True Crime Stories: Relationships and Responsibilities

There is no doubt that the “true crime” documentary genre is thriving and that such film and television projects are enjoying unprecedented buzz. Studies show that women are their biggest audience, and broadcasters are taking notice. We will explore this phenomenon through an in-depth conversation with creators who make crime stories that matter.

By the nature of their work, non-fiction storytellers are always considering how to present and represent their subjects through the creative process. But how is that further complicated in the “true crime” space, when the stakes might literally be life or death? Where do they draw the line between journalism and entertainment? Our panel of filmmakers and network executives will discuss the brass tacks of telling these stories and examine their ethical boundaries and sense of responsibility in developing relationships with individuals whose lives or livelihoods are on the line.


Kelly Loudenberg
is a filmmaker and artist who has been exploring the American justice system for over a decade, most recently through The Confession Tapes, the new Netflix series she created and directed. This project has grown out of her work profiling individuals, systems, and the grey areas of culpability and coercion. Loudenberg has contributed to The Atlantic, The New York Times, The New Yorker, and National Geographic. Her work has been shown at the Venice Architecture Biennale, Monte Vista Projects, SXSW Film Festival, and the Guggenheim Labs. Loudenberg has also been artist-in-residence at the Nevada Museum of Art, the Center for Land Use Interpretation and Casa Wabi in Puerto Escondido, Mexico. More at

Bari Pearlman
is a Peabody Award-winning documentary filmmaker, and the Director/Producer of two forthcoming episodes of CNN’s Death Row Stories (Jigsaw/Sundance Productions). She also directed the critically acclaimed films Mah-Jongg: The Tiles that Bind, Daughters of Wisdom and Nangchen Shorts.  As a Producer, Pearlman collaborated on HBO’s feature documentary How to Dance in Ohio, and Smile ‘Til It Hurts: The Up With People Story. She was recently Story Producer/Co-Producer of Amazon’s The New Yorker Presents, and previously produced Court TV’s Shots in the Dark and A&E’s Fugitive Chronicles. Applying her broad experience, Pearlman regularly consults on projects in need of guidance on all aspects of production and distribution.  BTG Productions

Stephanie Steele
is Vice President of Current Production for Oxygen Media, the network for high-quality crime programming. In this role she oversees a growing slate of true-crime programming including The Jury Speaks, the long-running Snapped franchise and spin-offs including Snapped: Notorious, and Killer Couples as well as Homicide for the Holidays. Steele will also serve as the executive in charge of upcoming Mysteries & Scandals with Soledad O’Brien, Ice Cold Murder (working title) with Ice T and What Happened to…Jessica Chambers?(working title) a co-production with Wilshire Studios and BuzzFeed Motion Pictures. Oxygen Media is the fastest growing cable entertainment network and is the #1 most popular website dedicated to crime.

Photo by Lindsay Thomas

Andrea Marks
(Moderator) is a freelance writer and researcher and a graduate of Columbia Journalism School. She used to edit a dance magazine; now she covers porn and true crime, plus anything else that catches her interest including food, feminism, science, subcultures and sometimes still dance. Marks’ work has appeared in Rolling Stone, Vice, and Scientific American. In February 2017, she published How a True-Crime Podcast Became a Mental-Health Support Group for The Atlantic about the podcast My Favorite Murder. Marks is interested in the mixture of fascination and fear that draws some of us to true crime.

Produced by Kathryn O’Kane and Bari Pearlman

Special Thanks to Tony Tavolacci and the Tribeca Screening Room
for hosting this event.

October 25 @ 7:00pm
7:00 pm — 8:30 pm (1h 30′)

Tribeca Film Center
375 Greenwich Street
(Between N. Moore and Franklin)

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.