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Filmmakers Summit Virtual Schedule

Moderated by Greg Rhem

Wednesday, September 8, 2021, *Est

Brian Keane, Barbara Kopple, Francisco Bello
The Power of Documentary Film & The Collabortive Process: Sound, Direct, Edit

Ivana Jiron
Rental Equipment, Covid Protocols & Cutting Edge Cameras

Douglas Trumbull
Legendary Filmmaker and Visual Effects Pioneer

William Fichtner, Karen Allen, Scott Cohen
ShowBiz: Both Sides of the Lens

Thursday, September 9, 2021

Csilla Criner
On Time & Under Budget

Alexa Whiteside
Navigating the Legal Challenges of Indie Filmmaking 

Jenifer Westphal, Darren Dean, Cynthia Wade
The Producer’s Process: Making Mov’i’es

Jenny Raskin, Aideen Kane, Megan Gelstein
The Realities of Film Financing & Tips to Securing Grants 

Jasper Basch, Emily Russo, Jeff Seelbach
Acquisition and Distribution Phase

Virtual Toast to conclude the Filmmakers Summit & to Kick Off BIFF ’21

Please share on social: #BIFF2021 | @biffma
*We will take a 5min break after each panel for a quick stretch & to allow the next panel to set up.


  • Carolyn Lancaster
    Carolyn Lancaster
    CL Productions NYC, Filmmaker Summit Producer


  • Greg Rhem
    Greg Rhem
    Highbridge Dreams & Bronx Brain 64 Producer, Writer, Director, Creative Consultant



Thank you for joining the Virtual Filmmakers Summit 2021!   

Carolyn Lancaster
CL Productions NYC, Filmmaker Summit Producer

Carolyn was invited as a guest during BIFF’s launch year and attended several festivals thereafter. During that time, she developed wonderful relationships in the community, particularly with the BIFF staff. When the Filmmakers Summit was established several years later, Carolyn was asked to come onboard to develop and produce the Summit due to her experience in talent and production. Eight years later, she has enjoyed working with the sponsors, vendors, theaters, team and especially the many film professionals who unite to celebrate the world of independent film in this truly wonderful setting.

In addition to BIFFMA, Carolyn works with talent management and acquisition, event production, public relations, talent consulting/assisting, and casting. 

She is pleased to welcome all of the filmmakers, panelists, alumni, and guests to the virtual Filmmakers Summit this year.

Greg Rhem
Highbridge Dreams & Bronx Brain 64 Producer, Writer, Director, Creative Consultant

GREG RHEM, Bronx Brain 64 Creative Consulting and Highbridge Dreams, LLC, is a writer, producer, director, and creative consultant, based in New Jersey.

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,” “Born Into Brothels,” and “Thoth,” Oscar®-nominated “Prison Terminal: The Last Days of Private Jack Hall,” “Mondays at Racine,” and “Spellbound.”

Greg has also served as a mentor and panelist at the SXSW, Sundance, Tribeca, and Seattle International Film Festivals, BIFF Film Summit, 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 the American Black Film Festival, including the HBO® Short Film Competition, as well as the narrative features, documentaries, and web series competitions.

Greg has written several feature screenplays, including sci-fi thriller “The Dinosaur Four” and alternate-history drama “The Wings of Icarus,” directed several comedy shorts, and produced a short documentary and the narrative feature “At the Jersey Shore.”

He 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.

Scott Cohen
Actor, Producer, Director

About to start work on Joanna Arnow’s feature THE FEELING THAT THE TIME FOR DOING  SOMETHING HAS PASSED his work has included the Marcia Clark series THE FIX for ABC, THE  AMERICANS which garnered him a SAG Award nomination, THE SINNER, THE BOLD TYPE, THE  EQUALIZER with Queen Latifah, POWER, and THE MARVELOUS MRS. MAISEL along with the  Sundance Jury Prize winner AS YOU ARE, directed by Miles Joris Peyrafitte. Cohen recently  starred in the NBC series, “Alllegiance”, opposite Hope Davis. He just starred in and Executive  Produced Ramin Serry’s web series FILM U, a comedy of errors based in a dysfunctional  university film school. 

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.  

Cohen wrapped the third season of the USA hit, “Necessary Roughness”, where he played  “Nico”, the a mysterious fixer. At the same time Cohen recurred on “The Carrie Diaries” for the  CW as a smooth ladies man. In other series television, he starred on Showtime’s “Street Time”  with Rob Morrow, in the FOX sitcom “The Return of Jezebel James” opposite Parker Posey, and  the Law & Order spin off, “Trial by Jury”. Cohen has a loyal following for his role as Max Medina  on “Gilmore Girls” and his turn as WOLF for the now cult classic “The 10th Kingdom”. Other  television credits include ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm“, “Elementary”, “Person of Interest”, “Pan Am”, “Hawaii Five-0”, and “Unforgettable”. Scott’s many made-for-television movies include  Mitch Albom’s “For One More Day” presented by Oprah Winfrey, “Fatal Contact: Bird Flu in  America,” “GIA” with Angelina Jolie, “Gotti” with Armand Assante, and “Kiss My Act” opposite  Camryn Manheim.  

Some of Cohen’s film projects include “Jack of the Red Hearts” opposite AnnaSophia Robb, as  well as Tim Blake Nelson’s “Anesthesia”, Manu Boyer’s “To Whom it May Concern”, Lola Kirke’s  “Lake City” and Josh Mond’s “James White”. He starred opposite Natalie Portman in Don Roos’  film adaptation of “Love and Other Impossible Pursuits”. He also appeared in the Robert DeNiro  film, “Everybody’s Fine”, in Nicole Holofcener’s project, “Please Give,” and Ed Zwick’s film,  “Love and Other Drugs”. He also stars in the indie drama “Iron Cross” with the late Roy  Scheider and alongside Mel Gibson and Peter Stormare in “Get the Gringo.” Cohen starred in  the hit film and critical favorite, “Kissing Jessica Stein” opposite Jennifer Westfeldt and also  appeared in “Jacob’s Ladder,” “A Brother’s Kiss,” “The Mambo Kings,” “Private Parts,” and  “Brother’s Shadow”.  

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. He  starred with John Spencer in “Glimmer, Glimmer and Shine,” Warren Leight’s follow-up to “Side  Man,” also at the Manhattan Theatre Club. 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. Cohen was also seen in Voice and Vision’s production of  Anastasia Traina’s “In Audela”; he starred in Playwrights Horizons production of Nicky Silver’s  play “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” with Sam West directed  by James McDonald at the Public Theater.  

Along with his acting projects, Cohen is producing Anastasia Traina’s play SEAGULLS ON SULLIVAN  STREET with the Director’s Company in NY. He is also producing a number of television series;  THREADS and SILK CITY, with award winning documentarian Marc Levin, “The 10th Kingdom 2”  with screenwriter Simon Moore, a docudrama about the music industry, entitled “Scouts”, and a  series called “The Widower” penned by Anastasia Traina, along with helping Ms. Traina and  David Caudle bring their children’s book BITSY and RAFF to life. Cohen has delved into the  directing world by taking on USA’s NECESSARY ROUGHNESS web series; THE NICO FILES. Cohen 

also serves on the Film Columbia Film Festival’s Advisory Board, teaches acting at Hunter  College, and is on the Board of the NY International Children’s Film Festival. Cohen resides in  Columbia County, NY with his wife, Anastasia Traina. His son is seeking his Phd in Condensed  Matter Physics along with breaking down the meaning of life via one scientific theory at a time.

William Fichtner
Actor, Producer, Director, Writer

Having appeared in a wide range of films along with television and theater roles over the course of his career, William Fichtner continues to carve out a distinctive reputation as one of our most versatile and talented actors, whether in comedy or drama, action or character study. He is one of Hollywood’s most distinct and familiar faces.

Fichtner recently completed filming The Blueprint directed by Thomas Ikimi. Other recent films include The Birthday Cake, co-starring Ewan McGregor and Val Kilmer; The Space Between, opposite Kelsey Grammer and directed by Rachel Winter; Jack & Josie directed by Sarah Lancaster; Armed, written and directed by Mario Van Peebles; Finding Steve McQueen with Forest Whitaker, and opposite Jeffery Wright in the indie feature O.G. directed by Madeleine Sackler that premiered on HBO. Fichtner also starred alongside Jon Voight in the indie feature American Wrestler: The Wizard; Krystal directed by William H. Macy, and produced and starred in the indie feature The Neighbor.

Pivoting to the other side of the camera, Fichtner directed, produced, co-wrote, and starred in his feature film Cold Brook shot mostly in his hometown of Buffalo, New York.

Segueing between television and feature films, Fichtner led an ensemble cast in the original first 2 seasons of the international crime series Crossing Lines. He recurred on HBO’s Entourage from 2009-2011 and played ‘FBI Agent Alexander Mahone’ for three seasons on Fox’s hit drama series, Prison Break. William most recently played Adam on CBS’s hit show Mom opposite Allison Janney, from creator Chuck Lorre.

Other feature films include 12 Strong for producer Jerry Bruckheimer; Independence Day:Resurgence directed by Roland Emmerich; Paramount’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles; director Gore Verbinski’s The Lone Ranger and Neil Blomkamp’s Elysium. He also co-starred in writer-director Paul Haggis’ Academy Award-winning Crash. For his performance in that film, he shared a Screen Actors Guild Award for Best Ensemble Cast in a Feature Film. Other film credits include Drive Angry for director Patrick Lussier; Shawn Levy’s Date Night; Blades of Glory with Will Ferrell; Chris Nolan’s The Dark Knight; the remake of The Longest Yard; the comedy The Amateurs with Jeff Bridges; Rodrigo Garcia’s Nine Lives; Ridley Scott’s Black Hawk Down; What’s The Worst That Could Happen; Wolfgang Peterson’s The Perfect Storm; Drowning Mona; Ultraviolet and Equilibrium, both for writer-director Kurt Wimmer; Armageddon directed by Michael Bay; Michael Mann’s Heat; Robert Zemeckis’ Contact; Doug Liman’s Go; Strange Days directed by Katherine Bigelow; Passion of Mind; Steven Soderbergh’s The Underneath; Agnieszka Holland’s Julie Walking Home and The Settlement with John C. Reilly, among many others.

As a member of the Circle Repertory Theatre, Fichtner won critical acclaim for his role in The Fiery Furnace, directed by Norman Rene. Other stage credits include Raft of the Medusa at the Minetta Lane Theatre, The Years at the Manhattan Theatre Club, Clothes for a Summer Hotel at the Williamstown Theatre festival and Machinal at The Public Theatre

Karen Allen
Actor, Director

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 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,and on Broadway. Her performance won a Theatre World Award. Other theatre performances in NY include William Mastrosimones’ Extremities, Strindberg’s Miss Julie, and 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. Most recently 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 directed Michael Weller’s Moonchildren and Joan Ackermann’s “The Batting Cage” at Bard College at Simon’s Rock and  productions of Moonchildren, Mastrisimone’s Extremities, Terrance McNally’s Frankie and Johnny in the Claire de Lune and John Patrick Shanley’s Outside Mullingar at the Berkshire Theatre Festival. In NY she directed Lucy Thurber’s world premiere of Ashville for Rattlestick Theatre in NY which won an Obie Award. She has taught acting and directing at the Lee Strasberg Theatre Institute in association with NYU, has taught acting at Bard College at Simon’s Rock 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, Starman, 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 and Joan Anderson’s memoir “A Year By the Sea”. In 2019 Karen starred in  Tom Quinn’s Colewell which was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award as was her performance. She has just completed filming A Stage of Twilight which will be released in2022.

In 2016 she wrote and directed her first film, based on Carson McCullers’ short story, A Tree, A Rock, A Cloud. It was shown at over 30  film festivals internationally and won numerous awards.

On television she has been seen in Steinbeck’s East of Eden, as Christa Macauliffe in The Challenger, in Secret Weapon, Voyage, All the Winter’s That Have Been, My Horrible Year, Rapture, November Christmas, Law and Order, Bluebloods and most recently in Things Heard and Seen for Netflix.

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 who she admires from around the world.

Karen divides her time work as a designer and 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 30 year old son, Nicholas, who is a professional chef.

Jenny Raskin
Executive Director of Impact Partners

Jenny Raskin is the Executive Director of Impact Partners, She has worked as a documentary producer, director, series producer and executive producer. Her credits include STEP (executive producer), TROPHY (executive producer), DINA (executive producer), OUR NIXON (executive producer), HERE COME THE VIDEOFREEX (director/producer), MOTHERLAND AFGHANISTAN (producer), ON HOSTILE GROUND (director/producer), and many others. She received her B.A. from Barnard College and a master’s degree from the Culture and Media Program at New York University.

Jenifer Westphal
Founder + CEO + Executive Producer

Jenifer Westphal is a sought-after producer and executive producer for award-winning documentary and independent films, including KNOCK DOWN THE HOUSE and WON’T YOU BE MY NEIGHBOR? Her films have played at Sundance, SXSW, DOC NYC, Hot Docs, Tribeca, Cannes, Venice, and more. In her role as CEO and Executive Producer of Wavelength, Jenifer breaks barriers by taking a special interest in fostering female talent, first-time filmmakers and creators of color, having executive produced NIGHT COMES ON, SELAH AND THE SPADES, and 2020 Sundance award-winner, FAREWELL AMOR. She produced all in-house productions at Wavelength, including UNSCHOOLED, THE FOURSOME, MAYBE NEXT YEAR, and LET ME BE ME. In addition to her tireless work supporting independent filmmakers and content creators, Jenifer most enjoys the partnerships built and friendships made since founding Wavelength in 2015.

A member of the Women of Sundance Leadership Council and Chicken & Egg Pictures, Jenifer has served as a panelist on the Sundance Catalyst Round Table. Outside of her work in film, she serves as an advisory board member and grantor for the Good Work Foundation, an organization with the mission to lead a digitally-empowered education model for rural Africa and the world. A native of Iowa, Jenifer has called Philadelphia her home for 30-plus years. A self-taught chef, Jenifer loves being a mom to 3 adult kids, spoiling her Shih Tzu’s, and can be found during the baseball season cheering for her beloved Phillies.

Jeff Seelbach
Director of Non-Fiction Programming - Topic

Jeff Seelbach oversees non-fiction films and series at Topic – the new streaming service from First Look Media. Recent projects include eight-part series Philly DA, produced with PBS & Independent Lens (Sundance & Berlin); Oscar short-listed Call Center Blues, directed by Geeta Gandbhir; and News & Documentary Emmy-winner 16 Shots (Showtime), directed by Oscar-nominee Richard Rowley. Others include News & Doc Emmy-nominee The Zo, produced with Marshall Project and illustrated by Molly Crabapple; doc series Trans In Trumpland, directed by Tony Zosherafatain; Miss Panama, directed by Lamar Bailey Karamañites, Pascale Boucicaut, David Felix Sutcliffe (Tribeca & BlackStar); Dear Mr. Brody, directed by Keith Maitland (Tribeca & Telluride); A Cure For Fear, directed by Lana Wilson (SXSW & IDA Award-nominee). Jeff oversaw short doc production and helped to launch AJ+, the innovative digital network from Al Jazeera, and he spent four years on the Emmy-winning PBS series Wide Angle, including Overseas Press Club Award-winner Heart of Jenin.

Jasper Basch
Head of Theatrical Distribution at IFC Films

Jasper Basch joined IFC Films as their Head of Theatrical Distribution in 2020, where he oversees over two dozen releases annually, ranging from traditional releases with full theatrical windows to day-and-date titles that gross seven figures, such as The Wretched, Relic, and The Rental, the last of which was the #1 movie in America for two consecutive weeks. Prior to joining the team at IFC Films, Jasper was the Vice President of Theatrical Sales at Greenwich Entertainment, where he handled the distribution of multimillion-dollar grossing films that include Echo in the Canyon and Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice. He had previously founded and operated Cartilage Films, an independent film distributor and theatrical booking agency; titles that Cartilage Films handled theatrical sales on include The Void for Screen Media Films, Ryuichi Sakamoto: Coda for MUBI, Mrs. Hyde for Metrograph, Bel Canto for Paladin, Iceman for Film Movement, and the 4K restoration of Donnie Darko for Arrow Films.

Ivana Jiron
Rental Operations Manager of Abelcine NY

As Rental Operations Manager of Abelcine NY, Ivana Jiron oversees the daily operations of the rental department. She provides technical and customer service support to clients, assistant camera Operators and cinematographers on the rental floor. Before joining Abelcine, Ivana managed the Time/Meredith Equipment room. And freelanced as a DP and camera assistant.

In 2018, she travelled to Sheffield Film Festival to accompany a short doc that she assisted in cinematography. She enjoys learning new technologies and how to best assist creatives working in the camera department and media industry.

Ivana earned her BA in Cinema and Media Arts from Biola University in Southern California.

Francisco Bello
Oscar and three-Time Emmy Nominee, Writer, Director, Editor, Producer

Francisco Bello is an Oscar and three-time Emmy nominee. He shot and produced SALIM BABA, nominated for a Best Short Documentary Oscar and an Emmy. He produced and edited WAR DON DON, winner of the Special Jury Prize at the SXSW Film Festival, the inaugural Karen Schmeer Documentary Editing Award, and two Emmy nominations. For these early career distinctions, he was awarded the National Association of Latino Independent Producers (NALIP) Estela Award. Additional highlights include writing and editing Barbara Kopple’s DESERT ONE, editing the SXSW Narrative Grand Jury Prize winning MOST BEAUTIFUL ISLAND, the Peabody winning BEST KEPT SECRET, Penny Lane’s OUR NIXON, Richard Rowley’s Emmy-winning THE BLUE WALL, and THE FIRST WAVE, to be released by Nat Geo, Neon and Participant. He co-directed DREAMING AGAINST THE WORLD, seen at the Telluride Film Festival, the closing night of DocNYC and Asia Society. As a director Francisco is developing an animated documentary feature, a docu-series, and an interactive scripted drama. He is a member of the Documentary Branch of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, American Cinema Editors, and serves on the board of the Karen Schmeer Film Editing Fellowship.

Douglas Trumbull
Academy Award winning, Special Effects Pioneer and Visionary Filmmaker

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.

Darren Dean
Award winning Producer, Screenwriter and Director

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 Sean Baker), KINYARWANDA, TANGERINE, and THE FLORIDA PROJECT.

He has been nominated for an NAACP Image Award and has won the 2016 GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Feature.

Most recently, he produced the Tribeca Film Festival nominee THE SHORT HISTORY OF THE LONG ROAD, and 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.

Dean is next producing the soon-to-be-announced END STAGE OF STARS (dir Rachel Mason) and A CIVIL WAR TRILOGY, consisting of ANGRY DAVE (dir Chris Brown), JACK BE NIMBLE (dir Alex Thompson) and Dean’s directorial feature film debut TRUTH. LIES. WITHIN.

Cynthia Wade
Oscar Winning Director

Cynthia Wade is a director based in Los Angeles. Her documentaries include THE FLAG MAKERS (National Geographic, releasing 2022), GRIT (POV/PBS), GENERATION STARTUP (Netflix), LIVING THE LEGACY (Sundance Channel), GROWING HOPE AGAINST HUNGER (Sesame Street Prime Time Special, Emmy Winner), MONDAYS AT RACINE (Oscar nominee, HBO), FREEHELD (Oscar winner, HBO), BORN SWEET (Oscar shortlist), SHELTER DOGS (HBO) and GRIST FOR THE MILL (Cinemax).

She directs commercials (from Kellogg’s Mini Wheats to Dove Real Beauty) and is represented by Honor Society ( for commercials, and William Morris Entertainment (WME) for television projects. SPROUTLAND, which will show at the 2021 BIFF, is a fiction featurette based on Cynthia’s decade of living full-time in the Berkshires.

Cynthia holds a BA cum laude from Smith College and an MA in Documentary Film from Stanford University. She has won over 55 film awards worldwide.

Csilla Criner
Founder of Film Emporium Insurance Services NY

Csilla Criner is the founder of Film Emporium Insurance Services, a New York based insurance brokerage firm that specializes in insuring film projects from production through distribution & general entertainment companies. Services include special events, concerts, theatre and general insurance, since 1995. The company’s motto, “On Time & Under Budget” has enabled numerous productions to complete their projects, regardless of their budget level. Film Emporium prides themselves on treating a thesis film with the same attention and dedication as a big budget movie. Specialties: Entertainment & General Insurance’.

Brian Keane
Multi Emmy & Grammy Award-Winning Composer, Music Producer, and Guitarist

Brian Keane is a multi Emmy and Grammy award-winning American composer, music producer, and guitarist. Keane has been described as a musicians musician, a composers composer, and one of the most talented producers of a generation” by Billboard magazine.

Brian Keane grew up in Westport, Connecticut, and started his career as a guitarist, eventually touring and recording in a duo with Larry Coryell. Best known as a composer, Keanes first music score for a documentary came in 1980 with Against Wind and Tide: A Cuban Odyssey, which was nominated for an Academy Award. As the cable television business bloomed in the 1980s, Keane quickly became one of the foremost pioneers in documentary music scoring. By the 1990s The Hollywood Reporter respectfully called him the John Williams of the documentary.”

Brian has worked with every major network, and many multi award-winning filmmakers including Barry Levinson, Ric Burns, Susan Lacy, Henry Hampton, Stephen King, Sheila Nevins, Judy Crichton, and Thomas Lennon, scoring some of the most memorable documentaries in television history such as the epic Burns history of New York in New York: A Documentary Film, the inspiring story of the 1980 Olympic hockey team in Do you Believe in Miracles?, Jane Goodall’s Chimps: So Like Us, and The Battle Over Citizen Kane. Keane also pioneered a new approach to scoring sports programming with his innovative Emmy winning work for HBO, CBS, and ESPN, and created the music for the groundbreaking ABC News Turning Point in the early days of prime time documentaries. In addition, Brian has scored the music to several feature films, his music catalog is licensed by most major entertainment companies, and his music is performed all over the world.

It was a soundtrack release of his score to the 1987 documentary Süleyman the Magnificent that would launch Brian Keanes career as a Grammy winning world music producer. That score revolutionized Middle Eastern music and launched the career of Omar Faruk Tekbilek. Keane would become a leading producer of world music in the 1980s and 1990s after that, working with artists as diverse as Linda Ronstadt, Pete Seeger, Joanie Madden, Taj Mahal, Michael Hedges, Buckwheat Zydeco, Yomo Toro, Cyrus Chestnut, David Darling, John Sebastian, Vieux Diop, Eileen Ivers, Arlo Guthrie and The Clancy Brothers. Keane won a Grammy Award for his 1998 soundtrack Long Journey Home: The Irish in America with the Chieftains, Van Morrison, and Elvis Costello, among others. He has received several other Grammy nominations as well. Brian produced more than 150 records in his career, 37 of which were Billboard Top Ten charting.

With a career spanning well over 40 years, scoring over 700 film and television shows, garnering six Academy Awards, nine Peabody Awards, and over 70 Emmy Awards (18 of which won Emmys for Best Documentary or Series), as well as numerous other awards, Keane has received four Emmy Awards for music, and 20 Emmy nominations. He is the recipient of the New York Festivals TV & Film Grand Award, was recently inducted into the New England Music Hall of Fame along with Muddy Waters and James Cotton, and is the only composer to have ever swept all the Emmy nominations for music in a single year.

Barbara Kopple
Two-time Academy Award-Winning and Nine-Time Emmy Nominated Director/Producer

Barbara Kopple is a two-time Academy Award-winning documentary filmmaker for HARLAN COUNTY USA and AMERICAN DREAM as well as a nine-time Emmy-nominated filmmaker.
Her most recent work is DESERT ONE which tells the story of the daring U.S. Special Ops’ mission during the Iranian Hostage Crisis. The 2019 Toronto International Film Festival selected DESERT ONE for exhibition.


In 1991, the National Film Registry by the U.S. Library of Congress designated HARLAN COUNTY USA as an American Film Classic. The Women’s Preservation Fund and the Academy Film Archive restored and preserved HARLAN COUNTY USA, which was 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 and currently streams the film on their platform.

Alexa Whiteside
Attorney at Ramo Law PC

Alexa Whiteside joined Ramo Law as an Associate Attorney after graduating magna cum laude from Southwestern Law School in Los Angeles in 2017. She provides comprehensive production, distribution, and delivery legal services to producers and filmmakers in the creation of their film, television, and digital content; and focuses on expanding the firm’s work in clearances, licensing, and fair use.

Alexa serves as general counsel for production companies such as Kevin Hart’s production and distribution companies Laugh Out Loud! and Hartbeat Productions (“DIE HART,” “HART TO HEART,” “OLYMPIC HIGHLIGHTS WITH KEVIN HART AND SNOOP DOGG”) and Hybrid, LLC (“SHARING CHRISTMAS,” Vivica A. Fox Lifetime “WRONG” series, “KEEPING UP WITH THE JONESES” 3-part miniseries). Her other work includes production, distribution, and clearance legal on such feature films as 2020 SXSW selection “THE QUARRY” and Netflix films such as “SECRET OBSESSION” and “FATAL AFFAIR.”

Licensed in both California and North Carolina, she is the Film and Music Co-Chair, Secretary, and Council Member of the Sports and Entertainment Law Section of the North Carolina Bar Association, a committee member on the Pro Bono Awards Sub-Committee for the North Carolina Bar Foundation, co-chair of the Los Angeles based Professional Entertainment Female Attorneys (PEFA), and member of the American Bar Association and Los Angeles County Bar Association. She has provided various legal and filmmaking talks at her undergraduate alma mater New York University Tisch School of the Arts as well as through various organizations including recent speaking engagements with the National Black Law Student Association’s Western Regional Division, Roadmap Writers, and the Mecklenberg County Bar Association in Charlotte, NC. Furthermore, Alexa has a strong passion for pro bono opportunities and her involvement includes active participation with programs such as NC LEAP (Lawyers for Entrepreneurs Assistance Program), Wills for Heroes, and Legal Aid of North Carolina’s Lawyer on the Line program.  She was recognized in January 2021 for her pro bono efforts by the North Carolina Bar Association.

Recent credits include:

Fair Use Counsel for Jack Daniel’s branded documentary: “Chasing Whiskey”

Kevin Hart’s Laugh Out Loud! -2020 multi-platform deal with SiriusXM -2020 streaming deal with Peacock -2020 “Meditate with Me” partnership with Headspace -Stand-up special “Affion Crockett: Mirror II Society” -“The MDA Kevin Hart Kids Telethon,” a reboot of the Muscular Dystrophy Association’s telethon with Jerry Lewis

Select Production legal counsel credits for upcoming 2021/2022 releases: -Upcoming NASCAR/Bubba Wallace Netflix series (expected release 2021/2022) -Bruce Willis starring action film “American Siege” (expected release 2022) -Blue Fox Entertainment’s “Hero Mode” (2021) -CJ Entertainment’s “Press Play” (starring Danny Glover, expected release 2021)

Aideen Kane
VP of Production at Fork Films

Aideen oversees all Fork Films original productions from development through delivery. She recently coproduced and codirected The 8th, the story of how Ireland overturned one of the world’s most restrictive abortion laws and produced Women in Blue (dir. Deirdre Fishel & prod. Beth Levison). Previous credits include Emmy-winning and nominated, feature-length and television documentaries, including: The Armor of Light (dir. Abigail Disney & Kathleen Hughes), The Trials of Spring (dir. Gini Reticker & prod. Beth Levison ), The Awful Truth (dir. Michael Moore), Face to Face: The Schappell Twins (dir. Ellen Weissbrod), and Voices of the Children (dir. Zuzana Justman). In Ireland, Aideen produced several award-winning documentaries and short films, as well as the international theatrical hit Alone it Stands by John Breen.

Megan Gelstein
Emmy® Award-winning producer

Megan Gelstein is an Emmy® Award-winning producer and the Senior Program Director of Catapult Film Fund. In that role, she supports and cultivates independent, cinematic non-fiction filmmakers globally and provides creative, strategic, and editorial advice to supported films and filmmakers through Catapult’s artist development programs. Recent films supported by Catapult Film Fun include CRIP CAMP, MAYOR, STORM LAKE and PRAY AWAY.

Prior to joining Catapult, she worked as an independent producer where her work was supported by Sundance Documentary Fund and Chicken & Egg Pictures. Megan worked at PBS/WGBH-TV for over 15 years, where she produced and directed films for the flagship series American Experience and NOVA. She won a National Emmy® Award in the category of Research for her work on the PBS series “Africans in America:America’s Journey through Slavery”.Megan Gelstein

Emily Russo
Co-president and co-founder of Zeitgeist Films

Emily Russo is co-president and co-founder of the New York-based distribution company Zeitgeist Films. Founded with Nancy Gerstman in1988, Zeitgeist acquires and distributes acclaimed documentary and feature films from the United States and around the world. In over 33 years of business, Zeitgeist has released more than 200 films and has become internationally known as one of the premiere film distribution companies.

Five Zeitgeist films have been nominated for Academy Awards and one, NOWHERE IN AFRICA, won the 2002 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.   SOPHIE SCHOLL: THE FINAL DAYS, was nominated in this category in 2006. Zeitgeist’s films have been honored by festivals throughout the world with Grand Prizes at Cannes, Berlin, Sundance, Tribeca, and IDFA in Amsterdam.


Russo graduated from SUNY Binghamton with a degree in Cinema Studies.

The Museum of Modern Art honored Zeitgeist Films with a month-long 20th Anniversary retrospective of their films in 2008.

In 2017 Zeitgeist entered a multi-year partnership with Kino Lorber which continues to enhance their scope of theatrical releases with titles such as BOMBSHELL: THE HEDY LAMARR STOR and OLIVER SACKS: HIS OWN LIFE.

She has been a member of the Academy’s Executive Branch since 2017.

Christine Stronegger

Christine Stronegger is a filmmaker based in Oslo, Norway. She earned her B.F.A in film production and cinema studies at Long Island University where she graduated in 2015. While studying she interned at Tribeca Productions working with Jane Rosenthal and Robert De Niro on various projects. Since then Christine has worked in production both in New York and Oslo. She is currently studying to become a psychologist at the University of Oslo. Christine is very excited to have the US premiere of her latest short film “What Happened To Us” at Berkshire International Film Festival this year.

John Forsen

15 time Emmy-award winning filmmaker John Forsen began producing documentaries over 3 decades ago at PBS, and CBS, where he made documentaries, commercials and TV shows, and ultimately founded MagicHour Films. After 15 years, he launched Fidget Films, with which he has earned the New York Film Festival Best of Show Award, and a Gold Lion from the Cannes Film Festival. Recent and upcoming projects include a Washington State PBS Documentary series entitled “Seattle, What Happened?” and his recent “Song of Rapa Nui” about a concert pianist from Easter Island who set aside her burgeoning career as a soloist to start a free music school at home on Easter Island. The Emmy nominated work is now airing on Amazon Prime in over 68 countries.  His documentary for the national PBS program “Pilchuck, a dance with fire,” about the history of the Pilchuck glass school won a 2016 Emmy.  His documentary about Lino Tagliapietra is premiering at the Berkshires Film Festival in September of 2021.

Alex Wolf Lewis

Alex Wolf Lewis is a director and DP based in New York City and Portland, Maine. As a director, credits include, Snowy (Sundance 2021), Single Room Occupancy (SIFF 2016, Big Sky 2017, Short of The Week) and Hildegarde’s Piano (Rooftop Film Festival 2019). As a DP, he has travelled the world for work, shooting for Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown, Vice, Netflix, HBO, CNN, PBS, A&E, Discovery, Well Groomed (HBO Sports, SXSW 2019, Hot Docs 2019) and 2nd Unit DP on the narrative feature Critical Thinking, dir. John Leguizamo, (SXSW 2020).  When not making films, he volunteers as an EMT for the town of Falmouth, Maine.


Kaitlyn Schwalje

Kaitlyn Schwalje is a science journalist and documentary director based in Portland, Maine. She received a B.S. in Physics from Carnegie Mellon University and completed her postgraduate studies at the Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design. Before pivoting to storytelling, Kaitlyn worked for the research division of the Walt Disney Company. Her stories about her disaster obsessed father, tsunamis, and city squirrels appear in CBC, Atlas Obscura, WNYC, 99% Invisible, Nat Geo, and others. Director Credits include Snowy (Sundance ‘21), The Turkey Relocation Project (in production). 


Julia Morrison

Julia Morrison is a producer, writer, and editor based in New York City. Julia began her career in documentary television at Middlemarch Films, producing historical documentaries on figures such as Alexander Hamilton, Benjamin Franklin and Dolley Madison for the PBS series, AMERICAN EXPERIENCE. She also produced current affairs documentaries for New York Times Television, including the award-winning MLK BOULEVARD and CHINA RISES: GETTING RICH.  In 2011 she formed Paper Chain Productions with her partner James E. Duff and produced, wrote and edited the narrative feature film, HANK AND ASHA, which won the Audience Award at the Slamdance Film Festival. It went on to screen at more than 50 international film festivals, winning more than 20 awards, and is distributed by FilmRise. Julia studied film and East Asian Studies at Wesleyan University, and editing in New York City at The Edit Center.

Lindsay Richardson

Lindsay Richardson received a BA from Brown University and an MFA from the School of Visual Arts. Most recently, she was the co-producer on Ugly Delicious (season 1), an 8 hour food docu-series by Momofuku restaurateur/chef David Chang and Academy Award-winning director Morgan Neville (20 Feet From Stardom) on Netflix. Previously, she was the associate producer on Roger Ross Williams’ Sundance award-winning and Oscar-nominated feature documentary, Life Animated. Beyond her extensive work producing documentary films, she has taught courses in documentary film production at Brown University, and started an artist residency in Rhode Island. She lives in Jamestown, RI.

Pamela Tanner Boll

Pamela Tanner Boll, an artist, filmmaker, writer, and activist, is the Founder and CEO of Mystic Artists Film Productions.  She directed and produced A Small Good Thing, a film that asks how can we live in a better way; Who Does She Think She Is?, a film about five artists who are mothers; and her current project To Which We Belong highlighting farmers and ranchers who use regenerative practices that help to reverse climate change.  She is the Co-Executive Producer of Academy Award-winning Born into Brothels, and the Executive Producer of eleven documentaries: Connected; In a Dream; Our Summer in Tehran; Strange Powers: Stephin Merritt and the Magnetic Fields; Living in Emergency: Stories of Doctors without Border; She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry; Close to the Fire; E-Team; Teen Press; Obit; and Storm Lake. She lives in Boulder, Colorado.



Patrick J. Toole

Patrick J. Toole is an independent filmmaker living in the Berk-shires of western Massachusetts. He has written and directed numer-ous plays and films. He used a “non-interference ethos to capture the authentic words and actions of the many students in the film”. He worked closely with Robert Drew, the cinéma vérité pioneer on the last film of his life. This is Patrick’s first feature documentary.

Kevin G. Coleman

Kevin G. Coleman is a founding member of Shakespeare & Company in Lenox, Massachusetts where he teaches, acts and directs. He is head of its Education Program, and the creator of the Fall Festival of Shake-speare and numerous other projects. He has twice received awards from the White House for innovative programming, and was twice nominated for the Tony Award in Education. Additionally, he serves as the theatre director at the Austen Riggs Center, the renowned psychiatric facility in Stockbridge, MA. This is Kevin’s first documentary

Julie Flanders

Writer/Narrator Julie Flanders is a best-selling poet and award-winning songwriter and producer. Co-founder of the internationally acclaimed music group, October Project. Julie is also a Creative Business Strategist and Executive Leadership coach, with expertise in trance states and neuro-linguistics. Her clients include household name world-changers from the fields of culture, technology, visionary thought authorship and the arts. 


Marina Belica

Executive & Creative Producer October Project Music. Marina Belica, Julie Flanders and Emil Adler form the collaborative October Project Music, independent producers of music, events, videos and multi-media. Their most recent projects include The Book of Rounds, a 32 Voice, 21 Song Cycle of positive messages and The Ghost of Childhood, a much-awaited album of their band October Project, due in October.

Melissa Jackson

Melissa Jackson ( & is an award-winning actress and producer based in New York City. She has acted for Academy Award-winner Paul Haggis in The Next Three Days with Russell Crowe, Wu Tang Clan’s RZA in Love Beats Rhymes with Azealia Banks, and starred in Randall Dottin’s Fevah alongside Russell Hornsby. Jackson can currently be seen starring in Hung Up (Dir. Damon O’Steen) for which she’s won the Best Actress award at Reedy Reels, Wild Bunch, and Deep In The Heart Film Festivals. She is currently developing a cowgirl feature slated for production in 2022.


Nikhil Melnechuk

Nikhil Melnechuk ( & is an award-winning filmmaker, and a graduate of Wesleyan University. He directed narrative festival hits Jack and Jill and Something Happened and produced Fevah (Dir. Randall Dottin) and Jerome’s Bouquet (Dir. Bebe Neuwirth), among others. His latest short production Hung Up (Dir. Damon O’Steen) is currently in festivals with a cowgirl feature in development, and his feature doc. Don’t Be Nice (Dir. Max Powers) is now available on Apple TV and DVD, and is 91% Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes.

Eden Wurmfeld

Eden Wurmfeld is an Emmy-nominated fiction and documentary producer and director who is committed to ushering compelling characters and moving stories to the screen. Most recently, Eden produced The Big Scary “S” Word, currently in the festival circuit. Before that, she produced the Netflix Original Saving Capitalism, featuring Former Labor Secretary Robert Reich, which launched worldwide in 2017. Among her other documentary credits are No Impact Man, Left On Purpose, My So-Called Enemy, Romeo Romeo and Sunset Story. Eden’s earlier fiction films include the award-winning indie hit Kissing Jessica Stein, The Hammer, and Swingers. For a full filmography, see her IMDb page.

Doug Roland

Doug Roland is an Oscar-nominated director for his film Feeling Through, which is the first film to star a DeafBlind actor. Featured on The Nightly News with Lester Holt, The Daily Show, in The New York Times, and LA Times and winner of over 40 film festival awards, Feeling Through is executive produced by Oscar winner Marlee Matlin and was made in partnership with Helen Keller National Center. Alongside HKNC, Doug created a fully accessible screening event around the film called The Feeling Through Experience, which has been featured at international conferences as well as schools and universities.

Doug’s short film Jada became a viral sensation with over 24 million views on YouTube. Doug produced the feature film Life Hack which won 16 awards on the festival circuit, including Best Independent Feature at the Cleveland International Film Festival. He studied film at the University of Wisconsin Madison and FAMU in Prague.


Nadia Szold

After reading “Waiting for Godot” at 17, Nadia Szold formed the theatre troupe Cojones Company in Great Barrington, MA. Fourteen plays later, she founded Cinema Imperfecta. Her award winning first feature, “Joy de V.”, starring Evan Louison, Josephine de La Baume and Claudia Cardinale, premiered at Slamdance in 2013 to critical acclaim and a nod from the Jury. Her second feature, “Mariah,” starring Dakota Goldhor and Evan Louison, was shot in Mexico during the rise of vigilante groups reclaiming cartel controlled regions. A Film Independent Fellow of the 2016 Documentary Lab, Szold’s latest documentary “Larry Flynt for President” premiered at Tribeca 2021 to acclaim from press and love from audiences.

Johnny Irion

Johnny Irion is a rocker in and out of time. There’s something kind of timeless in the way he wrings out the sweetest melodies and deeper passions of both ‘60s Californian rock and Guthrie-era folk, and something so timely about the way he does it – there’s a reason Bernie Sanders asked him to sing at a rally in his sometimes-home of Santa Barbara.

Best known for his folk explorations with his wife Sarah Lee Guthrie, including their recent Wassaic Way produced by Jeff Tweedy, and his latest rock venture with US ELEVATOR, which Will Hermes of Rolling Stone Magazine praised for its “songs that are handcrafted as lovingly as the jeans on the back of After the Goldrush,” Irion has earned a reputation as one of the most exciting artists across the folk-rock spectrum, from his uncannily Young-Nilsson-esque voice to his melodic and lyrical mettle.


Gerry Moffatt

As an expedition kayaker credited with first descents of Himalayan wild rivers, Gerry Moffatt is considered “the most experienced whitewater guide in the Himalayas” by National Geographic. As an expedition leader and award-winning filmmaker for Nat Geo, BBC, Discovery, Travel Channel, Men’s Journal, Outdoor Life, and his own company Thunder Dragon, Gerry has summited Everest twice for film productions and led many dozens of adventures over 35 years across Africa and Asia, Greenland, Alaska, and South America. When he isn’t in the field behind or in front of the camera, Gerry is a frequent guest speaker and popular expedition lead


Chyna Robinson

Winner of several Best Director, Best Screenplay, and Best Film awards on the national and international film circuit, Chyna Robinson is a writer, director and producer. Her director work includes historical drama Greenwood: 13 Hours, thriller Lola Lisa, and most recently, romantic thriller No Ordinary Love. After received multiple accolades from Best Film to numerous Best Edit and Best Actor awards, No Ordinary Love will be released to Video on Demand platforms in June 2021. 

Robinson is currently preparing to shoot a love story, and has started pre-production for a Sci-Fi Fantasy film she has written and will be directing. Featured at the 2020 American Black Film Festival, and recognized at SXSW as a “Female Filmmaker to Watch,” she is committed to telling compelling stories with women in key roles in front of, and behind, the camera. She has served as a member of the film and grant juries for Indie Memphis Film Festival and the Diversity in Cannes Short Film Showcase. Robinson is also a member of the female forward film group, Film Fatales in Las Angeles.

Dave Sondrini

Born in 1986. Dave Sondrini has been writing fiction and making films for 15 years.  His shorts have been selected to The Cape Fear International Film Festival, Waltham Film Factory Shorts Fest and Popcorn Roulette.  Best known for the web-series Business Men- Dave lives in Western Massachusetts where he is currently in pre-production on a feature film.  He makes his living as a commercial video producer.  

Emma Jaeger

Emma Jaeger is a student at Parsons School of Design on deferral due to Covid happily found herself with two key roles in the making of Ready to Wear. This is not only her acting debut but her first time as a production designer. 


Elleni Sclavenitis

Elleni Sclavenitis’s work considers the world through the lens of history and explores repressed historical events in order to expose the power structures underlying conceptions of historical truth. Through all of her projects, Sclavenitis aims to show how the past reverberates throughout the present in significant and often unacknowledged ways. She has exhibited at venues including Kasseler Dokfest in Kassel, Germany; Schikaneder Kinosaal in Vienna, Austria; REDCAT and The Museum of Jurassic Technology in Los Angeles; Orange County Museum of Art in Newport Beach, CA; The Hirshhorn Museum in Washington DC; The Tallgrass Film Festival in Wichita, KS; The Pocahontas Reframed Film Festival at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts; and the Santa Fe Film Festival, among others. She has worked as a film editor in Los Angeles and taught in the art department at Otis College of Design. She received her MFA from California Institute of the Arts. She is based in Denver, Colorado.

Christian D. Bruun

Christian is a director and producer of documentary and narrative film and television, and is a member of the Producers Guild of America. His films have garnered awards, have had international theatrical and television distribution, and have been in official selection at Sundance, Tribeca, Berlin, Locarno, IDFA, Hot Docs, and DOC NYC festivals.

Most recently, he produced and directed Calendar Girl, a documentary feature film about Ruth Finley, New York fashion industry trailblazer for over 70 years and influential creator of The Fashion Calendar, and produced civil rights drama Son of the South about longtime civil rights activist Bob Zellner (produced by Spike Lee, directed by Barry Alexander Brown, and starring Brian Dennehy, Lucas Till, and Lucy Hale)

Currently, Christian is directing a feature documentary film, as of now untitled, about contemporary art powerhouse gallerist Marian Goodman and the evolution of her namesake gallery through the evolution of her unique stable of artists. He is also producing the Podcast, Monuments Woman, about archaeologist Laura Tedescos’ eleven-year tenure to preserve cultural heritage in Afghanistan.

In addition, Christian is developing two feature films. Candy is based on the true story of transgender Andy Warhol muse Candy Darling (1944–1974), and her struggle for fame in 1970s New York City, along with her friends Holly Woodlawn and Jackie Curtis. Another, as of now untitled, is based on the true story of African-American painter William H. Johnson (1901–1970), of his life and career in Scandinavia, his return to the United States upon the rise of the Nazi regime in Europe, and the systemic racism he came up against back home that prevented him from being acknowledged until after his death

Other notable work includes Danish Film Academy Awards (Robert) and the Danish Film Critics Awards (Bodil) winner for best documentary film The Man Who Saved the World about former Soviet lieutenant colonel Stanislav Petrov who prevented a nuclear war in 1983 (featuring Kevin Costner, Russian and English language). Christian directed The Burning Child about art, home, and exile, a look at the Jewish fate in early 20th-century Vienna through the life of Austrian-born American painter Henry Koerner (German and English language). He produced other award-winning documentaries Please Hold the Line (Romanian language), Secondo Me, filmed at Vienna State Opera, La Scala in Milan, and Odessa Opera House (Italian, Russian, and German language), and The Road Movie (Russian language), the last of which was winner of British National Film & TV Awards. He directed, produced, wrote, and shot Blue Gold: American Jeans, acquired by Netflix.

James E. Duff

James E. Duff is an award-winning director of narrative features, documentaries and shorts, as well as theatre in New York City. His independent feature film, HANK AND ASHA, won the Audience Award at the Slamdance Film Festival.  It went on to screen at more than 50 international film festivals, winning more than 20 awards, and is distributed by FilmRise. His short film, LIFE IS A SWEET, screened at over 40 festivals worldwide, and his documentary, THE CYCLE ALSO RISES, was broadcast nationally on PBS as part of the POV series. He spent two years in West Africa directing development and human rights documentaries, and has taught filmmaking at Prague Film School, Stone Street Studios in NYC, at a refugee camp in the Sahara desert, and in India and Kenya.  James earned his MFA in directing from USC’s School of Cinematic Arts, where he won a fellowship for excellence in directing actors.

Michelle Gomez

Michelle Gomez has been acting for the better part of three decades, appearing in leading roles on Broadway, in London’s West End and at the world renowned Royal Shakespeare Company. She’s given us iconic galactic super-villainy, and has starred in multi-award winning film, TV and theatre productions on five continents. She formed GoGo Productions as a way to explore stories and themes that are close to her creative heart, and to develop interesting projects for an amazing group of talented people that she has met on her journey to the director’s chair (bullhorn optional).

A.B. Zax

A storyteller fascinated by the dialogue between people and place, A.B. Zax studied film and creative writing at Emerson College, before embarking on a career through the worlds of film production, film programming, and writing. This is his first feature.

Joe Brown

Joe Brown is a filmmaker and educator currently based at the University of Denver. His documentary work focuses on the environment, animals, and the way humans interact with the natural world. His films have screened at: The Big Sky Documentary Film Festival; The Wild & Scenic Film Festival; AmDocs; the Birmingham Sidewalk Festival; the Dallas International Film Festival, and many more venues.

Josh Aarons

Josh Aarons is a writer, director and creative, telling stories and developing concepts for film, music videos, and commercials.

Working with artist ‘Corre’ in 2018, Josh wrote and directed ‘Rituals’, a cinematic album short shot in Gothenburg, Sweden, and featuring Annica Liljeblad from the 2018 Oscar-nominated picture ‘The Square’. Josh produced and directed a series of digital commercials and projects for Barclays, Lifewords Global and PingIt. Josh’s ongoing documentary, ‘British Farming’, has been featured by the BBC and ITV to a regular audience of 7 million and a growing digital audience. In 2020 Josh produced and directed several music videos, including Henry Green’s ‘Realign’, shot in the Canary Islands, Spain. In late 2019, Josh wrote and co-produced ‘Coal In Their Veins’, shot in late 2020.

Beth Levinson

Beth Levison is an independent Emmy and Peabody-winning filmmaker based in NYC.  Levison’s most recent film, STORM LAKE, which she directed and produced alongside director/DP Jerry Risius, is about one family’s efforts to unite and inform their Iowan farming town through their biweekly newspaper—at the very same time that the paper hangs on by a thread.  The film launched at the 2021 Full Frame Documentary Film Festival and is headed to national public television in fall 2021.  Prior to that, she produced WOMEN IN BLUE (2020 Tribeca Film Festival) about gender, violence and race in American policing, and Emmy-nominated MADE IN BOISE (AFI DOCS 2019), which features four women who carry babies for strangers in Boise, Idaho – the unofficial surrogacy capital of the U.S.  Additional producing credits include PERSONAL STATEMENT (PBS 2018), 32 PILLS:  MY SISTER’S SUICIDE (HBO 2017), and her documentary directorial debut LEMON (PBS 2011).  Consulting Producer credit include CHARM CIRCLE (Sheffield Doc/Fest 2021), COOKED (DOC NYC 2018) and MARINA ABRAMOVIC: THE ARTIST IS PRESENT (Sundance 2011).  Levison is the founder of Hazel Pictures, a co-founder of the Documentary Producers Alliance (DPA), producing faculty with the School of Visual Arts MFA program in Social Documentary Film, a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and mom to Ben and Gabe.Be

Dalit Merhav

Dalit began her career as a video editor in Tel Aviv, Israel, at the age of 19 and quickly reached the top of her game, working on TV programmes and commercials. In 1995, Dalit relocated to London, to continue her career in Soho, as a music video editor, working on videos for artists including Travis, UB40, and the award-winning video for Roni Size, ‘Brown Paper Bag’.

With a growing passion for editing full feature films, Dalit completed two short films but decided to hold on pursuing this further as she had a young family.

In 2000, she relocated to Yorkshire working with Yorkshire Television and numerous indie production companies such as True North Productions and Chameleon Television.

In 2007 Dalit took a side step from editing to set up a successful music production company, ‘Firm Music’, supplying music to Universal Music, Sony and BMG. Yet her heart remained in TV and film.

After a ten year hiatus, Dalit returned to her passion and dream by establishing ORA Films, focusing on telling life-changing stories.

In 2020, Dalit directed and edited her first short film, ‘Coal In Their Veins’.

Mark Cade

Mark Daniel Cade has a BFA in Musical-Theater from the University of Michigan and an MFA in Acting from the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco. After completing his graduate studies, Mark was offered a recurring role on All My Children and immediately moved to New York to begin filming. While in New York Mark focused mainly on Soap Opera and Theater work. He played the role of “Paul” in the Broadway National Tour of Six Degrees Of Separation and relocated to Los Angeles after finishing the tour. Mark was fortunate enough to have played Co-Star, Guest Star and Recurring roles on The O. C., Beverly Hills 90210, Friends and Seinfeld. Then Mark changed his focus to Film work, playing supporting roles in American East and Meaning of Violence and the leading role in True Men. Eventually Mark felt a strong desire to tell the stories of his own choosing. To start the creative process with writing his own screenplays. This led to his most current films, The Cage and Nice Guy. Mark is very honored to be included in Berkshire International Film Festival!

Jenn Gomez

Jenn Gomez is an avid fan of films, good food, and supporting her local community. Now a filmmaker living in the Berkshires of Western Massachusetts, she began her professional career in television news in Norfolk, Virginia. She later moved to Massachusetts to serve as an AmeriCorps VISTA for the City of Pittsfield. Jenn is currently the Marketing Supervisor at Theory Wellness and serves on the board of the Berkshire Immigrant Center and the Lee Bank Foundation. In her spare time, she enjoys watching and learning the art of movie-making from various directors, her favorites being Wong Kar-wai and Hayao Miyazaki.

Greg Jacobs

Greg Jacobs is the co-director, with Jon Siskel, of the feature documentary The Road Up, which premiered in October 2020 at the Chicago International Film Festival, winning the Audience Award for Best Documentary. The co-founder of Chicago-based Siskel/Jacobs Productions, Greg most recently wrote and co-directed No Small Matter, the first feature documentary about the power and potential impact of early childhood education, which has helped move the needle on the issue nationally through more than 1400 screenings. Prior to that, Greg co-directed the acclaimed documentary Louder Than a Bomb, about the world’s largest youth poetry slam, which won seventeen festival awards, aired nationally on the Oprah Winfrey Network, and helped spawn more than fifteen LTAB-style events (and counting) around the country. Greg also served as Executive Producer of the groundbreaking History Channel documentary102 Minutes that Changed America, which won three Primetime Emmys, including Outstanding Nonfiction Special, as well as the National Geographic Channel special Witness: Katrina, which won the News and Documentary Emmy for Outstanding Historical Programming. Before launching SJP, Greg served as Chief Creative Officer at Towers Productions, where he oversaw the content of more than 200 documentaries on six different networks. A native of Columbus, Ohio, Greg is the author of Getting Around Brown: Desegregation, Development, and the Columbus Public Schools, and a 2016 New America Fellow.