Special Episode - "The Gambler" - BIPOC & Co-conspirator Liberation within the Doc Industry - An Informal Conversation
Usually, after recording a podcast episode, Ranell and I would quickly say goodbye to our guests so we could get on with Saturday afternoon activities. We stayed in the Zoom room for over an hour when we recorded our episode with Jennifer Crystal Chien. When listening back, I realized the richness of the conversation. Jennifer has a unique theory of change regarding correcting systemic wrongs and harms that BIPOCs and true coconspirators in the documentary community experience. While Ranell and I loved our work at the IDA, it was consistently hampered by a work culture rooted in white supremacy, patriarchy, and anti-blackness. The demands of white male filmmakers and white female co-workers were centered on policy implementation and day-to-day operations. Post-traumatic Non-Profit Syndrome is real, and I, like many in similar organizations, became “the problematic Woman of Color.” For more on this, check out the graphic on the COCo (the Centre for Community Organizations) website created by Safehouse Progressive Alliance for Nonviolence.
Thembe Bhebe of the European Film Mart and the Carribean Fim Academy introduced me to Jemma Desai’s work “This Work isn’t for Us” in 2020. It was her writing, along with the list of demands from the former and current BIPOC employees of BIPOC at the Columbia Film Society, theatre artists, as well as the mentorship, community of support of ArtEquity, Somatic Abolition practices, and my therapist, that helped me to find come to come to terms my experiences, find my voice and create the change I needed. I hope this episode will give BIPOCs and white coconspirators committed to anti-racism the strength to advocate for themselves and the filmmakers they serve.
The following discussion between myself, Jennifer, and Ranell also planted the seed for the panel Ranell planned and moderated at the International Documentary Association’s Getting Real 2022, entitled Collateral Damage and Institutional Repair which featured Sarah-Tai Black (Critic, Programmer, and Curator), Jemma Desai (Creator of “This Work Isn't For Us”), Cintia Gil (Programmer), Lalita Krishna (Producer/Director), and Rachel Pronger (Curator and Producer). In the spirit of discernment and mental health, the song for this episode is Kenny Rogers' “The Gambler.” In the documentary non-profit space, you need to know when to hold them, when to fold them, when to walk away, and when to run. If you liked this special episode, please share it with a friend dealing with Post Traumatic Non-Profit Syndrome. If you have any resources you’d like me to add to this page, please email the link.
In this episode, I speak with filmmaker, mentor, activist, and co-founder of Re-Present Media, Jennifer Crystal Chien. During our conversation, we chatted about how she got into docs, her commitment to advocacy, and the field-building and changing work at Re-Present Media. Jennifer's theory of...