Points North Forum 2017-08-21T08:11:25+00:00


Each year, the Points North Documentary Forum brings together the international documentary film community to reflect on the business, craft and future of nonfiction storytelling while connecting with peers and industry leaders in an intimate setting. Our full three-day program features hands-on workshops, panel discussions, one-on-one meetings, pitch sessions, networking events and master classes that help independent documentary filmmakers advance their projects in concrete, meaningful ways.

Access to Points North is included with all CIFF passes.

The 2017 Points North Forum program will be announced on August 24.


Six teams of filmmakers selected for CIFF’s Points North Fellowship pitch their feature-length works-in-progress to a distinguished panel of funders, broadcasters and producers. Each pitch lasts exactly 7 minutes, followed by 10 minutes of critical feedback. Filmmakers have an opportunity to win the Points North Pitch Award, which includes a $10,000 post-production package from Modulus Studios.

Saturday, September 17, 10am — Camden Opera House

This event is free and open to the public.

Learn More


In an intimate workshop setting, acclaimed documentary directors, producers and editors discuss their work, inspiration and creative approach to story structure, character development and more. Past participants include Marshall Curry (POINT AND SHOOT), Robb Moss (SECRECY), Andrea Meditch (MAN ON WIRE), Mary Lampson (HARLAN COUNTY USA), Jonathan Oppenheim (THE OATH), Kate Amend (THE CASE AGAINST 8), David Teague (CUTIE AND THE BOXER) and Alexandre Brachet (Upian).


Camden Opera House

10:00am – 11:30am (Tucker Room)
LEF Foundation Grants Workshop
Through its Moving Image Fund, the LEF Foundation has supported over 300 films by New England-based independent film and video artists with approximately $4 million dollars in funding. In this workshop, LEF’s Program Director Sara Archambault will discuss LEF’s guidelines, requirements and submission process, screen samples from recently-funded LEF films, and share tips for putting your best foot forward when submitting funding applications to foundations.

  • Sara Archambault (LEF Foundation)
  • Gen Carmel (LEF Foundation)

12:00pm – 1:30pm (Tucker Room)
Creative Producing – Conversation with Julie Goldman
Presented by SVA – MFA Social Documentary Film
Julie Goldman has become one of the most sought-after producers and executive producers in the business, helping propel the success of countless recent documentary hits, including LIFE ANIMATED, WEINER, BEST OF ENEMIES and many more. In this discussion moderated by Tribeca Film Institute’s Amy Hobby, she’ll explore how she approaches her work as a producer, which ranges from creatively developing projects to securing financing to navigating the festival circuit and working with sales agents and distributors to maximize the position of a film in the market.

  • Julie Goldman (Motto Pictures)
  • Amy Hobby (Tribeca Film Institute)

12:00pm – 1:30pm (Washington St. Conference Room)
Storyforms: Storytelling in Virtual Reality
With the launch of a new generation of VR headsets and 360-degree camera rigs, virtual reality is going mainstream. For documentary filmmakers and journalists, these technologies offer the potential of giving audiences a more visceral and immersive sense of “being there” than ever before. In this panel, four pioneers in nonfiction VR discuss their early experiments, the development of new creative techniques, and the possibilities for a storytelling language that will make VR distinct from film.

  • Ben C. Solomon (New York Times)
  • Carla Borras (Frontline)
  • Matthew Niederhauser / John Fitzgerald (Sensorium Works)
  • Kel O’Neil (THE ARK)
  • Moderator: Jennifer MacArthur (Borderline Media)

2:00pm – 3:30pm (Tucker Room)
Branded Documentary Case Studies
Branded documentaries are on the rise with companies as varied as Starbucks, Marriott, LVMH, Patagonia and Red Bull now launching both short and feature films. These partnerships have the potential to increase the impact and reach of documentary films while helping filmmakers develop a sustainable career. Led by veteran producer and distribution consultant Brian Newman, this presentation will cover the current state of branded content, covering case studies of recent campaigns, the pros and cons of working with brands, best practices and tips and tools for pitching your films ideas to brands.

  • Brian Newman (Sub-Genre)

2:00pm – 3:30pm (Washington St. Conference Room)
Investigating the System: Stories of Criminal Justice and National Security
In this tumultuous election season, criminal justice and national security issues have taken the center stage. This panel brings together three directors to discuss how they use artful documentary storytelling to help audiences better understand both the inner workings and the consequences of complex, secretive systems meant to keep us safe and secure.

  • Craig Atkinson (DO NOT RESIST)
  • Sonia Kennebeck (NATIONAL BIRD)
  • Moderator: Jeff Seelbach (First Look Media)

4:00pm – 5:30pm (Tucker Room)
The Poetics of Documentary – Editing Masterclass with Joe Bini
Presented by Vermont College of Fine Arts
Veteran documentary and fiction editor Joe Bini (GRIZZLY MAN, AMERICAN HONEY, ROMAN POLANSKI: WANTED AND DESIRED) invites you to an open-ended discussion exploring the elusive moments that allow a film to rise beyond the ordinary. Drawing on observations and clips from a 20-year collaboration with Werner Herzog, as well as recent films with Lynne Ramsay, Andrea Arnold, Nick Broomfield and others, Bini will focus on the primacy of using image and metaphor over words.

  • Joe Bini

4:00pm – 5:30pm (Washington St. Conference Room)
The Documentary Marketplace
Four of the documentary industry’s most experienced sales agents discuss the current state of the marketplace, covering topics like financing, pre-sales, split right deals, new buyers, and how filmmakers can most effectively find and collaborate with agents to connect their films with audiences.

  • Linzee Troubh (Cinetic)
  • Abby Davis (Preferred Content)
  • Vesna Cudic (Dogwoof)
  • Josh Braun (Submarine)
  • Moderator: Elizabeth Radshaw (Hot Docs)

High Mountain Hall

5:00pm – 7:00pm (High Mountain Hall)
LEF Foundation Reception
After a busy day of panels, masterclasses and screenings, join the LEF Foundation for drinks, light fare and conversation with new friends at this annual gathering of the documentary film community. Open to All Access passholders only.

10:30am – 12:30pm (Camden Opera House Auditorium)
Points North Pitch
Whether you’re a film professional or not, the Points North Pitch is an invaluable chance to learn about the process of developing a documentary film and see first-hand how leading decision-makers evaluate projects. Six teams of filmmakers selected for CIFF’s Points North Fellowship will pitch their works-in-progress to a distinguished panel of funders, broadcasters, distributors and producers. Each pitch lasts exactly 7 minutes, followed by 10 minutes of critical feedback. Filmmakers will have an opportunity to win the Points North Pitch Prize and Modulus Finishing Fund, which includes a $10,000 in-kind post-production package from Modulus Studios and three consultations from Tribeca Film Institute. The winner will be announced at 5:30pm at the Dowling Walsh Reception in Rockland.

  • Ryan Harrington (Discovery)
  • Chris White (POV)
  • Amy Hobby (Tribeca Film Institute)
  • Lisa Kleiner Chanoff (Catapult Film Fund)
  • Daniel Chalfen (Naked Edge)
  • Jenny Raskin (Impact Partners)
  • Leah Giblin (Cinereach)
  • Lyda Kuth (LEF Foundation)
  • Jenni Wolfson (Chicken & Egg)
  • Vesna Cudic (Dogwoof)
  • Barbara Truyen (VPRO)
  • Greg Rhem (HBO)
  • Moderator: Brian Newman

1:30pm – 3:00pm (Tucker Room)
Storyforms: Immersive Media Masterclass with Hugues Sweeney
As leader of the National Film Board of Canada’s Interactive Studio in Montreal, Hugues Sweeney has been a trailblazer in the field of immersive storytelling, helping produce innovative projects like A JOURNAL OF INSOMNIA, WAY TO GO and THE UNKNOWN PHOTOGRAPHER. In this masterclass, Hugues shares his creative approaches to shaping a story and connecting with audiences in a world of interactive, digital platforms — from the web to mobile devices to virtual and augmented reality.

  • Hugues Sweeney (National Film Board of Canada)

1:30pm – 3:00pm (Washington St. Conference Room)
Behind the Camera – Masterclass with Kirsten Johnson
Presented by Maine Media Workshops
Kirsten Johnson has worked as a cinematographer on some of the most iconic documentaries of our time, including FAHRENHEIT 9/11, THE INVISIBLE WAR, and the Oscar-winning CITIZENFOUR. In this engaging, interactive discussion, Kirsten reflects on what she’s learned about the aesthetics and ethics of shooting documentaries after 25 years behind the camera, sharing clips from her directorial debut and cinematic memoir CAMERAPERSON.

  • Kirsten Johnson (CAMERAPERSON)

3:30pm – 5:00pm (Washington St. Conference Room)
Building Movements with Media: NEWTOWN Case Study
Filmmakers and funders often use the word “impact” to describe the positive change that an issue-driven documentary can bring about, but often these films help build upon existing social movements that have been years or even decades in the making. This panel brings together a filmmaker, a funder, an impact strategist and movement organizers to explore how a single film can be used to move the needle on a divisive issue: gun control.

  • Kim Snyder (NEWTOWN)
  • Mark Barden (Sandy Hook Promise)
  • William Harwood (Maine Gun Safety Coalition)
  • Moderator: Heidi Nel (Picture Motion)
12:30pm – 2:00pm (Rockport Opera House)
Directing the Episodic Documentary – A Conversation with Ezra Edelman
ESPN’s 7-hour documentary series O.J.: MADE IN AMERICA was one of the breakout hits of the year. In this moderated conversation, director Ezra Edelman shares stories from the making of this epic American tale and discusses the unique creative challenges of directing an episodic film that is too big for a single sitting.

  • Ezra Edelman (O.J.: MADE IN AMERICA)
  • Moderator: Eric Hynes (Museum of the Moving Image)


Joe Bini
Joe BiniEditor
Alice Apley
Alice ApleyExecutive Director, Documentary Educational Resources
Sara Archambault
Sara ArchambaultProgram Director, LEF Foundation
Carla Borras
Carla BorrasSeries Coordinating Producer, Frontline
Iyabo Boyd
Iyabo BoydFounder, Feedback Loop
Josh Braun
Josh BraunCo President, Submarine
 Daniel Chalfen
Daniel ChalfenCo-Founder/Producer, Naked Edge Films
Steve Cohen
Steve CohenCo-Founder, Chicago Media Project
Charlotte Cook
Charlotte CookCo-Creator, Field of Vision
Liz Cook
Liz CookDirector of Documentaries, Kickstarter
Vesna Cudic
Vesna CudicHead of International Sales and Acquisitions, Dogwoof
Abby Davis
Abby DavisVice President, Non-Fiction Content, Preferred Content
Ezra Edelman
Ezra EdelmanDirector, O.J.: MADE IN AMERICA
Kristin Feeley
Kristin FeeleyDirector, Labs and Artist Support Programs, Sundance Institute
Paula Froehle
Paula FroehleCo-Founder, Chicago Media Project
Peter Gerard
Peter GerardVP of Content Distribution, Vimeo
Leah Giblin
Leah GiblinGrants Manager, Creative Initiatives, Cinereach
Julie Goldman
Julie GoldmanProducer, Motto Pictures
Ryan Harrington
Ryan HarringtonDirector, Acquisitions | Docs & Specials, Discovery
Amy Hobby
Amy HobbyVice President, Artist Programs, Tribeca Film Institute
 Lisa Kleiner Chanoff
Lisa Kleiner ChanoffCo-Founder, Catapult Film Fund
 Lyda Kuth
Lyda KuthExecutive Director, LEF Foundation
Andrea Meditch
Andrea MeditchFounding President, Back Allie Films Entertainment
Jennifer Macarthur
Jennifer MacarthurImpact Producer, Borderline Media
Molly Murphy
Molly MurphyCo-Director, Working Films
Dominic Musacchio
Dominic MusacchioCo-Executive Producer, VICE
Heidi Nel
Heidi NelPresident - Washington DC, Picture Motion
Brian Newman
Brian NewmanConsultant, Sub-Genre
Elizabeth Radshaw
Elizabeth RadshawIndustry Programs Director, Hot Docs
Jenny Raskin
Jenny RaskinVP for Development & Filmmaker Relations, Impact Partners
Greg Rhem
Greg RhemDirector, HBO Documentary Films
Jeff Seelbach
Jeff SeelbachSenior Producer, First Look Media
Ben C. Solomon
Ben C. SolomonInternational Video Journalist, New York Times
Hugues Sweeney
Hugues SweeneyExecutive Producer, National Film Board of Canada Interactive Studio
Linzee Troubh
Linzee TroubhHead of Sales, Cinetic
Chris White
Chris WhiteExecutive Producer, POV
Jenni Wolfson
Jenni WolfsonExecutive Director, Chicken & Egg Pictures
Tribeca Film Institute
Sundance Institute
Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press
Nels Bangerter
International Documentary Association
Hot Docs
Fork Films
Catapult Film Fund
Borderline Media

2017 Camden International Film Festival Passes Are Now Available



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