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AFI DOCS Forum Bios

Tues. 6/22, 4:00 – 5:00 p.m. EDT
BREAKING THE SILENCE: HOW DOCUMENTARIES CAN SHAPE CONVERSATIONS ON RACIAL VIOLENCE

Moderator

Sherry Simpson is currently Senior Director of Engagement and Impact Innovation for Independent Television Service (ITVS). She is a recognized leader at the intersection of media and social change. Most recently, she has instituted an impact innovation pilot, Town Hall in a Box, to amplify the power of documentary films and community conversations to bridge divides and build allyship. This pilot includes the national launch of DocSCALE, a new technology to measure the social impact of media

Panelists

Caty Borum Chattoo is Executive Director of the Center for Media & Social Impact (CMSI), a creative innovation lab and research center at American University that creates, showcases and studies media designed for social change and social justice; and Assistant Professor at the American University School of Communication in Washington, D.C.

David Conrad-Pérez is the research director for the Center for Media & Social Impact at American University (CMSI). In addition to supporting CMSI’s program of research on civic media and participatory storytelling, he leads CMSI’s research in areas of media engagement and journalism.

Lisa Flick Wilson is the Co-Founder of Radical Optimist Collective, which was co-created over the past three years by a circle of practitioners from a wide diversity of backgrounds and areas of expertise. Their racial healing work has transcended into deeper consultative, coaching and facilitation work with groups of all shapes and sizes.

Vanessa Jackson is a Soul Doula, psychotherapist and owner of Healing Circles, Inc. in Atlanta, Georgia. Vanessa co-edited “Understanding Power: An Imperative for Human Services” with Elaine Pinderhughes, MSW and Patricia Romney, Ph.D. on power in clinical and community settings. She is the author of two monographs focused on African-American psychiatric history.

Jacqueline Olive is an independent filmmaker and immersive media producer with 15 years of experience in journalism and film. Her debut feature documentary, ALWAYS IN SEASON, premiered in competition at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival and was awarded the Special Jury Prize for Moral Urgency. Olive also co-directed the award-winning hour-long film BLACK TO OUR ROOTS, which broadcast on PBS in 2009.

Weds. 6/23, 2:00 – 3:15 p.m. EDT
GETTING SERIOUS ABOUT SERIES: NEW COLLABORATIONS BETWEEN PUBLIC MEDIA SERIES AND INDIE FILMMAKERS

Moderator

Leslie Fields-Cruz is the Executive Director of Black Public Media and the executive producer of the award-winning series AFROPOP: THE ULTIMATE CULTURAL EXCHANGE. Fields-Cruz serves on the board of directors for New York Women in Film and Television (NYWIFT) and for New Era Creative Space (NECS), a youth arts center in Peekskill, NY.

Panelists

Lead Artist, Director, Producer and Writer at Rada Studio, Joe Brewster is a Harvard-trained psychiatrist who uses his psychological training as the foundation in approaching the social issues he tackles as an artist and filmmaker. Brewster has created stories using installation, narrative, documentary and print mediums that have garnered support from critics and audiences internationally, including Sundance-winning and three-time Emmy®-nominee documentary AMERICAN PROMISE. He is a 2016 Guggenheim Fellow.

Natalie Bullock Brown is an award-winning producer, an Assistant Teaching Professor in Interdisciplinary Studies at North Carolina State University and a 2021 Rockwood JustFilms Fellow. She is the director/producer of BAARTMAN, BEYONCÉ & ME, a documentary work-in-progress that explores the impact of the beauty standard on Black women and girls, and is a producer on award-winning filmmaker Byron Hurt’s upcoming PBS documentary HAZING, as well as his upcoming NOVA film LOOKING FOR GRANDPA LEE.

Leola Calzolai-Stewart is co-founder of the Virginia-based production company FLOWSTATE Films and is currently directing and co-producing the historical documentary CHANGING STATE: BLACK DIPLOMATS, CIVIL RIGHTS, AND THE COLD WAR with founding partners Rachell Shapiro and Kiley Kraskouskas. CHANGING STATE is a co-production with PBS’ AMERICAN EXPERIENCE.

Yi Chen is an independent filmmaker based in Washington, DC. Her feature debut, FIRST VOTE, premiered at the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival in 2020 and won the Special Jury Award for Art & Craft of Documentary Form. The film was an official selection at AFI DOCS, CAAMFest, Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival, Hawaii International Film Festival and Vancouver Asian Film Festival.

Julia Cort, together with co-executive producer Chris Schmidt, oversees the long-running PBS science series NOVA and is committed to making inclusive science documentaries that are accessible to all. During her time at the series, Cort has contributed to more than 100 science films and overseen some of NOVA’s most acclaimed episodes and mini-series.

Ben DeJesus is an award-winning, Emmy® and Tony®-nominated director, producer, writer and co-founder of NGL Studios with partner John Leguizamo. DeJesus has over a decade of experience in the US Multicultural/Latinx markets, creating over 100 hours of television, documentary, nonfiction, music and branded projects. He also was a director/producer of CBS MOMENTO LATINO. Ben also directed Disney’s BUNK’D, one of its top-rated sitcoms.

Abby Ellis wrote, produced and directed FLINT’S DEADLY WATER (PBS FRONTLINE), a two-year investigation into a deadly disease outbreak in Flint, Michigan, which occurred amid the city’s lead poisoning crisis in 2014. FLINT’S DEADLY WATER was recognized by the Scripps Howard Foundation with the Jack R. Howard Award for Broadcast.

Cameo George is the executive producer of AMERICAN EXPERIENCE. She is an Emmy® Award-winning producer, writer and journalist with more than 20 years of experience in documentary, broadcast television and digital content production. George has produced, developed and commissioned innovative programming at CNN, NBC News, ABC News and digital media startup OZY.com.

Chris Hastings is Executive Producer and Editorial Manager at WGBH. At WGBH, Hastings has worked with the children television’s program ZOOM and the WGBH Lab, an innovative incubator for up-and-coming filmmakers. He joined WORLD Channel in 2011, where he co-created the award-winning documentary series AMERICA REFRAMED, LOCAL, USA and DOC WORLD and provided editorial oversight to the other original series on WORLD.

Byron Hurt’s acclaimed documentary HIP-HOP: BEYOND BEATS AND RHYMES premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and broadcast nationally on PBS’ Emmy® Award-winning series INDEPENDENT LENS. Hurt’s film SOUL FOOD JUNKIES aired on PBS’ Emmy® Award-winning series INDEPENDENT LENS, Hurt’s upcoming PBS film is entitled HAZING and will broadcast nationally on INDEPENDENT LENS.

Michael Kantor is the Executive Producer of AMERICAN MASTERS. Since taking the helm of AMERICAN MASTERS, he created AMERICAN MASTERS PICTURES, which has premiered 10 films at the Sundance Film Festival over the past five years.  During his tenure, he has overseen the production and broadcast of more than 60 documentaries.

Leola Calzolai-Stewart is co-founder of the Virginia-based production company FLOWSTATE Films and is currently directing and co-producing the historical documentary CHANGING STATE: BLACK DIPLOMATS, CIVIL RIGHTS, AND THE COLD WAR with founding partners Rachell Shapiro and Kiley Kraskouskas. CHANGING STATE is a co-production with PBS’ AMERICAN EXPERIENCE.

Chris Schmidt is an award-winning producer and director of documentaries and factual television. As co-executive producer, Schmidt oversees NOVA’s development team, creating new multi-hour projects in collaboration with U.S. filmmakers and international co-producers.  Since joining NOVA in 2012 he has developed and contributed to more than 100 groundbreaking films and series.

Lead Artist, Director and Producer at Rada Studio, Michèle Stephenson pulls from her Panamanian and Haitian roots to think radically about storytelling and disrupt the imaginary in nonfiction spaces. She tells compelling, deeply personal stories that are created by, for and about communities of color that reimagine and provoke. Her feature documentary, AMERICAN PROMISE, was nominated for three Emmys® and won the Jury Prize at Sundance.

Weds. 6/23, 4:00 – 5:00 p.m. EDT
LOOKING TO THE FUTURE WITH ‘HINDSIGHT’

Amman Abbasi is a writer/director, editor and composer. His feature film DAYVEON premiered at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival and was nominated for two Independent Spirit Awards in 2018. Abbasi’s upcoming projects include THE QUENCH.

Sapana Sakya was born in Nepal, grew up in Bangkok and studied in the U.S. Her background is in journalism, documentary film and program development.. Currently, she is the Talent Development & Special Projects Manager at the Center for Asian American Media (CAAM) where she designs and oversees filmmaker support programs.

Born, raised and trained in Birmingham, Alabama, Nick Price began his documentary work as a film fellow for the Southern Exposure documentary series at the Southern Environmental Law Center. Later in Washington, DC, he continued working with media platforms like National Geographic, Discovery and the DC-landmark, Politics & Prose Bookstore.

Christopher Holmes is the Vice President of Production and Digital Studios at Alabama Public Television. In his tenure at APT, Holmes has created and produced multiple series and documentaries earning numerous regional and national awards. Before joining APT in 2008, Holmes enjoyed a successful freelance career in commercial television and feature film.

Anissa Latham-Brown is an Emmy®-nominated documentary filmmaker from Birmingham, Alabama. She is a former video producer and editor at Meredith Corporation, working for Southern Living, Cooking Light and All Recipes. She is currently a filmmaker and producer for Red Clay Media, making documentary and unscripted content for the It’s a Southern Thing brand.

Daphne McWilliams, an independent filmmaker, began her career producing music videos for such artists as Queen Latifah, Blues Traveler and the Notorious B.I.G. In 1995, she produced the Oscar®-nominated and Emmy®-winning 4 LITTLE GIRLS with Spike Lee. McWilliams’ directorial debut, IN A PERFECT WORLDgarnered several festival awards and premiered on Showtime in 2016.

Courtney Pledger joined Arkansas PBS as CEO in 2017, instilling a fresh vision for the statewide network in content production and distribution and as a hub for independent makers, increasing opportunities for the network’s stories to be told for regional and national audiences.

Chloe Walters-Wallace manages Firelight Media’s artist programs, including the Documentary Lab and the Groundwork Regional Lab, which supports regionally based nonfiction makers. Currently she’s helming HINDSIGHT, a new digital shorts series chronicling the lived experiences of BIPOC communities in the American South and Puerto Rico during the unprecedented experience of 2020, in collaboration with REEL SOUTH and CAAM.

Thurs. 6/24, 2:00 – 3:00 p.m. EDT
INSIDE INVESTIGATION: WHAT FILMMAKERS NEED TO KNOW TO EMBARK ON INVESTIGATIVE DOCUMENTARIES

Moderator

Carrie Lozano is Director of the Sundance Institute’s Documentary Film Program and is an award-winning documentary filmmaker and journalist. She was most recently director of the International Documentary Association’s Enterprise Documentary and Pare Lorentz funds, where she supported more than 60 diverse films and filmmakers at the intersection of documentary and journalism.

Panelists

Dale Cohen is an experienced media lawyer, executive and professor currently wearing two hats, teaching at UCLA’s School of Law and serving as Special Counsel for FRONTLINE, the award-winning PBS documentary series produced by WGBH. At UCLA, Cohen founded the Documentary Film Legal Clinic, which provides pro bono legal services to documentary filmmakers.

Sarah Childress is the Series Senior Editor at FRONTLINE, where she develops and strengthens reporting across the series’ platforms. She has contributed to multiple award-winning documentaries, including FLINT’S DEADLY WATER, which she co-produced. In 2019, she was also appointed to lead FRONTLINE’s Local Journalism Initiative, which supports investigative reporting by local media outlets across the U.S.

Abby Ellis wrote, produced and directed FLINT’S DEADLY WATER (PBS FRONTLINE), a two-year investigation into a deadly disease outbreak in Flint, Michigan, which occurred amid the city’s lead poisoning crisis in 2014. FLINT’S DEADLY WATER was recognized by the Scripps Howard Foundation with the Jack R. Howard Award for Broadcast.

Marc Levin is the executive producer of THE SLOW HUSTLE. He is an award-winning filmmaker dedicated to telling powerful, real stories in a unique, authentic style. His honors include Sundance’s Grand Jury Prize, four Emmys® and four duPont-Columbia Awards. Most recently, he directed I PROMISE, which followed the students of LeBron James’ I Promise School during its inaugural year.

Sonja Sohn is the director of THE SLOW HUSTLE. Best known as an actor, Sohn began her documentary filmmaking career directing BALTIMORE RISING, which chronicles the city’s history in the aftermath of the death of Freddie Gray, who sustained injuries while held in police custody.

Thurs. 6/24, 4:00 – 5:15 p.m. EDT
MAKING FILMS MORE ACCESSIBLE TO ALL AUDIENCES

Moderator

Day Al-Mohamed is an author, filmmaker and disability policy strategist with over 15 years of experience. She is a Founding Member of FWD-Doc (Documentary Filmmakers with Disabilities) and recently joined the Board of Docs in Progress. She is currently working on a series pilot about amazing people with disabilities in history for PBS.

 

Panelists

Jason DaSilva’s short film OLIVIA’S PUZZLE premiered at the 2003 Sundance Film Festival. Three of his films have had national broadcasts on PBS, HBO and CBC. DaSilva’s film WHEN I WALK won a 2015 Emmy® Award for Outstanding Informational Programming. Currently he is working on his next feature film and his digital accessibility mapping tool, AXS Map.

James LeBrecht has over 40 years of experience as a film and theater sound designer and mixer, filmmaker, author and disability rights activist. LeBrecht co-directed and co-produced, with Nicole Newnham, the 2021 Oscar®-nominated feature length documentary CRIP CAMP. CRIP CAMP received the 2020 Sundance Film Festival Audience Award for feature-length documentary and the 2021 Independent Spirit award for Best Feature Documentary.

Ira Miller is responsible for servicing MAG requests from those who seek audio description services for broadcast, cable, web, museums and other venues. Previously, Miller  held positions at the Northeast Regional Media Center for the Deaf, Smith College/Clarke School for the Deaf and the Eunice Kennedy Shriver Center.

Nicole Newnham is an Emmy®-winning documentary producer and director, four-time Sundance Film Festival alumnus and five-time Emmy®-nominee. She co-directed the documentary CRIP CAMP with Jim LeBrecht.

As a writer, editor and post-production supervisor, Renée Ruthel has worked with the Media Access Group at GBH since 2000, creating audio description that makes TV programs, feature films, art exhibits, parks and theme parks accessible for people who are blind or visually impaired.

Isaac Zablocki is the Director and Co-Founder of ReelAbilities Film Festival and of Film Programs at the Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan. Zablocki has developd film programs at the JCC including the ReelAbilities Film Festival, the largest disability film festival in the world; the Israel Film Center;  the acclaimed Other Israel Film Festival, which focuses on Arab and minority populations in Israel.


PHILLY D.A. – THE MAKING OF THE LANDMARK NEW INDEPENDENT LENS DOCUSERIES: PART 1

Moderator

Royd Chung is the Vice President of Production at ITVS, where he oversees the award-winning documentary production company’s broadcast and short-form production pipelines. He brings more than 20 years of nonfiction television and digital video experience to ITVS. He was formerly the Executive Director of TV & Video at OZY Media, where he formed and led production for OZY Studios and oversaw the PBS series BREAKING BIG. His earlier credits include his role as Executive Producer for the Netflix docuseries GIRLS INCARCERATED and MTV’s documentary series TRUE LIFE, as well as showrunning and producing TV series for A&E, National Geographic, TLC and Discovery.

Panelists

Yoni Brook is a twice Independent Spirit-nominated cinematographer and producer. For PBS’s POV series, Brook co-directed BRONX PRINCESS (with Musa Syeed). Brook also co-directed THE CALLING, a four-hour series about young religious leaders for Independent Lens. His directorial debut, A SON’S SACRIFICE, won Best Documentary Short at the Tribeca Film Festival and IDA’s Best Documentary Short, and broadcast on Independent Lens.

Rubin Daniels is a freelance editor based in Chicago, IL. He holds a B.S. in Communications from the University of North Florida, as well as an M.S. in Cinema Production from DePaul University. Most recently, Daniels was an editor on PHILLY D.A., a PBS eight-part doc series, which premiered at Sundance Film Festival 2021.

Ted Passon is an award-winning director and video artist. He has directed episodic series for Netflix and Disney. He is a 2016 Sundance Lab Fellow, a recipient of the Pew Foundation Individual Artist Fellowship Grant and a 2016 Headlands Artist in Residency. He has exhibited his award-winning short films in festivals and galleries around the U.S. and abroad including exhibitions by the Whitney Museum, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts and 96 Gillespie in London.

Dawn Porter is an award-winning documentary filmmaker whose work has appeared on HBO, PBS, Discovery and Netflix among others.  She is currently directing and executive producing an Apple TV+ multi-part documentary series with Oprah Winfrey and Prince Harry, which focuses on both mental illness and mental well-being.

Nicole Salazar is a co-creator and a producer of the PBS docuseries PHILLY D.A. and recipient of the 2021 Sundance Institute | Amazon Studios Producers Award for Nonfiction. As a filmmaker and journalist, she has worked on investigative and breaking news stories in the U.S. and internationally for over a decade. She was previously a producer for the Emmy® Award-winning investigative series FAULT LINES on Al Jazeera and a multimedia producer for the daily independent TV/radio news hour DEMOCRACY NOW!.


PHILLY D.A. – THE MAKING OF THE LANDMARK NEW INDEPENDENT LENS DOCUSERIES: PART 2

Originally from Richmond, Virginia, Michael Gottwald is one of the producers of PHILLY D.A., a NYTimes Critics Pick doc series about Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner, which debuted at Sundance and Berlin before its network premiere on PBS in Spring 2021. Previously, he was one of the producers of BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD, which was nominated for four Academy Awards®.

As Director of Community Engagement at Georgia Public Broadcasting, Emmalee Hackshaw oversees the strategy, planning and execution of all GPB’s community engagement efforts and initiatives.

Travis Mitchell serves as Senior Vice President and Chief Content Officer at Maryland Public Television. He oversees all content created, acquired and aired on the statewide public television network’s TV channels and online properties. Mitchell brings more than two decades of media experience to his role at MPT, having served most recently as Chief Content Officer for University of North Carolina Television (UNC-TV.)


HISTORY IS OUT OF THE CLOSET: EXCAVATING QUEER STORIES FOR THE SCREEN

Moderator

Madeleine Lim is the founding Executive/Artistic Director of Queer Women of Color Media Arts Project (QWOCMAP). Decades ahead of mainstream conversations about gender and racial equity in film, she founded QWOCMAP in 2000. As one of a small number of queer women of color filmmakers on the international film festival circuit in the late 90’s, she saw that only queer women of color would tell their own authentic stories. Under Lim’s leadership, QWOCMAP’s award-winning Filmmaker Training Program has nurtured the creation of over 450 films, the largest catalog of LBTQ+ BIPOC films in existence.

Participants

Adam Baran’s work focuses on hidden histories of queer sexuality. Baran produced the Emmy®-nominated Netflix documentary CIRCUS OF BOOKS and wrote and directed the award-winning gay narrative short JACKPOT. He is a producer on director Michael Liebenluft’s new doc series HOW TO HAVE SEX IN A PANDEMIC which premieres on Vimeo on June 22. Baran has served as the co-curator of the acclaimed Queer/Art/Film screening series since 2009. His next project explores the history of the New York-based gay leather group The 9+ Club.

Vivian Kleiman is a Peabody Award-winning filmmaker whose work is noted for its cultural and stylistic diversity. A longtime collaborator with Black gay filmmaker Marlon Riggs, her credits include his landmark documentary TONGUES UNTIED. Kleiman was nominated for a National Emmy Award for Outstanding Individual Achievement for her work with Riggs on COLOR ADJUSTMENT.

Whitney Skauge is an award-winning filmmaker dedicated to diverse storytelling and representation. Their films act as an extension of social and political activism with hopes of helping audiences understand themselves and the world around them better. Their latest short film, THE BEAUTY PRESIDENT, debuted at the SXSW Film Festival in 2021.

INDUSTRY MEETINGS

Ximena Amescua Cuenca is the Coordinator of Firelight Media’s Artist Programs which provide mentorship, funding and access to filmmakers from racially and ethnically underrepresented communities. Since 2012, she has worked in various capacities within nonfiction film from editing and production to programming, outreach, communications and marketing at nonprofits working at the intersection of human rights, social justice and art.

As Filmmaker Engagement Manager at Chicken & Egg Pictures, Jaad Asante’s work focuses on fostering a strong AlumNest community and increasing their access to resources and opportunities by connecting them with potential funders, partners and networks. She produces the NEXT GEN EGG event and manages Docs by the Dozen, the organization’s shorts and series initiative.

Kenneth Brown is the Grants Coordinator at the International Documentary Association where he supports the Enterprise Documentary Fund, Pare Lorentz Documentary Fund and the IDA+XRM Media Incubator. He previously served as the IDA Documentary Awards Coordinator for the 35th and 36th annual ceremony before joining the funding team.

Francine Blythe-Lewis currently serves as the Executive Director at Vision Maker Media, located in Lincoln, Nebraska. Vision Maker Media is the premiere source of public media by and about Native Americans where Blythe-Lewis serves as the executive producer for selected film programs intended for public television broadcasting

Sara Bernstein is Executive Vice President of Imagine Documentaries and leads the development and production of premium feature docs and non-scripted series, including REBUILDING PARADISE and D.WADE: LIFE UNEXPECTED. Prior to joining Imagine, she was SVP, HBO Documentary Films overseeing various award-winning documentary films and nonfiction programming for the network.

Carly Botero is PBS Distribution’s Senior Acquisitions & Rights Management Associate. A lover of all things television and film, she enjoys spending both her personal and professional time consuming documentaries, discussing the power of storytelling and observing how documentaries can impact and bring about change in our society.

 

Sarah Childress is the Series Senior Editor at FRONTLINE, where she develops and strengthens reporting across the series’ platforms. She has contributed to multiple award-winning documentaries, including FLINT’S DEADLY WATER, which she co-produced. In 2019, she was also appointed to lead FRONTLINE’s Local Journalism Initiative, which supports investigative reporting by local media outlets across the U.S.

Sarah Choi is the Development & Artist Support Associate at Field of Vision. She supports the development and production of short and feature-length Field of Vision films and provides support to all artists they work with. Prior to joining FOV, she was an Executive Assistant at HBO and an editorial intern at Indiewire and Tribeca Film.

Julia Cort, together with co-executive producer Chris Schmidt, oversees the long-running PBS science series NOVA and is committed to making inclusive science documentaries that are accessible to all. During her time at the series, Cort has contributed to more than 100 science films and overseen some of NOVA’s most acclaimed episodes and mini-series.

Sarafina DiFelice is a Creative Executive with the Original Documentary team at Netflix. Previously she has worked for Hot Docs, TIFF and The Sundance Channel among other organizations.

Michael Ehrenzweig is a Supervising Producer at ITVS who joined the organization in 2015, after spending many years producing international co-productions and award-winning nonfiction films. He now oversees a slate of documentary projects that are released on Public Television, in theaters and on a variety of digital platforms. He is an active member of the Producers Guild of America.

David Eisenberg is an Emmy® and Peabody Award-winning supervising producer and the Senior Director of Production at ITVS. As a producer and editor for a small nonfiction production company, he helped deliver programs for broadcast on outlets including National Geographic Channel, TLC and PBS’s INDEPENDENT LENS.

Czarina Garcia is the Media Fund Manager at the Center for Asian American Media. Born and raised in the Philippines, she received a bachelor’s degree in Communication Arts from De La Salle University-Manila. Prior to joining CAAM, Garcia has lived in the Middle East and has worked in various film and video production projects in Manila.

Graciela García is the management and finance coordinator at the Los Angeles branch of Cinetic Media. Cinetic is a New York-based film and media company specializing in film finance, sales, distribution, talent management and corporate consulting. Before Cinetic, García worked in theater in New York City and graduated with honors from Wesleyan University.

Megan Gelstein is an Emmy® Award-winning producer and the Senior Program Director of Catapult Film Fund. In that role, she supports and cultivates independent documentary filmmakers and provides creative support to documentary films globally. Prior to joining Catapult, she worked as an independent producer where her work was supported by Sundance Documentary Fund and Chicken & Egg Pictures.

Cameo George is the executive producer of AMERICAN EXPERIENCE. She is an Emmy® Award-winning producer, writer and journalist with more than 20 years of experience in documentary, broadcast television and digital content production. George has produced, developed and commissioned innovative programming at CNN, NBC News, ABC News and digital media startup OZY.com.

Denise A. Greene, Director of Programs at Black Public Media, produces BPM’s signature programs – 360 Incubator+, a professional development program paired with a funding pitch session; AfroPop: The Ultimate Cultural Exchange, a curated series for public TV broadcast; and BPM’s Open Call, a funding initiative for shorts, documentary and podcast proposals. In addition, Greene serves as a supervising producer for BPM’s commissioned projects.

Molly Harrington is the Director of CNN Original Series, based in Los Angeles. In her role, she develops high-profile nonfiction series and is responsible for cultivating relationships within the creative community. To date, Harrington has managed the production of more than 30 CNN Original Series.

Born and raised in NYC with a degree from NYU, Amanda Hillsberg works in the Documentary Division at Participant as a Director of Development. She reviews new projects and helps production manage the slate from development through release. She started her nonfiction film career at the Original Programming Division at Pivot TV, before coming to Participant.

Tim Horsburgh is an independent producer, activist and distribution consultant. Between 2009-2021, he held various roles advancing the reach and reputation of Kartemquin Films, a period during which the organization was Academy Award®-nominated three times, received five Emmy® Awards and was the recipient of a 2019 Institutional Peabody Award.

Michael Kantor is the Executive Producer of AMERICAN MASTERS. Since taking the helm of AMERICAN MASTERS, he created AMERICAN MASTERS PICTURES, which has premiered 10 films at the Sundance Film Festival over the past five years.  During his tenure, he has overseen the production and broadcast of more than 60 documentaries.

Lily Kapan is a development executive at Imagine Entertainment.

As Director of Documentary Programming at HBO, Anna Klein is part of the team responsible for the development and production of HBO’s documentary films and series. She curates and develops documentary films and series at all stages of production, from idea through their on-air debut.

George Lazopoulos is a Senior Program Officer in the Division of Public Programs at the National Endowment for the Humanities. At NEH, Lazopoulos advises applicants and reads proposals for humanities-based media projects, including documentary films, podcasts and radio broadcasts, as well as museum exhibitions, historic site interpretations and digital platform humanities projects.

Wendy Llinás is an Emmy®-nominated producer and documentary film maker. As Senior Director of Programming and Development at PBS, she provides editorial and strategic guidance and manages the daily production process and resources for new limited series and existing programs such as INDEPENDENT LENS, VOCES, AMERICAN EXPERIENCE and POV.

David Magdael is CEO of David Magdael & Associates. With over two decades in PR/marketing for award-winning documentary films, indie features and broadcast content, Magdael and his company have become an important leader in the field. From Oscar® campaigns to theatrical releases to broadcast premieres, Magdael is one of the top media strategists in entertainment.

David Matthews is Director of Acquisitions at PBS Distribution, where he is responsible for acquiring the home entertainment rights for documentaries and other nonfiction series and specials. Prior to this, Matthews held positions in Discovery Inc.’s business affairs and production management departments working with a number of Discovery’s networks.

Adam Neuhaus is the Senior Director of Development for ESPN Films/ESPN+ primarily working on the award-winning 30 FOR 30 documentary series across feature films, shorts and the 30 FOR 30 podcast series. In addition, Neuhaus leads creative development for original content on the streaming service ESPN+.

Tina Nguyen is Vice President of Programming at HBO Documentary Films.

Ariel Richter is a Manager in the Documentary department at Endeavor Content, a division of global entertainment leader Endeavor. In his role, Richter supports the group in identifying financing opportunities, handling sales and providing advisory services for media companies and content creators in the premium non-scripted space.

Ryan Robinson is Senior Manager of Development for CNN Original Series and Films. Robinson joined CNN in 2016 and works across both series and film content. Most recently, she has worked on the 80-episode crime franchise VENGEANCE, THREE IDENTICAL STRANGERS, APOLLO 11 and LINDA RONSTADT: THE SOUND OF MY VOICE.

Poh Si Teng is the director of IDA Funds and Enterprise Program. She is the producer of the Academy Award®-nominated documentary ST. LOUIS SUPERMAN. Prior to joining IDA, she was a documentary commissioner for Al Jazeera English’s flagship documentary strand WITNESS. Poh was previously a journalist for The New York Times, where she was nominated for an Emmy®.

Ben Schwartz is the Director of Sales at Submarine Entertainment in New York. Submarine is one of the leading sales, distribution and production companies for independent documentaries and nonfiction series. Schwartz works on a wide variety of the company’s sales titles, as well as on the acquisitions team, where he helps build the company’s slate.

Nicole Tsien is Co-Producer, POV, at American Documentary, Inc.

Kat Vecchio is the CCO at Fork Films, where she works across departments to guide the development and release of new projects in all media, and alongside the COO oversees and supports project distribution and impact campaigns. Previously she served as Fork Films’ Director of Grantmaking where she oversaw the day-to-day operations of the company’s documentary grants program and served as the primary contact for Fork Films’ supported filmmakers.

Carmen L. Vicencio is the Supervising Producer of AMERICA REFRAMED, American Documentary’s year-round, documentary film showcase on public television’s WORLD Channel. She co-programs the series, oversees licensing and acquisitions of titles and is in-charge of the production, post-production, promotion and administration of the show.

David Weinstein is a senior program officer in the Division of Public Programs at the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). He has managed grants for award- winning films, radio programs, museum exhibits and digital projects. David joined the NEH in 2000 after teaching media studies and production at George Mason University.

Ariane Wu is a Director of Original Documentary Film at Netflix where she oversees a variety of global documentary features and shorts, including recent films like CRIP CAMP, OPERATION VARSITY BLUES and THE SPEED CUBERS. Formerly, Wu was an independent documentary director and a former producer at The Center for Investigative Reporting.

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