AFI DOCS FORUM

Alexis Aggrey, Dir. Marketing and Engagement, Black Public Media
Alexis Aggrey Alexis Aggrey is a producer that has worked with public television, cable and museum clients for more than 10 years, creating documentary content that educates and inspires. Aggrey believes in the importance of public television, having freelanced on projects with Black Public Media, PBS, SCETV and Capital Concerts, Inc. Aggrey's public television experience ranges from long-form vérité documentary to managing digital campaigns, live event production and segment producing. As a key member of the Peabody Award-winning 180 DAYS: A YEAR INSIDE AN AMERICAN HIGH SCHOOL production team, Aggrey fell in love with public television and the network of stations across the country that supported the broadcast event and engagement campaign. In 2016, Aggrey produced three galleries of media for the Smithsonian on African American History and Culture in Washington, DC. Responsible for more than 30 video installations, Aggrey collaborated with the curatorial team to produce mini-documentaries, large format video installations, media as artifact and scholarly interviews. Working on the National Museum of African American History and Culture was truly the project of a lifetime, and an opportunity to contribute to a groundbreaking project.

 

Amy Letourneau, Senior Vice President, Distribution, PBS
Amy Letourneau Amy Letourneau is Senior Vice President for PBS Distribution (PBSd), a full-service distribution company that specializes in sales of public television programming in the U.S. and abroad. She oversees acquisitions, marketing and strategy for factual, drama and children's programming. In 2017, she led PBSd's launch of a theatrical releasing unit, which has created multiplatform campaigns for several high-profile documentaries including DOLORES and ABACUS: SMALL ENOUGH TO JAIL prior to their PBS broadcast.


 

Ashley Mariner, Vice President, Dish Communications
Ashley Mariner In 2006, Ashley Mariner moved to Los Angeles and joined Dish Communications. In her time at Dish, she has worked on PR and awards campaigns for several Academy Award®-winning and nominated documentary films, and Emmy® Award-winning television programs; traveled as one of the tour publicists for the Police Reunion Tour, which is still one of the highest grossing tours of all time; and acted as the media liaison for the International Documentary Association. Mariner has also coordinated press campaigns for many award-winning films at the Sundance Film Festival, the Toronto Film Festival, the Tribeca Film Festival, the SXSW Film Conference and Festival, the Los Angeles Film Festival and AFI FEST. During her time at Dish, she has worked with world-famous filmmakers like Werner Herzog, Rory Kennedy, Brett Morgen and Sean and Andrea Fine. In addition, Mariner has managed media outreach for HBO Corporate's West Coast Events Office, and in that capacity, has worked on highly successful events for their programming, including BOARDWALK EMPIRE, GAME OF THRONES, MILDRED PIERCE, MAGIC & BIRD and TEENAGE PAPARAZZO. Mariner has also strategized and coordinated creative and unique awards campaigns for several Oscar®-winning documentary features and shorts, including AMY and THE WHITE HELMETS, which was Netflix's first Academy Award®-winning film.

 

Beth Mendelson, Sr. Executive Producer, Voice of America and Documentary Filmmaker
Beth Mendelson Focused on issue-oriented programming, her latest documentary BOKO HARAM: JOURNEY FROM EVIL, narrated by award-winning actor David Oyelowo, pushes beyond the record of violence to examine the underpinnings of Boko Haram, the Nigerian government's response, and the inspirational stories of extraordinary Nigerians that are peacefully pushing back.

Prior to the documentary, Mendelson produced a series called BOKO HARAM: TERROR UNMASKED, based on 18 hours of original video filmed by Boko Haram that delivered an unprecedented examination of the Islamic fundamentalist group ravaging Nigeria.

Beth Mendelson's communication career spans 30 years across non-profit organizations, broadcast media and the U.S. government, including the White House. Prior to her documentary work at Voice of America, Mendelson was the Chief of the Afghanistan Service for six years, overseeing television, radio and web programming.

 

Brad Lichtenstein, President, 371 Productions
Brad Lichtenstein Brad Lichtenstein is an award-winning filmmaker who has been making documentaries since 1998 and founded 371 Productions in 2003. He's won two duPont Awards: one for the 2016 Al Jazeera America series HARD EARNED (produced with Kartemquin Films) and another for his 2001 film GHOSTS OF ATTICA (produced with Lumiere Productions). He has been nominated for a News and Doc Emmy® for his film AS GOES JANESVILLE and was nominated for a Peabody for his radio series about gun violence, "Precious Lives." He cofounded Custom Reality Services, a Virtual Reality startup, in 2016. That year the company's first VR film, ACROSS THE LINE, premiered at Sundance and won the audience award at the Future of Storytelling. Both of his companies have a mission to nurture the careers of women and people of color. Brad also founded docUWM, a documentary program at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and a member of the Milwaukee Filmmaker Alliance leadership council.

 

Brandon Kramer, Co-Founder, Meridian Hill Pictures
Brandon Kramer Brandon Kramer is an award-winning documentary filmmaker and co-founder of the DC-based production company Meridian Hill Pictures. Kramer is the director of the award-winning feature documentary CITY OF TREES, which played at the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival, was nationally broadcast on PBS' America Reframed and is now streaming on Netflix and iTunes. Kramer directed the Webby Award-winning documentary series THE MESSY TRUTH WITH VAN JONES, released on Van's Facebook page and CNN.com just before the 2016 election to over four million viewers. Kramer is the winner of the Best Director award at the 2016 Chesapeake Film Festival and Indie Capital Awards, received the Audience Choice Award at the 2015 American Conservation Film Festival and was a 2015 DC Commission on the Arts & Humanities Individual Arts Fellow. Since 2010, Kramer has directed and produced over 30 short documentaries commissioned by government agencies and nonprofits including the AARP Foundation, the US Institute of Peace and the International Baccalaureate. Before starting Meridian Hill Pictures, Kramer served as a staff teaching artist for the John F. Kennedy Center's national media education program. Kramer holds a bachelor's degree in film production and cultural anthropology from Boston University.

 

Catherine Collins, Director of Film, TV and Digital Media, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA), the U.S. Department of State
Catherine Collins Catherine Collins overseas ECA film exchange programs, including Global Media Makers and American Film Showcase, and works closely with U.S. Embassies around the world to support film and media initiatives. Previously, she was an independent documentary film producer, writer, researcher and fundraiser for award-wining documentaries. She has produced documentaries on a broad array of subjects, particularly on current affairs, science, history and literature for PBS, NHK and ARTE. Most notably, she produced the Peabody Award-winning F. SCOTT FITZGERALD: WINTER DREAMS for the PBS AMERICAN MASTERS series with filmmaker DeWitt Sage in 2001; their ERNEST HEMINGWAY: RIVERS TO THE SEA, also for the PBS AMERICAN MASTERS series, was nominated for an Emmy® in 2005. Collins has lived and worked overseas in Jakarta, London and Dubai. She strongly believes in the importance of cultural exchange and the power of films to facilitate dialogue and foster greater understanding between peoples. She graduated from Harvard College with a BA in American History and Literature. She was also a Henry Luce Scholar in Indonesia.

 

Chelsea Hernandez, Filmmaker, BUILDING THE AMERICAN DREAM
Chelsea Hernandez Chelsea Hernandez is a Mexican-American filmmaker based in Austin, Texas, recently named as one of Texas Monthly's "10 Filmmakers on the Rise." Her work focuses on the unique perspectives of various issues and topics through the lens of ordinary people who challenge the status quo and injustices in this world. She is an eight-time Emmy®-winning director, producer and editor in the Texas region for her work on PBS documentary series, ARTS IN CONTEXT. Her short documentary work includes SEE THE DIRT (Best Short Documentary at Austin Film Festival), and AN UNCERTAIN FUTURE (SXSW Texas Short Jury Winner). Collins is a fellow of Firelight Media Doc Lab, Tribeca Edit Storylab, Bay Area Video Coalition (BAVC) National Mediamaker Program and NALIP Latino Media Market. She is currently working on her first feature documentary, BUILDING THE AMERICAN DREAM, with support from the Ford Foundation.

 

Chloe Gbai, Shorts and Streaming Producer, POV
Chloe Gbai A native of New York, Chloe Gbai is a filmmaker/producer whose work centers around issues of race, immigration, and gender. She currently serves as the Shorts & Streaming Producer at American Documentary, spearheading their POV Shorts Initiative, a brand-new destination for short-form nonfiction content in public media. She received her bachelor's degree from New York University's Gallatin School of Individualized Study and is currently a resident of Meerkat Media Collective.


 

Christine O'Malley, Producer, HESBURGH
Christine O'Malley Christine O'Malley has been making documentaries for film and television as a creative producer for over 15 years. She began her work in nonfiction on the Biography series for A&E before serving as associate producer on the Academy Award®-nominated documentary film ENRON: THE SMARTEST GUYS IN THE ROOM (2004). WORDPLAY, the first feature-length film she produced through her production company O'Malley Creadon Productions, was nominated for both a Critics' Choice Award and a National Board of Review Award for Best Documentary of 2006. O'Malley and Patrick Creadon's second film I.O.U.S.A., an examination of the size and scope of America's national debt, had its world premiere at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival. Other credits include Harry Shearer's documentary THE BIG UNEASY (2010), Sundance Selects' THESE AMAZING SHADOWS (2011) and SUPERHEROES (2011) which aired on HBO. O'Malley produced IF YOU BUILD IT (2014), a feature-length documentary that spends a year in the life of one of America's most innovative classrooms. It was distributed theatrically and broadcast on PBS. She is currently adapting the film into a series. In addition to serving on panels and juries in the independent film community, O'Malley previously served as Festival Director for AFI DOCS in Washington, DC. She produced a film for ESPN's 30 FOR 30 series that had its broadcast premiere in December 2016. She is wrapping up two feature documentaries about to hit the film festival circuit. Currently, she is developing a number of projects both narrative and nonfiction.

 

Courtney Cogburn, Assistant Professor, Colombia University School of Social Work
Courtney Cogburn Dr. Cogburn employs a transdisciplinary research strategy to improve the characterization and measurement of racism and in examining the role of racism in the production of racial inequities in health. Dr. Cogburn's work also explores the potential of media and technology in eradicating racism and eliminating racial inequities in health. She is the lead creator of 1000 CUT JOURNEY, an immersive virtual reality experience of racism that premiered at the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival. Dr. Cogburn completed postdoctoral training at Harvard University in the Robert Wood Johnson Health & Society Scholar Program and at the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan. She received her Ph.D. in Education and Psychology, and MSW from the University of Michigan and her BA in Psychology from the University of Virginia.

 

Dana Merwin, Program Officer, International Documentary Association for the Enterprise and Pare Lorentz Doc Funds
Dana Merwin Prior to IDA, Dana Merwin 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 networks. She has served as a production manager on numerous film and television productions.


 

David Weinstein, Senior Program Officer, National Endowment for the Humanities
David Weinstein David Weinstein is a senior program officer in the Division of Public Programs at the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). He has managed grants for award-winning films, radio programs, museum exhibits and digital projects. Weinstein joined the NEH in 2000 after teaching media studies and production at George Mason University. Weinstein holds a Ph.D. in American studies from the University of Maryland College Park and a BA from Brandeis University. He is the author of "The Forgotten Network: DuMont and the Birth of American Television" (2004) and "The Eddie Cantor Story: A Jewish Life in Performance and Politics" (2017).

 

Debra Zimmerman, Executive Director, Women Make Movies Movies
Debra Zimmerman Debra Zimmerman has been the Executive Director of Women Make Movies since 1983. For 12 of the last 13 years, films from WMM have won or been nominated for Oscars®. She is in great demand around the world as a speaker on independent film distribution, marketing and financing. She is a member of numerous Advisory Boards for many media organizations, a jury member for many international film festivals, and regularly sits on foundation and government funding panels. She is the recipient of New York Women in Film and Television's Loreen Arbus Award and the Hot Doc's Doc Mogul Award, given to those who "over the course of their career has made an essential contribution to the creative vitality of the documentary industry, both in his or her country or abroad."

 

Dee Hibbert-Jones and Nomi Talisman, Co-Directors, LAST DAY OF FREEDOM
Dee Hibbert-Jones Academy Award®-nominated, Emmy® Award-winning filmmakers Dee Hibbert-Jones and Nomi Talisman co-direct and co-produce animated documentary films on issues of criminal justice and civic responsibility. Their work has been exhibited worldwide, shown internationally at film festivals and museums and streamed on Netflix. In 2016, they were awarded a United States Congressional Black Caucus Veterans Braintrust Award for outstanding national and community commitment to civil rights and social justice; and a Gideon Award for Support to Indigent Defense by the California Public Defenders Association for their film LAST DAY OF FREEDOM. Hibbert-Jones and Talisman are Guggenheim Fellows, Macarthur Fellows and National Endowment for the Arts awardees. Hibbert-Jones is a Professor of Art, Film & New Media at the University of California, Santa Cruz; Talisman is a freelance film and media maker. They live and work in San Francisco.

 

Deirdre Hughes, Senior Manager, Media Portfolio, Charles Koch Institute
Deirdre Hughes Deirdre Hughes oversees Media Investments for the Charles Koch Institute. She is a television and digital producer with 18 years of experience creating original content across multiple platforms. She has written and produced live and taped programs, including breaking news, financial and economic news, and special live events. Before joining the Charles Koch Institute, she served as executive producer and head of video for Yahoo Finance and Yahoo Tech, where she launched and oversaw three live, daily programs and more than tripled audience traffic. Prior to Yahoo, Hughes served as executive producer of LOU DOBBS TONIGHT on the Fox Business Network, where she created, developed and launched the program to record ratings for the network and grew key audience ratings by 159 percent in the first year. Before that, she was senior producer for CNN's LOU DOBBS TONIGHT, covering geopolitics, business news and the political economy. She also produced CNN's AMERICAN MORNING, a three-hour live, daily news program. Hughes began her career writing and producing for CNN in 1999. She graduated from Northwestern University with a degree in radio, TV and film.

 

Diane Weyermann, President, Documentary Film & TV, Participant Media
Diane Weyermann Diane Weyermann is President of Documentary Film and Television of Participant Media, a company dedicated to entertainment that inspires and compels social change. In addition to FAR FROM THE TREE, KAILASH, RBG and AMERICA TO ME, Participant's recent documentary projects include HUMAN FLOW, AN INCONVENIENT SEQUEL: TRUTH TO POWER, THE MUSIC OF STRANGERS: YO-YO MA AND THE SILK ROAD ENSEMBLE and ZERO DAYS. Previous releases include the Oscar®-winning films CITIZENFOUR and AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH, the Emmy®-winning FOOD, INC. and Emmy®-nominated THE GREAT INVISIBLE.

Prior to joining Participant in 2005, Weyermann was the director of the Sundance Institute's Documentary Film Program. During her tenure at Sundance, she was responsible for the Sundance Documentary Fund, a program supporting documentary films dealing with contemporary human rights, social justice, civil liberties and freedom of expression from around the world.

Before her time at Sundance, Weyermann was the director of the Open Society Institute New York's Arts and Culture Program, where she launched the Soros Documentary Fund (which later became the Sundance Documentary Fund).

 

Elise Pearlstein, SVP, Documentary Film & TV, Participant Media
Elise Pearlstein Elise Pearlstein is Senior Vice President of Documentary Film & TV at Participant Media, the global media company dedicated to entertainment that inspires social change, where she helps oversee the company's nonfiction content from development to release. An Oscar®-nominated, Emmy®-winning film producer prior to joining Participant, Pearlstein produced a range of nonfiction projects for theatrical release and broadcast. She has served on the board of the International Documentary Association and is a member of the Documentary Branch of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences.

 

Emily Buder, Film Curator, The Atlantic
Emily Buder Emily Buder is a film curator at The Atlantic. Previously, she was the Managing Editor of No Film School, where she co-hosted the No Film School podcast, traveled the domestic and international festival circuit to interview directors and below-the-line talent and wrote extensively about the film industry. Before that, she was at Indiewire, where she spent two years covering the film industry conducting interviews, writing feature profiles on filmmakers, reviewing films, attending and speaking on panels and managing Indiewire's social media. She also worked as a Creative Executive at Paper Street Films, where she discovered and developed the Sundance hit and Independent Spirit Award nominee INFINITELY POLAR BEAR.

 

Erica Ginsberg, Executive Director, Docs In Progress
Erica Ginsberg Erica Ginsberg is the Executive Director and Co-Founder of Docs In Progress, a nonprofit organization dedicated to building community through documentary, particularly in the mid-Atlantic region. Docs In Progress facilitates training and professional development workshops in different aspects of documentary filmmaking, work-in-progress screenings, Peer Pitch, fellowships, filmmaker residencies, fiscal sponsorship and co-sponsors a monthly documentary filmmaker roundtable with Women in Film and Video-DC, In addition to her work with Docs In Progress, she is a co-host of The D-Word, an online documentary community with more than 15,000 members from around the world.

She is also a documentary producer/director whose works include CREATIVE FEDS (about federal workers who moonlight as musicians), CRUCIBLE OF WAR (about post-war life in former Yugoslavia) and her current work-in-progress CALIFORNIA DREAMING (about the what the American Dream means today for people living across the country in towns named California).

 

George Burroughs, Creative Director, Office of Communications, The Brookings Institution
George Burroughs In this role, George Burroughs leads a team that collaborates with the Institution's scholars to develop dynamic products — through film and design. His own initiatives focus on storytelling. He has written and directed several award-winning projects, including a video that illustrates social mobility through LEGO, an animation unpacking ISIS's origins and short documentaries examining climate change and economic mobility for Baltimore youth. Most recently he directed the Brookings Institution's first documentary, THE LIFE SHE DESERVES, which is an intimate portrait of a young epilepsy patient in the United States that finds relief with medical marijuana. He is a graduate of the Pratt Institute with a BFA in film.

 

Heidi Nel, Principal, The Raben Group
Heidi Nel With over a decade in the media and social impact and space, Heidi Nel is an accomplished strategist working at the intersection of film, policy, and culture change. Her professional experience spans both coasts and various skills from film production and marketing at Lionsgate, to grassroots advocacy and public affairs for WPP-owned companies. Her proficiency in both the entertainment and political sectors has helped foster pivotal relationships between storytellers and artists seeking to further social change and legislators looking to forward their progressive policy agendas.

Prior to Raben, Nel served as a Partner at Picture Motion where she led impact campaigns for award-winning filmmakers. She's been recognized for her campaign work on the Oscar®-nominated documentary, THE INVISIBLE WAR, and by the United Nations and PVBLIC Foundation as a leader in social impact media. Nel studied Modern Dance at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, and is a Partner of the Truman National Security Project and an adjunct instructor at the Duke University Sanford School of Public Policy.

 

Jamie Shor, President, PR Collaborative
Jamie Shor With a rich background in public policy and journalism, Jamie Shor creates communication plans that put her clients in the national spotlight — and keeps them there. Whether it's managing a crisis, devising long-term strategies or assembling top-notch teams to execute campaigns, Shor's boundless enthusiasm and insider's perspective add clarity and credence to any project.

Shor has her roots in political communication, and the second phase of her career, in which Robert Redford pushed her to leverage her skills in national advocacy to start a thriving film public relations business, came later. She is a Maryland native (and proud University of Maryland grad) who has been living and working in the metro DC area for the better part of 30 years. It is thanks to Shor's sterling recommendations from past clients — the product of hard work, brilliantly structured campaigns and deep relationships with top-tier media entities and leading journalists — that her firm has been so successful for so long.


 

Jax Deluca, Media Arts Director, National Endowment for the Arts
Jax Deluca Jax Deluca oversees the NEA's grant portfolio and field-building resources for arts organizations across the country working in film, video, audio, immersive technology and other emerging media forms. In partnership with the International Documentary Association, she co-produced a national report on career sustainability for the documentary community, with a goal of articulating actionable strategies leading towards a more sustainable ecosystem for documentary professionals. Her field experience includes 12 years working at the intersection of arts and community-building as a non-profit administrator, educator and artist. Prior to the NEA, she was executive director of Squeaky Wheel Film & Media Arts Center, a media arts professor at SUNY Buffalo State College and a board member of the Arts Services Initiative of Western New York, Greater Buffalo Cultural Alliance and the Western New York Book Arts Center.

 

Jesse (Jesus) Ayala, Director and immersive storyteller, Fovrth Studios
Jesse (Jesus) Ayla Jesse Ayala is a 2017 Facebook/Oculus Creators Lab VR for Good filmmaker, and a 2016 Future of Storytelling for Good creative fellow. Ayala's films have premiered at the AFI DOCS, Tribeca, SxSW, Cannes Next, Sheffield Doc/Fest, SCAD Forward Fest and more.

Ayala's faith in storytelling's power to stir empathy and action stems from his frontline experiences with the Clinton Global Initiative with HIV/AIDS interventions, the United Nations in Gaza and Lebanon, Al Jazeera as a freelance photojournalist during the Arab Spring, and Teach for America as educator in urban New Orleans. In 2012, Ayala founded Modavanti, a social impact/sustainable lifestyle company which earned honors from NBC News, Microsoft, InStyle and The Huffington Post.

In 2018 Ayala premiered AUTHENTICALLY US: VOICES FROM THE TRANSGENDER COMMUNITY, a 360/VR trilogy. For more information visit gofovrth.com.

 

John Cardellino, Producer, Art of Nonfiction Initiative, the Sundance Institute
John Cardellino John Cardellino oversees the Sundance Institute's Art of Nonfiction Initiative, a program designed to encourage and support inventive artistic practice in nonfiction film. He also holds a staff advisory role in the Documentary Film Program's General Fund through project selection and year-round cultivation of projects and artists. Prior to establishing Art of Nonfiction, Cardellino worked directly with the filmmakers funded by the DFP, coordinating its creative labs and artist support programs while providing strategic and creative support to grantees throughout the duration of their creative process. He is currently based in Baltimore, MD.

 

John Martin, Director of Production, Conservation International
John Martin John Martin is an award-winning Director of Photography, Producer and Director. From the air, on land and underwater, Martin is a seasoned field explorer, cameraman, photographer and traveler to over 70 countries, focused on protecting nature so people can thrive. At Conservation International (CI) since 2000, Martin has filmed and photographed nature and wildlife, marine and terrestrial ecosystems, heads of state and indigenous leaders, and produced award-winning videos in over 48 countries. His work has ranged from filming gorillas in the Democratic Republic of Congo to co-producing a National Geographic short documentary on endangered frogs to directing an award-winning aerial film over Colombia's threatened páramos. More recently, he has been involved with CI's technological visual storytelling leap into the Virtual Reality space. Born in Colombia, Martin is fluent in five languages.

 

Jon Goff, Museum Specialist for Film, Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture
Jon Goff Jon Groff is a multidisciplinary artist whose work crosses different mediums and platforms. His practice explores the intersection of race, power, identity, gender and the environment by unearthing the visceral representational value and authenticity behind the images propelled across varying diasporas. Goff has a MFA in Experimental and Documentary Arts from Duke University.


 

Kathryn Washington, Sr. Director, Content Strategy, Corporation for Public Broadcasting
Kathryn Washington Kathryn Washington is a creative and dynamic leader dedicated to the development of broadcast media, programs and services that reflect a diverse, inclusive and global society. She is skilled at sourcing new and compelling ideas and making them a reality. Her media expertise includes film, video and digital content development, talent development, grants administration, editorial oversight, strategic planning and partnership development. Prior to her work at CPB, she served as a programming manager at Independent Television Service (ITVS). She volunteers her time supporting a variety of media-related nonprofit groups in the DC metropolitan area.

 

Keefe Murren, Executive Director, FilmAid
Keefe Murren Keefe Murren is the Executive Director of FilmAid International, an organization that harnesses the power of film and media to inform, educate and inspire displaced people and other vulnerable populations around the world. FilmAid focuses on empowering youth with the skills and confidence they need to become advocates for themselves and their communities, with an emphasis on the voices and concerns of girls and young women. Murren started his career as a documentary filmmaker producing character-driven films about economic human rights. His two feature-length documentaries premiered on SundanceTV. ITHEMBA (HOPE) (2005) is a film about a young artist and activists fighting to gain access to HIV/AIDS treatment for all South Africans. AUGUST IN THE EMPIRE STATE (2006) is a film about human rights and economic opportunity in an increasingly polarized United States. In addition to filmmaking, Murren has worked as a digital media professional and consultant, including stints directing the digital media department at SundanceTV and managing video production and online content strategy at UNICEF. Murren is a firm believer that the power of personal stories is not just to spark debate, but to fuel and sustain positive social change.

 

Kevin Iwashina, Agent, Endeavor Content
Kevin Iwashina Kevin Iwashina is an agent at Endeavor Content, a division of global entertainment leader Endeavor (formerly WME | IMG). In his role, Iwashina identifies financing opportunities, handles sales and provides advisory services for media companies and content creators in the nonfiction space.

Endeavor Content finances, packages and sells over 100 feature films and television series a year. In nonfiction, recent film and television projects include: CHEF'S TABLE, LE MANS, THE GRAND TOUR, GLEASON, STEP, CAN'T STOP WON'T STOP: A BAD BOY STORY and LONG STRANGE TRIP, among others.

Iwashina joined Endeavor Content in 2017. Prior to that, he served as Founder & CEO at Preferred Content (PC), a film, television and digital sales, production and advisory company. During his tenure, he oversaw the representation of fiction and nonfiction content creators to secure financing and distribution of feature films and episodic series concepts.

 

Kimberly Reed, Director, DARK MONEY
Kimberly Reed Kimberly Reed's work has been featured on THE OPRAH WINFREY SHOW, CNN, NPR, The Moth and in Details Magazine. One of Filmmaker Magazine's "25 New Faces of Independent Film," she directed/produced PRODIGAL SONS, a "whiplash doc that heralds an exciting talent" (SF Weekly). PRODIGAL SONS (First Run Features, Sundance Channel) premiered at Telluride, landed on many Best of the Year lists, screened at more than 100 film festivals and garnered 14 audience and ury awards, including the FIPRESCI Prize. Reed was recognized as one of OUT Magazine's "Out 100," and as Towleroad's "Best LGBT Character of the Film Year." She also produced/edited/wrote PAUL GOODMAN CHANGED MY LIFE (Zeitgeist Films) and produced THE DEATH AND LIFE OF MARSHA P. JOHNSON (Netflix). With a background in journalism, her work in broader artistic fields has also been acclaimed. She was published in the New York Times-bestselling "The Moth - 50 True Stories," and has co-authored three operas, including "As One," the most frequently produced American opera in decades.


 

Lance Kramer, Co-Founder, Meridian Hill Pictures
Lance Kramer Lance Kramer is an award-winning documentary filmmaker based in Washington, DC. In 2010, with his brother Brandon, he co-founded DC-based documentary production company

Meridian Hill Pictures. Kramer produced the feature-length documentary CITY OF TREES (Official Selection 2016 Full Frame Documentary Film Festival, National Broadcast on PBS series America Reframed, released on Netflix in May 2017). He produced the Webby Award-winning documentary series THE MESSY TRUTH WITH VAN JONES, released on Van's Facebook page and CNN.com just before the 2016 election to over four million viewers. In 2014, he received the prestigious DC Mayor's Arts Award from the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, the highest honor bestowed upon working artists in the city. In addition to CITY OF TREES, Kramer is the co-producer of independent feature documentary VOICES FROM WITHIN (2015), associate producer of FLY BY LIGHT (2015), associate field producer of Al Jazeera America documentary series HARD EARNED (2015, winner of Alfred I. duPont Award), co-producer of independent short films DOING IT FOR ME (2013), LIFE AS A COLLAGE (2011), PORCHFEST (2011) and COMMUNITY HARVEST (2010). Kramer has served two terms as Board Member of Docs in Progress, and was a DC Commission on the Arts & Humanities Individual Arts Fellow in 2015. In 2017, Kramer was selected to the 2017 Impact Partners Documentary Producers Fellowship cohort. He holds a bachelor's degree in history and film from Dartmouth College.

 

Lois Vossen, Executive Producer, Independent Lens
Lois Vossen Lois Vossen is founding and executive producer of INDEPENDENT LENS, a PBS XPlatform broadcast and digital series. The broadcast series features 22 original documentaries each season, and the Indie Lens Storycast digital series features seven to eight docuseries. Vossen is responsible for commissioning new films and works with filmmakers on content, editorial and broadcast issues, oversees Indie Lens Storycast integration and Independent Lens Journalism shorts. INDEPENDENT LENS has received 17 Emmy® Awards, 17 George Foster Peabody Awards, 5 Alfred I. duPont-Columbia Journalism Awards, eight Academy Award® nominations, and was honored with the 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2017 International Documentary Association (IDA) Best Series Award. Previously, Vossen was Associate Managing Director at Sundance, and is currently on the Television Academy Board of Governors, representing the Documentary Peer Group.

 

Mark Jonathan Harris, Filmmaker and Professor, USC
Mark Jonathon Harris Mark Jonathan Harris is an Academy Award®-winning documentary filmmaker and Distinguished Professor in the School of Cinematic Arts at the University of Southern California. He is also a co-principal investigator of the American Film Showcase, a film diplomacy program run by the U.S. State Department.

Among the many documentaries he has written, produced and/or directed are HUELGA!, the landmark film about Cesar Chavez and the Delano grape strike (1968); and THE REDWOODS, which won an Oscar® for Best Short Documentary and helped establish a redwood national park (1968). THE LONG WAY HOME, a film he wrote and directed about the period immediately following the Holocaust, won the Academy Award® for Best Feature Documentary in 1997; and INTO THE ARMS OF STRANGERS: STORIES OF THE KINDERTRANSPORT, which he also wrote and directed, won the Academy Award® for Best Feature Documentary in 2000 and was selected by the U.S. Library of Congress for inclusion in its National Film Registry. UNCHAINED MEMORIES: READINGS FROM THE SLAVE NARRATIVES (2003), a documentary that he wrote on slavery in America, was nominated for an Emmy® for a Nonfiction Special, and Harris was nominated for Outstanding Writing for Nonfiction Programming. He also wrote THE CUTTING EDGE: THE MAGIC OF MOVIE EDITING, a documentary about editing produced by BBC-TV, NHK, and STARZ, which is shown in film schools around the world (2004). In 2007, he produced DARFUR NOW, a film about the humanitarian crisis in Africa, which was nominated as best documentary of the year by the National Board of Review and the Broadcast Film Critics Association and won an NAACP Image Award. LIVING IN EMERGENCY: STORIES OF DOCTORS WITHOUT BORDERS, a film he executive-produced, premiered at the Venice film festival and was shortlisted for the 2011 Oscar® for best feature documentary. CODE BLACK, another documentary he executive-produced about ER doctors, won the Grand Jury Prize for Best Documentary at the 2013 Los Angeles Film Festival and became the basis for the CBS series of the same name. In 2013, he also launched a video intensive website on autism, www.interactingwithautism.com, which he and Professor Marsha Kinder developed with a team of filmmakers and leading national experts on autism. In 2016, he co-wrote and co-directed BREAKING POINT: THE WAR FOR DEMOCRACY IN UKRAINE, which has won eight awards at 11 international film festivals, including Best of Show at the Accolade Global Film Competition. The film was released theatrically in March 2018. His latest documentary, FOSTER, which he also wrote and directed, premieres at AFI DOCS in June.

 

Matt Rivera, Sr. Digital Producer, "Meet The Press"
Matt Rivera Matt Rivera is the Senior Digital Producer for "Meet the Press with Chuck Todd," based in Washington, DC. As the digital lead for the longest-running show in television history, he is responsible for extending the brand on digital platforms. He launched the "Meet the Press Film Festival in Collaboration With AFI," produces a daily elections podcast and a weekly interview podcast and enterprise video for "Meet the Press." He also manages all social and video distribution for "Meet the Press" on NBC and "MTPDaily" on MSNBC.


 

Molly Thompson, Founder, A&E IndieFilms
Molly Thompson Molly Thompson is the founder and head of A+E Networks' documentary feature production arm, A&E IndieFilms. Thompson has built a library of critically acclaimed, award-winning films, including Academy Award®-nominated LIFE, ANIMATED; CARTEL LAND; JESUS CAMP; and MURDERBALL. She also serves as executive producer for documentaries produced under the History Films banner, such as Emmy®-nominated THE UNKNOWN KNOWN and CAVE OF FORGOTTEN DREAMS, and for narrative features from Lifetime Films, including Eleanor Coppola's PARIS CAN WAIT, starring Diane Lane and Alec Baldwin.

 

Nicole Hemmer, Asst. Professor, University of Virgina - Miller Center
Nicole Hemmer Nicole Hemmer is assistant professor in presidential studies at the Miller Center at the University of Virginia and author of "Messengers of the Right: Conservative Media and the Transformation of American Politics" (Penn Press, 2016). She is co-founder and editor of Made by History at The Washington Post, as well as a columnist for Vox and The Age in Melbourne. She created and co-hosts "Past Present," a weekly podcast where three historians discuss the latest news in American politics and culture. In August, she will release her newest podcast, "A12," a six-episode series looking at the harrowing events in Charlottesville last year and the history behind them. Hemmer has contributed to The New York Times, Washington Post, The Atlantic, The New Republic, Politico, NPR and CNN, among others.

 

Nicole Opper, Director/Producer
Nicole Opper Nicole Opper is an Emmy®-nominated filmmaker who directed and produced the feature documentary OFF AND RUNNING, an Audience Favorite at Tribeca and winner of 10 international awards including Best Documentary at Outfest and Best Documentary Screenplay at Silverdocs. The film was nationally broadcast on POV. She received a Fulbright Fellowship to direct her next film, VISITOR'S DAY, supported by Chicken & Egg Pictures and The Independent Television Service. She has also produced documentaries for the Discovery Channel and Here TV, and was selected for Filmmaker Magazine's annual "25 New Faces of Independent Film." Opper is the Creative Director of the BAVC MediaMaker Fellowship and Assistant Professor of digital filmmaking at Santa Clara University.

 

Pamela A. Aguilar, Sr. Director, Programming & Development, PBS
Pamela A. Aguilar In this role, Pamela A. Aguilar identifies, develops and oversees the production of original content and acquisitions for PBS Primetime in the genres of science, history, natural history, culture and independent film. She works closely with executive producers of PBS' documentary series POV, INDEPENDENT LENS and LPB's VOCES; national content producing stations like WGBH, WNET and TPT, as well as co-producing partners NHNZ, VOX and the BBC. Prior to joining PBS, Aguilar worked as a writer, producer, director and executive producer, creating innovative content on race relations, education, social justice, pop-culture and health. Some of her credits include AMERICA BY THE NUMBERS, about the impact of America's changing demographics; THE GRADUATES/LOS GRADUADOS, about the high school dropout crisis; and BETWEEN TWO PLATES, a satirical telenovela she created, on healthy eating. She is a graduate of The New School in New York.

 

Patricia Aufderheide, University Professor of Communications Studies, American University
Patricia Aufderheide Patricia Aufderheide founded the School's Center for Media & Social Impact, where she continues as Senior Research Fellow. She is also affiliate faculty in the School of International Service and the History department at American University, and a member of the Film and Media Arts division in the School of Communication. Her books include "Reclaiming Fair Use: How to Put Balance Back in Copyright" (University of Chicago), with Peter Jaszi; "Documentary: A Very Short Introduction" (Oxford), "The Daily Planet" (University of Minnesota Press) and "Communications Policy in the Public Interest" (Guilford Press). She has been a Fulbright Research Fellow twice, in Brazil (1994-5) and Australia (2017). She is also a John Simon Guggenheim fellow (1994) and has served as a juror at the Sundance Film Festival among others. Aufderheide has received numerous journalism and scholarly awards, including the George Stoney award for service to documentary from the University Film and Video Association in 2015, the International Communication Association's 2010 for Communication Research as an Agent of Change Award, Woman of Vision award from Women in Film and Video (DC) in 2010, a career achievement award in 2008 from the International Digital Media and Arts Association and the Scholarship and Preservation Award in 2006 from the International Documentary Association.

 

R.J. Lozada, Director + Producer, MOTHER'S DAY
R.J. Lozada R.J. Lozada is an award-winning documentary filmmaker, with works that have exhibited nationally and worldwide. Lozada has worked in varying capacities in ocumentary production, film festival programming, radio production and photo editorials. MOTHER'S DAY, co-directed with Elizabeth Lo, premiered at Tribeca, and has won awards and played internationally.


 

Rachel Raney Director Independent Productions, UNC-TV
Rachel Raney Rachel Raney is a veteran nonfiction filmmaker and public TV/radio producer with deep experience producing content, as well as collaborating with and supporting independent producers. Determined to work on documentaries after college, she landed at the highly regarded Center for Investigative Reporting in San Francisco, working on programs for the PBS series FRONTLINE. After producing on multiple projects for CIR and other production companies, Raney's directorial debut, the feature documentary LIVERMORE, aired on PBS' INDEPENDENT LENS. Raney went on to create and produce the award-winning documentary series TRULY CA for KQED-TV, currently in its 13th season. After returning to the American South, Raney worked at North Carolina Public Radio, producing for the nationally distributed program THE STORY WITH DICK GORDON. Raney later served as the first Executive Director of the Southern Documentary Fund, and has now joined UNC-TV as Director of National Productions and Executive Producer of REEL SOUTH.

 

Rex Miller, Director/Cinematographer
Rex Miller Rex Miller is a visual storyteller with an extensive background as a photographer/filmmaker, having started originally as a photographer working for local, national and international newspapers and magazines in New York City, after growing up there on the blue-collar streets of Queens.

For the last 15 years, he has been directing, producing and shooting independent documentary films, as well as content for television. His work has appeared on HBO, PBS National, Tennis Channel and Starz, and screened at major national and international film festivals, including Sundance, Venice, Berlin, NY Film Festival, Full Frame and South Africa. He has been part of two Peabody Award-Winning projects, several Emmy® winners and was twice nominated for an Emmy® for Cinematography.

Recent projects as Director include the documentaries, ALTHEA (2015, PBS), SOMAY KU: A UGANDA TENNIS STORY and BEHIND THESE WALLS, both of which aired on Tennis Channel. Recent work as Cinematographer includes the documentaries PRIVATE VIOLENCE (HBO) and THE LOVING STORY (HBO), the series A CHEF'S LIFE (PBS, currently in season five), and work for the directors Steven Cantor, Sam Pollard, AJ Schnack, Jesse Moss, Brad Lichtenstein, Cynthia Hill and Katy Chattoo Boerum. He recently shot an eight-hour vérité series on the NASCAR team Hendrick Motor Sports. He is currently directing and producing a feature documentary on 1968 and Arthur Ashe.

 

Ryan Werner, Marketing and PR, Cinetic Marketing
Ryan Werner Ryan Werner runs Cinetic Marketing, which handles publicity and marketing campaigns for director-driven projects. In the nonfiction space, the company has worked on Academy Award® winners ICARUS, O.J.: MADE IN AMERICA, CITIZENFOUR and TWENTY FEET FROM STARDOM as well as Academy Award® nominees: STRONG ISLAND, FIRE AT SEA, I AM NOT YOUR NEGRO, LIFE, ANIMATED, CARTEL LAND and CUTIE AND THE BOXER. Other key docs include JANE, ONE OF US, WEINER, THE WOLFPACK, WHERE TO INVADE NEXT, INTO THE INFERNO, MERU, HEART OF A DOG, WORMWOOD, THE HUNTING GROUND, THREE IDENTICAL STRANGERS, HALE COUNTY THIS MORNING, THIS EVENING, CRIME + PUNISHMENT, WON'T YOU BE MY NEIGHBOR and SHIRKERS. The company also works on fiction films, which have included MOONLIGHT, THE BIG SICK, I, TONYA, HEREDITARY, GOOD TIME, LEAVE NO TRACE, 45 YEARS, SORRY TO BOTHER YOU, THE LOBSTER, THE GREAT BEAUTY, IDA, TWO DAYS ONE NIGHT, LET THE SUNSHINE IN and PERSONAL SHOPPER. The company also represents The Criterion Collection, Janus Films and Field of Vision. Werner previously worked at IFC Films/Sundance Selects, where he oversaw marketing and publicity for over seven years. Prior to that he worked at Magnolia Pictures, Wellspring, Shooting Gallery, Palm Pictures, Sundance Channel and IFP. He lives in NYC.


 

Sarah Burford, Media Arts Specialist, NEA
Sarah Burford Sarah Burford manages a portfolio of federal grants for arts organizations nationwide working with film, video, emerging and electronic media, and engages in field-building initiatives to support the greater creative ecosystem for artists and arts professionals. Before joining the NEA, she held curatorial and grant-making roles at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia and the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. Burford received her MA in History of Art from Bryn Mawr College and her BA from Swarthmore College.