This free HIFILM Panel - the first of a quarterly series of industry panels that delve into the many facets of local indie filmmaking - explores the importance of the IMPACT PRODUCER, a specialist who creates and manages social action campaigns, and are responsible for designing and implementing strategic impact and education strategies around social impact documentaries.


Storytelling has intrinsic properties – but what you do with that story is everything. Today, documentary filmmakers are reaching beyond the offer of traditional distribution on television or in cinemas to think about “Impact,” “Outreach” and “Engagement” campaigns.


These are all words used today to describe the plans a film team puts in place to ensure that their film spurs change on an issue – where they are deliberate about who needs to see a film, what audiences need to do, and what partnerships, tools and resources are needed to reach the desired goals of the campaign.


HIFF welcomes three filmmakers who have worn many hats behind the camera; from director to impact producer, as they discuss the importance and necessity of impact producing to amplify and bring awareness to their various film projects.


Laurel Tamayo is passionate about communicating the climate crisis through film & TV. She was the co-producer and impact producer for GEN Z MENTAL HEALTH: CLIMATE STORIES that was nominated for the Deep Blue Environmental Shorts Award at HIFF43. She was an impact producer for I AM GRETA (Official selection HIFF20, awarded Best Impact Campaign at Jackson Wild), inspiring audiences to take action on climate change. She also worked on the Hollywood Climate Summit (annual gathering of the entertainment industry to address climate change) and the Good Energy Playbook (guide for screenwriters on how they can weave climate change into their films and TV shows). She was recognized in Forbes 68 Climate Leaders Changing The Film and TV Industry. She is currently in the Harvard Executive Education Program where she was awarded the Bacon Climate Leadership scholarship.


Leah Warshawski specializes in producing/directing documentary features, television shows, commercials, corporate, non-profit and branded content around the globe. In high school Leah was voted “Most Likely To Save The World” and her career in the film industry started in Hawai’i, working in the Marine Department for shows including Lost and Baywatch. Currently based on Maui, Leah has a BA in Japanese language from the University of Hawai’i at Manoa and has earned multiple Social Impact Certificates from UPenn. Her latest film, UNCLE BULLY’S SURF SKOOL, world premiered at HIFF43 and won the Audience Award for Best Documentary.


Meghan Welsch (she/her) is a creative projects manager, passionate about finding unique ways to connect us, shape our understanding of the world, and inspire movement towards a more sustainable future. She has spent the last 15 years working at the intersections of storytelling x impact x technology with a variety of experiences including Impact Producer for Netflix films CHASING CORAL, THE GAME CHANGERS, and THE SOCIAL DILEMMA and Program Manager for Tugg Inc., a crowdsourcing platform for community screenings.


Join the conversation! Live Streaming on HIFF Facebook and YouTube March 30th, 3:00PM



Leah Warshawski, Laurel Tamayo, Megan Welsch