SATURDAY OCTOBER 27 9:30 am - 6:30 pm

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Filmshop’s Breakthrough Series showcases a curated selection of our members' films in an intimate setting with festival programmers, distributors, and executive producers. Facilitating discussions centered around development and distribution, Breakthrough provides a forum for filmmakers to explore the next stages of their careers.

After each project is presented, there will be a conversation with the filmmaker and an industry luminary. Our guests include documentarian Shalini Kantayya (“Catching the Sun”).

Featured projects range from works-in-progress to fully-produced narrative and documentary shorts, features, and series and feature screenplays. The event also functions as a meeting point and marketplace for filmmakers and industry guests to view these projects. 

This year we are also adding a pitchfest, during which some of our members will have the opportunity to present a short pitch for a work-in-progress and receive feedback from our pitchfest panel: Jim Arnoff (Certified Career Coach and Television Packaging Agent), Jeff Baumgardner (Executive Producer, "The Daily Show", "That Metal Show”), and Allison Marocco (Comedy & Development, Authentic Talent).


Social Coffee Hour: 9:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.

Documentary Block: 10:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. 

Pitchfest: 12:30 p.m. - 1:15 p.m.

Lunch: 1:15 p.m. - 2:15 p.m.

Screenplay Block: 2:15 p.m. - 4:15 p.m.

Narrative Block: 4:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.

Featured Filmshop member filmmakers include Eric Jenkins-Sahlin, Theresa Loong, and Inaya Yusuf (documentary); Arielle Apfel, Quincy Ledbetter, and William Wedig (screenplays); and Benedict Campbell, Kerry Lacy, and Traven Rice (narrative).

documentary JURY


Jaad Asante is a lover of all things nonfiction. After earning her Masters from Temple University’s Film and Media Arts program, she taught documentary history and analysis before joining Doc Society’s New York team as the Project Coordinator for the Good Pitch Local Program. This role allows her to engage with powerful short-form documentary projects all over the country. With a fascination for the evolution of documentary form and structure, she serves as a screener for documentary film festivals and has aspirations to further explore the programming landscape.


Caitlin Mae Burke is an Emmy-winning producer. Her films have screened and won awards at Sundance, Tribeca, True/False, BAMcinemafest, MoMA, The Museum of the Moving Image, and in movie theaters internationally. Caitlin's work as a producer and director has been broadcast on ABC, CNBC, Discovery Networks, ESPN, Field of Vision, OWN, TLC and YouTube Red. In 2018, she was selected for Berlinale Talents, a prestigious annual summit and networking platform.


Alice Quinlan is the Director of Community Engagement and Education at POV. She develops strategic national engagement campaigns for POV documentaries, produces resources around POV's features, shorts and digital projects, and facilitates 700+ free screenings nationwide every year with her team. Prior to joining POV in 2014, she started the KRTS Youth Media Project in Marfa, TX, a part of PBS Student Reporting Labs, and managed the American Graduate campaign at Marfa Public Radio, a project of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Her reporting work has appeared on Monocle Radio, Marfa Public Radio, PRX: ReMix with Roman Mars, Fronteras: The Changing America Desk and in Wherever Magazine and The Big Bend Sentinel.

Screenplay JUry


Alison Bailes is a freelance film critic and journalist. She reviews movies for WOR radio and Sirius XM “Tell me Everything with John Fugelsang”.  She writes for and is co-host of the New York Film Critics Series.  Alison co-hosted “Lyons and Bailes Reel Talk” for four years on NBC and “At the Angelika” for nine years on IFC.  She has appeared on The Today Show and CBS This Morning and has contributed to,, More and InTouch magazines.


Aaron Hillis was praised by Brooklyn Magazine as one of "The 100 Most Influential People in Brooklyn Culture." His life is a never-ending film festival, following a creative path through programming, exhibition, distribution, filmmaking, finance, journalism, and owning a video store. His writing has appeared in The Village Voice (RIP), VICE, Variety, Vanity Fair, and other outlets that don't begin with V. In 1997, Aaron saw Spice World three times in the theater with no regrets.


Rena Sapon-White is a producer, writer, and documentary filmmaker based in NYC. As Creative Executive at Tadmor (Swiss Army Man; Norman; American Ultra) she oversees development and elements of production and heads The Distillery, a writing lab for emerging voices in film and TV screenwriters. She was Associate Producer on two features this year: Becca Gleason's debut film Summer '03 (premiered SXSW 2018, theatrical release via Blue Fox Entertainment Sept. 28), as well as the upcoming sci-fi/romance Only, the sophomore film by writer-director Takashi Doscher (Still).

Narrative Jury


Melanie Addington has worked with the Oxford Film Festival since 2006 in various capacities and became Executive Director in August 2015. She also directs, writes, and produces films and serves on the Mississippi Film Alliance as President. She co-founded the OxFilm Society, the Yoknapatawpha Arts Council’s program to lend equipment to Oxford filmmakers.


Alex Cirillo is a Producer and Director, and the Co-Founder of Big Vision Empty Wallet, a film and media incubator for film and series creators, and Big Vision Creative, a production company specializing in feature film and TV series development. Alex recently produced A.M. Lukas’ “One Cambodian Family Please for My Pleasure,” which was released on TNT as a part of Refinery 29’s Shatterbox Anthology, with creative support from the Sundance Institute’s Women at Sundance Program.  She Executive Produced the feature film Lez Bomb alongside Bobby Farrelly, which will have its theatrical premiere this fall.  She also served as EP on The Light of the Moon, which won the Audience award at SXSW 2017 and garnered a 22 city theatrical release and a digital release on Amazon, iTunes, Vudu and Google Play.


Natalie Gee is the short film programmer for the Brooklyn and Indie Street Film Festivals. She’s also on the Oscar qualifying short film jury for the Bermuda International Film Festival where she programmed a retrospective for BIFF's 20th anniversary. In addition, she's on the screening committee for Telluride, Hamptons & Tribeca. Natalie began in the industry as assistant to Oscar Isaac and most recently assisted the Oscar nominated director Steph Green on HBO's The Deuce. She's also an actor and filmmaker and her short film All Is Not Lost premiered at the Oscar qualifying short film festival, HollyShorts in August.

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Interested in becoming a member? Click here to learn more.

 We're a diverse, hard-working lot. Learn more about us here.

We're a diverse, hard-working lot. Learn more about us here.

 We put on film screenings and conferences. Learn more here.

We put on film screenings and conferences. Learn more here.