Join us for an enlightening day of panels featuring renowned producers and directors as they share their experiences, insights, and best practices in crafting compelling documentary films.
Producing and Directing Day is co-presented by:
In the Festival Lounge, the day starts with Breakfast (9-10AM) and ends with a Happy Hour (4:30-5:30PM).
ESPN Films: Sports & Beyond
This panel will focus on the business of developing and producing documentary series, features, and shorts. Moderated by Marsha Cooke, ESPN’s Vice President of Documentary, ESPN producers Tara Nadolny, Carolyn Hepburn, Marquis Daisy, and Gentry Kirby will provide an in-depth analysis of what producers look for in a pitch and discuss the distribution trends of the broadcast and streaming business. Panelists will balance creative and marketplace considerations to provide a complete picture of how the best storytelling transcends sports to provide meaningful perspectives on culture, race, adversity, triumph, and the human experience.
Carolyn Hepburn is an Emmy and Peabody Award-winning producer whose recent films include American Pain (2022 Tribeca Festival, CNN Films); Unfinished Business (2022 Tribeca Festival); The Return of Tanya Tucker featuring Brandi Carlile (2022 SXSW Audience Winner, Sony Pictures Classics); In The Same Breath (HBO Docs, Oscar shortlisted); The Velvet Underground (Cannes Film Festival, Apple+, Oscar shortlisted); The Mole Agent (Oscar nominee); A Thousand Cuts (Emmy, Gotham and IDA winner); One Child Nation (Sundance Grand Jury Prize winner, Amazon Studios, Oscar-shortlisted); Life, Animated (Oscar nominee and winner of three Emmys); Weiner (IFC Films, Oscar shortlisted).
Tara Nadolny is a producer, developer, and writer who brings her passion for nonfiction storytelling to her current role as Associate Director of Development at ESPN. She works across original content for ESPN+ and 30 for 30, the award winning documentary series encompassing feature documentaries, shorts and podcasts. Prior to joining ESPN, Tara led development at the Vice TV cable network and has worked in production and post on a variety of docuseries, independent features, and short documentaries.
Vice President & Executive Producer, ESPN Films and 30 for 30
Vice President & Executive Producer, ESPN Films and 30 for 30
Marsha Cooke currently serves as vice president & executive producer for ESPN Films and 30 for 30. She is responsible for overseeing development, production, distribution, branding and strategy of all projects under the ESPN Films umbrella, including the 30 for 30 series.
Cooke joined ESPN from VICE Media Group, where she served as senior vice president of global news and special projects. In her role at VICE, Cooke developed and produced special news and entertainment projects across VMG digital and broadcast platforms, leading the youth media company in pushing the limits of broadcast news formats and playing a key role in integrating VICE’s forward-thinking values with its award-winning content.
Marquis Daisy, co-director of “Baltimore Boys,” is a producer for ESPN Films. Among his most notable work includes Rand University, a 30 for 30 film on the often-turbulent career of former NFL great Randy Moss and Black Hoosiers, a Spike Lee Lil’ Joint on the high school years of NBA Hall of Famer Oscar Robertson. Daisy’s 2021 project, “The March on Washington: Keepers of the Dream,” debuted on NatGeo and is available on-demand from Hulu.
Since joining ESPN Films in 2014, Gentry Kirby has produced multiple documentaries for ESPN Films and the “30 For 30” series including Fantastic Lies, Be Water and The Last Dance. Kirby also directed two 30 for 30s –This Magic Moment and Tommy.
Co-presented by 30 for 30 / ESPN Films
Documentary Ethics and the Law
Join attorneys Nicole Page and Daniel Ain from Reavis Page Jump LLP, founder of Multitude Films Jessica Devaney, and filmmakers Viridiana Lieberman (Carlos), Beth Aala (Uncharted, This is Brighton), and Nicholas Bruckman (Minted) for an enlightening panel discussion that delves deep into the ethical and legal considerations that underpin documentary filmmaking. Our panelists will provide valuable insights into essential topics, including crafting legally sound agreements with subjects, effectively managing the right to review cuts, fairly compensating participants, and the intricate process of ensuring anonymity when needed. Gain a comprehensive understanding of how to navigate the legal landscape while safeguarding the well-being and rights of your participants.
Nicole Page is a Partner at Reavis Page Jump LLP in New York and practices in the areas of media, entertainment, intellectual property and employment law. Nicole regularly serves as counsel for film, television, digital, and new media productions and negotiates broadcast and distribution deals. In addition, Nicole counsels on a breadth of employment matters pertaining to employment and separation agreements, employer legal compliance, workplace discrimination and harassment, including the provision of sexual harassment training, and other employment matters. Her extensive intellectual property practice includes cross-platform copyright, trademark, and licensing matters in the worlds of media, fashion, lifestyle and sports. Nicole serves as President of the Board of Women Make Movies.
Daniel J. Ain is Counsel for Reavis Page Jump LLP, practicing primarily in the areas of entertainment and media law. He advises production companies and independent producers on a broad range of television, film and digital media projects across all stages of development and production. He also has experience representing writers, directors, actors and other talent in all aspects of their entertainment transactions. Daniel began his legal career representing corporate clients in the areas of finance, mergers and acquisitions, and executive compensation.
Jessica Devaney (she/her) is a Brooklyn-based producer and the founder and president of Multitude Films. Her latest films include Netflix Original PRAY AWAY in partnership with Ryan Murphy and Blumhouse, Oscar-shortlisted CALL CENTER BLUES (TOPIC), and APART, an episode of the Sesame Workshop series THROUGH OUR EYES (HBO Max). She also produced Sundance award-winning and IDA-nominated ALWAYS IN SEASON (Independent Lens 2020), Livingston Reporting award-winning THE FEELING OF BEING WATCHED (POV 2019) dubbed “a real-world conspiracy thriller” by Variety, and Peabody-nominated ROLL RED ROLL (POV, Netflix 2019). Additional credits include Critic’s Choice-nominated SPEED SISTERS (Netflix), American Psychological Association award-winning LOVE THE SINNER (Amazon), and CALL HER GANDA (POV). Her films have screened at top festivals including Sundance, SXSW, Tribeca, BlackStar, and Telluride. Jessica founded QueerDoc and the Queer Producers Network and was a Sundance Edit and Story Lab fellow, Women at Sundance fellow, and Sundance Creative Producing Lab advisor. She received DOC NYC and TOPIC’s inaugural 40 Under 40 Award and the 2019 Cinereach Producers Award.
Viridiana Lieberman edited the Emmy-winning features I Am Evidence and The Sentence, which won the 2018 Sundance Documentary Audience Award. Her solo directorial debut, Born To Play premiered on ESPN in 2020. She is currently the lead editor on a series for Netflix and Imagine Entertainment slated for 2021 and is based in Brooklyn, New York.
Nicholas Bruckman is an Emmy-nominated director and the founder and CEO of People’s Television, a production studio and creative agency that produces widely acclaimed independent films as well as video storytelling for the world’s leading brands, foundations, and social movements.
His feature documentary Not Going Quietly, executive produced by Mark and Jay Duplass and acquired by Hulu and Vice Media, premiered at the 2021 SXSW Film Festival where it won the Audience Award and Special Jury Prize, and was nominated for Best Documentary and Best Director of the year by the International Documentary Association.
He previously produced the narrative feature film Valley of Saints, which won the Audience Award at the Sundance Film Festival and was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award. His most recent feature documentary, Minted, premiered at the 2023 Tribeca Film Festival.
Beth is a Filipina-American documentary filmmaker. She has won three Emmy awards and a Peabody Award for her documentary work at HBO. Beth recently directed and produced Uncharted with Alicia Keys and her organization, She is the Music that premiered at Tribeca Festival in June 2023. She also directed and produced This Is Brighton that premiered at the Newport Beach Film Festival in October 2023. Other directing credits include News and Doc Emmy nominated Made In Boise (AFI Docs 2019); Supermensch: The Legend Of Shep Gordon (Tiff 2013); as well as Rancher, Farmer, Fisherman (Sundance 2017).
Beth is member of A-DOC, Brown Girls Doc Mafia, Filipinx Filmmakers, and the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences and is a Wyncote Fellow. She has been supported by ITVS, Chicken and Egg, NYSCA, WMM, was a Creative Capital and Firelight Media grant finalist. Beth’s work has been featured on HBO, PBS, MTV, Discovery and A&E.
Co-presented by Reavis Page Jump LLP
Reflecting on Trans Narratives in Documentaries
Join co-directors Kristen Lovell (The Stroll) and Zackary Drucker (Queenmaker, The Stroll), D Smith (Kokomo City), and filmmakers David Miller and Melinda Maerker (We Live Here: The Midwest) for an insightful panel discussion on the nuanced challenges and ethical considerations involved in accurately representing trans experiences on screen. From personal narratives to broader social contexts, our panelists will explore the complexities of crafting authentic and impactful trans stories.
Filmmaker D Smith burst onto the scene with her debut documentary feature Kokomo City which premiered at Sundance and was acquired & distributed by Magnolia Pictures earlier this year. D won the Audience Award in the NEXT section of the Sundance Film Festival, as well as the Adobe’s Innovator Prize. She also won the Audience Award in the Panorama Documentary section at the Berlin Film Festival. Smith is a two-time Grammy Award-nominated record producer, singer and songwriter who produced and is featured on “Shoot Me Down” from Lil Wayne’s 8x platinum album Tha Carter III. She also wrote and produced the #1 Billboard dance single “Love Yourself” by Billy Porter and made history with VH1’s Love & Hip Hop, as the first trans woman cast on a primetime unscripted series.
Zackary Drucker is an American multimedia artist, director, and producer who has dedicated her work to telling stories that expand our cultural understanding of difference. Her credits include directing the Hulu Original documentary Queenmaker: The Making of an It Girl; and co-directing the Sundance award-winning HBO original documentary film The Stroll and the HBO documentary series The Lady and the Dale. Drucker is an Emmy-nominated producer for the docuseries This Is Me, as well as a producer on Golden Globe and Emmy-winning Amazon original series Transparent. She is a producer on the science fiction film Biosphere, released by IFC Films. She has performed and exhibited her work internationally in museums, galleries, and film festivals including the Whitney Biennial 2014, MoMA PS1, Hammer Museum, Art Gallery of Ontario, MCA San Diego, and SF MoMA, among others. Drucker’s artwork is represented by Luis De Jesus Los Angeles. She is an alumnus of School of Visual Arts (BFA, 2005) and Cal Arts (MFA, 2007).
Kristen Lovell has been an advocate in the trans community for over 20 years. As an actress, she appeared in Random Acts of Flyness, and she was co-producer of the award-winning feature The Garden Left Behind. The Stroll is her directorial debut. Instagram: @kplgrams / Twitter: @kikilovell
David Clayton Miller recently produced the upcoming Hulu Originals documentary entitled We Live Here: The Midwest through his DCMDocumentary banner. He is also a professional photographer having shot for Dolce & Gabbana, the Hollywood Reporter, Entertainment Weekly, Architectural Digest and other fashion and media outlets. He previously produced two independent feature films, Defying Gravity and Em & Me. He is the father of three boys and lives in Los Angeles.
Melinda Maerker (she/her) has worked as a visual storyteller across media. Her current project (as director/co-producer) is the documentary, We Live Here: The Midwest–an authentic portrait of LGBTQ+ families in America’s heartland.
In Conversation with… Raoul Peck
Explore documentary storytelling with filmmaker Raoul Peck (Silver Dollar Road, I Am Not Your Negro and recipient of DOC NYC’s Visionary Tribute Lifetime Achievement Award in 2021) and moderator Omar Mullick (Flight/Risk). Hear about Peck’s creative process and career-defining experiences, from thought-provoking historical explorations to innovative storytelling approaches. Uncover insights behind his acclaimed works and gain valuable perspectives on art and documentary.
Raoul Peck was born in Haiti and educated in Congo, Brooklyn and France. His credits as a documentary director include Lumumba, Death of a Prophet; Fatal Assistance; the Oscar-nominated I Am Not Your Negro; and the four-part HBO Documentary Films’ groundbreaking series Exterminate all the Brutes. His directing credits in fiction films include Lumumba; Sometimes in April; Moloch Tropical; and The Young Karl Marx. His complex career includes an 18-month stint as Haiti’s Minister of Culture, two years teaching at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and nine years as the President of the French national film school La Fémis in Paris.
Omar Mullick is a New-York based writer and director. His work as a writer and cinematographer on the fiction film You Resemble Me led to a 78th Venice Biennale premiere and is set for a theatrical release across North America in October 2022. His screenplay, Cain and Abel, was accepted into both the Sundance Screenwriters Lab and Sundance Directors Lab the same year. In 2022, he directed and shot Flight Risk for Amazon Studios, currently in the top five of Amazon’s most streamed films. In 2021, Omar produced Three Songs For Benazir, the first Afghan directed film to be nominated for an Oscar in 2021 and later acquired by Netflix.
Omar is developing his new non-fiction feature film as a Concordia Studios Fellow.
Co-presented by Amazon MGM Studios
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