The Film Society of Lincoln Center and Locarno International Film Festival announce the participants and details for the fourth annual U.S. edition of the Industry Academy, taking place March 27 through 31 during New Directors/New Films.
“This year’s illustrious group of Industry Academy participants come from throughout the world and represent an array of vital work happening in our industry,” said Film Society of Lincoln Center Deputy Director Eugene Hernandez. “Our Academy’s emphasis on women and people of color at an early stage of their professional careers is aimed at networking, cultivating mentorship, and, we hope, accelerating this moment of evolution in the film industry. In looking for candidates for the 2019 Industry Academy, we were again thrilled to find so many incredible young people working in both the commercial and not for profit sectors. Now in our fourth year of the program, we have already seen the influence of this initiative on the film community and are galvanized to make that impact long-lasting.”
Hailing from around the globe, the 15 participants of the 2019 Industry Academy were selected after being nominated by key industry leaders and veterans. The 2019 participants are as follows: Alex Borden (IFC Films), Sue-Ellen Chitunya (Marvel Studios), Christina Demetriou (Co-Production Office), Sola Fasehun (UTA), Sabine Fayoux Cantillo (Chicken & Egg), Vince Johnson (Magdael & Associates), Lela Meadow-Conner (Film Festival Alliance), Rosa Morales (SFFILM), Lydia Ogwang (Toronto International Film Festival), Timothée Prudhomme (Playtime), Setu Raval (Film Independent), Sebastian Rea (30 Under 30 Film Festival), Abby Sun (True/False), Nshira Turkson (Cinereach), and Vivian Ying (Parallax Films).
The program kicks off with the Opening Night of New Directors/New Films and continues with panel discussions exploring the fields of programming, marketing, distribution, sales, acquisitions, and promotion, as well as several industry events. Sessions include workshops on programming with Opal Bennett (DOC NYC, Athena), Sophie Cavoulacos (MoMA), Ashley Clark (BAM), Aliza Ma (Metrograph), Dan Sullivan (FSLC), and Basil Tsiokos (DOC NYC, Nantucket Film Festival); sales, acquisitions, and distribution: Dori Begley (Magnolia Pictures), Camille Bertrand (Bleecker Street), Aijah Keith (IFC Films), and Eric Sloss (Cinetic Media); marketing, promotion, and press with Maya Anand (Cohen Media Group), Tom Cunha (Brigade Marketing), Troy Dandro (Bleecker Street), Sarah Dawson (Giant Pictures), Nicholas Kemp (Kino Lorber), and Kate Patterson (FSLC); outreach and social impact with Rodrigo Brandão (The Intercept), Erika Howard (FRONTLINE), Sara Kiener (Cinereach), Haley Mednick (FSLC), and David Ninh (Kino Lorber); sustaining a career and creating change in the film industry with Arianna Bocco (IFC Films), Anne Hubbell (Kodak), Tom Quinn (NEON), Rajendra Roy (MoMA), and Ryan Werner (Cinetic Media); the artist’s perspective with filmmakers Penny Lane and Anna Rose Holmer; and shaping the future of arts and culture with Iyabo Boyd (Brown Girls Doc Mafia), Lauren Domino (writer/producer), Michael Gibbons (Creative Capital), Mynette Louie (producer), Merrill Sterritt (Cinereach), Hannah Thomas (Big Duck), and Chi-hui Yang (Ford Foundation). The program also includes three in-depth career case studies with industry professionals Michelle Byrd (PGA East), Gina Duncan (BAM), and David Magdael (David Magdael & Associates).
A result of a long-standing relationship between the Film Society and Locarno Festival, the Industry Academy signifies the ongoing dedication these two organizations have to engaging a new generation of key players in the independent film industry, helping them attain a better understanding of the industry’s challenges while also extending their network of contacts and building bridges across different markets. The program continues to focus on increasing diversity within the film industry and film culture—one of the greatest challenges facing the film business today—and supporting and nurturing women and people of color who are looking to gain a foothold in the industry. The program is produced by the Film Society’s Brian Brooks, Eugene Hernandez, and Christine Mendoza, in association with the Locarno Film Festival.
The Film Society of Lincoln Center is committed to fostering the next generation of filmmakers, critics, and industry professionals. With academies throughout the year, FSLC builds new audiences and continues to advance New York’s vibrant film culture. For more information on these initiatives, see here.
This project is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts. To find out more about how National Endowment for the Arts grants impact individuals and communities, visit www.arts.gov.
INDUSTRY ACADEMY 2019 PARTICIPANTS
Alex started his career in insurance after graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Finance from Howard University. He transitioned from corporate finance to pursue his love for film, and worked as a freelance producer for small product promotional campaigns and independent documentaries before joining Acquisitions & Production at IFC Films. Outside of the office he continues to produce campaigns, and he has a longstanding passion for community advocacy, currently serving as an Action Board member for Getting Out and Staying Out (GOSO), a Harlem-based nonprofit organization committed to transforming the lives of young men involved in the justice system.
Lydia “Sue-Ellen” Chitunya hails from Zimbabwe. She’s a Roger and Chaz Ebert Foundation Fellow, a graduate of Georgia State University, and a recipient of UCLA’s Producing Certification. She was named the 2016 Zimbabwe International Women’s Awards Media Professional of the Year Recipient. She constantly seeks ways to hone her skills and enhance her knowledge about the filmmaking industry. Her passion and hunger for learning has afforded her the opportunity to participate in the following programs: Rotterdam Lab, Durban FilmMart, Women in Film Mentoring Circle, Film Independent’s Project Involve, Berlinale Talents, and Kyoto Filmmakers Lab. Sue-Ellen has produced several shorts that have screened at BFI London, OutFest, and Iris Prize, and her varied work experience includes producing the Big Picture Con, marketing for Disney College Program, consulting for LA Film Festival and Zimbabwe Film Festival, and programming for Atlanta and Slamdance Film Festivals. She recently worked as post-production coordinator on Marvel Studios’ Black Panther and Captain Marvel.
Born in the U.K., Christina developed a passion and curiosity for film alongside her Master of Arts in Gender and Culture Studies at Goldsmiths University. Volunteering at the time for LUX as an archive “print checker,” she also received an unofficial education in film and the moving image. Christina moved to Berlin in 2015 and developed the project LUNAR, a series of film events curated on feminist and queer themes that have taken place in Berlin, Paris, and Norway. Since 2017, she has been working with the production and sales company Coproduction Office, initially supporting the head of sales and currently in the role of festival coordinator, ensuring the presence of the company’s catalogue and upcoming titles at festivals internationally.
After graduating from Carnegie Mellon University, Sola Fasehun worked under Academy Award–winning producer Michael Phillips (Taxi Driver, The Sting) in Beverly Hills. She also began the independent film company Fasehun Films. In NYC, Sola was one of the producers of Broken Badge, which was executive-produced by Academy Award–nominated Michael Hausman (Gangs of New York, Brokeback Mountain). For almost six years, Sola was a Sales & Distribution consultant at Submarine Entertainment/Deluxe (Winter’s Bone, Tangerine). Fasehun Films assisted Submarine with consulting on many feature films. During Sola’s time there, the following movies repped by Submarine received Academy Awards: Citizenfour, 20 Feet from Stardom, and Searching for Sugarman. The last four years in a row, Submarine’s films have won the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival: The Wolfpack, Weiner, Dina, Kailash. Sola is a co-producer on the feature film Fire Music, which premiered at the New York Film Festival and will soon be released in collaboration with Submarine Entertainment. She has a Master of Fine Arts degree from Columbia University. Currently, Sola works at United Talent Agency.
Sabine Fayoux Cantillo
Sabine was born in Costa Rica and raised in Hong Kong, France, and Colombia before settling in the U.S. As Program Coordinator at Chicken & Egg Pictures, she ensures all programmatic activities are effectively run, including open calls, creative workshops, and direct support to filmmakers. Sabine has navigated the world of documentary filmmaking for more than six years and has had diverse experience supporting the documentary film industry, from Production Assistant and Field Researcher at Loki Films, to Box Office Manager and Pre-Screener at the Margaret Mead Film Festival. She was also an integral part of the editorial team at America ReFramed/POV and has served as a Pre-Screener for POV for the past two years. Sabine is Colombian and French, and holds a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from the Université Paris-Diderot, and a Master of Arts in Visual Anthropology from the University of Barcelona. Sabine is currently developing Sagrado Corazón (Holy Heart), an observational short documentary that explores the life of roadside religious statues in Colombia.
Vince Johnson works as a publicist at David Magdael & Associates in Los Angeles, assisting on the campaigns to help launch films at numerous film festivals, including Sundance, SXSW, Toronto, and Tribeca; publicity for theatrical releases; and strategies on awards campaigns. For the past two years, he has worked as a festival adviser at the Cinematografo International Film Festival in San Francisco. Originally from Sacramento, he graduated from San Francisco State University before getting his start with publicist Karen Larsen in San Francisco. There he worked on the Bay Area theatrical publicity for distributors including Sony Pictures Classics, Magnolia Pictures, Cohen Media Group, and Kino Lorber, in addition to the publicity for film festivals in the Bay Area including CAAMFest (SF Asian Film Festival), Frameline (SF LGBTQ Film Festival), the Mill Valley Film Festival, and the SF Jewish Film Festival. He is a member of the International Documentary Association and Film Independent.
Lela Meadow-Conner serves as the Executive Director of the Film Festival Alliance, a position she has held since April 2017. Prior to that, she served as the Executive Director of the Tallgrass Film Festival for 15 years, and has served in consulting roles for the Woods Hole Film Festival and Geena Davis’s Bentonville Film Festival. Before joining the film festival community, Lela spent several years working in various facets of the film industry, including feature film marketing, production, and entertainment publicity. She is a recipient of “40 Under 40” as well as “Women in Business” honors from the Wichita Business Journal, has served on many film festival juries, and is a frequent panelist on film festival and women-in-business related topics. Lela has amassed a deep understanding of the cultural significance that cinematic arts organizations bring to a community, and is passionate about arts advocacy. She is currently piloting her film series mamafilm, which celebrates the global village of nurturers through the power and accessibility of visual storytelling.
Born and raised in San Francisco, Rosa Morales grew up accompanying her dad on weekly trips to the movies. Rooted in this family tradition, she aspired to dedicate her life to this art form. Rosa attended the Ruth Asawa School of the Arts, majoring in filmmaking. She was the first in her family to graduate from college, receiving a Bachelor of Arts in Media Studies from UC Berkeley, with a minor in Latino Studies. As a student, a short film she directed played at the 2012 SFFILM Festival. She worked with a film marketing company before returning to SFFILM in 2017. Rosa is currently the Development and Membership Coordinator at SFFILM, where she focuses her efforts on fundraising and expanding programs to ensure that film remains an accessible art form for her beloved San Francisco.
Lydia Ogwang is a film programmer and culture writer based in Toronto, Canada. Ogwang worked in film distribution before joining the TIFF Cinematheque year-round programming team in 2018, and TIFF’s Festival Programming team as a member of the selection committee for the Platform programme in 2019. She has served on juries at Sheffield Doc/Fest, Indie Memphis Film Festival, Images Festival, and Tacoma Film Festival, and on the programming committee for TIFF’s 2018 Canada’s Top Ten short film selection. Lydia has written for Cinema Scope, The Brooklyn Rail, and TIFF’s The Review among other publications, and has appeared as an invited guest speaker on films by Julie Dash and the L.A. Rebellion. She is formerly a Senior Editor at the film journal cléo, with which she curated the series Radical Empathy: The Films of Agnès Varda for TIFF Cinematheque in 2018. Lydia holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from Wilfrid Laurier University.
In 2017 Timothée joined Paris-based sales agency Playtime (fka Films Distribution), where he is now in charge of French and foreign acquisitions. Prior to joining the team, he interned and worked for French broadcaster Canal+, the digital distribution arm of TF1 Studio and RT Features. For the past two years, he has been working on high-profile projects such as BPM by Robin Campillo, Non-Fiction by Olivier Assayas, and François Ozon’s upcoming By the Grace of God.
Setu Raval is the Senior Manager of Grants and Awards at Film Independent, where she oversees the submissions process and manages six nominating committees for the Spirit Awards, as well as the Spirit Awards Filmmaker Grants and all grants tied to Film Independent’s Artist Development programs. She works closely with the Institutional Giving and Corporate Sponsorship teams to steward filmmaker-funder relationships and explores new funding for filmmakers. She has dedicated efforts toward ensuring the Spirit Awards nominating committees, and films in consideration are representative of Film Independent’s commitment to diversity and inclusion. Prior to her current role, she was the Spirit Awards Nominee Liaison and worked for Sundance Institute, Sundance Film Festival, LA Film Festival, and Creative Artists Agency. Setu was the Festival Producer for the Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles from 2015–2018. She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Film Producing from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts.
Sebastian Rea is a filmmaker, activist, and founder of the 30 Under 30 Film Festival. He currently is a marketing producer for John Jay College. An award-winning director who has been making movies since he was 16, Sebastian has made films that are available on HereTV and, coming this fall, on HBO. He also volunteers with the Jack Brewer Foundation, documenting relief missions around the world. For 30 Under 30, he curates 30 films from 30 global filmmakers under 30 years old and then screens the films in New York City. Previously, he served for seven years as content manager for Tribeca Enterprises, overseeing digital content across the festival, on demand, and digital studios.
Abby Sun took classes in the Sensory Ethnography Lab as an undergraduate at Harvard, educated high school students in sexual health in Montana, and waited tables in New Orleans before moving back to her hometown of Columbia, Missouri, in 2016. She is currently a Programmer for True/False Film Fest, selecting shorts and features, industry guests, and catalyzing industry events and partnerships with a focus on challenging the documentary mainstream. Abby also is a freelance film critic and the senior editor of Nat. Brut, an arts and literature magazine that features marginalized writers and artists.
Nshira Turkson is the Filmmaker Support Associate at Cinereach, where she supports the work of grants, creative initiatives, and fellowships. Her previous experience in film comes from her time as a production assistant and assistant camera on commercials, shorts, and documentaries. She also co-taught documentary journalism to high-school students at Reel Works. Before entering the film world, Nshira worked in journalism as a news and archives fellow at The Atlantic. Nshira holds a Bachelor of Arts in Public and International Affairs from Princeton University.
Jiexiao “Vivian” Ying, born in Hangzhou, China, graduated from NYU’s Cinema Studies Masters program in 2018. She found her passion for connecting people, especially Chinese diasporas, in cinemas, as well as supporting young film professionals. She set up 10 location-specific filmmaker and cinephile groups in the U.S., Canada, Europe, and Japan, where members exchange casting info, filmmaking experience, and plan to watch films together. As a New York agent for Parallax Films, she is dedicated to bringing Chinese auteur debut features to film festivals and local distributors. Currently, she is working on the Chinese community outreach for Ash Is Purest White and Long Day’s Journey Into Night.