Lisa Russell is an Emmy Award-winning documentary filmmaker who uses the power of film to explore and challenge social injustices that affect our collective humanity. Completing her Master’s in Public Health degree in International Health in 1998, Lisa has since turned a lens to pressing global health and development topics that has taken her to shoots in some of the world’s most remote locations. Some of Lisa’s work has been broadcasted on public television (including PBS and Channel 4 London), while others are tied into advocacy, fundraising or legislative efforts with UN and international agencies. In September 2005, Lisa collaborated with Grammy-nominated artist Zap Mama to create “The WOMAN Tour” – a 3-week nationwide initiative of film screenings and musical performances to increase awareness of global women’s health. Lisa was chosen as one of 25 filmmakers for the National Black Programming Consortium’s New Media Institute, is a two-time producer for WGBH’s Lab Open Call and is a 2008 recipient of a New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA) grant and a Paul Robeson Fund for Independent Media Grant. In May 2009, she won a Boston/New England Emmy Award in the “Outstanding Advanced Media Interactivity” category for her short film, “Bi-Racial Hair.”
Nick Shimkin is the Film Program Coordinator for Brooklyn Arts Council’s Scene: Brooklyn series. In addition to curating the flagship screening series in May, he is responsible for BAC’s wide range of programming in the areas of film and media arts, including discussions and receptions in partnership with local film and media organizations, professional development seminars for filmmakers and film/media organizations, and filmmaker meet ups and social gatherings.
Nick is also currently serving as Artistic Director at the City University Film Festival at Macaulay (CUFF), a CUNY-wide showcase of new faculty and student work. Additionally, he is co-founder of “Kings County Cinema Society,” an ongoing, roving, (very) eclectic screening series based strictly in Brooklyn. He has previously worked with the Hamptons, Sarasota, Provincetown and Williamsburg Film Festivals.
Nick received a BA at Brooklyn College, where he majored in Film Production and minored in Journalism.
Sierra Leonean-American filmmaker Nikyatu Jusu received her MFA from NYU/Tisch School of the Arts and has written and directed a series of award winning short films: including African Booty Scratcher and Say Grace Before Drowning. Both films were acquired by HBO. She is a Princess Grace Foundation recipient, Spike Lee Scholarship awardee, Panavision Equipment Grant winner and a two time Director’s Guild of America Student Honorable Mention. Presently she is in development on her first feature film: FREE THE TOWN.
Bayete Ross Smith began his career as a photojournalist with the Knight Ridder Newspaper Corporation, in Philadelphia, Charlotte and Tallahasee. He received a B.S. in Photography from Florida A&M University and an M.F.A. from the California College of the Arts. Bayeté has exhibited at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival, the Goethe Institute (Ghana), the Zacheta National Gallery of Art (Poland), the Leica Gallery and Rush Arts Gallery (NYC), the SF Arts Commission’s “Art at City Hall” and the Oakland Museum of California. His work has been on the cover of Dis:Integration: The Splintering of Black America (2010), and in Posing Beauty, SPE Exposure, the Society of Photographic Education Journal, Black: A Celebration of A Culture, 25 Under 25: Up and Coming American Photographers, The Spirit Of Family (Al & Tipper Gore), Black Enterprise, Working Mother, Village Voice, and more. He worked as a fellow and artistsin-residence at the Kala Institute, Can Serrat International Art Center (Spain), McColl Center for Visual Art and Southern Exposure. Currently Ross Smith is a founding artist working on Question Bridge: Black Males, a transmedia art project that seeks to represent and redefine Black male identity in America.