Story Syndicate is the brainchild of Emmy and Oscar-winning filmmakers Liz Garbus and Dan Cogan, who founded the company in 2019 in the light of a new and fast-evolving media landscape. In a short time, Story Syndicate’s DUMBO-based production staff has grown to over fifty, while our core team consists of roughly ten producers, creatives, and specialists who span many projects.

Liz Garbus
Two-time Academy Award®-Nominee, two-time Emmy Winner, Peabody Winner, Grammy Nominee, DGA Nominee, and BAFTA-nominated director Liz Garbus is one of America’s most celebrated filmmakers, renowned for her documentary work and also for her breakthrough scripted feature and television debuts.  Her work has been featured in film festivals from Sundance to Telluride to Toronto and the New York Film Festival and has appeared in theaters and across streaming platforms, as well as premium cable television. She is known for her propulsive, socially incisive storytelling across genres.  From THE FARM: ANGOLA USA to WHAT HAPPENED, MISS SIMONE? to I’LL BE GONE IN THE DARK, Garbus has created some of the most iconic documentaries of our time.
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BECOMING COUSTEAU, Garbus’ latest feature, explores the life and legacy of adventurer, filmmaker, inventor, author, unlikely celebrity and conservationist, Jacques-Yves Cousteau. Garbus takes an inside look at Cousteau and his life, his ground-breaking films and inventions, and the experiences that made him the 20th century’s most unique and renowned environmental voice — and the man who inspired generations to protect the Earth. Garbus was nominated for a BAFTA for this film which is currently available to stream on DisneyPlus.  

In 2021, Garbus had her scripted television debut, directing the Season 4 finale of the critically acclaimed Hulu Original series THE HANDMAID’S TALE. Garbus was nominated for a Primetime Emmy award for directing the episode.  

Earlier work includes ALL IN: THE FIGHT FOR DEMOCRACY, a prescient rallying cry about the fight for the right to vote, anchored by the story of Stacey Abrams, whose run for governor in Georgia became the subject of national controversy.  The film opened across the country during the pandemic in drive-ins theatres and streams on Amazon Prime. 

Her celebrated seven part series I’LL BE GONE IN THE DARK (HBO, 2020), based on the best selling book of the same name, explores writer Michelle McNamara’s investigation into the dark world of a violent predator she dubbed the Golden State Killer. Terrorizing California in the 1970s and ‘80s, the Golden State Killer was responsible for 50 home-invasion rapes and 12 murders. Using stylized visuals subverting the conventions of the traditional true crime documetrary, the series gives voice to the survivors and their families, documenting an era when sex crimes were often dismissed or hidden in shame.

LOST GIRLS (Netflix, 2020) is Garbus’ narrative feature debut, starring Amy Ryan, Gabriel Byrne, and Thomasin McKenzie. When Mari Gilbert's daughter disappears, police inaction drives her own investigation into the gated Long Island community where Shannan was last seen. Her search brings attention to over a dozen murdered sex workers Mari will not let the world forget. LOST GIRLS premiered at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival and was released in theaters and on Netflix in 2020.

Garbus’ two-part documentary, WHO KILLED GARRETT PHILLIPS? (HBO, 2019), examines the 2011 murder of 12 year-old Garrett Phillips and the subsequent trial of Oral “Nick” Hillary, a black man in a small rural mostly white community. The series documents Garrett’s grief-stricken family and community relentlessly seeking justice while Hillary fights to prove his innocence. The case illuminates how justice is delivered and delayed in the US criminal justice system. “[Garbus] meticulously and even masterfully brings its viewers to this very place of angry exasperation, laying out the narrative details of a botched murder investigation that some of us might have been vaguely aware of, if at all.” (Washington Post). 
The limited series THE INNOCENCE FILES (Netflix, 2020) details the personal stories behind eight cases of wrongful conviction that the Innocence Project and organizations within the Innocence Network have worked to highlight and overturn. Garbus directed and executive produced the series along with Alex Gibney and Roger Ross Williams.

THE FOURTH ESTATE (Showtime, 2018) was nominated for a 2018 Emmy for Outstanding Documentary or Nonfiction Series, BAFTA TV Award, a Cinema Eye Honor for Outstanding Achievement in a Nonfiction Series, and a Humanitas Prize. “Engrossing...enthralling” (Washington Post), THE FOURTH ESTATE follows The New York Times reporters covering the first year of the Trump presidency, with unprecedented access and intimacy.

WHAT HAPPENED, MISS SIMONE?, (Netflix, 2016) was nominated for a 2016 Academy Award® for Best Documentary Feature, received a Peabody Award, and six Emmy nominations including Best Directing. It took home the Emmy Award for Best Documentary or Nonfiction Special. The film delves into the life of Nina Simone, drawing from more than 100 hours of never-before-heard audiotapes, rare concert footage, and archival interviews.  

Past work includes: A DANGEROUS SON (HBO), which won a 2018 Peabody Award, NOTHING LEFT UNSAID: GLORIA VANDERBILT & ANDERSON COOPER (HBO), which had its world premiere at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival, LOVE, MARILYN (StudioCanal and HBO), which was a Gala Premiere at the 2012 Toronto Film. BOBBY FISCHER AGAINST THE WORLD won the 2011 UK Grierson Award for Best Cinema Documentary and earned an Emmy nomination for Best Documentary Special. Garbus’ first documentary feature film, THE FARM: ANGOLA, won the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival, was awarded ten other festival and critics’ awards including NY and LA film critics awards, and was nominated for an Academy Award® in 1998. Other films as director or producer include: THERE’S SOMETHING WRONG WITH AUNT DIANE (HBO, 2011), GIRLHOOD (Wellspring, 2003), and as producer STREET FIGHT (PBS, Academy Award®- Nominee, 2005), GHOSTS OF ABU GHRAIB (HBO, Emmy for Best Doc, 2007), and KILLING IN THE NAME (HBO, Academy Award®- Nominee, 2010).
Dan Cogan is one of the most prominent non-fiction producers working today. Both an Academy Award® and Emmy Award® winner, Dan founded Story Syndicate with Liz Garbus in 2019. Previously, Dan was the founding Executive Director of Impact Partners. He has produced more than 100 films and series, including ICARUS, which won the 2018 Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature, WON’T YOU BE MY NEIGHBOR?, which won the 2019 Independent Spirit Award for Best Documentary, THE COVE, which won the 2010 Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature and THE APOLLO, which won the 2020 Emmy for Outstanding Documentary.

Dan Cogan
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Dan Cogan is one of the most prominent non-fiction producers working today. Both an Academy Award®- and Emmy Award®-winner, Dan founded Story Syndicate with Liz Garbus in 2019. As the founding Executive Director of Impact Partners from 2007 to 2019, Dan oversaw the financing of over 100 films, including: ICARUS, which won the 2018 Academy Award® for Documentary Feature; THE APOLLO, which won the 2020 Emmy for Outstanding Documentary; WON'T YOU BE MY NEIGHBOR?, which won the 2019 Independent Spirit Award for Best Documentary; OF FATHERS & SONS, which was nominated for the 2019 Academy Award® for Documentary Feature and won the Grand Jury Prize at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival; DINA, which won the Grand Jury Prize at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival and was named Best Feature by the International Documentary Association; THE EAGLE HUNTRESS, which was nominated for the 2016 BAFTA Award for Best Documentary; HOW TO SURVIVE A PLAGUE, which was nominated for the 2013 Academy Award® for Documentary Feature; THE QUEEN OF VERSAILLES, which won the U.S. Directing Award at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival; HELL AND BACK AGAIN, which was nominated for the 2011 Academy Award® for Documentary Feature and won the Grand Jury Prize and Cinematography Awards at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival; and THE COVE, which won the 2010 Academy Award® for Documentary Feature. In 2013, Cogan co-founded Gamechanger Films, the first for-profit film fund dedicated exclusively to financing narrative features directed by women. Its films included THE TALE and LAND HO!
Jon Bardin
Head of Documentary and Nonfiction

Jon is an Emmy-winning producer who oversees the creative development of Story Syndicate projects as well as the creative execution of all projects in production. In this role, he is responsible for developing and creatively overseeing series, feature documentaries, podcasts, and scripted projects. Prior to joining Story Syndicate, Jon served as VP of Documentaries and Specials at Discovery Channel. He loves to run long distances, travel far afield, and, most of all, relax at home with his wife Ali and their two kids.

Kate Barry
Head of Current

Kate oversees multiple projects and has been a member of the Story Syndicate team since day one. Her most recent projects include the Netflix Film Britney Vs Spears and the HBO Series I'll Be Gone in the Dark. Prior, Kate was Head of Production for PULSE (VICE) and a Production Executive for National Geographic Channel overseeing multiple series including the Emmy Nominated Series’ Cosmos and Brain Games, and produced multiple Emmy nominated films and series for HBO. Kate started her career in scripted film in NYC and Europe.

Nellie Reed
Head of Scripted

Nellie joined the Story Syndicate team to head up the newly formed scripted department. Previously, Nellie was at Color Force, where she oversaw their exclusive deal with FX and developed and produced the Emmy-winning American Crime Story anthology as well as Y: The Last Man, Class of ’09, and the upcoming shows The Sterling Affairs, Say Nothing, and Gladiator: American Sports Story. Prior to Color Force, Nellie ran television for Channing Tatum and Reid Carolin’s Free Association and began her career at David S. Goyer’s Phantom Four Films where she oversaw both TV and film. As a former writer herself, Nellie is passionate about storytelling and brings deep creative relationships to the company.

Shane Tilston
Head of Production

Shane manages the day-to-day running of the Story Syndicate Production Department.  Before joining this team, Shane was the VP of Production at VICE TV, overseeing and supporting development and series productions across doc-follow, talk shows, true crime, comedy, live specials and series. His previous projects include Washington Heights (MTV), College Life (MTV), Love & Hip Hop (VH1), Cari & Jemele Won't Stick To Sports (VICE TV), Dark Side of the Ring (VICE TV), Desus & Mero (VICE TV) and Vice Versa: College Sports, Inc. (VICE TV).

Brendan Waterhouse
Head of Business and Legal Affairs

Brendan oversees business and legal affairs for Story Syndicate. Before joining Story Syndicate, Brendan's career started on the network side at Viacom and A&E Networks. He later took on the role as the head of legal for Eastern TV. Brendan has also represented NorthSouth Productions, 2 Point 0 Productions, CNBC, as well as individual producers and on-screen talent. Brendan's projects include perennial favorites such as Impractical Jokers (truTV), Lil Jon Wants to do What? (HGTV), 100 Day Dream Home (HGTV), the Love & Hip Hop franchise (VH-1), Outlaw Chronicles: Hells Angels (History), Unexpected (TLC), and Say Yes to the Dress: Atlanta.

Zane Friedkin
VP of Development

As VP of Development at Story Syndicate, Zane oversees the arm of the company responsible for originating, envisioning, and selling films and series to platforms and financiers. From his seat Zane has been central to the development of the last five years of Story Syndicate projects. Before he joined the company Zane worked in development at Jigsaw Productions and studied philosophy and math at Princeton University.