Spring 2018 Valentine & Clark Emerging Artist Fellow
Sahar al-Sawaf (MFA, CalArts) is an Iraqi filmmaker and visual artist and the Spring 2018 Valentine & Clark Emerging Artist Fellow. She was born in Saudi Arabia, grew up in Lebanon and Iraq, and escaped to California as a child days before the start of the Gulf War. She has traveled extensively in the Middle East with her sketchbook and camera in hand, chronicling the plight of refugees who have fled. Her works have screened at film festivals around the world. Sahar is thrilled to be developing an animated short film with the support of the JBFC and Creative Culture.
Spring 2018 Valentine & Clark Emerging Artist Fellow
Maya is a Fall 2018 Valentine & Clark Emerging Artist Fellow at the Jacob Burns Film Center. Originally from Berkeley, CA, she is a multimedia producer specializing in directing, producing, and audio recording. Maya was awarded an Emmy from the College Television Awards and her films have screened internationally and across the U.S. At the Jacob Burns Film Center, Maya will produce a documentary about undocumented activist Alejandra Pablos who is fighting for political asylum.
Spring 2018 Sally Burns Shenkman Woman Filmmaker Fellow
Moira Fett is a New York filmmaker inspired by how challenging and unnatural environments push human nature to its boundaries. At Kenyon College, Moira directed a short documentary which asked death row inmates in Texas how they combat the psychological pressures of imminent execution. As a recipient of the Sally Shenkman Fellowship, Moira directed Two Birds, a short film which newly considers themes of isolation and identity through the lens of a surreal domestic prison.
Spring 2018 Sally Burns Shenkman Woman Filmmaker Fellow
Jalena is a social justice filmmaker and the spring 2018 Sally Burns Shenkman Woman Filmmaker Fellow. Her work has addressed issues such as indigenous land rights, destigmatizing menstruation, the importance of campus activism, and the meaning of consent. Jalena co-founded Breaktide Productions, a production company run by women of color, which has produced national advocacy campaigns and original narrative and documentary films.
Spring 2018 Silver Sun Diverse Voices Fellow
Matthew is a Brooklyn-based filmmaker. His short film Lavender was recently acquired for distribution by Fox Searchlight, premiered at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival, and screened at SXSW. His previous short film The Mess He Made premiered at SXSW in 2017, screened at over 30 festivals, and was a finalist for the Iris Prize. Matthew is a 2018 Sundance Ignite Fellow and a member of the New York Film Festival Artist Academy.
Fall 2017 Sally Burns Shenkman Woman Filmmaker Fellow
Crystal is a Brooklyn-based documentary filmmaker and the Fall 2017 Sally Burns Shenkman Woman Filmmaker Fellow. After graduating from Ithaca College in 2015 with a degree in Documentary Studies and Production, Crystal spent two years at the American Civil Liberties Union working on criminalization of poverty issues. She is passionate about nonfiction storytelling with a particular focus on narratives within the African Diaspora. While at the Jacob Burns Film Center, Crystal will produce a short documentary portrait of a rural community in North Carolina.
Fall 2017 Valentine & Clark Emerging Artist Fellow
Kerry LeVielle is a Hudson Valley based filmmaker. Her storytelling examines the experiences that incite a woman’s “growing up,” and the melancholic nostalgia that shrouds it. Nurtured through intimate docu-narrative portraits, Kerry’s films explore the poignant trials of what it means to come-of-age.
Recently, Kerry was one of fifteen filmmakers from around the world to be awarded a 2019 Sundance Ignite Fellowship with her short film Playhouse. She is also a graduate of SUNY Purchase College where she earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Cinema Studies with a Minor in Screenwriting. In the Fall of 2017 she was a recipient of the Valentine and Clark Emerging Artist Fellowship in the Creative Culture Fellowship Program at the Jacob Burns Film Center, where she wrote and directed two short films: Niskyland and Playhouse.
Fall 2017 Valentine & Clark Emerging Artist Fellow
Rahessa is a fall 2017 Valentine & Clark Emerging Artist Fellow. She grew up in Sao Paulo, Brazil and graduated from Anhembi Morumbi University with a major in Film and Television. She feels honored to participate in this fellowship and be surrounded by talented people. Rahessa will write, direct and edit a short film about a girl living in a new place, lost in her own emotions, thrown in her own sea of doubts, and completely discouraged. The script of her forthcoming short, I Am The Wind, utilizes poetry in the search for self-knowledge.
Tyler Rabinowitz is a producer/director and a fall 2017 Creative Culture maker. He is an alumnus of NYU Tisch School of the Arts, where he was named one of Variety Magazine's 2015 "Students to Watch.” With a background in music video production and directing, Tyler's work has screened both online and at film festivals; most recently, he co-produced The Mess He Made, a short film and Official Selection at SXSW, and co-directed Hell You Talmbout, a social-justice-oriented tap dance performance developed in response to the deaths of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling. Tyler is also a 2017 Sundance Ignite Fellow, a U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts, a YoungArts Winner in Cinematic Arts, and a TED speaker.
Spring 2017 Valentine & Clark Emerging Artist Fellow
Reggie is the Spring 2017 Valentine & Clark Emerging Artist Fellow. He is a Westchester Community College alum and recent Brooklyn College graduate. He's thrilled to join a community like Creative Culture where he can be surrounded and inspired by others working on professional work that tackles important issues. In his fellowship project, Reggie will tell the story of a young teen in Mount Vernon who follows in his fallen brother's footsteps as a stickup kid only to encounter a neighborhood vigilante seeking to set him straight.
Ariel Noltimier Strauss
Spring 2016 Sally Burns Shenkman Woman Filmmaker Fellow
Ariel is the Spring 2016 Sally Burns Shenkman Woman Filmmaker Fellow. She recently graduated from RISD and, like her creative collaborator Emily Ann Hoffman, works with stop motion puppet animation. Her film The Emily & Ariel Show was recently made a Staff Pick on Vimeo and she has spent the past year following the project to festivals like the New Orleans Film Festival and the Mallorca International Film Festival (where it won Best Experimental Short). During her fellowship, Ariel will wrote, directed, and animated a stop motion ballet that follows figures as they push through the grind of a day subverting stress, work, and regimentation with wellness, meditation, and curiosity.
Kervin Marseille is a Rockland County-based director, DP, and video editor whose expertise ranges from music videos and short films to art installations. After receiving his degree in Digital Filmmaking, Kervin has gone on to work with directors, such as Jonathan Demme, Guy Reid, and Shaka King. His directorial debut, the short film Peace the Policy, premiered at the 2016 Urban World Film Festival. Considering himself a novice to the film world, his goal is to constantly stay up-to-date with technology and sharpen his skills in order to keep creating.
Alex is a Sleepy Hollow-born writer, director, editor, and educator. After receiving his BFA in New Media Film and Journalism at Fairfield University, Alex founded Young, Broke and Awesome!, a brand that showcased the lives of starving and obscure artists. After YBA, Alex went on to create Kiwikah¬¬¬a––company that specialized in website, app, and brand development. Using a combination of programming knowledge, editing skills, and filmmaking experience, Alex is now exclusively fixated on creating stories and experiences via Virtual Reality, an infatuation he has had since childhood. Currently, Alex is a lead professor at Coding Kidz, a NYC based afterschool program that teaches students grades K–8 how to program their own video games and make animated films.
Fall 2016 Sally Burns Shenkman Woman Filmmaker Fellow
Leah is a recent documentary studies graduate from Ithaca College and grew up in Cortlandt Manor, NY. She was the Fall 2016 Sally Burns Shenkman Woman Filmmaker Fellow and a 2017 Sundance Ignite Fellow. She was named one of Variety magazine's "110 Students to Watch in Film and Media" for their April 2015 issue. Her films focus on social justice themes through the powerful stories of individuals. Past projects have included a documentary film about a traveling abortion provider, The Provider, that won a College Emmy Award and screened at SXSW, and Beyond the Wall, a documentary film about prison re-entry that was screened nationally and on PBS.
Emily Ann Hoffman
Fall 2016 Valentine & Clark Emerging Artist Fellow
Emily graduated from RISD recently in illustration with a focus in stop motion puppetry and animation. She is the Fall 2016 Valentine & Clark Emerging Artist Fellow. She spent her time as a fellow writing, animating, and editing a dark comedic narrative short, "Nevada," about a young couple's pregnancy scare during a weekend away at an Airbnb. The entire film was performed through her handmade puppets, who occupy miniature sets built in our workshop by Hoffman herself.
Summer 2016 Valentine & Clark Emerging Artist Fellow
Lucy Adams is a documentary filmmaker from Hastings-on-Hudson, New York and the Summer 2016 Emerging Artist Fellow. A recent graduate of Kenyon College, Lucy majored Film and minored in English. She curated films for Kenyon’s Gund Gallery, and produced short form videos for Kenyon’s Office of Public Affairs. Her senior thesis is a documentary featuring three women on a roller derby team in central Ohio. Her work has shown at the National Film Festival for Talented Youth, and the AMLit Film Festival. She spent her fellowship editing a documentary about a road trip she took with her grandfather to the Grand Canyon, and was a teacher’s assistant for the Chappaqua Summer Scholarship Program.
Spring 2016 Valentine & Clark Emerging Artist Fellow
Stefaniya Vey is a Russian-born filmmaker, producer, and editor and the Spring 2016 Emerging Artist Fellow. After receiving HBO’s Digital Fiilmmaking Scholarship, she went on to earn her degree from Westchester Community College. She has worked on many productions in various capacities; most recently, Stefaniya was an associate producer at Leopard Films for the show House Hunters International. In 2015 her original film, Closer, won Best Short Film at WCC’s Film Festival. As the Spring 2016 Emerging Artist Fellow, Stefaniya spent four months in production on her latest film, a short inspired by Alice In Wonderland.
Fall 2015 Valentine & Clark Emerging Artist Fellow
A recent graduate of SUNY Purchase College, Reweina Tessema is a filmmaker who has spent the last few years of her life exploring and creating a range of projects from comedic to dramatic storytelling. She was the Fall 2015 Emerging Artist Fellow. Her ultimate creative goal is to honestly capture the intimate moments of the human experience. These projects exposed Reweina to the world of editing. It was while on this road of discovery that she became certain that, although filmmaking was a strong interest, video editing is where her true passions lay. During her fellowship Reweina will write and produce a short stylized coming-of-age narrative. She will also be a Teaching Assistant for several courses including Documentary Filmmaking and Image, Sound, and Story, among others.
Summer 2015 Valentine & Clark Emerging Artist Fellow
Champ Ensminger is a Thai-American filmmaker born in Chiang Mai and raised in Spokane, WA. He was the summer 2015 Emerging Artist Fellow. After graduating from the University of Washington in Seattle with a degree in comparative literature and anthropology, he moved to New York City, where he worked at Vimeo and then as a freelancer and production assistant at the web agency m ss ng p eces. Back in Chiang Mai, he volunteered as a workshop instructor at Documentary Arts Asia, a nonprofit aimed at bringing agency and exposure to Asia-based media artists. During his fellowship at the JBFC, Champ created an experimental short film called “US/Caterpillar Secrets”, scored with original music by Croton-on-Hudson-born musician Zach Cooper and performed by dancer and SUNY Purchase graduate Lindsey Jones. He is currently traveling and researching future projects with the creative organization Planetary Collective.
Spring 2015 Valentine & Clark Emerging Artist Fellow
Tara Clune received a BA in computer science from Columbia University, and studied digital filmmaking at New York University’s School of Continuing Professional Studies. She was the spring 2015 Emerging Artist Fellow. She currently works as a freelance motion graphic designer and animator, and her work has appeared in music videos, TV shows, and commercials. During her fellowship, Tara, a Mt. Kisco resident and Westchester native, wrote, directed, and animated “Hourglass,” a stop-motion styled short about a young girl who struggles making friends, and decides to build one from found objects in her home. She teaches Motion Graphics: 3D Modeling at the JBFC.
Fall 2014 Valentine & Clark Emerging Artist Fellow
Matt Keyser was the fall 2014 Emerging Artist Fellow. After graduating from Ossining High School, Matt Keyser, a former JBFC student, earned his BA in film production and journalism from Emerson College in 2013. Since then, he has been working on independent productions, most recently on the feature film Lily of the Feast. During his fellowship, Keyser produced and directed a short narrative film, participated in Rob Morton’s screenwriting course, and was a teaching assistant in the Creators’ Co-op.
Spring 2014 Valentine & Clark Emerging Artist Fellow
Jon Appel is a filmmaker from Pleasantville, NY. He was the spring 2014 Emerging Artist Fellow. He studied fine art and hand-drawn animation in college and went on to work under acclaimed animator Paul Fierlinger and documentary filmmaker Vicky Funari in Philadelphia. He currently resides in New York City and works as a teaching artist teaching film and stop-motion animation in NYC public schools. He is finishing his debut feature film, Melmilap, which he shot in Nepal and worked on during his fellowship.. Jon was recently selected as a fellow for the UnionDocs Collaborative Studio and will be spending the next year studying the theory and history of documentary arts and producing new work with 12 international media artists.
Fall 2013 Valentine & Clark Emerging Artist Fellow
Christina Kolozsvary is a filmmaker and educator from Miami. She was the Fall 2013 and Spring 2014 Emerging Artist Fellow. During her time at the JBFC, Christina worked as a teaching assistant, took two courses (The Power of Story and Intro to Screenwriting), and began scripting and shooting a project. She has also taught at the Pratt Institute and the Massachusetts College of Art and Design in Boston. Her work has been screened internationally, and she is currently shooting her first feature film.
Spring 2013 Valentine & Clark Emerging Artist Fellow
Rosie duPont is a children's media creator. She was the spring 2013 Emerging Artist Fellow. She makes video for kids, and specializes in working and directing young talent. Rosie is currently developing her children's media portfolio as a freelance director/editor in New York. Rosie’s first animated film, Obduro!, screened at the 2012 Brooklyn Arts Council’s annual film week, “Scene: Brooklyn” and the bimonthly arts showcase, “Peculiar Streams.” During her fellowship, she created four short films, and worked as a Teaching Assistant for Storyville.
Spring 2013 Valentine & Clark Emerging Artist Fellow
Daniel Sitts is a filmmaker and illustrator originally from Croton-on-Hudson, NY. He was the spring 2013 Emerging Artist Fellow. His films have been included in the Freedom Sparks International Film & Video Festival in Montreal, the Atlanta International Documentary Film Festival, and the TransAtlantic Talent Lab in Reykjavík, Iceland. He received a degree in cinema and photography from Ithaca College, and has worked as a national facilitator with StoryCorps since 2013, where he has recorded over 350 interviews across the country. He is currently a freelance illustrator working on a children’s book about bossy farm animals. His work can be found at danielsitts.com.
Fall 2012 Valentine & Clark Emerging Artist Fellow
Shaun graduated from Penn State University in 2008 with a major in film and video production and a minor in comparative literature. He was the Fall 2012 Emerging Artist Fellow. He has worked as a freelance director and producer for Flip Media and Showtime Arabia in Dubai and is a contributor to Art of the Title. His creative work spans editing music videos, web series, and nonfiction. During his fellowship, Shaun worked as a Teaching Assistant for the inaugural semester of Creators’ Co-Op, and produced a screenplay for a short documentary about a Pakistani artist. We had this about his intentions—but I don’t know if he did any of these things! Shaun intends to enroll in The Power of Story, Film Style and Form: International Cinema, Works in Progress: A Storymaker’s Salon, and The Art of the Interview. As a Teaching Assistant, Shaun will be immersed in the inaugural semester of the Creators’ Co-Op. He’s greatly looking forward to advancing his skills during his Fellowship and further developing his interests in the rebirth of the film industry in Pakistan, a country with which he has genetic lineage and cultural fascination. Time that he spent in Lahore has inspired both a narrative and documentary project, which he hopes to shoot in early 2013.
Fall 2011 Valentine & Clark Emerging Artist Fellow
Melissa Bunni Elian is a visual journalist, writer, and multimedia producer based in Brooklyn. She was the fall 2011 Emerging Artist Fellow. She is a freelance photographer for the New York Daily News and The Daily Beast, and is a contributor at Afropunk.com. Through her production company, Quick Rabbit Productions, she has produced content for the Bronx Documentary Center, the New York Yankees, and the New York African Film Festival. During her fellowship, she worked as a Teaching Assistant for Unscripted and Crafting the Documentary.
Spring 2010 Valentine & Clark Emerging Artist Fellow
Brad Becker-Parton is a creative executive at Killer Films, an independent film production company in New York, where he has worked on projects by Todd Haynes, Sebastian Silva, Wash Westmoreland and Richard Glatzer, Todd Solondz, Andrew Neel, and Ramin Bahrani. He was the spring 2010 Emerging Artist Fellow. Prior to Killer, he has worked with Parts and Labor Films, the Tribeca Film Festival, and as an editor at Fly Communications. Brad attended Middlebury College where he studied film and media culture, and currently writes Comedy Film School for Splitsider.com. A Sleepy Hollow native, he worked on a film he described as
Fall 2009 Valentine & Clark Emerging Artist Fellow
Christian Vogeler earned a degree in cinema studies from Purchase College and went on to work on many films and shows, including Boardwalk Empire, 21 Jump Street, Captain Phillips, and American Hustle. Christian was the fall 2009 Emerging Artist Fellow. For his MFA in directing from the American Film Institute, he is shooting Danny Boy, a documentary about a young man from Long Island whose troubled life has finally caught up to him. During his time at the JBFC, he taught Lights, Camera, Action and was the TA for First Take and Documentoring, which helped filmmakers in production or postproduction find their stories.
Spring 2009 Valentine & Clark Emerging Artist Fellow
Brandon graduated from Howard University with a BA in radio, television, and film. He was the Spring 2009 Emerging Artist Fellow. During this fellowship, he completed his first feature screenplay, A New Day. He worked as a Teaching Assistant for Fact or Fiction, American Independents, First Take, The Power of Story, and Acting for the Camera. After his fellowship, he worked as a freelance writer and production assistant, and is currently a Business Analyst in Los Angeles.
Israel: Aviva Zimmerman
Woman Filmmaker-in-Residence from Israel
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 Endedpremiered 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.
Israel: Bar Mayer
Woman Filmmaker-in-Residence from Israel
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.
United States: Brad Barber
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.
United States: Hannah Jayanti
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.
United States: Antonio Campos
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.
United States: Martha Gregory
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.
Somalia: Hana Mire
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.
Woman Filmmaker-in-Residence from Israel
Rozeen Bsharat 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.
United States: Bernardo Britto
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.
Algeria: Sara Nacer
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.
Mexico: Laura Bustillos
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.
Turkey: Ekin Çalışır
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.
Turkey: Ayse Toprak
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.
UNITED STATES: Ja`Tovia Gary
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.
IRAN: Maryam Ebrahimi
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.
MOROCCO: Hind Bensari
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.
Hind was joined by Cathrine Ambus, a feature and documentary editor from Denmark.
TUNISIA: Sarra Abidi
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.
SOUTH KOREA: Bong Joon-ho
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.
UNITED KINGDOM: Guy Reid
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.
LEBANON: George Tarabay and Elias Khalil
George Tarabay is the award-winning director of Civil... But Not Civilized, a short film that participated in the Clermont-Ferrand official selection 2010, the Short Film Corner selection at the Cannes Film Festival, and represented Lebanon in ten other international film festivals. He is also the founder of Pellicule Productions, a production house of young talents. Elias Khalil has produced numerous short documentaries and short films, including Law, which won the Creative Director Award in a Lebanese film festival in 2011 as well as Tall Znoub, a short documentary created in collaboration with the Lebanese Ministry of Environment and other ecological NGOs. Previously, Tarabay and Khalil worked together on the documentary Stateless. Tarabay and Khalil worked on their documentary The Changing Map of Lebanon during their residency.
UNITED KINGDOM: Lindsey Dryden
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.
EGYPT: Mohamed Siam and Françoise Tourmen
Mohamed Siam is an independent documentary and fiction filmmaker from Egypt who works to bring Egyptian themes to film audiences both inside and outside the country. He has directed four short narrative and documentary films, including For Women Only, a documentary depicting a veiled girl’s daily life. His shorts have been selected at many international festivals. Françoise Tourmen has been a documentary and fiction film editor since 1981. Recent projects include the feature Elles starring Juliette Binoche and the feature documentary The Referees by Yves Hinant. Siam and Tourmen collaborated on editing Siam’s debut feature documentary, produced with support, in part, from the Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program and ITVS, while in residency.
ITALY: Lucio Gregoretti
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.
CHINA: Zhu Rikun and Wang Wo
Zhu Rikun is one of the best known figures in Chinese independent cinema, an unwavering proponent of independence from the censorship and commerce of China’s mainstream movie business. In 2001 he founded Fanhall Studio, a production and distribution company whose goal was to stimulate the development of independent Chinese cinema. He’s produced many of the hardest-hitting Chinese films in recent years, including Xu Xin’s Karamay and Li Hongqi’s Winter Vacation. Zhu organized the Beijing Independent Film Festival and the Songzhuang Documentary Film Festival during a decade that saw Chinese independent film flourish. Zhu joined us as a film programmer and educator and also worked on postproduction with the filmmaker/artist Wang Wo, a close associate, who designed the Fanhall complex. Wang Wo has been teaching at the Li Xianting Film School, the first independent film school in China, since 2008. Zhu Rikun curated the series “Hidden China.”
THAILAND: Apichatpong Weerasethakul
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.
ROMANIA: Mihai Chirilov
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.
SPAIN: Yolanda Pividal
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.
IRAN: Bahman Farmanara
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.
ISRAEL: Ido Haar
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.
BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA: Namik Kabil
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.
BURKINA FASO: Fanta Régina Nacro
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.