Debra Zimmerman

Executive Director, Women Make Movies

Debra Zimmerman is the Executive Director of Women Make Movies, a NY non-profit social enterprise that’s been supporting women filmmakers with distribution and production assistance of their independent films since 1972. In the past 10 years filmmakers from WMM’s programs have won or been nominated for Academy Awards including this year’s winner for Best Short Documentary, Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy. Zimmerman speaks worldwide and is the recipient of numerous awards, including NY Women in Film and Television’s Changemaker Award and Hot Doc’s Doc Mogul Award.

Jason Ishikawa

Head of International Sales, Cinetic Media

Jason is the head of new international sales at Cinetic Media, a New York-based film and media company which represents some of the most prestigious and successful documentaries including the academy award winning films AMY, INSIDE JOB and THE FOG OF WAR. In his role Jason devises worldwide sales strategies for feature narrative and documentary films. He was previously Senior Director of Acquisitions, Financing and Sales at The Film Sales company.


Lars Meyer

Programmer, Dok Leipzig

Lars is a film progrmamer who managed the Schaubühne Lindenfels cinema in Leipzig as well as worked as a freelance journalist, film critic and freelance script analyst. He worked as a programmer at Filmfest Dresden before joining DOK Leipzig in 2011 as a selection committee member and a programmer. Founded in 1955, DOK Leipzig is the oldest documentary festival in the world, and one of the leading international documentary festivals and market places for documentary and animated films.


venturaJosé Villalobos, Director

The Charro of Toluquilla (Mexico)

Ventura Durall was born in 1974 in Barcelona. He graduated from ESCAC Escola Superior de Cinema i Audiovisuals de Catalunya, with a major in script. In 2000 he established the production company NANOUK FILMS. He is Head of the Documentary’s Department at ESCAC, where he supervises all diploma thesis projects and leads the Documentary and Society Master Programme. His feature film The two lives of Andrés Rabadán was recognised as the Best European Independent Film in 2009 at the ECU Festival in Paris. Durall’s “The Wild Years” was premiered at IDFA in competition for feature-length documentary (2013) and his latest film Bugarach, which participating in the international competition at Antenna, was premiered also in competition at the prestigious Vision Du Reel (2014).


Mehrdad Oskouei, Director

Starless Dreams (Iran)

Mehrdad Oskouei is an Iranian Independent filmmaker, producer, photographer and researcher born in Tehran in 1969 and later graduating in film direction from the University of Arts. His films have been screened at numerous festivals both at home and abroad to great critical acclaim, making him one of the prominent Iranian documentary filmmakers.

Mehrdad made his first film at the age of 19 and since then has gone to produce, write and direct more than 25 documentaries and shorts which received over 80 awards from national and international festivals.The Other Side of Burka (2004) was awarded for best Iranian documentary and Oskouei was awarded best young Iranian filmmaker. Nose, Iranian Style (2005) was nominated for the Golden Movie Squad DOC U Award at the International Documentary Film Festival of Amsterdam (IDFA). It’s Always Late for Freedom (2007) won The Best Documentary Award at Hot Docs and his most recent feature, STARLESS DREAMS (2016), won the Amnesty International Film Prize at the prestigious Berlin Film Festival.

Mehrad is a 2010 Prince Claus Award laureate “for his moving, informative and evocative films, for his honest engagement with his subjects and his commitment to accurately representing their concerns, and for working in difficult contexts to break down prejudice and generate social justice”. In 2016, he was awarded the True Vision Award at the True/ False Film Fest in honor of his achievement in, and contribution to, the field of nonfiction filmmaking.

Mehrdad is a founding member of the Institute of Anthropology and Culture and has sat on several international film festival juries as well as being a cultural ambassador for the United Nation’s humanitarian committee UCHA. He also teaches at film schools around Iran and is active in the Tehran Arts and Culture Association.