Creators Conference 2023

The Nashville Film Festival Creators Conference is an annual event that coincides with the festival and serves as a way for filmmakers, writers, musicians, and other creatives to connect, learn, and share ideas with one another. Industry professionals serve as panelists where they discuss relevant ideas and vital strategies that will keep you up to date on and help you propel your career forward in the film world. The 2023 Creators Conference will cover a variety of subjects from AI to indie, so be sure to mark your calendars to get in on the action!

This year, the conference will take place Friday, September 29th, Saturday, September 30th and Sunday, October 1st with film-focused panels and events at Arc Studios (11 Willow St. #2, Nashville TN 37210) and BMI (10 Music Square E, Nashville TN 37203).

All Icon Badge and Creators Conference Badge holders will also have access to the 2023 Music Program panels, taking place over Thursday, September 28th and Friday, September 29th at CMA Music Row (35 Music Square E #201, Nashville TN 37203). More information on the Music Program can be found below the Creators Conference details.

Click the tabs below to learn more about each panel and its panelists!

Jump to Music Program


10:00-11:00 AM

Unleash the potential of AI in the captivating world of film and entertainment during this engaging panel discussion. Join industry experts as they explore the groundbreaking applications of artificial intelligence, from CGI and special effects to personalized content recommendations and virtual actors. Dive into the exciting possibilities, challenges, and ethical considerations as AI redefines storytelling and elevates the entertainment experience.

Moderator: David DeBorde

Dave DeBorde is an award-winning filmmaker whose experience in the industry is long and varied. DeBorde, was a producer on the romantic feature, Old Fashioned. DeBorde directed the feature film romantic comedy, Marriage Material. Dave completed a full season as the showrunner for the reality TV show, Soccer Moms of Tampa Bay. Dave was hired to write and produce, In a Good Place Now. Dave recently helped launch New York based production company, 321 Films.

Panelist: Ash Greyson

Ash Greyson is an entertainment entrepreneur and disruptor. He’s worked with a nearly every major Hollywood studio, network and streamer overseeing and implementing digital strategies for major motion pictures. He’s currently active in several start-ups as an investor and co-founder including the crowd funded companies, Pencilish and Called Higher Studios and has early stage AI investments alongside BOSE and other super secret stuff.

11:30 AM-12:30PM

Discover the art of independent filmmaking as we gather visionary creators and astute producers for an enlightening panel discussion. Delve into the challenges, triumphs, and innovative approaches that drive the indie film industry. Gain unique insights into their creative processes, resourceful strategies, and how they navigate the dynamic landscape of independent cinema. Don’t miss this inspiring conversation with the movers and shakers of indie filmmaking.

Moderator: Gill Holland

Spirit-Award nominee for Producer of the year, Gill Holland produced the first film to win 3 prizes at Sundance. Of his 100+films, many are award-winning but most you’ve probably never heard of. He also runs sonaBLAST! Records (music for your film?) and opened Harlan County Beer Co in ’22.


Felipe Dieppa

Felipe Dieppa is a writer/producer who most recently executive produced Charlie Kaufman’s (ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND, I’M THINKING OF ENDING THINGS) latest work, a short called “Jackals & Fireflies.” He has produced or executive produced over a dozen films and is a founding board-member of 502 Film, a Kentucky-based non-profit dedicated to nurturing the State’s bourgeoning film industry.

Christin Baker

Christin Baker is an award winning director and Emmy nominated producer. She is the CEO and co-founder of Tello Films which focuses on stories for the lesbian/queer community. Tello Films is the longest running LGBTQ Streaming Platform and is the first lesbian/queer network to receive an Emmy Nomination. Christin is a member of the Producers Guild of America as well as the Television Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences.

Milan Chakraborty

Milan Chakraborty, Head of Film at Marginal MediaWorks, oversees all of the company’s efforts in independent, studio and streaming film. He is an 18 year veteran of the film industry. Milan worked at Warner Bros and New Line Cinema in production finance and accounting beforehand. Milan began independently producing in 2008 and has produced and executive produced over 20 features. Milan most recently executive produced his first documentary, BLACK BARBIE directed by Lagueria Davis, which premiered at this year’s SXSW and is playing at the fest.

1:00-2:00 PM

In the past few years, Virtual production technology has risen as an increasingly valuable and viable new tool for film production. While this technology has been used extensively for large scale film and television productions, it can be seem intimidating for smaller independent films to lean into. In our discussion we’d like to explain how using virtual production for independent filmmakers can not only be a practical application, but also increase efficiencies, and open up worlds of creative possibilities. 

Moderator: Justin Wylie

With over a decade of film industry experience under his belt, both as a cinematographer and producer, Justin Wylie brings a wealth of knowledge to his role as Technical Director for Gear Seven, Shift Dynamics, and Arc Studios. In this role he oversees the procurement and implementation of cutting-edge cinematography tools and applications that Gear Seven and its partner brands utilize to deliver state-of-the-art results in video production.


Keith Sam Jr.

Keith Sam Jr. is Director of Feature Post-Production with Paramount Pictures Studios based in his native Los Angeles, CA. For nearly 25 years he has been a professional in the entertainment business working in various roles in production, marketing and feature post-production with stops at Fox Searchlight Pictures, IMAX and Disney. His extensive background includes work on 200+ titles. Keith is a member of the Paramount Global Production Technology Council and Feature Post- Production Innovation group. 

Nathan Thompson

Nathan is the owner of rental house Contrast Cine, The Backlot studio, and is President of the Nashville Filmmakers Guild. As a cinematographer, Nathan blends the creative & technical aspects of filmmaking, with an expertise in virtual production, product cinematography, and documentary filmmaking. He’s a 19 time Emmy Award winner with clients like Amazon, Google, Jack Daniel’s, ESPN, Taylor Swift, Nicole Kidman, & more.

Kali Bailey

Kali Bailey is a writer/director based in Nashville, TN. She has worked in the film industry since she was fourteen, climbing the ranks from P.A. to Assistant Director to Director. Working with major brands like Disney+ and Netflix, her work has gained widespread recognition. Her most recent directorial milestone is the completion of the sci-fi feature film, “The Futurist.”

2:30-3:30 PM

Emmy-winning composer and Grammy-winning musician Mark Isham has risen to the top of his field as both a film composer and a performing artist. He will explain how he navigates scoring for film & TV, writing solo music, and performing with iconic artists. Discussion will be moderated by SCL President Ashley Irwin.

Moderator: Ashley Irwin

Ashley Irwin is President of the Society of Composers & Lyricists. An Emmy award-winner, he has written music for more than 1,000 hours of film and television, and more than 3,000 commercials. Ashley relocated from his native Australia to the US in 1990 after a successful career in theatre, records, advertising and Australian TV.  Well-known for his collaborations with Oscar winners Clint Eastwood and Bill Conti, Ashley has arranged and composed music for 23 Academy Awards shows, several Emmys and Grammys, as well as a slew of other TV variety shows. He has been a member of  the National Film Preservation Board since 2016.

Panelist: Mark Isham

Oscar-nominee Mark Isham is a filmmakers’ composer and a musicans’ musician. With over 125 film scores, Isham has been hailed as an innovator in electronics and a lush orchestral melodist. Isham began composing for the film Never Cry Wolf. He has since collaborated with Robert Redford (A River Runs Through It, Quiz Show, Lions for Lambs, and The Conspirator,) scored the Oscar-winning Crash, and composed the score for the celebrated miniseries From the Earth to the Moon as well as 46 other scores.

4:00-5:00 PM

You’ve got a script you’re proud of, and now you want to bring it to life! But first: what should your crowdfunding goal be? In this workshop, Seed&Spark’s Emily Best will teach you how to build your first budget, utilize loans to make up your budget (conceptually as well as literally), navigate the ask, break down your script, and cut costs without sacrificing your vision. Make that dollar stretch! Sponsored by Tennessee Entertainment Commission.

Panelist: Emily Best

 Emily Best is the founder and CEO of Seed&Spark, a platform built to make entertainment more diverse, inclusive, connected and essential. She has raised millions in investment and crowdfunding, secured large brand partnerships, and built a world-class team for Seed&Spark. She has also produced films, series and VR projects that have premiered at Sundance, SXSW, Tribeca and more. Her most recent series, “Fck Yes” Refinery 29 called, “The sex education you wish you had in high school.” 

4:30-5:30 PM

Located at BMI

Moderator: Tracy McKnight

Tracy McKnight is VP, Creative, Film, TV & Visual Media at BMI. In this role, she oversees BMI’s Film, TV & Visual Media department, helps sign and develop new affiliates and cultivates programs and events that promote the creative work of BMI composers. Prior to McKnight joining BMI, she spent over two decades as an esteemed creative executive and award-winning music supervisor with over 170 film and TV credits to date.

Panelist: Steve Dorff

Inducted into the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame in New York in 2018, Steve Dorff’s career as a songwriter spans five decades and includes more than forty BMI awards, more than twenty Top 10 hits, twelve No. 1 hits, and an American Music Award. The Grammy and Emmy-nominated songwriter and composer has had songs recorded by more than 400 artists from all genres of music, as well as countless theme songs and placements on TV/film. He has had #1 Records across 4 decades.

5:30-6:30 PM

So you’ve made a movie or show, and now you want to share it with the world (or a more specific audience than that)! But what comes next? Seed&Spark’s Emily Best will break down the current landscape of distribution for independent feature films and TV, including the economics of different avenues to take, the right questions to ask potential partners, and other information to arm yourself with as you enter negotiations. Sponsored by Tennessee Entertainment Commission.

Panelist: Emily Best

 Emily Best is the founder and CEO of Seed&Spark, a platform built to make entertainment more diverse, inclusive, connected and essential. She has raised millions in investment and crowdfunding, secured large brand partnerships, and built a world-class team for Seed&Spark. She has also produced films, series and VR projects that have premiered at Sundance, SXSW, Tribeca and more. Her most recent series, “Fck Yes” Refinery 29 called, “The sex education you wish you had in high school.” 


11:00 AM-1:00 PM

A deep dive into the entire process of making TV. What are the creative, business and production differences from making a film? Learn the many steps involved and why it takes years to get from idea to screen, including secrets known mostly to industry insiders. Decide if making TV is the right creative medium for your ideas.

Panelist: Philip Gilpin Jr.

Philip’s creative career began at a young age making short family films on VCR tapes while growing up in the suburbs of Boston, MA. In college, he started to explore the theatre & film world while earning his Bachelor of Science in Physics and Mathematics from Boston College. In 2003, he moved to Los Angeles and works as a Business Affairs Analyst on series such as “The Sopranos”, “Sex and the City”, Six Feet Under”, “Curb Your Enthusiasm” and “The Wire”. It was during his time in Los Angeles that Philip met the original founders of Catalyst. In 2012, Philip was brought on board as Catalyst’s Executive Director. Philip has also served on the Board of Governors of the Boston/New England Chapter of the National Academy Of Television Arts & Sciences.

2:00-3:00 PM

In today’s ever-evolving television industry, many creatives are choosing to live outside of the traditional production hubs. In this panel, we’ll get an in-depth, behind-the scenes look at working in TV while living in Music City from people that are doing it every day. We’ll break down the basics of earning a living you love while living where you love.


Whitni Resides


Whitni Resides is a screenwriter, producer, director and actor based in Nashville. She owns and operates Incandescent Pictures and is Southern Regional Director for Catalyst Story Institute. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Management from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Whitni has been recommended by The Black List and honored by Stowe Story Labs, HollyShorts, and Austin Film Festival.

Mark Brown

A Black List-recommended screenwriter, Mark Brown has finished Top 5 percent in The Academy Nicholl Fellowship, won Outstanding Drama Script at the Catalyst Content Festival, finished as a Top 5 finalist in the ScreenCraft True Story Competition, been recommended by The Script Lab, and been honored multiple times by The Austin Film Festival and Indie Film Hustle.


Jesse Santoyo

Jesse Santoyo is a Mexican American film director, actor, screenwriter, and composer. He has acted in commercials, feature films and TV shows, including Cobra Kai, Dynasty, and A Nashville Country Christmas with Tanya Tucker. Since 2016, Jesse has been writing, directing, and producing independent films and projects under the umbrella of his own production company, Logan Beach Productions.

Randa Newman

Born in Seoul, Korea and raised in Eastern Kentucky Appalachia, Randa Newman is a Southeast-based actor and producer. She is co-founder of Rancho Vovo, a narrative film production company, and Typecast Pictures, whose mission is to redefine how underrepresented voices are seen in film and TV. Her TV credits include Sketch, Young Rock, and Walker.

Ali Alsaleh

Born in Baghdad, Ali Alsaleh’s family sought asylum in the United States in 2000. An actor, writer, graphic designer, and architect, he co-founded Typecast Pictures, a Nashville-based company that highlights the voices of underrepresented communities in film and TV. He is also co-producer of the Nashville 48 Hour Film Project and is a recurring star in Disney+/Marvel’s Ms. Marvel.

Rebecca Lines

With over 80 credits, Rebecca Lines excels at messy and complicated characters. She’s known for smart, capable women with a twist, like Senator Atwood in Marvel’s The Falcon and The Winter Soldier, or ruthless, down-on-their-luck but cunning women like Kandace in Cobra Kai. She can be seen on Hulu/FX in Class of ’09 and on Prime Video in Find Her.

3:00-6:00 PM

Every great show starts with an idea, and every idea needs a great pitch to sell it. Pitchworld is a platform for content creators to develop their pitch with an audience in a fun and supportive setting. During the 54th Nashville Film Festival, selected creators will present their amazing ideas for TV shows, podcasts, and web series in five-minute onstage pitches, and they’ll get feedback and tips from experienced professionals. Catalyst Story Institute is the official mentorship partner of the National Academy of TV Arts & Sciences. Its mission is to make it possible for episodic storytellers to make a living they love from where they love living. 

Panelists to be revealed at the event!


The Music Program is a celebration of all things music and film. This year, it aims to give attendees an in-depth look at the role of the musically-inclined within film, TV, advertising, and trailers. 

Entry to the Music Program events is included with the purchase of passes to the Icon or Creators Conference Badge, so take advantage of the variety of additional Music Program panels the festival has to offer this year!

As mentioned above, Music Program panels will take place at CMA Music Row (35 Music Square E #201, Nashville TN 37203). Music Program Artist Showcases will take place at Electric Jane (1301 Division St, Nashville TN, 37203).


7:00-9:00 PM (Doors at 6:30 PM)


Sawyer – @thebandsawyer

Shaeden Madi – @shaedenmadi 

Nick Connors – @thenickconnors

Ashley Monroe – @ashleymonroemusic


10:00 AM-12:00 PM

This two part event puts you in the room with decision makers who can license your music for films, television, trailers, promos, advertising, and video games. At Thursday morning’s Download, each panelist will share inside information on their current needs and how you can best interact with them. Take notes and prioritize which panelists would be most beneficial for you to meet. Following The Download, you will have the opportunity to sign up for a one-on-one meeting with one of the music supervisors on a first-come, first-served basis. Those meetings are held Friday morning, at The Upload.

Featuring all other music supervisors/panelists in addition to:

Anny Colvin

Joshua Christie

12:45-2:15 PM (Doors at 12:15 PM)

Senobia – @senobiasmithmusic
Natalie Madigan – @nataliemadigan_
Tim Gent – @tim_gent
Meghan Linsey – @meghanlinsey

2:30-3:30 PM

Uncover the artistry and strategy behind the captivating world of music in today’s trailers and promotional campaigns. “Tuned for Intrigue” offers an illuminating exploration of how music is meticulously chosen, composed, and synchronized to create anticipation, suspense, and emotional resonance in short-form media. Join industry experts as they dissect the pivotal role that music plays in shaping viewer perception, building excitement, and driving engagement. From iconic melodies to cutting-edge sonic techniques, discover the secrets to crafting unforgettable auditory signatures that leave a lasting impact on audiences, leaving them eagerly awaiting the next cinematic experience.

Moderator: Alex Stefano

Alex Stefano is VP, Sync at Big Yellow Dog Music. Alex has lead her 3 person team for the past six years to numerous placements for BYD’s writers including spots with Target, Apple, Ikea, Air Canada, T-Mobile, ESPN, HBO and in shows like Grey’s Anatomy, This is Us, Promising Young Woman, and To All The Boys: Always and Forever.


Avery Schwartz

Avery is a music supervisor and composer who’s been working in the trailer space for over six years. At Seismic Productions, he works with studios like Disney, Sony, Warner Brothers, Hulu, and Netflix on a wide variety of theatrical and streaming campaigns. His most recent finishes include custom music and supervision on Challengers (MGM), Minx Season 2 (Starz), and My Policeman (Amazon).

Naaman Snell

Naaman Snell is owner and Music Supervisor at Space Cowboy Music, and independent music supervision agency. With over a decade of experience across multiple media areas in the music supervision community, Naaman has spent a large amount of his career working in the area of promotional marketing, covering trailers, streaming, promos, video game, and brand advertising. Some recent projects have included The Last of Us – Teaser, The Mandalorian: Season 3 – Trailer, Pixar’s Elio – Teaser, and Ahsoka – Trailer.

Tyler Torrison

Tyler Torrison is an award-winning Music Supervisor with a decade of experience curating songs for television, film, and theatrical advertising. Currently stationed at Buddha Jones in Los Angeles, Tyler’s work and collaborations have won multiple CLIO and Golden Trailer awards. As a musician and music fanatic through and through, Tyler draws from his vast knowledge to create the perfect bridge between picture and sound.

3:45-4:45 PM

Join us for a captivating discussion on the integral role that music plays in shaping the modern TV experience. “Harmonizing Screens” explores how music enhances storytelling, creates emotional resonance, and fosters audience engagement in the dynamic television landscape of today. Industry experts and creatives will delve into the innovative ways music is being used, the collaborative process from start to finish, the world of artist discovery, and trends in TV music landscape. From iconic music shows like Grey’s Anatomy to powerfully moving documentary pieces, our panelists have worked on some incredible projects and are excited to share with you how music shapes the way we experience all experience television.

Moderator: Liz Rogers

Liz Rogers is the Founder and Creative Director at Anacrusis, where she oversees new signings, writer development, and pitching creatively for sync. Anacrusis has secured hundreds of placements for emerging artists in Nashville in dozens of shows, films, and advertising campaigns. Liz also is an independent music supervisor, working on several films and documentaries, and is a member of the Guild of Music Supervisors. Liz is also the Associate Music Event Producer for the Nashville Film Festival.


Justin Kamps

Justin is the owner of Monster Sector and has recently worked on TV shows like Bridgerton (Netflix), Lucifer (Netflix), Nancy Drew (CW), Grey’s Anatomy (ABC), Resident Evil (Netflix), The Winchesters (CW), and films like Perfect Addiction (Constantin), Clock (Hulu), and Jagged Mind (Hulu). He also received a Guild of Music Supervisors Awards nomination for his work on Bridgerton Season 2.

Danica Bansie

Danica has been immersed in the music industry for over a decade. Her journey spans roles from record store management to live gig written & photo coverage to copywriting for an instrument retailer. Presently, Danica is a Music Supervisor for film & tv, both freelance and as part of the instinct entertainment team. Projects she has been a part of can be seen on CBC, Amazon, Hallmark, and more.


12:45-2:15 PM (Doors at 12:15)

Claire Ernst – @claire.ernst
Makayla Lynn – @makaylalynnmusic
Leigh Nash – @leighbirdnash
Emmalee – @emmaleesmusic

2:30-3:30 PM

Step into the world where creativity, psychology, and commerce converge – the realm of music in advertising. “Melodic Marketing” takes you on an immersive journey through the strategic and artistic process of selecting and crafting songs for commercials. Join music supervisors and advertising creatives as they dissect the science behind choosing the perfect tunes that resonate with audiences, evoke emotions, and enhance brand messaging. Dive into case studies that highlight the magic of a well-chosen soundtrack, explore the crossroads of culture and commerce. Uncover the secrets of seamlessly integrating melodies and lyrics into advertisements to create lasting impressions that not only sell products but also embed brands into the cultural fabric of society.

Moderator: Debra Delshad

Debra Delshad is the Senior Director for Synchronization and Music Licensing at Angry Mob Music where she places music in television, films, streaming services, commercials, trailers, video games, oversees licensing and negotiations, and advises the creative and acquisition departments. Debra has worked in the music industry for over 20 years, including at EMI Music Publishing, Anthem Entertainment, and DreamWorks Music Publishing. She serves on the board of directors of the California Copyright Conference and is a member of the Recording Academy.


Milena Erke

Milena Erke serves as Music Supervisor and Music Producer at Premier Music Group in NYC. Since 2016, she has been a close collaborator of renowned music supervisor, Randall Poster. Milena’s expansive work includes award-winning films, television, advertising, and podcasts – many of which have been directed, written, or produced by some of the industry’s most celebrated names.

Madeline Dowling

Chicago-based Senior Music Producer at ad agency, Doner. She develops sonic branding for brands including Jeep, Dodge, Chrysler, and the Johnson&Johnson family of brands. She has worked with brands like Kraft, Disney, Cadillac, and Apple; and hit TV shows like Grey’s Anatomy, How To Get Away With Murder, Empire and Scandal. Before Doner, she held roles at Mcgarrybowen, Chop Shop Music Supervision, Good Ear Music Supervision, Marmoset.

Christine Leslie

Christine Leslie is a seasoned Executive Producer and Music Supervisor, specializing in licensing and production for TV/Radio commercials and long form entertainment. With more than 20 years experience in the business, she has worked as Licensing Director and Music Supervisor on countless commercial productions for a wide range of clients. She is a proud member of the Canadian Guild of Music Supervisor and she currently works at TA2 Sound and Music in Toronto.

3:45-4:45 PM

Immerse yourself in the world of film soundtracks and their profound impact on contemporary cinema. “Sonic Enchantment” invites you to explore the intricate relationship between music and storytelling in the ever-evolving landscape of filmmaking. Industry experts will unravel the secrets behind crafting iconic film scores that heighten emotions, convey narratives, and leave an indelible mark on audiences. Delve into the creative process, technological advancements, and the fusion of diverse musical genres that continue to redefine how we experience movies today. Join us for an inspiring conversation that uncovers the magic of music’s role in shaping the cinematic journey.

Moderator: Andrew Weaver

Andrew Weaver is a Music Supervisor & Co-Owner at Triple Threat Supervision based in Nashville, TN. His recent music supervision projects include Purple Beatz (2022) and The Blind (2023). Before starting Triple Threat, he worked at Format Entertainment and Electronic Arts on projects such as Tell Me Your Secrets (2021) and Jedi: Fallen Order (2019).


Hillary Holmes

VP Music for Film at Lionsgate. A music executive with a history of working in the Film/TV and Advertising industries. She has worked on The Giver (2014), Fifty Shades of Grey (2015), White Bird (2023), Cobweb (2023), About My Father (2023), Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret (2023), Prey for the Devil (2022), The Valet (2022), The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent (2022), among many others.

Julian Nunez

Creative Music Coordinator for films at 20th Century Studios & Searchlight Pictures. Recent projects include Chevalier (2023), Flamin’ Hot (2023), and White Men Can’t Jump (2023). New Orleans native and currently based in Los Angeles, he has previously worked alongside a composer and for an indie music supervision company.