We are pleased to announce the formation of the inaugural Social Justice Film Festival and Institute Advisory Council.
Comprised of filmmakers and activists who blend art and social change, the Advisory Council provides crucial insight about Institute programming, outreach, funding, and direction. The council also plays an integral role in selecting festival and award-worthy films.
Advisory Council Members
Jo is a director and Telly and CINE Golden Eagle Award-winning editor and founder of Tandybrook Productions.Her recent documentary editing credits include Imba Means Sing (Best Humanitarian Documentary, Global Film Awards, 2016), Beyond The Visible: The Story of the Very Large Array, narrated by Jodi Foster; and PBS documentaries, Into Deepest Space: The Birth of the ALMA Observatory and Papa Boss. Her other work includes the Military Channel’s Lions of Babylon: A Soldier’s Diary and Discovery’s Fantastic Festivals of the World: Hong Kong Dragon Boat Carnival. Ardinger is also a guest instructor at the University of Washington, where she teaches digital storytelling in science.
Seattle native, Nyema Clark is founder and Director of Nurturing Roots Farm located on Beacon Hill, a program committed to addressing food justice issues in the community.
She is also an organizing keyholder of the Black Power Epicenter Collective. As a black small business owner and founder of Avenue South, she produces handmade natural culinary and body products. Nyema is committed to enriching underserved communities, her strength and overall goal is founded in youth empowerment and community economic sustainability.
Giovanni Coda is an Italian author, director and photographer.
Coda began his artistic career in 1991 and is the author of many video art and photographic installations hosted in museums and art centers worldwide. He is currently the director of V-art International Festival Immagine d’Autore, which has taken place in Cagliari, Italy since 1996.
Currently his filmmaking has shifted from video art research to works inspired by contemporary social topics staged through various artistic languages such as dance, music, photography and painting.
Representative of his artistic journey are the feature films Il Rosa Nudo, Bullied to Death, Mark’s Diary and in his latest film about euthanasia, Histoire d’Une Larme (to be released in 2021).
Sam recently relocated to Seattle and is excited to be a part of the PNW documentary film community. An award-winning filmmaker, Sam co-founded Docs in Progress, an education resource for documentary filmmakers in the Washington DC area. He also served as Executive Director of a Capitol Hill technology nonprofit, Program Director for higher education initiatives at the Executive Leadership Foundation, and with the New York State Health Department.
Sam holds a PhD in Urban Education from Cleveland State University, undertaking research at The Ohio State University. He has served on the Board of The Harley School and the Selection Committee of the American Film Institute’s Documentary Film Festival.
Rhenda Meiser moved to Seattle in 1990, drawn to the Emerald City’s independent and innovative spirit. She created Meiser Communications in 2007. Prior to starting her firm, Rhenda directed communications for the Group Health Foundation—Group Health Cooperative’s philanthropic arm—which raised $3.2 million in gifts and awarded $1 million in grants annually. She also practiced at Bombar Public Relations and Firmani & Associates in Seattle.
A lifelong arts supporter, Rhenda is a board member of the Social Justice Film Festival & Institute, and a past board member of the Arab Center of Washington. She also volunteers as a publicist for Ballard High School’s Performing Arts—celebrating the talent of young people.
Rhenda earned a master’s degree in Public Communication from American University in Washington, D.C., and a bachelor’s in English from the University of Virginia.
Rosalie is an award-winning documentary filmmaker, producer, and actor. She is a recipient of a 4Culture Artist Award, a GAP Award, and most recently, the American Bar Association Silver Gavel Award for Documentaries. She is currently producing the feature-length documentary, Personhood: Policing Pregnant Women in America about a young mother swept up in dangerous laws. The film reframes the abortion debate to encompass the growing system of laws that criminalize and police pregnant women. The film premiered at DOC NYC (2019) and was nominated for a Social Justice Award at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival and Best Documentary Feature at the Big Sky Documentary Film Festival. The film recently won the American Bar Association Silver Gavel Award for Documentaries and a Golden Badger Award at the Wisconsin Film Festival.
In 2013, Rosalie co-founded Seattle-based production company, Wanderhouse, with her partner. She produces commercial video and narrative and documentary film. Clients include Microsoft, Amazon, Alliance for Gun Responsibility, and the Henry Art Gallery. She is currently in post-production on her second short documentary, “Worth My Salt,” about queer, femme performance artist, Jody Kuehner (aka Cherdonna Shinatra). The film received a 2017 GAP Award and a 4Culture Artist Award in 2016. Her documentary short debut, “The Things We Keep,” premiered at the 2015 Seattle International Film Festival and had its broadcast premiere on KCTS9 Reel NW. Rosalie is a member of Women Make Movies, Women in Film Seattle, and the Documentary Producers Alliance.
Michele Noble is an award winning director, writer, and producer of narrative films, documentaries and theatre often dealing with civil rights and social justice. She is a lifelong activist most recently having participated in peaceful direct actions for Black Lives Matter, March For Our Lives, and with the Native Nations at Standing Rock. Two of her most recent films deal with activists and their lives on the frontlines fighting for Justice. Ms. Noble’s feature documentary, Journey 4 Artists (2014), contemplates the power of music as a bridge to heal histories of war and genocide between cultures and was honored with a Grand Prize at the Oscar qualifying Rhode Island International Film Festival and with a Best Director Award at the Roving Eye Film Festival. Her most recent film, Reclamation: The Rise at Standing Rock (2018), a short documentary depicting the peaceful resistance led by the Indigenous youth against the unlawful Dakota Access Pipeline has screened at film festivals worldwide. Thus far, Reclamation: The Rise at Standing Rock has been honored with twenty nominations and nine top jury awards including: Best Short Film at the Vail Film Festival, Best Documentary Short at the Manchester International Film Festival and the Tulalip Cares Prize at the Social Justice Film Festival.
Currently, Ms. Noble is developing film projects that similarly involve themes of social justice, belonging, and generational destiny. She is a graduate of the USC Film School and a member of the Writers Guild of America and the Directors Guild of America.
Remoy Philip is a New York City based producer working on documentaries, national ad campaigns, podcasts, and more. His work has taken him around the globe producing stories of underserved and marginalized people groups, resulting in humanization and audience activism.
As a child growing up in Detroit, Gilda often sat in a closet with a mirror and flashlight watching shadow and light create shapes in darkness. Her grandmother encouraged her to discover stories from these shapes. Her discoveries, where stories take shape, inform her filmmaking. Her documentaries uncover stories of triumph.
Gilda is an award-winning filmmaker who has screened her documentaries throughout the United States, and internationally in Ghana, West Africa, at the Cannes Film Festivals in France, and in Germany at the International Black Film Festival in Berlin. Sheppard is a 2017 Hedgebrook Fellow for documentary film.
Her documentaries include stories of resilience of Liberian women and children refugees in Ghana; three generations of Black families in an urban neighborhood; and a film ethnography of stories from folklore started by Zora Neale Hurston in Alabama’s AfricaTown. She is currently in post-production of her documentary Since I Been Down on education, organizing, and healing developed and led by incarcerated women and men in Washington State’s prisons. Sheppard’s recent book is titled Culturally Relevant Arts Education for Social Justice: A Way Out of No Way. Sheppard is a volunteer teacher in prisons. In addition, she is a Sociology Professor at Evergreen State College in Tacoma WA.
Lauren Taubman’s social justice conscience was formed as a child growing up in Jim Crow Oklahoma. After moving with her family to southern California, her first form of activism was quelling a race riot on her high school campus the day Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated. The Ford Foundation studied the program that she and her Black student friends created and implemented it as a model to prevent racial strife in schools. Taubman opened a fringe theater in London and produced/directed award-winning plays, including David Rabe’s Sticks & Bones (invited to the English National Theatre). Taubman practiced litigation until her passion for social justice led her to produce Bopha!, Hollywood’s only anti-apartheid drama told from the Black perspective, directed by Morgan Freeman, starring Danny Glover and Alfre Woodard.
Taubman recently executive produced the feature doc. Killswitch, which was selected for a series of special screenings at IDFA, along with Laura Poitras’ doc. Citizen Four. Killswitch has been shown at film festivals around the world, as well as on Capitol Hill before 150-members of Congress and activists across North America on the eve of the FCC’s Net Neutrality decision. She is also the co-founder/publisher of the Occupy Movement’s international, activist website Occupy.com.