Outsiders: Independent Feature Filmmaking & Distribution

Units: 2
Student Level: Beginning

Jun 25 - Aug 3 Sorry, this class is currently full
Schedule: Wednesdays 6:00PM - 10:00PM
Orientation: Jun 24, 2018 at 2:00 PM
Max. Seats: 30
Faculty: Sebastian Twardosz

Independent Feature Filmmaking & Distribution

About This Class

In this course, students will screen numerous independently produced feature films and meet the filmmakers.  You will learn how they got their movies made.  Each class discussion will center on development, financing, production and distribution.  You will come away with a full understanding of the challenges facing independent filmmakers and you will benefit from the lessons learned from the guest speakers we meet.

Most classes will begin with a screening followed by an appearance by the filmmakers allowing students to freely dialogue with them.  Some of the classes may also require viewing the films on your personal time.  The visiting filmmaker discussions are always very frank and run for two hours.  Students will be expected to read the scripts for each film in advance of the screenings. 

All the films will be true independents with budgets ranging from as little as $100,000 to as much as several million.  Many of the films are fresh from their premieres at Sundance, SXSW, Tribeca, Toronto and other prominent film festivals. 

In addition, there will be several optional Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday night seminars for students of this class to include discussions with film festival programmers, studio development execs and agents.

Last Year’s Films and Guest Speakers

  • Ghost Team One
        Guest Speakers:  Ben Peyser (Director/DP) and Scott Rutherford (Director)
        Premiered @ Slamdance 2013
  • Go For It!
        Guest Speakers:  Carmen Marron  (Writer/Director/Producer)
        Starring:  Aimee Garcia 
  • The Lifeguard
        Guest Speaker:  Liz Garcia  (Writer/Director/Producer)
        Starring:  Kristen Bell and Martin Starr
        Premiered @ Sundance 2013
  • L.U.V.
        Guest Speakers:  Sheldon Candis (Writer/Director) and Justin Wilson (Writer)
        Starring:  Common, Danny Glover, and Meagan Good
        Premiered @ Sundance 2012 
  • Scenic Route
        Guest Speaker:  Brion Hambol  (Producer)
        Starring Josh Duhamel
        Premiered @ SXSW 2013


About Your Instructor 

Sebastian has been very fortunate to work with leading companies in both film and television for the past twenty years.  He is currently the host of The Insiders (http://thelip.tv/show/the-insiders/) which is an entertainment industry talk show produced by TheLip.TV and widely available via the internet.  He is also a partner in Circus Road Films (www.CircusRoadFilms.com) which advises and represents emerging filmmakers.  Clients have produced films which premiered at all of the major film festivals including Sundance, SXSW, Tribeca, Telluride and Toronto and which were released by most of the leading distributors in all media. 

He was previously a senior acquisitions executive for Allumination FilmWorks (a division of Content Media Corp.) which specialized in the domestic distribution and foreign sales of independently produced feature films.  While there he managed one of the company’s main accounts—a licensing agreement with the Slamdance Film Festival. 

Before that, Sebastian was the head of development for a Paramount-based production company called Craftsman Films which developed numerous studio projects, including early drafts of the feature film reinvention of the Star Trek franchise. 

For three years, he worked in comedy and drama development at Touchstone Television, the tv production division of the Walt Disney Company and ABC, where he staffed on six produced pilots.  He also worked on numerous pilots and on-air tv series for Imagine Entertainment. 

Sebastian’s first production job was from 1995-1999 for Tom Cruise and Paula Wagner’s Paramount-based company where he started as an assistant and was promoted to executive, actively participating in the making of Mission Impossible 1-2 and Without Limits.  

Sebastian started in the business as an agent's assistant in the motion picture department at ICM.  He graduated from the USC School of Cinematic Arts in 1993.  His short film, Silent Rain, received a Student Academy Award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences as well as the Student Emmy. 

Sebastian recently co-produced the independent feature Small Town Saturday Night starring John Hawkes, Chris Pine and Octavia Spencer, and he has been an adjunct professor at both UCLA and USC teaching about the art and business of film since 2006.  Born in Poland, he grew up in a suburb of Detroit, Michigan.

Recent speaking engagements have included:  American Film Market (AFM), Chapman University, Pepperdine University, National Public Radio (NPR), Writers Guild of America (WGA), and numerous film festivals and screenplay conferences such as Albuquerque, Catalina, CENFLO, Dubuque, Durango, Santa Fe, Screenplay Expo, and Waterfront.

***It is recommended that students enroll in both The Insiders and The Outsiders in order to have a comprehensive understanding of the contemporary filmmaking landscape.*** 


*Please note that dates and times of the course are subject to change. All projects are created outside of class time.*