2017 Guest Speakers


Janice Williams
Keynote Address
Sunday, 10/22, 6 PM during the Awards Dinner at Chemeketa

Janice Williams joined financing and production company Groundswell Productions in early 2007 and currently produces and serves as President of Production for the company.

Williams was nominated for an Emmy for producing HBO's CONFIRMATION written by Susannah Grant, directed by Rick Famuyiwa and starring Kerry Washington as Anita Hill and Wendell Pierce as Clarence Thomas.

She recently produced BIRTH OF THE DRAGON which screened at TIFF 2016, written by Stephen J. Rivele and Christopher Wilkinson, directed by George Nolfi, and starring Xia Yu, Philip Ng, and Billy Magnussen; LOVE THE COOPERS, directed by Jessie Nelson from the script by Steven Rogers and starring Diane Keaton, Alan Arkin, John Goodman, Marisa Tomei, Amanda Seyfried, Olivia Wilde, Ed Helms, June Squibb and Anthony Mackie; and TRUMBO, directed by Jay Roach from the script by John McNamara and starring Bryan Cranston (who was nominated for an Oscar for his performance as Dalton Trumbo), Diane Lane, John Goodman, Louis CK, and Helen Mirren.

On the television side, Williams is currently producing a new pilot for Showtime (UNTITLED FRANKIE SHAW PROJECT) in addition to the second season of THE MAGICIANS for SyFy based on Lev Grossman’s bestselling book trilogy and CHANCE adapted from the noir thriller by Kem Nunn and starring Hugh Laurie which started airing on Hulu in October 2016. Williams also produced the ABC limited series THE ASTRONAUT WIVES CLUB which aired in 2015.

Other recent productions include THE FINAL GIRLS, directed by Todd Strauss-Schulson from the script by Joshua John Miller and M.A. Fortin; Fox Searchlight’s LOLA VERSUS, directed by Daryl Wein and starring Greta Gerwig; VERY GOOD GIRLS, written and directed by Naomi Foner and starring Dakota Fanning, Elizabeth Olsen, and Boyd Holbrook; and NIGHTLIGHT, a supernatural thriller by filmmakers Scott Beck and Bryan Woods released by Lionsgate in March 2015; and ALL GOOD THINGS, the Andrew Jarecki directed thriller starring Ryan Gosling and Kirsten Dunst (the true story of which was made into THE JINX, a documentary by Jarecki for HBO.) Williams also oversaw production on APPALOOSA, directed by and starring Ed Harris; MILK, Gus Van Sant’s Harvey Milk biopic starring Sean Penn, Josh Brolin, and James Franco as well as on WIN WIN, THE VISITOR, SMART PEOPLE, and MYSTERIES OF PITTSBURGH.

Williams began her career in film in 1996 working in the UK for Carnival Films and acclaimed British producer Brian Eastman (Shadowlands). She moved into freelance work in production before moving to New York where she was production manager/supervisor on many films including three Woody Allen films (THE CURSE OF THE JADE SCORPION, HOLLYWOOD ENDING and ANYTHING ELSE), Michel Gondry’s DAVE CHAPPELLE’S BLOCK PARTY, Lasse Hallstrom’s THE HOAX and James Gray’s WE OWN THE NIGHT.

Williams, born and raised in Glasgow, Scotland, moved to London upon graduating from college and started her career in entertainment in the music industry. After 5 years managing record producers and engineers in both London and Los Angeles, she began a seven year association with Mick Jagger managing recording activities for both his solo work and albums for the Rolling Stones, and working with him to found his independent production company, Jagged Films.


Ben Popp, NW Film Center and OMPA Board of Directors
Presentation: "Trailblazing Women of Independent Animation in the NW"
Sunday, 10/22, 12 PM, Chemeketa

Ben Popp is the Filmmaker Services Manager at the NW Film Center based in Portland, Oregon. Here he oversees all of the regional programming, from the annual Northwest Filmmakers’ Festival to the year-round programming of Northwest Tracking, including overseeing a tour and filmmaker grant to boot.

In addition to his curatorial job, Ben is also an award-winning independent stop-motion animator and experimental filmmaker whose work has screened in the Northwest Filmmakers Festival and exhibited nationally and internationally. He was a recipient of the 2013 Oregon Media Arts Fellowship. 

Prior to his role with NW Film, Ben worked as the media education coordinator at Portland Community Media while also teaching animation courses at Portland State University and Pacific University. In addition to working as a teaching artist in schools throughout the greater metro area, Ben also co-founded and directed the Experimental Film Festival Portland. Ben holds an MFA in Film, Video and New Media from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He is a current member of the Oregon Media Production Association’s (OMPA) Board of Directors.


Filmmaker Q&A Panel – a 4-person panel moderated by Ben Popp in which filmmakers will discuss their experiences in filmmaking
Sunday, 10/22, 1 PM, Chemeketa

A.J. Gordon of Loaded Image Entertainment is an organized and reliable film-nerd evoking the entrepreneurial spirit. He is a tried and true producer of independent feature films, broadcast commercials, and high-end corporate video content. Born and raised in Portland, Oregon, as a fan of the outdoors, film, live music, film, sports, film, and movies…, A.J. earned a Bachelor's degree in Digital Media Production then immediately moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career in entertainment. He gained years of professional experience on national commercials and A-List special events before re-relocating back to Portland to be involved with its ever-growing media community.

Jason Rosenblatt fell in love with telling stories in high school and eventually settled on filmmaking as the way to do it. After attending graduate film school, he moved to Los Angeles to work in the trenches for the better part of a decade and was hired by Heather E. Connell to edit her award-winning documentaries “Small Voices: The Stories of Cambodia’s Children” and “Forget Us Not”. After returning to his hometown of Portland, Jason made his narrative feature debut with the thriller “Vicious”, which would go on to win Best Director at the Oregon Independent Film Festival and take home the Indie Auteur of the Year Award at the 18th Annual Bare Bones International Film and Music Festival.

Joan Macbeth is an award-winning screenwriter who has won or placed in competitions such as Big Bear Lake Film Festival, Moondance, and Scriptapalooza. She worked with L.A. producer Michael Gruskoff (“Young Frankenstein”); on the script adaptation of Jennie Shortridge’s novel, When She Flew, and was co-writer on the documentary, “My Shanghai”. Born in Newberg, Oregon, Joan is delighted to be returning to Oregon with “Honestly Charlotte”.

Stevie Jackson is an award-winning actress and veteran of both stage and screen with film and TV credits including “Supernatural”, the upcoming “Honestly Charlotte: The Series”, and roles in a small hoard of short films and web series. She also has a long history of independent theatre, where in addition to acting, she has worked as an assistant director, producer and stage manager. “Honestly Charlotte” is her first screenplay.