Isil Bagdadi

Isil Bagdadi
Workshop Instructor

Isil Bagdadi is an indie film producer, distributor, programmer and publicist. In 2001, Ms. Bagdadi and her business partner Michael Sergio started CAVU Pictures to produce and distribute cutting-edge, critically acclaimed and award-winning independent films. CAVU specializes in theatrical distribution, consulting and publicity services for indie filmmakers. As President of Distribution, Ms. Bagdadi oversees all of CAVU’s marketing, PR, social media and distribution campaigns.

Some of the films Ms. Bagdadi has produced and/or released over the years include Take Out (Independent Spirit Award nominee), The Real Dirt on Farmer John (winner of over 40 festivals), Let Fury Have the Hour (Official Selection, Tribeca Film Festival), The Holy Land (Slamdance film festival winner, Independent Spirit Award nominee), The Dukes (starring Chazz Palminteri & Peter Bogdanovich), the NC-17 rated “found footage” thriller Lucky Bastard, the Canadian cult comedy Trailer Park Boys: The Movie (exec produced by Ivan Reitman), Breastmilk (executive produced by Ricki Lake), Under Hellgate Bridge (Winner of the first Regal Cinemas Dreammaker Award) and the upcoming Sunset Edge, which is opening in theaters May 29th.

As a film publicist, Ms. Bagdadi has worked on Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s Winter Sleep (Winner, Palme d’Or at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival), the award-winning Italian film Black Souls / “Anime Nere” (Venice Film Festival, Toronto Film Festival) which is currently playing in theaters nationwide, Kung Fu Elliot (Winner, Jury award for Best Documentary Feature at both Slamdance & Fantastic Fest), Waiting for August (Winner, Best International Feature Documentary at Hot Docs & Best Documentary Film at the Karlovy Vary Film Festival), Treading Water (starring Zoe Kravitz, Douglas Smith & Carrie-Anne Moss) and the upcoming film Mad Women (starring Reed Birney from House of Cards) written & directed by Jeff Lipsky.

Her short film “The Blue Marble”, premiered at the Avignon/New York Film Festival, and screened at the Angelika Film Center as part of the IFP Market. The film had its broadcast premiere on Metro TV as part of their “Urban Indies” Series and was then released by Lions Gate Entertainment on the DVD of "Under Hellgate Bridge”.

Ms. Bagdadi frequently serves as a panelist, moderator, mentor and juror at numerous film festivals throughout the year. From 2009 thru 2014 she consulted for the popular arthouse QUAD Cinema in NYC, and helped launch the QUADflix Select program. From Oct 2013 thru Nov 2014 she co-produced the New York Film Critics Series, hosted by film critic Peter Travers (Rolling Stone Magazine).

She has a graduate degree in Film from the New York Institute of Technology and her undergraduate degree in Communication Arts from St. John's University. Ms. Bagdadi is a long-standing member of IFP, and New York Women in Film & Television, and is on the Advisory Board of the Long Island Film / TV Foundation.