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Cheryl Dunye, a native of Liberia, received her MFA from Rutgers University and is an Associate Professor at California College of the Arts. She has received numerous national and international honors for her work in the media arts. Dunye wrote, directed and starred in the first African American lesbian feature film, The Watermelon Woman. Her other works have been included in the Whitney Biennial and screened at festivals in New York, London, Tokyo, Cape Town, and Sydney. Dunye has served on the Directors Guild of America's Independent Council and on the advisory board for IFP's Gordon Parks Award.
Anna Fitch is an Emmy Award-winning director whose work has aired on National Geographic, Channel 4, TLC and PBS. Her films BugWorld: War of Two Worlds and Bug Attack have won numerous awards, including an Emmy for Best Documentary Directing in 2003 for the former. In 2011 her short The Burning Wigs of Sedition screened at the National Gallery of Art, the Seattle International Film Festival, the Woodstock Film Festival, the San Francisco Film Society's Cinema By the Bay, the Perth Revelation Film Festival and Rooftop Films, and won a Best of Festival prize at the Black Maria Film Festival and an Audience Award at SF IndieFest.
Grainger David is a director from Wadmalaw Island, South Carolina. His NYU Grad Film thesis The Chair was the only American short film nominated for the Palme D'Or at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. The Chair also won Jury Prizes at the SXSW, Los Angeles, and Hollyshorts Film Festivals, and has screened at major festivals around the world, including the Telluride, the Hamptons, and the 63rd Berlinale. Grainger has been awarded grants from the Tribeca Film Institute, the Sloan Foundation, the National Board of Review, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, as well as a MacDowell Colony residency. He is currently in post-production on a new short funded by the South Carolina Film Commission, starring Kiernan Shipka (Mad Men) and Maria Dizzia (Martha Marcy May Marlene).
No stranger to politics, Christie Herring grew up working on campaigns for public office in Mississippi. Today she is an award-winning independent documentary director with a strong interest in social justice.  Her current film The Campaign, follows the historic No on Proposition 8 election from the inside and reveals the history behind the fight for marriage equality.  Funded by ITVS, the film premiered at festivals and on public television in 2013, the very week of the Supreme Court’s decision on the case. Her first film Waking in Mississippi focused on the wildly controversial election of the first black mayor in Herring's childhood hometown—a contest that ended in the threat of a race riot. Her short films Chickens in the City, Howdy Partner, and Bodies and Souls have won multiple awards, screened at dozens of film festivals around the world, and have aired on PBS.
Jonah Markowitz has been professionally making films for the past 13 years. He wrote and directed the critically acclaimed independent feature film Shelter, which won the HBO Award for Outstanding First Feature and the Scion Director's Award, as well as audience awards in New York, Vancouver, Sao Paulo and Melbourne, among others. The film was named “The Number 1 Gay Film of All Time” by AfterElton.com in their bi-annual poll. Previously, Markowitz wrote and directed two short films, I Left Me and Hung Up, which screened at over 40 festivals worldwide and were both programmed at the American Cinematheque.
Gerard McMurray was born and raised in New Orleans's 7th ward. He has been a filmmaker since he picked up his first Super 8 camera back in 2002, while an undergraduate student at Howard University in Washington, DC. Most recently, Gerard was awarded the 2011 Director's Guild of America Student Filmmaker Award for his short film Battle Buddy, which has screened at numerous film festivals including, San Diego Black Film Festival, Women's International Film Festival, and the USC Newport Beach Film Showcase. He earned an MFA from USC's School of Cinematic Arts in May 2011. After moving to West Oakland to work as Associate Producer on Fruitvale,he has since been writing and developing material.  His current projects, Riders and Underground amongst others, are currently in development.
Ephraim Walker is an up and coming producer in the film scene.  While attending the University of Southern California, Gould School of Law he met Fruitvale writer/director Ryan Coogler and associate producer Gerard McMurray. Ephraim and Ryan soon become close friends, resulting in Ryan inviting Ephraim to assist him on a few projects Ryan was shooting at the USC School of Cinematic Arts.  Soon after, Ephraim realized his innate passion for film and fell in love with the thought of utilizing cinematic forums to bring ideas to the masses.  He went on to produce a series of six short films for the USC Athletic Compliance Department.  After graduating from both USC Law School and USC Film School in 2010, and securing a job at the Law Offices of John Burris, he teamed back up with Ryan Coogler and they developed what turned out to be the 2013 Sundance Audience and Grand Jury Award Winning Independent film Fruitvale,  Ryan as writer/director and Ephraim serving as Bay Area Production Consultant.
Banker White directed and produced the award-winning documentary Sierra Leone's Refugee All Stars, which tells the story of a group of six Sierra Leonean musicians. The film was nominated by the International Documentary Association for best feature in 2006, won grand jury awards at AFI Fest, Full Frame Film Festival and Human Rights Watch Film Festival, and earned audience awards at SXSW and Miami International Film Festival. It was also broadcast on POV in North America, HBO Latin America and NHK in Japan. In 2009, he founded WeOwnTV, a collaborative filmmaking and storytelling project based in Freetown, Sierra Leone.
Leah Wolchok is a San Francisco-based filmmaker who received the inaugural Tribeca Film Institute/HBO "Documentary Screen Test" Fellowship and the Bay Area Video Coalition (BAVC) Media Makers Fellowship for her first feature documentary, Very Semi-Serious. She co-produced the documentary Ask Not, which aired on PBS's Independent Lens. Her award-winning short films have played at festivals worldwide. She received a BA in English from Yale and an MA in Documentary Production from Stanford. And despite all that name-dropping, she really does like to laugh.
 
   
 
 
   

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