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Execs from Neon, IFC Films, Pops, Struum, and Vuulr Join Panel on State of Independent Film in the Streaming Era

The panelists will discuss how audiences' move to streaming is impacting distribution and the new opportunities in buying and selling indie film.

“The State of Independent Film in the Streaming Era”


IndieWire and Variety announced today a planned virtual panel discussion about the state of independent film in the streaming era, featuring executives from specialty distributors and streaming services.

The online panel, titled “The State of Independent Film in the Streaming Era,” is part of the Variety & IndieWire Streaming Room presented by Vuulr and will take place July 13 at 9:30 a.m. PT. Moderated by IndieWire Executive Editor Eric Kohn, the panel will feature Neon President of Distribution Elissa Federoff, IFC Films President Arianna Bocco, POPS Head of OTT Marissa Hanafi, Vuulr CEO of The Americas Thomas Hughes, and Struum co-founder and CEO Lauren DeVillier.

The conversation will cover how studios, producers, and their partners are pivoting to new development, sales, and distribution strategies to advance independent filmmaking within a fast-evolving industry landscape. Panelists will discuss how audiences’ move to digital viewing is impacting distribution, the new opportunities created for buying and selling indie film within the streaming environment, and more.

Registration is free but required for access. RSVP here.

Here’s some more information about the panelists:

Federoff has been at Neon since its 2017 launch. Previously EVP theatrical distribution, she has overseen release strategy across Neon’s titles, most notably Bong Joon Ho’s Oscar-winning “Parasite,” which grossed $53.37 million domestic. She previously worked at The Orchard, Radius, Oscilloscope, and Lionsgate.

Bocco was named president of IFC Films in December, after leading acquisitions at the distributor for over a decade. She oversees acquisitions, production, marketing, publicity, theatrical distribution and the streaming service IFC Films Unlimited. Among the hundreds of films acquired by IFC under her leadership are Richard Linklater’s “Boyhood,” Jennifer Kent’s “The Babadook,” and Armando Iannucci’s “The Death of Stalin” and “In The Loop.”

Hanafi has led content strategy across multiple platforms at the Thai digital entertainment company POPS Worldwide since last year, including the POPS streaming service in Thailand. She was previously head of business development at media conglomerate Astro Malaysia, which she oversaw global content distribution and acquisition and building new revenue streams for the company’s kids and family units.

Before joining online film/TV rights marketplace Vuulr, Hughes was EVP of worldwide distribution at Lionsgate and worked at the company for nearly a decade. He joined Vuulr in January to spearhead the opening of the company’s first U.S. office in Los Angeles, with a mandate to serve Hollywood and content owners and creators across North America and Latin America.

Lauren DeVillier and her partners co-founded Struum last year with a mission to create a seamless aggregation experience for consumers to discover and consume content from multiple streaming services. She previously was head of product for Discovery Networks International in the digital ventures group and sent nearly a decade heading digital at Disney.

“The stage is set for indie films, and the future is brighter than ever. There is more of everything … more platforms seeking content, more tools to help support indie creators … countless festivals, greater access to data/intelligence, open marketplaces but most importantly, the opportunity for commerce via truly unfettered global distribution. Heck, you can have your indie script scored for success by industry experts and be matched with willing investors online — all before you shoot a single frame. If you are an indie filmmaker, the stage is global. Now go break a leg,” Hughes said.

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