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The 2023 Variety Gotham Week Expo brings together partners from The Gotham’s Expanding Communities initiative to provide community and thought leadership on topics pertinent to the advancement of film and media creators. The goal of the Expo is to bring together organizations, creators, collectives and film and media storytellers to discuss challenges and provide solutions on how to approach advocacy and career advancement.

How to Attend

The Expo will take place Wednesday, October 4 and Thursday, October 5. The Expo includes panels and a daily happy hour hosted at Soho Works 55 Water. To attend, you must RSVP separately for each day.

Ticketing & Prices

Passes for The Expo are sold out! Join the waitlist for each date below.

Day Pass for October 4th — Advocacy Day

Day Pass for October 5th — Career Advancement Day

Soho Works 55 Water is also pleased to offer a complimentary day pass to their collaborative workspace for all attendees.

Expo Location

All Expo sessions will take place at Soho Works 55 Water, on both October 4th and October 5th. Additional Variety Gotham Week events will present at locations around New York City, listed on their individual RSVP pages.


Wednesday, October 4th — Advocacy Day

The Advocacy Sessions offer community, education, and support geared towards historically excluded filmmakers — filmmakers with disabilities and/or who are Black, African-American, Indigenous, People of Color, gender-diverse, LGBTQIA+, women, and/or from other historically excluded cultures. Conversations specifically speak to inclusion and how film and media creators can build and serve their community. These sessions are led by organizations such as Asian American Documentary Network, Brown Girls Doc Mafia, Center for Asian American Media, Islamic Scholarship Fund, Minorities in Film, New Orleans Film Society, and ReelAbilities Film Festival

9:30 AM – 5:30 PM | Check-In

Check-In will take place in the lobby of Time Out Market at 55 Water St, Brooklyn, NY.

The Expo will take place on the third floor at Soho Works 55 Water.

10:00 AM | Deep Dive: The Inclusion List
with USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative in Collaboration with Adobe Foundation

Take a deep dive into the Inclusion List, the first data-driven website that ranks the most inclusive producers, distributors, and films with theatrical release from 2019 to 2022. The List was developed by Dr. Stacy L. Smith and the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative in collaboration with the Adobe Foundation. Hear from Dr. Stacy L. Smith of USC Annenberg and Amy White from the Adobe Foundation about the methodology they used to put the list together as well as producer Mollye Asher who was included in the rankings and will share the tactics used to ensure inclusivity is top of mind when creating work.


  • Understanding of future inclusivity within the film and media industry
  • Arguments for inclusion to persuade industry gatekeepers
  • Tools to use to ensure inclusivity in a production
  • Best practices when using Inclusion List as a resource


Mollye Asher, Producer

Mollye Asher is an Academy Award-winning producer of NOMADLAND, by Chloé Zhao and starring Frances McDormand. Her other credits include the celebrated films SWALLOW, THE RIDER, SHE’S LOST CONTROL, FORT TILDEN, and SONGS MY BROTHERS TAUGHT ME. Currently in post production is ON SWIFT HORSES starring Daisy Edgar-Jones and Jacob Elordi. Mollye was the winner of the Producers Award at the 2020 Independent Spirit Awards and was included in Variety’s 2021 NY Women’s Impact Report. She is a member of the Academy of Motion Pictures and an alumna of NYU’s graduate film program. Mollye is currently the Head of Development and Production at the financing and production company, FirstGen Content. 

Dr. Stacy L. Smith, Founder of Annenberg Inclusion Initiative

Stacy L. Smith, Ph.D. is the foremost disrupter of inequality in the entertainment industry. Dr. Smith is the Founder of the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative (AII), the leading global think tank studying issues of inequality in entertainment. Dr. Smith’s groundbreaking research examines inclusion of gender, race/ethnicity, the LGBT community, people with disabilities and mental health in storytelling across film, TV and digital platforms. The Initiative releases analyses of top-grossing films (on screen, behind the camera, executive ranks), popular music (artists, songwriters, producers), and impediments facing women and individuals from underrepresented racial/ethnic groups in the director’s chair. The Initiative also performs economic analyses to investigate the relationship between inclusion and financial performance. Dr. Smith’s work is covered regularly in popular press outlets including The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, CBS This Morning, NPR, and many others.

She has authored over 100 book chapters, articles, and reports, along with 40 studies at the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative on various aspects of entertainment, including the landmark CARD report in 2016 and annual studies examining inclusion in top-grossing films and popular music. In addition to being a prolific writer, Dr. Smith speaks routinely on issues of inequality in the media. Her TED Talk has been viewed more than 1 million times, and she has spoken multiple times at the United Nations, the White House, Sundance Film Festival, and the Toronto Film Festival. Other speaking engagements include but are not limited to Promax, the Bloomberg Equality Summit, the Milken Global Conference, and LunaFest. Dr. Smith’s work was also the basis for the docuseries, 4%: Film’s Gender Problem, and she appears in the documentary Half the Picture.

Dr. Smith also works to create and support solutions to increase representation in media. In 2016, with Kalpana Kotagal and Fanshen Cox, she developed the inclusion rider, a contractual clause that guarantees the representation of minorities in films. In 2018, Dr. Smith worked with Brie Larson to advocate for greater access and opportunity for underrepresented film critics at notable film festivals. In 2019, Dr. Smith partnered with TIME’S UP to launch the 4% challenge, which asks Hollywood industry members to work with a female film director in the next eighteen months; the challenge has already been accepted by more than 120 notable creatives and 7 major companies. Dr. Smith served on the Recording Academy Task Force on Diversity and Inclusion following the release of the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative’s inaugural study on the music industry and is Founding Board Member of She Is The Music, and the TIME’S UP Global Leadership Board. LA Weekly named Dr. Smith the most influential person in Los Angeles in 2015. In 2019, the Hollywood Reporter named her one of 50 Agents of Change, and in 2021 Billboard listed Dr. Smith as an industry Change Agent.

Dr. Katherine Pieper, Program Director at Annenberg Inclusion Initiative

Katherine Pieper, PhD is the Program Director at the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative, where she oversees the day-to-day operations of the Initiative’s research and advocacy efforts. In her work with the Initiative, Dr. Pieper has co-authored and contributed to more than 40 studies on diversity and inclusion across entertainment and media industries. As the leading global think tank studying inclusion in media, the Initiative examines the prevalence and portrayal of girls/women, people of color, the LGBTQ+ community, people with disabilities, and mental health conditions on screen across film, episodic, and short film content. Behind the camera, the Initiative has examined the barriers and opportunities facing women and people of color behind the camera in film, the animation and visual effects industries, and the music business. Additionally, Dr. Pieper’s work with the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative has supported quantitative and qualitative investigations into the depiction of girls, older adults, and mental health across film and TV.

Dr. Pieper graduated with a BA in communication from Michigan State University and completed her MA and PhD at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. Dr. Pieper’s dissertation focused on the role of social support in a three-year maternal and child health intervention in Cambodia.  Between 2007 and 2011, she worked in communication and resource development, including proposal writing, reporting, and design of monitoring and evaluation activities for a non-governmental organization based in Phnom Penh. She joined the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative in 2012.

Amy White, Global Head of Corporate Social Responsibility at Adobe and the Executive Director of the Adobe Foundation Annenberg Inclusion Initiative

Amy White is the Global Head of Corporate Social Responsibility at Adobe and the Executive Director of the Adobe Foundation where she leads corporate philanthropy, employee community engagement, environmental sustainability, and technology for good initiatives.

The Adobe Foundation creates positive change through support for creative and digital literacy, social equity and opportunity, and active engagement in the communities where we live and work. The Adobe Foundation is a private foundation created and funded by Adobe Inc.

White is an expert community relations and public policy leader,, with over 15 years experience providing strategic leadership, education and management to non-profit organizations, national coalitions, elected officials and key constituents.

Over her career, Amy previously served as the Director of Corporate Social Responsibility and Public Relations for Nordstrom, as well as the Head of Global Community Relations & Public Affairs at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

11:00 AM | Affirmative Action and the State of DEI in the Documentary Field
with Center for Asian American Media and Asian American Documentary Network

As we grapple with the fallout of the Supreme Court’s ruling against affirmative action, CAAM and A-Doc come together to discuss the implications of affirmative action in our non-fiction filmmaking community. Coupled with the recent spate of diversity executives who were let go or resigned from commercial media entities raise questions about diversity in an industry that is only beginning to embrace inclusivity and racial and ethnic representation. What do BIPOC filmmakers think the impact might be on their access to resources and how they may advocate for representation in public media or other platforms?


  • What does affirmative action look like in the documentary field, in particular in public media?
  • Can we move beyond performative DEI actions?
  • What should filmmakers of color do to keep their work top of mind for supporters across the board?


Mridu Chandra, Director at Saund VS Cochran

Mridu Chandra is a BAFTA and Emmy nominated filmmaker and veteran producer of award-winning documentaries and fiction films that cover topics related to civil rights, environmental and racial justice, LGBTQ+ history, and gender equality. Recent films include producing BECOMING COUSTEAU (Disney+) and co-producing CURED (Independent Lens / PBS). From 2016 to 2019, she was the founding director of IF/Then Shorts at Tribeca Film Institute, where she designed and managed a film fund and distribution initiative to support the professional development and increased visibility of underrepresented filmmakers. She is currently in development to direct a nonpartisan documentary SAUND vs COCHRAN about how Dalip Singh Saund defeated Jacqueline Cochran Odlum in 1956 to become our first Asian, Indian, and Sikh American Congressperson in history. 

Bethany Li, Legal Director at AALDEF

Bethany represented Southeast Asian communities fighting against deportation, including the first Cambodian American to return to the East Coast after deportation. In collaboration with community organizers, she co-produced the documentary “Keep Saray Home” about Southeast Asian families fighting deportations. She served as co-counsel to a multi-racial coalition of organizations and families intervening in a lawsuit in support of Boston Public Schools’ shift in exam policy. Bethany has won millions in back wages for low-wage workers along the Northeast corridor. She has led a variety of initiatives to increase low-income and limited- English proficient Asian Americans’ access to resources. She also published a report documenting the gentrification of Chinatowns on the East Coast and guided the launch of RAISE, the first undocumented Asian American youth group on the East Coast. 

Chi-hui Yang, Senior Program Officer at Ford Foundation

Chi-hui Yang is part of the Creativity and Free Expression team and makes grants globally in documentary film, new media, and visual storytelling for the foundation’s JustFilms program. He manages a portfolio of grants that support artist-led, socially engaged filmmaking, advance a more equitable and inclusive documentary sector, and build the power of organizations and individuals grounded in communities of color and the Global South. Before joining the foundation in 2015, Chi-hui worked extensively as a film curator, including as a selection committee member for MoMA’s Doc Fortnight and consulting series producer for PBS’s POV. From 2000 to 2010, he was director of the San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival, the largest event of its kind in the nation.

Donald Young, Director of Programs at CAAM

Donald Young is the Center for Asian American Media’s Director of Programs. He oversees CAAM’s program areas, and specifically develops and implements CAAM’s national productions and national PBS strategies. In public television, Donald has supervised the national broadcasts of over 150 award-winning projects. As a producer, he has worked both in documentaries and independent feature films. Key projects include the epic five-hour PBS history series Asian Americans, a co-production with WETA and produced by Renee Tajima-Peña; Family Pictures, USA by Thomas Allen Harris; and a feature film adaptation of Chang-rae Lee’s Coming Home Again directed by Wayne Wang.

12:00 PM | Disability Inclusion in the Filmmaking Process
with ReelAbilities Film Festival: New York

As sets become more inclusive and equitable, how can filmmakers create productions that are accessible and inclusive of disability? How can we make sure that accessibility and disability inclusion is considered from pre-production through distribution? ReelAbilities Film Festival hosts filmmakers who bring positive examples of  inclusive crews and processes.


  • Learn about disability inclusion in filmmaking
  • Learn about on-set accessibility
  • Learn about accessible filmmaking


Mathew Jeffers, Actor

Matthew August Jeffers is a critically-acclaimed little person theater and television performer making his feature film debut in Unidentified Objects. He can be seen as “Doctor Mark Walsh” on hit NBC medical drama New Amsterdam and as “Russell” in Season Four of Amazon’s Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. He also recently finished The Public Theater’s production of Richard III starring Danai Gurira.

Elizabeth Sargent, Writer/Director

Liz Sargent is a Korean-American adoptee whose award-winning work explores themes of adoption, disability, and family. As a writer-director, she incorporates her background as a choreographer into visual storytelling that channels complex human emotions that are an extension of her experience as the middle child of eleven and recognize her intersectional identity. Her film TAKE ME HOME won the Julia S. Gouw Fellowship with CAPE and Janet Yang Productions, a Reel Sisters Fellowship, Asian Women Giving Circle grant and raised 30K on Kickstarter.  Festivals: Sundance Santa Barbara IFF, SXSW, with Academy Qualifying wins at LAAPFF Golden Reel Best Short & deadCenter Film Festival Special Grand Jury Best Film.

Garrett Zuercher, Actor/Director

Garrett Zuercher (he/him) is a profoundly Deaf theater and film artist and award-winning playwright who holds an MFA from Hunter College, class of 2022. Based in New York City, he serves as the founding artistic director of Deaf Broadway, for which he is currently producing an all-Deaf, all-ASL staging of Stephen Sondheim’s COMPANY at Lincoln Center this summer. He also recently received a residency commission from The Shed to create an original narrative piece about the lives and work of Deaf artists, which will be produced on the mainstage in the summer of 2024. Dedicated to bringing authentic Deaf voices to the mainstream, he continues to advocate for awareness and representation within the theatre and film industries.

Isaac Zablocki, Director of Film Programs at Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan

Isaac Zablocki is the Director of Film Programs at the Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan with a rich background in multiple aspects of the film industry. After graduating from Columbia University’s film school, he worked at Miramax Films and later produced and directed feature films while also developing educational programs for the Department of Education. He has been instrumental in shaping the film landscape at JCC Manhattan, including the establishment of the Israel Film Center and the annual programming of several film festivals such as the Other Israel Film Festival, which highlights the stories of Arab and underrepresented populations in Israel, and the ReelAbilities Film Festival, the largest festival in the world showcasing films by and about people with disabilities. 

1:00 PM | Lunch Break

Lunch options are available throughout Dumbo, including just downstairs at the Time Out Market.

2:00 PM | Held in Care: Healing and Harm Reductionist Practice for Documentary Participants and Audience
with Brown Girls Doc Mafia

We are amidst a movement of creating documentary production environments that center processes of healing and mental wellbeing for film participants, audience and creatives. How do we move out of the conceptual and into the practice? In this interdisciplinary panel composed of filmmaker, therapist and arts organizer, we will use case studies to discuss and ideate best practices in holding audiences, participants and filmmakers in care throughout the life cycle of a film. Drawing upon these separate yet intersecting perspectives, this panel will unpack the practical ways in which we can continue to build an documentary ecosystem that moves away from extraction and trauma and towards a sustainable and healing process for participants and audiences.


  • Provide practical approaches for filmmakers to reduce harm and foster processes for documentary film participants and audience
  • Discuss arts organization role in providing resources to artists to employ healing processes in their work
  • Gain mental health practitioner’s perspective on the importance and impact of including wellness practices throughout the process of a film’s life cycle


Carrie Hawks, Filmmaker

Carrie Hawks confronts self-imposed and external assumptions about identity in order to promote healing, particularly in relation to Blackness, gender, and queer sexuality. They work in animation, drawing, collage, sculpture, performance, and stand-up. Their work has been nominated for a New York Emmy, screened at numerous festivals including Tribeca, Ann Arbor, and BlackStar, and broadcast on World Channel. They were selected for fellowships with the Jerome Hill Foundation, the Leslie Lohman Museum, and Brown Girls Doc Mafia. They have curated programs for the Ann Arbor Film Festival and ASIFA-East and are an Assistant Professor at Parsons, The New School.

Malikkah Rollins, Co-Founder of DocuMentality

Malikkah is a co-founder of DocuMentality, an initiative designed to elevate the conversation around mental health in the global documentary industry. She is a trained psychotherapist which she served as for 10 years, specializing in supporting young adults experiencing mental health challenges. In her full-time life, she is the Director of Industry and Education at DOC NYC, the largest doc film festival in the United States. She’s been invited to speak or mentor with various film organizations such as TIFF, EFM, Documentary Campus, Sundance and Gotham Labs. She is a member of Brown Girl Doc Mafia, on the board of Women in Film and Video-DC and was an independent doc producer for 6 years. When she’s not busy watching films, Malikkah likes to plot her next international travel adventure.

Camaro West, Co-Executive Director of Peace is Loud

Camaro West is a filmmaker, producer, and people-centered leader committed to advancing justice and centering the stories of Black and brown women. She is the Co-Executive Director of Peace is Loud, a non-profit that harnesses the power of storytelling by women, trans, and nonbinary changemakers to mobilize strategic collective action grounded in equity and care. She oversees the organization’s Film Impact work, strategic planning and institutional fundraising.

Before joining Peace is Loud, Camaro led global advocacy campaigns and program development with UN Women, Black Women Film! Canada and The Dove Self Esteem Project.

As a filmmaker whose work explores themes of motherhood, agency and self-determination, Camaro sees Care as an essential component in documentary filmmaking.

Jennifer Zelaya, LICSW, LCSW, MPH

Jennifer Zelaya, LICSW, LCSW, MPH, is a licensed independent clinical social worker and public health practitioner with over thirteen years of diverse and practical experience in the fields of public health and social work. Through employment in federal, non-profit, and academic sectors, Jennifer has gained a unique understanding of both project management, consulting, and clinical practice. As a clinician, she has worked with adolescents and adults in supporting them through trauma, anxiety, and depression. Most recently, she supervised mental health therapists across several Washington DC Public Schools. Jennifer approaches all of her work with a passion and commitment to the field of mental health, and with a desire to increase access for disenfranchised communities.

3:00 PM | How Do We Support our Creator Community: Expanding Communities Listening Session
with The Gotham Film & Media Institute’s Expanding Communities Program

Expanding Communities is an initiative bringing together organizations dedicated to providing resources, a community space, and industry access to individuals with Disabilities and Black, Indigenous, PoC, and LGBTQIA+ creators across film, TV, and audio industries. 

While Expanding Communities organizations have been in dialogue since its formation in 2020, this session is for film and media creators to give direct feedback about the support they need – specifically the role of labs and fellowships as well as how funding should be distributed. Participants will share their thoughts in breakout groups, and highlights will be shared with the larger group. In addition, filmmakers will be able to ask organizations and festivals – Austin Film Society, Firelight Media, and Sundance Film Festival – directly about their resources.


  • Filmmakers and media creators will give direct feedback to organizations on the topics of labs, fellowships, and funding
  • Filmmakers and media creators will leave with an understanding of the capacities of nonprofit or grassroots organizations and a sense of their own agency


Ximena Amescua Cuenca, Manager of Artist Programs at Firelight Media

Ximena Amescua Cuenca is the Manager of Artist Programs at Firelight Media. In this role, she manages all aspects of program development and implementation for the flagship Documentary Lab. She also manages Firelight Media’s grant-making initiatives, which include the William Greaves Fund for mid-career BIPOC filmmakers in the US, Mexico, Colombia, and Brazil, and the Impact Campaign Fund, which supports audience engagement and impact campaigns led by Firelight Media-supported artists and alumni. Since 2012, she has worked in the nonfiction film industry, mostly at nonprofit organizations working at the intersection of human rights, social justice, and art. Her experience includes documentary film production and curation, museum curation, cultural programming and events production, and social impact strategy.

Ximena is a Rockwood Art of Leadership MacArthur 2023 fellow, a Creative Capital “Taller for Latinx Artists” alumna and the director of the short documentary Juanita, which had its premiere at the 2015 Margaret Mead Film Festival. She is from Tijuana, Mexico, and holds a BA in Anthropology and Media Studies from Pitzer College, as well as a MA in Cinema Studies with a graduate certificate in Culture and Media from New York University.

Rachel Chanoff, Feature Film Program at Sundance

Rachel Chanoff has been working in performing arts and film for 35 years and is the founder and director of THE OFFICE performing arts + film, her New York City-based programming, consulting, and production company. She is the Curator of Performing Arts and Film for the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MASS MoCA), Director of Programming of the CenterSeries at the ’62 Center for Theater and Dance at Williams College, Consultant to the Feature Film Program for the Sundance Institute, Curator of The New York Jewish Film Festival and The Margaret Mead Film Festival, and the Artistic Director of the BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival, New York’s longest running free outdoor performing arts festival. Rachel is proud to serve on the board of the 52nd Street Project and Working Films. She is also a long time participant in the Theater Development Fund’s Open Doors program, which introduces underserved high school students to the theater.

4:30 PM | Advocacy for the Independent Filmmaker Through Community
with Brown Girls Doc Mafia, Islamic Scholarship Fund, Minorities in Film, and New Orleans Film Society

The most authentic stories come from storytellers who are closest to the communities they portray but often are left out of the traditional film and media system. This leaves many filmmakers unsure of how to navigate the mainstream film landscape, from finding the right collaborators to bringing their work to audiences, which forces them to build their own pathways, structures, and communities.

In this collaborative session with Brown Girls Doc Mafia, Islamic Scholarship Fund, New Orleans Film Society, and Minorities in Film, filmmakers will walk you through how to find your community outside the Hollywood structure, how to support and maintain it during the filmmaking process, and how to involve that community in your films’ distribution.


Brit Fryer, Producer

Brit Fryer (he/him) is a queer and trans filmmaker residing in Brooklyn, NY. His approach to nonfiction filmmaking explores performance, memory, and speculative futures through a process-driven lens. His most recent film THE SCRIPT, co-directed with Noah Schamus, examines the dynamics between the trans and nonbinary communities and medical practitioners at the site of language. He is also the director of CARO COMES OUT, which premiered on HBOMax after winning the Knight Made in MIA Award at the Miami International Film Festival. His other films include Vimeo Staff Pick ACROSS, BEYOND AND OVER, and TRANS·IENCE. Recently, he was a producer on Crystal Kayiza’s REST STOP, which won the Short Film Jury Award for US Fiction at the 2023 Sundance Film Festival. He also worked as a producer on Lydia Cornett’s BUG FARM and Noah Schamus’s KIND OF.

He is grateful to have shown work at CPH: DOX, Indie Grits, NewFest, BFI Flare, Outfest, Inside Out, MIX NYC, and Blackstar. He has received essential support from fellowships and residencies such as the Sundance Institute, PBS Diverse Voices, Creative Culture, Chicken and Egg, Yaddo, GLAAD’s Equity in Media and Entertainment Initiative, and HBO / Gotham’s Documentary Development Initiative.

He is currently in development on his first feature film.

Kyra Knox, Impact Producer & Director

Kyra is an award-winning impact, Producer and Director. Her love and passion for the arts started at the age of six when her journey began as a student at Freedom Theatre. She understands the power of storytelling across mediums, and her producing experience has taken her on shoots across the country, from commercial to corporate to documentary. Her Social Impact work has been recognized with two Silver Tellys Awards for “Watch In The Know” by Yahoo. She has also won a Gold Addy and Mosaic Award for her work with the Philadelphia Eagles producing a PSA to bring awareness to the gun violence in her city. Kyra most recently was featured on 6ABC, Deadline, Vibe Magazine, and the Philadelphia Tribune for her debut feature documentary Bad Things Happen In Philadelphia, which is about the impact of gun violence in her city and the nonprofits that are working hard to create change. She is also a 2023 Sundance Producers Lab Intensive fellow with an upcoming feature-length narrative drama. Kyra believes her work behind the scenes is just as important as what makes it to the screen and brings an infectious enthusiasm to every shoot while creating a safe space for the creatives on her sets.

Nicole Tsien, Producer

Nicole Tsien is an independent producer based in Queens, New York. She has previously worked in television for over a decade; most recently as the Director of Program Development at CNN Films. She was formerly the Co-Producer of POV, the longest-running documentary series on PBS. Nicole has participated on panels and juries worldwide, including CAAMFest, Doc NYC, Austin Film Festival, and DocAviv. She was part of the inaugural cohort of Doc NYC Documentary New Leaders in 2020; a 2021 Rockwood JustFilms Fellow, and is on the Steering Committee for the Asian American Documentary Network (A-Doc) and serves as a board member of Brown Girls Doc Mafia.

Iman Zawahry, Filmmaker

Iman Zawahry is one of the first hijabi American-Muslim filmmakers in the nation.  She has worked on numerous films that have played at over 150 venues worldwide. She’s an Emmy award winner, Princess Grace Award recipient, a Lincoln Center Artist Academy Fellow, and Sundance Momentum Fellow and Sundance Universal Fellow. She is also the co-creator of the first American Muslim film grant with Islamic Scholarship Fund where she currently serves as Director of Film Programs. Iman works to amplify the underrepresented female voice and frequently consults and speaks across the nation on Muslims in Film. Her debut film, Americanish, has won twenty six awards, including best director and best film and has been acquired by Sony Pictures.

6:00 PM | Happy Hour

The day will close with an attendee happy hour! To attend the happy hour, you must RSVP for an October 4th Expo Day Pass.

Thursday, October 5th — Career Advancement Day

The Career Advancement sessions offer education and support for film and media creators to launch and advance careers on nontraditional paths while providing brand development tools. These sessions are led by organizations such as Black Film Space, Brown Girls Doc Mafia, Film Festival Alliance, Filmshop, and Minorities in Film.

9:30 AM – 5:30 PM | Check-In

Check-In will take place in the lobby of Time Out Market at 55 Water St, Brooklyn, NY.

The Expo will take place on the third floor at Soho Works 55 Water.

10:00 AM | Filmmaking for Brands: How Can Branded Content Opportunities Supercharge My Career?
with Mofilm and 19th and Park

In the past, working in branded content as a filmmaker has been somewhat taboo. But how can being immersed in the branded content industry support your career, grow your skill set, and give you boundless opportunities to explore your creative endeavors? 

Join The Expo for a conversation with filmmaker Jenn Shaw, content creator Karston Tannis as well as branded content industry executives Tahira White of 19th and Park and Lee Margolis of Mofilm who will share how the worlds of traditional filmmaking and branded content collide to advance your career. This conversation will be moderated by Mofilm CEO Michelle Vincent.


  • How do I make connections in the branded content industry?
  • What skills can be advanced by working in branded content as a filmmaker?
  • What are brands and agencies looking for in a reel for branded content work?
  • How do I balance creative vision with commercial clients’ desires?


Lee Margolis, Global Executive Creative Director at Mofilm

Since joining Mofilm in 2017, Lee has provided a launch-pad of collaborative success for its growing pool of filmmakers and clients including DoorDash, Enfamil, Goldman Sachs, Crown Royal, Danone and Target, Citadel, and AdCouncil, to name a few. In his role as Global Executive Creative Director, Lee continues to connect brands with Mofilm’s network of 10,000 talented and passionate filmmakers. Working closely with his Mofilm team, Lee guides the creative development and looks after multiple phases of the filmmaking process; from ‘casting’ the right filmmaker, to brief development, to script and shot lists, to final production.

Prior to Mofilm, Lee had a long and successful career in the agency world, working at notable world-class shops such as R/GA and Chiat/Day on brands including NFL, MasterCard, Verizon, and Google.

On a final note, Lee is a self-proclaimed amateur graffitist, as well as a long time pit bull owner, proud vegan-taco-eater, and most importantly, a passionate champion of filmmakers around the globe.

Jenn Shaw, Writer/Director

JENN SHAW is an award-winning commercial and narrative director specializing in coming-of-age, dramady and sports content. Her bold and cinematic filmmaking has both distinctive humor and dramatic instinct. Her passion for crafting strong character-driven stories for a variety of platforms is evidenced in her directorial campaigns for Kia, Hyundai, Capital One, Pizza Hut, and Verizon.  Recently, she directed national commercial spots for  Sony’s The Woman King, Hyundai, Marco’s Pizza, Brach’s and PMC.

 In 2017, her ESPN film $15 Kicks was executive produced by Spike Lee and earned a Black Reel Award. Within the last two years, she’s directed three acclaimed narrative shorts, I Won The Lottery…, Charlie and the Hunt starring Lauren Ridloff (Eternals, Walking Dead) and a Tribeca Studios PandG filmed titled Gaps Executive Produced by Queen Latifah and starring Lorraine Toussaint. Her film’s have appeared at Cannes Short Film Corner, Pan African Film Festival, Hollyshorts and Tribeca Film Festival (2023) to name a few. Last Year, she executive produced and directed the 3-part docu-series Running While Black for Vice, and Adidas. Currently, she’s in the Black Magic Collective Future Women of TV program. 

Her feature film The Pill is in development with tinygiant and in TIFF’s Break Through the Lens 2022-23. The film is set for production in 2024 with casting director Kim Coleman (Love Craft, SpaceJam: The New Legacy) slated as Executive Producer. She’s managed by Anonymous Content and repped by Sola Fasehun (The Distribution Collective).

Karston “Skinny” Tannis, Content Creator

Karston Tannis is an internationally acclaimed photographer and director known for his stunning images and powerful storytelling. With a passion for documenting culture and creating aspirational imagery, Tannis has built a reputation for producing visually striking work that captures the essence of his subjects and brings their stories to life.

Over the course of his career, Karston has worked with a wide range of clients, including high-end luxury brands such as, W Hotels, Grey Goose, American Express, JetBlue, and various tourism boards. His ability to deliver images that evoke emotion and inspire action has made him a sought-after collaborator for brands seeking to connect with audiences in meaningful ways.

Whether he’s creating images for a luxury brand or capturing the essence of a local community, Tannis’s work is always imbued with a sense of passion, purpose, and authenticity.

Michelle Vincent, CEO at Mofilm

Michelle Vincent currently serves as CEO of Mofilm, a content creation and media production network within The Brandtech Group. She brings over 20 years of media, sales, and business strategy experience across various roles at Google, Meta (fka Facebook), Newscorp, and Hearst Magazines. Michelle has led revenue growth and operations for sales, creative, and product specialist teams of all shapes and sizes. With deep expertise in media, digital, marketing, and creative solutions, Michelle’s leadership has driven high-impact business and marketing outcomes for many Fortune 500 brands. Her key clients have included some of the world’s leading brands in Travel, Auto, SaaS, CPG, Entertainment, and more during times of growth, disruption, IPO, M&A, and overall transformation. Michelle holds a BSBA degree from the University of Pittsburgh, College of Business Administration with a dual concentration in Marketing and Finance.

Tahira White, 19th and Park

In just over a decade, Tahira White’s transformative journey has propelled her from an intern’s role to the position of Co-Founder and Executive, commanding two enterprises: 19th and Park, a trailblazing creative marketing and production powerhouse, and Wercflow, an innovative SaaS solution revolutionizing agile productions.

Commencing her career at Navia Vision, Tahira swiftly harnessed her entrepreneurial acumen, embarking on a freelancing venture that earned her collaborations with industry giants like Samsung and the visionary artist, Frank Ocean. Today, as a driving force behind 19th and Park, she masterminds unparalleled creative marketing, catering to esteemed clientele including Nike, Meta, Apple, and Chase.

Tahira’s visionary leadership extended beyond the norm as she identified operational gaps within the industry’s supply chain, birthing Wercflow – a groundbreaking solution that seamlessly integrates talent aggregation, compliance, and rapid onboarding, ushering in a new era of project-based production efficiency, utilizing AI.

Yet, Tahira’s influence transcends the boardroom. She dedicates herself to nurturing the next generation’s creative aspirations, serving as a guiding light and advisor to InTandem, while also lending her expertise to the PGA New Council and Rosette Foundation.

With a bi-coastal presence spanning New York and Los Angeles, Tahira White epitomizes a magnetic fusion of leadership, innovation, and unyielding executive prowess in the ever-evolving landscape of the creative industry.

11:00 AM | How to Navigate Artificial Intelligence in Film
with Black Film Space

Artificial Intelligence is a new form of technology that has impacted various industries for several years, and film is no exception. At this year’s Gotham Expo, Black Film Space will address the trending discussions around AI by hosting a discussion with various professionals that work with the intersection of film and technology. The panel participants will share their thoughts on how artists can retain agency, autonomy, and technical skill in our ever-changing industry so that they can navigate AI successfully.


  • Cautions about AI
  • Opportunities about AI
  • How professionals in various roles can speak to its impact on their work


Brandon Hayes, Freelance Cinematographer

Brandon Haynes is an award-winning narrative and commercial cinematographer based in Brooklyn, NY. He started his creative journey as a photographer in 2009 and fell in love with cinematography after attending Denver’s SeriesFest in 2016. Teaching himself the rules and tricks of the trade, he now blends the worlds of music, fashion, and sports with his love for TV and cinema. His drive to continually perfect his craft, and capture a striking balance of color and shadow, has allowed him to shoot for a diverse array of clients, including Hennessy, Uptown Magazine, Adidas, Bumble, BET, Volkswagen, Doordash, Facebook, Bumble, and Google.

The approach Brandon takes to filmmaking stems from his love and his past life as an athlete. He sees filmmaking as one of the most team-centric art forms. Everyone comes together for a common goal to do their best and create something everyone is proud of, getting the big Win! This love for the craft has allowed him to hold workshops on lighting with Abel Cine. He always wants to impart the knowledge he has learned to his peers and the next generation of cinematographers. Especially cinematographers and filmmakers of color.

Brandon’s cinematography has garnered awards and accolades for Best Cinematography, Best Cinematographer, and Best Film across many film festivals and competitions, such as Rhode Island International Film Festival (Academy Award/BAFTA Qualifying), San Francisco Doc Fest, Bushwick Film Festival, New York Cinematography Awards, Wales International Film Festival and BLVD Film Festival.

Taylor K. Shaw, Founder of Black Women Animate Studios

Taylor K. Shaw is a natural-born trailblazer and founder of BWA Studios, the first animation studio powered by Black women and animators of color. As a visionary producer and writer, Taylor is committed to building a more inclusive media landscape and creating liberating narratives for Black women and other marginalized groups. That work is furthered in her role as Partner and Transformational Coach at Inspire Justice. In 2021, she was recognized by Forbes as a 30 Under 30 Hollywood and Entertainment honoree and the winner of the Shadow and Act Rising Executive Award. Some of her successes at BWA Studios include a first-look deal with Warner Bros. Discovery through their 150 Program and the creation of digital and television series animation for the likes of Hulu, AandE, HBO, and more. The current Tory Burch Foundation and Soho House Fellow has been featured in Deadline Hollywood, Emmy Magazine, Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, and the LA Times for her work empowering marginalized voices in entertainment.

Jalina Stewart, XR Producer & Strategist

Jalina Stewart began her 10-year journey into the XR space working with 360-film and VR platforms that provided viewers access to premium interactive video content. Exploring new modes of storytelling, she subsequently joined emerging tech group Navteca, known for combining data visualization with 360 camera footage to tell climate and science stories. Delving deeper into the world of emerging technologies, Jalina began her Mixed Reality deep dive in 2018, spending 2 years overseeing the build of NYC’s first premium volumetric video capture studio. As an XR evangelist, Jalina Stewart has been working with Business Finland, the Government of Finland’s Innovation & Trade Group, Since December 2021 to introduce Finnish companies to the US, starting with the first virtual XR Accelerator X MSFT Garage.

Jalina spent over a decade working in the global music, advertising and media industries, creating unique brand exposure opportunities on a variety of entertainment platforms including a digital docu-series for WSJ, as well as broadcast commercial campaigns and music videos for leading artists, including Alicia Keys, Prince, Sting, Pharrell Williams, Snoop Dogg, Jennifer Lopez, Bon Jovi, Jay Z & Beyonce and more. She lives in New York City and is a graduate of Columbia University.

Lande Yoosuf, Co-founder and Partnerships Director of Black Film Space

Lande Yoosuf is a Nigerian-American novelist, Huffington Post blogger, screenwriter, filmmaker and cofounder of the non-profit organization Black Film Space. She has 15 years of production, development and casting experience in non-fiction programming, and has worked with several networks, including MTV, A&E Networks, NBC, WEtv, and Bravo. Her short film, “Privilege Unhinged”, screened at the Martha’s Vineyard African American Film Festival, Big Apple Film Festival, the DC Black Film Festival, aired on AMC’s Shorts TV and was a finalist for “Insecure” star Jean Elie’s short film contest under his company banner, Bassett House.

Yoosuf’s second film, “Second Generation Wedding” screened at the Bronze Lens Film Festival, Black Girls Rock! Film Festival, and inspired the novel, “Ko-Foe.” She directed Antu Yacob’s dramatic short film “Love in Submission”, which screened at the Afrikana Film Festival, Noire Film Festival and the New York African Film Festival. The film was accepted into the “Emerging Black Filmmaker Film Collection”, screened in over 60 theaters throughout the country, and was part of a diversity case study discussion about Hollywood at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival.

As Co-founder and Partnerships Director of Black Film Space, Lande works to contribute to expanded control, ownership and media management for content creators of African descent across all cinematic formats and content platforms. She served as a host, workshop facilitator, speaker and moderator for events with organizations like ARRAY, HBO, ABFF, BAM’s New Voices in Black Cinema, The Root and many others. Her speaking engagements received coverage from outlets such as The New York Times.

Lande earned a Bachelors of Arts from Brooklyn College in Television and Radio, and honed her writing skills through classes taught by Jackson Taylor, the Associate Director at The New School’s Graduate Writing Program. She reps her Nigerian background proudly and holds down her hometown, the world-famous republic of Brooklyn, New York.

12:00 PM | Building a Truly Collaborative Team
with Filmshop

Learn effective approaches to identify kindred creatives, bring out the best in any artistic collaboration, and establish an enduring network of support. Explore insights and challenges in finding producing partners and other key collaborators for your film. Take away practical tips to foster successful collaborations, overcome creative obstacles, and cultivate a vibrant and supportive filmmaking community that continues to fuel your creative aspirations.


  • Considerations and approaches to finding the right producing partner(s) and other key collaborators for your project
  • Common communication challenges in collaborative projects and ways to face and learn from them
  • Effective ways to launch post-project collaboration opportunities, like forming creative collectives or collaborative groups that can engage in future endeavors together


Albert Beniada, Filmshop Executive Director

Albert Beniada (he/him) has been Filmshop’s Executive Director since 2015. He relishes supporting a talented and ambitious community of filmmakers, colleagues who continually inspire him in his own filmmaking. Albert has directed over a dozen short films and screened work around the country. He is in development on a feature dramedy about a party clown, “The Joy Project.” He and his family are proud to call New York and Miami home.

Emma Fidel, Filmmaker and Journalist

Emma Fidel (she/her) is a NYC-based Emmy-nominated filmmaker and journalist. Emma co-produced The New York Times’ feature documentary “Sorry/Not Sorry” (TIFF 2023) and served as the field producer for Raoul Peck’s “Silver Dollar Road” (Amazon Studios, TIFF 2023). She was the U.S. field producer for Nanfu Wang’s “In the Same Breath” (HBO, Sundance 2021) and co-producer of “Take Your Pills: Xanax” (Netflix) and “Once Upon a Time in Uganda” (DOC NYC 2021). Emma’s directorial debut, “Queen of New York,” will premiere at NewFest as the New York Centerpiece film on Oct. 16.

Alex Hsie, Filmshop Member

Alex (they/them) brings over a decade of diverse experience to their role as a Production Manager at Vox Media Studios and as an independent filmmaker. Their portfolio spans commercials, branded content, editorials, and indie feature films. Notably, Alex won the Scriptapalooza 2015 1 Hour Category award, premiered their short film “DELIVERING” at the New York Short Film Festival, and was a finalist at the New York Film & TV Festival. Beyond their professional accomplishments, Alex embraces adventure, whether scaling rock faces or riding motorcycles with the Sirens+ M.C. Their dedication contributes to a collaborative and creative environment where teamwork thrives.

Stacey Maltin, Filmmaker and Performer

Stacey Maltin (she/her) is an award-winning filmmaker and performer. Through her work she strives to show that humanity is nuanced and empathy is universal. Stacey directed, wrote, and starred in the feature film “Triple Threat,” which garnered multiple awards on the festival circuit and was distributed by Gravitas Ventures in 2022. She also directed the mini-series “MASHED,” earning top accolades at Series Fest, Hollyshorts, & Nashville FF, among others. Her debut feature film, “Landing Up,” was a Tribeca All Access Grant finalist and distributed by The Orchard. Stacey is repped by Navigation Media and proudly affiliated with Film Fatales & Filmshop.

1:00 PM | Lunch Break / Film Festival Alliance Listening Session

Film Festival Alliance Executive Director, Barbara Twist, will lead a discussion for filmmakers to answer any and all questions about film festivals; from determining your film’s goals, to the current festival landscape, to finding the right festival for your film. Drop by between 1PM – 2PM to join in the conversation.

Lunch options are available throughout Dumbo, including just downstairs at the Time Out Market.

2:00 PM | The Age of the Influencer: Youth Pathways in Storytelling, Creativity, and Artistry
with Brown Girls Doc Mafia

BIPOC youth are continuously at the heart of culture-setting conversation and aesthetics. Young people are constantly stretching their imaginations and creating stories for those in their communities and beyond. However, there is still a large gap between young BIPOC creatives and sustained filmmakers. What limits the trajectory from one space to the other? How do we as organizations provide resources and distribute intergenerational power to support their artistic journeys? What conversations are emerging for young filmmakers in regards to their role, responsibility, identity and point of view as an artist? This panel will discuss these provocations and the inflection points that allow accessible opportunities to close this gap from youth creators to sustainable professional filmmakers.


  • Ideate organizational strategies to make career pathways available and accessible to youth, particularly marginalized identities not adequately represented in the documentary industry
  • Discuss ways to distribute decision making power to youth in order to provide sovereign space for creation
  • Deepen understanding of generational relationship to nonfiction and fiction space for BIPOC and nonbinary creatives and filmmakers


Cait Carvalho, Director of Curriculum at Gotham EDU

Cait Carvalho is a Brooklyn-based artist, educator, and currently the Director of Gotham EDU at the Gotham Film and Media Institute (formerly IFP). With over a decade of experience in the field of education, Cait has worked with students and talent from a wide range of proficiencies and backgrounds; from curious elementary school students, to experienced graduate-level candidates. Cait’s pedagogical journey encompasses an array of artistic mediums and disciplines; From the nuanced world of 16mm analog filmmaking to the digital affordances of animation, coding, and the business skills necessary to thrive in the film and media industry. By integrating artistic and entrepreneurial practices, Cait hopes to instill confidence and empower her students to play and create boldly.

As an advocate for bridging the gap between industry professionals and emerging talents, Cait plays a pivotal role in shaping the Gotham’s educational landscape. Her responsibilities include the development and execution of cutting-edge curricula, fostering relationships with sponsors, partners, and academic institutions, and maintaining a steadfast commitment to student engagement and success across the spectrum of programs within Gotham EDU. Moderating over 60+ discussions, Cait strives to provide an engaging environment that expands the creative and professional horizons of emerging talent. Her goal is to support and nurture a more equitable and accessible media ecosystem, particularly for those from underserved and underrepresented communities. In her spare time, Cait likes to play bingo, listen to paranormal podcasts, and make movies with her friends.

Darian Henry, Co-Founder and Co-Executive Director of Youth FX

Darian Henry is a filmmaker, digital media educator, founding member and co-executive director of Youth FX, a nationally renowned film and media organization. She has shot, directed, and produced over 20 short documentary, narrative, and experimental films. As an educator, Darian uses film to build community and foster self-determination while bridging gaps between the past, present and future. Darian Henry was born and raised in Hanover, Jamaica. She is currently based in New York.

Kiyoko McCrae, Program Director at Chicken and Egg

Kiyoko McCrae (she/her) is an award-winning documentary filmmaker and Program Director at Chicken & Egg Pictures where she works to build gender and racial equity through its programs and partnerships. Previously, Kiyoko was Director of Documentary Programming and Filmmaker Labs at the New Orleans Film Society. There, she led the documentary film programming for the New Orleans Film Festival and worked to connect Southern filmmakers to resources and relationships through the Emerging Voices Directors Lab, Southern Producers Lab, and South Pitch. Prior to that, she was the Managing Director of Junebug Productions, a nonprofit organization that produces and presents art that questions and confronts inequitable conditions that have historically impacted the Black community in New Orleans. She has worked as an organizational development consultant for social justice arts organizations and is an award-winning film and theater director. Her films have screened at AFI Docs, Calgary, Hot Springs, Flickers Rhode Island, IndieMemphis, Cucalorus, and Milwaukee and have been supported by the Center for Asian American Media, Firelight Media, Reel South, World Channel, Southern Documentary Fund, and others. She is a 2017-2018 Intercultural Leadership Institute Fellow, a 2020 John O’Neal Cultural Arts Fellow, and a member of A-Doc.Kiyoko received her BFA in Theatre Arts from NYU’s Tisch School. She was raised in Tokyo and has also lived in London and New Orleans. She is happy to be returning to the New York area with her husband and two children.

3:00 PM | Developing Your Brand: The Value of Film Festivals
with Film Festival Alliance

Developing your brand is critical to your filmmaking career; film festivals are an ideal place to do this. From establishing your identity to building relationships, film festivals offer many opportunities to expand awareness of you as a filmmaker, and many ways for you to strengthen your artistic work. Hear from festival programmers and consultants on how to build relationships with programmers, leverage education & conference programming, and network with the filmmaking community, even when the festival hasn’t programmed your work.

Faridah Gbadamosi, Film Curator & Culture Critic

Faridah Gbadamosi is a film curator and culture critic working towards making the space more inclusive. In particular, her interests are in changing the space of tastemakers and rethinking the models for curation and exhibition. She has worked in various roles at different film festivals and other film organizations, including Outfest, the California Film Institute, Athena Film Festival, SIFF, and many more. In addition to her programming roles, she has also worked as the Director of Distribution at Open Your Eyes and Think MF, the distribution wing of David Magdael & Associates, a consultant on different film projects, and a freelance culture critic. She currently works at Tribeca Enterprises as a Senior Programmer.

Lela Meadow-Conner, Producer & Founder of mamafilm

Lela Meadow-Conner is Producer and Founder of mamafilm, Cofounder of rePROFilm, and an award-winning producer. She has held leadership roles at many film festivals. Her current producing projects include Sav Rodgers’ Chasing Amy (Tribeca, 2023) and Nitzan Mager’s Run Amok. She has several projects in development, including The Spice Poet with LunaMax Films and Priyanka Chopra’s Purple Pebble Pictures; and the Green Tide Rising podcast, an audio and video documentary series following the seismic shift in abortion rights in Latin America.

Lela has participated in The Industry Academy (a program of Film at Lincoln Center and the Locarno Film Festival), the Brand Storytelling Certificate Program, and holds a degree in the culinary arts. She is a recipient of both 40 Under 40 and Women in Business honors from the Wichita Business Journal and has served on film juries, including AFI and the NAACP Image Award. She’s a frequent panelist for The Gotham, South by Southwest, Ghetto Film School, and others, and has been quoted as a trade expert in the New York Times, Filmmaker magazine, IndieWire, Box Office Pro, and more.

Lela serves on the board of Los Angeles’ iconic Vidiots Foundation, as Board President of the Art House Convergence, and is a member of the Brown Girls Doc Mafia and the Documentary Producers Alliance. Most importantly, she is a mom to two daughters, Edie and Margo.

Kristin Molloy, Festival and Program Manager at Athena Film Festival

Kristin Molloy is the Festival and Program Manager for the Athena Film Festival at Barnard College. She joined the festival in 2015 as its Operations Manager. She has over ten years of experience in operations, logistics, and events management while working for various festivals, theaters, and non-profits. These include Rooftop Films, Slamdance Film Festival, and the Montclair Film Festival, among others. She has a background in Arts Management and a passion for building and growing communities through sharing Art in all forms. She received a BA in Cultural and Media Studies from Eugene Lang College, the New School.

Barbara Twist, Executive Director at Film Festival Alliance

Barbara Twist is a filmmaker and exhibition consultant based in Los Angeles. Her work includes producing, writing, post-production supervision, distribution, & exhibition strategies. In addition to her producing work, she is the Executive Director of Film Festival Alliance, an international member organization of film festivals. She is the former Managing Director of the Art House Convergence, an international organization for the art house and independent theater community. Her award-winning films have played at festivals including Austin Film Festival, Aspen ShortsFest, Atlanta Film Festival, Palm Springs ShortFest, and New Orleans Film Festival. She holds an M.F.A. in Creative Producing from Columbia University. She is a member of the Producers Guild of America.

4:00 PM | Amplifying Your Independent Film: Marketing Techniques for Targeted Audience Engagement
— with Minorities in Film

This one-hour session is designed to provide independent filmmakers with valuable insights and practical strategies for effectively marketing their film projects. By leveraging advertising techniques and digital platforms, filmmakers can reach their target audience and increase engagement, ultimately maximizing the impact of their films in a competitive market.


  • Tailored Strategies for Impactful Reach: Attendees will learn how to develop tailored marketing strategies that resonate with their specific target audiences, ensuring that their films gain visibility and connect with viewers who share a genuine interest in their stories
  • Navigating Digital Platforms with Confidence: Millennial indie filmmakers with limited marketing knowledge will gain insights into navigating the digital landscape with confidence. They will explore how to effectively use social media, digital advertising, and online content to showcase their films to a global audience
  • Empowerment through Inclusivity: The panel will emphasize the importance of inclusivity and how underrepresented communities can leverage marketing techniques to amplify their voices. Attendees will discover how embracing their unique perspectives can not only attract a diverse audience but also contribute to a more inclusive and vibrant film industry


Brittany Franklin, Director | Impact Producer & Founder of Minorities in Film

Brittany Franklin Is a socially driven Director, Photographer and impact producer based in New York, with a diverse arts background in theatre, film and community organizing. She is the founder Minorities in Film (MiFILM), a collective for BIPOC/People with Disabilities in film that launched globally in 2019. With MiFILM’s innovative inclusion and cultural strategy that centers community and re-designs, Brittany has helped develop pipeline programs to address the homogenous nature of productions. Her work has garnered partnerships from 72&Sunny, Prettybird, The Gotham, Even/Odd, AICP, Final Draft, leading tech brands and Alma Harel’s Free the Work.

Through her work, both personal and commercial, she aims to create powerful experiences that preserve culture, and honor the people that define it. Brittany has been featured in VICE and I-D magazine. She is a recipient of the 2021 Sundance Uprising Grant Fund and the The Barbara and Carl Zydney Grant for Artists with Disabilities. She is a 2022 SeriesFest Shondaland Women Directors Finalist, an alumni of RespectAbility x WarnerMedia Early Access Career Bootcamp, and currently a 2023 RespectAbility Lab Fellow.

Kyra Knox, Impact Producer & Director

Kyra is an award-winning impact, Producer and Director. Her love and passion for the arts started at the age of six when her journey began as a student at Freedom Theatre. She understands the power of storytelling across mediums, and her producing experience has taken her on shoots across the country, from commercial to corporate to documentary. Her Social Impact work has been recognized with two Silver Tellys Awards for “Watch In The Know” by Yahoo. She has also won a Gold Addy and Mosaic Award for her work with the Philadelphia Eagles producing a PSA to bring awareness to the gun violence in her city. Kyra most recently was featured on 6ABC, Deadline, Vibe Magazine, and the Philadelphia Tribune for her debut feature documentary Bad Things Happen In Philadelphia, which is about the impact of gun violence in her city and the nonprofits that are working hard to create change. She is also a 2023 Sundance Producers Lab Intensive fellow with an upcoming feature-length narrative drama. Kyra believes her work behind the scenes is just as important as what makes it to the screen and brings an infectious enthusiasm to every shoot while creating a safe space for the creatives on her sets.

Mariah Sanchez, Performer & Strategist

Mariah (muh-rie-yuh) is a New York native with an unhealthy obsession of all forms of media. She’s spent most of her life performing and has now added marketing strategist to her resume. She has an affinity for the unconventional and would LOVE to chat about the latest social trend. Let’s be friends! @yeahlikecarey on all socials.

5:00 PM | Happy Hour

The day will close with an attendee happy hour! To attend the happy hour, you must RSVP for an October 5th Expo Day Pass.



Soho Works 55 Water is in an accessible building. Just inside the entrance on Water St, there is wheelchair elevator. There is also an entrance through the Time Out Market via Brooklyn Bridge Park where no wheelchair elevator is needed. Once inside, there are elevators to the 3rd Floor.

There are several large, single stall bathrooms on the 3rd floor.


Accessible Seating is available. Please reach out to Claire Hackett, Expo Coordinator ([email protected]) to reserve.


The closest subway stations to Soho Works 55 Water are York St (F) and High St – Brooklyn Bridge (C). These are not accessible stations.

The closest accessible stations are Jay St – Metro Tech (A/C/F/R) and Dekalb Ave (B/Q/R). From there, take the B25 bus to Front St/York St.

DUMBO is a historic neighborhood and many streets are paved with cobblestone. This may be difficult to navigate for persons with wheelchairs and mobility devices.

CART Captioning

All sessions will be live captioned. A link with the captioned text will be provided for attendees to access through their personal devices.


The Expo Sessions are in-person only, and will be recorded for archival purposes.


General Guidelines:

  • • Face masks and vaccination are strongly recommended for all participants, but will not be required. Masks will be provided at the event.
  • • Stay home if — you have tested positive for COVID-19 within the past 10 days.
  • • Stay home if — you are not feeling well, or if have exhibited symptoms of COVID-19 within the past 10 days. 
  • • Face mask is required if — you have been exposed to someone who tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 10 days.

In addition, all participants are asked to:

  • • Wash hands as often as possible and use hand sanitizing stations.
  • • Cover nose and mouth when sneezing or coughing.

To see the CDC’s current detailed recommendations, please visit their website.


If you have more questions about accessibility, contact Claire Hackett, Expo Coordinator ([email protected]).

About the Expo

Expanding Communities, a program of The Gotham Film and Media Institute, is dedicated to providing resources, a community space, and industry access to individuals with Disabilities and Black, Indigenous, PoC, and LGBTQIA+ creators across film, TV, and audio industries.

Through partnerships with organizations aligned with uplifting historically excluded voices, the program acts as a platform for both creators and organizations to reach new audiences, develop networks of potential collaborators, and access career advancement resources and opportunities within the media and entertainment industry.

Partner organizations include Black Film Space, BlackStar Projects, Black TV and Film Collective, CAAM, Film Fatales, Film Festival Alliance, Film Independent, Islamic Scholarship Fund,, Minorities in Film, NewFest, New Orleans Film Society, Philadelphia Latino Film Festival, Q26, ReelAbilities Film Festival, Transgender Film Center, Undocumented Filmmakers Collective, Women in Film, Women Make Movies, among others.

For inquiries about the Expo and how you, or your organization, can get involved, please email [email protected].