Interactive Media and the Audience as Collaborator

Today, filmmakers tell stories with the use of mobile and online tools that encourage audience participation and collaboration in the process. Through the integration of film with content across media platforms, as well as the use of apps, video games and social networking, they invite audiences to engage with a story through multiple entry points creating greater resonance and community engagement.  This panel will explore the creative ways that producers have employed interactive media in their storytelling approach through collaboration with media tech experts, selection of the right content for different platforms, and forging collaborations that push the reach of projects.


Christopher Allen is the Founder and Executive Artistic Director at UnionDocs. He has worked as a social entrepreneur, documentary director, and new media artist. His individual works and collaborative projects have been exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art, Harvard’s Carpenter Center for Visual Arts, the Volksbühne Theatre, DirektorenHaus in Berlin, Independent Film Week, Sonár, DIVA, and Conflux Festivals, among many other venues. Christopher is the founding partner of Counts Media, where he played a leading role in the invention and execution of many art and entertainment concepts, such as The Ride NY, Yellow Arrow and the early interactive documentary Capitol of Punk. He is also the Artistic Director of UnionDocs’ Living Los Sures, a multi-platform documentary project about the Southside of Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

Ann Bennett is a documentary filmmaker, multimedia producer, writer and educator. She is a producer on the PBS feature documentary, Through A Lens Darkly: Black Photographers and the Emergence of a People, as well as the multi-platform community engagement initiative, Digital Diaspora Family Reunion (DDFR). Bennett's production credits include; Nas: Time is Illmatic for Showtime, Marriage Equality: Byron Rushing and The Fight for Fairness for Chimpanzee Productions, Inc., Citizen King and Fisk Jubilee Singers for the PBS series American Experience, Hymn for Alvin Ailey for PBS' Great Performances, and the award winning PBS mini-series Africans in America: America's Journey Through Slavery and America's War on Poverty


Michèle Stephenson pulls from her Caribbean roots and international experience as a human rights attorney to tackle documentaries about communities of color and human rights. Her work has appeared on PBS, Showtime and MTV. Her most recent film in collaboration with Joe Brewster, American Promise won honors at the Sundance and New York Film Festivals, the African American Film Critic’s Association and was awarded the PUMA BritDoc Impact Award.


Adnaan Wasey is the Executive Producer of POV Digital, the Webby Award-winning department that drives storytelling innovation for the acclaimed PBS documentary series POV. At POV, Adnaan oversees digital production, programming and licensing, the POV Hackathon lab, and POV's social media, including POV's Documentary Blog. Before joining POV, Adnaan was an editor, contributing to some the nation's most prestigious news and information brands, including PBS NewsHour and WNYC New York Public Radio, and he was a founding editor at the local digital news organization DNAinfo. He is a former film festival director (Light Plays Tricks and the Kingston Canadian Film Festival) and continues to lead the software company Science Bistro.

Elizabeth Kilroy (Moderator) is the chair of a new one-year full-time educational program: New Media Narratives at The International Center of Photography. Kilroy is an award-winning interactive designer, business owner and educator. Since 2000 ElizabethK Studio has helped a wide variety of clients create engaging content that harnessed the ever-changing possibilities of the Web. In 2013 she founded Callan Design that fuses design, technology, and emergent storytelling to disseminate nonfiction narratives. Kilroy is an adjunct professor at NYU’s Tisch School of Photography and Imaging. She has taught web and new media classes at Tisch ITP, Temple University, Baruch College.

Produced by Cheree Dillon
A Special Thanks to Simon Kilmurry, Nicole Tsien and POV for hosting this event.

Join the conversation on Twitter: #nywift | @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.

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