Nell Augustin is a film programmer and funder of Haitian and German descent energized by opportunities to redefine investment and embrace risk. Currently, she leads the Original Voices Fellowship, presented by NBCU Academy in partnership with NBC News Studios, the NBC News documentary division, a new artist development and inclusion initiative for US-based independent documentary filmmakers who identify as – or showcase stories highlighting social issues affecting – women, LGBTQ+ folx, communities of color, and people with disabilities regardless of career stage or immigration status.
Born and based in New York City, their work is centered on the visual and sonic culture of the future — what does creative freedom look, sound, and feel like?
KAOUTHER BEN HANIA
Kaouther Ben Hania studied filmmaking in Tunis and in Paris (La Fémis and the Sorbonne). Her film, Four Daughters, premiered in the Official Selection at the 2023 Cannes Film Festival and was recently nominated at the 2024 Oscars for Best Documentary Feature Film category. Her fiction film Beauty and the Dogs was selected at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival in the “Un Certain Regard” section where it won the award for Best Sound Creation, and subsequently embarked on a prestigious international trajectory. Her film The Man Who Sold His Skin, starring Monica Bellucci, was officially selected to premiere at the Venice Film Festival and was nominated at the 2021 Oscars in the Best International Feature Film category.
Samantha Curley is an award-winning film producer and creative entrepreneur based in Los Angeles. In 2013, she Co-Founded Level Ground Collective, a 501(c)3 artist collective and production incubator creating experiments in empathy. In 2021, she Founded Level Ground Productions which she runs with her creative partner Chase Joynt. Her first feature, Framing Agnes (Kino Lorber) won the NEXT Innovator Award and NEXT Audience Award at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival, as well as a 2023 GLAAD Media Award. Samantha is a graduate of Northwestern University and the Kellogg School of Management. She is an Impact Partners Producing Fellow, NBC Original Voices Fellow and a PGA Create Fellow.
Eric Hynes is Curator of Film at the Museum of the Moving Image in New York, where he heads up year-round programming as well as the annual First Look Festival. He is also a longtime critic and journalist, with outlets that have included the New York Times, the Washington Post, Film Comment, Rolling Stone, Slate, New York magazine, Sight & Sound, the Village Voice, and Reverse Shot, where he has been a staff writer since 2003 and writes a column on the art of nonfiction.
Robert Kolodny is a director, writer, and cinematographer based in New York City. His feature film directorial debut, The Featherweight, premiered at the 80th Venice International Film Festival. As a cinematographer, Robert has worked on films by Josh and Benny Safdie, Alex Ross Perry, Robert Greene, Laura Poitras, Sean Price Williams, David Byrne, Taylor Mac, and Cecilia Vicuña. Robert contributed cinematography to the HBO Documentary Film All The Beauty And The Bloodshed (2022), which won the Golden Lion at the Venice International Film Festival and was nominated for an Oscar.
Stephen Maing is a filmmaker and cinematographer. His most recent film, Union, premiered at the 2024 Sundance Film Festival. He directed Crime + Punishment which won a Special Jury Award at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival and High Tech, Low Life which screened on P.O.V. and at festivals internationally. He is a United States Artists and Sundance Institute fellow and received the IDA's Courage Under Fire Award.
Mars Verrone is a filmmaker and musician from Los Angeles, CA, currently based in Brooklyn, NY. They graduated magna cum laude from Brown University with honors in Modern Culture and Media (Production) and Phi Beta Kappa membership. Mars is a 2022 NBC Original Voices fellow, Brown Girls Doc Mafia Sustainable Artist fellow, and PGA Create fellow.
Omar Mullick was born in London and is currently a Writer / Director based in Brooklyn, New York. His recent work as a Writer (and Cinematographer) on the fiction film You Resemble Me led to a 78th Venice Biennale premiere and proceeded to win 32 film awards globally. It was Executive Produced by Spike Lee, Spike Jonze, Riz Ahmed and Alma Har'el. It received a theatrical release across North America in 2023 and is currently distributed on Apple TV and Amazon Studios. Omar's first feature film as a Director and Cinematographer These BIrds Walk went on to be theatrically distributed by Oscilloscope. The film was named one of the Best films of the Year by Indiewire, Sight + Sound Magazine, and The New Yorker where Richard Brody listed it one of the best foreign films of the 21st Century. He is currently developing his third screenplay titled Son of Stone, which is based on a single night in the Stonebridge, North London housing projects of his youth.
Marielle Olentine is a documentary filmmaker, multimedia storyteller, and community-driven design enthusiast who has spent the last decade studying the relationship of humans to their food, each other and the nature that surrounds them through the power of storytelling.
Most recently, she produced a five-year-long passion project Three Promises (Visions du Réel 2023) which won the Harrell Award at CIFF 2023, Best International Feature Doc at DocPoint, and is being honored as True/False’s 2024 True Life Fund selection.
Yousef Srouji is a first time documentary filmmaker and longtime storyteller. His film, Three Promises, is being honored as True/False’s 2024 True Life Fund selection.
His work centers around understanding the dynamics of occupation in Palestine, and community resilience in conflict zones. His first documentary feature Three Promises (Visions du Réel 2023) won the Harrell Award at CIFF 2023, Best International Feature Doc at DocPoint, and is being honored as True/False’s 2024 True Life Fund selection.
He holds a Master of Development Practice from UC Berkeley and hopes to use his skills to aid and empower marginalized communities in the Middle East.
Brett Story is an award-winning filmmaker and writer from Toronto. Her most recent film, Union, premiered at the 2024 Sundance Film Festival. She is the director of feature documentaries The Prison in Twelve Landscapes and The Hottest August, and author of the book Prison Land. The Hottest August was a New York Times Critics’ Pick and was called one of the ten best documentary films of 2019 by over a dozen publications, including Variety, Rolling Stone and Vanity Fair. Brett has held fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the Sundance Institute, and was named one of Variety's 10 Documentary Filmmakers to Watch.
Lana Wilson is an Emmy-winning and two-time Spirit Award-nominated director and writer. Her most recent film, Look Into My Eyes, was made with A24 and premiered at the 2024 Sundance Film Festival. Previous work includes After Tiller (Sundance 2013, Emmy Award winner for Best Documentary), The Departure (2017 Independent Spirit Award nominee for Best Documentary), A Cure for Fear (IDA Award Nominee for Best Short-Form Series), and the Taylor Swift documentary Miss Americana (Sundance 2020, New York Times Critics' Pick). Wilson's series Pretty Baby: Brooke Shields premiered at Sundance 2023 and was nominated for two Emmy Awards, including Outstanding Directing.
Using Tarot, hypnosis, and direct contact from her ascended guides, Rexanna Ipock-Brown has worked professionally as a psychic and trance medium for most of her life. She has been featured on the national television, radio and has successfully assisted police departments in solving missing person’s cold cases. For over fifty years, she has worked to help people understand and resolve unanswerable questions from their past.
Jess Shane is artist and audio documentarian from Toronto. Her work has played at festivals internationally including DOCNYC, New Orleans Film Festival, Open City Documentary Festival, Third Coast International Audio Festival, and the International Features Conference. Her independent podcast and collective, Constellations, is a home for sound art from makers internationally. Jess holds an MFA from Hunter College, and teaches media studies at Hunter College and Pratt Institute.