Meet the 2020 Fall Skill Share Facilitators

Juliana Sakae • November 9, 2020

BGDM is bringing back the Skill Share program, built to engage with members on creative, professional, and holistic levels. The first edition was launched in April of this year in the context of the global pandemic and reckoning on racism in the world/the film industry, and as a response to our collective need for community and shared resources.

This time we will be joined by 196 members divided up into 28 groups. For the first time, each group will have an assigned peer mentor/facilitator to help guide them through weekly programmed conversation topics and activities, and encourage peer mentorship amongst the group as a whole. Also new, we’ll make some Fiction focused small groups.

Please meet below our amazing, powerful members who are taking the leadership in facilitating two groups each throughout the course of the program.

Roopa Gogineni is a director, photographer, and journalist whose work over the past decade has focused on historical memory and life amidst conflict in East Africa. She holds an MSc in African Studies from the University of Oxford, where she researched the construction of media narratives around Somalia. She directed reality television in Mogadishu, an experience chronicled in “The Other Real World” on NPR’s Invisibilia podcast. Her work has examined the narrative of genocide in Rwanda, investigated the origins of Somali piracy, and documented the historic Mau Mau case against the UK government for colonial-era abuses in Kenya. Her short film The Rebel Puppeteers of Sudan was featured on The New York Times Op-Docs. It earned the Oscar-qualifying Full Frame Jury Award for Best Short, a One World Media Award, and a Rory Peck Award. In 2018, she was selected as an inaugural FRONTLINE/Firelight Investigative Journalism Fellow and is a 2020 Women Photograph Grant recipient. Roopa currently advises a cohort of doctoral students using visual methodology in their study of pastoralism and uncertainty at The Institute of Development Studies. Roopa speaks French, Spanish, and Telugu and gets by in Swahili and Arabic. She has completed first aid and hostile environment training.

Princess A. Hairston is a creative director, producer, cinematographer, and emmy-nominated editor based in New York City. Her strong storytelling skills have developed through editing in film and television for the past 16 years, working with several advertising agencies, production companies, and independent filmmakers on impactful media content. With a love for historical works, Princess has collaborated with several companies and filmmakers to story produce, consult, direct, and edit several works across various media outlets. Her work has been recognized with nominations and awards from the Emmys, The Webbys and many film festivals.

Chithra Jeyaram makes intimate films about identity, human relationships, race, art, and health. She is the marketing co-chair for New Day Films, a member owned distribution cooperative. Her first exposure to filmmaking began with a failed attempt to fund a film in India. Deeply affected by that experience, she quit a decade-long career as a physical therapist and got an MFA in Film Production from the University of Texas in Austin. Her thesis film, Mijo, aired on KLRU TV and played in 50 film festivals around the world. Foreign Puzzle, her first long-form documentary, is distributed by New Day Films. Currently, she is making Our Daughters, a feature documentary that examines open adoption in America through an immigrant lens. It’s supported by the Jerome Foundation, CAAM, and New York State Council for the Arts. In 2020, the project was selected to the Sheffield Meet Market, IFP Documentary Lab, IFP forum, and DOCNYC’s Only in New York. She edited the episode “Symbolic Justice” for CBSN Original series Speaking Frankly and the Sundance supported mini-series, America in Transition, about trans people of color. She taught documentary production and post-production for five years at the Documentary Center at GWU in Washington D.C. and Arlington Independent Media. In the near future, she hopes to direct narrative features and fantastical episodic content. She is an avid runner and has completed 14 marathons. Food is her first love.

Alana Marie is a storyteller and digital content creator from St. Louis, MO. Her passion for storytelling stems from her belief in everyone having a story, everything having a meaning, and every experience serving a purpose. Alana recently completed production of her first feature film titled , The Kinloch Doc—the full-length version of The Kinloch Doc (Short) that screened in 2018 and 2019 at the St. Louis Filmmakers Showcase, St. Louis International Film Festival and Benton Park Film Festival. Alana is a proud novice filmmaker, integrating her social work training into highlighting stories of underrepresented people, places, and spaces. In addition to filmmaking, Alana was recently accepted as an #IntheCity Artist Fellow at Harvard University for 2019-2020 and Sprout Fellow for 2020.

Kirthi Nath is a queer women of color filmmaker and activist who believes that if we want to change our culture, we have to change our stories. This also includes how we tell our stories and who tells it. Kirthi has worked in a variety of capacities to create media that catalyzes conversations, expands perspectives and ripples deep impact in our cultural tide. As founder and lead filmmaker at Cinemagical Media, Kirthi works with nonprofits, entrepreneurs and companies to create films and campaigns with bravery, courage and heart that bring messages alive and inspire social change. Kirthi’s work has featured cultural visionaries and global campaigns such as One Billion Rising, V-Day, Off the Mat, Amazon Watch, Eve Ensler, Tara Sophia Mohr, Alice Walker and Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. Kirthi has also created a series of personal films that fluidly straddle genres, occupying a fertile landscape of spirituality, cultural poetics, experimentalism, documentary and hybrid narrative. Tactile and dreamlike, these films explore storytelling, desire, spirituality and cultural identities, and have been showcased nationwide at festivals such as CAAMfest, SAIFF, Framline and in solo shows at YBCA and ATA.

CB Smith-Dahl is a director and camerawoman based in Oakland, CA. She is the founder and director of Together Pictures, which hires diverse filmmakers to create commercial and social content. She's directed hundreds of fiction and non-fiction social media videos for clients throughout California. CB is currently lensing Clarissa's Battle for Tamara Perkins about the childcare crisis. She's also the director of photography for the documentary All Girls Matter, directed by Gloria Moran, which was broadcast nationally on PBS. She also shot for upcoming documentaries by BGDM members Tracey Quezada and Dawn Valadez. CB is also an accomplished journalist who's writing and photography has been published in Berkeleyside, Oakland Local, SF Gate, Deaf Life Magazine and California Health Report.

Tiffany Judkins is the founder of Kinship Filmworks. She produces documentary film and branded content authentic to social enterprises, non-profits, and brands. A Black Public Media Fellow, her broadcast credits include Maryland Public Television, WTTW Chicago, and ESPN. Her film credits include A Lawyer Walks into a Bar and Samsara. Creator of Urban Food Chain, the series, exploring how people of color build economy, wellness and community. Tiffany is always down to make some art and do some good in the world.

Elizabeth Ai is a Chinese-Vietnamese-American, Los Angeles-based, Emmy award-winning producer. She writes, directs, and produces independent narratives as well as branded content for companies such as National Geographic, ESPN, and VICE. She produced documentary features; Dirty Hands: The Art & Crimes Of David Choe (2008), on the titled artist after his prison release and before his meteoric rise and A Woman’s Work: The Nfl’s Cheerleader Problem (2019), which examines wage theft and exploitation of the only visible NFL women. Additionally, she produced Saigon Electric (2011), a feature narrative set in Vietnam’s world of breakdancing. During her tenure at VICE, she created the original pilot for Bong Appétit (2014), which got picked up for series on Viceland. She’s currently directing and producing two in-progress feature documentaries and has a slate of narratives in development. She’s a Fellow of Berlin Talent Campus, Film Independent, Sundance, and Tribeca. Her film projects are supported by California Humanities, Firelight Media, Knight Foundation, and ITVS. She received her B.A. from the University of Southern California.

Riham Ezzaldeen is a producer and filmmaker raised in Damascus, based in Sweden and Greece. Through her work producing feature-length films, documentary series and multimedia projects, she focuses on highlighting the beauty and necessity of diversity while highlighting social and environmental topics. Her methodology of effective activism and solution-based artistic expression breathes life and perspective into every project she works on. Some of her work includes, Sing For Hope in Greece, Waynak documentary series, Bird Watching in Azerbaijan, and George and the Whales. She identifies as queer and is fluent in Arabic and English. She is a proud BGDM member, part of the WMM Production Program, and leads Original Productions at production company What Took You So Long? A film she has in early production won a pitching award at MAFF, a short film she recently finalized has won three awards and short-listed for five more, and her WIP documentaries participated in the Hot Docs Deal Maker, Film London Financing Market, BGDM Feedback Loop and other key industry events in Berlinale, Cannes and Sheffield.

For the last 10 years, Ashley Da-Lê Duong has been exploring identity, environment, and social change through film. She wrote, directed, and co-produced the feature documentary, A Time To Swim, which untangles the personal and political stakes of an exiled indigenous activist from Malaysia. The film won numerous festival awards including Best First Feature Film at Toronto Reel Asian Film Festival. It was presented on Al Jazeera Witness, Superchannel, the National Film Board of Canada, and elsewhere. Some of her short-form directing credits include Re Lekuah, the world’s first music video in the Kelabit language as well as over 15 short documentaries for the series: Canada’s a Drag (2020 Canadian Screen Award winner) and CBC Arts: Exhibitionists (2020 Canadian Screen Award nominee). In recent years, she has focused on experimenting with form, often borrowing methods from performance, ethnography, and somatics. She is Quebec’s 2021 Artist Laureate to Vietnam (CALQ, IFV). As an editor, story producer, and story consultant, Ashley has worked with several production companies, filmmakers, and broadcasters. Ashley is based in Montreal but has collaborated with teams around the world by working remotely or traveling. She is passionate about pushing narrative form, ethical filmmaking, and uncovering the heart of the story. She is particularly specialized in environment, ethnography, and diasporic topics. Ashley earned a BA in Environment Studies and Cultural Studies from McGill University and is a proud member of Brown Girl Doc Mafia, A-Doc, and BIPOC TV & Film.

Li Lu was born in Suzhou, China, and moved to the U.S. when she was five. Raised on all three coasts and graduating high school in Sugar Land, TX, Li received her BA from USC’s School of Cinematic Arts. There Is a New World Somewhere, her debut feature, won three Best Feature awards and was distributed theatrically and on demand. Her current project A Town Called Victoria has garnered support from Sundance, Firelight Media, IFP, and Austin Film Society. Bury Me On Gold Mountain, her second feature, is under development and has been selected for the Film Independent Screenwriting Lab, IFP Week: No Borders, and other honors. Li is also a FOX Directors Lab alumna and directs television. Through her work, she focuses on narratives that create social impact and expand representation.

Juliana Sakae
Juliana Sakae

Juliana Sakae (she/her) is a Japanese-Brazilian journalist and filmmaker whose work focuses on social issue documentaries, human rights, and children.