Hollywood Leaders Slated as Speakers for Biola Media Conference

Apr. 11, 2012 By Jenna Bartlo

STUDIO CITY, CALIF.,— Headlining the 17th annual Biola Media Conference will be Hollywood moguls such as DeVon Franklin, VP Production at Columbia/Sony Pictures, Simon Swart, VP Fox Home Entertainment, director Marc Forster, and director and screenwriter Gavin O’Connor.

The one-day conference, held at CBS Studios back lot on Sat., May 5, 2012 will focus on finding creative breakthroughs for filmmakers and unites major Hollywood executives and feature film directors alongside aspiring filmmakers and students.  

Keynote Speakers for the 2012 conference include:

DeVon Franklin, Vice President of Production at Columbia Pictures/Sony and author of the new book, “Produced By Faith.”  Franklin has helped to oversee such hits as: THE PURSUIT OF HAPPYNESS and HANCOCK, both of which starred Will Smith and saw enormous worldwide success; 21, starring Kevin Spacey; THE PINK PANTHER, starring Steve Martin; and THE UGLY TRUTH with Katherine Heigl, among many others.

Simon Swart is Executive Vice President and General Manager of North America, Fox Home Entertainment Retail Operations.  Before joining Fox in 1997, Swart worked at Buena Vista Home Entertainment and Warner Home Entertainment. Under his leadership, Fox has set sales records by making fundamental changes in its sales methodology, and has developed new distribution models including Fox Faith.

Gavin O’Connor is a film director, screenwriter, playwright and producer. After executive producing several independent projects, O’Connor gained recognition for his 2004 film MIRACLE, based on the U.S. hockey team’s victory in the 1980 Winter Olympics, which he directed for Walt Disney Pictures.  His 20-year career has most recently included directing and writing the acclaimed 2011 release WARRIOR, which garnered Nick Nolte a Best Supporting Actor nomination at the Academy Awards.

Marc Forster, after attending New York University, directed several acclaimed films and won the “Someone to Watch” honor at the 2000 Independent Spirit Awards. This award was followed up quickly with MONSTER’S BALL (2001), the racially fueled, award-winning drama starring Billy Bob Thornton and Halle Berry.  Throughout his career, Forster has become a directorial favorite with his films including FINDING NEVERLAND, STRANGER THAN FICTION, THE KITE RUNNER and the James Bond favorite QUANTUM OF SOLACE.  Forster has received seven Oscar nominations (winning for Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Score) and five Golden Globe nominations.

C. McNair Wilson is a leading voice for creativity in all facets of life. He is the C.E.O. of AssumeBrillianceGroup, which has a client list that includes Apple, the Salvation Army, the U.S. Government Management Training Center, and Johns-Hopkins University/Applied Physics Laboratory.   McNair believes that everyone has a creative spirit, though some are more actively creative. He draws on his professional experience in theme park design, theatre, graphic design, cartooning and illustration, creative writing, and entertainment design. He is a published author of four books including his most recently published: “HATCH! Brainstorming Secrets of a Theme Park Designer” and “RAISED IN CAPTIVITY, A Memoir of a Life Long Churchaholic.”

Stan Williams is author of “THE MORAL PREMISE: Harnessing Virtue and Vice for Box Office Success” released in 2006 by Hollywood publisher Michael Wiese Productions. Because of this book he is frequently asked to consult on major motion picture projects, most notably since 2008 he has worked with Will Smith as a story and script consultant on various motion picture projects.

Interviews will be available with a limited number of speakers. For a press pass, please email Jenna Bartlo at jenna.l.bartlo@biola.edu and complete a press application at www.biolamedia.com.

The Biola Media Conference attracts more than 600 attendees — making it the largest event in the nation for people of faith working in the entertainment industry.  It is known for its intimate and practical conversations with Hollywood leaders, and professional training and instruction from some of the most influential individuals in film, television, public relations, media marketing, management and digital media.

For more information or to register online, visit www.biolamedia.com. General Admission ($150) is open until April 26, 2012; Cost is $180 at the door.  Lunch and coffee bar provided.

About Biola Media Conference:

In its 17th year, the Biola Media Conference exists to educate, inspire, and network media professionals while providing creative inspiration into the spiritual nature of any career in the media industry. BMC attracts participants who will benefit from direct interaction with acclaimed industry pros who are at the top of their craft. From CEOs to students, attendees secure valuable information, insight, and contacts that strengthen their character and their careers.


Biola University, named one of 17 “up and coming” national universities by U.S. News & World Report in 2011, is a private Christian university located in Southern California. For more than 100 years, Biola has remained committed to its mission of biblically centered education, integrating biblical principles with every academic program. With a current record-high enrollment of 6,250 students, the university’s six schools offer 145 academic programs, ranging from the B.A. to the Ph.D. For more information, visit www.biola.edu.


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