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Almudena Carracedo
Almudena Carracedo

It’s 2009 and change is in the air.  What role do documentaries play when it comes to  influencing public awareness?

NYWIFT has assembled a panel of filmmakers known for telling stories that expose controversial subjects and difficult  points of view.  Katy Chevigny, Almudena Carracedo, Sarah Gibson, Tia Lessin, Meg Mclagan and Daria Sommers will show clips from their  award-winning films and  discuss how to craft documentaries with strong messages–from the  treatment stage through distribution.

There will be a free screening of Meg McLagan and Daria Sommers’ film  Lioness at the NYU Carter Journalism Institutel on Monday, February 2 at 6 PM, 20 Cooper Square, 7th Floor.  RSVP at marcia.rock@nyu.edu

Program produced by  Madelynn Amalfitano, Noel Jefferson, Maria Pusateri, Marcia Rock and Nancy Rosenthal.
Katy Chevigny, Executive Director of Arts Engine, is a documentary filmmaker, entrepreneur and nonprofit manager. Chevigny founded Arts Engine and its predecessor Big Mouth Productions. In 2000, she launched MediaRights.org, a “knowledge commons” for filmmakers, activists, educators, and the general public, hosting info on over 7,000 films and the Media That Matters Film Festival, now in its eighth year. Chevigny recently directed the film Election Day (2007). She also co-directed the Emmy-nominated documentary Deadline (2004).  Chevigny has produced many award-winning documentaries at Arts Engine, including: Arctic Son, Journey to the West: Chinese Medicine Today, Nuyorican Dream, Innocent Until Proven Guilty and Outside Looking In: Transracial Adoption in America.

Almudena Carracedo (appearing via Skype) is the Emmy Award-winning director and producer of Made in L.A., which follows the story of Latina immigrants working in Los Angeles garment sweatshops as they embark on a three-year odyssey to win basic labor protections (www.madeinla.com). Funded by ITVS, POV and the Sundance Documentary Fund, the film premiered on  POV in 2007 and was praised by The New York Times as “an excellent documentary… about basic human dignity”. Her previous film Welcome, A Docu-Journey of Impressions received the Sterling Award for Best Short at Silverdocs. Almudena, who was born in Spain, is the 2008 recipient of NALIP’s ESTELA Award.

Sarah Gibson is an award-winning producer whose credits include two Sundance Film Festival Competition features; I.O.U.S.A., in 2008; and Small Town Gay Bar, in 2006, with Executive Producer Kevin Smith. I.O.U.S.A examines the rapidly growing national debt and its consequences for the United States. Featuring Warren Bufett and Allan Greenspan, it was nominated for a 2009 Critics Choice Award and shortlisted for a 2009 Academy Award.  Gibson has also produced numerous commercials and music videos (including Arcade Fire's Rebellion (Lies)). She is currently producing Tapped, a documentary about U.S. bottled water issues, for Atlas Films in Los Angeles,  scheduled for a late 2009 release.

Tia Lessin is director and producer of Trouble the Water, her feature debut about  two self-described street hustlers who survive Hurricane Katrina and seize a chance for a new beginning. (www.troublethewaterfilm.com).  Lessin also directed and produced the documentary short Behind the Labels in partnership with Peter Gabriel's human rights group Witness.  She was awarded the Sidney Hillman Prize for Broadcast Journalism for the film, which is about labor trafficking of Chinese and Filipina women garment workers.  She was a producer of Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11 and Bowling for Columbine, and worked as a producer of the series, The Awful Truth, which earned her two Emmy nominations and one arrest.

Meg McLagan is the co-director and co-producer with Daria Sommers of  Lioness,  the story of the first group of women in U.S. history to be sent into direct ground combat, in violation of official policy, (lionessthefilm.com).  Lioness won the Center for Documentary Studies Filmmaker Award at Full Frame Documentary Film Festival in 2008 and was broadcast on Independent Lens/PBS. Her short film Tibet in Exile, co-directed with Barbara Banks, aired on public television and was screened at festivals and museums in the U.S. and Europe.  She began her film career working as a producer of the film Paris Is Burning, which won the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance and both the New York and Los Angeles Film Critics Circle Award for Best Documentary.

Daria Sommers, co-director and co-producer of Lioness, has independently produced, written and directed such films as Eastern Spirit Western World, a portrait of Chinese-American artist Diana Kan, which was broadcast by PBS, CBC and the BBC; Duncan's Shadow, a dramatic short which premiered at the Georgetown Film Festival; and Ready to Burn, a 35mm half-hour drama which received a New Director's Award from Panavision and an Audience Award at the LIFF. Sommers was awarded an NEH grant for A Place in the Soul: the Music of Charles Ives. She is currently completing Sawadika American Girl, a screenplay about an American family living in Bangkok in the shadow of the Vietnam War.

Sponsored by Loreen Arbus Productions.

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NYWIFT programs, screenings and events are supported, in part, by grants from New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and New York State Council on the Arts