Journalism and Documentary Day (Nov. 16)
JOURNALISM AND DOCUMENTARY DAY – TUESDAY, NOV. 16
Hear from experts as we explore the nexus of journalism and doc filmmaking, digging into issues like journalistic distance, power dynamics, and ethics.
Journalism and Documentary Day is co-presented by:
The day starts with Breakfast (9-10 AM) and ends with a Happy Hour (4:15-5:15 PM) co-presented by NBC News Studios.
Why Are So Many News Organizations Getting into the Documentary Business?
NBC News Studios. TIME Studios. The New York Times. Vox Media. The documentary industry is ripe with compelling stories and a burgeoning and hungry audience. Hear from thought leaders at five news organizations—Liz Cole (NBC News Studios), Kathleen Lingo (The New York Times), Yvette Miley (NBCU News Group), Rebecca Teitel (TIME Studios) and Emily Anderson (Vox Media)—as they explain their new and expanding role in the industry with moderator Molly O’Brien (NBC News Studios).
Editorial Director for Film and TV, The New York Times
VP Documentary, TIME Studios
President, NBC News Studios
VP, Vox Video & TV
SVP, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, NBCU News Group
Power Dynamics in Documentary and Journalism
Holding a mirror up to someone’s life imbues one with tremendous power. And when that person belongs to a vulnerable population, the power dynamic grows even more intense. Documentary filmmakers Dawn Porter (John Lewis: Good Trouble), David France (Welcome to Chechnya) and Diane Tsai (Be Our Guest) discuss the ethical and power implications of telling other people’s stories with moderator NBC journalist Jacob Soboroff.
Filmmaker (John Lewis: Good Trouble)
Filmmaker (Welcome to Chechnya)
Senior Producer, TIME
Journalist, NBC News
Proximity, Access, and Journalistic Distance
As documentary filmmakers, how do we maintain objectivity while simultaneously going deep into someone’s life? We welcome Sonia Kennebeck (United States vs Reality Winner) and Julie Cohen (Julia, RBG) and CJ Hunt (The Neutral Ground), as they describe their process with moderator Nina Alvarez (Columbia University School of Journalism).
Director (My Name is Pauli Murray)
Filmmaker (United States vs Reality Winner)
Covid: Journalism And Documentary Filmmaking
As every news organization in every medium threw themselves at the story that dominated the world, how did documentary filmmakers create work that was unique, beyond the news cycle, but also rooted in the best journalism? What were the key considerations for these filmmakers in telling this once in a century story? Led by director Janet Tobias (Fauci), Noted documentary filmmakers Nanfu Wang (In The Same Breath), Ali Moss (Fauci) and Matthew Heineman (The First Wave) will discuss the choices they made during an ever evolving 24/7 story.
Filmmaker (In The Same Breath)
Director, Producer, Director of Photography, Editor
Heineman is an Academy Award®-nominated and Emmy Award-winning filmmaker. The Sundance Film Festival called Heineman “one of the most talented and exciting documentary filmmakers working today”, while Anne Thompson of Indiewire wrote that Heineman is a “respected and gifted filmmaker who combines gonzo fearlessness with empathetic sensitivity.”
Upcoming, he directed, produced, shot and edited THE FIRST WAVE, a feature documentary film with exclusive access inside one of New York City’s hardest-hit hospital systems during the harrowing first four months of the COVID-19 pandemic. Employing Heineman’s signature approach of character-driven cinéma vérité, he and his team embeds with a group of doctors, nurses and patients on the frontlines as they face one of the greatest threats the world has ever encountered. With each of their distinct storylines serving as a microcosm through which we can view the emotional and societal impacts of the pandemic, THE FIRST WAVE is ultimately a testament to the strength of the human spirit. Neon will release the film in theaters later this year ahead of a broadcast premiere on National Geographic in 172 countries.
Most recently, Heineman directed Amazon’s THE BOY FROM MEDELLÍN, an astonishingly intimate portrait of one of the biggest international music superstars of our time. The documentary follows J Balvin as he prepares for the most important concert of his career—a sold-out stadium show in his hometown of Medellín, Colombia. But as the performance draws ever closer, the streets explode with growing political unrest, forcing the Latin GRAMMY®-winning musician to wrestle with his responsibility as an artist to his country and his legions of fans around the globe. Shot entirely in the dramatic week leading up to the concert, THE BOY FROM MEDELLÍN gives us unprecedented access to the “Prince of Reggaeton,” and provides an immersive look into one of the most pivotal and emotionally charged moments of his life. Amazon released the documentary on May 7, 2021.
Additionally, Heineman recently co-directed with Matthew Hamachek the two-part documentary TIGER, which he also executive produced. The documentary, which was released by HBO in two parts in January 2021, offers a revealing look at the rise, fall, and epic comeback of global icon Tiger Woods.
In 2019, he received a nomination for Outstanding Directorial Achievement of a First Time Feature Film Director from the Directors Guild of America for his narrative debut, A PRIVATE WAR—making Heineman and Martin Scorsese the only filmmakers ever nominated for both narrative and documentary DGA Awards. A PRIVATE WAR stars Jamie Dornan, Tom Hollander, Stanley Tucci, and Oscar-nominee Rosamund Pike as legendary war reporter Marie Colvin. The film premiered at the 2018 Toronto International Film Festival before being released nationwide by Aviron Pictures. It was a New York Times Critics’ Pick, and Variety hailed the film as “Heineman’s astonishing narrative debut” and “an incredibly sophisticated, psychologically immersive film.” A PRIVATE WAR also earned two Golden Globe® nominations for Best Actress and Best Original Song.
Heineman directed and executive produced THE TRADE, a Showtime docu-series that chronicles a different topic each season, from the opioid crisis to human trafficking, through the eyes of those most affected. It was described by The Hollywood Reporter as “a thriller…like TRAFFIC only current and real”, while the New York Times said, “Heineman has shown an uncanny ability to gain access to hard-to-reach people and places.” Both seasons of the show premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and received overwhelming critical acclaim and awards recognition, including Best Episodic Series at the 2018 International Documentary Association Awards for season one and two News & Documentary Emmy Awards for season two, including Outstanding Direction for Heineman.
His documentary film CITY OF GHOSTS, which follows a group of citizen-journalists exposing the horrors of ISIS, premiered at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival and was distributed worldwide by Amazon Studios before having its broadcast premiere on A&E. Heineman won his second Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Documentary Award from the DGA for the film—one of only three directors to win the prestigious honor twice. CITY OF GHOSTS also won the Courage Under Fire Award from the International Documentary Association “in recognition of conspicuous bravery in the pursuit of truth” and was listed on over 20 critics and year-end lists for Best Documentary of 2017. The film was also nominated for a BAFTA Award, PGA Award, IDA Award, and Primetime Emmy for Exceptional Merit in Documentary Filmmaking.
CARTEL LAND, which explores vigilantes taking on the Mexican drug cartels, was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature and won three Primetime Emmy Awards, including Exceptional Merit in Documentary Filmmaking and Best Cinematography. The film premiered in the U.S. Documentary Competition at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival, where Heineman won the Best Director Award and Special Jury Prize for Cinematography. CARTEL LAND was also awarded the Courage Under Fire Award, the DGA Award for Outstanding Achievement in Documentary, and the George Polk Award in Journalism. The film was released theatrically nationwide by The Orchard and had its broadcast premiere on A&E.
He previously co-directed and produced the feature-length, Emmy-nominated documentary ESCAPE FIRE: The Fight to Rescue American Healthcare; collaborated for two years on the Emmy-nominated HBO series, THE ALZHEIMER’S PROJECT; and also directed and produced OUR TIME, his first documentary about what it’s like to be young in America.
Heineman, a 2005 graduate of Dartmouth College, is based in New York City.
To experience the DOC NYC PRO lineup, purchase an individual PRO Day Pass (via the purchase button above) to hone in on a specific subject, or benefit from discounted pricing when you purchase Multi-Day Pass Packs to an assortment of topic strands.
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DOC NYC PRO is co-presented by: