The conference will explore the 'filmanthropy' wave of documentaries that attempt to effect social change and raise awareness of important issues. Examples include Participant Productions' eco-warning An Inconvenient Truth, and Nanking, which Leonisis produced and chronicles atrocities perpetrated by Japanese troops on Chinese civilians in 1937.
The conference programme includes public screenings and symposia and an invitational workshop for leaders from the media, funding and philanthropic communities.
Participants include AFI president and chief executive officer Jean Picker Firstenberg, Participant Productions executive vice president for social action and advocacy John Schreiber, and Silverdocs festival director Patricia Finneran.
''Filmanthropy' is more than a buzzword,' Leonsis said. 'It is at the centre of an ongoing international discussion on how to engage the public in civic discourse and leverage existing and new media channels and funding for social issues communication.
'Increasingly, social-issue documentaries include non-profit partners and involve complex strategic marketing campaigns, which fully exploit the streaming media and social networking possibilities of Web 2.0. 'Filmanthropy' is an idea that promises to generate significant impact far beyond the documentary community.'
Conference panelists already confirmed include Ford Foundation's Orlando Bagwell, ThinkFilm's Mark Urman, Sundance Institute Documentary Fund director Cara Mertes, and Alice Myatt, executive director of Grantmakers In Film And Electronic Media.
The Silverdocs festival is scheduled to take place from Jun 12-17, 2007 and the full line-up will be announced in May.