The Digital Hollywood Experience

The Digital Hollywood Experience


Thursday, October 12th, 2017

12:30 PM - 1:45 PM

Track III: Herscher Hall, 3rd Floor, Room 305

Crowdfunding Breakthrough: Access to Capital Meritocracy through Reg A+ to Crowdfunding Campaigns for Film - TV - Technology

Francis Pollara, Strategy & Venture Manager, Launch

Ethan Gilmore, founder and CEO, VARcrypt

Phil Ashcroft, founder and chief creative, RTSTRY, Board Member at BAFTA Los Angeles

Jillian Sidoti Esq. Crowdfunding Lawyers

Richard Grover, CEO and President: VaranIDEA

Corey Epstein, Co-CEO, DSTLD

Mariana Danilovic, Founder and Managing Director, Hollywood Portfolio, Moderator


Ethan Gilmore is the the founder and CEO of VARcrypt.  Prior to founding VARcrypt Ethan was the President of Virtualize, which was a virtual reality focused technology and media company that made premium VR content for companies such as Samsung, SoHo House, Punchdrunk and many others.  Ethan has spoken at Harvard Business School Club of New York, Harvard Business School Club of Philadelphia, Digital Hollywood, Silicon Beach, Jefferies, Young President’s Organization, Viacom, and The New School regarding blockchain technologies and their applications across various industries.  Prior to Virtualize and VARcrypt, Ethan worked in the  media, entertainment, & alternative

investment space as well as the UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees).  Ethan is a Magna Cum Laude graduate of the University of California, Los Angeles.


Francis Pollara is the Strategy & Venture Manager of Launch is a uniquely positioned venture fund, backed by Luma, one of the worlds most successful independent creative studios. Our diverse team, along with hundreds of mentors, foster a vibrant tech ecosystem as it intersects with entertainment and media in Los Angeles. At our core we are entrepreneurs, creatives and operators with a passion for identifying and nurturing exceptional talent and ideas. Pollara, a serial entrepreneur and startup advisor, launched Luma’s fund in late 2015 and is tasked with identifying, vetting and pursing high impact ventures. He has a track record of recognizing unique opportunities and providing the expertise and intimate knowledge across various industries to facilitate growing startups. Pollara brings unique foresight to lead investments in technology and ideas of the future.


Corey Epstein is the Co-Founder, Co-CEO, and Creative Director of DSTLD, leading his team in the day to day operations of the company as well as guiding the broader creative vision for the brand. There’s no typical day for Corey – you might find him at table intently tweaking code or on the floor, camera in hand, snapping the perfect photo. He established a talent for executing a concept and creating a mood early on. Prior to founding DSTLD, Corey led his own marketing and web consulting firm where he advised hundreds of clients across all industries on branding, design, development, and strategy. Later, he served as a Senior Consultant at Deloitte, specializing in Retail Strategy and Analytics. He holds a BBA from Loyola Marymount University with a focus in Business Law and earned his MBA from UCLA Anderson School of Management. He always finds a way to combine what he loves most – music, art, and photography – with work. In his free time, Corey enjoys hiking, playing guitar, and honing his skills behind the lens.


Phil Ashcroft, Board member BAFTA Los Angeles, chair digital media co-mmittee: Phil has over 14 years of global media experience in major markets, including the delivery of productions on Television, Online and Mobile and most recently the launch of a YouTube network. As general manager of Participant Media's YouTube business, Phil was responsible for the launch and operation of TakePart TV, part of the YouTube Originals program. He commissioned pioneering shows including a series with Kobe Bryant, where he spent a night in a shelter on skid row, highlighting the plight of the homeless. In the lead-up to the recent General Election he worked with Henry Rollins on his 'Capitalism' tour, a 50 dates in 50 states series of live events talking about the issues that matter which culminated in a live broadcast on the eve of the election in DC. Following on from Dan Savage's 'It Gets Better' campaign, Phil commissioned Dan to produce short-form programming on sexuality and partnered on a Google+ hangout on national 'It Gets Better' day. Each show and episode had the distinctive mission and DNA of 'entertainment that matters' the mission being to drive viewers to take action on a particular social issue. Phil's 'Blind Judo' series was recently short-listed for an IAWTV award. Prior to Participant, Phil worked for over 10 years at BBC Worldwide in a number of different roles. As the brand manager for the BBC's flagship music show, 'Top Of The Pops', Phil took the UK phenomenon and turned it into a global hit, launching and licensing the show in over 120 countries around the world. Later he was part of the team that did the same with the 'Top Gear' show. He launched a range of high profile multimedia properties with BBC Worldwide in the US, UK and around the world, including 'Top Gear', 'Walking With Dinosaurs' and 'Planet Earth'. Phil led the team that created the first mobile comedy content for the BBC including clips from 'The Office', 'Little Britain' and 'Dr Who'. Phil was responsible for BBC Worldwide America's first ever original digital content on 'Dance War: Bruno vs. Carrie Ann' in partnership with iTunes and ABC, a first for ABC as well. As CEO of Island Nation Media Phil produced, licensed and financed several award winning digital shows, including 'Goodnight Burbank' which launched on Hulu and subsequently was licensed to HD Net in a early example of internet content crossing over to TV. As part of this business Phil became involved in branded content where among other ventures he produced 'In The Kitchen' a cooking show paid for by Jenn-Air. Phil is currently a board member of BAFTA Los Angeles as well  as chairing the digital media committee and co-chairing the video games committee. He consults with a number of high-profile media and technology companies


Richard Grover, CEO and President: VaranIDEA: Richard grew up on a dairy farm in Vermont, where his parents taught him all work is honorable, work hard, and do what you say you will.  He has a Master’s degree and post graduate work toward his PhD.  The topic of interest to him then and now is Asset Management.  T.E.A.M Asset Allocation: Time, Energy, Ability and Money.  Every person has these Assets and an organization has the compilation of all their team members’ Assets.  But in the case of an organization, the interaction of individuals creates a multiplier factor – an “X Factor” …for good or bad. The mobile app KALiiN is an outgrowth of this concept and is designed to be a personal, specific, private AI for everyone.Richard travels extensively around the world for work and pleasure.  He has established companies in Costa Rica, Nigeria, Hong Kong and Romania, as well as the US.  He has an extensive global network of contacts and knowledge.  He is as just as at home in New York City as he is in London, Milan, Bucharest, Singapore, Abuja or Hong Kong. His background is that of a broad set of technology skills: Software Development, Infrastructure, Analytics and Complex Design.  Richard’s solid business value generation experience and financial analysis skills make for a unique mix. He specializes in looking at problems from a different perspective to produce creative, compelling solutions. For example, after analyzing a specific business/technology situation, he created an algorithm that generated over $2B in revenue. He also designed a “MiFi” unit over fifteen years ago and has one of the first production units still. Richard’s current companies, include, VaranIDEA, LLC, KALiiN, LLC and Card-And-Stuff, LLC.  VaranIDEA is the holding company.  He envisioned this new, egalitarian approach to Acceleration and Funding while in Enugu Nigeria.  VaranIDEA is a very different form of bring ideas to life.  It is designed with the “outsider” in mind. Everyone should win.  “Where Innovation Meets Execution!”  KALiiN is the flagship mobile application is available today, in its infancy stage. Card-And-Stuff is both physical and mobile game that is in development.


Jillian Sidoti Esq. Crowdfunding Lawyers: Jillian Sidoti, Esq. is one of the country’s leading experts on crowdfunding. Her firm,, focuses on securities transactions with an emphasis on servicing the small business and entrepreneurs providing PPM’s, Regulation A filings, and small public offerings. Prior to her legal career, Jillian owned and operated a record label enabling her to tour worldwide with artists.  Jillian has taught Finance and Accounting for the BS and MBA programs at the University of Redlands. Jillian is the author of The Crowdfunding Myth which debunks the multiple myths surrounding crowdfunding and teaches the reader how to effectively crowdfund their securities offering.  Trowbridge Sidoti LLP ( is a boutique law firm whose area of practice includes setting up Syndications, Private Placement Offerings, Private Equity Funds, and Joint Ventures for real estate ventures and small business startups. Trowbridge Sidoti LLP's legal services include preparation of Private Placement Memorandums (PPMs) and investor Subscription Agreements, selecting the appropriate securities exemption, formation and structuring of legal entities, and drafting investor agreements such as limited liability company (LLC) Operating Agreements or Private Loan Documents. We prepare and file the securities notices with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and state securities agencies required to qualify for a securities exemption from registration. The firm’s clients range from seasoned and sophisticated commercial real estate investors and brokers to individuals raising Private Money from family and friends for their first deal or new business. Many of their first-time syndication clients have gone on to do multiple Private Securities Offerings. Trowbridge Sidoti assists clients with federal securities offerings in all 50 states.


Mariana Danilovic, CEO, hollywood portfolio: Ms. Danilovic is the Founder and CEO of hollywood portfolio, a crowd-centric accelerator that develops and operates Augmented, Virtual Reality, Artificial Intelligence, and digital media companies. Through hollywood portfolio, Ms. Danilovic launched and helped develop numerous technology and digital media companies, and served as the President, CEO and Director of ultralivetv, served on the Board of Directors of Emerge Digital, serves on the Board of Advisors of Transmosis, LoveTV, and NightFlight. Ms. Danilovic was the EVP Business Development for NTN Buzztime, Inc. (AMEX:NTN) and Head of Business Development, Content Aggregation and Programming for MediaZone, broadband video company owned by NASPERS/MIH media conglomerate. She also founded and directed the Digital Media Incubator at KPMG LLP, which launched about two-dozen digital media companies. The companies Ms. Danilovic helped develop received institutional funding from KPCB, Sequoia Capital, Hummer-Winblad, Constellation Partners, Softbank, North Star Ventures, HP, and Intel. Ms. Danilovic headed business development for Peter Guber’s Mandalay Entertainment and was on the management team of the venture fund at Sony Pictures Entertainment, investing in media companies worldwide. Ms. Danilovic also worked for Michael Milken’s Knowledge Exchange and at the Twentieth Century Fox International Television Group. She serves on the Board of Directors of C3, the Arts and Media Node of the Millennium Project, served on the Board of Directors of the Producers’ Guild of America, and is a member of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. She previously served on the Board of Directors of Tim Draper’s Zone Club and was a member of former Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan's Digital Coast Roundtable. Mariana earned a Masters in Business Administration from the Anderson Graduate School of Management at UCLA, and a Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics, with a Minor in Biomedical Engineering from University of California, San Diego.