Click here to meet the 2024 Southern Producers Lab Fellows


Southern Producers Lab

The Southern Producers Lab, an initiative of the New Orleans Film Society, was created in 2018 to bring together emerging, diverse Producers from around the American South.

This program is designed to explore the unique challenges of living and working in the US South as a Producer. Producers will explore a range of topics such as the Director-Producer relationship, addressing career sustainability and burnout and articulating one’s own unique skill set as a producer. Participants will also hone their skills in budgeting, funding, festival strategy and distribution.  

Similar to the Emerging Voices Director’s Lab, the Southern Producers Lab is a 12-month professional development program with multiple touch points throughout the year.

Eight South-based Producers are invited annually to find their producing niche and deepen their community ties through industry mentorship and peer support in a 4-day intensive lab. At the completion of the lab, participating filmmakers will receive a $2,000 unrestricted grant to support their project as well as the opportunity to convene at the New Orleans Film Festival and one additional regional festival.


Program Objectives

The goal of this program is to support projects and filmmakers who embody the program values of the New Orleans Film Society. Our program objectives are designed and adapted to suit the unique needs of each cohort.

The four-day lab is centered around skill-building workshops and feedback sessions in which each filmmaker is able to share their project, workshop materials such as story ideas, work samples/script excerpts, artist statements, elevator pitches, and pitch decks. Fellow cohort members, assigned mentors, and other industry advisors provide thought partnership and feedback.

Generous support for the Southern Producers Lab comes from:


How To Apply

Applications for the 2024 season are now closed.


The Southern Producers Lab is designed for early to mid-career producers who are current full-time residents of the U.S. South. Proof of residence is required.

Applicants must meet the following eligibility requirements in order to be considered:

  • be a current full-time resident of one of the following states: Alabama, Arkansas, District of Columbia, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, U.S. Virgin Islands, Virginia, West Virginia
  • be a producer on their project. Applicants must NOT be directing or writing their project. However, they may also identify as editors, DPs, etc.

We accept Narrative and Documentary short, feature, and episodic projects actively in development, pre-production, production or post-production. Projects must not be picture-locked by the time of the lab and may not premiere before August 2024.

We are not accepting New Media/installation projects at this time.

Applicants MUST be available to participate in-person during the Southern Producers Lab May 21-24, 2024, which will take place during daytime and possibly evening hours, and virtually during the Southern Producers Lab Orientation Day, which will take place on May 6, 2024.

Applications will be accepted until 11:59 PM (CST) on January 24, 2024.


Application Materials

You will not be able to save your application while in progress. We recommend that you prepare your answers to the questions in a separate document, then copy and paste your answers into this form.

The maximum word count listed next to the questions is not a required length. Responses can and should be succinct.

Please have the following items prepared before filling out the application:

  • proof of residency
  • a headshot
  • link to your website or social media handles
  • link to your past work
  • link to your current project

The Southern Producers Lab is for full-time South-based residents only. Please be prepared to provide proof of residency. If you do not have a government-issued ID, acceptable documents include a Voter Registration Card, Utility Bill, Rental Agreement, Paycheck Stub, Tax Return, or W-2.


Evaluation Criteria

Applications will be reviewed by an independent panel and will be scored according to the following criteria:

  • Originality and vision
    Does the project have a unique vision and perspective? Does the visual component of the application support the description and artistic approach of the project? Is it clear why this project needs to be made now?
  • Connection to the story
    What is the film team’s relationship to the story and communities represented in the film? How are they working with the community to ensure the story is crafted with care and respect?
  • Connection to the region
    What is the filmmaker’s relationship to the region? How long have they lived in the region? Do they live here full-time? How connected are they to their Southern community? Is their body of work focused on Southern stories? How much of the project will be filmed in the South?
  • Ability to execute the project
    Does the applicant’s past body of work demonstrate an ability to execute the current project? Does the project have committed collaborators? Is there a clear plan for current and future phases of the project?
  • Willingness to learn and contribute to the cohort
    Do they demonstrate a need and willingness to learn? Will they contribute to and support other members of the cohort? How engaged will they be in the lab?
  • Ability to leverage the opportunity
    Is the project developed enough to take advantage of the lab and award? Is the applicant in an ideal place in their career to receive mentorship from an industry advisor? Is there a clear explanation of how the lab will move the project forward?


Key Dates

December 13, 2023: Applications open

January 19, 2024: Applications Close at 11:59 PM CST (EXTENDED DEADLINE 1/24)

February 7-8, 2024: Notification Dates

May 6, 2024: Virtual Group Orientation Meeting

May 21-24, 2024: In-person Lab

Spring/Summer 2024: Convene at Regional Festival

Fall 2024: Convene at NOFF 2024


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What types of documents are acceptable proof of residence?
If you do not have a government-issued ID, acceptable documents include a Voter Registration Card, Utility Bill, Rental Agreement, Paycheck Stub, Tax Return, or W-2.

Can applicants also serve other roles on the project?
Applicants must be the producer of their project. Applicants must NOT be directing or writing their project. However, they may also identify as editors, DPs, etc.

If I don’t have a video work sample, should I submit something else?
All projects should be prepared to submit a pitch deck. Narrative projects in development should prepare a 10-page excerpt of the draft script as a project work sample. Documentary projects should prepare a detailed film treatment.

Can I apply to multiple 2024 Filmmaker Development Programs?

You may apply to both Emerging Voices and Southern Producers if you qualify. However, please only submit ONE application to each program.


Southern Producers Lab 2024 Fellows


Ai Vuong, Texas

Ai Vuong is a Vietnamese-born and Texas-bred filmmaker. She co-founded TÁPI Story in 2018, a production company that focuses on human-centered stories told from a systemic perspective with compassion, empathy and dignity. In 2021, TÁPI Story was awarded a Silver Telly for their short film, “Remember Love”, documenting the memories of the orphaned children of the war on drugs in the Philippines. “La Cosecha,” a short documentary she produced and co-wrote, premiered at SXSW as part of the Texas Shorts Competition in 2023. Her films have been showcased internationally, along with recent screenings at CineFestival (San Antonio, TX) and the Austin Asian American Film Festival. She was also a fellow for PBS Reel South Hindsight 2.0, and recently produced and directed an independent short documentary about Boca Chica beach, the “poor people’s beach,” and community members spearheading the fight against big tech in South Texas that premiered at Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival. Ái was named a Tory Burch Foundation Fellow in 2023. Prior to receiving a master’s of NGO Management and Public Policy from NYU, she worked in Vietnam for 6 years on youth development and leadership. She served as the Executive Director of a local NGO in Vietnam called the Friends of Hue Foundation.

Project Title: La Concierge de Azule (Documentary Short)
As “Radical, French, Appalachian Hillbilly” Camille Shaffer turns 80, she reflects on her life, art, and death at her home “Azule”— a house on a hill in the heart of Appalachia.



Bridgette Cyr, Virginia 

Bridgette Cyr is an award winning documentary filmmaker, video journalist, and audio producer based in Richmond, VA.

Film collaborations have taken her to a Q-Anon rally in Tampa, Florida; the bedroom of a revenge porn victim; the recording studio of feminist hip hop artists in Havana, Cuba; and to the hideout of a North Carolina woman as she sought refuge in sanctuary, fearful of deportation.

As of late, her work has a focus on access to education, healthcare, and LGBTQIA+ rights in the rapidly evolving American South.

She is the Director of Photography and Producer of PICKUP (2023), a short fiction film about a rideshare to the airport that takes an unsettling turn. She is also the Director of Photography and Associate Producer of SANTUARIO (2018), which won the Jury Prize for Best Documentary Short at the New Orleans Film Festival. She was among 12 selected for the Investigative Reporting Workshop for Filmmakers at UC Berkeley in 2018. Her work has been screened at festivals around the country and was broadcast on UNC-TVs program Reel South, and Al Jazeera’s Witness program.

She holds a Master’s in Visual Communication from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where she was a Roy H. Park Fellow. Before returning to school, she was the Artistic Services Coordinator at the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival.

Currently, she is editing a short documentary film about a quick-talking mule trader in Vicksburg, Mississippi using archival footage filmed in the 1970s.

Project Title: MEANT TO BE MADDIE (Documentary Feature)
MEANT TO BE MADDIE documents the challenges and triumphs of a North Carolina family fighting to protect their transgender daughter.


Carolyn Purnell, Texas

Carolyn Purnell is a historian, producer, and the author of two books: Blue Jeans (2023) and The Sensational Past: How the Enlightenment Changed the Way We Use Our Senses (2017). In 2023, Carolyn wrote and produced the short film “Pasture Prime,” which was supported by the Austin Film Society and nominated for the Short Film Grand Jury Prize at the 2024 Sundance Film Festival. She also participated in the 2023 South Pitch program as the producer for the narrative feature PEACE BE UPON YOU, and her historical feature THE EXCHANGE was selected as a quarterfinalist for Final Draft’s Big Break Screenwriting Contest.

Project Title: Peace Be Upon You (Narrative Feature)
A Muslim couple moves to East Texas on the eve of the apocalypse



Daniel Fabelo, Texas

Daniel Fabelo is an award-winning, Latino filmmaker originally from Austin, Texas. He graduated from UT Austin with an RTF degree and, for a time, he was a writer/director for online powerhouse, Rooster Teeth. There, he directed numerous web series, documentaries and the sci-fi comedy feature, Lazer Team 2. In 2019, he was a story producer for the Immersion: Shark Week Special for the Discovery Channel. His latest directorial effort, “El Gato Feo”, is a historical drama about the women who fought in the Mexican Revolution. The short film, which he also produced, premiered at the Dallas International Film Festival and has gone on to play numerous others including the New York Latino Film Festival and the Evolution Mallorca International Film Festival in Mallorca, Spain.

Project Title: Juana Pelos (Narrative Short)
It’s the first day of school and Juana is facing the worst fear of every Latina puberty: she’s getting hairy.



Katie Pham, Louisiana 

Katie Pham is a first generation Vietnamese-American born and raised in New Orleans, and provides operational, producing and archival support at Gusto Moving Pictures. Recently released projects include being Associate Producer on Commuted (dir. Nailah Jefferson, New Orleans Film Festival 2023), Under G-d (dir. Paula Eiselt, Sundance 2023), The Neutral Ground (dir. CJ Hunt, Tribeca 2021). She is the Co-Producer on Roleplay (dir. Katie Mathews, SXSW 2024) and currently supporting production on The Gardeners (dir. Crystal Kayiza), Chinatown Down South (dir. Nancy Lauland), and The First Plantation (dir. Jason Fitzroy Jeffers). She also has experience in film festival operations, at festivals including the New Orleans Film Festival and Overlook Film Festival. Katie is a graduate of Loyola University, with a double major in Criminology and Entertainment Industry Studies and a minor in Mass Communications.

Project Title: Chinatown Down South (Documentary Short)
CHINATOWN DOWN SOUTH explores the little known story of New Orleans’ Chinatown and the current generation of Chinese New Orleanians who are carrying on the spirit of Chinatown.



Moya Johnson, Georgia

Moya Johnson is a producer and writer with over 10 years of experience in TV and film. Johnson’s passion for storytelling began as a teenager in Cairo, Georgia, writing published short stories about her family for various platforms. As a young writer, Johnson’s career blossomed and she worked as a TV news producer while in college. Johnson studied journalism at Florida A&M University, later working as a journalist at local news stations across the country, CNN and NBC News. After an extensive career in broadcast, Johnson pivoted to producing documentaries, short films and unscripted television. With a love for music, nature and travel, Johnson founded South Broad Street Productions in 2023. Her goal is to tell diverse stories, with diverse filmmakers for diverse audiences. Johnson’s current projects include the short film ‘The Off Brands’, a docu-series called Return of the Wax and En Route, a music series.

Project Title: The Off Brands (Narrative Feature)
A quirky teenager with Sickle Cell, tries to climb the social hierarchy ladder at her South Carolina high school.



Rashada Fortier, Louisiana 

Rashada Fortier is a queer, New Orleans based producer. Her aim is to support work that focuses on narratives centered around marginalized women protagonists, particularly women of color. She seeks to combat the idea that projects centering women of color are in any way niche, and instead works to highlight the importance and relatability of their experiences. She especially wishes to explore these narratives in genres that have traditionally regulated people of color to small or bit roles, such as horror and sci-fi. Rashada holds a B.A. in Communications specializing in film and television from Seton Hall University, and a MFA in film from the University of New Orleans. Rashada currently works as an assistant production coordinator in the film industry. She also serves as a narrative shorts programmer for both the New Orleans and Atlanta Film Festivals. “Mama Love,” which she produced with Mary McDade, premiered at the New Orleans Film Festival in 2023 and won an Audience Award for Best Louisiana Narrative Short.

Project Title: Quake Thunder Crack (Narrative Feature)
A pregnant woman visits her partner’s oppressive religious family for the first time.


Victoria Bouloubasis, North Carolina

Victoria Bouloubasis (producer) is an award-winning journalist and Emmy-nominated filmmaker based in Durham, N.C. Her work aims to dispel myths about the Global South—its people and places—against the backdrop of complex social, political and personal histories. She often tells stories at the intersection of food, labor and im/migration. Victoria has reported from the U.S. South and rural Midwest, Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, Costa Rica and Greece. She is based in Durham, N.C.


Project Title: Lo Mejor Está Por Venir (Documentary Short)
A formerly undocumented pastor organizes for Latinx rights—while his daughter seeks answers about their own migration. “Lo Mejor Está Por Venir” follows Daniel Sostaita building a permanent home for migrants despite state efforts to render them invisible.




Southern Producers Lab 2023 Fellows


Artemis Fannin, Georgia
Artemis is a producer with 371 Productions. She has a production career spanning across film, television, commercials, series, and music videos. She was the Associate Producer on the feature documentary Mama Bears, which premiered at SXSW in March 2022. She is also the associate producer for Maverick’s Black Voters Matter and Selina Lewis and Macky Alston’s Acts of Reparation, which are currently in post-production. She is the Associate Producer of the forthcoming Insurrection 1898 for PBS’ American Experience, and was Co-Producer of the HBO award winning short film, Kickin Chicken, which portrays a young woman’s struggle with addiction.

Project Title: Untitled Epilepsy Film
Documentary Feature
Filmmaker Skylar Economy reckons with the mystery of her epilepsy, and challenges that surface from her past.


Edna Diaz, Texas
Edna Diaz is a Mexican-American producer who calls Texas home. She began her career developing stories for non-profit organizations and high-profile brands. More recently, she has shifted her focus to telling stories about women and underrepresented communities. Some of her casting credits include La Gloria, Marisol, and Mo, stories that aim to reclaim the humanity behind the political abstractions surrounding immigration in the U.S. She is the recipient of the 2023 LPB Latino Emerging Filmmakers Fellowship. Edna completed her bachelors in Radio, Television & Film at the University of North Texas and earned her masters in Advertising from the University of Texas at Austin.

Project Title: FLOATERS
Narrative Short
Over the course of a New Year’s family gathering, a tenacious 15-year-old girl confronts her deepest fears and faces her new shared reality with her aunt and her cousin.


Jeremy Blum, Louisiana
JEREMY BLUM is a filmmaker based in his hometown of New Orleans, Louisiana. He is Co-Producer on the 2022 Emmy-nominated documentary The Neutral Ground, which received a Special Jury Mention at the 2021 Tribeca Film Festival and premiered as the 2021 season-opener on POV Docs. He recently produced director Angela Tucker’s Webby-award winning series The Trees Remember, director Garrett Bradley’s 2022 film exhibition Safe, and director Zandashé Brown’s upcoming film Benediction. He has also produced multiple commercials and music videos for artists such as Big Freedia and Tank & the Bangas.

Project Title: Unlearned
Documentary Feature
“Unlearned” is a documentary about the panic over Critical Race Theory and the battle over history in the classroom.


Loren Waters, Oklahoma
Award-winning filmmaker Loren Waters is a citizen of the Cherokee Nation and the Kiowa Tribe. Loren’s work aims to center environmental knowledge, culture revitalization, and Indigenous futurity through storytelling. She currently is a freelance Background Casting Director. She’s worked on projects such as Seasons 1-3 of Reservation Dogs, Fancy Dance (2023), and the Martin Scorsese-directed feature film, Killers of the Flower Moon (2023). She recently received the Native Arts and Cultures Foundation LIFT Award, while participating in fellowships such as Nia Tero 4th World Media Lab, 2021 Warner Media Bootcamp, and the Intercultural Leadership Institute Year 4.

Project Title: Other Plans 
Narrative Short
A Cherokee woman fights an unlawful adoption by her white in-laws while reckoning with feeling distant from her own culture.


Marion Forbes, Louisiana
Marion Forbes is a producer, writer, and director living and working in New Orleans, Louisiana. Marion has worked for over 8 years as an architectural designer before returning to school to study film production in New Orleans. Marion takes an interdisciplinary approach to filmmaking and design – drawing from experience as a musician, printmaker, weaver, and long time film lover. Her stories center around the lives of complicated people struggling with change – the interstitial spaces between major chapters in one’s life.

Marion’s first short film, Timbre, was a Student Academy Award Semi-Finalist and two of her previous short films are now streaming on the independent streaming platform, iNDIEFLIX.

Project Title: PIQUANT
Documentary Series/Episodic
PIQUANT is an experimental documentary showing lyrical portraits of Southern personalities through the lens of their relationship to food.


Niketa Reed, Georgia
Niketa Reed is a producer, writer and digital media strategist. She studied documentary film, journalism and communications at the University of Arkansas and has since enjoyed a career in media, amplifying underrepresented voices.

As an assistant professor at her alma mater, she taught diversity in media, content strategy and African Americans in Film courses. While there, she founded the digital media nonprofit Arkansas Soul created for, by and about BIPOC Arkansans – building a pipeline for the next generation of writers, journalists and filmmakers.

Her grantmaking partners include the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation, Walton Family Foundation and the Color Congress Initiative.

Project Title: Calling All Sistas
Documentary Feature
A member of a little-known sorority searches for her long-lost sisters and their contributions to the Black historical record.


Raúl Abner Samrah, Puerto Rico 
Raúl Abner Samrah is a producer, entrepreneur, educator and screenwriter from Ciales, Puerto Rico. Over the last 5 years, he has mounted a volume of work focusing on queer representation, uplifting new auteurial voices, and creating socially-engaging content. He is also the co-founder and executive producer of Filmes Casa, an independent queer-latinx production company unique for styling arthouse cinema in Puerto Rico. Some of his most notable projects include music videos and award-winning short films. He was also co-producer for “Without Prescription” (2022), winner of the Audience Award in the Global category of the SXSW 2022 Film Festival.

Project Title: Los cuatro meses (The Four Month Rule)
Narrative Short
Two lesbian best friends call each other to discuss the famous “four month” rule.


Sammy Bauer, North Carolina
Sammy Bauer is an environmental educator and professional science communicator. When not working on films, they spend the bulk of their time teaching folks how to protect local waterways from pollution. Prior to pivoting into non-formal education, Sammy taught 6th grade Language Arts and Social Studies in Warren County, North Carolina. Sammy has a bachelor’s degree in communications and a Master of Public Administration (MPA) from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. If you ask them about creek critters, rock climbing, or hotdog toppings, they will get very excited.

Project Title: Genx: The Saga of Forever Chemicals
Documentary Feature
Upon discovering their hometown had been poisoned for decades, a chemist turns to filmmaking to address this contamination for everyone.

Southern Producers Lab 2022 Fellows


Ronald Baez, Florida
Ronald Baez is an award-winning Afro-Latinx filmmaker and immersive media artist from Miami, FL. In addition to screening at film festivals worldwide, Baez has exhibited work at the Norton Art Museum, MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), NAB Show (Las Vegas), and in collaboration with the Slamdance Film Festival, National Geographic, the New World Symphony and the Adrienne Arscht Center.


Project Title: Liberty City VR
VR Project
An immersive media experience that brings the history of Miami’s legendary Black neighborhood to life.


Curtis Caesar John, South Carolina
Curtis Caesar John sees cinema as the nexus for furthering our understanding of one another, even within our own cultures, and thus works tirelessly as a filmmaker, arts manager, and advocate. Curtis is currently a producer on “Stonebreakers”, a new documentary about the fight over monuments in the United States and previously produced “BlaxploItalian: 100 Years of Blackness in Italian Cinema”, and is in pre-production of a short film about Dorothy Dandridge. He is also the founder and Executive Director of The Luminal Theater, a nomadic microcinema founded in 2015 that brings Black independent films directly to Black communities.

Project Title: Stonebreakers
Documentary Feature
Exploring the fight over United States monuments, the meaning of memorialization, and how history can inflame present-day political action.


Jorge Carreon, Texas
Jorge Carreon. Writer and producer. Born in El Paso Texas, raised in Ciudad Juarez, México. AFI Producing Alumnus. His documentary Condemning Acquittal was produced by Nomo in collaboration with Ambulante becoming very successful in academic circles. Producer and writer of Azul Claro winner of IMCINE short film grant, official selection of Mexico’s top film festivals. La Coquin et The Anominous, his directorial debut, is currently in pre-production. He supports border filmmakers by working together in finding their voice and producing their stories.

Project Title: Todo Está Bien Papá (Everything Will Be Alright)
Narrative Feature
A broken father cares for his son’s corpse, until he is forced to get rid of his recently murdered brother-in-law.


Michelle Lee Svenson, Oklahoma 
Michelle Lee Svenson is a freelance film producer whose work focuses on elevating minority filmmakers’ voices. She was the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian’s Film + Video Center producer and programmer for ten years and served on granting initiatives such as the Tribeca Film Institute’s All Access and the International Sámi Film Institute’s Indigenous Film Circle. Independently, she has been producing and marketing films with premieres at Sundance, Tribeca, SXSW and MoMA. Current projects include Colleen Thurston’s DROWNED LAND and Britni Harris’ GOFF. Michelle programs for DocLands and is the Artistic Program Producer at the Tulsa Artist Fellowship.

Project Title: Drowned Land
Documentary Feature
Deep in the Choctaw Nation of rural Oklahoma rages a fight to preserve the Kiamichi River, reckoning with a cycle of land loss for the Indigenous diaspora and the community at large.


Janae Thompson, Virginia
Janae is a theatrical performer and filmmaker from Hampton Roads, Virginia. She studied Musical Theatre at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York City and currently studying Digital Cinematography at Full Sail University. She began emerging into film production in 2019, after observing the necessity of people of color being involved theatrical and film spaces. She currently serves as a Repertory Company Member for the Canady Foundation for the Arts and Board Member of the Little Theatre of Norfolk. She has a passion the for stories that bring awareness to social issues, women, and people of color. She believes in the power of sharing stories that involves creativity, education, community, and our ancestral legacy of storytelling at the center.

Project Title: Love West
Documentary Feature
A West Philadelphia girls basketball team fights for a state title while contending with a dual pandemic; they look to love for survival.


Amalia Eddings, Arkansas
Amalia Eddings is an Colombian-American Filmmaker born and raised in Arkansas with a BA in Filmmaking from the University of Central Arkansas. Amalia has been an Associate Producer/Editor for almost 2 years for production companies Content Titan and Mudroom Films. Primarily working on the feature documentary, “The ‘Vous”, about the internationally famous BBQ restaurant, The Rendezvous. In 2019, she interned at Vanishing Angle, a Los Angeles based production company known for Sundance and SXSW winning film “Thunder Road ”. In 2020/2021, she produced an Arkansas-made independent Spanish language feature “Llego Hoy” and female focused short film “Moth”.

Project Title: I Do This For A Living
Narrative Feature
Jeff, mechanic and southern family man, navigates the life of his recovering addict son who starts dating a trans girl.


Natalie Holley, Illinois
Natalie Holley is a graduate of New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, where she completed the Film/Television program in 2019. During her time at NYU, Natalie produced numerous student films and participated in internships at Random Acts of Flyness (HBO) and First Wives Club (BET+). Since Summer 2020, Natalie has taken on the role of creative producer for Pure, an upcoming feature film written and directed by fellow NYU alum Natalie Jasmine Harris. She hopes to become an independent producer for film, television, and beyond. Born and raised in Chicago, Natalie currently resides in Silver Spring, Maryland.

Project Title: Pure
Narrative Short
On the eve of her cotillion ball, a young Black girl grapples with her queer identity and questions her purity.


Annam Rizwan, Georgia
Annam Rizwan is an independent producer dedicated to telling stories about Muslims and Pakistanis living in the American South. A graduate of the University of Georgia, Annam found her passion for production and leadership while serving as a student leader and president for the Pakistani Students Association and Muslim Students Association. Her most recent film, Congratulations, is a Clermont Ferrand Market Pick and an official selection to Palm Springs Shortest, Atlanta Film Festival, New Orleans Film Festival and many others. She is currently producing a web series, A Version, about a newly married Muslim couple visiting the therapist to save their marriage. She is also producing her first feature film, The Immigration Game, a satire about an undocumented immigrant in Georgia finding ways to become documented again.

Project Title: The Immigration Game
Narrative Feature
After his US visa expires and he decides to overstay, Majeed finds an illegal way to become legal again.


Sommer Garcia Saqr, Texas
Sommer Garcia Saqr is a Mexican-American and first generation Palestinian-American filmmaker and producer based in Houston, Texas. She produced the award-winning short film, Sepia which premiered at the 2018 El Paso Film Festival and helped produce the indie feature, Carnage Radio which is now in post-production. Her work focuses on the struggle to find community and belonging, greatly informed by her multicultural upbringing. As an actress, she has worked with Ron Howard in Ed-TV and Gregory Nava in the PBS series, American Family. She is currently producing the short film, In Tow with Sharon Arteaga and Chelsea Hernandez.

Project Title: In Tow
Narrative Short
A mother and daughter confront their differences while their mobile home is being repossessed … with them inside of it!


Maha Chielo, Louisiana
Maha Chielo is a sex worker, filmmaker, and community organizer from New Orleans. She is a founding member of B.A.R.E. (Bourbon Alliance of Responsible Entertainers) which fights against discriminatory labor laws affecting sex workers. She has also been a member of Socialist Alternative, Cop Watch, and the 15 Now Minimum Wage Campaign. Prior to that, she was a Blavity writing fellow. In 2017, she was the recipient of the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation Community Partnership Grant for writing. She’s an avid fanfiction reader, cosplayer, Eazy-E enthusiast, and lover of all things dark and gloomy.

Project Title: Blacklight
Narrative Series
Introverted Black goth and socialist organizer, Brianna, enters the absurd world of sex work in post-Katrina New Orleans.

Southern Producers Lab 2020 Fellows


Abbey Hoekzema, Georgia
Abbey Hoekzema is a documentary producer and educator based in Savannah, Georgia. She is the director of DOC Savannah, a collective of nonfiction storytellers in coastal Georgia. Her projects explore social justice, women, small communities, and youth. Her films have screened at film festivals internationally and has been featured on the Reel South series. She is currently producing her first feature documentary, The Caregivers.


Project Title: The Caregivers
Documentary Feature  | dir. Lauren Cater
In 2005, it was estimated that 1.3-1.4 million children between the ages of 8 and 18 act as caregivers in their household to a sibling, parent, grandparent, or extended family member. The Caregivers shares the intimate stories of caregiving youth growing up in the South and the social workers helping them.


Adrián Geyer, Florida
Adrián Geyer is a Latin American director/producer based in Miami. He started his career in Venezuela and is currently post-producing Hernan Jabe’s latest film Jezabel, following their previous collaboration on Rock, Paper, Scissors, Venezuela’s official submission to the Oscars in 2012. Most recently, he produced his first U.S. production, Maria Corina Ramirez´s film Bridges, and also premiered his first documentary feature as director, Juan.


Project Title: American Canvas
Narrative Feature | dir. Bradley W. Ragland
A podcast journalist, returns to her Florida hometown after a ten year absence, to investigate the disappearance of a teenage girl. Through the process, long forgotten memories from her past reemerge to help her find clues to solve case; but are these memories real or a projection of her desire for justice?


Anjanette Levert, Georgia
Anjanette Levert is a producer, filmmaker, curator/programmer, and professor at Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia. Currently she’s producing the feature documentary The Only Doctor from director Matthew Hashiguchi, as well as an untitled short film about Mobile, Alabama’s Mardi Gras. She’s also preparing to launch a podcast dedicated to documentary film this year.


Project Title: The Only Doctor
Documentary Feature | dir. Matthew Hashiguchi
Dr. Karen Kinsell, The Only Doctor in Clay County, Georgia, serves one of the poorest and unhealthiest counties in the nation. Faced with not being able to keep her rural clinic open, she seeks a solution to continue providing healthcare to the impoverished community she’s served for over 22 years.


Bryn Silverman, Kentucky
Bryn Silverman is a producer based in Louisville, Kentucky. She recently story-produced an episode for an upcoming Netflix documentary series. She worked on the feature documentary Roll Red Roll, which premiered at Tribeca, and produced the short film Pinball, which screened at the Director’s Guild through Film Independent. She is currently producing the feature adaptation of Pinball in Louisville.


Project Title: Pinball
Narrative Feature | dir. Naveen Chaubal
Pinball paints a portrait of immigrant suburbia in Louisville through Yosef, a 19-year-old college student and aspiring soccer star. When the U.S. invaded Iraq in 2003, his family found themselves chasing an outdated American Dream in the country that displaced them.


Fabiola Rodriguez, Florida
Fabiola Rodriguez is a film and television producer. She began her career at WPBT2 South Florida Public Media, Miami’s PBS affiliate, producing children’s content and later news and political programming. She then shifted into film, working above- and below-the-line on narrative projects. Fabiola currently has a short and a feature on the festival circuit. She graduated from the University of Iowa.


Project Title: Ludi
Narrative Feature | dir. Edson Jean
A young Haitian nursing assistant stops at nothing to send money back home to Haiti, launching her into a nightlong descent through Miami’s private-care system, knowing both her reputation and income hang in the balance.


Jillian Godshall, Louisiana
Jillian Godshall is a documentary filmmaker whose projects shine a light on issues related to human migration, fragile ecosystems, and mental health. Her work has screened at SXSW and appeared on PBS,, and in film festivals across the globe.


Project Title: The Laughing Man
Documentary Feature | dir. Zack Godshall
The Laughing Man is an intimate and tragicomic film essay that portrays the difficulties filmmaker Zack Godshall encounters as he collaborates with part-time actor and the occasional twin of Jesus Christ, Thomas Alan Williamson. As the two struggle to make a movie about Thomas’s life, Thomas himself battles homelessness and, in turn, must fight to maintain his dignity, hope, and humor.


Kelsey Scult, Louisiana
Kelsey Scult is a New Orleans-based multidisciplinary artist and film producer drawn to projects that push the boundaries of contemporary storytelling emerging out of New Orleans. In her own practice, Kelsey explores themes of intergenerational trauma and the feminine processing of inherited memories. Ma Belle, My Beauty is the debut feature film Kelsey is producing with her frequent collaborator, director Marion Hill.


Project Title: Ma Belle, My Beauty
Narrative Feature | dir. Marion Hill
As two recently married musicians adjust to life in the South of France, a beloved ex, who abruptly disappeared from their polyamorous relationship years ago, finally visits.


Kiah Clingman, Georgia
Kiah Clingman is a passionate content creator who merges her corporate skills with her creative talents. Her biggest accomplishment to date is producing a webseries, Outlandish, that has over 300,000 views on YouTube and was considered by Issa Rae Productions for Season 2 distribution/production. She is in post-production for her SAG short film that she wrote and produced, Eavesdropping on the Elders.


Project Title: (CON)CEALED
Narrative Web Series | dir. Myles Evans
A dramedy that follows an off-beat, Air BnB hopper, struggling with being the last of her kind, an aging millennial. She stumbles into “fame” and transcends life as a store-counter makeup artist when she becomes an accidental cosplay viral sensation. She must now learn how to be a skilled cosplayer while maintaining her identity as a black woman.


Pilar Timpane, North Carolina
Pilar Timpane is a filmmaker and producer based in Durham, North Carolina. In 2018, She co-directed and produced Santuario, winner of the Tribeca Film Institute IF/Then Shorts American South Pitch and the Jury Prize for Best Documentary Short at the New Orleans Film Festival. She has been an invited speaker at universities and festivals around the country. Her work has focused on women’s stories, immigration, and religious communities, with the aim of using storytelling for social change.


Project Title: The Last Partera
Mid-length Documentary | dir. Victoria Bouloubasis and Ned Phillips
In rural Costa Rica, a 96-year-old midwife passes on the wisdom of her craft to a new generation of women fighting for their right to choose how they give birth.


Ramón Villa-Hernández, Texas
Ramón Villa-Hernández is a 1st generation Mexican-American filmmaker based in El Paso, Texas. He is the 2019 NALAC – Adán Medrano Legacy Award winner in Film. His films have found support from the Austin Film Society, American Documentary-POV, and Tribeca Film Institute. In 2017, he ran his first successful crowdfunding campaign on Seed&Spark.


Project Title: Disrupted Borders
Documentary Short | dir. Alejandra Aragón
A Mexican-American tech disruptor reinvents cultural and gender norms in a turbulent backdrop of the border, while healing from a horrific racially-motivated domestic terrorist attack.

Southern Producers Lab 2019 Fellows


Shirlette Ammons, North Carolina
Shirlette Ammons is a producer for Markay Media (A Chef’s Life, Road to Race Day, Private Violence). She is a 2016 recipient of Black Public Media’s Pitch Black Prize, which awarded funding towards completion of the pilot episode of The Hook, a docu-series that explores Black maritime history through the plight of chef Ricky Moore. Shirlette is also an award-winning poet and musician whose body of work includes two collections of poetry and four albums.


Project Title: The Hook
Docu-Series,  | dir. Saleem Reshamwala, Shirlette Ammons
A Black chef from the North Carolina coast explores his seafood roots and exalts Black contributions to maritime foodways. The series features African-American host and chef Ricky Moore uncovering underrepresented stories of Black fishmongers.


Phoebe Brown, Georgia
Phoebe Brown is an Atlanta-based film and television producer. A champion of the underrepresented, her films have screened in festivals around the globe. In 2016, she co-founded YEP Films with creative partner Eric Bomba Ire to develop films with a global focus. As a television producer, she has worked for National Geographic, Food Network, Investigation Discovery, and PBS. She is a member of the Producers Guild of America and Film Fatales Atlanta.


Project Title: Jeliya (I Hear You)
Narrative Feature | dir. Eric Bomba Ire
An undocumented African rideshare driver struggling in the present picks up a troubled pop star running from her past. Over one music-fueled night in Atlanta, the two have to decide what makes their hearts beat.


Lauren Cargo, Louisiana
Lauren is a producer and grassroots casting director living and working in New Orleans. She has produced several short narrative projects that have played at Austin Film Festival and Slamdance. She has worked on casting for short films as well as documentary and narrative feature films by The Department of Motion Pictures, Tuckergurl, and Disney. She is a graduate of Tulane University with a BA in Film Theory.


Project Title: Ghost Girl
Narrative Short | dir. Paavo Hanninen
A struggling actress gets an exciting and unexpected last-minute opportunity to audition for a role in a major blockbuster film. As a friend helps her to run lines for the role, unrealized romantic, financial, and professional tensions rise to the surface and reveal an unspoken rift between two women.


Tracee Comfort, Mississippi
Tracee Comfort, a graduate of Princeton and NYU is a screenwriter and producer from Memphis, Tennessee. She is the co-producer of the short films “The Game,” “Driven,” and “Minority,” winner of the 2018 Best Hometowner Narrative Short at the Indie Memphis Film Festival and Top Ten at the 2018 Memphis Film Prize. Tracee is the Chief Content Officer of Black Lens Productions and the Event Coordinator of the Black Creators Forum.


Project Title: Becky
Narrative Short | dir. Will Robbins
After the fall of white patriarchal America, Becky, a white woman, must survive as a second-class citizen in a black-dominated world, a culture she covets, despite their oppression of her and her people.


Lauren Douglas, South Carolina
A native of Charleston, S.C., Lauren Waring Douglas began her professional career as a production coordinator for South Carolina Educational Television (SCETV). Since then, some of her projects include credits with Sony Pictures, Universal Studios, A&E Television – Biography Network, and ABC Studios. In 2009 she received her Master of Arts Degree in Media Management from Columbia College Chicago. Lauren’s latest projects include feature documentaries Up Da Road and When Porgy Came Home.


Project Title: Up Da Road
Doc Feature | dir. Thaddeus W. Jones, Jr.
Up Da Road shares an intimate look into the lives of small businesses in Hampton County through interviews in decaying spaces contrasted with the scenic, sprawling acres of plush farmland and bumpy roads as residents fight to keep their dying towns alive.


Alejandro Flores, Louisiana
Alejandro Flores attended the McCombs School of Business at UT Austin with the goal of starting a film production company with his siblings. In 2015 he was recruited by European retailer Lidl to train in Germany and Austria for the launch of Lidl America in 2017. He recently left the company to pursue his original plan and is currently producing his first documentary feature The In Between which has received support from Chicken & Egg’s Diversity Fellows Initiative and was selected for IFP’s 2018 Documentary Lab and the 2018 Points North Fellowship.

Project Title: The In Between
Doc Feature | dir. Robie Flores
The in Between is a portrait of a unique community that follows the exceptional but very normal lives of the citizens of the sister cities of Eagle Pass, Texas and Piedras Negras, Coahuila along the U.S. / Mexico border, offering an intimate look into the heart of Mexican-American identity.


Gabriella Garcia-Pardo, Washington D.C.
Gabriella Garcia-Pardo is a Colombian-American documentary producer and cinematographer. She has contributed to projects through Showtime, Netflix, TIME, and Moxie Pictures, among others. Previously on staff at National Geographic’s digital News and Magazine team, Gabriella produced over 50 national and international short-form documentaries. She is a graduate of Savannah College of Art and Design and is the founder and director of the Washington, DC chapter of the Video Consortium.


Project Title: La Bonga
Doc Feature | dir. Sebastián Pinzón Silva
Nearly twenty years after fleeing the violence of civil war, an Afro-Colombian community returns to the overgrown ruins of their home in the jungle for a night of massive celebration, resurrecting a place that only exists in their memory.


Weenta Girmay, Louisiana
Weenta Girmay is a documentary film producer based in New Orleans. She is currently producing “Fishing with Fire,” a short documentary about Rwandan fishing cooperatives. She’s previously produced the music video “Money is King,” featured on NPR, as well as the short documentary “The Place To Be,” a film sponsored by the New Orleans Story Incubator Program. She’s most excited to tell women-centered stories and collaborate with other female filmmakers.


Project Title: Fishing With Fire
Doc Short | dir. Nisa East
“Fishing with Fire” is a short ethnographic documentary about fishing cooperatives in the small Rwandan town of Gisenyi. Through the daily ritual of fire and song, the film reflects on the healing of Rwandan society 25 years post-genocide.


Chris Haney, Louisiana
Christopher Haney is based in his hometown of New Orleans. His work is primarily narratively driven with a focus on the working class and blurring the line between expectation and reality. As a producer his projects have won awards and played in film festivals internationally and aired during the Super Bowl. Haney currently serves as the creator/producer on Bloodthicker (dir. Zac-Manuel), a feature-length documentary currently in post-production that was selected for Tribeca All-Access in 2017 and the 2018 IFP Documentary Lab.

Project Title: Bloodthicker
Doc Feature | dir. Zac Manuel
Three young rappers—Young Juve, T.Y. and Lil’ Soulja Slim—build upon their father’s musical legacies while navigating the thrills and expectations of rap culture.


Chachi Hauser, Louisiana
Chachi is a producer and writer based in New Orleans. She was a producer on short film “The Rat” (2019 Sundance Film Festival) and an associate producer on feature documentary Roll Red Roll (2018 Tribeca Film Festival, 2018 Hot Docs). She directed and produced the short films “1227 Lesseps” (2017 New Orleans Film Festival) and “Lolo” (2014 Boston Wicked Queer Film Festival, 2014 London Fringe! Queer Film & Art Fest).


Project Title: Hollow Tree
Doc Feature | dir. Kira Akerman
Hollow Tree tells the stories of three teenagers coming of age in Southeast Louisiana; a parable of climate adaptation worldwide.


Marisol Medrano Montoya, Texas
Born in Mexico City and a graduate from The University of Texas at Austin, Marisol has produced projects that closely relate to the filmmakers’ cultural diversity and personal interest. She has produced various award-winning short films including Student Academy Award Winner Fatakra in 2011. Currently she is producing Building the American Dream, a feature documentary that will be making its World Premier at South by Southwest.


Project Title: Building the American Dream
Doc Feature | dir. Chelsea Hernandez
In Texas, construction workers face the deadliest conditions in the country. Building the American Dream is a feature documentary that follows three immigrant families who are rising up to seek justice and equality in an industry rife with exploitation.


Abbie Perrault, Texas
Abbie Perrault is a Texas-based documentary producer and journalist. She was the Impact Producer on the Emmy-award winning documentary Jackson (Showtime), and has associate produced short documentaries for The Intercept. She is currently serving as Associate Producer on director Maisie Crow’s Untitled Criminal Justice / High School project. Perrault’s work has been supported by IFP, the IDA Enterprise Documentary Fund, the Catapult Film Fund, and the Austin Film Society.


Project Title: Untitled Criminal Justice / High School Project
Doc Feature | dir. Maisie Crow
This untitled project follows a group of seniors at a high school 10 miles from the US/Mexico border as they approach post-graduate life.


Krystal Tingle, Florida
Krystal Tingle is a Jamaican-American producer who has worked in Miami, DC, Oakland, Ocho Rios, and South Sudan. She recently wrapped Ashe ‘68 (dir. Rex Miller) and Race Riot (dir. Madeleine Hunt-Ehrlich) with support from Glass Breaker Films. She has produced for Showtime, Viceland, and TLC. A former TV journalist and certified lay minister, her non-fiction work focuses on themes of faith, sisterhood, and community. She was a Docs In Progress Fellow in Washington, D.C., and a Women in Film grantee for her feature documentary in development, Oh Happy Day! Krystal splits her time between Miami and Brooklyn.

Project Title: Everyone But Two: The Life, Love and Travel of Benjamin and Frances Graham
Doc Feature | dir. Carla Brown
Director Carla Brown retraces her grandparents’ cross-country travels in the 1960s and 1970s, exploring the American ideal of Freedom while uncovering her grandparents’ legacy as silent Civil Rights pioneers forging their own path on the open road throughout tumultuous times.

The inaugural Southern Producers Lab, produced and presented by the New Orleans Film Society, was held between April 23 – 25, 2018. The lab brought together 13 emerging, diverse producers from around the South for an intensive series of workshops, panels, one-on-one mentoring sessions, and community-building opportunities. See biographies of the inaugural lab fellows and industry advisors in the tabs to the left of this page. Check our Facebook album to see more photos from the 2018 lab.

Would like to learn more? Download Southern Producers Lab 2018 report here.

Southern Producers Lab 2018 Fellows

Hanul Bahm
Atlanta, Georgia
Hanul Bahm, born in Seoul and based in Atlanta, is a filmmaker and digital content producer working at the intersection of external realities, dream lives, and inner truths. She has produced numerous shorts and transmedia projects. Recently she co-produced Detonator, a POV Digital Lab-supported online mixtape/discovery portal for independent, underground, and street artists.


Project Title: Drift and Return
Narrative Feature | dir. Hanul Bahm
A working class Korean-American couple, faced with limited prospects for December income, hatch a plan to sell refurbished CRT monitors over the holidays out of a borrowed van. The film seeks to de-stigmatize survival struggle, epigenetic trauma, and illness in a dignified portrait of a family that does not know its own worth, that is simply trying to stay afloat while being held up by grace and necessity.


Makena Buchanon
Austin, Texas
Makena Buchanan is a Texas-based producer of fiction and non-fiction films. Works he has produced have received support from the Sundance Institute and the Venice Biennale, and have played in festivals like SXSW, Rotterdam, Fantastic Fest, True/False, and Morelia. He is currently producing a documentary called Caballerango, his third collaboration with director Juan Pablo González.


Project Title: Dos Estaciones
Narrative Feature | dir. Juan Pablo González
Set in the Jalisco highlands, where most of the world’s tequila is produced, María, a stubborn landowner struggles with the inevitable downfall of a lifelong business, while David, a makeup artist in the same town, seeks out a male companion. Dos Estaciones is a semi-autobiographical hybrid film about director Juan Pablo González’s hometown.


Robert Colom
Miami, Florida
Robert Colom is a Cuban-American filmmaker who has worked on projects for Third Horizon Media and A24. In 2016, Colom started the film production and design company Conéme, through which he has developed and produced content with the purpose of illuminating stories from Florida and the Latin American diaspora. His work has been acquired by HBO, HBO Latino, and PBS, and has been shown worldwide.


Project Title: Orphan Country
Narrative Feature | dir. Doriam Alonso
With their agency invalidated by their youth, three children of different eras experience exile and emigration over the span of fifty years of Cuban Revolution. The first Cuban/American co-production in the history of cinema, the Spanish-language feature film Orphan Country is a brave and sincere cinematic vision that explores the bonds of families above the politics that divide them.


Christine Delp
Durham, North Carolina
Christine Delp is a documentary producer and director based in Durham, North Carolina. Credits include associate producer for A Chef’s Life (PBS) and Road to Race Day (Verizon go90/Complex Networks). Her films have been supported by the Sundance Institute, HBO Documentary Films, Tribeca Film Institute, IFP, UC Berkeley’s Investigative Reporting Program, Big Sky Pitch, and the Southern Documentary Fund.


Project Title: Burden of Proof
Documentary | dir. Cynthia Hill
Winter of 1987, a fifteen-year-old girl goes missing from her bedroom in a gated community in Virginia. There is a note on her bed. Her older brother Stephen, away at college, is told that his sister ran away. For 22 years, Stephen believes this is to be true–until 2009, when it’s revealed through police questioning that his father is a suspect in his sister’s disappearance and his mother might be withholding important information. Since then, Stephen has struggled to find the truth and now asks the question that reveals a family’s worst nightmare: What if his father killed his sister and his mother has harbored this horrible secret for nearly three decades?


Katherine Fischer
New Orleans, Louisiana
Katherine Fisher is an Emmy-nominated and Gotham, Peabody, and GLAAD award-winning producer. She has over 14 years of experience producing narrative and documentary films in the US, UK, Kenya, and Congo. Recent credits include Ink, the Emmy-nominated web series Her Story, One Billion Rising (Sundance Film Festival, 2014), and City of Joy. She is a member of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.


Project Title: Lorraine
Narrative Feature | dir. TBD
When her father dies, a daughter struggles to plan his funeral with her estranged mother. One part queer origin story and two parts family coming of age, Lorraine is a film about second chances, first loves, and the secrets we carry to our graves.


Lizzie Guitreau
New Orleans, Louisiana
Lizzie Guitreau is a Louisiana-born film producer based in New Orleans. She joined the indie film production company Worklight Pictures in 2015 as a producer and production coordinator. She is the line producer and production coordinator on Worklight’s first in-house feature, Easy Does It. She champions women in film and is happy with how the world is turning towards change.


Project Title: Easy Does It
Narrative Feature | dir. Will Addison
Two best friends and their accidental hostage careen across the 1970s American South on a treasure hunt turned crime spree. A story about what it takes to follow your dreams.


Jordon Jones
Fairfax, Virginia
Jordon Jones is an award-winning producer and director based in Virginia. She has produced short narrative and documentary films, music videos, and web series and her work have shown at festivals including Virginia Film Festival and Tampa International LGBT Film Festival. She is a graduate of the Film and Video Studies program at George Mason University.


Project Title: The Gay Club
Narrative Series | dir. Logan McKennah Brown
The Gay Club is a narrative series/feature film that tells the true story of a young lesbian named Hailey living in a small conservative town in Georgia, who attempts to create a Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) club at her high school. She faces opposition from the administration and students revealing their deep-seated homophobia. However, Hailey and her friends discover that standing together and never backing down is the way to fight back.


Andrew Lee
Austin, Texas
Andrew Lee is a film producer based in Austin, Texas. His first feature documentary DMT: The Spirit Molecule was released in 2011 (Gravitas Ventures & Warner Bros Digital). He then co-founded Ralph Smyth Entertainment and went on to produce feature sports comedy Balls Out (Orion Pictures, 2015), sci-fi comedy series Crunch Time (Rooster Teeth, 2016), and feature documentary Dealt (Sundance Selects, 2017).


Project Title: POC Parties
Narrative Feature | dir. Christine Hoang
This comedy is centered on a group of friends in their 30s, mainly people of color or “POC” (Asian, Latino, Black), who take turns hosting monthly dinner parties at rotating homes. Blackish meets My Crazy Ex-Girlfriend; Master of None meets Big Bang Theory. Based on the enthusiastically received Austin-based stage production “POC Christmas” written by Christine Hoang.


Katie Matthews
New Orleans, Louisiana
Katie Mathews is a filmmaker and ethnographer based in New Orleans. With experience in production management, directing, and writing, her primary passion is creative producing in documentary and hybrid doc-fiction films. Prior to work in film, Katie worked at global design firm IDEO, where she led qualitative research that used stories to inspire new systems in education and the public sector.


Project Title: Mossville
Documentary Feature | dir. Alex Glustrom
Surrounded by 14 petrochemical plants, Mossville is the future site of apartheid-born South African-based chemical company Sasol’s newest plant – a proposed $21.2 billion project and the largest in the western hemisphere. Mossville is a feature-length verite documentary that explores the psychological trauma of community displacement at the hands of the petrochemical industry.


Saleem Reshamwala
Durham, North Carolina
Saleem Reshamwala is a Durham, N.C.-based mediamaker. He was recently nominated for an Emmy for his work on implicit bias while at the New York Times, and Best Music Video at the Hip Hop Film Festival in Harlem (for G Yamazawa’s “North Cack”). He has documented hip-hop in Croatia, Morocco, Senegal, Ethiopia, Fiji, Panama, and the Democratic Republic of Congo and has studied, worked, or hung out in 50 countries.


Project Title: How to be a Mayor: A Series on Local Government
Documentary Series | dir. Shirlette Ammons, Saleem Reshamwalla
A documentary series that documents the first year of a mayor’s work in Durham, North Carolina, mashed up with quirky, hip hop-influenced explainers about how city government works and about issues facing cities today.


Kenneth Reynolds
New Orleans, Louisiana
Kenneth Reynolds grew up a military child but found his home in New Orleans in his teens. He received his bachelor’s degree from Louisiana State University and later attended grad school at the University of New Orleans. Most recently, he has served as a producer on the New Orleans–shot pilot Shepherd, was the Production Manager on the Animal Planet series Pit Bulls and Parolees.


Project Title: Lost Bayou
Narrative Feature | dir. Brian Richard
Lost Bayou is a feature film that cinematically explores the crucial nature of empathy, and the rarely examined, positive personal growth that suffering can bring. A Cajun folktale, Lost Bayou is a meditation on healing, as a father and daughter attempt to bridge the generational divide.


Melodie Sisk
Birmingham, Alabama
Melodie’s career began as an actor passionately working to get projects made that feature strong women. As a producer, she has made four films with her “creative life partner” Zach Clark and has worked on a dozen other projects with filmmakers like Onur Tukel and Theresa Bennet. Her films have premiered at festivals like Tribeca and SXSW and been sold to companies like Paramount Pictures, A24, and IFC.


Project Title: Untitled Thanksgiving Film
Narrative Feature | dir. Zach Clark
This is a film that explores a queer interracial female couple living in Birmingham, Alabama. As they prepare for Thanksgiving they suddenly find themselves involved in a mass shooting (one they may have been the impetus for) that takes place at a local supermarket. In the aftermath the couple wrestles with a need to somehow heal themselves and perhaps someone on the other side of the event.


Monica Sorelle
Miami, Florida
Monica Sorelle is a Haitian-American filmmaker born and based in Miami. She has produced and worked on projects for Third Horizon Media, the Borscht Corporation, and A24. She is focused on creating work that explores and preserves cultural traditions within Miami and the Caribbean, as well as the African and Latin diaspora that reside there.


Project Title: This is Little Haiti
Docu-Series | dir. Monica Sorelle, Jason Fitzroy Jeffers
“This is Little Haiti” is a multimedia exploration of the people, history and culture of Miami’s fastest gentrifying neighborhood, Little Haiti. Through documentary film supplemented by a transmedia website featuring a web series, photography, and essays, the project aims to investigate and preserve the history and cultural vitality of this neighborhood, which is quickly slipping away in the face of potentially intrusive new development.


Karim Ahmad

Karim Ahmad

Sundance Institute / Director of Outreach & Inclusion

Karim Ahmad is the Director of Outreach & Inclusion at the Sundance Institute, where he oversees emerging artist outreach initiatives and cross-discipline creative / professional development activations and partnerships. He also leads inclusion strategy across the organization, and advocacy for marginalized artists in the field. Previously, he was Senior Strategist for ITVS, where he oversaw numerous film funds and headed digital content production and creative development for episodic and immersive media. He was the Creator and Senior Producer of Indie Lens Storycast, an Independent Lens branded YouTube channel on PBS’ Digital Studios MCN, and the Creator and Showrunner of the iconic sci-fi series, FutureStates . Karim is also an independent cross-platform writer and producer and can be found on Twitter as @thatkarimahmad.

Jannet Nuñez

Jannet Nuñez

ITVS / Content Development Manager

Jannet Nuñez is the Content Development Manager at ITVS, public media’s leading incubator and presenter of independent film. She oversees the Diversity Development Fund established to provide seed funding to producers of color and support filmmakers transitioning into production. Jannet has served as a reviewer, panelist, and juror for a number of organizations and film festivals including 4th World Indigenous Lab, BAVC, Kartemquin, Pacific Islanders in Communication (PIC), SFFILM, and Sheffield International Documentary Festival. She holds an MFA in Film Production and a BA in Film & Chicano Studies.

Shrihari Sathe

Shrihari Sathe


Columbia University / Adjunct Assistant Professor and Production Advisor

Shrihari Sathe is an independent producer and director. Sathe received the 2019 Independent Spirit Award – Producers Award  His feature directorial debut, Ek Hazarachi Note (1000 Rupee Note), has received over 30 awards. Sathe is a 2013 Sundance Institute Creative Producing Fellow and has received fellowships from the HFPA, PGA, IFP, Film Independent, and The Sundance Institute. He produced Bassam Jarbawi’s Screwdriver (Mafak), Eliza Hittman’s It Felt Like Love, Elisabeth Subrin’s A Woman, A Part among others. He is a Film Independent Producers Lab (2011) fellow, Trans Atlantic Partners fellow (2013), Cannes Producers Network fellow (2014, 2015, 2016). Sathe is the recipient of the 2016 Cinereach Producer Award. He is a member of the Producers Guild of America (PGA), Indian Motion Picture Producers Association (IMPPA) and Film Writers Association – India (FWA).



Summer Shelton

Summer Shelton

Independent Producer

Summer Shelton was the recipient of the 2018 Independent Spirit Piaget Producer’s Award. She produced Maine , which premiered at the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival, and Keep the Change , the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival Best Narrative Feature that was also awarded a FIPRESCI Critics’ Prize at the 2017 Karlovy Vary International Film Festival. She was Executive Producer of People Places Things , which premiered in US Dramatic Competition at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival; produced “Icarus” (short), which premiered at the 2015 New Directors/New Films Festival; and produced Little Accidents , which had its World Premiere at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival. She Co-Produced Goodbye to All That (2014) and Adult World (2013), both of which premiered at Tribeca. She has worked alongside critically acclaimed director Ramin Bahrani as Associate Producer of Goodbye Solo (2008), an official selection at Venice; Co-Producer of Plastic Bag (2009); Associate Producer of At Any Price (2012), which premiered at Venice; and Producer of “Ég Anda” (2012), a short film created as part of Sigur Rós’s Valteri mystery film experiment. She was the recipient of the inaugural Bingham Ray Creative Producing Fellowship awarded by the Sundance Institute (2012), a Rotterdam Producing Fellowship (2013), and Film Independent Sloan Producing Fellowship (2014).

Shana Swanson

ITVS / Supervising Producer

Shana Swanson is an Emmy Award and Peabody nominated Supervising Producer at ITVS.  She has worked for ITVS for six years. Prior to joining ITVS, she was a documentary Producer in New York City where she produced feature length documentaries for Alternate Current, an international arts and cultural production company and The New York Center for Visual History.  Her frequent co-producing partners were Turner Entertainment, NHK Japan, Gaumont, France 3 and BBC. The documentaries were broadcast on Turner Entertainment, Bravo, BBC and the PBS programs Dance in America and Great Performances. Shana moved to Los Angeles and worked as a consultant for The Walt Disney Company, Home Video division for 10 years. At Disney, she worked on Disney Branded content for Miramax, ESPN, ABC and ABC Family. With hundreds of films on her roster, some of her titles include There will be Blood, The Queen, No Country for Old Men, Lost, Grey’s Anatomy, and the Disney Franchises – Chronicles of Narnia and National Treasure. Shana earned a BFA in film and television production from New York University, Tisch School of Arts  She is a member of the Producers Guild of America.

Karim Ahmad

Karim Ahmad

Sundance Institute / Director of Outreach & Inclusion

Karim Ahmad is the Director of Outreach & Inclusion at the Sundance Institute, where he oversees emerging artist outreach initiatives and cross-discipline creative / professional development activations and partnerships. He also leads inclusion strategy across the organization, and advocacy for marginalized artists in the field. Previously, he was Senior Strategist for ITVS, where he oversaw numerous film funds and headed digital content production and creative development for episodic and immersive media. He was the Creator and Senior Producer of Indie Lens Storycast, an Independent Lens branded YouTube channel on PBS’ Digital Studios MCN, and the Creator and Showrunner of the iconic sci-fi series, FutureStates . Karim is also an independent cross-platform writer and producer and can be found on Twitter as @thatkarimahmad.

Jannette Bivona

Jannette Bivona

ITVS / Initiatives and Field Relations Manager

Jannette Bivona is the Initiatives and Field Relations Manager at ITVS where she works across all funding initiatives for production and development and facilitates outreach strategy in the field. Recent ITVS-funded films include Always in Season, Minding The Gap , and Trapped . Jannette also serves as a reader and screener for a number of funding initiatives and film festivals. Prior to joining ITVS, she was the Executive Assistant at the Telluride Film Festival, where she managed submissions and programming among other duties.

Maggie Bowman

Maggie Bowman

Independent Producer

Maggie Bowman is a documentary film producer and director. As Series Producer for Hard Earned , she led the team at Kartemquin Films that made the 6-hour series about American families working low-wage jobs. Hard Earned won a duPont-Columbia Award in 2016, following domestic and international broadcasts on Al Jazeera. Previously, Bowman produced Election Day (SXSW 2007, POV 2008). Prior to her work in film, Bowman was a union organizer and consultant, working on campaigns with taxi drivers in the Bronx, nurses in Iowa, and home health aides in Brooklyn. She was a Fellow at the Investigative Reporting Program at UC Berkeley in 2017, and she recently served as Kartemquin’s inaugural Artistic Fellow, a position in which she provided mentorship and creative guidance to Kartemquin filmmakers at various stages of the filmmaking process. She is now co-directing the forthcoming series We Are Witnesses: Chicago , with Kartemquin, The Marshall Project, and the Illinois Humanities Council. She is an active member of the Documentary Producers Alliance.

Cristina Ibarra

Cristina Ibarra

Independent Producer

Cristina Ibarra has been making award-winning films for PBS that explore the US-Mexico border for the past sixteen years. Her most recent film, The Infiltrators , premiered at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival. Her documentary Las Marthas premiered on Independent Lens in 2014; The New York Times called it “a striking alternative portrait of border life.” Her PBS documentary collaboration, The Last Conquistador , had a national broadcast on POV; USA Today called the film “Heroic.” Her first short fiction, “Dirty Laundry: A Homemade Telenovela,” won multiple awards and was broadcast on PBS. Ibarra has created mini-films with the NY International Latino Film Festival, LPB, and the Latina collective She is the recipient of numerous fellowships from the Rockefeller Foundation, the New York Foundation for the Arts, CPB/PBS Producer’s Academy, the Latino Producers Academy, Firelight Producers Lab, and Creative Capital among others. She is a fellow of the Sundance Women’s Initiative.

Jason Ishikawa

Jason Ishikawa

Cinetic Media / Executive

Jason Ishikawa is an Executive at Cinetic Media where he overseas international sales and worldwide distribution strategies for the company. His responsibilities include working in and across Cinetic’s financing, corporate, and project consultation, and domestic sales arm for feature narrative and documentary films. Recent sales titles include Abacus, Blaze, Cold Case Hammarskjold, Hale County This Morning This Evening, Knock Down the House, Last Men in Aleppo, Love Means Zero, RBG and We the Animals . Other recent Cinetic Media projects include Academy Award winners Free Solo and Green Book . Prior to joining Cinetic, Jason worked at The Film Sales Company where he was the Senior Director of Acquisitions, Financing, and Sales. Jason graduated from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts and holds a BA in Cinema Studies.

Alex Rivera

Alex Rivera

Independent Producer

Alex Rivera is a filmmaker who, for the past twenty years, has been telling new, urgent, and visually adventurous Latino stories. His first feature film, Sleep Dealer , a science-fiction feature set on the U.S./Mexico border, won awards at the Sundance Film Festival and the Berlin International Film Festival, was screened at the Museum of Modern Art, and had a commercial release in the U.S, France, Japan, and other countries. Alex is currently developing Sleep Dealer as a TV series with the support of a major studio. He is a Sundance Fellow, Rockefeller Fellow, was The Rothschild Lecturer at Harvard University, and was named one of Variety Magazine’s “10 Directors to Watch.” In 2015 Alex was awarded major support from the Surdna Foundation and the Ford Foundation for The Infiltrators , which premiered at Sundance earlier this year, and received an Art & Technology Lab Grant from LACMA, as well as support from Time Warner for an experimental project in virtual reality. Other recent collaborations include a series of activist music videos produced by the National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON) with artists including Manu Chao, La Santa Cecilia, and Aloe Blacc, which have collectively received over 20 million views. He studied at Hampshire College.

Amy Shatsky

Amy Shatsky

ITVS / Series Producer of Independent Lens

Emmy Award-winning producer Amy Shatsky is the Series Producer of Independent Lens, PBS’s primetime documentary anthology series. She supervises the editorial, contracting, packaging and delivery of films for broadcast. Independent Lens films have garnered numerous accolades including Emmy Awards, Academy Award Nominations, DuPont Awards, and Peabody Awards, and the series was honored as Best Series by the International Documentary Association. In addition, Amy manages a portfolio of ITVS-funded films, and provides content development feedback to filmmakers. Amy joined Independent Lens and ITVS after more than 15 years producing documentaries and narrative feature films in New York. Her credits include award-winning films and television programs for HBO, PBS, Disney Channel, Starz, and Comedy Central, which have premiered at such venues as Sundance, SXSW, Venice, Tribeca and Toronto. Amy is a member of the Producer’s Guild of America and holds an MFA in film production from New York University and a BA from Cornell University.

Summer Shelton

Summer Shelton

Independent Producer

Summer Shelton was the recipient of the 2018 Independent Spirit Piaget Producer’s Award. She produced Maine , which premiered at the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival, and Keep the Change , the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival Best Narrative Feature that was also awarded a FIPRESCI Critics’ Prize at the 2017 Karlovy Vary International Film Festival. She was Executive Producer of People Places Things , which premiered in US Dramatic Competition at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival; produced “Icarus” (short), which premiered at the 2015 New Directors/New Films Festival; and produced Little Accidents , which had its World Premiere at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival. She Co-Produced Goodbye to All That (2014) and Adult World (2013), both of which premiered at Tribeca. She has worked alongside critically acclaimed director Ramin Bahrani as Associate Producer of Goodbye Solo (2008), an official selection at Venice; Co-Producer of Plastic Bag (2009); Associate Producer of At Any Price (2012), which premiered at Venice; and Producer of “Ég Anda” (2012), a short film created as part of Sigur Rós’s Valteri mystery film experiment. She was the recipient of the inaugural Bingham Ray Creative Producing Fellowship awarded by the Sundance Institute (2012), a Rotterdam Producing Fellowship (2013), and Film Independent Sloan Producing Fellowship (2014).

Laura Singleterry

Laura Singleterry

Independent Producer

Laura Singleterry is a New Orleans-based filmmaker. She received a BA in Communications: Drama and Film from the University of New Orleans. In 2005, she produced the independent feature, Down in New Orleans , which was filmed pre-Katrina and awarded a prize at WorldFest Houston. She lived in Austin from 2005-2009 working as a 2nd AD. She was a Supervising Producer on Campus Radio and worked as a Producer for Extra Butter Pictures, LLC. In 2009 the short film she produced, “Privateer,” premiered at the Festival de Cannes in the Short Film Circle. She returned to New Orleans in 2010 and in 2012 took a break from production to work as a client specialist for Scenios, the NYC cloud-based production platform. Also in 2012, she opened New Orleans Artist Agency to represent actor Nathan Grubbs and manages a small roster of clients. She works as a Producer ( Gumshoe! ), Line Producer ( Swamp People S10, Frenchy & Jett , Crescent City , Fractured ), UPM ( Deed S2, Swamp People S9, American Dream , Deed S1, 68 Kill , Monsoon Mangoes , Indiscretion , Brawler ) and Music Supervisor ( White Rabbit ). In addition, she has provided accounting services for independent film productions. She is currently line producing a documentary about veterans with PTSD and the communities that support them. Laura provides budget breakdowns and packages as well as tax credit consultation.

Rahdi Taylor

Rahdi Taylor

Concordia Studio / Head of Artists in Residence

Rahdi Taylor is Head of Artists in Residence at Concordia Studio, a mission-driven studio launched by Davis Guggenheim with Laurene Powell Jobs to produce and finance the next generation of story-driven nonfiction. She spent 10 years at Sundance Institute where she served as Head of the Sundance Documentary Fund. Her role was to award financing and creative support to documentary films globally. Films supported include Academy Award nominees Minding the Gap, Hale County, Strong Island, I am Not Your Negro, and Trouble the Water , among others. Additional films supported include Shirkers, 306 Hollywood , and United Skates . Taylor enjoys leading field-wide interventions, and designed and directed the Documentary Core Application, a common funding proposal adopted by most US and several international documentary funders. She also created the Doc Film Money Map, a tool to catalyze nonfiction filmmakers to use state tax incentives for indie doc financing. She authored the Impact Storyboarder to translate organizing principles and practices for nonfiction filmmakers for more powerful campaign strategy. Prior to Sundance, Taylor worked in film distribution as Director of Marketing and Communications for California Newsreel, and as Director of Production Assistance (Development) at Women Make Movies. She serves frequently in the field as a juror, panelist, and industry advisor for international film festivals, funding panels, and pitch forums.

Angela Tucker

Angela Tucker

Tuckergurl LLC / Co-Founder

Angela Tucker is an Emmy-nominated producer, writer, and director. Her directorial work includes Paper Chase , a teen comedy in pre-production with Gunpowder and Sky; All Styles , a dance movie available on Showtime; Black Folk Don’t , a four-season documentary web series featured in Time Magazine ’s “10 Ideas That Are Changing Your Life,” and (A)sexual, a featurelength documentary that streamed on Netflix and Hulu for four years. She is in her sixth year as Series Producer of the PBS strand, AfroPop and was Co-Producer on The New Black . Previously, she was Director of Production at Big Mouth Films, a social issue documentary production company. There, she worked on several award-winning documentaries, including Pushing the Elephant (Independent Lens). In 2006, she co-founded TuckerGurl LLC, a production company passionate about telling compelling and irreverent stories about underrepresented communities. Tucker was a Sundance Institute Women Filmmakers Initiative fellow. She received her MFA in Film from Columbia University.

Michael Tuckman

Michael Tuckman

mTuckman media

A veteran of the independent film industry for over 20 years, Michael Tuckman began his career at The Cinema Guild, where he was hired to start the company’s theatrical distribution division. Tuckman went on to serve as Vice President of Theatrical Sales for THINKFilm, handling the planning and implementation of all theatrical release strategies, including the breakout successes of Oscar-winning and nominated films including Spellbound, Half Nelson , and Born Into Brothels , as well as the box office smashes The Aristocrats and Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead . He now operates his own distribution services company, mTuckman media (MTM), through which he works directly with filmmakers under their own banners. Most notably, he has handled Koganada’s Columbus , which grossed over $1 million at the box office; Shane Carruth’s Upstream Color ; Detropia , from the Academy Award-nominated directors Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady; and Rory Kennedy’s Academy Award-nominated Last Days in Vietnam . Others collaborations include Frederick Wiseman’s La Danse, The Paris Opera Ballet, At Berkeley, In Jackson Heights , and Monrovia, Indiana , as well as national releases for Sundance standouts such as 306 Hollywood and American Promise . MTM handled the theatrical campaign for the Academy Award-nominated documentary The Square , as well as We Come As Friends , which was named to the shortlist for the Academy Award for Best Documentary. His company also provides theatrical booking and consultation services to distributors including Tribeca Film, Drafthouse Films, PBS Films Distribution, and Paladin, among others, with releases including the 2012, 2013, and 2014 Academy Award nominees for Best Foreign Language film, Bullhead, War Witch, and The Broken Circle Breakdown , as well as the 2014 Academy Award-nominated documentary, The Act of Killing , in addition to leading the breakout indie hit of 2015, What We Do in the Shadows , to a gross of over $3.5m in domestic box office. As of the Fall of 2016, Tuckman is also an Associate Assistant Professor at the Feirstein Graduate School of Cinema at Brooklyn College, teaching a survey course on Theatrical Distribution and Exhibition.

Chloe Walters-Wallace

Chloe Walters-Wallace

Firelight Media

Chloe Walters-Wallace is a Jamaican-bred creative with a passion for travel, anthropology, dancehall and installation art. Currently, she manages the Firelight Media Documentary Lab, a fellowship that provides mentorship, funding, and access to first- and second-time filmmakers from racially and ethnically underrepresented communities, as well as “Groundwork,” a new initiative which aims to expand the pipeline of emerging independent diverse makers from the South and the Midwest. Previously, Chloe was program director of the New Orleans Film Society’s Emerging Voices Mentorship Program, which establishes meaningful connections between industry leaders and Louisiana-based filmmakers of color. In 2018, she helped design and launch the Southern Producers Lab, a regional program bringing together 13 emerging, diverse producers from across the American South. Chloe has served on juries for NEA Media Arts, Create Louisiana, The Tricentennial Story Incubator, CAAM, Southern Circuit Tour of Independent Filmmakers, PBS Online Festival, Reel South, Cucalorus W-I-P Lab, and the Tribeca Film Institute IF/Then Short Documentary Program. Chloe lives between New York and New Orleans and is on the board of Court 13 Arts.

Dilcia Barrera

Dilcia Barrera

LACMA / Associate Curator of Film Programs

Sundance Film Festival / Film Programmer

Dilcia Barrera is Associate Curator of Film Programs at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) and a Film Programmer for Sundance Film Festival. Since 2007, she has worked for numerous film festivals, including a tenure as Senior Programmer at AFI FEST, Programmer for The Philadelphia Film Festival, and has collaborated with Los Angeles Film Festival and OUTFEST. Most recently, she was invited to curate two new film categories for The New York Film Festival. She has served on international film festival juries like Berlin International Film Festival and SXSW and in 2016 was named one of “IndieWire’s 20 Latin Americans Making a Difference for American Independent Film Today.”

Ann Bennett

Ann Bennett

Prana Productions

Ann Bennett is an Emmy nominated documentary filmmaker and multimedia producer. She produced the NAACP Image Award-winning PBS feature documentary Through A Lens Darkly: Black Photographers and the Emergence of a People, as well as the multi-platform community engagement initiative, Digital Diaspora Family Reunion (DDFR). Bennett’s film credits include Citizen King and Fisk Jubilee Singers for the PBS series “American Experience,” Hymn for Alvin Ailey for “Dance in America,” and the award-winning PBS mini-series Africans in America and America’s War on Poverty. She is currently producing the film Always in Season (directed by Jacqueline Olive), one of ten films selected for Tribeca Film Institute’s All Access program for 2018. Bennett is a graduate of Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and Harvard College.

Ryan Broussard

Ryan Broussard

Media Services / Vice President of Sales and Production Incentives

Ryan Broussard is a payroll and production incentives specialist focusing on U.S. incentive states and localities. With over 15 years’ experience in the production payroll industry, Ryan is dedicated to helping clients find the best filming location, state incentives, and local resources for their projects and maximizing their return. As Vice President of Sales and Production Incentives at Media Services, he brings his expertise to payroll clients looking to combine the top digital tools with quality payroll service and incentives consultation.

Sonya Childress

Sonya Childress

Firelight Media / Director of Partnerships and Engagement

Sonya Childress serves as the Director of Partnerships and Engagement for Firelight Media and has positioned film as a tool to shift narratives and support social justice movement building for over 15 years. Prior to her tenure at Firelight, she held staff and consulting positions with California Newsreel, Active Voice, Kartemquin Films, Working Films, and the Independent Television Service. She led the impact campaigns for The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution, Freedom Summer, Freedom Riders, and Hip-Hop: Beyond Beats and Rhymes; and contributed to numerous others, including The Interrupters, Favela Rising, Farmingville, and The New Americans. A graduate of the University of California-Berkeley, she is a frequent speaker, funding panelist, and was an inaugural 2015 Rockwood JustFilms fellow. Sonya serves on the boards of Million Hoodies Movement for Justice and The Whitman Institute. Of Puerto Rican and African American descent, Sonya resides in Los Angeles, California.

Mercedes Cooper

Mercedes Cooper

ARRAY / Director of Marketing

Mercedes Cooper is the Director of Marketing at ARRAY, an LA-based arts collective dedicated to the amplification of films by people of color and women founded in 2010 by filmmaker Ava DuVernay. Here she has developed branding and promotion of 17 independent film campaigns including Sundance 2012 Best Director winner Middle of Nowhere and the re-release of 1983 Berlinale FIPRESCI Prize winner Ashes and Embers. Cooper also manages ARRAY @ The Broad, an on-going film series featuring classic and contemporary films curated with an eye toward the intersection of art, history, and cultural identity. Prior to this position, Cooper was the Marketing Coordinator at Columbia College Chicago’s Portfolio Center while completing an M.F.A. in Film and Video Production. Her career in media began as Program Coordinator for the Radio Television Digital News Foundation’s Journalism Ethics Project. As an alum of University of Maryland College Park, she holds a B.A. in Economics and also studied at the University of São Paulo in Brazil. Cooper previously served on the Metropolitan Board of the Chicago Urban League’s Executive Board and is a Film Independent Project: Involve Fellow; which upon conclusion of the program she was named the 2011 Barbara Boyle Scholar.

Lauren Domino is a producer and writer. She produced the short film “Alone” (NYT OpDoc) which won the Short Film Jury Award: Non Fiction at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival. Her work as a producer also includes Black Folk Don’t (PBS), “Like” (Field of Vision, SXSW), “The Older Fish” (Time Inc., Killer Films), “Intersection” (Frameline, ABFF), and American Rhapsody (Aubin Pictures). Her work as a writer includes the short film “Intersection” and the feature film Paper Chase (Gunpowder & Sky) which will shoot this summer. With a passion for increasing the profiles of women and people of color in film, Domino has worked with the New Orleans Film Society to launch Emerging Voices, a mentoring initiative for people of color. The former director of the Columbia University Film Festival; she has produced branded content, photo spreads, and live events for The New Yorker,, The Oscars, Microsoft, and Essence Festival. She is a 2017 Sundance Institute Creative Producing Fellow.

Jayeesha Dutta

Jayeesha Dutta

Working Films / StoryShift Initiative Leader

Another Gulf Is Possible Collaborative / Core Leadership Circle
Big Class/826 NOLA / Communications Committee Chair

Jayeesha Dutta is a tri-coastal, nearly tri-lingual Bengali-American artist, activist, and strategist who leads the StoryShift initiative at Working Films. She is also part of the core leadership circle for Another Gulf Is Possible Collaborative, galvanizing the voices and experiences of brown (indigenous, latinx and desi) women from across the Gulf Coast working towards a just transition for our people and the planet. She is communications committee chair on Big Class/826 NOLA’s board of directors. Jayeesha is an avid traveler, home chef, live music aficionado, loves being near (or in) any body of water. Jayeesha was born in Mobile, raised in New York, aged in Oakland and is deeply grateful to call New Orleans home.

Locsi Ferra

Locsi Ferra

Level Forward / Advisor on Impact & Social Innovation

Locsi Ferra is a prolific network builder who has dedicated herself to advancing equality and social good causes around the world. For the past 7 years, she led media engagement and social impact initiatives supporting documentary film and is now bringing her expertise to narrative projects as Advisor on Impact & Social Innovation for Killer Content and their new creative studio venture Level Forward in partnership with filmmaker and philanthropist Abigail Disney. At ITVS she served as Director of Distribution, Campaigns, and Strategic Partnerships where she produced multiple high impact campaigns for films including Half the Sky, The Invisible War, and Ted Talks on PBS. Locsi is an expert creator of multi-platform media initiatives using film as a tool for social change. She championed Women and Girls Lead, a multi-year campaign reaching 59 million viewers in the U.S., which scaled into a global program mobilizing communities in 5 social change countries. She is an established engagement professional and social impact entrepreneur with a successful track record for large-scale and community-based projects with Amnesty International USA, La Casa de las Madres, in addition to international development experience with UNPFA Nepal, and Paz Y Desarollo Vietnam. Locsi holds a Bachelor’s degree in International Relations from San Francisco State University and Master’s Degree in Gender and International Development from the Institute of Development Studies at the University of Sussex, UK.

Graham Fine

Graham Fine

The Film Sales Company / Manager of Acquisitions

Graham Fine is Manager of Acquisitions at The Film Sales Company, the New York-based sales company that strategizes and secures distribution for independently produced films. Since its founding in 2002, The Company has successfully raised financing for and sold over 200 films to a diverse group of domestic and foreign distributors.

Jess Fuselier

Jess Fuselier

Sundance Creative Distribution / Manager of Research and Education

Jess Fuselier is a community outreach, marketing, and data specialist living in Los Angeles, California. She recently joined the Creative Distribution Initiative as manager of research and education. At Sundance Institute Jess works to cultivate meaningful insights rooted in data transparency, in order to create resources that impact the sustainability of the independent film community at large. Originally a Texan with an early career as a professional ballet dancer, she concentrated her love of people, technology, and social purpose towards helping filmmakers target and engage their audience. She pioneered a community outreach program to connect film sets across the U.S. with the communities in which they operate and led efforts to support critical non-profit community service providers. An experienced coder, she has worked for several early-stage companies in Austin, and co-founded Young Women Who Code, teaching elementary age girls the building blocks of STEM education.

Elise McCave

Elise McCave

Kickstarter / Director of Narrative Film

Elise McCave is the Director of Narrative Film at Kickstarter, where she works with filmmakers worldwide to build communities of support and bring their films to life. She was previously at BRITDOC, where she served as Deputy Director and oversaw Good Pitch.

Darcy McKinnon

Darcy McKinnon

NOVAC / Executive Director

ALL Y’ALL / Co-Founder

Darcy McKinnon is a documentary filmmaker and Executive Director of NOVAC, the New Orleans Video Access Center, which has supported community-based media in Southeast Louisiana since 1972. She is a co-founder of ALL Y’ALL, with Elaine McMillion Sheldon. McKinnon’s work in documentary includes the film Maquilapolis and Live, Nude, Girls, UNITE! She produces documentary work with Southern filmmakers, and is currently in post-production on “Animals” a short documentary about New Orleans’ love affair with a shoe; in production on “Neutral Ground” with CJ Hunt, a documentary about New Orleans’ struggle to remove Confederate monuments; and in development on “Commuted” with Nailah Jefferson, which explores the impact of Louisiana’s criminal justice dysfunctions through the portrait of the life of one woman, which just received development funding from Chicken & Egg.

Jordana Meade

Jordana Meade

ITVS / Director of Distribution

Jordana Meade serves as Director of Distribution for the Emmy® and Peabody Award®-winning ITVS, leading content distribution strategy and operations for the organization and collaborating with senior teams to reimagine licensing solutions, business growth opportunities, and digital expansion, maximizing the long-tail success of documentary titles, brands, and partner filmmakers. Previously, Meade managed global distribution, sales, and marketing for Starz Entertainment’s digital division, developing sell-in and sell-through strategies in support of acquisitions and original programming across worldwide platforms, spearheading the digital sales, placement and home entertainment marketing strategy for films including The Imitation Game, It Follows, Tumbledown, and Lion. She also worked with executive teams to evaluate content for inherent artistic value and commercial viability. Prior to Starz Digital Media, Jordana managed marketing and advertising programs for Cinedigm, one of the largest distributors of digital video content worldwide. Maximizing merchandising and sales tactics for a 50,000+ title library, Meade collaborated on theatrical and ancillary release strategies for Oscar® nominees The Invisible War, Chico & Rita, and Hell and Back Again, and helped launch digital campaigns for partners and key brands, including,  Docurama, Tribeca Film, and Sundance Institute. Meade began her career in operations and sales at Sundance Film Festival, then advanced to film exhibition, serving on the Board of Directors for Women in Film and Television–Florida and directing 360-degree marketing and publicity campaigns for Academy Award®-accredited film festival and theater the Florida Film Festival and Enzian. Nothing excites Jordana more than the sum of a good story, a dark room, and a box of fresh, warm popcorn.

Josh Penn

Josh Penn

Department of Motion Pictures / Producer

Josh Penn is a producer with the Department of Motion Pictures. He produced Beasts of the Southern Wild (2012), which won the Sundance Grand Jury Prize, the Caméra d’Or at Cannes, and was nominated for four Academy Awards (including Best Picture). In addition, Josh was nominated for Outstanding Producer at the 2013 Producer’s Guild Awards. He has also held producing roles on PATTI CAKE$ (Sundance 2017), Western (Sundance 2015 Special Jury Prize Winner), The Great Invisible (SXSW 2014 Grand Jury Prize Winner,) and Contemporary Color among other films. Josh premiered two projects at Sundance 2018: Monsters and Men (Special Jury Prize for Outstanding First Feature) and the live documentary A Thousand Thoughts. Additionally, Josh has been a leading member of the Court 13 collective for over a decade. Outside of his work in film, Josh was previously the Michigan New Media Director for President Obama’s 2008 campaign and a Senior Digital Program Manager for the 2012 re-election campaign.

Lindsay Peters

Lindsay Peters

Frontières / Executive Director

Overlook Film Festival / Advisory Board

Lindsay Peters is the Executive Director of Frontières, a co-production market and networking platform for the genre film industry, co-organized by the Fantasia International Film Festival and the Marché du Film – Festival de Cannes. She has over 10 years of experience in international festival management and film programming, with past positions at the Toronto International Film Festival, the Canadian Film Centre, Fashion in Film, and the Museum of the Moving Image. She is on the advisory board of the Overlook Film Festival and is a mentor for the Film Agency for Wales, the Nordic Genre Boost & Shudder Labs.

Jolene Pinder

Jolene Pinder

#CreateLouisiana / Executive Director

Jolene Pinder is currently the Executive Director of #CreateLouisiana, an organization designed to champion indigenous Louisiana talent and support the entertainment industries that are integral to the region. Prior to this role, she served as the Executive Director of the New Orleans Film Society – the producer of the Oscar-qualifying New Orleans Film Festival – for six years. She also worked at Arts Engine in NYC as a documentary film producer and Director of the Media That Matters Film Festival. During this time, she was a member of the inaugural Collaborative Studio at UnionDocs in Brooklyn. Her work has screened at various venues and festivals around the world including Frameline, NewFest, Sarasota, and MoMA.

Gordon Quinn

Gordon Quinn

Kartemquin Films / Artistic Director & Co-Founder

Artistic Director and co-founder of Kartemquin Films, Gordon Quinn has been making documentaries for over 50 years. With his first film Home for Life (1966) Gordon established the direction he would take for the next five decades, making cinéma vérité films that investigate and critique society via the unfolding lives of real people. At Kartemquin, Gordon has created a legacy of making high-quality, social-issue documentaries such as Hoop Dreams (1994), The New Americans (2003), and The Interrupters (2011). A lifelong-supporter of public media, Gordon helped establish the Indie Caucus to champion independence and diversity in public television and led the charge to create the Documentary Filmmakers’ Statement of Best Practices in Fair Use. Gordon has served on the boards of The Illinois Humanities Council, Chicago Access Network Television, and The Public Square Advisory Committee. In 2015, the IDA awarded Gordon its Career Achievement Award, honoring his services to documentary filmmaking.

Maria Cherry Rangel

Maria Cherry Rangel

Cultural Organizer

María Cherry Rangel is the daughter of migrant agricultural workers and musicians who worked the land of many Southern states. A New Orleans based cultural organizer, philanthropy strategist, and curator with 13 years experience at the forefront of the arts and culture sector, her organizing and advocacy is focused on building spaces for the most marginalized to create work, and redirecting resources to communities of color as a matter of justice. As Co-Founder of Mangos with Chili (2006-16), she developed the work of over 150 queer and trans artists of color, initiated dialogue around bias in arts funding and practice, and ushered in a new era of possibility for QTPOC centered arts and culture. She has led several efforts to help arts funders move towards more equitable funding practices, including serving as the inaugural Equity Auditor for the 2017 MAP Fund grants panel, co-authoring Ford Foundation’s Arts and Culture Scan of the South report (forthcoming), and leading Foundation for Louisiana’s arts and culture strategy. She leads with her lifelong commitment to making a place at the table for everyone and ensuring that the work of underrepresented artists is lifted up, recognized, and always possible. She is a 2018 Intercultural Leadership Institute Fellow and serves on the boards of the Queer Cultural Center, the New Orleans Queer Youth Theater, and Peacock Rebellion.

Marta Ravani-Lorber

Marta Ravani-Lorber

Protagonist Pictures / Director of Digital, TV and Video Sales

Marta Ravani-Lorber has worked in production and international sales for well over a decade. She has helped finance and distribute films within production companies and in concert with international sales agents both in France and England. She is currently Director of Digital, TV and Video Sales at Protagonist Pictures, an international finance, production, and sales company with a proven track record in outstanding films and commercial successes. Based in the UK, the company handles films from around the world, maintaining a strong focus on filmmakers with exceptional vision and storytelling skills.


Shrihari Sathe

Shrihari Sathe


Columbia University / Adjunct Assistant Professor and Production Advisor

Shrihari Sathe is an independent producer and director. Sathe received the 2019 Independent Spirit Award – Producers Award  His feature directorial debut, Ek Hazarachi Note (1000 Rupee Note), has received over 30 awards. Sathe is a 2013 Sundance Institute Creative Producing Fellow and has received fellowships from the HFPA, PGA, IFP, Film Independent, and The Sundance Institute. He produced Bassam Jarbawi’s Screwdriver (Mafak), Eliza Hittman’s It Felt Like Love, Elisabeth Subrin’s A Woman, A Part among others. He is a Film Independent Producers Lab (2011) fellow, Trans Atlantic Partners fellow (2013), Cannes Producers Network fellow (2014, 2015, 2016). Sathe is the recipient of the 2016 Cinereach Producer Award. He is a member of the Producers Guild of America (PGA), Indian Motion Picture Producers Association (IMPPA) and Film Writers Association – India (FWA).



Elizabeth Lodge Stepp

Elizabeth Lodge Stepp

Department of Motion Pictures / Producer

Elizabeth Lodge Stepp is a producer with the Department of Motion Pictures and an actress based in Austin, Texas. She was a 2016 Sundance Feature Film Creative Producing Fellow with the film Monsters and Men, which premiered at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival and won the U.S. Dramatic Special Jury Award for Outstanding First Feature. In addition, she produced the documentary Brimstone & Glory, which was named one of the Top 5 Documentaries of 2017 by the National Board of Review and was nominated for 4 Cinema Eye Honors awards. She also produced the documentary Kerri Walsh Jennings: Gold Within which premiered on NBC in 2016, and co-produced Knight Of Cups (2015) and Song to Song (2017), both directed by Terrence Malick.

Angela Tucker

Angela Tucker

Tuckergurl LLC / Co-Founder

Angela Tucker is an Emmy-nominated producer, writer, and director. Her directorial work includes Paper Chase , a teen comedy in pre-production with Gunpowder and Sky; All Styles , a dance movie available on Showtime; Black Folk Don’t , a four-season documentary web series featured in Time Magazine ’s “10 Ideas That Are Changing Your Life,” and (A)sexual, a featurelength documentary that streamed on Netflix and Hulu for four years. She is in her sixth year as Series Producer of the PBS strand, AfroPop and was Co-Producer on The New Black . Previously, she was Director of Production at Big Mouth Films, a social issue documentary production company. There, she worked on several award-winning documentaries, including Pushing the Elephant (Independent Lens). In 2006, she co-founded TuckerGurl LLC, a production company passionate about telling compelling and irreverent stories about underrepresented communities. Tucker was a Sundance Institute Women Filmmakers Initiative fellow. She received her MFA in Film from Columbia University.

Ryan Turek

Ryan Turek

Blumhouse Productions / Vice President of Development

Shock Waves / Co-Host

Ryan Turek is the VP of Development in Blumhouse Productions’ feature films division. He’s also the co-host of the podcast Shock Waves. His break into the business came in 2000 when he became a journalist who specialized in the world of horror writing for Fangoria and Rue Morgue magazines. In the world of online, he co-founded and ran the popular horror website for several years. You can hear on film commentaries for Chopping Mall and The Blob remake.

Benjamin Wiessner

Benjamin Wiessner

ornana films / Producer

Benjamin Wiessner is a producer based in Durham, North Carolina. He was named to Filmmaker Magazine’s 25 New Faces of Indie Film in 2012 as part of the small collective ornana films. He has produced over a dozen short films in both hand-drawn animation and live action, with awards at festivals like SXSW and Sundance. He has also worked on ten features, including producing Thunder Road, winner of the 2018 Narrative Feature Grand Jury Prize at SXSW in 2018. He has been praised for his wily producer’s finesse with fire extinguishers.