14th Annual Biola Media Conference to Explore “CLOSING THE DEAL” in Hollywood and the Global Media Markets

Feb. 24, 2009 By Jenna Bartlo

LOS ANGELES, CALIF.  --- Biola University’s Media Conference is proud to announce an outstanding line up of keynote speakers at this year’s conference, themed “Closing the Deal.”  On April 25, 2009, the conference will return to CBS Studio Lot in Studio City, CA for its annual gathering.

The Biola Media Conference is recognized as the largest and most influential national gathering for industry professionals of faith in the entertainment field today, uniquely providing spiritual inspiration alongside informative, creative and professional opportunities.

"The Biola Media Conference gives you a 30,000 foot view of Hollywood - how it works, how to navigate the system, and how to create powerful relationships.” said Ralph Winter, conference speaker and producer of X-Men, Wolverine, and Fantastic Four. “This year's theme " CLOSING THE DEAL" is especially timely, because wishing doesn't make projects happen.”

These experts will share their thoughts and experiences in helping attendees to navigate the challenging world of film, TV and digital media, examining the conference theme “Closing the Deal.” Workshops will feature the art of pitching, knowing what projects Hollywood is looking for, discovering niche projects, no-budget filmmaking, legal aspects of deal-making, how power is used in Hollywood, living out your faith, and much more.

"Everyone comes to Hollywood with a dream,” added Phil Cooke, CEO/Creative Director of Cooke Pictures and co-host of the Biola Media Conference, “but few know how to make that dream happen.  This year's Biola Media Conference focus is on ‘CLOSING THE DEAL’, and will address the keys to taking your project from the dream stage to the sound stage, and in the process — transform your future."

Conference attendees will have the opportunity to hear numerous front-line speakers, attend workshops, interact at panel discussions, and enjoy valuable networking opportunities along the CBS back lot sets. 

“We’ve seen production partnerships formed, agents secured, and distribution deals made as a result of this conference, but most importantly, we’ve seen people come away challenged and inspired by the high caliber of industry pro’s who come to share their expertise with us”, states Peggy Rupple, Co-Director of the Biola Media Conference, “this year looks to be exceptional.”

2009 Keynote speakers include (Bios below):

Joe Eszterhas – Screenwriter/Author. Writer of Basic Instinct, Jagged Edge and Flashdance.

Ralph Winter – Executive Producer. X-MEN, Planet of the Apes, Fantastic Four, Wolverine

Terry Botwick – Producer/CEO of 1019 Entertainment. Managed Fox’s production of Space Chimps and MGM’s Ribbit.  Former  VP of CBS Entertainment.  

Susan Isaacs – Writer/Comedienne. TV co-star on Seinfield, My Name is Earl and author of Angry Conversations with God.

Phil Cooke – Director/Author.  Branding Faith, The Last TV Evangelist.


Joe Eszterhas has written 15 films that have grossed more than a billion dollars at the box office, including Basic Instinct, Jagged Edge, Flashdance and Showgirls.  Two of the five books he’s written have received the distinction of The New York Times Bestsellers, and his non-fiction novel Charlie Simpson’s Apocalypse was nominated for a National Book Award.  He has been called “The Che Guevara of screenwriters” (Daily Variety), “a living Hollywood legend” (ABC’s 20/20), and Time Magazine states “If Shakespeare were alive today, his name would be Joe Eszterhas?”  Joe’s latest book is “Crossbearer: A Memoir of Faith.”

Ralph Winter has produced over 25 films, grossing over $2 billion dollars worldwide, as well as produced and directed TV for Steven Speilberg at Dreamworks.  This list includes the following Academy Award nominated films: X-MEN, X-Men United, Fantastic Four, Mighty Joe Young, Star Trek VI, Star Trek IV, and Planet of the Apes. Ralph's recent films include X-Men: The Last Stand, Thr3e, and Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer.  Currently Ralph is a partner in a new joint film company, 1019 Productions and founding partner of the commercial production company Thomas Winter Cooke. 

Terry Botwick has had an amazing career in television and motion pictures. As former President of Vanguard Films, Terry managed the production of the CGI animated Space Chimps for Fox, and Ribbit for MGM. He arranged $120 million for the co-publishing of video games and spearheaded Vanguard’s expansion into the direct to video business with MGM. Prior to Vanguard, Terry was founder of Thunderpoint Partners, where he arranged a co-finance and distribution partnership with Sony Pictures Entertainment.  As former SVP at CBS Entertainment, he helped the network rise from third to first place and oversaw all primetime series programming (developing three successful series) and special events (Grammy Awards, Tony Awards, Emmy Awards, etc.).  His eclectic resume also includes broad-ranging successes such as: President of Worldwide Television Distribution and Production for Hearst Corporation, (which produced 12-14 television movies per year), Founder/CEO of e-learning company Spongelab, and President/COO of Big Idea Productions (VeggieTales).

Susan Issacs is a writer and comedienne with credits in TV, film, stage and radio. Her numerous TV credits include co-starring roles on Seinfield, My Name is Earl, Providence and more.  An alumnus of the Groundlings Sunday Company, she has written numerous works for NPR’s Weekend America, Sit N Spin at Comedy Central Stage, and Show and Tell at Upright Citizen’s Brigade Theatre.  Her memoir “Angry Conversations with God: A Snarky, but Authentic Spiritual Memoir” explores the idea that if her relationship with God was supposed to be a marriage, she and God needed marriage counseling.

Phil Cooke is a television producer with a Ph.D. in Theology. Phil Cooke advises many of the largest and most effective non-profit and faith-based organizations in the world. He’s appeared on MSNBC, CNBC, CNN, Fox News Network, and his work has been profiled in the New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, and The Wall Street Journal.  Christianity Today magazine called him a “media guru,” and he’s also a founding partner in TWC Films – a commercial production company that produced two spots for the 2008 Super Bowl.  His new book is: “The Last TV Evangelist: Why The Next Generation Couldn’t Care Less About Religious Media.”  Phil is changing the way religious organizations and non-profits use the media to engage culture. 
The Biola Media Conference is sponsored by Biola University’s acclaimed Cinema and Media Arts Department. For the most up to date information on this event, for sponsorship information, or to register online, visit www.biolamedia.com, call 1-866-334-2266, or e-mail bmc@biola.edu.


Biola University is a private Christian university located in Southern California on the border of Los Angeles and Orange counties in the city of La Mirada. For over 100 years, Biola has remained committed to its biblical foundation, integrating biblical principles with every academic program. U.S. News & World Report recognizes Biola as a “National University,” which is considered the “major leagues” of higher education. In addition to its focus on intentional spiritual development and career preparation, Biola offers a unique academic environment where all faculty, staff and students are professing Christians. With over 145 academic programs in seven schools, Biola offers degrees ranging from B.A. to Ph.D. For more information, visit www.biola.edu or call (562) 777 – 4061.

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