Supporting Your Doc Habit

How do you become a successful documentary filmmaker without going broke in the process? Veteran filmmaker Frederick Wiseman has an answer: "Marry rich." But what if this isn’t an option for you?

This panel will present a conversation with five filmmakers on how they support their documentary careers followed by a Q&A with the audience.


Yoruba Richen is an award-winning documentary filmmaker who has directed films in the U.S. and abroad, including The New Black and Promised Land. The New Black won Audience Awards at AFI Docs, Philly Q Fest, and Frameline LGBT Film Festival. The film also won best documentary at the Urbanworld Film Festival and was nominated for an NAACP Image Award and a GLAAD Media Award. Richen won the Creative Promise Award at Tribeca All Access and was also a Sundance Producers Fellow. She is a featured TED Speaker and a Guggenheim Fellow and a 2016 recipient of the Chicken & Egg Breakthrough Filmmaker Award. Richen is Director of the documentary program at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism.

Lynn True
is a documentary filmmaker and co-founder of True Walker Productions. Her films include Lumo (PBS/P.O.V. 2007), about a young woman in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Summer Pasture, which follows a family of nomads in the mountains of eastern Tibet. Summer Pasture was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award and an IFP Gotham Award, won a Peabody Award and was broadcast on PBS/Independent Lens in 2012. Her latest film, In Transit, was made in collaboration with the late Albert Maysles and premiered at the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival where it won the Special Jury Prize.

Christine Turner
is an award-winning filmmaker in New York. Her feature-length film, Homegoings, about a renowned funeral director in Harlem, premiered at the Documentary Fortnight at the Museum of Modern Art, NY and opened the 26th season of the acclaimed PBS series, POV. Her most recent film, You Can Go, a narrative short starring Emmy-award winning actress, S. Epatha Merkerson, will premiere at the 2016 Tribeca Film Festival. As a television producer, Christine has contributed to numerous documentaries and non-fiction specials for networks such as PBS, HBO, OWN and Food Network.

Jamila Wignot
is an award-winning documentary filmmaker. Her body of work includes the Emmy-nominated Makers: Women in Business; The African-Americans: Many Rivers to Cross, hosted by Henry Louis Gates, which won a Peabody, duPont, Emmy and NAACP awards; Town Hall, a feature-length co-production with ITVS about the Tea Party movement; and for American Experience, the Peabody Award-winning Triangle Fire and the Emmy-nominated Walt Whitman. Wignot’s producing credits include The Rehnquist Revolution, the fourth episode of WNET’s series The Supreme Court, which was an IDA Best Limited Series winner, and Street Fighting Man, which is currently in post-production. This past summer she produced Sundance Award-winning director Musa Syeed's new feature film A Stray, which premieres at SXSW.

Malika Zouhali-Worrall
is one of the directors and the producer of Call Me Kuchu (Berlin Film Festival 2012), which won 20 awards and was theatrically released in North America and Europe to critical acclaim, with a 98% “Certified Fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Her current film, Thank You For Playing, directed and produced with David Osit, is an ITVS/POV co-production and premiered at the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival. She is a Chaz & Roger Ebert Directing Fellow and an alumnus of the Film Independent Documentary Lab, the Tribeca All Access program, the Firelight Producers Lab, and the Garrett Scott Documentary Grant. In 2012, Filmmaker Magazine named her one of "25 New Faces of Independent Film."

Yvonne Welbon (Moderator, pictured above) is the interim Creative Director at Chicken & Egg Pictures and an award-winning independent filmmaker, educator and media consultant. She has successfully produced and distributed over 20 films that have screened on PBS, Starz/Encore, TV-ONE, IFC, Bravo, the Sundance Channel, BET, HBO and in over 100 film festivals around the world including Toronto, Berlin and Sundance.

Produced by Emily Harrold, Veena Rao and Cheree Dillon

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NYWIFT programs, screenings and events are supported, in part, by grants from New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and New York State Council on the Arts