Meet the Team

Raphaela Neihausen

Raphaela Neihausen

DOC NYC Executive Director

Raphaela Neihausen is Executive Director of DOC NYC, America’s largest documentary festival (now in its ninth year), Split Screens Festival  (now in its second year) and Stranger Than Fiction, a weekly series at IFC Center (now in its fourteenth year). From 2011 – 2014, she launched the Montclair Film Festival, as Executive Director. Prior to that, she worked for seven years at Mercer Management Consulting (now Oliver Wyman), advising Fortune 100 companies on strategic growth. Neihausen co-hosts WNYC’s “Doc of the Week” and executive produces the podcast Pure Nonfiction. She also produced the feature documentary Miss Gulag and the 2017 Oscar® nominated short film Joe’s Violin. She holds a BSFS/MA from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service.

Thom Powers

DOC NYC Artistic Director

Thom Powers has been the documentary programmer for the Toronto International Film Festival since 2006. He oversaw TIFF’s Mavericks conversation series for nine years and created the TIFF Doc Conference. He curates the digital streaming platform SundanceNow Doc Club; and serves as the Artistic Director of Stranger Than Fiction and DOC NYC. He hosts the podcast Pure Nonfiction and WNYC’s Documentary of the Week. He was the founding Artistic Director of the Montclair Film Festival in New Jersey from 2012-14. He programs for the Miami International Film Festival and teaches at the School of Visual Arts. He is a co-founder of the Cinema Eye Honors and the Garrett Scott Documentary Development Grant. He previously spent a decade directing documentaries for HBO, PBS and other outlets; and worked as marketing director and editor at Fantagraphics Books. On Twitter: @thompowers

John Vanco

John Vanco

Senior Vice President and General Manager, IFC Center

Through his leadership roles in film distribution and exhibition over the last 15 years, John Vanco has strived to connect great works of cinema with appreciative audiences. Greenwich Village’s IFC Center, led by Vanco since its 2005 opening, is the bricks and mortar home of IFC Entertainment and serves as a focal point for the independent film community. As one of the founders of Cowboy Pictures, Vanco led the distribution efforts on behalf of dozens of foreign language, documentary and American fiction features, including works by Lynne Ramsay, David Gordon Green, Catherine Breillat and Shohei Imamura. Cowboy also programmed an innovative film calendar at a Manhattan cinema and managed the theatrical libraries of Janus Films and Pennebaker/Hegedus films. Previously, Vanco served in various capacities at Miramax, New Yorker Films and Fine Line Features.

>Harris Dew

Harris Dew

Vice President, Programs and Promotions, IFC Center

Harris Dew has worked in film programming and publicity for over 15 years, holding positions at New Yorker Films, the San Francisco International Film Festival, the Museum of Modern Art and Film Forum. He has a BA in Comparative Literature from Columbia University and an MA in Film History from NYU.

>Basil Tsiokos

Basil Tsiokos

DOC NYC Director of Programming

Basil Tsiokos has been part of DOC NYC’s team since 2012. In addition to serving as Director of Programming for DOC NYC, he is Documentary Programming Associate for the Sundance Film Festival and Film Program Director for the Nantucket Film Festival. Basil was the Artistic and Executive Director of NewFest: The NY LGBT Film Festival between 1996-2008. He writes about documentaries daily at what (not) to doc and via Twitter @1basil1. Basil holds a Masters degree from New York University and two undergraduate degrees from Stanford University.

>Deborah Rudolph

Deborah Rudolph

DOC NYC Director of Development and DOC NYC PRO

Deborah Rudolph has been with DOC NYC for the past three years as Director of Sponsorship and Producer of DOC NYC PRO. She is also Associate Programmer at the Tribeca Film Festival. She served as Producer of Points North at the Camden International Film Festival, and for many years as Manager of Corporate Social Responsibility at HBO. She has been a large-scale event producer for both for-profit and non-profit organizations, as well as a film evaluator for POV, Catapult Film Fund, and Chicken & Egg Pictures. She holds a BFA in Film & Photography from NYU, and a Master of Science in Communication from Columbia University.

Dana Krieger

DOC NYC Program Manager & Director of Operations

Dana Krieger has been with DOC NYC since it all began in 2010. She has spent the past 15 years producing and creating large scale, high profile events, ranging from major film festivals to the Olympics. Dana completed her undergraduate studies at Georgetown University and earned a Masters in Public Administration from Columbia University.

Opal H. Bennett

DOC NYC Shorts Programmer

Opal has been a Programmer since 2014 and joined DOC NYC in 2015.  Beginning as a volunteer for the first Sundance London Film Festival, she now curates year round. Opal is on the programming teams for Aspen Shortsfest, Athena, Nantucket and Tribeca Film Festivals, and is a Program Consultant for The March on Washington Film Festival. A Columbia Law grad, Opal holds a Masters in Media Studies from the LSE, and received her B.A. from New York University.

Ruth Somalo


Ruth Somalo is a Spanish filmmaker, programmer and researcher. She has been with DOC NYC since 2010. She also serves as Associate Festival Director and Head Programmer of the Human Rights Film Festival IIFF DOCS, and is a programmer for DocumentaMadrid and the Architecture and Design Film Festival. As an independent curator, her latest work is “Holy Fluids” at Union Docs, and “Broken Senses” at Anthology Film Archives/Flaherty NYC. With 18 years of experience in the audiovisual field in Spain, UK and the USA, her nonfiction work has been shown theatrically and recognized at international film festivals and museums.

Karen McMullen

Associate Programmer

Karen McMullen is a recovering film editor teaching post production at Long Island University in Brooklyn. She is head of programming at the upcoming TIDE Film festival and is lead curators for New Voices in Black Cinema at BAM. She’s a juror at the Pan African and Bentonville Film Festivals and has also worked with Sundance, Nantucket and the African Film Festivals. She is a graduate of Brown University.

Jessica Fairbanks

Program Manager & Associate Programmer

Jessie joined DOC NYC as Program Manager and Associate Programmer in 2018 after several years as part of the Screening Committee. She is also an Assistant Programmer at the Tribeca Film Festival and has served on selection committees for the Hamptons International Film Festival, the Chicago International Film Festival, and Rooftop Films among others. Previously she was the Project Manager for BAMcinematek and oversaw all operations and logistics for BAMcinemaFest. As a creative producer and arts administrator, Jessie has managed a variety of events for clients including HBO, The Documentary Group, David Byrne, and Focus Features. She holds a BA from the University of California, Santa Barbara and is a certified Project Management Professional with the Project Management Institute.

Sarah Modo

Communications Coordinator

A fan of the arts and expression, Sarah has found great joy working in the film festival world. Besides coordinating communications for DOC NYC, she is also a producer on Pure Nonfiction and runs operations for Stranger than Fiction. Previously, Sarah worked at the Montclair Film Festival and Argot Pictures. She holds a BA from Montclair State University in Television and Digital Media.