Firelight Media welcomes 10 new #DocLab Fellows!
Firelight Media Documentary Lab (formerly Producers’ Lab) is excited to welcome ten new Fellows to the Firelight family. The Documentary Lab is Firelight Media’s flagship mentorship program that develops emerging diverse filmmakers and their feature projects. The Lab provides filmmakers with one-on-one support, funding, professional development workshops, and networking opportunities. The Documentary Lab is unrivaled in its representation of diverse producers, creating a network of talented storytellers that receive ongoing support even beyond their fellowship term.
Meet our new #DocLab Fellows and the feature-length projects they’re working on below:
Adele Pham: #NailedIt: Vietnamese & The Nail Industry
Adele is a mixed-race Vietnamese American filmmaker whose body of work is a hybrid representation of diverse, underrepresented demographics in film- who often intersect and drive the narrative forward. Her film, #Nailedit is about the genesis of the Vietnamese nail salon and its influence on the $8 billion dollar nail economy.
Andrés Caballero & Sofian Khan: The Interpreter
Andres Caballero is a public radio producer, journalist and documentary filmmaker. Sofian Khan is the founder of Capital K Pictures— a New York-based production company focusing on documentary work. His shorts have appeared on PBS, The Documentary Channel, Fusion Network, The Atlantic and Huffington Post. He recently won Best Film in the 2015 Fusion Doc Challenge with his short Timeshifters. Together,Andrés and Sofian co-directed their first feature film, Gaucho del Norte. The film was a Jerome Foundation grant recipient, about South American shepherds who have been recruited to work in the American west, and was acquired by PBS for its America ReFramed series. Currently, Sofian and Andrés are at work on The Interpreter, about Afghan and Iraqi interpreters who served with US forces. The project was a recipient of the 2016 MacArthur Documentary Grant.
Assia Boundaoui:The Feeling of Being Watched
Assia Boundaoui is an Algerian-American journalist and filmmaker based in Chicago.She has reported on domestic and international affairs for the BBC, Public Radio International, AlJazeera America, VICE News and CNN and was the recipient of a first place Mark of Excellence Award from the Society of Professional Journalists for her reporting on Yemen. Assia makes her directorial debut in, The Feeling of Being Watched which chronicles a personal “POV”investigation into how one American neighborhood came to be cast under blanket surveillance and asks, was it justified?
Jacqueline Olive: Always In Season
Jacqueline Olive is an award-winning filmmaker with artist grants from Chicken & Egg Pictures, Catapult Film Fund, Independent Television Service, and more. Her latest film, Always in Season explores the lingering impact of lynching by following recent grassroots efforts of relatives of the perpetrators and victims in four communities seeking to acknowledge the victims, repair the damage, and reconcile–all in the midst of police shootings, church burnings, and heated national debate about the value of black lives.
Jennifer Brea: Canary In A Coal Mine
Jennifer was a doctoral student in the Department of Government at Harvard University and journalist in Beijing and East Africa. She earned her AB in Politics from Princeton University and is a TED Fellow. Jennifer was put on indefinite medical leave after signing a check at a restaurant -where she found she could not write her own name. Months before her wedding, she became progressively ill, losing the ability even to sit in a wheelchair.Canary In A Coal Mine follows her personal journey of understanding and documenting her disease.When doctors insisted that her condition was psychosomatic, she picked up her camera to document her own story and the stories of four other patients struggling with the world’s most prevalent orphan disease.
Kathy Huang: A Guangzhou Love Story
Kathy Huang is a nonfiction filmmaker whose works typically center on issues of identity and belonging. In her newest film, A Guangzhou Love Story, Kathy highlights China’s unprecedented surge in African migration which has led to a rise in marriages between Chinese women and African men. A Guangzhou Love Story captures the love, heartache, and real life challenges of Afro-Chinese couples attempting to forge a future together in the face of racism and xenophobic policies.
PJ Raval: Justice for Jennifer
PJ RAVAL is an award-winning filmmaker recently named as one of Out Magazine’s “Out 100” and FILMMAKER Magazine’s “25 New Faces of Independent Film.” In Justice for Jennifer, PJ tells the story of Jennifer Laude, a 26‐year‐old Filipina transgender woman and alleged sex worker who is found dead with her head plunged into a motel room toilet. The suspect is quickly identified as 19‐-year‐old U.S. marine Joseph Pemberton. Amidst a media storm and police inquiry, a grassroots movement arises to demand that Pemberton, held in U.S. custody, be tried in the Philippine court system.
Ray Santisteban: Time of the Phoenix: The First Rainbow Coalition
Ray Santisteban is an award-winning documentary filmmaker whose work has aired nationally and internationally on public television. His film, Time of the Phoenix: The First Rainbow Coalition charts the history and enduring legacy of a largely forgotten but groundbreaking multi-ethnic coalition that rocked Chicago in the 1960s and laid the tracks for every significant American social movement organized across racial lines to this day.
Vaishali Sinha: Ask the Sexpert
Vaishali Sinha is the Co-Director/Producer of the award-winning feature documentary MADE IN INDIA about the personal stories behind the phenomenon of “outsourcing” surrogates to India. Vaishali’s second film, Ask the Sexpert is centered on a highly popular sex columnist for a daily newspaper in India. Despite sex being a taboo topic in India, the column’s brand of non-moralistic advice and humor has emboldened many to write in with their questions, the vast majority of whom seek basic information.
Yu Gu: A Woman’s Work
Yu Gu is an award-winning filmmaker born in Chongqing, China and raised in Vancouver, Canada. For her current project, A Woman’s Work, Gu tells the story of how football and feminism collide in this documentary that follows three former NFL cheerleaders and their class-action lawsuits brought against their teams.
Firelight is proud to welcome this new cohort of fellows into our Documentary Lab! “The new Fellows are adding to the number of diverse voices that we aim to support in the documentary space. All of the stories they are working on illustrate what Firelight is about – highlighting people who are often invisible, challenging mainstream narratives and ultimately, changing the story about the lives of the diverse communities that we live in and are a part of. ” stated Loira Limbal, VP at Firelight and Documentary Lab Director.