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Produced By Conference Day One Recap

13th Annual Produced By Conference Kicks Off at the FOX Studio Lot

Top Film and TV Producers Including Viola Davis, Julius Tennon, Charles D. King, 
Eva Longoria, Chris Miller, Dan Lin, Betsy Beers, Peter Friedlander and Yvette Nicole Brown 
Reunite to Discuss the Art, Craft, Challenges and Opportunities of Producing  



*Photo Credit: AP Images for the Producers Guild of America 

LOS ANGELES, CA (June 11, 2022) – Day one of the Producers Guild of America’s (PGA) 13th Annual Produced By Conference buzzed with entrepreneurial and creative energy as top producers and entertainment executives reunited to kick-off the two-day conference at FOX Studio Lot. The day featured engaging conversations from prominent figures across film, television and new media including Viola Davis, Julius Tennon, Charles D. King, Eva Longoria, Chris Miller, Dan Lin, Betsy Beers, Peter Friedlander, Yvette Nicole Brown and many more. 

After a two-year hiatus, the Produced By Conference returned with renewed energy from the industry’s leading creative voices about how to drive the industry forward and the lessons they learned from the pandemic. Panelists spoke frankly about the importance of embracing work-life balance, fostering collaboration, and promoting a culture of humanity and respect.  Top TV and film buyers shared what they are looking for in a project and how to pitch; leading producers described how to expand access through the use of virtual production; storytellers discussed how they’re pushing forward inclusion and representation through their endeavors, and offered advice for producers navigating a rapidly changing industry landscape.

The second and final day of the conference will take place tomorrow, Sunday, June 12.  

Day One Highlights:

  • Viola Davis (CEO, JuVee Productions) and Julius Tennon (President, JuVee Productions) spoke in a frank conversation that received three separate standing ovations sponsored by The Hollywood Reporter and moderated by Yvette Nicole Brown (Always a Bridesmaid, Big Fib), Viola and Julius spoke about their creative and personal partnership, and why they decided to take the leap to start their own production company, JuVee Productions. Viola stated, “we created it out of necessity. You want to see where your career is going, see where the top people are in your category, and I didn’t see anybody.” She added,  “the power of our artform is to create characters to remind you that you’re less alone.” 
    • They also shared practical and poignant advice to their younger selves and to all emerging producers finding their way. Viola shared that she “would push more in a room. Everything I’ve been told about being too strong or angry, I’ve talked myself out of what I was going to say. I'd leave all of that on the table. As a Black person, there are so many things that are taboo. You don’t know until you try. I would be bolder.” Julius expressed that he recommends “finding partners that have a similar mindset and go down the road together. I didn’t think there was as much of that when I started. You have to find the right people and stick with it if you really believe in something. If there’s a no, there’s going to be a yes around the corner.”  


  • Charles D. King (Founder & CEO, MACRO; Judas And The Black Messiah, Mudbound) and Eva Longoria (Founder, UnbeliEVAble Entertainment; Producer, Searching for Mexico; Director, Flamin’ Hot) discussed their trailblazing paths in producing, what storytelling means to them, and how they’re increasing diversity and representation in the industry through their projects. In an empowering session, Charles stated that “the power of storytelling is real. There’s real power in showing the full spectrum of our communities, the excellence of who we are, instead of the same marginalized stories. And these stories are being told authentically now from our community. You have filmmakers and producers and directors from those communities telling those stories, instead of someone else telling our stories for us.” Eva added, “Never about us, without us.”


  • Eva shared why producing appealed to her and how she created her own path: “I’ve always been way more interested in the business side. I used Desperate Housewives as my film school. Always asking questions. I quickly realized if you want to be an effective storyteller you need control and that’s why I got into producing.”


  • Mega-producers Dan Lin (Founder & CEO, Rideback; the LEGO Movie franchise) and Chris Miller (Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, The LEGO Movie, The After Party) talked about how they each define their vision as a producer and their advice for producers on how to carve out their own. Dan spoke about leaving his executive role at Warner Bros and launching his own company, Rideback, “We spent a lot of time looking at movies I love and thinking about the brand we wanted. For us, we determined we wanted to make hero stories. Everyone has a different filter. Have bigger dreams but focus on putting one foot forward at a time, but you have to make great content.” Chris shared how he prioritizes collaboration on every project, and enables the collaborative to guide the vision: “Filmmaking is the most collaborative form of art in the world…. Every member of the crew is a creative person. To embrace that and look for ideas and know you don’t have to use the ones that don't work or that are bad, but if you use that resource you can make your project so much better and full.”


  • In the power-packed “Meet the Buyers sponsored by Cadillac” panel, Peter Friedlander (Head of Scripted Series, U.S. & Canada, Netflix), Marc Resteghini (Head of Development, Amazon Studios), DanTram Nguyen (EVP, Co-Head of Film Production & Development, Searchlight Pictures), Brooke Bowman (Head of Drama, Fox Entertainment) pinpointed exactly what they’re looking for in a pitch: 
    • Peter stated,  “A strong point of view.”
    • Brooke said, “The biggest thing for me.. is this idea broad enough for broadcast? A big, broad concept, some spectacle, some surprise, and some real human emotion at the center.”
    • DanTram specified, “Movies that hit the sweet spot between arthouse and commercial… we’re extremely filmmaker-focused.”
    • Marc shared two specific genres that he’d like to receive more pitches on: “Romantic comedies and the sexy thriller that were popular in the 80s and 90s… I’d love to find something like this on the series side or limited series side.” He continued, “I generally ask why this show, why now and why this creator to tell this story?”


  • In the “Creative Producers from A to Z sponsored by Delta” panel featuring Shondaland Creative Partner Betsy Beers shared the secret sauce that she and Shonda Rhimes look for when selecting new projects: “Shonda and I have said for years the rule has always been we want to do something we haven’t done before in this  world we haven’t lived in. A gigantic factor for us is to play in a different playground. I’m not a big fan of what I call nihilistic storytelling - the story doesn’t have a point. The third thing I love is when I don’t know how it’s going to end.”
    • And on their massive hit Bridgerton, she shared that she was initially hesitant to the idea: “When I first started reading Bridgerton, once I got over the fact that it was a series of romance novels, was that this woman has so many children and all of them have to get married, this could go on forever!”
    • Jordana Mollick (President, Semi-Formal Productions) talked about her recent hit The Dropout and shared what she thinks the definition of a creative producer is: “I think that creative producers are there from the beginning to the end of a project, in a lot of ways. I know for me, it’s very much starting with developing a project, or finding IP, and working with a writer, finding a director and casting it, then hiring the crew and department heads.. and then when production is over, a lot of people move onto the next job, but as a producer you’re still there.”


  • In the “Long Story Short Film sponsored by Google,” the audience learned how the creative teams of the Producers Guild and Google supported “Short Film Project”leveraged their $50,000 grants, accompanying mentorship from Paul Feig and Laura Fischer’s team at Powderkeg, to create two original and vastly different short films — Esmeralda and Haider Texas. Since short films are often the very first test for emerging producers, the panelists shared their experience and insights.
    • On the practical advice that she took on to bring her short film Haider Texas to life within budget, Producer & Co-Director Rabia Sultana looked at “what is the bare minimum to tell this story effectively. We have a tendency to throw everything into it, but it’s helpful to take a step back and see what the bare minimum is.”
    • Sabrina Ehlert, Producer, Writer & Director, Esmeralda, shared how she balanced her dual roles: “Approaching this (project) with multiple hats, working with my amazing producers, having my director hat on, my producer was always with me. All the roles helped each other and informed our decisions. Sometimes you wear multiple hats for the same situation, for example – when looking at locations as a producer, I’m thinking this won’t fit (in the budget) but as a director it’s perfect for the story. It’s important to be cognizant of what hat you’re wearing.”


  • On the "CBC and BET+ Break New Ground Sponsored by CBC/Radio-Canada'' panel, executives Catherine Tait (President & CEO, CBC/Radio-Canada) and Devin Griffin (EVP & General Manager of BET+), as well some of the principal cast and producers, spoke to their creative collaboration on The Porter, a groundbreaking new series. Tait spoke to the mission behind this joint effort: “International partnerships are key to Canadian stories being told on a global scale.” Griffin added that "to have a story that connects the US and Canada made this an opportunity for BET that’s been traditionally US focused and gave us the opportunity to do something more. Partnering with CBC gave us a new frontier. ” 


  • Throughout the "Virtual Production for Independent Filmmakers Sponsored by DNEG" panel, expert speakers shed light on the emerging practice of Virtual Production and the opportunities it can offer, including sustainability, increased control over lighting, and creative advantages. Steve Jelley stated that "These virtual technologies allow us to change things that are typically set in stone like lighting." Xavier Bernasconi on scheduling out virtual production: “It’s important to understand how your content relates to the physical stage because you’ll have to blend it together and rehearse how long it takes to make changes.”

A full list of the conference speakers, panels and sponsors can be viewed here.

You can view archived video of select sessions on the PGA’s LinkedIn page here.

In addition to host sponsor FOX Studio Lot, conference sponsors included: Cadillac, the Official Vehicle; Delta, the Official Airline; A+E Studios; Astek; Batch & Bottle; BEN Group Inc.; CBC/Canada-Radio; Cast & Crew; Cinema Audio Society; Coca-Cola; DNEG; Don Francisco’s Coffee; Film in Georgia; First Entertainment Credit Union; GreenSlate; HCL America, Inc.; Heineken; Hollywood Commission; Honolulu Film Office; IMAX; Josh Cellars; Justin’s; Mananalu; Microsoft Azure; Motion Picture Sound Editors; National Geographic Documentary Films; NVIDIA; Produce Iowa; SAGindie; Siggi’s; and Sunset Studios.

The Produced By Conference 2022 team is Supervising Producer, Branden Chapman; Program Directors, Matt Ullian and Jane Sarkin (Boldface Partners); Sponsorship Director, Diane Salerno (Six Degrees Global); Marketing Consultant, Julie Giles (greenHAT digital); and the PGA’s PR agency of record, Sunshine Sachs Morgan & Lylis.  

To receive news and the latest programming updates for Produced By Conference 2022, please visit the Guild’s official website and follow its social media channels for the event:





Twitter: @producersguild


Hashtag: #ProducedBy2022



The Producers Guild of America is a nonprofit trade group that represents and promotes the interests of all members of the producing team in film, television and new media. The Producers Guild has more than 8,000 members who work together to protect and improve their careers, the industry and community by providing members with employment opportunities, seeking to expand health benefits, promoting fair and impartial standards for the awarding of producing credits, as well as other education and advocacy efforts such as encouraging sustainable production practices. For more information and the latest updates, please visit the Producers Guild of America website and follow on social media.


MEDIA CONTACTS:                                                                                        

Matthew Lawrence, Alexandra Anderson, Pipere Boggio             

Sunshine Sachs Morgan & Lylis                



Diane Salerno               

Six Degrees Global