Philanthropist Ann Bresnan has worked in finance, real estate, and at Christie’s auction house. She has invested in both films and art. Ann and a good friend produced Thank You Films – a series of 30-second public service announcements aired nationwide for several years on cable networks aimed at thanking individual charities for the many good works they do and drawing a wider awareness to their causes. Currently, she is the President of the Bill and Ann Bresnan Foundation and believes strongly in the positive role films can play in changing lives.
Sophia Bush is an American actress, activist, entrepreneur and global education access advocate. She currently stars as Detective Erin Lindsay on season 4 of NBC’s Chicago PD. She plays her strong, vulnerable, and complex character on five series across super producer Dick Wolf’s platform. She is currently working on a film opposite Bruce Willis.
Bush has captured film and television audiences alike with the diverse characters she portrays. Over the course of nine seasons, she portrayed Brooke Davis on The CW’s hit drama “One Tree Hill,” evolving from a troublemaking vixen to a fiercely loyal friend and a huge fan favorite. Bush appeared opposite David Krumholtz, Michael Urie and Brandon Routh in the CBS comedy, “Partners.”
Bush starred opposite Sean Bean in the remake of the classic horror film “The Hitcher” produced by Michael Bay for Focus Features. She starred in Serenade Films’ “The Narrows,” the independent comedy “Table for Three,” and the feature film “Chalet Girl” opposite Bill Nighy and Brooke Shields. Previously, Bush starred in 20th Century Fox’s hit comedy “John Tucker Must Die” along with Jesse Metcalfe and Brittany Snow. She also starred in the Buena Vista Pictures thriller, “Stay Alive,” opposite Frankie Muniz and Adam Goldberg.
Bush has earned multiple Teen Choice Awards in the categories of “Choice Movie Actress: Comedy,” “Choice Movie Actress: Horror/Thriller” and “Choice Movie: Breakout Female.” In addition, she received the Rising Star Award at the Vail Film Festival, the New Hollywood Style Icon Award at the Hollywood Style Awards and the Bing Philanthropy Award at the Young Hollywood Awards.
Off screen, Bush is also an early stage tech investor, who looks to bolster companies that create innovation and efficiency in people’s lives. She counts Uber, StyleSeat, Meerkat, Mark 43, and THINX among investments she calls “lifehacks.”
Named one of the most charitable celebrities by CNN, Sophia devotes her free time to bettering girl’s education and the environment. She inspires millions as she uses her personal platform and social media influence to raise awareness and funds for great causes. Since taking to social media to share her passion for change, Bush has inspired young people to join her in raising nearly half a million dollars for charity, built three primary schools in Guatemala and Laos, and now serves as a global ambassador for Glamour’s The Girl Project. Her focus, with The Girl Project, is to break down the barriers the girls face to secondary school education. They are currently working in 96 countries around the world.
Breven founded and directs Angaelica, an arts and ecology non-profit, hosting an International Film Festival, currently in it’s 10th year and a Pop-up Gallery during Art Basel Miami Beach. She is a PGA member, who has been involved in production grants, sat on advisory boards, deliberated with programming teams and chosen prize winners on various juries. Breven’s festival resume includes, Sundance, Slamdance, Outfest, LA Film Festival, Outfest, AFI Film Festival, San Francisco International Film Festival and Miami International Film Festival.
Nick Doob has been a director, cinematographer, and editor on numerous award-winning films. He shot five films which were nominated for Academy Awards, including From Mao to Mozart and Smile Pinki which won. He has received eight filmmaker grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and is a member of the Academy of Motion Pictures and the Director’s Guild. He directed Down from the Mountain with D A Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus and Elaine Stritch at Liberty for HBO which won an Emmy. In 2000 he won an Emmy as a producer on American High, the acclaimed verité TV series. For HBO he co-directed with Rory Kennedy A Boy’s Life, and has shot a number of Pennebaker-Hegedus films, including Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars (1973), The War Room (1993), and directed with Chris Hegedus, Al Franken: God Spoke. He directed Carmen & Geoffrey with his wife, Linda Atkinson, the prize-winning film about the dancers Carmen de Lavallade and Geoffrey Holder. Recently, with Shari Cookson, he has made a number of feature-length documentaries for HBO including “The Memory Loss Tapes” which won the Emmy for Exceptional Merit in Nonfiction Filmmaking.
Academy Award-nominee Nina Rosenblum is internationally recognized as one of the most important directors of documentary and investigative cinema. Daedalus Productions, Inc., founded in 1980, focuses on issues not covered in the conventional media and produces non-fiction television for network, public and cable markets. Specializing in international co-production, Rosenblum’s credits include: PBS, HBO, Showtime/NY TimesTV, Canal +/Spain, WDR/Germany, La Sept/France, ChannelFour/UK, SBS/Australia. Daedalus Productions has won numerous awards and is a highly respected member of the world-wide non-fiction community. Nina Rosenblum is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the Directors’ Guild of America and New York Women in Film.
The Oscar and Emmy-winning Director Kirk Simon has received four Oscar nominations; including one win, eight Emmy nominations (two Prime Time wins) and the Dupont-Columbia Silver Baton. His documentaries have been broadcast on PBS, HBO, MTV and screened at festivals around the world including the New York Film Festival, Sundance, London, Doc NYC, Berlin, Doc Edge NZ and Toronto.
Simon’s recently completed feature doc THE PULITZER AT 100 (2016) include scenes with Toni Morrison, Carl Bernstein, Nick Kristof, Wynton Marsalis, Junot Diaz, Tony Kushner and readings by Martin Scorsese, Helen Mirren and Natalie Portman. The film has played in Toronto, Doc Land SF, RiverRun, Zagreb, Doc Edge New Zealand and Doc NYC. Mr. Simon is also responsible for four seasons of the series MASTERCLASS (2010-2014) on HBO and COMING OUT STORIES on MTV/Logo (2008/9).
Mr. Simon won an Oscar for the documentary STRANGERS NO MORE (2010) examining the children of immigrant workers in Tel Aviv. Previous nominations include CHIMPS: SO LIKE US (1990), filmed with Jane Goodall in Tanzania and ISAAC IN AMERICA (1988) with Isaac Bashivas Singer. He is a voting member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
Colleen Kelsey is a journalist and critic based in New York City, and the Associate Editor of Interview magazine, founded by Andy Warhol in 1969. She has contributed interviews, features, and criticism to New York, Lenny Letter, Hazlitt, Surface, Industrie, and the feminist film journal cleo.
Kristen Yoonsoo Kim is a freelance film critic and entertainment reporter. Her work can be found in Village Voice, Rolling Stone, GQ, and VICE, among others. Twitter: @kristenyoonsoo.
Sayra is the head of development and an ensemble member of The Collective NY. She is a lifetime member of the The Actors Studio where she also serves on the board. She has extensive downtown theatre credits, and worked in Italy and Poland with the Workcenter of Jerzy Grotowski and Thomas Richards. Film and Television acting credits: INSIDE AMY SCHUMER, PAPER COVERS ROCK(IFC/ SXSW), EUPHORIA, A LITTLE CLOSER (Rotterdam), PACING THE CAGE, DUANE HOPWOOD (Sundance),TROOPER, OFF DUTY, HOW I GOT LOST, LAW AND ORDER, THE SONG STILL INSIDE and TURNABOUT.
Louisa Greene is the Director of Development and Marketing at the Avon Theatre Film Center in Stamford, CT, a member-supported, non-profit independent cinema. Louisa has helped organize several new film festivals, including the Greenwich Youth Film Festival and Stamford Youth Film Festival. She has done promotions for the Focus on French Cinema Festival and the Greenwich International Film Festival as well as hosted events at the Avon for their kick-off screenings. She was proud to represent the Avon at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival. Louisa is passionate about collaborating with other non-profits to use film as a vehicle to promote social change. In honor of the Avon’s 70th anniversary, she co-produced a short film, and also co-produced a short about the historic Perrot Memorial Library in Old Greenwich, CT.
Louisa has a B.A. from Mount Holyoke College in art history and an M.S.W. from Columbia Univ. She resides in Old Greenwich with her family and volunteers for the Greenwich Council, BSA; Junior League of Greenwich; Perrot Library and Christ Church.
Ed Ruggiero administers the Digital Media and Motion Picture Tax Credit Programs for the state of CT Office of Film, Television, and Digital Media. Previously, he worked as a Commercial Producer for Cablevision. He has also worked as an editor on the feature films Yonkers Joe, starring Chazz Palminteri, Murder on Mott Street, directed by and starring Burt Young, and the 1997 Sundance selection Mr. Vincent. His short film Changing Room was awarded Best Dramatic Short at the 9th Annual New Haven Film Festival (2004).
Ellen Woolf Rubrich has been with the CT Office of Film, Television & Digital Media since 2005 in which time she has supported over 2000 film, television, commercial, and digital media projects in Connecticut. Prior credits include Sesame Workshop, Martha Stewart Living, and World Wrestling Entertainment. She is especially fond of storytelling that serves the greater good and believes strongly in transforming the world through planned and random acts of kindness. Ellen Woolf Rubrich is a member of the Association for Film Commissioner International, DECD Agency Chair for the CT State Employees Campaign for Charitable Giving, and Wish Granter for Make-A-Wish Connecticut.
Nanette Burstein began her career directing the award-winning documentary, On The Ropes, which received an Oscar nomination for Best Documentary, won the Special Jury Prize at Sundance, and received the DGA award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement while she was still attending NYU Tisch School of Film.
Shortly after, she co-directed the Robert Evans biography, The Kid Stays in the Picture, which became one of the most talked about movies of the year. She produced and directed a five-part documentary series with Quincy Jones and VH1 called Say it Loud: Black Music in America. She executive produced VH1’s Rock Doc NY77: The Coolest Year in Hell, which was nominated for two Emmy awards, and Film School, a ten part series for IFC.
Continuing her success in the documentary field, her film, American Teen, followed the lives of five teenagers through their senior year of high school in a small Indiana town. The film earned the Documentary Directing Award at the Sundance Film Festival.
Nanette directed the feature romantic comedy Going The Distance, which starred Drew Barrymore, Justin Long, Jason Sudeikis, Charlie Day and Christina Applegate. She has also directed episodic television comedies, such as Fox’s hit show New Girl and CW’s Carrie Diaries.
Following it up with, The Price of Gold, a documentary for the ESPN 30 for 30 series about figure skater Tonya Harding. The film won Best Television Documentary at the Cinema Eye awards and a Sports Emmy.
Her most recent film, Gringo: The Dangerous Life of John McAfee, opened at the Toronto Film Festival and is currently airing on Showtime.
Nanette has been a prolific commercial director, winning several awards including an Emmy nomination for best commercial of the year and most recently a Lion Award at Cannes.
Rachel Boynton is an award-winning independent producer of documentary films. Her work is known for its authenticity and a phenomenal depth of access. Most recently Rachel produced and directed the feature documentary Big Men, which was executive produced by Brad Pitt. The film played at numerous festivals around the world including Tribeca, HotDocs, Locarno, CPH:DOX, and the Human Rights Watch Film Festival. Big Men was theatrically released in the United States in 2014, broadcast in multiple countries and aired in the US on the PBS series POV. For her work on the film, Rachel won the prestigious Edward R. Murrow Award from the Overseas Press Club of America, honoring the year’s best TV or video interpretation or documentary on international affairs. Big Men was also nominated for three News and Documentary Emmy Awards including Best Documentary.
Rachel produced and directed the feature-length documentary Our Brand Is Crisis, filming for three years on two continents. Winner of the International Documentary Association’s Best Feature Documentary Award and nominated for an Independent Spirit Award, the film followed a group of American political consultants as they traveled to South America to help Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada become President of Bolivia. George Clooney’s company, Smokehouse, recently remade Our Brand Is Crisis as a fiction feature; Warner Brothers released the film in October 2015.
Rachel is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. She received an M.S. from Columbia’s Graduate School of Journalism, a B.A. in International Relations from Brown University and a Certificate of Political Studies from L’Institut d’Etudes Politiques (Sciences Po) in Paris, France. She is based in Brooklyn, NY.
Matthew O’Neill is an Emmy® Award-winning and Academy Award-nominated director who’s been working with Downtown Community Television Center (DCTV) in NYC making documentaries for the last fifteen years. For his 2006 HBO documentary Baghdad ER, he was recognized with a Columbia DuPont Award, a Peabody Award, an Overseas Press Club Award and three Primetime Emmy Awards for Nonfiction Programs (Best Directing, Best Cinematography and Exceptional Merit in Non-Fiction Programming). His other HBO documentaries include the Academy Award® nominated Redemption (2013), the Academy Award-nominated China’s Unnatural Disaster: The Tears of Sichuan Province (2009), the Imagen Award-winning The Latin Explosion (2015), the Emmy-nominated Alive Day Memories: Home From Iraq, the Emmy-nominated Section 60: Arlington National Cemetery (2008), the Academy Award® short-listed and Emmy-winning In Tahrir Square: 18 Days of Egypt’s Unfinished Revolution (2012) and Wartorn: 1861-2010 (2010) – winner of the 2011 Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award Grand Prize. His other documentaries have aired on PBS, ESPN, Channel 4, NHK and broadcasters worldwide. In 2005 he was awarded a Pew Fellowship for International Reporting and his filmmaking overseas since has taken him from the steppes of Siberia to the scrap mines of Potosi in Bolivia and on to Russia, Turkey, China, Cuba, Iraq, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Bolivia, Mexico, Haiti, Afghanistan, Algeria, Egypt, Venezuela and North and South Korea. His work closer to home has been recognized with five New York Emmy Awards and a Sigma Delta Chi Award for Public Service Television Journalism. Matthew grew up on Long Island in New York, graduated from Yale College with a degree in Theater and is a Term Member of the Council on Foreign Relations.
Claire Tisne Haft is a columnist for the Greenwich Times writing about motherhood and living in Greenwich. Claire is a voting member of the British Academy of Film and Television, after serving on their board for the East Coast chapter. Claire is also a board member of Smart Kids With Learning Disabilities and a board member of the US Dyspraxia Foundation. Claire worked for years in book publishing; her last gig before she left to raise kids in the backcountry of Greenwich was Vice President, Director of Subsidiary Rights, Editor for The Random House Publishing Group. Claire also facilitated Random House Productions, a joint venture with Focus Films that was created to help writers become more integrated in film process. Claire is a proud member of Trinity Church in Greenwich as well as the Chabbad of Greenwich, and has taken a leadership role in “Interfaith Conversations,” a group started by The Jewish Family Services of Greenwich.
Michael Mailer has been producing independent films for over two decades. His productions have been presented at some of the world’s best-known film festivals and released by companies including Sony, Universal, Fox, Lionsgate, and IFC. Through his dozens of films, Mailer has worked with actors such as Sandra Bullock, Robert Downey Jr, Alec Baldwin, Demi Moore, Kevin Bacon, Matt Dillon, Bruce Dern, Adrien Grenier, Kyra Sedgwick, Neve Campbell, Burt Reynolds, and many more. Mailer’s films include Two Girls and a Guy, Black and White, Empire, The Ledge, Seduced and Abandoned, and his directorial debut, Blind.
Melissa Hook Shahbazian co-founded ManDown Pictures in 2007, where she has developed feature film and television projects within and outside of the major studio system. Amongst the projects she developed and produced is the BAFTA Award and Indie Spirit Award-nominated AMERICAN HONEY, from auteur Andrea Arnold, and starring Shia LaBeouf, Sasha Lane, and Riley Keough. Prior to ManDown, Melissa worked in the development ranks of MTV and management/production shingle, Benderspink. Melissa is a graduate of the USC Film School’s Production Program, where she produced director Jon M. Chu’s showcase short, WHEN THE KIDS ARE AWAY.