Raven Two Feathers
Ryan Rox is a Director, Writer, and Actor of Trans Non-Binary experience, living and working in Las Cruces, New Mexico. Besides making films, Rox also works as the Artist Support Manager at the film organization Femme Frontera, supporting marginalized Femme and Non-Binary filmmakers of color from border regions, with an emphasis on those in Las Cruces, El Paso, Texas, and Juarez, Mexico. In 2022, Rox received Femme Frontera’s annual Filmmaker Grant, with which they used the in kind support to predominantly fund “Shipping Them” – an autobiographical dramedy short film that explores the struggles that come with growing up queer and navigating one’s gender identity; while being raised by parents dealing with divorce, alcoholism and generational toxic masculinity. The film screened in festivals across four countries, winning Best NM Short (2022 Albuquerque Mindfield Film Festival), Best El Paso Film(2023 El Paso Media Fest), and Best Locally Made Short(2023 Santa Fe Film Festival). Their primary filmmaking focus is telling queer stories from a queer perspective, while creating jobs for LGBTQIA+ individuals, bringing awareness to our humanity, and sparking empathy in those unfamiliar with and possibly misinformed about the community.
Silvia Del Carmen Castaños
Director, Paternal Rites
Jules Rosskam is an internationally award-winning filmmaker, educator and 2021 Creative Capital Awardee. His interdisciplinary practice works to induce a perceptual shift in our understanding of how and what bodies mean, toward an apprehension of multiplicities. His most recent feature-length documentary, Paternal Rites (2018), premiered at MoMA’s Doc Fortnight and went on to win several festival awards. He is also the director of Dance, Dance, Evolution (2019), Something to Cry About (2018), Thick Relations (2012), Against a Trans Narrative (2009), and Transparent (2005). His work has screened at the Museum of Modern Art, the Museum of Fine Art Boston, the British Film Institute, Arsenal Berlin, Anthology Film Archives, Hallwalls Contemporary Art Center, the Queens Museum of Art, the Gene Siskel Film Center, and hundreds of film festivals worldwide. He has participated in residencies at Yaddo, ISSUE Project Room, Marble House, PLAYA and ACRE. Additionally, he is a noted lecturer, speaker, and professor who has held positions at Hampshire College, Sarah Lawrence College, and Purdue. He is currently Associate Professor of visual arts at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.
Olivia Peace is a student Academy Award winning director and visual artist from Detroit, Michigan living in Los Angeles. Their work is heavily informed by artistic experimentation, dreamspaces, and a deep reverence for the ecosystems that made them. Olivia attended film school at Northwestern University where they studied animation and interactive art. Their senior film “Pangaea” was created with a research grant aimed at studying the effects of ecological displacement on young children specifically from New Orleans. The final piece utilized a mixture of live action and animation and went on to win a Fellowship with The Sundance Institute as a part of the year long intensive Sundance Ignite x Adobe 1324 Fellowship. Their thesis project, “Against Reality,” is a roomscale interactive experience built using AI neural networks. “Against Reality” premiered at the 2022 Toronto International Film Festival and won the 2022 Student Academy Award.
Set Hernandez is a filmmaker and community organizer whose roots come from Bicol, Philippines. As a queer, undocumented immigrant, they dedicate their filmmaking to expand the portrayal of their community on screen. Their feature documentary debut, “unseen,” had its World Premiere at Hot Docs 2023. Set’s past documentary work includes the award-winning short “COVER/AGE” (2019) and impact producing for “Call Her Ganda” (Tribeca, 2018). An alumnus of the Disruptors Fellowship, Set is also developing both a TV comedy pilot and a feature-length screenplay. Since 2010, Set has been organizing around migrant justice issues, from deportation defense to healthcare access. They co-founded the Undocumented Filmmakers Collective which promotes equity for undocumented immigrants in the film industry. Set’s work has been supported by the Sundance Institute, NBCUniversal, FordFoundation, Open Society Foundations,” with “The Gotham Institute, Field of Vision, among others. In their past life, Set was a published linguistics researcher, focusing in the area of bilingualism. Above all, Set is the fruit of their family’s love and their community’s generosity.
Sam Feder is a Peabody Award-nominated film director and writer. Sam created The Netflix Original Documentary, DISCLOSURE (Sundance, 2020), and is currently developing the scripted TV series, WEIMAR with Executive Producers Lilly Wachowski and Bruce Cohen, about trans life in Berlin during the Weimar Republic. Sam is also writing and directing an episode for The Netflix Original animation series, Calling All Superheroes. Sam’s films explore the intersection of visibility and politics along the lines of race, class, and gender and their filmmaking practice models inclusion and equity in the industry. Sam’s films have been programmed by Sundance Film Festival, Tribeca Film Festival, CPH:DOX, MOMA PS-1, The British Film Institute, The Hammer Museum, and in hundreds of film festivals around the world. Sam’s work has been supported by Ford/JustFilms, Fork Films, California Humanities, The Jerome Foundation, Perspective Fund, Threshold, IFP Film Week, Good Pitch USA/Doc Society, MacDowell Colony, and Yaddo artist residency.
Director, The Stroll
Zackary Drucker is an independent artist, filmmaker, and cultural producer. She has performed and exhibited her work internationally in museums, galleries, and film festivals including The Baltimore Museum of Art, the Whitney Biennial 2014, MoMa PS1, Hammer Museum, Art Gallery of Ontario, MCA San Diego, and SF MoMA, among others. Drucker is an Emmy nominated producer for the docuseries This Is Me, and was a producer on the Golden Globe and Emmy Award-winning Amazon show Transparent. The Lady and The Dale, her directorial debut for television, premiered on HBO in 2021. Her follow-up project with HBO, The Stroll, won a Special Jury Award: Clarity of Vision, at Sundance 2023. Her standalone directorial feature QUEENMAKER was released on Hulu in May.
Director, Maggots and Men
Cary Cronenwett’s films transport viewers into dreamlike realms where utopian visions converge with speculative history. Often orchestrated with trans and gender non-conforming actors and crew, these collaborations investigate tropes of masculinity and homoerotic iconography. His narrative and documentary work has screened at numerous festivals including Miami International, Outfest Los Angeles, Frameline, NewFest New York, Queer Lisboa/ Lisbon, Identities Vienna, Montreal Image + Nation, London Flare, and Toronto Inside Out. Cronenwett holds an MFA from The California Institute of the Arts Program in Film and Video and a BA from Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington. Originally from Oklahoma, he is currently based in Los Angeles.
Director, Kokomo City
D. Smith is a two-time Grammy nominated producer, singer, and songwriter and is now making her film debut as a director of the documentary KOKOMO CITY. Smith’s father was a world-renowned drummer, and she wrote her first song at 10 years old for the choir at church in Miami, Florida. From 4th grade through High School, Smith was a visual arts student, winning multiple awards for her eye including winning the statewide NAACP Act So award for photography and the statewide Scholastics Congressional award for drawing and was flown to the Capitol in D.C. where her work was displayed. After coming out to her father as a teen, Smith was kicked out of her house and was taken in by a church member. After graduating High School, Smith used the last of her money on a one-way bus ticket to New York City. She then began singing in the subway where she was first discovered and offered a publishing deal from Sony ATV. As a producer, Smith teamed with songwriter Stacy Barthe and they began placing records with major artists in the music business. Smith produced “Shoot Me Down” for Lil Wayne’s Carter III album which went 8 times platinum and performed with Lil Wayne on Jimmy Kimmel. Smith then signed a major publishing deal with Universal Music. She has produced and written for Cee-lo Green, Estelle, Katy Perry, Andre 3000, Monica, Lloyd, Fantasia, Nipsey Hussle, Ciara, Neyo, and Billy Porter. She has also collaborated with super producers like Timbaland and Marc Ronson. In 2014, Smith decided to walk in her truth and transition into the woman she always knew she was. She was unaware that living in her truth meant that she would have to sacrifice the thing she loved the most, which was making music for a living. People stopped calling. And eventually after running out of money and options, she knew she had to move on from the life she once knew. The silver lining came with the creation of KOKOMO CITY which has breathed new life into her. She devoted almost 3 years to it while crashing on different friends’ couches. All the while diving into the lives of four trans women who had a story to tell. Smith was over the moon to receive the call that KOKOMO CITY was to premiere at the Sundance Film Festival. KOKOMO CITY won the NEXT Innovator and Audience Awards at Sundance. The film then had its International Premiere at the Berlin International Film Festival, where it took home the Audience Award for Best Documentary in Panorama. The film currently continues its festival run around the world.
Director, The Queen of my Dreams
Fawzia Mirza is a queer, South Asian Muslim she & they writer and director. They co-wrote and starred in (opposite Indian film legend Shabana Azmi) the feature SIGNATURE MOVE, which world premiered at SXSW, screened 150+ film festivals, won 15 awards and listed in “25 of the Best Lesbian Films of All Time” by Harper’s Bazaar. She wrote on CBS series THE RED LINE, from Greg Berlanti & Ava DuVernay; her episode marked the first queer, Muslim romance on network TV. She is a White House Champion of Change in Asian American Art & Storytelling, an alum of the Tribeca Film Institute All-Access Program and the Canadian Academy Directors Program for Women, a Half-Initiative mentee, a ‘Yes, And Laughter Lab’ Winner, an Islamic Scholarship Fund Winner, has been nominated for The Iris Prize, and her feature script HEIRLOOM was named to the 2022 Muslim List, published by The Black List. She wrote and directed the award-winning NOOR & LAYLA (Outfest, BlackStar, Bentonville, Bend, Frameline, 50+ festivals worldwide) and directed the rom-com short THE SYED FAMILY XMAS EVE GAME NIGHT (world-premiered TIFF 2021) named one of Canada’s Top 10 and one of Harper’s Bazaar’s “16 Best Christmas Movies of 2021.” Her short AUNTIE executive produced by Paul Feig and Powderkeg world premiered at Aspen Shortsfest, received Special Mention as Best Short Short and is available to stream on THE NEW YORKER. Fawzia co-founded Baby Daal Productions with wife Andria Wilson Mirza; their feature slate includes Sandra Itäinen’s upcoming queer Muslim documentary COMING AROUND and Drew Denny’s GIFTED, which centers survivors of intimate partner violence with an all-survivor crew and creative team. Fawzia is in post-production on her directorial feature debut THE QUEEN OF MY DREAMS, shot in Canada and Pakistan, which she adapted from her short film of the same name. THE QUEEN OF MY DREAMS was in TIFF’s 2020 Writer Studio and Filmmaker Lab and stars Amrit Kaur (SEX LIVES OF COLLEGE GIRLS), Nimra Bucha (MS. MARVEL & POLITE SOCIETY), Hamza Haq (TRANSPLANT), and Ayana Manji (the upcoming MUSTACHE).
Pavli Serenetsky (aka Brielle Brilliant) is an artist, activist, and educator who makes genre-unifying films, books, and experiences. Their debut feature film, FIRSTNESS, won The Grand Jury Prize for US Narrative Features at Outfest 2021 and recently screened at MoMA in New York. They are the author of The Spud (Featherproof Books) and The Curtsy Family (Thoughtcrime Press), which received The Lorien Book Prize in 2018. They combine their degree in Philosophy with their Earthen-based dance practices to build and advocate for more connective, inspiring structures, such as the collective Purpose Repair Shop. They are currently working on their next film and as an Environmental Educator at the lagoon.
Producer, Framing Agnes
Samantha Curley is an independent producer and creative entrepreneur based in Los Angeles. She is the Co-Founder of Level Ground Collective, a 501(c)3 artist collective and production incubator creating experiments in empathy. Together with Chase Joynt, she also runs Level Ground Productions, a collaborative production company engaging the most important issues of the contemporary moment. Her first film, FRAMING AGNES (dir. Chase Joynt) premiered as a short at the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival and premiered as a feature at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival. She’s also currently in production on JFK8 (dir. Brett Story and Steve Maing) which follows a group of Amazon workers in their fight to unionize. Since 2013, Samantha has produced dozens of short films, podcasts, community events, and gallery installations. Her film projects have screened at festivals and won awards around the world, and she’s received support from IDA, Field of Vision, Catapult, Ford Foundation, Just Films, Gotham, Hot Docs, XTR, and more. Samantha graduated with a B.S. from Northwestern University’s School of Communication, an M.A. in Theology and the Arts from Fuller Seminary, and received an Executive Scholar Certificate from the Kellogg School of Management. In her free time she serves on the founding steering committee of the Eastside Women’s Film Club, plays on a women’s recreational basketball team in Los Angeles, and is a community organizer in LA’s Echo Park neighborhood.
Nava Mau is an award-winning filmmaker, actress, and cultural worker. Nava wrote, produced, directed, and starred in “Waking Hour,” a short film that screened in festivals around the world. She was selected as a Production Fellow for the Netflix documentary “Disclosure,” and worked as a producer on the short film “Work,” which premiered at Sundance. She appeared next as a series regular in the HBO Max series “Generation.” Nava received her BA in Linguistics & Cognitive Science from Pomona College, after studying in Paris and conducting research in Guadalajara, Mexico. For 8 years, Nava worked in the fields of healing justice and culture change with community-based service providers, student organizations, and survivors of violence. She has been awarded the NewFest Audience Award and the YoSoy Award from the Hispanic Heritage Foundation.
Founder, People of Color Productions
Tina Colleen is an emerging director; her first short film, I IDENTIFY AS ME, has garnered success in the United States and Canada, featured at some of the largest LGBTQIA+ film festivals: Outfest Fusion, Wicked Queer, and InsideOut in Toronto, to name a few. Tina is currently developing I IDENTIFY AS ME into an episodic that will unpack the false notion believed for centuries–that gender is binary. Tina is the CEO/Founder of People of Color Productions, an independent production company that alchemizes art to transform the societal narrative. Tina’s background is in education, activism, and production. Tina has been producing in several different industries for 15 years. Tina’s art promotes love and healing for the global majority (aka BIPOC) by challenging social norms that have harmed everyone regardless of race, sexuality, or gender. The inspiration for Tina’s work has been the exploration of her own gender fluidity and ancestral journey. Tina holds an MBA in International Business, specializing in management from Fordham University. Tina loves to travel, read science fiction, power-lift, and be outdoors.