October 4, 2023
Variety Gotham Week Expo Day Pass: October 4th, Advocacy Day
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Join us on October 4th for Advocacy Day at the Variety Gotham Week Expo!


The 2023 Variety Gotham Week Expo brings together partners from The Gotham’s Expanding Communities initiative to provide community and thought leadership on topics pertinent to the advancement of film and media creators.

The goal of the Expo is to bring together organizations, creators, collectives and film and media storytellers to discuss challenges and provide solutions on how to approach advocacy and career advancement.

This free Day Pass is for our October 4th Advocacy sessions. To attend our Career Advancement Sessions, RSVP for an October 5th Day Pass here.

The Advocacy Sessions offer community, education, and support geared towards historically excluded filmmakers — filmmakers with disabilities and/or who are Black, African-American, Indigenous, People of Color, gender-diverse, LGBTQIA+, women, and/or from other historically excluded cultures. Conversations specifically speak to inclusion and how film and media creators can build and serve their community.


Check-In • 9:30am – 5:30pm ​​
Check-in will take place in the lobby of the Time Out Market, located at 55 Water Street.

Deep Dive: The Inclusion List • 10:00am • Session 1
with USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative in Collaboration with Adobe Foundation
A conversation with Dr. Stacy L. Jackson of USC Annenberg, Amy White of The Adobe Foundation, and Inclusion List filmmakers, moderated by Katherine Pieper of the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative.

Take a deep dive into the Inclusion List, the first data-driven website that ranks the most inclusive producers, distributors, and films with theatrical release from 2019 to 2022. The List was developed by Dr. Stacy L. Smith and the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative in collaboration with the Adobe Foundation. Hear from Dr. Stacy L. Smith of USC Annenberg and Amy White from the Adobe Foundation, about the methodology they used to put the list together as well as filmmakers who were included in the rankings who will share what tactics they use to ensure inclusivity is top of mind when creating their work.

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Affirmative Action and the State of DEI in the Documentary Field • 11:00am • Session 2
with Center for Asian American Media and Asian American Documentary Network
What does the dismantling of Affirmative Action and the recent exit of several diversity executives in media companies signal for the documentary field?

As we grapple with the fallout of the Supreme Court’s ruling against affirmative action, CAAM and A-Doc come together to discuss the implications of affirmative action in our non-fiction filmmaking community. Coupled with the recent spate of diversity executives who were let go or resigned from commercial media entities raise questions about diversity in an industry that is only beginning to embrace inclusivity and racial and ethnic representation. What do BIPOC filmmakers think the impact might be on their access to resources and how they may advocate for representation in public media or other platforms?

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Disability Inclusion in the Filmmaking Process • 12:00pm • Session 3
with ReelAbilities Film Festival
Create better accessibility on set and in your films.

As sets become more inclusive and equitable, how can filmmakers create productions that are accessible and inclusive of disability? How can we make sure that accessibility and disability inclusion is considered from pre-production through distribution? ReelAbilities Film Festival hosts filmmakers who bring positive examples of inclusive crews and processes.

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Lunch Break • 1:00pm • Session 4

The Final Cut: Harm Reductionist Approaches in Documentary Editing and Filmmaking • 2:00pm • Session 5
with Brown Girls Doc Mafia
Learn and share practical harm reductionists approaches to building a documentary ecosystem that fosters the holistic wellbeing of film participants, creatives and crew.

We are amidst a movement of creating documentary production environments that center processes of healing and mental wellbeing for film participants, creatives and crew. While directors are often the main point of accountability, this panel invites us to approach this conversation from the lens of the final cut: the editors. This community faces a particular set of nuances/tensions/balance. Often the members of the crew that have the least interactions with the participants and process, editors hold a distinct power in what it means to represent a community and with that the potential harm. Editors are also left vulnerable to activating content with limited support to process and contextualize footage. This panel will use case studies to discuss conceptual and practical harm reductionists approach production may take in order to build an documentary ecosystem that moves away from extraction and trauma and towards a sustainable and healing process for all parties involved in production.

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How Do We Support our Creator Community: Expanding Communities Listening Session • 3:00 PM • Session 6
with The Gotham Film & Media Institute
Expanding Communities is an initiative bringing together organizations dedicated to providing resources, a community space, and industry access to individuals with Disabilities and Black, Indigenous, PoC, and LGBTQIA+ creators across film, TV, and audio industries. While Expanding Communities organizations have been in dialogue since its formation in 2020, this session is for film and media creators to give direct feedback about the support they need, specifically the role of labs and fellowships as well as how funding should be distributed. Participants will share their thoughts in breakout groups, and highlights will be shared with the larger group. In addition, filmmakers will be able to ask directly about resources with nonprofit organizations and festivals.

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Advocacy for the Independent Filmmaker Through Community • 4:30pm • Session 7
with Brown Girls Doc Mafia, Islamic Scholarship Fund, Minorities in Film, & New Orleans Film Society
The most authentic stories come from storytellers who are closest to the communities they portray but often are left out of the traditional film and media system. This leaves many filmmakers unsure of how to navigate the mainstream film landscape, from finding the right collaborators to bringing their work to audiences, which forces them to build their own pathways, structures, and communities. In this collaborative session with Brown Girls Doc Mafia, Islamic Scholarship Fund, New Orleans Film Society, and Minorities in Film, filmmakers will walk you through how to find your community outside the Hollywood structure, how to support and maintain it during the filmmaking process, and how to involve that community in your films’ distribution.

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Happy Hour • 6:00pm • Session 8

Presented With

Date & Time

Wednesday, October 4, 2023
9:00 AM - 7:00 PM EDT

RSVP DEADLINE: October 3, 2023 @ 12:00 PM


Soho Works 55 Water
55 Water Street
Brooklyn New York 11201


Learn More about Expo Accessibility.

RSVP Instructions


Questions about the event? Contact Claire Hackett, Expo Coordinator (chackett@thegotham.org).