Scott E. Sommer
Founder & CEO
Scott Sommer is a 30 year veteran of the Hollywood and China entertainment communities and has forged many lasting relationships with companies, producers and talent in each. He currently holds producing deals or strategic partnerships with leading companies such as HeYi Capital, Croton Media, DNA Films, and more. From his years in Hollywood, Scott has built relationships at every major Hollywood studio and agency, along with producers, directors and writers. He occasionally serves as a consultant and speaks about Hollywood and China at such venues as the US/China Business Summit and 2017’s AFCI Global Finance and Production Summit, which he helped organize and curate through his partnership with Lightsource Asia Media Group.
As a writer, Scott has written and sold over a dozen original screenplays to studios including Paramount Pictures, 20th Century Fox, Universal and The Walt Disney Co, in addition to independent companies Alliance Atlantis, Walden Media, and Lakeshore Entertainment. Scott has written for television as well, for networks ABC and CBS, and served as a writer on ABC's Pan Am. Prior to his writing career he worked for several years in studio feature development, at Carolco Pictures and 20th Century Fox. At those companies and others he had a hand in developing such films as Rush Hour; Cliffhanger; Mrs. Doubtfire; Robin Hood – Men in Tights; and others. Scott graduated from USC's School of Cinematic Arts and serves as a mentor to USC students. He is a member of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, the Writer’s Guild of America, the Asia Society, and the China Hollywood Society.
Corporate Partner & Advisor
CEO, Dragonlord Pictures
Michael Yang is the chairman of Dragonlord Pictures, a Chinese film and TV group that focuses on the finance, production, and distribution of worldwide entertainment. Financed by leading investment groups, Dragonlord produces film and TV projects for various major Hollywood and Chinese studios, such as Sony Pictures Entertainment and HBO, using Michael's extensive relationships from his many years in production and distribution.
Prior to forming Dragonlord, Michael served as production director of Sony Pictures Asia, responsible for Sony's international television production business in China, where he developed and produced many award winning and highly rated scripted and unscripted series, including Mad About You, the classic American series, which Michael won remake rights for and turned into China's top TV series for 2016. Before joining Sony, Michael served as head of production for Televisa Media Group in China, where he brought the telenovela format into the country for the first time and produced several popular TV dramas; prior to that, Michael was the acquisitions manager of China's flagship CCTV new media, where he managed the acquisition of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games and other programs.
Michael graduated from Beijing International Studies University with a bachelor's degree in Business Management, and received a Masters degree in News and Communication from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. He serves on the board of the prestigious China Literature and Art Foundation, and as a board member of listed Chinese TV production company Houghton Street Media.
J. Todd Harris
Corporate Partner & Advisor
CEO, Branded Pictures Entertainment
J. Todd Harris is widely respected in the Hollywood entertainment community for his production and development work over a 30-year career. His films have been nominated for Academy Awards and Golden Globes and and have generated box office collectively in the hundreds of millions of dollars. Of the 42 movies he’s produced, highlights include the award winning The Kids are All Right and Bottle Shock; genre hits Piranha 3D and Jeepers Creepers; recent critical favorite So B. It; and newly announced Wheelman. He has also been active in theatre, producing musical adaptations of Heathers (Off Broadway), Doctor Zhivago (Broadway) and American Psycho (Broadway).
Mr. Harris is the president and CEO of Branded Pictures Entertainment, a company he founded to identify and procure high profile intellectual properties for use in all platforms. Five of his films have premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, and collectively his films have played at nearly every major film festival in the world.
A member of the Motion Picture Academy since 1999, Mr. Harris is also a founding member of the Napa Valley Film Festival and a member of the Producers Guild of America and the Broadway League. He earned both his BA and MBA degrees from Stanford University.
President of Production
Craig Berenson is a producer and executive who has shepherded film and TV productions from concept through delivery in a wide range of budgets for over two decades. He has produced in a wide variety of genres, from acclaimed comedy Grumpy Old Men to the popular genre film Snakes on a Plane, and beyond. His long list of relationships with executives, writers, directors and talent reflects his recognized ability to bring quality material into production and to deliver it on time and on budget.
Berenson’s producing career began at John Davis Entertainment, where he eventually rose to Vice President of Production, overseeing such films as Fortress, Grumpy Old Men and their sequels; and HBO’s The Last Outlaw, starring Mickey Rourke. From there he moved to head of production at Patchwork Productions, a branch of DreamWorks, where he acquired and developed material for Fox 2000; Paramount Pictures; DreamWorks, and other studios.
As a producer, Berenson produces for both film and TV, including the ABC Family movie Princess, along with other titles. He is currently developing and producing film and TV projects for both the international and Chinese markets, working alongside attached artists as Walt Becker (Wild Hogs); Toby Wilkins (Splinter); and Chinese superstar AngelaBaby, among others.
Corporate Partner & Advisor
Partner & COO, DNA Pictures
Fan Dong has worked for much of the past decade as a high level executive at leading Chinese and American entertainment companies, bringing a wide range of experience in marketing, production and finance of filmed entertainment. Fan is a founding partner and COO of DNA Pictures, a film production and finance company that is associated with HeYi Capital in Beijing. There, she has helped supervise and produce the hit comedy Rise of a Tomboy, along with other titles, and helped finance the upcoming 20th Century Fox feature Just Cause, and Status Update at Voltage Entertainment. Before joining DNA, Fan was a Senior Manager at MEC Global, helping to oversee the domestic theatrical releases of a slate of Paramount Pictures films over a three year period. The successful releases Fan was involved with marketing at Paramount include such hits as Star Trek Into Darkness; World War Z; Wolf of Wall Street; Anchorman 2; Transformers 4, and many other titles.
Before joining MEC and Paramount, Fan was an acclaimed CCTV Television host. She holds multiple college degrees, including a doctoral degree in Communication from USC, where she was a Wallis Annenberg Chair Fellow; and a double Master’s degree in Global Media from USC and the London School of Economics, where she majored in Political Science. Fan splits her time between Los Angeles and Beijing, remaining active in both entertainment communities.
Corporate Partner & Advisor
President of Production, Croton Media
Crystal Gong is one of the leading female development and production executives in China. After serving as the first ever head of film and TV production at Wanda Studios, which included placing into development and production Wanda’s first slate of film and television entertainment, Crystal went on to produce films of her own. She currently oversees film production for Chinese entertainment giant Croton Media.
Crystal rose through the ranks of film production by starting as an assistant director, before moving onto producing roles. Some of the many films in which she has served as a first or second AD include the hits Mission Impossible III; The Painted Veil; Nanjing; Made in China; Platform; Ocean Paradise; and Sophie’s Revenge, among other titles. She went on from there into the producing ranks, as line producer for the smash hit Go, Lala, Go, and has since produced her own films, which include Lost in White and Run for Love. While at Wanda, she obtained the rights and put into development the 2015 hit Mojin – The Lost Legend and But Always, among other titles; at Croton she has overseen the upcoming films No Country for Old Men, directed by award-winning Ye Lou; Lost in White, directed by Xu Wei; and Blocking The Sky, based on the wildly popular series of books by the same name. Amid her time spent at Wanda and Croton, Crystal has also developed or produced over fifteen television series within greater China.
Julia Ramirez is a public relations and marketing professional with two decades of experience in marketing, advertising, PR, digital strategy and events planning. In early 2014 Julia founded Hello Marketing, Inc., bringing all of that experience to clients large and small, as a writer, producer, creative director, media strategist and PR executive.
Julia has worked on and helped spearhead campaigns for such clients as Amazon, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Sketchers, Mitsubishi, Evian, General Motors, Red Bull, Proctor & Gamble, Coldwell Banker, Kentucky Fried Chicken (YUM Brands), and Nestle, along with creating PR and marketing campaigns for her numerous celebrity clients.
Corporate Partner and Advisor
CEO, Kinland Media
Zhou Teng is the co-founder and CEO of Beijing Kinland Media, a company dedicated to Chinese and international TV and film production and content acquisition. Currently Kinland has deals with two different television distribution and production entities, including Hunan TV, the largest regional TV network in China, to develop and produce television and online entertainment for Asia.
Teng is a former marketing manager of a Nasdaq-listed company, and is a primary founder, with the He Zong group, of the talent show and contest, Star Power Competition. Prior to that, he worked on research dealing with media and culture in Macau with the China Culture Media Group. Teng has invested in companies within both the education technology and restaurant management worlds. He is a former student of famed Chinese sociologist Xueyi Lu.
Korea Media Specialist
Sarah Li is founder of STACON MEDIA, a Chinese-U.S. entertainment media company specializing in content acquisition, cross-border production and localization of foreign entertainment IPs including music, TV, film and digital media between China, Korea and the U.S. She worked on numerous episodic reality TV shows with major production studios and digital media platforms such as Youku, iQiyi, Koen Media and Urbanworks Media among others. Prior to forming STACON MEDIA, Sarah was head of the international division for YinYueTai.com - China’s most prominent online music video streaming company. While there, she developed projects with such international companies as Universal, Warner, Sony, SM, YG, JYP, KBS, SBS and Huayi Brothers among others in Korea, Japan and Taiwan.
In 2015 Sarah became the recipient of two China government-sponsored awards, the Phoenix Project Award for Best Entrepreneur and the Recruitment Program of Global Experts Award for outstanding overseas Chinese entrepreneurs. Sarah has been a speaker at various international forums on topics relating to the China – Korea entertainment industry relationship. Sarah is a graduate from New York University and Beijing Film Academy, and is fluent in Mandarin Chinese, Korean and English.
In the past five years Yixin (Mandy) Kou has been very active within the Chinese and Hollywood entertainment communities, rapidly rising through the ranks of several film production companies while taking on many responsibilities at each. As Project Coordinator at Blue Heaven, Kou helps the team coordinate the company's operations, including local project acquisition and financing opportunities; market analysis and IP research. Mandy also plays a key role in maintaining corporate relationships with producers and companies in China and Asia.
Before moving to Blue Heaven, Mandy served as an assistant and Story Editor at Sparkstone Entertainment in Beijing, where she assisted with project coordination and development; prior to that she worked as an intern at Fundamental Films in Hollywood. She has worked on several independent feature productions, including Tangerine, a film selected for its premiere at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival which garnered strong reviews, and also served as associate producer of its behind the scene interviews for its marketing campaign. She holds degrees in Economics and Sociology from the University of Toronto, along with an MFA in Producing from the New York Film Academy in Los Angeles. Kou speaks fluent Mandarin Chinese and English.
Monica started her career in development and acquisitions at The Samuel Goldwyn Company cultivating relationships with internationally renowned directors such as Zhang Yimou. During the height of the dotcom boom, she was recruited by DNA Studios to run their NY office as Head of Business Development. While at DNA, Monica developed new media strategies for such companies as Miramax Films, Focus Features, Elektra Records, and Atlantic Records, winning the much coveted Harry Potter web account from Warner Bros. along the way, before heading back West to helm film acquisitions for Artisan Entertainment (now Lionsgate). She later moved to Paramount as VP of Worldwide Acquisitions & Co-Productions. While at Paramount, she oversaw the development, production and acquisitions of numerous films and television series on verticals ranging from Music, Kids, Urban to Comedy.
Monica recently created On The Menu, a food competition reality show, in which she partnered with Mark Burnett for network TNT. Hosted by Ty Pennington with Chef Emeril Lagasse as Menu Master, On the Menu is television's first cooking show ever to give television viewers the chance to taste the winning dish after every episode. In addition to film and television, Monica has been pouring her traditional media experience into the newer frontiers of digital media. Among her current clients are Disney Interactive and YouTube. Monica works with both YouTube and its top content partners in the areas of Web Series, Music, Comedy, Style, Gaming and Sports.
Monica received her undergraduate degree from New York University’s Stern School of Business and her Masters from the Peter Stark Producing Program at the University of Southern California.
Advisor, Business Operations
Partner, Benchmark Studios
Rick Ambros has held several senior level positions in the entertainment industry as an executive, producer and COO, specializing in a variety of fields, from film financing and fund management to content development and production, marketing and distribution. Over his career Rick has worked with such Hollywood studios as Disney, Fox, Universal, Warner Bros., Paramount, and Sony; and internationally with ProSiebenSat.1 and Star TV. Most recently, Rick served as COO of Perfect Storm Entertainment, a joint venture between director Justin Lin and Chinese media company Seven Stars Entertainment, producers of the Chinese language feature Hollywood Adventures and U.S. TV series Scorpion.
Prior to Perfect Storm, Rick worked in both Germany and In India, with such companies as Constantin Entertainment, Sony Pictures Television, Fox, and WMG Film GmbH/W2 Films. At those companies he was instrumental in such things as setting up and launching Fox Television Studios India; and acquiring financing for studio partners Paramount, DreamWorks, NBC/Universal, and Warner Bros. He holds an M.B.A. from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College and a B.A. in Political Science and International Relations from Tufts University.
President, Forward Entertainment
With over three decades of international sales experience, Michael Thornton has built a long resume of success in sales, marketing and worldwide film distribution. Holding high level posts at such companies as BVI/Walt Disney Studios, Hanna Barbara, Spelling Entertainment, Wellspring, and other companies, Michael has been responsible for helping to internationally pre-sell and release some of the biggest box office films of the past 20 years. Along the way he has also overseen and marketed the third largest independent film library in the world, when he was asked to distribute the Republic Pictures catalog of films, including such titles as It’s a Wonderful Life, The Bells of St. Mary’s, Stephen King’s Cujo, and hundreds of other titles. He has marketed internationally in TV as well, including the sales of such worldwide hits as Beverly Hills 90210, Dallas, Melrose Place, and more.
Michael is an expert at foreign pre-sales, and holds close and longstanding relationships with distribution companies and film commissions all over the world. He has been responsible for bringing down the budget levels by pre-selling territories on such films as The Usual Suspects, Bound, and others. Since 2005 Michael has been a partner of Forward Entertainment, a worldwide sales, marketing, and production financing company. There he’s marketed such features as Bradley Cooper’s Bending All the Rules and several Oscar short-listed Documentaries.
Michael Thornton has longstanding relationships the world over with talent, television broadcasters and home video executives, along with DVD and theatrical distributors of both mainstream and independent films. He has participated in several international panels, workshops and juries, including the MITV Market in Sao Paulo, Brazil, BritDocs at Oxford University, England; Skip City Digital Festival in Japan; Ancine/Brazilian Film Festival in Miami, the Gijon international Film Festival in Spain, and the Thessaloniki Film Festival in Greece.