The second U.S. edition of the Industry Academy International will include a wide-ranging group of young professionals working in film at companies including Women in Film, Cinetic Media, Magnolia Pictures, IFC Films, and Rooftop Films. Over the course of the four days in this program, these participants will work with mentors from the industry, including Aliza Ma (Metrograph), Eammon Bowles (Magnolia Pictures), Ryan Werner (Cinetic Media), Arianna Bocco (IFC Films), Rajendra Roy (MoMA), and more. The Industry Academy is a collaboration between the Film Society of Lincoln Center and the Locarno Festival, and will take place at the Film Society March 19–22.
“Women and people of color face unique challenges gaining a foothold in the film industry,” said Film Society of Lincoln Center Deputy Director Eugene Hernandez. “With our annual Industry Academy, the Film Society aims to be a catalyst in nurturing a more diverse, representative film community. This year’s class of participants is a refreshing and exciting group, each nominated by a co-worker or mentor, who have already impressed us with their thoughts and ideas. We launched this program hoping to make an impact in creating a more inclusive industry, and already we’ve seen our 2016 participants achieve new opportunities in their careers. We have similar goals for this year’s group.”
This year’s 10 participants were selected after being nominated by key industry leaders and veterans. Hailing from New York, Los Angeles, and abroad, these are the names of the participants for the second annual U.S. edition of the Industry Academy International, along with their current place of work: Ashley Chrisman (Women in Film), Edem Dela-Seshie (Cinetic Media), Emerson Gordon (Cinetic Media), Erika Howard (American Documentary | POV), Qing Jin (Tribeca Film Festival / Kino Lorber), Noah Koch (Rooftop Films), Tess Ornstein (Magnolia Pictures), Catalina Ramirez Chaves (Magnolia Pictures), Rebecca Winter (IFC Films), and Marie Zeniter (US in Progress).
The four-day program features a slate of screenings and panel discussions exploring the fields of International Sales, Marketing, Distribution (online and traditional), Exhibition, and Programming. Sessions include workshops on programming and curating with MoMA’s Rajendra Roy, Hamptons International Film Festival’s David Nugent, Museum of the Moving Image’s Eric Hynes, DOC NYC’s Opal Bennett, and Locarno’s Carlo Chatrian; and exhibition with Metrograph’s Aliza Ma, Film Forum’s Mike Maggiore, Cinema Tropical’s Carlos Gutiérrez, the Film Society’s Florence Almozini, and the Quad Cinema’s C. Mason Wells; a panel introducing participants to industry veterans including Locarno’s Nadia Dresti, IFC Films’ Jonathan Sehring, Cortes Films’ Lisa Cortes, and Magnolia Pictures’ Eamonn Bowles; and a panel on how to sustain a career with Tangerine Films’ Anne Hubbell, Cinetic Media’s Ryan Werner, Neon’s Tom Quinn, and Hyperion Media’s Susan Wrubel. Additional events will feature IFC Films’ Arianna Bocco, RT Features’ Rodrigo Teixeira, Brigade Marketing’s Tom Cunha, Kino Lorber’s Nicholas Kemp, the Film Society’s David Goldberg and Haley Mednick, Abramorama’s Richard Abramowitz, Films Transit’s Diana Holtzberg, and Submarine’s Dan Braun and Yance Ford, director of ND/NF selection Strong Island.
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 will focus on increasing diversity within the film industry and film culture—one of the greatest challenges facing the film business today—and support and nurture 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 with the Locarno Industry Academy international project manager Marion Klotz.
The Film Society of Lincoln Center and the Locarno Festival have previously partnered on several programs, including a George Cukor retrospective, a celebration of legendary Italian studio Titanus, and a Sam Peckinpah retrospective. Also, 2016 marked the fifth collaboration with Locarno for the annual Critics Academy, a workshop for aspiring film critics that occurs during the New York Film Festival.
Ashley Chrisman (Women in Film)
Ashley Chrisman is a film professional from the south side of Chicago. She completed her undergraduate studies at Vanderbilt University and received her MFA in Film and Television Production from the University of Southern California (USC). Her goal is to shed a different light on the everyday representations of minorities, and to find new and innovative ways to bridge the gap between community activism and filmmaking. Chrisman was a 2016 Film Independent, Project Involve Producing Fellow. She currently resides in Los Angeles and works at Women In Film, an organization that advocates for gender parity in the entertainment industry.
Edem Dela-Seshie (Cinetic Media)
Edem Dela-Seshie graduated from Boston College with an undergraduate degree in Linguistics and a minor in French. Since then, he moved to New York where he has worked at Hearst Digital Studios as a marketing assistant and at the Film Society of Lincoln Center as a member of the theater staff. Most recently, he joined Cinetic Media as the executive assistant to the director of PR and Marketing. In this capacity, he has helped facilitate premier screenings at TIFF, NYFF, and Sundance, and worked on campaigns for the Oscar-nominated documentaries Fire at Sea and I Am Not Your Negro and the Oscar-winning OJ: Made in America. He is an advocate for visibility of minorities both in front of and behind the camera, and aspires to help develop film projects with a social mission.
Emerson Gordon (Cinetic Media)
Emerson Gordon is originally from Montclair, New Jersey, and found his way into the creative arts as an actor and singer, doing regional theater from a young age. He segued into writing when starting to think about films he wanted to star in, and ended up applying to NYU for Dramatic Writing. There, he found a passion for helping develop other people’s scripts and took up a minor in Film Producing, which allowed him to secure internships with Ivanhoe Pictures, IndieWire, James Schamus’s Symbolic Exchange, and, more recently, Andrew Lauren Productions and Cinetic Media. While still navigating his place in the film industry, Emerson is definitely leaning more towards development/film sales/management. They’re all different focuses, but use a lot of the same tools.
Erika Howard (American Documentary | POV)
Erika Howard is the Audience Engagement and Special Projects Director at American Documentary | POV. Most recently she was the Marketing Manager at Women Make Movies, where she was thrilled to highlight the stellar work of women directors. She is formerly the Associate Director of the Gold Coast International Film Festival—there, she programmed films, developed new audiences and programs, and established relationships with sponsors. In addition to working on the marketing and outreach efforts for documentary and independent features, she also previously worked on production projects at The Documentary Group, Ambrica Productions, and Moyers and Company. Inspired by the power of film to impact social change, she founded a film/engagement series featuring women’s issues. She has also participated in nonprofit international projects in India she worked with human trafficking victims; in Kenya, with girls affected by FGM; and Ethiopia with women facing the ostracizing effects of obstetric fistula. She is a member of NYWIFT, and a former board member and film committee co-chair of the NY Chapter, US National Committee for UN Women.
Qing Jin (Tribeca Film Festival / Kino Lorber)
Qing Jin is originally from Beijing, and her interest in film started with her father, who was a film/TV producer in Beijing back in the ’80s. She graduated from NYU Tisch School of the Arts in December 2016 with an MA in Cinema Studies. Before that, she studied at King’s College in London. Last year she interned at the PR department at Film Society of Lincoln Center, where she developed her interest in and passion for film publicity and marketing. During NYFF54, she learned a lot about the publicity side of film festivals, especially for independent and international titles. Right now she’s working at Tribeca Film Festival with the programming and industry departments, and is also interning at Kino Lorber with the Theatrical Marketing team. Jin would like to work in film marketing/publicity in the future, and between different film markets internationally.
Noah Koch (Rooftop Films)
For the last two years, Noah Koch has served as Rooftop Films’ Marketing and Communications Manager, a role that allows him to oversee the organization’s year-round marketing initiatives, including his trademark, wittily composed social media and blog post copy. At Rooftop, he also acts as liaison to filmmakers and press regarding film promotion, giving him the opportunity to work in tandem with many different aspects of the film industry. He is also a member of the Rooftop’s Screening and Filmmakers’ Fund Selection Committees. Noah honed his marketing skills at Film Presence, where he held the position of Film Outreach Coordinator and worked on the grassroots outreach campaigns for such films as The Hunting Ground, National Gallery, The Overnighters, and Citizenfour. Hailing from Westchester, NY, Noah holds a Bachelor of Arts in Media and Cultural Studies from Macalester College and delights in both a great documentary and a trashy teen drama.
Tess Ornstein (Magnolia Pictures)
A born film nerd, Tess Ornstein was raised in Brooklyn by a mother who could best be described as a feminist powerhouse. From grades one through twelve, she attended Saint Ann’s School in Brooklyn Heights where she first discovered her interest in intersectional arts. After high school, Tess attended Hampshire College in western Massachusetts where she studied Arts and Social Change, with a focus in theater. Upon graduating Hampshire, Tess served as the 2015 NYC Fringe Festival’s youngest showrunner for her full length play Cherubim. Following Fringe Festival, Tess redirected her efforts back to film and later, film publicity. This past year she was privileged to work for RJ Millard at Obscured Pictures, before accepting an offer at Magnolia Pictures/Magnet Releasing, where she currently serves as Publicity Coordinator on such films as I Am Not Your Negro, XX, Detour, and My Scientology Movie.
Catalina Ramirez Chaves (Magnolia Pictures)
Catalina Ramírez Chaves is a film director from Cali, Colombia. She directed the short film Los Segundos de Alicia and was awarded for Best Director in The 48 Hour Film Project contest in 2014. She recently directed the short film Love and Cake, which is an official selection of the New Talents section in the Cartagena Film Festival 2017. She is currently working full time as an International Sales Coordinator at Magnolia Pictures in New York and is in the process of writing her first feature film.
Rebecca Winter (IFC Films)
Rebecca Winter is the Manager of Business Development at IFC Films, where she oversees digital distribution of content from the company’s three labels: IFC Films, Sundance Selects, and IFC Midnight. She joined IFC Films in 2015, serving as the Executive Assistant to Co-Presidents Jonathan Sehring and Lisa Schwartz. Previously, Rebecca was a member of NBCUniversal’s renowned Page Program where she worked at The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, Late Night with Seth Meyers, and USA Networks. A graduate of Lafayette College, she holds a B.A. in Film & Media Studies, and a B.A. in Psychology. She currently resides in Brooklyn, NY.
Marie Zeniter (US in Progress)
Marie Zeniter is French-Algerian and was born in Paris. After completing a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature and an MSc in International Business Negotiation, Marie worked for Canal+ within the cinema/film festival department. In 2012, she was selected by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to develop French businesses abroad and moved to New York. Shortly after, she joined US in Progress to handle filmmaker outreach and submissions. She is now Senior Programmer of the biannual event.