Guest Speakers

Flaminio Zadra

Flaminio is an Italian Producer with a quite peculiar journey. In fact, he has always preferred to work on an international scale rather than just focusing on what his homeland, Italy, had to offer. After a short career as a journalist, in 2001 he moved from Rome to Hamburg where he started to work with director Fatih Akin. In 2004, back in Rome, together with Alberto Fanni and Paolo Colombo, Flaminio founded Dorje Film through which he co-produced several feature films, among which Akin’s The Edge Of Heaven (Best Screenplay at Cannes Film Festival, 2007), Soul Kitchen (Special Jury prize in Venice Film Festival, 2009), The Cut (2014), In the fade (Golden Globe, 2017) and Julie Bertucelli’s The Tree (2010). Flaminio extended his collaboration to a wide number of filmmakers such as Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Jia Zhangke and Jafar Panahi. In 2018 he came back to Italy to join Moliwood Films, a young Italian film and television production company founded by Pilar Saavedra Perrotta. Together they’re currently co-producing The Story of My Wife, starring Léa Seydoux and directed by Ildikó Enyedi (Golden Bear 2017 for On body and Soul). Flaminio is also a mentor and script Doctor at Biennale College Cinema.

Heidrun Schleef

Heidrun Schleef Born in Germany and having lived in NY until the mid eighties, Heidrun is one of the leading screenwriters in Italy over the past decades, having worked primarily on auteur films with some of the nation’s most prominent directors on award winning movies. Among the filmmakers she has collaborated with are Mimmo Calopresti, Nanni Moretti, Roberta Torre, Michele Soavi, Gabriele Muccino, Michele Placido and many others, writing both original stories and screenplays for and with them. She has won many awards, including two Nastri d’Argento: Best Screenplay for “Ricordati di Me” (Muccino) and Best Original Story for “La Parola Amore Esiste” (Calopresti). Her long list of produced film credits as screenwriter also include award winning films at Cannes and other prestigious international festivals, including “La Stanza del FIglio” (Moretti), “Un Viaggio Chiamato Amore” (Placido), “La Felicita’ Non Costa Niente” (Calopresti), “Il Caimano” (Moretti), “Mare Nero” (Torre), “L’uomo di Vetro” (Stefano Incerti), and “Come Il Vento” (Puccioni).

Heidrun has also been a distinguished professor of screenwriting at the Centro Sperimentale, the Italian national film school.

Todd Strauss Schulson

Ever since his grandfather gave him a video camera for his Bar Mitzvah (after years of relentless pestering), Todd Strauss-Schulson has been a one-man movie-making machine – directing, writing, shooting and editing all of his own work.

Born and raised in Queens, he attended Emerson College; where he won numerous awards, including Panavision’s prestigious New Filmmakers prize. Upon graduating, Todd moved to Los Angeles. It wasn’t long before he was helming high-concept music videos for major label artists. His music video work led to a 6-month stint in China and Thailand, where he wrote and directed MTV Whatever Things, a more stylish version of Jackass with an all-western cast. It became the most popular show on MTV Asia with an international audience of over 250 Million.

Back in the States, Todd has directed short films and TV shows with comic greats like Stephen Colbert, Amy Schumer, Seth Macfarlane, Jeffery Tambor, Jimmy Kimmel, Ellen DeGeneres, The Onion, Lewis Black, Patton Oswalt, Thomas Middleditch, Adam Devine, Eric Andre, Laura Silverman, Natasha Leggero and Damon Wayans. Todd’s personal project Mano-A-Mano was a selection of the 2008 SXSW Film Festival. In 2009, SXSW invited Todd back to premiere his new short film Big Pussy, which was subsequently selected to screen at the world famous Just For Laughs Comedy Festival in Montreal.

At 29 years old, Todd teamed with New Line Cinema and Mandate Pictures to spearhead his first feature film, A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas. The film – which was released by Warner Brothers in 2011 in stereoscopic 3D (the first stoner movie ever shot in 3D and the first Christmas movie ever shot in 3D and arguably the first comedy ever shot in 3D and this is the longest sentence to ever use the term 3D this many times) – boasts an all-star comedic cast including Kal Penn, John Cho and Neil Patrick Harris.

His sophomore effort, The Final Girls for Sony Pictures and Groundswell Productions, had its world premiere on Friday the 13th at SXSW’s opening night. It won the Audience Award at the Stanley Film Festival, was a Gala Premiere at the Los Angeles Film Festival, and was the closing night film at the 2015 Midnight Madness series at the Toronto Film Festival. In the years since, it has amassed cult status—counting Stephen King, Sam Raimi, and Quentin Tarantino as vocal fans.

Todd’s new feature film Isn’t It Romantic starring Rebel Wilson, Liam Hemsworth, Adam Devine, and Priyanka Chopra was released Valentines Day 2019 breaking hearts nationwide.

Todd will write and direct his next feature titled, “Silent Retreat” for Miramax.