2017 speakers

Kate Amend  [KEYNOTE]

Kate Amend is the editor of two Academy Award Winning Documentary features– INTO THE ARMS OF STRANGERS and THE LONG WAY HOME–and is the recipient of the International Documentary Association’s inaugural award for Outstanding Achievement in Editing.  Amend also received the 2001 American Cinema Editors’ Eddie award for INTO THE ARMS OF STRANGERS, and edited the 2001 Oscar-nominated documentary short ON TIPTOE  (HBO).

Kate was nominated for an Emmy for THE CASE AGAINST 8, a film that was an award-winner at the 2014 Sundance, South by Southwest, Vail, and RiverRun Film Festivals.  Recent credits include SERENA: THE OTHER SIDE OF GREATNESS for Epix, and THE KEEPERS, a Netflix series to be released in May 2017.

THE SOUND OF REDEMPTION: THE FRANK MORGAN STORY premiered at the 2014 Los Angeles Film Festival and was named “Best of Fest” at the 2015 Palm Springs International Film Festival.

BIRTH STORY: INA MAY GASKIN AND THE FARM MIDWIVES won the Audience Award at the 2012 Los Angeles International Film Festival.  

Other credits include FOLK (Nashville Film Festival and DOC NYC, 2013) CRAZY WISDOM: THE LIFE AND TIMES OF CHOGYAM TRUNGPA, RINPOCHE, (2011 Santa Barbara Film Festival), FIRST POSITION, (Toronto International Film Festival, 2011): MAN FROM PLAINS (2007) directed by Jonathan Demme and a triple- award winner at the 2007 Venice Film Festival.  THE BROTHERS WARNER was presented on American Masters in the fall of 2008.  BEAH: A BLACK WOMAN SPEAKS, about the late actress Beah Richards and directed by LisaGay Hamilton, received the Grand Jury award at the 2003 AFI Film Festival, aired on HBO in February 2004, and received a 2005 Peabody Award.  COWBOY DEL AMOR received both the Audience and Jury Awards at the 2005 South by Southwest Festival and was broadcast on Showtime in April 2006.

Amend is on the Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and has served on the Board of Directors of the American Cinema Editors.  She is on the faculty of the School of Cinematic Arts at the University of Southern California, and has been an advisor at the Sundance Institute Documentary Editing and Storytelling Lab since June 2004

In May 2016 she received an Honorary Doctorate from the Academy of Art University in San Francisco, California.

Doug Blush

Doug Blush is an award-winning director, producer, editor, writer and  cinematographer whose work includes over 80 feature and television projects, and is a member of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) as well as the American Cinema Editors (ACE). His recent credits include, as Supervising Editor, the 2013 Oscar-winning 20 FEET FROM STARDOM, for which he also received the ACE Eddie Award for Best Documentary Editing, and the current doc hit THE MUSIC OF STRANGERS: YO YO MA AND THE SILK ROAD ENSEMBLE, both from director Morgan Neville. He was Co-Editor and Associate Producer of Kirby Dick’s THE HUNTING GROUND in 2014 and the Oscar nominated and Emmy winning THE INVISIBLE WAR in 2012. He also supervised the 2016 Sundance Audience Award and Emmy winning JIM: THE JAMES FOLEY STORY, now playing on HBO. New films for 2017 as consulting or supervising editor include the Sundance documentaries THE MARS GENERATION, CHASING CORAL and ICARUS, and earlier editorial and producing work includes the popular documentaries WORDPLAY, FREAKONOMICS, OUTRAGE, THESE AMAZING SHADOWS, and SUPERHEROES. His film OF TWO MINDS, co-directed with his wife Lisa Klein, is an intimate look at three people living with bipolar disorder, and is winner of both the 2013 EIC Prism and SAHMSA Voice Awards for excellence in films on mental health issues. The film is distributed by Cinedigm and was a popular documentary on Netflix and at national festivals. He’s producing and supervising a new film on suicide survivors turned activists, THE S WORD,
directed by Lisa, due out in 2017.

Doug co-owns MadPix Inc, a production and post production company in Los Angeles dedicated to documentary and independent films. He is also a longtime film educator with classes and seminars at USC, UCLA, Syracuse University and the YoungArts Foundation in Miami, as well as exchanges and panels in Indonesia, Brazil, Armenia, Malaysia, China, the Netherlands and more.

Lisa Klein

Lisa Klein is the co-founder of MadPix Films, a production company committed to making engaging documentaries about social justice issues. In 2012, Lisa co-directed the award-winning films OF TWO MINDS, a journey into the lives of remarkable people living, struggling and triumphing with bipolar disorder. She now tours the country and speaking and raising awareness about bipolar disorder and mental health issues. her current project, THE S WORD, a documentary film that tackles one of the most unfathomable and cloistered issues of our time — suicide, will be released in 2017. She lives in Los Angeles, California with her husband Doug Blush and daughter Madeleine.


Marcie Hume

Marcie Hume began her documentary career at the BBC in London, and has created and produced a range of series for the BBC and Channel 4 in the UK, and the Discovery Channel, Lifetime, and National Geographic in the US. Her documentary feature film HOOD TO COAST premiered at South By Southwest and was released in 360 movie theaters across the US in 2011, and her recent award-winning documentary MAGICIANS: LIFE IN THE IMPOSSIBLE is now available globally on Netflix.
On 2008 she created an after-school documentary program for high school students in the South Bronx, and currently runs a series of workshops to help women in TV and film gain confidence, skills, and technical knowledge to help equalize the gender gap for women in the industry.

Jilann Spitzmiller

Jilann Spitzmiller is an award-winning documentary filmmaker with a great depth of experience in creating long-range, character driven stories. She finds it profoundly moving to witness change and transformation in everyday people over the course of time. Jilann has produced and directed several acclaimed feature documentaries, including SHAKESPEARE BEHIND BARS, STILL DREAMING and HOMELAND. Her work has appeared on PBS, POV, BBC, NBC, A&E, Sundance Channel and Aljazeera, as well as dozens of channels around the world. She has been a Sundance Institute fellow, a mentor at the NALIP Producer’s Lab, and is a juror for several festivals and grants. She is the co-founder of DocuMentors and is passionate about helping others tell their stories, frequently teaching documentary workshops and consulting privately on all aspects of documentary filmmaking.

Claire Aguilar

Claire Aguilar is an award-winning film curator, film festival director and public television commissioning editor and broadcaster, bringing compelling creative documentaries and innovative content to audiences around the world. In 2017 she was appointed Director of Programming & Policy at International Documentary Association (IDA). At IDA she oversees IDA’s professional development, education, mentorship and training initiatives and works in tandem with IDA’s Filmmaker Services team and the recently announced Enterprise Documentary Fund to build a suite of support services for documentary makers. She sets strategy around IDA’s policy and advocacy work supporting filmmakers around a range of issues. She serves as the primary programmer for IDA’s biennial “Getting Real” conference. Claire is the former Director of Programming and Industry Engagement at Sheffield Doc/Fest, one of the leading festivals for documentary and digital media. Claire curated and directed the film programme for Doc/Fest 2015 and 2016, programming over 350 films and working with over 200 filmmakers and media creators. Doc/Fest 2016 generated the highest attendance in Doc/Fest history from delegates and public alike. The festival highlights included films by Michael Moore, DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus, Tilda Swinton, Ken Loach, and a retrospective of films by Chantal Akerman. At the Independent Television Service (ITVS), she served as Executive Content Advisor and Vice President of Programming, 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, a prominent showcase of independently produced programs on PBS. She has shepherded award-winning films to public television, including The Interrupters, The Invisible War, At Berkeley, The House I Live In, Goodbye Solo, Detropia, Waltz with Bashir and Last Train Home. She served on the Editorial board of the international public television series Why Democracy? At public television station KCET/Los Angeles, she programmed the station’s schedule and managed programming acquisitions. Prior to KCET she was a film programmer at the UCLA Film and Television Archive, one of the leading exhibition venues for international, documentary and classic Hollywood films. She has curated film and media exhibitions for the American Film Institute, the Los Angeles Asian American Film and Video Festival, and the Wexner Center for the Arts. She has served as a programming consultant and panelist for 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 and funding organizations. A second-generation Filipina American, she holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communications Studies and a Master of Arts in Film and Television Studies from UCLA. She is Vice President of the Board of Women Make Movies, and serves on the Executive boards of Firelight Media, European Documentary Network (EDN) and the Why Foundation.

Crofton Diack

Cinematographer and Associate Producer, Four Walls Around Me, Hear and Now. When not storyboarding with gem prospectors in Greenland, or dodging falling trees filming for The History Channel’s Ax-men, Crofton lends her dynamic personality and filmmaking skills to the Vermilion team. When not behind the camera, Crofton also works as a location scout, producer and events coordinator. Before arriving at her passion for all things film, Crofton was a Lead Instructor for Outward Bound.



Lindsey Grayzel

Lindsey Grayzel is currently fully immersed in making “The Reluctant Radical” a documentary that follows a climate activist as he takes on the fossil fuel industry through direct action civil disobedience. Lindsey began her career as an editor in 1994, then made the transition to producing and directing in 1999. Her passion for documentary stories has led her to a successful freelance career producing documentary and educational videos for non-profit organizations, local and state governments, and museums. Recent projects include films for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, The Dougy Center, Kenai Fjords National Park and the Canadian Museum for Human Rights. Whether she is working for a client or pursuing an independent project, Lindsey is thrilled to be dedicating her storytelling talents on projects she feels make a positive impact in the world.