An animated poem about coping with isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Andrea Dorfman is a Halifax-based screenwriter and film director who creates experimental short and feature films, as well as mini-documentaries. She directed the Emmy Award–winning films Flawed (2010) and Big Mouth (2012) and two animated shorts based on poetry by Tanya Davis: “How to Be Alone” (2010) and “How to Be at Home” (2020), which was part of the Toronto International Film Festival’s year-end Canada’s Top Ten list for 2020.
An immigrant dog walker finds connection in the hearts of the wealthy pets she cares for.
Akanksha Cruczynski, based in New York City, is a writer and filmmaker from India who grew up in Saudi Arabia. She moved to the U.S. for college, then studied comedy at The Second City, iO Theater, and Annoyance Theatre in Chicago. Akanksha’s graduate thesis film, Close Ties to Home Country, is a finalist for the Student Academy Awards and was shortlisted for the 2021 BAFTA Student Awards. The film won the Audience Award at Aspen Shortsfest and the Best Comedy Award at Indy Shorts International Film Festival, in addition to being shown at several other Academy Award–qualifying film festivals. Akanksha is passionate about telling stories from underserved communities and using humor to guide them.
A 13-year-old girl designs and builds a mobile app to help kids stay connected to their incarcerated parents by sending photos and letters.
Samantha Knowles is a Dartmouth College graduate and Brooklyn-based documentary filmmaker. Her film Tangled Roots follows the only Black woman in the Kentucky state legislature as she fights to dismantle a system of discrimination against Black people penalized for something seemingly innocuous—their hair. It premiered on BET in June 2020, was broadcast on Showtime, and was an official selection in the 2020 Tribeca Film Festival. She directed The Blue Line, which examines the controversy that erupted when her hometown painted a blue line on the street in support of police. It premiered at the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival, was featured in NBC’s Meet the Press Film Festival, and is now part of the prestigious New York Times Op-Doc series.
Samantha also directed the award-winning short documentary Why Do You Have Black Dolls? (2012), which focuses on a small community of Black doll creators, curators, and collectors and examines the history and significance of the Black doll. The film has been an official selection in numerous film festivals, and among other publications was featured in the New York Daily News, USA Today, Jet magazine, the Huffington Post, theGrio, and BET.com.
When a fire takes their home, a father and daughter must find a way to salvage what remains: each other.
Proof of Loss is Katherine Fisher’s directorial debut. She is an Emmy-nominated and Gotham, Peabody, and GLAAD award-winning producer with 15 years of experience in narrative and documentary filmmaking in the U.S., U.K., Kenya, and Congo. Her work has been screened at Sundance Film Festival, Berlin International Film Festival (winner 2018 Special Prize), SXSW (winner 2019 Short Film Jury Award), LA Film Festival, New Orleans Film Festival, Atlanta Film Festival, and BlackStar Film Festival, among others. She is a member of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, and is a 2018 Film Independent Project Involve Fellow, 2018 New Orleans Film Society Southern Producers Fellow, and 2018 20th Century Fox Global Inclusion Fellow.
A first-generation high school student describes what she and her mom learn about people when cleaning their homes.
Sharon Arteaga is a first-generation Mexican-American filmmaker from Corpus Christi, Texas, who convinced her mom to buy her a video camera instead of a quinceañera. Included in NALIP’s 2019 List of Latinx Directors to Know, Arteaga’s work playfully incorporates themes of generational, linguistic, and cultural differences between people. She has won numerous short film competitions for her films When I Grow Up, Plane Pretend, and When You Clean a Stranger's Home.
She was a 2019 Tribeca Chanel Through Her Lens finalist for her short screenplay In Tow (runner-up at the 2020 New Orleans Film Festival South Pitch), a semifinalist in ScreenCraft’s Film Fund, and most recently, awarded the 2021 Mexican-American Cultural Education Foundation Filmmaker Grant. Sharon is currently working on a couple of narrative shorts about life on the South Texas coast while developing her first feature film. She is a passionate educator who loves empowering others to also tell their own stories through film.
Frustrated with the lack of character diversity in The New Yorker’s cartoons, an artist submits her own illustrations, becoming the first Black woman cartoonist in the magazine’s near-century run.
A Bronx woman’s accidental social experiment connects her with fellow New Yorkers who might otherwise forever remain strangers.
Emily McAllister is an award-winning documentary filmmaker who has produced work independently as well as for This American Life, HBO, National Geographic, PBS, and Google. Highlights from her work include Maidentrip (SXSW 2013) and The Diplomat (Tribeca 2015). After beginning her storytelling career in Brooklyn, in 2018 she moved to the beautiful mountain town of Truckee, California. In her spare time, she’s learning to mountain bike and helping her husband Aaron on his mission to make a “passable” New York style bagel at 6500’ elevation.
An animated self-portrait of a nonbinary trans teen caught between the expectations of his Guatemalan immigrant family and his dreams of living happily ever after with his long-distance boyfriend.
Shaleece Haas is an Emmy Award–winning documentary producer and a director based in Los Angeles. Texas Strong (2018) won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Short Documentary and premiered at SXSW. In 2020, she co-produced the final episode of the Peabody-winning PBS series, Asian Americans and was a consulting producer on the limited series, And She Could Be Next (2020 Tribeca Film Festival, POV).
Real Boy (2016) screened in 23 countries, earned 20 festival awards, and was broadcast nationally on PBS Independent Lens. Shaleece has been an Impact Partners Documentary Producing Fellow, Film Independent Documentary Lab Fellow, and Working Films Fellow. She is a member of the Queer Producer’s Network and the Documentary Producers Alliance and is an alumna of the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism.