NYWIFT Masterclass Series: Sports Producing

Join NYWIFT for our Masterclass Series: Sports Producing with Award-Winning Television Producer Justine Gubar.

In this series of three masterclasses, through case studies and conversations, creators will learn the process of creating and producing sports documentaries and sports content production. 


Price: $25 for Members* / $45 for Non-Members

Price includes admission for all three sessions.
*Executive, Platinum, and Leadership Circle members attend for free. Contact membership@nywift.org to upgrade your membership. 



SESSION 1: Game On: Navigating the World of Sports Content Production (A conversation with Nancy Stern Winters and Lisa Lax of Lookalike Productions)
Date: Wednesday, May 8, 2024
Time: 6:30 – 8pm ET

For Session 1, join us for insights on building a sports content production business. We glean lessons from the leaders.

SESSION 2: Crafting Champions: The Art of Creating Compelling Sports Documentaries (A conversation with producer Carolyn Hepburn)
Date: Wednesday, May 15, 2024
Time: 6:30 – 8pm ET

For Session 2, join us for a conversation about career trajectories in sports documentary. We will look at what is currently resonating with the sports documentary audience and how to get these films made, sold and watched.

SESSION 3: From Script to Screen: Unraveling the Storytelling Magic of a Sports Documentary (A conversation with producer Alex Cirillo)
Date: Wednesday, May 29, 2024
Time: 6:30 – 8pm ET

For Session 3, join us for a deep dive conversation into the making of a successful sports docuseries. We are joined by past NYWIFT board member Alex Cirillo, lead creative producer of The Captain, a 7-part docuseries about Derek Jeter from ESPN Films. 



Justine Gubar is an award-winning television producer, well-respected journalist, and former executive with the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences which administers the iconic Emmy Awards, the television industry’s premier accolade. She is the author of the nonfiction narrative Fanaticus: Mischief and Madness in the Modern Sports Fan published by Rowman & Littlefield in 2016 and lauded by Publisher’s Weekly for delivering “a well-researched and shocking look at ‘extreme fanaticism’ throughout sports history…”

She was part of the team that launched Court TV, worked at ABC News and spent two decades producing for ESPN, where she was awarded 4 Emmy awards. She won two Telly Awards in 2020 for producing virtual award ceremonies and led teams that have won the Excellence in Financial Journalism award, the Robert F Kennedy Award for Excellence in Journalism in the Domestic Television category, and the NABJ Award in Innovation in Investigative Journalism. In 2011, she was honored with a WICT (Women in Cable Television) Signature Accolade award for directing and producing Herstory: Ten Times Over, a documentary about basketball camps for girls in Nigeria.

Justine was awarded a John S. Knight Journalism Fellowship and spent 2006-07 in residence at Stanford University. A graduate of Wesleyan University, she currently adjuncts at NYU where she teaches filmmaking and career development to undergraduate students.

Along with teaching, Justine thrived in her role as an industry mentor at the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences where she oversaw the recognition of excellence in sports media and worked to create more opportunities and visibility for industry up-and-comers. She believes there is no better professional mission than to mentor others and help people find and engage their superpowers.


Alex Cirillo is a Producer and Director from Long Island and the former VP of Special Events on the Board of Directors of New York Women in Film & Television. She produced ESPN’s seven episode docuseries The Captain about New York Yankees legend Derek Jeter. Her films and series include SXSW Audience Award-Winner The Light of the Moon (Showtime) starring Stephanie Beatriz, Sundance selection One Cambodian Family Please for My Pleasure (TNT) starring Emily Mortimer, Sundance premiere How to Tell You’re a Douchebag (BET), Tribeca premiere Red, White & Wasted, ABC News Series Big Vision Creatives featuring Joe Manganiello and Adrian Grenier, which she directed and produced, and Lez Bomb (Netflix) starring Bruce Dern and Cloris Leachman, which she Executive Produced with Bobby Farrelly. Her commercial clients include Procter & Gamble, Major League Baseball, Armani, YSL, Heineken, Wal-Mart, American Airlines, Campbell’s, Bose, Always, Charmin, Dawn, and Citibank.


(Photo by Daniele Venturelli/WireImage)

Carolyn Hepburn is an Emmy, Peabody and Gotham Award-winning producer and executive producer who joined ESPN Films in 2022. Recent films include Candace Parker: Unapologetic (ESPN Films); Love To Love You, Donna Summer (HBO Documentaries & Polygram), Victim/Suspect (Netflix); The Fire That Took Her (MTV Documentary Films, Emmy Winner); American Pain (CNN Films); Unfinished Business (Amazon Prime); The Return of Tanya Tucker featuring Brandi Carlile (Sony Pictures Classics, SXSW Audience Winner,); In The Same Breath (HBO Documentaries, Oscar shortlisted); The Velvet Underground (Apple TV+ & Polygram, Oscar shortlisted); The Mole Agent (Hulu, Oscar nominee); A Thousand Cuts (Frontline, Emmy Gotham and IDA winner); One Child Nation (Amazon Studios, Sundance Grand Jury Prize winner, Oscar-shortlisted); Life, Animated (Oscar nominee and winner of three Emmys); Weiner (IFC Films, Sundance Grand Jury Prize winner, Oscar shortlisted).


When Lisa Lax and Nancy Stern Winters, identical-twin, three-sport, All-American, athletes at Tufts University, dreamed of professional careers in sports — it became a reality at rival networks.

While Nancy produced ABC’s Wide World of Sports, College Football, the U.S. Figure Skating Championships, and the Tour de France — Lisa ran NBC’s Olympic Film Unit for the Atlanta, Sydney, and Salt Lake City Games, and produced NFL games, the WNBA’s inaugural season, and the Ironman Triathlon. After building illustrious careers at their competing networks, they fulfilled a life-long desire of working together in 2002 when they created Lookalike Productions. Their mission: to tell stories that not only entertain audiences, but inspire social change.

Their first film, Emmanuel’s Gift, centered on a disabled cyclist in Ghana who, through the film’s exposure, affected legislative change that would open unprecedented doors of opportunity — and equality — and even save the lives of countless disabled Ghanians.

Further projects include three prime-time specials for PBS, a documentary film with Harpo Studios on Oprah Winfrey’s Leadership Academy for Girls as well as the films Let It Out: The Movie, RISE, and Unmatched, a documentary film for ESPN’s “30 for 30” series, which explores the intense rivalry and remarkable friendship between Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova, told through their eyes only.


About the NYWIFT Masterclass Series

The NYWIFT Masterclass Series offers in-depth virtual multi-class workshops that explore various aspects of the film, television, and media industry. Led by award-winning experts, the classes will teach students about the craft, content, and business strategies involved in each creative pursuit, building a solid foundation for artistic fulfillment and commercial success.

The NYWIFT Masterclasses have included sessions in TV Writing, Podcasting, Film Budgeting, and much more to be announced soon.

May 8 @ 6:30pm — May 29 @ 8:00pm
6:30 pm — 8:00 pm (505h 30′)



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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.