Independent Feature Project/West is using a seminar to connect indie U.S. filmmakers to Japanese financing and co-production opportunities.

A number of Japanese executives as well as U.S. representatives of Japanese entities will participate in a panel discussion to be held, in conjunction with the American Film Marketing Assn. market, at the Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel Feb. 19.

The seminar is expected to identify potential Japanese investors, the type of projects likely to attract Japanese financing and tips on opening up relationships with Japanese partners.

Also to be explored are opportunities for acquisitions and other related meshing of U.S. creativity and Japanese yen. The discussion’s title is “Pacific Overtures – Is There Yen For Independents?”

Panelists scheduled to take part are Kaz Kuzui of specialty Japanese distribution firm Kuzui Enterprises; Yoshiki Nishimura, of NHK/MICO North America; Elizabeth Saxon, of Takenaka & Co., an investment banking firm specializing in locating real estate and entertainment investments for Japanese clients; Jeffrey Yalowitz, of the L.A. office of Dentsu, which links American filmmakers with Japanese investors; Christopher C. Murray, an O’Melveny & Myers attorney who specializes in Japanese joint ventures; writer-director Leonard Schrader, whose “Naked Tango” was bankrolled by Japan’s Toho-Towa; and Stephen K. Bannon, of Talbott, Bannon & Co./Mount Film Group.

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