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PANEL: Social Impact in Media

"Social Impact" is a term and a goal that many filmmakers thrive to achieve. Yet it can seem overwhelming in the face of the many challenges, from getting any project funded, made and out there, to achieving and showing the results of the "impact". Our panelists, for whom impact is a vital part, will lead us through personal case studies to explore and define what has worked for them. Here are some common questions they will try to answer:

. What's behind all the buzz about impact measurement?
. How do we measure impact when it's not always clearly definable?
. Is it fair to expect to require filmmakers to be held accountable for this type of work?
. What are some best practices from the field?
. Is the impact producer an essential hire for any project today?
. When, how and why some films can be a tool for real change?

PANELISTS:

Andrew Catauro is the Manager of JustFilms, the Ford Foundation's social justice documentary and digital storytelling initiative. JustFilms provides support to filmmakers, artists and organizations who seek to drive social change by using creative visual approaches to highlight issues of justice, rights, and equity. JustFilms works to expand networks and resources for this community of independent makers around the world, to elevate their artistry, and to maximize the impact of their stories. Prior to joining the Foundation in 2013, Andrew was Coordinating Producer of the prime time PBS documentary showcase POV, supervising programming and production work flows for the series.

Dan Cogan

is the executive director and co-founder of Impact Partners, a fund and advisory service for investors and philanthropists who seek to promote social change through film. Since its inception in 2007, Impact Partners has been involved in the financing of more than 60 films, including The Cove, which won the 2010 Academy Award for Documentary Feature and How to Survive A Plague, which was nominated for the Academy Award for Documentary Feature in 2013. Cogan co-founded Gamechanger Films, which launched in September 2013. Gamechanger Films is the first for-profit film fund dedicated exclusively to financing narrative features directed by women.

Paco de Onis grew up in several Latin American countries during a time of dictatorships. He is the executive director and executive producer of Skylight, a human rights media organization dedicated to creating documentary films and innovative media tools for long-term strategies to advance social and economic justice. One of these long-term strategies is Skylight Labs, a program developed to disseminate Skylight's model for developing human rights media ecosystems in conjunction with committed media makers, technologists and movement organizations. The Labs have a regional focus, but with the ultimate goal of creating a global network of practitioners.

Mike Webber is an award-winning documentary filmmaker and producer/co-director of The Student Body. His career began with fiction films, producing numerous theatrical films for studios such as 20th Century Fox and Lionsgate. Applying his storytelling skills to non-fiction filmmaking, Webber went on to direct his "passion project," the critically-acclaimed hit documentary The Elephant in the Living Room, which won 5 Best Documentary awards and released as the #1 independent film in the US. Michael has been guest on dozens of radio and television talk shows, including appearances on The Today Show, ABC World News Tonight, NBC Nightly News, Nightline, and ABC 20/20.

Todd Wider (with his brother, Jedd), has produced numerous critically and commercially successful documentary films, including Academy Award nominated King's Point, multiple Primetime Emmy Award and Peabody Award winning Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God, Emmy Award nominated Semper Fi: Always Faithful, multiple Emmy Award nominated Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer, and Academy Award and multiple Emmy Award winning Taxi to the Dark Side. He was nominated by the Producers Guild of America for Outstanding Producer of Documentary Theatrical Motion Pictures.

MODERATOR: Cynthia Kane serves as Senior Commissioning Producer for documentaries at Al Jazeera America. Prior: ITVS (Independent Television Service), managing the International Initiative for Funding, Sundance Channel, where she co-created DocDay.

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