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 MD of the factual entertainment label Autentic. The company owns and operates pay TV channels in Europe and South Africa. It produces, co-produces and distributes high-quality documentaries and factual series. Hörl is MD of the pay TV channels SPIEGEL Geschichte and SPIEGEL TV Wissen, a joint venture between Autentic and SPIEGEL TV, and of SPARK, a joint venture between Autentic and ZDF Enterprises. Prior to launching his own business, Hörl worked as MD of Discovery Communications in the German-speaking regions and for Kirch Media and Bayerischer Rundfunk. Hörl is one of the founders of Documentary Campus and serves Chairman of the Board of Campus, a pan-European advanced training program for young filmmakers/aspirants in the fields of documentary film and factual entertainment. Additionally Hörl is member of the Board of Directors of the factual section of Produzentenallianz.
Crossover Labs (UK)
Iain Dodgeon is the head of Broadcast Games and Film at Wellcome. He oversees activities across the entertainment industries—including seeding ideas, facilitating access to experts and offering funding—aimed at supporting development and production of original ideas inspired by science and its impact on society. Previously he worked as a medical doctor and as a creative and development executive in the broadcast industry.
Yuzu Productions (France)
Fabrice Esteve is an experienced French independent producer with a strong track record in international co-productions. In 2011, he created Yuzu Productions, together with former ARTE commissioning editor Christian Popp. They are currently producing The Bloody Truth, How Colonialism Started the AIDS PandemicThe Nano Revolution, a docu-drama mini-series of 3x52minute episodes, co-produced by ARTE, CBC and NHK. From 2005 to 2007, he was a producer at Gedeon Programmes, specifically looking after international co-productions, including Cracking the Code, 3x52 minutes (ARTE/SBS/S4C). From 1999 to 2005, Fabrice was Head of Productions and Development at Ampersand, a French independent production and distribution company. Prior to joining Ampersand, Fabrice spent five years as a documentary and magazine producer at VM Group, and at Tele Images. He is one of the co-founders of the French Association Science & Television.
Cabala Productions (Chile)
Rosario López is a Chilean professional in audiovisual communications, with twelve years of experience in the research, content edition and production for documentary TV series, filmmaking and digital platforms related to science, nature and history. She currently works as editor in chief in Cabala Producciones, leading audiovisual company based in Chile and Colombia, specialized in science, technology and nature outreach, targeting family audiences trough multiple platforms and formats. Some of our last TV shows are Operation Green, nature and environment stories broadcasted by public Chilean television, and Son of the Stars, a TV series that explores the strong connections between Latin American cultures and the sky and stars, with great success and sales in the international market. She is also a speaker in scientific and television congress, always trying to promote science and nature to all audiences.
Social Starts/Vidcon (USA)
Tom McDonald is the head of commissioning for Natural History & Specialist Factual at the BBC. Recent commissioning highlights include the BAFTA-nominated The Hunt, the BAFTA and RTS nominated Big Blue Live, Attenborough & the Giant Dinosaur for BBC ONE and Tribes, Predators & Me, Victorian Bakers, Choose The Right Puppy For You for BBC TWO, and the RTS-winning Oak Tree for BBC FOUR. He also oversees some of the BBC’s most successful specialist factual returning series including Springwatch, Trust Me, I’m A Doctor, An Hour To Save Your Life and Inside The Factory.
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 and Inside Combat Rescue, Emmy Award-winning Special Space Dive, and the upcoming event series MARS. 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 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 joined Genepool Productions in March 2013. Her past credits include line producer for Vaccines–Calling the Shots (PBS NOVA), line producer/field producer for Uranium - Twisting the Dragon’s Tail (PBS, SBS, ZDF Arte), line producer Kangaroo Mob (ABC, YLE, RTBF, SVT), line producer for Australia’s Great Floods (NGT), and producer for Queen of the Desert (ABC).