Rick Ambros has held several senior level positions in the entertainment industry as an executive, producer and COO, specializing in a variety of fields, from film financing and fund management, to content development and production, marketing and distribution, and more. Over the course of his career, Rick has worked with such Hollywood studios and broadcasters as Disney, Fox, Universal, Warner Bros., Paramount, and Sony; and internationally with ProSiebenSat.1 and Star TV. Along the way, Rick has lived in Los Angeles, Munich, Paris, New York and Mumbai, building an international database of relationships and experience to draw from.
For the past few years he has focused his attention on the rapidly growing media and entertainment industries in India and China. Most recently, Rick served as COO of Perfect Storm Entertainment, a joint venture between director Justin Lin and Chinese media company Seven Stars Entertainment, producers of the Chinese language feature Hollywood Adventures and U.S. TV series Scorpion. In India Rick worked with such companies as Constantin Entertainment, Sony Pictures Television and Fox, where Rick was instrumental in setting up and launching Fox Television Studios India Pvt. Ltd., working closely with Star TV in Mumbai and Hong Kong. Currently he is a Partner in Benchmark Studios, a media production and advisory firm based in Mumbai.
Rick served as the U.S. Managing Director of WMG Film GmbH / W2 Films, a German company engaged in the financing and production of studio-based films and TV series via media funds and private placements. Studio partners included Paramount, DreamWorks, NBC / Universal and Warner Bros. / New Line. Rick advised the company's investors on over $1.5 billion in film and television production financing. Films included The Hangover, Sherlock Holmes, Sex and the City, Tropic Thunder, Mission Impossible 3, Mummy 3, Hellboy 2, You, Me and Dupree and Wanted.
Rick’s long list of international production experience began when he moved to Germany as Director of Development and Co-Production for ProSiebenSat.1 Media (Kirch Group), where he developed programming for broadcasters ProSieben and SAT.1. He was responsible for international co-productions and worked with partners ABC, CBS, TNT, Paramount, Lucasfilm, Hallmark, ARD, and more. Prior to that Rick worked as an international marketing and distribution executive at Walt Disney Studios.
Rick Ambros holds an M.B.A. from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College and a B.A. in Political Science and International Relations from Tufts University. He speaks German and French, and recently began studying Mandarin Chinese.
Robert Cain has worked for more than 20 years in Hollywood and the global entertainment industry, primarily as a production, finance, strategy and creative development expert. Rob has consulted to most of Hollywood’s major studios and talent guilds and worked as a senior executive at talent-based companies such as Danny DeVito’s Jersey Films and Aaron Spelling’s Spelling Entertainment in formulating and executing business plans to expand their operations.
His corporate clients have included Universal Studios, MGM, Sony Pictures Entertainment, DirectTV, NBC, the BBC, the Screen Actors Guild, Kodak, New Line Cinema, Mattel and others. Rob’s film experience extends from finance and distribution management to creative duties on more than a dozen successful films, including such critical and commercial successes as The Usual Suspects, Breakdown, Bound, Blade 2 and Cabin Fever.
Rob has been doing business in China since 1987, where his producing and entertainment management experience includes: Production of the TV broadcast Three Tenors in the Forbidden City; Development and production executive on the 2008 Academy Award nominated film Mongol; Consulting Producer on the film Shanghai Kiss, starring Kelly Hu and Hayden Panettiere; and consulting to major Hollywood studios, animation companies and talent agencies on China matters. Rob’s past Chinese consulting clients include Shanghai Media Group, CCTV, China Lion Films, and others.
Rob’s career highlights include IPOs such as MGM’s $180 million NYSE offering (while at JP Morgan) and $60 million Chinese company OTC listing; initiated $825 million acquisition of Rainbow Media; formulated U.S. entry strategy for BBC that resulted in $26 million in revenues within 6 months; created business plan that led to $100 million in startup funding for Big Ticket Television (Judge Judy); corporate strategy and business development advisor: Russia entry strategy for Sony Pictures TV; organization design/budget for MGM; VOD entry plan for Universal; and partnering strategy for DirectTV. Rob has successfully raised in excess of $200 million in funding for various companies with which he has been involved.
An award-winning screenwriter, Rob holds a bachelor’s degree with honors from Harvard University and an MBA with honors from the Wharton School of Business.
Jess Conoplia has over 15 years of experience in account management, business development, production, brand management and marketing across the advertising and film industry sectors. She has spent much of the last decade in senior management positions with strong strategy and client-service mandates, including senior inward investment roles with two high profile Film Commissions in Australia and the United Kingdom. She has also lived in South Africa, New Zealand and China and now resides in Los Angeles where she is Executive Director of the China Hollywood Society.
Jess holds a post-graduate qualification in Film & Television and was one of the first Certified Film Commissioners through the Association of Film Commissioners International (AFCI) University program. Her expertise in tri-level government negotiations on behalf of film and television productions ensured the attraction of international film and television projects to Australia, enabling them to undertake highly complex location shoots. She also successfully led an initiative to implement film-friendly legislation in Queensland and was a member of marketing and policy committees for the film and television industry at the federal government level in Australia.
She has close working relationships with a broad range of film and television industry members in the United States, United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand, including senior executives at the various Guilds, major and mini-major studios, independent production companies, independent drama and documentary directors and producers, key heads of department and film commissions.
Pierre Henry is an entertainment entrepreneur and a leading consultant in Hollywood in the area of Hollywood-China relations. He has advised institutions such as Walt Disney; Sony Pictures; Lucasfilm; Jiaflix in partnership with Paramount; MGM, and Lionsgate; The San Francisco Film Society; The University of Southern California; Pathbender; Wuxi Studios; CCTV 6; the Jiangsu Government of the PRC; and numerous startups in Los Angeles. His work primarily addresses finance & technology strategy, talent & creative development, and business development. His work has directly resulted in seven and eight figure deals for his clients and across franchises worth as much as $30 billion globally.
As an entrepreneur, Pierre helped create a $100 million film fund specializing in Sino-US co-productions. He advises on investments with partner, Kylin Entertainment, that have led to productions with companies such as Paramount, Focus Features, Groundswell Productions, and Pandemonium Entertainment.
Pierre also founded and built a software company in China that promises to become one of the pre-eminent providers of production automation technologies in the Chinese film industry, if not the first in history. Prior to his time in the entertainment industry, Pierre drafted a micro-loan strategy for several of the leading financial institutions in the Chinese banking industry that has been used by the PRC government to generate millions of dollars in transactions throughout Greater China.
Pierre is about to receive his M.B.A. from Stanford University and is a former member of the Peter Stark Producing Program at USC. He holds an MPhil degree from Cambridge University and a B.A. from The University of Chicago.
Scott Sommer is a founding partner of Sparkstone Entertainment, a company that bridges Chinese capital with Hollywood content and is incorporated in both China and the United States. Over the years, Scott has forged relationships at many leading Chinese entertainment and finance companies, and holds relationships throughout Hollywood. Sparkstone has signed contracts to develop and produce entertainment for Croton Media, Huace, HeYi Capital, Ali Pictures, DNA Pictures, Celestial Pictures, iQiyi and other leading companies. Scott has served on panels and spoken to various groups about Hollywood at Asian business summits, including the US/China Business Summit, the PiYi Investment Group summits in Los Angeles and Dallas, and at USC’s Annenberg School of Communications.
As a writer, Scott has sold over a dozen original screenplays to studios including Paramount Pictures, 20th Century Fox, Universal, Warner Brothers, and The Walt Disney Co, in addition to independent companies such as Alliance Atlantis, Walden Entertainment, and Lakeshore Entertainment. Scott has served as a writer in television as well, including ABC's Pan Am.
Scott graduated from USC’s School of Cinematic Arts. Prior to his writing career he worked for several years in studio feature development, starting as Story Editor at Carolco Pictures and The IndieProd Company before becoming a Creative Executive at 20th Century Fox. At those companies he had a hand in developing films that collectively earned over a billion dollars worldwide, including such hits as Cliffhanger; Mrs. Doubtfire; and various other titles.
Scott is a member of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, the Writer’s Guild of America, the Asia Society, and the China Hollywood Society.
In the two years since Long Wan started Sparkstone Entertainment with partner Scott Sommer, Long has overseen the completion and implementation of nearly a dozen development and output deals for the company in China. Among the companies he has brokered business deals with recently are Croton Media, Huace, YouMi Mobile, Ten Cent, and several yet to be announced. He is an executive producer of the popular Chinese web series Xiao Ming and Friends, for which he found financing and a new online platform to further expand its popularity. Sparkstone is currently in active development on several films and TV series with its partners Croton and Huace, among other upcoming feature and TV projects elsewhere.
Long holds a wide array of relationships within China’s film and business communities, and has nurtured a myriad of friendships there for several years. Among these are top executives at leading edge companies such as Shanghai Media Group; Alibaba, China National Film Capital; Huaxia Film Group; and Wanda. Long also has ties to the China Film Co-Production Company; Dasen International; China Film Group; and Original Force, to name just a few.
With these relationships and others, Long is intently focused on finding ways to bridge the film communities there with those in Hollywood, and to making Sparkstone Entertainment a leader in international coproduction along the way.
Having graduated with a master’s degree from the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business, Long started building his business portfolio at a very early age. He graduated with a double major in Math and Economics from UCLA before moving on to USC, with the intent of forging his economic skills with film production skills. Long resides in Beijing, where he oversees Sparkstone’s staff and offices there.