2012 Documentary Summit: Raleigh & Durham

NOVEMBER 17-18, 2012.

When: November 17-18, 2012. 9am-5pm both days.

Where: SATURDAY: Hilton North Raleigh/Midtown, 3415 Wake Forest Road, Raleigh, NC 27609.

SUNDAY: Trailblazer Studios, 1610 Midtown Place, Raleigh, NC 27609

2012 Presenting Organizations

2012 Speakers

Eric Martin/ITVS

 Eric is the Senior Staff Writer at the Independent Television Service (ITVS), the largest funder and presenter of independent documentary work on U.S. public television.  He is the lead architect of ITVS’s strategic initiatives, working closely with senior leadership to design, develop and launch projects such as the Global Perspectives Project, Women and Girls Lead, Diverse Muslim Voices, PBS Indies Lab, and many others. Since 2002, his work at ITVS has spanned host scripts for the Emmy-award winning PBS series Independent Lens, rewrites of reversioned international films, and every imaginable kind of writing across the full creative, communication, and engagement spectrum.  He lives in Durham, NC with Meredith McMonigle and their two children.


Elisabeth Haviland James

Elisabeth is an award-winning filmmaker based in Durham, North Carolina, where her company, Thornapple Films, is headquartered. She is currently directing "untitled LUCY film," a hybrid documentary exploring the story of a woman who believes that a secret she was told at age 4 radically impacted her life. She was the Producer and the Editor of THE LOVING STORY, short-listed for the Academy Award, broadcast on HBO, and slated for theatrical release in Summer 2012. Elisabeth was a consulting producer to the narrative feature, OKA! In preparation for the film, she led a research expedition to the Dzangha-Sangha region of the Central African Republic, where the film was shot.  Her other most recent credits include Producer of THE GOOD FIGHT and Co-Producer of THE LORD GOD BIRD—both films were directed by legendary documentarian George Butler. She also works as a story consultant and teaches classes at Duke University's Center for Documentary Studies.  www.thornapplefilms.com

Cynthia Hill/Filmmaker
Cynthia Hill is an independent documentary filmmaker living in Durham, NC.  While working as an editor in NYC, she began producing her own films in 1997. Hill’s credits include Tobacco Money Feeds My Family (Producer/Director/Co-Editor), The Guestworker (Producer/Director/Co-Editor), Survivor to Survivor (Project Director), February One (Co-Producer) and Grace and the New Rules (Editor). Current work includes: Private Violence, a feature-length documentary about domestic violence, and a 13-part series called Grits and Glory that will broadcast on PBS in 2013. Hill’s work has appeared nationally on PBS and the Sundance Channel and featured in festivals around the globe. Hill also co-founded the Southern Documentary Fund and has lectured at the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University.

Rebecca Cerese/Producer

Rebecca Cerese is an award winning filmmaker who graduated from UNC-CH with a degree in Communications and English. She worked for Video Dialog Inc. a Durham, North Carolina based Production Company for over 12 years before starting her own company, Shelter from the Storm Productions, LLC.  Her documentaries include, February One – The Story of the Greensboro FourChange Comes Knocking – The Story of the North Carolina Fund, Durham – A Self Portrait and Private Violence. She is now working on Landscapes of the Heart – The Elizabeth Spencer Story and is currently developing a television series entitled, Exotic Pet Vet.

Barbara Trent/Filmmaker

Barbara is an Oscar® winning filmmaker, former welfare mother, nationally recognized lecturer, seasoned activist, and trail blazer for change.   Together with David Kasper she co-founded Empowerment Project (EP) in 1984 and started producing, directing, and releasing award winning films coupled with grass roots community activism on a scale that was unprecedented.  Her films and presentations have informed and mobilized millions.  EP's filmmaking strategy and innovative distribution methods,  beginning with "COVERUP: Behind The Iran Contra Affair" followed by "The Panama Deception" ,  paved the way for a renaissance of interest in documentary film.


Trent has been decorated with the Gasper Octavio Hernandez Award by the Journalist's Union in Panama, and is a recipient of the American Humanist Association's Arts  Award for her "courageous advocacy of progressive ideas."


Ms. Trent has been featured in Women of Courage: Inspiring Stories from the Women Who Lived Them, published by Turner Publishing, The Cultures of Globalization, published by Duke University Press, Humanity in an Age of Terror published by Duke University Press, The Search for "Reality": The Art of Documentary Filming, published by Michael Wiese Productions, Taking it to the Theaters, published by the Empowerment Project in association with National Video Resources, and  You Cross That Line: American Activists Talk About the Process of Change.


Rachel Raney/The Southern Documentary Fund

Rachel Raney is a seasoned documentary filmmaker and public TV/radio producer. She got her start working on documentaries for the Center for Investigative Reporting and the PBS series FRONTLINE. Since then Raney has worked on numerous independent films, many backed by ITVS, and her film Livermore aired on PBS' Independent Lens. She also worked at KQED-TV in San Francisco, launching the documentary series Truly CA, and producing their long running arts program Spark. Recently, Raney moved to North Carolina and landed at WUNC, producing for their national daily radio program The Story with Dick Gordon. She is currently working as Executive Director for the Southern Documentary Fund.

Joanne Hershfield/Filmmaker

Joanne's films include These Are Our Children, a moving portrait of the challenges facing children and families in contemporary Kenya which won Best Feature Documentary at Athens International Film Festival in 2011; Men Are Human, Women Are Buffalo, a compelling film that combines interviews and shadow puppetry to tell five moving stories about domestic violence in Thailand; and The Gillian Film, a moving portrait of her daughter, a young woman with developmental disabilities. Her most recent film, Mama C: Urban Warrior in the African Bush tells the story of Charlotte O'Neal, former member the Kansas City Black Panther Party who has lived for over forty years in the Tanzanian village of Imbaseni.


Scott Pearson/Composer

Scott Pearson has been making music since digital watches came out, producing soundtracks for over 200 television shows and movies over the past twenty-five years. While he got his start in London in the mid-eighties, beautiful North Carolina is now his home. 

Earlier on Scott played in various bands, including the Top 40 group, Jesus Jones, but in the early nineties, Scott discovered he was more a creator than a performer, and became a staff music composer at a film and video company until 1999.

By the time Scott scored his first feature film, Unshackled (2000), it had been ten years since he conducted a live orchestra - Scott was terrified at the thought of standing in front of dozens of hired players. Instead, it was an addictive high that is rarely duplicated until you step behind the podium. Now he seeks out the opportunity to orchestrate, and loves discovering unique interactions between musicians, both live and in sessions. That explains his deep love of classic Jazz, which he has been performing and teaching to a new generation since 2001 in a classroom (and bar room!). 

Eric Johnson/Producer/Composer

 Eric is Executive Producer of Music + Sound at Trailblazer Studios in Raleigh, NC (www.trailblazerstudios.com). He has over 20 years of experience as a composer/producer/sound designer and has most recently scored a one-hour special for Oprah Winfrey’s OWN Network called “I Am Jazz”. Eric also scored the documentary “Miracle Man:John of God” which aired on the Discovery Channel and his department at Trailblazer Studios has provided music and/or sound design and audio post for a number of projects including “Somay Ku: A Uganda Tennis Story”, “Bending Space”, “The Great Inca Rebellion” “Monster Road”, “The Soldiers of Montford Point” and over 500 hours of shows and specials that have aired on PBS, National Geographic, Animal Planet, and TLC. Eric is also the immediate past President of The Society of Professional Audio Recording Services (www.spars.com) which is a national association of recording facilities, schools and universities, manufactures of audio equipment, and independent sound engineers and producers.


Skip Elsheimer/A/V Geeks 

Skip is the founder and curator of the A/V Geeks Educational Film Archive in Raleigh, NC. He has a BA from the College of Design at NC State University. In the early 1990s, he began collecting 16mm educational films and now has over 24,000 films in the archive. He also acquired film telecine equipment and has been transferring film and video materials from his collection and for clients such as the Internet Archive, Duke University, NC State Archives and Stanford University. He has digitized and shared thousands of hours of film and video on the internet - much of which is public domain.

Angela Alford

Angela is a graduate of Vanderbilt University, where she played a key

role for the top-ranked women's basketball team in the mid-90s.

Angela turned down a position in the WNBA to start her career as a

software engineer.  After a motherhood sabbatical, Angela reinvented

herself and started her own video production company in 2007.  Her

love of telling personal narratives led her into documentary work.

Angela graduated from Duke University's Center for Documentary Studies

in 2011 and is currently in post-production on her first film,

"Granny's Got Game".