Joana Vicente (born in Portugal) is an independent movie producer and executive. A prominent figure in the New York film industry, Vicente has produced over forty films with her producing partner and husband Jason Kliot. In 1999 Vicente and Kliot produced Tony Bui's feature debut, Three Seasons, which took the three top awards at the Sundance Film Festival, including the Audience Award and the Grand Jury Prize. Vicente and Kliot have since worked with directors such as Steven Soderbergh, Brian De Palma, Hal Hartley, Nicole Holofcener, Jim Jarmusch, and Alex Gibney.
Vicente graduated from the Catholic University of Portugal with a Licenciatura degree in Philosophy. She began her career as the press attaché for the Portuguese delegate (and former Prime Minister of Portugal) at the European Parliament, and then as a radio news producer for the United Nations.
Vicente has served as the Executive Director of Independent Filmmaker Project, the nation's oldest and largest organization of independent filmmakers, since December 2009. Under Vicente's leadership, the Independent Filmmaker Project was bestowed with the honor of developing and operating the Made in NY Media Center after an request for proposals was issued by the New York City Mayor's Office of Media and Entertainment and the New York City Economic Development Corporation. Opened in Dumbo, Brooklyn in October 2013, facilities include an incubator and community workspace co-working spaces, a library, offices for anchor tenants, classrooms designed to host a wide array of educational programs such as hands-on workshops, live demonstrations and expert seminars, a media arts gallery showcasing cutting-edge, new-media storytelling installations from artists within the international art and filmmaking community, a 72-seat screening room for exhibiting and sharing the latest work from the center and around the world, and the 1,600-square-foot café Cuper for casual collaboration and discussion in a social-eating setting. The state-of-the-art media center aims to bring together professionals from the film, television, advertising, new media, gaming, marketing and branding industries for collaboration and new opportunities.
In 2013, Vicente was named to Variety's Women's Impact List and Marie Claire's New Guard power list. She also served on the World Cinema Jury for the 2013 Sundance Film Festival. In 2014, she was named one of the Brooklyn Magazine's 100 Most Influential People in Brooklyn Culture. In April of that year, Vicente gave a talk at the TedxLIU conference "The Innovator Within: Redefining Entrepreneurship" entitled "Keep Walking: How to achieve your goals or Crossing the Street in Saigon: A Metaphor for the Young Entrepreneur".
Vicente and Kliot are co-founders and presidents of Open City Films, a production company of feature films and documentaries with an acclaimed catalogue of films including Three Seasons, Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room, Coffee and Cigarettes, Redacted, The Assassination of Richard Nixon, Welcome to the Dollhouse and Awake. Throughout the years, their films have been nominated for 23 Independent Spirit Awards- four have won. Their films have also been selected numerous times for the Cannes, Berlin, Venice, and Toronto film festivals and have garnered four winning trophies at The Sundance Film Festival.
In 1998, Vicente and Kliot founded Blow Up Pictures, the first digital production company in the United States. Their first film, Chuck & Buck, was the first digital film produced and distributed in the US. It premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and was nominated for five Independent Spirit Awards in 2001. Under the Blow Up banner, Vicente and Kliot also produced such films as Lovely and Amazing, Series 7: The Contenders, and Love In the Time of Money.
In 2003, Vicente and Kliot co-founded HDNet Films with Mark Cuban and Todd Wagner. The company produced 18 films in five years, all shot on digital video. The HDNet Films production of Steven Soderbergh's Bubble was the first film ever to be released "day-and-date," in the United States, simultaneously opening across theatrical, cable and satellite television, and home video platforms. This innovative distribution strategy allowed consumers to choose how, when and where they wished to see a film.