Marketing & Engagement Manager
Emily Abi-Kheirs joins Women Make Movies after beginning her career at public media’s WORLD Channel. There, she worked in a variety of capacities including digital content strategy and creation, contracts and rights management, as well as programming and curating the award-winning series: America ReFramed, Doc World, and Local, USA. Emily is currently part of Woods Hole Film Festival’s first class of Programming Fellows for the 2021 festival, as well as the screening committee for Salem Film Festival’s documentary shorts program. She currently serves on the Board of Directors of Women in Film and Video New England, where she is involved in producing events for emerging and established documentary filmmakers in the region. Emily is passionate about amplifying voices underrepresented in mainstream media, and believes nonfiction film has the power to plant seeds for dialogue and shift perspectives. As a woman of color, Emily is also an active member of Brown Girl Doc Mafia. Emily graduated from Emerson College with a B.A. in Visual Media Arts. She currently lives just south of Boston, where she spent the last six years trying to find the best taco joint in the city.
Distribution and Digital Assets Manager
Originally a child of New York, Amy moved out to San Francisco to pursue her degree in Radio and Television from San Francisco State University. She spent several years in the Bay Area working as a freelance audio engineer with notable clients such as ON24 media, Crescendo Studios, and Hungry Mind productions. She also worked as a digital media associate for the international nonprofit Women’s Intercultural Network, furthering her passion for social justice and her commitment to promoting women in media. She returned to New York and after a stint with the New York Philharmonic, joined WMM. When not behind a mixing board, Amy enjoys cooking, homebrewing, and exploring Brooklyn with her partner.
Originally hired as a work study intern, Kelly began working at WMM while studying Film and Video at the School of Visual Arts. After some time away working in media research, particuarly for Nielsen Ad Solutions, she was thrilled to return as the Web Consultant, where she’s been running wmm.com for over five years. When she’s not working on websites, Kelly is a video editor for the New York University School of Law and a non-fiction content creator for DF-NY Productions, a company that she started with her husband in 2019. She lives in Bushwick, Brooklyn and has a pet turtle named Turtle.
Director of Strategy and Innovation
Kendra Hodgson is passionate about social justice, gender equity, and the power of stories. She believes that the voices of women – especially when expressed through the medium of film – can, and will, change the world. Before joining WMM, she spent 18 years directing marketing and distribution at the nonprofit Media Education Foundation (Northampton, MA), during which time she oversaw the transition to digital streaming. Kendra holds a B.A. in English from the University of Pennsylvania, and an M.S. in Nonprofit Management and Philanthropy. Her previous experiences as a high school English teacher (Punahou School, Honolulu, HI), a yoga teacher, an Eating Disorder Awareness Week coordinator, a wilderness trip leader, a Domestic Violence Crisis Responder, a foster parent, and a track/cross-country coach all inform her team-based, community-driven, trauma-sensitive approach to work and life. She lives in Springfield, MA with her feminist husband, teenage children, and two rescue dogs.
Finance and Office Coordinator
Rena joined WMM as the Finance and Office Coordinator in 2016. In addition to her years of financial and administrative experience, she volunteers at numerous film festivals including NYFF and DOC NYC, and has worked in Tribeca Immersive, the virtual reality showcase for the Tribeca Film Festival. She also serves on the Screening Committee for Rooftop Films. She previously served as the Membership Coordinator for Coney Island USA, and was also the Director of Fundraising and Finance for the NYC Chapter of the Younger Women’s Task Force. As a former board member for YWTF, she helped to plan and execute events for local organizations including Girls Educational & Mentoring Services (GEMS). Rena has a BA in Communication Arts from Ramapo College as well as a Professional Certificate in Accounting from NYU’s School of Professional Studies. She lives with her spouse in Chinatown/LES.
Outreach and Exhibitions Manager
Colleen is the assistant to Executive Director Debra Zimmerman, helps facilitate screenings for films in the distribution program and manages the WMM intern program. Originally hailing from Michigan, Colleen moved to NYC in 2008 to pursue a career in the arts, first exploring the world of off-Broadway at the historic Cherry Lane Theatre. After a wonderful time there, she decided to go back to school to study her first passion – film. While finishing up her Master’s Degree in Film Studies at CUNY Graduate Center, Colleen excitedly accepted an internship position at WMM and was eventually asked to join the staff. She is thrilled to be working with a feminist organization that not only aids in the production of current film projects, but also acts as a living & ever-growing archive for female directors with its vast distribution catalog. When not at WMM, Colleen enjoys exploring her East Village neighborhood, in particular its plethora of great movie theaters and music venues, and taking too many pictures of her two cats.
Senior Coordinator, Production Assistance Program
Laura is excited to be a part of the Production Assistance Program at Women Make Movies. She graduated with a degree in Art History from Florida State University where she centered her thesis around the iconography of the New Woman. Since then, she has been fortunate to find consistent opportunities in the arts and humanities. Before joining Women Make Movies, she worked with artist Alison Cornyn on various projects, including Incorrigibles — a transmedia project that shares the stories of youth justice involved girls in the US over the last 100 years. She has devoted her career to supporting storytellers and artists, and admires WMM’s commitment to diverse female voices and points of view. Laura was born and raised in Miami and has been living in Bed-Stuy for the last year. She came to New York for the abundance of opportunities in the art and culture scene, and stayed for the supportive community of friends she has created. Also, the food.
Debra Zimmerman has been the Executive Director of Women Make Movies since 1983. During her tenure it has grown into the largest distributor of films by and about women in the world. WMM’s internationally recognized Production Assistance Program has helped thousands of women get their films made. Films from WMM programs have been nominated or won Academy Awards for the ten of the last eleven years, including recent documentary award winner, Citizen Four.
She is in great demand around the world as a speaker on independent film distribution, marketing and financing as well as on women’s cinema. She has moderated panels and given master classes at the Sundance and Toronto Film Festival’s IDA’s Getting Real conference as well as other events in Europe, Africa, Asia and South America. She has keynoted conferences and spoken on panels, including the Women’s Film History Conference at the University of Sunderland, Visible Evidence Conference at NYU and the Society for Cinema and Media Studies Conference at Boston University. She lectures regularly at universities across the United States, including Harvard, Smith College, Bryn Mawr, UCLA and others.
Zimmerman has been closely affiliated with the as the co-host of the Talk of the Day and as a tutor for their Summer Film Academy. She has been on the juries of festivals around the world including the Abu Dhabi Film Festival, International Documentary Film Festival of Amterdam (IDFA), the Cartagena Film Festival (FICCI), and the One World Human Rights Film Festival in Prague among others. In addition, she has mentored filmmakers at the Ex-Oriente Film Workshop in Vienna, the Sheffield DocuFest and for many years at the National Alliance of Latino Independent Producers’ (NALIP) Academy. She sits on the Board of Directors of Cinema Tropical, a resource for Latino independent filmmakers and on the Advisory Board of the Center for Social Media at American University. She is the recipient of numerous awards including the New York Women in Film and Television’s Loreen Arbus Changemaker Award, the Athena Award and Hot Doc’s 2013 Doc Mogul Award, given to those who “over the course of their career has made an essential contribution to the creative vitality of the documentary industry, both in his or her country or abroad.” Zimmerman was appointed the Laurie Chair in Women’s Studies at Douglass Residential College at Rutgers University and taught there in 2014-15.
Nicole is a Partner at Reavis Parent Lehrer LLP where she specializes in entertainment, intellectual property and employment law. Nicole is also Head of Business Affairs at Engel Entertainment, Inc., a New York City based film and television production company. Nicole counsels filmmakers, producers and feature film and television production companies in connection with issues ranging from film financing, rights acquisition, production agreements, exploitation of ancillary rights, content licensing, clearance, distribution and an array of related matters. Nicole serves as production counsel and negotiates theatrical, broadcast and home video distribution deals for many film and television productions. She also represents commercial photographers as well as directors, performers, writers and others in the arts and entertainment industries. Nicole regularly lectures and writes on legal issues in the arts and media. She has appeared on panels at SXSW, Slamdance, The Hamptons International Film Festival, The World Congress of Science and Factual Producers, Napa Valley Film Festival, IFP and RealScreen, among other festivals and conferences. Nicole works with WMM and other organizations (like NYWIFT) to provide relevant and topical information to filmmakers and counsels and supports filmmakers in the WMM fiscal sponsorship and distribution programs, and has participated in workshops sponsored by WMM for its filmmakers.
Ms. Materre’s professional background spans more than 25 years experience as film producer, writer, arts administrator, distribution/marketing specialist, film programmer and college professor. She is currently an Assistant Professor of Media Studies and Film at The New School, and Associate Dean of The New School for Public Engagement School of Undergraduate Studies. Her critically acclaimed film series, Creatively Speaking, featuring work by and about people and women of color, is now in its 17th year. In Fall 2012 the series will premiere at its new location, My Image Studios (MIST) Cinemas in Harlem. Ms. Materre is also an independent media consultant, advising filmmakers and organizations on fundraising, distribution, marketing, and exhibition strategies. Selected client list includes: Julie Dash, Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady, Channel Thirteen, Stanley Nelson, Thomas Allen Harris, Barbara Rick, Kim Longinotto, and Third World Newsreel, to name a few. Ms. Materre is a former member of the Board of Directors of New York Women in Film and Television, and a recipient of The Pen and Brush Society, Accomplished Women in the Arts Award.
Consulting Producer and Strategist
Claire Aguilar is a programmer and independent consultant and strategist. She is formerly the Director of Programming and Policy at IDA (International Documentary Association), overseeing IDA’s professional development, education, mentorship and training initiatives. Aguilar was the primary programmer for IDA’s biennial “Getting Real” documentary conference. She is the former Director of Programming and Industry Engagement at Sheffield Doc/Fest, one of the leading festivals for documentary and digital media where she curated and directed the film program for Doc/Fest 2015 and 2016, programming over 350 films and working with over 200 filmmakers and media creatives. At the Independent Television Service (ITVS), she served as Vice President of Programming and Executive Content Advisor, working on program content and strategy for the organization, including commissioning programming from international and U.S. independent producers. She co-curated the Emmy and Peabody awarded series Independent Lens, PBS’s prominent showcase of independently produced films. She has served as a festival juror, programming consultant and panelists for IDFA, Dok Leipzig, DocAviv, the Ford Foundation, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the Rockefeller Foundation, The National Endowment for the Arts, the Pew Fellowships in the Arts and many other media organizations and film festivals. She is Vice President of the Board of Women Make Movies, and serves on the Executive boards of Firelight Media and the Why Foundation. She is a second-generation Filipina American and lives in Los Angeles.
Director/Producer, Naked Eye Productions, Ltd.
From cinema vérité to impressionistic documentaries, Tina DiFeliciantonio’s critically acclaimed work has been screened and broadcast in countries throughout the world. Along with her partner Jane C. Wagner, she has tackled a wide range of subjects—social justice, human rights, teenage sexuality, child abuse, sustainable energy, art, science and ethics—garnering dozens of top honors, such as two National Emmy Awards and two Sundance Film Festival Awards, including the Grand Jury Prize.
DiFeliciantonio began her professional career after graduating from Stanford University’s Master’s Film Program, where she made her directing debut with the student Academy Award-winning LIVING WITH AIDS, which was the first film on the subject to be broadcast on PBS. Over the years, her intellectual and creative collaboration partnership with Wagner has matured into a dynamic partnership that is sustained by a shared vision and passion for storytelling. Having worked in countries throughout the world, including Senegal, Abu Dhabi, Bangladesh, India, Japan, China and Turkey, their films have been aired on P.O.V., Sundance Channel, Showtime, HBO, TLC, MTV, SyFy, USA Networks and foreign television. Support for their work has come from organizations that include the MacArthur Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation, NEA, NEH, ITVS, AFI, and Sundance.
In addition to serving on the board of directors of media non-profits, DiFeliciantonio enjoys jurying film festivals, participating on funding panels and guest lecturing. She is actively involved in community service in New York City and is the co-parent of an active ten-year-old boy named Luca.
Professor of Film and Media Studies, Swarthmore College
Patricia White is Professor of Film and Media Studies at Swarthmore College, where she teaches Feminist Film and Media Studies and World Cinema among other courses. She was an intern and later a staff member at Women Make Movies in the 1980s and recently completed a term as board chair. She’s the author of Women’s Cinema/World Cinema; Uninvited: Classical Hollywood Cinema and Lesbian Representability, and the co-author with Timothy Corrigan of The Film Experience: An Introduction and co-editor, with Corrigan and Meta Mazaj, of Critical Visions in Film Theory. She’s published numerous book chapters on gender and sexuality in cinema and essays in journals including Screen and Cinema Journal. A longtime member of the editorial collective of Camera Obscura, the leading journal of feminism, media, and culture, she now serves on its advisory board, as well as on the editorial board of Film Quarterly.
Pamela A. Aguilar
Vice President of Original Documentaries at VIACOM/CBS
Pamela A. Aguilar is Vice President of Original Documentaries at VIACOM/CBS. In this role she focuses on the development and strategy of Documentaries and Documentary series across all the MTV Entertainment Studios brands including MTV, Comedy Central, Paramount Network, VH1, CMT and the Smithsonian Channel.
Prior to joining VIACOM/CBS, she was on the Senior Editorial team at PBS where she identified, developed and oversaw the production of original unscripted and documentary programming across various genres. She shepherded award winning projects like “No Passport Required” with Chef Marcus Samuelsson” (VOX), and “Somewhere South” with Chef Vivian Howard (MARKAY); “Big Pacific,” narrated by Daniel Dae Kim (NHNZ), The Wonders of Mexico, narrated by Anthony Mendez, “Going to War” (VULCAN) and independent documentary films for Independent Lens and POV.
Before that, she was a writer/producer/director creating innovative content in the areas of science, history, social justice, and pop-culture. Her credits include, “America by the Numbers,” about the impact of America’s changing demographics, The Graduates/Los Graduados,” about the high school dropout crisis, “Between Two Plates,” a satirical Telenovela she created on healthy eating for the WIC Nutrition Program, and “Latin Music USA.” She began her career in TV commercial production where she worked on top brand-named client advertising campaigns.
Pamela serves on the board of Women Make Movies, NALIP’s Diverse Women in Media Advisory Committee and Jackson Wild’s New Voices Committee. She’s a graduate of The New School University in New York City, she hails from the Golden State of California.
Kisha Imani Cameron
Head of Content, 4thMVMT
Kisha Imani Cameron is a long-time creative professional with an extensive background in screenplay & artist development. Currently the Head of Content at 4thMVMT, an organization focused on the development of the whole person through personal-development, business management training, health & wellness, and supportive services. Previously, Ms. Cameron served as Chief Talent Development Officer & COO of Ghetto Film School, and Consultant of Scripted Programs for the Tribeca Film Institute. She was an Associate Producer on SOMETIMES IN APRIL, the HBO film based on true events surrounding the 1994 genocide in Rwanda; and on Spike Lee’s controversial film, BAMBOOZLED. She cultivated her experience in studio development as an executive at New Line Cinema under Mike DeLuca, and later Walden Media. Kisha holds a BFA in Film Production from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. As president of her production company Completion Films, Ms. Cameron for 10 years had a first look producing deal with Focus Features. With then CEO James Schamus, she created and ran the FOCUS FEATURES AFRICA FIRST SHORT FILM PROGRAM as Executive Director. With over 25 completed films, AFRICA FIRST is the most successful film program of it’s kind. Since it’s inception, filmmakers who have participated in Africa First have gone on to be be globally recognized as the most promising, innovative and noteworthy young African filmmakers. Notable examples include Rungano Nyoni, I AM NOT A WITCH (Cannes Film Festival); Daouda Coulibaly, WULU (New Directors/New Films), and Jenna Bass, HIGH FANTASY (Toronto Int’l Film Festival).
A long-time champion of diversity of all kinds in entertainment, Ms. Cameron passionately works in the artist development space as coach and trainer via the Visionary Legacy Project. She has led artist development workshops for South Africa’s ATFT, Film Independent and Chicken & Egg. Ms. Cameron received her coaching training from the renowned Coaches Training Institute (CTI).
Margery Somers Foster Center & Women’s Studies Librarian
Interim Media Librarian, Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, Mabel Smith Douglass Library
Kayo Denda is the Head of the Margery Somers Foster Center and Women’s Studies Librarian at Rutgers University Libraries. She is the liaison librarian to the Women’s and Gender Studies Department, Institute for Women’s Leadership, Institute for Research on Women, Center for Women’s Global Leadership, and Douglass Residential College. Her research interests range from women’s and gender issues to migration and diaspora, in particular movements of people, migrant communities and resettlement. Denda has been involved in a number of projects centered on Japanese-American community that settled in New Jersey to work at the Seabrook Farms, after their internment experience during the WWII. One of Kayo Denda’s main interests is to provide access and discovery to invisible collections. She led efforts in creating the CWGL: Center for Women’s Global Leadership Poster Collection, a digital collection of 292 posters published by 166 international women’s activist groups based in 24 countries between 1990 and 2005 and collected by Rutgers, Center for Women’s Global Leadership. This project received the “Significant Achievement Award in Women’s Studies Librarianship” from ALA/ACRL/Women and Gender Studies Section in 2012. Her theoretical research in providing access to interdisciplinary resources is demonstrated in the essay “Beyond Subject Headings: A Structured Information Retrieval Tool for Interdisciplinary Fields” published in Library Resources & Technical Services. The article received the Research Award from NJLA’s College and University Section in 2006. Denda is also a co-author of the book Douglass Century: Transformation of the Women’s College at Rutgers University that will be published by Rutgers University Press in 2018.
Director, OffCenter Films
Guillemet has worked in key positions in the film industry for twenty-five years. For over fifteen years she served as Vice President of the Sundance Institute and Co-Director of the Sundance Film Festival. At the 2000 Sundance Film Festival, she launched and directed the Documentary Film Program and its ” House of Docs” to provide support to documentary filmmakers. She also initiated the Gen-Y Studio, a program designed to nurture student filmmakers. In 2002, she founded the Utah Film Center bringing the world of film to local audience, emphasizing social content and artistic excellence. From 2002 – 2007, Guillemet was the Director of the Miami International Film Festival, showcasing the most important selection of Ibero-American Cinema in North America. She led the Festival through an astounding five-year period of growth including the creation of the Miami Encuentros, a program to help emerging Ibero-American producers. In the last six years Guillemet has worked as an executive consultant for various international festivals including the Dominican Republic Global Film Festival, the Costa Rica International Film Festival as Program Director, and the Middle East International Film Festival, the Bahamas International Film Festival, and ESAV, the Marrakech School of Film and Design supporting new Arabic cinema. Over the years Guillemet has assisted many documentary filmmakers during their creative process and in the production of their films, as well as in their distribution strategies.Throughout her career, Guillemet has been a dedicated arts activist. She serves on national boards of a number of arts organizations. She has also served on funding panel for the National Endowment for the Arts and the Rolex Foundation, and as a juror and panelist for international festivals. In 2005 she received the decoration, Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres from the French Minister of Culture.
VP, Documentary Films, National Geographic
Ryan Harrington is the Vice President of Documentary Films at National Geographic. Previous positions include Executive Producer of Feature Documentary at Pulse Films, Acting Director of Industry Programs for Hot Docs, and Director of Docs and Specials for Discovery Communications, where he commissioned and acquired feature docs for numerous platforms. Harrington served as the Vice President of Artist Programs for Tribeca Film Institute, where he launched many of their worldwide granting and filmmaker support initiatives. He also managed production at A&E IndieFilms, where he championed numerous high-profile feature docs. He is an Emmy, PGA and IDA-nominated producer as well as a frequent panelist, speaker, jurist, and go-to expert at industry events around the world.
Director, Sundance Film Festival
With over 25 years experience in the field of arts and nonfiction, Tabitha Jackson is an award-winning Commissioning Editor, director, producer and writer who believes passionately in the arts as a public good. She is currently the director of the Sundance Film Festival. In 2013 Jackson took up the role of Director of the Documentary Film Program at Sundance Institute with a mission to champion the power of artful nonfiction cinema in the culture and to support a more expansive set of makers and forms. In supporting such work, she and her team encourage the diverse exchange of ideas by artists as a critical pathway to developing an open society. In 2019 she launched and led a new pillar of work at the Institute – Impact, Engagement and Advocacy – with the goal of reasserting the role of the independent artist as a dynamic force for social good. Prior to joining Sundance she served as Head of Arts and Performance at Channel 4 Television in London, where she supported the independent and alternative voice and sought to find fresh and innovative ways of storytelling.
She executive produced a number of projects for the UK’s Film 4 including Mark Cousins’ cinematic odyssey The Story of Film, Clio Barnard’s hybrid The Arbor, Sophie Fiennes’ essay The Pervert’s Guide to Ideology, Bart Layton’s thriller The Imposter, and Iain and Jane’s Nick Cave biography 20,000 Days on Earth. All of these artists hit Jackson’s sweet spot by using cinematic storytelling to challenge accepted orthodoxies about the world and about the form, and to make visible through art, just a little more of the human condition.
Terry Lawler is a media consultant and the Competition Director of the CinemaStreet Women’s Short Screenplay Competition. She was Executive Director of New York Women in Film & Television from for 20 years, until December, 2018. Lawler serves on the Board of Directors of the Katahdin Foundation and Manhattan Neighborhood Network. Prior to becoming Executive Director of NYWIFT in 1997, Lawler was Director of Development and Production at Women Make Movies and National Director of Film and Videomakers Services at the American Film Institute. She has been a media consultant for foundations and nonprofit groups, including the MacArthur Foundation, the Astraea Foundation, the National Museum of Women in the Arts and the Goethe Institute, among others.
Lawler was a production executive on several network television specials and was Executive Producer of Visions of Light: The Art of Cinematography, which won Best Documentary awards from the American Society of Film Critics and the New York Film Critics Circle.
Producer & Engagement/Communications Strategist
Neyda Martinez is a producer and independent strategic communications and cultural consultant with over 15 years of experience. While working full-time she completed graduate studies at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs earning an MPA in 2008. She’s served clients such as Hachette Book Group USA, NYC’s Mayor’s Office of Adult Education, and Pernod-Ricard, a former sponsor of the Latin Grammy’s who sought her expertise in strategy, marketing and communications. Most recently, she concluded her tenure as Director of National Engagement for PBS’ documentary special, LATINO AMERICANS. In 2004, she conceived the music and humanities project, HABANA/HARLEM®. Five years later, Neyda created The New Audience Project™ to engage Latina women as cultural ambassadors and participate as consultants and micro-entrepreneurs in the cultural economy. The initiative garnered a highly coveted Rockefeller Cultural Innovation Fund Award for the pilot’s host organization, Teatro Circulo. She is also the producer of the independent film, LUCKY, www.luckythedocumentary.com. She volunteers on committees for the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Uprose and serves on the national board of directors for The Association of American Cultures, as well as for the Bronx-based dance company, Pepatian. An active cultural advocate and leader, she nurtures the next generation with hands-on mentoring. Her contributions have been recognized by El Diario-La Prensa’s Mujer Destacada campaign (2002); BeingLatino.com (2012); Senator Peralta and the Latin American Intercultural Alliance (2013); and Ford Motor Company’s Mujer Legendaria campaign. (2013).
Director of Digital Content and Strategy, billmoyers.com
Theresa oversees content for BillMoyers.com, and oversees the planning and execution of Bill Moyers’ social media strategy. She is an award-winning web producer and editor whose work has been featured on PBS Online and TIME.com. Previously, she was the vice president of digital content and strategy at POV, a documentary film series on PBS. Under her leadership, POV was one of PBS.org’s top 25 program sites. She developed new strategies for informing and engaging the public online, earning the site critical acclaim and numerous accolades, including the Webby Award, the Online News Association Award for General Excellence, the Knight-Batten Award for Innovative Journalism and the Parent’s Choice Award.
Co-Executive Director, ArtBuilt
Filmmaker and Producer
Esther Robinson is an award winning filmmaker and producer. Her critically acclaimed directorial debut “A Walk into the Sea: Danny Williams and The Warhol Factory” took top prizes at The Berlin, Tribeca and Chicago film festivals and is currently in international theatrical release. Other producing projects include the film Home Page (by acclaimed filmmaker Doug Block), the digital satellite release of The Last Broadcast to 5 cities, the award winning PBS series Alive From Off Center and serving as the Director of Film/Video and Performing Arts for the Creative Capital Foundation (1999-2006). Additionally, Esther has a philanthropy consulting practice (clients include The Ford Foundation, Chicken and Egg Pictures and The Fledgling Fund), is a technical advisor on the “Shifting Sands – Art, Culture and Neighborhood Change” initiative (this initiative recognizes neighborhood-based arts and cultural organizations as unique stakeholders in poor neighborhoods experiencing economic and demographic shifts and is funded by the Ford Foundation and managed by Partners for Livable Communities) and she is the founder of ArtHome a non-profit business that helps artists and their communities build assets and equity through financial literacy and home-ownership. Esther has a film and television degree from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts.
Ex Officio, Executive Director, Women Make Movies
Debra Zimmerman has been the Executive Director of Women Make Movies, a non-profit NY based film organization that supports women filmmakers, since 1983. During her tenure it has grown into the largest distributor of films by and about women in the world. WMM’s internationally recognized Production Assistance Program has helped hundreds of women get their films made. Films from WMM programs have been nominated or won Academy Awards for the last eight years.
She is in great demand around the world as a speaker on independent film distribution, marketing and financing as well as on women’s film. She has moderated panels and given master classes at the Sundance Film Festival, MIPDOC and Reel Screen as well as film festivals in Europe, Africa, Asia and South America. Zimmerman has been closely affiliated with the International Documentary Film Festival (IDFA) as the co-host of the Talk of the Day and as a tutor for their Summer Film Academy. She has been on the juries of festivals around the world including the Abu Dhabi Film Festival, the Cartagena Film Festival (FICCI), and the Leipzig International Documentary Film Festival, among others. In addition, she has mentored filmmakers at the Ex-Oriente Film Workshop in Vienna, the Sheffield DocuFest and for many years at the National Alliance of Latino Independent Producers’ (NALIP) Academy. She sits on the Board of Directors of Cinema Tropical, a resource for Latino independent filmmakers and on the Advisory Board of the Center for Social Media at American University. She is the recipient of New York Women in Film and Television’s Loreen Arbus Award and Hot Doc’s 2013 Doc Mogul Award, given to those who “over the course of their career has made an essential contribution to the creative vitality of the documentary industry, both in his or her country or abroad.”