CIFF announces program for fifth Points North Documentary Forum

Posted September 8, 2013

The Camden International Film Festival (CIFF) has unveiled the lineup for its Points North Documentary Forum. Now in its fifth year, the Forum has quickly become the largest gathering in New England of filmmakers, key decision makers and thought leaders in the documentary field.  The three-day conference program runs concurrently with the festival from September 27 – 29, 2013 at the historic Camden Opera House in Camden, Maine, and Union Hall in Rockport, Maine. This year’s program will feature a wide range of panel discussions, workshops, case studies, networking events and two public pitch sessions. Points North is dedicated to providing independent documentary filmmakers with unique opportunities for both professional development and creative inspiration, helping build a vibrant regional filmmaking community while sustaining a conversation about new directions in nonfiction storytelling.

Points North Pitch Selections


Directed by Violeta Ayala

Produced by Dan Fallshaw and Vann Alexandra Daly



Directed by Aaron I. Naar

Produced by Benjamin Dohrmann and Aaron I. Naar



Directed and Produced by Chase Whiteside & Erick Stoll



Directed by James Christenson and Lewis Wilcox

Produced by Mark Steele, Eliot Popko and Jonah Sargent



Directed by J.P. Sniadecki

Produced by Joe Bender, Blake Ashman-Kipervsaer and J.P. Sniadecki



Directed by Drew Xanthopoulos

Produced by David Hartstein



Directed by Beth Murphy and Kevin Belli

Produced by Beth Murphy and Beth Balaban

New York Times Op-Docs Pitch Selections



Directed and Produced by Lisanne Skyler



Directed by Stefan Sagmeister

Produced by Ben Nabors



Directed by Tony Shaff

Produced by Tony Shaff, Lauren Belfer and Bryce Renninger



Directed by Lewis Wilcox and James Christenson

Produced by Jonah Sargent, Eliot Popko and Mark Steele



Directed by Amy Browne, Jeremy Kaplan, Tony Hale and Brian Wilson

Produced by Amy Browne


Directed by Beth Balaban and Beth Murphy

Produced by Beth Murphy


Points North Documentary Forum Program

September 27 – 29, 2013


Camden Opera House | Camden, ME

Union Hall | Rockport, ME


Friday, September 27


11:00am – 12:30pm (Tucker Room)

Docs on Demand

In this workshop, Danielle DiGiacomo (Manager of Film Distribution, The Orchard) demystifies the brave new world of digital distribution. Drawing on case studies to explore topics such as the lifecycle of a digital release, negotiating contracts, strategizing about windows and platforms, the varieties of VOD, and retail marketing, this session will leave you full of ideas for how to maximize the potential of your film’s digital release. Bring your notebook!


11:30am – 1:00pm (Washington St. Conference Room)

From Story to Action

Since the days of Grierson, documentary filmmakers have been driven by a desire to affect social change through storytelling. Today’s filmmakers have more tools at their disposal than ever before to engage audiences and close the gap between inspiration and action. In this panel, filmmakers, outreach coordinators and funders discuss ideas and strategies for using film to create meaningful social impact.

  • Molly Murphy (Working Films)

  • Sheila Leddy (Fledgling Fund)

  • Christie Marchese (Picture Motion)

  • Banker White (THE GENIUS OF MARIAN)

  • Rebecca Richman Cohen (CODE OF THE WEST)

  • moderator: Sara Archambault (LEF Foundation)


1:00pm – 2:30pm (Tucker Room)

Documentary 101 with Robb Moss

In this special masterclass, award-winning filmmaker and Harvard professor Robb Moss (SECRECY, THE SAME RIVER TWICE) leads participants on a guided tour through the history of documentary film. Using clips from both classic and contemporary films, Moss traces the evolution of nonfiction storytelling techniques and explores both the ethical and aesthetic issues that have shaped documentary filmmaking over the past six decades.


1:30pm – 3:00pm (Washington St. Conference Room)

Meet the Broadcasters

Top programmers from major networks discuss everything you ever wanted to know about documentary broadcast, including programming priorities, marketing, multiplatform distribution and more. Come meet the broadcasters before you see them onstage at the Points North Pitch.

  • Brian Newman (Brainstorm Media / direcTV)

  • Chris White (POV)

  • Kathryn Lo (PBS / Independent Lens)

  • moderator: Andrea Meditch (Back Allie Films)


2:00pm – 4:30pm

Social Media Audit

Building an audience online has become an indispensable part of independent filmmaking, but where do you start? Where do you find your audience and what content should you be sharing with them? In these one-on-one sessions, you’ll have a chance to spend 20 minutes getting tailored feedback on your film’s online presence on your project from social media and audience engagement gurus Kristin McCracken (former VP of Digital Media at Tribeca Enterprises) and Christie Marchese (Founder/Exec Director, Picture Motion). Bring a laptop and RSVP to by September 20. Space is limited!


3:00pm – 4:30pm (Tucker Room)

Courting Your Subject

Behind every documentary is the story of how the filmmaker first met his/her subject and negotiated that all-important access. Did they start filming right away? Did they fully reveal their intentions for the film? Did they befriend their subjects or maintain a distance? In this panel, three directors from the 2013 CIFF program discuss the complicated relationship between filmmaker and subject.

  • Rachel Boynton (BIG MEN)

  • AJ Schnack (CAUCUS)

  • Banker White (THE GENIUS OF MARIAN)

  • moderator: Charlotte Cook (Hot Docs)


3:30pm – 5:00pm (Washington St. Conference Room)

Shaping the Nonfiction Narrative – Editing Masterclass

Documentary editor Jonathan Oppenheim reveals the conceptual strategies he uses to discover and shape a film’s story structure during editing. Drawing on examples from past and present work – including PARIS IS BURNING, THE OATH and WILLIAM AND THE WINDMILL – Oppenheim explores issues such as context, intention and the unique challenges of the documentary form.


5:00pm – 6:30pm (Third Floor, Camden Opera House)

Points North Reception (sponsored by LEF Foundation)

After a busy day of panels and workshops, come unwind over drinks, mingle with filmmakers and industry delegates and make some new friends. Open to all festival passholders. This reception is made possible by LEF Foudation, a Points North founding sponsor and major supporter of the New England filmmaking community.

Saturday, September 28


10:00am – 1:00pm

Points North Pitch

Seven filmmakers pitch their works-in-progress to an international panel of funders, broadcasters and producers. Each pitch lasts exactly 7 minutes, followed by 12 minutes of critical feedback. This is an invaluable chance to see first-hand how leading industry decision-makers evaluate projects.

  • Lyda Kuth (LEF Foundation)

  • Alice Apley (Documentary Educational Resources)

  • Brian Newman (Brainstorm Media / direcTV)

  • Leah Giblin (Cinereach)

  • Daniel Chalfen (Naked Edge Films)

  • Kristin Feeley (Sundance Documentary Institute)

  • Sheila Leddy (Fledgling Fund)

  • Chris White (POV)

  • Kathryn Lo (PBS)

  • Moderator: Andrea Meditch (Back Allie Films)


2:00pm – 3:30pm

Doc/Tech (sponsored by Maine Technology Institute)

Throughout its history, documentary film has been a catalyst for social change and a unique medium for social connection. In this series of short thought-provoking talks, we explore how new media technologies are blurring the lines between producers, subjects and audiences, while expanding the possibilities for documentary storytelling to act as an agent of social change and civic engagement.

  • Elaine McMillion

  • Alexendar Reben

  • Sasha Costanza-Chock

  • Nonny de la Pena

  • moderator: William Uricchio


Sunday, September 29

11:00am – 12:30pm

The New York Times Op-Docs Pitch

Grab some brunch in Rockport and spend your Sunday morning experiencing The New York Times live. Six filmmakers will pitch their ideas for short, opinionated documentaries that fit the editorial and creative scope of The New York Times’ Op-Docs series. A jury of Op-Docs alumni and The New York Times staff will award one filmmaker with a budget of $2,000 and the chance to produce their film for a potential online audience of millions.


September 15—18, 2016