For nearly two decades, Working Films has positioned documentaries to advance social justice and environmental protection. We work with grassroots groups and NGOs to enhance their programs, extend their reach, and move their missions forward. And we train and consult filmmakers to strengthen their community engagement. Together, we are using documentaries to reach critical audiences and move the dial toward meaningful progress on the biggest issues of our time.
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and NGOs we've partnered with and trained
STAFF & BOARD
Anna brings previous experience as an educator to Working Films, using her background in curriculum design to enhance Working Films' trainings for filmmakers and nonprofits. She directed the development and outreach of Working Films’ multi-media curriculum project, New Faces: Latinos in North Carolina.
Prior to joining Working Films, Anna was the Program Director at Amigos Internacional, a Latino advocacy and education center in Wilmington, NC. Anna. She taught first grade in a bilingual program in Phoenix, AZ for two years and spent a year living in Latin America, where she studied Spanish and taught English as a foreign language. Anna earned a Master of Education from Arizona State University and a B.A. in Sociology from Wake Forest University. Together with her husband Johnny, she’s raising two young sons.
She is a tri-coastal artivist and scholar pursuing a doctorate at the University of New Orleans researching the intersection of the creative third space, trust building, and relationship development in social justice movements. She co-founded the Radical Arts and Healing Collective, an intersectional arts-based direct action and healing support movement hub based out of New Orleans. For several years, she served as coordinator for the Gulf Future Coalition bringing together over 90 organizations across the Gulf Coast to restore, protect and defend communities, cultures and ecosystems galvanized in the wake of the BP oil drilling disaster. More recently, she managed the national community arts program for the Peoples Climate March in Washington DC, and has been coordinating the efforts of Another Gulf Is Possible, a regional collaborative for a just transition in the Gulf South. Jayeesha is a board member of Big Class/826 New Orleans and also chairs the Alternate ROOTS Visual Arts working group. Jayeesha's artistic mediums include photography, painting, collaborative storytelling, participatory theater, digital design, and mass movement art. She is an avid traveler, home chef, live music aficionado and loves being near (or in) any body of water.
Stephanie Avery Taylor
Stephanie has an extensive background in racial justice and environmental education. She was a 2009 honoree of the National Women's History Project for the Leave No Trace Master Educator training and Eco-Camps she started, which inspire children to become good stewards of the land. Stephanie has served as a board member of the Cucalorus Film Festival and co-hosted the community Racial Rewind film series which focused on racial tensions throughout history and sparked involvement from participants to be active members of society for improved race relations. As the former Racial Justice director at the YWCA she worked with other local organizers to bring an inventive education series, The History of Wilmington in Black and White. Her previous experience as a business office manager gives her a unique and valuable skill set for managing Working Films’ administrative needs.
Alyce Myatt’s career reflects the intersection of media, art, and philanthropy. She has been the director of Media Arts for the National Endowment for the Arts and was the founding Executive Director of the funder affinity group, Grantmakers in Film + Electronic Media. She also served as a Program Officer for Media at the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, and as Director of Children’s Programming and later Vice President of Programming at PBS.
Now a consultant, she counts among her recent clients the University of Baltimore, the Center for Digital Democracy, the Robert W. Deutsch Foundation, the Heinz Endowments, and the Maryland Institute College of Art. Among her past clients are the Annie E. Casey and Skillman Foundations, Council on Foundations, National Alliance for Media Arts + Culture, TVE Brasil, Scholastic, Simon & Schuster, WGBH, WNET, WNYC Radio, and Voqal.
Alyce began her career producing for both adults and children with projects ranging from investigative reports to a children’s science series. Her production credits include the Smithsonian Institution, Nickelodeon, “3-2-1 Contact!,” and ABC's "20/20."
Alyce Myatt has served as a board director or advisor to Arts Engine, Auburn Media at the Center for Multi-faith Education, the Center for Rural Strategies, the Center for Media & Social Impact at American University, the Council on Foundations Technology Task Force, the Emerson College Alumni Association, Grantmakers in the Arts: Art & Social Change Working Group, the National Alliance of Media Arts and Culture and WITNESS.
She has worked in media marketing and sales since discovering these studies were not her paths to a sustainable future and moved to Manhattan where she wisely decided to try the view from the audience.
Ellen has worked for The New York Times, Time Warner Cable's NY1 news network, the New York Post and The Asbury Park Press.
She has been at The Nation magazine for fifteen years. During this time she has channeled her enthusiasm for people, multiculturalism and film to connect documentary filmmakers to The Nation's community of policymakers and compassionate activists in order to mitigate the wrongs that these films illuminate.
As a consultant in the early 90s she produced The First Annual Yankee Fan Festival at Madison Square Garden and a Sports Legend fundraiser for Cystic Fibrosis at Mickey Mantle's restaurant.
Ellen has served on the Board of the Sandy Hook Foundation, a friends group of the National Park Service, for 17 years.
She lives on NJ's Bayshore with her husband, John, and their son, Wes, an undergraduate at Tulane University and is a championship winning co-ed softball pitcher.
She is excited to help the Board further its great work in creating replicable models for social change and environmental stewardship.
She serves on the board of the Tibet Fund, an organization founded under the auspices of His Holiness the Dalai Lama that supports health, education, cultural preservation and economic development in the Tibetan refugee community. She has worked on a number of publishing projects that deal with environmental, social and spiritual themes, including Al Gore’s book, An Inconvenient Truth and, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Tibetan diaspora, she produced, Thank You Tibet.
She now works in the area of social and environmental impact documentary film. She is on the board of Working Films and is the founder of the New Economy Film Festival which launched in NYC in 2013.
Natalie Bullock Brown
holds a Master of Fine Arts in Film Production from Howard University, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Northwestern University.
Omisade Burney Scott
Omisade is a founding member of a Triangle Area African American Giving Circle called NGAAP, The Next Generation of African American Philanthropist that directly addresses the “supply/demand” paradigm inherent in philanthropy that is connected to issues of power and privilege. She has served on various non profit boards including stone circles and the Fund for Southern Communities. She currently serves on the board for The Beautiful Project and SpiritHouse. In addition, Omisade was selected to be a member of the Core Faculty for the Leadership Practice. The Leadership Practice is a collaborative partnership between the Asset-based Community Development Institute of Northwestern University and the national office of Public Allies which provides Asset-based Community Develop (ABCD) technical assistance to AmeriCorps programs nationwide.Omisade believes in the interconnectedness of spirituality and activism and the mighty and righteous work of indigenous leaders tethered to local communities and small organizations. She resides in Durham, NC with her amazing sons Che and Taj.
Rachel is proud to serve on the board of the 52nd Street Project, The Jewish Fund for Justice, The Builders Association, and Working Films. She has also, for the past five years, participated in the Theater Development Fund’s Open Doors program, which introduces underserved high school students to the theater.
Lisa Kleiner Chanoff
In addition to her involvement with Catapult films, Lisa is a Co-Executive Producer of FRUITVALE STATION, and an Executive Producer of the documentary WATCHERS OF THE SKY.
Lisa has a J.D. from University of California, Hastings College of the Law and practiced law in San Francisco and with the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington D.C. After leaving law practice, Lisa received a master’s degree in Museum Studies and worked with museums in the San Francisco bay area, including the Contemporary Jewish Museum, designing exhibitions and education programs.
Lisa assists several non-profits in an advisory capacity, and serves on the boards of Working Films and the San Francisco Film Society.
Lisa has three children and lives in San Francisco with her husband Matt.
Caty Borum Chatoo
Borum Chattoo’s social-change storytelling, strategy and research work has been featured in USA Today, NPR, Businessweek, The Huffington Post, and PBS MediaShift, and her social justice documentaries have aired internationally and nationally on Netflix, the Sundance Channel, Pivot, NDTV (India), PBS World, Link TV, KCET, DirectTV and theatrically. She has produced two documentary feature films (Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price and The After Party), a TV documentary and transmedia series (Stand Up Planet, starring Hasan Minhaj from “The Daily Show”), a multi-part documentary TV series focused on global poverty (ViewChange), a seven-part environmental justice documentary TV series (Sierra Club Chronicles), and PSA campaigns designed for social change on issues ranging from global poverty to climate change to HIV. At CMSI, her current research, creative and strategy work focuses on audience effects of documentary storytelling, nonfiction industry race and gender diversity, audience effects of entertainment storytelling across platforms, and the role of comedy in social justice.
Previously, she was senior vice president in the social marketing practice group at FleishmanHillard International Communications in Washington, D.C., focused on social-change programs. In Los Angeles, she was a longtime collaborator with legendary TV producer and philanthropist/activist Norman Lear as a founding director of Declare Yourself, a national youth civic engagement organization; and special projects director & senior producer at the USC Norman Lear Center, a research and public policy center that examines the social impact of entertainment on society. She also served as the program officer in the Kaiser Family Foundation’s Entertainment Media & Public Health program; project director at the Center for Media Education; and fellow in civic journalism at The Philadelphia Inquirer.
Borum Chattoo holds an M.A. in Communication from the University of Pennsylvania (The Annenberg School for Communication), and a B.A. in Communication Studies (summa cum laude, In Honors, Phi Beta Kappa) from Virginia Tech.
During his time in the federal government, Will served as a spokesperson to local, national and foreign news outlets on a wide range of issues, including criminal justice reform, drug policy, immigration, public health and education. At the White House, he worked with filmmakers to plan interviews and events with the President and senior officials for documentaries airing on PBS/Frontline, MTV, Showtime and other outlets. He has planned high profile events and policy rollouts featured in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, USA TODAY and The Washington Post and managed appearances for government officials on Meet the Press, Morning Joe, 60 Minutes and The Colbert Report. As a legislative aide in Congress, he guided from introduction to enactment the first legislation to protect American military members from the health effects of toxic burn pits in Iraq and Afghanistan, which has been called this generation's Agent Orange.
As part of his work with media producers, he was Policy Director for the Impact Film Festival at the 2012 Republican and Democratic National Conventions, where he coordinated screening discussions with politicians, filmmakers, celebrities and reporters. In 2013, he developed the American Film Institute's first Political Bootcamp for Filmmakers. He has spoken about film and policymaking at South by Southwest, the Tribeca Film Festival, Good Pitch and the International Documentary Association. He is co-author of a report series on films and policymaking that published through American University in 2017 (http://cmsimpact.org/report/movies-go-washington-documentary-films-public-policy-united-states-vol-1/).
Peter has been a producer on numerous documentaries by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick, including the PBS series The War and Jazz, as well as the Peabody Award-winning Frank Lloyd Wright. He's served in various producing roles on films including The Uprising of ’34, Passin' It On (winner of twenty film festival prizes), the Academy Award-winning American Dream, and many other celebrated documentaries. He works regularly as a script consultant, writer, and music supervisor.
It has been a lively and quick time since Keryl relocated to the Atlanta area after nine years in New Jersey. A native New Yorker with deep roots in both the North and South, this is her first time living in the South. It is different, and she is still trying to figure it all out, but at least she is not getting lost as much as in the early days!
A veteran arts management professional, stage manager, and director, her career now spans decades, and thousands of miles as she has lived and worked on both coasts, spending ten years in the Bay Area, working as Managing Director of Oakland Ensemble Theater, and serving as a board member for Theater Bay Area, a theater service organization for non-profit theater companies.
A brief stint as Executive Director of the League of Chicago Theaters led her to Washington, DC as Director of Theater Programs for the National Endowment for the Arts. Finally, the call came to serve as Managing Director of Crossroads Theater Company in New Brunswick, New Jersey. It was in NJ that she spent six years working with the African Grove Institute for the Arts, (AGIA) founded by the late August Wilson, Dr. Victor Walker, and Professor William Cook.
A think tank and service organization, AGIA was born out of the historic National Black Theater Summit on Golden Pond, convened by Mr. Wilson. Keryl was Director of Institutional Development for the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra when her life again took an unexpected turn as her husband came to GA to head up a health care firm.
It feels like home now to be working at Alternate ROOTS, an organization that has always been near and dear to her heart.
Hooray and thank you,
Vice-President of Product Management at a Wilmington, NC-based cloud banking startup, she has been in the software industry for 14 years during which time she has won the National Women of Color Technology Award.
She merges the tech and film worlds by writing on online film distribution and crowdfunding and has done so for Focal Press' Mastering Film blog, Filmmaker Magazine's blog and her own blog Beyond the Box Office. Up since 2009, it focuses on innovative ways for filmmakers to distribute their films, including set-top boxes, streaming services and mobile apps.
An authority on online film distribution, Malaika has been invited to cover industry events like National Association of Broadcasters, and has covered events like NewTeeVee Live, The Conversation, IFP and Power to the Pixel’s CrossMedia Forum NYC, DIY Days and SXSW. When last she checked, she was listed 84 times on Twitter in such categories as filmmaking, film-video, IPTV, new movie distribution and her personal favorite: Awesomocity.
She is currently a member of the Sundance Institute and a former board member of the San Jose Multicultural Artists Guild.
Having got to know Working Films co-founder Robert West briefly in the year before his diagnosis, it is her great honor to lend her skills to advancing the mission of the organization through membership on its board.
Blue Vinyl, the 2002 crowd pleaser of a "toxic comedy" co-directed and co-produced with Daniel Gold, is a sequel of sorts that picks up right in front of her parents blue vinyl house and was broadcast nationally on HBO's premiere series "American Undercover". Accolades include the 2002 Excellence in Cinematography Award, an IDA nomination for "Best Documentary", a "Nice Modernist" award from Dwell Magazine, the 2002 Environmental Messenger of the Year from the Environmental Grantmakers Association, a 2002 EPIC Award from the Whitehouse Project and two recent Emmy Nominations for "Best Research and "Best Documentary.”
Judith’s latest film with Dan Gold is Everything’s Cool, a feature documentary about global warming which premiered at Sundance 2007, activist release in November 2007, and a broadcast on the Sundance Channel in January 2008. Judith is the co-founder of Chicken & Egg Pictures, a fund that supports women filmmakers who are working to address the social justice, equity and human rights issues of our time.
Robert West is Co-founder of Working Films with Peabody Award-winning filmmaker and organizer Judith Helfand.
West, as curator of film and video at the Mint Museum of Art, Charlotte NC, from 1985 - 1999, directed a well known and highly respected media program that included a national independent film festival and national touring film programs, including Conflict & Peace: Recent Israeli and Palestinian Film. West was curator of Recollections: Lumbee Heritage; a unique traveling exhibit on NC Native Americans, that continues to tour the Southeast.
West has been a guest lecturer at the University of North Carolina, at Duke University, at New York University and at the NC School of the Arts. West was a board member of the Paul Robeson Fund for Independent Media, a funder of progressive social justice media, for four years; and a member for 2 years of the nominating committee for the Rockefeller Media Fellowships. He was a panel member of Visions: University of North Carolina Center for Public Television; and a panel member of the Media Arts Fellowship Program of the NEA, Creative Capital, the NC Arts Council, the Radziwell Documentary Fund and The Independent Television Service, a production arm of PBS. In 2004, West was a juror at the Full Frame Film Festival. He is a board member of the National Alliance for Media Arts and Culture (NAMAC).
In 2006, West was a panel member at the Sundance Film Festival, From the Multiplex to the Living Room: Marketing on the New Documentary Landscape, and the moderator for Making Your Documentary Matter: Public Engagement Strategies that Work at the Center for Social Media in 2006 and 2007.
“He has shown us how to live your death, build community every step of the way,
be awake, loving and present and maintain dignity”
– Judith Helfand, Co-Founder Working Films
In fall 2012, Working Films’ Co-founder and Executive Director Robert West was diagnosed with Glioblastoma Multiforme (GBM), an aggressive and terminal brain cancer. This news came as a shock to our board, staff, and the entire Working Films community. Robert embraced it with immense courage, grace, and honesty. In late Spring 2013, Robert passed away.
If you would like to make your donation in honor of Robert West, Working Films’ co-founder and longtime executive director who passed away in June 2013 please donate directly here to the Robert West Reel Engagement Fund. Like Robert, the work supported by the Fund will be creative and responsive to the needs and opportunities for social change.