DECISION MAKERS

Panel Members

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Our Filmmakers pitch 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 is Arte representative SUEDWESTRUNDFUNK (SWR/ARD, German public TV). A large number of documentaries she coproduced won international awards and were shown at international festivals. Three documentaries she commissioned were nominated for the Academy Awards.

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 Curator at the Jacob Burns Film Center and Media Arts Lab in Pleasantville, N.Y. since 2008 for multiple annual series as well as the Preview Film Club. 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 shortdocumentary “If She Grows Up Gay…” travelled to over 20 festivals internationally and is featured on the Frameline Voices distribution platform. Karen is the Founding Trustee of the Silver Sun Foundation and Director of the Silver Sun Residency for artists and changemakers.

SEAN WEINER

Director of Programs, Media Arts Lab, Jacob Burns Film Center, Pleasantville NY, USA


As Director of Programs, Media Arts Lab, Sean leads the growth, overall strategic vision, and wildly talented staff of the education program and Creative Culture–an artist support program for filmmakers guided by a philosophy of inclusion and collaboration. His work in media education has received support from the MacArthur Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the National Endowment for the Humanities. Creative Culture’s fellowship program has produced short films selected by Sundance, Berlinale, SXSW with acquisitions by Criterion, Fox Searchlight, and POV. Creative Culture’s residency program is curated in partnership with Black Public Media, Close-Up, and Sundance Institute.

SERGI DOLADÉ 

Director of MEDIMED, the Euro-Mediterranean Documentary  

Market & Pitching Forum, Spain 


Sergi Doladé joined the Association of Euro-Mediterranean Producers (APIMED) as managing director in 2000 and   consequently was appointed director of MEDIMED, the Euro  Mediterranean Documentary Market & Pitching Forum that  takes place yearly in Sitges (Barcelona-Spain).He began his professional career at the  Director’s cabinet of the European Commission Representation in Barcelona, dealing  with dossiers such as the MEDIA Programme.  Mr. Doladé has been involved with the audio-visual sector since 1998 when he became  coordinator of the international relations department of the Spanish film company, Els  Films de la Rambla. From 1998 to 2004, he was vice-president of the association for the  promotion of new audiovisual talents, AV FAD Audio-visual, being in charge of the  selection of European students attending the regular courses at the EICTV (Escuela  Internacional de Cine y Televisión de San Antonio de los Baños – Cuba). He’s been  involved with the MEDEA programme of Euromed Audiovisual I as invited expert and in  2012 was appointed Head of Studies of the ACCESS to Markets programme run by the  Media Business School for Euromed Audiovisual III (2012-14). He’s been jury member at  several international film festivals in Spain such as: Festival Incurt, Festival de Cine  Español de Melilla, Festival Docupolis-Barcelona, Festival de Cine Judío de Barcelona,  Premios AV FAD Audiovisual, Premios Universitat Ramon Llull and at the CMCA  Documentary Awards in 2007-09-11, FIGRA Doc Festival 2015, and recently Sheffield Doc  Fest 2016 and Escales Documentaires 2016. Since 2006, he teaches at the Masters of  Cinematographic Direction at the Ramon Llull University (Barcelona).

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.

LINDSAY POULTON

Head of Documentaries/ The Guardian – UK


Lindsay is Head of Documentaries at the Guardian where she commissions and oversees the Guardian’s documentary content. Her core focus is the short-form documentary strand on theguardian.com for films with strong, character-led narratives that are about compelling, contemporary stories. Lindsay is passionate about innovation in digital storytelling and has a strong journalistic as well as filmmaking background. Her work has been shown at festivals around the world, including Sundance, Tribeca, Idfa, Cannes, and has been recognized with a number of prestigious awards.

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.

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 Fernandez finished her MA in Film Studies from the University of Amsterdam in 1996, and worked in festival production, programming and film financing before joining IDFA to head the IDFA Bertha Fund. Since 2020 she is the deputy director of IDFA in charge of the Filmmaker Support department. As such she is responsible for the IDFA Bertha Fund (IBF) and oversees the Talent Development programs.

In 22 years the IDFA Bertha Fund has developed into an internationally renowned institution with a broad network supporting over 600 documentaries projects and film organizations 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.

REDA BENJELLOUN

Director of Programs and Documentaries / 2M TV – Morocco


Reda Benjelloun is currently the director of news magazines and documentaries of 2M TV (Morocco). Since 2011, he has produced “Des Histoires et des Hommes”, a weekly documentary broadcast every Sunday evening in prime time.

Reda Benjelloun graduated in law from the Sorbonne (France). In 1995, he turned to journalism and joined 2M. He has been a reporter, news presenter and producer of news magazines.

JANE RAY

Consultant Artistic Director / The Whickers – UK


Jane is the Consultant Artistic Director for The Whickers and a multi-award-winning documentary maker and executive producer in radio and television. Her awards range from the Sony Award for best news programme (2002) and the TRIC award for best children’s programme (1993) to China’s Golden Kapok award for best director (2014). Having spent 29 years at the BBC, Jane worked with Alan Whicker in the 1990s and in 2015 got the call to help set up a new documentary foundation funded by his generous legacy. She wrote and directed Radio 4’s archive programme about Alan: Around the World in 80 years, presented by Michael Palin, and is immensely proud to have participated in his work for TV and radio.

Reda Benjelloun graduated in law from the Sorbonne (France). In 1995, he turned to journalism and joined 2M. He has been a reporter, news presenter and producer of news magazines.

NIAM ITANI

Acquisitions Manager / TRT World – Turkey


Lebanese American filmmaker, educator and media executive, currently leading the Acquisitions Team at TRT World in Istanbul. TRT World is the English Language news and current affairs channel owned by Turkish Radio and Television Corporation.

Itani started her corporate career at Al Jazeera in 2005 where she produced programs for Al Jazeera Arabic News Channel. Between 2010 and 2017 Itani moved to independent filmmaking. Her projects have been selected for grants and industry events by the Doha Film Institute, Arab Fund for Arts and Culture (AFAC), European Producers Network, and the Rotterdam Film Lab of IFFR, among others. Films she produced / co-produced / directed as of 2010 have screened at the Venice Film Festival, Edinburgh International Film Festival, Seattle International Film Festival and other Academy Award qualifying film festivals and won several awards.Itani holds a BA in Communication Arts from the Lebanese American University in Beirut and an MFA in Screenwriting from Hollins University in Roanoke, VA (USA). She has taught screenwriting and video production at her alma matters and conducted multiple screenwriting and filmmaking workshops. While a strong advocate for equality and social justice, she is herself a full-time slave to her 4 feline children.

EKATERINA OCHAGAVIA

Executive Producer, Documentaries and Features / The Guardian, UK


Katya has worked as a self-shooting director and editor for the Guardian for over a decade, creating a critically acclaimed portfolio of work ranging from interactive feature series to one-off documentaries. She specialises in telling international stories of human rights, women’s rights and the environment rooted strongly in journalism, and is dedicated to innovation and creativity in visual storytelling. As an executive producer, she intimately understands the trials and tribulations of filmmaking, and believes passionately in the art of the craft.

JAAD ASANTE

Filmmaker Engagement Manager / Chicken & Egg, USA


As Filmmaker Engagement Manager at Chicken & Egg Pictures, Jaad Asante’s work focuses on fostering a strong AlumNest community and increasing their access to resources and opportunities by connecting them with potential funders, partners, and networks. She produces the NEXT GEN EGG event and manages Docs by the Dozen, the organization’s shorts and series initiative.

CHARLOTTE REEKERS

Head of FIPADOC Forum/ France


Charlotte Reekers is the newly appointed head of FIPADOC Forum, and she’ll oversee the industry days during the festival in January. Recently she was the Senior Program Manager Documentary at the Gotham (formerly IFP) in New York City. There she organized the Documentary Lab and the Spotlight on Documentaries Project Forum – the oldest and largest co-production markets in the US. She continues to work for the Gotham as a mentor for women and non-binary creators. Before she moved to New York from Amsterdam, she was a manager for 4-years at IDFA Forum. Charlotte also had jobs at the Made in NY Media Center by IFP, Sheffield Doc/Fest (UK), the Dutch Cinema Exhibitor Association, sales agent Fortissimo Films, and as an independent film consultant. 

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.

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.