Paul Lewis is a television executive and consultant with more than three decades of broadcasting and production experience. As president and general manager of the Discovery business in Canada, Paul created, developed and commissioned some of the world's most ambitious and successful factual television and digital content. He launched the world's first daily science program, Daily Planet, executive produced documentary series and live specials and partnered with international broadcasters during Discovery Canada's most significant period of growth and expansion—leading it to become the most watched factual channel in the country. Paul oversaw the launch of five television networks and was also responsible for their related websites and social media platforms, an in-house production company and a distribution business.
Most recently Paul was president of Strategic Growth at Great Pacific Media (GPM)—an award-winning production company with a strong reputation for storytelling and ratings success.
Paul's television career began as a journalist at Canada's public broadcaster, CBC, working on news and current affairs programs. He's a founding Board member for the World Congress of Science and Factual Producers and the Canadian Science Media Centre of Canada. He's also the consultant-in-chief for the Guangzhou International Documentary Festival, China's biggest and most established documentary festival. He's a regular speaker, judge and panelist at international markets and festivals.
He's currently CEO of his own consulting and production company based in Toronto, Canada.
Editorial Advisory Committee
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Leigh Brown Productions (Australia)
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.
Crossover Labs (UK)
Mark Atkin curates and creates cutting-edge projects that combine technical innovation and storytelling.
Mark has curated public exhibitions and industry conference programs at CPH:DOX, Copenhagen; Sheffield Doc/Fest; Silbersalz Science Festival; and festivals across Scandinavia, Australia and India, and is launching Electric Dreams Festival of Immersive Storytelling in London in 2019 with the National Theatre and The British Film Institute.
His work as a producer has been featured at MoMA, The Royal Academy of Arts, Edinburgh International Festival, The Barbican, and Latitude, as well as at film festivals around the world. His latest live cinema film, Arcadia, is currently on theatrical release in the UK and has been picked up for US distribution.
He produced the BBC’s first original VR commission, Easter Rising: Voice of a Rebel, which is free on the Oculus store, and RIOT, an emotionally-responsive film that uses facial-recognition technology, that has been exhibited at Festival of the Mind, Future of Storytelling and the PHI Centre in Montreal.
He is head of studies of the CPH:LAB, an incubation program for creative technologists and storytellers developing new forms of expression in factual media and runs VR/immersive labs around the world.
As Head of Factual at the ABC, Steve sets the vision and creative strategy for the award-winning Factual department at the national broadcaster. He leads a talented team responsible for the development, commissioning, production, delivery and overall excellence of external and internal Factual programming across all platforms.
Steve and his team have commissioned a raft of highly-successful and popular titles that have ignited important national conversations and captivated audiences. They include the Logie and AACTA winning War on Waste, the Logie winning Conviction plus Stargazing Live, Anh’s Brush with Fame, Back in Time for Dinner, Employable Me, Hawke: The Larrikin and the Leader, Ask the Doctor, Ice Wars, Bullied, Keeping Australia Alive, Brian Cox: Life of a Universe, Restoration Australia, Monash and Me: Peter Greste On Australia's Great Commander, a multi-platform true crime strand and many more.
Discovery Networks (Singapore)
Iain Dodgeon works on large scale Public Engagement initiatives at Wellcome Trust, leading the charity’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 the 5-BAFTA winning Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice and the acclaimed Everything by David O’Reilly. Other projects have included collaborations with Jamal Edwards on mental health in the music industry, documentaries Irene’s Ghost, Out of Thin Air and Against the Law; series 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's served as head YUZU Productions together with Christian Popp. In seven years, YUZU Productions produced more than 30 hours of documentaries, most of them in international co-productions, with broadcasters such as ARTE, France Télévisions, Smithsonian Networks, Showtime, CBC, ZDF, CCTV10, Al Jazeera Networks, RTS, RTBF, VRT, SVT, TVC, TVE, YLE, S4C, TG4, UR, RTP, Ceska Televise, and ERT.
Recent productions include Microbiota: The Fabulous Power of the Gut, Weed, Greed and Legalization, The Race to Dope, Brains in Danger, Cyborgs Among Us, Becoming Cary Grant, Free to Run (theatrical), The E-Waste Tragedy, and The Bloody Truth. Between 1994 and 2011, he worked at Tele Images, VM Group, Ampersand, Gedeon Programmes, and Docside (now Zed).
Fabrice is one of the co-founders and the current president of the French Association Science & Television gathering 53 production companies, and of the Pariscience International Film Festival.
Marita Huebinger studied german literature, bibliology and comparative linguistics from 1978 to 1985. From 1985 on she has been working for ZDF, Hessischer Rundfunk, Südwestfunk, 3sat and ARTE. Her main focus are cultural and scientific topics. She was responsible for Kulturzeit/3sat, Volle Kanne/ZDF, Lesen and Abenteuer Wissen/ZDF. Since May 2011, she has served as senior commissioning editor for science and head of ZDF department Wissen/ARTE.
Beach House Pictures (Singapore)
With over 20 years of experience producing factual content, Jocelyn has an extensive depth of knowledge about the Asian and international content markets. In 2007 she co-founded Beach House Pictures and has since help grow the company into one of largest independent production companies in Asia with offices in Singapore, Beijing and Taiwan.
Rosario López Foncea
Cabala Productions (Chile)
Rosario López is a 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.
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.
Joseph has developed, directed and produced high end, prime time documentaries for most of the major broadcasters in Britain and America, working for many of Britain's leading production companies. He started as commissioning editor for SBS in January 2012 and became head of Documentaries in June 2016.
Tom McDonald is the head of commissioning for Natural History & Specialist Factual at the BBC. Recent commissions include the BAFTA and Emmy–winning Planet Earth II, BAFTA winner Muslims Like Us, BAFTA & Grierson nominees The Doctor Who Gave Up Drugs and Life That Glows; and recent ratings successes Surgeons: At The Edge Of Life and A House Through Time. He also oversees some of the BBC’s most successful returning series including The Watches, Trust Me, I’m A Doctor, Inside The Factory, Amazing Hotels 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, Mars and One Strange Rock, as well as the global natural history events Earth Live and Yellowstone Live. He developed the Emmy Award-winning special Space Dive, as well as the Emmy Award-winning feature doc LA 928. 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.
Genepool Productions (Australia)
2012 Emmy Award winner and record breaking five-time winner of the prestigious Eureka Prize for Science Journalism, Sonya Pemberton is one of Australia’s leading factual filmmakers. Sonya’s passion is creating quality science documentaries for international audiences. She has written and directed over 60 hours of broadcast documentary and executive produced many award-winning factual series. Her films have won over 70 international awards.
Sonya has been honoured with Australian Health Journalist of the Year in 2011 and 2013, the Jill Robb Award in 2015 and the 2016 Stanley Hawes Award for contribution to documentary.
Recent titles include Uranium: Twisting the Dragon’s Tail (SBS, PBS, ZDF/Arte), Jabbed: Love, Fear and Vaccines (SBS) and Tales of the Unexpected (SBS, Smithsonian Channel). Sonya's latest project Vitamania: The Sense and Nonsense of Vitamins, for SBS, CuriosityStream and ARTE France, dissects the multi-billion-dollar vitamin industry and is a finalist for three Jackson Hole Media Awards.
Entertainment Executive (USA)
Adam Rymer was most recently president of Legendary Digital Networks where he oversaw all day-to-day business for LDN's digital brands including Nerdist, Geek & Sundry, and Smart Girls.
Previously he was COO/CFO/co-founder of film finance/production company, Lava Bear Films. Prior to Lava Bear, Rymer spent eight years at Universal Pictures, most recently as SVP, Digital Platforms, where he spearheaded the studio's new business initiatives through emerging channels including mobile, interactive games and digital cinema.
Before joining Universal Studios, Rymer had several strategy and business development roles at Universal Music and early internet start-ups. He began his professional career as an associate at L.E.K Consulting, concentrating on private equity advisement, mergers & acquisitions and valuations.
Adam earned an MBA in finance from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School and a BA in applied mathematics and economics from Harvard University. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife and son.
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 Peabody Award winning Surviving the Tsunami. Shibasaki is now the editor of the weekly science program Cosmic Front, actively making use of 4K/8K and VR technology encompassing planetarium and game use. He is also in charge of the 4K-UHD Live Transmission from Antarctica.
Matthew Shribman is a scientist, environmentalist and musician. His science videos have over 25 million views online, and he has appeared on Comedy Centrel, ITV News and the BBC’s Today Programme and Blue Peter. He has given talks for the likes of TEDx London, UN Ops, The British-Portuguese Chamber of Commerce, Extinction Rebellion.
A member of 1% For The Planet and the Patagonia Change Makers Community, Matthew’s collaboration credits range from the Plastic Oceans Foundation to the French Research Institute For Development.
In 2019, Matthew organised for 1,000 trees to appear outside the UK parliament. Over 2/3 of MPs, from all parties, came to collect a tree, in the words of Ed Miliband: "I think you’ve changed the conversation."
In 2018, Matthew began the #NoBeef campaign, which is now supported by Peter Gabriel, Paul McCartney, the University of Cambridge, Goldsmiths University of London, and academics around the world.
Matthew has also written and recorded music that has been supported by BBC Radio 1, The Times, The Guardian and NME. His musical stage name is Ash Lad.
Screen Queensland (Australia)
Tracey Vieira was appointed as Chief Executive Officer of Screen Queensland in February 2014, the latest role in a stellar career promoting the Australian screen industry in Queensland and the United States. Tracey is a champion for the Arts and its influence on our well-being and identity and has worked in a range of Directorships across the arts in music, precinct development, visual arts and creative place making.
Tracey graduated from QUT with a Bach Ed. majoring in Film and Media in 1993. She initially worked in events management, including several roles in the Queensland Events Corporation, before securing a position with the Brisbane-based Pacific Film and Television Commission as Executive Manager - Locations and International Production.
Tracey moved to Los Angeles in 2004 where for the next ten years she took on senior roles at Ausfilm, the industry-government partnership that connects the international screen industry with Australia's screen incentives, talent and facilities.
At Ausfilm and later Screen Queensland she has played an integral role in attracting more than $1.5 billion in production investment in Australia, including Warner Bros. Aquaman, Marvel's Thor: Ragnarok and Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales.
Since returning Tracey has launched new initiatives for the industry including the first feature film with SVOD company Stan, a creative partnership initiative with YouTube, a business building program, Australia's first VR series with a broadcaster and led significant cultural change within the organisation. Tracey also introduced the organisations first Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Strategic Plan and a Gender Equity Policy to drive change both behind and in front of the screen.
Tracey is a Non-Executive Director of RSPCA QLD, The Arts Centre Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast Arts Advisory Board and MediaRing. She is an external Advisor to US based Australians in Film and The Queensland College of Art and a previous Director with QMusic.
James Williams has almost two decades of experience in digital video storytelling working with brands like National Geographic, Discovery, Nat Geo WILD, Revision3/DDN and many others across multiple platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, SnapChat, YouTube and .com websites.
Before founding the media consulting firm DVSgo, James was Vice President of Digital Video at National Geographic, where his approach to digital storytelling helped cement the brand’s position as a digital content leader.
Prior to Nat Geo, James was with Discovery Communications, where he developed digital extensions for on-air network programming, produced branded video campaigns, spent years in the field as a science video journalist, and launched an animal-focused YouTube network for Discovery Digital Networks in San Francisco.
Science Communicator (Canada)
Samantha Yammine is a Science Communicator and PhD Candidate in the Department of Molecular Genetics at the University of Toronto, where she researches how stem cells build and maintain the mammalian brain. In addition to her thesis research, she is part of a crowd-funded research study on the effects scientists sharing selfies on Instagram have on public perceptions of warmth, competence, and trustworthiness of scientists. Samantha goes by the name @science.sam on Instagram, where she magnifies the microscopic and shares her favourite brain-blowing neuroscience using short videos, descriptive captions, engaging pictures, and livestreams in hopes of making science more accessible and inclusive. She's produced, scripted, and hosted videos for GE Canada, Lady Speedstick, and Seeker, and has appeared as a repeat guest expert on popular media shows airing on TVO Kids, Leafs Nation Network, and CBC Radio. You can contact Sam or find out more at samanthayammine.com.
Xiao Long is a producer for documentary and factual contents, a programmer and executive director for documentary film festivals and events . He is the producer of feature-length documentaries of The Daughter of Shanghai, Because It Is There, Wild Ball, The Champion of the Nature, the co-producer of series documentary of The Gulf Course of Great Britain and Ireland. He is the co-founder of FreshPitch (since 2016), the co-founder and Permanent Secretory of Beijing International Film Festival Documentary Sector (from 2014 to 2017), the co-founder of Outdoor Documentary Season (2017), the co-founder and director of the Documentary Training Courses of SARFT Training Academy (2016), the Annual Development Program of DocChina (2015). He is the Deputy Secretary of DocChina Committee, the experts and writer of Study Report of The Development of Chinese Documentary.