PANELISTS 2020

Read about our distinguished moderators and panelists this year. We are thrilled to have them onboard and grateful for their participation.

Writer, Producer, Director, and Creative Consultant

Greg Rhem, Moderator

Greg Rhem formed Bronx Brain 64 Creative Consulting to work with independent documentaries and series development and production, film festivals, and domestic and international markets. For twenty-four years, Greg was Director of Programming for HBO Documentary Films, where he helped discover distinctive shows for HBO, including the Oscar®-winning FREEHELD, Oscar®-nominated PRISON TERMINAL: THE LAST DAYS OF PRIVATE JACK HALL, MONDAYS AT RACINE, and SPELLBOUND.

Greg Rhem formed Bronx Brain 64 Creative Consulting to work with independent documentaries and series development and production, film festivals, and domestic and international markets. For twenty-four years, Greg was Director of Programming for HBO Documentary Films, where he helped discover distinctive shows for HBO, including the Oscar®-winning FREEHELD, Oscar®-nominated PRISON TERMINAL: THE LAST DAYS OF PRIVATE JACK HALL, MONDAYS AT RACINE, and SPELLBOUND. He has also served as a mentor at the SXSW, Sundance, Tribeca, BIFF Film Summit, Seattle International Film Festivals, and the MEDIMED Euro-Mediterranean Documentary Market, as well as the New School, NYU, Montclair State University, Sarah Lawrence College, and the School of Visual Arts. He has also been a pitch panelist for DOC NYC, Camden International Film Festival, and Columbia School of Journalism; and a co-curator and judge for HBO Short Film Competition and the narrative and documentaries sections for the American Black Film Festival. Greg holds an M.A. in Media Studies from the New School, and a B.A. in English and Film Studies from the University of Rochester.
Writer, Producer, Editor

Francisco Bello

Francisco Bello, ACE, is an Oscar and three-time Emmy nominee. He shot and produced SALIM BABA, a 2008 Best Short Documentary Oscar and 2009 Emmy Nominee. Francisco produced and edited WAR DON DON, the winner of the Special Jury Prize at the 2010 SXSW Film Festival, for which he was also awarded the inaugural IFFB Karen Schmeer Award for Excellence in Documentary Editing and two Emmy nominations.

Francisco Bello, ACE, is an Oscar and three-time Emmy nominee. He shot and produced SALIM BABA, a 2008 Best Short Documentary Oscar and 2009 Emmy Nominee. Francisco produced and edited WAR DON DON, the winner of the Special Jury Prize at the 2010 SXSW Film Festival, for which he was also awarded the inaugural IFFB Karen Schmeer Award for Excellence in Documentary Editing and two Emmy nominations. Additional highlights include editing the 2017 SXSW Narrative Grand Jury Prize winner MOST BEAUTIFUL ISLAND, the Peabody winning BEST KEPT SECRET, and the all-archival films, OUR NIXON and THE REAGAN SHOW. Most recently he edited the Emmy winning 16 Shots, as well as writing and editing Barbara Kopple’s DESERT ONE. Francisco co-directed Dreaming Against the World, seen at the 2015 Telluride Film Festival and the closing night of DocNYC. He serves on the board of the Karen Schmeer Film Editing Fellowship and is a member of the Documentary Branch of AMPAS.
SVP Theatrical/Nontheatrical Distribution & Acquisitions, KINO LORBER INC

Wendy Lidell

Prior to joining Kino Lorber as SVP, Theatrical and Nontheatrical Distribution and Acquisitions, in 2016, Lidell was President of International Film Circuit, which she founded in 1987. InFC earned a reputation for excellence, winning acclaim for its introduction into the US of filmmakers such as Amos Gitai, Raul Ruiz, Alexander Sokurov and Hou Hsiao-hsien.

Prior to joining Kino Lorber as SVP, Theatrical and Nontheatrical Distribution and Acquisitions, in 2016, Lidell was President of International Film Circuit, which she founded in 1987. InFC earned a reputation for excellence, winning acclaim for its introduction into the US of filmmakers such as Amos Gitai, Raul Ruiz, Alexander Sokurov and Hou Hsiao-hsien. From 1999 to 2004, Lidell headed the theatrical division of Wellspring where she released, amongst others, Russian Ark, Under the Sand, and Yi Yi. Now at Kino Lorber, she has spearheaded the acquisition and release of award-winning films including Beanpole, Fire at Sea, Synonyms and Bacurau. Lidell has run academy campaigns for four documentaries nominated for Oscars.
Senior Vice-President of Marketing at Participant

Laura C. Kim

Kim currently is working on Dawn Porter’s JOHN LEWIS: GOOD TROUBLE, Spike Lee’s filmed adaptation of David Byrne’s AMERICAN UTOPIA, Alexander Nanau’s COLLECTIVE with Magnolia Pictures, Steve James’ CITY SO REAL with National Geographic, Thomas Balmes’ SING ME A SONG and the late Luke Holland’s FINAL ACCOUNT.

Recent titles she has worked on include Julia Reichert and Steven Bognar’s Academy Award-winning AMERICAN FACTORY, Alejandro Landes’ MONOS, Betsy West and Julie Cohen’s RBG,

Kim currently is working on Dawn Porter’s JOHN LEWIS: GOOD TROUBLE, Spike Lee’s filmed adaptation of David Byrne’s AMERICAN UTOPIA, Alexander Nanau’s COLLECTIVE with Magnolia Pictures, Steve James’ CITY SO REAL with National Geographic, Thomas Balmes’ SING ME A SONG and the late Luke Holland’s FINAL ACCOUNT.

Recent titles she has worked on include Julia Reichert and Steven Bognar’s Academy Award-winning AMERICAN FACTORY, Alejandro Landes’ MONOS, Betsy West and Julie Cohen’s RBG, Alfonso Cuaron’s ROMA, Chiwetel Ejiofor’s THE BOY WHO HARNESSED THE WIND, Steve James’ series AMERICA TO ME, Sebastián Lelio’s Academy Award-winning A FANTASTIC WOMAN, Bonni Cohen and Jon Shenk’s AN INCONVENIENT SEQUEL: TRUTH TO POWER, Tom McCarthy’s Academy Award-winning SPOTLIGHT, Cary Fukunaga’s BEASTS OF NO NATION, Joshua Oppenheimer’s Academy Award-nominated THE LOOK OF SILENCE and Morgan Neville’s BEST OF ENEMIES.

Prior to joining Participant, Kim ran her own marketing/distribution consultancy, Inside Job where she worked on festival launches, theatrical release campaigns and/or awards campaigns for the Academy Award-winning films IDA and UNDEFEATED, the Oscar-nominated THE ACT OF KILLING; MARGIN CALL; RESTREPO; Academy Award-nominated WINTER'S BONE; the critically-acclaimed STORIES WE TELL; GLORIA, amongst others.

As EVP of Marketing for Warner Independent Pictures from 2003 to 2008, Kim was responsible for campaigns for films such as BEFORE SUNSET; MARCH OF THE PENGUINS; PARADISE NOW; and GOOD NIGHT AND GOOD LUCK. Prior to that, at MPRM where she lead the company’s film practice, she worked on campaigns for such films as IN THE BEDROOM, THE PIANIST, REAL WOMEN HAVE CURVES, AMERICAN SPLENDOR, MULHOLLAND DRIVE, CAPTURING THE FREIDMANS, MONSOON WEDDING, BEING JOHN MALCOVICH, IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE, SHINE, THE SWEET HEREAFTER, HAPPINESS, MURIEL'S WEDDING, THE WAR ROOM, and countless others. She also handled media strategy for organizations such as Sundance Institute, Good Machine, Strand Releasing, Propaganda Films, Film Independent Spirit Awards as well as a number of film festivals.

A member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Kim also serves on the Board of Directors for Film Independent. She has served on numerous juries at festivals such as Sundance, CPH DOX, etc. Kim co-wrote “I Wake Up Screening: What to Do Once You’ve Made that Movie” with film critic John Anderson, which was released by Billboard Books.

Actor, Producer, Director

Scott Cohen

Scott Cohen is recognizable from his many character portrayals in television, theater and film. A very versatile actor, Cohen has garnered rave reviews for his varied, wide range of performances. Recently starring in Hilary Brougher’s SOUTH MOUNTAIN with Talia Balsam, the SAG nominated FX series THE AMERiCANS, THE SINNER,

Scott Cohen is recognizable from his many character portrayals in television, theater and film. A very versatile actor, Cohen has garnered rave reviews for his varied, wide range of performances. Recently starring in Hilary Brougher’s SOUTH MOUNTAIN with Talia Balsam, the SAG nominated FX series THE AMERiCANS, THE SINNER, Ramin Serry’s FILM U, and THE BOLD TYPE, Cohen stars opposite Famke Janssen and AnnaSophia Robb in Janet Grillo’s JACK OF THE RED HEARTS, and starred in Miles Joris-Peyrafitte’s AS YOU ARE, Sundance ’16 Jury Prize winner, with Mary Stuart Masterson and Charlie Heaton and the upcoming Stacey Cochran Film, WRITE WHEN YOU GET WORK, with Emily Mortimer and Finn Whitrock. Cohen can be seen on Showtime’s BILLIONS opposite Paul Giamatti and Jim Carrey’s I’M DYIN’ UP HERE on SHO. He starred opposite Hope Davis in NBC’s “Allegiance”. Other film projects include Tim Blake Nelson’s ANESTHESIA and WHO ARE WE NOW with Emma Roberts, starring with Natalie Portman in Don Roos’ film adaptation of LOVE AND OTHER IMPOSSIBLE PURSUITS. He also appeared in the Robert DeNiro film, EVERYBODY’S FINE, Nicole Holofcener's, “Please Give,” and Ed Zwick’s film, LOVE AND OTHER DRUGS. TV includes the USA hit, NECESSARY ROUGHNESS where he plays“Nico”, the team’s mysterious fixer. Cohen has a loyal following for his role as Max Medina on “Gilmore Girls”, his portrayal of Wolf in “The 10th Kingdom”, and Harry Denby in his three season arc on NYPD BLUE. His recent and diverse television credits include ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm“, “Elementary”, “Person of Interest”, “Grey’s Anatomy”, “The Good Wife”, “Mysteries of Laura” and “Unforgettable”. On stage, Cohen starred in the Broadway comedy “Losing Louie” for the Manhattan Theater Club, in David Ives’ “The Other Woman” and “A Nervous Smile” opposite Amy Brenneman. Cohen’s prolific stage work also counts numerous appearances at the Williamstown Theater Festival, including “The Big Knife” and “La Ronde,” both directed by Joanne Woodward. Other credits on stage in New York are the play IN AUDELA written by Anastasia Traina at Bleecker St Theater and most recently Ms. Traina's play SEAGULLS ON SULLIVAN STREET at The Director’s Company; he starred in the Playwrights Horizons production,” Three Changes” alongside Dylan McDermott and Maura Tierney; and appeared in the American premiere of Caryl Churchill’s “Drunk Enough To Say I Love You” at the Public Theater with Sam West. As a producer, Mr. Cohen is working to procure rights and guide multiple projects for web based series, Television and film, executive producing Hallmark films most recently. Along with his acting projects, Cohen is an adjunct professor at CUNY’s Hunter College and he School of Visual Arts he also serves on the Film Columbia Advisory Board and is on the Board of the NY International Children’s Film Festival.
President of Theatrical Distribution for NEON

Elissa Federoff

Elissa Federoff is the President of Theatrical Distribution for NEON and has been with the company since its inception in January 2017. Federoff oversees the company’s release strategy across all its titles, positioning NEON as a major theatrical player with both the commercial chains and art circuits. Recently, she has been instrumental in ramping up NEON’s direct-to-consumer capabilities with virtual cinema. She previously held stints at The Orchard, boutique label RADiUS, Oscilloscope Laboratories and Lionsgate.

Elissa Federoff is the President of Theatrical Distribution for NEON and has been with the company since its inception in January 2017. Federoff oversees the company’s release strategy across all its titles, positioning NEON as a major theatrical player with both the commercial chains and art circuits. Recently, she has been instrumental in ramping up NEON’s direct-to-consumer capabilities with virtual cinema. She previously held stints at The Orchard, boutique label RADiUS, Oscilloscope Laboratories and Lionsgate.

Federoff has been a cornerstone to NEON’s success since its launch and under her leadership NEON made history with four Academy Award® wins for Bong Joon Ho’s Parasite, which grossed over $53 million at the box office becoming the third highest grossing foreign language film ever released in the US. In just three years, NEON has garnered 12 Academy Award® nominations, 5 wins, including Best Picture, grossed over $150M at the Box Office, and amassed a library of over 50 films with noteworthy releases such as: Tamara Kotevska and Ljubo Stefanov’s award-winning and record-breaking HONEYLAND, which is the first non-fiction feature to land Academy Award® nominations for Best Documentary and Best International Feature Film in the same year; Todd Douglas Miller’s APOLLO 11, the highest grossing documentary of 2019; Tim Wardle's THREE IDENTICAL STRANGERS, winner of the Sundance Special Jury Award for Storytelling which surpassed $13M at the box office; and Craig Gillespie’s I, TONYA, which garnered multiple Academy Award® nominations, one win for Allison Janney and amassed over $30M in box office in North America.

NEON continues to be an impressive force, with recent acquisitions such as: Venice's Grand Jury Prize Winner Michel Franco's NEW ORDER; NIGHT OF KINGS, Philippe Lacôte’s IVORY COAST Oscar Submission; Pablo Larraín’s SPENCER starring Kristen Stewart; PIG, starring Nicolas Cage; Francis Lee’s romantic drama AMMONITE starring Kate Winslet and Saoirse Ronan; Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s MEMORIA with Tilda Swinton; and the documentary GUNDA directed by Viktor Kossakovsky and executive produced by Joaquin Phoenix. Recent releases include: Brandon Cronenberg’s POSSESSOR; Max Barbakow’s sought after PALM SPRINGS starring Andy Samberg, which NEON acquired with Hulu; Amy Seimtz’s SXSW critical sensation SHE DIES TOMORROW; Josephine Decker’s SHIRLEY starring Elisabeth Moss; Matt Wolf’s highly acclaimed Sundance documentary SPACESHIP EARTH across an innovative footprint of both traditional and non-traditional venues; THE PAINTER AND THE THIEF directed by Benjamin Ree; the critically acclaimed Cannes hit PORTRAIT OF A LADY ON FIRE, which was nominated for Best Foreign Film at the Golden Globes® and Independent Spirit Awards; Alejandro Landes’ cinematic thriller MONOS (the Colombian selection for the Academy Awards®); Julius Onah’s LUCE starring Naomi Watts and Octavia Spencer; Tom Harper’s WILD ROSE starring Jessie Buckley; John Chester’s THE BIGGEST LITTLE FARM; Chinonye Chukwu’s CLEMENCY starring Academy Award® Nominee Alfre Woodard; and the electrifying documentary about Aretha Franklin, AMAZING GRACE.

After their successful collaboration on I, TONYA in January 2018, 30WEST (Dan Friedkin's and Micah Green's strategic venture) partnered with NEON's Tom Quinn (Founder & CEO) and Tim League (Co-Founder) to become majority investors in the company.

Actor, Director, Writer

Peter Riegert

Peter Riegert has been acting, writing, directing and producing for nearly 45 years. His movies include: ANIMAL HOUSE, LOCAL HERO, CROSSING DELANCEY, CHILLY SCENES OF WINTER, COLDBLOODED, UTZ, OSCAR, PASSED AWAY, THE MASK, TRAFFIC, WHITE IRISH DRINKERS, and MIDDLETON and the short

Peter Riegert has been acting, writing, directing and producing for nearly 45 years. His movies include: ANIMAL HOUSE, LOCAL HERO, CROSSING DELANCEY, CHILLY SCENES OF WINTER, COLDBLOODED, UTZ, OSCAR, PASSED AWAY, THE MASK, TRAFFIC, WHITE IRISH DRINKERS, and MIDDLETON and the short films THE WALK and THE RESPONSE, which received the ABA Silver Gavel and was short listed for an Academy nomination for live-action short. Television credits include: “The Sopranos,” “Damages,” “Gypsy,” “Barbarians at the Gate,” “Concealed Enemies,” “Law and Order SVU,” “The Good Wife” and “One Tree Hill.” On Broadway he was in “The Old Neighborhood,” “An American Daughter,” “The Nerd,” and “Dance with Me.” Off Broadway includes: “Sexual Perversity in Chicago,” “The Birthday Party,” “Mountain Language,” “Isn’t It Romantic” and “A Rosen by Any Other Name.” His directorial film debut was the Academy nominated short BY COURIER, followed by his first feature, KING OF THE CORNER, with Isabella Rossellini, Eli Wallach, Rita Moreno, Beverly D’Angelo, Eric Bogosian and Dominic Chianese. He is currently preparing a TV series based on the novels of Cornelia Read and her Madeline Dare character. He’s working on a documentary about the oldest cemetery in Queens, NY, PROSPECT CEMETERY, est. 1668 (see Kickstarter campaign). Books on Tape include: “The Yiddish Policeman’s Union” by Michael Chabon; “Where I’m Calling From” (11 short stories) by Raymond Carver; “Black Money” and “The Chill” by Ross McDonald and “The Lawgiver” by Herman Wouk. He played Oscar Newman in David Simon’s upcoming mini-series for HBO “Show Me a Hero” with Oscar Isaac and Catherine Keener. It’s based on Lisa Belkin’s non-fiction book of the same name and was directed by Paul Haggis.
Producer, Writer, Director

Darren Dean, Moderator and Panelist

Darren Dean is an American producer, writer and director. A four-time Independent Spirit Award nominee, Dean is responsible for producing the award-winning features PRINCE OF BROADWAY (which he co-wrote with his long-time collaborator, director Sean Baker), KINYARWANDA, TANGERINE, and THE FLORIDA PROJECT. He also produced the Clio Award-Winning short SNOWBIRD, as well as PIONEER HIGH. He has been nominated for an NAACP Image Award (Kinyarwanda) and has won the 2016 GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Feature (TANGERINE).

Darren Dean is an American producer, writer and director. A four-time Independent Spirit Award nominee, Dean is responsible for producing the award-winning features Prince of Broadway (which he co-wrote with his long-time collaborator, director Sean Baker), Kinyarwanda, Tangerine, and The Florida Project. He also produced the Clio Award-Winning short Snowbird, as well as Pioneer High. He has been nominated for an NAACP Image Award (Kinyarwanda ) and has won the 2016 GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Feature (Tangerine).

Most recently, he produced the Sundance favorites The Infiltrators (Sundance Audience Award: NEXT) and Premature (Independent Spirit Award nomination). In 2016, his body of work was recognized with a nomination for the Independent Spirit Piaget Producers Award. His latest production, Short History of The Long Road (dir Ani Simon Kennedy) premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival, and was listed in Filmmaker Magazine's 50 Most Anticipated Independent Films of 2019.

Producer, Filmmaker, Consultant

Tracie Holder

Tracie Holder is a filmmaker, consultant, producer and U.S. film funding specialist. A 2016 Sundance Creative Producers Fellow, Holder leads workshops, tutors and serves on juries at international pitching and training sessions. She is widely regarded as a “go-to” person and all-round resource for artists seeking U.S. funding having raised more than $3 million in grant funding for her own projects. Clients include: Documentary Campus, IDFA, EDN, Ramallah Doc, Lisbon Docs, Firelight Media, DOC NYC, Chicken & Egg, Black Public Media, Brown Girls Doc Mafia, Creative Capital, Unions Docs, and IFP, among others.

Tracie Holder is a filmmaker, consultant, producer and U.S. film funding specialist. A 2016 Sundance Creative Producers Fellow, Holder leads workshops, tutors and serves on juries at international pitching and training sessions. She is widely regarded as a “go-to” person and all-round resource for artists seeking U.S. funding having raised more than $3 million in grant funding for her own projects. Clients include: Documentary Campus, IDFA, EDN, Ramallah Doc, Lisbon Docs, Firelight Media, DOC NYC, Chicken & Egg, Black Public Media, Brown Girls Doc Mafia, Creative Capital, Unions Docs, and IFP, among others. Holder was a longtime consultant to Women Make Movies and served as the Development & Funding Strategist for Abby Disney’s Fork Films. She is a former board member of NY Women in Film and grant panelist for national and local funders. She co-directed/produced JOE PAPP IN FIVE ACTS, (Tribeca Film Festival, PBS/ American Masters). Producing credits include GRIT, (Hot Docs/POV) and THE QUIET ZONE, and ONE PERSON, ONE VOTE? in production. She is currently developing THE PEOPLE'S WILL, for which she was recently awarded one of only four NEH production grants for nearly $500,000.
Co-President, Submarine Entertainment

Dan Braun

Dan Braun is an Emmy Award winning producer and the co-founder and co-president of New York based sales, production and distribution company Submarine Entertainment. Submarine has been involved with the sale of six out of the last ten academy award winning documentaries; CITIZENFOUR, 20 FEET FROM STARDOM, MAN ON WIRE, THE COVE, SEARCHING FOR SUGAR MAN and AMERICAN FACTORY. Other recent films in Submarine’s portfolio include: BOYS STATE, APOLLO 11, THE TRUFFLE HUNTERS, SOCIAL DILEMMA, THE FIGHT, HONELAND, SEA OF SHADOWS, ONE CHILD NATION.

Dan Braun is an Emmy Award winning producer and the co-founder and co-president of New York based sales, production and distribution company Submarine Entertainment. Submarine has been involved with the sale of six out of the last ten academy award winning documentaries; CITIZENFOUR, 20 FEET FROM STARDOM, MAN ON WIRE, THE COVE, SEARCHING FOR SUGAR MAN and AMERICAN FACTORY. Other recent films in Submarine’s portfolio include: BOYS STATE, APOLLO 11, THE TRUFFLE HUNTERS, SOCIAL DILEMMA, THE FIGHT, HONELAND, SEA OF SHADOWS, ONE CHILD NATION. THREE IDENTICAL STRANGERS, PICK OF THE LITTER, LIFE ANIMATED, WEINER, IRIS, BLACKFISH, FOOD INC., FINDING VIVIAN MAIER, BEST OF ENEMIES, TINY FURNITURE, JOAN RIVERS: A PIECE OF WORK, MUSCLE SHOALS, MERU, TANGERINE, WINTER'S BONE, CHASING ICE, and THE CAVE OF FORGOTTEN DREAM The Cave of Forgotten Dreams among others.

As a film producer, Mr Braun’s work includes the documentaries Kusama-Infinity, BURDEN: THE STORY OF CHRIS BURDEN, FIRE MUSIC, PEGGY GUGGENHEIM: ART ADDICT, KENNY SCHARF: WHEN WORLDS COLLIDE and DIANA KENNEDY: NOTHING FANCY: Nothing Fancy. Braun is an Emmy and IDA Award winning executive producer on the documentary series WILD WILD COUNTRY and also executive produced doc series EVIL GENIUS, THE KEEPERS, PICK OF THE LITTER, and THE DEVIL NEXT DOOR and feature documentaries JIMMY CARTER: ROCK AND ROLL PRESIDENT, CITIZEN PENN, ECHO IN THE CANYON, BILL WYMAN: THE QUIET ONE, JOAN JETT: BAD REPUTATION, PICK OF THE LITTER, KILL YOUR IDOLS, BLANK CITY, SUNSHINE SUPERMAN, RUDE BOY: THE STORY OF TROJAN RECORDS, STREETLIGHT HARMONIES, and RATS among others.

Braun is both a writer and an editor on the classic horror comic book properties Creepy & Eerie, which he re-launched and publishes with Dark Horse Comics. Braun won an Eisner Award for his work on The Creepy Archives and The Ghastly “Normanton” award recognizing an individual for their commitment to carrying on the legacy of horror comics.

Actor, Writer, Director

Karen Allen

Karen Allen was inspired to become an actor after seeing Jerzy Grotowski’s Polish Theatre Laboratory in a performance of Apolcalypsis Cum Figuris in 1972. She attended George Washington University and studied and performed in numerous theatre productions with the Washington Theatre Laboratory in Washington DC. She co-produced performances by international theatre companies at the Washington Project for the Arts for four years before moving to New York City to work in the theatre.

Karen Allen was inspired to become an actor after seeing Jerzy Grotowski’s Polish Theatre Laboratory in a performance of Apolcalypsis Cum Figuris in 1972. She attended George Washington University and studied and performed in numerous theatre productions with the Washington Theatre Laboratory in Washington DC. She co-produced performances by international theatre companies at the Washington Project for the Arts for four years before moving to New York City to work in the theatre.

In NY she portrayed Helen Keller in William Gibson’s “The Monday After the Miracle” directed by Arthur Penn at the Actor’s Studio,the Spoleto Festival, the Kennedy Center in Wash DC and on Broadway. Her performance won a Theatre World Award. Other theatre performances in NY include William Mastrosimones’ Extremities, Strinberg’s Miss Julie, productions of The Country Girl, The Miracle Worker, and Speaking in Tongues at the Roundabout Theatre, Laura in The Glass Menagerie, and Beautiful Bodies by Laura Cunningham. She has worked at the Williamstown Theatre Festival, the Longwharf, The Berkshire Theatre Festival, Shakespeare and Co. and the Westport Country Playhouse. In the Fall of 2012 she starred in the US premiere of Norwegian playwright Jon Fosses’ A Summer Day with Rattlestick Theatre at the Cherry Lane in NY.

As a director in the theatre she has done two productions of Michael Weller’s Moonchildren, Joan Ackermann’s “The Batting Cage” and an award winning production of Mastrisimone’s Extremities at BTF. Most recently she directed Lucy Thurber’s world premiere of Ashville for Rattlestick Theatre in NY which won an Obie Award in 2014 and Terrance McNally’s Frankie and Johnny in the Claire de Lune at BTF in 2015. She is on the faculty of the Theatre Department at Bard College at Simon’s Rock, has taught acting and directing at the Lee Strasberg Theatre Institute in association with NYU, and is a lifetime member of the Actor’s Studio.

Her films include ANIMAL HOUSE, THE WANDERERS, A SMALL CIRCLE OF FRIENDS, RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK, SHOOT THE MOON, CRUISING, UNTIL SEPTEMBER, STAR MAN, ANIMAL BEHAVIOR, THE GLASS MENAGERIE, BACKFIRE, THE END OF THE LINE, SCROOGED, THE SANDLOT, KING OF THE HILL, FALLING SKY, THE PERFECT STORM, THE BASKET, IN THE BEDROOM, MALCOLM X, POSTER BOY, INDIANA JONES AND THE KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL, WHITE IRISH DRINKERS, and BAD HURT. Her most recent film is based on Joan Anderson’s memoir A YEAR BY THE SEA and has won numerous awards at film festivals in 2016. In June of 2016 she wrote and directed her first film, based on Carson McCullers’ short story, A TREE, A ROCK, A CLOUD.

On television she has been seen as ABRA in the mini-series of Steinbeck’s EAST OF EDEN, as Christa MacAuliffe in THE CHALLENGER, and in SECRET WEAPON, VOYAGE, ALL THE WINTERS THAT HAVE BEEN, MY HORRIBLE YEAR, RAPTURE, NOVEMBER CHRISTMAS, LAW AND ORDER, and BLUE BLOODS.

Karen studied textile and clothing design at the Fashion Institute of Technology in NYC when she was 17. In 2010 she received an honorary doctorate from FIT and the State University of NY for her design work with her company Karen Allen Fiber Arts in Great Barrington, MA where she presently has a design studio and store that represents dozens of textile and clothing designers from around the world that she admires.

Karen divides her time between western MA and NYC and between her work as an actor and director. She is an active Board member of the Berkshire International Film Festival and the Amazon Conservation Team. She has a son, Nicholas, who is a professional chef.

Business Development Manager, AbelCine

Mike Nichols

As Business Development Manager, Mike Nichols oversees new and existing rental business in New York and Los Angeles, as well as identifying opportunities for all departments.

As Business Development Manager, Mike Nichols oversees new and existing rental business in New York and Los Angeles, as well as identifying opportunities for all departments. Before joining AbelCine’s rental department in June of 2008, Mike was the head of production for a NY-based commercial production company, Zooma Zooma, whose clients included Nike, McDonald’s, Sony and Kodak.

In 2000, he was invited to the Cannes Film Festival as part of Kodak’s Emerging Filmmakers Program. In 2011, Mike’s first feature film, BreadCrumbs was released worldwide. Recent co-producing credits include A Woman, A Part and 11:55 Holyoke, which was Executive Produced by John Leguizamo.

Mike earned his B.A. in Film Production at Brooklyn College, where he was the president of the Film Society. His first professional job was as a production assistant on the Robert De Niro film, A Bronx Tale.

President, Acquisitions and Ancillary Distribution at Bleecker Street

Kent Sanderson

In a two-part role, Kent oversees both the creative and deal-making process of building Bleecker Street’s slate of films, while also managing all forms of home entertainment, streaming, and television. Previously, he served as Executive Vice President, Distribution & Merchandising at GoDigital / Amplify Releasing, and spent six years at Focus Features, where he guided their digital distribution strategy and ran the emerging Focus World alternative releasing label.

In a two-part role, Kent oversees both the creative and deal-making process of building Bleecker Street’s slate of films, while also managing all forms of home entertainment, streaming, and television. Previously, he served as Executive Vice President, Distribution & Merchandising at GoDigital / Amplify Releasing, and spent six years at Focus Features, where he guided their digital distribution strategy and ran the emerging Focus World alternative releasing label.
Writer, Producer, Director, and Actor

William Fichtner

"A small-town guy with a big heart," William Fichtner has been captivating hearts for decades. Long regarded as an actor’s actor with a trail of great performances in films from HEATH to THE PERFECT STORM and BLACK HAWK DOWN, Fichtner stepped behind the camera to make his directorial debut in COLD BROOK.

"A small-town guy with a big heart," William Fichtner has been captivating hearts for decades. Long regarded as an actor’s actor with a trail of great performances in films from HEATH to THE PERFECT STORM and BLACK HAWK DOWN, Fichtner stepped behind the camera to make his directorial debut in COLD BROOK. Fichtner directed, produced, co-wrote and starred in COLD BROOK, with Sons of Anarchy‘s Kim Coates and Lost‘s Harold Perrineau. Shot in Buffalo and Cortland County, New York, he described the drama as “the story of two ordinary guys in a small town who embark on an extraordinary adventure. It’s a story about coming home; something everyone, everywhere has an innate desire to do.”
Academy Award Winning, Special Effects Icon and Visionary

Doug Trumbull

Academy Award winning, special effects pioneer and visionary filmmaker, Douglas Trumbull, was one of the Special Photographic Effects Supervisors for 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY (1968). He went on to become the Visual Effects Supervisor for such classics as, CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND (1977), STAR TREK: THE MOTION PICTURE (1979), and BLADE RUNNER (1982), each of which earned him an Academy Award nomination for Best Visual Effects.

Academy Award winning, special effects pioneer and visionary filmmaker, Douglas Trumbull, was one of the Special Photographic Effects Supervisors for 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY (1968). He went on to become the Visual Effects Supervisor for such classics as, CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND (1977), STAR TREK: THE MOTION PICTURE (1979), and BLADE RUNNER (1982), each of which earned him an Academy Award nomination for Best Visual Effects.

Mr. Trumbull directed SILENT RUNNING (1972), BRAINSTORM (1983), BACK TO THE FUTURE: THE RIDE (1991) and numerous other special format films. He is the recent recipient of an Academy Award in the area of Scientific and Technical Achievement, as well as the International Monitor Award, and American Society of Cinematographers’ Lifetime Achievement Award, for his outstanding contributions in the field of filmmaking.

Douglas is currently involved in the evolution of visual effects using virtual digital sets and electronic cinematography. We are thrilled to have him share his time with the Filmmakers Summit again this year.

Director, Producer

Rashaad Ernesto Green

Graduate of Dartmouth College and NYU Tisch Graduate Film School, winner of the 2020 Film Independent Spirit’s Someone to Watch Award, the Princess Grace Foundation Award, Spike Lee Fellowship and NYU Dean’s Fellowship, named in Filmmaker Magazine’s 25 New Faces of Independent Film and indieWIRE's Ten Exciting New Voices in Black Cinema, New York native Rashaad Ernesto Green's first feature, GUN HILL ROAD, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and received nationwide distribution.

Graduate of Dartmouth College and NYU Tisch Graduate Film School, winner of the 2020 Film Independent Spirit’s Someone to Watch Award, the Princess Grace Foundation Award, Spike Lee Fellowship and NYU Dean’s Fellowship, named in Filmmaker Magazine’s 25 New Faces of Independent Film and indieWIRE's Ten Exciting New Voices in Black Cinema, New York native Rashaad Ernesto Green's first feature, GUN HILL ROAD, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and received nationwide distribution. Rashaad’s second feature, PREMATURE, nominated for the 2020 Film Independent Spirit’s John Cassavetes Award, premiered at Sundance Film Festival, was distributed by IFC Films in 2020 and is currently available on Hulu and VOD. In his work, Rashaad encourages people to have an active emotional experience by telling stories that are deeply rooted within the universal human experience. Rashaad’s films have screened on Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, HBO, and at festivals internationally. His television credits include shows for Marvel, Netflix, Showtime, Hulu, NBC, Fox, Warner Bros, VH1 and BET. He’s been supported by the Sundance Institute, Tribeca Film Institute, Cinereach, IFP, HBO, NBC, Time Warner, Warner Bros, Humanitas New Voices, Jerome Foundation, NALIP and NHFA. For more information about PREMATURE, please visit www.prematurefilm.com. For GUN HILL ROAD, please visit www.gunhillroad.com.
Co-President, Submarine Entertainment

Josh Braun

Josh Braun is the co-president of Submarine Entertainment, a hybrid sales, production and distribution company. Mr. Braun is an executive producer of the recent documentary features CIRCUS OF BOOKS, EDGE OF DEMOCRACY, CRIP CAMP, APOLLO 11, WHIRLYBIRD, and TELL ME WHO I AM. Submarine's series titles include Evil Genius, The Keepers, Lenox Hill, The Devil Next Door and WILD WILD COUNTRY for which Mr. Braun won the Emmy for best documentary series last year.

Josh Braun is the co-president of Submarine Entertainment, a hybrid sales, production and distribution company. Mr. Braun is an executive producer of the recent documentary features CIRCUS OF BOOKS, EDGE OF DEMOCRACY, CRIP CAMP, APOLLO 11, WHIRLYBIRD, and TELL ME WHO I AM. Submarine's series titles include Evil Genius, The Keepers, Lenox Hill, The Devil Next Door and WILD WILD COUNTRY for which Mr. Braun won the Emmy for best documentary series last year. Recent sales titles include Boys State, Social Dilemma, Disclosure, Feels Good Man, The Truffle Hunters, The Fight, American Factory, Honeyland, One Child Nation, Untitled Amazon Johnathan Documentary, Midnight Family, Sea of Shadows, Three Identical Strangers, Shirkers, The Oslo Diaries, Crime and Punishment. Submarine has been responsible for the sale of six out of the last twelve Academy award winning documentaries; American Factory, Citizenfour, 20 Feet From Stardom, Man on Wire, The Cove and Searching for Sugar Man and Submarine has represented the grand jury prize winner at the Sundance Film Festival for the last five years consecutively.
Actress, Director, Screenwriter, Singer

Mary Kay Place

Mary Kay Place was first critically acclaimed for her role as country singer Loretta Haggers on the hit comedy series, “Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman”, for which she won the Emmy for Best Supporting Actress in a comedy. After working for the head writers of MAUDE at Norman Lear’s Tandem Productions, Place also began co-writing for numerous TV series, including “M*A*S*H”, (for which she earned an Emmy nomination in 1973 with Linda Bloodworth), and

Mary Kay Place was first critically acclaimed for her role as country singer Loretta Haggers on the hit comedy series, “Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman”, for which she won the Emmy for Best Supporting Actress in a comedy. After working for the head writers of MAUDE at Norman Lear’s Tandem Productions, Place also began co-writing for numerous TV series, including “M*A*S*H”, (for which she earned an Emmy nomination in 1973 with Linda Bloodworth), and “The Mary Tyler Moore Show”, among others.
Mary Kay was most recently seen in the title role of the critically acclaimed film DIANE, for which she won ‘Best Actress’ for the LA Film Critics Award, nominated for ‘Best Actress’ for the Gotham Awards, and nominated for ‘Best Female Lead’ for the Indie Spirit Awards all due to her unforgettable performance.

Appearing in over 50 feature films, her acting credits include Hal Ashby’s BOUND FOR GLORY, Martin Scorsese’s NEW YORK NEW YORK, Alan Pakula’s STARTING OVER, THE BIG CHILL, CAPTAIN RON, Alexander Payne’s CITIZEN RUTH, MANNY AND LO (for which she received a Best Supporting Female nomination from the Independent Spirit Awards), Frances Ford Coppola’s THE RAINMAKER, SPIKE JONES, BEING JOHN MALCOVICH, SWEET HOME ALABAMA, SHREK:EVER AFTER; SMASHED, Nancy Meyer’s IT'S COMPLICATED, THE INTERN and PRIVATE BENJAMIN, I'LL SEE YOU IN MY DREAMS, STATE LIKE SLEEP, and DIANE.

Mary Kay will next be seen in Ryan Murphy’s THE PROM for Netflix due to release in 2020 alongside Meryl Streep, Nicole Kidman, Kerry Washington, and James Corden as well as MUSIC, a new film by the singer/songwriter Sia.

Place can also be seen co-starring in Showtime’s “Shameless,” ” 9-1-1: Lone Star,” Netflix’s “AJ and The Queen,” and “Lady Dynamite,” the Bravo series “Imposters,” Grey’s Anatomy, and Matt Weiner’s anthology series, “The Romanoff’s”. Other credits include Black-ish, HBO’s critically acclaimed series, “Big Love,” (EMMY nomination as Adaleen Grant), “Getting On", "Looking" and "Bored to Death"; "Grace and Frankie"," The New Normal”, “ King of the Hill”, "My So Called Life”, "The West Wing” and “All In The Family”.
She has also directed television episodes of "Friends"; HBO's "Dream On" and "Arliss"; "Baby Boom" and other shows as well as recorded three albums on Columbia Records.

Academy Award-Winning Filmmaker

Barbara Koppel

Barbara Kopple is a two-time Academy Award-winning and nine-time Emmy nominated filmmaker. A director and producer of narrative films, documentaries and commercial spots, she most recently completed the documentary DESERT ONE about the daring US Special Ops mission during the Iranian Hostage Crisis, which will have its world premiere at the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival. Her film, NEW HOMELAND, documenting a group of refugee children from Syria and Iraq who experience a summercamp in the Canadian wilderness, premiered at the 2018 DOC NYC Film Festival.

Barbara Kopple is a two-time Academy Award winning and nine-time Emmy nominated filmmaker. A director and producer of narrative films, documentaries and commercial spots, she most recently completed the documentary DESERT ONE about the daring US Special Ops mission during the Iranian Hostage Crisis, which will have its world premiere at the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival. Her film, NEW HOMELAND, documenting a group of refugee children from Syria and Iraq who experience a summer camp in the Canadian wilderness, premiered at the 2018 DOC NYC Film Festival. Recently, Kopple directed and produced A MURDER IN MANSFIELD. The film examines the after effects of a murder trial in the 1990s where a son testified against his father for the murder of his mother, and premiered at the 2017 DOC NYC Film Festival. Kopple and Sara Dosa directed REMASTERED: TRICKY DICK AND THE MAN IN BLACK, which is nominated for a 2019 Emmy Award for Outstanding Research. Kopple produced and directed THIS IS EVERYTHING: GIGI GORGEOUS, which chronicles the life and family of Internet sensation Gigi Gorgeous, and had its premiere at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival. MISS SHARON JONES!, premiered at the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival and was the opening night film at DOC NYC. It follows the talented and gregarious soul singer of the Grammy-nominated R&B band Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings during the most challenging year of her life and received a 2017 Emmy Nomination for Outstanding Arts & Culture Documentary. Other recent projects include: SHELTER, about homeless vets; HOT TYPE: 150 YEARS OF THE NATION, examines America's oldest continuously published weekly magazine; RUNNING FROM CRAZY, premiered at Sundance in 2013 and received a 2014 Primetime Emmy nomination for Outstanding Documentary or Nonfiction Special; FIGHT TO LIVE, exposes the roadblocks imposed by the current FDA approvals process; A FORCE OF NATURE, celebrates the life and work of journalist and philanthropist Ellen Ratner; GUN FIGHT, explores the place of guns in US culture; THE HOUSE OF STEINBRENNER, part of ESPN’s Emmy nominated “30 for 30” series, received a 2010 Peabody Award as well as the International Documentary Association Award for Best Continuing Series; The Emmy-nominated, WOODSTOCK: NOW AND THEN, looks back at the legacy of the historic music festival, 40 years later. Well known for her work on US labor issues, Barbara directed STEAMFITTERS LOCAL UNION 638 in 2007 for HBO’s acclaimed Addiction Series. The New York Times likened this short documentary to “crisp tonic with lime.” This program was awarded the Television Academy of Arts and Sciences Governor’s Award.

Barbara produced and directed HARLAN COUNTY USA and AMERICAN DREAM, both winners of the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature. In 1991, Harlan County USA was named to the National Film Registry by the Librarian of Congress and designated an American Film Classic. Harlan County USA was restored and preserved by the Women’s Preservation Fund and the Academy Film Archive, and featured as part of the Sundance Collection at the Sundance Film Festival in 2005. The Criterion Collection released a DVD of Harlan County USA in 2006.

Barbara produced and directed: SHUT UP AND SING, following the Dixie Chicks and the fallout they faced after publicly criticizing President Bush; A CONVERSATION WITH GREGORY PECK, a film portrait of the legendary actor; THE HAMPTONS, a four-hour mini-series for ABC; MY GENERATION examining the Woodstock legacy and GENERATION X; and FALLEN CHAMP: THE UNTOLD STORY OF MIKE TYSON, for which she was nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Individual Achievement in Directing. She directed the feature nonfiction film WILD MAN BLUES, about the European tour of Woody Allen and his jazz band, for which she won the National Board of Review Award for Best Documentary. Barbara also produced the HBO documentary AMERICAN STANDOFF, which chronicled an 18-month strike of the Teamsters Union against Overnite Transportation, and the A&E documentary BEARING WITHNESS about female war correspondents working in Iraq. Barbara was a member of the Winter Soldier Collective, which created the film WINTER SOLDIER.

Other nonfiction films include THE DC SNIPER'S WIFE, a documentary that takes a look at the life of Mildred Muhammad, ex-wife of infamous DC sniper, John Allen Muhammad; HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL: THE MUSIC IN YOU, following students performing a stage adaptation of “High School Musical.”; NO NUKES, a "rockumentary" shot during five days of concerts at Madison Square Garden and distributed by Warner Brothers; DEFENDING OUR DAUGHTERS, an investigation into women’s human rights issues in Bosnia, Pakistan and Egypt and winner of a Voices of Courage Award; WITH LIBERTY AND JUSTICE FOR ALL?, a short documentary made for the Alliance for Justice, which explores the issue of immigration law. Barbara also directed a series of specials for the Disney Channel, including Friends for Life: Living with AIDS, the first show about AIDS to air on that network. She also co-created, produced and directed I Married…, a series for VH1 about the spouses and families of rock stars.

Barbara directed the narrative feature HAVOC, starring Anne Hathaway, Bijou Phillips and Freddy Rodriguez and written by Stephen Gaghan. The film follows a group of wealthy teenagers coming of age and searching for an identity in Los Angeles. She also directs episodic television and commercial spots. Her television work includes episodes of OZ on HBO and Homicide, for which she won a DGA Award for Outstanding Direction. Barbara has directed commercial spots for companies such as American Greetings, Sprint, Applebee’s, Dove, Intel, Target, The Tiger Woods Foundation, Pearl Vision and the Children’s Defense Fund.

Barbara has been awarded the Human Rights Watch Film Festival Irene Diamond Award, Los Angeles Film Critics Award, National Society of Film Critics Award, the SilverDocs/Charles Guggenheim Award, New York Women in Film & Television Muse Award, the Maya Deren Independent Film and Video Award, the Woodstock Film Festival Maverick Award, Women in Film & Video of Washington, DC Women of Vision Award, the White House Project’s EPIC Award, the International Documentary Association Career Achievement Award, the San Francisco Film Society’s Persistence of Vision Award, the Sundance Film Festival Grand Jury Prize, Filmmakers Trophy & Audience Award, the Sarasota Film Festival Director’s Award, and the Nantucket Film Festival’s Special Achievement in Documentary Filmmaking Award. The Paley Center for Media has named Barbara a 2007 "She Made It Honoree.” She recently served her tenth year on the board of trustees for the American Film Institute and continues as an advisory board member for the American University Center for Social Media and Independent Feature Project’s Filmmaker Labs. In 2010, Barbara received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from American University. She is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, the Director’s Guild of America, New York Women in Film and Television’s Honorary Board, the British Academy of Film and Television Arts, and actively participates in organizations that address social issues and support independent filmmaking.

Executive Producer

Sheila Nevins

Sheila Nevins is currently serving as an Executive Producer at MTV Networks. Sheila is the former president of HBO Documentary Films and Family Programming for Home Box Office. At HBO, she was responsible for overseeing the development and production of more than 1500 programs for HBO, HBO2 and Cinemax. As an executive producer or producer, she has received 32 Primetime Emmy® Awards, 35 News and Documentary Emmys® and 42 George Foster Peabody Awards.

Sheila Nevins is currently serving as an Executive Producer at MTV Networks. Sheila is the former president of HBO Documentary Films and Family Programming for Home Box Office. At HBO, she was responsible for overseeing the development and production of more than 1500 programs for HBO, HBO2 and Cinemax. As an executive producer or producer, she has received 32 Primetime Emmy® Awards, 35 News and Documentary Emmys® and 42 George Foster Peabody Awards. During her tenure, HBO’s critically acclaimed documentaries won 26 Academy Awards®, including A GIRL IN THE RIVER: THE PRICE OF FORGIVENESS, CITIZENFOUR (2015), CRISIS HOTLINE: VETERANS PRESS 1 (2015), SAVING FACE (2012), STRANGERS NO MORE (2011), MUSIC BY PRUDENCE (2010), SMILE PINKI (2009), THE BLOOD OF YINGZHOU DISTRICT (2007), BORN INTO BROTHELS (2005), CHERNOBYL HEART (2004), MURDER ON A SUNDAY MORNING (2002), KING GIMP (2000), ONE SURVIVOR REMEMBERS (1996), I AM A PROMISE (1994), EDUCATING PETER (1993) and YOU DON'T HAVE TO DIE (1989). The series “Cinemax Reel Life” has featured a number of award-winning documentaries, including BIG MAMA, winner of the 2001 Academy Award® for Best Short Subject, THE PERSONALS: IMPROVIZATIONS ON ROMANCE IN THE GOLDER YEARS (1999) and BREATHING LESSONS: THE LIFE AND WORK OF MARK O'BRIEN, an Oscar® winner in 1997.

Sheila has been honored with numerous prestigious career achievement awards, including the 2018 Realscreen Legacy Award and the 2017 DOC NYC Lifetime Achievement Award. She is the recipient of the Governors Award from the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences and is a NYU Tisch School of the Arts Honoree. Other awards include: a Gotham Awards Tribute; an Emmy® Lifetime Achievement Award for her contributions to the art of the documentary, the first time the National Television Academy awarded a Lifetime Achievement recognition to a documentarian; and a Personal Peabody in recognition of her work and ongoing commitment to excellence. Women in Film presented Sheila with a Lucy Award for her outstanding achievements in advancing documentary filmmaking and the National Board of Review presented her with the Humanitarian Award for her contribution to the advancement of social reforms and the promotion of human welfare through film. Sheila has been inducted into Broadcasting & Cable’s Hall of Fame, and has garnered an IDA Career Achievement Award and the New York Women in Film & Television Muse Award for Outstanding Vision and Achievement.
She won the first George Foster Peabody Award ever presented to a cable program for “She’s Nobody’s Baby,” which was produced with Ms. Magazine. Sheila is a member of the Writers Guild of America, the Producers Guild of America and The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.