November 2018 – Pluralities Conference

We presented at San Francisco State University’sPluralities conference, organized by theDocfilm Institute.

The panel, Beyond Inclusivity: New Trends in Documentary Funding and Representation, also included Lisa Berger,Independent Arts and Media;Jenny Slattery,SFFILM;Debbie Ng,San Francisco Arts Commission;with moderatorMarc Smolowitz.

We reviewed preliminary findings from our survey of emerging documentary filmmakers of color regarding their experiences of the industry and strategies for support.



March 2018 – Asian American Studies Conference

AAAS 2018

We presented at the Association for Asian American Studies’ annual conference with a panel titled: “Embracing West Asia (the Middle East) in Asian American Identity in Media Representation.”

We screened films by Ina Adele Ray, Sabereh Kashi, Jennifer Crystal Chien, and  Raeshma Razvi on personal stories of family, friends, and community leaders of immigrant communities from Vietnam, Iran, Turkey, and Afghanistan.

We spoke on the cultural and historic relationship between West Asia (Middle East) and East and South Asian people. We supported thinking of Asian American more broadly to be inclusive of Middle Easterners, as a voluntary multiple identity in addition to other identities.

February 2018 – Tales from the Middle East


With support from California Humanities, Neda Nobari Foundation, and in collaboration with Kehilla Synagogue and the Islamic Cultural Center of Northern California, we presented three filmmakers from the Middle East who engaged audience members in short film screenings and community dialogues.

Michal Aviad, Sabereh Kashi, and Itir Yakar focused on personal storytelling as a way to bring greater understanding of communities from Palestine, Israel, Armenia, Turkey, Iran, and the U.S.

Two sold out events took place on Februrary 17th and 18th in Oakland, California and brought together community members of diverse ethnic and faith backgrounds.

Outreach partners included:  IC3, Jewish Film Institute, ONiT, City of Oakland Cultural Affairs, and SFFILM.


[filmmaker photos]

[Tales from the Middle East]

December 2017 – Family and War: Women Filmmakers Asserting the Personal

We co-promoted a panel discussion produced by IC3: Incubating Creativity, Community & Civic Engagement, featuring Ina Adele Ray and Sabereh Kashi presenting their films-in-progress and sharing personal and family stories on global conflict in Iran, Vietnam, and the U.S.

[Filmmakers at IC3]

September/October 2017 – Emerging Filmmakers of Color Convenings


We hosted two convenings in September and October 2017 with emerging documentary filmmakers of color. About 25 filmmakers participated in-person and online. We discussed challenges, trends, and solutions in distribution and funding of personal story films.

As a follow-up, we will be soliciting written feedback in a survey and will report back on the findings in 2018.


May 2017 – Personal Perspectives in Asian American Documentary Film

As part of the United States of Asian America Festival, we showcased four filmmakers in a panel workshop focused on personal stories in Asian American filmmaking, moderated by RJ Lozada.

This event was presented by the Asian Pacific Islander Cultural Center, funded by Grants for the Arts and SFAC


  • Ina Adele Ray Lost Pictures. A Vietnamese-Scottish-Irish American uncovers her Vietnamese grandparents’ identity and war-time stories, while coping with inter-generational trauma, 9/11 and its aftermath.
  • Sabereh Kashi   Home Yet Far Away. An Iranian American reconciles two homelands in conflict. She explores the evolution of immigrant identity amidst stigma against Iran and Islam in American culture.
  • Raeshma Razvi   Sailor, Sufi, Spy. Robert Darr is a white American who follows an unusual path of being asked to serve as the Sufi spiritual leader of an Afghan refugee community in the U.S.