360 INCUBATOR+

2021 FELLOWS

Dru Holley

Fellow

Tonya Hopkins

Fellow

Laura Colleluori

Fellow

Allison Bonner Shillingford

Fellow

J. Lathon

FELLOW

Malkia Lydia

FELLOW

Dru Holley

Fellow

Dru Holley

Dru Holley

Dru is a director and producer from Portland, OR. He graduated from the Art Institute of Colorado where he specialized in video broadcasting. In his eleven-year career, Dru is adept at putting together collaborative creative teams that share the motivation for highlighting the stories of people who have largely been ignored or overlooked in the past, and whose experiences in urgent social problems can shape the  conversations of the future. Buffalo Soldiers and the Pacific Northwest is his feature directorial debut. Stanley Nelson, the iconic African American filmmaker, selected Dru for the prestigious 2020 Firelight Documentary Lab Fellowship.

Tonya Hopkins

Fellow

Tonya Hopkins

Tonya is a culinary historian, educator, and drinks designer. She comes from a long line of great cooks, traced to the skilled enslaved who toiled in the kitchens of Maryland and Virginia tobacco plantations from the 17th through 19th centuries to create a uniquely American farm-to-table cuisine, and the later emancipated ancestors who carried on an unmatched culinary expertise in enterprising ways. She’s also the great granddaughter of a speakeasy entrepreneur. Tonya is a seasoned storyteller, who leads live and recorded
educational programs at historic sites across New York City, teaches food history and wine classes, and serves as one of the primary advisors on the Exhibition Committee at the Museum of Food and Drink. She is the first and only food historian to be featured on ABC’s The Chew, the lead food historian on Carla Hall’s most recent cookbook Carla Hall’s Soul Food: Everyday and Celebration, and is cited several times in author Michael Twitty’s 2-time James Beard Award-winning book The Cooking Gene. She is the co-founder of the James Hemings Society and a wine specialist at Good Wine, a Black woman-owned wine shop in Brooklyn.

Laura Colleluori

Fellow

Laura Colleluori

Laura is a producer, director, and dramaturg based in New York City. She works as the Production Manager at Market Road Films, where her most recent credits include the investigative documentary podcast Unfinished: Deep South, and the three-part National Geographic series Kingdom of the White Wolf. Laura holds a B.A. from Dickinson College, with additional training from Duke University, Yale University, and the University of Bologna.

Allison Bonner Shillingford

Fellow

Allison Bonner Shillingford

Allison is an oral historian and documentarian who takes the personal accounts of her subjects and weaves their statements to construct a poignant reflection of their lives. Her documentaries include The Oral History Project for the Romare Bearden’s Black Odyssey Exhibit (2015). A Place to Become – Montclair through the eyes of the Glenridge Avenue YWCA Women , 1920 – 1965, (2013). The Death of the Black Independent School – A Look at the Closings of Primary Education Institutions in Brooklyn, N.Y. (2011). Chez Josephine – Jean Claude Baker’s Two Loves (2011) and In Our Lifetime – Elders Speak On What They
Have Seen and What They Never Thought They Would See. (2008). Allison’s documentaries have screened at Columbia University, The Montclair Film Festival, The San Diego Film Festival, and the D.C. Independent Film Festival. The New Jersey Department of Education selected A Place to Become for the New Jersey Amistad Commission Curriculum. Excerpts of the oral histories are in the permanent YWCA Years Exhibit at the Montclair Historical Society. Shillingford received her B.F.A. in dramatic sriting from the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University and her M.A. in oral history from Columbia University.

J. Lathon

FELLOW

J Bird Lathon

J Bird is a multidisciplinary artist, designer and filmmaker. He has created logos, original typefaces, sportswear, motion graphics, animated sequences, and books. As a filmmaker, he is interested in a cinema of artists, outcasts, eccentrics, and iconoclasts who are aesthetically irreverent, innovative and informative. His shorts, The Process and Ms. Right Now (2001), received a Special Acknowledgement at the 2002 Black International Cinema Festival in Berlin. His short, Numbers From A Montgomery Jail (2007), a poetic account of the Montgomery Bus Boycott, premiered at the 2007 Nashville Film Festival. His latest, Impaled &
Inhaled (2020), uses his personal photographs and original poetry to relate his experiences about the September 11th attack on the World Trade Center and was conceived during his first Artist In Residency at Hastings College. He is currently creative producing To The Fireflies , the feature debut of award-winning documentary filmmaker Kerri Gawryn, which in its development stage and was accepted into Sundance Co//ab programs for producing and directing actors in 2020.

Malkia Lydia

FELLOW

Malkia K. Lydia

Malkia is a filmmaker and cultural worker who recovers authentic stories of community life. She has produced short films for Smithsonian Institution, National Civil Rights Museum, DC Commission on the Arts & Humanities, and Knight Foundation Cities Challenge exhibit experiences. One of her favorites is an archive-based video installation about education access that included her mom’s childhood journey through school desegregation. Malkia’s work often focuses on culture within the U.S. Black Mid-Atlantic, tracing it back to the Great Migration and beyond. A native of “thee” Chocolate City (Washington, DC), Malkia cut her filmmaking teeth in Philadelphia, producing shorts for WYBE’s Philadelphia Stories and working with Scribe Video Center. Malkia freelances as an archival producer and creative producer on advocacy and broadcast documentaries. In past lives, she directed and cut music videos, worked in a community media station, and mentored grassroots activists. Malkia has been a CPB Producer Fellow at the INPUT Conference and an associate of the investigative reporting program at UC Berkeley. She is a proud graduate of Washington, D.C., public schools as well as Duke University and Temple University.

Carrie Hawks

Fellow

Chelsea Moore

Fellow

Stephanie Etienne

FELLOW

Dr. Kanika Harris

Fellow

Hazel Gurland-Pooler

Fellow

Naz Habtezghi

Fellow

Carrie Hawks

Fellow

Carrie Hawks

Carrie Hawks (they/them) confronts self-imposed and external assumptions about identity in order to promote healing, particularly in relation to Blackness, gender, and queer sexuality. They work in animation, drawing, collage, sculpture, and performance, often incorporating humor. Their film black enuf* was nominated for a New York Emmy, won Best Documentary Short at Trans Stellar Film Festival, was broadcast on American Public Television’s World Channel in 2019, and screened at over 40 festivals including Ann Arbor and BlackStar. maroonhorizon.com

Chelsea Moore

Fellow

Chelsea Moore

Chelsea is a femme filmmaker with a mission to cultivate spaces for queer creators to explore and expand the queer experience and founder of Sour Peach Films. Chelsea’s producing work has screened at over 40 festivals internationally including the BAFTA-qualifying Iris Prize Festival, Academy Award-qualifying Outfest Film Festival, Flickerfest International Short Film Festival, BFI Flare, Inside Out & NewFest. Chelsea was also a 2019 Sundance Creative Producing Program finalist. Chelsea’s feature documentary: A Night at Switch n’ Play which profiles the award-winning Brooklyn drag & burlesque collective Switch n’ Play, world premiered at Toronto’s Inside Out Film Festival & won the Audience Award for Feature Documentary at NewFest. Chelsea also works as an IATSE 829 Art Coordinator in TV & Film in NY on films such as The Photograph with Issa Rae & Lakeith Stanfield, Law & Order: SVU, and Billions.

Stephanie Etienne

FELLOW

Stephanie Etienne

Stephanie is passionate about reproductive justice and believes in the power of community-based care. She is the cofounder and collaborative partner at the Bloom Collective, a community space dedicated to reproductive empowerment and birth equity in Baltimore, Md. Stephanie is a native New Yorker of Haitian descent. She lives in Baltimore with her family. Listen to Me is her first film.

Dr. Kanika Harris

Fellow

Kanika Harris, PhD., MPH

Kanika is a behavioral health scientist in the field of public health, with a special focus on health equity and women’s health. A mother of three, she also is a doula and a birth justice advocate. She is co-directing and co-producing Listen to Me, which is her first documentary film. It follows four women on the frontlines of the Black maternal health movement as they walk the tightrope of racism and birth in America.

Hazel Gurland-Pooler

Fellow

Hazel Gurland-Pooler

Hazel is a filmmaker who has produced award-winning documentaries for over a decade. She is a producer for the four-hour PBS series, Creating The New World: The Transatlantic Slave Trade in pre-production with acclaimed director Stanley Nelson. Previously, she directed 10 episodes of PBS’s primetime celebrity genealogy series, Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr . Hazel created and produced the five-part short docuseries about the daily lives of low-income New Yorkers called, My Everyday Hustle, for WNET/PBS WorldChannel. She produced NAACP Image Award-nominated Roots: A History Revealed simulcast on A&E/History Channel and screened at the Bushwick Film Festival. Hazel was a co-producer for the six-hour PBS series, The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross with Henry Louis Gates, Jr. , which was honored with an Emmy, a Peabody, a duPont-Columbia, and an NAACP Image award.

Naz Habtezghi

Fellow

Nazenet Habtezghi

Naz is a skillful storyteller who transitioned from magazine journalism to documentary filmmaking. As a former editor at Essence, the premier magazine for AfricanAmerican women, she covered a range of topics, from entertainment to social issues. She also launched and executive produced the publication’s video platform with an award-winning interactive web series, which later turned into a one-hour special on TV One. Nazenet began her documentary career at HBO on the Emmy-nominated series, The
Weight of the Nation. Since then, she’s produced highly acclaimed documentaries for PBS, including The Secret of Tuxedo Park, The Great War and History Detectives Special Investigations. Currently, she’s a producer at Firelight Films where she’s working on a four-part series on the transatlantic slave trade. She received her B.A. in journalism from the University of Oklahoma.

Elizabeth Charles

Fellow

Yeelen Cohen

Fellow

Ife Olujobi

Fellow

Ameha Molla

Fellow

Rajal Pitroda

Fellow

Khalil Munir

FELLOW

Elizabeth Charles

Fellow

Elizabeth Charles

Elizabeth has more than a decade of experience in media and entertainment across radio, commercials, branded content, music videos, short films and television in the Caribbean and United States. She works to champion content that exemplifies inclusive and diverse storytelling from multicultural voices.

Elizabeth previously worked in radio as an on-air host and commercial voice over artist in both the Cayman Islands and the U.S.. She was the Urban Music director for 88.9 WERS in Boston, which averaged 190K listeners per week. Though she has worked all time slots and various programming formats in audio, her favorite is late night RnB programming. In 2014, she became one of the first two Black students admitted to NYU’s  MBA/MFA in producing program. She is a graduate of NYU’s Stern School of Business and the Tisch School of the Arts. As an independent producer and strategist she’s worked for PwC and Univision. The short films she has produced have received the Clermont Ferrand and the Emerging Filmmaker Award in 2017 and 2018 from Palm Springs Shortfest. Additionally, she has produced two Vimeo Staff Picks and two of her more recent shorts have amassed 1m+ views.

Elizabeth is the founder of Syrn Media, which promotes underrepresented filmmakers through strategic services that increase diversity and inclusion in media. She cohosts a daily video podcast on Caymanian culture for the Cayman Islands, Homeland Daily is a 2020 Sundance Creative Producing Fellow and recipient of the Mark Silverman Honor.

Yeelen Cohen

Fellow

Yeelen Cohen

Yeelen is a filmmaker, actor, writer, producer and theatre artist based in Brooklyn, N.Y. Born in Paris, France, and raised in Jacmel, Haiti, New York, Miami and San Francisco, their multicultural upbringing deeply influences their artistic practice and view of the world. Yeelen’s work, often rooted in the personal, unfolds into larger conversations about identity, history, space, diaspora and technology. They co-founded and curated the Afrofuturism Film Festival, assistant directed the Haitian magical-neorealist feature Ayiti Mon Amour, and recently starred in Random Acts of Flyness on HBO.

Ife Olujobi

Fellow

Ife Olujobi

Ife is a Nigerian American playwright and screenwriter from Columbia, Md. She is a 2019-20 New Voices fellow at The Lark, a 2020-21 resident artist at Ars Nova, a member of Youngblood at Ensemble Studio Theatre, an alumnus of both the 2018-19 emerging writers group at  The Public Theater and the 2020 Sundance Institute Theatre Lab, and the recipient of a 2020 Sloan Foundation commission from Manhattan Theatre Club. Her plays include Jordans, Smoke, MARKETPLACE, and others, and her work has been seen at The Public, Ensemble Studio Theatre, Charity Randall Theater, Bishop Arts Theater Center, and more. Ife also is the founder and editor of Townies​ zine, managing editor of The Supplements at Soho Rep, and a former assistant editor at the Criterion Collection. She received her BFA in dramatic writing from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts in 2016.

Ameha Molla

Fellow

Ameha Molla

Ameha is a creative and marketing professional with experience across production, advertising and brand strategy. Ameha directed six short films while working in marketing at Genentech, a biotechnology company. In this role, Ameha led the creative and production teams for an award-winning brand agency, developing and producing content focused on the stories of patients with cancer. Ameha was responsible for creating story concepts, directing animation and motion graphics teams, managing on set cast and crew, and final cut. He is interested in developing and directing stories that focus on the Ethiopian community.

Rajal Pitroda

Fellow

Rajal Pitroda

Rajal is a producer working between the worlds of fiction and non-fiction film. Rajal most recently produced Down a Dark Stairwell, which premiered at the 2020 True/False Film Festival. She was an associate producer of The Kindergarten Teacher, a 2018 Sundance selection and a co-producer of O.G., a 2018 Tribeca Film Festival selection. Rajal is currently producing Higher 15, a personal film about an Ethiopian family confronting intergenerational trauma as refugees of the Red Terror; Last Will & Testament, a story of family, greed and class dynamics in rural Arkansas, anchored in a fantastical true crime narrative; and the documentary series Girls & Sex, a deep dive into the current landscape around sex and identity based on the New York Times bestselling book. Rajal is a 2020 Sundance Creative Producing Fellow, was a Resident at SFFILM FilmHouse, and an Impact Producing Fellow with Firelight Media.

Khalil Munir

FELLOW

Khalil Munir

Khalil is a noted theater artist, choreographer, and arts educator originally from South Philadelphia. He conceived and stars in the autobiographical stage production One Pound, Four Ounces. It combines dance, hip hop percussion and monologue to convey a raw, yet inspirational series of vignettes from his complicated childhood. The show has been mounted at Freedom Theatre, the First Person Arts Festival, the Suzanne Roberts Theatre, and through an ongoing residency at the National Museum of American Jewish History. This production is the inspiration for the documentary What’s in a Name? , which highlights self-determination and intergenerational healing among Black men. He is co-producing and co-writing the film. Khalil has been cast in numerous stage and screen productions as an actor and dancer, including Karl “Dice” Raw’s The Last Jimmy. He has served on the faculty at Philadelphia’s historic Freedom Theatre, Delaware Valley Friends School and Temple University, and he has helped train educators who work with students with learning disabilities. Khalil graduated from Adelphi University.

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2021 PROJECT SUMMARIES

THE MENTORS

Before We Wrap

A late night talk show that embodies the aesthetic and energy of 90’s urban radio. The show nurtures an environment that is at once both empowering and relaxing for women and people of color. This lifestyle series features candid discussions on issues of race, gender, identity, health and wellbeing. Guests engage in critical discourse while the host provides satirical commentary on evergreen cultural issues. Musical guests are also at hand introducing viewers to new R&B and neosoul rhythms like a soothing balm at the end of a long night.

Filmmaker: Elizabeth Charles
Mentor: Joe Brewster

Joe Brewster

is a Harvard-trained psychiatrist who uses his training to approach the social issues he tackles as an artist and filmmaker. Together with his Rada Film Group co-founder, Michèle Stephenson, he is a recipient of numerous fellowships, grants and awards including Sundance's U.S. Documentary Special Jury Award for Achievement in Filmmaking and the African American Film Critics' Association Award, both for his 2014 film American Promise.

Buffalo Soldiers Fighting on Two Fronts

Buffalo Soldiers of the Pacific Northwest (wt) recounts the glorious but complicated history of the Buffalo Soldiers, African American men seeking a better life in the United States Army after the end of the Civil War, whose military service created a simultaneously laudatory and complex legacy.

Filmmaker: Dru Holley
Mentor: Chris Hastings

Chris Hastings'

passion for television began at age 10, when he produced a news show for his elementary school. His career started as a founding member of the development and production team for the award-winning BET Tonight and later worked at WGBH on Zoom and the WGBH Lab. Hastings joined WGBH In 2011, where he currently serves as executive producer and editorial manager of content. Chris is committed to developing a diverse pool of filmmakers and storytellers, and is a regular collaborator with of Black Public Media.

Fighting for the Light

This experimental autobiographical documentary is a cinematic baptismal ceremony and an homage to cultural preservation through ancestral storytelling practices. The story orbits two filmmakers at opposite ends of their careers, separated by oceans, but cosmically connected through a name and a film. In Mali, "Yeelen" is the Bambara word for “light.” It also is the name of an African cult classic film.

Filmmaker Yeelen journeys to Bamako, Mali, to make a movie about the enigmatic elder who inspired their moniker. Souleymane Cisse, director of the film Yeelen, readily assumes the role of godfather to the multimedia artist, but soon begins questioning the millennial’s vision. What starts as a playful personal documentary about the origin of a name, spirals into an existential interrogation of representation, collective imagination, and the power manifested through image creation.

Filmmakers: Yeelen Cohen and Ife Olujobi
Mentor: Jaad Asante
LNATM - Lulu - photographed by Rose Callahan at the Met Opera on Nov 5, 2015

Jaad Asante

is a lover of all things nonfiction. After earning her MFA from Temple University’s Film and Media Arts Program, she taught documentary history and analysis before joining Doc Society’s Good Pitch Local Program, which allowed her to engage with short-form documentaries all over the country. Now, at Cinetic Media, she works to identify and assess strong fiction and doc projects for financing, management and sales opportunities, aiming to elevate and expose the work of exciting storytellers. With a fascination for the evolution of the documentary form, she has served on review panels and juries for BlackStar Film Festival, True/False, Creative Capital, Black Public Media and other film organizations.

Higher 15

This is the story of Kiflu Ketema, a former Ethiopian revolutionary, turned lead witness in an FBI investigation against his murderous prison guard in war torn Addis Ababa. This deeply personal film will intimately capture Kiflu’s remarkable story – from idealist revolutionary conspiring against a brutal regime, to indefinitely imprisoned and tortured inmate, to escaped prisoner and smuggled refugee, to forced migrant and United States citizen. Far from his past in Ethiopia, Kiflu settled into a new life in the suburbs of Denver, working at the US postal service and raising a family – until a phone call sends him to a local cafe and brings him face to face with the prison guard who tortured him, and others, decades earlier. Higher 15 will peel back over three decades of Kiflu’s story, told through the lens of both Kiflu and his nephew, filmmaker Ameha Molla who did not know of his uncle’s past until he read about it in the local Denver newspaper. The film will use interviews and verite footage of Ameha’s ongoing exploration into Kiflu and his larger family's deep held secrecy around their lives in Ethiopia, combined with recently uncovered archival footage, personal photographs and stylized b-roll. With intimate access, Higher 15 will present a portrait of a family struggling to confront the trauma of their past, and to unburden themselves from the secrets that have forced them to live as strangers for so long.

Filmmakers: Ameha Molla and Rajal Pitroda
Mentor: Sam Pollard

Sam Pollard

is an accomplished feature film and television video editor, and documentary producer/director. Between 1990 and 2010, Mr. Pollard edited a number of Spike Lee's films: Mo' Better Blues, Jungle Fever, Girl 6, Clockers and BamboozledHe and Lee co-produced Four Little Girls and When The Levees Broke, which won numerous awards, including a Peabody and three Emmy Awards. In 2010, he co-produced and supervised the edit on the Levees follow up production, If God Is Willing And Da Creek Don’t Rise. Since 2012, Pollard has produced/directed Slavery By Another Name, a 90-minute documentary for PBS (2012); August Wilson’s The Ground On Which I Stand, a 90-minute documentary for American Masters (2015) and; Wilson’s Two Trains Runnin’, a feature-length documentary (2016). His Sammy Davis Jr., I’ve Gotta Be Me, for American Masters, premièred at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival, and in 2019 he co-directed the six-part series Why We Hate, which premiered on The Discovery Channel. He is of the directors on the 2020 HBO Series Atlanta’s Missing and Murdered: The Lost Children; and recently released Black Art: In the Absence of Light (2021).

Inner Wound Real

This project tells the story of three BIPOCs who used to self-injure, then seek out new ways to cope. This animated documentary short offers insight into their motivations and struggles. Using animation allows us to bring the past into the present. The film will incorporate interview audio, drawings, and stop-motion animation. Everyone self harms in some way such as smoking, excessive drinking, or eating unhealthy foods, yet self-injury carries a unique stigma. While most media depictions of self-injury focus on able-bodied white cis-women, this project focuses on three individuals: an Indian cismale, a Black trans non-binary person, and a Fillipinx queer femme. Each of the participants found a different way to move beyond self-injury through the arts, including acting, drawing, and tattooing. The variety of family backgrounds and identities show how this practice spans across racial, ethnic, and gendered groups. The crew will also be racially diverse including the animators, editor, consulting producers, and mental health practitioners.

Filmmakers: Carrie Hawks and Chelsea Moore
Mentor: Byron Hurt

Byron Hurt

is the former host of the Emmy-nominated series, REEL WORKS with BYRON HURT. His documentary, Hip-Hop: Beyond Beats and Rhymes (2006), premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and was broadcast nationally on PBS’ Emmy-award winning series Independent Lens. Byron's latest film, Soul Food Junkies, won the CNN Best Documentary Award at the American Black Film Festival and Best Documentary at the Urbanworld Film Festival. Soul Food Junkies aired nationally on Independent Lens in 2013. Hurt is in production for his upcoming PBS documentary, Hazing.

Listen To Me

As Nina Simone described the intimate lives of four archetypal Black women in her hauntingly beautiful ballad Four Women, the documentary Listen to Me captures the pregnancy and postpartum journeys of four Black women in the 21st century. While each unique story can stand alone, when sewn together, they offer an uncharacteristically complicated and profound perspective on Black motherhood. It is through this lens that we begin to uncover the core issues and circumstances that place Black women at higher risk for complications from pregnancy and childbirth. While telling their stories, the film also lifts the voices of Black women scientists, historians, and politicians who explain how these inequities create the perfect storm for stress-induced illnesses for Black women living in the United States. Using art and science, this film attempts to bridge the profound chasm between Black women and the healthcare system.

Filmmakers: Stephanie Etienne and Dr. Kanika Harris

Mentor: Sonia Gonzales-Martinez

Sonia Gonzalez-Martinez

is a New York City-based documentary editor who has worked on several films for the Independent Lens series: Soul Food Junkies, Spies of Mississippi and Decade of Fire. Other credits include Rise: The Promise of My Brother’s Keeper for The Discovery Channel and OWN; and Reconstruction: America After the Civil War, Henry Louis Gates Jr.'s series, which won an Alfred I. duPont-Columbia Award. Sonia recently edited La Madrina: The Savage Life of Lorine Padilla, about a beloved South Bronx matriarch and former “First Lady” of the Savage Skulls gang. Sonia edits English and Spanish-language content and has worked on a wide range of short documentaries for clients such as The New Yorker Magazine, Tribeca Digital Studios and Refinery29.  She began her editing career as an assistant editor for directors Spike Lee, Milos Forman and Robert Redford. She was also the co-creator, writer and director on a comedy web series called Get Some! Her other directing credit includes Bragging Rights: Stickball Stories, which aired on PBS in 2006.

Storming Caesars Palace

What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas — until now. This film chronicles the life of Ruby Duncan who joins the Great Migration to Las Vegas only to find a Jim Crow frontier town. When she loses her hotel job and goes on public assistance, she discovers the stigma and harassment by an over-zealous, fraud-obsessed welfare department. With Mary Wesley and Alversa Beals, Ruby creates a welfare rights group to fight for an adequate income, dignity, and justice. Creating a unique blend of Civil Rights and Feminist activism, “Mother Power” sweeps the Las Vegas Strip. They shut down gambling in Caesars Palace, sit-in at The Sands, and eat-in at The Stardust, all before national news cameras.

Storming Caesars Palace introduces an ordinary band of Black mothers of the National Welfare Rights Organization as political strategists who launched an extraordinary grassroots movement for economic justice, a Universal Basic Income, and Black women’s empowerment in the 1960s and 1970s. This film reveals the roots of today’s movements,  highlighting the experiences of Black women organizers from one of the most challenging and forgotten feminist, anti-poverty movements in U.S. history. This film exposes their hidden story and places it in the limelight, where it will inspire, embolden and honor the women whose courage, tenacity and dreams could not be quashed, against all odds.

Filmmakers: Hazel Gurland-Pooler and Naz Habtezghi

Mentor: Yoruba Richen

Yoruba Richen

is an award-winning documentary filmmaker whose work has been featured on PBS, New York Times Op Doc, Frontline Digital, New York Magazine’s website The Cut, The Atlantic and Field of Vision. Her most recent films The New York Times Presents: The Killing of Breonna Taylor premiered on FX and Hulu in and The Sit In: Harry Belafonte Hosts the Tonight Show premiered on MSNBC and is streaming on Peacock.  Her previous film, The Green Book: Guide to Freedom was broadcast on the Smithsonian Channel, was nominated for an Emmy and was awarded the Henry Hampton Award for Excellence in Documentary Filmmaking.  Her films, The New Black and Promised Land won multiple festival awards before airing on PBS's Independent Lens and POV  Yoruba won the Creative Promise Award at Tribeca All Access and was a Sundance Producers Fellow. She is a 2016 recipient of the Chicken & Egg Breakthrough Filmmaker Award and a Guggenheim Fellow.  Yoruba is the founding director of the documentary program at the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY.

The Food Griot Chronicles

The Food Griot Chronicles is a pioneering Black-centered nonfiction series that factors back into American history the conspicuously absent (yet absolutely essential) Black culinary professionals who are the foundation of American food ways, creators of its “cuisine” and architects of many major food and drink industries. Originally conceived as a food (and drink) history podcast by culinary historian Tonya Hopkins, the Food Griot team is excited to introduce a visual component and develop the podcast into a web series, allowing the audience to become even more fully immersed in the amazing culinary history the show has to offer.

Filmmakers: Tonya Hopkins and Laura Collelouri

Mentor: Sreedevi Sripathy

 

Sreedevi Sripathy

is the director of production and programming at WHYY-TV, where she leads efforts to grow the impact of the station’s television service on people of the Philadelphia region, in the nation’s fourth largest media market. Previously she worked at the Independent Television Service (ITVS) as the managing director of distribution and content management, working with independent filmmakers, public television distributors and digital partners on the distribution of independent documentaries representing underserved voices and audiences. She supported the presentation of the Emmy award-winning weekly series Independent Lens on PBS and the international documentary series, Global Voices on the WORLD channel. Sripathy holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology from the University of California, San Diego.

The Ride

This film is an animated interpretation of an oral history about a young girl’s first experience with the aftermath of a lynching during a trip to Vicksburg, Miss., in 1933. The larger-than-life tale of American terror is scaled to a child’s point of view from the backseat of her uncle’s car, but voiced with an elder’s wisdom. Cotton fields become clouds, trees become storytellers and a horrific discovery leaves an indelible mark.

Filmmakers: Allison Shillingford and J. Lathon

Mentors: Michael Premo and Rachel Falcone

Michael Premo & Rachel Falcone

are the co-founders of Storyline.

Michael is an artist, journalist, and filmmaker who has created original film, radio, and theater with companies including The Foundry Theater, The Civilians, and the Peabody Award-winning StoryCorps. Rachel is a documentary filmmaker and multimedia artist. Together they've produced the film/exhibit Water Warriors (POV), the participatory documentary Sandy Storyline (Jury Award Tribeca Film Festival) and the multiplatform exhibit 28th Amendment: Housing is a Human Right.

Michael's recent projects include the PBS series Veterans Coming Home. He is the recipient of a Creative Capital Award, A Blade of Grass Artist Files Fellowship, and a NYSCA Individual Artist Award. He is a trustee with A Blade of Grass and A Center for Story-Based Strategy. Rachel has produced content with StoryCorps and EarSay, Inc., and was an associate producer on Incite Picture’s Young Lakota (Independent Lens). She has directed dozens of short films for AFSCME and The John. F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and has taught oral history and storytelling in collaboration with the Museum of the City of New York and Parsons The New School for Design. She is also a sound recordist for film and radio, including most recently Knock Down The House (Netflix)

What's In a Name?

On and offstage, performance artist Khalil Abdul Malik Raheem Munir examines his bittersweet South Philadelphia upbringing and considers the names and legacies he’s inherited from previous generations of Black men. The film, What's In a Name?, follows him from age 27 to 39, as his fixation on touring an autobiographical one-man show and interrogating his father’s illicit past subside. Khalil becomes the father he always wanted, while finding his voice as an advocate for intergenerational healing.

Filmmakers: Malkia Lydia and Khalil Munir

Mentor: Christine Turner

Christine Turner

is a New York filmmaker whose work has been described as “exquisitely tender” and “thoughtful and enlightening” by The Washington Post.  Named one of DOC NYC’s “40 Under 40" in 2020, she directed the short Betye Saar: Taking Care of Business, which played Sundance ‘20 and was featured as a New York Times Op-Doc. Previously, Christine directed the critically acclaimed documentary Homegoings, about a renowned funeral director in Harlem.  The film premiered at Documentary Fortnight at MoMA and aired nationally on the PBS series POV in 2013.  In addition, Christine’s fiction shorts have screened at festivals worldwide including Sundance and Tribeca. With over a decade of experience in television production, Christine also collaborates on nonfiction series and documentaries for broadcast.  Recently, she directed the “San Francisco” installment of PBS’s, Art in the Twenty-First Century and served as a producer on CNN’s acclaimed miniseries Tricky Dick.

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