Sundance International Narrative Filmmaker-in-Residence
Chantel Clark is a South African director and screenwriter working between Cape Town and New York. An MFA graduate of the Film Program at Columbia University, her short film, Our Albertinia, was awarded a 2018 National Board of Review Student Grant, as well as the inaugural Columbia University/Big Sky Edit Visionary Award and screened at over 25 international film festivals. She is also the recipient of a Katharina Otto-Bernstein Thesis Film Fund Grant and was selected for inclusion in the ASCAP Foundation 2018 Film Scoring program in collaboration with Columbia University. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Film and Media Production and her Bachelor of Arts Honours in Television Drama from the University of Cape Town. Chantel is also an ambassador for Girls in Film South Africa.
She is currently developing two feature films, Wit Gesigte (Pale Faces), which was selected for the Sundance Institute’s January 2019 Screenwriters Lab, IFP's 41st IFP Week Project Forum, and was made a SFFILM Spring 2019 Rainin Grant Finalist, and A Place Called Paradise, both set in South Africa.
Experimenting with time and collective memory, Chantel’s films exist at the intersection of the supernatural and the speculative. Framing fiction through historical research, her narratives play out parallel to significant turning points in South African History.
J Bird Lathon & Allison Shillingford
Black Public Media Filmmakers in Residence
Allison Bonner Shillingford is an oral historian, documentarian, scriptwriter, and playwright who does not confine her writing but lets her stories decide how they want to be told. She takes the personal accounts of her subjects and weaves their statements to construct a poignant reflection of their lives.
Through her documentary, A Place to Become—Montclair through the Eyes of the Glenridge YWCA, the participants were able to recount their decades-old experiences at the YWCA that served as a haven from racism for them. The production was chosen for the State of NJ Department of Education/NJ Amistad Commission Curriculum and is in permanent collections at the Montclair History Center.
Her teleplay Mel and Missy won at the 2013 Urbanworld Film Festival, and her play, Can We Dance, had performances at the National Black Film Festival in Winston Salem, NC. The play also showed in New York, NY and Portland, OR. Her other documentaries have screened at Columbia University, The San Diego Black Film Festival, and The DC Independent Film Festival. She is currently producing a short animation of an oral history—The Ride.
A Black Public Media 360 Incubator fellow and a Jacob Burns Film Center Creative Culture Resident, Ms. Shillingford divides her time between writing and producing, and running her nonprofit, Navigate the Maze to Achievement, which prepares Black and Latino students for specialized and selective high school admissions.
J Bird Lathon is interested in a cinema of artists, outcasts, eccentrics and iconoclasts that’s aesthetically irreverent, innovative, and informative. His shorts Numbers From A Montgomery Jail screened at The Nashville Film Festival and The Process and Mrs. Right Now, at The Black International Film Festival of Berlin. Impaled & Inhaled (2020) uses his photographs and poetry to tell his story of the September 11 attack on New York.
He is currently directing The Ride, an animated oral history about a young girl’s first experience with racist lynchings in Vicksburg, Mississippi in 1933. He and collaborator Allison Bonner Shillingford were selected by Black Public Media for their 360 Incubator+ Pitch Black Program. The Ride was recently invited to the Jacob Burns Film Center Creative Culture Residency Program for Fall 2021.
Mr. Lathon is a Creative Capital Nashville 2012 cohort and Sundance Co//ab for Producing (May 2020) cohort, advised by Karin Chien.
His feature screenplays received recognition in 2020. A Little Victory was a Quarterfinalist and Second Rounder in the ScreenCraft Drama and Film Fund Competitions. Administrative Leave was an Official Selection for the Loudoun Film Festival Screenplay Competition. In 2019, his short Presser was a Semifinalist in The Pan African Film Festival embRACE L.A. John Singleton Short Film Competition.
See and learn more on Vimeo and Behance.
Close Up Filmmaker in Residence
Jude Chehab is a multi-award winning DP and feature filmmaker based between New York and Beirut. Her cinematic interests have drawn Jude to the exploration of the esoteric, the spiritual and the unspoken. A richly layered visual and intimate personal shooting style developed under the mentorship of Abbas Kiarostami’s final student group; Jude has been credited in collaborations with the BBC, Refinery29, Oxfam GB, and Doctors Without Borders.
She has worked as a DP internationally, on films in Somalia, Sudan and Pakistan and was most recently, an AP on Sesame Street’s newest show for Syrian refugees.
Her work has been awarded fellowships through: CAAM, NeXtDoc, Points North Institute, Firelight Media and Close-Up. Jude is currently in production on her first feature documentary based in Lebanon and has been supported by: IDA, ITVS, TFI, Sundance and recently was awarded First Prize in the Docs in Progress program at the Thessaloniki Documentary Film Festival.
Jude was joined at the JBFC by editor Fahd Ahmed.
Melissa Lesh & Mallory Bracken
Focus on Nature Filmmakers in Residence
Melissa Lesh is an award-winning director, editor and cinematographer. In 2014 she founded Emerging Earth Films as a way to bridge the arts and sciences, focusing on natural history and conservation stories. Her work has been screened at festivals globally and she has produced for clients such as PBS, National Geographic and the US Fish and Wildlife Service. Lesh contributed cinematography to the feature film The Story of Plastic that aired on Discovery for Earth Day 2020. She is currently directing and producing a feature-length documentary film supported by the Sundance Institute. To see her work visit www.emergingearthfilms.com
Mallory Bracken is a photographer and filmmaker based in Richmond, VA. She was born and brought up in Waco, TX, there until a Joni Mitchell song prompted her move to Morgantown, WV. After earning a degree in Visual Journalism from West Virginia University, she spent time traveling in Europe, relocated to Santiago, Chile, and after two years in the Southern Hemisphere, resolved that she would call Virginia home. There, she continues finding significance in moments, relationships, stories, and saving bugs. To see her work, visit www.mallorybracken.com.
Leola Calzolai-Stewart is the co-founder of the Virginia-based production company FLOWSTATE Films where she currently directs and co-produces the historical documentary Changing State - Black Diplomats, Civil Rights, and the Cold War. Leola previously edited the feature documentary Dear Walmart, an intimate look at a diverse group of Walmart employees who fought back and won better wages and respect inside America’s largest private retailer; she also co-produced and edited The Last Song Before the War which examines the role of Mali’s Festival au Desert in promoting peace and development in Timbuktu.
Shelby Zoe Coley
Shelby Zoe Coley is a Black queer documentary filmmaker based in New York using rhythm, portraiture and the spoken word to explore intersections between queerness, race, and healing practices. Her work has been featured in publications such as Afropunk, Slay TV, and Curve Magazine and screened at festivals around the world; snagging an Audience Choice Award at Philadelphia Qflix and nominated for the Iris Prize.
Sundance International Narrative Filmmaker-in-Residence
Francisca Alegría is a Chilean writer/director, who received her bachelor’s degree in audiovisual directing from Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile in 2010, and her MFA from Columbia University in 2016. Her short film And the Whole Sky Fit in the Dead Cow’s Eye, a recipient of the National Board of Review Award, was selected at the Telluride Film Festival, Toronto International Film Festival, New York Film Festival, Warsaw Film Festival, amongst others. It won Best International Fiction Award at Sundance and Best Latin American Short at the Miami Film Festival in 2017. She currently has two projects in development, her first feature set in Chile, The Cow that Sang a Song About the Future, selected at the Sundance Screenwriters Lab, Sundance Directors Lab and CineMart (Rotterdam Film Festival) and her second feature, which will be an American production, set in New Mexico.
Focus on Nature Filmmaker-in-Residence
Born and raised in Boulder, Colorado, Christi Cooper is an Emmy-award-winning cinematographer with a MS in Microbiology and a Ph.D. in Neuroscience. Cooper creates compelling visual narratives to raise awareness and inspire action around socio-political issues. Her journey documenting the youth climate movement began in 2011, when she co-produced a 10-part series with WITNESS, a social justice and human rights organization focused on using film for social change. The series, Stories of TRUST: Calling for Climate Recovery, was used in a grassroots campaign to reach decision-makers and judges ruling on climate litigation brought to the courts by young people. Cooper’s short films have screened at festivals around the world and won numerous awards, including a Wildscreen Panda Award for Best Campaign Film. In 2018, she was awarded the inaugural SFFILM/Vulcan Productions Environmental Film Fellowship for her work on YOUTH v. GOV.
Christi was joined by editors Tony Hale and Lyman Smith.
Social Justice Filmmaker-in-Residence
Iliana Sosa is a documentary and narrative filmmaker born and raised in El Paso, Texas by Mexican immigrant parents, and holds a MFA in film production and directing from UCLA. She is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Hollywood Foreign Press Award, the National Hispanic Foundation of the Arts Scholarship, the Film Independent Project Involve Directing Fellowship, and Firelight Media’s Impact Producer Fellowship, among others. Iliana has been selected for the Berlinale Talents and Sundance’s Latino Screenwriting Project. Her films have screened at various film festivals and took home Best Short Film and the Texas Award at the USA Film Festival, a Jury Award for Best Texas Short at SXSW, and a Youth Jury Award at Aspen ShortsFest. She is a 2018-2019 Sundance Development Fellow with her first feature documentary, What We Leave Behind.
Iliana was joined by editor Clementina Mantellini.
Siyi Chen is a documentary filmmaker from China. Born and raised in Zhejiang and educated in New York, she currently splits her time between these two places. Chen received a B.A. in World History and Chinese Literature (dual degree) from Peking University (Beijing) and a M.A. in News and Documentary from NYU. She has produced, shot, and edited dozens of short web docs that have appeared on Quartz, CNN, and PBS. Among her works, Chen documented a pioneering artificial intelligence experiment in a Chinese nursing home, covered the thriving new industry of paid cuddling in the US, and profiled an amateur roboticist from Hong Kong who spent $50,000 and three years building a extremely life-like robotic “Scarlett Johansson.”
Originally from Calgary, Canada, Aviva trained as an actor and produced several political theatre projects before moving to Israel in 2011. Based in Tel Aviv, Aviva has collaborated with Israeli and Palestinian artists on several documentary and fiction projects. Her short film The Story of How it Ended premiered at the Jerusalem International Film Festival and her satirical web-series Avi Does the Holy Land has garnered hundreds of thousands of views and was nominated for Best Documentary Web-Series at the NYC Webfest. She recently completed an MFA in Film at Tel Aviv University.
Born in a small religious village in southern Israel, Bar left her ultra-orthodox community at 17 and went on to study art at the Städel Schule in Frankfurt, Germany and at the Art Academy (UDK) in Berlin. In 2012 she moved back to Israel where she graduated with a BFA in photography from The Bezalel Art Academy in Jerusalem. She has exhibited her photographic, video and installation work in Israel and abroad.
Named to Variety's “10 Documakers to Watch” list in 2015, Brad Barber is an Emmy-nominated documentary filmmaker. His feature debut, Peace Officer, won the Grand Jury Prize and the Audience Award at the 2015 SXSW Film Festival and the David Carr "Truth in Nonfiction Filmmaking" Award at the Montclair Film Festival. Peace Officer went on to a nationwide theatrical release (including a screening at the Jacob Burns Film Center), before airing on PBS's acclaimed documentary series Independent Lens. Previously, Barber was nominated for an Emmy as an editor on the HBO documentary Resolved. Recently, Barber released his newest project, States of America, which examines identity and connection to place through the lens of one person in each of the 50 United States.
Hannah Jayanti is a documentary filmmaker. In her current work, she lives in a place for months, filming by herself and giving voice to the smaller stories that surround us but which we rarely celebrate. Recent support includes: New York State Council on the Arts, Tribeca New Media Fund, Jerome Foundation, Tribeca Film Institute & Points North Institute (Camden/TFI Retreat), True/False & Catapult Film (Rough Cut Retreat), Puffin Foundation, Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation. She’s a 2018 NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellow in Video/Film from The New York Foundation for the Arts. She’s a member of Women Make Movies and Brown Girls Doc Mafia.
Antonio Campos is a writer, director, and producer. His most recent feature Christine, which stars Rebecca Hall and Michael C. Hall, premiered at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival. Campos’ debut feature, Afterschool premiered at the 2008 Cannes Film Festival and was nominated for Best First Feature at the 2008 Film Independent Spirit Awards. That same year, Campos was nominated for Breakthrough Director at the Gotham Independent Film Awards. His producing credits include Martha Marcy May Marlene, James White, and Two Gates of Sleep.
Martha is a filmmaker and editor who teaches at Kenyon College in Gambier, OH. Martha edited and co-directed a short documentary about Sea Level Rise called Facing the Surge, which toured the country with Citizens Climate Lobby and played at festivals on both coasts. Her most recent short doc, Three Red Sweaters, won Best Documentary at Aspen Shortsfest, the Critics Award at the Sebastopol Documentary Film Festival, and the Jacob Burns Creative Culture Award at the Middlebury New FIlmmaker's Festival. It has gone on to become a Vimeo staff pick and Short of the Week.
Somali filmmaker Hana Mire was a 2016–17 Greenhouse Documentary Development lab participant. Her first feature-length documentary, Rajada Dalka (Nation's Hope), is a character-driven portrait of the Somali Women’s National Basketball team struggling to survive in a country where strict gender roles and rigid Islamic tenets increasingly restrict women’s rights.
Rozeen BIsharat is a Palestinian Israeli who recently moved to Berlin, Germany. After graduating from the Tel Aviv University Film School, she worked as script supervisor on Shira Geffen’s Self Made and was personal assistant to director Eran Kolirin on Dancing Arabs. Rozeen was part of the Greenhouse Program for Jewish & Arab Women Filmmakers in Israel, and during her time at the JBFC, she worked on her directorial debut, the documentary Present/Absent.
Bernardo Britto was born in Rio de Janeiro, grew up in South Florida, and graduated from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. His animated short films, including Yearbook and Glove, have played numerous film festivals and won awards at Sundance, SXSW, AFI Fest, and others. In 2016 his debut feature film Jacqueline (Argentine) premiered at Sundance in the NEXT section. His work has been featured on Pitchfork, the New Yorker, and AdultSwim and he has received support from the Sundance Institute Labs as well as the Rooftop Filmmakers’ Fund. During his residency at JBFC he worked on a new project and hosted a screening of Y Tu Mamá También at the JBFC Theater.
Algerian filmmaker Sara Nacer is founder and president of the arts & films production company SN Productions, and a public relations specialist. She is co-director of the Greenhouse work-in-progress feature documentary La Rockeuse du Désert, and currently living and working in Montreal, Canada. She is living and working on the JBFC Campus in April 2017. During her residency she will host screenings at the JBFC Theater, work with Creative Culture Lab Makers, and participate in student screenings.
Mexican filmmaker Laura Bustillos is a documentary filmmaker and photographer from the Ciudad Juarez border sister city of El Paso, Texas, where she currently developing a film series Undocumented Freedom, and is co-director of the Greenhouse work-in-progress feature documentary La Rockeuse du Désert. She is living and working on the JBFC Campus in April 2017. During her residency she will host screenings at the JBFC Theater, work with Creative Culture Lab Makers, and participate in student screenings.
Turkish filmmaker Ekin Çalışır has worked at Al Jazeera Turk as a journalist and producer of short documentaries, and has produced international news and current affairs for the Turkish Radio and Television Corporation. Çalışır is co-director of the Greenhouse work-in-progress feature documentary Mr. Gay Syria and is currently directing the Greenhouse documentary Babyland. She is living and working on the JBFC Campus in April 2017. During her residency she will host screenings at the JBFC Theater, work with Creative Culture Lab Makers, and participate in student screenings.
Turkish filmmaker Ayse Toprak is based in Istanbul, working on social and political documentaries about her country. She has produced films for Channel Thirteen/PBS and Al Jazeera in London and Doha. Toprak is co-director of the Greenhouse work-in-progress feature documentary Mr. Gay Syria. She is living and working on the JBFC Campus in April 2017. During her residency she will host screenings at the JBFC Theater, work with Creative Culture Lab Makers, and participate in student screenings.
Ja'Tovia M. Gary is an artist and filmmaker currently living and working in Brooklyn, New York. She was REMIX Artist-in-Residence in January 2017. Gary’s work confronts traditional notions of representation, race, gender, sexuality, and power. Gary is concerned with charting the various ways raced and gendered bodies navigate popular media. The artist earned her MFA in Social Documentary Filmmaking from a private for-profit art school in New York City. While in residence, Ja’Tovia worked on the first cut of her documentary, The Evidence of Things Not Seen. She also worked with makers in JBFC’s Creative Culture program, an initiative that provides production space, equipment, industry-oriented programming, and networking opportunities to emerging filmmakers.
Maryam Ebrahimi lived and worked on the JBFC campus in March 2016, and participated in our series Greenhouse 2016: Emerging Documentary Voices from the Middle East and North Africa, from March 20–24, and in various education programs at the Media Arts Lab, including the new adult class Films in Focus: Greenhouse 2016.
Maryam studied at the Art University of Tehran and continued her education at the University of Konstfack in Stockholm, where she now lives and works. Maryam has produced and codirected several acclaimed documentaries highlighting contemporary political and social themes including Those Who Said No, the Greenhouse ’15 opening night film, and No Burqas Behind Bars, which focuses on how “moral crimes” are used to control women in post-Taliban Afghanistan, and was named Best Documentary at the International Emmy Awards in 2014. Her work-in-progress documentary feature Stronger than a Bullet explores the misuse of photographer Saied Sadeghi’s images from the first Persian Gulf War for Iran's war propaganda, helping to propel a generation to their deaths as martyrs.
Maryam was joined by Jesper Osmond, a feature film, documentary and commercial editor from Sweden.
Hind Bensari lived and worked on the JBFC campus in March 2016, and participated in our series Greenhouse 2016: Emerging Documentary Voices from the Middle East and North Africa, from March 20–24, and in various education programs at the Media Arts Lab, including the new adult class Films in Focus: Greenhouse 2016.
A journalist and self-taught filmmaker, Hind developed an interest in filmmaking while working in London as a media development manager. Her award-winning first documentary 475: Break the Silence investigates the perception and misrepresentation of rape, family and relationships in her country, and helped to change to the laws which previously protected rapists who agreed to marry their victims. Her current work-in-progress feature documentary Weight Throwers highlights disabled athletes struggling for rights and recognition in Morocco.
Bong Joon-ho is one of the most successful South Korean filmmakers ever, with a wide international reputation. The LA Times says, “Bong Joon-ho is the rare filmmaker who seems to work both within and beyond the confines of genre. His brisk, funny, extremely well-made movies deliver the familiar pleasures of pop entertainment, though often in unfamiliar configurations.” He is the award-winning director/screenwriter of Barking Dogs Never Bite, Memories of Murder, The Host, Mother,and Snowpiercer. During his time at the JBFC, Director Bong was accompanied by producer and Hartsdale native Dooho Choi. Director Bong attended screenings of his four most recent films, participated in Q&As, and worked on preproduction for his upcoming project while he was in residence.
Sarra Abidi is a Tunisian filmmaker. The Dead Cannot Vote, a documentary about a fledgling democracy facing the problem of chemical pollution in southern Tunisia, is her first feature. The Mother, which she cowrote, won the Francophone Prize at the Montpellier Film Festival. While in residence at the JBFC, Sarra Abidi presented a screening of The Dead Cannot Vote, followed by a Q&A.
Guy Reid is cofounder of the Planetary Collective. He is an emerging leader in sustainability and biocentric philosophy and holds an MA in Leadership in Sustainable Development from Forum for the Future in London. His award-winning short film Overview has been viewed 6.5 million times. At the JBFC, Reid screened and discussed Overview, completed postproduction on his first feature, Planetary, worked with JBFC Creators’ Co-op students, and visited high schools around Westchester County.
Lindsey Dryden is a documentary filmmaker from the United Kingdom who worked on television documentaries for the BBC and the History Channel prior to beginning her filmmaking career. At the JBFC Dryden worked on filming, editing, and postproduction for her latest documentary, Plié. In addition, she presented a screening of Lost and Sound, her documentary about music, deafness, and the incredible human brain.
Lucio Gregoretti has written the music for approximately 100 plays and film scores, working with directors including Carlo Lizzani, Margarethe von Trotta, and Lina Wertmüller. He also has composed many operas and symphonic and chamber music pieces, receiving commissions from numerous organizations and international festivals. His music has been performed around the world. During his time at the JBFC, he attended screenings, presented public programs, and worked with students.
Apichatpong Weerasethakul is an internationally acclaimed Thai filmmaker and visual artist. A native of Bangkok, Weerasethakul was trained in architecture before turning to filmmaking in the 1990s. His award-winning work has been shown to great acclaim around the world. During his residency, Weerasethakul worked on postproduction on a pair of short films—Mekong Hotel and Ashes—both of which were screened at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival.
Mihai Chirilov is a film critic and has been Artistic Director of the Romanian Film Festival in New York City since 2006. He is also Artistic Director of the Transilvania International Film Festival, which he cofounded in 2002 and guided to prominence While at the JBFC, Chirilov curated “Tales from the Golden Age: New Romanian Cinema” and has curated the annual series “Making Waves: New Romanian Cinema” series since then.
Yolanda Pividal is an independent documentary filmmaker, journalist, and TV producer from Spain. She has won three Emmy Awards and produced and edited short documentaries for the CUNY TV television series “Nueva York.” She is a member of the JBFC faculty. She edited her first feature documentary film, Fighting Kites, while at the Burns. She also taught “Unscripted: Adventures in Nonfiction,” a three-week documentary-making course for 16–18-year-olds.
Fanta Régina Nacro
Fanta Régina Nacro is from Burkina Faso. One of only a handful of female African filmmakers, Nacro has depicted African traditions and harsh realities, but she often turns her lens with comic joy on issues of sexuality, gender relations, and modernity. In 1993, she founded her own production company, Les Films du Défi, to create, produce, and distribute films, support new filmmakers, and raise awareness of African films. While at the JBFC, Nacro taught classes and presented her films The Night of Truth, Bintou, and Konaté’s Gift.
Born in Tehran, Bahman Farmanara is one of the founding figures of the Iranian New Wave of the 1970s. As well as being an acclaimed director, he is an influential screenwriter, producer, and distributor who is responsible for bringing many key international films to our shores. During his stay as the JBFC, he presented six of his own works and a selection of documentaries about his homeland.
Documentary filmmaker Ido Haar is a graduate of Jerusalem’s famous Sam Spiegel Film and Television School. His films follow a vérité, observational style. He was drawn to filmmaking after a stint in the Israeli army. During Haar’s stay, we screened two of his films, 9 Star Hotel and Melting Siberia.
Namik Kabil was born in Trebinje, in southern Bosnia. When war broke out in 1992, he escaped, eventually spending a decade in the US as a refugee. He returned to his homeland because, he says, “I wanted to hear the unspoken truth about the war and make movies about it.” While Kabil was on the JBFC campus, he was a guest lecturer in the “World Crew” course for college students and he worked with students making documentary films about immigrants in Queens. In addition, Kabil hosted screenings of two of his films, Nightguards and Interrogation.