DOC NYC selects Jaie Laplante as artistic director to replace Thom Powers

Jaie Laplante has been chosen 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 take on a previously announced new role as director of special projects.

Additionally, the festival unveils its expanded programming team for feature and short films. The festival will hold its 13th edition from November 9 to 17. The 2022 release will be both in-person in New York and accessible online across the United States.

Laplante offers more than 20 years of experience in festivals. For the past 12 years, he has served as Executive Director and Co-Director of Programming at the Miami Film Festival, where he oversaw a major expansion of that festival’s documentary selections, as well as launched a digital screening platform and Google Talks on Gender & Racial Gaps in Film and Tech. He simultaneously oversaw year-round programming at Miami’s historic Tower Theater in Little Havana. Laplante previously served as associate director of the New York City Wine & Food Festival and a programmer for festivals focusing on LGBTQ+ shorts and films. He has served on numerous film festival juries, including the US competition jury at last year’s DOC NYC. Laplante moves to New York to begin work on June 6.

“We live in a dynamic era of documentary storytelling, and I’m excited to develop my personal passion for form in my new role with DOC NYC,” said Laplante. “I’ve been an avid fan of DOC NYC since its inception and look forward to working with our incredible team to expand the vital work of the festival.”

Laplante was selected from a job search that reviewed over 100 applicants.

“Jaie has an incredible track record for leading a team, creating new programs and expanding audiences for movies,” said Raphaela Neihausen, executive director of DOC NYC. “He has an excellent reputation among his colleagues and brings a wonderful spirit of collaboration.”

Here is DOC NYC’s lineup team for the 2022 festival, with eight of nine returning from last year:

Anita Raswant (Program Manager) oversees the festival’s selection committee and manages submissions that topped 2,000 titles last year. She also works as Associate Programmer and Program Manager for the Nantucket Film Festival.


Ruth Somalo (Senior Features Programmer) has been part of the DOC NYC team since the festival’s first year. She leads the Kaleidoscope Competition section, launched in 2021, dedicated to poetic documentaries and essayists. She is also chair of Flaherty’s board of directors.

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 music films. She also works as a feature film programmer for the Tribeca Festival.

Brandon Harrison (Senior Features Programmer) has worked at DOC NYC for four years. He oversees the Sports section. He also works as a development manager for non-fiction production studio Words + Pictures.

Bedatri D. Choudhury (Features Associate Programmer) is back for his second year at DOC NYC. She is also the editor of Documentary Magazine and a programmer at the Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles.

Kim Garcia (Features Associate Programmer) returns for her second year 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 his fourth year at DOC NYC and his 2nd year as Shorts Manager, DOC NYC U for student work and the Shorts List: Shorts highlighting award season contestants . His other programming credits include Hot Docs and Seattle International Film Festival.

DeWitt Davis (Associate Shorts Programmer) has worked with DOC NYC since its freshman year in a variety of roles, including Technical Director. This is his fifth year as an associate short film programmer.

Annie Ning (Shorts Associate Programmer) joins DOC NYC for her first year. She co-manages programming for the International Asian American Film Festival, where she previously served as programmer for documentaries and short films.

About Monty S. Maynard

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