What is the new normal for documentary distribution within a constantly evolving landscape? This panel explores the emerging “windows” of distribution/monetizing opportunities for documentary film compared with traditional distribution outlets . Join NYWIFT and panelists Kim Jackson (Co-Founder and President of Entertainment, Breaker), Christie Marchese (CEO, Picture Motion), DeShuna Spencer (Founder/CEO, kweliTV) and moderator Karen McMullen (Film Festival Programmer, Editor and Educator) for an engaging conversation about the future of documentary distribution.
Kim Jackson (Co-Founder and President of Entertainment, Breaker). After working with Universal Pictures for Steven Spielberg (Munich) and Spike Lee (Inside Man), Kim Jackson founded Streetwise Pictures. Her critically acclaimed production, Blue Caprice – seen in theaters across the country- premiered at Sundance and was the opening night film at New Directors/New Films at MoMA. Jackson was nominated for a Spirit Award for producing. She has been the driving force behind more than a dozen award-winning and theatrically released independent films including Children of God and Gun Hill Road. Jackson executive-produced King Cobra, starring James Franco and Christian Slater. She is a selected Artist Academy member of Film Society of Lincoln Center and an alumnus of Simmons College. Jackson co-founded the blockchain entertainment studio Breaker, which produced Alex Winter’s feature-length documentary Trust Machine: The Story of Blackchain Technology and The Happy Worker by Duwayne Dunham (Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey and Little Giants), executive-produced by David Lynch, La Mer Walker and Breaker’s Zach LeBeau, Lynette Coll and Jason Tyrell. Breaker is also producing Keith Bearden’s Antarctica, starring Chloe Levine and introducing Kimie Muroya.
Christie Marchese (pictured at top right) launched Picture Motion in May 2012 with the goal of helping independent filmmakers and social issue documentaries connect with audiences. With a background in using online platforms and connective technologies to create social change, Marchese has worked on a range of films and non-profit campaigns. Previously, she was head of engagement and campaign development at Righteous Pictures, working on narrative and documentary films including Detachment, Terri, Deaf Jam, To Catch a Dollar: Mohammad Yunus Banks on America and The Last Survivor. During her time at Participant Media, Marchese led digital strategy for the social action team and worked on the films Waiting for Superman, Food Inc., The Cove, Countdown to Zero, and Casino Jack, among many others. Prior to a career with documentary film media, Marchese ran online campaign development for Norman Lear’s youth civic participation nonprofit, Declare Yourself, and spent time at Human Rights Watch and the International Rescue Committee. She has spoken around the world – from Sundance and SXSW, to the Peruvian Government and youth in Pakistan – on using connective technology and storytelling to promote democracy and create social change. Receiving her BA from San Diego State University (SDSU), Marchese double majored in International Security and Conflict Resolution (ISCOR) and Comparative Religions, with a concentration in Arabic and the Middle East.
DeShuna Spencer is the Founder/CEO of kweliTV, a video streaming network that curates undiscovered and award-winning indie films, documentaries, web series and children’s programming of the global black community. Spencer is a radio host/producer of emPower Hour, a weekly social justice show on DC’s 89.3 FM WPFW. A Memphis native, Spencer graduated from Jackson State University where she studied communications and journalism. In 2017, DeShuna (a former AmeriCorps*VISTA and Chips Quinn Scholar), won the Harvard Business School African Business Conference Pitch Competition. She is a Halcyon Incubator Fellow and Voqal Fellow. www.kweli.tv
Karen McMullen (Moderator) is a Brooklyn-based film festival programmer, editor and educator. She is Head of Programming for the TIDE Film Festival, Lead Curator for New Voices in Black Cinema Film Festival and a Features Programmer for DOC NYC. McMullen has served as a juror at the Pan African and the Bentonville Film Festivals and an industry consultant for Tribeca Film Institute. She also screens for the Sundance and Nantucket Film Festivals. McMullen moderates for the New York African Film Festival and appears on television and radio as a media expert. A graduate of Brown University, McMullen is an associate professor at Long Island University’s Media Arts Department where she teaches post-production. She has editing credits on features, documentaries, and short films.
This program is produced by Savanna Washington and Nina Streich.
Marcia Rock, Director of News and Documentary at the NYU Arthur Carter Journalism Institute and Chair of NYWIFT’s Documentary Committee
NYU Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute
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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 Kathy Hochul and the New York State Legislature.