2021 Speakers


Shirley Vernae Williams is an accomplished director and Emmy-nominated producer from New Haven, Connecticut. With over 10 years of experience, Shirley has contributed to several television and digital projects including the New York Times People Matter, History Channel’s Alone, and several Vice and Refinery29 series which collectively have generated over 67 million views. In 2007, Shirley founded the production company Willie B. Productions which focuses on projects that inspire and transform lives through the moving image. In April 2021, Shirley raised over $65,000 for her documentary feature film A Break in Belonging which reveals the untold story of Martin Thomas, a formerly incarcerated pastor determined to rebuild family bonds and the lives of returning citizens being released from prison. The film is currently in pre-production and Shirley plans to begin principal photography in Fall 2021.  Shirley is passionate about directing and producing content with an emphasis on empowerment and education. Most recently, Shirley directed a five part branded series for Adidas and served as Director/Producer for short films for First Response and Center For Disease Control & Prevention (CDC). She also post produced a feature length documentary entitled Intent to Destroy that premiered at Tribeca Film Festival, and a documentary for Annenberg Space For Photography about the rich history of walls. While her directing and producing credits include projects with Ritz, Garden of Life and Roc Nation, Shirley has her sights on expanding into directing feature films and scripted series.  In conjunction with her directing and producing work, Shirley is actively involved in mentorship. She is the Head of Strategic Planning and Partnerships for HUE You Know, a non-profit organization dedicated to empowerment, employment and equity within the entertainment industry. Within the organization, she creates key relationships with reputable community programs that have an emphasis on inclusion in media. In addition, Shirley is a board member of Post New York Alliance, Foresight For-Givers Foundation and an active member of Producers Guild Of America and New York Women in Film and Television. Shirley loves building safe spaces for creatives of color in and around the production world and is focused on creating opportunities for content creators across film, digital and television programming.  When Shirley is not setting up shots or sitting on panels, she is traveling the world and exploring the sights and sounds of tropical islands.

Miasarah Lai (BA Cornell University, MFA Northwestern University) is a documentary producer, cinematographer, who has worked internationally in Honduras, Ghana, Myanmar, China, Nicaragua, Romania, and the U.S. Her work has screened at Big Sky Film Festival, American Documentary Film Festival, Athens Ethnofest, Chicago Palestine Film Festival and Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival among others. Select films she directed are Nobel Nok Dah (2015), and For My Art (2016). She has received grants & fellowships from the Academy of Arts and Sciences, Camden International Film Festival, Double Exposure Film Festival, The Propeller Fund, Kartemquin Films and other institutions. Her commitment to documentary continues in her community organizing, writing, and work as an educator/facilitator. She has facilitated and organized panels & workshops at CPH:DOX, Sundance Film Festival, SSFILM’s Doc Stories Series, International Documentary Association’s Getting Reel, Cannes Docs, the Royal Anthropological Institute Film Festival, Haverford College and other academic institutions. Miasarah is the Community Manager of Brown Girls Doc Mafia, and Co-Founder of Ethnocine Collective, and a member of Asian American Documentary Network.

Kibi Anderson is currently the Co-founder & CEO of Wordsmyth, a tech enabled platform for companies to discover, source + hire Black and Diverse freelance writers. She is an LA based business executive and Emmy Award-winning producer with over 18 years of experience in strategy, business development, media, entertainment, tech, finance and entrepreneurship. She is the VP of the board for the Black TV & Film Collective and a Committee Co-chair of the NYU Alumni Association board. Kibi lives in Sherman Oaks, CA.


Faridah Gbadamosi is a pop culture-obsessed lover of film working towards making the space more inclusive. In particular, her interests are in changing the space of tastemakers, rethinking the models for curation and exhibition. She has worked in a variety of roles at different film festivals and other film organizations including the California Film Institute, Athena Film Festival, Outfest Fusion QTBIPOC Film Festival, Tribeca, SIFF, and many more. She is currently the Artistic Director of Outfest Fusion and Outfest Now, as well as Senior Programmer at Athena Film Festival. In addition to her programming roles, she is also Director of Distribution at Open Your Eyes and Think MF, the distribution wing of David Magdael & Associates, a consultant on different film projects, and a freelance culture critic.

Mallory Martin is the Artistic Director of the Cleveland International Film Festival. Now in its 46th year, CIFF presents hundreds of feature and short films every spring to over 100,000 filmgoers. Since joining CIFF in 2010, Mallory has traveled the world in search of the best films to bring back to Cleveland, participating in various juries, panels, and pitch sessions. In recent years, she has created specialty shorts programs, featuring music videos and web series, and spearheaded CIFF’s first interactive exhibition, introducing the world of virtual reality and new media to the city of Cleveland. She is also the co-founder of mama.filmCLE, a film series for nurturers of all kinds, and rePRO Film Fest, the only film festival in the world dedicated to reproductive justice. A summa cum laude graduate of Ohio University’s E.W. Scripps School of Communication, she received her Bachelor’s degree in Media Arts and Communications. Mallory began her career by working for the Athens International Film and Video Festival, producing public media broadcasts, and writing and directing short films.

Rodney Evans is an award-winning fiction and documentary film writer, director and producer who has been creating films for over two decades. His debut fiction feature Brother To Brother won the Sundance Film Festival Special Jury Prize in Drama. The film garnered four Independent Spirit Award nominations including Best First Film, Best First Screenplay, Best Debut Performance for Anthony Mackie and Best Supporting Actor for Roger Robinson. His latest feature documentary, Vision Portraits, celebrated its World Premiere at the 2019 SXSW Film Festival and won the Award for Best Documentary at Frameline-The San Francisco International LGBTQ+ Film Festival in 2019 and the Award for Artistic Achievement at Outfest 2019. It played theatrically in major U.S. cities from August to October 2019. It aired nationally on America ReFramed and screened virtually for a week at the Whitney Museum in July 2020. Other documentary credits include The Unveiling, Close To Home and Two Encounters. Rodney was recently honored with the 2019 Frameline Award for Career Achievement and was a 2020 Sundance Momentum Fellow. He is currently a Ford/Mellon Disability Futures Fellow for 2021.

Marion Hill (she/they) [Marion Hoàng Ngọc Hill] is a filmmaker whose roots spread from Vietnam to France and England. She is based in New Orleans. Her work is devoted to narratives and visuals of queer femininity and femme power, using the camera to authentically center the nuances of queer sensibility, sexuality, sensuality and feminine agency across cultures.
Marion’s first feature, MA BELLE, MY BEAUTY premiered at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival and received the Audience Award for Best Film in the NEXT category after having participated in the Gotham’s 2020 distribution lab. The film was acquired during Sundance by Good Deed Entertainment for theatrical release.

Lela Meadow-Conner is Executive Director of Film Festival Alliance, a non-profit organization serving North American film festivals and the people who run them. She is also the Founder of mama.film, a village – at the crossroads of art & advocacy – where storytellers, changemakers and nurturers come together to champion humanity through a maternal gaze. Lela has more than 18 years of experience in independent cinema exhibition, with leadership roles at organizations including the Tallgrass Film Association and Geena Davis’ Bentonville Film Festival. In 2020, mama.film founded the rePRO Film Festival, which advocates for women’s reproductive justice through film and conversation. In 2021 mama.film, which operates a community microcinema, served as a Satellite Screen for the Sundance Film Festival, bringing official selections to Wichita, KS. She has participated in The Industry Academy, a program of Film at Lincoln Center and the Locarno Film Festival, the Constellation Incubator and holds a degree in the culinary arts. Lela is a recipient of both “40 Under 40” and “Women in Business” honors from the Wichita Business Journal, has served on film juries including AFI and the NAACP Image Awards. She currently serves on the board of Los Angeles’ iconic Vidiots Foundation, soon to relaunch in the historic Eagle Theatre. Other roles include Co-Producer for Sav Rodgers’ documentary Chasing Chasing Amy, Producer for Nitzan Mager’s Strange Love: Or How I Learned to Stop Swiping and Love the Bomb and Executive Producer for Emily Christensen’s Feminist Foremothers podcast.


Rahdi Taylor is EVP of Artists in Residence at Concordia Studio, where she designs and directs the company’s action to foster diverse documentary storytellers. She spent 10 years at Sundance Institute as Director of the Sundance Documentary Fund where she awarded financing and creative support to documentary films globally, including more than a dozen Academy Award nominees. She enjoys leading field-wide interventions, and designed and directed the Documentary Core Application. She also created the Doc Film Money Map, a tool to catalyze nonfiction filmmakers to use state tax incentives for indie doc financing. Prior to Sundance, Taylor worked in film distribution at California Newsreel in San Francisco, and in artist development at Women Make Movies in New York. She serves frequently in the field as a juror, panelist and industry advisor for international film festivals, funding panels, and pitch forums.

Kristin Feeley oversees creative Labs and Fellowships at the Documentary Film Program, which include four residential artist-focused Labs. She co-programs the annual Creative Producing Summit and programs for DFP-supported artists at Sundance Film Festival, which serves over 150 artists annually. She launched the Documentary Creative Producing Lab and Fellowship, the Contributing Editor Fellowship, Art of Editing Fellowship as well as the Nonfiction Critics Fellowship, the first Fellowship within the DFP to support writers and cultural critics. Kristin is committed to supporting all artists who contribute to a collaborative, inclusive artistic process in independent nonfiction. She plays a staff advisory role with the Sundance Documentary Fund. Prior to Sundance, Kristin worked in social policy research and arts nonprofits before pursuing a Masters in Film at the University of Glasgow.

Katherine Pieper, PhD is a Research Scientist at the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative, where her work spans multiple projects. This research includes analyzing employment patterns in film and television with a particular focus on key production roles. She has contributed to studies examining the barriers and opportunities facing women and people of color behind the camera in film, the animation industry, and the music business. Additionally, her work with the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative has supported quantitative and qualitative investigations into the prevalence and portrayal of girls, older adults, and mental health across film and TV. 
Dr. Pieper graduated with a BA in communication from Michigan State University, and an MA and PhD from the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism at USC. Her dissertation focused on the role of social support in a three-year maternal and child health intervention in Cambodia.  Between 2007 and 2011, she worked in communication and resource development, including proposal writing, reporting, and design of monitoring and evaluation activities for a non-governmental organization based in Phnom Penh.

Bedatri is a culture journalist and documentary film professional. She has managed documentary projects at Doc Society, Working Films, The Gotham Film & Media Institute, and CAAM, among others. An alumna of the NYFF Critics Academy, Sundance and SXSW Press Inclusion Initiatives, the National Critics’ Institute, and Berlinale Talents, she grew up in India and now lives in New York City. Presently, she is the Managing Editor of Documentary Magazine and an Associate Programmer at DOCNYC.


Ryan Elizabeth Cunningham is a director and Emmy and Peabody award-winning producer who recently launched the development company Running Woman and represented the TV projects THE FUGITIVE GAME (2018), TRANSMANIA (2019) and MARY (2020) in the IFP (now The Gotham) Project Forum. She’s EP/Director on the standup special ILANA GLAZER: THE PLANET IS BURNING (Amazon) and the docuseries EXPECTING AMY (HBO Max).
Select TV producer credits include BROAD CITY and INSIDE AMY SCHUMER (Comedy Central), SEARCH PARTY and THE LAST O.G. (TBS); ZIWE and FLATBUSH MISDEMEANORS (Showtime); LOUIE (FX); STRANGERS (Facebook); THE SHIVERING TRUTH (Adult Swim); HORACE AND PETE (Hulu); THE ELECTRIC COMPANY (PBS), as well as several prominent stand-up specials for Netflix and HBO, including Executive Producing AMY SCHUMER GROWING for Netflix.
Film producing credits include Rachel Israel’s feature KEEP THE CHANGE, starring the first leading cast of actors on the autism spectrum and winner of Best Narrative Feature at Tribeca Film Festival 2017; BECKS, winner of the LA Film Festival 2017; and the ill-fated I LOVE YOU, DADDY, directed by Louis C.K., which premiered at the Toronto Film Festival. She has also co-owned the NYC-based post house Running Man for the last decade. She lives in Brooklyn with her 9-year-old daughter who is on the autism spectrum and likes to build large art installations in various places around their apartment.
Ryan is a graduate of Rhode Island School of Design and co-chair of the RISD Fund, as well as working as an adjunct professor for the film department.

Justin McGoldrick is an executive producer at Spotify who develops podcast adaptations for tv and film. His current projects include THE HORROR OF DOLORES ROACH at Amazon, WIND OF CHANGE at Hulu and THE TWO PRINCES at HBO Max. He previously worked on animated features such as Illumination’s THE GRINCH and Blockbuster comedies like GHOSTBUSTERS. He started in the WME mailroom.

Todd Spangler, an award-winning business and technology journalist with more than 25 years of experience, joined Variety in 2013, where he covers digital media and technology for the entertainment industry’s leading business publication. Previously, he was technology editor for Multichannel News for seven years, covering the cable TV industry. Spangler also has worked as an editor and writer with information-technology publications, including PC Magazine, Interactive Week, Baseline, Web Week, and Byte and Switch, an online storage-networking publication. He holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University, and lives with his family in New Jersey.

Lindsay Gomez is a development and production executive, diversity and inclusion strategist, and writer. Prior to joining Wondery, she helped launch Lionsgate’s digital division where she oversaw the development and production of MOST LIKELY TO MURDER, starring Adam Pally and Rachel Bloom, which premiered at the 2018 SXSW film festival, and THE HONOR LIST, produced by Zoe Saldana, which opened the Bentonville Film Festival. She is one of the founding members of Lionsgate’s first diversity and inclusion initiative and served as co-lead of the Multicultural Employee Resource Group. As a writer, she has developed and sold original TV shows to ABC, Universal TV, Pacific Electric, founded by Ed Helms, and Sony Pictures Television where she was given a blind-script to develop a project supervised by Esta Spalding. Most recently, she was a staff writer on the AMC show KEVIN CAN FUCK HIMSELF, produced by Le Train Train Productions, founded by Rashida Jones and Will McCormack, and was one of four writers selected for Sony’s Diverse Writers Program. She stands just under 5’1″ and might be the only Mexican and Lebanese girl to hail from Littleton, CO.


Orlando von Einsiedel is the director of the Academy Award-winning short documentary, THE WHITE HELMETS, which follows the lives of a group of heroic Syrian civilian rescue workers in 2016. The film was released as a Netflix Original and was also nominated for two EMMYs, including for Exceptional Merit in Documentary Filmmaking.

His debut feature documentary VIRUNGA charted the story of a group of courageous park rangers risking their lives to build a better future in the Democratic Republic of Congo. BAFTA and Academy Award nominated, the documentary won over 50 international awards including an EMMY, a Grierson and a duPont-Columbia Award for outstanding journalism. The film was also recognised for its role in protecting the Virunga National Park winning a Peabody, a Television Academy Honor and the prestigious 2015 Doc Impact Award.

His subsequent feature EVELYN, a deeply personal story and road trip odyssey about the loss of his brother to suicide, won a number of awards including the 2018 British Independent Film Award (BIFA) for Best Documentary. The Evening Standard newspaper called it “Phenomenal” and “Life-changing”.

More recent projects include EMMY nominated LOST AND FOUND for National Geographic Documentary Films and BAFTA and Academy Award winning short documentary LEARNING TO SKATEBOARD IN A WARZONE (IF YOU’RE A GIRL) which Orlando executively produced and which grew out of his award winning 2010 short film SKATESITAN: TO LIVE AND SKATE KABUL.

Orlando is drawn to telling inspiring stories of humble heroism from around the world, often combining intimate personal narratives with macro level politics, powerful visual aesthetics and on-the-ground journalistic muck-racking. He has worked in impenetrable and difficult environments, from pirate boats to countries experiencing conflict, and has won over 100 international film and advertising awards.

Formerly a professional snowboarder, Orlando has a degree in Social Anthropology from the University of Manchester. He lives in South-East London with his partner and young son.

Amy Hobby is an Academy Award and Independent Spirit Award-Nominated, Emmy and Peabody Award-Winning producer. Her documentary features include WHAT
HAPPENED, MISS SIMONE? (Netflix, directed by Liz Garbus),
AND EVERYTHING IS GOING FINE (Criterion Collection, directed by Steven Soderbergh), LOVE, MARILYN (HBO,
directed by Liz Garbus), SHEPARD & DARK (Sam Shepard, Cannes Film Festival) and THE LAST LAUGH (featuring
Mel Brooks, Rob Reiner, Sarah Silverman) for ITVS. Her scripted features include SECRETARY (Maggie Gyllenhaal, James Spader), HAMLET (Ethan Hawke, Bill Murray),
LUCKY THEM (Toni Collette, Johnny Depp), PAINT IT BLACK (Janet McTeer, Alia Shawcat), and NADJA (Executive Producer David Lynch), among many others. Her films have
played and/or won awards at Sundance, Tribeca, Cannes, Berlin, and Toronto Film Festivals. Hobby’s first job as a producer’s assistant was on Tim Burton’s ED WOOD, on which she also oversaw archival research because she was simply obsessed with finding the best possible 35mm print for GLEN OR GLENDA.

Amber Fares is a director, producer and cinematographer based in the US, best known for her award-winning film, SPEED SISTERS (Netflix), which won best documentary at the Adelaide FF and Vail FF.Amber was co-producer and cinematographer on the Peabody Award-winning THE JUDGE (PBS) and supervising producer on an episode of AMERICA INSIDE OUT (NatGeo) with Katie Couric, for which she won a Frontpage Award. She is currently directing her next feature film: COEXISTENCE, MY ASS! Sundance Momentum Fellow (2019), Sundance Editing and Story Lab Fellow (2014), and Sundance Institute Fellow (2012).

Dan Cogan is one of the most prominent non-fiction producers working today. Both an Academy Award®- and Emmy Award®-winner, Dan founded Story Syndicate with Liz Garbus in 2019. Previously, Dan was the founding Executive Director of Impact Partners. He has produced more than 100 films and series, including Allen v. Farrow nominated for an Emmy this year; Icarus, which won the 2018 Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature; Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, which won the 2019 Independent Spirit Award for Best Documentary; The Cove, which won the 2010 Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature; and The Apollo, which won the 2020 Emmy for Outstanding Documentary.

Hassan Akkad is a photographer and documentary filmmaker from Damascus, Syria. In 2015, he documented his 87-day journey to the UK, which was featured in the BAFTA-winning documentary series EXODUS: OUR JOURNEY TO EUROPE. His memoir, Hope Not Fear: Finding My Way from Refugee to Filmmaker to NHS Hospital Cleaner and Activist will be published in 2021.

Claudia Puig is president of the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, a longtime critic on NPR’s Film Week, a film festival programmer and cultural consultant. She is currently Program Director for the Santa Barbara International Film Festival and in 2020 she was Senior Programmer for AFI Fest. She has been a speechwriter for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and program director for the Napa Valley Film Festival, Mendocino Film Festival and FilmFest 919 in Chapel Hill, N.C. In addition, Claudia has a film consulting business specializing in cultural consulting and she teaches a college class on Diversity in the Media. Previously, she was USA Today’s film critic for 15 years. During that time, she also hosted The Screening Room video series and wrote film reviews and analytical articles about the film industry. Before that, she was a staff writer at the Los Angeles Times for 11 years covering city government, courts and the entertainment industry. While at the LA Times she was part of a team of journalists who won the Pulitzer for spot news reporting of the 1992 Los Angeles uprising. A native Spanish speaker, Claudia has a B.A. in Communication Studies from UCLA and an M.A. in Communications Management from USC’s Annenberg School. She also studied at the Universidad Iberoamericana in Mexico City and at Cambridge University in England. In 2020 Puig won the Excellence in Entertainment Journalism award from the National Association of
Latino Independent Producers (NALIP) and in 2017 she was the recipient of the Roger Ebert Award for Excellence in Film Criticism from the African-American Critics Association (AAFCA). She was recently featured in the Los Angeles Times as one of the 14 film critics making media more inclusive and in Indiewire as one of 20 Latin Americans making a difference in American independent film.


Janicza Bravo is an award-winning director and writer who continues to push the creative boundaries in Hollywood by breathing life into the most distinctive of stories. Most recently, Janicza served as the director and co-writer of the, Zola, based on a viral 148-tweet thread by A’ziah “Zola” King. A24 released the film to critical acclaim in theatres on June 30th. The film explores the story of Zola’s road trip to Florida with an unlikely friend, Stefani. What begins as a seductive and glamourous trip quickly transforms into a 48-hour odyssey. Co-written by Slave Play playwright Jeremy O. Harris and starring Taylour Paige, Riley Keough, Nicholas Braun and Colman Domingo, the film premiered in competition at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival and is being released in the UK on Friday, August 6.  Upcoming, Janicza will write, direct and executive produce Annapurna’s series adaptation of Ian Parker’s New Yorker article A Suspense Novelist’s Trail of Deceptions, which will star Jake Gyllenhaal. The series will explore the complex life of former book editor Dan Mallory, and the struggles and strange twists that led to his historic success of writing the first debut novel to hit number one on the New York Times bestseller list in twelve years. Janicza will also direct and executive produce FX pilot Kindred, an adaptation of Octavia E. Butler’s influential novel, with newcomer Mallori Johnson set to star. The project hails from writer Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, Courtney Lee-Mitchell, Darren Aronofsky and his Protozoa Pictures, Joe Weisberg and Joel Fields. FX Productions is the studio and is scheduled to begin filming in September 2021. Janicza’s previous film work has screened at AFI, BAM, Carnegie Hall, SXSW, Sundance, and Tribeca. Her feature film debut Lemon premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and was sold to Magnolia Pictures. In 2014, Filmmaker Magazine named her as one to watch in “25 New Faces of Film.” That same year, her short film Gregory Go Boom won the Jury Prize for US Fiction at Sundance.  On the television side, she directed the “Juneteenth” episode of Atlanta as well as episodes of HBO’s Divorce, Here and Now, In Treatment, Netflix’s Love and Dear White People and Amazon’s Forever.  A NYU graduate with a degree in directing and theatre design, Janicza was born in New York City and currently resides in Los Angeles.

Joi McMillon is an award-winning editor best known for her work on Barry Jenkins’ critically acclaimed film “Moonlight,” the Best Picture winner at the 89th Academy Awards. McMillon’s work on the feature solidified her place in history as the first black female nominated for an Academy Award for Best Achievement in Film Editing.
McMillon led the editorial department on “The Underground Railroad,” Jenkins’ limited series adaptation of Colson Whitehead’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel for Amazon Studios. Currently, she serves as the editor of Disney’s upcoming Untitled Lion King Prequel, which marks her fifth collaboration with Jenkins since 2016.
Recently, McMillon cut the highly anticipated, Twitter-thread-based feature “Zola,” working alongside the immensely talented filmmaker Janicza Bravo, another frequent collaborator of hers. Born and raised in Central Florida, McMillon earned her BFA from the College of Motion Picture Arts at Florida State University. She is a member of the American Cinema Editors and sits on the Academy’s Film Editors Branch Executive Committee.


Jenny Kaplan is the Co-Founder & CEO of Wonder Media Network (WMN), an audio-first media company dedicated to amplifying underrepresented voices. She also hosts WMN’s Encyclopedia Womannica and Women Belong in the House. An award-winning journalist, Jenny quit her job at Bloomberg News to start something new. At Bloomberg, Jenny covered global business, touching on everything from Coca-Cola to cannabis. She also developed and co-hosted Bloomberg’s Material World podcast, where she fell in love with audio.

Mynette Louie is an Emmy-nominated, Spirit Award-winning producer. Her credits include Heidi Ewing’s Sundance-winning, Spirit Award-nominated I CARRY YOU WITH ME (Sony Pictures Classics), Carlo Mirabella-Davis’ Gotham-nominated SWALLOW (IFC Films), Jennifer Fox’s Emmy, Golden Globe, and Spirit Award-nominated THE TALE (HBO), Karyn Kusama’s THE INVITATION (Drafthouse/Netflix), and Martha Stephens & Aaron Katz’s Spirit Award-winning LAND HO! (Sony Pictures Classics). Mynette co-founded The Population in 2019 with Mollye Asher (NOMADLAND) and Derek Nguyen (THE HOUSEMAID). The company has a first-look deal with Topic Studios. Mynette won the 2013 Independent Spirit Producers Award, is on Film Independent’s Board of Directors, and serves on the executive and diversity committees in the Producers branch of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. She was named one of Business Insider’s “12 Movie Producers at the Top of Their Game to Watch in 2020 and Beyond” and Indiewire’s “100 Filmmakers to Follow on Twitter.” A native New Yorker, Louie graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Harvard.

Shivani Rawat is the Founder and CEO of ShivHans Pictures, a production and finance company that supports the visions of independent filmmakers while collaborating with creatives to produce dynamic and groundbreaking feature films outside the Hollywood studio model. Growing up in India, Rawat became very passionate about the world of film. After moving to New York City, she attended The New School and formed her production company soon after graduating.Rawat’s films include David Oyelowo’s The Water Man, Jonathan Hensleigh’s The Ice Road, Tara Miele’s Wander Darkly, Aaron Sorkin’s The Trial of Chicago 7, Jay Roach’s Academy Award-nominated Trumbo, Matt Ross’ Academy Award-nominated Captain Fantastic, Bleecker Street’s Danny Collins, as well as Brad Anderson’s Beirut and Maya Forbes’ The Polka King.In 2019 Rawat’s ShivHans Pictures expanded into distribution, including a co-distribution deal with Bleecker Street for U.S. rights to Anthony Maras’ Hotel Mumbai, followed by Tom Shadyac’s Brian Banks, which ShivHans also produced.Rawat is a Board Member of the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative and Women in Film, as well as a member of the Producers Guild of America and Film Independent. She is a supporter of various industry-related organizations including Time’s Up, the California Innocence Project, the Horizon Award, the Motion Picture & Television Fund, and in 2019 served as a sponsor for HUMANITAS, honoring film and television writing. She recently provided seed funding for Women in Film’s Hire Her Back campaign, which supports inclusive hiring in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Jessica Devaney (she/her) is a Brooklyn-based producer and the founder and president of Multitude Films. Her latest films include Netflix Original PRAY AWAY in partnership with Ryan Murphy and Blumhouse, Oscar-shortlisted CALL CENTER BLUES (TOPIC), and APART, an episode of the Sesame Workshop series THROUGH OUR EYES (HBO Max). She also produced Sundance award-winning and IDA-nominated ALWAYS IN SEASON (Independent Lens 2020), Livingston Reporting award-winning THE FEELING OF BEING WATCHED (POV 2019) dubbed “a real-world conspiracy thriller” by Variety, and Peabody-nominated ROLL RED ROLL (POV, Netflix 2019). Additional credits include Critic’s Choice-nominated SPEED SISTERS (Netflix), American Psychological Association award-winning LOVE THE SINNER (Amazon), and CALL HER GANDA (POV). Her films have screened at top festivals including Sundance, SXSW, Tribeca, BlackStar, and Telluride. Jessica founded QueerDoc and the Queer Producers Network and was a Sundance Edit and Story Lab fellow, Women at Sundance fellow, and Sundance Creative Producing Lab advisor. She received DOC NYC and TOPIC’s inaugural 40 Under 40 Award and the 2019 Cinereach Producers Award.

Cecilia R. Mejia is a second-generation Filipino-American born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. She has worked for over a decade in development for nonprofit organizations, including NGOs at the United Nations. She has a master’s degree in Public Administration and Affairs. She’s worked with grassroots organizations focusing on underrepresented communities. Cecilia has produced a number of films focusing on critical social impact issues. She’s the lead producer of the award-winning, Sony-acquired, feature film Yellow Rose, aSocial Impact Producer of the award-winning doc Call Her Ganda and Co-Producer for Array Studios- acquired, Lingua Franca. Cecilia is combining her passion for film and philanthropy withunder-resourced youth as the Creative Director for an arts-focused nonprofit organization, Art of Me. She is also an adjunct at NYU in the Open Arts department. She is the owner of Remedias Productions, a production company focused on social impact storytelling and producing. She is currently working leading the Social Impact campaign for the Netflix Original Film, Sisters on Track.


Mabel Valdiviezo is an award-winning indigenous Latinx filmmaker, multidisciplinary artist, and alumna of the Sundance Producers Conference. Her work is grounded in the Latinx community and her identity as an immigrant artist. Mabel has over a decade of experience producing and editing long-form documentaries, narrative shorts, branded videos, and mini-documentaries for both non-profit and corporate clients. Her work ranges from vérité and character-driven pieces to topic-based docs and personal films. She has screened her work all over the world including PBS, LALIFF, and MTV. Mabel is the founder of Haiku Films and Arts 4 Healing. She is currently in post-production with her feature documentary “Prodigal Daughter”.

Nirav Bhakta is an award-winning Director/Actor/Writer. While growing up as an undocumented immigrant in motels, Nirav utilized the restraints of his environment and geographical boundaries to create with what he had. Nirav’s background in story telling extends from Architecture to the North Indian classical dance form of Kathak. Due to the lack of authentic roles and experiences as an actor, Nirav began creating zero budget short films focusing on the immigrant experience. In 2019, Nirav and his co-director Gayatri Bajpai were announced as the winners of the HBO Visionaries Short Film Competition for their film ‘Halwa’, which became the first South Asian short form content on HBO. His next project ‘Thank You, Come Again’ created at the Armed With A Camera fellowship with Visual Communications is currently being used as a case study for immigration, race and ethnic politics within scholarly circles such as Rutgers, Brandeis and UCLA. The film received the jury prize at the 2020 San Diego Asian Film Festival. In 2021, Nirav was nominated by CAPE (Coalition of Asian Pacifics In Entertainment) for the inaugural CBS Leadership Pipeline Challenge, where his animated short film ‘To The Letter’ received top honors. The film is currently being used to raise awareness for the non-profit ‘School On Wheels’ and their ABC literacy program focused on educating unhoused children in Skid Row. To The Letter is currently streaming on CBS.com. Nirav is now developing multiple long form content, including his first feature film inspired by a true immigrant story.

Attorney Prerna Lal is the Founder and Managing Attorney of Lal Legal, as well as the author of Unsung America. A monumental civil rights advocate and formerly undocumented immigrant, Prerna pioneered a robust network of highly-organized and diverse undocumented youth with digital engagement capacity and fought against the deportations of immigrant community members, as a founder of DreamActivist. This model of organizing spurred immigration organizations across the country to fight against deportations, and laid the groundwork for the Obama Administration’s “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)” program. Prerna Lal has also worked at leading law firms and non-profits on both sides of the country, focusing on employment and family-based immigration law. Lal is also widely recognized and prominent for their pivotal work on behalf of the LGBT community, and for bridging the queer and immigrant rights social movement in the United States. A clinical law professor, Lal is a frequent writer on immigration, racial justice, sexual orientation, and how these forces intersect. A graduate of The George Washington University Law School, Prerna Lal is licensed to practice law in the District of Columbia by the D.C. Court of Appeals, and due to the federal nature of tax and immigration law, can represent clients all over the United States and abroad. In California, their practice area is limited to federal law matters.

Julio Salgado is the co-founder of DreamersAdrift and the Senior Program Manager for Artist Leadership at The Center for Cultural Power. His status as an undocumented, queer artivist has fueled the contents of his visual art, which depict key individuals and moments of the DREAM Act and the migrant rights movement. Undocumented students, organizers, and allies across the country have used Salgado’s artwork to call attention to the migrant rights movement. Salgado is the co-creator of The Disruptors Fellowship, a program for emerging television writers of color who identify as trans/and or non-binary, disabled, undocumented and/or formerly undocumented immigrants. His work has been displayed at the Oakland Museum, SFMOMA, and Smithsonian.

Set Hernandez Rongkilyo is a filmmaker and community organizer whose roots come from Bicol, Philippines. As a queer, undocumented immigrant, they dedicate their filmmaking to expand the portrayal of their community on screen. As part of the inaugural cohort of the Disruptors Fellowship, Set is developing a TV comedy pilot about undocumented-ness, race, and sexuality. Set directed/produced the award-winning short documentary “COVER/AGE” (2019) about healthcare expansion for undocumented adults. Their multi-platform documentary “unseen” (in-progress) tackles the issues of immigration, disability, and mental health. Set served as Impact Producer for projects such as “In Plain Sight” (2020), and the award-winning “Call Her Ganda” (Tribeca, 2018). They are a co-founder of the Undocumented Filmmakers Collective which advocates for undocumented immigrants in the film industry. Their work has been supported by the Sundance Institute, Firelight Media, Open Society Foundations, among others. Above all, Set is the fruit of their parents’ sacrifices, their siblings’ resilience, and their community’s nurturing.


​​Born and raised in LA, Racquel Baker began creative writing at six years old as a way to escape her adversity-filled upbringing. When she wasn’t writing she was watching way too much adult TV unsupervised. The combination of the two led her to major in Media Studies at UC Berkeley for her Bachelor’s, and Communication at the University of Illinois at Chicago for her Master’s. After grad school, Racquel worked in advertising as a strategic planner where she constantly read scripts for her client, NBCUniversal. She became captivated by this form of storytelling and experienced an unprecedented calling to become a screenwriter. Before quitting her job, she reached out to various writers on social media for advice on breaking into the industry, one of which was Lena Waithe. After forming a relationship with Lena, Racquel hit the ground running, quickly transitioning from her intern to full time assistant. Her tenacity for learning from Lena while providing valuable creative input was unmatched. While employed as her assistant, Lena gave Racquel the opportunity to co-write an episode of BET’s Boomerang. In April 2019, Racquel ended her time as Lena’s assistant and became the Writers Assistant on the BET series Twenties. Once Twenties wrapped, she served as Writers Assistants on Season 2 of Boomerang, where she was granted the opportunity to write the season premiere. Since wrapping on Boomerang, she gained representation at 3 Arts management company, was staffed on Season 3 of Freeform’s Good Trouble, and continues to develop her own projects.

Rae Benjamin is a comedy writer and LA native. Her mother encouraged her writing from a young age and compiled booklets of her short stories to hand out as Christmas gifts each year…this was either super cute or super cheap, depending on which relative you ask. Although she always enjoyed storytelling, she didn’t consider a career in screenwriting until after graduating from Loyola Marymount University with a (now useless) degree in Political Science.

Rae is currently a Staff Writer on an upcoming Netflix drama. She was also the writer’s assistant on the Shondaland/Netflix hit, BRIDGERTON and the script coordinator on THE WITCHER, also from Netflix. In 2020, Rae founded In the Cut, an organization dedicated to making the industry more accessible to Black creatives and other marginalized communities. Her company is currently partnering with Sundance through their Co//ab platform to share and create online content for diverse artists.

Arielle Diaz is a writer-director, and performer. She has written for the Emmy nominated series The Last Man on Earth on Fox starring Will Forte, David E. Kelley’s new series, Big Shot on Disney+ and is currently a writer-producer on Netflix’s original series Gentefied executive produced by America Ferrera. She is also the co-creator, co-director and star of the short film Desert Like a Witch. She is currently writing a feature, and her first book which is part memoir, part guide to life for bipoc creatives. When she’s not writing, Arielle performs burlesque in Los Angeles, and sings and writes songs. She is represented at CAA, Grandview Management, and Morris Yorn Barnes Krintzman Rubenstein & Gellman.

Eddie is a Cuban-American writer, actor and Emmy-winning producer from Ms’ Workiami, Florida. An alumnus of The Second City in Chicago, Eddie wrote and performed in two critically acclaimed resident stage revues after traveling the country with The Second City Touring Company. Since moving to Los Angeles, his credits include the CBS Diversity Showcase, NBC Late Night Writershop, Broadway Video’s Mas Mejor, and the HBO ACCESS Writing Fellowship where he developed a pilot for the premium network. Eddie’s short films have received critical acclaim; Dreamer was named one of Vulture’s Best Comedy Videos of 2018 and Uno Por Uno: The Cuban Missile Crisis won Best Web Series at HBO’s NYLFF as well as Cine Sony’s “New Voices.” One of his pilots was selected to the 2020 NALIP Latino Media Market. Eddie recently staffed on the NBC comedy Connecting and just wrapped on the upcoming series True Story with Ed Helms & Randall Park.

Ashley Ray-Harris is a Los Angeles-based comedian, writer and pop culture critic by way of Rockford, IL (and Chicago). She explores the intersection between culture and the intimacies of race, gender, queerness, and sexuality. Ray studied media at Williams College, is a leading pop culture voice and the creator of the Badass Black Women’s History Month Project. A frequent Tweeter (before she was suspended) and podcast guest, Ray’s unique brand of off-puttingly black Black comedy has been covered in The Chicago Tribune, Vulture, and VoyageLA.She worked at The Onion and performed with Clickhole Live from 2016-2018. Her newsletter about TV, pop culture and life as a solo poly bisexual dream babe was named “One of the Best 2020 Newsletters to Subscribe to That Will Keep You Informed and Entertained” by Marie Claire. She is the host of TV, I Say, a podcast that has featured guests like Seth Rogen, Roxane Gay, and Nicco Annan. Ray also perform stand-up comedy at festivals, clubs, showcases, venues and Zoom shows across the country.In 2020, she co-edited Maria Bamford’s audiobook, You Are (A Comedy) Special. You’ve also heard her on podcasts like: Doug Loves Movies, How Cum, The Bechdel Cast, Scam Goddess (based on her viral Shaun King presentation), Dyking Out, and Thrillist Explorers.A freelance writer since 2016, her pop culture opinions, editorials, interviews and reviews have been published on The A.V. Club, The Guardian, Cosmopolitan, Elle, Variety, Bitch Media, Vice, Jezebel, The Chicago Reader and Vulture.


Gretchen Hildebran is a documentary filmmaker and editor whose work lives at the intersection of politics, policy and human experience. Credits include: WORTH SAVING (2004), which was presented in HBO’s Frame by Frame showcase; OUT IN THE HEARTLAND (2005) which explored anti-gay legislation in Kentucky. A 2005 graduate of Stanford’s documentary program, Gretchen shot Ramona Diaz’s THE LEARNING (2011) and has edited for the History Channel, PBS and the United Nations Development Programme, as well as on independent documentaries. Gretchen has also made a series of short documentaries used to educate communities across the country about life-saving interventions such as needle exchange and overdose prevention.

An educator and facilitator, Vivian Vázquez Irizarry ran educational and youth leadership development programs at the Coro Foundation, Bronxworks, and until recently, served as the director of community-school partnerships at the New Settlement Community Campus. Vázquez Irizarry managed educational youth development models in GED completion and college access programs across New York City. A former member of the National Congress for Puerto Rican Rights, she was also a member of 52 People for Progress, a community organization that saved her childhood playground and revitalized the South Bronx for the last 35 years.

Adam Mazo is an Emmy award-winning filmmaker and the director of the Upstander Project. He co-founded the Upstander Project with Mishy Lesser in 2009. He is the co-director and producer of the Emmy award-winning feature-length film, Dawnland (Independent Lens, Woods Hole Jury Award for Best Documentary 2018), First Light (Camden International Film Festival 2016) and Dear Georgina (Camden International Film Festival 2019). Adam directed and produced Coexist (WORLD Channel, Africa Movie Academy Award Nominee 2014), and he is currently co-directing and producing the upcoming short Bounty. He is a member of the Documentary Producers Alliance, Global Impact Producers group and Temple Israel of Boston. He is a descendant of Ashkenazi Jews from Latvia, Lithuania, Belarus and Germany. Originally from Minnesota, he graduated from the University of Florida, and now lives with his wife and sons in the territory of the Massachusett people in the place known as Boston.

Dr. Kameelah Mu’Min Rashad (Kuh-Mill-Luh MOOK-Men Ruh-SHAHD) is the Founder and President of Muslim Wellness Foundation (MWF), a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting healing and emotional well-being in the American Muslim community through dialogue, education and training. Through Muslim Wellness Foundation, Dr. Rashad has established the Omar ibn Said Institute for Black Muslim Studies which houses the annual Black Muslim Psychology Conference and the Deeply Rooted Emerging Leaders Fellowship for Black Muslim young adults. Dr. Mu’Min Rashad is a Visiting Assistant Professor in Psychology and Muslim Studies at Chicago Theological Seminary (CTS) and CTS’ Project Director for the InterAct on Race Project: Engaging Diverse Faith Communities in Anti-Racist Work. She is also Visiting Faculty at Bayan Islamic Graduate School. Dr. Rashad’s clinical and research areas of interest include: spirituality in psychotherapy, diversity, religious identity and multicultural issues in counseling, wellness and community resource building, story-telling as a way of facilitating connection, healing and closure in family of origin, first generation college students and emerging adults of color; healing justice and faith based activism, racial trauma and healing, psychological impact of anti-Muslim bigotry and anti-Blackness, Black Muslim psychology and Black Muslim intersectional invisibility. Dr. Mu’Min Rashad graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a BA in Psychology and MEd in Psychological Services. She has pursued further graduate education, completing a second Masters in Restorative Practices & Youth Counseling (MRP) from the International Institute for Restorative Practices. Dr. Mu’Min Rashad completed her doctorate in Clinical Psychology [with a specialization in Couple and Family therapy] at Chestnut Hill College in Philadelphia, PA.

Sonya Childress (she/her) believes in the liberatory power of cinema. She has leveraged documentary films to support social justice movements and narrative change for over two decades. She offers impact strategy advising, workshops and writing on film and cultural arts through her consulting arm, Pa’lante Strategies. Sonya currently serves as Senior Fellow with the Perspective Fund where she advances ethical, accountable and impact-focused filmmaking practices through research, writing and initiatives. She serves on the boards for the Whitman Institute and the Center for Cultural Power. www.sonyachildress.com

Dawn Neptune Adams (she/they) is a member of the Penobscot Nation and a Filmmaker and Journalist with Sunlight Media Collective and a featured participant and filmmaker on Bounty and a participant on Dawnland. Her grassroots environmental activism began with the protection of Indigenous Sacred sites in Huntington Beach, CA in 1998. Since then, she has been a tireless advocate for environmental justice and Indigenous rights at the tribal, local, state, and national levels. Dawn is actively involved in politics for change across a wide spectrum of influences. She is a Racial Justice Consultant to the Peace & Justice Center of Eastern Maine; an active member of Racial Equity & Justice of Bangor, Maine, and; a former Indigenous Peoples’ Policy Advisor for the Hunter/Elias 2020 Presidential campaign. Dawn has served as the Wabanaki Liaison to the Maine Independent Green Party since 2016 and was the Vice Presidential Candidate to the Dario Hunter 2020 Presidential campaign. When not battling polluters, plutocrats, and patriarchy, Dawn spends her time raising a pre-teen and building fine furniture. She dreams of a day when we can all eat Salmon from the Penobscot River and live together in peace.

Molly Murphy co-directs Working Films. Over the last 20 years she has planned and directed film-driven organizing campaigns, facilitated partnerships and coordinated coalitions centered on the use of documentaries to enhance communication, reach beyond the choir, and make an impact on the issues of our time. Molly has designed and led dozens of trainings for filmmakers, grassroots groups and nonprofits focused on using film to support social justice movements and effect change. At Working Films, she is responsible for organizational and programmatic strategy, institutional partnerships, and fundraising. Molly also serves on the board of Justice for My Sister (JFMS), a collective that trains women of color, non-binary youth, and foster youth using a culturally-relevant and trauma-informed approach to tell stories through a gender equity and racial justice lens.


Drummer, DJ, producer, culinary entrepreneur, New York Times best-selling author, and member of The Roots – Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson, is the unmistakable heartbeat of Philadelphia’s most influential hip-hop group. He is the Musical Director for The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, where his beloved Roots crew serves as house band. Beyond that, this 5-time GRAMMY Award winning musician’s indisputable reputation has landed him musical directing positions with everyone from D’Angelo to Eminem to Jay-Z. Questlove has also released multiple books including the New York Times bestsellers Mo’ Meta Blues and Creative Quest, GRAMMY nominated audio book Creative Quest, Soul Train: The Music, Dance and Style of a Generation, James Beard Award nominated somethingtofoodabout and most recently Mixtape Potluck. Questlove and Black Thought of The Roots have Executive Produced the acclaimed documentary series, Hip-Hop: The Songs The Shook America on AMC under their production company, Two One Five Entertainment which recently announced a first-look deal with Universal Television to develop scripted and non-scripted programming. Questlove will serve as executive producer for upcoming documentary, The League, centered on the tumultuous journey of Negro league baseball. He also made his directorial debut with the acclaimed feature documentary Summer of Soul, which explores the legendary 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival. The film premiered on the opening night of the 2021 Sundance Film Festival in January, where it was awarded the Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award for Best U.S. Documentary. The film most recently broke the record for the highest selling documentary to come out of Sundance when it was acquired by Searchlight/Hulu. Questlove is also set to direct the upcoming Sly Stone feature documentary.

Jamila Wignot is a documentary filmmaker based inNew York. Her directing work includes two episodes of the Peabody, Emmy and NAACP award-winning seriesThe African-Americans: Many Rivers to Cross(PBS), hosted by Henry Louis Gates and chronicling the five hundred year history of African Americans;Town Hall (co-directed with Sierra Pettingill), a feature-length co-production with ITVS following TeaParty activists determined to unseat Barack Obama;and, for PBS’s American Experience series, thePeabody Award-winning Triangle Fire and Emmy-nominatedWalt Whitman. Jamila’s producing credits include W. Kamau Bell’s Bring The Pain (A&E); Sundance award-winning director Musa Syeed’s narrative feature A Stray (SXSW); Street Fighting Men, following the Black Detroiters fighting for the city they love;and The Rehnquist Revolution, the fourth episode of WNET’s series The Supreme Court, which was anIDA Best Limited Series winner.


Robia Rashid is the creator, executive producer, and showrunner of the Netflix series Atypical, starring Jennifer Jason Leigh, Keir Gilchrist, Brigette Lundy-Paine, and Michael Rapaport.

“Atypical is irreverent when it needs to be, insightful when it counts and, above all, empathetic to the pressures of growing up — on or off the spectrum,” according to Lorraine Ali, television critic at the Los Angeles Times. For the series, Robia was awarded the 2017 Writers Guild of America West Evan Somers Memorial Award at the Media Access Awards, which honors individuals who are showcasing the disability narrative. Additionally, AutFest 2018 honored Atypical with their Spotlight Award. Robia was nominated for a HUMANITAS Award in 2020 and the show was nominated for a Peabody Award for 2018.

In 2019, Robia was honored by The Miracle Project as Entertainment Angel. She was named by The Hollywood Reporter as one of the “Showrunners to Watch” for 2017. Robia has been at Sony TV since 2013 and has an overall deal with the company.

Robia began her career as a playwright, receiving her MFA from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts.f

Lang Fisher is a writer, producer, and director based out of Los Angeles, California. She recently co-created and executive produced the Netflix series Never Have I Ever with Mindy Kaling. The People’s Choice Awards named it Best Comedy Show of 2020. Prior to this, Lang has been a writer and producer on three seasons of Brooklyn Nine-Nine, five seasons of The Mindy Project, and was a staff writer on the Emmy-nominated final season of 30 Rock. The 30 Rock episode that she cowrote, “A Goon’s Deed in a Weary World” was named one of Variety’s “25 Best TV Episodes of the Decade.” Before venturing into the world of sitcoms, Lang spent six years writing for the satirical news outlet The Onion for which she won a Peabody as a member of the writing staff for The Onion News Network. She is a graduate of Columbia University and lives with her one-year-old son.


Sharon Mashihi works in the mediums of audio, film, and performance. In 2018, Sharon won the Third Coast International Audio Prize Silver Award for her audio documentary, Man Choubam (I Am Good). Her latest project is a metafictional audio series called Appearances, which was named the number 1 podcast of 2020 by Podcast Review from The L.A. Review of Books and one of the “Best New Podcasts of 2020” by The New York Times. Sharon is a former editor of the podcasts, The Heart and KCRW’s Bodies.

James Kim is a Los Angeles based podcast creator. This year he co-created the audio fiction piece, Vermont Ave., which won Tribeca Festival’s inaugural “Best Fiction Podcast” award. Previously, he worked on Radiotopia’s Strangers, Marketplace, Deadly Manners, and Gimlet Media. He made the fiction show, MOONFACE, which The New York Times called “cinematic” and The Wall Street Journal hailed as, “the Sundance hit of fiction podcasts.” The show also landed on the “Best of 2019” lists from Vulture, Spotify, Time Magazine, and The A.V. Club.

Kitty Green is an Australian filmmaker who broke out with her debut film, UKRAINE IS NOT A BROTHEL, in 2013 for which she went undercover for a year to expose Femen, a Ukrainian feminist group known for their topless protests. Her debut narrative feature, THE ASSISTANT, premiered at Telluride Film Festival to critical acclaim. 3311 financed with James Schamus producing. The film stars Julia Garner.

Kitty’s prior work also includes the award-winning film CASTING JONBENET, an unorthodox documentary/true-crime hybrid about the murder of six-year-old JonBenet Ramsey that premiered at Sundance in 2017 to rave reviews and sold to Netflix.

Leslie Shatz is an Academy Award- and Emmy Award-nominated sound designer whose career spans over 45 years. Among the many directors he has worked with include John Cassavetes, Francis Coppola, Todd Haynes, Gus Van Sant, Kelly Reichardt and Kitty Green.

9/21/2021 12-1P From Story to Screen – Guiding Narratives Across Platform (IGTV CONTENT)

Beth Macy is the author of the 2018 book, “Dopesick,” a New York Times bestseller about the opioid crisis that won the L.A. Times Book Prize for science and technology. It is currently being made into a limited television series for Hulu, premiering Oct. 13. For three decades, she has reported from Roanoke, Va., where she has long focused on outsiders and underdogs. Her writing has appeared in The Atlantic, The New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal. Her previous books are “Factory Man,” which won Columbia University’s J. Anthony Lukas prize in 2014, and her 2016 racial history, “Truevine,” which was short-listed for the Carnegie Medal and Kirkus prize.

Mark Richard is the author of the national bestselling memoir House of Prayer No. 2 as well as two award-winning short story collections The Ice at the Bottom of the World, and Charity; and a novel, Fishboy. His television credits include Man in the High Castle, NOS4A2, Fear the Walking Dead, Tyrant, Hell on Wheels, Criminal Minds, Huff!, Chicago Hope and Party of Five. He recently was executive producer and show runner on The Good Lord Bird, a limited series for Showtime shot in Virginia, with Ethan Hawke starring as abolitionist John Brown. He also wrote the screenplay for the film Stop-Loss.

His short stories and journalism have appeared in The New York Times, The New Yorker, Harper’s, Esquire, GQ, the Paris Review, and The Oxford American. He received the PEN/Hemingway Foundation Award, a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship, and a Whiting Foundation Writer’s Award.


Wendy Zukerman has been a science journalist for over a decade, reporting on everything from octopus intelligence to superbugs. She started her career at New Scientist Magazine and went to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, where she created the podcast Science Vs. In 2015, Wendy moved to New York to make Science Vs for Gimlet Media – and the show debuted at #1 in the US, Canada and Australia. Since then, Wendy and the Science Vs team have covered more than 60 topics, including Police Shootings, Magic Mushrooms and Pandemics. Science Vs won the 2020 AAAS Kavli Gold Prize for their Coronavirus reporting.

Lance Oppenheim is a filmmaker from South Florida. His films have been screened at film festivals across the world including Sundance, Rotterdam, Tribeca, True/False, and featured at the Museum of Modern Art and the Smithsonian. He was named one of Filmmaker Magazine’s 25 new Faces of independent Film in 2019 and a Sundance Ignite Fellow. Online, his films have been featured by the New York Times (as four Op-Docs), The Atlantic, and Vimeo (as six Staff Picks). His first feature, Some Kind of Heaven, was produced by Darren Aronofsky and The New York Times (the paper’s first feature film production). It was distributed by Magnolia Pictures and Hulu, and received rave reviews upon its release, including being named a NYTimes Critics’ Pick and featured on several annual wrap up lists as one of the best films of 2021. He currently is in pre-production on his first narrative film.

Soraya Shockley is a narrative audio producer for The New York Times. At
NYT, Soraya helped report and produce the series Odessa. Before The
Times, they were a producer and reporter on Fiasco
from Prologue Projects, Crimetown from Gimlet Media, and Youth Radio.

Julia Solomonoff is an Argentine filmmaker living in New York. Her feature films as writer/director include Hermanas (Toronto 2005, Sundance Lab), The Last Summer of la Boyita (San Sebastian 2009, produced by Almodovar’s El Deseo, winner of over 20 international awards- Cannes Films d’enfance, Miami best Screenplay) and Nobody’s Watching (Best Actor Award Tribeca Film Festival, 2017, Condor Best Screenplay). Her short films received awards from DGA, FIPRESCI and a Student Academy Award Nomination. She directed the documentary series Aerocene Pacha, sustainable utopia (2020, 4 episodes), Parana, biography of a river (2010, 13 episodes) for Canal Encuentro and a one-hour fiction The Suitor (2001, winner of ITVS, LPB, NEA grants, aired on PBS). She shadowed Jim MacKay in CBS’ The Good Fight.She is currently developing a road-movie Thirst and the television series Off Peak and recently premiered her short film essay hand,writing at The Shed.Her production credits include: Lucrecia Martel’s Zama (Venice, Toronto, NYFF 2017), Everybody has a Plan (Toronto 2012, starring Viggo Mortensen), Celina Murga’s The Third Bank of the River (Berlin 2014, exec prod by Martin Scorsese), Lucia Murat’s A memoria que me contan (FIPRESCI award, Moscow FF 2015), Julia Murat’s Pendular (FIPRESCI Winner at Berlin Panorama 2017) and Found Memories (Venice 2011, winner of over 30 international awards) and Alejandro Landes’ Cocalero (Sundance 2007). She is currently producing Clara Cullen’s Manuela and Alessandra Sanguinetti’s The Illusion of an Everlasting Summer (Sundance Doc Lab Grant 2020)She has been teaching at the graduate level at Columbia University, NYU and Feirstein School of Cinema /Brooklyn College. She is the new Chair of NYU Tisch Graduate Film Department.


Abby West is a recovering journalist and true pop culture junkie, whose decades at prominent media organizations such as Essence, Entertainment Weekly, and People have given her a love of stories that explore, empower, and celebrate underrepresented communities. Abby is an editorial director at Audible and co-founded the Black Employee Network @ Audible with Yvonne Durant in 2019. She also serves on the boards for Be the Match, the National Marrow Donor Program, and the Children’s Law Center of New York.


Theodore Melfi is an American screenwriter, film director, and producer. His feature credits include the Golden Globe nominated, St. Vincent (writer, director, producer,) starring Bill Murray, Melissa McCarthy and Naomi Watts, Going in Style (writer) with Morgan Freeman, Alan Arkin and Michael Caine, and the Oscar Nominated Hidden Figures (writer, director, producer,) which won the SAG Best Ensemble Cast Award for Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, Janelle Monáe, Kevin Costner, Kirsten Dunst and Jim Parsons. Melfi’s latest film, The Starling, staring Melissa McCarthy, Chris O’Dowd and Kevin Kline is currently in post production and will be released by Netflix in the Fall of 2020.

Lawrence Sher is an Oscar Nominated Cinematographer and Director who has shot over 35 feature films, numerous pilots and 100’s of commercials in his 30 years of filmmaking. Known for such films as The Hangover trilogy, Garden State, Due Date, and most recently Joker, his films have grossed over 4 billion dollars in Worldwide Box Office. In 2019, Variety honored him with their Billion Dollar Cinematographer a ward at the Newport Beach Film Festival. For Joker, his cinematography was nominated for an Oscar, and BAFTA and won the prestigious Golden Frog at the Camerimage Film Festival in Poland. Most recently he shot the Netflix drama The Starling for director Ted Melfi and just finished shooting the DC/Warner Bros film Black Adam in Atlanta. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife Hema and 3 kids Max, Matilda and August and subsequently loves naps when he can get them.


Jason Ishikawa is a Senior Executive at Cinetic Media in the Sales Group where he oversees worldwide distribution strategies. His responsibilities include working across Cinetic’s financing, corporate and project consultation, and domestic sales arm for feature narrative and documentary films. Recent sales titles Jason has been involved with include: THE CAVE, COLLECTIVE, HALE COUNTY THIS MORNING THIS EVENING, I AM GRETA, MAYOR, MLK/FBI, SUMMER OF SOUL, THE VELVET UNDERGROUND and TIME. Prior to joining Cinetic, Jason worked at The Film Sales Company where he was the Senior Director of Acquisitions, Financing and Sales. Jason graduated from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts and holds a BA in Cinema Studies.

Lorna Lee heads the International Sales division of Magnolia Pictures where she leads foreign sales on all new and library movies and oversee the development of the department. She has been with Magnolia since 2016, where she previously served as Director, managing foreign sales in a number of key territories including France, Asia, Scandinavia and Eastern Europe, in addition to building the international festival strategy. She has been working on films such as Ryan White Sundance documentary ASSASSINS, Harry Dean Stanton’s last film LUCKY, the box office breakout RBG and Horror-Western THE WIND. Prior to Magnolia, Lorna Lee worked at Visit Films for five years where she oversaw several territories and led marketing on IT FOLLOWS, TANNA and KRISHA, among others. Previously, she spent four years working for European telecom operator Orange in their film co-production and acquisition division Orange Studio, working alongside CEO Frederique Dumas on films such as THE ARTIST, WELCOME, GAINSBOURG: A HEROIC LIFE. She began her international experience with stints at Unifrance in New York, the Festival de Cannes (Marche du Film) and FICCO (Mexico City International Contemporary Film Festival). She is French and American, and has a Masters degree in Audiovisual Law and Business from the University of Pantheon Sorbonne.

Amanda Lebow is a Media Finance agent at leading entertainment and sports agency Creative Artists Agency (CAA). Lebow works in the Los Angeles office and represents documentary filmmakers and producers. In addition, Lebow packages and sells nonfiction feature films and series, and also works on overall film strategy for financiers and producers. Lebow began her career at Submarine Entertainment in New York City. Before joining CAA, Lebow worked in film distribution as the head of film for Bond/360. She joined CAA in 2015.

Gabrielle Nadig is an award winning Independent Film Producer & Director. Her previous work includes, LITTLE WOODS (Available on Hulu, NEON 2019), directed by Nia DaCosta and starring the BAFTA Award-nominated actress, Tessa Thompson, and Lily James. The film premiered at the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival and won the Nora Ephron Award. In 2019, Gabrielle premiered STANDING UP, FALLING DOWN starring Billy Crystal and Ben Schwartz at the Tribeca Film Festival. The film was released theatrically and digitally in February of 2020. In 2018, Gabrielle produced THE SUNLIT NIGHT (Available on Hulu) in Norway starring Jenny Slate and Zach Galifianakis, and co-executive produced THE WOLF HOUR, starring Naomi Watts, both of which premiered at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival. Her first feature film KINGJACK (Available on Amazon) premiered at the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival, where it took home the Narrative Audience Award. In 2021, Gabrielle co-executive produced the Netflix sci-fi action film, OUTSIDE THE WIRE starring Anthony Mackie which shot on location in Budapest.
Gabrielle is a 2013 Sundance Creative Producing Fellow, a 2016 Women at Sundance Fellow, an alum of the 2015 Rotterdam Producing Labs and the 2015 Cannes Film Festival Producers Network. In 2019 Gabrielle was a Film Independent Spirit Award Nominee for the coveted Producers Award.
From 2010 until 2017 Gabrielle was the Executive Producer at Buffalo Picture House, a Brooklyn based commercial production company where she produced and directed award winning work for brands such as Gucci, Stewart Weitzman, HGTV, and IFC.


Samuel Yeunju Ha is founder and CEO of Bound Entertainment; a film, television and digital media studio based in Seoul and Los Angeles dedicated to developing and producing a slate of diverse stories that reach global audiences with a focus on the Asian diaspora.Ha is known for his work as Producer/Executive Producer on titles such as Okja, Ilang: The Wolf Brigade and Snowpiercer, and currently as an Executive Producer on Dr.Brain, a TV series for Apple TV+.Prior to Bound Entertainment, Ha worked as an executive fund manager at Union Investment Partners, Korea’s largest private investor in film and entertainment. He managed a $120 million content investment fund that invested into over 60 companies and content-related projects that encompassed Korean films, TV shows, games and animations, as well as international film and animation co- productions with the U.S., China, and Japan. During his tenure at Union Investment Partners, Samuel Yeunju Ha also invested into many entertainment-related companies in Korea and in China.Before working at Union Investment Partners, he was Senior Vice President of Film Investment & Production at the film studio, DCG Plus, where he packaged and financed deals on over 15 films that were picked up by major distributors in Korea.Samuel Yeunju Ha graduated from the University of California at Santa Barbara, double majoring in Film Studies and Asian American Studies. He then moved to Korea after his undergraduate studies to major in film production at the prestigious Korean Academy of Film Arts, where many of Korea’s most famous directors and producers have graduated from such as Bong Joon-ho (Parasite, Snowpiercer, Okja) and Choi Dong-hoon (Thieves, Assassin, Tazza). He then obtained his Masters in Business Administration at one of Korea’s top business schools, Yonsei University. He also became a certified Venture Capitalist from the Korea Venture Capital Association.

Adrienne Becker is CEO and Co-Founder of Level Forward, an ecosystem of storytellers, business people and social change organizers focused on expanding the opportunity and influence of creative excellence in pursuit of economic transformation.
In their first three years, the company was nominated for thirty-seven Tony Awards (What The Constitution Means To Me, Oklahoma!, Slave Play and Jagged Little Pill), produced award-winning feature films including The Assistant, On The Record, Holler, and Rebel Hearts deployed new technologies including the Labz Live platform, and has invested over $20mm to produce diverse portfolios of feature film, television, live and digital entertainment and technology – all committed to equalizing opportunities for marginalized storytellers and elevating new voices.
Adrienne was previously an entrepreneur-in-residence at Creative Artists Agency, CEO of DailyCandy, Inc., and SVP at both The Nielsen Company and InterActive Corp. Her big break, however, took place on an airport tarmac in Philadelphia, as a “rope line holder” for then Governor Bill Clinton, and led to positions as a campaign Press Secretary and a Special Assistant to Labor Secretary Robert Reich.

Jenifer Westphal is a sought-after producer and executive producer for award-winning documentary and independent films, including KNOCK DOWN THE HOUSE, FAREWELL AMOR and WON’T YOU BE MY NEIGHBOR?. Her films have played at Sundance, SXSW, DOC NYC, Tribeca, Toronto, Cannes, Venice, and more, and in 2020 she was named one of Variety’s “10 Producers to Watch.” In her role as Founder, CEO and Executive Producer of Wavelength, Jenifer breaks barriers by taking a special interest in fostering female talent, first-time filmmakers and creators of color, having executive produced NIGHT COMES ON, SELAH AND THE SPADES and Tribeca 2020 Best Doc Feature Winner, SOCKS ON FIRE. She produced all in-house productions at Wavelength, including FEELS GOOD MAN, UNSCHOOLED, THE FOURSOME, MAYBE NEXT YEAR, and soon to be released, LET ME BE ME. A former member of the Women of Sundance Leadership Council and Chicken & Egg Pictures, Jenifer has served as a participant on numerous panels at festivals, including Sundance Catalyst. Outside of her work in film, she serves as an advisory board member and grantor for the Good Work Foundation, an organization with the mission to lead a digitally-empowered education model for rural Africa and the world. A native of Iowa, Jenifer has called Philadelphia her home for 30-plus years. A self-taught chef, Jenifer loves being a mom to her 3 adult kids, spoiling her Shih Tzu, and can be found during the baseball season cheering for her beloved Phillies.

Jeremy Allen started his career in the WME mailroom in 2016 and was promoted in the Talent department in 2019 with a focus on representing actors across film and television.In 2020, Jeremy joined Jordan Fudge as a partner for New Slate Ventures, a film and television finance fund designed to develop and produce inclusive and intersectional material tailored for diverse audiences. NSV’s 2020-21 slate includes the Lena Waithe produced title THE 40-YEAR-OLD VERSION, directed, written by, and starring Radha Blank which premiered on Netflix in October 2020 — Blank recently won Best Screenplay at the 30th Annual Gotham Awards; THE UNITED STATES VS. BILLIE HOLIDAY, directed and co-written by Oscar-nominated filmmaker Lee Daniels and starring Grammy-nominated singer Andra Day, Trevante Rhodes, and Garrett Hedlund, set to be released by Hulu on February 26; and THE 24TH, directed and written by Oscar- winner Kevin Willmott and starring Trai Byers, which was an official selection at SXSW and premiered in August through Vertical Entertainment. In development is Untitled Magic Johnson, a documentary focused on the life and careers of NBA legend and entrepreneur Earvin Magic Johnson; and Untitled Michael Milken Limited Series to be written by Academy-Award Nominated writer Terrence Winter (The Wolf of Wall Street, The Sopranos).Both Sinai Ventures and New Slate Ventures are encompassed by Sinai Capital Partners, a multi-strategy private equity company. In November 2020, Sinai Ventures raised $500M to continue investing in software and technology companies while New Slate Ventures added $100M to support diverse and innovative voices across film and television.Jeremy is from New York City and is a graduate of Colby College.

Monique Walton produces independent fiction features and documentaries. She produced Bull, directed by Annie Silverstein, which premiered at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival – Un Certain Regard, and was nominated for three Independent Spirit Awards. Bull is currently being released by Samuel Goldwyn Films and Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions. She has produced numerous short films, including Silverstein’s Skunk, which won the jury award at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival – Cinéfondation. Walton is currently producing Kira Akerman’s feature documentary Hollow Tree, which has been supported by The Harnisch Foundation and the Sundance Documentary Film Program. Walton’s films have been supported by Cinereach, The Sundance Institute, San Francisco Film Society, Austin Film Society, and Film Independent. She was a 2016 Sundance Creative Producing Fellow as the Mark Silverman Honoree and a 2020 Rotterdam Producing Fellow.


McKenzie Moser is a current student at the University of Southern California where she is working towards her MFA in Writing for Screen and Television. Prior to USC, McKenzie received her BA in Scriptwriting from Webster University. She would also hold a minor in coffee consumption, if that was an option. Her work has been published, produced, and placed in festivals. Her short scripts have placed in Austin Film Festival, Holly Shorts Film Festival, Atlanta Comedy Film Festival, and Center for Arts Bonita Festival. McKenzie was also awarded the Ken Haller Playwriting Award for LGBTQIA Youth and Allies for her short play, “Trial and Swear.” This play was then produced at St. Louis’ Briefs Festival after first premiering at the Manhattan Repertory Theatre. The writer’s non-fiction piece, “Drama Queen” appeared in the Wild Women Stories March issue in 2019, which was published by Tulip Tree Publishing. McKenzie’s non-fiction has also appeared online at Eat, Darling, Eat. When McKenzie isn’t writing, she’s acting. She’s appeared in several short films, including a leading role in the film “Ride or Die” which successfully premiered at festivals in Toronto and Manhattan, and placed in the Stowe Story Lab.

Michael Doshier is a New York-based writer, musician, and performer. Growing up in Conway, Arkansas, Michael was inspired by his favorite place in the world, Branson, Missouri, where he dreamed of becoming a star. Michael studied Dramatic Writing at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. Playwright and professor Daniel Goldfarb wrote of him: “He is one of the most exciting writers I’ve taught in the past eleven years. His play Good Conversation has the empathy and the humor and the complexity of Kenneth Lonergan’s best work.” Michael has been on hit web series The Outs, written The Talkhouse and Things Created by People and co-hosted the rising podcast Queers on Queens. Most recently, his multimedia one-man cabaret Johnny Darlin: In the Closet was met with rave reception at both the 2016 New York, and the 2017 Prague, Fringe Festivals. When he’s not writing, Michael continues to perform around New York.

Justin Calen-Chenn was a homeless teenager when a fly-ass Black man, who drove a mad chicken blue Chevy, took him under his wing. Growing up as a motel kid, he got involved in a life of street hustle and organized crime, but left that world behind many, many years later after witnessing a horrific incident in 2016. A former participant in Brian Grazer and Ron Howard’s Imagine Impact accelerator, Justin is writing and/or producing projects with notables such as eOne, Chernin Entertainment, Lucas Foster, Sly Stallone’s Balboa Productions, Justin Lin, Matt Jackson, Will Packer Productions, and Imagine Entertainment. He is also working with filmmakers such as The Rza and Rupert Sanders, and other names such as producer Stephen “Dr” Love, Korean superstar Don Lee (Ma Dong Seok), Golden Globe nominee Stephan James, rapper Young Thug, and Tommy Oliver’s Confluential Content.  He has sold a spec crime-thriller feature to Netflix with Matt Jackson producing and is writing a Miramax crime thriller with Omar Epps and LL Cool J starring. Justin was selected to the 2020 Sundance Episodic Lab and is writing on a Netflix crime series with Brad Falchuk as showrunner. He is repped by Grandview and CAA.

Ron McCants writes dramas that explore the human experience. His stories are often fueled by dark secrets and deep shames at the intersection of crime and family because his family’s full of addicts, pimps, prostitutes, murderers, CIA operatives, business owners, professional athletes, detectives and educators straight out of a Flannery O’Connor novel. Ron’s a TV writer because he didn’t know any better. He’s from a small town in Missouri where its chief exports are cotton and violence. He has 9 siblings and lucked out when some college named Dartmouth sent him a free application, and he began his odyssey. While Ron received a B.A. in Engineering from Dartmouth College, the college unexpectedly taught him how to dream. Ron had severe difficulty with verbal and written communication, but he took a writing course every term. He wanted to take his greatest weakness and make it a strength. He moved to California for an M.F.A. in Playwriting from UC, San Diego. He became an award-winning playwright, got married, had two girls and broke free from the talons of poverty. In 2016, he was selected as a Disney ABC Program Writer and staffed on Speechless. Ron’s still a fearless adventurer with no map who’s got grit in his crawl. He was most recently a staff writer on Chicago Fire, he’s written a music video for Nas and worked on Marvel’s Falcon and The Winter Soldier. He runs an organization aimed at improving the career outcomes of marginalized writers through data. He loves the gym and plans to compete in his first bodybuilding competition in 2021.


Lydia Polgreen is an award winning journalist and media executive who currently serves as Managing Director of Gimlet, a podcast studio at Spotify. Prior to that, Polgreen served as editor in chief of HuffPost, leading a team of more than 600 journalists publishing 16 editions in nine languages. She joined HuffPost in January 2017 after a 15 year career at the New York Times that included roles as Associate Masthead Editor, Deputy International Editor, South Africa bureau chief, a correspondent for the New Delhi bureau and chief of the West Africa bureau. Before joining The Times, Ms. Polgreen was a staff writer for the Orlando Sentinel and the Albany Times Union.She received her B.A. in liberal arts from St. John’s College in 1997. In 2000 she graduated, with honors, from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism with her M.S. in journalism. Ms. Polgreen was a 2006 recipient of the George Polk Award for foreign reporting, in recognition of her travels deep into the war-torn western regions of Sudan to report on the carnage in Darfur.  She received the 2008 Livingston Award for international reporting, for her series, “The Spoils”, a riveting account of how mineral wealth has brought misery and exploitation to much of Africa. In 2007, she was named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum. In 2011, she was awarded the Columbia University Medal for Excellence. Ms. Polgreen serves on the Board of Overseers of the Columbia Journalism Review and the Board of Directors of the Committee to Protect Journalists. Ms. Polgreen grew up in Kenya, Ghana and Minnesota. She currently resides in New York with her wife, documentary photographer Candace Feit.

Mona Chalabi is a data journalist.
She writes for print as well as radio and TV.
She is also an illustrator whose work is regularly exhibited.
Lastly, she’s a producer and presenter. She’s an honorary fellow of the British Science Association.
Before she became a journalist, Mona worked with large data sets at the Bank of England, Transparency International and the International Organization for Migration. She studied International Relations in Paris and Arabic in Jordan. Mona grew up in London and is a grown up in New York.

Chris is the founder & CEO of a pre-launch creator platform. He most recently served as Spotify’s Global Head of Television and Film. He joined Spotify upon their acquisition of Gimlet Media.

Having joined Gimlet as business hire #1, Chris contributed to all aspects of company building (product, revenue, finance, marketing, BD), serving as deputy to Gimlet’s co-founder and President. He ultimately founded and led Gimlet Pictures, the company’s IP licensing and TV / film production arm.

Prior to Gimlet, Chris worked as a TMT-focused management consultant, most recently at The Boston Consulting Group (BCG).

He has appeared on Forbes and Inc. Magazine’s 30 under 30 lists, as well as The Hollywood Reporter’s NextGen list. In 2019, he was nominated for a Golden Globe as an Executive Producer on Amazon’s HOMECOMING starring Julia Roberts.

Corinne is an Emmy and Webby Award-winning TV/audio producer, story editor & development executive.

She began her professional life in television as an intern on the final seasons of The Oprah Winfrey Show and for the following eight years, produced non-fiction content for OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network.  In 2017, she became the Director of Development at Crooked Media where she developed and/or launched an array of hit shows including “Keep It”, “Hysteria”, “America Dissected” and “This Land”, among others.

In 2019, she launched the Emmy Award-winning series, ”Tamron Hall”  for Disney/ABC, and in 2020, she became Oprah Winfrey’s senior producer, working on culture-shaping conversations for “The Oprah Conversation” and “Oprah’s Book Club” for Apple TV+, and the Emmy-nominated primetime event, “Oprah with Meghan and Harry: A CBS Primetime Special” watched by millions of people around the world.

Currently, Corinne is Executive Producer of Original Content at Spotify where she oversees a portfolio of premium audio programming in various stages of production and development spanning multiple genres, formats, and company initiatives.

Gretta Cohn is the founder and CEO of Transmitter Media. She has more than a decade of experience creating strong story-driven shows that start conversations. Podcasts she and her team have made include Finding Fred (The Atlantic’s #1 podcast of 2019) the Webby-winning “Six Who Sat” episode of 30 for 30, WorkLife with Adam Grant and Alligator Candy. Prior to founding Transmitter, she was Executive Producer and head of new show development at Earwolf/Stitcher/Midroll Media, where she developed and launched numerous podcasts, including Beautiful Stories from Anonymous People, Katie Couric and Issa Rae’s Fruit. Previously, she was a producer for the well-loved Freakonomics Radio podcast and WNYC’s music show Soundcheck. She has taught radio/podcast production to graduate students in the Cultural Reporting and Criticism program at NYU. She’s also a cellist and a former member of the band Cursive.


Bri Castellini is the Film Community Manager for Seed&Spark, a graduate-level adjunct professor for digital media, an independent filmmaker, and, regrettably, a podcaster. She’s known for the 2017 short film Ace and Anxious (writer/director, 150k views on YouTube) and for her podcasts Burn, Noticed and Breaking
Out of Breaking In, covering the USA television show Burn Notice and practical filmmaking advice, respectively. She has been described by collaborators as a “human bulldozer” and is honestly kind of flattered.

Meghan Ross is a writer, producer, director, comedian, and activist from New York, based in Austin. She hosts the biweekly Instagram Live series No One Asked For This and previously hosted the all-women-and-non-binary late night show, That Time of the Month. Her latest shorts premiered on The New Yorker and made their Best of 2020 list: If You Ever Hurt My Daughter, I Swear to God I’ll Let Her Navigate Her Own Emotional Growth featuring narration by Jon Hamm, which was nominated for The Webby Awards in 2021, and Finally a Female Presidential Candidate Likable Enough For Men featuring narration by Rachel Bloom. Her writing has appeared in VICE’s Broadly, Reductress, The Toast, IFC, Slackjaw, TV Without Pity, Femsplain, and some more defunct but beloved sites. She previously worked for VICELAND and SundanceTV, and is currently the Head of Creator Success at Seed&Spark.


Smriti Mundhra is an Academy Award and Primetime Emmy-nominated director/producer and one of DOC NYC’s 40 Under 40 Filmmakers to Watch. Her latest film, St. Louis Superman, was nominated for a 2020 Academy Award in the short documentary category, won a Critics’ Choice Award for Best Short Documentary and is a finalist for a duPont Prize. It was also named one of the International Documentary Association’s Documentaries Of The Decade. Smriti also created and executive produced Indian Matchmaking, an eight-part Netflix original documentary series currently streaming on the platform. Indian Matchmaking has been nominated for a 2021 Primetime Emmy award in the Outstanding Unstructured Reality Series category. Her directorial debut, the feature documentary A Suitable Girl, world premiered in competition at the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival, where it was awarded the Albert Maysles Best Documentary Director prize. In recent years, Smriti has helmed ad campaigns for Google, the United Nations (starring Theo Germaine) and Bumble (starring Priyanka Chopra Jonas). Her upcoming work as a director includes the shortdocumentary Shelter, about the Los Angeles housing crisis, a four-part docuseries about the history of Bollywood and a six-part docuseries about civil rights in the modern day. She also executive produced the feature documentary 1232 KM, on the exodus of migrant workers from India’s major cities following the government’s Draconian coronavirus lockdown. Smriti is the founder of Meralta Films, a Los Angeles and Mumbai-based production company focused on creating premium fiction and non-fiction content from culturally-specific points of view. She holds an MFAin Film from Columbia University and a BA from California State University, Northridge, and lives in Los Angeles with her husband, screenwriter Christian Magalhães,their daughter Isabel and son Jag.

Sweta Vohra (she/her) is a New York City-based journalist, filmmaker, and producer at Multitude Films. Prior to joining Multitude, she was a producer/director on the first season of The New York Times series, “The Weekly,” on FX and Hulu and produced and directed over a dozen films for Al Jazeera English’s award-winning show, “Fault Lines,” with a focus on racial justice and policing. She is currently in post-production for a BBC Studios feature documentary with director Dan Krauss, set to stream worldwide next year. Sweta has received the National Association of Black Journalists Excellence Award, the Radio Television Digital News Association Kaleidoscope Award, and three News and Documentary Emmy nominations for her work.

Angela Tucker is a director, Peabody- and Emmy-nominated producer, and writer who makes narrative and documentary films; her most recent projects include “The Trees Remember,” a fiction series in collaboration with REI Co-Op Studios, and “Belly of the Beast” (dir. Erika Cohn) a documentary feature on PBS’ Independent Lens. She was a Sundance Institute Women’s Fellow, a recipient of Firelight Media’s inaugural William Greaves Fund and a member of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences. As founder of TuckerGurl Inc, a boutique production company, she is passionate about stories that highlight underrepresented communities in unconventional ways.

Carolyn Hepburn is an Emmy and Peabody Award-winning producer who joined Motto Pictures in 2010 and is the Head of Production. She produced Nanfu Wang’s new film, In The Same Breath, which will premiere on opening night at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival. She is currently in production on The Velvet Underground, directed by Todd Haynes, which is set to be released by Apple in 2021, and is producing new films with Roger Ross Williams and Maite Alberdi. She recently executive produced Socks on Fire, winner of the 2020 Tribeca Grand Jury Prize; Ringside which premiered at the Berlin International Film Festival, won the Silver Hugo Award at the Chicago International Film Festival and debuted in June on Showtime; andthe acclaimed, Goya Award nominated The Mole Agent, and produced Gotham and IDA Award winner A Thousand Cuts—both 2020 Sundance Film Festival premieres. Carolyn produced Sundance Grand Jury Prize winner and Oscar-shortlisted One Child Nation, released by Amazon Studios, and Bully. Coward. Victim. The Story of Roy Cohn, which premiered at the New York Film Festival and launched on HBO in June. She produced the Emmy-nominated and Oscar-shortlisted 3 1/2 Minutes, Ten Bullets; the Netflix Original Take Your Pills, which premiered at SXSW; and Take Back the Harbor, which premiered on Discovery. She co-produced Life, Animated, which was nominated for the 2017 Best Documentary Feature Academy Award, and won three Emmys, including the award for Best Documentary in 2018. She executive produced Charm City, shortlisted for the 2019 Academy Award; Love, Gilda, the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival Opening Night Film; Weiner, shortlisted for the 2017 Academy Award; Art and Craft, Emmy-nominated and shortlisted for the 2015 Academy Award; and the Showtime series Murder in the Bayou. Carolyn is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the Producers Guild of America, British Academy of Film and Television Arts, and the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.

Jessica Wolfson has directed and produced many critically acclaimed documentary films and series. Her recent projects include the short THE PAINT WIZZARD (SXSW/New Yorker), the series KANSAS EXPERIMENT (Independent Lens), HOT GREASE (Discovery Channel) and RADIO UNNAMEABLE (PBS). Jessica has produced many feature documentaries including A WAR ON WOMEN, RADICAL LANDSCAPES, LIFE & LIFE, SACRED, REVENGE OF THE MEKONS, and A GIRL AND A GUN. She has created content for PBS, Discovery, History Channel, ESPN, CBS All Access, MTV, Wall Street Journal, Conde Nast, and many brands and nonprofits. At IFCtv Original Programming, Jessica worked with renowned filmmakers including Kirby Dick, Steve James, John Landis, and Jon Favreau. She was named “20 Under 40: Film Industry Talent to Watch, 2010” by Thom Powers of DOC NYC. She has been a consultant for many documentary projects, a mentor for the Gotham and Tribeca Film Institute and teaches documentary production at NYFA and Austin Community College.


Sarah Adina Smith is a storyteller whose work extends across a myriad genres—from thriller to action; psychological horror to character dramas. Smith been particularly busy in the TV space, having directed the pilot and second episode of Amazon’s critically-acclaimed series Hanna, for which she also served as co-executive producer. She directed the first episode of Hulu’s limited-series adaptation of John Green’s novel Looking For Alaska; two episodes of the Duplass Brothers’ anthology series Room 104 for HBO; and an episode of FX’s cult-hit show Legion. A native of Fort Collins, Colorado, Smith also wrote and directed the 2016 feature Buster’s Mal Heart starring Oscar-and-Emmy-winner Rami Malek. Her first feature, 2014’s The Midnight Swim, won six top prizes on the festival circuit, including the Breakthrough Audience Award from AFI Fest. Smith studied Philosophy at Columbia University and is currently based in Los Angeles.

Michael Mohan received critical acclaim for his short film PINK GRAPEFRUIT which premiered at Sundance Film Festival and won the Grand Jury Award for Narrative Short at SXSW Film Festival. Set against the backdrop of a steamy Palm Springs weekend, this erotic dark comedy sparked Michael’s interest in the themes of voyeurism and desire that directly led to his studio feature debut THE VOYEURS. Michael co-created & executive produced the Netflix Original Series EVERYTHING SUCKS!, for which he also directed most of the episodes. This 90’s-set coming-of-age series, which also stars Sydney Sweeney, became an instant cult favorite, as many LGBTQ+ youth across the globe still use it as a tool to help them come out to their parents. Additionally, Michael co-wrote/directed the independent film SAVE THE DATE starring Lizzy Caplan, Alison Brie, and Martin Starr, which was nominated for a Grand Jury Prize upon its premiere at Sundance and later released by IFC Films. Previously, Michael was the senior coordinator at the Sundance Writing and Directing Labs, under Michelle Satter. Films developed during his time there include Taika Waititi’s BOY, Cary Fukunaga’s SIN NOMBRE, and Dee Rees’ PARIAH

Zach Mandinach (he/him/his) is the Director of Narrative Programming at The Gotham Film & Media Institute. In his role at The Gotham, Zach oversees artist support opportunities dedicated to U.S.-based fiction filmmakers, including the Fiction Feature Lab, meant for filmmakers in post on their first fiction features, and the U.S. Features slate of the Gotham Week Project Market, the largest curated meetings forum for independent projects in development in the United States. In addition, Zach is responsible in supporting initiatives for independent producers, through the Gotham’s International Fellowships at the Rotterdam Lab and Cannes Producers Network.

9/23/2021 10:30 - 11:30A BREAKING DOWN HIT JOB

Achilles Stamatelaky is a writer/performer/director who was born in The Philippines, moved to New York City with his family when he was 8, and loves writing bios in the third person. He was a staff writer on Broad City and has developed multiple projects for internet, film, and TV, including an animated show for Ludacris on MTV, if you can believe it. He has also been in national commercials for ESPN, Rocket Mortgage, and Ally Bank, among others. Most recently, he directed and co-wrote the upcoming HIT JOB, an Audible Original scripted series produced by Broadway Video, created by Eric Cunningham, and starring Keke Palmer and Pete Davidson. He has been performing comedy since 2005 mainly at The UCB Theatre NY, where he was formerly the Associate Artistic Director and a veteran house team improviser and writer. He has taught improv and sketch at the UCB Training Center, as well as sitcom writing at NYU. He also coined the term “millennial.”

SALT Audio Co-Founder and Chief Content Officer Jamie Schefman has over twenty years experience in the studio and on the front lines of touring and audio production. Trained in the studio by legendary producers Steve Lillywhite and Flood, Jamie has engineered and produced multiple gold and platinum records for artists like Thirty Seconds to Mars and Halsey. Looking to futures outside of the music space, he founded SALT with Noah Gersh and Nick Panama, betting that they could reinvent the ways that people can think about, make and interact with audio in new media.

Mark Valdez is a scripted entertainment producer at Lorne Michaels’ Broadway Video focused on development and production. His past scripted audio titles include the Audible Originals 64TH MAN (starring John Cena and Anna Chlumsky), HOLIDAY GREETINGS FROM SUGAR AND BOOZE (starring Ana Gasteyer, Maya Rudolph, and Patti LuPone), HIT JOB (starring KeKe Palmer and Pete Davidson) and the queer action comedy HOT WHITE HEIST (starring Bowen Yang and directed by Alan Cumming). He is behind each aspect of production including development, scripting, preproduction, casting, recording, editing and marketing. Mark currently serves as a producer on the new season of THE KIDS IN THE HALL for Amazon Prime.

Kate Navin is an award-winning producer who currently leads the Scripted and Theater teams for Audible Studios. Kate launched Audible’s Theater initiative in 2017, expanding the reach of theatrical productions to millions of listeners all over the world. At Audible, Kate is currently developing cutting edge, genre bending scripted audio projects with Broadway Video, Laura Dern’s Jaywalker Pictures and Kenya Barris’ Khalabo Ink Society. Other projects Kate spearheaded include the Audible Original and live stage productions of Lortel and Drama Desk Award-winning Harry Clarke starring Billy Crudup, Drama Desk and Lortel Award-nominated Girls & Boys starring Carey Mulligan, and the upcoming Long Day’s Journey Into Night directed by Robert O’Hara. Under her leadership, Audible has been nominated for two Tony Awards as co-producer of the Broadway productions of Sea Wall/A Life and Latin History for Morons. Kate was named one of Variety’s Broadway to Watch.


Beth Osisek is a VP of content development at HULU focused on documentary and limited series. She brings her decades long experience as an award winning filmmaker to the position. Since joining the Hulu team she has worked on I Am Greta, Britney-New York Times Presents, Padma Lakshimi’s Taste The Nation, Hilary and Sasquatch. She is driven by a belief in the power of story to entertain, inform and impact. Before joining Hulu, she executive produced the three part Netflix docu-series “Inside Bill’s Brain: Decoding Bill Gates”, and worked on CNN Films “We Will Rise” with Michelle Obama as well as the PBS documentary “MAKERS: Women Who Make History”.

Cleo Veger is the Sales Manager at Dogwoof, a London-based documentary specialist integrating production, world sales and UK theatrical distribution. Cleo handles international sales for Dogwoof titles including Hillary, Sabaya, The Kingmaker, and Oscar-nominated The Mole Agent and Minding The Gap. Originally from Amsterdam, she studied Business at Northeastern University in Boston prior to moving to London in 2013.

Emily Abi-Kheirs is the Marketing & Engagement Manager at Women Make Movies. Emily is dedicated to uplifting and amplifying stories that are underrepresented in mainstream media through documentary film programming and distribution. Before joining WMM, she worked in a variety of capacities at WGBH and WORLD Channel. She currently serves on the board of Women in Film and Video New England and is an active member of Brown Girls Doc Mafia.

Jon Reiss is a filmmaker, author and media strategist who wrote the book Think Outside the Box Office. Through his company 8 Above he has advised hundreds of filmmakers and film organizations throughout the world including IFP, Paramount Studios, Screen Australia, Film Independent, Creative Scotland. He also co-wrote Selling Your Film Without Selling Your Soul and Selling Your Film Outside the US. He has conducted his Master Classes over five continents and was the Senior Lab Leader at the IFP Filmmaker Lab for ten years. Film clients have included Two Gods, Nasrin, Decade of Fire, Personhood, Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise, The Disrupted, Hooligan Sparrow. Visit 8above.com.

Livia Bloom Ingram is a film curator and the Vice President of Icarus Films, a firm The New York Times calls “a haven for nonfiction films that are at once socially conscious and supremely artful.” Ingram has organized and presented hundreds of film programs, including for the U.S. Department of State, and cultural institutions Film at Lincoln Center, Film Forum, The Museum of Modern Art, The Museum of the Moving Image and the Cinémathèque française in Paris.

Kendra Hodgson is passionate about social justice, gender equity, and the power of stories – especially when expressed through documentary film. Before joining WMM, she spent 18 years directing marketing and distribution at the nonprofit Media Education Foundation. She regularly consults with filmmakers and distributors on distribution and impact strategy and she currently serves on the board of the Action Coalition for Media Education.


Jialing Zhang is an independent Chinese filmmaker based in Massachusetts. She co-directed and produced Emmy-Award nominated One Child Nation (Sundance Grand Jury Prize winner, 2019) & Complicit (Human Rights Watch Film Festival, 2017). Jialing was nominated for a DGA Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Documentary, a PGA Award for Outstanding Producer of Documentary, the Gotham Independent Film Award in 2019 and most recently has won a Ridenhour Prize. She worked as a freelance journalist in Beijing for six years and holds a master’s degree from NYU’s School of Journalism.

Christopher Clements is an Emmy and Peabody Award-winning producer and partner at Motto Pictures. He produced Nanfu Wang’s new film, In The Same Breath, which will premiere on opening night at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival. He is currently in production on The Velvet Underground, directed by Todd Haynes, which is set to be released by Apple in 2021, and is producing new films with Roger Ross Williams and Maite Alberdi. Christopher recently executive produced Tribeca Grand Jury Prize winner Socks on Fire, and the acclaimed, Goya Award nominated The Mole Agent, and produced Gotham and IDA Award winner A Thousand Cuts—both 2020 Sundance Film Festival premieres. Christopher produced Sundance Grand Jury Prize winner and Oscar-shortlisted One Child Nation, released by Amazon Studios; Bully. Coward. Victim. The Story of Roy Cohn, which premiered at the New York Film Festival and broadcast in June on HBO; Ringside, which premiered at the Berlin International Film Festival, won the Silver Hugo Award at the Chicago International Film Festival and debuted on Showtime in June; and Netflix’s Take Your Pills which premiered at SXSW. Christopher executive produced Steve James’ Emmy Award-winning and Oscar-nominated Abacus: Small Enough to Jail; Weiner, which won the U.S. Documentary Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival and was shortlisted for the 2017 Academy Award; two Peabody Award winners, Inventing Tomorrow and Southwest of Salem; Sundance 2018 premiere and winner of the Prix Europa The Cleaners; Emmy Award-winner Solitary; CPH:Dox Grand Jury Award and Prix Europa winner The Raft; Ric Burns’ Oliver Sacks: His Own Life; and the acclaimed Showtime series Murder in the Bayou. Christopher co-produced Life, Animated, which was nominated for the 2017 Best Documentary Feature Academy Award, and won three Emmys, including the award for Best Documentary. Christopher is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the Producers Guild of America, British Academy of Film and Television Arts, and the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.

Carolyn Hepburn is an Emmy and Peabody Award-winning producer who joined Motto Pictures in 2010 and is the Head of Production. She produced Nanfu Wang’s new film, In The Same Breath, which will premiere on opening night at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival. She is currently in production on The Velvet Underground, directed by Todd Haynes, which is set to be released by Apple in 2021, and is producing new films with Roger Ross Williams and Maite Alberdi. She recently executive produced Socks on Fire, winner of the 2020 Tribeca Grand Jury Prize; Ringside which premiered at the Berlin International Film Festival, won the Silver Hugo Award at the Chicago International Film Festival and debuted in June on Showtime; andthe acclaimed, Goya Award nominated The Mole Agent, and produced Gotham and IDA Award winner A Thousand Cuts—both 2020 Sundance Film Festival premieres. Carolyn produced Sundance Grand Jury Prize winner and Oscar-shortlisted One Child Nation, released by Amazon Studios, and Bully. Coward. Victim. The Story of Roy Cohn, which premiered at the New York Film Festival and launched on HBO in June. She produced the Emmy-nominated and Oscar-shortlisted 3 1/2 Minutes, Ten Bullets; the Netflix Original Take Your Pills, which premiered at SXSW; and Take Back the Harbor, which premiered on Discovery. She co-produced Life, Animated, which was nominated for the 2017 Best Documentary Feature Academy Award, and won three Emmys, including the award for Best Documentary in 2018. She executive produced Charm City, shortlisted for the 2019 Academy Award; Love, Gilda, the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival Opening Night Film; Weiner, shortlisted for the 2017 Academy Award; Art and Craft, Emmy-nominated and shortlisted for the 2015 Academy Award; and the Showtime series Murder in the Bayou. Carolyn is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the Producers Guild of America, British Academy of Film and Television Arts, and the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.

Julie Goldman is an Oscar-nominated and Emmy Award-winning producer and executive producer of documentary feature films and series. Julie is the first documentary producer to receive the Amazon Studios Sundance Institute Producer’s Award and the Cinereach Producer’s Award. She produced Nanfu Wang’s new film, In The Same Breath, which will premiere on opening night at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival. She is currently in production on The Velvet Underground, directed by Todd Haynes, which is set to be released by Apple in 2021, and is producing new films with Roger Ross Williams and Maite Alberdi. Julie executive produced Tribeca Grand Jury Prize winner Socks on Fire, and the acclaimed, Goya Award nominated The Mole Agent, and produced Gotham and IDA Award winner A Thousand Cuts —both 2020 Sundance premieres. She produced Sundance Grand Jury Prize winner and Oscar-shortlisted One Child Nation, which was acquired by Amazon Studios; Ringside, whichhad its world premiere at the Berlin International Film Festival and recently debuted on Showtime; and Bully. Coward. Victim. The Story of Roy Cohn, which premiered at the New York Film Festival and launched on HBO in June. Julie produced Emmy Award-winning and Oscar-nominated Abacus: Small Enough to Jail, The Final Year, and Showtime’s series Murder in the Bayou. Julie is the producer of Life, Animated which won the Sundance Directing Award, was nominated for the 2017 Best Documentary Oscar, and won three Emmys, including the award for Best Documentary. She is executive producer of Weiner, winner of the Sundance Grand Jury Prize. Julie also produced and executive produced: Emmy Award-winning films Best of Enemies, Solitary, Manhunt; Peabody Award-winning films Inventing Tomorrow, Southwest of Salem; Emmy-nominated films and series Gideon’s Army, 1971, Humans of New York; Oscar-shortlisted films, God Loves Uganda, Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry, 3 1⁄2 Minutes, Ten Bullets, Art and Craft and Buck.

9/23/2021 230- 330 PM ET Capturing Historical Figures from an Untold Perspective in Documentary Filmmaking: Blood Brothers

Marcus A. Clarke is a Brooklyn-born director and producer who directed Apple’s feature-length documentary, The WIZRD, following Atlanta rap superstar Future. Most recently he directed three episodes of Netflix’s reboot of Unsolved Mysteries produced by 21 Laps, and three of eight installments in the Netflix hip hop docuseries Rapture, a 2018 SXSW selection produced by Mass Appeal.Marcus has 20 years+ of experience working in commercial production, television and film. In his early years he worked as a film runner for Spike Lee’s Forty Acres and a Mule Filmworks, was a production manager at table-top commercial co. Santiago Inc., and got an early start as a commercial first assistant director.His producer credits include CNN Films and Mass Appeal’s feature-length documentary on hip-hop fashion Fresh Dressed (Sundance Selection, 2015) and Nas Live From the Kennedy Center: Classical Hip-Hop (2018), which was the first hip hop documentary selection released as part of PBS’s critically-acclaimed Great Performances series.Currently, Marcus is the director and an executive producer for Blood Brothers, Kenya Barris’ first documentary production out of his previous Netflix overall deal. Blood Brothers, tells the extraordinary story of the friendship between Malcolm X & Muhammad Ali.An alumnus of Middlebury College, he holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Film & Media Studies x Sociology.

Rad is the Culture Editor at NOW Magazine in Toronto and the film critic for Canada’s national breakfast show CTV’S Your Morning. Rad also contributes to The Guardian, has a weekly pop culture column on CBC Radio shows across Canada and a weekly Friday Flicks segment on CTV News Channel. You can follow him at @justsayrad.


Dana Merwin is the Program Officer at the International Documentary Association where she administers the Pare Lorentz Doc Fund and Enterprise Doc Fund. Prior to joining IDA, Dana was the production manager for Al Jazeera America’s documentary unit and the Peabody Award winning series Fault Lines. She was the Director of Operations for Jupiter Entertainment in Los Angeles, where she oversaw delivery of docu-reality series to various cable channels. She has served as a production manager on numerous film and television productions.

Jeanelle Augustin is a Haitian-American film programmer, curator, and artist development professional. Born and based in New York City, her work is centered on the visual and sonic culture of the future — what does creative freedom for artists of color look and sound like, how can institutions support and set the conditions for radical, inclusive, and liberatory art-making and viewing experiences, and most importantly, how are we willing to be transformed?Jeanelle has been recently appointed Manager, Film Fellowships and Artist Development at NBC Universal. Before NBC, Jeanelle worked at Doc Society as Film Officer, managing US-based grant portfolios, funds, and fellowships serving as the first point of contact for artists in the earliest stages of development forward. She got her first taste of the delicious, overlapping worlds of fine art and indie film in Haiti and her start in the Documentary Fund and New Frontier Lab Programs at Sundance Institute. She has programmed for Camden International Film Festival, True/False Film Fest, curated and led filmmaker seminars for Black Star Film Festival and Union Docs, served on juries for Creative Capital, Define American, Film Independent, International Documentary Association, Open City Documentary Film Festival, Sundance Institute, surfs and teaches yoga.

Jess Kwan is the COO at Fork Films, where she leads strategic planning and business development at Fork Films. Her role includes identifying potential partnerships and building connections within the larger nonfiction ecosystem.

Kelsey has worked in independent documentary for a decade, and is currently the Senior Director of Development at Impact Partners, a New York-based fund dedicated to supporting powerful documentary films that address pressing social issues. At Impact Partners, Kelsey reviews potential projects to finance, provides creative and strategic support for films, and represents the fund at festivals and markets around the world. Since joining Impact Partners in 2012, she has been involved with the financing and development of over 75 projects (recent titles include: ATHLETE A, THE APOLLO, IMMIGRATION NATION, JACINTA and OF FATHERS AND SONS) and has spoken on panels about funding, distribution and impact at workshops and other industry events.

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, cinematic non-fiction filmmakers globally and provides creative, strategic, and editorial advice to supported films and filmmakers through Catapult’s artist development programs. Recent films supported by Catapult Film Fun include CRIP CAMP, MAYOR and PRAY AWAY. Prior to joining Catapult, she worked as an independent producer where her work was supported by Sundance Documentary Fund and Chicken & Egg Pictures. Megan worked at PBS/WGBH-TV for over 15 years, where she produced and directed films for the flagship series American Experience and NOVA. She won a National Emmy Award in the category of Research for her work on the PBS series “Africans in America.” In addition, she has produced award-winning documentaries that have been nationally broadcast on The History Channel, ITV Network of London, and The Discovery Channel.

Maxyne is one of the founding Directors of Doc Society and shares responsibility for overseeing the film funding programmes. She also sits on the selection committee for the Good Pitch events and oversees the annual DOC Impact Awards; celebrating the films that have made the greatest impact on society. For Doc Society, Maxyne has been lucky enough to executive produce a number of award-winning films including Virunga, All These Sleepless Nights, Hooligan Sparrow, The Possibilities are Endless, The Square, Pussy Riot, Hell & Back Again, Ping Pong and Afghan Star. As of 2015 Maxyne relocated to New York to head up the US office, BRITDOC Inc. Since there she has been deepening relationships with partners and working with our talented collective of US based filmmakers.

Nikki is a three-time Emmy Award-winning producer and programmer experienced in the non-profit and brand-driven spaces. At Doc Society she works across US funds as Film Officer. Nikki’s most recent experience at Tribeca Studios afforded her the opportunity to produce narrative and documentary alike, elevating voices and stories through corporate programs such as P&G’s 8:46 and the Queen Collective. Prior to Tribeca, Nikki was the co-producer for the acclaimed documentary show POV on PBS. Nikki curated for the series across seven seasons, oversaw series production, and provided editorial support to independent documentary filmmakers. Nikki has served on panels and juries across the U.S. and abroad. She holds a Bachelors degree in Cinema Studies from Oberlin College and is a member of the Producers Guild of America.

9/23/2021 7- 8 PM ET Conversation on Creativity...In Audio "Emmanuel Dtzosi + Phoebe Robinson

Emmanuel Dzotsi is the co-host of Reply All. Before that, he produced and reported stories for NPR member stations, and later, the popular public radio program This American Life. Over the last 5 years he’s covered a variety of stories at the intersection of race and culture, from a historic divide in the Alabama Democratic Party, to criminal justice reform. As a co-host on the 3rd season of Serial, he was part of a team that received an Edward R. Murrow Award for their coverage of Cleveland’s felony courts.

Phoebe Robinson is a stand-up comedian, writer, producer, and actress. She is best known as the co-creator and co-star of the hit podcast and series of TV specials 2 Dope Queens. She’s also the New York Times bestselling author of her latest audiobook, Please Don’t Sit on My Bed in Your Outside Clothes, as well as You Can’t Touch My Hair: And Other Things I Still Have to Explain and Everything’s Trash, But It’s Okay. Additionally, Phoebe has starred in the movies Ibiza and What Men Want, and was moderator on Michelle Obama’s international Becoming book tour. Most recently, Phoebe launched Tiny Reparations, a production company under ABC Signature, whose first project is a talk show entitled Doing the Most with Phoebe Robinson that premiered April 2021 on Comedy Central.

Se’era Spragley Ricks is the associate producer of PRX Productions and PRX Remix and the host and producer of PRX Podcast Wine Down. Her work focuses on highlighting and amplifying misrepresented and diverse voices. You can learn more and interact with Se’era’s work at seerasharae.com.


Alec Ring is a manager at Cinetic Media representing writer, director, and multi-hyphenates across all media. He works across the sales, finance, and consulting teams for the company. Alec graduated from Dartmouth College with a degree in Economics and Hispanic Studies. He is from Baltimore, MD and based in NY.

Brit Fryer is the Member Services Manager at the Writers Guild of America, East. His work includes the WGAE’s Caucuses which are networks of communities that promote and encourage the professional and artistic interests of writers working in existing and emerging fields of entertainment and news media, including indie film, documentary, and animation. In addition to his work at the Guild, he has produced a variety of narrative and nonfiction projects, most recently BUG FARM, which premiered on PBS this year. He is an alumnus of the Sundance Ignite Fellowship and The Creative Culture Program and currently sits in the Jonathan Demme Changemaker Board Seat of the Jacob Burns Film Center.

Janine Beach is an entertainment attorney based in New York and Toronto. She is the founder and principal of Phoenix Entertainment Advisors and of counsel at Nevin Law Group. Janine’s legal practice focuses on production legal services and representation of creative talent across film, television and digital media. As production counsel, Janine negotiates and drafts film and television deals across development, financing, production and distribution. As a talent attorney, she structures and negotiates deals for actors, directors, writers, producers and personalities. Janine is especially focused on serving diverse clients and international markets. Her clients’ films have premiered at Cannes, Berlinale, Sundance, Toronto, SXSW and Tribeca. Prior to starting Phoenix, Janine practiced law at leading entertainment firms and production companies in Los Angeles, New York and Toronto. She holds a Juris Doctor and an MBA from Columbia University and is a frequent guest speaker at conferences, film festivals and universities.

Jim is a Certified Life/Career/Business Coach to the entertainment industry, small business owners, veterans in film and television, women in finance and NYU alumni. Jim is certified by the International Coach Federation and founded the Gay Coaches Collective/NYC. Jim Arnoff also consults as a talent agent having represented television production companies in developing and selling original programming. As a consultant, he shapes pitches, strengthens sizzle reels and works with producers to launch their own production companies. He practices entertainment law in television, film and digital. Jim worked at the William Morris Agency as both an in-house lawyer and television packaging agent. He leads workshops for Veterans in Media and Entertainment/East and West, the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, U.S. Military Academy, Writers Guild of America/East and West, New York Women in Film & Television, NYU/Tisch/Career Services/Arts & Entertainment Network, The Actors Fund/East and West, Hollywood Radio & Television Society, Women in Film,, Film Fatales, Hollywood Women’s Collective, The Filmshop/East and West and the Children’s Media Association Jim is a faculty member of the School of Visual Arts (“Pitching Your Television Series to the Industry Pros”) and guest speaks at NYU and the Fashion Institute of Technology. He is a member of the New York State, New York City and LGBT Bar Associations.

Mia Bruno combines an intricate knowledge of film distribution and sales with a skill for innovative and effective marketing strategies. Mia works with filmmakers and content-creators as a distribution strategist and grassroots marketer/impact producer, marrying a nuanced understanding of the marketplace with creative campaigns designed to connect with audiences meaningfully. Some of her recent work include Jamila Wignot’s AILEY, Shalini Kantayya’s CODED BIAS, and James Cameron’s THE GAME CHANGERS. Mia has worked with film organizations Cinereach, The Gotham, and DOC NYC and consults on content strategy for brands like AAA and Meow Wolf.

9/23/2021 530- 630 PM ET A Study of Transgressive Fiction

Shawn Christensen is an Oscar-winning filmmaker who directed and edited the podcast BLACKOUT (Rami Malek) (2019) which won the 2020 Webby for Best Scripted Fiction Podcast, and directed the podcast HUNTED (Parker Posey) (2020) produced by Dick Wolf Productions / Endeavor Content. He won the Academy Award for Best Live Action Short Film for CURFEW (2013) and wrote and directed the feature film adaptation BEFORE I DISAPPEAR (Emmy Rossum, Paul Wesley, Ron Perlman) (2014) which won the SXSW Audience Award.

Zeth Lundy is the Editorial Director for Double Elvis Productions. He is the lead writer for Double Elvis shows BADLANDS, 27 CLUB, and BLOOD ON THE TRACKS

Kelly Garner is the Founder and CEO of Treefort Media Kelly Garner launched Treefort Media with the true-crime, investigative podcast series Fatal Voyage: The Mysterious Death of Natalie Wood, which hit #1 on Apple Podcasts within days of its launch in July 2018. Since then, he and his growing team have produced a wide range of original audio series, including the scripted drama starring Christian Slater, Juliette Lewis and Rainn Wilson entitled Killing Hollywood: The Cotton Club Murder (Audible exclusive), the unscripted sports follow documentary Drafted and the hit true-crime weekly Killer Psyche featuring former FBI profiler Candice DeLong.Previous to founding Treefort in early 2018, Garner was a TV producer and network development executive with posts at Syfy, Wilshire Studios/UCP NBCUniversal, and Pilgrim Studios. Series he produced include Rockstar: INXS, Rockstar: Supernova, Last Comic Standing, Clash of the Choirs, The Contender, Goldrush, Ax Men, Black Gold, Million Dollar Listing, and Running in Heels. Kelly is a graduate of Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) and is based in LA.

Jake Brennan is the writer, host and producer of Disgraceland. He is also the creator of the podcast’s score and theme song.

Jake saw his Dad’s band open for The Ramones when he was 10 years old. Before the show he asked his Dad what The Ramones sounded like. He was told, “they sound like The Beach Boys but louder and faster.” Later that night, Jake learned that his Dad was right. He also learned the importance of history in understanding music.

Since then, Jake has been obsessed with music. And history. And for whatever reason, the darker sides of both. Disgraceland combines these obsessions. Jake lives in the Boston area with his wife and two sons and is surrounded by history and lucky enough to make a living surrounding himself with music. Sometimes it’s louder and sometimes it’s faster but it’s never as cool as The Ramones.

Former FBI profiler and bestselling author Candice DeLong is an internationally recognized homicide expert, TV news commentator, and TV documentary host, producer and contributor. She has been a guest on CNN, MSNBC, HLN, FOX NEWS, Meet the Press, Hardball, Dateline, 48 Hours, Today, GMA, as well as Dr. Phil and Oprah. She was the creator and talk show host of CRIME TIME with Candice DeLong, a Cumulus radio show broadcast in San Francisco from 2012-2013. CRIME TIME enjoyed the highest number of podcast hits for any show on KGO radio, averaging 30,000 hits/week. The next highest rated show was a long-time morning show -35 years – averaging 7,000 hits/week.


Samuel Goldberg is a film, television, theatre and live events producer. He began his career as an actor and moved into writing and creative producing while studying at the University of Pennsylvania. Samuel has produced multiple award-winning documentaries including Web and Silo: Edge of the Real World. He has also worked with renowned artists Jon Batiste, Shaina Taub and Louis Cato, to name a few. Most recently he produced the feature film SILO about a grain entrapment accident and rescue in a small American farm town. Samuel believes in the power of stories to produce empathy and, alongside his amazing wife, loves telling tales to their young daughter.

Beth Levison is an independent Emmy and Peabody-winning filmmaker based in NYC. Her most recent film, STORM LAKE, which she directed alongside director/DP Jerry Risius and also produced, premiered at the 2021 Full Frame Documentary Film Festival, won the Audience Award at AFI DOCS, and is about one family’s efforts to protect their Iowan farming town through their biweekly newspaper—come hell or pandemic. Prior to that, she produced WOMEN IN BLUE (2020 Tribeca Film Festival/Independent Lens), MADE IN BOISE (2019 AFI DOCS 2019/Independent Lens), Emmy-nominated PERSONAL STATEMENT (2018 AFI DOCS/PBS), 32 PILLS: MY SISTER’S SUICIDE (2017 Hot Docs/HBO), and her documentary directorial debut LEMON (PBS 2011). Levison is the founder of Hazel Pictures, a co-founder of the Documentary Producers Alliance (DPA), producing faculty with the School of Visual Arts MFA program in Social Documentary Film, and a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Tim Clark is the Director of the Buffalo Niagara Film Office and serves as the Film Commissioner for the Western Region of New York State. He has assisted in bringing some of the biggest movie studios to the area such as Universal Pictures, Paramount, Warner Bros., and Disney to name a few to attracting independent feature films with stars such as Emily Blunt, Bradley Cooper and Melissa McCarthy and television shows such as THE OFFICE and ABC’s MEGA STUNT program featuring Nik Wallenda walking live over Niagara Falls to a global audience. Last year he was elected Chairman of the Association of Film Commissioners International (AFCI) a worldwide organization representing over 300 film offices on 6 different continents. In that role he works closely with movie studio executives, screen sector professionals and colleagues around the world to develop global policy used in the making of motion pictures.

Produce Iowa–State Office of Media ProductionWhile most film offices are located in economic development agencies, Iowa’s film office is uniquely located in the Department of Cultural Affairs. Since opening the office in 2013, Liz is focused on creating a filmmaking culture in Iowa, while building sustainability with its resident filmmakers. She helped to launch The Film Lounge on Iowa PBS, Iowa Writers Room at the University of Iowa, and Greenlight Grants through the Iowa Arts Council to help move projects from script-to-screen and elevate quality stories important to Iowans. As a member of the Association of Film Commissioners International, Liz also works hard to promote the state to filmmakers around the world and helps connect a producer’s wants and needs to the resources and solutions in Iowa. She has a knack for creating something from nothing throughout her career using her project management skills, creative abilities and promotional experience.


Keane Robertson, a Los Angeles native, has been part of the Sony Pictures Classics Acquisitions and Production team for over three years. Sony Classics is an autonomous division of Sony Pictures Entertainment that distributes, produces, and acquires independent films from the United States and around the world.

A California native, Miranda moved to New York six years ago to pursue a career in media and storytelling. After spending four years at ICM Partners in the Motion Picture Department, she joined the Acquisitions team at Bleecker in 2019, where is currently the Manager of Acquisitions.

Robert Schwartzman is an American filmmaker, director, screenwriter, actor, producer and musician. Schwartzman is best known for directingDreamland,The Unicorn, andThe Argument, acting in his cousinSofia Coppolas’film The Virgin Suicides, and starring inThe Princess Diaries. He is also the frontman & founder of the platinum-sellingrock/popbandRooneyand composed the score for his cousin Gia Coppola’s film Palo Altowith music artist Dev Hynes of Blood Orange and the opening song for the Iron Man animated series. He has also Executive Produced a number of leading film projects including Lost Transmissions, starring Simon Peg and Juno Temple, and Gia Coppola’s Mainstream.In 2018, Robert co-founded Utopia Media, a company that supports the entire life cycle of the filmmaking and distribution process, from production and acquisitions to marketing and sales. Utopia was created as a filmmaker-first company that offers an extended array of services through a growing team and extensive roster of partnerships. Since its inception, Utopia has launched celebrated titles such as Mickey & the Bear, Bloody Nose, Empty Pockets and House of Cardin and plan to release Del Close: For Madmen Only and Shiva Baby, among others, in 2021.In 2020, Variety announced the launch of Altavod, a platform created by filmmakers for filmmakers to distribute their movies how they want, where they want, when they want. Altavod provides the technology and the tools for any filmmaker to quickly launch a marketing page where they can build their brand, convert customers, stream their content and make money. Altavod puts the power of digital distribution in the hands of filmmakers and supports outreach to global audiences. Early film release success stories on Altavod include the Steph Curry-produced Jump Shot, among others.

Bobby Allen is the SVP of Production at MUBI, a global streaming service, production company and film distributor. MUBI also offers a film database, an editorial publication (Notebook), and, in select countries, a cinema-going app called MUBI GO. Based out of MUBI’s global headquarters in London, Bobby leads the company’s production arm and is responsible for developing and producing MUBI’s films worldwide. Announced projects include: ONE FINE MORNING (direct by Mia Hansen-Løve), PORT AUTHORITY (directed by Danielle Lessovitz), FAREWELL AMOR (directed by Ekwa Msangi), MON LEGIONNAIRE (directed by Rachel Lang) and MANIAC COP (TV series from Nicolas Winding Refn). With over 20 years in the global film and entertainment industry, prior to MUBI, Bobby was an independent film producer and VP of Sales and Acquisitions at Celluloid Dreams, Head of Production at MTV Films Europe and Head Of Acquisitions at Film Four. He has also held senior executive positions in international film sales and acquisitions at companies such as PolyGram Film International, Lionsgate, and Mayfair Entertainment.

Wendy Lidell is Sr. VP, Theatrical/Nontheatrical Distribution & Acquisition at Kino Lorber Inc. In March of 2020, Lidell led the creation of Kino Marquee, the first and largest virtual cinema platform, which generated over $1.2m shared equally with shuttered theaters during the Covid pandemic. Prior to joining Kino Lorber in 2016, Lidell was President of International Film Circuit, which she founded in 1987. InFC became known for its introduction into the US market of filmmakers such as Raul Ruiz, Alexander Sokurov and Hou Hsiao-hsien. Lidell has run academy campaigns for four documentaries that were nominated for Academy Awards. Before founding International Film Circuit, Lidell was the Assistant Director of the Association of Independent Video and Filmmakers (AIVF), the organization out of which the IFP was launched. She has also served as US film programmer for several international film festivals including Rotterdam and San Sebastian.


Carlos Zozaya is an independent feature film director and producer with a BFA from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. He has been fortunate enough to be key crew for critically acclaimed films such as: The Fits (Dir. Anna Rose Holmer), The Eyes of My Mother (Dir. Nicolas Pesce), Catfight (Dir. Onur Tukel), We The Animals (Dir. Jeremiah Zagar) & served as a Co-Producer on Chained For Life (Dir. Aaron Schimberg). As a producer, Carlos helmed Sebastián Silva’s Tyrel which premiered at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival and was released by Magnolia Pictures in 2018. His next project, Aviva, directed by Boaz Yakin was an official selection of the 2020 SXSW Film Festival and was released by Outsider Pictures / Strand Releasing in June 2020. His upcoming projects include We’re All Going to the World’s Fair (Dir. Jane Schoenbrun – Official Selection NEXT, Sundance Film Festival, 2021, Utopia / HBO Max), Broken Theater, the directorial debut of Bobbi Jene Smith, Geppetto (Dir. Z Behl)- which was developed in tandem with the Biennale College Cinema Program and EP’s Benh Zeitlin & Jonas Carpignano, and an upcoming road trip feature film directed by Bill & Turner Ross (Bloody Nose, Empty Pockets). In 2018 he was selected as a Gotham fellow for the IFFR Producer’s Lab in Rotterdam. Carlos was raised in Mexico City and now resides in Brooklyn, New York.

Jeb is Co-President of Production of Amblin Partners. Jeb began his career making indie film as a founding partner at Big Beach, has producer or exec producer credit on films like Little Miss Sunshine, Sherrybaby, and Chop Shop. Brody has worked at Alex Kurtzman’s production company Secret Hideout, where he executive produced “The Mummy,” a reimagining of the classic horror film starring Tom Cruise that stumbled at the box office. He was previously the president of production at Focus Features, where he scored with the adaptation of E.L. James’ best-seller “Fifty Shades of Grey” and helped acquire and produced “Kill the Messenger,” “The Place Beyond the Pines,” and “Dallas Buyers Club,” which won Oscars for Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto.

Julie Crosby is a founding partner of Cromono International, with offices in New York City, Paris and Taipei. With over 100 credits to her name in theater, film and digital media, Julie provides strategic insight and guidance across project development, financing, marketing and operations. With producer Jane Applegate, Julie helms Showbizing.com, a production consulting and career coaching service for the entertainment industry. She holds a Ph.D. in medieval drama from Columbia University.

Khaliah Neal is an Oakland Native whose claim to fame is a love letter to the Bay, The Last Blackman in San Francisco. After attending Howard University for Journalism, she went on to come of age in the movie business in New York City where she spent several years working for industry giants like James Schamus at Focus Features, and acclaimed Broadway Producer, Jean Doumanian. Independent film is at the heart of Khaliah’s genius evidenced by projects like the Last Blackman and P-Valley which she produced independently. In recent years her focus has been working through the system to make waves as an executive previously at Michael B. Jordan’s Production company, Outlier Society and now at Melina Matsoukas’ company De La Revolucíon Films, as Head of Film and TV. Khaliah is a smart, collaborative and efficient producer working to build a community of artists who make unique, elevated content that can change the world as we know it.

Toby Halbrooks is a writer/producer from Dallas Texas. He is a member of SAILOR BEAR — a collective of award-winning filmmakers from Texas, including David Lowery, Toby Halbrooks and James Johnston. As producers, their films include: The Green Knight, The Old Man and The Gun, Pete’s Dragon, Never Goin’ Back, A Ghost Story, Ain’t Them Bodies Saints, Upstream Color, and Listen Up Philip.

Matthew Petock is an independent film producer and founding partner of Flies Collective, a Brooklyn-based production company, storytelling collaborative and granting organization established in 2012. Over the past twelve years the team has produced eleven feature films. Most recently, they had three projects premiere at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival: I WAS A SIMPLE MAN (dir: Christopher Makoto Yogi), WE’RE ALL GOING TO THE WORLD’S FAIR (dir: Jane Schoenbrun) and FAYA DAYI (dir: Jessica Beshir). All three were named on Indiewire’s roundup list of the 15 best films at the festival. Prior works have screened at other prestigious festivals around the world, such as Tribeca, Berlinale, Rotterdam, SXSW, Thessaloniki, Vienale, Torino, São Paolo, Moscow, Seattle and many others. In 2017 the partners created the Flies Collective Film Grant, an annual grant opportunity open to any filmmaker, with any project, at any stage. To date, nearly $100,000 in financial support has been awarded, with grants supporting projects from filmmakers Raven Jackson (NETTLES), Haley Elizabeth Anderson (PILLARS), Brittany Shyne (SEEDS), Livia Huang (WHO CAN PREDICT WHAT WILL MOVE YOU), Matthew Wade (A BLACK RIFT BEGINS TO YAWN) and Lana Wilson (A CURE FOR FEAR,) among many more. Petock holds a BFA in Film and Television Production from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts.


Roger Gregory is the Vice President, Strategic Planning & Finance at FilmNation Entertainment, a leading producer, financier, and distributor of independent film, television, theater, and audio that is a destination for many of the world’s most renowned storytellers. Roger’s responsibilities include overseeing green-light models and deal analysis for the company’s film and TV titles, and managing production funding through the company’s $120M credit facility. In addition to his finance and strategic planning role, he also runs FilmNation’s growing theater division. Originally hailing from Australia, Roger is a graduate of the University of Sydney and New York University.

Asger Hussain has 15+ years of experience in production and film financing. He spent his 10 first years in the industry working for producer/director Lee Daniels on films such as The Woodsman and Shadowboxer. He served as one of the producers of the Sundance Film Festival winner Precious. The film was nominated for six Academy Awards® and won two Oscars. He developed and co-produced the Golden Globe nominated thriller The Paperboy, starring Matthew McConaughey, Zac Efron, David Oyelowo and Nicole Kidman. Asger also produced the critically acclaimed South African western Five Fingers for Marseilles by Love and Monsters director Michael Matthews. Born and raised in Copenhagen, Denmark, Asger is the recipient of the 2009 AFI Award.

Meghna Rao is the Senior Coordinator for Original Series and Film at Topic Studios (Spotlight, Leave No Trace, The Mauritanian). Prior to joining Topic, she worked in scripted television development at Left/Right, an Emmy-nominated production company based in New York. She holds a B.S. in Media, Culture, and Communication from New York University.


Cat Hobbs is the Director of Development at Protozoa Pictures, where she oversees projects in both the feature and television spaces. Most recently, she served as an executive producer (alongside Gotham alums Mollye Asher and Kim Parker) for CATCH THE FAIR ONE, which premiered at the 2021 Tribeca Film Festival and was acquired by IFC. Previously, she worked as a Creative Executive at the Weinstein Company, with a special focus in book-to-film development.

Elliott Coley is a development executive at Neighborhood Watch, a full-service production company based in Brooklyn, NY. In his capacity as Manager, Development & Production, he oversees a slate of narrative film, television and documentary projects. Prior to Neighborhood Watch, he worked in the Independent Film Group at United Talent Agency, where he was involved in the financing, packaging and selling of independent films and documentaries.

Currently Director of Development at BRON Studios, Francesco has a breadth of experience in film/tv development and production both as an executive and filmmaker. As an American and European citizen, he is especially suited to operating in the global film/tv marketplace. Francesco is a graduate of New York University.

Rebecca Cammarata is the Head of Production for Stay Gold Features. Cammarata was a Co-Producer on Kasi Lemmons’ HARRIET, which was nominated for two Oscars in 2019, as well as Alma Har’el’s HONEY BOY, which was nominated for four Independent Spirit Awards. She Co-Produced the 2021 release JOE BELL, starring Mark Wahlberg and Connie Britton, which premiered at the 2020 Toronto International Film Festival, and is an Executive Producer on Ed Helms-starrer TOGETHER TOGETHER. Prior to joining Stay Gold, Cammarata was the Creative Executive at Jake Gyllenhaal’s company Nine Stories Productions where she worked closely with producer Riva Marker on David Gordon Green’s STRONGER, Paul Dano’s directing debut WILDLIFE, and the 2017 Broadway revival of Stephen Sondheim’s SUNDAY IN THE PARK WITH GEORGE. Before Nine Stories, Cammarata was an executive at Red Crown Productions and her credits there include BEASTS OF NO NATION, HELLO, MY NAME IS DORIS, and THE FAMILY FANG.

Rebecca Choi is the Director of Development at Archer Gray, an independent film and television production company based in New York City. She works with the production team to manage a slate of film and television projects in all phases of development and production and has contributed to films such as Lost Girls, Can You Ever Forgive Me?, 20th Century Women, Mr. Holmes, and The Diary of a Teenage Girl. Before joining Archer Gray, she worked at Sony Pictures Television. Rebecca received her BA from Wesleyan University.