Josyln Barnes, Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer, L’Ouverture Films
Joslyn Barnes is a writer and Emmy® nominated producer. She is the author of numerous screenplays for feature films including the upcoming Indian feature THE COSMIC FOREST and the award-winning film BÀTTU, directed by Cheikh Oumar Sissoko (Mali), which she associate produced. Among the films Barnes has executive produced or produced since co-founding Louverture Films are the César-nominated BAMAKO, Sundance Grand Jury Prize winner and Oscar® and Emmy® nominated TROUBLE THE WATER, Oscar® shortlisted SOUNDTRACK FOR A REVOLUTION, Bollywood thriller DUM MAARO DUM, the award-winning BLACK POWER MIXTAPE 1967-1975, the Oscar® shortlisted, 2012 Sundance Grand Jury Prize winner THE HOUSE I LIVE IN, and the Nepali feature HIGHWAY. She associate produced Elia Suleiman's THE TIME THAT REMAINS, and the 2010 Cannes Palme d'Or winner UNCLE BOONMEE WHO CAN RECALL HIS PAST LIVES by Apichatpong Weerasethakul. Barnes also wrote and directed the short film PRANA for Cinétévé France as part of an internationally distributed series of 30 short films to promote awareness of environmental issues. Prior to co-founding Louverture, Barnes served as a programme officer and expert consultant at the United Nations. She has lived and traveled widely in Africa and Asia, and has written numerous articles covering trade and social development issues, as well as contributing to books on the establishment of electronic communications in developing countries, food security in Africa, and strategic advocacy for the inclusion of gender perspectives on the international development agenda.
Michelle Byrd, President, Run It By Byrd Inc
As President, Michelle Byrd leads on institutional relationship and partnership efforts, along with fundraising, business affairs, financial management, and communications strategy. Jointly, she and Asi work on the strategic vision of the organization and oversee all programmatic initiatives. Michelle began consulting with Games for Change earlier this year working to strengthen the organization’s relationship with its international partners. Prior to joining the staff, Michelle served for 12 years as the Executive Director of the Independent Filmmaker Project (IFP), the oldest and largest organization of independent filmmakers in the US. During her tenure she raised more than $15 million, oversaw a staff of 15, tripled the membership to 10,000, and established programs to annually support and mentor 300 projects in development.
Michelle Byrd was previously co-president of Games for Change, an organization that catalyzes social impact through digital games. G4C serves as a convener (the 10th anniversary of the Games for Change Festival is June 17-19), executive producer (the PBS multi-platform project Half the Sky Movement is based on Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn's best-seller) and curator (G4C showcases 100+ "games for change" on its site). As co-president, Byrd produced the annual Games for Change Festival and oversaw many of its institutional partnerships, including collaborations with cultural and learning institutions such as the American Museum of Natural History, Tribeca Film Institute and Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop.
Her track record includes executive producing high quality, celebrity-attended events for broadcast and online, including IFP’s Gotham Independent Film Awards. She was also responsible for a diversity of new strategic partnerships including those with the United Nations Department of Public Information, The New York Times and the Sundance Institute. Michelle has served as a juror on the documentary competition at the Sundance Film Festival, been awarded the “Made in New York” career tribute by Mayor Bloomberg and appeared on both Variety’s Annual “Indie Impact List: 50 Who Made a Difference” and The Hollywood Reporter’s Women in Entertainment “Power 100” List. Co-President, Games for Change; Executive Producer, Half the Sky Movement: The Game
Rachel Chanoff, Founder and Director of The Office: performing arts + film
Rachel’s been working in performing arts and film for 25 years. Currently she’s the curator of performing arts and film for MASSMoCA, director of programming at the ’62 Center for Theater and Dance at Williams College, chairman of the New York Jewish Film Festival selection committee, consultant to the Feature Film Program for the Sundance Institute, curator of Family Programs at Symphony Space and artistic director for 92YTribeca and Celebrate Brooklyn!, New York’s longest running free outdoor performing arts and film festival. She is a founding member of the Working Films board.
Heidi Cullen, Director of Communications, Senior Research Scientist and head of Princeton’s think-tank Climate Central
Dr. Heidi Cullen is a senior research scientist with Climate Central, a research and communications organization headquartered in Princeton, NJ. Climate Central is non-profit, non-partisan network of scientists and journalists dedicated to educating the public about the science and solutions to global warming. Dr. Cullen currently provides reports on climate for The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer and ABC News. Before joining Climate Central, Dr. Cullen helped create Forecast Earth on The Weather Channel, the first weekly television series to focus on issues related to climate change and the environment. Dr. Cullen worked as a research scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, CO. She received a bachelor's degree in engineering/operations research from Columbia University and went on to receive a doctorate in climatology and ocean-atmosphere dynamics at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University.
Daryl Hannah, Actress, Filmmaker and Activist
Over a 30-year film career, Daryl Hannah has starred in over 40 feature films, and has created numerous iconic characters in successful, critically acclaimed and enduring films. As a filmmaker, Hannah wrote, directed, and produced an award winning short film, entitled The Last Supper and also directed, produced and shot the documentary Strip Notes. She has produced, shot and directed a ethical lifestyle video blog series for various websites including dhlovelife.com, her website, dedicated to sharing solutions on how to live more harmoniously with the planet and all other living things.
She is a member of the World Future Council, sits on the boards of the Sylvia Earle Alliance, Mission Blue, Eco America, Environmental Media Association (EMA), The Somaly Mam Foundation, the Action Sports Environmental Coalition, and the honorary board of the Rainforest Action Network. She is the founder of the Sustainable Biodiesel Alliance (SBA).
Lisa Heller, Vice President of Documentary Programming at HBO
Lisa develops, programs and promotes HBO and Cinemax documentaries. She has served as programming executive on various award-winning films including:The Black List, The Gates, Thin, 51 Birch Street, Born into Brothels, King Gimp, Baghdad High, Capturing the Friedmans, My Flesh and Blood,Unchained Memories: Readings From the Slave Narratives, The Journalist and The Jihadi: The Murder of Daniel Pearl. Prior to joining HBO, she worked as executive producer on the critically acclaimed PBS series POV, where she was responsible for programming as well as broadcast-related initiatives designed to expand the role of independent documentaries in public life.
Scott Kirsner, Founder & Editor of the blog “Cinematech” & “Innovation Economy”
Scott Kirsner writes the weekly "Innovation Economy" column and blog for the Boston Globe and Boston.com. He was part of the team that launched Boston.com in 1995, and has been writing a column for the Globe since 2000. His work has also appeared in Wired, Fast Company, The New York Times, BusinessWeek, Newsweek, and Variety. Scott is also the author of the books "Fans, Friends & Followers" and "Inventing the Movies," was the editor of "The Convergence Guide: Life Sciences in New England," and was a contributor to "The Good City: Writers Explore 21st Century Boston." Scott also helps organize several local events on entrepreneurship, including the Nantucket Conference and Future Forward.
Cara Mertes, Director of the JustFilms Initiative at The Ford Foundation
Cara Mertes is director of the Ford Foundation’s JustFilms initiative, a global effort that supports emerging and established filmmakers whose work addresses the most urgent social issues of our time. JustFilms also supports key organizations that explore and sustain the art of contemporary-issue, nonfiction storytelling. The initiative seeks to expand networks and resources for the community of independent filmmakers around the world and to increase the artistry and impact of their stories.
Throughout her two-decade career, Cara has championed the artist’s role in society and embodied the power of independent filmmaking to raise awareness on issues of critical importance. Before joining the foundation in 2013, she was director of the Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program and Fund. In that role, she expanded the annual portfolio of activities to include funding and awards of $2 million for dozens of social issue films. She also expanded the Documentary Labs and extended support opportunities to more than 100 Sundance grantee artists each year. Cara was instrumental in creating a suite of international creative partnerships to launch global initiatives, including the Skoll Foundation Stories of Change partnership and the TED Prize Filmmaker Award, and was a co-founder of BritDoc Foundation’s Good Pitch initiative. She accepted the ACLU Freedom of Expression Award and the International Documentary Association’s Pioneer Award for the Documentary Film Program’s efforts.
Marni Rosen, Executive Director, Jennifer Altman (JAF)
As part of her portfolio at JAF, Marni also manages the Barbara Smith Fund, a private foundation dedicated to health, healing, and the healing arts, and advises other foundations and individual donors on their environmental health and justice giving. Marni is a co-founder and former co-chair of the Health and Environmental Funders Network, and former chair for the Center for Environmental Health, where she continues to serve on the board. Marni is also a board member of Clean Production Action. Previous board service includes Environmental Grantmakers Association, the Funders Network on Trade and Globalization (now EDGE Funders Alliance), and the American Public Health Association (Environment Section Council).
Lourdes Portillo, Independent director/producer/writer
Mexico-born and Chicana identified, Lourdes is a veteran independent filmmaker whose award-winning body of work strives to broaden the spectrum of Latino and Chicano representation. With themes ranging from state repression to AIDS, Portillo’s films include: Despues del Terremoto, the Oscar-nominated Las Madres: The Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo, La Ofrenda: The Days of the Dead, The Devil Never Sleeps, Corpus: A Home Movie for Selena andSeñorita Extraviada. She’s currently in production on a narrative feature about a modern day Don Quixote: a woman filmmaker who loses her way in her quest to make the perfect film. A recipient of a 2008 U.S. Artists Fellowship, Lourdes teaches filmmaking in the Northern California UC system.
Thuy Tran, Program Officer, United States Artists
Thuy Tran is the program officer for United States Artists, a grantmaking organization dedicated to supporting America’s finest living artists working in a diverse array of disciplines. Thuy manages the nomination and selection process for the USA Fellowship program in which each year 50 different artists are awarded an unrestricted grant of $50,000. Prior to joining USA she worked at the LA County Art Museum and was a national advance and political campaign consultant for Vice President Al Gore.