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Jaie Laplante has been tapped as the new artistic director of DOC NYC, America’s largest and arguably most influential documentary festival. He will replace Thom Powers, the festival’s founding artistic director, who will move into a previously announced new role as director of special projects.
In addition, the festival is unveiling its wider programming team for features and shorts. The festival will hold its 13th edition from Nov. 9 to Nov. 17. The 2022 version will be both in person in New York and accessible online across the U.S.
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Laplante offers more than 20 years of festival experience. For the past 12 years, he served as the Miami Film Festival’s executive director and co-director of programming, where he oversaw a major expansion of that festival’s documentary selections, as well as launched a digital screening platform and the Google Talks on Gender & Racial Gaps in Film & Technology. He simultaneously oversaw year-round programming at the historic Tower Theater in Miami’s Little Havana. Laplante previously served as associate director of the New York City Wine & Food Festival and as a programmer at festivals focused on shorts and LGBTQ+ films. He has served on numerous film festival juries, including the U.S. Competition jury at last year’s DOC NYC. Laplante is relocating to New York to start his job on June 6.
“We are living in a dynamic era of documentary storytelling, and I am thrilled to expand upon my personal passion for the form in my new role with DOC NYC,” said Laplante. “I have been an avid follower of DOC NYC since its inception and look forward to working with our incredible team to expand the festival’s vital work.”
Laplante was selected from a job search that considered over 100 applicants.
“Jaie has an incredible track record at leading a team, building new programs, and expanding audiences for film,” said DOC NYC Executive Director Raphaela Neihausen. “He has a stellar reputation among his co-workers and brings a wonderful spirit of collaboration.”
Here’s the DOC NYC programming team for the 2022 festival, with eight out of nine members returning from last year:
Anita Raswant (Program Manager) oversees the festival’s screening committee and manages the submissions that surpassed 2000 titles last year. She also works as the Associate Programmer and Program Manager of the Nantucket Film Festival.
Ruth Somalo (Senior Features Programmer) has been part of DOC NYC’s team since the festival’s first year. She oversees the Kaleidoscope Competition section, started in 2021, dedicated to poetic and essayistic documentaries. She also serves as the President of the Flaherty Board of Trustees.
Karen McMullen (Senior Features Programmer) returns for her seventh year at DOC NYC. She oversees the Metropolis Competition section focusing on New York stories and the Sonic Cinema section for films about music. She also works as a Features Programmer for the Tribeca Festival.
Brandon Harrison (Senior Features Programmer) has been with DOC NYC for four years. He oversees the Sports section. He also works as a Development Executive for the nonfiction production studio Words + Pictures.
Bedatri D. Choudhury (Features Associate Programmer) is back for her second year at DOC NYC. She is also the Managing Editor of Documentary Magazine and a programmer at the Indian Film Festival of LA.
Kim Garcia (Features Associate Programmer) returns for her second year in programming at DOC NYC. She is a New York based filmmaker, has worked for Tribeca, CAAM, and the Nantucket Film Festivals, and is currently an Associate Programmer for NewFest’s year round programs.
Samah Ali (Senior Shorts Programmer) is in her fourth year at DOC NYC and her 2nd year as leader of Shorts, DOC NYC U for student work, and the Short List: Shorts that highlights award season contenders. Her other programming credits include Hot Docs and Seattle International Film Festival.
DeWitt Davis (Shorts Associate Programmer) has worked with DOC NYC since its first year in a variety of roles including Technical Director. This is his fifth year as a shorts associate programmer.
Annie Ning (Shorts Associate Programmer) joins DOC NYC for her first year. She co-manages programming at the Asian American International Film Festival, where she previously served as a Documentary and Shorts Programmer.
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