Clay Epstein, the president of Film Mode Entertainment, has been elected chair of the Independent Film & Television Alliance for the 2001-2023 term, IFTA said Monday. He’s been a board member since 2008 and served regularly on its executive committee.
Seven others were elected to the organization’s 15-person board, including: J.D. Beaufils (VMI Worldwide), Jason Buckley (Lakeshore Entertainment), David Fannon (Screen Media), Lisa Gutberlet (Blue Fox Entertainment), Nat McCormick (The Exchange) Michael Ryan (GFM) and Rob Williams (Participant Media).
They’ll join directors in the second year of their two-year terms — Scott Bedno (Myriad Pictures), Jody Cipriano (MarVista Entertainment), Patrick Ewald (Epic Pictures Group), Will Machin (Metro International Entertainment), Wendy Reeds (Lionsgate), Lise Romanoff (Vision Films), and Nick Spicer (XYZ Films).
IFTA, led by CEO Jean Prewitt, is the global trade association for independent film and television production, finance, distribution and sales companies and has been a particularly crucial voice as the pandemic struck at the heart of the indie world. Besides shutting the industry down for months, Covid subsequently swelled costs as insurance companies inserted pandemic exclusions into new policies and much bank financing dried up. Deadline reported earlier today that large independent producer Solstice may be shutting down, a major casualty of the pandemic.
“I am honored to be entrusted by our membership to lead them as chairperson,” said Epstein. “The future of our industry relies on the talent and energy of the independent community. IFTA is the only unified voice for the Independents and it has never been more important to ensure opportunity and success for our members, colleagues, filmmakers, and the global industry.”
Epstein succeeds outgoing chair Michael Ryan, who will continue on as a board member. A founding members of IFTA and the American Film Market, Ryan served as chair for three consecutive terms since 2015 as well as two terms between 2003 and 2007.
“Clay has already contributed significantly to IFTA and the industry for years. His knowledge of the issues the Independents are facing and his ability to lead this Board of experienced and dedicated executives will be essential as the organization tackles these global hurdles,” Ryan said.
Epstein launched Film Mode Entertainment, a worldwide sales and distribution entity, in 2016. He previously served as senior VP, Sales & Acquisitions at Arclight Films.
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