Funny Docs will explore the rise of feel-good documentaries and the art of producing them. Where do lighter, funny documentaries find their place in a world filled with films heavy with social issues? The panel will explore funding for humorous documentaries; how they add value to a film career and programming; and what makes the work of the featured panelists funny and, most importantly, so successful!
Alan Berliner’s uncanny ability to combine experimental cinema, artistic purpose, and popular appeal in compelling film essays has made him one of America’s most acclaimed independent filmmakers. The New York Times has described Berliner’s work as “powerful, compelling and bittersweet… full of juicy conflict and contradiction, innovative in their cinematic technique, unpredictable in their structures… Alan Berliner illustrates the power of fine art to transform life.” Berliner’s experimental documentary films, First Cousin Once Removed (2013), Wide Awake (2006), The Sweetest Sound (2001), Nobody’s Business (1996), Intimate Stranger (1991), and The Family Album (1986), have been broadcast world-wide, and recognized at major international film festivals. Berliner’s films are part of the core curriculum for film classes at universities globally, and are in the permanent collections of many film societies, festivals, libraries, colleges and museums, including the Museum of Modern Art.
Todd Bieber is the director of Thank you Del: The Story of the Del Close Marathon. Bieber writes and directs mostly comedy and documentary, or some combination of the two. He has directed series for Comedy Central, Vice, IFC, Above Average, Nerdist, Broadway Video, and College Humor. He is the former Creative Director for UCB Comedy and also worked at the Onion News Networks during their Peabody Award Winning year. One time Bieber found a role of film in Brooklyn that led him on a worldwide search for the owner. He documented his experience and TIME Magazine called it “Youtube’s Greatest Adventure” and ABC News called him a “real life international man of mystery.” His work has been prominently featured multiple times on his mom’s Facebook wall.
Julie Gomez (pictured above) has been producing content for The Upright Citizens Brigade Theater and its production company Don’t Think Productions for the past five years. The content has focused on original web series, branded content, and a feature length documentary. She is currently Head of Production where she oversees producers and film crews on all aspects of video and film, as well as corporate workshops, live events, and the touring company. Gomez is a producer of Thank you Del: The Story of the Del Close Marathon.
Alison Klayman‘s debut feature documentary, Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry, won a Special Jury Prize at Sundance in 2012. It was shortlisted for an Academy Award, nominated for two Emmys, and earned Klayman a Director’s Guild of America Award nomination. Her new film about the Cuban-American artist Carmen Herrera, The 100 Years Show, has been awarded Best Documentary Short at numerous festivals and will be released later this year. The New York Times chief film critics named Alison Klayman one of their “20 Directors to Watch” on a list of rising international filmmaking talents under 40.
Sara Taksler is the director/producer of Tickling Giants, a documentary about free speech and satire in Egypt which premiered at the 2016 Tribeca Film Festival. Taksler is a Senior Producer at The Daily Show and her previous film, Twisted: A Balloonamentary is a look at the world’s premier balloon-twisting convention. Taksler can talk backwards and has a remarkable fake sneeze.
Lizz Winstead (moderator), acclaimed comedienne, radio and television personality, author and blogger for The Huffington Post is also the co-creator of The Daily Show and Air America Radio network. She also started Lady Parts Justice, an organization dedicated to creating more awareness of anti-choice legislation, to help fight for women’s reproductive rights. Winstead frequently appears on various shows on CNN and MSNBC.
Produced by Ana Breton, Tracy Daniels, Kelly DeVine, Amy Nicholson, Marcia Rock
Hosted by the NYU Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute
Special Thanks to 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
20 Cooper Square, 7th Floor
New York, N.Y. 10003
$15 for NYWIFT Members
$25 for Nonmembers
Register by prepayment online
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.