DECISION MAKERS

Panel Members

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Our 22 filmmakers from Algeria, Afghanistan, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Morocco, Palestine, Sudan & Turkey
pitched their projects to an acclaimed group of decision makers from around the world

LISA KLEINER CHANOFF

Co-founder of Catapult Film Fund / Executive producer – USA


Lisa Kleiner Chanoff is co-founder of Catapult Film Fund, which provides development grants to documentary films. Lisa has also executive produced narrative features including Fruitvale Station (Co-EP), Burn Country, and Love & Taxes, and documentary features including Watchers of the Sky and Brimstone & Glory. With Catapult, Lisa has executive produced Art and Craft, Extremis, When God Sleeps, and Life Overtakes Me.

Lisa has a J.D. from University of California, Hastings College of the Law and practiced law in San Francisco and with the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington D.C. After leaving law practice, Lisa received a master’s degree in Museum Studies and worked with museums in the San Francisco Bay Area, including the Contemporary Jewish Museum. Lisa assists several non-profits in an advisory capacity and serves on the boards of Working Films and SFFILM.

ROBIN SMITH

Co-Owner/CEO of BLUE-ICE DOCS – Canada


Over the last 18 years, Robin has worked in management roles at a variety of film companies including the National Film Board of Canada, Alliance, Blackwatch Releasing, TIFF, Lions Gate Films, Seville Pictures and Capri Releasing. In 2007, he founded Canada’s premier boutique distribution company KinoSmith Inc. and has overseen the successful launch over 200 films within the Canadian marketplace.

Notable successes under Smith’s guidance include such hits as Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Russian Ark, Away From Her, Up The Yangtze, Cave Of Forgotten Dreams and Blackfish.

Robin also acts as the Cinema Programmer for the Bloor Hot Docs Cinema in Toronto operated by the Hot Docs International Documentary Festival – the only documentary dedicated cinema in the world. Currently, Robin is heralded as the one of the world’s leading documentary industry experts and intends to use his knowledge and expertise to steer Blue Ice Docs into an industry-leading documentary distribution company.

HAJNAL MOLNAR-SZAKACS

Film Fund Director,  Sundance Institute – USA


Hajnal is the Film Fund Director at the Sundance Institute, where she finds, cultivates and finances bold, cinematic, non-fiction storytellers from around the globe. In addition to overseeing the granting of  $1.5 – 2 million dollars per year, Hajnal provides creative and editorial advice to supported films and filmmakers.

Recent films supported by the Sundance Documentary Film Program include Hale County, Strong Islandand Last Men in Aleppo. Hajnal serves as a panelist, nominator and industry advisor for international film festivals, pitch forums and funds and is a summer lecturer at Sci-Arc in Los Angeles.  She holds a MSc in Public Management from SDA Bocconi School of Management in Italy and a Bachelor of International Business and German from Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada.  Prior to joining Sundance Institute, Hajnal worked for the European Union and the Government of Canada. Hajnal also works with community and arts-based non-profits in LA and is fluent in Hungarian.

KRISTIN FEELEY

Director of Artist Support Programs, Sundance Institute – USA


Kristin Feeley is Director of Labs and Artist Support Programs for the Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program (DFP). She oversees five Sundance Documentary Creative Labs ann, co-programs the Sundance Creative Producing Summit and the Fellows Program at Sundance Film Festival, which serves over 150 artists annually. She plays a staff advisory role with the Sundance Documentary Fund, and also oversees content production and also works on DFP Creative Partnerships such as the Stories of Change initiative. Prior to Sundance DFP she worked at several international film festivals and arts non-profits including Tribeca Film Festival, Edinburgh International Film Festival and Sundance Film Festival. Feeley received her B.A. from Mount Holyoke College and a Master of Philosophy in Media Studies from University of Glasgow, Scotland, focusing on early American documentary film.

DR. GUDRUN HANKE-EL GHOMRI

Arte Coordinator / Commissioning Editor, Documentary Unit, Südwestrundfunk (SWR/ARD) – Germany


Dr.  Gudrun Hanke-El Ghomri studied romance, history as well as general and comparative literature in Mainz, Germany and in Orléans, France. After obtaining her doctorate, she first worked for ZDF TV, then, starting in 1992, as a commissioning editor and author/director for the SÜDWESTFUNKFUNK TV (SWR, former SWF) in Baden-Baden, Germany. For many years, she was Deputy Arte representative of the SWR and commissioning editor for documentaries. Among others, she is in charge of the contributions of SWR for the ARD documentary series (Dokumentarfilm im Ersten – Documentary in the ARD). Since 2013, she is Arte representative of the SWR. A large number of documentaries she edited won international awards and were shown at international festivals.

LUCILA MOCTEZUMA

Program Director, Chicken & Egg Pictures, USA


As Program Director at Chicken & Egg Pictures, Lucila oversees the planning and implementation of the organization’s programs in support of women nonfiction filmmakers. Originally from Mexico City, Lucila has collaborated with New York’s independent film community since 1996. Prior to joining Chicken & Egg Pictures, she was Executive Producing Director at the internationally renowned UnionDocs, Center for Documentary Art, in Brooklyn. Formerly, she was Manager of the Production Assistance Program at Women Make Movies, a program that provides support to women filmmakers in the development of their projects. She was Director of the Media Arts Fellowships for the Rockefeller Foundation, a highly prestigious program that supported media artists in the U.S. and Latin America, and she is Founder and was Coordinator of the TFI Latin America Media Arts Fund for the Tribeca Film Institute. Lucila is in the documentary selection committee of the Morelia International Film Festival in Mexico, and sits on the founding Executive Board of Cine Qua Non Lab, a residency for international filmmakers based in Michoacán, Mexico; she was Vice President of the Board of Trustees of The Flaherty and was the U.S. Delegate for the Huesca International Film Festival in Spain. Her work as Associate Producer includes the documentary series The New Americansfor Kartemquin Films, and Shocking and Awfulfor Deep Dish TV, which was part of the 2006 Whitney Biennial. Lucila holds a degree in Philosophy at Universidad Iberoamericana in Mexico City, where she taught until 1996.

MARGJE DE KONING

Artistic director of Movies that Matter – The Netherlands


After finishing her studies, Margje de Koning made all sorts of documentaries for many different broadcasting companies for 12 years.

In 2004 Margje de Koning became a part time teacher at the Culture & Media studies (department Film& Television at the University of Amsterdam).

In August 2004, Margje de Koning became Commissioning Editor for a documentary slot of 52’ docs. This meant producing and co-producing creative single 52′-documentaries.

Since January 2005 Margje de Koning was responsible for the Television Department of IKON and on January 2012 she became Head of TV, Radio and New Media programming at IKON. From January 2016 IKON has been incorporated within EO with Margje de Koning as Commissioning Editor Documentaries for EO, JDocs and IKONdocs. Since June 2019, Margje has been artistic director of Movies that Matter.

KAREN SLOE GOODMAN

Silver Sun  Foundation, Woodstock,NY – USA


Karen Sloe Goodman has worked in both feature and independent film production, and has been a Film Programmer at the Jacob Burns Film Center and Media Arts Lab in Pleasantville, N.Y. since 2008 for multiple annual series, and most recently for the Greenhouse Film Series and Artist-in-Residency programs. She holds both an M.A. in Cinema Studies, and an M.F.A. in Film Production from NYU’s Tisch Graduate School of the Arts. Her short documentary “If She Grows Up Gay…” travelled to over 20 festivals internationally, and is currently featured on the Frameline Voices distribution platform. She is currently the Founding Trustee Silver Sun Foundation  and Director of the Silver Sun Residency.

SEAN WEINER

Director of Creative Culture: Fellowship & Residency Programs, Jacob Burns Film Center, Pleasantville NY, USA


Sean Weiner is a NY-based producer, filmmaker, and the director of the Creative Culture program at the Jacob Burns Film Center. He is a professor of film at Purchase College, a creative in the Private Cabin Collective, and a director for the Upright Citizens Brigade.

His producing credits include Death Metal Grandma (NYTimes Op Docs, SXSW, Hot Docs), Nevada (Sundance, Vimeo Staff Pick, Oscar-Qualified), and Yves & Variation (BAMcinemaFest, Hamptons International Film Festival). These shorts were produced within the Creative Culture program which connects emerging filmmakers to creative careers through fellowship and residency opportunities.

AMY HOBBY

Executive Director, Tribeca Film Institute – USA


Amy Hobby has 20 years of experience as an award-winning feature and documentary film producer.  Her work spans feature-length dramas starring A-list Hollywood stars to documentaries, international features, television pilots and webisodes. Hobby personifies the fully diverse producer, with deep experience across a wide range of budgets and in various types of producing roles, and has a well-earned reputation for producing edgy, compelling features. She mentors emerging filmmakers worldwide and actively supports women directors through various initiatives launched through Tangerine Entertainment, which she co-founded. Her producing projects have included Secretary, Hamlet (with Ethan Hawke), Love, Marilyn and What Happened, Miss Simone?, for which she was nominated for an Academy Award and won an Emmy Award and a Peabody Award. She joined TFI as Vice President, Artist Programs in 2015.

JESS GORMLEY

Executive Producer at Guardian News & Media


Jess Gormley is Executive Producer of Documentaries and Features at the Guardian newspaper where she has worked for 5 years. Her best known projects include; ‘What has the ECHR ever done for us? with Partick Stewart’, ‘Brexit Shorts’ and ‘Shakespeare Solos’.  Prior to that she produced and exec produced both documentaries and drama for television, cinema and online, including titles such as; ‘McCullin’ – double BAFTA nominated feature documentary,  ‘Attacking the Devil’ Sheffield Jury Prize winner documentary, ‘Radiator’ – drama feature film, ‘Akram Khan:Homeland’ – More 4 documentary, ‘Rankin Presents Collabor8te’ – Sky Arts 4 part series and ‘The Arbor’ Bafta-nominated docu-drama.

SOPHIE CHEGARAY

CommissioningEditor forDocumentaries, France5 – France


Since 2001, Sophie Chegaray is commissioning editor for documentaries on current affairs, international, domestic and social issues at France 5.

Since 2019, she is assistant to the director in charge of Society (Current affairs) and Geopolitics Documentaries for France 2, France 3 and France 5, France Télévision Group.

CECILIA LIDIN

Commissioning Editor for The Danish Film Institute  – Denmark


Cecilia Ardin is the commissioning editor for the DFI.She has more than 20 years of experience in developing and financing documentary films. From 2011 to June of this year she was employed at the Swedish Film Institute as Documentary Film Commissioner. From 2009 to 2011, Cecilia Lidin headed the European Documentary Network where she was previously assigned as a consultant. She has also served as artistic director of Odense International Film Festival and worked with the promotion of Nordic short films and documentaries at Filmkontakt Nord. Cecilia Lidin, who is a Film Studies graduate from the University of Copenhagen, takes over from Klara Grunning-Harris and starts her work on 1 October.

KAREN MICHAEL

Deputy Manager for the Society and Culture Department in Arte -France.


Karen Michael has been working for La Sept/Arte since its beginning. Since September 2011, Karen was Commissioning Editor for the Society and Culture Department and in charge of Culture and Investigation documentaries. Since 2019, Karen Michael is Deputy Manager for the Society and Culture Department in Arte France.

ADRIEK VAN NIEUWENHUYZEN

Head of the Industry office of IDFA – the Netherlands


Adriek van Nieuwenhuyzen finished her masters in Theatre and Film Science in 1989 at the University of Utrecht. Already during her studies she started specializing in documentary and got involved in the first edition of IDFA, by then a small but sparkling initiative to bring back documentary on the big screen in Amsterdam. In 1993 she became deputy director at IDFA. From the beginning she was mainly involved in programming at IDFA which in twenty years’ time became one of the leading documentary festivals in the world. She curated several programs at IDFA. From February 2007 on she is Head of the Industry office of IDFA .In this position she is in charge of the IDFA markets (IDFA Forum, Docs for Sale) and special programming for industry delegates.

Besides working at IDFA she is a member of the selection committee of the IDFA Bertha Fund which aims to generate more attention for the voices of filmmakers in the developing world.

ISABEL ARRATE FERNÁNDEZ

Managing Director of the IDFA BERTHA FUND – the Netherlands


Isabel Arrate Fernández is the manager of the IDFA Bertha Fund (formerly known as Jan Vrijman Fund) since 2002. She has an MA in Film Studies from the University of Amsterdam, and worked in festival production, programming and film financing before joining IDFA. As head of the IDFA Bertha Fund she has participated in juries  and works regularly as consultant for documentary projects.
In 15 years the IDFA Bertha Fund has developed into an internationally renowned institution with a broad network supporting over 500 documentaries projects and film organisations in Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, the Middle-East and Latin America.

ALEX SZALAT

Doc’s Up – France


Alex Szalat  is now developing a project which aims at funding for documentaries about Human rights. (Doc’s up Fund) : A fund allocated  to European and international documentary film projects dedicated to human rights. A real launch-pad for directors, producers and authors at two crucial moments in the development and production process.  In the initial development stage for  the creation of a teaser. After the shoot, to edit a rough-cut of the footage.

He was a commissioning editor for the Geopolitical Europe and Society department of Arte France, and from 2008 to 2011,heads the Current affair, Social issues and geopolitical department. From September 2011 until March 2019, he was Deputy Manager of the Society and Culture department of Arte France. Alex Szalat began his career in 1977 as a director of short films, documentaries and TV series. His filmography is extensively covering a full range of aspects dealing with European life culture and society. In 1987, Alex Szalat founded KS VISIONS, an independent producers’ company which has produced over a hundred documentaries films and TV series for Canal +, Arte, FR3, FR2, TF1, Planete, IBA, RTBF, VRT, Dutch Channel 1, amongst others.

CHRISTINE CAMDESSUS

Managing and artistic director of FIPADOC – France


After been a lawyer and a banker, Christine Camdessus launched her production company in 2001: ALEGRIA PRODUCTIONS. Among more than 60 creative documentaries, distributed in most of the world: Hammer and Tickle, Pakistan Zindabad, Five Broken Cameras, by Emad Burnad and Guy Davidi (Sundance director’s price 2012, Oscar Nomination 2013 – International Emmy Award 2013), Divided Korea, The Wonderfull Kingdom of Papa Alaev, Erdogan, the making of a sultan, One day in Tehran and Forman versus Forman presented in Cannes Classics in 2019.

In June 2018, Christine as been nominated managing and artistic director of FIPADOC, a new festival dedicated to documentaries which will take place in Biarritz (France) the third week of January.

FIPADOC, international documentary film festival, brings general public and professionals together for screenings outstanding documentary films. Hosting meetandgreets and premiering new projects, FIPADOC will promote innovation and new talent.

CHRISTIAN POPP

Head of Coproduction Forum and Territory Focus FIPADOC – France

Producer YUZU Productions


After a Master in History and Arts Christian has worked as a journalist and film director. Between 1998 and 2005 he was commissioning editor for ARTE. From 2005 to 2012 he worked as producer in Paris and Berlin for interscience film, docdays productions, SUMO Film and Artline Films. In 2012 he co-founded the Paris based YUZU Productions. His company has been nominated 3 times for Best French Documentary Producer by the Procirep. Christian was for more than 20 years consulting, mentoring and moderating at various documentary events (IDFAcademy, MIADoc, LisbonDocs, Visions du Réel, La Femis, Asian Side of the Docs,

Dokumentarfilm Initiative…). He acts as expert for MEDIA Desk Switzerland.

Beside his job as producer and expert, he is Head of Coproduction Forum and Territory Focus of FIPADOC International Documentary Festival.

FIPADOC brings general public and professionals together for screenings outstanding documentary films. Hosting meetandgreets and premiering new projects, FIPADOC will promote innovation and new talent.

GITTE HANSEN

Deputy Director First Hand Films


Born on the rocky island of Bornholm, Denmark, Gitte Hansen lives in Switzerland since 2000. In Zurich Gitte worked with international distribution of feature films and started in 2002 at First Hand Films, where her work includes project development, financing & packaging, marketing strategy, executive producing, sales and acquisition.

Previously Gitte has worked with inhouse factual production at DR-TV, she was Head of Information and Promotion with Filmkontakt Nord for five years in Copenhagen, coordinator of the Nordisk Forum for Co-financing of Documentaries, and has worked for the former MEDIA project DOCUMENTARY, which included the first edition of the EDN TV Guide and a study on the European Documentary sector regarding co- production and film financing.

She has joined Vertical Strategies, Eurodoc session, Transmedia Next and is a consultant and lecturer at local and international workshops and events where she works for colleagues like EDN, Eurodoc, IDFA, Crossing Boarders and Ex Oriente. Gitte has served on several international film festival around Europe and holds a master in Film and Rhetoric from the University of Copenhagen.