Te Shima Brennen
Te Shima Anusha Brennen (they/them) is a Black, queer, trans visual storyteller based in Brooklyn. As an emerging documentary filmmaker, they tell nuanced stories about Black, queer, and trans communities as they navigate institutions and systems not built to support them. Te recently made their co-directoral and cinematography debut with Hold On To Me, which premiered at NewFest Film Festival in 2022 and has traveled to festivals in London, Amsterdam, Seattle, and Los Angeles in 2023. Currently, Te is co-directing, producing and filming a documentary called Mother Wit, which follows three Black trans women grieving the death of their matriarch and mentor as they fight to achieve their academic ambitions and fulfill the promises they made to her. They pitched the documentary at the Double Exposure Film Festival’s pitching forum in October, as well as the Athena Film Festival’s Works-In-Progress forum in March 2023. Te was awarded the duPont/Judy F. Crichton award for their filmmaking in 2023.
Outside of filmmaking, Te advocates to improve journalistic practices that produce harmful narratives about the trans community. They recently finished a fellowship at the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at Oxford University, where they researched how journalists can build trust in trans communities as the first step to better reporting on the community. Te Shima is also working on a multimedia project, funded by a Magic Seed Grant from Columbia University’s Brown Institute of Media Innovation, that will serve as a guide for storytellers covering trans issues.