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CHRIS MATSON

CEO

Chris went from studying filmmaking at NYU, to earning production credits on multiple films, to becoming a seasoned expert in film and television deal-making and contract drafting.

Most recently before joining Divergent as CEO, Chris was a Senior Counsel at Netflix. Before that, he was Director of Business Affairs at HBO, Head of Business Affairs and Production at Magnolia Pictures, and Head of Business Affairs at HDNet Films. Chris also worked in the business affairs department at ITV, the UK's largest commercial television broadcaster.

He has a high level of expertise and experience in negotiating, drafting and otherwise handling all commercial and business affairs aspects of the US, UK and international television and film industries, including development, financing, acquisition, production, distribution and operational.

 

 

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KATHERINE DIECKMANN

CREATIVE DIRECTOR

Writer-director Katherine Dieckmann’s career has spanned filmmaking, journalism and teaching. Her track record is that of an accomplished film director and writer, Creative Advisor at Sundance, and Associate Professor at the Columbia University School of the Arts Film Program. Katherine’s most recent feature film is STRANGE WEATHER (2016), starring Holly Hunter and Carrie Coon, which opened theatrically in July 2017 before being distributed worldwide by Netflix. STRANGE WEATHER had its gala premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival and went on to play multiple festivals worldwide.

Other films include MOTHERHOOD (2009), starring Uma Thurman, Minnie Driver and Anthony Edwards, which premiered at Sundance; DIGGERS (2007), written by Ken Marino and starring Paul Rudd, Sarah Paulson, Maura Tierney, Lauren Ambrose and Marino; and A GOOD BABY (2000), starring Henry Thomas, David Strathairn, and Cara Seymour. 

For over fifteen years, Katherine has taught screenwriting at Columbia University’s School of the Arts Film Program, where she is an Associate Professor. She has also been a Creative Advisor for The Sundance Institute at screenwriting labs in Jordan and Turkey, has twice been a Creative Advisor at Sundance’s New Frontier Digital Storytelling lab, and has helped advise Sundance on the development of online screenwriting curriculum. She has also mentored for the Nantucket Screenwriters Colony and the IFP Narrative Lab.

 

 

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RUSSELL SMITH

HEAD OF PRODUCTION

To his role as Head of Production for Divergent, Russell Smith brings experience both as a producer (current CEO of Convergent Media) and as an entertainment lawyer (current partner at SmithDehn and former partner at Frankfurt Kurnit Klein & Selz).

Russell’s recent executive producer credits include BUENA VISTA SOCIAL CLUB ADIÓS (also executive produced by Wim Wenders and directed by Lucy Walker, which was released on 80 screens in over 50 U.S. cities in May 2017), GUANTÁNAMO DIARY (upcoming, produced by Benedict Cumberbatch), and SAY HER NAME (upcoming, with producer Bill Horberg, director Leena Ladav, and Oscar-nominated writer Scott Smith).

 
 
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MIKE CLEAVER

MANAGING DIRECTOR

Mike Cleaver gained his experience in film and television development, financing, and production as Managing Director of Convergent Media, a position he continues to hold while branching out as MD of Divergent. Mike’s recent production credits include BUENA VISTA SOCIAL CLUB ADIÓS (executive produced by Wim Wenders and directed by Lucy Walker, released on 80 screens in over 50 U.S. cities in May 2017), GUANTÁNAMO DIARY (upcoming, produced by Benedict Cumberbatch), and SAY HER NAME (upcoming, with producer Bill Horberg, director Leena Ladav, and Oscar-nominated writer Scott Smith).

Mike is also an accomplished production attorney and founding partner of entertainment law firm SmithDehn. He regularly provides pre-publication counseling and review for television programming and feature documentaries broadcast by networks such as the Discovery Channel, HBO, National Geographic, A&E, and TLC. Mike also has performed production counsel work for several major motion pictures and feature documentaries, including among others, Sacha Baron Cohen’s "Borat” and “Bruno,” the International Emmy Award-winning docudrama "Death of a President," and the BAFTA award-winning "The Imposter." Mike is a leading expert on First Amendment matters, libel, rights of privacy and publicity, copyrights and trademarks, and other potential legal issues relevant to the production and distribution of television and film content.

 

 

 

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JENNIFER MACDONALD

HEAD OF DEVELOPMENT

Jennifer MacDonald is an award-winning film producer and writer whose amazing travels and experiences around the world bring extra value to her role at Divergent. After a career as a cryptologist, she took a sharp turn and began working in all levels of film production, from actress to assistant director, script supervisor and line producer on dozens of projects. 

Jen is passionate about culture and connection, speaks several languages (Arabic, Spanish, Portuguese, some French) and has travelled much of the world (especially the Middle East, North Africa, and Cuba) for the last twenty years. She also founded and runs HADAYA, an organization dedicated to offering creative outlets and educational opportunities to displaced and disadvantaged children. Hadaya has been working in Lebanon, Turkey, Jordan, Syria, India and Nepal since 2014.

In 2008, Jen co-wrote, produced and cast the feature film, “Anywhere, USA” which won a “Spirit of Independence” award at Sundance 08 as well as awards at festivals in Boston, France, Russia, Florida and Mexico.

Most recently, Jen produced a series of speaker presentations and mini-documentaries in Cairo for “Afar Experiences,” an offshoot of the award-winning travel magazine. This organization is dedicated to bringing travelers in touch with the heart and soul of a country through in depth interaction with social change agents and locals. She is especially interested in cross-cultural stories that shed light on underreported or misunderstood events and people.