan. He has also chaired and completed a $6 million Capital Campaign for Covenant House. He has served as the chairman of the board of Arcadia Methodist Hospital and chaired the Capital Campaign for the new Tower raising over $27 million. Segal and his wife, Lee, chaired the American Society’s 100th Birthday Celebration raising over $1 million for the evening. He also co-chaired the $150 million Capital Campaign at California State Polytechnic University. He also co-chairs the Heartbeat of Hollywood Golf Tournament for the benefit of the Motion Picture Television Fund. The one-day event raises over $500,000.

Segal has received numerous awards including the “Spirit of Philanthropy Award” from the Association of Fundraising Professionals. He has also received the “Philanthropic Distinction Award” from the American Cancer Society. Covenant House presented Segal with their “California Visionary Leadership Award.” He received the inaugural award from Variety Magazine as the Business Manager Elite in Los Angeles. Segal and his wife live in Arcadia and are members of the Pasadena Jewish Temple & Center, where Segal is a past president. He has chaired the major gifts committee for the Jewish Federation of the Greater San Gabriel and Pomona Valleys. He is also a member of Hillcrest Country Club.

Kent E Seton, Esq.

Kent E. Seton, Esq. is CEO and chairman of the board of the Edward Charles Foundation, and a practicing lawyer in the philanthropic sector with his highly-active law firm, Seton & Associates. He is a well-known speaker and has published legal articles on tax and corporate matters affecting the philanthropy world. Furthermore, he has been the procuring cause of bringing world-class speakers to events he has produced for those in the philanthropic sector in the Los Angeles-area.

Seton advises major families, corporations and individuals on their philanthropic efforts. He travels extensively to assist his clients around the world. Not only do his clients work domestically in the U.S., but, also globally, trying to solve some of the world’s toughest issues. He has clients working on clean-water wells, ending hunger and fighting homelessness, to curing major diseases, to finding ways to prevent cruelty to animals, to name a few. The Edward Charles Foundation is an umbrella entity that runs the back office and accounting functions of over 45 charitable endeavors. Many of the clients of Edward Charles Foundation are celebrities, athletes and high net worth families and individuals. Seton & Associates is located in Beverly Hills, with another office in Irvine; the Edward Charles Foundation headquarters is also in Beverly Hills.

Seton earned his juris doctor degree, with an emphasis in business law, from Loyola Law School in 1998, and his bachelor’s degree in business administration from the USC Marshall School of Business in 1994, where he was a USC national tennis champion and an All-American tennis champion.

Mitchell Singer

Mitch Singer has over 20 years of experience in philanthropy, nonprofit management and government. He directs the Los Angeles office of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, where he helps donors create strategies for giving, identify organizations to support, and understand the impact of their giving. Before joining RPA, Singer served as associate director of The Center on Philanthropy and Public Policy at the University of Southern California, an academic research center that studies the field of philanthropy.

Prior to joining USC, Singer worked for The California Endowment, a private foundation that seeks to improve the health of underserved communities in California. Prior to his work at The Endowment, he served as a congressional aide and caseworker for Congresswoman Jane Harman. Singer serves on the board of Funders for LGBTQ Issues. He received his bachelor’s degree from San Francisco State University and his master of business administration in nonprofit management from American Jewish University.

William D. Strickland, Esq., CSPG

William Strickland, Esq., CSPG strengthens the communities of Los Angeles through effective philanthropy and civic engagement by partnering with business managers, CPAs, entertainment industry advisors, and non-profit organizations through his duties as senior development officer for the California Community Foundation (CCF).

Prior to joining CCF, Strickland served as the associate director of gift planning for The Nature Conservancy. He demonstrates a proven ability to work with varied advisors, organizations, and communities from his successful careers in finance as vice president of trust administration at Bank of America, and in the performing arts as a professional dancer. Strickland is a graduate of the U.C. Davis School of Law, for which he formerly served on the board of the King Hall Alumni Association. He is also a past president of the Partnership of Philanthropic Planning of Greater Los Angeles (PPP-LA).

Joe Sutton

Joe Sutton, whose “Heart of Hollywood” and “Behind The Silver Screen” television shows have become a staple on the Motion Picture & Television Fund’s unique on campus Channel 22 television station, began his 55-year career in the entertainment business as an office boy for the legendary Public Relations firm of Rogers & Cowan. After graduating to a publicist position at Rogers and Cowan in 1960, Sutton was lured by Mickey Freeman to join his Mickey Freeman & Associates PR firm and they soon, in 1962, formed Freeman & Sutton Public Relations. Some of their early clients included Bill Cosby, The Doors, The Smothers Brothers, The Beach Boys, David Dortort and his famed “Bonanza,” Chuck Barris and his legendary “Dating Game,” James Caan, Tennessee Ernie Ford, Bob Denver of “Gilligan's Island,” Allen Sherman and Jill St. John.

Sutton joined Bill Cosby, Roy Silver and Bruce Campbell at Campbell, Silver & Cosby in 1967 to handle their marketing and PR duties, being a partner in that venture. He branched out into his own personal management company in 1969 guiding the careers of Neil Diamond, Ricky Nelson, Lou Rawls, O. C. Smith and David Axelrod. In 1972, he was hired by Lew Wasserman, Ned Tanen and Mike Maitland at MCA to the position of executive vice president of their music division, and was COO of their Decca, Kapp, and Uni labels. In 1975, Sutton exited MCA and formed his own Shadybrook and Sound Bird Record labels with silent partner, Brad Miller. Artists such as Delegation, Kellee Patterson, El Chicano and The Mystic Moods made Shadybrook one of the most successful independent labels of its time. In 1981, Sutton sold the label to Phonogram, and he and Mickey Freeman reestablished the Freeman and Sutton Public Relations firm.

Since 1993, Sutton’s client roster has included the likes of Martin Lawrence, Jerry Seinfeld, Burt Reynolds, Patty Duke, Drew Barrymore, Scott Bakula, The American Film Institute, Detour Magazine, Billboard Live, The Fred Jordan Mission, The Oprah Winfrey Show, Grosso/Jacobson Entertainment, The Musician’s Assistance Program, The Motion Picture & Television Fund, Paul Haggis Productions, Total Media Group, The National Film Preservation Foundation, David Lynch and Mark Frost’s “Twin Peaks,” and many more. In 1998, Sutton put his years of show business expertise and philosophical beliefs before the Los Angeles radio public. His first radio show, “Talking With Joe,” debuted on KYPA in January and stayed on that small local station until March. The show them moved to the CBS-owned KLSX and took on a new title, “The Heart Of Hollywood with Joe Sutton.”

Sutton’s audience not only grew by leaps and bounds but his show had the #1 audience retention rating according to Arbitron. His guests ranged from producer Steve Tisch, to AFI’s CEO, Jean Firstenberg, to the L.A. Times columnist, Mike Downey, to young Hollywood talents like Jenny McCarthy and Sean Astin, whose life-blood and dreams are typical of how success is created in Hollywood. Academy Award winning producer, Mark Harris, talent guru Joan Hyler and Al Ruddy, the legendary producer of “The Godfather,” as well as Syd Field the maven of “How to Write a Screenplay,” were among Sutton’s early “Heart of Hollywood” guests. Over the years, his guest list reads like a who’s who of Hollywood executives, talent and creative forces, from the likes of the legendary director John Frankenheimer to Hollywood’s newest creative sensation, David Benioff of “Game of Thrones.” Studio heads Ron Meyer, Jim Gianopulos and Warner Brothers Diane Nelson have also been hosted by Sutton on his “Heart of Hollywood” radio program.

Sutton’s initial book, The Heart of Hollywood: From Hollywood to Hell and Back was published in the spring of 2003 by Creative Arts Book Company of Berkeley. Sutton, under the guidance of Channel 22’s Jennifer Clymer, hosts MPTF’s Channel 22’s “Behind the Silver Screen,” which features conversations with MPTF residents and their wonderful Hollywood stories and anecdotes. To date they have archived over 250 of these classic interviews.

Katie Tolson

Katie Tolson is vice president of business development for Gurr Johns’ West Coast business based in Los Angeles. She has a background in the art, PR, and e-commerce sectors. Prior to joining Gurr Johns in 2013, she worked for eBay Marketplaces Europe in London. She has also worked in various capacities with Butterfield & Butterfield auction house (now Bonhams & Butterfields Los Angeles), in addition to which Tolson has managed and curated exhibitions for galleries based in both London and Los Angeles. She has been a commercial auctioneer and now enjoys calling regular charity auctions. She has a bachelor’s degree in art history and Spanish from Kenyon College and a master’s degree in art history and connoisseurship from Christie’s Education, London.

Gurr Johns is an international independent art appraisal and advisory firm that proudly holds the highest market standards for specialist expertise and client service. They specialize in all tangible assets, including but not limited to fine and decorative art, jewelry, wine, collectibles, and memorabilia. Their specialists provide confidential, objective appraisals and are uniquely positioned to advise on buying, selling, and managing collections. For over 102 years, Gurr Johns has served private clients, legal and financial professionals, and the insurance industry.

Russell G. Weiss, Esq.

Russell “Rusty” Weiss is a partner in Sidley Austin LLP’s Century City office and a member of its technology and IP transactions practice, and its media and entertainment industry group. Weiss represents clients in the media, entertainment and technology industries on complex transactions with a particular focus on transactions involving the convergence of entertainment and technology. In the media and entertainment industries, he represents motion picture, television, video game, cable, mobile, internet, telecommunications, music, toy and multimedia companies. He structures, negotiates and drafts a broad range of agreements for clients involving the financing, acquisition, development, production, marketing, promotion, branding, distribution, publishing, sale and other exploitation of motion pictures, television and internet programming, video games, music and consumer products.

In the technology industry, Weiss represents consumer electronics, cleantech, fintech, software, biotechnology, life sciences, wireless and semiconductor companies on their most important matters, including strategic alliances and joint ventures, technology development, licensing and procurement agreements, outsourcing and services arrangements, mergers and acquisitions, manufacturing and supply arrangements, distribution and reseller relationships, co-marketing agreements and venture capital deals. He counsels clients on cutting-edge intellectual property issues, involving a broad range of topics, including fair use, privacy, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, right of publicity, piracy, advertising, marketing, promotions, risk management and contract compliance, unfair competition and trade secret protection and enforcement. He also represents clients on adversarial licensing and settlement agreements and has experience litigating and arbitrating cases involving intellectual property and commercial law issues in federal and state courts.

Weiss has been frequently quoted in publications such as Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, USA Today, Los Angeles Times, CNET News and the San Jose Mercury News. Frequently recognized in various legal publications for his achievements, Weiss was recommended by The Legal 500 United States (2014), The Best Lawyers in America (2010–2016), Euromoney’s Expert Guides and Super Lawyers (2009). He was named by the Los Angeles Business Journal in 2014 as one of their “Most Influential Lawyers in Digital Media and Ecommerce Law.” Prior to joining Sidley, Weiss was a partner at an international law firm and previously served as counsel both in the motion picture division at Columbia Pictures, as well as in the business and legal affairs department of Disney Interactive, Inc.

Weiss serves as co-chair of the American Bar Association’s Video Game and Digital Media Conference and member of the planning committee of the USC Intellectual Property Institute; he is past chair of the Association of Media and Entertainment Counsel’s law firm advisory board, served as a governor on the Beverly Hills Bar Association board of governors (2001–2004), and is past chair of the executive committee of the Intellectual Property, New Media, and Internet Section of the Beverly Hills Bar Association. Weiss earned his juris doctor degree from Loyola Law School, and his bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Los Angeles.


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