In an effort to initiate the development of a more diverse talent base in the film and television industry, Ron Simons’ Producing 101 Diversity Workshop features successful producers who will share their unique perspectives and experiences for an insightful discussion.
The workshop will foster the development of aspiring producers and empower them with tools and resources to develop their projects. Topics covered will include story development, pitching techniques, connecting with buyers, packaging, financing, marketing and digital media.
Nick Huston is a co-founder of the New York City based production company Rosetta Films. Huston has produced several films most notably Fan Girl (Los Angeles Film Festival 2015), Once More With Feeling (Sundance 2009), and co-produced Gun Hill Road (Sundance 2011). He has also produced several short films including Stolen Lives, which won the audience award for Best Short at the 2005 New York International Independent Film and Video Festival, and was nominated for Best Short and Best Actress at the 2005 Imagen Awards.
Kim Jackson founded Streetwise Pictures, an NYC-based production company providing studio level production services for independent films, as well as collaborative investor relations for Streetwise optioned scripts. Her latest critically acclaimed production, Blue Caprice, was released nationally in theaters, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and was the opening night film at New Directors/New Films in 2013. That same year, Jackson was nominated for a Spirit Award for producing. Other films include the award-winning Children of God and Gunhill Road. Her latest film, The Truth About Lies is launching into the market this fall. Other credits while working at Universal Pictures include Munich (Dir: Steven Spielberg) and Inside Man (Dir: Spike Lee).
Yvonne Russo is an award-winning producer, director and writer. She is currently directing and producing Viva Verdi!, a documentary about life inside Casa Di Riposo per Musicisti of Milan, the home that Giuseppe Verdi built in 1896 for retired opera singers. As an independent producer, her credits include 40 Under 40 (CBS/ Smithsonian Network); Nat Geo’s Most Amazing Photos, Capturing the Deep, All Roads Film Project, Top Ten Photos of 2010 (National Geographic); over 75 Behind the Photo segments (National Geographic International Channel); and Bringing Home Baby (TLC/Discovery) which she also directed. Russo’s feature film work includes The Rescuers: Heroes of the Holocaust, Naturally Native, True Whisperers: The Story of the Navajo Code Talkers. She was Founder and Co-Chair of the PGA Diversity Workshop where she currently serves as an east coast committee member. Russo is currently working on HBO’s Lewis And Clark mini-series and has a development deal with Handmade Films and LOUD TV.
Leah Natasha Thomas started her career at Revolution Studios where she worked on Mona Lisa Smile with Julia Roberts and Little Black Book with Brittany Murphy. She recently produced 25 To Life (Dir: Mike Brown/Winner, CNN Grand Jury Prize, American Black Film Festival 2014/AFFRM) and 3 1/2 Minutes (Dir: Marc Silver/Winner, Special Jury Award for Social Impact, Sundance 2015/Participant Media, HBO). Both documentaries were supported by the Sundance Institute and the Ford Foundation. She produced, Murder in Black and White (TV One), a four-part documentary series on unsolved Civil Rights murders and Johnnie Mae Chappell: Wanted Justice (The History Channel). She is currently producing The Trial of Mumia Abu Jamal (Dir: Ted Passen, Winner, Garrett Scott Documentary Award) and an adaptation of Couldn’t Keep It To Myself by acclaimed author Wally Lamb and the women of York Correctional Facility for Women. Thomas was named as one of the Top Ten Rising Women Executives in Entertainment by Uptown Magazine.
Ron Simons is the Founder and CEO of SimonSays Entertainment. He is a three-time Tony Award-winning producer and actor. He leads SimonSays Entertainment's strategic planning and development of theatrical and film projects including the critically-acclaimed films Night Catches Us, Gun Hill Road, Blue Caprice and Mother of George (all premiered at Sundance). His first documentary 25 to Life premiered at the American Black Film Festival (Best Documentary). Producing credits on Broadway productions include A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder (Tony Award for Best Musical), Porgy & Bess (Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical), Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike (Tony Award for Best Play, Drama Desk, New Drama Critics and Outer Critics Circle Awards for Best Play, Drama League Award for Outstanding Production), and A Streetcar Named Desire (AEA’s Extraordinary Excellence in Diversity on Broadway Award).
Produced by Rosalind Murphy
Hosted by ImageNation's Raw Space Gallery
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.
Last updated: Sep. 14, 2015