BAMMS Summit - Power of Pesonal Documentary Films Event - Sunday June 5 - 12:30pm

Join us for a filmmakers’ case study for The Power of Personal Documentary Films!

IN PERSON – Sunday June 5, 12:30pm

KQED, 2601 Mariposa Street, San Francisco

Learn about our new article, The Power of Personal Documentary Films, which looks at the importance of personal storytelling in relationship to racism and white supremacy in the industry.

We discuss two case studies from personal films by Lucy Saephan (My Name is Lai) and Jay Gash (When the Garden Comes).


May 11 CAAM Filmmaker Summit Event - May 11th 10am PT

Join us for a filmmakers’ case study for The Power of Personal Documentary Films!

Presented at the CAAM Filmmaker Summit with A-DOC

In this 90 minute presentation and interactive dialogue, IDA’s Director of Artist Development Abby Sun will moderate a presentation and discussion with Chanda Chevannes, Jennifer Crystal Chien, Nausheen Dadabhoy, a Muslim-American filmmaker and mixed race Asian American filmmaker David Siev regarding highlights of their work as it relates to RPM’s field surveys on personal storytelling and their films – An Act of Worship and Bad Axe. We will also discuss the unique challenges Asian Americans and/or Muslim Americans and other BIPOC face when making these films. After the presentation, attendees will engage in a facilitated dialogue about their own experiences, reflections, and questions.

Jennifer Crystal Chien, Director, Re-Present Media
Chanda Chevannes, Filmmaker, Writer, and Educator
Nausheen Dadabhoy, Director, An Act of Worship
David Siev, Director, Bad Axe
Moderator: Abby Sun, Director of Artist Programs, IDA


Join us for a launch event for The Power of Personal Documentary Films!


The Power of Personal Documentary FIlms, published by Re-Present Media, is an article researched over several years to look at the impacts of racism and white supremacy in the industry on emerging BIPOC filmmakers. The article also makes a case for the importance of personal storytelling. Learn more about the findings from this work and engage with other BIPOC industry members in an interactive audience discussion.

Over the last several years, Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) documentary filmmakers have discussed decolonizing documentaries as part of creating more equity in the field. In 2017, Re-Present Media (RPM) decided to take a different angle on the issues faced by BIPOC filmmakers and began gathering information on the impact of racism and white supremacy in the industry, which is summarized in their new article, The Power of Personal Documentary Films. RPM advocates for personal storytelling from underrepresented communities in documentary films and nonfiction media.

Jennifer and Chanda will present an overview of the highlights of this work, which was composed of focus groups and surveys on the experiences of underrepresented filmmakers working on personal stories. Then they will take a deep dive into the context of this work, including their personal stories behind why this work was necessary, the value of qualitative data, the necessity of anonymity for participants, the strategy behind the impact campaign for this work, and how this work can become a seed for ongoing practice towards industry change.

Those who attend will gain an understanding of the importance of personal documentary filmmaking along with the issues surrounding white supremacy culture and its impact on BIPOC filmmakers. Jennifer and Chanda will also provide a preview of the impacts they hope the article will have and the ways in which attendees might continue to engage in the conversation.

The presentation will be followed by an interactive audience discussion that will not be recorded.