Speaker Bios

299879_4956991639856_2107602325_nLaura Azevedo has over 20 years of experience as a production manager and supervising producer, with credits on national series such as NOVA, American Experience, and FETCH! with Ruff Ruffman. In her tenure at FC she has positioned the organization as one of the few nonprofit fiscal sponsors able to handle both traditional and crowd-sourced funding in an easy and streamlined fashion. She is a huge asset to FC filmmakers as they increasingly turn online for project funding, helping them set up their set up Kickstarter campaigns and suggesting ways to fine-tune them as they go.

RickretourchRick Beyer
is an award-winning documentary filmmaker, a best-selling author, and a long-time history enthusiast. His most recent film, The Ghost Army, (funded partly by Kickstarter) tells the story of an extraordinary WWII unit that used inflatable tanks, sound effects, and illusion to fool Hitler’s legions on the battlefields of Europe. It recently won the Audience Award at the Salem Film Fest, and will air nationwide on PBS in May. Rick has made documentaries for The History Channel, National Geographic Channel, the Smithsonian Institution, and others. He is also the author of  the bestselling Greatest Stories Never Told series of history books published by HarperCollins, and described by the Chicago Tribune as “an old fashioned sweetshop full of tasty morsels.”

Pleun BouriciusPleun Bouricius is Assistant Director of Mass Humanities, where she manages the Grant Program as well as Reading Frederick Douglass and the Massachusetts History grants and projects. She is also the Project Director of Hidden Walls, Hidden Mills, a project that develops history/ecology adventures in Plainfield, MA. Before that she was a carpenter; drove a Freightliner Classic around the country; managed the Women, Enterprise, and Society project at Baker Library at Harvard Business School; and taught in the History and Literature, Women’s Studies Programs at Harvard University and the Harvard Extension School. She was born and raised in The Hague, The Netherlands.

Liane Brandon (photo by Boyd Estus)Liane Brandon is an independent filmmaker, photographer and UMass/Amherst Professor Emeritus. She was one of the first independent women filmmakers to emerge from the early women’s movement in MA.  She is a co-founder of New Day Films, a national cooperative that is has pioneered the distribution of feminist/social issue films and videos. Her award-winning films include Anything You Want To Be, Betty Tells Her Story, Once Upon A Choice, and How To Prevent A Nuclear War. Currently she works as a still photographer, with photo credits on Murder at Harvard (PBS American Experience), Typhoid Mary: The Most Dangerous Woman In America (PBS Nova), Unsolved Mysteries, The Powder and the Glory, and Louisa May Alcott: The Woman Behind Little Women (PBS American Masters).


Ty Burr is a film critic for The Boston Globe and author of the new hardcover Gods Like Us: On Movie Stardom and Modern Fame (Pantheon) and the new e-book 50 Movie Starter Kit: What to Know if You Want to Know What You’re Talking About (Random House). He has been at the Globe since 2002; before that, he worked for Entertainment Weekly as the magazine’s chief video critic, and also covered film, music, theater, books, and the internet. He began his career at Home Box Office in the 1980s, where he helped program the Cinemax pay-cable service.  Ty has also written articles on film and other subjects for the New York Times, Spin, the Boston Phoenix, and other publications. He regularly appears on such local and  national media programs as WBUR’s Here and Now and WGBH’s Greater Boston. He is an adjunct professor in the Film & TV department at Boston University.

BestorHeadshot[1]Bestor Cram is the creative director of Northern Light Productions, a Boston based media firm specializing in multi-screen, interactive-immersive environments for museums and visitor centers. Their work also focuses on the long format documentary. Recent work includes interpreting the Cuban Missile Crisis currently on display at the JFK Presidential Library, multiple media installations at the MOB Museum in Las Vegas, and a documentary about cyber war called Weapons of Mass Disruption.  Bestor is the Massachusetts member of the International Quorum of Motion Picture Producers, a global community of media makers.

profile Version 2Kathryn Dietz worked as an independent producer for nearly 30 years before becoming the executive director of Filmmakers Collaborative. She was a founding co-owner of NY-based Ambrica Productions, and through that company she produced eight award-winning historical films for PBS, several of them funded by the NEH. They include the 6-hour series China: A Century of Revolution, two Frontline programs, China in the Red and Young & Restless in China, biographies of Eleanor Roosevelt and Mary Pickford for American Experience, and Time of Fear. After leaving Ambrica in 2009 she wrote, produced and directed two more films, Big Little Town: The Story of Needham (WGBH) and an episode in the web series Getting Better: 200 Years of Medicine (New England Journal of Medicine, with Nancy Porter). She is executive producer of Nasser, An Egyptian Story, funded by the NEH and currently in production.

Nick_photo_croppedNicholas Fortugno is a game designer and entrepreneur of digital and real-world games. He is a founder of Playmatics, a NYC-based game development company that has created a variety of games including the CableFAX award winning Breaking Bad: The Interrogation, the CPB educational game HD LAB, and the upcoming iOS games Untouchables: The Mean Streets of Chicago and Shadow Government. For the past 10 years Nick has been a designer, writer and project manager on dozens of commercial and serious games and was lead designer on the downloadable Diner Dash as well as Ayiti: The Cost of Life. He is co-founder of the Come Out and Play street games festival hosted in New York City and Amsterdam since 2006, and co-creator of the Big Urban Game for Minneapolis/St. Paul in 2003. He teaches game design and interactive narrative design at Parsons New School of Design, and has helped construct the school’s game design curriculum.


Natasha Deganello Giraudie is the CEO of Micro-Documentaries, a company that makes 1-2 minute documentary style films to help purposeful businesses and nonprofits move their missions forward.  They work with a broad range of social and environmental innovators, including the Clinton Global Initiative, eBay’s Social Innovation team, Packard Foundation, and Environmental Defense Fund , creating personal and powerful stories and original content about their work, their impact and the future they envision.  Micro-Documentaries is made up of a virtual network of talented documentary filmmakers from around the world with a small hub in the San Francisco Bay Area. Their virtual model, documentary-style approach and obsession with innovation make Micro-Documentaries’ production costs some of the lowest in the business, enabling their clients to tell more, high quality stories at a fraction of the cost of commercial video production.

nicole_greggNicole Gregg began her career at the indie film company Shooting Gallery, first as an intern, then as a casting assistant on the Oscar nominated film, You Can Count on Me.  She went on to cast other indie hits such as Julie Johnson starring Courtney Love and Lili Taylor and Bullet in the Brain starring Tom Noonan and Dean Winters.  After moving from NYC to NH she began working with the NH Festival and has been leading the team since 2004.  Nicole served on the NH Film and Television Commission and the board of Directors for the Greater Portsmouth Chamber of Commerce, and in 2007 she was named one of NH Magazine’s Remarkable Women in the Arts.  Her most prized credits are her children, Talula and Ranger, and her husband Zac.


Evie Kintzer is Executive Director of Strategy and Business Development at WGBH Boston. In this position she reviews new media platforms to keep up with the changing media landscape and public media’s place within it, and she develops partnerships for production and distribution of WGBH educational content on all platforms. She is a long-time strategic planner who has also been the director of business affairs in the WGBH legal department, handling production and distribution agreements for general audience series NOVA, American Experience, and Frontline, and children’s series Arthur, Between the Lions, Martha Speaks and ZOOM.

IMG_0705FSheila Leddy is Exective Director of the Fledgling Fund, a foundation working at the intersection of film and social change, since its founding. She has guided its overall strategy in collaboration with Fledgling’s president and board and plays a leadership role in developing grant guidelines, reviewing and developing projects, and assessing their potential to advance Fledgling’s mission.  In 2008 she co-authored the white paper, “Assessing Creative Media’s Social Impact,” and is a member of the Association of Small Foundation’s Impact Working Group.

Alice MarkowitzAlice Markowitz is VP of Communications and Social Media at Stonyfield Farm, a company that began life as an organic farming school and is now the leading organic yogurt maker worldwide. Prior to Stonyfield, Alice produced, directed and wrote PBS documentaries, receiving Emmys for The Mystery of Qi and A Life Together. At present, she oversees Stonyfield’s wide-ranging media landscape, which includes traditional journalism and emerging social platforms. In hiring an accomplished filmmaker as chief communications officer, Stonyfield clearly recognized the power of good storytelling, and how distilling complex stories into engaging visual media can help change the world, one organic yogurt cup at a time.

UnknownElaine McMillion is an award-winning, documentary storyteller based in Boston MA. Her work explores how digital platforms and participatory media can empower local communities. McMillion strives to bring the voices of people and places that are often underrepresented or misrepresented by the mass media to the forefront. She is currently the project director of Hollow, an interactive documentary that explores the issues and future of rural America through the eyes of Southern West Virginians. With support by the Tribeca Film Institute’s New Media Fund, Hollow will launch in May 2013 and combine documentary vignettes with photos, community-shot footage, soundscapes, animations and data visualizations in an immersive, HTML5 experience.

5-17j  10 cu npNancy Porter has made numerous documentaries for PBS first as a producer at WGBH and as an independent.  She has won many awards and in 2004, Typhoid Mary: The Most Dangerous Woman in America, her film for NOVA, was nominated for an Emmy as Best Historical Documentary.  Porter made four other films for NOVA and several for the American Experience (Amelia Earhart and Houdini.)  Her latest production funded in part by NEH was Louisa May Alcott: The Woman Behind Little Women which was broadcast on American Masters.

E_SimardElise Simard is an employment development trainer with a strong background in business development and broadcast production. For over 15 years she has successfully trained individuals and groups to motivate and elevate their growth potential. Her experience in the broadcast field includes working with WCVB-TV/Channel 5, Sports Channel New England, ESPN and SVS Inc. As a producer she has developed stories for the US Dept of Education, CNN, SAT 1, German TV, Reuters and E! Entertainment. As a communications specialist she is known for effectively preparing speakers for live shot interviews and media tours. As President of Speechcomm she has designed and delivered training seminars to a wide range of companies, using a coaching/training style that provides instant implementation to maximize tangible results.

jssj in ClevelandJohn Staudenmaier, S.J. is a Jesuit scholar and historian who has worked for 32 years at the University of Detroit Mercy, in the history department, as editor-in-chief of Technology and Culture, as interim dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Education, as assistant to the president for Mission and Identity, and as a trustee. He has taught at MIT, Boston College and Santa Clara University. He has served as historical consultant on numerous documentaries, most recently on Henry Ford, the new American Experience film by Sarah Colt. His published works include Technology’s Storytellers: Reweaving the Human Fabric, The Politics and Ethics of Engineering, and Rationality vs. Contingency in the History of Technology, among others. In 2011 he was awarded the Leonardo da Vinci Medal by the Society for the History of Technology.

david-tamesDavid Tamés is a documentary filmmaker with new media tendencies. His short documentary works include: The David Hamilton Smith Story, about the medical researcher who developed the HibTITER vaccine; Remembering John Marshall, about the late ethnographic filmmaker; and the award-winning Smile Boston Project, a profile of artist Bren Bataclan. He is currently co-directing Farm and Red Moon, a feature documentary investigating humane animal slaughter through the eyes of three passionate farmers. David co-founded MIT TechTV, the video sharing site for the MIT community and in the early days of web video was part of the team producing The East Village, a groundbreaking entertainment site and winner of New Media Magazine’s InVision Gold Award. Currently he teaches documentary production at Massachusetts College of Art and Design and blogs at Kino-Eye.com, and is on the FC board of directors.

Judith M. VecchioneJudith Vecchione works in the National Programming unit of WGBH Boston. Her most recent work is a transmedia documentary project, Medal Quest, which showcased America’s elite athletes with disabilities competing at the 2012 London Paralympics. Previous projects include such award-winning series as Eyes on the Prize (Series Senior Producer) and Americas (Executive Producer). She also is Executive Director of the annual CPB/PBS Producers Workshop, which focuses on finding and developing the next generation of media professionals.

Sarah-WolozinSarah Wolozin is Director of the MIT Open Documentary Lab, a center for experimentation, education, and critical dialogue that brings storytellers, technologists, and scholars together to advance the new arts of documentary. As Director, she initiates and oversees activities related to the lab including partnerships, projects, and events that support the emerging field of digital storytelling. Before coming to MIT, she produced documentaries and educational media for a wide variety of media outlets including PBS, History Channel, Learning Channel, NPR, and for various websites and educational technologies. She has been a speaker at Sundance, South By Southwest, and MIT. She holds a BA from Barnard College.

Anne_Zeiser_MAINAnne Zeiser  is an award-winning journalist, social advocate and media strategist.  She founded Azure Media, which produces high profile transmedia projects and media-fueled social impact campaigns that catalyze social change for partners such as PBS, BBC and HBO. Previously, she oversaw transmedia, marketing and impact at WGBH for national PBS icons – from Masterpiece and NOVA to Antiques Roadshow and Curious George – and co-led numerous specials such as Rx for Survival and Martin Scorsese Presents the Blues.  She also was a CBS news producer, a senior marketing executive and served in government. Zeiser contributes to the Huffington Post, is on the FC board of directors and is an adjunct professor at Emerson College.