Maryse Alberti is a multi–award-winning cinematographer and photographic artist from France who has worked on a variety of high-profile projects.
Her most recent film, Creed, the Rocky re-boot starring Sylvester Stallone and Michael B. Jordan and directed by Ryan Coogler, opened in the fall of 2015 to critical acclaim.
Recent projects include Freeheld, starring Steve Carell, Julianne Moore and Ellen Page with director Peter Sollett; The Visit, the M. Night Shyamalan's thriller set to be released Sept. 11, 2015; and Bending the Light, a Michael Apted documentary thatscreened at last year's Camerimage International Film Festival.
With an eye for thought-provoking and challenging subject matter, Alberti has lensed a number of lauded political films, including director Amy Berg's exploration of the infamous West Memphis Three, West of Memphis, which premiered at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival, and the 2010 feature Stone, starring Robert De Niro and Edward Norton.
Alberti's wide-ranging body of work includes the Oscar-nominated Darren Aronofsky directed film The Wrestler, for which she received the 2008 Best Cinematography Independent Spirit Award. She received praise for her standout cinematography on director Todd Haynes' Poison and Velvet Goldmine and the hard-hitting drama Happiness for indie provocateur Todd Solondz. For Velvet Goldmine, Alberti earned her first Indie Spirit Best Cinematography Award.
Additionally, she has lensed several acclaimed documentaries with her long-time collaborator Alex Gibney: We Steal Secrets, about Wikileaks founder Julian Assange; The Armstrong Lie, an official selection for the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival; and Casino Jack and the United States of Money. Her documentary work with Gibney also includes the films History of the Eagles Part One; Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer; Gonzo:The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson and Taxi to the Dark Side, which won the 2008 Academy Award for Best Documentary.
The director and cinematographer's early collaboration, Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room, received a Best Documentary Academy Award nomination in 2006. Later that year, Alberti received the prestigious Kodak Vision Award and an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Cinematography on HBO's ALL ABOARD! Rosie's Family Cruise. In 2004, she earned an Independent Spirit Awards nomination for Best Cinematography for her work on the feature We Don't Live Here Anymore, directed by John Curran.
Her other awards include Sundance Film Festival Best Cinematography honors for documentaries CRUMB in 1995 and H-2 Worker in 1990.
Alberti came to New York in the mid 1970s and for the next few years hitchhiked through the United States. She began taking photographs when she arrived back in New York City. Before long she was working for the New York Rocker magazine, photographing artists including Lou Reed, Iggy Pop and Frank Zappa. In the mid 1980s Alberti began working on movie sets, first as a stills photographer, then as a cinematographer on both features and documentaries.
As well as her film work, Alberti continues to make highly personal art in the form of photographs and video. She has exhibited in New York and Los Angeles galleries. In the last couple of years Alberti has worked with artists such as Laurie Anderson and Pierre Huyghe. She is represented by Dattner Dispoto and Associates of Los Angeles.
Academy Award–nominated director Darren Aronofsky was born and raised in Brooklyn, N.Y.
His film, Noah (2014), starred Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly, Emma Watson and Anthony Hopkins. It was hailed by Richard Roeper as "one of the most dazzling and unforgettable Biblical epics ever put on film."
In 2011, Aronofsky directed Black Swan, which earned Natalie Portman an Academy Award for Best Actress and Aronofsky a nomination for Best Director. In 2008, he directed The Wrestler, recipient of the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival. Mickey Rourke and Marisa Tomei received Academy Award nominations for their performances; Rourke won a Golden Globe for Best Actor — Drama, and Bruce Springsteen won for Best Original Song. Aronofsky also directed The Fountain (2006), starring Hugh Jackman and Rachel Weisz, and Requiem for a Dream (2000), starring Jared Leto, Ellen Burstyn and Jennifer Connolly. His first feature, π (1998), won the Director's Award at Sundance Film Festival.
Aronofsky is a graduate of Harvard University and the American Film Institute.
- Director / Producer
- First African-American woman to direct a primetime sitcom.
- First African-American woman to get an overall directing deal with a major studio (Sony).
- Her work for television and film includes:
- Paradise Lost
- Queen Sugar (also producer)
- Luke Cage
- Jane the Virgin
- Being Mary Jane
- The Cosby Show
- She is Executive Producer of Black History Mini Docs, 90 second videos featuring the stories of African-American heroes and she-roes.
- Awards include including a Peabody, an Emmy, an NAACP Image Award, The African American Woman in Film Director of the Year Award as well as nominations from the DGA, Black Reel Awards, Cable Ace Awards, etc.
- She is a member of DGA African American Steering Committee, The Black Filmmakers Foundation since its inception, on the executive board of the IFP Gordon Parks Scholarship fund. She’s been a judge for the NAACP Feature Film Award and serves as an annual judge for the Pan African Film Festival in Los Angeles.
- She is a proud graduate of City College.
Nina Yang Bongiovi
- Partners with actor / producer / director Forest Whitaker in Significant Productions.
- Fruitvale Station
- Songs My Brother Taught Me
- Roxanne, Roxanne
- Sorry to Bother You
- A Kid from Coney Island
- The Godfather of Harlem
Effie T. Brown is an award winning film and television Producer, known for championing inclusion and diversity in Hollywood, both behind and in front of the camera.
Through her company, Duly Noted Inc., Brown has produced several critically acclaimed and award winning projects including Stranger Inside, Jane Campion’s In the Cut, Real Women Have Curves, Everyday People, Rocket Science and the Sundance hit Dear White People.
With a love of multiple platforms Brown focused on digital episodic content and produced over 130 episodes of WIGS, an award winning, original content channel funded by Google/YouTube.
In 2015, Brown joined Matt Damon and Ben Affleck as Producer and Mentor in the controversial reboot of Project Greenlight.
In 2016 Brown Executive Produced the hit series Star on FOX. In keeping with her commitment to inclusive and diverse content in 2018 Effie Executive Produced Disney Channel’s Zombies.
Brown is also a member of the Academy Motion Picture Arts & Sciences (AMPAS) and serves as a Film Independent Board member.
Don Buchwald is the founder of Don Buchwald & Associates, a full-service talent and literary agency with offices in New York and Los Angeles, whose roster of clientele includes actors, directors, producers, writers and broadcasters, most notably Howard Stern.
Born and raised in Brooklyn, N.Y., Buchwald now lives in Manhattan with his wife, Maggie; two daughters, Julia and Laura; and two grandchildren, Sebastian and Scarlett. A member of the board of governors of the Friars Club, he has been a member of the board of trustees of Brooklyn College for 15 years and is the first recipient of the college’s Theater Alumnus Award (1998). He is a major contributor to the Leonard & Claire Tow Center for the Performing Arts, the Barry R. Feirstein Graduate School of Cinema, and the Don Buchwald Internship Program in Theater, Television and Radio.
Celia Costas won her first Emmy Award as producer of one of the most acclaimed miniseries of all time, Angels in America, directed by Mike Nichols and written by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright, Tony Kushner. In addition to the Outstanding Miniseries Emmy, the HBO project earned 11 other Emmys, five Golden Globe Awards and two Screen Actors Guild Awards. Costas won her second Emmy Award, again for HBO, as executive producer of Joseph Sargent's Warm Springs, written by Margaret Nagle.
She worked again with Mike Nichols as executive producer of the features Closer and Charlie Wilson's War. She was executive producer of John Patrick Shanley's Doubt, which was nominated for five Academy Awards. Other feature credits include Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps (Oliver Stone), Extremely Loud, Incredibly Close (Stephen Daldry), August: Osage County (John Wells), Annie (Will Gluck), The Intern (Nancy Meyers) and most recently, The Girl on the Train, based on the novel by Paula Hawkins and directed by Tate Taylor.
Other feature credits as co-producer include Betty Thomas' Private Parts, 28 Days and Ben Stiller's Zoolander.
Anne del Castillo
Anne del Castillo is the Commissioner of the New York City Mayor's Office of Media and Entertainment (MOME). She joined the agency in 2014 as director of legal affairs and was appointed to chief operating officer and general counsel in 2015. As a senior member of the executive team, she structured and advanced several groundbreaking initiatives. A series of workforce initiatives provides New York City residents with free mentorship and training opportunities in order to increase diverse representation in writers' rooms, post production, and stagecraft. The Freelancers Hub at the Made in NY Media Center is the first concerted effort by an American city to create a central resource hub for freelance workers in the gig economy. The Made in NY Women's Film, TV and Theatre Fund is the first municipal program in the country designed to promote equality behind and in front of the camera in film and television, as well as onstage, with $5 million in grants for women filmmakers and playwrights. One Book, One New York is the largest community read in the country.
Anne has over 25 years of experience in film production, public media, and arts and nonprofit administration. As vice president of development and business affairs at American Documentary, producer of the award-winning PBS documentary series POV, she secured $3 million annually in grants and contracts, and negotiated what were then innovative partnerships with Netflix and theatrical distributors to maximize distribution opportunities for independent documentaries. Prior to her tenure at American Documentary, she served as associate director of the Austin Film Society, where she oversaw administration of the Texas Filmmakers Production Fund, successfully advocated for formulation of media arts panel at City of Austin’s Arts Commission, and was part of the initial task force that led the development of Austin Studios.
Previously, Anne worked with American artist Richard Kostelanetz on a series of anthology reprints on pioneers of the avant-garde, John Cage, Merce Cunningham and László Moholy-Nagy. She has consulted on numerous film projects, and was associate producer on the Sundance Award-winning documentary Imelda, about the former First Lady of the Philippines. Anne also served as a panelist for the National Endowment of the Arts, Center for Asian American Media, and New York State Council on the Arts, among others, and presented at industry events, including South by Southwest and the Sithengi Film and TV Market in South Africa.
A native of New York City, Anne received her BA in English literature and BS in mass communications with honors from Boston University. She earned her JD at Brooklyn Law School and was honored with a Rising Star Award in 2017.
- Director / Producer
- For Film, He Has Been Nominated For Three Best Director Academy Awards. His Films Include:
- Billy Elliot
- The Hours
- The Reader
- Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close
- For Television, He Has Won Emmys For Producing And Directing:
- The Crown
- For Theatre, Productions Are Too Numerous To List, But Include Three Olivier Awards For His Work In The West End And Two Tony Awards For His Work On Broadway:
- An Inspector Calls
- Billy Elliot: The Musical
- Commander Of The Order Of The British Empire (Cbe)
- Daldry Is Among An Elite Group Of Directors That Has Received Nominations For Direction In Theatre, Television And Film.
Ezra Edelman is an award-winning filmmaker. In 2016, he directed O.J.: Made In America, which won this year’s Academy Award for Best Documentary. It is the third film he has directed for ESPN’s acclaimed 30-for-30 documentary series. In 2013, Edelman co-produced the Oscar-nominated documentary Cutie and The Boxer. He also has produced and directed three films for HBO, including the Peabody Award-winning Magic and Bird: A Courtship of Rivals and Emmy Award-winning The Ghosts of Flatbush.
Currently, he is at work on his first scripted feature, The Ballad Of Richard Jewell, for 20th Century Fox.
A native of Washington D.C., Ezra graduated from Yale University and currently lives in Brooklyn.
Learn more about Ezra Edelman:
Barry R. Feirstein
Barry R. Feirstein graduated from Brooklyn College summa cum laude with a B.S. in economics and membership in Phi Beta Kappa. He earned an M.B.A. from the Harvard Graduate School of Business in 1978 and became a technology analyst for Equitable Capital Management Corporation of New York. He managed the firm’s aggressive growth portfolio from 1984 to 1992 so successfully that the financial press noted his capacity to foretell trends and discover promising areas his fellow professionals had overlooked, such as biotechnology, the Internet and personal computers.
Feirstein is also the founder of Feirstein LLC, a unique investment partnership. Feirstein believes that a film school, located on a film studio in New York City and run by Brooklyn College, will be distinctive, excellent and highly competitive in today’s entertainment industry. The ability to help create a graduate school reminded Feirstein of his other great investment opportunities.
Feirstein is a producer of Broadway and off-Broadway musicals and plays, including Catch Me if You Can; Black Tie; Morini Strad; Harrison, TX; The Model Apartment and Poor Behavior. He serves on the board of the Brooklyn College Foundation, is ex-chairman of the Friars Foundation, and president of The New York Film Society and the Anderson Center for Autism. He is a regular contributor to a number of New York City nonprofit organizations, including the Center for Jewish History and the American Ballet Theater.
Roy Furman is vice chairman of Jefferies Group LLC and chairman of Jefferies Capital Partners, a group of private equity funds. In 1973, Furman co-founded Furman Selz, an international investment banking, institutional brokerage and money-management firm. He served as president and CEO until 1997, when the firm was sold to ING. For decades, he has been a Wall Street analyst and investment banker involved with the entertainment industry.
Furman is vice chairman of Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts and chairman emeritus of the Film Society of Lincoln Center. He served as national finance chairman for the Democratic National Committee in 1992–93, was national fund chair for Harvard Law School for two years, and was chairman of the Brooklyn College Foundation for four years.
Furman has produced dozens of Broadway musicals and plays, including numerous Tony winners. Currently on Broadway: The Book of Mormon, Cinderella, Rocky, Mothers and Sons, A Raisin in the Sun, and Bullets Over Broadway. Upcoming productions include Houdini, The Last Ship and An American in Paris.
- Composer / Educator
- His film scores include:
- The Great Debaters
- The Laramie Project
- Frozen River
- Countdown to Zero
- Songs My Father Taught Me
- In 1999, Golub founded the Sundance Composers Lab and he has been the Director of the Sundance Film Music Program since then.
- He is the Continuing Guest Lecturer at UCLA’s Herb Alpert School of Music and has taught at CalArts, USC, Columbia College and Reed College.
- Scores for Broadway include:
- The Country House (by Donald Marguiles, directed by Dan Sullivan, with Blythe Danner)
- The Heiress (directed by Moises Kaufman, with Jessica Chastain and David Strathaim)
- Hedda Gabler (directed by Nicholas Martin, with Kate Burton)
- Time Stands Still (by Donald Marguiles, with Laura Linney)
- He was composer-in-residence at Charles Ludlam’s legendary Ridiculous Theatrical Company in Greenwich Village and wrote numerous scores for the New York Shakespeare Festival (both Shakespeare in the Park and at The Public) and La Mama. He worked closely with Joseph Chaikin, Ethyl Eichelberger and others.
- His musical, Amphigorey with book, lyrics and designs by Edward Gorey, was produced at the American Repertory Theater (ART) in Cambridge and at the American Music Theater Festival (Philadelphia), culminating in an off-Broadway run.
- His ballet based on Gorey’s The Gilded Bat, was performed at the Kennedy Center and throughout the U.S. Other ballets were commissioned by the Miami City Ballet, Miami City Ballet, Milwaukee Ballet and the Atlanta Ballet.
- Golub’s concert works are performed around the world.
- He is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
Patrick Harrison has been the Director of New York Programs and Membership for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences since 2001. He is responsible for the creation and implementation of all Academy programs on the East Coast including the Monday Nights with Oscar® film series, the annual Spotlight on Crafts film series, Academy Tributes, educational outreach and the annual Oscar® Night New York celebrations. Patrick frequently interviews filmmakers for the Academy Conversations film series distributed on the Academy’s online platforms and serves on juries at a number of film festivals. Before joining the Academy, Patrick served as Manager of Awards and Special Events for Miramax Films working on all awards campaigns for the distributor including such films as Il Postino (The Postman), The English Patient, Good Will Hunting, Shakespeare in Love, and The Cider House Rules.
Ethan Hawke is an accomplished actor, screenwriter, film director, theater director and novelist. He has appeared in more than 40 films, including Dead Poets Society, Before Sunrise, Before Sunset, Before Midnight, Reality Bites, Gattaca, Training Day and Boyhood. His numerous stage credits include, as an actor: The Coast of Utopia, Henry IV, The Winter's Tale, The Cherry Orchard, Hurlyburly, Macbeth and Blood From a Stone (2011 Obie Award winner); and as a director: Things We Want, A Lie of the Mind and Clive.
Hawke has written two novels, The Hottest State and Ash Wednesday, the former of which he adapted and directed for film. He has also been nominated for a Tony Award, Academy Awards for both acting and writing, and a Drama Desk Award for both acting and directing.
Lesli Klainberg is the executive director of the Film Society of Lincoln Center. She is also an award-winning producer and director whose documentaries have screened at such film festivals as Berlin, Sundance, Outfest, and Frameline, and have been broadcast on networks including Cinemax, AMC, A&E, the Independent Film Channel (IFC), WE, and PBS.
As the executive director of the Film Society, Klainberg all strategic and operational matters, including programs, film festivals, theater operations, publications, websites, educational outreach, and community involvement.
Prior to her current role, she served as FSLC’s managing director and the producer of the New York Film Festival. From 2008 through 2011, she served as executive director of NewFest, the NYC LGBT Film Festival.
In 2012, Klainberg served as line producer of the Participant Media feature documentary, Finding North (now entitled A Place at the Table), which made its debut at Sundance in 2012 and was released by Magnolia in March 2013. She also line produced Insurgent Media’s Beware of Mr. Baker, which won the Audience Award for documentary at the 2012 SXSW Film Festival.
From 2009 through 2011, she was one of two lab leaders of the prestigious IFP Documentary Film Lab, held in New York. In 2009, she served as a consulting producer for the Sundance Documentary Film Program and produced the IFP Filmmaker Forum during Independent Film Week.
Klainberg also produced the acclaimed independent film, Paul Monette: The Brink of Summer’s End, which won the audience award for documentary at Sundance, Frameline, and Outfest, and was released theatrically by First Run Features and broadcast on HBO/Cinemax Reel Life. Monette was also on the “short list” for the Academy Award in 1997 and was nominated for the IDA Award for Best Documentary.
Other productions include the documentary miniseries Indie Sex; Fabulous! The Story of Queer Cinema (IFC, 2006); In the Company of Women (IFC, 2004); Beauty in a Jar (A&E, 2003); Directed by Alan Smithee (AMC, 2002); and Miss America (PBS/American Experience, 2001).
Klainberg is a past board member of GLAAD, Outfest, and NewFest, and has appeared on many juries and panels at film festivals around the United States. She has a B.F.A. degree in film from Purchase College (SUNY).
- Film Producer / Educator / Cultural / Commentator / Entrepreneur
- Creator of The Black List: an annual survey of best unproduced screenplays. Of the approximately 1,000 screenplays The Black List has cited since 2005, nearly a third have been later produced, including successful award-winners such as Argo, American Hustle, Juno, The King’s Speech, Slumdog Millionaire, Spotlight, The Revenant and The Descendants earning Academy Awards for four of the last twelve Best Pictures and ten of the last twenty-four Best Screenplays.
- Creative Exec: Sydney Pollack, Anthony Minghella, Will Smith, Leonardo DiCaprio and Universal Pictures
- Juror at Sundance, Toronto, Guanajuato, and Mumbai Film Festivals and for the PEN Center Literary Awards.
- Hollywood Reporter’s “35 Under 35”
- Black Enterprise “40 Emerging Leaders for Our Future,”
- The Root’s 100 Most Influential African-Americans
- Fast Company’s “100 Most Creative People in Business”
- 2015 African-American Film Critics Association (AAFCA)’s Special Achievement Award for career excellence
- 2019 Writers Guild of America, east (WGAe) Evelyn Burkey award for elevating the honor and dignity of screenwriters.
- Ted talk views - over 1.6 million
David Linde is CEO of Participant, the leading global media company dedicated to entertainment that inspires and compels social change. Linde is responsible for leading the company’s overall strategy, content creation, advocacy, operations, strategic investments, and acquisitions. Noteworthy films from Participant include Oscar Best Picture winner Spotlight; Oscar winners for Best Documentary Feature, American Factory, CITIZENFOUR, The Cove, and An Inconvenient Truth; Oscar winners for Best Foreign Language Film ROMA and A Fantastic Woman; as well as acclaimed, award-winning long-form content including Steve James’ docuseries America To Me and Ava DuVernay’s When They See Us.
Linde’s background spans production, global distribution and building multiple companies from the ground up. Linde has served as chairman of Universal Pictures, co-founder of acclaimed specialty film studio Focus Features and CEO and owner of Lava Bear Films. Linde currently serves on the Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the Board of Directors of Film Independent.
Rachel Morrison, ASC
- Black Panther
- Fruitvale Station
- Palo Alto
- First female Academy Award Nominee
- Music Supervisor
- Frequent collaborator of: Wes Anderson, Martin Scorsese, Noah Baumbach, Richard Linklater, Todd Haynes, Larry Clark, David Fincher and Todd Phillips.
- The Tiger King
- The Irishman
- Ad Astra
- War Dogs
- The Walking Dead
- The Grand Budapest Hotel
- The Wolf of Wall Street
- Hangover I, II and III
- Boys Don’t Cry
- Velvet Goldmine
- Boardwalk Empire (Grammy)
Keri Putnam is the Executive Director of Sundance Institute, where she oversees the annual Sundance Film Festival as well as the Institute Labs, grants, mentorships, smaller festivals, public events, and workshops offered year-round and globally. Before joining the Institute, Putnam served as President of Production for Miramax Films, where she was responsible for production, acquisitions, co-production and development. During her tenure, Miramax Films won and was nominated for multiple Academy Awards, including the Best Picture Academy Award for the Coen Brothers’ No Country for Old Men, and acting awards for Paul Thomas Anderson’s There Will be Blood, Stephen Frears’ The Queen, and Ben Affleck's Gone Baby Gone. Prior to joining Miramax in 2006, Putnam was Executive Vice President of HBO Films, responsible for the development and production of films for both the cable network and theatrical release. Putnam supervised more than 50 HBO films and was responsible for some of the division's most successful projects. A graduate of Harvard University, Putnam began her career working in region theater. She serves on the board of Women in Film Los Angeles, the advisory council of the Office of the Arts at Harvard University, and as a mentor at the Stark Producing Program at USC.
Robert Richardson, ASC
Robert Richardson is a three-time Academy Award winner for Best Cinematography for his work on both Martin Scorsese's Hugo and The Aviator and Oliver Stone's epic tapestry, JFK.
Richardson has enjoyed a successful long-standing relationship with Stone. By cultivating the ability to adopt a wide variety of visual styles as a survival guide, their artistic partnership flourished on a number of films, including Natural Born Killers, Nixon, Born on the Fourth of July and Platoon, the latter two of which garnered Richardson Academy Award nominations.
He has done additional beautiful work for Scorsese (Casino, Bringing Out the Dead) as well as for other prominent directors, such as Robert Redford (The Horse Whisperer) and Barry Levinson (Wag the Dog).
Richardson was cinematographer on The Hateful 8, which marks his fifth collaboration with director Quentin Tarantino, having previously teamed with the influential filmmaker on Django Unchained, Inglorious Basterds and both volumes of Kill Bill. He recently completed Live by Night with director Ben Affleck.
He has also photographed several documentaries with Errol Morris, including Fast, Cheap and Out of Control; Mr. Death; and the unflinching Abu Ghraib documentary Standard Operating Procedure.
A native of Cape Cod, Mass., Richardson attended the Rhode Island School of Design and the American Film Institute.
Steven Soderbergh is a writer, director, producer, cinematographer and editor. His television series, The Knick, is currently airing on Cinemax. He earned an Oscar nomination for Best Original Screenplay for his directorial debut, sex, lies, and videotape, and the Academy Award in 2000 for directing Traffic, the same year he was nominated for Erin Brockovich.
Among his other credits are the films Side Effects, Magic Mike, Haywire, Contagion, And Everything Is Going Fine, The Girlfriend Experience, The Informant, Che, the Ocean’s trilogy, The Good German, Bubble, Solaris, Full Frontal, The Limey, Out of Sight, Grey’s Anatomy, Schizopolis, The Underneath, King of the Hill and Kafka.
Soderbergh’s television film Behind the Candelabra, for which he won a 2013 Emmy Award for Outstanding Directing, debuted on HBO in May 2013. In 2009, he created and directed the play Tot Mom for the Sydney Theatre Company. While in Sydney he also directed the film The Last Time I Saw Michael Gregg. In April 2014, he directed the world premiere of Scott Burns’ new play, The Library, at New York’s Public Theater.
Douglas C. Steiner
Douglas C. Steiner, chairman of Steiner Studios, has led the fight to re-establish New York's position as a world-class entertainment production center. Not only did he build Steiner Studios, New York's first Hollywood-style film and television production facility, but he also spearheaded the creation of the New York State Film Production Credit and each of its four renewals and expansions.
Steiner has served on panels for Crain's New York Business and the New York City Office of the Mayor, and he is the recipient of awards from the Brooklyn International Film Festival as well as numerous New York political organizations. In his other job as a real estate developer, he has built and continues to lease and manage millions of square feet of commercial property. He is currently developing more than $600 million of residential and studio properties.
Steiner serves on the boards of BRIC Arts Media Brooklyn, the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership and the Open Space Alliance for North Brooklyn. He has an A.B. in English from Stanford University, where he was editor-in-chief of the Stanford Chaparral, and was awarded an honorary Ph.D. from Brooklyn College.
Fisher Stevens has been in the entertainment business for more than 30 years. His versatility in the industry is evident from his wide range of credits, from acting to producing to directing, and from film to television to theater and working with the United Nations.
Stevens began his acting career in New York, appearing in more than 40 Broadway and off-Broadway shows. His first big break came when appearing in the Tony Award-winning production of Torch Song Trilogy, playing David, the adopted son, opposite Harvey Fierstein. He parlayed his stage success into acting in such films as The Flamingo Kid, Short Circuit and its sequel, Hackers, Super Mario Brothers, Awake, Factotum, The Experiment and Henry's Crime. Most recently he starred in the acclaimed Wes Anderson film The Grand Budapest Hotel. On television, Stevens was a series regular on Fox’s Key West and CBS’s Early Edition. He had recurring roles on Lost and Damages as well as guest-starring roles on numerous episodes of Law & Order, Californication, Ugly Betty and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, among others.
In 1986 Stevens co-founded the theater company Naked Angels, which just celebrated its 25th year, where he has produced, directed and acted in many productions. In 1996 he co-founded GreeneStreet Films, where he had his film directorial debut with Just a Kiss, starring Marisa Tomei, Kyra Sedgwick and Taye Diggs. Stevens has produced more than 15 films while involved with GreeneStreet, including the Academy Award–nominated In the Bedroom, A Prairie Home Companion, Piñero, Swimfan, Uptown Girls and the acclaimed documentary Once in a Lifetime.
After Once in a Lifetime, Stevens became interested in documentary filmmaking, producing and co-directing the 2008 Independent Spirit Award–winning documentary Crazy Love. He then went on to produce the 2010 Academy Award–winning documentary The Cove, about the dolphin slaughters taking place in Taiji, Japan.
In March 2010, Stevens co-founded Insurgent Media with Andrew Karsch and Erik Gordon. At present, they have completed the 2012 SXSW Grand Jury Prize–winning documentary Beware of Mr. Baker, Before the Spring, After the Fall, the critically acclaimed Blank City (about the 1970s New York underground film scene) and Woody Allen: A Documentary, which premiered on PBS American Masters and was directed by Robert Weide. Stevens made his Broadway directorial debut with John Leguizamo's Ghetto Klown at the Lyceum Theatre, which was also adapted for HBO. He recently directed the feature film Stand Up Guys for Lionsgate, starring Al Pacino, Christopher Walken and Alan Arkin, as well as music videos for Jon Bon Jovi’s latest album.
- Casting Director
- Frequent Collaborator Of Directors Quentin Tarantino, Ed Zwick, Tim Burton, Etc.
- Once Upon A Time...In Hollywood
- True Detective
- The Leftovers
- Hidden Figures
- Jack Reacher
- The Hateful Eight
- Straight Outa Compton
- Ride Along
- Django Unchained
- Blood Diamond
- The Last Samurai
- Bulworth (Also Co-producer)
- Crimson Tide
- Ed Wood
- White Men Can’t Jump
- Edward Scissorhands
Joana Vicente has been the executive director of the Independent Filmmaker Project (IFP), the oldest and largest nonprofit organization for independent filmmakers in the United States, since 2009. Under Vicente's leadership, the IFP was most recently bestowed the honor of developing and operating the Made in NY Media Center after a Request for Proposal was issued by the Mayor's Office of Media and Entertainment and the New York City Economic Development Corporation. The state-of-the-art Media Center brings together professionals from the film, television, advertising, new media, gaming, marketing and branding industries for collaboration and new opportunities. It opened in the DUMBO neighborhood of Brooklyn, N.Y., in 2013.
Prior to the IFP, Vicente and her partner Jason Kliot produced and executive produced more than 40 films by such acclaimed directors as Jim Jarmusch, Miguel Arteta, Brian De Palma, Hal Hartley, Steven Soderbergh, Nicole Holofcener and Todd Solondz. She has co-founded three separate, unique film production entities over the course of her career — Open City Films; Blow Up Pictures, the first digital production company in the United States; and HDNet Films, an award-winning digital production company founded with Mark Cuban and Todd Wagner. Among the many films that Vicente and Kliot have produced are Tony Bui's Sundance Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award winner, Three Season; Jim Jarmusch's cult classic Coffee and Cigarettes; Niels Mueller's The Assassination of Richard Nixon; Todd Solondz's Sundance Grand Jury Prize-winning Welcome to the Dollhouse; Brian De Palma's controversial Redacted and Alex Gibney's Academy Award–nominated Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room. Vicente has served on the jury at Sundance and many other festivals.
Vicente's films have garnered numerous accolades and awards, including 23 Independent Spirit Award nominations and four wins. In 2007, Vicente was the recipient of the Made in NY Award for individuals who have made outstanding contributions to New York City's entertainment industry. Vicente graduated from the master’s program at The Catholic University of Portugal with a degree in philosophy and began her career as the press attaché for the Portuguese delegate and former prime minister of Portugal at the European Parliament. She later became a radio news producer for the United Nations before turning her attention to film.
Jonathan Wacks, Founding Director
Jonathan Wacks is the founding director of the Barry R. Feirstein Graduate School of Cinema and professor of film at Brooklyn College. He has directed a number of films, including Powwow Highway (Warner Bros.), produced by Beatle George Harrison. The film was the recipient of the Sundance Film Festival Filmmaker’s Trophy, nominated for four Independent Spirit Awards, and winner of awards for best picture, director and actor at the American Indian Film Festival in San Francisco.
Wacks’ first film, Crossroads/South Africa (PBS), won a Student Academy Award in the documentary category. He then produced the acclaimed cult-hit Repo Man (Universal), starring Emilio Estevez and Harry Dean Stanton, and directed Mystery Date (Orion), starring Ethan Hawke and Teri Polo, and Ed and His Dead Mother, starring Steve Buscemi and Ned Beatty. He also directed an array of TV productions, including 21 Jump Street, with Johnny Depp, Sirens and Going to Extremes.
Prior to his career as a director, Wacks served as vice president of production at the Samuel Goldwyn Company. He is a former chairman of the board of the Independent Feature Project/West (now Film Independent), the largest organization of independent filmmakers in America, and has served on the selection committee of the Writers’ Program at the Sundance Institute. His work has been seen at numerous international film festivals, including Sundance, Montreal, Tokyo, Florence, London, Leipzig, Leeds, Cape Town, Deauville, New York, Munich and Berlin.
Wacks has written several screenplays, including Recoil, based on the Jim Thompson novel, No Cure for Love, My African Heart, Coldsleep Lullaby and Stuck. He served as chair of the Visual and Media Arts Department at Emerson College, head of the Film Department at the Vancouver Film School in British Columbia and chair of the Moving Image Arts Department at the College of Santa Fe. He was also director of Garson Studios in Santa Fe, N.M. Wacks holds a B.A. (Hons.) from the University of Essex (United Kingdom) and an M.F.A. from UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television. He is a member of the Directors Guild of America.
Talitha Watkins is President and Head of ColorCreative Management – a management and production company whose mission is delivering women and people-of-color creators best-in-class representation to build career-defining brands through ownership, commercial success, artistic fulfillment, and visibility amongst the multicultural community and industry at large.
ColorCreative was founded by and Denise Davis and actress, writer, and producer, Issa Rae the co-creator, and star of the HBO television series Insecure for which she has been nominated for multiple Golden Globes Awards and Primetime Emmy Awards, In 2018, Rae was included in the annual Time 100 list of the most influential people in the world.
Watkins was formerly a Motion Picture Agent and Cultural Executive at leading entertainment and sports agency Creative Artists Agency (CAA) and helped build out CAA’s multicultural business and capabilities including the multicultural leadership event CAAAmplify.
Previous to CAA, Watkins spent seven years as Vice President of Multicultural Marketing at Universal Pictures, where she worked across all marketing divisions, including publicity, media, digital, creative, research, and partnerships, to maximize the studio’s outreach efforts to African American audiences. While at Universal, she worked on numerous films, including the multicultural blockbusters Fast & Furios 6, Furious 7, and the record-breaking Striaght Outta Compton. She was also instrumental in supporting the success of African American films, such as the box-office hits The Best Man Holiday and Ride Along.
Prior to Universal Pictures, Watkins was an Assistant General Manager with Telepictures Productions, Inc. and oversaw operations, sales, and marketing for five female-focused digital properties in the Warner Bros. portfolio, including Ellentv.com, Extratv.com, and TyraShow.com, as well as worked in a development capacity for Essence.com.
Watkins is a board member of the WIF, Saturday Morning, and Made in Her Image organizations.
John C. Williams
John C. Williams is the Co-Founder and Executive Director of Reel Works, recognized as one of the leading youth filmmaking and workforce development organizations in the United States. John is an award-winning film and television writer, producer and director whose credits include independent shorts, features, documentaries, television programming and corporate communications. John holds an M.F.A. in Film & Television from New York University and a B.A. in English from Boston University.