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Documentaries for Television: Extending Your Reach

Today, there is growing demand for documentary content in broadcast television. This increased interest raises many questions: What is the process for acquiring documentaries? How do television executives connect and work with documentarians to produce their projects? What tone, style and subject matter fits a network's brand? This panel will explore how filmmakers can expand their audience and the reach of their work by partnering with networks. 

Stephanie Carter is the supervising producer THIRTEEN's Documentaries and Development unit. After working as a writer and editor for various magazines and websites, Carter transitioned to television production in 2005. Since then, she has worked on countless documentaries and documentary series including the Emmy Award winning Mysterious Human Heart and the Emmy Award nominated series Secrets of the Dead, now in its 13th season. She has also worked on all of Harvard University Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr.'s last eight projects for the network.

Heidi Ewing
and directing partner Rachel Grady are known for taking an honest approach to delicate subject matter. 2007's Jesus Camp was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature and broadcast in over 40 countries. 2012's Detropia won the Editing Award for Documentary at the Sundance Film Festival and was then featured on PBS's Independent Lens series.The pair have collaborated on a slew of other award winning films including 12th & Delaware, which won the Peabody Award and The Boys of Baraka, which received an NAACP Image Award and was nominated for an Emmy. They are currently working on Branded, part of ESPN's Nine for IX series, which reveals the trials and tribulations of America's elite female athletes.

Lucy Kennedy
commissions and acquires films for Al Jazeera’s current affairs documentary strand Fault Lines. Prior to joining Fault Lines, Kennedy was Field Producer for the PBS Frontline film Two American Families, the Moyers & Company film and The United States of ALEC.  She also produced investigative pieces for the PBS series Need to Know, Bloomberg Television, Radio Telefis Eireann, and the PBS international documentary series Wide Angle.


Greg Rhem is Director of Documentary Programming for HBO. For the past 18 years, he has played a pivotal role in discovering new and distinctive programming for HBO's Documentary Films. Among his notable finds are the Academy Award winning films Freeheld, Born into Brothels, Thoth and Breathing Lesson: The Life and Work of Mark O'Brien, and the Academy Award nominated Mondays at Racine, The Last Campaign of Governor Booth Gardner and Spellbound.

Moderator Savanna Washington has over 15 years of experience as a writer, director and activist. In 2013, she was awarded with a $25,000 grant from the Korea Issues & Insights Endowment for her documentary, Arduous Times: The People & Hunger of North Korea, which helped her cross the controversial borders of the Korean Demilitarized Zone in order to film daily life inside the nation. She is currently in post production on the project, and is raising finishing funds. Washington is also an Assistant Professor at the City University of New York, teaching Video Arts Production, Screenwriting and Introduction to Contemporary Media. 


Produced by Savanna Washington, Cheree Dillon and Emily Harrold


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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