2020 Creative Workforce Summit Day 4: Executive Function

Please join us on Day 4 of the 2020 Creative Workforce Summit to discuss Executive Function

Decision makers at networks, funders, and production companies discuss the future of funding and greenlighting nonfiction projects, the challenges of the pandemic from their perspective, and how social justice movements and politics influence their decisions. 

Date: Friday, October 23

Time: 4-6 PM EST

Free to attend.

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Opening Keynote:

Abigail E. Disney, Filmmaker & Activist (Level Forward and Fork Films), advocates for real changes to the way capitalism operates in today’s world. She has worked for thirty years with programs for low-income families, women’s rights, and global poverty. She is an Emmy-Winning Documentary Filmmaker and co-founder of Fork Films, a nonfiction media production company, which produces the weekly podcast “All Ears,” where host Abigail Disney interviews bold, solutions-oriented thinkers from the front lines of America’s urgent inequality and race crises. She is also the Chair and Co-Founder of Level Forward, a new breed storytelling company focused on systemic change through creative excellence, balancing financial and social returns. She also created the nonprofit Peace is Loud, which uses storytelling to advance social movements and the Daphne Foundation, which supports organizations working for a more equitable, fair and peaceful New York City.

Panel speakers include Carrie Lozano (Documentary Film Program Director, Sundance Institute), Dana Merwin (Program Officer for International Documentary Association (IDA) Enterprise Fund), Monika Navarro (Senior Director of Artist Programs, Firelight Media), and Sandie Pedlow (Executive Director, Latino Public Broadcasting).

Moderated by MP Dunleavey, Editorial Director, Finance, T Brand at The New York Times


Closing Conference Keynote Discussion:

Sheila Nevins is currently serving as an Executive Producer at MTV Networks. She is the former President of HBO Documentary Films and Family Programming for Home Box Office. As an Executive Producer or Producer, she has received 32 Primetime Emmy® Awards, 35 News and Documentary Emmys® and 42 George Foster Peabody Awards. In her career to date she has been responsible for Programming that has won 26 Academy Awards®. She is the New York Times bestselling author of You Don’t Look Your Age… and Other Fairy TalesSheila holds a BA from Barnard College and an MFA from Yale University School of Drama in Directing.

Cynthia López is an award-winning media strategist, and former Commissioner of the New York City Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment, where she implemented strategies to support film and TV production throughout the five boroughs. López is the recipient of many coveted industry awards including: 11 News and Documentary Emmy Awards, a Special Emmy Award for Excellence in Documentary Filmmaking, three Peabody Awards, and two duPont-Columbia Awards. In addition, she received the National Association of Latino Independent Producers (NALIP) Award for Commitment to Corporate Diversity. Prior to working as Commissioner, López was Executive Vice President and co-Executive Producer of the award-winning PBS documentary series American Documentary | POV, and was involved in the organization’s strategic growth and creative development for 14 years. Her ability to forge strategic partnerships among corporate and public interest media has been a signature of her work. Notable partnerships include: New York Times, Reuters, Al-Jazeera Network, Discovery Communications, The Moth, Story Corps, Harpo Studios and ABC News, NIGHTLINE with Ted Koppel. López is a founding member of the Board of Directors of the National Association of Latino Independent Producers (NALIP), and is proud to have spent her career collaborating with independent filmmakers across all portions of the film and television industry. She served on the Board of Trustees for the Paley Center, NYC & Company, Museum of the Moving Image and the Tribeca Film Institute Latin America Fund Advisory Board. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for Latino Public Broadcasting, Manhattan Neighborhood Network and Hunter College IMA Program.


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Carrie Lozano is director of the Sundance Institute’s Documentary Film Program, and is an award-winning documentary filmmaker and journalist. She was most recently director of the International Documentary Association’s Enterprise Documentary and Pare Lorentz funds, where she supported more than 60 diverse films and filmmakers at the intersection of documentary and journalism. She is on the advisory board of U.C. Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism, where she is an alumnus and has been a lecturer and editor in its documentary film and investigative reporting programs. Lozano was previously an executive at Al Jazeera America and a senior producer of the network’s investigative series Fault Lines.


Dana Merwin is the Program Officer at the International Documentary Association where she administers the Pare Lorentz Doc Fund and Enterprise Doc Fund. Prior to joining IDA, Dana was the production manager for Al Jazeera America’s documentary unit and the Peabody Award winning series Fault Lines. She was the Director of Operations for Jupiter Entertainment in Los Angeles, where she oversaw delivery of docu-reality series to various cable channels. She has served as a production manager on numerous film and television productions. 


Monika Navarro is the Senior Director of Artist Programs at Firelight Media, and an independent producer/director. Monika comes to Firelight from the Tribeca Film Institute, where she oversaw documentary, scripted, education, shorts, and interactive programs. Prior to that, she was at the Independent Television Service (ITVS), where she managed content and funding initiatives, oversaw a development portfolio, and was a consulting producer on Las Sandinistas (SXSW 2018), The First Rainbow Coalition (Independent Lens), A Woman’s Work: The NFL’s Cheerleader Problem (Tribeca 2019) and Down a Dark Stairwell (True/False 2020). Monika has more than a decade of experience producing for public media, from directing her debut film Lost Souls (Animas Perdidas), which premiered on Independent Lens, to producing for World Channel, American Documentary and the Peabody-award winning PBS series Latino Americans.


Sandie Viquez Pedlow, Executive Director of Latino Public Broadcasting, manages the operations of public media’s largest Latino-focused content developer and funder, which provides programming to public television’s nearly 360 stations, multicast channels and other media platforms. She brings to this position over 30 years experience in national program development and production. Pedlow is the executive producer of VOCES, a PBS documentary series that explores the culture and history of the diverse Latino experience. She was executive producer of the PBS landmark series, Latino Americans honored with a Peabody and Imagen Award. Formerly, Pedlow was Director, Station Relations, PBS Education working with stations in the marketing of online education and digital media content. At the Corporation for Public Broadcasting she served as Director of Programming Strategies and Associate Director of Cultural, Drama and Arts Programming, working with independent filmmakers and stations in the development of national public media content that addressed history, the arts and all aspects of American culture. Pedlow was a producer of arts and culture documentaries at SC ETV Network and has served on the boards of American Documentary, American Playhouse, and INPUT.


MP Dunleavey (Moderator) is the senior finance editor at T Brand Studio, the creative agency of The New York Times. As a journalist, MP covered women and finance extensively. She was the founding editor-in-chief of DailyWorth.com and a former personal finance columnist with MSN.com and The New York Times. She lives in NYC with her family.




About the NYWIFT Creative Workforce Summit

Join NYWIFT for our second annual Creative Workforce Summit: Documentary Makers, Industry and Funders in Conversation.

This four-day free virtual program consists of keynote speakers, panels, and film screenings, and will bring together some of the most unique and diverse voices of women working in the entertainment industry to establish forward-moving strategies to create change and mobilize support and leadership for the future.

The NYWIFT Summit takes place with support provided by the Ford Foundation and the NEA Foundation as well as a curated film screening and panel series produced in partnership with International Documentary Association.

See the full schedule

October 23 @ 4:00pm
4:00 pm — 6:00 pm (2h)


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Join the conversation on social media:
#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 Kathy Hochul and the New York State Legislature.