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Film Specific Startup Film School Podcast


VIRTUAL SEMINAR: "Legal & Business Questions/Concerns - Screenplay Through Distribution and Funding & Section 181 Updates" with Hal "Corky" Kessler

In this virtual seminar entertainment attorney Corky Kessler discusses some of the biggest issues and concerns for filmmakers regarding funding and legal issues which may arise from the inception of a film all the way through to distribution. Plus, Corky will also be following up on Section 181 and how new developments affect filmmakers and investors.


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About Corky Kessler

Hal "Corky" Kessler
Levin Ginsburg
180 North LaSalle Street
Suite 3200
Chicago, Illinois 60601
TEL: 312.368.0100
FAX: 312.368.0111
ckessler@lgattorneys.com
www.lgattorneys.com

Corky has extensive entertainment law, corporate and worldwide entertainment industry experience. Corky regularly speaks on the business and legal aspects of feature film development and tax incentives in connection with the entertainment industry.

Corky has successfully worked with governors and United States Congressmen in several states to implement new laws and federal tax incentives for investments in qualifying film and television projects, which led to Sections 181 and 199 of The American Jobs Creation Act of 2004. Corky has also authored a reference book covering such federal and state tax incentives.

Corky has represented several authors and negotiated publishing deals with several major publishers, including Random House and Doubleday.

Corky has also assembled and built winning teams for more than 30 entertainment and other business ventures. He has developed, packaged and executive produced feature films, theatre projects and television projects, including "The Sum of Us," starring Russell Crowe, which won the Australian Academy Award for Best Film and most currently "Certifiably Jonathan" starring Jonathan Winters, Robin Williams, Howie Mandel, Rob Reiner, Jim Carrey, Sara Silverman, and others.

Corky has participated in seminars and conducted speaking engagements throughout the United States and Canada:

• June 11-14, 2009 - Film Finance Seminars to Filmmakers and Producers in Los Angeles, California regarding Section 181 of the American Jobs Creation Act.
• May 20, 2009 -- Webinar to Filmmakers and Producers on film finance and Section 181 of the American Jobs Creation Act.
• March 11, 2009 -- Film Finance Forum 2009 of Los Angeles-- spoke on minimizing risk through insurance and legal strategies to investment bankers, hedge fund managers and other film industry personnel.
• January 21, 2009 -- Sundance Film Festival -- spoke on federal tax incentives, legal and business pitfalls screenplay through distribution.
• December 6, 2008 -- Santa Fe Film Festival -- Conducted two seminars, with discussions on funding and new funding alternatives federal and state and franchising and marketing a film.
• October 15, 2008 -- International Black Film Festival of Nashville -- Conducted three seminars, with discussions on how to create an "A Team" for film projects, insider tips for film distribution, and exploring options available for securing funding.
• June 5, 2008 -- Hollywood Black Film Festival -- HBFF Film Financing Strategies Panel -- panel member for discussion of tax incentive for financing independent film projects and other financing avenues.
• April 24, 2008 -- Speaking engagement for the "The Reel Deal" sponsored by The MBA Council, The Houston Angel Network and Creative Houston -- of Houston, Texas, regarding Sections 181 and 199 of the American Jobs Creation Act of 2004 and how it relates to investing in films.
• April 5, 2008 -- Crossroads Film Festival -- panel member for discussion of various legal and business issues regarding independent films.
• March 29, 2008 -- Dreamscape Studios -- moderator and lead speaker at workshop for film makers and screenwriters on utilizing government subsidies and tax incentives for financing independent film projects.
• February 8, 2008 -- Oxford Film Festival --spoke on federal and state tax laws, where to find tax incentives for filmmaking and how to maximize these incentives.
• January 22, 2008 -- Sundance Film Festival -- spoke on federal tax incentives, legal and business pitfalls screenplay through distribution.
• October 29, 2007 -- Sherwood Oaks College Film Finance Conference -- spoke to screenwriters and producers on independent film business, federal and state tax incentives for 4 panels and 7 round tables.
• October 28, 2007 -- Film Finance Institute -- moderator for panel and spoke to film makers, screenwriters and producers about independent film, business and federal and state tax incentives.
• June 10, 2007 -- Seattle International Film Festival Speaking engagement as to legal and business requirements to move a film project forward.
• May 9, 2007 -- Nevada Film Office -- Speaker to filmmakers, producers and funding sources in Las Vegas, Nevada, on federal and state tax incentives and legal and business pitfalls; screenplay through distribution.
• March 29-30, 2007 -- Cross Roads Film Festival - Lecturer to filmmakers, producers and funding sources on federal and state tax incentives and legal and business pitfalls; screenplay through distribution.
• March 27, 2007 -- Nevada Film Office -- Presented to filmmakers, producers and funding sources on federal and state tax incentives in Reno, Nevada.
• Jan 25, 2007 - Sundance - Utah Film Commission: federal and state tax incentives workshop.

Corky has been the attorney on over ten feature films and is actively working on over eight more film projects. Corky is currently working on setting up several film funds throughout the Country.

Corky has been Executive Producer and/or attorney on feature film projects, which include:

• "Certifiably Jonathan"
Starring, Jonathan Winters, Robin Williams, Howie Mandel, Rob Reiner, Martin Mull, Jim Carrey, Dana Carvey, Lili Tomlin, Sara Silverman, Bonnie Hunt and others.

• "Blue Genes" (Screenplay by Mark Emalfarb and Seith Grossman)
Produced by Mark Harris. Currently in development phase.

• "The Sum of Us" (Australian Academy Award Winner)
Distributed by The Samuel Goldwyn Co. Starring Russell Crowe and Jack Thompson. Currently in video and DVD release.

• "Finding North" (Screenplay by Kim Powers)
Distributed by Cowboy Booking. Starring Wendy Mckenna and John Benjamin Hickey. Currently in Video and DVD release.

• "Sacrifices" (Screenplay by Edward Seaton)
Currently in video release.

• "Rockville Slayer" (Screenplay by Marc Selz).
Currently in theatrical and DVD and video release.

• "Legend of Bloody Mary" (Screenplay by Joseph Domingo)
Currently in the distribution phase.

• "Teary Sockets" (Screenplay by Scott Anderson)
Currently in the distribution phase.

• "Paradise" (Screenplay by Mark Sells and Payton Dunham)
Currently in the development phase.

• "Little Chicago" (Screenplay by Carl Veno)
Currently in the development phase.

• Corky has also been the attorney for the Producers on the feature film entitled "Wild Things."

• "Greater" (Written by Brian Reindl).
Life story of Arkansas football player Brandon Burlsworth.

• "Little Chicago" (Screenplay by Carl Veno)
Currently in the development phase.

• "Dravn" (Screenplay by Jesse Negron)
Produced by WarFront Productions. Currently in development phase.

• "Abelar, Tales of an Ancient Empire" (Screenplay by Yancy Butler and Victoria Maurette)
Produced by Nick Celozzi. Currently in development phase.

• "Snap" (Screenplay by J.P. Riley and Rich Steen)
Produced by Letter Blue Productions, LLC. Currently in development phase.

• "Marble City" (Screenplay by Tom Sjolund)
Produced by Tom Sjolund, Scott Putman and Letter Blue Productions, LLC. Currently in development phase.

• "Bagmen" (Screenplay by Norman Snider)
Produced by Donald Zuckerman. Currently in development phase.

• "Bronzeville"
Produced by Think Differently Company. Currently in development phase.

• "Union, the Movie" (Screenplay by Angelo Pizzo, who also wrote "Hoosiers" and "Rudy")
Produced by Act 2 Films, L.L.C. Currently in development phase.

• "Stray Hearts" (Screenplay by Keri Roebuck Fitzgerald, Revisions by Jenny Wingfield)
Produced by Dorothea Petrie, William S. Gilmore and Shari Rhodes. Currently in development phase.

• "Heart Strings" (Screenplay by FireFly Film & Video)
Produced by FireFly Film & Video. Co-Producer: James Pasternak. Currently in pre-production.

• "Caught in the Crossfire" (Screenplay by K. Southeby Lorenz)
Produced by Stonehedge. Currently in development phase.

• "Confessions from Philly" (formerly known as Brotherly Love) (Screenplay by K. Southeby Lorenz)
Produced by Vincent J. Wiley and Deborah Romare. Currently in development phase.

• "Moon Harvest" (Screenplay by Clare Bourke-Jones)
Produced by Clare Bourke-Jones. Executive Producer: Stephen Gilmour. Currently in development phase.

• "MoMo " - TV documentary series on the life of Sam Giancana
Produced by Nick Celozzi. Currently in pre-production.

• "20% Fiction " (Screenplay by Barry Primus)
Produced by Nick Celozzi. Executive Producer: Robert DeNiro. Currently in pre-production.

• "Broken Hill " (Written and Directed by Dagen Merrill)
Starring: Luke Arnold, Alexa Vega and Timothy Hutton. Distributor: Porchlight Entertainment

He has also developed, been producer on and the attorney for many theatrical plays. They include:

• "The Nerd"
• "Driving Miss Daisy" (A Joseph-Jefferson Winner)
• "Frankie and Johnny in the Claire de Lune"
• "Steel Magnolias"
• "Shirley Valentine"
• "The Good Times are Killing Me"
• "I'm Not Rappaport"
• "Jump for Joy" (Duke Ellington's critically acclaimed Pegasus Production)
• "Hoops" (the life story of the Harlem Globetrotters and Abe Saperstein)
• "Hauptman" (Off Broadway production of the award-winning Victory Garden Play)
• "Don't Dress for Dinner" (Producer: Damian Arnold) (Chicago Production and Broadway Production)

Corky has been active and instrumental in conducting "Biz Sessions," a seminar dealing with the business and legal aspects of feature film development. It debuted in Chicago in the Spring of 1998; over 100 people attended. Further, he set up ISA Distribution which distributed "Tie-Died Rock'n Roll's Most Dedicated Fan," a film about the Grateful Dead parking lot sub-culture. He is also active in establishing and advising various film funds and film funding sources in North America.

An Adjunct Professor at Northwestern Law School and John Marshall Law School, Corky teaches an entertainment law. He previously developed a syllabus for and taught a similar course at Columbia College in its Film Department. Corky has been a panel member and speaker at many film seminars and festivals in the U.S. and Canada. He has written articles for Screen Magazine and other film and entertainment magazines and periodicals.

Corky's expertise in corporate matters, earned him a seat on the Illinois panel to recommend amendments to the Illinois Limited Liability Company Act. In addition, during the course of his career, Corky has litigated over 200 cases, including over 50 jury trials.

Corky is admitted to practice in Illinois, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit and is a member of the Trial Bar of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. He is a member of the American and Chicago Bar Associations