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Westdoc confab announces PitchFest finalists

Culver City confab hosts feature doc screenings, reality panels

The third annual Westdoc West Coast Documentary and Reality Conference opens Sept. 9 in Culver City with screenings of “Jason Becker, Not Dead Yet,” “Off Label” and “Big Boys Gone Bananas!*.” The confab, which runs to Sept. 12, ends with an all-day PitchFest.

The first two years’ PitchFest winners, “First Postition” in 2009 and “IndieGame the Movie” in 2010, both went on to theatrical releases. PitchFest winners will be awarded up to $26,000 in cash and services.

More than 130 speakers are confirmed for the conference at the Pacific Culver Stadium 12 Theaters, with panels on subjects including financing and selling documentaries and reality TV shows and distribution models. Companies represented at the confab include ABC, Bravo, Discovery, KCET, NBC, TLC and YouTube.

Finalist projects presenting at the PitchFest are “Big Voice” from Varda Hardy; “Black Coral” from Brett Winn; “Formula: Race LAB” from Jerry Magana; “Heart: Flatline to Finish Line” from Donald Bowman; “Holy Land” from Peter Cohn; “The Last First” from Jan Wellmann; “The Last Wild Race” from Ian Campbell; “My Oregon Trail” from Sandor Lau; “The Quiet Riot Movie” from Regina Russell; “The Real Manger” from John Grooters; “Show Search” from Alex Rotaru and “Spirit/Will/Loss” from Erinnisse Heuer.

“Jason Becker, Not Dead Yet” is the story of a guitar prodigy with Lou Gehrig’s Disease, while “Off Label” tells the story of human pharmaceutical test subjects. “Big Boys Gone Bananas!*” is a follow-up to the controversy caused when Dole Food Co. attempted to block the 2009 docu “Bananas!*”

“These three films are the best of the best curated from popular documentary festivals worldwide,” said Chuck Braverman, who co-founded the confab with Richard Propper.

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