Alison Leigh has been editorial director of WCSFP for over a decade. Under her direction the session program has acquired the reputation of being the world’s best for tracking the trends and engaging in provocative and engrossing debate around issues affecting our genre.
Previously she played a leading role in producing and commissioning science TV programs in Australia, including six years as series producer and then executive producer of ABC TV Science Unit. She helped develop National Science Week in Australia and is a founding member and past president of the Australian Science Communicators.
Outside of her WCSFP commitments, she works as a freelance writer and producer. Alison offers a comprehensive service from producing and executive producing to content origination, script writing and script editing. She also hosts and runs workshops and events.
Dr. Patrick Hörl is the founder and Managing Director of the factual entertainment label Autentic. Autentic produces and distributes high quality factual shows and series for audiences around the world. Furthermore he is MD of the two factual pay-tv channels Spiegel Geschichte and Spiegel TV Wissen. Beside his commercial activities, Hörl serves as Head of the Board of Documentary Campus, a non-for-profit leading global training initiative, developing young talent for international co-productions in the fields of documentary film and factual entertainment. Hörl also serves on the Board of Directors of the factual section of German producers association Produzentenallianz, and on the Board of the World Congress of Science & Factual Producers.
Crossover Labs (UK)
Mark Atkin is a director of Crossover and the former head of the Documentary Campus Masterschool, and as such has a broad knowledge of the European factual and transmedia industries. As a former commissioner for TV and online, and programmer of SBS Television, Australia’s multi-cultural public broadcaster, and with his recent work organising the international co-production market at the Australian International Documentary Conference, he also has a deep knowledge of the Australian factual and transmedia industries. Mark is also an International marketplace consultant for the Australian International Documentary Conference (www.aidc.com.au), running the co-production market.
Iain Dodgeon leads global health foundation Wellcome’s strategic development and growth in the entertainment industries. As a TV producer he worked at companies including Endemol, STV and BBC, developing long-running factual formats and documentaries. At Wellcome he pioneered the charity’s work with the games sector, building a portfolio of multi-award-winning games, including recently released Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice. Now he oversees Wellcome’s complete entertainment portfolio. Recent releases include documentaries Out of Thin Air, A World Without Down’s Syndrome and Against the Law; series Addicted Parents and The Secret Life of 4, 5 and 6 Year Olds; comedy series Quacks; and feature films Dark River and Journeyman. He previously worked as a medical doctor.
YUZU Productions (France)
Fabrice Esteve is an experienced French independent producer with a strong track record in international co-productions. Since 2012, he heads YUZU Productions together with Christian Popp. In 5 years YUZU Productions has produced 20 hours of documentaries, most of them in coproduction with international producers, and with broadcasters such as ARTE, Showtime, France Televisions, Smithsonian Networks, CBC, ZDF, CCTV10, Al Jazeera Networks, RTS, RTBF, VRT, SVT, TVC, TVE, YLE, S4C, TG4, UR, RTP, Ceska Televise and ERT
Recent productions include Brains in Danger, Cyborgs Among Us, Becoming Cary Grant, Letters from Baghdad, The Race to Dope, Free to Run (theatrical), The E-Waste Tragedy, The Bloody Truth. Between 1994 and 2011, he worked at Tele Images, VM Group, Ampersand, Gedeon Programmes, and Docside (now Zed).
He is one of the co-founders and the current president of the French Association Science & Television gathering 50 production companies, and of the Pariscience international film festival.
Rosario López Foncea
Cabala Productions (Chile)
Rosario López is a Chilean journalist and professional in audiovisual communications, with fifteen years of experience in research, content edition and documentary production, TV series, feature films, historical series, filmmaking and digital platforms related to science, culture and social history. She currently works as a content editor in Cabala Productions, a leading audiovisual company based in Chile and Colombia, specialized in science and history, targeting children and family audiences, through multiple platforms and formats. Her area of expertise is researching stories, voices and archives around Latin America, to bring fresh points of view to our history and culture. She participates as a lecturer in scientific and television congresses, always trying to promote science, cultural history and factual contents to all audiences.
Vidcon/Social Starts (USA)
Jim Louderback is currently CEO of online video conference company VidCon and a venture partner at Social Starts. In recent years, he has developed integrated digital video strategies for large media companies—including Viacom, Discovery and National Geographic—and built platform intentional studio facilities while launching new vertically-focused content brands. In addition, he has helped a variety of media and technology startups focus their objectives, reorient their audience and customer strategy, improve product design, and develop long-term strategic plans.
Previously Jim was CEO of online video startup Revision3, leading the company to 20x viewer and revenue growth and nine prestigious awards. In 2012, he sold Revision3 to Discovery, led the integration, launched and acquired six new networks, and built Discovery Digital Networks. Prior to that, Jim spent 16 years in increasingly senior editorial and technology management roles at TechTV, PC Magazine and PC Week.
Tom McDonald is the head of commissioning for Natural History & Specialist Factual at the BBC. Recent commissioning highlights include the BAFTA and Emmy winner Planet Earth II, BAFTA winner Muslims Like Us, BAFTA nominees The Doctor Who Gave Up Drugs and Life That Glows; and recent ratings successes The Day The Dinosaurs Died and The Fifteen Billion Pound Railway. He also oversees some of the BBC’s most successful specialist factual returning series including Springwatch, Trust Me, I’m A Doctor, Inside The Factory and The Truth About... strand.
Primitive Entertainment (Canada)
Michael oversees Primitive Entertainment’s selection of projects and focuses on the company’s many relationships with broadcasters, distributors, co-production partners, industry organizations and government agencies. Internationally, Michael has forged partnerships with co-producers and investors in Britain, Europe, Australia and Japan.
Michael is the Co-Chair of the Board of Directors of Hot Docs, North America's largest documentary film festival. He is the Co-Chair of the Toronto Chapter of the Documentary Organization of Canada; an industry group representing 700 documentary filmmakers across Canada. Michael has also served as the Documentary Producer Mentor at The Canadian Film Centre (CFC).
National Geographic Channel (USA)
Charlie Parsons is Vice President of Development for the National Geographic Channel, responsible for developing new projects, discovering new talent and serving as one of the network’s main points of contact for the global production community. Since joining the Channel in 2010, Parsons has developed popular series Doomsday Preppers, Inside Combat Rescue, and Mars, as well as the global event Earth Live. He developed the Emmy Award–winning special Space Dive, as well as the Emmy Award–winning feature doc LA 92. He also served as an Executive Producer on the network’s most watched program in history, the Emmy nominated three-hour movie event Killing Jesus, as well as the second and third most watched programs, Killing Kennedy—also Emmy nominated for Outstanding Television Movie—and Killing Lincoln, respectively.
Prior to joining National Geographic, Parsons spent three years as Senior Director of Content at Travel Channel Media, during which the network garnered prime demo rating and delivery growth for seven consecutive quarters. Parsons developed more than 200 hours of programming, found new talent and executive produced some of the network’s most successful hits, including Man v. Food, Ghost Adventures and the Emmy Award-winning series Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations.
Before joining Travel Channel, Parsons was an Executive Producer with Discovery Channel and The Science Channel, overseeing series and specials, including Survivorman, FutureCar, 2057, Cracking The Ocean Code and Supercomet: After the Impact. Parsons spent the first 13 years of his career in live sports television production, working with ESPN, ABC and CBS. He is a graduate of Brown University.
Since Takeshi Shibasaki joined NHK in 1997 he has been worked on programs about science, nature and the environment. As a highly experienced mountain climber, he has put his outdoor experience to good use when researching and shooting the Arctic Ocean, the tropical rainforests of Southeast Asia, alpine glaciers and other places where the environment is changing. His directing and producing credits include 3D Planet Live, Total Solar Eclipse, Crumbling Earth, Deep-Sea Exploration: Tracing the Birth of Life, and The Sea of Zipang, as well as award-winning The Arctic Circle, which was co-produced by NHK, Telepool GmbH and National Film Board of Canada, in association with Discovery Channel Canada, and Surviving the Tsunami, which was broadcast in dozens of countries and won the Peabody Award. Shibasaki is now the editor of the weekly space program Cosmic Front NEXT.He is actively making use of 4K/8K and VR technology encompassing planetarium and game use.
Genepool Productions (Australia)
Josephine Wright is an multi-award-winning documentary filmmaker with experience as a producer, line producer, field producer, development producer across many genres including science, wildlife, history and contemporary factual programs. Jo has been with Genepool Productions since 2013, her credits include producer of the multi-award-winning documentary Queen of the Desert (ABC), line producer/field producer for Uranium - Twisting the Dragon’s Tail (PBS, SBS, ZDF Arte), line producer Vaccines—Calling the Shots (PBS NOVA), Kangaroo Mob (ABC, YLE, RTBF, SVT), Australia’s Great Floods (NGT), Possum Wars (ABC, SVT) and development producer for Devil Island (ABC, ITV, FRANCE TELEVISION, NGTI), Charles Beans Great War (Foxtel, NGTI).
As Vice President of Multiplatform Marketing and Content at PBS, Don Wilcox leverages traditional and emerging channels to promote PBS content and engage audiences through the development of unified, cross-platform strategies and content experiences. Having joined PBS in 2014, Wilcox oversees general audience marketing and brand strategy across all platforms, as well as PBS.org, social media and the acclaimed YouTube network PBS Digital Studios.
Wilcox, an entertainment and digital media veteran, has more than 18 years of experience at the intersection of television and digital media. Prior to joining PBS, Wilcox served as an advisor to entertainment, media and agency clients. As Vice President & General Manager of Branded Entertainment at Fox Broadcasting Company, he oversaw the operations and strategy of FOX.com and AmericanIdol.com, including groundbreaking social media initiatives and integrated cross-platform sponsorships.
Prior to joining FOX, Wilcox was Executive Director, Marketing and Client Services at Sony Pictures Interactive, where he spearheaded online and mobile marketing and promotions for the full slate of Sony Pictures Entertainment’s television shows. He has also held digital leadership positions at ABC, NBC and Microsoft.