Recognizing the power of stories to inspire and transform, Working Films builds partnerships between nonfiction media-makers, nonprofit organizations, educators and advocates to advance social justice and environmental sustainability, and support community-based change. We work with grassroots groups and NGOs to use documentaries to enhance their programs, extend their reach, and move their missions forward. We train and consult filmmakers to strengthen their community engagement. Together with issue leaders, national and state level partner organizations, we are using documentary film and visual art to reach critical audiences and move the dial toward meaningful change and impact.
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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.
Just Transition Media Strategist
Notably, she co-founded and was the Executive Director of SPARK Reproductive Justice NOW, one of the leading reproductive health and justice organizations in the Southeast.
Paris completed her Masters of Arts in Africana Women’s Studies at Clark Atlanta University with a research focus on Caribbean women’s activism and social movements. Paris was a Board member of Southerners On New Ground (2008-2014); a founding Board member for the Groundswell Fund (2007-2012). She recently worked for Race Forward, the Center for Racial Justice Innovation as the Network Strategies Manager.
Currently she is Principal at Rhombus Consulting Group, rabble rouser extraordinaire at Black Feminist Future, and co-founder of Black Freedom Outfitters.
Paris advises Working Films' reproductive justice efforts, including Reel Reproductive Justice (2013) and the Across The Line campaign.
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.
Maida is enjoying the open space of Lucas Valley after 30 years of San Francisco living. She shares her home with her husband, Josh, the Executive Director of Outward Bound California (and also former educator). Maida enjoys balancing work with spending time outdoors (biking, hiking, and playing tennis), reading, writing, and caring for her epileptic dog and deaf cat. She has also developed a dangerous passion for home renovation and recently completed a remodel of the family Eichler home in Lucas Valley.
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.
Wendy co-founded Chicken & Egg Pictures. In addition to serving on the board of Working Films, she also serves on the Board of the 52nd Street Project, a non-profit organization that brings theater professionals together with inner city children, and the Educational Foundation of America. She is a recipient of the 2006 Mendelsohn award.
Serving as a Board Member, Acquisitions Manager and Interim Programming Director at Free Speech TV, he curated and produced documentaries and news series and programs. His writings about film and video have appeared in publications such as The Journal of Film and Philosophy, Clamor Magazine, and Realizing the Impossible: Art Against Authority. He has served on the board of Public Communicators Incorporated and The Colorado Anti-Violence Program. He has facilitated film and video workshops and classes at Columbia College, Video Machete, Chicago’s After-School Matters, and spoken on panels at ImagineNative, Frameline, Allied Media Conference, and The United States Social Forum. Since 2000, he has collaborated with Independent Media Centers in Chicago, New York, Denver, Atlanta, and Miami and in 2001 co-founded and curated Discount Cinema, a Chicago-based, nomadic microcinema.
He is currently in production on a documentary about the Underground Syringe Exchange of Denver and developing a documentary about the land-rights struggles of acequia farmers in the San Luis Valley.
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,
Neil Creque Williams
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.