About Events Partners Press Resources Join Members Blog Donate

Home Page
Calendar of Events
Member Center

What's the Secret? An Inside Look at Film Festival Programming

High profile film festivals play an integral role in shaping popular culture and garnering industry attention. They directly effect which productions are exhibited, distributed and critically acclaimed.

This program presents a unique opportunity to hear directly from top festival programmers about what it takes to create a film that stands out from the crowd. Representatives from The Tribeca Film Festival, the New York Film Festival and the Toronto International Film Festival reveal what goes into
programming a festival, what they look for when choosing a film and how to determine which festivals are right for your project.

Join us for this insightful discussion with top festival programmers!

Isa Cucinotta
is a programmer at the Film Society of Lincoln Center and is on the shorts film committee for the New York Film Festival and New Directors/New Films. She also programs the Sound + Vision music documentary program, Green Screens Environmental Films, Family Films and Art of the Real documentary series. In 2013 she started as US rep for the Rome Film Festival and scheduler for the Colours of The Nile Film Festival in Ethiopia.

Ashley Havey
joined the Tribeca Film Festival in 2004. She has managed over 40 sponsorship relationships for Tribeca Enterprises, and has served as an associate programmer on the Tribeca Film Festival programming team since 2010. She now leads the development of new products for the Tribeca brand including Tribeca Digital Studios, a new original content arm of Tribeca; the Volunteer Thank You secret screening series in the Rockaways; a livestream event during the 2013 TFF at Brooklyn Bowl; and curation of a partnership with the McKittrick Hotel.  Recently, Ashley served as an advisor for Killer Films and Stony Brook University’s inaugural 20/20/20 filmmaking program in Southampton. 

Marian Masone
is Director, Festivals, and Associate Director, Programming, for the Film Society of Lincoln Center, producer of the New York Film Festival. She is a member of the selection committee for New Directors/New Films, which is presented with The Museum of Modern Art in New York, and is on the programming committee of the Human Rights Watch International Film Festival. She organizes new and retrospective series as well as ongoing programs, Independents Night, Green Screens and Image Innovators at the Film Society's Walter Reade Theater. Masone also moderates lectures and panel discussions held there.

David Nugent
has worked in nearly every aspect of the independent and documentary film world. He has been a member of the Selection Committee for the Gotham Awards, and the IFP’s Independent Film Week. Nugent coordinated the self-distributed release of Greg Pak’s 2003 feature Robot Stories which played in all major cities in the US after receiving more than 30 festival awards.  Nugent recently worked as the Program Director for DocuClub and the Director of Programming for the Newport International Film Festival. He is now the Artistic Director for the Hamptons International Film Festival where he also directs the festival’s annual Screenwriting Lab. He has been a juror for the Student Academy Awards as well as the Sarasota, Newport International, Silverdocs, Galway, Gen Art and Newfest Film Festivals. 

Thom Powers
has been the documentary programmer for the Toronto International Film Festival since 2006. He serves as the artistic director of the weekly screening series Stranger Than Fiction at IFC Center, named by Time Out magazine as the "Best Documentary Programming" in New York City. He is the artistic director for two festivals: DOC NYC that takes place in November, and the Montclair Film Festival in New Jersey in the Spring. He curates the monthly Doc Club for Sundance NOW, programs for the Miami International Film Festival and teaches at the School of Visual Arts. Powers also spent several years as a filmmaker, directing documentaries for HBO and PBS.

Milton Tabbot
is Senior Director of Programming at the Independent Filmmaker Project in New York. His responsibilities include supervising all documentary programs and IFP’s fiscal sponsorship program. He manages the Spotlight on Documentaries section of the Project Forum of IFP’s annual Independent Film Week, the documentary edition of IFP’s Independent Filmmaker Labs , and the ENVISION: Addressing Global Issues through Documentaries program. He also manages the nomination process for IFP’s annual Gotham Independent Film Awards and coordinates the “Best Film Not Playing at a Theater near You” series. He served as Director of the IFP Film Market from 1999 through 2001 and previously managed the Anthony Radziwill Documentary Fund, which provided seed grants for documentary features, including such documentaries as Banished, Cooked Annie The Trials of Darryl Hunt;  Al Más Allá, and Utopia. Tabbot also worked at the Locarno International Film Festival and has served on festival juries for the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival, Atlanta Film Festival, Ashland Film Festival, and review panels for P.O.V. and BritDoc Foundation’s Good Pitch.  He served as a writer, editor and film programmer for first two years of the Tribeca Film Festival and a contributing writer for the Miami International Film Festival.

Moderator Lisa Rosman has reviewed film for such publications as Marie Claire, Salon.com, Time Out New York, Premiere, Us Weekly, Indiewire, and LA Weekly. Currently she appears weekly on NY1's film review show Talking Pictures and writes on film, feminism, and eavesdropping for SignsandSirens.com.  

Produced by Destiny Lilly, Rosalind Murphy and Marisa Vitale.

Join the conversation on Twitter: 
#nywiftlive | @nywift

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.