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.


A blue flyer for the Beyond Trauma Informed: Understanding Reciprocal Impact session at The R.E.S.T. Summit

Re-Present Media is excited to present a session at The Video Consortium’s R.E.S.T. Summit at 12pm ET on Friday, March 25th, 2022 that will introduce filmmakers and journalists to a new model of filmmaking that centers participants and their agency in storytelling, and is informed by our previous campaign work on “Sabaya”

Re-Present Media founder, Jennifer Crystal Chien, will be moderating a workshop titled “Beyond Trauma Informed: Understanding Reciprocal Impact” alongside human rights lawyer, Sherizaan Minwalla, and licensed therapist, JoAnn DePetro. The workshop will discuss how filmmakers and participants have a reciprocal relationship of impact, even though they may have significant power, resource and status differences. JoAnn DePetro will share how narrative therapy can help filmmakers gain insight on those involved in filmmaking on both sides of the camera. Sherizaan Minwalla, a human rights lawyer involved in the Sabaya film campaign advocating for the rights of Yazidi women will present best practices for working with traumatized participants ethically. Participants will leave with a new model that centers reciprocal impact and how participants can be empowered in the process of engaging with media in situations that involve issues related to trauma and mental health.

To attend this session, filmmakers and journalists must register for the free REST Summit.

Launched by the Video Consortium and supported by the Google News Initiative, the REST Summit (Resilience, Emotional and Digital Security, Trauma) is a collaborative week-long virtual symposium that explores the nature of resilience, safety, and trauma for those working in video journalism and documentary film.

The REST Summit will provide a safe, inclusive, and inspiring virtual space for nonfiction film and video storytellers to collectively lower their protective shields, be vulnerable, and find more balance while reporting on real-world events. Using a community-driven and grassroots approach, this summit is made by creators for creators—to dive into sensitive, often overlooked topics around mental health and safety.

Taking place Monday, March 21 to Friday, March 25, 2022, the Summit is open to members of the nonfiction film and video industry who seek to have a better understanding of these most pressing issues.

To attend, please email us at: [email protected]

Oaktown Stories 2 banner

Re-Take Oakland filmmakers Jessica Jones, Jenn Lee Smith, and A.K. Sandhu presented three films. With their guest speakers and community partners, they held a community discussions relating to the contributions of black women to Oakland with our audience members.

  • Women Who Ride (Jessica Jones) shared an intimate portrait of D’Vious Wayz, Oakland’s first black women’s motorcycle club, as they come together to build a community around their passion for riding. This sneak peak introduced the themes and characters that will appear in a longer film slated to finish this fall. Guest speaker Frankie “Tish” Edwards spoke on black women creating a positive space for themselves.

  • Queen of the Court (Jenn Lee Smith) introduced Cheri King, a tennis tournament director and coach, as she teaches students the art of tennis and shares ways it may bridge socio-economic gaps. Guest speaker Cheri King spoke on how tennis can be empowering for black and brown youth.

  • For Love and Legacy (A.K. Sandhu) followed Dana King and Fredrika Newton as they create the first public art sculpture honoring Huey Newton, co-founder of the Black Panther Party, and how they reconcile their mixed-race identity. Guest speakers Dana King and Fredrika Newton of the Dr. Huey P. Newton Foundation spoke on the importance of women’s contributions to community building and social justice movements.


Oaktown Stories June 5th 7-9p


Re-Take Oakland filmmakers Corinne Manabat Cueva, Jay Gash, Lucy Saephan, and teo octavia presented four films. With their guest speakers and community partners, they held deeply engaging discussions relating to the personal stories of Oaklanders with audience members.


  • Rooted in Resilience (teo octavia) focused on refugee and advocate Danny Thongsy as he fights against his deportation and for the rights of Southeast Asians. Guest speakers and community partners Lan Nguyen and Jun Hamamoto (Stand4Danny) centered the themes of grassroots activism and advocacy, Southeast Asian refugee and immigrant stories, displacement and deportation, and mobilization and movement building.


  • When the Garden Comes (Jay Gash) explored their family home and garden in North Oakland through three generations and how it can be a source of memories. Guest speakers and community partners Creasie Jordan and Keith Battle (BAVC) centered the themes of gardening and land for the black and brown community, defining legacy, and family histories and traditions.


  • Synchronized (Corinne Manabat Cueva) embraced 5 women of color as they collectively reflect about their experiences living and thriving in Oakland. Guest speakers and community partners Carmen Wong and Grace Patterson (BAVC/Reel Stories) centered the themes of expectations about Oakland; personal identity, place, and space; and the impacts of being creatives.


  • My Name is Lai (Lucy Saephan) drew a portrait of her Mien American grandmother as a cultural bearer carrying generational wisdom connecting her experiences in both Laos and Oakland. Guest speakers and community partners Lai and Muong Saephan (Lao Iu Mien Cultural Association) centered the themes of the Mien community in Oakland, intergenerational relationships and legacy, and the community’s future.


Re-Take Oakland filmmakers Corinne Manabat Cueva and Lucy Saephan discussed the relationship between culture, ecology, and personal storytelling at the 2021 AAAS conference. They screened their two new short films: My Name is Lai, featuring Lucy’s Mien grandmother talking about her experiences of life, and Synchronized featuring women of color discussing their relationship to living in Oakland.

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We heard about two online subscription streaming platforms that feature intersectional content made by BIPOC filmmakers. Sisterhood Media TV streams short films by filmmakers telling their stories about queerness, accessibility, race, gender, culture, class, and more, while working towards a better future. Open Television focuses on artist development, community development, and research in developing their online series and films. Partners have included HBO, Tribeca Film Festival, and Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago.