SOURCE: WESTDOC: The West Coast Documentary and Reality Conference

WESTDOC: The West Coast Documentary and Reality Conference

September 13, 2012 16:01 ET

Third Annual WESTDOC Conference Announces Winner of Popular PitchFest 2012 Competition -- Erinnisse Heuer for "Spirit/Will/Loss"

The Gilbert Group at Merrill Lynch Wealth Management-Bank of America, FirstCom Music, Chainsaw, Zacuto and GoPro Donate Cash and Prizes to Make Total PitchFest Winner's Prize Package Worth WESTDOC Record $25,000

CULVER CITY, CA--(Marketwire - Sep 13, 2012) -  The WESTDOC PitchFest 2012 competition was won by budding Ridgewood, N.Y. filmmaker Erinnisse Heuer for her pitch of the feature-length documentary "Spirit/Will/Loss," it was announced today by Chuck Braverman and Richard Propper, co-founders of WESTDOC: The West Coast Documentary and Reality Conference held Sunday-Wednesday, Sept. 9-12 in Culver City, Calif. The PitchFest winner, judged by the conference audience, claimed the largest prize package in competition's three-year history, valued at a WESTDOC record of more than $25,000.

PitchFest was WESTDOC 2012's climactic all-day event on Wednesday, Sept. 12, where 12 finalists of documentary and reality producers pitched new works in progress directly to funders and network development executives in front of a live audience for potential acquisition, licensing or co-production funding. The pitches include at least three minutes each of video and verbal pitching, not exceeding eight total minutes.

Heuer's "Spirit/Will/Loss," about six artists who are overcoming personal tragedies to find a new artistic voice, won best-pitch honors to capture the third annual "WESTDOC Pitcher Award," as well as a dramatically increased prize package. The winning prize money was raised from $7,500 (2010) to $10,000, thanks to the generous support of competition sponsor The Gilbert Group at Merrill Lynch Wealth Management-Bank of America. In addition to prize money, the total PitchFest 2012 prize package included a one-year All Media Music License from FirstCom Music, source of over 170,000 tracks of easy to license, high-quality music for film and television; a $5,000 Post/Edit Package from Hollywood post facility Chainsaw; a Z-FINDER PRO 2.5X DSLR optical viewfinder from Zacuto; and a 1HD HERO2 camera from GoPro Cameras

"I am so happy and grateful for the support WESTDOC has shown me on my first documentary effort, and I really appreciate everyone's encouragement for me to go forward and make this film," says Heuer. "I was extremely surprised that I put this up in front of the people at WESTDOC and, I guess because of the verbal pitch, they got it. I think they really understood the heart and the integrity of what this film is going to be, and that was extremely exciting."

"The quality of PitchFest presentations just keeps getting better and better each year, and in watching the pitches, I definitely would not have been able to pick the winner because I thought there were half a dozen of them that each could have won," says co-founder and PitchFest committee chair Braverman, Academy Award®-nominated producer/director. "The first and second place finishers were both great and deserved recognition, and I think it's astonishing that the difference was only one vote."

Also for the first time at WESTDOC 2012, PitchFest prizes were presented to more than the winner. The PitchFest runner-up, Donald Bowman (Carmel, Calif.) with his pitch of "Heart: Flatline to Finish Line" about heart patients running a triathlon, received a one-year All Media Music License for his project from FirstCom Music. Several additional prizes were be awarded by random drawing to members of the voting PitchFest audience, including the same Z-FINDER PRO 2.5X optical viewfinder (Zacuto) and 1HD HERO2 camera (GoPro) provided to the winner, and $1,500 worth of training from Moviola in Hollywood.

PitchFest 2012 was made possible by the support of the following sponsors: The Gilbert Group at Merrill Lynch Wealth Management-Bank of America, Chainsaw, First Com Film/TV Music, Cynopsis Media, GoPro, Gratlin, Moviola and Zaguto USA.

"Our PitchFest 2012 competition was the best we've had yet, and serves as a fitting climax to our third conference," concludes Propper, distribution executive and managing partner of WESTDOC. "Culver City is an ideal open environment, and having the conference here has been fantastic. We had a record number of attendees this year, who enjoyed the new location and ultimately gave us the biggest voting pool we've ever had to determine our PitchFest champion."

WESTDOC: The West Coast Documentary and Reality Conference (Sept. 9-12, 2012) gathers producers and directors of non-fiction/documentary and reality television programming with executives who create such programs. Recognized as the premier conference of its kind on the West Coast, more than 100 industry speakers participate in the conference, which consists of panels, case studies, social events and exclusive networking sessions. More than 30 panels are conducted regarding financing, conceiving and selling a documentary or reality TV one-off or series. Contemporary topics covered also include distribution models from theatrical presentation to digital platforms. 

WESTDOC 2012's exclusive opening night film screenings, panels, keynote presentation, PitchFest competition and vendor area are all located at the beautiful Pacific Culver Stadium 12 Theaters, while the historic and remodeled Culver Hotel, just steps away from the theater, serves as the social center point of the conference. Detailed updates for WESTDOC 2012 and 2013 can be found at, as well as WESTDOC's Facebook and Twitter sites.

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