Points North
Points North Forum2018-09-14T10:39:23-04:00


Each year, the Points North 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 Access and Screenings + Forum Passes.


Friday, September 14

10:00am – 11:30am (High Mountain Hall)
Children of War: A Conversation between Talal Derki and James Longley
Both masterpieces of observational cinema, Talal Derki’s OF FATHERS AND SONS and James Longley’s ANGELS ARE MADE OF LIGHT offer reflections on the meaning of family, the nature of childhood, and the prospects for peace in the midst of protracted conflict. In this intimate conversation, the two directors discuss the aesthetic and ethical considerations that went into making these portraits of children whose daily lives and futures are shaped inexorably by war.

1:00pm – 2:30pm (Camden Opera House – Tucker Room)
Director’s Commentary: Sound and Score in THE GOSPEL OF EUREKA
Directors (and musicians!) Mike Palmieri and Donal Mosher offer a guided tour into the many sonic layers of their aural masterpiece THE GOSPEL OF EUREKA and other original soundtracks. Few directors are as involved in the scoring process as these two: join them in a live commentary of the film’s key musical moments, with insights into the crucial relationship between score, edit, and sound design as well as working with the film’s glorious omnipotent orator Mx Justin Vivian Bond. THE GOSPEL OF EUREKA plays the Camden Opera House on Saturday Sept 15th at 6:30pm

12:00pm – 1:30pm (High Mountain Hall)
In the Cut: Editing Masterclass with Enat Sidi and Lindsay Utz
No matter how much we celebrate “auteur” directors, documentaries are almost never the product of a singular vision. In this in-depth conversation, Enat Sidi (Detropia, The Wolfpack) and Lindsay Utz (Quest, In Country), who have collaborated on multiple projects, discuss the delicate craft of documentary editing and the artistic process that unfolds not only between director and editor, but between fellow editors.

2:00pm – 3:30pm (High Mountain Hall)
Vitaly Mansky Masterclass
No one brings quite the wit, grit, and color to the portrayal of contemporary Russia as director Vitaly Mansky. His prolific and award-winning works have inspired, enticed, and inflamed many. Considered one of Russia’s best documentary talents, we’re humbled to welcome Vitaly to Camden to share his process in a chronological masterclass, featuring highlights of some of his most difficult shoots and insights into his very particular form of creative subversion.

5:00pm – 6:30pm (High Mountain Hall)
Points North Reception presented by LEF Foundation
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 and Screenings + Forum passholders only.

Saturday, September 15

10:00am – 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 the 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 12 minutes of constructive feedback.

This year, you can show your support for the Points North Fellows by contributing to our live crowdfunding campaign. Text “PITCH” to 44321 to donate directly from your phone! Funds raised will be split evenly between all 6 projects.

Charlotte Cook (Field of Vision)
Maxyne Franklin (Doc Society)
Leah Giblin (Cinereach)
Ryan Harrington (Pulse Films)
Justine Nagan (POV)
Hayley Pappas (RYOT Films)
Jose Rodriguez (Tribeca Film Institute)
Caroline von Kuhn (SFFILM)
Chi-hui Yang (Ford Foundation / JustFilms)
Moderated by Brian Newman (Sub Genre)

1:30pm- 3:00pm (Camden Opera House – Tucker Room)
Director’s Commentary: Narrative Construction in ISLAND OF THE HUNGRY GHOSTS
A film like ISLAND OF THE HUNGRY GHOSTS is a revelation on many fronts – beyond its masterful sound and imagery, the film’s humanity glows at its core. Filmmaker Gabrielle Brady explores the central ideas within her film by talking through her process and contextualising the film’s hybrid elements in terms of ethics, technique, craft, and performance. Her director’s commentary will be interactive with the audience, exploring construction and co-creation in documentary filmmaking while dissecting how certain narrative tools, when appropriated into the documentary form, allow access to deeper emotional truths. ISLAND OF THE HUNGRY GHOSTS plays the Camden Opera House on Friday Sept 14th at 6:30pm

1:30pm – 5pm (High Mountain Hall)
The Points North Agora
`Taking inspiration from the Athenian site of public assembly and democratic debate, the Points North Agora is a series of informal yet rigorous conversations about non-fiction approaches to the current state of reality. Using selections from the CIFF program as a starting point, filmmakers and audiences are invited to exchange their thoughts on how the documentary form can address, question, and potentially disrupt power structures, while also debating the role of documentary in a media landscape increasingly defined by misinformation, political polarization and a seeming crisis of faith in core democratic values.

(1:30-2:15) The Public Sphere
Can democracy survive in an age of increasing inequality and global high finance, and can journalism and non-fiction filmmaking help?

  • Astra Taylor (WHAT IS DEMOCRACY?)
  • Moderator: Cara Mertes (Ford Foundation / JustFilms)

(2:15-3:00) Media Manipulation
What does it mean when journalism – once a tool for democratic empowerment – becomes an amplifier of fear, misinformation, and political division?

  • Alexis Bloom (DIVIDE AND CONQUER)
  • Alex Gibney (DIVIDE AND CONQUER)
  • Sky Sitney (Double Exposure Film Festival)

(3:30 – 5:00) Documentary as Co-Creation
Make media with people and within communities rather than for or about; Focus on process rather than just product; Reframe who gets to tell and represent which story and why; Create and use new technology, new workflows, new tools, new kinds of teams — these are but a few of the tenets proposed for new models of co-creation. This conversation brings together a constellation of co-creators, all actively engaged in finding a new language of storytelling that shifts narrative paradigms. Together they discuss their approaches to not only interpreting the world, but also changing it.

  • Adam Mazo (DAWNLAND)
  • Tracy Rector (DAWNLAND)
  • Jasmine Bowie (Brownsville Community Justice Center)
  • Banker White, Arthur Pratt (SURVIVORS)
  • Moderated by: Molly Murphy (Working Films’ StoryShift initiative)

Sunday, September 16

12:00pm – 1:00pm (Camden Opera House – Tucker Room)
Kindling Fund Info Session
The Kindling Fund supports artist-organized projects that engage audiences and incorporate the visual arts in meaningful ways. With a focus on experimentation, the Fund distributes grants to Maine artists ranging from $1,500 – $5,000. Successful applications value unconventional engagement, critical dialogue, collaboration, and create new models for presenting artists’ work. This event is one of six statewide informational sessions that are free and open to the public. Attendance is recommended for applicants living in Maine who are not currently enrolled in an academic program.

  • Elizabeth Spavento (SPACE Gallery)


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).


Andrea Meditch

President, Back Allie Entertainment

Brian Newman

founder, Sub-Genre

Cara Mertes

Program Director, JustFilms, Ford Foundation

Caroline von Kuhn

Director, Artist Development, SFFILM

Charlotte Cook

Executive Producer, Field of Vision

Chi-hui Yang

Program Officer, JustFilms, Ford Foundation


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



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