Friday, May 22, 2020 @ 11:00am PT / 2:00pm ET

With film festivals cancelling, quickly moving online, or rescheduling indefinitely, the future of films festivals is unknown. Filmmakers are stuck in a chaotic state of selling their films and connecting with audiences while festivals fight to stay alive and salvage their brand. But rather than holding on to the past, what if we took this moment in history to reimagine a better system? One that works for festivals, audiences, and filmmakers and is built to elevate the distribution process. 

Please join KARIN CHIEN, producer and founder of dGenerate Films, the leading distributor of independent, contemporary Chinese cinema, MARILYN NESS, two-time Emmy, Peabody, and DuPont Award-winner and producer of the recent Netflix release BECOMING about former First Lady Michelle Obama, and BRIAN NEWMAN, producer and founder of Sub-Genre which recently published the widely debated piece, Where’s the Filmmaker in the Online Fest Planning? to discuss how we can reimagine film festivals for the future. 

Speaker Bios

KARIN CHIEN is an independent producer and distributor committed to bold voices and innovative forms that help build radical practices of ethical filmmaking. In February 2020, Karin began a producing collaboration with Oscar-nominated Louverture Films. Karin is the recipient of the inaugural Cinereach Producing Award and the Piaget Independent Spirit Producers Award. She is a four-time nominee of the Independent Spirit Awards. Karin has produced 10 features, as well as interactive media and museum installations, all starring women and people of color, including CIRCUMSTANCE (Sundance 2011 Audience Award), THE EXPLODING GIRL (Berlinale 2009) and THE MOTEL (Sundance 2005). Karin is the president and co-founder of Art & Action, a global production company specializing in shoots in Europe and Asia. Karin is the founder and president of dGenerate Films, the leading distributor of independent, contemporary Chinese cinema. dGenerate Films distributes 70 narrative and documentary films from mainland China. Karin is the residency director of the Nevada City Film Festival Filmmaker Residency program, the only artist residency to focus on creative producers in film. Karin teaches producing currently for Sundance Co//ab, created the Center for Asian American Media Fellowship, and advises for Film Independent’s Global Media Makers program.

MARILYN NESS is a two-time Emmy, Peabody, and DuPont Award-winning filmmaker and works as a director and producer. Most recently, she produced the recent Netflix release BECOMING about former First Lady Michelle Obama as well as DICK JOHNSON IS DEAD (dir. Kirsten Johnson), which premiered at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival and won the Special Jury Award for Innovation in Non-fiction Storytelling. Ness directed CHARM CITY which premiered at the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival and was shortlisted for the 2019 Academy Award® – Best Documentary Feature. The film was broadcast on PBS’ Independent Lens in April 2019. Before that, she produced CAMERAPERSON (dir. Kirsten Johnson), which premiered at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival, was released by the Criterion Collection and was shortlisted for the 2017 Academy Awards® – Best Documentary Feature. TRAPPED (dir. Dawn Porter), which premiered at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival, received the Jury Prize for Social Impact Filmmaking, broadcast on PBS’ Independent Lens, and was awarded a Peabody. She also produced Katy Chevigny and Ross Kauffman’s feature documentary E-TEAM, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2014 and was bought by Netflix Original, and later earned two Emmy nominations. She directed the documentary feature film BAD BLOOD: A CAUTIONARY TALE that broadcast nationally on PBS in 2011. Ness is one of the founding members of the Documentary Producers Alliance and is co-chair of the Financing Waterfall Committee. 

BRIAN NEWMAN, founder of Sub-Genre, consults on content development, financing, distribution and marketing to help connect brands with filmmakers with audiences. Clients include: Patagonia, REI, IBM, Keen, Yeti Coolers, New York Times, Shopify Studios, Sonos, Stripe, Unilever,  Merck, Sundance, Vulcan Productions and Zero Point Zero.

Brian is also the producer of the upcoming THE OUTSIDE STORY (narrative, Tribeca Film Festival 2020 premiere), and LOVE & TAXES (narrative, 2017 theatrical release); and executive producer of SHORED UPTHE INVISIBLE WORLD (documentary) and REMITTANCE (narrative). 

Brian has served as CEO of the Tribeca Film Institute, president of Renew Media (known for the Rockefeller Fellowships) and executive director of IMAGE Film & Video (producers of the Atlanta Film Festival). 

Brian is the founder of the Brand/Foundation Alliance, and serves on the advisory board of the Camden International Film Festival.  He has served on the boards of Grantmakers in Film & Electronic Media (GFEM, now Media Impact Funders, as Vice Chair and Treasurer); Muse Film & Television, Rooftop Films (Chair) and IndieCollect (Co-Founding Board Member).

Brian is a frequent keynote speaker on branded content and the future of film and new media, and writes a popular weekly newsletter on these subjects. He was born in North Carolina and has an MA in Film Studies from Emory University.

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