Documentary filmmaking has come a long way in the past 30 years, increasing in popularity and shaping lives. The panel will examine past and future generations of documentary filmmakers, featuring some of the more respected and accomplished filmmakers to some of the most emerging and promising ones. It will focus on what has changed forever in the craft of documentary filmmaking due to technology, progression of time, societal shifts - and what will remain timeless.
Molly Thompson from A&E IndieFilms
Molly Thompson launched and runs A&E IndieFilms, AETN’s feature documentary division. She executive produces IndieFilms’ original productions, including "Jesus Camp," by Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady (Academy Award nomination); "American Teen," by Nanette Burstein (best director, Sundance 2008); "Murderball," :My Kid Could Paint That," and "The September Issue," by R.J. Cutler, in theaters September, 2009.
Barbara Kopple is a two-time Academy Award-winner for "Harlan County, USA" and "American Dream." She recently completed her new film "Woodstock: Now & Then" which examines the enduring legacy of the original Woodstock festival. She was the 2006 recipient of the Woodstock Film Festival’s honorary Maverick Award, screened her film “Shut Up and Sing” as the closing night film at the 2006 Woodstock Film Festival and screened her film "My Generation" as the closing night film at the 2000 Woodstock Film Festival.
Rachel Grady is a private investigator turned filmmaker. She is the co-director of the Emmy-nominated documentary “The Boys of Baraka,“ which won the 2006 NAACP award for Outstanding Independent Film. Grady has produced and directed numerous non-fiction films for MTV, CBS, Discovery Channel, A & E and Britain's Channel 4, and completed her second documentary feature, “Jesus Camp,” which was nominated for an Academy Award. In 2007 “Time Magazine” included Grady as one of five innovators in documentary film. Heidi Ewing and she are the co-owners of NYC-based production company Loki Films.
Leon Gast is best known for directing such seminal documentaries as “Hell’s Angels Forever” (1983) and the Oscar winning “When We Were Kings” (1996) chronicling the landmark 1974 fight between Muhammed Ali and George Foreman. Gast recently completed the documentary “No Pictures: The Unwelcome Art of Ron Galella,” about the 78 year old self-proclaimed Paparazzo Superstar, famous for intruding on the lives of decades worth of celebrities, and capturing beautiful images in the process. Gast’s next project is co-directing “Live at the Fillmore” with Amalie Rothschild, a film that explores the modern rock business from its idealistic roots to the cutthroat industry it is today, with a focus on Bill Graham’s Fillmore East & West. Gast studied at Seton Hall and Columbia University, working as an accomplished still photographer during the 1960’s and 1970’s with his photos appearing in Vogue, Esquire, and Harper’s Bazaar.
Emily Kunstler runs Off Center Media, a production company that produces documentaries exposing injustice in the criminal justice system. With Off Center, Kunstler has produced, directed, and edited a number of documentaries including “Tulia, Texas: Scenes from the Drug War” (Best Documentary, Woodstock Film Festival, 2002), “Getting Through to the President” (2004), which has aired on the Sundance Channel, and “William Kunstler: Disturbing the Universe,” which premiered at Sundance (2009) and will air on PBS's POV in 2010.
AJ Schnack is a documentary film maker whose credits include "Convention" (2009), "Kurt Cobain About A Son" (2006), for which he was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award and received the inaugural Cinematic Vision Award at AFI Silverdocs, and "Gigantic: A Tale Of Two Johns" (2002). Schnack is the author and editor of the popular nonfiction film blog "All These Wonderful Things," which he began in 2005 and which is perhaps the most widely read resource for nonfiction filmmaking online. He is the founder and co-chair of the Cinema Eye Honors for Nonfiction Filmmaking. Schnack is currently in production on a feature film with David Wilson about Branson, Missouri, the Ozark Mountain show-town. He is also in development on a new ensemble film (in the style of "Convention") that hopes to shoot sometime in 2010.
Woodstock Film Festival panels are made possible thanks to a generous grant from the Academy Foundation