This panel examines the rise of Impact Distribution as the trend for documentary filmmakers. Over the past several years, the prominence of social issue-oriented films has raised several questions. Do documentarians today need to also become activists and advocates for social issues? Or does the option still exist for filmmakers to simply create compelling stories that benefit society and culture in more diffuse and subtle, but, perhaps, no less impactful ways? What effect does the current grant and broadcasting landscape have on the types of films that are supported? And where is the funding for non-issue oriented documentaries? Join us for what will be an energetic conversation on the present state of documentary storytelling.
Josh Alexander has produced Backseat (Audience Award, Austin Film Festival), Pretty Old (Grand Jury award at Santa Barbara International Film Festival; EP’d by Sarah Jessica Parker and Joe Berlinger), A Snake Gives Birth to a Snake (award winner: Woodstock Film Festival) and the upcoming Sins of the Father. He wrote and produced the HBO documentary Southern Rites (EP’d by John Legend) that will be broadcast in May, 2015. Alexander is presently working on the documentary Prescription Thugs, a follow-up to Sundance Film Festival hit Bigger, Stronger, Faster.
Ruby Lerner is President and Founding Director of Creative Capital, an organization that supports innovative artists across the country. Previously, Lerner was Executive Director of the Association of Independent Film and Videomakers and Publisher of Independent Film and Video Monthly, among other leadership positions. Lerner is a frequent speaker on innovation in the arts and serves on the Headlands Center for the Arts Advisory Council and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Innovation Circle, among others.
Constance Marks is an award-winning independent documentary filmmaker. She is the founder and president of Constance Marks Productions, Inc., a documentary production company based in New York City. Marks began her filmmaking career over 30 years ago as an assistant editor for the renowned Cinema Verite pioneers, David and Albert Maysles. Marks’ critically acclaimed and award-winning films include Being Elmo: A Puppeteer’s Journey (Special Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival) and Green Chimneys (Sundance Film Festival; HBO). Marks has produced numerous films focusing on important social issues including homelessness, the elderly, experimental charter schools and substance abuse recovery residences.
Ian Stimler has been involved in nearly every aspect of specialty film distribution for over 15 years. He currently is Director of Sales for famed US art house distributor Zeitgeist Films. Stimler also heads KimStim, releasing acclaimed international docs and features and helped with the creation of Adam Yauch’s film distribution company Oscilloscope Labs.
Doug Block (Moderator) has a long body of highly acclaimed work as both director and producer that includes 112 Weddings, The Kids Grow Up, 51 Birch Street, Home Page and Resurrect Dead: The Mystery of the Toynbee Tiles, Jupiter's Wife and Silverlake Life. He is also the founder of The D-Word the web’s leading discussion forum for documentary professionals worldwide.
Produced by Kelly DeVine
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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.
Last updated: Mar. 6, 2015