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Dinner For The Independent


Register at Ticket prices $30
Donations accepted (Help fund a film)

Dinner and the Independent Filmmaker is a panel event with guests that have created, distributed, and/or profited from independent filmmaking. Along with success stories and great information to help you find your way through the muck of filmmaking, we have a guest that is offering a fresh perspective on funding and production support for the community. This is a great discussion and a semi-casual atmosphere but the information is vital to an aspiring filmmaker in St. Louis.

There will be a 50/50 drawing for filmmakers with some very cool prizes from related local businesses!

We will take a look at a few upcoming projects, trailers, and potentially show a couple micro short films from local filmmakers. Once the hard work ends, we can hang out and have a few drinks at the Monocle bar.

Hors devours will be served at the event with some time to visit with friends prior to the meal. the panel guests will occupy around an hour and we will have some music and an open bar for folks to stay, network and hang out with like-minded people. Join the fun as many of your comrades will be there.

Every participant may submit a feature film pitch-deck for review. Each of the pitch decks will be reviewed and responses sent within thirty days of the event.


Film Producer
Born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri, Byington has been very active and passionate about bringing Film and Television production to the greater St. Louis area. His support and advocacy has been instrumental in supporting numerous Midwestern artists and telling stories that not only entertain, but challenge and inform the viewer with compelling content. His documentary work as a Producer includes Radio Free St. Louis and Running Against Dick, which screened at film festivals around the nation. In addition, his Executive Producer credits include Sleep With Me, Ghost Image, and most recently, Bad Grandmas which was acquired by Showtime Cable Network and RedBox. With several projects in development, Byington has nurtured the unscripted series, Chasing Bandits, and earned the support and cooperation of the United States Marshal Service, and most importantly ... The Preacher, DUSM Luke J. Adler.

Executive Producer Middle West Movies
Chad Carpenter is the executive director of Middle West Movies (MWM), a St. Louis based nonprofit motion picture production company. MWM provides Midwestern movie makers the chance to develop their craft close to home as opposed to more competitive markets with higher costs of living. Chad wrote, directed, and produced the feature film Dog Days in the Heartland. MWM exhibited Dog Days in the Heartland in a limited release at 4 theaters in Kansas and Missouri. MWM is currently producing the feature films The Man In Room 6 with Live or Die Productions in St. Louis, MO and Mad City with Five Lakes Films in Madison, WI. MWM is also producing a short film, Are You Alright?, with Forever An Astronaut in St. Louis, MO. MWM would like to begin distributing other local independent films across the Midwest in 2019.

Internationally published, photographer/writer/director Thomas Smugala has for several years produced creative photography and films for fashion, music, celebrity and advertising clients. Thomas has also directed many award-winning short films and music videos. Being heavily influenced by photographers like Joyce Tenneson, Richard Avedon and directors like the Clint Eastwood, Thomas decided very early in his career to shoot all of his projects with a fine-art approach and a "when they go that way, I go this way" attitude. This has made it possible for him to pursue his passions without limitations. Thomas has written, produced and directed films, music videos and television commercials in this manner all proving to be very successful endeavors. His artistic vision and approach to life, along with his professional connections will certainly be the catalyst for a beautiful film. His film Apocalypse and The Beauty Queen (2007) was shot in Missouri and gained international distribution with Vanguard Cinema. ABQ was released for 5 years to Netflix, Amazon, Blockbuster, Family Video ABQ was dubbed to Russian, Spanish and Japanese gaining limited theatrical in several foreign markets. Thomas recently completed Interviewing Monsters starring Tom Green and Les Stroud. Interviewing Monsters is currently in beginning phases of distribution — a comedy with a lot of interest. Thomas is currently in pre-production of his next film, THE SPRING — a supernatural thriller.

TV Content/Packaging
Michael is the founder of Michael D. Francis Presents (MDFP), a St. Louis based TV/content development and packaging company. MDFP focuses on finding unique and diverse talent and stories to package for sale to production companies, networks, studios, and streaming platforms. Michael is very active and passionate about creating opportunities to bring more film and television production to St. Louis using the local talent and crew. With almost ten years of real-world TV production experience starting as a PA and working his way up to Producer. Michael has worked for networks such as A&E, MTV, CBS, NBC, BET, TLC, Lifetime, PBS, and ESPN. You may have seen some of his work on shows like Judge Judy, Survivor, Nellyville, Unlocking The Truth, Undercover High and The First 48 (Mobil and Tulsa) just to name a few.

Earlier Event: April 13
The Bon-Bons Burlesque Boudoir
Later Event: April 16
St. Louis Short Film Premiere Party