Industry Roundtables 2023

New York City is the media capital for documentary, making DOC NYC a unique gathering place for documentary filmmakers worldwide, who can come to the city to leverage its power to advance their creative careers. Since 2016, the festival has run the Industry Roundtables program to facilitate face-to-face meetings between leading industry decision-makers and filmmakers with works-in-progress. 

This year the program is taking on a new format with two different strands. The Industry Roundtables / Live Pitch event includes 12 filmmaking teams who will present on-stage live pitches about their works-in-progress to industry figures as part of the PRO conference. The Industry Roundtables / Voices of Canada program will bring six Canadian film projects to NYC for a day of curated meetings and industry feedback (co-presented by the General Consulate of Canada in New York and Telefilm). Both of these programs aim to curate the most promising documentaries of the future for industry feedback and are selected from a competitive online submissions process.

Industry Roundtables / Live Pitch works-in-progress projects:

Arrest the Midwife
The shocking arrest of three home birth midwives in upstate New York spurs the emergence of an unlikely group of activists —  Amish and Mennonite women who are joining the fight for women’s reproductive rights.
Director: Elaine Epstein
Producer: Robin Hessman

Baseline is a visual time capsule shot primarily in three locations on the frontlines of the climate crisis, and featuring the stories of three young people growing up amid unprecedented change. It will be re-opened in the year 2050.
Director: John Sutter 
Producer: Su Kim

A Bird with a Knife
A Bird With a Knife is a feature documentary that examines the fifty-year mystery surrounding the mutilation of thousands of cattle across the American West, by following those obsessed with solving it. 
Director: Winslow Crane-Murd
Producer: Andrew Hinton

Carlebach Project (Untitled)
Shlomo Carlebach, “the Singing Rabbi,” ignited the spiritual landscape for legions of Jews. After his death, he’s accused of sexual abuse. Thirty years later, Carlebach Project (Untitled) grapples with how – or whether – to separate the art from the artist.
Director: Simon Mendes
Producer: Heidi Reinberg

Coach Emily
As rock climbing coach Emily Taylor fearlessly trains a group of BIPOC kids to conquer the pervasive discrimination they face in the outdoors, she embarks on a profound journey of self-care, while dismantling an industry rife with systemic racism.
Director: Pallavi Somusetty 
Producer: Debra A. Wilson

Fair Play
A group of high school students from New York City’s South Bronx fight for equal access to sports and when they finally win, they decide to take on the entire education system.
Director: Tina Charles
Producers: Veronique Bernard and Susan Kahn

Give The Drummer Some
Give The Drummer Some is a documentary about the life and influence of Clyde Stubblefield, the former drummer for James Brown. Despite Clyde’s musical influence, a lack of credit sentenced him to a life of obscurity and hardships.
Director and Producer: Trevor Banks

In the End of the World
A journey to drug abuse and darkness, a dream for redemption, and a stable place to live.
Director: Abraham Escobedo-Salas
Producer: Julie Freres

Instrumental: The Elayne Jones Story
The ground-breaking career of 94-year-old timpanist Elayne Jones, the first Black principal player in a major American orchestra, shows that when you are a person of color in classical music, your very existence can be an act of revolution.
Directors: Julie Wyman and Grace Wang
Producer: Jameka Autry

The Long Rescue
The Long Rescue follows Filipina teen sex trafficking survivors for nine years in an intimate journey of recovery. Can they overcome a callous society – and their own embodied trauma– to truly thrive
Director: Jennifer Huang
Producer: Jethro Patalinghug

Sister Senators
In South Carolina, the five women of the South Carolina Senate—Republicans, Democrats, and Independents—band together to fight against strict abortion bans in a legislative body that is overwhelmingly male and conservative.
Director and Producer: Emily Harrold

The Song of the Hands
World renowned conductor Gustavo Dudamel embarks on a transformative journey from LA to Venezuela with three deaf musicians to discover the power of music through silence and create Beethoven’s Fidelio in the first ever staging of an opera in sign language.
Director: Maria Valverde
Producer: Cristina Oliva

Industry Roundtables / Voices of Canada works-in-progress projects:

The MAD World of Harvey Kurtzman
The life of Harvey Kurtzman—satirist, creator of MAD Magazine, inventor of the graphic novel—is one of the greatest untold stories in modern cultural history. The MAD World of Harvey Kurtzman will uncover the links between his groundbreaking work at the birth of comics and MAD’s creation, his twisted brush with stardom and Hugh Hefner, and the inspiration he gave to a new generation of artists, activists, comedians, and more.
Director: Bart Simpson
Producer: Ina Fichman

Plastic People
Plastic People is a landmark feature documentary that chronicles one woman’s mission to expose shocking new revelations about the impact of microplastics on human health.
Director: Ben Addelman, Ziya Tong
Producer: Peter Raymont, Vanessa Dylyn

Sailing Off the Edge
When her brother Thomas’ sailboat mysteriously vanishes, filmmaker Virginia Tangvald sets out to investigate her family’s troubled past, shaped by the legend of her father Peter Tangvald, a Norwegian-born adventurer whose life was marked by freedom and tragedy.
Director: Virginia Tangvald
Producer: Isabelle Couture, Élaine Hébert

The Sandbox
Your future is being written in the sand.
Director: Kenya-Jade Pinto
Producer: Shasha Nakhai, Kenya-Jade Pinto

Say It Loud: How a Black Music Mecca Grew in the Frozen North
How did Canada become an international Black music mecca? Say it Loud reveals, through the life of Jamaican-Canadian music legend Jay Douglas, how Caribbean immigrants came to Canada and overcame racism and indifference to create one of the most dynamic and influential underground music cultures on the planet.
Director: Graeme Mathieson
Producer: Andrew Munger

Standing with the Ancients
A gripping frontline dive into the lives of land defenders urgently blockading logging roads on Vancouver Island, Canada, in a do-or-die attempt to stop old-growth logging. Documented over two years, Standing with the Ancients brings viewers to the intersection of activism and personal sacrifice, ecological grief and despair, and interpersonal tension that leads to the fallout of this noteworthy climate frontline.
Director: Jen Muranetz
Producer: Jen Muranetz, Sepehr Samimi