Keeping Up With the Fellows

Farihah Zaman • April 27, 2023

Keeping Up With the Fellows
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Jean Rheem / Bad Press

Bad Press, the explosive documentary edited by Jean Rheem (Sustainable Artist Fellow, 2021-2022) premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, where it won the Special Jury Award for Freedom of Expression. We all know it can be notoriously difficult for documentary editors to get the recognition they deserve, which is why it is so special that her contribution was highlighted in a number of publications like Variety, who wrote “Jean Rheem’s editing balances characterful detail and humor with considerable narrative propulsion.”

Christine Turner / J'Nai Bridges Unamplified

The Big Sky Documentary Film Festival featured the work of not one but two of our fabulous fellows. They hosted the world premiere of J’Nai Bridges Amplified, an American Masters short about one incredible Black artist directed by another, our own Christine Turner (Black Directors Fellowship 2022-2023). For those who missed the chance to see the film live, it is now available to stream on the PBS website. Meanwhile, Chelsi Bullard (Black Directors Fellowship 2022-2023) was invited to participate in the renowned Big Sky Pitch forum with her documentary-in-progress, Brooklyn Butterfly.

Chelsi Bullard / 5 Films

Speaking of Chelsi, if you missed her BGDM blog post last month, she shared an amazing list of five Black documentaries that hold sacred space, and have impacted her life and work. The official Black History Month might be over in the United States, but it's so valuable to honor Black history — and our Black BGDM siblings — every month.

Mars Verrone / Golden Voice

Mars Verrone (Sustainable Artist Fellowship 2022-2023) enjoyed the premiere of their doc short Golden Voice at the wonderful London LGBTIQ festival BFI Flare this past March, and has a couple of other projects in motion that they will share when the time comes.

Brittany Young / YLYGAM

You Lucky You Got a Mama, directed by Brittany Ferrell Young (Black Directors Fellowship 2022-2023) is a vital look at Black birth and motherhood in America inspired in part by Brittany’s own experiences as a nurse, public health scholar, activist, and mother. Using all of those organizing skills, Brittany was able to raise nearly $10,000 for the film by spearheading a community fundraiser. Let’s give it up for her! We all know that fundraising ain’t easy but her dedication and hard work really paid off.

Jude Chehab / Q

Finally Jude Chehab's (Sustainable Artist Fellowship 2022-2023) highly anticipated and highly personal first feature film Q, which has received support from Firelight Media, Chicken & Egg Pictures, Sundance Institute, and others — these people know a good thing when they see it — will be having its festival premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival this coming June.

This month, Ramadan coincided with Arab American Heritage Month in the U.S., and we are proud to have Jude curate this month’s listicle on our website about five documentaries directed by Arab women you must add to your watchlist!

Farihah Zaman

Farihah Zaman

Farihah Zaman (she/they) is a queer Bangladeshi-American filmmaker, writer, and curator whose award-winning work has screened at Sundance, TIFF, NYFF, Tribeca, SXSW, and more. Zaman has written for Reverse Shot, Film Comment, Elle, and Huffington Post.

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