1. TERRA RENEE | FOUNDER OF AFRICAN AMERICAN WOMEN IN CINEMA
25 years ago, filmmaker and community leader Terra Renee dreamed of a space to support women of color in the film industry, so she created it - and the African American Women In Cinema Organization was born. Her organization provides mentorships, workshops and showcases the work of experienced and novice filmmakers, directors, producers, screenwriters and actors. Terra has made it her life’s work to ensure women of color have the support they need to bring their stories, skills and vision to screens.
2. MADELEINE LIM | FOUNDER OF QUEER WOMEN OF COLOR MEDIA ARTS PROJECT (QWOCMAP)
For 23 years, the Queer Women of Color Media Arts Project (QWOCMAP) has nurtured filmmaker-activists who use the power of art as cultural resistance, resilience, reclamation and renewal. As a young lesbian artist-activist living in Singapore, Madeleine Lim needed a place like QWOCMAP. Persecuted for her activism, Madeleine fled home and landed in the Bay Area, quickly making a name for herself as an unapologetic and bold filmmaker. Now, QWOCMAP provides a safe haven for the next generation of filmmakers like Madeleine — women who want to make their communities visible and vocal using the most powerful art form in the world.
3. ANGIE REZA TURES | CO-FOUNDER OF FEMME FRONTERA
In 2016, Angie was one of six women and non-binary filmmakers from the U.S.-Mexico border region of El Paso, Las Cruces, and Ciudad Juarez who joined forces to create Femme Frontera. Through fellowships, grants and screenings accessible in English and Spanish, Angie ensures filmmakers have the support they need to make work that explores the beauty and the contradictions of life along the border communities they call home.
4. JENNIFER CRYSTAL CHIEN | CO-FOUNDER OF RE-PRESENT MEDIA
Six years ago, two filmmakers bonded over a shared love for henna hair sessions and a belief in the transformative power of personal storytelling. Jennifer Crystal Chien and Sabereh Kashi launched Re-Present Media as a space to amplify personal documentary storytelling from underrepresented makers like themselves. Since then, Jennifer has persuasively argued that films don’t have to be about social issues to be powerful, and that filmmakers of color should have the freedom to tell complex, nuanced personal stories of people from communities like their own.
5. LELA MEADOW-CONNER | FOUNDER OF MAMAFILM
In 2019, mamafilm launched as a pop-up microcinema in a cobalt blue shipping container in Wichita, Kansas. The brainchild of veteran festival administrator and working mother, Lela Meadow-Conner, mamafilm was created as an intimate space for parents, caregivers, and all those who mother to connect deeply after the screening of a great film. Lela ensures that mamafilm events are catalysts for deep reflection, inspiration and dialogue.