Adam Leipzig


Adam Leipzig

(Independent film and Media Producer and Author)






Let’s Get Practical: How to Move Your Transformational Stories to the Center of the Screen

In the cocoon of our laptops or our tight circle of creative colleagues we all have grand ideas about the stories we want to tell. Then we bring them out to the light of day—and run smack into the wall of so-called “reality.” If that doesn’t smash us to the ground, it generally leaves us heartsick.

Is there a way around the granite—or through it?

In this presentation, I’ll share what I’ve learned on the “buyers” side of the table, as a distributor and executive, and how I’ve applied that on the “sellers” side of the table to bring some remarkable projects to the screen… projects like March of the Penguins, The Story of the Weeping Camel, Amreeka, God Grew Tired of Us and The Last Lions.

You’ll learn how to see your project through through other peoples’ eyes, present the evidence to support your vision, speak in language financiers understand, and structure your production so its integrity cannot be compromised.


Adam Leipzig is author of Inside Track for Independent Filmmakers: Get Your Movie Made, Get Your Movie Seen, and Turn the Tables on Hollywood and the publisher of Cultural Weekly ( <> ), the fast-growing online magazine. He is the former president of National Geographic Films and senior vice president at Disney.

Adam has been involved as a producer, distributor or supervising executive on more than 25 films as diverse as March of the Penguins, Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, Dead Poets Society, and Titus. He has a history of working with artists as they explore new realms of their creativity – including producing or supervising the first films directed by Jon Turteltaub, Julie Taymor, Joe Johnston, Cherien Dabis and Mary Agnes Donoghue, and the first plays directed by Robert Altman.

Through National Geographic Films, Adam acquired four breakthrough movies at Sundance: Luc Jacquet’s March of the Penguins (the highest-grossing Sundance documentary of all time), Lu Chuan’s Kekexili: Mountain Patrol, Christopher Quinn’s God Grew Tired of Us, and Cherien Dabis’s Amreeka. (Cherien’s second film, May in the Summer, is the Sundance opening night film this year.)

Adam has also worked with many established directors, including Robert Benton, Lu Chuan, John Curran, Barry Levinson, Dan Petrie Jr., Donald Petrie, Roger Spottiswoode, Fernando Trueba, Peter Weir and Peter Yates. Actors he has worked with include Ellen Burstyn, Nicholas Cage, Colin Farrell, Morgan Freeman, Whoopi Goldberg, Tom Hanks, Daryl Hannah, Ed Harris, Dustin Hoffman, Anthony Hopkins, Nicole Kidman, Jessica Lange, Queen Latifah, Julianne Moore, Edward Norton, Brad Pitt, Soarise Ronan, Forest Whitaker, Robin Williams, Bruce Willis and Elijah Wood.

As an independent advisor, Adam provides informed guidance, dealmaking intelligence and relevant connections for prestige media companies and creative entrepreneurs needing access to Hollywood expertise, the US marketplace and audiences worldwide in order to maximize the value and visibility of their entertainment content.

Adam is currently writing Filmmaking in the 21st Century for Bedford/St. Martin’s (Macmillan), which will be published in 2014 as the definitive college and university textbook on contemporary filmmaking.

In addition to writing at Cultural Weekly, Adam’s articles and essays have appeared in the New York Times, Screen International, Written By, American Theater, Theater Communications and High Performance magazines. He was the founding editor of Theatre LA, a bimonthly magazine that covered the performing arts in Southern California.

Why I support GATE

We need more organizations like GATE – places where like-minded people can share information, support and inspire each other, and provide meaningful alternatives to so-called conventional wisdom.

My Current Media Diet

American roots music
The New Yorker
The Lumineers
Alabama Shakes
Any version of “Amazing Grace” or “Wayfaring Stranger”
Arts & Letters Daily (
poetry in every form
“Les Miserables”
Michael Haneke
Shark Tank


“If we don’t elevate the conversation, who will?”
“We are entering the new Golden Age of Cinema.”

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