Previous experts have included...

The Doc Summit now attracts successful film makers, commissioning editors, broadcasters and technicians, all willing to share their experience and knowledge with you. And as we film most of our sessions, delegates get to watch sessions from the Doc Summits from around the world.

Boston Doc Summit 2012 Speakers

Fernanda Rossi/The Documentary Doctor - first time in Boston since 2008

Internationally renowned speaker and story consultant Fernanda Rossi has doctored more than 300 fiction scripts, fundraising samples and documentaries, including two nominated for the Academy Award® and many that went on to receive funds from ITVS in the U.S. and NFB in Canada. She has given her workshops and lectures in more than 12 countries for more than 40 film organizations and at all major world markets and conferences, including Hot Docs in Canada, SilverDOCS in the United States, Sunny Side of the Doc in France and Sheffield Doc/Fest in the UK. In addition, she’s a much sought-after trainer for special programs and grant evaluator for foundations. Her columns and articles have been published in trade publications, such as The Independent in the United States and DOX in Europe. She is  the author of the book that, according to industry professionals is the bible on demo production now in its second edition: Trailer Mechanics: How to Make Your Documentary Fundraising Demo. 

Steve Ascher/Filmmaker

Steve is an Academy-Award nominated director, writer, educator and media consultant. The Boston Globe calls his work "filmmaking at its finest." His films include Troublesome Creek: A Midwestern, which was nominated for an Academy Award and won the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance. Other films included, So Much So Fast and Raising Renee. Steve has directed numerous TV spots, image training and marketing pieces for non-profits and corporations such as Disney, the IRS and The Texas Rangers. He is the author of The Filmmaker's Handbook: a Comprehensive Guide for the Digital Age. A completely revised 4th edition of the book is coming out in November.


San Francisco Doc Summit 2012 Speakers

David Abramovich/Indiegogo

David works in Customer Happiness at the global crowdfunding platform Indiegogo, which has helped finance hundreds of independent documentary films including last year’s acclaimed documentary Bully, which began as an Indiegogo campaign before eventually catching the eye of The Weinstein company. Indiegogo has also partnered with organizations like the International Documentary Association and Women Make Movies to help filmmakers bring their ideas into fruition.
David is originally from Boston where he studied at the Boston University School of Management. From there, he became a frequent expatriate, Argentine Spanish speaker, and eventually the Director of Support at the Facebook app, Causes, which helps raise money for nonprofit organizations. His favorite documentary is 
Fatih Akin’s Crossing the Bridge: The Sound of Istanbul in which Turkish music helps paint a picture of a city and culture -- a convergence of tradition and modernity. 

John Lightfoot/California Council for the Humanities

John Lightfoot is a program officer at the California Council for the Humanities, an independent, nonprofit state partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Since 2007, he has managed the California Documentary Project, a competitive grant program for documentary film, radio and new media. As a filmmaker, John has over 15 years experience producing and directing short and long-form independent and public television documentaries. His films have won several awards, have been broadcast on PBS, and have screened at festivals and art museums nationally. He holds an MA in American Studies from Brown University and an MFA in Cinema from San Francisco State University.

Beth Rogozinski/Transmedia

Beth has over 20 years of experience in production and marketing in media technology industries, including game and film making, hardware and software development and mobile technologies and application development. She was on the founding team of the world renowned Multimedia Studies Program at SFSU, and was founding Executive Director of the DigiQuest Learning Center. During her tenure at Silicon Graphics (SGI), Beth helped create and launch a new multimillion dollar consumer products division. After SGI, Beth founded Systrum Media Consultants where her clients included many and Web 2.0 start-ups as well as established companies such as 3Ware and Macromedia. While working at Macromedia, Beth helped launch the digital video editing software, Final Cut, which has then sold to Apple. Beth also served as the VP of Client Services for West Coast Operations for Circle, a full service ad and brand agency that was acquired by Havas.

Lise Swenson/Editor

Lise Swenson's artwork and films have been exhibited internationally and she has received numerous awards and grants, one of them the Creative Work Fund, seeding production on her feature length social justice film. “Mission Movie” is a fictional adaptation of true-life stories from the Mission District of San Francisco and was screened internationally, winning five awards, two for Best of Festival.  Swenson also served as producer and assistant director on  "Strange Culture", a film by Lynn Hershman Leeson. Most recently she was Filmmaker in Residence at the deYoung Museum where she produced an alternative iPhone tour entitled dYinterpretaions.



Janet Fouts/Social Media Coach

Janet Fouts is a social media coach, author, speaker and entrepreneur. Her books "Social Media Success!#SOCIALMEDIA PR tweet and "#SOCIALMEDIA NONPROFIT tweet" draw on over 15 years of experience in online marketing and social media, working in the trenches with businesses of all sizes. In addition to her social media coaching practice Janet is founder of the Social Media Coaching Center and Sr. Partner at Tatu Digital Media, a San Jose Web design and development firm.


Windy Borman/Filmmaker

Windy Borman, the Founder and CEO of D.V.A. Productions and Chief Manager of Eyes of Thailand, LLC, has over a decade of professional experience in film, video, event planning, theatre, and the non-profit sector. As an award-winning independent filmmaker, Windy has directed and produced promotional videos, films, and documentaries. Most recently she produced “The Big Picture: Rethinking Dyslexia”, which premiered at Sundance 2012 and will appear on HBO in October 2012.


Windy has produced and directed two short films, “Wonder Mom” (2007) and “Burnt” (2007), promotional videos for corporate and non-profit clients, webinars, and PSAs, and began production on “The Eyes of Thailand” documentary. Concurrently, she has fulfilled contracts with Lieberman Productions, Schulberg Media Works, Artemis Films, The Kenwood Group, Spark, Oakland Children’s Hospital, Venture Media, EGM Films, Shadow Creek Films, Yale University and Inside Edition.


She currently lives and works in San Francisco, CA, where she serves on the Advisory Board for Bay Area Women in Film and Media.

Linda Peckham/Editor

Linda Peckham is a freelance documentary editor in the Bay Area. She has cut programming for national and local broadcast since 1991, most recently for PBS' SOUND TRACKS: Music Without Borders (forthcoming), NOVA's Fabric of the Cosmos (2011), Independent Lens' Emmy-nominated Tulia, Texas (2009), TPT's Make:TV, and The Fire Next Time (POV). She has cut episodes for Nova Science Now, WNET's Expose, and A&E Investigative Reports. She was the series editor for four seasons of KQED's weekly art series Spark and currently edits KQED's award-winning science series Quest.

Born in South Africa, she left to study film believing it to be the medium that most inspires change. Linda taught Aesthetics of Editing at BAVC, has a B.A. in Film and an M.F.A. in Writing.


Kimi Milo/Filmmaker

Kimi Milo is a film and video producer living and working in San Francisco. Kimi discovered a passion for film production at NYU, where she studied documentary film and photography and received her BA. During her time in New York, Kimi worked with several production teams on projects ranging from independent documentaries to live TV. After graduating in 2009, Kimi moved to San Francisco and joined the Seedwell team, a small video production company where she has collaborated on projects including viral videos, television commercials, and documentaries as a production coordinator and line producer. Most recently, Kimi has acted as the associate producer and assistant editor on the award-winning feature documentary film SALAAM DUNK. Kimi helped to successfully raise over $18,000 in finishing funds for the film through Indiegogo. Kimi is currently producing American Hipster Presents, a yearlong documentary web series featuring weekly video portraits of trendsetters across the United States.

David Fine/Filmmaker

David worked in the film/television industry in LA in a variety of disciplines. But that was boring. After co-founding Seedwell Digital Studios, David has been directing the company's viral & commercial work. Currently he is directing American Hipster, a weekly documentary web series. David loves shooting documentaries and pulling down rebounds. Salaam Dunk is his first feature film. 

Simone Nelson/Moxie Institute

Simone Nelson has worked with international, award-winning artists and companies to develop and produce film, digital media, theater and music projects, productions, festivals and events for over 20 years.  She has worked with or for, among others: the former head of Walt Disney Studios & Theatricals—Peter Schneider; filmmaker/writer Rebecca Miller; Forensic Films; Film Arts Foundation; San Francisco Opera; and London’s Shakespeare Globe and Royal Court Theatres.  Simone more recently has served on the Faculty of The Art Institute of California—San Francisco, co-produced the award winning documentary, CITY OF BORDERS, served as President of Bay Area Women in Film and Media, and co-produced the inaugural Social Change Film Festival & Institute in Bali, Indonesia.  She is a graduate of Northwestern University’s School of Communication and Yale University’s Graduate School of Drama.

Nancy Kelly/Filmmaker

Veteran independent filmmaker Nancy Kelly made an award-winning documentary trilogy about the transformative power of art: TRUST: Second Acts in Young Lives, about a Honduran teen whose traumatic life story is unveiled in a daring original play; SMITTEN (PBS Prime Time Special), about art collector Rene di Rosa, who is smitten by art; and DOWNSIDE UP (PBS Independent Lens series), about how America’s largest museum of contemporary art, MASS MoCA, revived Kelly’s dying home town. She also made the narrative feature THOUSAND PIECES OF GOLD (PBS American Playhouse series) starring Rosalind Chao and Chris Cooper. She has been a fellow at the Sundance Institute June Lab and is currently a BAVC Mediamaker. Her next documentary, REBELS WITH A CAUSE, will premiere in fall 2012. She is a member of New Day Films, a filmmaker-run distribution company providing award-winning films to educators since 1971.


Frazer Bradshaw/Cinematographer

Frazer Bradshaw began with a rigourus education in the visual arts before finding his way into filmmaking.


Because of his visual arts training, Bradshaw is most connected with the visual aspects of filmmaking. Cinematography became an obvious career choice because of his drive to create distinctive cinematic language for visual storytelling. As a DP, Bradshaw has built a substantial resume shooting both independent productions and commercial media, both in the San Francisco Bay Area and nationally. 


Bradshaw has shot a host of projects, including 11 narrative feature films and five feature documentaries, as well as hundreds of shorts, commercials, music videos and corporates.  Resume highlights include work on Focus Feature’s Babies, Jamie Melter’s Informant and his own feature, Everything Strange and New, which he both shot and directed, and which premiered at Sundance and was nominated for both Spirt and Gotham Awards.

Peggy Peralta/Cinematographer

Peggy is a graduate of the University of the Philippines and earned her MFA in Motion Pictures and Television with emphasis on Cinematography from the Academy of Art in San Francisco.


An award-winning and multi-faceted cinematopgrapher, Peggy has collobaroated on over 20 films dealing with diverse themes and cross-cultural subjects. Her works are distinct for their heart, energy and perspective. Geared with a spontaneous spirit and an inquisitive mind, every project she dives into becomes an opportunity to discover, create and inspire.


In 2008, she created Head of the Dog Pictures, a creative shop in San Francisco. She lives with her partner Lourdes Figeroa, a poet and freelance photographer.

Owen Seitel/Idell & Seitel, LLP

Owen Seitel is a founding partner of Idell & Seitel, LLP. His practice focuses on transactions and litigation involving intellectual property and business matters primarily in the entertainment, media, sports and technology industries.

Owen's clients are active in the converging entertainment, sports, new media and technology sectors including filmmakers, athletes and others involved in the sports world, fitness industry professionals, music and live event producers, and distributors of all forms entertainment, sports and information content. Owen handles both transactional matters -- all aspects of the creation, protection, licensing and distribution of intellectual property -- and litigation of business and intellectual property disputes in state and federal courts and arbitration panels both domestically and internationally through organizations such as the World Intellectual Property Organization. Owen counsels and assists business enterprises from the idea and start-up stage, through financing and growth, joint venture and merger and acquisition to dissolution.


Kevin White/Full Frame Productions

Kevin is an award-winning producer, director and writer who has worked in media since 1982. After graduate school at Stanford and San Francisco State University, Kevin freelanced for ITV, CBS News, Nightly Business Report and several syndicated shows. He started Full Frame Productions in 1984 and the non-profit Filmmakers Collaborative, SF in 1988.


Kevin has produced dozens of documentaries mainly focusing on environmental issues that have aired on PBS, CBS, ABC, Discovery, National Geographic, Bravo, BBC, ZDF and have featured at several film festivals such as Berlin, Hot Springs and the San Francisco International Film Festival. His project HOW ON EARTH earned them the Harold Gilliam Excellence in Environmental Reporting Award. Other films include: A LAND BETWEEN RIVERS, A SIMPLE QUESTION and RESTORING BALANCE narrated by John Cleese.

Andrew Gersh/Editor

Andrew Gersh is a documentary editor based in Berkeley, California. His work has appeared on PBS, ABC, MSNBC, National Geographic, Discovery, Turner Broadcasting, the BBC and Channel 4, UK and in theaters worldwide.

He began his editing career on staff at WGBH in Boston, working on many groundbreaking series for PBS, including NOVAFRONTLINE and the ten-hour WGBH/BBC co-production on the history of ROCK & ROLL.


Recent work includes Ask Not (San Francisco International Film Festival, MoMA NY, national PBS broadcast on Emmy-award winning series Independent Lens), National Geographic Explorer: Inside Guantanamo (Emmy nomination for Best Documentary, 2010) and the documentary feature Ready, Set, Bag! (Los Angeles International Film Festival).


Forthcoming projects include The Revolutionary Optimists, airing on next season’s Independent Lens on PBS, and a feature documentary on Burning Man.

He is a 2011 Sundance Documentary Edit and Story Lab Fellow.


Brooke Wentz/The Rights Workshop

Brooke is an award-winning music supervisor, intellectual property rights executive and international music expert with more than 25 years experience working in the media, film and recording industries. Her career includes six years as the Music Director for ESPN, three years as A&R Manager at Arista Records, and ten years as an on-air radio host for NPR. An accomplished producer, Brooke has produced over 25 critically-acclaimed recordings. She received recognition from Hillary Clinton for “Global Divas” and won a Billboard award for her four-CD international music compilation “Global Meditation.” Brooke is also the author of the book Hey, That's My Music: Music Supervision, Licensing and Content Acquisition (published by Hal Leonard), a comprehensive guide to music licensing and copyright issues. She speaks frequently on the creative process and the state of music licensing in New Media and digital technology.


Select films she has worked on are Melancholia, Bully, Bill Cunningham New York, Crime After Crime, Something Ventured, La Mission, The Devil & Daniel Johnston, Ballets Russes, Big River Man, American Hardcore, Racing Dreams, The Unforeseen, and My Reincarnation.


Lawrence Deressa/California Newsreel

Lawrence Daressa has been one of the Co-Directors of California Newsreel since 1974. Newsreel, now celebrating its 40th anniversary year, is the oldest non-profit film distribution company in the nation; it focuses exclusively on films for social change, including MAQUILAPOLIS and MADE IN L.A. He is at present on the board of the San Francisco Cinematheque. He is currently active in independent producers' efforts to divide digital rights and revenues with public broadcasting entities in the face of digital convergence. He is a member of the Docuseek consortium of independent distributors which has surveyed and maintains an active dialogue on digital rights issues with educational media librarians. 

Morrie Warshawski works with nonprofits and filmmakers that are having difficulty realizing their full potential.  He helps them create roadmaps to a better future through strategic planning.  His work is characterized by a commitment to the core values of creativity, thoughtfulness, transparency, and tolerance.  Warshawski has worked in the field for over thirty years as an administrator, consultant, facilitator, teacher and writer.  He was the Executive Director of two media arts centers (Bay Area Video Coalition and The Media Project). He has served on numerous grant panels, and consulted with dozens of independent filmmakers on career and fundraising issues. Warshawski is the author of many articles, and of two books on fundraising, Shaking The Money Tree: The Art of Getting Grants And Donations For Film And Video- 3rd Edition (Wiese Books, LA), and The Fundraising Houseparty: How to Party With a Purpose and Raise Money for Your Cause -2nd Edition.  You can find him in cyberspace at

Frederick Marx/Filmmaker

Frederick Marx is an internationally acclaimed, Oscar and Emmy nominated director/writer with 35 years in the film business. He was named a Chicago Tribune Artist of the Year for 1994, a 1995 Guggenheim Fellow, and a recipient of a Robert F. Kennedy Special Achievement Award.  His film HOOP DREAMS played in hundreds of theatres nationwide after winning the Audience Award at the Sundance Film Festival and was the first documentary ever chosen to close the New York Film Festival. It was on over 100 "Ten Best" lists nationwide and was named Best Film of the Year by critics Roger Ebert, Gene Siskel, Gene Shalit, and Ken Turran and by the Chicago Film Critics Association. Ebert also named it Best Film of the Decade. It is one of the highest grossing non-musical documentaries in United States history.


BOYS TO MEN? (2004) distributed by Media Education Foundation looks at teenage boys abd BOYS BECOME MEN, now in production, is the sequel, pinpointing initiation and mentorship as the solutions to the problems teen boys face. His recent film JOURNEY FROM ZANSKAR (2010) looking at one of the remaining original Tibetan Buddhist societies is out on DVD now.

Cristine Dewey/ro*co Films International

 Cristine is President of ro*co films International. She builds and maintains relationships with media buyers and acquisition executives around the world to ensure that our documentaries get the attention they deserve.  She manages the international contracts and works collaboratively with filmmakers to maintain a long-term international distribution presence for each of our films.  


Cristine joined ro*co in 2005 after several years of experience as a community activist. She has a B. A. in English from Carleton College and a professional background in development and grants administration.




Documentary Summit Chicago, 2012 Speakers

GREG JACOBS served as VP/Chief Creative Officer at Towers Productions, where he oversaw the content of more than two hundred documentaries on five different networks, including award-winning shows and series for A&E, History, Discovery, The Weather Channel, and CNN. 

JON SISKEL was executive producer and co-creator of the series "Fake Out", which ran for two seasons on Court TV. He has also produced shows for the A&E series American Justice, Investigative Reports, and Biography, and his work has been shown on The Travel Channel, Discovery, and History. Jon serves on the board of directors of Free Spirit Media, a Chicago-based youth media organization, as well as the Gene Siskel Film Center.

Greg and Jon produced and directed the documentary feature Louder Than a Bomb, 102 Minutes That Changed America, which won three Primetime Emmys.

RUTH LEITMAN - Director/Producer

Leitman has directed 6 feature length documentary films.  She received a Rockefeller Fellowship for Alma (1998), which also received the Documentary Feature Jury Prize at the Hamptons International Film Festival, and was selected to screen at the Director’s Guild of America NYC and the Whitney Biennial 2000.  Lipstick & Dynamite (2005) premiered at the TriBeCa Film Festival and screened at several other festivals, including the Nantucket Film Festival, where it won the Best Documentary Storytelling award. Ruth is the writer of Fordson, which garnered several festival awards. Tony & Janina’s American Wedding, her most recent doc, premiered at the Chicago International Film Festival where it won a Jury Prize. It also won the Grassroots Impact Award at Flyway Film Festival. Leitman is a strong advocate of hybrid distribution, which she is now utilizing on Tony & Janina’s American Wedding. Ruth has directed many short non-fiction content and media campaigns for several political candidates, and teaches documentary filmmaking at Columbia College Chicago.


Julie and Jessica make up King is a Fink Productions. Their first short films were made to tickle the fancies of their friends; everything since has been made to tickle everyone else. Keck and King have written shorts, feature length narratives (TILT, Holy Tokes), and web series (I Hate Tommy Finch for tello films) that celebrate the outsider while exploring the unique path which has made him or her just that. Recently King and Keck have been sucked into the feature documentary world, teaming up with Christopher E. Grimes and his 5414 Productions team to make the award-winning friendly fire documentary A SECOND KNOCK AT THE DOOR. In 2010 King and Keck raised $15k for the production of TILT with an innovative and engaging crowdfunding campaign that included a whimsical online backer community on Google Maps called TILTtheTown, which featured fake and fanciful bios for each backer who contributed at a certain level; in 2011 they consulted on several crowdfunding campaigns, including the successful one for A SECOND KNOCK. Also in 2011, King and Keck were honored to win the Flyway Film Festival Spirit Award for lifting up and celebrating their peers. Learn more about them here. Follow them on Facebook and Twitter.

ALICIA SAMS - Director/Producer

Alicia Sams has extensive production experience in both documentary and fiction media.   She is currently producing and directing  the national public television series Arab American Stories with Detroit Public Television.  Her most recent film as director/producer is the Emmy-Award winning  By The People: The Election of Barack Obama, a behind-the-scenes look at the journey of Barack Obama and his campaign staff. Also in 2009, Sams was executive producer of Cherien Dabis’ award-winning debut feature Amreeka, which premiered at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival and went on to win the Critics Prize at the Director’s Fortnight of the Cannes Film Festival and was released by National Geographic Films.  Other films include SUNBURN, TOOTS, WANDERLUST, HELLO HE LIED AND OTHER TALES FROM THE HOLLYWOOD TRENCHES, GRATEFUL DAWG, and OFF THE MENU: THE LAST DAYS OF CHASEN'S.  She began her career working on documentaries for Bill Moyers’ Public Affairs Television, TBS, and the PBS series American Masters, Great Performances, and Work and Progress.

Gordon Quinn - Kartemquin Films

Gordon has been making documentaries for over 40 years. Roger Ebert, of the Chicago Sun Times, called his first film Home for Life (1966) "an extraordinarily moving documentary." With Home for Life Gordon established the direction he would take for the next four decades, making cinéma vérité films that investigate and critique society by documenting the unfolding lives of real people. 

At Kartemquin, Gordon created a legacy that is an inspiration for young filmmakers and a home where they can make high-quality, social-issue documentaries. Kartemquin’s best known film, Hoop Dreams (1994), executive produced by Gordon, was released theatrically to unprecedented critical acclaim including an Academy Award Nomination. Other films Gordon has made include Vietnam, Long Time ComingGolub, 5 Girls,Refrigerator Mothers and Stevie.  Gordon executive produced Mapping Stem Cell Research: Terra Incognita and The New Americans (he also directed the Palestinian segment of this award winning, intimate, seven-hour series). Recently he produced In The Family, and executive produced two films, Milking the Rhino, and At The Death House Door.  In the role of director, he recently completed Prisoner of Her Pastabout a Holocaust survivor suffering from late-onset post-traumatic stress disorder, and co-directed the 2011 release A Good Man, about the dancer Bill T. Jones. 

As a key leader in creating the Documentary Filmmakers Statement of Best Practices in Fair Use, Gordon encourages filmmakers to educate themselves on the tenets of the fair use doctrine, frequently speaking to the media, legal, and educational communities about this fundamental right.


Co-founder of Groundswell Educational Films, Jeff Spitz organizes public engagement campaigns around issues that evolve from documentary films.  He works across cultures with participants in documentary films from the Navajo Nation and from South Africa's infamous Apartheid era prison, Robben Island. With his partner, Jennifer Amdur Spitz, Jeff creates platforms in the mainstream media for under-represented voices and ideas.  Recently he developed a concert tour inside Chicago and E. St. Louis high schools featuring 3 ex-political prisoners from South Africa known as The Robben Island Singers.  Jeff's credits as a writer/producer/director include: The Return of Navajo Boy, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, and won awards at international festivals; From the Bottom Up, a one-hour, national PBS public affairs report on community activism; The Roosevelt Experiment, a half-hour documentary for ABC-TV telling the story of an integrated college in a segregated city (Emmy Award-winner); and Libraries Change Lives, celebrating the immigrant experience in America’s public libraries, narrated by Whoopi Goldberg. Spitz teaches documentary filmmaking at Columbia College Chicago. 


Marketing and Social Media for Kartemquin

Tim is Kartemquin’s Communications and Office Manager, handling daily office administration, the internship and KTQ Labs programs, and external marketing, public relations and social media for Kartemquin and individual films. Tim joined Kartemquin from Horizons Communications Group, where he was an Associate Producer. Since moving to Chicago in 2006, he has also promoted the local production community as journalist for, and through work for Evanston’s Talking Pictures Film Festival, the Chicago Convergence and the Chicago Film Archives.

TOD LENDING - Documentary filmmaker

Tod Lending is an Academy Award®-nominated and national Emmy-winning producer/ director/ writer/ cinematographer whose work has aired nationally on ABC, CBS, NBC, PBS and HBO; has been screened and awarded at national and international festivals; and has been televised internationally in Europe and Asia. His film LEGACY was nominated for an Academy Award® and nominated for a national Emmy and two International Documentary Association (IDA) awards. Legacy inspired federal legislation through its national outreach campaign. Lending also series produced, directed, wrote, and produced the international award winning and Emmy nominated series No Time to be a Child, a $1.4 million, three-part documentary series that aired nationally on PBS.  Other films include the Emmy-nominated and Henry Hampton award-winning feature documentary, Omar & Pete which aired on PBS through the P.O.V. series and garnered major support from The Annie E. Casey Foundation, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Lending also produced, directed, and shot Aimee’s Crossing, an ITVS co-production aswell as the award-winning short, Rosevelt’s America. Lending's work has garnered major grants from numerous foundations including the Ford Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation and the NEA. He is the president and founder of Nomadic Pictures, a Chicago-based documentary film and television production company, and director of Ethno Pictures, a not-for-profit documentary film company.

Bob Hercules - Media Process Group

Bob Hercules' work has been seen widely on PBS, Discovery Channel, IFC, The Learning Channel and through television syndication nationwide. Hercules’ two most recent films both focus on dance: Joffrey: Mavericks of American Dance and Bill T. Jones: A Good Man. The Joffrey film, narrated by Mandy Patinkin, tells the full story of the groundbreaking ballet company and their many rises and falls. It premiered in January, 2012 at the Dance on Camera Film Festival at Lincoln Center and will air on PBS’ American Masters this December.   A Good Man aired on American Masters in 2011 and played at many film festivals including IDFA, Silverdocs, Full Frame, DOXA and the Southern Circuit. His 2009 documentary, Radical Disciple: The Story of Father Pfleger, chronicles the radical priest whose controversial tactics to fight racism put him at odds with the Catholic hierarchy. In 2008, Hercules co-produced and directed the Barack Obama and Michelle Obama biography videos for Obama's Presidential campaign website . He also co-directed Obama's 2007 Presidential announcement video in Springfield, Illinois. Hercules' 2006 documentary, Senator Obama Goes to Africa, is a chronicle of Obama's momentous 2006 diplomatic trip to Africa, including an emotional visit to Kisumu, Kenya-homeland of his late father. It is currently in home video release from First Run Features. Hercules' acclaimed 2006 feature documentary, Forgiving Dr. Mengele, tells the remarkable story of Auschwitz survivor and former 'Mengele twin' Eva Mozes Kor, whose decision to forgive the perpetrators as an act of self-healing sparked a firestorm of criticism. The film won the Special Jury Prize at the 2006 Slamdance Film Festival and the Crystal Heart Award at the 2006 Heartland Film Festival. 

Shuling Yong - Social Media Expert

Shuling is a filmmaker with a passion for socially conscious documentary and a social media geek. She is an Associate Producer of In The Game, a documentary-in-progress by the multiple award-winning Kartemquin Films (The Interrupters, Hoop Dreams), a Producer/Director/Editor for Chicago-based non-profit Innovations For Learning, and a Social Media Manager for multiple projects. Shuling is also working to get Media Impact Spotlight, her web series featuring professionals utilizing various forms of media for positive social change, off the ground so it may serve as a learning resource for us all.


Erin is the Chief Programs Officer at the BeCause Foundation in Chicago. She has vast experience in the development of non-profit policies and procedures.  BeCause is a non-profit organization that drives social change through the powerful fusion of documentary filmmaking and related strategic programs. Their films tell moving stories about individuals, organizations, and communities who, with compassion and determination, are finding innovative solutions to complex social problems. By implementing engagement campaigns and coalition building around the films, BeCause Foundation helps transform such solutions into broad-based movements for social change. Erin is the recipient of a number of awards, including Illinois Social Worker of the Year (2002) and Chicago Magazine’s Chicagoan of the Year (2001). Erin has a Master’s in Social Service Administration from University of Chicago’s School of Social Service Administration and a Certificate in Non-Profit Leadership from Harvard’s Business School. 

THOMAS LEAVENS - Leavens, Strand, Glover & Adler LLC.

Thomas is a partner in the above entertainment, media and intellectual property law firm. Tom’s career as an attorney has involved transactions, counseling, and litigation in all areas of performing, visual, and literary expression, new media, intellectual property, and technology.

ABBEY ROSE - Facets Media

Abbey has been involved with film and filmmaking for nearly a decade. She has worked in the New York distribution offices of Miramax Films under the direction of Harvey and Bob Weinstein and Paramount Pictures under the leadership of Brad Grey. She spent over four years working as a Producer and Studio Manager for Manarchy Films, a Chicago based photography and film studio. Currently, she manages the sales, distribution and press for the Facets Multi-Media DVD label. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Cultural and Media Studies from Ohio State University and is currently pursuing her Master’s degree in International Public Service from DePaul University where she studies the partnerships between film and non-profit organizations. 



Michael Caplan is an independent film director, producer and educator. He is currently in production on Algren, a feature length documentary that explores the life and legacy of Nelson Algren, the National Book Award-winning author of Man With the Golden Arm and Walk on the Wild Side. A Magical Vision, is a film that spotlights Eugene Burger, a magician, philosopher, and guru of the magical arts. The film premiered at the Gene Siskel Theatre in Chicago in 2008 and was an award winning film at international film festivals. Caplan also directed Stones from the Soil, a personal documentary on his father, which showed on national PBS in 2005 through 2007. He is a producer, he has produced three critically acclaimed feature films, including The Night Larry Kramer Kissed Me, which was critically acclaimed by The New York Times as “praiseworthy, intense, frenetic, frank, and touching… preserving not just a performance but the spirit of a time.” He is an Associate Professor and an Associate Chair of the Film & Video Department at Columbia College Chicago.


Washington DC 2012 Speakers

David Vyorst: Critically acclaimed documentary film producer and DC social media guru.

David’s recent documentaries include The First BasketUnusual Pairs and web projects:, The Greater Washington Chapter of The Internet Society –http://www.isoc-dc.orgThe Asylumist;;; and The Learning Breakthrough Blog. David is also the founder of ZejMedia, the realization of David’s vision to synthesize the trajectories of documentary film, narrative, and social media to engage audiences in substantive issues and conversations.  David has worked on two presidential campaigns, as well as on Capitol Hill and is also the Co-Convener of The Greater Washington Chapter of The Internet Society.

Nina Gilden Seavey:  Director of The Documentary Center, Founder of SILVERDOCS and an award-winning documentary producer/director. 

Nina has been a filmmaker and film educator for more than 25 years. Her films can be seen in theaters, in film festivals, on television, in museum installations and on DVD across the globe. Recent films include MATADOR and 4th. & GOAL. Her work has won many awards including an Emmy, the Erik Barnouw Prize for Best Historical Film of the Year, and the Golden Hugo. SILVERDOCS: AFI/Discovery Channel Documentary Festival, is the largest documentary festival in the US. Read a recent interview here with Nina on 4th.& Goal

ROB MILLIS: Co-Founder and CEO of DIY Distribution platform, Dynamo Player

Rob began his media career as a documentary producer. In 2006 he plunged into online video with the launch of a current affairs series, American Microphone.  He teamed up with Will Coghlan in early 2007 to produce and host the hugely successful election news program Political Lunch. In 2009, Rob again partnered with Will to solve the challenge of monetization without advertising with Dynamo Player. While traditional distribution allowed rentals, sales and subscriptions, online video was still far behind - but not anymore. Digital platforms are fast becoming an exciting resource for documentary filmmakers. 

Casey Callister: Founder of D.C. Distribution company Garden Thieves Pictures.
Garden Pictures works with indie film producers to help distribute films and represent them to international buyers. Casey also produced Ballou, 7 of the '3 Minute Stories' documentary series for CINELAN (co-founded by Morgan Spurlock) and is currently working distribution and marketing of ten feature documentary films including Emmy Award winning Out in The Silence and Sync or Swim. His company works closely with SnagFilms to deliver content quickly on-line and deliver films directly to Amazon, iTunes, Hulu, Netflix streaming and Youtube movie store.

Cara Liebenson: Assistant Director Primetime Programming PBS

As Assistant Director in Primetime Programming at PBS, Cara Liebenson evaluates program submissions for broadcast consideration on the national primetime schedule. With over 15 years of public television experience, Cara works closely with producers to provide assessment, production support, and creative supervision of projects. In addition, Cara served as a juror at the 17th Annual Black Maria Film and Video Festival (1998) and panelist for the ACE (Animal Content in Entertainment) Grant Pitch at SILVERDOCS (2006.)

Jeff Hutchens

Documentary cinematographer, filmmaker. 

Jeff is a prize winning photojournalist with his adventures traveling the world and taking him down the path of documentary filmmaking. For over ten years, Jeff's work has been seen in The New York Times, CNN, Time Magazine and The National Geographic Channel. He has been recognized as one of “PDN’s 30” (2009) and has won multiple awards in the World Press Photo competition, National Press Photographers Association (NPPA) Best Of Photojournalism competition, Pictures Of The Year (POYi) and Communication Arts (CA). With his brother Peter, Jeff hosted a six part travel/adventure series that aired on the National Geographic Channel where they document far-flung regions of China through their respective lenses. They also produced a documentary in Botswana called Border Jumpers. The brothers have traveled the world and seen the best and worst of the human condition. 

Peter Hutchens

Documentary cinematographer, filmmaker

Peter has shot and produced numerous programs for the National Geographic Channel, the Discovery Channel, and PBS. His assignments have spanned the globe and covered topics as diverse as Thailand's deadly cobras, Ireland's "accidental" mummies, America's embattled prison system, and China's emerging punk rock scene. Peter prefers to work in documentary filmmaking because of the opportunity to humanize each situation. If you just see people as statistics or as another tragic story, then you don’t really connect. But when you learn that Dominic loves to play the xylophone, that Maria watched her parents die at the hand of the military rebels, that each person’s story has common themes we can all understand, that is how we create authentic and inspirational stories.”


Senior Vice President, Nat Geo WILD 

Daniels annually commissions over 150 hours of original series, specials, and events for broadcast on NGW globally, furthering the network’s commitment to provide extraordinary wildlife programming that inspires people to care about the planet. Previously Daniels was senior VP of development and production for National Geographic Channels International where he commissioned more than 250 hours of original programming per year for broadcast in 166 countries, 315 million homes and 34 languages worldwide. He produced nearly 400 hours of factual programming across the network in addition to directing series such as Seconds from Disaster, Mega Structures and Air Crash Investigation. In addition, Daniels managed NGCI’s editorial relationship with strategic co-production and output partners in the United States, Europe, Asia and Latin America. Daniels began his career at Time Life Video and Television where he played a key role in building TLV into one of the world’s leading home video distributors through the acquisition and marketing of Sir David Attenborough’s Trials of Life and Ken Burns’ The Civil War.


Documentary Filmmaker

Marshall Curry, a two-time Academy Award nominee, got his start shooting, directing and editing the documentary STREET FIGHT which won the audience awards at Tribecca, Silverdocs, Hot Docs and the Best International Documentary at Hot Docs. The film was nominated for an Academy Award, an Emmy and a WGA award. His second documentary was RACING DREAMS which won Best Documentary at Tribecca and is now being adapted into a fictional remake by DREAMWORKS. Both STREET FIGHT and RACING DREAMS are included in the top 30 of Rotten Tomatoes' list of Best Reviewed Documentaries. Marshall's latest and third film, IF A TREE FALLS: A STORY OF THE EARTH LIBERATION FRONT has just been nominated for an Academy Award. 


Proprietor of D.C's West End Cinema and Documentary producer. 

Josh co-founded and runs the West End Cinema in Washington, DC, and was previously Chief Marketing Officer for indie distributor Film Movement. Josh is also a producer of the documentary Cape Spin (IDFA 2011); executive producer of Corman's World (Sundance 2011); and associate producer of The Iran Job


D.C based Documentary filmmaker

Eric Strauss has been creating documentary films for more than a decade, shooting, writing and producing for broadcasters such as National Geographic, The History Channel, The Discovery Channel, and A&E. For National Geographic Explorer, Eric directed, shot and produced Heroin Crisis, about the global trail of Afghan heroin, as well as Iraq's Guns for Hire, a profile of the private security industry in Iraq. Eric is currently directing and producing for Hard Time, an Emmy-nominated prison series that premiered on the National Geographic Channel in March 2009. The Redemption of General Butt Naked is his first feature film.

Jean Garner

Acquisitions and commissioning Producer for Al Jazeera's documentary program.

Jean Garner is the Acquisitions and Commissioning producer for the channel’s flagship documentary program, WITNESS. AJE has four broadcast centers around the globe that reach 190 million viewers daily. There is a programming producer in each hub dedicated to working with a developing an ongoing relationship with the documentary filmmaking community in their region. The region covered by Ms Garner stretches from the Arctic Circle to Argentina. Ms Garner’s background is in broadcast news including ABC News programs World News Tonight and Nightline. She has also worked in broadcast media development in Eastern Europe. 

Richard Chislom

Documentary Director/Cinematographer

Richard Chisolm is an Emmy award-winning documentary filmmaker and cinematographer with thirty years of production experience. He recently directed and shot CAFETERIA MAN, a feature documentary on school food reform currently in national festival circulation. Based in Baltimore, he has shot films and television programs on a wide variety of subjects in the US and abroad.  Deeply committed to the value of real stories and the adventures of real people, Richard has worked for PBS, National Geographic, BBC, Discovery Channel, HBO, and many other broadcast entities.  He was a Camera Operator on the HBO series THE WIRE and the Director of Photography for both of ABC's HOPKINS prime time medical documentary series (2000 and 2008).  He is also the recipient of a Peabody Award, a Columbia duPont Journalism award, two Kodak Vision awards, four CINE Golden Eagles, and is a Distinguished Alumnus of the University of Maryland.

Greg Henry

Co Founder, President of Part2Pictures

Greg has spent more than 15 years making documentary films on subjects ranging from history to social issues across the US and the world. He began as an editor with the renowned documentarian, Charles Guggenheim, in Washington, DC, collaborating on more than seven films including the Academy Award Nominated, A Place in the Land.  In 1996, he worked with Bill Moyers producing long form PBS documentaries and then joining the weekly show NOW with Bill Moyers.  As Executive Producer at part2 pictures, Greg has helmed the hit series, Hard Time, and many of the highest-rated programs and series from part2 pictures.  His producer, writing and directing credits include dozens of reports for NOW with Bill Moyers, historical series, PBS specials and verite dramas. He oversees all production and continues to work hands-on with our films and filmmakers. 

Kiley Kraskouska

Thinking Forward Media

Kiley is an experienced filmmaker and project manager with entrepreneurism in her DNA. Through her work on her own film, ESSAKANE UNVEILED, she became passionate about the power of crowd funding and is now sharing this knowledge via Thinking Forward Media. Prior to launching Thinking Forward, she was a project producer at the award winning company Cortina Productions where she designed and produced complex, large budget multimedia projects for high-profile corporate, government, and university clients.  While completing a Masters degree in sociology at New York University in 2004, Ms. Kraskouskas discovered her true passion in documentary filmmaking and soon began working on a variety of documentaries including Technostorks, William Francis Gibbs: Architect of a Maritime Nation, and Evolution of Dad.  As COO of Thinking Forward, she oversees project management, business development and partnerships with independent filmmakers for creative fundraising.  She also holds a Master’s degree in Sociology from New York University and a B.A. in Political Science and Sociology from the University of Denver. Kiley is also a board member of Docs In Progress and a member of Women in Film & Video.

Mary Smith

Media Arts Specialist at the Natational Endowment for the Arts (NEA).

The NEA is an independent federal agency that primarily supports non-profit organizations for specific projects.  As such, she works with applicants ranging from film festivals to workshop programs to those interested in media productions.  Recent documentary production projects funded include:  Fred Wiseman’s Boxing Gym; Frida Lee Mock’s Wrestling with Angels; Aviva Kempner’s Yoo Hoo Mrs. Goldberg; Connie Fields’ Have You Heard from Johannesburg?; Sam Green’s Utopia in Four Movements, etc.  The NEA also supports series that present documentaries on television such as American MastersPOV,  and Independent Lens.

Derek Willis

NY Times Journalist/blogger/Interactive news group

Derek Willis is a journalist, blogger and member of the Interactive News group at The New York Times, where he builds political and congressional Web applications and contributes to Times reporting from the Washington bureau. He is currently working on The Times’ coverage of the 2012 elections. Previously he worked at and The Washington Post, where he helped build one of the first congressional votes Web applications by a news organization. Derek worked with a team at The Center for Public Integrity that developed the first comprehensive collection of data on so-called 527 political committees. Prior to the Center, Derek worked for five years at Congressional Quarterly covering campaign finance, elections and the House of Representatives. He began his career as a research librarian at The Palm Beach Post. Website:  and @derekwillis on Twitter.

London 2011 Speakers

Robert Greenwald is the founder of Brave New Films, a new media company that uses docs to educate, influence and empower viewers to take action around issues that matter. Robert is known for his docs, Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch's war on Journalism, Wal-Mart: the high cost of low price, Iraqi For Sale, to mention a few. Robert has garnered more than 25 Emmy nominations, two Golden Globe nominations, the Peabody Award, the Robert Wood Johnson Award.


Lucy blasted onto the documentary scene with her first documentary DEVILS PLAYGROUND which premiered at Sundance in 2002. The film received three Emmy award nominations and an Independent Spirit nomination. Lucy went on to do BLINDSIGHT which was short listed for an Academy Award, as well as receiving nominations from the 2007 Grierson and British Independent Film Awards. Both her next two films, WASTE LAND and COUNTDOWN TO ZERO both premiered at Sundance in 2010, the first time a documentary filmmaker has had two films in Sundance. WASTE LAND is the first film to have won both the Audience Award for sundance and Berlin in the same year, and was nominated for an Academy Award in 2011. Lucy's new short documentary, TSUNAMI has been shortlisted for the Oscars 2012.


Tim founded MercuryMedia in 2000 and has been focusing the company solely on documentary since 2005. Prior to Mercury, Tim amassed 15 years experience working for Disney, Thames, BBC and the AP rising to senior executive roles. He contributes at a strategic level to Ofcom, the BBC Trust and EDN, (European Documentary Network). Tim founded in 2008 in order to increase the availability of documentary films, which he believes are under-served by traditional channels and deserve a wider audience.


In 1997, Jo joined the then newly formed Storyville, the BBC's international documentary strand and has been with it ever since. In addition to Storyville, Jo produced PICASSO DAYS, COD WARS, THE SOMME and BEHIND THE WALL for the BBC. She programmed two documentary seasons of BBC FOURS acclaimed shows Rock Docs 2002 and Families 2003. Outside of programming, Jo supports the STEPS initiative for filmmakers in Southern Africa, which gives funding, training and world wide distribution to locally made films dealing with the HIV/Aids pandemic.


Emily studied documentary directing at the National Film and Television School, her student films already winning international awards. After her first broadcast commission, The Luckiest Nut in the World, the Guardian asserted "Emily James is a genius...and will in time be revered as a television innovator." Following the experimental Don't Worry, and What Would Jesus Drive?, Emily's attention has now shifted to feature documentaries with Just Do It - a Tale of Modern Day Outlaws which hit screens over the summer.

Lauren is the producer of Just Do It, the recently released feature documentary which gained unprecedented access to the world of environmental activism. After a successful theatrical run this Summer, the film has just been released on DVD with Dogwoof and plans are underway for a US release in 2012. Just Do It is Lauren's first independent feature film as a producer, having previously worked for various independent production companies as well as a stint at Universal Films on Ridley Scott's Robin Hood. Lauren also co-directed 2009's SEE: The Brighton Documentary Film Festival.


While in Haiti, Geoffrey was shot while making a doc about a massacre of 21 voters. After recovering, he decided to find the man who had nearly killed him — and to film the whole thing. The resulting film, Searching for a Killer, won acclaim and was aired on the BBC. Smith discovered that the camera can be a powerful, cathartic tool that helps people through difficult periods and went on to build his work around that concept. The winner of numerous awards, he has made more than 22 films and has worked for all the major U.K. broadcasters.


James Collie produced the feature length documentary Beyond Biba - A Portrait of Barbara Hulanicki in 2009. The film was released DIY in the UK in over 65 cinema screenings across the country followed by a successful DVD release. It was then sold to a number of territories including SKY TV (UK) and The Sundance Channel (Europe/Asia). In 2011, James released Beetle Queen Conquers Tokyo his first film as a distributor in the UK with the aim of releasing three to five films a year. He is currently developing his new documentary, A Very British Cult, with the BBC.


Andy Green cut his teeth as an editor in the advertising industry and moved into film production a few years ago. He has produced a range of films, including broadcast documentaries and music videos, and is currently developing a slate of feature films with support from Creative Scotland and Features Scotland. Andy emphasizes market and audience knowledge when developing and distributing independent films, and is responsible for brand development for Distrify.


Andy is the Managing Director of Mosaic Films, and the CEO of the Documentary Filmmakers Group, the national organisation to support talent and innovation in documentary filmmaking. An author, BAFTA winning filmmaker, and producer, Andy continues to direct and produce documentaries both here in the UK, and around the world, often helping new and emerging filmmakers get their first foot on the ladder

Speaker and Session Disclaimer

Speaker and session disclaimer

The Documentary Filmmakers Summit sets to secure agreements from each speaker and workshop leader prior to announcing their involvement and commitment to appear. However, one or more speakers may be unable to appear or may not arrive at their scheduled time for any number of reasons. The Documentary Summit cannot be responsible if a speaker does not appear as scheduled. Additionally, the Documentary Filmmakers Summit sessions and workshops may be cancelled or rescheduled at any time; and the Documentary Filmmakers Summit retains the right to change the content of any session at any time.