Designed to showcase the works of underrepresented filmmakers, the inaugural year of CIFF² will focus primarily on women of color directors. In order to create more opportunities for their work to be impactful, while simultaneously promoting the education of future filmmakers, CIFF² will pair a select group of these women with local female teenage film students. The students will attend the selected films during the Festival, engage in meaningful dialogue and interaction with the filmmakers, learn more about the Film Festival from a filmmaker’s point of view, and ultimately produce a short film about their experience. By providing an environment for these women and students to connect at the Cleveland International Film Festival, we hope to address subjects of identity, equality, and perseverance of women of color in the filmmaking community.
Presented with generous support from:
Films: PRISON DOGS
Geeta Gandbhir has been nominated for three Emmy Awards and has won two. As editor, her films have been nominated twice for Academy Awards®, winning once, and have also won three Peabody Awards. In February, a feature documentary she produced with Perri Peltz and directed with two-time Academy Award® winning director Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, "A Journey of A Thousand Miles: Peacekeepers," screened at the United Nations, hosted by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, following its premiere at the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival. She is currently co-directing and co-producing a "Conversation" series on race with The New York Times Op-Docs.
Born in Nassau, Bahamas, Sekiya Dorsett is a queer filmmaker giving voice to issues of equality. In 2008 her first film, "Wisdom and Understanding," a short experimental film, made its debut at NewFest Film Festival and the Oakland Black LGBT Festival. In 2009, her short film, "Sisters," a story about a lesbian woman struggling to reconcile with her mother, was screened at the Austin LGBT Film Festival. Through online media, her project, The Rainbow Collective, merged race, gender, religion, and pop culture. By day she is a writer/producer/editor, where she has created work for LOGO TV and NBC Universal.
Carla Lyndale Carter-Bishop
Film: VOICES OF THE HILL
Carla LynDale Carter-Bishop is a filmmaker and teacher of film to people of all ages. Born in Cleveland, Ohio, she received her BA in Cinema Studies from the University of Chicago and her MFA in Film and Media Arts from Temple University in Philadelphia. She has spent more than a decade teaching various community groups how to make documentaries that promote social change and using media as a tool for activism. In 2013 she started the organization, Focused Arts, which engages youth in documentary filmmaking to create media that matters in their communities. Her body of work as a filmmaker involves giving voice to individuals or societies that typically do not have a voice of their own in the media.
Film: WHO IS ARTHUR CHU?
Yu Gu is an award-winning filmmaker born in Chongqing, China and raised in Vancouver, Canada. At the University of Southern California, where she received her MFA in Film Production, she was awarded the coveted John Huston Award for Excellence in Directing. Working primarily in documentary, her films thrive on innovation, social awareness, and imagination. Her documentary, "City on the Verge," about pioneering Vancouverites, participated in the United Nations World Urban Forum III. In 2008 the mayor named her Vancouver's Best Emerging Filmmaker and New Media Artist.
Film: WHOSE STREETS?
Sabaah Folayan is an activist and storyteller born and raised in South Central LA. She entered the world of storytelling through theater, attending the Lee Strasberg Institute of Theatre and Film as a teenager, and performing as a member of the Black Theater Ensemble while a pre-med student at Columbia University. Her directorial debut, WHOSE STREETS?, landed her a coveted spot on Filmmaker Magazine's annual "25 New Faces of Independent Film." She is a 2015 Firelight Media Producers Lab Fellow, 2016 Chicken & Egg Accelerator Lab Fellow, and 2016 Sundance Institute Documentary Edit and Story Lab Fellow.
Salome Mulugeta is an American storyteller, filmmaker, journalist, writer, director, actor, and producer. She was born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. At an early age, she left Ethiopia to attend a boarding school for girls in Bedford, England, where she won many prestigious acting competitions. As an undergraduate at Mid-America Nazarene University in Olathe, Kansas, she studied Broadcasting Communication and Journalism. Soon after, she moved to Los Angeles to pursue her film industry dreams, where she co-wrote her first screenplay for WOVEN. She is currently busy directing and producing commercials and several independent short stories.
Nagwa Ibrahim is a director, producer, and an attorney who specializes in immigration law and criminal defense. She has traveled throughout the world on humanitarian delegations, including to Chiapas, Mexico, Iraq, Israel, Palestine, South Africa, and Venezuela. Through her travels, she became inspired to become a filmmaker. After producing a series of short films, she officially launched a production company, WitNas Productions. The purpose of WitNas is to use visual media of all types as a means of connecting humanity beyond borders by sharing the stories and lives of people around the world.