Guest Speakers

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.

Stefano Tealdi

Producer/Director. Born in Johannesburg (ZA) in 1955, he studies Architecture in Torino, Italy and founds film production company Stefilm in 1991.

He recently directed the documentary series Food Markets –  In the Belly of the City (20×52); A World of Pasta, Doctor Ice (Science Film Festival – Milano 2009), and co-wrote Food Makers go Global! (5 x26′). He produced Exemplary Behaviour  (winner of Golden Dove, Fipresci and Interreligious award, 2019).My Home, in Libya (Locarno FF 2018); Wonderful Losers (Lithuanian candidate Academy Awards 2019); The Strange Sound of Happiness (Special Mention Next Masters DOKLeipzig 2017); The Queen of Silence (IDFA 2014, Silver Horn, best feature length doc Krakow FF 2015, Golden Nanook IDF Perm 2015); Char, no man’s island (Berlinale Forum 2013), Vinylmania (IFF Rotterdam  2012), Mostar United (IDFA 2009).

He tutors for: Biennale Cinema and VR College Venice, Marchè du Film Cannes, Documentary Campus, EsoDoc, Films 3 Continents-Produire au Sud, Med Film Factory, New Chinese Film Talents, Ouga Film Lab, Torino Film Lab, Scuola Holden, ZagrebDox Pro, ZELIG Film School and several other institutions.

Giacomo Durzi

Giacomo Durzi is an experienced and driven story editor and creative producer with over fifteen years of experience in writing and developing drama, leading writer’s rooms and providing consultancies for broadcasters and independent production companies. He has a proven track record and a deep knowledge of each step of production of tv series as well as feature films – from designing the concept to giving feedback through the different stages of development, shooting and editing. As an editorial consultant and creative producer, he has worked with broadcasters like NBC Universal, Italy and Fox International Channels. Between 2004 and 2007 he has been committed to launching new channels (Fox life), by overseeing the product selection and developing original productions for Fox Life and The History Channel. He has worked with NBC Universal, Mediavivere-Endemol Italy, the Italian company Itc Movie and for the German production companies Bavaria and Tandem Communications. He has also served as a consultant and creative producer developing feature films and tv series for the Italian Independent production companies Ascent film, Vivo Film and IIF (Italian International Film). His professional experience includes credits as a creative producer on feature films like  “Non pensarci”, and as a script consultant in many productions (“Short Skin”, “Baby Bump”, “Hotel Salvation”, “Beautiful things”) supervising the writing of several films produced by La Biennale di Venezia for which he’s creative consultant. Since 2015 he’s also been working for SKY Italy as a Head Writer/Story Editor and has served as a Creative Producer, consulting on the development of the scripted original productions (tv series and feature films). As a screenwriter, he wrote long and short TV series for Italian networks like Rai, Mediaset and SKY, working for the main production companies such as Tao Due, Freemantle Italy, Cattleya, Publispei, Magnolia and IIF. He’s the writer of the Italian adaptation of “In treatment” (Wildside for Sky Cinema, 3 seasons), and The comedians (Banjay for Sky Italy). His last work as a screenwriter is the italian original Netflix series “Baby” produced by Fabula Pictures, where he was leading the Writers Room as a head-writer. As an author and director, he has created shows for channels like Fox, RAI and La7. Over the years, he has written and directed television documentaries co-produced for NBC Studio Universal, Rai, Arte, The History Channel, Channel 4 and ZDF. Among them, his film “SB I knew him well” had its World Premiere in competition at the 2012 Festival Internazionale del Film di Roma and was released in theaters in Italy and in many Tv channels. His last theatre film/documentary “Ferrante Fever” is about the mysterious Italian writer Elena Ferrante (Rai, SKY, The Match factory). Durzi also acts as a script consultant for Torino Film Lab, Biennale College Cinema and the Alto Adige Film Commission.In his multifaceted career Durzi also teaches serial narrative at the Scuola Holden, the Berlin DFFB and Cologne International Film School, leading seminars on dramaturgy and narrative techniques.

Raphaël Berdugo

Raphaël Berdugo has more than 30 years of experience in the movie business, especially in production and international sales. He has coproduced around 30 movies through various production companies, mostly Arthouse films that have been selected by prestigious festivals such as Cannes, Berlin, Venice and Toronto, winning numerous awards. For more information, you can visit his IMDB: https://www.imdb.com/name/nm1006551/?ref_=fn_al_nm_1