Behind-the-Scenes Breakfast Panels

Presented by Martin Resorts
Also sponsored by Blackhorse Espresso & Bakery

All panels will be held in the Festival VIP Tent, which is open to the public until noon on Saturday and Sunday. Coffee and muffins will be available, courtesy of Blackhorse Espresso & Bakery. Don’t miss this fantastic opportunity to learn more about the film business from the people who are currently working in it.
See below for information about moderators and panelists.

Moderator: Betsy Kalin
Panelists: Lori Stoll
(Heavens Floor), Joan Kron (Take My Nose…Please!), Megan Smith-Harris (The Buddy System), Etta Devine (Diani & Devine Meet the Apocalypse), Alison Zatta (Girl Meets Roach), Lisa Mazzotta (Riverblue), MJ Isaacson, Down the Fence)
“It’s a man’s world and show business is a man’s meal, with women generously sprinkled through it like over-qualified spice.” Carrie Fisher, The Princess Diarist

We’ll hear from a “generous sprinkling” of women in the film industry who will discuss the continuing challenges of being female in a male-dominated business. How have things changed in the past few years, and is there hope for equality?
Saturday March 18    9:00-10:15am     Festival Tent

Moderator: Mitch Levine
Panelists: Gil Gagnon and Joseph Garner
Experienced Hollywood executives will share their wealth of experience and some inside knowledge about the current state of the movie business. From approaching a studio with a film, to getting one green lit, to post-production, distribution and how film festivals play a role in the life of a successful film, it will be interesting to filmmakers and people with no film experience too!
Saturday, March 18    10:30-11:45am    Festival Tent

Moderator: Tom Walters
Panelists: Festival Filmmakers TBA
It’s easier to make a movie thanks to less expensive technology available but is it easier to make a good movie? This panel brings together an eclectic group of creative and determined filmmakers who have done the near impossible: they have made a great movie! Don’t miss this opportunity to learn from the pros.
Sunday, March 19   10:30-11:30am    Festival Tent

The Downtown San Luis Obispo Apple Store is excited to partner with the SLO Film Fest! They will set up an editing station in the Higuera Street location where their staff and visiting filmmakers can offer their editing tips and insight in a class-like setting. Limited space available. For pre-registration contact:

Saturday, March 18  12-1pm  FILMMAKING TIPS & TOOLS
Filmmaker Alison Zatta from the film “Girl Meets Roach”
Saturday, March 18   3-4pm  EDITING & POST-PRODUCTION TIPS
Editor Randi Barros.  Instructor with “Cal Poly Shorts”
Sunday, March 19     12-1pm  FILMMAKING TIPS & TOOLS
Filmmaker Alonso Mayo, from the film “Fixed”
Sunday, March 19    3-4pm   WORKING WITH DIGITAL MEDIA 
Tech Supervisor Ben Fonnesbeck, from the film “Down The Fence”

Moderators and Panelists:

Mitch Levine – Mitch Levine is the founder and president of The Film Festival Group, a global consulting firm for film festivals, filmmakers and distribution companies. He served as Executive Director and CEO of the Palm Springs International Film Festival, co-created First Time Film Fest in NY, produced the first Bahamas International Film Festival and served for many years as the Production Director of the LA Film Festival and AFI Fest. He is a regular host of many of Hollywood’s Conversations With…and has chaired or participated on many panels focusing on almost every aspect of the art and craft of cinema and the performing arts. He is currently directing a play that stars Ed Asner, and was appointed Creative Director of University of Virginia’s Bicentennial celebration.

Tom Walters – Tom joined the SLO Film Fest board in 2016, after retiring from a career of independent filmmaking. He co-directed/produced the recent award-winning documentary, Botso. Previously he made a wide variety of documentaries and industrial films. He now enjoys playing music in a duo called The Taproots, that features Tom on vocals, guitar, and mandolin and Nico Cass on vocals, ukuele, and percussion. You can catch them on Sat. March 18 in the Festival VIP Tent from 2-4pm!

Betsy Kalin – Betsy Kalin is an award-winning producer/director at Itchy Bee Productions and Bluewater Media, and is a featured speaker at conferences, universities, film festivals and community events. Her films RoofHearts Cracked Open, Chained!, and Click have been honored with multiple awards at festivals around the world. Her most recent documentary East LA Interchange was highlighted on NBC L.A. and has won ten jury and audience awards to date.

Joseph Garner – Joseph Garner is the Head of Development at Joint Effort– (Todd Phillips and Bradley Cooper’s production company at Warner Bros.)
Before that, Garner worked as the assistant to Todd Phillips and was
the co-producer on films such as: “War Dogs” with Jonah Hill and Miles
Teller, “The Hangover” movies, and “Due Date” with Robert Downey Jr
and Zach Galifianakis. As a filmmaker, Garner directed the
documentary, “Craigslist Joe”, where he spent one month living off the
Craigslist website, with no money or contact with anyone he knew,
traveling the country through the kindness of strangers. He also
directed a 30 for 30 Short for ESPN called “The Schedule Makers”,
about the tireless and thankless job of putting together the Major
League Baseball schedule, which was done by hand by a husband and wife
for 26 years.



Gil Gagnon – From George Lucas’ Industrial Light and Magic, Kodak’s Cinesite Digital Studios, to The Walt Disney Studios Post Production Services group, Gil Gagnon has had a remarkable 25-year career and worked on some of the highest profile films in Hollywood.  Under his direction as Vice President, Post Production Services for the Walt Disney Studios, his department earned 7 Academy Award nominations on films such as “Pirates of the Caribbean,” “The Chronicles of Narnia,” Pixar’s “The Incredibles”, and “Finding Nemo”, winning the OSCAR for Best Sound Editing on “Pearl Harbor.”  He also led his team to 11 Emmy nominations during the same period and winning for the ABC hit drama “LOST” for Best Sound Mixing.  His expertise led his responsibilities to also include international oversight of Centro Digital Pictures in Hong Kong. Gil currently serves as the President of Lumenas Studios and is Executive Producing an animated film in development. In addition to his love for film, he also produces award winning wine from the Alexander Valley with his small boutique winery, Gagnon Cellars.