Film RadarFilm Radar
The International Documentary Association Presents:  Doc U: Docs on TV - Evolution of the Broadcast Landscape
Posted: 14 March 2013 10:49 AM   [ Ignore ]
Jr. Member
Total Posts:  44
Joined  2010-10-13

Monday, March 18, 2013
7:30pm - 9:00pm Discussion & Audience Q&A
Reception to Follow

611 N. Fairfax Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90036

The last few months have seen a number of major changes in the broadcast outlets for nonfiction programs. CNN launched CNN Films, upping the network’s commitment to long format documentaries. Participant Media acquired the Documentary Channel and Halogen TV, to be re-branded and launched this summer as a new channel featuring scripted and nonscripted programming, and LA’s KCET, the nation’s largest independent public television station, has merged with Link TV creating KCETLink, a new transmedia independent network that acquires, produces and distributes provocative global programming.  With these new ventures, and other evolving players on the scene, we’ll take a look at the outlook for docs on TV.

What programming will these new channels be seeking? How will their content to be accessed in the variety of ways available to consumers today? How do these new outlets increase the visibility and availability of docs and non-fiction content? How do these new initiatives, acquisitions and mergers signal the future for non-fiction works on television?

Join Tom White, Editor of Documentary magazine, and a panel of industry insiders including Belisa Balaban, SVP, Unscripted Programming at Participant Media; Gary Dauphin, Director, New Media, KCET,;and Lizzie Kerner, Director of Development & Acquisitions at CNN Films, as they discuss the changing landscape and new opportunities for docs on television.

More information and tickets available at

Doc U is the International Documentary Association’s series of educational seminars and workshops for aspiring and experienced documentary filmmakers. Taught by artists and industry experts, participants receive vital information and insight on various topics relevant to the world of documentary filmmaking.

For more information on IDA’s Doc U, including Doc U Online go to

Special support provided by:
Los Angeles County Arts Commission
Hollywood Foreign Press Association
FirstCom Music
Brooks Institute
Department of Cultural Affairs, Los Angeles
Axis Pro
Indie Printing
Members and Supporters of IDA

Belisa Balaban, Senior Vice President, Unscripted Programming for Participant Television

Belisa Balaban is Senior Vice President, Unscripted Programming for Participant Television. She is responsible for overseeing the development and production of unscripted series for Participant’s new TV network.

Belisa started her career in television in her home town, New York City, as a junior casting director, and then a development executive, working at Fox and Comedy Central. In 1999, she moved out to LA to work for the WB in Comedy and Alternative programming.  As an executive, Belisa was involved with a wide range of projects including Strangers with Candy, The Upright Citizens Brigade, and The PJs.  In 2001, Belisa went to Actual Reality Pictures where she developed and oversaw all pilots and series, including Freshman Diaries for Showtime, Military Diaries for VH1, and Thin for HBO Documentary Films. 

In August 2004, Belisa and her husband Ted Skillman formed the production company, snackaholic.  Together they executive produced many pilots and series, including Tabloid Wars for Bravo, a documentary set behind-the-scenes at the New York Daily News, and Bollywood Hero, a 3-hour musical comedy for IFC, following the fictional account of Chris Kattan’s pursuit of stardom in India. Belisa and Ted also produced Grammy nominated documentary “From the Sky Down” for Davis Guggenheim about the making of U2’s Achtung Baby.

Over the years, Belisa has also sought out and created multiple socially relevant TV projects, including The Swell Life, a 10-episode documentary series following the Paskowitz family raising their child with autism.  Earlier in 2012, she developed and produced the Emmy-nominated special, It Gets Better, inspired by the anti-bullying project for LGBT youth, which aired on MTV and Logo. 

In 2005 Belisa went to northern Kenya to film the work being done by The Samburu Project, an NGO that collaborates with communities in order to provide easy access to clean, safe drinking water, and this began an ongoing relationship with the organization. Closer to home, Belisa supports Surfer’s Healing, an organization that gives children with autism and their families a sense of community and an much-needed escape to a day on the beach.

Lizzie Kerner, Director of Development & Acquisitions, CNN

Lizzie Kerner is director of development and acquisitions, CNN, based in Los Angeles. In this position, she is responsible for cultivating relationships within the creative community and developing original programming, including product for the CNN Films banner, across a variety of CNN platforms.

Additionally, she works on CNN’s new weekend programs, Parts Unknown with Anthony Bourdain, Inside Man, with Morgan Spurlock, and Crimes of the Century, all premiering in 2013.

Prior to joining CNN in August 2012, Kerner was manager of original programming & development at Sundance Channel. In that role, she developed high-profile non-fiction programs that include Push Girls, All on the Line with Joe Zee and Love/Lust, and served as executive producer on the series The Mortified Sessions.

At Sundance, Kerner also developed scripted projects that include Top of the Lake and Rectify.

Earlier, she held positions at the Independent Film Channel and Viacom Productions.

A graduate of University of California, Berkeley, with a B.A. in American History and Film, she also studied at the University of Pompeu Fabra in Spain. She resides in Los Angeles.

Image Attachments