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Veteran documentary producer Justine Nagan has been named head of production at Actual Films, the production company led by An Inconvenient Sequel directors Bonni Cohen and Jon Shenk set for an international expansion.
Nagan most recently spent five years as executive director at the New York-headquartered American Documentary Inc. (AmDoc), where her film credits included The Mole Agent by Maite Alberdi, Minding the Gap by Bing Liu, The Silence of Others by Almudena Carracedo and Robert Bahar, as well as the series America ReFramed.
Nagan was also executive director of the documentary collective Kartemquin Films for seven years to 2015, where her credits included Abacus and The Interrupters by Steve James, The Trials of Muhammad Ali by Bill Siegel and the series Hard Earned, produced by Maggie Bowman.
Actual Films has documentary credits that include Athlete A, Lost Boys of Sudan, Audrie & Daisy, 3.5 Minutes, The Island President and The Rape of Europa, which was narrated by Joan Allen. An Inconvenient Sequel launched in Sundance in 2017, with the climate-change documentary debuting 11 years after Oscar winner An Inconvenient Truth premiered in Park City.
Nagan will expand the documentary slate at Actual Films to include more features and non-fiction series directed by an increasingly diverse range of international filmmakers. She will also executive produce new co-productions with Actual Films’ affiliated non-profit AfterImage Public Media.
Cohen and Shenk will continue to direct and produce their own films under the Actual Films brand. They will also join Nagan in supporting projects by other filmmakers as executive producers.
“Justine’s leadership experience at AmDoc and Kartemquin makes her the perfect partner for us to take Actual Films forward into our international expansion during this true documentary renaissance,” Actual Films co-founder Cohen said. “She is such a strong believer in the power of documentary and has done amazing, groundbreaking work in bringing film into the center of civic dialogue and social change.”
“I’m so honored to partner with Bonni and Jon to lead Actual Films as their first head of production. It’s a tremendous opportunity to build on a successful 20-year history to grow one of the most successful and respected production companies in the documentary field,” Nagan said.
Current Actual Films and AfterImage titles in production include the Netflix documentary short Lead Me Home, a film about homelessness co-directed by Pedro Kos and Shenk; Empathy Mirrors, co-directed by Cohen and Yoruba Richen; Land of Gold, directed by Jon Else; and several untitled projects underway with Participant Media and Impact Partners.
“We couldn’t be more excited about Justine joining Actual Films,” Actual Films co-founder Shenk added. “Her vision, energy and sense of story and justice is second-to-none. We look forward to working with Justine to expand on what we have built at Actual Films to bring new projects and new voices, from here in the U.S. and the Bay Area and also from the international documentary community, into our work.”
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