Puzzle People



When a documentary on competitive speed puzzlers resonates with a film director, a quirky hobby becomes a tool for mental health and conversations around it.


During the pandemic, puzzling blew up in a way no one saw coming. Sales increased 300% and online communities popped
up for puzzlers to compete over zoom in their homes. As people went back to in-person events, these communities met for the first time and even took their love of puzzling abroad at the National Speed Puzzling competition in Spain. Puzzling continues to grow, as does our audience.

Mission & Vision:

We’re creating a feature-length documentary that merges the style of a narrative film with documentary moments and sensibility. We’ll play with the idea of documentary – bringing in first person elements, humor, and art direction. There are too many depressing documentaries in the world, and this is not one of them. Our film focuses on these not-too- serious puzzle competitions while using puzzles as a way of talking about mental health.

Tone & Story:

Our film is How to Dance in Ohio meets Spellbound with a spash of science and a whole lot of fun. What started as a competition documentary has evolved as the director started using puzzles as a tool for her own anxiety. She soon began asking more questions around if there’s science to support puzzling being a brain healthy activity, and around her own wiring, leading to an Autism Spectrum Disorder diagnosis.

Production Approach:

Too often documentaries are limited by locations where being able to control lighting, design, etc. is simply impossible.Using a mix of high end studio shoots, scripted moments, and verité, we’ll create a visually striking film as we take our audience along on our journey.


Key Personnel:

Emily Sheskin

Emily Sheskin is an award winning film and commercial director. Her work has been featured in numerous publications such as (but not limited to) The New York Times, National Geographic, and The Atlantic. As a commercial director for over 10 years, Emily has directed for many well-known clients such as Microsoft and Disney. She’s created short documentary content for Netflix, and brings a commercial level of polish to all her short film work, such as Girl Boxer which premiered as a New York Times OpDoc in 2017. Her first feature film, JessZilla, premiered in 2023 at the Big Sky Documentary Film Festival where it was in competition. From there, the film has won awards at the Fargo Film Festival, Rhode Island Film Festival, Ridgefield Film Festival, and the Atlanta Film Festival. She is currently working with Versus NY to find a home for it as it continues to be programmed in festivals such as IDFA, DOC NYC, and more. She holds a BFA from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and is a member of New York Women in Film & Television, Film Fatales, and IFP.

Ben Kainz

Ben Kainz is the producing partner of Emily Sheskin and together they’ve created award-winning short films, feature documentaries, and commercials. Ben’s latest project is the documentary feature, JESSZILLA, which premiered at Big Sky Film Festival. It won Best Picture and Best Documentary Feature at the Fargo Film Festival and Special Jury Mention at the Atlanta Film Festival. Prior to that, Ben was an associate producer on the feature film OVUM, directed by Matt Ott. OVUM premiered at the Big Apple Film Festival where it won Best Feature Film. Ben is a member of the Documentary Producers Alliance, Film Independent, and Variable.

Joe Victorina
Director of Photography

Joe has had the privilege to work for some of the most notable personalities, brands, companies and organizations including Miguel, Gigi Hadid, Toyota, Vogue, Rivian, Budweiser, and more. His recent work as a DP includes the documentary western “My Heroes Were Cowboys” for Netflix. His additional camera credits include camera operating on the hit documentary “Won’t You Be My Neighbor”, and the 2014 Oscar winning “20 Feet from Stardom”, as well DPing the feature length film “Bookers Place: a Mississippi Story” which screened at the 2012 Tribeca Film Festival and received rave reviews from the New York Times and Variety.

Katie Turinski

Katie Turinski is an award-winning filmmaker based in New York City. For nearly 20 years her work has spanned multiple industries, with editing credits including the Oscars® Shortlisted Netflix Original THE SPEED CUBERS, multiple Super Bowl commercial campaigns, and the award-winning documentary feature JESSZILLA. Her documentary work varies in subject matter, but shares common themes including inclusivity, courage, acceptance, and humor. She served on AICP’s Curatorial Committee for the 2019 and 2021 awards shows, selecting commercials to be preserved in the MoMA Department of Film’s permanent archives. She is a featured editor on Free The Work, and was a Contributing Editor for the 2015 Sundance Institute Documentary Edit and Story Lab.

Chicken Wing Pictures:

We are an award-winning commercial and film director/producer duo whose work has played at IDFA, DOC NYC, and been
featured in the New York Times as an OpDoc.

Our first feature film, JessZilla, premiered in 2023 at the Big Sky Documentary Film Festival where it was in competition. From there, it won awards at the Rhode Island International Film Festival, Fargo Film Festival, Ridgefield, Atlanta Film Festival.

We love the space where art and commercial work intersects. Our work is accessible to all audiences – film nerds and regular joe’s alike because we are passionate about telling stories with heart and featuring genuine people.