July 28, 2020
Virtual Panel – The Future of Festivals: Creating Community, Connection, & Curation Online
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Join us for a conversation with festival programmers, who will provide insight on where festivals are headed.


**NOTE: IFP Members pay a discounted price for Industry Panels. Please sign-in to your account to take advantage of this perk.**

Film Festivals continue to be the bedrock for providing platforms to highlight diverse stories and filmmakers. In this new virtual world festivals’ space in the film landscape is more important than ever – providing connection, community, and curation in these complicated times.

Join us for a conversation on Tuesday, July 28th with regional & community driven festivals – BlackStar Film Festival, New Orleans Film Festival, Cleveland International Film Festival, and Third Horizon Film Festival – as they discuss their decisions to go virtual, how online festivals create more opportunities for filmmakers, and the positive impact the online format has on the future of these festivals. The conversation will be moderated by Jessie Fairbanks, film curator/programmer (DOC NYC, Tribeca, Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival).



7pm – 8pm: Panel Conversation

8pm – 8:30pm: Audience Q&A



ZANDASHÉ BROWN is the Artist Development Coordinator & Programming Manager for the New Orleans Film Society. A filmmaker herself and former fellow of the Emerging Voices program, Brown now assists in the coordination of both filmmaker development programs including the Southern Producers Lab and Emerging Voices. She also organizes the Filmmaker Summit, a series of panels, talks, and workshops that take place yearly alongside the Academy Award-qualifying New Orleans Film Festival, where she also serves as a programmer. Brown is a graduate of Louisiana State University.


JASON FITZROY JEFFERS is a Miami-based filmmaker and journalist from Barbados whose work primarily focuses on giving voice to the often-marginalized stories of the tropics. As a journalist, his work has appeared on The Intercept and in The Miami Herald. As a filmmaker, he has produced award-winning shorts such as Papa Machete, Swimming in Your Skin Again and T, which recently won the Golden Bear at Berlinale, that have screened at Sundance, BlackStar, TIFF, Sheffield and more. He is Co-Founder and Co-Executive Director of the creative collective Third Horizon, which stages the annual Third Horizon Film Festival, a showcase of cinema from the Caribbean, its diasporas, and other underrepresented spaces in the Global South.


BILL GUENTZLER is the Artistic Director of the Cleveland International Film Festival (CIFF).  He joined the CIFF as a Cleveland State University intern in 1998.  After years of different positions, he was promoted to Artistic Director in 2005.  Since he started at the festival, attendance has nearly tripled, CIFF43 in March/April 2019 welcomed over 105,800 attendees and screened over 450 films, making it one of the largest film festivals in the United States. After the cancellation of CIFF44 due to Covid-19 in March 2020, CIFF was the first large regional U.S. festival to transition to an online format.  As Artistic Director, he has served as a juror and panelist at numerous festivals throughout the world.  He holds a B.A. in Communications from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at CSU, which has named him as one their of 50 Fascinating Alumni.


NEHAD KHEDAR, Program Director of BlackStar Projects, is also a curator, filmmaker, editor and writer whose work in film informs her work as a historian and vice versa. Trained in media and literature by Black and Palestinian creators, Nehad is moved by art that carries aesthetic excellence as well as social and political significance. She is a 2017 Leeway Transformation Award winner, a 2018 Tribeca Film Institute fellow, and a 2019 Logan Nonfiction Fellow, and was selected by the Palestine Film Institute to inaugurate the Palestine Pavilion at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival. 



JESSIE FAIRBANKS is a film curator/programmer and producer based in Chicago whose curatorial practice explores the ever expanding potential of documentary filmmaking. She programs documentaries for DOC NYC, Tribeca Film Festival and MountainFilm. Jessie is also the Director of Programming at Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival, the oldest non-fiction festival in the country.  She is on the nominating committee for Cinema Eye Honors, consults for Sundance, and is a grant evaluator for the Tribeca Film Institute and Chicken & Egg Pictures. Jessie also serves on the Creative Board for the Independent Film Alliance in Chicago, where she is based. Previous programming work includes Chicago International Film Festival, Hamptons International Film Festival, Nashville Film Festival, Rooftop Films, and Woods Hole Film Festival.    Before shifting to programming full time, Jessie spent a decade in NYC producing large scale events, festivals, and creative projects for HBO, The Documentary Group, David Byrne, and Google. From 2012- 2016 Jessie was the Project Manager for BAMFilm (previous BAMcinèmatek) at the Brooklyn Academy of Music.

Date & Time

Tuesday, July 28, 2020
7:00 PM - 8:30 PM EST

Reserve Deadline: July 29, 2020


Virtual Online

RSVP Instructions

Please join this panel via ZOOM. Link will be sent a few days before the event

For questions, please contact kbrooks@nymediacenter.com