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The International Documentary Association Presents Doc U: Cable’s New Big Thing –- Non-Fiction Series and the Documentary Filmmaker
Posted: 10 June 2014 05:52 PM   [ Ignore ]
Jr. Member
Total Posts:  44
Joined  2010-10-13

Monday, June 23
7:00pm - 8:30pm Discussion & Audience Q&A
Reception to Follow

611 N. Fairfax Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90036

Expanding the documentary pie has always been the dream for both documentary filmmakers and enthusiasts alike. With the recent explosion of non-fiction series, that dream may be coming true. Just about every week, the press announces the launch of a new docu-series — many affiliated with prominent documentary filmmakers, such as Morgan Spurlock, Alex Gibney, and Joe Berlinger. CNN (Death Row Stories, Chicagoland, Crimes of the Century, Inside Man), Al Jazeera America (The System), OWN (Lindsay), Showtime (Seven Deadly Sins), Pivot (TerraCycle, Welcome to Fairfax), and CMT (Promiseland, Freedom), as well as others, are all in the game, defining the genre as they go. What opportunities do these series represent for documentary filmmakers? How are audiences responding? Do these programs represent the latest evolution in the documentary form?

Join Anne Thompson of Indiewire’s blog “Thompson on Hollywood” for a fascinating peek inside the world of non-fiction series and a discussion of their new place in the documentary landscape. Panelists include: Shannon High-Bassalik, Senior Vice President, Documentaries and Programming, Al Jazeera America; Lizzie Kerner, Director, Development & Acquisitions, CNN; Mary Lisio, EVP, Non-fiction and Branded Entertainment, Scott Free Productions.

Anne Thompson (moderator) writes the blog “Thompson on Hollywood” for Indiewire. Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up in Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine’s west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and on staff at Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter, where she founded their first blog, “Riskybiz,” and Variety. She eventually took her blog “Thompson on Hollywood” to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension. In March 2014 HarperCollins published her first book, The $11 Billion Year, From Sundance to the Oscars, an Inside Look at the Changing Hollywood System.

Lizzie Kerner is the Director of Development and Original Series, CNN, based in Los Angeles. In this position, she is responsible for cultivating relationships within the creative community and developing original programming across a variety of CNN platforms. She also oversees production on CNN’s original series, including, Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown, Inside Man with Morgan Spurlock, The Sixties, Chicagoland, Death Row Stories, and on three new series premiering this summer- Somebody’s Gotta Do It with Mike Rowe, The Hunt with John Walsh, and the Untitled Lisa Ling Project. 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.
Mary Lisio is an Emmy® Award Winning Producer and the Executive Vice President of Non-
Fiction and Branded Entertainment at Scott Free Productions, where she oversees all non-scripted projects. Lisio’s first project with Scott Free was The Real Robin Hood, a 2-hr special for History Channel that aired alongside the release of Ridley Scott’s Robin Hood. In 2011, Scott Free premiered the Emmy®-winning documentary special Gettysburg for History Channel, which garnered seven nominations and won four 2011 Primetime Emmys®, including Outstanding Non-Fiction Special. The department’s first series Prophets of Science Fiction premiered in November 2011 on Science. Scott Free recently produced the ratings hits Killing Kennedy, starring Rob Lowe and Emmy®-nominated Killing Lincoln for the National Geographic Channel. Lisio also produced the recent series Crimes of the Century on CNN, and The Sartorialist for AOL ON featuring fashion photographer and blogger Scott Schuman. Lisio and Scott Free are currently producing an untitled verité documentary series that follows people in the last days of their lives and adapting Bill O’Reilly’s bestselling book Killing Jesus for National Geographic Channel. They recently announced the four-hour documentary miniseries Promiseland with CMT, about our nation’s unsung hero - the American Farmer. Prior to Scott Free, Lisio worked at Actual Reality Pictures, a non-fiction production company headed by RJ Cutler overseeing the development of multiple reality series for network, cable and online as well as the feature documentary, The September Issue.

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 for Doc U provided by:

Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
Department of Cultural Affairs, City of Los Angeles
FirstCom Music
Indie Printing
Los Angeles County Arts Commission
ProSight Specialty Insurance
Members and Supporters of IDA

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