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Holidays 2023: Fresh Victor creates Fast, Delicious Craft Cocktails with Fresh, Organic and Full Flavor Mixers

Holidays 2023: Fresh Victor Puts the the drinker in charge with Fresh, Organic and Full Flavor Mixers.

Fresh Victor is how you make fast, delicious craft cocktails and amazing mocktails — Every. Single. Time. 

Fresh Victor is a line of premium mixers for consistently delicious and efficient cocktails (and mocktails too.)

H. Ehrmann knows his cocktails

H. Ehrmann is a bartender and drinks industry consultant who runs Elixir, one of the most influential bars in San Francisco.  In the industry for 35 years, owned a bar for 20 years. 

Recently he hosted a virtual mixer walking us through several cocktails using Fresh Victor as the mixer: from non-alcoholic, to low alc, to full alcoholic.

Cold-pressed juice-based cocktail mixers. They have added sugar, either organic cane sugar or agave nectar used to balance out citrus levels to hit the intended brix level for most cocktails.

Holidays 2023: Fresh Victor creates Fast, Delicious Craft Cocktails

For example, with the Lemon Sour, the base is known as a pretty simple flavor profile.  You can add another layer of flavor complexity (like a liqueur).  But the Fresh Victor mixer was designed to have more depth, a bit more bitterness to handle any additional sweetness added. 

Fresh Victor +1 or +2

All of the Fresh Victor bottles are designed to make delicious cocktails, but simply and easier.  How?  The amount of cocktails that can be made by adding just 1 or 2 ingredients plus the Fresh Victor mixer.

+1 is agave and tequila.  Lemon Sour and whiskey. 

+2 might be carbonation, frothing, aromatics, like:  tonic, soda water, champagne, egg white, bitters.

Fresh Victor creates Fast, Delicious Craft Cocktails


“2-3 pours and a lot of flavor”

H. Ehrmann

With those 3 elements and Fresh Victor’s 9 flavors, you can end up with dozens of drinks.  From classics, to a spin-off of a classics (including mocktails).

Mixing ratios: 1: 1 and 2: 1.  

1 1 / 2  oz of spirit to 2 ounces of mixer

2 oz of spirit to 2 ounces of mixer

If the drinker likes the taste of the alcohol, they want that taste to “punch” through, then then 2:2 is better for them.  If they want the flavor sweeter, iding behind the mixer, 2:1 is the answer for them.

Fresh Victor is a mixer, not a juice.  So it’s meant to take on dilution as you build your cocktail. Right out of the bottle, it’s a bit more concentrated, more dense.  Meant to be stirred, shaken, reduced down without watering down the flavor.   It can dilute 15-20% without losing quality. 

Using Fresh Victor, you can create a 32 oz, 64 oz or a gallon punch bowl for a holiday party in less than 5 minutes.  And it’s not a simple, lame flavor.  It’s complex.

Orchard Bliss Royale

Non-alcoholic.  When you add Champagne or Sparkling, it’s called “Royale” and today’s drink is adding Sparkling Cider.  

4 oz sparkling cider

2 oz Fresh Victor (Three Citrus and Mint Leaf)

Garnish with dehydrated apple slices

The nose is refreshing. Vibrant apple.  Effervescent on the palate, from the Sparkling. A balance of lemon, lime, orange.  Plump, but not overwhelming.  Mint notes that bring a tertiary element.

Suggestions include playing with adding a shot of vodka, rum or tequila, any of which would work well.

Fresh Victor mixers give a fruit-forward base that makes it easy to play and experiment with.

Winter Spice Tonic

“When mixed well, Gin impacts the overall character of your drink, but doesn’t get in your face”.

1 oz Tanqueray london dry gin

1 Oz Fresh Victor (Cactus Pomegranate)

4 oz Fever Tree Tonic

Aromatic bitters

Garnish with vanilla bean, All-spice berries, Dehydrated Lemon

The nose is immediately the charming, floral aromatics you’d expect from the gin.  Then slowly the baking spices express themselves.  Deep character layers and complexity.  A gush of tonic, then lingering vanilla and lemon.  

Definitely a gin drink for someone who’s not a gin fan as it showcases the best of gin without being overwhelming.

H. Ehrmann with the Fresh Victor Winter Spice Tonic

H. Ehrmann with the Fresh Victor Winter Spice Tonic

Love a standard gin drink?  Try Gin and Tonic with Fresh Victor’s Cucumber and Lime!

H. Ehrmann feels one the the reasons Fresh Victor is so popular is because people want to be able to make easy drinks at home that still have amazing flavor.

“I’ve taught cocktail classes for over ten years.  As much as students love it and geek out over cocktail details at the bar.  When they get home to their kitchen, they still prefer to have something easy.  That’s a huge part of when Fresh Victor is.”

One of the keys to Fresh Victor is adaptability.  The drinks are scalable and easy to experiment with.  Having more guests than expected?  Want stronger drinks?  No alc of low-alc drinks?

“The 2 things that show us down when drinking cocktails, alcoholic strength and bitterness.  Those are things that help us drag a cocktail out 10-20 minutes. Like, intentional speed bumps to keep you from drinking too fast.  So removing the alcohol from a recipe, removes that speed bump.  Adding more bitters, adds it back.  It helps a non-alco drink feel more like a cocktail.”

How did Fresh Victor launch and grow during the struggles of the pandemic?  Luck, hardwork and finding an audience that wants flavor.  H. Ehrmann explains: 

“Just before Covid, we decided to focus Fresh Victor on bars and restaurants.  So Covid hits.  We decided to re-package into a 16 oz bottle.  Within 6 weeks we had these bottles available in 7 states direct to consumer. Within 2 months, we had 48 states direct to consumer.  I shifted to selling cocktail kits from home and Fresh Victor was the perfect partner for me.  Take a liter of tequila and a 64 oz bottle of Mexican lime and agave, you can make 32 margaritas.  I was selling those kits like crazy.  People were re-ordering every other day.”

Figtorious Celebrations

2 oz of Fresh Victor (grapefruit and sea salt)

2 oz VSOP brandy

1 / 2 oz fig syrup

Try thinking of Fresh Victor less as a mixer or a juice and more as an ingredient.  Think of it as an ingredient where you can use as much or as little as you want to make a more complex drink.

Explore from a culinary point of view.  What other flavors mix?

Fresh Victor is all about experimenting.  Trying different flavors.  Adding spirits, garnishes and mixers that might not be traditional.

“All the ways you can use Fresh Vector.  I went through the lexicon of cocktails.  What can I make with lemon sour?  What can I make with Mexican Agave? Then I’d look at more unique flavor profile and ask myself what can I make with that?”

H. Ehrmann with the Fresh Victor Figtorious Celebrations

H. Ehrmann with the Fresh Victor Figtorious Celebrations


Fresh Victor Holidays Flavors

H. Ehrmann suggests a twist this cold, holiday season.  Think like a Hot Toddy. Simply warm up your Whiskey Sour, Lemon Drop, even your sangria.  Anything that would normally go with ice, this time heat it up warm and toasty.


Chilli No. 5 Introduces Spicy Advent Calendar with 24 World Hot Sauce & Spice Flavors!

Chilli No. 5 Introduces Spicy Advent Calendar with 24 World Hot Sauce & Spice Flavors!

Chilli No. 5, the world-renowned supplier of premium spicy condiments, is excited to announce the launch of its very first Spicy Advent Calendar. Launching in a limited edition, get your hand on it to spice up your holiday season like never before as you countdown to the most magical time of the year with Chilli No. 5’s Spicy Advent Calendar.

Chilli No. 5 Introduces Spicy Advent Calendar with 24 World Hot Sauce & Spice Flavors!

Chilli No. 5 Introduces Spicy Advent Calendar with 24 World Hot Sauce & Spice Flavors!

Get ready to experience an epic journey through the world of heat and flavor with our handpicked selection of 24 delectable hot sauces, fiery flakes, chilli oils, and exclusive spices that will leave your taste buds stimulated. Chilli No. 5’s Spicy Advent Calendar is the ultimate gift for those who appreciate bold flavors and are eagerly awaiting Santa’s arrival.

Chilli No. 5 Introduces Spicy Advent Calendar with 24 World Hot Sauce & Spice Flavors!

“Chilli No. 5 has always been about redefining the way you experience spice, and our Advent Calendar is no exception,” says Rumble Romagnoli, founder of Chilli No. 5. “We’ve selected a thrilling assortment of our finest creations, as well as some exclusive surprises to make your holiday season unforgettable.”

Key Features of Chilli No. 5’s Advent Calendar: 

A Flavor Journey: Discover 24 unique and handcrafted hot sauces and condiments, each designed to awaken your taste buds in a different way.

High-Quality Craftsmanship: Chilli No. 5 is known for its commitment to sourcing the finest ingredients and creating exceptional flavor profiles.

The Perfect Gift: Whether for yourself or a loved one, Chilli No. 5’s Advent Calendar makes for an unforgettable gift for spice enthusiasts and food lovers alike.

The Chilli No. 5 Advent Calendar is available for purchase starting today on the Chilli No. 5 website. You will put your hands on our most famous products and limited-edition :

  1. Mexican Fury 
  2. Wicked Wasabi 
  3. Jamaican Jerk 
  4. Devilish Dijon 
  5. Chinese Hot and Sour 
  6. Perfect Piri Piri 
  7. Fiery Gazpacho 
  8. Hot Spicy Ketchup 
  9. Louisiana BBQ 
  10. Forever Phall
  11. Heavenly Harissa 
  12. Totally Thai 
  13. Sriracha Cha Cha Cha
  14. Ever so English 
  15. White Truffle 
  16. Spicy Sweet Chilli 
  17. Pure No. 5
  18. Cheeky Chimichurri
  19. Smooth Chipotle 
  20. Champagne Gold 
  21. Pizza Pizzazz 
  22. Chilli No. 5 Reaper Flakes  
  23. Chilli No. 5 Burger Spices 
  24. Chilli No. 5 Tandoori Spices


Quantities are limited, so don’t miss your chance to add some extra spice to your holiday season.


Spice up your holiday season with Chilli No. 5’s Spicy Advent Calendar and embark on a flavorful journey like no other. This December, unwrap the heat, unwrap the flavor, and unwrap the joy of Christmas with Chilli No. 5. 


To explore the rich flavors of Chilli No. 5’s and elevate your culinary Christmas dinner, visit our Website.


Chilli No. 5 is a gourmet hot sauce company that was launched by British entrepreneur Rumble Romagnoli in October 2020 during Lockdown because of a lack of healthy spicy sauce options to pair with take-outs and eat-ins. Chilli No. 5’s portfolio of 18 artisan hot sauces is inspired by global cuisines and is designed to add pizzazz to a wide range of culinary creations. Designed for gourmands who wish to live a healthy active lifestyle, each hot sauce is made with only the finest ingredients and infused with superfoods, antioxidants, and supplements, as well as Chill No. 5’ exclusive five chilli blend. These powerful ingredients may help with sleep deprivation, libido, concentration, weight loss, and depression. Sauces are available in 200 ml sustainable glass bottles, 100 ml land-fill friendly pouches, 25 ml glass tasting vials and most recently 15 ml mini glass bottles. Chilli No. 5 sauces bring your food to life. Discover The Sauce of Life!


Chilli No. 5









Hunted Alba White Truffles — Chilli No. 5 Unveils Limited Great Taste Award-Winning Hot Sauce

Hunted Alba White Truffles — Chilli No. 5 Unveils Limited Great Taste Award-Winning Hot Sauce with

Chilli No. 5 launches a new batch of 50 bottles of magnificent White Truffle Hot Sauce to compete with Truff, the industry leader and USA truffle sauce master.

The only difference is Chilli No. 5 uses real white truffles from Alba in the Piemont and has won the Great Taste Award in 23.

Priced at £25/30€/$ per 100ml, it solidifies its position as one of the priciest and fanciest hot sauces in the global market.


Every October, Chilli No. 5 founder Rumble Romagnoli visits Alba in Northern Italy to hunt and handpick white and black truffles that are used to make a yearly batch of the Chilli No. 5 White Truffle Hot sauce.

Truffle Hunter - Renzo, and Lagotto Romagnolo truffle dog - Charlie

Truffle Hunter – Renzo, and Lagotto Romagnolo truffle dog – Charlie

The team has a dedicated Truffle Hunter – Renzo, and Lagotto Romagnolo truffle dog – Charlie to find the best truffles in the world. They also benefit from access to the truffle forest that has belonged to Renzo’s family for generations.

“Truffles are like diamonds. They cannot be made.

You have to find them.

Rumble Romagnoli


“…Each one is unique. Close your eyes and bring the forest to life with this uber-umami white truffle sauce unmatched so far in the industry.” – Rumble Romagnoli founder says.

Romagnoli adds “You can understand that no expense was spared in sourcing the finest white truffles, carefully handpicked to ensure their unparalleled quality and aroma. Blended with a mix of fresh mushrooms such as Porcini, Ceps, Chantrelles, Girolles, and Morilles, this creation is a true culinary gem.”

According to the Great Taste Award Judges “It becomes clear very quickly that this sauce has been made with real skill. The truffle is very much present but tamed at all times. The additional mushrooms combine for a really characterful sauce that offers umami in spades but has some acidity, tang and sweetness too. On top of all this artistry, there’s the late and subtle arrival of chilli heat to round it all off. This is a very complex sauce, but very accessible too.”

This unique White Truffle Hot Sauce will be a versatile addition to kitchens, grills, and BBQs all over the world used not only as a condiment, but also as marinade, and a BBQ sauce. Traditionally, truffle is used on plain pasta, risotto, or grilled meats to enhance the complexity of this unique flavour. The intoxicating aroma and robust, earthy flavour of white truffles create a truly sensory experience that will transport you to a world of culinary luxury.

Chilli No. 5’s White Truffle Sauce is a limited-edition offering, available for a limited time as only 50 bottles are produced each season. This new batch left the Chilli No. 5 kitchens today, so don’t miss the opportunity to add this rare delight to your upcoming culinary repertoire.

Chilli No. 5’s White Truffle Sauce is the perfect choice for discerning home cooks, food enthusiasts, and those seeking to impress guests with a touch of decadence. Whether you’re celebrating a special occasion, hosting an intimate dinner party, or simply indulging in a gourmet home-cooked meal, this sauce will leave a lasting impression.

This limited-edition White Truffle Hot sauce goes with everything and is perfect for a chilli sauce gift in its designer sustainable packaging.

To explore the rich flavors of Chilli No. 5’s White Truffle Sauce and elevate your culinary creations, visit Chilli No. 5’s Website.


Legendary Pittsburgh Restauranteur Joseph Costanzo Jr Reveals all in Tasty Memoir with “On The Rocks”

Legendary Pittsburgh Restauranteur Joseph Costanzo Jr. Reveals all in his Tasty Memoir with “On The Rocks”

On the Rocks chronicles the real-life journey of restaurateur Joseph Costanzo Jr., from his rise to success in the 1990s as a owner of the highly acclaimed Primadonna Restaurant, radio host, columnist, and aspiring politician to his sharp fall in the early 2000s, ending in an investigation and a stint in federal prison.

Costanzo is a complex character, whom readers will admire for his confidence and rebuke for his arrogance, will love for his generosity and despise for his egotism, and will learn from in both his attention to detail and lack thereof.

This driven, not-your-average-Joe is an unforgettable character who achieves the seemingly impossible but can’t help getting in his own way. Come along with Joe for a bumpy ride on the rocks

On the Rocks: The Primadonna Story, co-written by Maria C. Palmer and Ruthie Robbins is available now on Amazon,, Walmart, Target.  Signed copies at the Heinz History Center. Also follow them on Facebook and Instagram.

Today, we’re having a conversation with all three: Joseph Costanzo Jr., co-writers Maria C. Palmer and Ruthie Robbins.

The conversation has been edited for clarity and length.  Find the un-edited conversation on our FlavRReport YouTube channel.

Something that I find amazing, this book has been 17 years in the process. Is that an accurate piece of trivia?

Maria C. Palmer: 100%. Yes, that is a very accurate piece of trivia.

So way back 17 years ago, what sparked this for you? 

Maria C. Palmer: A couple of things. I think that because the restaurant was such a significant part of our lives, and it was always the highlight of my father’s life. Once it went away, the spark kind of went away, too. And I wanted to bring that back in my Dad. So I started asking him lots of questions about his life. Specifically for a family history. At the time, being a writer myself, in addition to grant writing, I’m also a writer and I can really spot a good story that has commercial value.

On The Rocks co-author Maria C. Palmer

On The Rocks co-author Maria C. Palmer

There were just so many wonderful elements to his story. So I started recording some vignettes of different things that had happened throughout his life. But not really knowing and or intending at the time that it would be a book. 

But as we went on, I saw that the potential was there and I was lucky enough to still be in contact with my former teacher, Ruthie Dines Robbins and brought the project to her and asked her if she would be willing to work on it with me.

It was really from there that we decided it would become a book and that we would work together diligently for probably 10 years together.

Ruthie Robbins: I’m only 7 years.

Joseph Costanzo Jr.: They had it in Maria’s voice originally. Ruthie was in a book club and they said, “Put it in Joe’s voice and they had to go back and change the whole book.”  I watched 11, 000 emails back and forth. 

Ruthie Robbins: We were not primarily emailing. We were mostly talking and texting, and that year was the pandemic year. So I was off teaching that winter and the following fall.


Before we get into the restaurant itself, what was the writing process like?

Maria C. Palmer: I can speak to the family history and just the overall process of it. It was really challenging. Because whenever you’re writing a memoir or a biography, You’re not writing a Wikipedia page. So it’s not from the time somebody is born until the time that they pass away.

You’re picking the most poignant time in their lives. Not only cherry picking all the good things that happened during that time period, but you’re picking some of the challenges too, because that’s what makes a good story. 

It was challenging to figure out what the storyline was going to be and sometimes to tell those hard parts of the story.

What was even more challenging, was just the nebulous nature of the publishing industry.  I just thought you wrote a book, it’s on Amazon and then people buy it. And that could not be further from the truth. Query letters.  Polished one page, a 90,000 word manuscript.  A whole book proposal.  An entire business plan of why we’re writing the book and why it’s going to sell into the market. Requiring that much to not even get a thanks,, but just no response whatsoever.

Ruthie Robbins: Totally agree. The writing was not arduous part because Maria and I get along so well.. We’re real partners, but this publishing thing.  We really didn’t understand the process, so it is difficult, and especially in this genre, [competing with] the celebrities and athletes and reality stars who wrote memoirs.  They want a name on the shelf that someone will pick up in a bookstore. 


Mr. Costanzo, one of my favorite parts of this book is the wine mentions.  Tell us your “Pin on the wall” story.

Joseph Costanzo Jr.: Yeah we’re in a tough neighborhood, but we brought in a lot of people outside the area and upscale people,  limos, what have you. 

I had a bus boy and he was a really good worker. He became a server and he came to me after he got the drink order and said, ”what’s a pin on the wall?”

I never heard of a “Pin on the Wall”. So we went to the bartender. He didn’t know either.  We looked it up, nothing. 

So I went out there to ask the customers, so we could make it for them  – and one of the most mortal sins at the Primadonna was making Joe Costanzo look bad – I said, excuse me what’s in a Pin on a Wall and they all started laughing. The guy said, “Pinot Noir.”

They’re laughing at me.  That’s bad. So I went in and I really did a job on this kid.  My wife grabbed me by my tie and pushed me downstairs to my office.

I was in this kid’s face because he really wasn’t real serious about the situation.  If you’re going to be the best at what you’re doing, you can’t be messing up like that.

He ended up being great.  Chris, who was the server, became a maitre’d and a great employee of mine.  He was very loyal. I really went overboard with him and I did feel bad about it. 


Reviews are incredibly important.  The amount of work and effort you put in to get your Four Forks Review. Tell us a little bit about what happened.

Joseph Costanzo Jr.: Because the area was an old steel town which had a reputation of a lot of fighting, a lot of drinking, a lot of drugs, nobody would come into that area to eat.

I knew I needed credibility, and the only way I would get credibility was through the Pittsburgh Post, because the dining critic, Mike Kalina,  who was a syndicated columnist, had tremendous credibility. KDKA TV, Post Gazette, New York Daily News.

For two and a half years, I kept reaching out to him.  This is in a time before cell phones and emails.

But I knew if he comes down and gives us a good review, people from outside the area, from the upscale areas of the city are going to come in.  That’s what happened. 

But he did say to me, “You deserve four, but I’ll only give you three because you’ll never handle the business.” 

That Friday night, June 3rd 1988, he was 100 percent right. People were lined up at the door. I was used to doing 10-15 dinners a night. We did over 200 dinners that night and it was a total joke. People waited two and a half hours. When food came out of the kitchen, people actually applauded. People were begging me to get him a bottle of vodka because they couldn’t get a drink at the bar. 

We were short of service. We were short of bartenders. I made it all work in the next couple of weeks and I hired people.


I don’t want to ruin the upcoming movie or TV series, but when you trimmed it down, how much heartbreak was there in cutting out so many stories?

Joseph Costanzo Jr.: It was very tough. We had a book signing in August. I kept telling people they were in the book, and they were in the draft I read.  But there were final touches that I didn’t see and we lost a lot of names and alot of stories.  So I really felt bad. I found the actual early draft and sent copies to those people.  This should be in a book, but it will be in the movie, I guarantee you.

Ruthie Robbins:  It was so hard. We did a lot of fact checking when we wrote, because memories are so unreliable. We talked to people who were in the original book [draft] and they expected to be more.  And on top of that, you try to end the chapter on a cliffhanger.  When you take out a story that changes the number of pages in the chapter, it changes the pace of the book.  That was a terrible editing challenge.

Maria, what was that like for you as the author and the daughter?

Maria C. Palmer: Originally the book was written partially in my voice and partially in my Dad’s voice. It started chronologically for me in my twenties and [had] flashbacks because the story starts in 1986 and I was very young at that time.  It was confusing and it didn’t work.  Everything that I wrote and all that I put my heart and soul into  was all cut from the book. So now I have another book project that I’m working on.

But I will echo what my father and Ruthie said. It was hard because everybody did have a significant piece to the Primadonna story.  


Mr. Costanza, it would be an easy assumption to say you’ve lived a big life. Are there one or two things you would have done differently in the stories of the book now looking back on them?

Joseph Costanzo Jr.: Sure. When you are hitting all home runs, you tend to believe that everything that you do is gonna be a home run.  I had the most popular restaurant in Western Pennsylvania. Maybe I’m going to do something else, maybe I’ll go into politics.

I spent about $300,000 of my own money to put my name out there. Most people loved Joe Costanzo, but now when you get into politics it’s not that way. So that was probably my biggest regret.

My wife begged me not to do it. She said, Joe, we have a miracle here and you’re going to try for another miracle. And she was right. You may or may not like Joe Costanzo when you read the book, but you will love Donna Costanzo.

Joseph Costanzo Jr.: And that’s bottom line. Everybody says the same thing. Joe, it was great. What he did is impossible, but his wife was a saint for putting up with all this stuff that a restaurateur has to go through. 

The theme of hospitality comes out in the book, but you so clearly love people.  What has it been like getting all these people’s responses to this story?

Joseph Costanzo Jr.: This has been unbelievable for me. People are very happy that this all happened this way.  I treated people really well and people wanted to reciprocate.  So exhilarating to me. My life has been very boring, but now it’s really gotten to the point where it’s been great thanks to Maria and Ruthie.

Ruthie Robbins: It’s heartwarming. Especially from former students, the outpouring has brought me to tears sometimes.  It’s reconnecting with people over the book. That has really been so wonderful

Maria C. Palmer: This has been such a 17 year journey. I always believed that there was something special about this story.  Seeing that exactly what I felt in my gut for 17 years is actually playing out in real life.

Whenever we’re in Pittsburgh, it is almost surreal because people are talking about “On The Rocks and it’s really cool and crazy to know that something that you created means so much for people.

Joseph Costanzo Jr.: The big thing which is amazing to me is that the book came out August 8th, 2023. For two weeks, the book was the number one bestselling ebook on Amazon for culinary memoirs. Ahead of Anthony Bourdain’s, Kitchen Confidential and Stanley Tucci’s Taste “On the Rocks” for over two weeks was the number one overall best-selling ebook. Now that’s hard to believe because this was just a Western Pennsylvania thing and Bourdain and Tucci are worldwide known authors and entertainers.

Tell us where we can find the book and all the ways we can keep in touch with this story.

Maria C. Palmer: So the book is really wherever books are sold.  We’re on Amazon,, Walmart, Target. We’re also at most bookstores.   Also on Facebook and Instagram.

Ruthie Robbins: There’s also signed copies at the Heinz History Center

Hollywood Trade: American Film Market – North America’s Most Powerful Fall Market – AFM23 Brings over 200 Film Companies Oct 31 – Nov. 5

Hollywood Trade: North America’s Most Powerful Fall Film Market AFM23 Brings over 200 Film Companies its new headquarters located at Le Méridien Delfina Santa Monica Oct 31 – Nov. 5

The American Film Market® (AFM®) is set to open with a strong commitment of companies set as Exhibitors and Buyers for the 2023 show, it was announced today.  AFM23 will run over six days, Oct. 31 – Nov. 5, at its new headquarters located at Le Méridien Delfina Santa Monica (530 Pico Blvd).

Industry Screenings and The AFM Sessions

Industry Screenings are set at theaters throughout the city and AFM’s renowned conference series, The AFM Sessions, will take place at The Hilton Santa Monica Hotel (1707 4th St).

More than 245 companies and organizations exhibiting at AFM23

The number of companies and organizations exhibiting at AFM23 has surpassed 245. The list continues to grow and features industry-leading independent film & TV production, sales and distribution companies as well as national Pavilions from China, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Thailand and the UK.  

International trade organizations, film commissions and production service companies also have a significant presence as part of this year’s enhanced LocationEXPO ® exhibition.


This year’s AFM Exhibitors include such sales companies as:

A24, AGC Studios, Altitude Film Sales, Amazon MGM Studios, Anton, Bankside Films, Beta Cinema, Black Bear Pictures, Blue Fox Entertainment, Charades, Cinema Management Group, CJ ENM, Emperor Motion Pictures, Film Mode Entertainment, FilmNation, GAGA Corporation, Gaumont, Global Screen GmbH, HanWay Films, Lakeshore, Lionsgate, MGM Studios, Millennium Media, Odin’s Eye Entertainment, Orange Studio, Pathé Films, Protagonist Pictures, SND Groupe M6, STUDIOCANAL, Toei Company, TrustNordisk, UNIFRANCE, Voltage Pictures, WME Independent, and XYZ Films. 

View the Current Exhibitor List HERE. 

AFM23 features territorial Buyers from more than 65 countries

The Exhibitor bookings are matched by the brisk registration of teams of territorial Buyers from more than 65 countries to date with more registering each day. 


 “All indicators are pointing to a strong AFM23 and we look forward to hosting the global industry in just a few weeks…”

Jean Prewitt

IFTA President & CEO

Prewitt continues: “…Asia which was still impacted by COVID restrictions last year is well-represented again, as are the UK and Europe – especially Italy, France, Germany and Spain.  AFM is the only major fall film market and its location, close to the beach as well as to the Los Angeles studios, streamers and agencies, solidifies it as an essential destination for the industry to meet, conduct business and celebrate independent film, even in the midst of current challenges.” 


The AFM Sessions presented by Wrapbook & Film Hawaii

Alongside the sales activity and screenings, The AFM Sessions presented by Wrapbook & Film Hawaii, will bring 30+ panels across two stages over four days beginning Wed., Nov. 1.

The initial programming lineup features a cross-section of illustrious industry creatives, influencers and decision-makers to examine and discuss today’s timely topics.  

Day 1 highlights Include: 

  • Film Funding Today: The Benefits & Limitations of Global Tax Incentives
    Jeaneane Davey, Netflix, Patrick Rizzotti, Blue Fox Financing, Ryan Broussard, Wrapbook, and Will French, Fallbrook 


  • The Global Perspective: Breaking the Boundaries of Today’s Film Marketplace
    Christian Vesper, Fremantle, Syrinthia Studer, Paramount Pictures, Mark Gooder, Cornerstone and Steven Gaydos, Variety


  • The Content Audiences Want & The Industry Needs to Provide 

Lourdes DiazAGC Studios, Jeffrey GreensteinMillennium Media, Joe LewisAmplify Pictures, and Maren Olson30WEST 

Other programming highlights include:   

  • Changing Minds and Bettering Lives Through Storytelling 

Karen Lunder, Imagine Entertainment, Anikah McLaren, Participant Media, and Jamal Henderson, The SpringHill Company 


  • Developing, Pitching, and Making Television
    Nathan Varni, ABC/Disney, Kate Gill, Paramount Television Studios, Leila Cohan, writer and producer (BRIDGERTON), and Vijal Patel, writer and producer (Black-ish), and Richard Botto, Stage 32 

  • Harnessing the Power of Music for Film
    Kris Le-Roy, Universal Production Music, Satya Fuentes, Netflix, Cristina May, music director and producer, Garo Setian, creative director, Jeff Cardoni, composer for film & television, and Ryan Svendsen, Millennium Media 

  • Fast Times in the Ad-Supported Distribution Landscape for Independents
    Will Gurman, Paramount Streaming, Yolanda Macias, Cinedigm, and Tyler Aquilina, Variety Intelligence Platform 

  • The Pitch Conference 

Cassian Elwes, Elevated Film Sales, Lorelle Lynch, AGC Studios, and Jee Jessup, Consultant 


  • Managing Common Legal Risks in Production 

    Phil Strina, Lionsgate, Kirk D’Amico, Myriad Pictures, Joanne Hoffman, Hoffman Entertainment Law and Roger Goff, Goff Law Corporation 

  • Getting Your Film Made, Seen, and Profitable in The Streaming Era
    Brian Beckmann, Arclight Films, Juliet Berman, Spiral Stairs Entertainment, Sophia Dilley, Concord Originals, and Paul Scanlan, Legion M


  • Economic Development: Moviemaking on Native Land 

    Joanelle Romero, Red Nation Celebration Institute, Allison Whitmer, Commissioner, Montana Film Office, Coni ShepperdSouthern Kentucky Film Commission, Cyndy McCrossen, Liaison, City of Albuquerque Film, Marcei Brown, Founder, Crewie, and Mike Fantasia, Former President, LMGI 

  • Evolving Roles and Relationships: Sales Agents and Producers
    Clay Epstein, Film Mode Entertainment, Marc Goldberg, Signature Films, Mark Padilla, Jack Rabbit Media, and Nadine de Barros, Fortitude International 

More sessions and speakers will be announced shortly. The initial schedule and speakers can be viewed HERE.

Organized by the Independent Film & Television Alliance (IFTA), AFM continues to be the only dedicated sales market in North America and the only independently produced market in the industry. 


American Film Market (AFM)

AFM is the most efficient film acquisition, development and networking event in the world. More than US$1 billion in production and distribution deals are closed every year — on both completed films and those in every stage of development and production. Over six days in November, thousands of industry professionals from 70+ countries access the entire global catalogue of available films and projects, attend world class conferences, and connect with decision makers. The AFM is produced by the Independent Film & Television Alliance®. 

Independent Film & Television Alliance (IFTA)

IFTA is the global trade association for independent film and television production, finance, distribution, and sales companies. The organization represents the independent sector before governments and international bodies and provides significant entertainment industry services to independent companies from 22 countries. 

AFI Fest 2023: Julia Roberts, Ethan Hawke, star in Sam Esmail’s Opening Night film Premieres October 25 

AFI Fest 2023: Julia Roberts, Ethan Hawke, Opening Night film announced, October 25 

This year’s AFI Fest Opening Night film has been announced,  the World Premiere of:

Leave the World Behind

written and directed by AFI Conservatory Alum Sam Esmail (AFI Class of 2004), will open the 37th edition of AFI FEST

Based on the acclaimed novel of the same name by Rumaan Alam, the highly anticipated apocalyptic thriller stars Academy Award® winner Julia Roberts, Academy Award® winner Mahershala Ali, Academy Award® nominee Ethan Hawke, Myha’la, Farrah Mackenzie, Charlie Evans and Kevin Bacon, and is produced by Esmail Corp, Red Om Films and Higher Ground Productions from Netflix Studios. 

The Opening Night Red Carpet Premiere screening will take place Wednesday, October 25, 2023, at the historic TCL Chinese Theatre in Los Angeles.

In this apocalyptic thriller, Amanda (Julia Roberts) and her husband Clay (Ethan Hawke), rent a luxurious home for the weekend with their kids, Archie (Charlie Evans) and Rose (Farrah Mackenzie). Their vacation is soon upended when two strangers — G.H. (Mahershala Ali) and his daughter Ruth (Myha’la) — arrive in the night, bearing news of a mysterious cyberattack and seeking refuge in the house they claim is theirs. The two families reckon with a looming disaster that grows more terrifying by the minute, forcing everyone to come to terms with their places in a collapsing world.

“Sam Esmail is a commanding voice in the new generation of cinematic storytellers,

and we are proud to present the World Premiere of his new film at AFI FEST,”

Bob Gazzale, AFI President and CEO.

“That he is a graduate of the AFI Conservatory only adds to the pride we feel in celebrating this accomplishment – which is both powerful and profound.”


Learn more about this AFI FEST world premiere.


Get your passes for AFI FEST now and join us for the best in global cinema!

Festival passes for AFI FEST are now on sale.


Festivalgoers have the opportunity to select either a FEST Pass or a Premium FEST Pass. The Premium FEST Pass includes access to all screenings including Red Carpet Premieres, priority screening selection and theater access, access to the AFI FEST Festival Lounge and more. Explore Festival Passes.


AFI FEST is a world-class event, showcasing the best films from across the globe to captivated audiences in Los Angeles. With a diverse and innovative slate of programming, the film festival presents a robust lineup of fiction and nonfiction features and shorts presented in established AFI FEST sections, along with panels and conversations featuring both master filmmakers and new cinematic voices.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences recognizes AFI FEST as a qualifying festival for both Short Films categories of the annual Academy Awards®.

Through annual tributes and conversations, the festival has honored numerous influential artists and icons, including Halle Berry, Danny Boyle, Marion Cotillard, Catherine Deneuve, Isabelle Huppert, Barry Jenkins, Sophia Loren, Nicole Kidman, Mira Nair, Rita Moreno, Sofia Coppola, Steve McQueen, Natalie Portman, Christopher Plummer and Tilda Swinton. Past Guest Artistic Directors have included Pedro Almodóvar, Bernardo Bertolucci, Ava DuVernay, David Lynch and Agnès Varda.


AFI members are among the first to receive festival news and updates, as well as an array of other exciting member benefits targeted to movie lovers. To learn more about AFI Membership, or to become a member, click here.


80th Venice International Film Festival : Roman Polanski’s ‘The Palace’ Sells Major Europe Territories Just Before Venice Premiere

Roman Polanski’s ‘The Palace’ Sells Major  Europe Territories Just Before Venice Premiere

Roman Polanski’s newest film “The Palace”  sells to major territories just before its Venice premiere, with distributors lining up to show the film despite  the filmmaker’s ongoing controversy.. 

Deals have been struck with Benelux (Paradiso Films), Spain (Vértigo Films), Germany (Weltkino), Greece (Spentzos) and Portugal (Nos Lusomondo) in Western Europe.

Eastern and Central European distributors have also signed the film with sales to Bulgaria (Beta Film), Yugoslavia (MCF), Hungary (Cirko), the Czech Republic and Slovakia (Pilot Films) and CIS (Pro:vzglyad).

In Italy “The Palace” will be launched theatrically on September 28 by 01 Distribution. Its parent Rai Cinema is a key partner on the production alongside lead producer Luca Barbareschi. 

Lausanne-based CAB Productions, which is also a producer, has Swiss rights. Tomasz Przybecki is handling Polish rights in a deal brokered by Barbareschi. 

The deals arrive even as on-going debate continues whether the filmmaker Polanski should be endorsed or not as an artist since his 1973 US criminal charges remain unresolved.

Polanski, who is now 90 years old, is not expected in Venice for the Out of Competition gala Sala Grande premiere on September 2. 

Key territories still not spoke for include Polanski’s homeland France.

Polanski wrote the screenplay with Polish director Jerzy Skolimowski and producer Ewa Piaskowska. Longtime collaborator Alexandre Desplat composed the score.


Gin Blossoms and Sugar Ray Tour to Kick Off summer tour August 31

Gin Blossoms and Sugar Ray Tour to Kick Off summer tour August 31

Gin Blossoms and Sugar Ray will embark on their co-headlining summer tour with special guests Tonic and Fastball beginning tomorrow, Thursday, August 31 in Wisconsin.

Come see the “Hey Jealousy” and “Every Morning” hitmakers, respectively, as they grace the stages of amphitheaters and theaters across the Midwest and East Coast.

Gin Blossoms and Sugar Ray Tour to Kick Off summer tour August 31

Tickets and more information at Gin Blossoms’ website or Sugar Ray’s website.

“I’m so excited to tour with Sugar Ray, Tonic and Fastball,”

Robin Wilson of Gin Blossoms.

“They’re some of my favorite bands to be on the road with. We’re looking forward to doing some rock ‘n’ roll shows.”

Mark McGrath

of Sugar Ray shares:

“I can’t think of anything better than spending the summer with great friends playing music!

This tour is a giant cavalcade of hits that just keeps delivering, and I’m always honored to share a stage with Gin Blossoms, Tonic and Fastball.” Sugar Ray’s guitarist and co-founder Rodney Sheppard adds, “I am most looking forward to this tour because all of these bands have a history and a friendship. I can’t wait for the backstage acoustic guitar sing-alongs.”

Gin Blossoms; credit: Shervin Lainez

Gin Blossoms; credit: Shervin Lainez

Emerson Hart of Tonic adds: “We are so excited to get back out there this summer and play rock and roll with our friends Gin Blossoms, Sugar Ray and Fastball. That’s a lot of great music in one night!”


Thursday, August 31 La Crosse, WI Copeland Park
Friday, September 1 Cedar Rapids, IA McGrath Amphitheatre
Saturday, September 2 Beaver Dam, KY Beaver Dam Amphitheater
Sunday, September 3 Peachtree City, GA The Frederick Brown Jr. Amphitheater^
Wednesday, September 6 Kettering, OH Fraze Pavilion
Thursday, September 7 Niagara Falls, ON Fallsview Casino Resort
Friday, September 8 Mashantucket, CT Foxwoods Resort Casino
Saturday, September 9 Midlothian, VA AfterHours Southside at the River City Sportsplex
Sunday, September 10 Bethlehem, PA Wind Creek Event Center
Tuesday, September 12 Huntington, NY The Paramount^
Wednesday, September 13 Montclair, NJ Wellmont Theater^
Thursday, September 14 Medford, MA Chevalier Theatre
Friday, September 15 Frederick, MD The Great Frederick Fair

Hollywood Trade Heat: Shout! Studios Tom Chen Rises to SVP Publicity

Shout! Studios Tom Chen Rises to SVP Publicity

Shout Studios! promotes its longtime publicity chief Tom Chen to the role of Senior Vice President of Publicity.

Chen will continue to lead the publicity team from his elevated role, while also taking on more roles in shaping the Shout! Studios brand and PR efforts

Top PR Chen reports to Melissa Boag, EVP, Kids & Family Entertainment. He will work closely with the senior management team in guiding publicity strategy to promote Shout! Studios’ growth amidst the ever-changing demands of the market.

Since 2007, Chen has been a valuable contributor at Shout!, most recently serving as VP of Publicity. Over his 16 years at the multi-platform media company, he has overseen corporate trade communications, media relations and publicity efforts for Shout! Studios and its broad spectrum of entertainment releases and new production ventures.

EVP Melissa Boag cheered for Tom Chen to Deadline:

“Tom’s commitment to excellence and his outstanding ability to manage multifaceted projects and complex challenges have made him an invaluable asset to our organization.” Boag continued: “His strong leadership skills and commitment to his team members have kept Shout! Studios’ publicity at the leading edge amongst independent studios.”

Chen, as part of the Shout! Studios executive team, develops and implements strategies that promote and enhance the company’s corporate profile, as well as awards campaigns, multiple entertainment brands, and top releases for Shout! Studios’ new films, original productions, animation, and pop culture TV and film libraries across theatrical, VOD, streaming entertainment, broadcast and home entertainment.

He recently orchestrated the company’s transition from the original Shout! Factory to its current name — Shout Studios! — and helped implement their news strategy for its 20th anniversary celebration.

Notable campaigns he led includes acclaimed original features Old Henry, What’s Love Got to Do with It? and Language Lessons.

Previous to his experience at Shout! Studios, Chen was the director of TV, film, and home entertainment at MPRM Communications.

Founded by Richard Foos, Bob Emmer and Garson Foos in 2003, Shout! Studios’ current partners and properties include Aardman Animations, ALF, The Carol Burnett Show, Stephen J. Cannell Productions, the Roger Corman New Horizons Pictures Library, GKIDS, ITV Studios, The Johnny Carson Show, LAIKA Studios, Mystery Science Theater 3000 (in partnership with creator Joel Hodgson), and Sesame Street.

The company’s upcoming feature releases are the darkly comedic thriller The Kill Room, starring Uma Thurman and Samuel L. Jackson, which hits theaters nationwide on September 28, and the starry animated pic The Canterville Ghost led by Stephen Fry, which bows in theaters in time for Halloween.

Hollywood Trade Heat: Kristen Figeroid Joins Neon As President Of International Sales & Distribution in time for 2023 Award Season

Hollywood Trade Heat: Kristen Figeroid Joins Neon As President Of International Sales & Distribution in time for 2023 Award Season

Neon Announces its hired Sierra/Affinity veteran Kristen Figeroid as President of International Sales and Distribution, effective this week.

Figeroid will still manage sales on third-party projects, but also brings along her team of foreign sales execs including Laurel Charnetsky as VP International Acquisitions & Operations and Dan Stadnicki as Manager, International Sales & Distribution.

Figeroid most recently served as Managing Director and EVP of Sales & Distribution at Sierra/Affinity. There she led sales on a slew of high profile and acclaimed projects including Atomic Blonde starring Oscar Winner Charlize Theron, the Oscar-winning Whiplash starring Miles Teller, and Nightcrawler starring Jake Gyllenhaal.

Previous to Sierra/Affinity, Figeroid was at Endeavor Content as SVP International Sales & Distribution, working on features such as The Lost Daughter, Monkey Man, The Peanut Butter Falcon, Book Club and Assassination Nation.

Earlier to Endeavor Content, she was VP International Sales at The Film Department, where amassed global success with a number of films including Law Abiding Citizen; VP International Distribution at Media 8 Entertainment; and Director of International Sales for Mainline Releasing and Lightning Entertainment.

As a film veteran, she has more than 20 years of success in the field.

As for Kristen Figeroid’s team:

Before her time at Neon, Laurel Charnetsky served as Director of Film Acquisitions at Sierra/Affinity. She also previously held sales & acquisitions roles at WME Independent, Endeavor Content and IM Global. Stadnicki is an alumni of MRC and Gersh.

In the 2022 awards season, Neon received six Oscar nominations between Ruben Östlund’s 2022 Palme d’Or winner Triangle of Sadness, The Quiet Girl and the documentaries All the Beauty and the Bloodshed and Fire of Love.

The 2023 Venice Film Festival is the world premiere of Neon’s Michael Mann movie Ferrari, starring Adam Driver, Penélope Cruz, Shailene Woodley, Patrick Dempsey and Jack O’Connell, scheduled for wide release in theaters on Christmas Day.

Neon’s presence at the Toronto Film Festival lineup includes Canadian premieres of Kitty Green’s The Royal Hotel starring Julia Garner; Justine Triet’s Anatomy of a Fall, which Neon acquired in Cannes where it won the Palme d’Or; Alice Rohrwacher’s La Chimera; Wim Wenders’ Perfect Days; and Robot Dreams from Pablo Berger.

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