Changing Minds & Bettering Lives Through Storytelling
Content creators hold the power to tell stories that can transcend boundaries, inspire awareness and empathy, spark conversations, and drive positive societal change. Executives and producers at the forefront of social impact entertainment discuss how they choose and develop projects that strike a balance between art, social responsibility, and accuracy; uniting and empowering audiences, and the stories that still need to be told.
Robert Rippberger, Founder & Co-Executive Director, SIE Society / SIE Films
Jamal Henderson, Chief Content Officer, The SpringHill Company
Karen Lunder, President of Features, Imagine Entertainment
Anikah McLaren, EVP of Narrative Film, Participant
Robert RippbergerFounder & Co-Executive Director, SIE Society / SIE Films
Robert Rippberger is a filmmaker with a broad array of creative and executive experience. He most recently directed and produced the film “Those Who Walk Away” starring BooBoo Stewart (Descendants, X-Men) and prior to that directed and produced the Harlem drama, “Strive,” with Danny Glover. Both were released theatrically and received dozens of accolades worldwide.
Rippberger has also directed and produced critically acclaimed documentaries, including the 2019 film “Public Enemy Number One” from Executive Producer ICE-T, exploiting the U.S. war on drugs. Prior, Rippberger directed and produced the 2015 film “7 Days in Syria”, an exploration into the human side of the war in Aleppo, Syria. The film was championed by Angelina Jolie, screened at Britain’s House of Lords, to senior members of the U.N., and was released on Hulu and Amazon.
Rippberger is a member of the Producers Guild of America and is on the PGA’s Social Impact Entertainment Task Force. In addition to heading SIE Films, Rippberger is the founder and co-executive director of SIE Society, a leading global alliance of Social Impact Entertainment filmmakers. In 2022 he published his second book, “The Power of Storytelling: Social Impact Entertainment” available through book sellers everywhere October 25th.
Rippberger’s current projects include producing the documentary “How to Build a Truth Engine” with Executive Producers George Clooney and Grant Heslov, producing the documentary “The Mouse That Roared” from Academy Award-nominated director Judith Ehrlich, producing the stop-motion animated film “The Inventor” from “Ratatouille” writer Jim Capobianco, starring Daisy Ridley, Stephen Fry, Marion Cotillard, and Matt Berry, and executive producing the horror film “Float” by former Blumhouse executive Zac Locke. Rippberger also has two upcoming director projects to be announced soon.
Jamal HendersonCCO, The SpringHill Company
Jamal Henderson is the Chief Content Officer at The SpringHill Company, the Emmy Award-winning studio team founded by LeBron James and Maverick Carter. Under Jamal’s leadership, the studio team develops and produces high-quality sports and entertainment film, audio and theatrical releases with the biggest content creators, networks, streamers, brands, and platforms in the world. Since joining in 2015, Henderson has successfully led the charge for several award-winning projects including: Space Jam: A New Legacy, Hustle, Turning the Tables with Robin Roberts, Recipe for Change, Top Boy, Self Made: Inspired by the Life of Madam C.J. Walker, The Wall, The First One with DJ Khaled and many more.
Prior to joining SpringHill, Henderson held roles at PepsiCo and Deloitte respectively. He received his BS from Cornell and MBA from the Kellogg School of Management.
Anikah McLarenEVP of Narrative Film, Participant Media
As Executive Vice President of Narrative Film, Anikah McLaren co-heads the development and production of narrative film for Participant, the leading media company dedicated to entertainment that stands at the intersection of art and activism. While at Participant, she has been instrumental in the development and production of the Toronto International Film Festival Changemaker Award winner We Grown Now and Academy Award®-winning film Judas and the Black Messiah, as well as upcoming projects Shirley and BLKNWS.
Prior to joining Participant, McLaren served as Senior Vice President of Production at Fox Searchlight Pictures, where she oversaw The Old Man and the Gun, as well as development on an eclectic group of projects, including a feature film about iconic choreographer Alvin Ailey, directed by Barry Jenkins. Prior to Fox Searchlight, McLaren was a production executive at Universal Pictures, where she worked on a wide variety of films, including Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, The Bourne Legacy, The Best Man Holiday and Lone Survivor. McLaren also held positions at Focus Features and Miramax Films.
McLaren received a BA in English from The George Washington University. She currently is a member of AMPAS in the Executive Branch and sits on the Executive Panel for the AFI Directing Workshop for Women.
Karen LunderPresident of Features, Imagine Entertainment
Karen Lunder is President of Imagine Features and heads Imagine’s feature film development and production. She recently produced Thirteen Lives, Hillbilly Elegy and The Spy Who Dumped Me for Imagine.
Prior to joining Imagine in 2017, Karen was EVP of Production for Film Nation. Over her career she has produced, developed and overseen a variety of award winning and commercial successes, including Marc Webb’s Gifted, Denis Villeneuve’s Arrival, John Lee Hancock’s The Founder, Gavin Hood’s Eye In The Sky and The Blind Side among others.