Panel Details


The fifth installment of SAGindie’s “Working Through” panel series features revered, beloved, and award-winning auteurs Charles Burnett (Killer of Sheep, To Sleep With Anger, My Brother’s Wedding, The Glass Shield), Alex Cox (Repo Man, Sid & Nancy, Walker, Straight to Hell), and Debra Granik (Winter’s Bone, Leave No Trace, Down to the Bone, Stray Dog) discussing project development, the current state of the film industry, and how they’ve sustained long careers as maverick socio-political independent filmmakers.

Curated and moderated by filmmaker and SAGindie New York Consultant Michael Sládek, the “Working Through” panel series was created during the height of the COVID pandemic to help indie filmmakers weather the storm. The series continues as a means of providing examples and advice from experienced industry professionals on numerous subjects.

[Check out previous “Working Through” installments: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4.]


  • Charles Burnett
  • Alex Cox
  • Debra Granik
  • Moderated by Michael Sládek

About the Panelists:

Charles Burnett is a 2017 Honorary Oscar® recipient as well as the winner of a Guggenheim Fellowship, MacArthur Foundation “Genius” Fellowship, Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship, Media Arts Fellowship, and an NEA grant. His first film, Killer of Sheep, was declared a “national treasure” by the United States Library of Congress and was among the first 50 films placed in the National Film Registry. His acclaimed feature films also include My Brother’s Wedding and To Sleep with Anger, which won three Independent Spirit Awards and became the second film of Burnett’s named to the National Film Registry. Burnett’s television credits include Disney Channel’s Nightjohn, Oprah Winfrey Presents: The Wedding, The Annihilation of Fish, Selma Lord Selma, Martin Scorsese’s PBS documentary series The Blues, the PBS Independent Lens project Nat Turner: A Troublesome Property, as well as Namibia: The Struggle for Liberation, Relative Stranger, and Power to Heal: Medicare & the Civil Rights Movement.

Alex Cox directed various films including Repo Man, Sid & Nancy, Walker, Highway Patrolman, and Tombstone Rashomon. He has written numerous screenplays. He has acted in Mexican films including La Ley de Herodes, Todo El Poder, and the series Un Estraño Enemigo, in which he plays Win Scott, CIA station chief in Mexico City.

Debra Granik’s second feature film Winter’s Bone premiered and won the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance 2010 and was nominated for four Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay. Her first film, Down to the Bone, won Granik the Best Director prize at the 2004 Sundance Film Festival. In 2015, Granik completed Stray Dog, a feature documentary, which aired on PBS Independent Lens and was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award. Her most recent film, Leave No Trace, premiered at Sundance 2018 and was included in the Director’s Fortnight at Cannes 2018. She is currently editing a longitudinal documentary shot over the past five years about the experiences of people reentering NYC after incarceration.

Michael Sládek is a filmmaker whose feature-length credits include the docu-comedy Con Artist, the narrative comedy Devils Are Dreaming, and the documentary BAM150. He’s also made numerous award-winning short films, music videos, branded content, industrials, and live theater pieces. Currently serving as the NY Consultant for SAGindie, Sládek also teaches in the film department at Wagner College and is a member of SAG-AFTRA.

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