Working Films uses documentaries to advance social justice and environmental protection.
Recognizing the power of film to inspire, we use documentaries to increase civic engagement and shift culture at the local, state, and national level. We offer funding and in-kind support to underrepresented filmmakers. And, we share our learning and foster dialogue to further the field of documentary for change. We lead conversations and trainings with nonprofits to ensure that nonfiction media is increasingly embraced as a critical resource in their strategies for social change.
Our work is made possible with generous support from the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation, Ford Foundation, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Kendeda Fund, Perspective Fund, Putnam Foundation, Southern Partners Fund, the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation, and individual donors.
make an impact
and NGOs we've partnered with and trained
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.
Sara Zia Ebrahimi
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.
Molly also serves on the board of Justice for My Sister (JFMS), a collective that trains women of color, non-binary youth, and foster youth with a culturally-relevant and trauma-informed approach to tell stories through a gender equality and racial justice lens.
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.
Natalie Bullock Brown
Keryl McCord is a veteran arts manager and administrator with forty years of experience in many facets of the arts. Her background includes managing director of two equity theater companies: Oakland Ensemble Theater Company, a five-hundred seat equity theater in downtown Oakland, CA, and Crossroads Theater Company, New Brunswick, NJ, the only black run LORT theater at the time, and the first such company to receive the Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theater. Crossroads Theater Company also received 4 Tony nominations for It Ain’t Nothing But the Blues, transferring to Broadway in 1999.
Ms. McCord led the League of Chicago Theaters/ League of Chicago Theaters Foundation, leaving Chicago to take a post at the National Endowment for the Arts as Assistant Director of Theater Programs, and then Director of Theater Programs in 1991.
She served on the executive committee of the National Black Theater Summit on Golden Pond in 1998, convened by the late Pulitzer Prize winning playwright, August Wilson. She was a founding board member, and Senior Vice President of the African Grove Institute for the Arts (AGIA), Newark, NJ, of which Mr. Wilson served as chairman. She remained with AGIA until Mr. Wilson’s passing, when she then went on to serve as Director of Institutional Development for New Jersey Symphony Orchestra.
In December 2016, after more than seven years as Managing Director, she retired from Alternate ROOTS to launch EQ. ROOTS is a 40-year-old nationally recognized, regionally focused network and service organization for activist artists in the South. Ms. McCord was responsible for overall day-to-day management, including fundraising and development, shepherding the organization through a period of unprecedented growth.
She is an Advisor for the New England Foundation for the Arts, National Theater Project, and has served as a panelist for the Joyce Foundation, the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts, among others.
Additionally, Ms. McCord has served as a consultant for Dance USA’s Engaging Dance Audiences program, and for its new program, Dance Fellowships to Artists.
Keryl is chair of the board of Working Films, based in Wilmington, NC.
EQ has conducted Dismantling Racism training and workshops with organizations such as:
-League of Chicago Theaters, Chicago, IL;
-University of North Carolina School of the Arts, Winston-Salem NC;
-The New Jersey Theatre Alliance, Princeton, NJ;
-The High Museum of Art, Atlanta, GA;
-League of American Orchestras, New York, NY;
-DePaul Theater School, Chicago, IL;
-Fractured Atlas, New York, NY.,
-National New Play Network, Washington, D.C.,
-New England Foundation for the Arts, Boston, MA;
-Alternate ROOTS, Atlanta, GA;
-United Scenic Artists 829, New York, New York;
-Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, Washington, DC
-Dance USA, Washington, DC
-University of Alabama, Department of Theatre and Dance
Through Be Connected Durham, Angel has emerged as an urban visionary, championing community initiatives that connect organizations like Duke Performances, Carolina Performing Arts, Airolina Young Aviators, SheaMoisture, and more, to their authentically diverse target audiences. Each of Be Connected Durham’s projects serve as campaigns to affect positive change for marginalized, yet highly capable and valuable contributors to our society.
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.
Undergraduate work at New College in Sarasota, FL resulted in a degree in Psychological Anthropology with a Theater Minor. An entry level job with a theatrical PR firm in the Sardi’s building on West 44th Street gave her a good understanding of ‘earned’ media and a permanent love for the theater and media crowd who convened at the second-floor bar. Those contacts soon resulted in her sales position with The NYT where, over the span of a decade, she went on to win two Publishers Award for new business development and MVP trophies for their Co-Ed softball championship team.
During sixteen years as VP Advertising with The Nation magazine, Ellen worked with documentary filmmakers and distributors to build awareness and attendance for their films, often attending Sundance, Woodstock Film Festival and Docs NYC.
Additionally, Ellen serves on the Board of a Friends Group of the Sandy Hook Unit of Gateway National Recreation Area to support the National Park Service in conservation of endangered species, environmental protections and cultural awareness of historic sites in northeastern Monmouth County, NJ as well as Communications Director of a local chapter of Indivisible.
Her husband is a writer and creator of healthy cocktails and their son works for AmeriCorps in New Orleans on coastal restoration and sustainable flora and fauna.
She serves on many local, state and national boards that support community activism and local economy through arts, food, culture and tourism. She recently served as Chair of the Board of Alternate Roots. In 2015 she founded Artist Market-Pembroke, providing retail opportunities for local and regional artists in southeast North Carolina. Her love of community and films is expressed as the curator of the annual Lumbee Film Festival (along with Cucalorus) and the quarterly CommUnity Cinema (in partnership with Working Films). She expresses her creativity as a writer and workshop/training facilitator.
Her One Race® program for children in grades K-5 has earned the admiration of school administrators for several years. One Race® offers an interactive and thought-provoking view of a day-in-the-life of children around the world. The program employs music, authentic artifacts and literature, and takes students on an imaginary worldwide trip to celebrate what distinguishes them from their neighbors, while revealing numerous similarities.
Pearl Girls Academy, a self-esteem program for girls, evolved from Kimberly’s own experiences of raising a teenage girl. As often as she could, Kimberly researched statistics on preteen and teen girl violence, body image, dating, and other issues. She became a certified facilitator for "Safe Dates," a program designed to help curb domestic violence among young daters. And, as school violence and gang influences became evident, Kimberly coordinated a forum entitled Youth Violence in Our Community, which has now become an annual event.
Her continued research led to an understanding of the key issues most girls face, while also recognizing that the skills to face these issues were sorely lacking. Pearl Girls Academy is the result of that work. When it was first offered to summer camps in 2005, the response was immediately positive and productive. The next school year, Murray Middle School asked Kimberly to bring the program in as an enrichment organization for selected girls. By the following school year, word of the program had spread. Eventually every middle school in New Hanover County, requested to have Pearl Girls Academy on campus.
Kimberly has also served as the Racial Justice Director of the YWCA of the Lower Cape Fear. In her time with the organization, developed and implemented programs and created alliances throughout the community. The end goal as always was to aid in establishing common ground, among people of different ethnic backgrounds. Kimberly designed the YWCA Cultural Competency Training workshops, utilized in those times throughout the county. She currently serves as the UNC Wilmington Inclusion and Diversity Learning Development Specialist. Her role is based in the Human Resources
Kimberly was named Woman of the Year by the New Hanover County Human Relations Commission. She has served on various boards for non-profit organizations within the community. Kimberly is also the “Night Nurse,” a radio personality on Coastal Carolina’s Modern Rock 98.7, where she continues to advocate cross cultural understanding through reggae and world music.
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.
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.
Peter has been a producer on numerous documentaries by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick, including the PBS series JAZZ, FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT, and THE WAR. He has served in producing roles on landmark documentaries including THE UPRISING OF ’34, PASSIN’ IT ON, the Academy Award-winning AMERICAN DREAM, and many other celebrated films. He works regularly as a script consultant, writer, and music supervisor. More about his work is at willowpondfilms.com
Tracy is the co-founder of Longhouse Media, a non-profit focused on galvanizing Indigenous and local communities through film production. Since 2005, she has worked with over 50 tribal nations and helped train 3,000 young people. Tracy has received the National Association for Media Literacy Education Award, 2016 Stranger Genius Award, and the Horace Mann Award for her work in utilizing media for social justice. She is a Firelight Media Fellow, WGBH Producer Fellow, Sundance Institute Lab Fellow, and Tribeca All Access Grantee. Tracy’s first major museum installation opened in June 2018 at the Seattle Art Museum. Tracy serves as a Mize Foundation board member, senior programmer at the Seattle International Film Festival, and is in her second term as a Seattle Arts Commissioner. She is a mother of two young men.
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/).
If you would like to make a 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.
Funds contributed to the Robert West Reel Engagement Fund will be used to honor Robert’s legacy and vision, and to support rapid response campaign development on timely environmental and social justice issues!