Emily is a filmmaker obsessed with what makes artists tick. Her short, Legend: a film about Greg Garing, won Best Film of the International Documentary Challenge at Hot Docs in Toronto, and screened at Sheffield Doc/Fest, IDFA, Nashville, and the Rooftop Films series in NYC.
Recently, Emily was hired by Mill+ to direct 24 documentary-style short films for a global brand. She also directs projects for clients including Aritzia, Lincoln Center, Atlantic Council, and Martha Stewart Weddings, frequently in collaboration with Bat-Sheva Guez.
Emily also has over a decade of experience producing motion design & visual effects for clients including Nike, Lexus, AT&T, Citibank, A&E, PBS, Nova, Gwen Stefani and Kanye West.
She’s directed music videos for artists including Jonatha Brooke, Eleni Mandell, Jeff Litman and the Muckrakers. She has twice been invited to the I-Park Artists in Residence program. She grew up acting professionally in Minneapolis, and maintains her SAG-AFTRA membership.
Marc Smolowitz is a multi-award winning director, producer and executive producer with 25+ years of experience across all aspects of the entertainment and media business. His career focus has been powerful social issue filmmaking across all genres. His long list of credits includes films that have screened at top-tier festivals – Sundance, Berlinale, AFI Docs, IDFA, DOC NYC, Tokyo, Melbourne, Viennale, Krakow, among others. His films have been successful worldwide in theatrical markets, across all forms of television, and on VOD/Digital/Educational platforms. In 2016, he received one of the prestigious IFP Fellowships to attend the Cannes Film Festival’s Producers Network and Marche du Film marking him as one of nation’s most influential independent producers.
In the 1990s and early 2000s, he was widely known as the President & Founder of Turbulent Arts — a boutique, indie film distribution and sales company based in San Francisco that ranked in 1998 as the 26th largest film company in North America, 14th among independents (source: The Hollywood Reporter.) Today, he is a full-time independent filmmaker, while maintaining a thriving consulting practice called 13th Gen that guides both emerging and established filmmakers through key stages of development, fundraising, production, post, completion, and distribution. In partnership with a dynamic range of independent film partners and companies, 13th Gen also oversees the financing, marketing, sales and distribution efforts of a vibrant portfolio of films and filmmakers, many of which Smolowitz produces and/or directs.
Bat-Sheva and Emily have been working together since April 2013 when they joined forces as a directing/producing duo creating films for-hire – from artist profiles for Lincoln Center, to videos for JP Morgan and Conde Nast. With a background in producing, directing, and editing a broad range of artistic projects, Bat-Sheva’s continuous problem-solving and creative support has been invaluable to BEING BEBE.
Bat-Sheva is passionate about weaving dance, magic, and experimental techniques into visually compelling, character-driven stories. Her work has screened in festivals worldwide including the Hamptons International Film Festival, the Rhode Island International Film Festival, the HollyShorts Film Festival, the New York Television Festival, and more.
She is the recipient of the JT3 Artist Award for Screenwriting & Directing and was selected for NY Stage and Film’s Filmmaker’s Workshop. She won Best Director at the Art of Brooklyn Film Fest for her latest film, “Behind the Wall.” The film also won the Panavision Grant for Best Cinematography at the Rhode Island Int’l Film Festival with a total of 8 awards, screening in over 25 fests and events. She is a member of the FilmmakeHers and the Director’s Collective.
Jonathan’s films as a director and/or producer have been supported by broadcasters and funders including BBC, PBS, NHK-Japan, Ford Foundation, Tribeca Film Institute, and Sundance Institute. Personally or through Changeworx, he has worked on documentary features that follow people from five continents as their lives unfold over multiple years.
Changeworx’s latest film is Among the Believers, a non-judgmental investigation of the Red Mosque madrassah network made collaboratively over six years by a Pakistani Muslim, Indian Hindu and American Jew (Jonathan). Set for wider release in 2016, Among the Believers has won over a dozen awards internationally on the festival circuit, and was nominated for a 2016 Independent Spirit Award. Jonathan’s recent directing project Follow the Leader was featured on C-Span, CNN and Fox; released by Angelika Film Center, PBS stations and Cinedigm; and was the only documentary to premiere in Tampa & Charlotte during the 2012 Republican and Democratic national conventions. His first feature, Sunny Intervals and Showers (Director, Producer, Editor, Camera, 2003), screened at Sheffield Doc/Fest, Chicago and One World Human Rights Film Festival; aired within the BBC Storyville documentary series; and was nominated for Grierson (British Documentary) and Mental Health Media Awards.
Jonathan studied social psychology, political philosophy, and art at Stanford University, and was a Fulbright Scholar at the UK’s National Film and Television School (NFTS) in 1999. He has been based in Brooklyn since 2008.
JAMES CODOYANNIS (Editor): After earning a B.F.A in Film & TV production from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, James works as a film & video editor. Editor credits include feature-documentaries Trixie Mattel: Moving Parts, Bible Quiz, In a Perfect World…, Creating a Character: The Moni Yakim Legacy, F(l)ag Football, as well as feature-narratives Premise, We’re Still Together, Painless, and Boarding School (as additional editor). Web-based editor credits include Bon Appetit Test Kitchen content, including the series Reverse Engineering, Molly Tries, and From the Test Kitchen. Short-film credits include Lucia, Before and After (2016 Sundance Short Form Jury Award: US Fiction), Troll, and Drifters.
Natasha Johnson is an artivist (activist + artist), advocate, academic, and attorney. She has been an educator and attorney for 19 and 13 years, respectively. She has served as an Anti-Trafficking Legal Specialist drafting reform legislation in the Solomon Islands and as the Director of Education working to serve homeless, foster care, and at risk LGBT youth. As an attorney she created the only holistic legal services program to date in NYC for continental African survivors of domestic violence. Natasha is a recipient of an Equal Justice Works Fellowship, a Fulbright Specialist Fellowship and a host of other awards.
Recently, she began work merging her legal and educational disciplines through photography. Natasha’s visual social “commentary” focuses on issues of gender based violence (GBV) and gender bias globally/domestically. Her work has been featured virtually and showcased in several exhibitions. As a curator, she has also curated four exhibitions, including the co-creation of a national exhibition. In 2015 she founded a non-profit organization, Globalizing Gender (GG), whose mission is to create a more ‘Gender Just’ world. GG educates, prevents, and reforms GBV through capacity building, rule of law, governance, and awareness. Their first major project is directed at tackling Female Genital Cutting throughout the United States. Learn more at www.globalizinggender.org.
She lectures locally, nationally, and internationally on issues of domestic violence, GBV, and human rights. Natasha earned her Juris Doctorate from CUNY School of Law and her BA degree from Columbia University.
The environment Matamba grew up in in Gabon is one of a thousand realities, where the spirit world plays an integral part of life and oral tradition is society’s foundation. Over the past years, she’s lived successively in Europe and America, becoming a global citizen, delving in her native culture to make sense of the various worlds she became familiar with and using it as a connector with the many communities from the Diaspora she went on knowing.
After obtaining a Postgraduate Degree in Fashion & Luxury Management at the Institut Francais de la Mode in Paris in 1997, she pursued a career as a special events producer in the luxury industry in New York, managing often larger than life productions for over 10 years, executing concepts created by fashion designers to showcase their latest creations or products to select audiences. She left the fashion industry in 2011 to immerse herself in intense self-studies of screenwriting and directing in New York where she is based. Matamba is a self-taught filmmaker whose first job in the film industry was an internship on Tanya Hamilton’s Night Catches Us in 2009 where she was given a scenic artist credit. She perfected her craft at Ela Thier’s Independent Film School in New York City.
She made two experimental shorts in 2014, A Walk in Beauty and A Walk in Purpose. A Walk in Purpose screened at various festivals and shows in Europe and the USA. Her third film, the narrative short Telesourd, shot in 2015, is currently doing the festival circuit globally. It screened at AFRIFF2015 and LAFF2016 among others, and was awarded “Prix du Public” at Festimaj 2016, and “Coup de Coeur du Jury” at Festival Sourd Metrage 2015. He fourth installment, DD Teddy Bear, was released early 2016.
In 2016, she produced award winner director Ekwa Msangi’s film, Farewell Meu Amor, which premiered at the Zanzibar Film Festival 2016; as well as Gabon filmmaker Fernand Lepoko’s upcoming feature film, Matris. She is currently in post-production on a series of 8 short films she wrote, directed and produced, shot in February and April 2017 in Libreville, Sens Dessus Dessous.
Avril has over twenty years of experience as a filmmaker to include credits as a producer, writer, director, and editor. She made her directorial debut in 1999 when she directed her first feature film The Round Table, then later went on to complete the award-winning feature film Sophisticated Romance.
She earned her M.F.A. in Film Directing from Columbia University School of the Arts in New York City, her B.A. from the University of Maryland in African American Studies and studied film production at Howard University. Upon graduating from Columbia, Avril worked in development for USA Films (currently Focus Features) and the Association for Independent Video and Filmmakers.
Seeing a need for a broader selection of quality films, Avril’s goal is to diversify the film market by creating unique films, and by educating and empowering aspiring filmmakers; thereby creating a movement consisting of media that represents the true, multi-dimensional qualities of people and speaks to the world.
As an advocate of film education and training, Avril has shared her passion for the arts by volunteering for several film-related panel discussions and festivals, and as a film professor at Howard University in Washington, DC, as well as Azusa Pacific University and the University of La Verne in California. She recently earned her second master’s degree in Theology and the Arts at Fuller Theological Seminary, which has equipped her to become a leader in conversations about spirituality and art.
She is also on the programming team for the Level Ground Film Festival, which seeks to create a safe space for dialogue between LGBTQ and faith communities. She is a regular contributor to ReelSpirituality.com, and is also a contributing writer for the book: “God in the Movies: A Guide for Exploring Four Decades of Film,” where she discusses the the ways in which race and gender in certain popular films challenge how we relate to one another as humans.
Commited to themes that center around family, race, gender, social justice, and spirituality, Avril continues to produce, write and direct various film and new media projects. Within the past year, she was an Associate Producer on the TNT docu-series American Race, and became the lead producer on the feature film Jinn, which has received overwhelming support from various independent film organizations, including Film Independent, the San Francisco Film Society, the Sundance Institute, IFP, and the Islamic Scholarship Fund. She is also a producer on the upcoming film, Hosea, and is co-writing and directing a video podcast series on human relationships for Level Ground entitled Conversations. Avril also currently works in the Production Management department for Scripted Programming at BET Networks. For more information, visit http://www.azuspeak.com.
For the past 12 years, Diego Wyatt has earned a name for himself by breaking the rules. Unhappy with the rigid expectations of journalists today, he embarked on a path to diversify his skill set with a number of professional and educational opportunities that have allowed him to be a more effective storyteller.
Diego completed his undergraduate studies in Latin American Literature and Biology at Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia before earning his M.A. in Journalism at New York University’s Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute. Well versed in new media, art direction, video production, marketing and public relations, Diego has worked for a number of print and digital publications as well as broadcast news brands that span an eclectic range of interests, including: fashion, music, pop culture/entertainment, human rights and politics. Aside from newsprint, Diego has been published in a number of biomedical journals, literary reviews and editorial compilations. He has brought his risk-taking sensibilities and provocative vision to MTV, BET, Celebuzz, Esquire, Details, Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week and Alexander Wang, among others. He has also served as brand strategist for a string of celebrity clients.
Diego currently serves as a supervising producer for NBC morning news and a freelance creative director in Chicago through his boutique firm evil twin.
Ann Rose is a renaissance producer and editor with a background in development, production and post-production. She has built her career bridging the gaps between cinematic documentary programs and compelling unscripted television, and between journalistic reportage and branded entertainment. Ann brings 20 years of television network, indie film and commercial production experience to every project she touches. She has produced and executive produced docuseries and documentaries for Sundance Channel, BBC, PBS, HBO, MTV, VH1 and AMC, including the GLAAD award winning series TRANSGENERATION, the series BE GOOD JOHNNY WEIR, and the feature documentaries PRODIGAL SONS, GARBAGE WARRIOR, and PRIMA DONNA: A RUFUS WAINRIGHT OPERA. In 2014 Ann transitioned to hands-on editing and has been producing and editing for both short form and long form programs ever since, including a fundraising scene and assembly edit for the feature documentary BEING BEBE, directed by Emily Branham.
In addition to editing, producing and/or and consulting on many films including CITIZENFOUR, THE OATH, and AMERICAN PROMISE, Jonathan was the editor of PARIS IS BURNING: The quintessential and enduring documentary about drag ball performers in New York in the late 1980s. Periodic consultation began prior to our main 2014 shoots.