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Speakers & Panelists

              Among our distinguished panelists and speakers are an Oscar winner, an Oscar nominee and an Emmy award winner, as well as six makers whose films have screened—some winning awards—at the Sundance Film Festival.  In addition, our symposium will host artists who have screened work at The Guggenheim Museum, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the New York Museum of Modern Art, the Centre Pompidou, the Tate Modern, and the Reina Sofia. Our participants have been awarded fellowships and grants from the Guggenheim Foundation, the NEA, the MacArthur Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Soros Foundation, and the Tribeca Film Institute, among others.


Joan Braderman

              Joan Braderman, Professor of Video, Film and Media Studies at Hampshire College, holds a B.A. from Harvard and M.A. and M.Phil. degrees from New York University. Her award-winning documentaries and art videos (such as Joan Does Dynasty, 1986; Joan Sees Stars, 1992; and her recent, THE HERETICS, 2009) have been shown widely in museums, galleries, theaters, at festivals, and at universities and been broadcast internationally. Her work is in the permanent collections of museums such as the Stedelijk in Amsterdam; the Centre Pompidou, Paris; and the Museum of Modern Art, NYC.
              A co-founder of “Heresies, A Feminist Publication on Art and Politics,” writing by and about her has appeared in: The New York Times, Washington Post, ARTFORUM, The Village Voice, The Independent, Afterimage, The London Guardian, "Illuminations; An Essential Guide to Video Art,” Contemporanea, The Boston Globe, Camera Obscura, Time Out, and many other books and articles.
              Joan received a retrospective at the De Cordova Museum, 1995; the Koopman Chair in the Visual Arts at Hartford Art School, 1996; and the 2002 Fulbright Distinguished Chair in Electronic Arts, Portugal. She was selected “Mediamaker of the year, 2009” at The Bay Area Video Coalition. The world premiere of THE HERETICS took place in a sold out weeks’ run at the Museum of Modern Art, NYC, October 2009.
              Braderman’s work has shown and/or won awards at: The Whitney Biennial, The British Film Theater, The New York Film and Video Festival, The Edinburgh Film Festival, Los Angeles MOCHA, The Institutes of Contemporary Art in London and Boston, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, Festivals such as Atlanta, Santa Fe, Santa Barbara, Australian, Vermont International, Barcelona International, Frameline in San Francisco and won Critic’s Choice at New England Film Festival. Other venues include the Collective for Living Cinema, NYC, The American Center in Paris, The Wexner Center, Ohio, The Pacific Film Archive, The Roxie Theater in SF, The Paul Robeson Center, Princeton, The Reina Sofia Museum, Madrid and the Time and Space Theater, NY.
              Joan has won grants, public and private, including: The National Endowment for the Arts, The New York State Council on the Arts, and The Massachusetts State Council on the Arts, Massachusetts Cultural Council, The MacDowell Arts Colony, The Mellon Foundation, The American Film Institute, MacArthur Foundation, New York Foundation for the Arts, The Berkeley Film Fund, and The National Endowment for the Humanities.


Su Friedrich

           Su Friedrich began filmmaking in 1978 and has produced and directed eighteen 16mm films and videos, including From the Ground Up (2007), Seeing Red (2005),The Head of a Pin

(2004), The Odds of Recovery (2002), Hide and Seek (1996), Rules of the Road (1993),

First Comes Love (1991), Sink or Swim (1990), Damned If You Don't (1987), The Ties

That Bind (1984), and Gently Down the Stream (1981). Her films have won many

awards, including the Grand Prix at the Melbourne Film Festival and Outstanding

Documentary at Outfest. Friedrich has received fellowships from the Rockefeller and

Guggenheim Foundations as well as numerous grants from the Jerome Foundation,

NYFA, NYSCA and ITVS, and in 1995 she received the Cal Arts/Alpert Award.

           Friedrich’s work is widely screened in the United States, Canada and Europe and has been the subject of retrospectives at the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of

American Art, the Rotterdam International Film Festival, The London Lesbian and Gay

Film Festival, The Stadtkino in Vienna, the Pacific Cinematheque in Vancouver, the

National Film Theater in London, the Buenos Aires Festival of Independent Cinema, the

New York Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, the First Tokyo Lesbian and Gay Film

Festival, the Cork Film Festival in Ireland, the Wellington Film Festival in New Zealand,

The Bios Art Center in Athens, Greece, and the Anthology Film Archives in New York.

           Friedrich is the writer, cinematographer, director and editor of all her films, with the

exception of Hide and Seek, which was co-written by Cathy Quinlan and shot by Jim

Denault. Her work is screened and distributed widely throughout the US, Canada and

Europe. She teaches film & video production at Princeton University.


Sonali Gulati (MHC ’96)

              Sonali Gulati is an independent filmmaker, feminist, grass-roots activist, and educator.  Her most recent documentary, I Am, is a personal story that chronicles her return to Delhi, eleven years after leaving, to re-open what was once home, and finally confronts the loss of her mother to whom she never came out as a lesbian. As she meets and speaks to parents of other gay and lesbian Indians, Gulati explores what family truly means, in a landscape where being gay was until recently a criminal and punishable offense.  The film has screened and won awards both internationally and within the US. 

              Sonali is an Associate Professor at Virginia Commonwealth University's Department of Photography & Film.  She has an MFA in Film & Media Arts from Temple University and a BA in Critical Social Thought from  Mount Holyoke College. Ms. Gulati grew up in New Delhi, India and has been organizing the South Asian queer rights movement for over a decade. She started the desidykes online community for South Asian queer women from across the globe and has worked with various community groups in India and the United States.

              Ms. Gulati has made several short films that have screened at over 200 film festivals worldwide, including the award-winning Nalini By Day, Nancy By Night which continues to screen in educational venues. She has won awards, grants, and fellowships from the Third Wave Foundation, World Studio Foundation, the Robert Giard Memorial Fellowship, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Fellowship, and the Theresa Pollak Prize for Excellence in the Arts.


Barbara Hammer

              Barbara Hammer is a visual artist working primarily in film and video and has made over 80 works in a career that spans 30 years. She is considered a pioneer of queer cinema. She recently had a Tribute Retrospective at the Chinese Cultural University in Taiwan where she also led a workshop “Strategic Planning for Film/Video Artists.” Her experimental films of the 1970’s often dealt with taboo subjects such as menstruation, female orgasm and lesbian sexuality. In the 80’s she used optical printing to explore perception and the fragility of 16mm film life itself.

              Optic Nerve (1985), Endangered (1988), and Nitrate Kisses (1992) were selected for the Whitney Museum of American Art Biennials (’85,’89, ‘93). Her documentaries tell the stories of marginalized peoples who have been hidden from history and are often essay films that are multi-leveled and engage audiences viscerally and intellectually with the goal of activating them to make social change.     

              Hammer was a Fulbright Senior Specialist in Fall 2005 at the Bratislava Academy of Art and Design, Slovakia; she received the first Shirley Clarke Avant-Garde Filmmaker Award in October 2006 and the Women In Film Award 2006 from the St. Louis International Film Festival. In February 2007, she was awarded a tribute and retrospective at the Chinese Cultural University Digital Imaging Center in Taipei, Taiwan sponsored by Women Make Waves Film Festival. In April, 2008, Diving Women of Jeju-do premiered at the Seoul International Women’s Film Festival where Hammer presented followed by a trip to Beijing where she showed her 1970 lesbian films to a Feminist Seminar and a new LGTQI Center.             

              Her experimental film on cancer and hope, A Horse Is Not A Metaphor, premiered in 2008 at the 32nd Frameline International Lesbian and Gay Film Festival in San Francisco. It also screened at the Berlin International Film Festival in 2009 and Doc Fortnight at the Museum of Modern Art in 2009. It was also selected for the short film competition at Punta de Vista Film Festival in Pamplona, Spain and Festival des Films des Femmes, Creteil, France.

              Hammer has had retrospectives at the Berlin Film Festival and Centre Pompidou, Paris in 1985, the Digital University Taiwan in 2005, Universitad Complutense in Madrid in 2008, and in 2010 at the New York Museum of Modern Art, the Reina Sophia in Madrid, and the Tate Modern in London. Her memoir, HAMMER!, was published by the Feminist Press at CUNY in 2010.  She teaches each summer at The European Graduate School in Saas-Fee, Switzerland. She lives and works in New York City.


Alexandra Juhasz (Amherst ‘86)
              Alexandra Juhasz, P
rofessor of Media Studies, Pitzer College, teaches media production, history  and theory.  She has a Ph.D. in Cinema Studies from NYU and has taught courses at NYU, Swarthmore College, Bryn Mawr College, Claremont Graduate University, and Pitzer College, on YouTube, media archives, activist media, documentary, and feminist film.  Dr. Juhasz has written multiple articles on feminist, fake, and AIDS documentary. Her current work is on and about YouTube, and other more radical uses of digital media. 

              As a Director/Producer, Dr. Juhasz has made more than 15 documentaries on feminist and lesbian issues from AIDS to women's films to teen pregnancy, including the features SCALE (2008), Video Remains (2005), Dear Gabe (2002) and Women of Vision (1998), as well as producing the acclaimed narrative feature The Watermelon Woman (1996). Her work has screened at the Sundance and Toronto International Film Festivals, and women's, and gay and lesbian film festivals around the world.  

              Her first book, AIDS TV: Identity, Community and Alternative Video (Duke University Press, 1996) is about the contributions of low-end video production to political organizing and individual and community growth. Her second book is comprised of transcribed interviews from her documentary about feminist film history, Women of Vision, with accompanying introductions (Minnesota University Press). Her third book, F is for Phony: Fake Documentary and Truth’s Undoing, edited with Jesse Lerner, is recently out from University of MN Press.

              Dr. Juhasz's innovative "video-book," Learning from YouTube (2011), is recently published by the MIT Press. Her earlier digital effort is Media Praxis: A Radical Web-Site Integrating Theory, Practice and Politics. She blogs on this and other projects at


Michelle Medina (Smith ’05)

              Michelle Medina is a filmmaker and writer in Casablanca, Morocco. She graduated with honors from Smith College in 2005 and has written her thesis and lectured on Moroccan women, identity, and cinema. Medina received a Fulbright Scholarship in 2005 and returned to Morocco to create a visual project to complement her academic work. Portrait of Khmissa is a four-part collection of portraits that includes: Little Creations, Bread, Water, and Sucre & Melha.
Medina was born in the US and raised in Japan under unconventional circumstances that have influenced her vision of home, religion, and identity. She is currently writing about her experiences.  Medina recently completed her documentary All I Wanna Do. The film follows the dreams of a 48-year-old parking guard and his 17-year-old son who form a hip hop group, leaving the slum to meet their heroes and enter studios and radio stations for the first time, in an adventure through the music industry of Casablanca.  Released this year, the film has screened in festivals from New York to Marrakech.


Liz Miller

              Liz Miller, a full time professor in the Communication Studies program at Concordia University in Montreal and a co-founder of the Concordia Documentary Center, is a documentary filmmaker and community media artist.  She holds an MFA in Electronic Arts from Renssellaer Polytechnic Institute and an BA in Social Thought and Political Economics from the University of Massachusetts in Amherst. For the last fifteen years, Miller has developed documentary and community media projects with youth, senior citizens and a wide range of human rights organizations.

              Her 30-minute documentary, Novela, Novela, an inside look at Nicaragua’s most political and popular “social soap opera,” has been integrated into high school curricula and used by international coalitions working against violence and defending the rights of women, children and LGBTQ populations.  Miller has exhibited her work around the world and won awards from the International Association of Women in Radio and Film, Latin American Studies Association, and the National Educational Media Network. The Water Front is her most recent work and has already won two awards; the Ramsar Medwet Award at Ecofilms in Greece and the Environmental Award, Media that Matters.

              Having lived in Central America for half a decade, Liz continues to conduct media workshops for women and human rights organizations across the Americas and internationally. She is currently at work on a project involving refugee youth in Montreal.


Lourdes Portillo

              Mexico-born and Chicana identified, Lourdes Portillo's films have focused on the search for Latino identity. She has worked in a richly varied range of forms, from television documentary to satirical video-film collage. In 1978, after graduating from The San Francisco Art Institute, Portillo used American Film Institute Independent Filmmaker Award monies to create her internationally praised narrative film After the Earthquake/Despues del Terremoto, about a Nicaraguan refugee living in San Francisco.

              The Mothers of Plaza de Mayo, the result of a three-year collaboration with writer/director Susana Munoz, was a pivotal film in Portillo's career. It was an Oscar Nominee for Best Documentary in 1985.  This, along with the 20 other awards it received internationally earned Portillo the PBS funding she needed for her next film, La Ofrenda: The Days of the Dead.  Completed in 1989 and greeted with widespread critical acclaim, La Ofrenda uses the dream-like structure that has become a hallmark of her recent work. 

              An NEA Inter-Arts Grant allowed Portillo to commemorate the 500th anniversary of Christopher Columbus's "discovery" of America in her own ironic fashion. Her 1993 film, Columbus on Trial, showed at the London Film Festival and the Sundance Film Festival and was selected for the 1993 Whitney Museum of American Art Biennial. In 1994 she was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in recognition of her contributions to filmmaking. In The Devil Never Sleeps (1994), Portillo continued her effort to explore the Mexican psyche, broadening the spectrum of screen representation of Latinos and Chicanos. Other award-winning and widely viewed films include Corpus: A Home Movie About Selena (1999), Seniorita Extraviada/Missing Young Woman (2001), and My McQueen (2004). 

              All of Portillo’s work is widely shown in classrooms and academic circles and integrated into curriculum studies.  Portillo has collaborated extensively with noted directors Susana Muñoz and Nina Serrano and with Academy Award-winning editor Vivien Hillgrove.


Anayansi Prado

              Born in Panama, Anayansi Prado moved to the United States as a teenager. She attended Boston University, where she received a BA in film. Her debut documentary, Maid in America, was broadcast nationally on the PBS Independent Lens series. Anayansi’s second production, Children in No Man’s Land, is part of the State Department’s American Documentary Showcase, which has screened in numerous countries around the world. Both films explore issues of immigration, labor, and human rights. Prado’s third documentary, Paraiso for sale, is her first production in her homeland. The film, which recently premiered at the Los Angeles Film Festival, takes a look at the fast-growing migration of American retirees and developers to Bocas del Toro, Panama; and the effect it is having on a local Ngobe community.
              She has been supported by Latino Public Broadcasting, the Rockefeller Media Fellowship, two Media Grants from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, and grants from the Paul Robeson Media Fund, Pacific Pioneer Fund, The Fledgling Foundation, and Chicken and Egg Pictures. Anayansi served as executive producer for the Discovery en Espanol series Voces de Cambio about humanitarian issues of the Latino community living in the United States.  She has also worked as a producer for NPR’s Radio Diaries. A resident of Los Angeles, Anayansi is the founder of the production company Impacto Films and the nonprofit Impacto Project.


Rea Tajiri

           Rea Tajiri is a Japanese American video artist and filmmaker who was born in Chicago, Illinois where her parents resettled after her father served in the 442nd regiment during WWII.   She earned her BFA and MFA degree from the California Institute of the Arts where she studied studio art. After graduating, Tajiri worked as a producer on various film and video projects in Los Angeles and New York, gaining international acclaim for her 1991 film History and Memory: For Akiko and Takashige, which premiered at the 1991 Whitney Biennial and won the Distinguished Achievement Award from the International Documentary Association, among other awards. This documentary short has screened in over 250 venues around the world.  After completing this film, Tajiri developed an interest in the history of social movements and was approached by civil rights organizer Pat Saunders to co-produce a film on the life of Nisei Japanese American human rights activist Yuri Kochiyama.  They received a production grant from the PBS series  P.O.V. to complete the film entitled Passion for Justice. She has also worked with Canadian author Kerri Sakamoto on Strawberry Fields (1994), which screened at the San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival, the Los Angeles Film Festival and the Venice International Film Festival, and won the Grand Prix at the Fukuoka Asian Film Festival.
           Tajiri’s video art has been included in the 1989, 1991, and 1993 Whitney Biennials. She has also exhibited at the New Museum for Contemporary Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the Guggenheim Museum, The Walker Art Museum and the Pacific Film Archives. Tajiri has received fellowships from the Rockefeller Foundation, NEA Visual Arts, and the New York Foundation for the Arts. In 2004, she received a two-month residency at the MacDowell Colony. She is Associate Professor at Temple University in the Film Media Arts Department. 


Cynthia Wade (Smith ’92)

              Cynthia Wade is an Oscar-winning documentary director. Her latest short documentary Born Sweet, about a Cambodian village poisoned by arsenic-laced well water, received an Honorable Mention at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival and nine other festival awards. Wade recently directed the feature-length documentary Living the Legacy: The Untold Story of Milton Hershey School, which is currently airing on the IFC and Sundance Channels. She is currently directing a new film for HBO about women and cancer. 

              Wade's short documentary Freeheld won an Oscar, a Special Jury Prize at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival and 16 other film festival awards worldwide. Wade also directed and shot the five-time award-winning HBO documentary Shelter Dogs, which was broadcast in seven countries, as well as the 1999 Cinemax Reel Life documentary Grist For The Mill

              Wade was co-producer and the principal verite cinematographer for the 1998 PBS documentary Taken In: The Lives of America's Foster Children, which was awarded a Columbia-DuPont Award for Excellence in Journalism. She has been cameraperson for PBS, HBO/Cinemax, Bravo, AMC, MTV, A&E, Discovery, TNT, Oxygen, LOGO, and The History Channel.

              Wade received a Bachelor's Degree, cum laude, from Smith College and a Masters Degree in Documentary Film Production from Stanford University. She runs the boutique documentary film company, Cynthia Wade Productions, in New York City.


Debra Zimmerman

              Debra Zimmerman has been the Executive Director of Women Make Movies, a non-profit NY based film organization that supports both American and international women filmmakers, since 1983. During her tenure it has grown into the largest distributor of films by and about women in the world.  Its internationally recognized Production Assistance Program has helped hundreds of women get their films made. Films from WMM programs have won prizes at the last five Sundance Film Festivals and been nominated for or won Academy Awards in five of the last six years.
              Zimmerman speaks around the world about independent film distribution, marketing and financing as well as women's film. She has moderated panels and given master classes at the Sundance Film Festival, MIPDOC and Reel Screen as well as film festivals in Europe, Africa, Asia and South America. Zimmerman has been closely affiliated with the International Documentary Film Festival (IDFA) as the co-host of the Talk of the Day and as a tutor for their Summer Film Academy. In addition, she has mentored filmmakers at the Ex-Oriente Film Workshop in Vienna and for many years at the National Alliance of Latino Independent Producers’ (NALIP) Academy. She has consulted with foundations and non-profit arts organizations, most recently as a member of the Gender Montage Advisory Board project for the Soros Foundation’s Open Society Institute and on the funding advisory panels for Pew Charitable Trusts prestigious Media Fellowships, NJ State Council on the Arts and the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs.

              Zimmerman is also a member of numerous Advisory Boards for media and film organizations, including the Australian International Documentary Conference (AIDC); the Banff World Television Conference; The Center for Social Media at American University, Cinema Tropical, NY; Cine-Arts Afrika, Kenya, and the Black Lily Film Festival in Philadelphia. She has also been a jury member for many international film festivals, most recently for the Abu Dhabi International Film Festival, Iran’s Cinema Verite Film Festival, the Leipzig Documentary Film Festival and the Cleveland International Film Festival. Zimmerman also served on the Selection Committee for the Museum of Modern Art’s 2011 Documentary Fortnight Exhibition.


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