Karen Cirillo is a cultural worker, curator, writer and producer specializing in non-fiction film and immersive art. She creates multimedia work and events that explore issues at the intersection of media/cultures/technology. She holds a Masters in Visual and Media Anthropology and is interested in the dichotomy of visual anthropology/documentary, audience reception and how storytelling, aesthetics and forms of representation differ between national/regional cultures.

Based between Brooklyn and Istanbul, she has over 25 years of experience leading art, culture and humanitarian programs, from managing and programming film festivals to developing media, communication and educational initiatives.

She is on the editorial team for XRMust, and contributes to Documentary Magazine and Modern Times, and curates immersive exhibitions and films series. She founded and programmed doxita, a traveling program of short non-fiction cinema, was Shorts Programmer for the True/False Film Festival and Associate Director – Film/Programming (and on the founding team) at Full Frame Documentary Festival. She has programmed and sat on juries for various festivals and organizations, including Dokufest, Documentarist and Columbia Global Center. Karen is a member of XR Türkiye, Euromersive Türkiye and is on the board of Euromersive.

She also has over 20 years of experience in strategic communications, creative direction and production, storytelling and advocacy for UN organizations. In that time she managed UNICEF’s video and audio production department and was programme director of an international children’s broadcasting initiative and the global OneMinutesJr. project, collaborating with video artists to produce video workshops for youth around the world. She currently produces multi-media content and manages visual and digital projects for UNDP’s Regional Hub for Eastern Europe and Central Asia.

For her Masters in Visual and Media Anthropology, she explored foreigner restaurants in Istanbul using sensory ethnography: Eating ourselves: Marking identity and belonging through food & sensorial recreations. She graduated with a degree in American Social and Cultural Studies and a minor in Film Studies from Duke University.

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