The following 12 filmmakers have been selected to attend the September 2018 workshop:
Jameka Autry is a director, creative producer and 2017-18 Impact Partners Creative Producers Fellow. Jameka produced MARATHON: The Patriots Day Bombing, which premiered on HBO in late 2016. She previously co-produced IN MY FATHER’S HOUSE (Showtime), which premiered at the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival and garnered wins for Best Documentary at both the Nashville Film Festival and Geena Davis’ Bentonville Film Festival. Most recently, she was a line producer on MATANGI/MAYA/M.I.A. (Sundance ’18) and consulted on Jeremiah Zagar’s WE THE ANIMALS (Sundance ’18) and CNN Films’ LOVE GILDA (Tribeca Opening Night Film ’18). She also spent two seasons helming the docu-series The Fashion Fund in collaboration with Conde Nast and Vogue, which aired on Amazon.
Yana Billé was born in Yaoundé, Cameroon, and has lived in Paris, New York City, and Los Angeles. Billé wrote and directed the short Waters, and produced Flow, which screened at U.S. and international film festivals such as the Los Angeles Short Film Festival, SXSW, and Venice Circuito Off. Upon graduating cum laude from the School of Cinematic Arts at the University of Southern California, she was hired as an assistant to Oscar-nominated showrunner Michael Green on the critically acclaimed Starz television series American Gods. She’s currently assisting him on FX’s Y The Last Man while she develops her first feature documentary, Father, about the hidden children of Catholic priests. Yana is passionate about capturing the truth and believes that sharing stories and personal experiences have the power to transform lives and change society. She’s always searching for that precious moment when people open up and reveal something transformative for both themselves and the viewer.
Alix Blair, Director, Producer and Cinematographer. Alix is an award-winning documentary filmmaker, cinematographer, documentary teacher and radio producer based in Oakland, CA. Her first documentary feature film FARMER/VETERAN won numerous festival awards, was an IFP Lab recipient, an ITVS Open Call recipient, and broadcasted on PBS’ Emmy award-winning show Independent Lens in May 2017.
Alix worked several years as a documentary stories teacher and assistant at the Center for Documentary Studies in Durham, North Carolina. As a freelance radio producer, her radio stories have aired on NPR’s Marketplace, PRI’s The World, Hearing Voices, Re:Sound, Here & Now, The Story, and The Gravy Podcast. In 2013, her short documentary The Last Morning was a Sweet One was a winner in the Third Coast International Audio Festival’s competitive Short Doc Challenge. Alix received her Master’s degree from the Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke University in Environmental Management with a special focus in Human Rights, Gender and the Environment.
Rebecca Cammisa is a two-time OSCAR®-nominated and Emmy Award-winning filmmaker. Her first feature documentary film, Sister Helen, won the 2002 Sundance Film Festival’s Documentary Directing Award; an Emmy Award for Outstanding Cultural and Artistic Programming. Rebecca became a Fulbright Fellow to Mexico and went on to direct and produce “Which Way Home.” The film received a 2010 OSCAR®-nomination for Best Documentary Film. Rebecca’s next film was the HBO documentary short, God is the Bigger Elvis, which received a 2012 OSCAR® nomination for Best Documentary Short Subject and a 2013 EMMY® Award nomination for Outstanding Arts & Cultural Programming. Rebecca became a John Simon Guggenheim Fellow and began her next project, Atomic Homefront, which is now airing on HBO.
Maisie Crow’s first feature-length documentary, Jackson, was recently nominated for a 2017 News and Documentary Emmy for Outstanding Social Issue Documentary. Jackson is an intimate, first-of-its-kind look at reproductive health care through people in the Deep South who stand on both sides of the debate. Village Voice praised it as “elegant, unsettling” while New York Magazine said it “comes at a pivotal moment for reproductive rights.” Previously, Crow’s short-form films have twice been nominated for a News and Documentary Emmy as well as awarded a Sigma Chi Delta Award from the Society of Professional Journalists and an Overseas Press Club Award for Online Video. Maisie has taught as an adjunct professor at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, CUNY Graduate School of Journalism and the Salt Institute of Documentary Studies.
Shirah Dedman is a filmmaker, lawyer and activist. From dropping out of high school at 15-years-old to becoming a licensed attorney by 23. Though subsequently finding herself consistently un- and under-employed, she managed to eke out a film career that included positions at William Morris Agency, in content acquisitions at DirecTV, and in film sales at Paramount Pictures. Her Afrofuturist short film, LET HER IN (2016) was selected for several international film festivals. Her short documentary, YOU A NOMAD: Deconstructing Urban Displacement (2017), which was inspired by her own nomadic life, received development support from the Cucalorus Work-In-Progress Program and screened at Netroots Nation 2018. Shirah was featured in UPROOTED (2017), a short film by the Equal Justice Initiative & Google documenting her family’s return to the site of her great-grandfather’s lynching.
Kiazad Ehya is a SF Bay Area based filmmaker who produces commercial, documentary, and narrative style content. He has created and showcased multi-channel video installations for the Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts and the French American International School of San Francisco. His work has been featured on PBS, Ebony.com and the Oakland International Film Festival. He was also awarded a two-week residency at the Cannes Film Festival as recipient of the 2011 College to Cannes Fellowship. Kiazad’s personal work seeks to explore stories that represent our culturally pluralistic world and portray underrepresented perspectives of peoples, both in the USA and world-wide.
Chelsea Hernandez is Mexican-American filmmaker based in Austin, Texas, recently named as one of Texas Monthly’s “10 Filmmakers on the Rise.” She is an 8-time Lone Star Emmy winning director, producer and editor. Chelsea has directed and produced various documentary films including the See the Dirt (Best Short Documentary-Austin Film Festival) and most recently, An Uncertain Future (Best Texas Short-SXSW), part of Field of Vision & Firelight Media’s web series “Our 100 Days.” The film was also selected as a Vimeo staff pick and has drawn over 25,000 plays. Chelsea is a NALIP Latino Media Market fellow, Firelight Media Doc Lab Fellow, Tribeca Storylab Fellow, Tribeca All Access Recipient, and BAVC National Mediamaker Fellow. Building the American Dream is her feature directorial debut.
Smriti Mundhra is an award-winning filmmaker who has been working in the industry for over fifteen years. Her latest film, A Suitable Girl, world premiered in the Documentary Competition section of the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival to rave reviews from Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, New York Magazine and was awarded the Albert Maysles Best Documentary Director prize at the festival. She is currently developing a feature documentary called Dharavi, executive produced by renowned filmmaker Shekhar Kapur and two-time Academy Award-winning composer A.R. Rahman. She is also in post-production on a short documentary called St. Louis Superman, about battle rapper, activist and Missouri house representative Bruce Franks Jr., for Al Jazeera English.
Tracey Quezada is a documentary filmmaker and editor. She currently owns and operates a full service media production company. Her clients include Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society, Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, New York Hall of Science, among others. In 2014, she was recognized by the San Francisco International Women’s Film Festival for her achievements in media and activism. She was a former Bay Area Video Coalition National MediaMaker Fellow and National Association for Latino Independent Producers Fellow. Tracey is currently in post-production on a documentary about an aspiring poet, Aqueila Lewis. It is an intimate story about a woman discovering her dream to be a poet and finding her voice as she struggles to make peace with her traumatic past.
Meg Smaker’s documentary subjects read like a who’s who of the underworld: Somali pirates, BDSM porn stars, crystal meth kingpins, underground fighters in Cuba and high-end call girls. She likes to explore controversial issues from an unorthodox viewpoint. Her films have won numerous awards on the film festival circuit, including Best Short Documentary at SXSW (South By Southwest) and a Student Academy
Award. Her last film, Boxeadora, received critical acclaim as “one of the best boxing films of all time” by Paste Magazine. Meg was also featured in the Hollywood Reporter’s “Next Gen” issue as one of the film industries most promising new nonfiction filmmakers.
Tim Tsai is an editor/filmmaker and the executive director of the Austin Asian American Film Festival. His most recent directorial work is the short documentary series “Austin Revealed: Pioneers from the East,” which profiles some of the earliest Chinese American families to settle in Central Texas. Editorial work include “Yakona” (SXSW ’14), a hybrid non-narrative film about the San Marcos river that is available on Sundance Now. He is currently working on his first feature “Seadrift,” which examines the shooting death of an Anglo crabber in a rural fishing town, set during the early days of Vietnamese refugee arrival on the Texas gulf coast.