Author Archives: wildbluepixel

Unsettled: Seeking Refuge in America

Unsettled: Seeking Refuge in America

(Tom Shepard, 2019)

Thu, FEB 27, 2020


The Loft Cinema / FREE

In Person: Joining Jen Gilomen, Producer and Director of Photography, for post-screening Q&A will be UA Professor of History Benjamin Lawrance, whose research focuses on migration.

Co-presented by Lesbian Looks

UNSETTLED tells the stories of LGBT refugees and asylum seekers who have fled intense persecution from their home countries and are now resettling in the U.S. As new leadership in America continues to demonize immigrants and drastically restrict the flow of refugees and asylum seekers into the U.S., UNSETTLED humanizes a group few people know, who are desperately trying to create new and safer homes.

UNSETTLED has been screened at over 40 film festivals, and won more than a dozen awards, including:
Grand Jury Award for Best Documentary, Outfest
New York Cinematography Awards, Best Cinematography
Impact Docs, Award of Excellence

“An engrossing study in human interest, as well as an empathetic look at the particular struggles of U.S. immigration in the new millennium”Variety

“UNSETTLED reminds viewers that homosexuality is a crime in more than 70 countries, and is punishable by death in four. LGBT asylum claims began to rise during the Obama administration, but under President Trump — shown in the film signing his 2017 executive order to drastically curtail immigration — nearly 70% of all asylum claims are denied by the Department of Homeland Security, a historic low.”San Francisco Chronicle

Review in Bay Area Reporter

»more info at the film website


WORKSHOP: The Many Roles of the Documentary Producer

Presented by Jen Gilomen
February 28, 2020, 2-4pm

Join filmmaker Jen Gilomen, producer and director of photography for the new documentary film UNSETTLED: SEEKING REFUGE IN AMERICA (directed/produced by Tom Shepard) for a discussion about what it takes to produce an independent feature documentary. Producers wear many hats, and each film is different — which means the role of a producer is always morphing to fit the needs of each production. In addition to producing UNSETTLED, Gilomen has directed, produced, and shot several features and shorts, narratives and documentaries, many with LGBTQ+ themes. She has also produced corporate and nonprofit documentary content and acted as a Supervising Producer for a portfolio of films for public television. The workshop will cover producer roles, and delve into behind-the-scenes case studies in collaboration on Unsettled and other films Jen has produced.


Nilima Abrams

Nilima Abrams

Nilima Abrams is a documentary filmmaker and social entrepreneur with extensive experience in India. As an undergraduate she integrated self-taught documentary filmmaking with coursework, and wrote an award-winning honors thesis on schools and media in India. She also made a film on child labor prevention in India, and went on to complete an MFA in documentary film at Stanford. She has taught kids filmmaking in India, as well as native Vermont and Somali refugee youth, in a summer camp she co-created. Nilima received a Fulbright Fellowship to spend a year in India filming for a feature film and guiding students on THE TENT VILLAGE. Nilima teaches social issue and cause marketing documentary film courses at the University of Vermont. Besides filmmaking, Nilima works in various media to make “good causes” accessible.

Image from Soledad, a documentary film by Lisa Molomot


(Lisa Molomot, 2019)

TUE, APR 14, 2020, 7pm POSTPONED

The Loft Cinema / FREE

In Person: Joining filmmaker Lisa Molomot for a post-screening discussion will be the attorney featured in the film: Co-director of the Immigration Law Clinic at the UA School of Law, Shefali Desai.

Award-winning filmmaker Lisa Molomot and writer/teacher/lawyer Shefali Desai teamed up to make a short film telling the story of a young woman from Central America who was imprisoned in the Eloy Detention Facility when she sought asylum in the United States in 2017. Soledad set out on a perilous journey from her homeland after enduring horrific persecution where she was kidnapped, sex-trafficked, tortured and nearly killed. Desai, who took the case pro bono from the University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law’s Immigration Clinic, mobilized a dream team of professional women, all of whom agreed to work for free on the case. Together, they secured Soledad’s release from Eloy and ultimately prevailed on her asylum claim.

Recent changes to our country’s asylum laws–including refusals to release asylum seekers from incarceration, stripping immigration judges of independent decision-making, and failure to review each case on its own unique merits–are drastically reducing the chances that women like Soledad will be granted asylum in the U.S. The result is that many women are being sent back to their countries where they face death sentences. This timely story highlights the challenges of the U.S. asylum system and the importance of legal representation to this highly vulnerable population.

»more info at the film website


Jacob Bricca

Jacob Bricca

Jacob Bricca is an award-winning Tucson-based documentary editor, director, and teacher. He has edited over a dozen feature films including the international theatrical hit LOST IN LA MANCHA, the New Yorker Films theatrical release CON ARTIST, the Independent Lens Audience Award Winner JIMMY SCOTT: IF YOU ONLY KNEW and the 2016 Sundance Special Jury Award Winner THE BAD KIDS. His directorial credits include INDIES UNDER FIRE: THE BATTLE FOR THE AMERICAN BOOKSTORE, which won awards at the Newburyport Documentary Festival and the Santa Cruz Film Festival, PURE, which premiered at the 2009 Berlin International Film Festival, and FINDING TATANKA which premiered at the 2014 Big Sky Documentary Film Festival and is distributed by Passion River Films. He is an Assistant Professor at the University of Arizona’s School of Theatre, Film and Television, where he teaches classes on editing and documentary filmmaking. He is the author of Documentary Editing: Principles and Practice (Focal Press/Routledge, 2017).

Matthew Cassel

Matthew Cassel

Matthew Cassel is an independent multimedia journalist and filmmaker based in Istanbul. He spent five years covering the Arab world with the Al Jazeera network. His 2013 award-winning film for AJE, IDENTITY AND EXILE: AN AMERICAN’S STRUGGLE WITH ZIONISM, focuses on his personal journey from his hometown Chicago to the Middle East, where he has lived for the past decade. Cassel is co-editor of Diaries of an Unfinished Revolution: Voices from Tunis to Damascus (Penguin, 2013), a collection of essays on the 2011 uprisings by writers from across the Arab world. Cassel speaks fluent Arabic and has spent much of the past two years focusing on the plight of refugees seeking asylum in the EU.

»Interview with Matthew Cassel

»Interview with filmmaker Matthew Cassel re making of The Journey

Heather Courtney

Heather Courtney, Filmmaker

Heather Courtney is a Guggenheim fellow and an Emmy-winning filmmaker. Her film WHERE SOLDIERS COME FROM, won an Emmy, an Independent Spirit Award, and a SXSW Jury Award. The film received positive reviews from the New York Times and the Washington Post, and was broadcast nationally on the PBS program POV. It made several Top 10 films of 2011 lists, including Salon’s Best Non-fiction, and was supported by many grants and fellowships including from ITVS, the Sundance Documentary Fund, the United States Artists Fellowship, and POV/American Documentary. Heather was also a fellow at the Sundance Edit and Story Lab. She has directed and produced several other documentary films including award-winners LETTERS FROM THE OTHER SIDE and LOS TRABAJADORES/THE WORKERS, which both focused on immigration issues, and were broadcast nationally on PBS. She has been funded by ITVS, the Sundance Documentary Fund, the Ford Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation, Latino Public Broadcasting, and the Austin Film Society, as well as a Fulbright Fellowship and an International Documentary Association award. Courtney’s film THE UNAFRAID (2018) co-directed with Anayansi Prado, received the Kathleen Bryan Edwards award for Human Rights at the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival, and was the closing night film of the Human Rights Watch Film Festival in New York.

Luisa Dantas

Luisa Dantas, filmmaker of Land of Opportunity

Brazilian-American filmmaker Luisa Dantas has worked on a wide array of documentary and fiction projects at the intersection of storytelling and social justice. Her most recent work, LAND OF OPPORTUNITY, chronicles the reconstruction of New Orleans through the eyes of those on the frontlines and asks the question: what kinds of cities do we want to (re)build in the 21st century? The transmedia project includes an award-winning feature film and groundbreaking interactive web platform produced in conjunction with a spectrum of national and local partners in six cities. Luisa also co-produced the acclaimed documentary, WAL-MART: THE HIGH COST OF LOW PRICE, and directed and produced the web-series VOICES FROM THE GULF for Color of Change. She teaches screenwriting and documentary filmmaking at Tulane University. Luisa received her B.A. in English and Latin American studies from Brown University and an M.F.A. in Film from Columbia University.

Building Trust, Gaining Access: Working with Documentary Subjects

Presented by Lisa Molomot
November 1, 2019

Independent filmmakers have both advantages and disadvantages over journalists in gaining access to documentary stories and subjects. In this 2-hour workshop, documentary filmmaker Lisa Molomot will discuss how she gained extraordinary access to Border Patrol agents, vigilante ranchers, forensic scientists and human rights activists when filming her upcoming documentary feature Missing in Brooks County, which follows two families who are in search of their missing loved ones who went missing after crossing the U.S./Mexico border.


Directing Vérité Documentaries

February 22, 2019

In this workshop, filmmakers Anayansi Prado and Heather Courtney will discuss their vérité approach to documentary filmmaking, both as co-directors on THE UNAFRAID and on their own individual projects. Using clips from THE UNAFRAID and other films as examples, they will discuss the challenges and advantages of filming vérité. This workshop will give participants a unique and personal insight into the process of a long-term feature documentary project and what’s involved in capturing “life as it happens”.


Jen Gilomen

Jen Gilomen

Jen Gilomen is an award-winning documentary producer, director, and cinematographer who has created nationally and internationally distributed films, including Life on the Line (PBS, 2014), In My Shoes (Frameline, 2005), and Deep Down (Independent Lens, 2010), which was funded by ITVS and MacArthur Foundation, participated in the U.S. State Department’s American Documentary Showcase, and received an Emmy nomination in 2011. In 2015-16, Jen was a Supervising Producer and programmer at ITVS, where she oversaw a portfolio of over fifteen feature documentaries. She is a Member-Owner of New Day Films, a former board member of Working Films, and an Associate of the U.C. Berkeley Investigative Reporting Program.

James Klein

James Klein

James Klein has been an independent filmmaker since 1970. With his partner, Julia Reichert, he created such innovative documentaries as GROWING UP FEMALE, the first documentary about women from a feminist perspective which was selected for the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress; UNION MAIDS, one of the first oral history films and an Academy Award nominee; METHADONE: AN AMERICAN WAY OF DEALING, which challenged government policies on heroin addiction; and SEEING RED, a film about American communists that was nominated for an Academy Award. Klein has also had a distinguished career as a film editor in the independent film community, including such films as SCOUT’S HONOR, about gay discrimination within the Boy Scouts; LION IN THE HOUSE, about kids and their families fighting cancer and a prime time Emmy winner; and the Academy Award nominated THE LAST TRUCK, about the closing of a GM truck factory. He is a founder of the social issue documentary film distribution co-op New Day Films, and retired Professor in the School of Theatre, Dance and Film at Wright State University.

Documentary Cinematography and Point of View

Presented by PJ Raval
November 2, 2018

This workshop will survey PJ Raval‘s award-winning feature documentary career focusing on his work as a director and cinematographer. Learn how PJ’s personal upbringing has informed his artistic sensibilities and overall cinematography. The workshop will focus on the question, “How can the camera address who is telling whose story?”


Lisa Molomot

Lisa Molomot

Lisa Molomot is a documentary filmmaker living in Tucson, Arizona. She has been working in film for over 20 years, directing, filming and editing documentaries. Early in her career, Lisa attended The American Film Institute in Los Angeles where she focused on film editing before going on to edit several fiction and nonfiction films. Since then, she has directed eight documentaries. Her award-winning feature THE HILL tells the story of an immigrant neighborhood in New Haven, CT and aired on America Reframed in 2015. Her award-winning shorts SCHOOL’S OUT and TEACHING IN ARIZONA have had hundreds of screenings and been featured on, in The Atlantic, and on NPR. In the spring of 2019, Lisa was a Fulbright scholar at The International Migration Research Centre at the Balsillie School of International Affairs in Ontario, Canada where she worked on SAFE HAVEN, a feature documentary about U.S. war resisters (military deserters) who apply for asylum in Canada, and SOLEDAD, a short documentary mixing live action and animation about an asylum case in Tucson. She recently completed MISSING IN BROOKS COUNTY, a feature documentary profiling law enforcement agents, human rights workers, and activists who come face to face with the life and death consequences of our broken immigration system in this Texas county that has been the site of an estimated 3000 migrant deaths since 2008. Lisa has taught filmmaking at Yale University and Wesleyan University; she is currently teaching the film course “Visual Storytelling and the Law” at the James E. Rogers School of Law at the University of Arizona, and developing a documentary production course for the online Graduate Program in Human Rights Practice.

Paco de Onis

Paco de Onís

Paco de Onís is the Executive Director at Skylight Pictures. In 2011 he produced GRANITO: HOW TO NAIL A DICTATOR (world premiere at Sundance 2011), a documentary detective story focused on the role of filmic and archival documentation in the prosecution of a genocide case against Guatemalan generals, and launched GRANITO: EVERY MEMORY MATTERS, a companion mixed media project developed to restore the collective memory of the Guatemalan genocide. One year after the release of GRANITO: HOW TO NAIL A DICTATOR, the dictator of the title was charged with genocide and put on trial in Guatemala. Skylight’s 2017 film 500 YEARS chronicles Guatemala’s recent history through the perspective of the indigenous Mayan population. Paco also served as the producer on THE RECKONING: THE BATTLE FOR THE INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT (world premiere Sundance 2009), a documentary accompanied by IJ Central, an interactive audience engagement initiative promoting global rule of law, developed at the BAVC Producerʼs Institute in 2008. Prior to that, he produced STATE OF FEAR, a Skylight Pictures film about Peruʼs 20-year “war on terror” based on the findings of the Peruvian Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Prior to his work at Skylight he produced documentaries for PBS (ON OUR OWN TERMS with Bill Moyers), National Geographic (SECRETS FROM THE GRAVE), and a range of other programs.

Thinking Like an Editor: How to Turn 400 Hours of Footage into a Film

Presented by Lindsay Utz
March 30, 2018

Lindsay Utz’s workshop will focus on how she shaped the award-winning feature documentary QUEST (“a living, breathing, stunning documentary study of an African-American family in North Philadelphia weathering a tumultuous decade”) from over 400 hours of footage shot over a 10-year period. QUEST premiered at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival and has gone on to garner the Grand Jury prize at the Full Frame Documentary Festival, and top awards at several other prestigious festivals. Additionally, Lindsay won the award for Outstanding Achievement in Editing at this year’s Cinema Eye Honors for her work on the film. QUEST will have its 2018 television broadcast premiere on POV.


Richard Perez

Richard Perez

Richard Ray Perez is personally connected to the issues presented in CESAR’S LAST FAST. For 22 years, Perez’s father was a farm worker who lived in and worked under the conditions Cesar Chavez fought to end. At five years old Richard joined the historic grape boycotting organized by the United Farm Workers. Prior to directing and executive producing CESAR’S LAST FAST, Richard Ray Perez directed and/or executive produced 4 documentary film series for Brave New films. Mr. Perez is the Producer of Creative Partnerships in the Sundance Institute’s Documentary Film Program.

Empowering Youth Through Participatory Filmmaking

Presented by Nilima Abrams
November 17, 2017

THE TENT VILLAGE is a collaborative film created by Nilima Abrams and four teenagers in India. The film was a wonderful “accident” that arose from another Fulbright project, and has been screened nationally on PBS and at festivals throughout the US and abroad. THE TENT VILLAGE is about roadside tent dwellers who pick through recycling or sell hair to survive. The Indian collaborators’ unique perspective, which is slowly revealed in the film, is that three of them are originally from the “Tent Village”, with the fourth providing a perspective from a slightly less marginalized section of society. The filmmakers — who had eventually been educated by an NGO — share their own and their relatives’ stories with empathy and nuance, tackling difficult topics like child marriage and caste stigma.

This workshop will be led by Nilima, along with Saritha and Aliveli, two of her youth collaborators visiting Arizona. They will delve further into the participatory process, including how the film came about, and the challenges and opportunities it presented, from both the student and teacher perspectives. They will also discuss broader participatory filmmaking techniques and issues such as basic teaching techniques, privacy and safety, creative control, finding narrative in found footage, and drawing out stories that are “empowering” versus “shaming”.

Now aged 22, this will be one of Saritha and Aliveli’s first opportunities to share about the film. Since its completion they finished school and have been working in India at insurance and consulting firms, and are supporting their families. This is their first travel outside of India and they are very much looking forward to meeting new people and sharing their experiences.


Anayansi Prado

Anayansi Prado, Filmmaker

An award-winning documentary filmmaker and instructor, Anayansi Prado was born in Panama and moved to the United States as a teenager. She attended Boston University where she received a B.A. in Film. She directed and produced the award-winning documentaries MAID IN AMERICA (2004), CHILDREN IN NO MAN’S LAND (2008) and PARAISO FOR SALE (2011) which were broadcast nationally on PBS. Anayansi is a Rockefeller Media Fellow and a Creative Capital Artist, and has received support for her work from The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, The Ford Foundation, and the Tribeca Film Institute. Prado is a Film Expert for the American Film Showcase (2009-present) and works on a regular basis with the State Department’s Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs to bring documentary filmmaking training to aspiring filmmakers in developing countries. Prado’s film THE UNAFRAID (2018) co-directed with Heather Courtney, received the Kathleen Bryan Edwards award for Human Rights at the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival, and was the closing night film of the Human Rights Watch Film Festival in New York.

Documenting the Undocumented: Producing and Distributing Short Films about Immigration

Presented by Theo Rigby
March 3, 2017

Award-winning filmmaker, interactive storyteller and photojournalist Theo Rigby will present his work over the past decade with iNation Media, creating short-form webseries and feature documentaries about the immigrant experience in the U.S. His current project, WAKING DREAM, explores the lives of young undocumented people across the U.S. who have DACA permits. Drawing on this work in progress, Rigby will discuss project conceptualization, “casting,” producing and distributing short-form documentary media about immigration issues; how to fund short content through crowdfunding, grants, and distributor acquisitions; and non-traditional ways to engage audiences.


PJ Raval

PJ Raval, Call Her Ganda, filmmaker

PJ Raval is a filmmaker and cinematographer whose work explores the overlooked subcultures and identities within the already marginalized LGBTQ+ community. Named one of Out Magazine’s “Out 100” and Filmmaker Magazine’s “25 New Faces of Independent Film,” PJ’s film credits include TRINIDAD (Showtime, LOGO) and BEFORE YOU KNOW IT, which follows the lives of three gay senior men, described by indieWIRE as “a crucial new addition to the LGBT doc canon.” BEFORE YOU KNOW IT screened theatrically and broadcast premiered as the season finale of AMERICA REFRAMED on PBS, and was recently awarded the National Gay and Lesbian Journalist Association Excellence in Documentary Award 2016. Also an accomplished cinematographer, PJ shot the Academy Award‐nominated Best Documentary TROUBLE THE WATER. PJ is a 2015 Guggenheim Fellow, 2016 Firelight Media Fellow, and a 2017 Robert Giard Fellow.

Documentary Editing: Strategies for Making the Most of Your Material

Presented by Jacob Bricca
November 4, 2016

Documentary editing is one of the most challenging intellectual feats on the planet. One begins with a mountain of shapeless footage and is expected to fashion a fully realized story, complete with finely tuned dramatic arcs, satisfying themes and subplots, and a carefully constructed climax. How does anyone do it? In this workshop, editor Jacob Bricca will share the processes he has developed over his 15-year career, explaining with concrete examples how to find narrative threads, explore and develop subtext, build effective scenes, and get the most out of your material for a project of any size. Drawing on interviews he has conducted with top documentary editors for this forthcoming book, Documentary Editing: Principles and Practice, he will offer tips and techniques designed to make your editing more efficient and impactful.


Building Solidarity: Documentary as a Strategy for Human Rights Activism

Presented by Pamela Yates and Paco de Onis
March 4, 2016

Distinguished visiting filmmakers Pamela Yates and Paco de Onis will discuss their work with Skylight Films, an activist media organization committed for over three decades to producing artistic, challenging and socially relevant media to strengthen citizen engagement, human rights and the quest for social justice. Using as an example their recent film DISRUPTION, about a women’s economic empowerment project in Peru, Colombia and Brazil, Paco and Pam will describe their process of collaborating with community leaders, grassroots organizations and NGOs to produce documentaries for social change.

Theo Rigby

Theo Rigby

Theo Rigby is a director, cinematographer, and interactive storyteller based out of San Francisco. He believes in the power of media to create awareness and dialogue about the world’s most pressing social and political issues.

Rigby’s project WAKING DREAM is featured on Indie Lens Storycast, a web series YouTube channel, created by Indie filmmakers and developed by ITVS. His last project, IMMIGRANT NATION (iNation), is a series of short films about immigration in the U.S. including The CARETAKER, THE MAYOR, and MARATHON, as well as an online storytelling platform, and a series of live storytelling events. iNation has been showcased on the New York Times website, nationally broadcast on PBS, and shown at Ellis Island, the 2014 New York Film Festival, and 2012 Cannes Film Festival. The project received a MacArthur Documentary Film grant, as well as a Tribeca Institute New Media Fund grant. His film, SIN PAIS (Without Country), won a Student Academy Award, has screened in over 30 film festivals, and was nationally broadcast on PBS’ independent documentary showcase POV in 2012. He is currently completing a feature documentary on the contemporary Sanctuary movement.

Lisa Stevens

Lisa Stevens

Producer Lisa Stevens has produced several landmark documentary series for National Geographic Channel: OUTLAW BIKERS, UNDERWORLD CITIES AND DRUGS, INCORPORATED. She recently produced CRACKHOUSE USA for Channel 4 and MSNBC, with Academy Award winning (MAN ON WIRE) producer, Jonathan Hewes of Wall to Wall Media and BAFTA award winning director, Anthony Wonke. Lisa founded her own production Company, Green Acres Films Ltd. in 2009. DREAMCATCHER came about after years of nurturing a relationship with the main subjects of the film.