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Maryse Alberti is a multi–award-winning cinematographer and photographic artist from France who has worked on a variety of high-profile projects.
Her most recent film, Creed, the Rocky re-boot starring Sylvester Stallone and Michael B. Jordan and directed by Ryan Coogler, opened in fall 2015 to critical acclaim.
Recent projects include Freeheld, starring Steve Carell, Julianne Moore, and Ellen Page, with director Peter Sollett; The Visit (2015), the M. Night Shyamalan’s thriller; and Bending the Light, a Michael Apted documentary that screened at last year’s Camerimage International Film Festival.
With an eye for thought-provoking and challenging subject matter, Alberti has lensed a number of lauded political films, including director Amy Berg’s exploration of the infamous West Memphis Three, West of Memphis, which premiered at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival, and the 2010 feature Stone, starring Robert De Niro and Edward Norton.
Alberti’s wide-ranging body of work includes the Oscar-nominated Darren Aronofsky directed film The Wrestler, for which she received the 2008 Best Cinematography Independent Spirit Award. She received praise for her standout cinematography on director Todd Haynes’ Poison and Velvet Goldmine (for which she earned her first Indie Spirit Best Cinematography Award) and the hard-hitting drama Happiness for indie provocateur Todd Solondz.
Additionally, she has lensed several acclaimed documentaries with her long-time collaborator Alex Gibney: We Steal Secrets, about Wikileaks founder Julian Assange; The Armstrong Lie, an official selection for the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival; and Casino Jack and the United States of Money. Her documentary work with Gibney also includes the films History of the Eagles Part One; Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer; Gonzo:The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson, and Taxi to the Dark Side, which won the 2008 Academy Award for Best Documentary.
The director and cinematographer’s early collaboration, Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room, received a Best Documentary Academy Award nomination in 2006. Later that year, Alberti received the prestigious Kodak Vision Award and an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Cinematography on HBO’s ALL ABOARD! Rosie’s Family Cruise. In 2004, she earned an Independent Spirit Awards nomination for Best Cinematography for her work on the feature We Don’t Live Here Anymore, directed by John Curran.
Her other awards include Sundance Film Festival Best Cinematography honors for documentaries CRUMB in 1995 and H-2 Worker in 1990.
Alberti came to New York in the mid-1970s and for the next few years hitchhiked through the United States. She began taking photographs when she arrived back in New York City. Before long she was working for the New York Rocker magazine, photographing artists including Lou Reed, Iggy Pop, and Frank Zappa. In the mid-1980s, Alberti began working on movie sets, first as a stills photographer, then as a cinematographer on both features and documentaries.
As well as her film work, Alberti continues to make highly personal art in the form of photographs and video. She has exhibited in New York and Los Angeles galleries. In the last couple of years Alberti has worked with artists such as Laurie Anderson and Pierre Huyghe. She is represented by Dattner Dispoto and Associates of Los Angeles.
Academy Award–nominated director Darren Aronofsky was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York.
His film, Noah (2014), starred Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly, Emma Watson, and Anthony Hopkins. It was hailed by Richard Roeper as “one of the most dazzling and unforgettable Biblical epics ever put on film.”
In 2011, Aronofsky directed Black Swan, which earned Natalie Portman an Academy Award for Best Actress and Aronofsky a nomination for Best Director. In 2008, he directed The Wrestler, recipient of the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival. Mickey Rourke and Marisa Tomei received Academy Award nominations for their performances; Rourke won a Golden Globe for Best Actor—Drama, and Bruce Springsteen won for Best Original Song. Aronofsky also directed The Fountain (2006), starring Hugh Jackman and Rachel Weisz, and Requiem for a Dream (2000), starring Jared Leto, Ellen Burstyn, and Jennifer Connolly. His first feature, π (1998), won the Director’s Award at Sundance Film Festival.
Aronofsky is a graduate of Harvard University and the American Film Institute.
Neema Barnett is a director / producer. She was the first African-American woman both to direct a prime-time sitcom and to get an overall directing deal with a major studio (Sony). Her work for television and film includes: Paradise Lost, Bosch, Queen Sugar (also producer), Luke Cage, Jane the Virgin, Blindspot, Genuis, Being Mary Jane, and The Cosby Show. She is executive producer of Black History Mini Docs, 90 second videos featuring the stories of African-American heroes and she-roes.
Her awards include a Peabody, an Emmy, an NAACP Image Award, and the African American Woman in Film Director of the Year Award as well as nominations from the DGA, Black Reel Awards, and Cable Ace Awards.
She is a member of DGA African American Steering Committee and the Black Filmmakers Foundation since its inception. She serves on the executive board of the IFP Gordon Parks Scholarship fund. She has been a judge for the NAACP Feature Film Award and serves as an annual judge for the Pan African Film Festival in Los Angeles. She is a proud graduate of City College (CUNY).
Producer Nina Yang Bongiovi is partners with actor, producer, and director Forest Whitaker in Significant Productions. Her work includes Fruitvale Station; Dope; Songs My Brother Taught Me; Roxanne, Roxanne; Sorry to Bother You; A Kid From Coney Island; and The Godfather of Harlem.
Don Buchwald is the founder of Don Buchwald & Associates, a full-service talent and literary agency with offices in New York and Los Angeles, whose roster of clientele includes actors, directors, producers, writers, and broadcasters, most notably Howard Stern.
Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, Buchwald now lives in Manhattan with his wife, Maggie; two daughters, Julia and Laura; and two grandchildren, Sebastian and Scarlett. A member of the board of governors of the Friars Club, he has been a member of the board of trustees of Brooklyn College for 15 years and is the first recipient of the college’s Theater Alumnus Award (1998). He is a major contributor to the Leonard & Claire Tow Center for the Performing Arts, the Barry R. Feirstein Graduate School of Cinema, and the Don Buchwald Internship Program in Theater, Television, and Radio.
Celia Costas won her first Emmy Award as producer of one of the most acclaimed miniseries of all time, Angels in America, directed by Mike Nichols and written by Pulitzer Prize–winning playwright Tony Kushner.
In addition to the Outstanding Miniseries Emmy, the HBO project earned 11 other Emmys, five Golden Globe Awards, and two Screen Actors Guild Awards. Costas won her second Emmy Award, again for HBO, as executive producer of Joseph Sargent’s Warm Springs, written by Margaret Nagle.
She worked again with Nichols as executive producer of the features Closer and Charlie Wilson’s War. She was executive producer of John Patrick Shanley’s Doubt, which was nominated for five Academy Awards. Other feature credits include Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps (Oliver Stone), Extremely Loud, Incredibly Close (Stephen Daldry), August: Osage County (John Wells), Annie (Will Gluck), The Intern (Nancy Meyers) and most recently, The Girl on the Train, based on the novel by Paula Hawkins and directed by Tate Taylor.
Other feature credits as co-producer include Betty Thomas’ Private Parts, 28 Days and Ben Stiller’s Zoolander.
Anne del Castillo is the commissioner of the New York City Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment.
She joined the agency in 2014 as director of legal affairs and was appointed to chief operating officer and general counsel in 2015. As a senior member of the executive team, she structured and advanced several groundbreaking initiatives. A series of workforce initiatives provides New York City residents with free mentorship and training opportunities in order to increase diverse representation in writers’ rooms, post-production, and stagecraft. The Freelancers Hub at the Made in NY Media Center is the first concerted effort by an American city to create a central resource hub for freelance workers in the gig economy. The Made in NY Women’s Film, TV and Theatre Fund is the first municipal program in the country designed to promote equality behind and in front of the camera in film and television, as well as onstage, with $5 million in grants for women filmmakers and playwrights. One Book, One New York is the largest community read in the country.
Del Castillo has more than 25 years of experience in film production, public media, and arts and nonprofit administration. As vice president of development and business affairs at American Documentary, producer of the award-winning PBS documentary series POV, she secured $3 million annually in grants and contracts, and negotiated what were then innovative partnerships with Netflix and theatrical distributors to maximize distribution opportunities for independent documentaries. Prior to her tenure at American Documentary, she served as associate director of the Austin Film Society, where she oversaw administration of the Texas Filmmakers Production Fund, successfully advocated for formulation of media arts panel at City of Austin’s Arts Commission, and was part of the initial task force that led the development of Austin Studios.
Previously, del Castillo worked with American artist Richard Kostelanetz on a series of anthology reprints on pioneers of the avant-garde John Cage, Merce Cunningham, and László Moholy-Nagy. She has consulted on numerous film projects, and was associate producer on the Sundance Award–winning documentary Imelda, about the former First Lady of the Philippines. She also served as a panelist for the National Endowment of the Arts, Center for Asian American Media, and New York State Council on the Arts, among others, and presented at industry events, including South by Southwest and the Sithengi Film and TV Market in South Africa.
A native of New York City, del Castillo received her B.A. in English literature and B,S, in mass communications with honors from Boston University. She earned her J.D. at Brooklyn Law School and was honored with a Rising Star Award in 2017.
Director and producer Stephen Daldry has been nominated for three Best Director Academy Awards. His films include Billy Elliot, The Hours, The Reader, and Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close. For television, he has won Emmys for producing and directing The Crown. His many awards for theater productions include three Olivier Awards for his work in the West End and two Tony Awards for his work on Broadway: An Inspector Calls and Billy Elliot: The Musical.
Daldry received the Commander of the Order of the British Empire. He is among an elite group of directors that has received nominations for direction in theater, television, and film.
Ezra Edelman is an award-winning filmmaker.
In 2016, he directed O.J.: Made In America, which won that year’s Academy Award for Best Documentary. It is the third film he has directed for ESPN’s acclaimed 30-for-30 documentary series. In 2013, Edelman co-produced the Oscar-nominated documentary Cutie and The Boxer. He also has produced and directed three films for HBO, including the Peabody Award–winning Magic and Bird: A Courtship of Rivals and Emmy Award–winning The Ghosts of Flatbush.
Currently, he is at work on his first scripted feature, The Ballad Of Richard Jewell, for 20th Century Fox.
A native of Washington D.C., Ezra graduated from Yale University and currently lives in Brooklyn.
Barry R. Feirstein graduated from Brooklyn College summa cum laude with a B.S. in economics and membership in Phi Beta Kappa.
He earned an M.B.A. from the Harvard Graduate School of Business in 1978 and became a technology analyst for Equitable Capital Management Corporation of New York. He managed the firm’s aggressive growth portfolio from 1984 to 1992 so successfully that the financial press noted his capacity to foretell trends and discover promising areas his fellow professionals had overlooked, such as biotechnology, the internet and personal computers.
Feirstein is also the founder of Feirstein LLC, a unique investment partnership. Feirstein believes that a film school, located on a film studio in New York City and run by Brooklyn College, will be distinctive, excellent, and highly competitive in today’s entertainment industry. The ability to help create a graduate school reminded Feirstein of his other great investment opportunities.
Feirstein is a producer of Broadway and off-Broadway musicals and plays, including Catch Me if You Can; Black Tie; Morini Strad; Harrison, TX; The Model Apartment; and Poor Behavior. He serves on the board of the Brooklyn College Foundation, is ex-chairman of the Friars Foundation, and president of The New York Film Society and the Anderson Center for Autism. He is a regular contributor to a number of New York City nonprofit organizations, including the Center for Jewish History and the American Ballet Theater.
Roy Furman is vice chairman of Jefferies Group LLC and chairman of Jefferies Capital Partners, a group of private equity funds.
In 1973, Furman co-founded Furman Selz, an international investment banking, institutional brokerage and money-management firm. He served as president and CEO until 1997, when the firm was sold to ING. For decades, he has been a Wall Street analyst and investment banker involved with the entertainment industry.
Furman is vice chairman of Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts and chairman emeritus of the Film Society of Lincoln Center. He served as national finance chairman for the Democratic National Committee in 1992–93, was national fund chair for Harvard Law School for two years, and was chairman of the Brooklyn College Foundation for four years.
Furman has produced dozens of Broadway musicals and plays, including numerous Tony winners. Currently on Broadway: The Book of Mormon, Cinderella, Rocky, Mothers and Sons, A Raisin in the Sun, and Bullets Over Broadway. Upcoming productions include Houdini, The Last Ship, and An American in Paris.
Composer and educator Peter Golub’s film scores include The Great Debaters, The Laramie Project, Frozen River, Countdown to Zero, and Songs My Father Taught Me.
In 1999, Golub founded the Sundance Composers Lab, and he has been the director of the Sundance Film Music Program since then. He is the continuing guest lecturer at UCLA’s Herb Alpert School of Music and has taught at CalArts, USC, Columbia College, and Reed College.
His scores for Broadway include The Country House (by Donald Marguiles, directed by Dan Sullivan, with Blythe Danner), The Heiress (directed by Moises Kaufman, with Jessica Chastain and David Strathaim), Hedda Gabler (directed by Nicholas Martin, with Kate Burton), and Time Stands Still (by Donald Marguiles, with Laura Linney).
He was composer-in-residence at Charles Ludlam’s legendary Ridiculous Theatrical Company in Greenwich Village and wrote numerous scores for the New York Shakespeare Festival (both Shakespeare in the Park and at The Public) and La Mama. He worked closely with Joseph Chaikin, Ethyl Eichelberger, and others. His musical, Amphigorey, with book, lyrics, and designs by Edward Gorey, was produced at the American Repertory Theater (ART) in Cambridge and at the American Music Theater Festival (Philadelphia), culminating in an off-Broadway run. His ballet based on Gorey’s The Gilded Bat, was performed at the Kennedy Center and throughout the United States. Other ballets were commissioned by the Miami City Ballet, Milwaukee Ballet, and the Atlanta Ballet.
Golub’s concert works are performed around the world. He is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
Christian Grass is CEO of Metrograph LLC, an entertainment company founded in 2016 and based in New York City. Under Grass’ leadership, projects to date include Metrograph NYC, an independent movie theater, restaurant, and event business; Metrograph Pictures, an independent film distribution company with a focus on quality and curation; and Metrograph At Home, which was launched in July 2020.
Grass was also the founder and CEO of FilmWave, a film abd television production business. At FilmWave, he co-produced John Carney’s Sing Street, produced Vincent Perez’s Alone in Berlin, and produced the young adult hit Every Day, directed by Michael Sucsy.
Grass was previously president of international production and acquisitions at Universal Pictures International (UPI), from October 2007 until July 2011. Under Grass’ leadership, UPI produced and acquired commercial local and international films. Successes included the French hit Heartbreaker; Matthew Vaughn’s Kick Ass; the Step Up franchise; Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds; Timur Bekmambetov’s Black Lightning; Joann Sfar’s Cesar Award winner Gainsbourg: Vie Heroique; Park Chan-Wook’s Cannes Award winner and Korean hit Thirst; Carlos Cuaron’s Mexican hit Rudo Y Cursi; Cary Fukunaga’s Sundance Award winner Sin Nombre; and many others.
Before joining UPI in 2007, Grass was executive vice president of Europe, the Middle East, and Africa for 20th Century Fox. Prior to joining Fox in 1996, he served as vice president of international marketing for Miramax International, where he supervised the marketing and publicity for all Miramax International releases from pre-sales through to release in international markets.
Patrick Harrison has been the director of New York Programs and Membership for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences since 2001. He is responsible for the creation and implementation of all Academy programs on the East Coast, including the Monday Nights with Oscar® film series, the annual Spotlight on Crafts film series, Academy Tributes, educational outreach and the annual Oscar® Night New York celebrations. Harrison frequently interviews filmmakers for the Academy Conversations film series distributed on the academy’s online platforms and serves on juries at a number of film festivals.
Before joining the academy, Harrison served as manager of awards and special events for Miramax Films, working on all awards campaigns for the distributor, including such films as Il Postino (The Postman), The English Patient, Good Will Hunting, Shakespeare in Love, and The Cider House Rules.
Ethan Hawke is an accomplished actor, screenwriter, film director, theater director, and novelist.
He has appeared in more than 40 films, including Dead Poets Society, Before Sunrise, Before Sunset, Before Midnight, Reality Bites, Gattaca, Training Day, and Boyhood. His numerous stage credits include, as an actor: The Coast of Utopia, Henry IV, The Winter’s Tale, The Cherry Orchard, Hurlyburly, Macbeth, and Blood From a Stone (2011 Obie Award winner); and as a director: Things We Want, A Lie of the Mind, and Clive.
Hawke has written two novels, The Hottest State and Ash Wednesday, the former of which he adapted and directed for film. He has also been nominated for a Tony Award, Academy Awards for both acting and writing, and a Drama Desk Award for both acting and directing.
Lesli Klainberg is the executive director of the Film Society of Lincoln Center (FSLC).
She is also an award-winning producer and director whose documentaries have screened at such film festivals as Berlin, Sundance, Outfest, and Frameline, and have been broadcast on networks including Cinemax, AMC, A&E, the Independent Film Channel (IFC), WE, and PBS.
As the executive director of the Film Society, Klainberg handles all strategic and operational matters, including programs, film festivals, theater operations, publications, websites, educational outreach, and community involvement.
Prior to her current role, she served as FSLC’s managing director and the producer of the New York Film Festival. From 2008 through 2011, she served as executive director of NewFest, the NYC LGBT Film Festival.
In 2012, Klainberg served as line producer of the Participant Media feature documentary Finding North (now entitled A Place at the Table), which made its debut at Sundance in 2012 and was released by Magnolia in 2013. She also line produced Insurgent Media’s Beware of Mr. Baker, which won the Audience Award for documentary at the 2012 SXSW Film Festival.
From 2009 through 2011, she was one of two lab leaders of the prestigious IFP Documentary Film Lab, held in New York. In 2009, she served as a consulting producer for the Sundance Documentary Film Program and produced the IFP Filmmaker Forum during Independent Film Week.
Klainberg also produced the acclaimed independent film Paul Monette: The Brink of Summer’s End, which won the audience award for documentary at Sundance, Frameline, and Outfest, and was released theatrically by First Run Features and broadcast on HBO/Cinemax Reel Life. Monette was also on the “short list” for the Academy Award in 1997 and was nominated for the IDA Award for Best Documentary. Other productions include the documentary miniseries Indie Sex; Fabulous! The Story of Queer Cinema (IFC, 2006); In the Company of Women (IFC, 2004); Beauty in a Jar (A&E, 2003); Directed by Alan Smithee (AMC, 2002); and Miss America (PBS/American Experience, 2001).
Klainberg is a past board member of GLAAD, Outfest, and NewFest, and has appeared on many juries and panels at film festivals around the United States. She has a B.F.A. degree in film from Purchase College (SUNY).
Jason Kliot is a producer of over 40 feature narrative and documentary award-winning films by such acclaimed directors as Miguel Arteta, Brian De Palma, Alex Gibney, Hal Hartley, Nicole Holofcener, Jim Jarmusch, Nadine Labaki, Amir Naderi, Steven Soderbergh, and Todd Solondz. His films have been selected to and have won awards at the Sundance Film Festival, the Berlin International Film Festival, The Cannes International Film Festival, The Toronto International Film Festival, Telluride, and the Venice International Film festival, including two Sundance Grand Jury Prizes, Venice’s Silver Lion for Best Director, and the Cannes Film Festival’s “Prix du Jury,” among others. His films have been nominated for more than 25 Independent Spirit awards. He was executive producer of Labaki’s Capernaum which, in addition to being awarded the “Prix du Jury” at the Cannes Film Festival, was nominated for an Academy Award and a Golden Globe for Best Foreign Language Feature in 2019. He was nominated for an Academy Award for the documentary Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room.
A leading figure of the digital film revolution, his digital production companies Blow Up Pictures and HDNetFilms, which he launched with partners Joana Vicente, Marc Cuban, and Todd Wagner, helped usher in a new era of digital filmmaking.
Kliot also has extensive cross-platform experience in interactive media. He has worked with and consulted with the Hearst Corporation, Condé Nast, HBO, The Wall Street Journal, and other media companies on new media content and platforms.
He has directed a number of award-winning short films, public service announcements, and music videos.
A graduate of Amherst College, Kliot was a postgraduate fellow at the Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris and has been an adjunct professor at the graduate film departments of New York University’s Tish School of the Arts, NYU Stern School of Business, and Columbia University’s School of the Arts. From 2015 to 2022, he was the founding head of the Producing Program and a distinguished lecturer at the Feirstein Graduate School of Cinema.
He is one of the founders of City Harvest, the nation’s oldest food rescue organization.
Franklin Leonard is a film producer, educator, cultural commentator, and entrepreneur. He create The Black List, an annual survey of best unproduced screenplays. Of the approximately 1,000 screenplays The Black List has cited since 2005, nearly a third have been later produced, including successful award-winners such as Argo, American Hustle, Juno, The King’s Speech, Slumdog Millionaire, Spotlight, The Revenant, and The Descendants, earning Academy Awards for four of the last 12 Best Pictures and 10 of the last 24 Best Screenplays. He has been a creative executive with Sydney Pollack, Anthony Minghella, Will Smith, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Universal Pictures
Leonard has served as a juror at the Sundance, Toronto, Guanajuato, and Mumbai Film Festivals and for the PEN Center Literary Awards. He has been recognized as one of Hollywood Reporter’s “35 Under 35,” Black Enterprise “40 Emerging Leaders for Our Future,” The Root’s 100 Most Influential African-Americans, and Fast Company’s “100 Most Creative People in Business.” He received the African-American Film Critics Association’s Special Achievement Award for career excellence in 2015, and the Writers Guild of America, east Evelyn Burkey Award for elevating the honor and dignity of screenwriters in 2019. More than 1.6 million people have viewed is TED Talks.
David Linde is CEO of Participant, the leading global media company dedicated to entertainment that inspires and compels social change.
Linde is responsible for leading the company’s overall strategy, content creation, advocacy, operations, strategic investments, and acquisitions. Noteworthy films from Participant include Oscar Best Picture winner Spotlight; Oscar winners for Best Documentary Feature, American Factory, CITIZENFOUR, The Cove, and An Inconvenient Truth; Oscar winners for Best Foreign Language Film ROMA and A Fantastic Woman; as well as acclaimed, award-winning long-form content, including Steve James’ docuseries America to Me and Ava DuVernay’s When They See Us.
Linde’s background spans production, global distribution, and building multiple companies from the ground up. He has served as chairman of Universal Pictures, co-founder of acclaimed specialty film studio Focus Features, and CEO and owner of Lava Bear Films. Linde currently serves on the board of governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the board of directors of Film Independent.
Rachel Morrison was cinematographer for Mudbound, Black Panther, Fruitvale Station, Dope, Cake, and Palo Alto. She was the first female Academy Award nominee for Best Cinematographer. Morrison also directed Hightown and Homemade.
Music supervisor Randall Poster has been a frequent collaborator of: Wes Anderson, Martin Scorsese, Noah Baumbach, Richard Linklater, Todd Haynes, Larry Clark, David Fincher, and Todd Phillips. His work includes The Tiger King, The Irishman, Joker, Ad Astra, Detroit, War Dogs, Vinyl, The Walking Dead, The Grand Budapest Hotel, The Wolf of Wall Street, Zodiac, Hangover I, Hangover II, Hangover III, Boyhood, Boys Don’t Cry, Velvet Goldmine, Rushmore, Kids, Gummo, and Boardwalk Empire (recipient of a Grammy Award).
Keri Putnam was the executive director of Sundance Institute from 2020 to 2021, where she oversaw the annual Sundance Film Festival as well as the Institute Labs, grants, mentorships, smaller festivals, public events, and workshops offered year-round and globally.
Before joining the Institute, Putnam served as president of production for Miramax Films, where she was responsible for production, acquisitions, co-production, and development. During her tenure, Miramax Films won and was nominated for multiple Academy Awards, including the Best Picture Academy Award for the Coen Brothers’ No Country for Old Men, and acting awards for Paul Thomas Anderson’s There Will be Blood, Stephen Frears’ The Queen, and Ben Affleck’s Gone Baby Gone. Prior to joining Miramax in 2006, Putnam was executive vice president of HBO Films, responsible for the development and production of films for both the cable network and theatrical release. Putnam supervised more than 50 HBO films and was responsible for some of the division’s most successful projects. A graduate of Harvard University, Putnam began her career working in regional theater. She serves on the board of Women in Film Los Angeles, the advisory council of the Office of the Arts at Harvard University, and as a mentor at the Stark Producing Program at USC.
Robert Richardson is a three-time Academy Award winner for Best Cinematography for his work on both Martin Scorsese’s Hugo and The Aviator and Oliver Stone’s epic tapestry, JFK.
Richardson has enjoyed a successful long-standing relationship with Stone. By cultivating the ability to adopt a wide variety of visual styles as a survival guide, their artistic partnership flourished on a number of films, including Natural Born Killers, Nixon, Born on the Fourth of July, and Platoon, the latter two of which garnered Richardson Academy Award nominations.
He has done additional beautiful work for Scorsese (Casino, Bringing Out the Dead) as well as for other prominent directors, such as Robert Redford (The Horse Whisperer) and Barry Levinson (Wag the Dog).
Richardson was cinematographer on The Hateful 8, which marks his fifth collaboration with director Quentin Tarantino, having previously teamed with the influential filmmaker on Django Unchained, Inglorious Basterds, and both volumes of Kill Bill. He recently completed Live by Night with director Ben Affleck.
He has also photographed several documentaries with Errol Morris, including Fast, Cheap and Out of Control; Mr. Death; and the unflinching Abu Ghraib documentary Standard Operating Procedure.
A native of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, Richardson attended the Rhode Island School of Design and the American Film Institute.
Felicia Rosenfeld has been involved in the not-for-profit world for most of her working life. After graduating with honors from Swarthmore College, she worked at Pentacle (DanceWorks, Inc.) in New York and also for David Gordon Pick Up Company. Receiving a J.D. from Fordham Law School, Rosenfeld practiced for five years, concentrating in entertainment, copyright, and trademark law. She returned to Pentacle as director of educational programming in 2002, then became director of programming, and ultimately co-director. She served as executive director of Dance Resource Center, the service organization for dance in the Greater Los Angeles Area, from 2015 to 2018, professionalizing a 30-year-old all-volunteer organization and making it a leading example of arts service. Since relocating to Los Angeles in 2006, she also has worked and consulted with many arts individuals/organizations and social service organizations.
Rosenfeld sits on the boards of directors of Arts for L.A., Dance Resource Center, and Koreatown Youth & Community Center. She is a member of the Ford Theatre Connector Council, Americans for the Arts and Californians for the Arts. She was a member of the Dance/USA board of trustees for six years; the co-chair of Dance/USA 2018 Conference Host Committee; and served on Pentacle’s board of directors, the advisory board of Show Box LA, as a trustee of New Roads School, and on the Wilshire Boulevard Temple Karsh Social Service Center Steering Committee.
Steven Soderbergh is a writer, director, producer, cinematographer, and editor.
His television series The Knick is currently airing on Cinemax. He earned an Oscar nomination for Best Original Screenplay for his directorial debut, sex, lies, and videotape, and the Academy Award in 2000 for directing Traffic, the same year he was nominated for Erin Brockovich.
Among his other credits are the films Side Effects, Magic Mike, Haywire, Contagion, And Everything Is Going Fine, The Girlfriend Experience, The Informant, Che, the Oceans trilogy, The Good German, Bubble, Solaris, Full Frontal, The Limey, Out of Sight, Grey’s Anatomy, Schizopolis, The Underneath, King of the Hill and Kafka.
Soderbergh’s television film Behind the Candelabra, for which he won a 2013 Emmy Award for Outstanding Directing, debuted on HBO in 2013. In 2009, he created and directed the play Tot Mom for the Sydney Theatre Company. While in Sydney he also directed the film The Last Time I Saw Michael Gregg. In 2014, he directed the world premiere of Scott Burns’ new play, The Library, at New York’s Public Theater.
Douglas C. Steiner, chairman of Steiner Studios, has led the fight to re-establish New York’s position as a world-class entertainment production center.
Not only did he build Steiner Studios, New York’s first Hollywood-style film and television production facility, but he also spearheaded the creation of the New York State Film Production Credit and each of its four renewals and expansions.
Steiner has served on panels for Crain’s New York Business and the New York City Office of the Mayor, and he is the recipient of awards from the Brooklyn International Film Festival as well as numerous New York political organizations. In his other job as a real estate developer, he has built and continues to lease and manage millions of square feet of commercial property. He is currently developing more than $600 million of residential and studio properties.
Steiner serves on the boards of BRIC Arts Media Brooklyn, the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership and the Open Space Alliance for North Brooklyn. He has an A.B. in English from Stanford University, where he was editor-in-chief of the Stanford Chaparral, and was awarded an honorary Ph.D. from Brooklyn College.
Fisher Stevens has been in the entertainment business for more than 30 years. His versatility in the industry is evident from his wide range of credits, from acting to producing to directing, and from film to television to theater and working with the United Nations.
Stevens began his acting career in New York, appearing in more than 40 Broadway and off-Broadway shows. His first big break came when appearing in the Tony Award–winning production of Torch Song Trilogy, playing David, the adopted son, opposite Harvey Fierstein. He parlayed his stage success into acting in such films as The Flamingo Kid, Short Circuit and its sequel, Hackers, Super Mario Brothers, Awake, Factotum, The Experiment, and Henry’s Crime. Most recently he starred in the acclaimed Wes Anderson film The Grand Budapest Hotel. On television, Stevens was a series regular on Fox’s Key West and CBS’s Early Edition. He had recurring roles on Lost and Damages as well as guest-starring roles on numerous episodes of Law & Order, Californication, Ugly Betty, and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, among others.
In 1986 Stevens co-founded the theater company Naked Angels, which just celebrated its 25th year, where he has produced, directed, and acted in many productions. In 1996 he co-founded GreeneStreet Films, where he had his film directorial debut with Just a Kiss, starring Marisa Tomei, Kyra Sedgwick, and Taye Diggs. Stevens has produced more than 15 films while involved with GreeneStreet, including the Academy Award–nominated In the Bedroom, A Prairie Home Companion, Piñero, Swimfan, Uptown Girls, and the acclaimed documentary Once in a Lifetime.
After Once in a Lifetime, Stevens became interested in documentary filmmaking, producing and co-directing the 2008 Independent Spirit Award–winning documentary Crazy Love. He then went on to produce the 2010 Academy Award–winning documentary The Cove, about the dolphin slaughters taking place in Taiji, Japan.
In March 2010, Stevens co-founded Insurgent Media with Andrew Karsch and Erik Gordon. At present, they have completed the 2012 SXSW Grand Jury Prize–winning documentary Beware of Mr. Baker, Before the Spring, After the Fall, the critically acclaimed Blank City (about the 1970s New York underground film scene), and Woody Allen: A Documentary, which premiered on PBS American Masters and was directed by Robert Weide. Stevens made his Broadway directorial debut with John Leguizamo’s Ghetto Klown at the Lyceum Theatre, which was also adapted for HBO. He recently directed the feature film Stand Up Guys for Lionsgate, starring Al Pacino, Christopher Walken, and Alan Arkin, as well as music videos for Jon Bon Jovi’s latest album.
Casting director Victoria Thomas has been a frequent collaborator of directors Quentin Tarantino, Ed Zwick, and Tim Burton, among others, on such works as Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood, Insecure, True Detective, The Leftovers, Fences, Hidden Figures, Jack Reacher, The Hateful Eight, Straight Outta Compton, Ride Along, Django Unchained, Blood Diamond, The Last Samurai, Ali, Bulworth (also co-producer), Crimson Tide, Ed Wood, White Men Can’t Jump, and Edward Scissorhands.
John Turturro is an Italian-American actor, director, producer and writer. He is known for his contributions to the independent film movement. He has appeared in more than 60 feature films and has frequently collaborated with the Coen brothers, Adam Sandler, and Spike Lee. He began his acting career in the early 1980s and received early critical recognition with the independent film Five Corners. Turturro appeared in Do the Right Thing, Miller’s Crossing, and Barton Fink, for which he won the Best Actor Award at the Cannes Film Festival. Subsequent roles included Quiz Show, The Big Lebowski, O Brother, Where Art Thou?, The Night Of, The Plot Against America, and The Batman. He currently stars as Irving on the Apple TV+ series Severance, for which he recently received an Emmy nomination.
An Emmy Award winner, Turturro has also been nominated for four Screen Actors Guild Awards, two Golden Globe Awards, and four Independent Spirit Awards. He wrote and directed Mac, which won the Golden Camera Award at the Cannes Film Festival, Illuminata, Romance and Cigarettes, Passione, and The Jesus Rolls. He has worked on many projects from great Italian directors and authors, including Italo Calvino, Eduardo De Filippo, Primo Levi, and Francesco Rosi, and has always enjoyed working in Italy on documentaries, theater plays, and narrative films. Turturro’s family is originally from Sicily and Puglia.
Joana Vicente has been the CEO of Sundance Institute since November 2021. She is a producer and a passionate supporter of independent storytellers who has extensive experience running nonprofits that support artists. Prior to joining Sundance Institute, she spent three years as executive director and co-head of the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) and the TIFF organization.
Before joining Sundance, she spent nearly a decade as the executive director of the not-for-profit Independent Filmmaker Project (IFP) (now the Gotham Film & Media Institute). Prior to the IFP, Vicente and her partner Jason Kliot produced and executive produced more than 40 films by such acclaimed directors as Jim Jarmusch, Miguel Arteta, Brian De Palma, Hal Hartley, Steven Soderbergh, Nicole Holofcener, and Todd Solondz. She has co-founded three separate, unique film production entities over the course of her career—Open City Films; Blow Up Pictures, the first digital production company in the United States; and HDNet Films, an award-winning digital production company founded with Mark Cuban and Todd Wagner. Among the many films that Vicente and Kliot have produced are Tony Bui’s Sundance Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award winner, Three Season; Jim Jarmusch’s cult classic Coffee and Cigarettes; Niels Mueller’s The Assassination of Richard Nixon; Todd Solondz’s Sundance Grand Jury Prize–winning Welcome to the Dollhouse; Brian De Palma’s controversial Redacted, and Alex Gibney’s Academy Award–nominated Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room. Vicente has served on the jury at Sundance and many other festivals.
Vicente’s films have garnered numerous accolades and awards, including 23 Independent Spirit Award nominations and four wins. In 2007, Vicente was the recipient of the Made in NY Award for individuals who have made outstanding contributions to New York City’s entertainment industry. Vicente graduated from the master’s program at The Catholic University of Portugal with a degree in philosophy and began her career as the press attaché for the Portuguese delegate and former prime minister of Portugal at the European Parliament. She later became a radio news producer for the United Nations before turning her attention to film.
Jonathan Wacks is the founding director of the Barry R. Feirstein Graduate School of Cinema and professor of film at Brooklyn College.
He has directed a number of films, including Powwow Highway (Warner Bros.), produced by Beatle George Harrison. The film was the recipient of the Sundance Film Festival Filmmaker’s Trophy, nominated for four Independent Spirit Awards, and winner of awards for best picture, director and actor at the American Indian Film Festival in San Francisco.
Wacks’ first film, Crossroads/South Africa (PBS), won a Student Academy Award in the documentary category. He then produced the acclaimed cult-hit Repo Man (Universal), starring Emilio Estevez and Harry Dean Stanton, and directed Mystery Date (Orion), starring Ethan Hawke and Teri Polo, and Ed and His Dead Mother, starring Steve Buscemi and Ned Beatty. He also directed an array of TV productions, including 21 Jump Street, with Johnny Depp, Sirens, and Going to Extremes.
Prior to his career as a director, Wacks served as vice president of production at the Samuel Goldwyn Company. He is a former chairman of the board of the Independent Feature Project/West (now Film Independent), the largest organization of independent filmmakers in America, and has served on the selection committee of the Writers’ Program at the Sundance Institute. His work has been seen at numerous international film festivals, including Sundance, Montreal, Tokyo, Florence, London, Leipzig, Leeds, Cape Town, Deauville, New York, Munich, and Berlin.
Wacks has written several screenplays, including Recoil (based on the Jim Thompson novel, No Cure for Love), My African Heart, Coldsleep Lullaby, and Stuck. He served as chair of the Visual and Media Arts Department at Emerson College, head of the Film Department at the Vancouver Film School in British Columbia, and chair of the Moving Image Arts Department at the College of Santa Fe. He was also director of Garson Studios in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Wacks holds a B.A. (Hons.) from the University of Essex (United Kingdom) and an M.F.A. from UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television. He is a member of the Directors Guild of America.
Talitha Watkins is president and head of ColorCreative Management, a management and production company whose mission is delivering women and people-of-color creators best-in-class representation to build career-defining brands through ownership, commercial success, artistic fulfillment, and visibility among the multicultural community and industry at large.
ColorCreative was founded by Denise Davis and actress, writer, and producer Issa Rae, the co-creator and star of the HBO television series Insecure, for which she has been nominated for multiple Golden Globes Awards and Primetime Emmy Awards, In 2018, Rae was included in the annual Time 100 list of the most influential people in the world.
Watkins was formerly a motion picture agent and cultural executive at leading entertainment and sports agency Creative Artists Agency (CAA) and helped build out CAA’s multicultural business and capabilities including the multicultural leadership event CAAAmplify.
Previous to CAA, Watkins spent seven years as vice president of multicultural marketing at Universal Pictures, where she worked across all marketing divisions, including publicity, media, digital, creative, research, and partnerships, to maximize the studio’s outreach efforts to African-American audiences. While at Universal, she worked on numerous films, including the multicultural blockbusters Fast & Furious 6, Furious 7, and the record-breaking Striaght Outta Compton. She was also instrumental in supporting the success of African American films, such as the box-office hits The Best Man Holiday and Ride Along.
Prior to Universal Pictures, Watkins was an assistant general manager with Telepictures Productions, Inc. and oversaw operations, sales, and marketing for five female-focused digital properties in the Warner Bros. portfolio, including Ellentv.com, Extratv.com, and TyraShow.com, as well as worked in a development capacity for Essence.com.
Watkins is a board member of the WIF, Saturday Morning, and Made in Her Image organizations.
John C. Williams is the co-founder and executive director of Reel Works, recognized as one of the leading youth filmmaking and workforce development organizations in the United States.
Williams is an award-winning film and television writer, producer, and director whose credits include independent shorts, features, documentaries, television programming, and corporate communications. He holds an M.F.A. in film and television from New York University and a B.A. in English from Boston University.