July 18, 2024

The Power of the BIPOC Producer | Beyond Resilience

In partnership with the Documentary Producer's Alliance (DPA), Firelight Media's award-winning Beyond Resilience series will host a panel discussion exploring the critical but often unheard voices of underrepresented documentary producers. Discover how empowering these voices can address key gaps in the documentary industry, paving the way for a future that strengthens both the impact of independent producers and the industry at large.

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Join moderator Geeta Gandbhir (Born in Synanon) alongside panelists Nicole Docta (The Dead Zone), Laurens Grant (Black in Space: Breaking the Color Barrier), and Robinder Uppal (Love in the Time of Fentanyl) for an informative and inspiring conversation about claiming space for underrepresented producers in nonfiction filmmaking, spotlighting the need for more films for us and by us, and exploring how these creatives are not only fitting into the industry but actively redefining it. The event will be introduced by Firelight Media's own Monika Navarro.

With the growing demand for films and docuseries focused on communities of color and underrepresented groups, how are producers from these groups claiming power in an industry that has largely excluded them from the talent pipeline? What critical insights are studios, executives, and directors missing out on that underrepresented producers bring to tackling industry-wide issues—from ethical dilemmas to staffing to inclusivity? And how could these producers drive the industry toward a more equitable, thriving documentary ecosystem?

Accessibility Notice: This event will include live ASL interpretation and closed captions.

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The Beyond Resilience Series is sponsored by Open Society Foundations. Beyond Resilience is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, the National Endowment for the Arts, and Field of Vision.

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About the Documentary Producers Alliance (DPA)
Established in 2016, the Documentary Producers Alliance (DPA) is a diverse coalition of more than 500 international members, ranging from emerging to Academy Award-winning documentary producers. The DPA sets standards for inclusive, sustainable and equitable business practices based on research, collective experience and input from strategic partners, amplifying the voice of documentary producers worldwide, while educating the industry about producers’ essential role from development through financing, production and distribution.

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Participant Bios:

Geeta Gandbhir embarked on her career in narrative film under the guidance of Spike Lee and Sam Pollard. After working for eleven years in scripted film, collaborating with renowned figures such as the Coen Brothers, Robert Altman, and others, she transitioned into documentary filmmaking. As a Director, credits include the Oscar Shorlisted film How We Get Free for HBO, the series Born in Synanon for Paramount, Eyes on the Prize for HBO, Lowndes County and the Road to Black Power, which was nominated for the 2022 Critics Choice Award, and won a 2023 Emmy Award. She directed and show ran the series Black and Missing for HBO which won a 2022 NAACP Award for Best Directing, a 2022 Independent Spirit Award for Best Documentary Series. In her role as an Editor, her films have garnered multiple Emmy and Peabody Awards, and one Academy Award.

Nicole Docta (she/her) is an award-winning documentary filmmaker who has focused her career on producing socially provoking BIPOC stories. Nicole was part of the producing teams on the Peabody Award-winning The Judge (TIFF 2017), Emmy Award-winning Belly of the Beast (HRWFF 2020), and duPont Award-winner Through the Night (Tribeca 2020). Not only does Nicole work to improve outcomes for the communities in her films, she strives to enhance the documentary industry. Nicole worked as the Special Initiatives Producer at Firelight Media for three years and volunteers on the DPA Equity & Inclusion Committee and with A-Doc. Her latest work includes The Dead Zone, an investigation into the pretrial detention system to prevent innocent people from being held in jail for years. Nicole is also a USC CPD NextGen Creative Fellow, one of DOC NYC’s 40 Under 40, a PGA Create alum, Sundance Producer Fellow, and Impact Partners Producer Fellow.

Laurens Grant is a three-time Emmy and Peabody award-winning documentary filmmaker, and former Sundance Institute Fellow. Three of her films have premiered at the prestigious Sundance film festival. Grant is a voting member of both the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences [the Oscars] and the Television Academy [the Emmys]. Grant has directed or produced films for multiple networks including WBD/MAX, Showtime, CNN, BET,PBS, and Smithsonian. Grant’s latest documentary For All Humankind [MAX] examines the dichotomy of the space billionaires launching their rockets into space the same week that George Floyd was killed, and explores whether we are moving forward or backward as a society. Trevor Noah is Executive Producer. Other credits include: The Nineties [CNN], Black In Space: Breaking the Color Barrier [Smithsonian Ch, Amazon Prime, Hulu+], The Black Panthers [PBS] , and United Skates [Max] and The Rape of Recy Taylor [Hulu, Amazon Prime].

Robinder Uppal is a Punjabi-Canadian-American filmmaker and interactive producer whose work explores issues of social justice, immigration, and equality. He is a co-founder of Lost Time Media, which has produced a wide range of linear and interactive documentaries since 2013. Past work includes the feature-length interactive The World in Ten Blocks (Hot Docs, Sheffield Doc/Fest), The Head & The Hand (Hot Docs, DOC NYC), No Visible Trauma (VIFF, DOK.fest München), and Love in the Time of Fentanyl, a Sundance Institute-supported co-production with ITVS, which broadcast on PBS’s Independent Lens in 2023. Uppal was a fellow with Firelight Media’s Spark Fund and is in development on The Golden Door, which was selected in the inaugural round of the Netflix-supported Hot Docs Incubator program. Uppal completed his MFA in Documentary Media at Toronto Metropolitan University and is the supervising producer on the American Masters and Firelight Media series IN THE MAKING.

July 18, 2024

The Power of the BIPOC Producer | Beyond Resilience

Join Firelight Media and the Documentary Producers Alliance on YouTube Live for a conversation about the power of BIPOC producers.

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Interrogating the Festival to Awards Pipeline | Beyond Resilience

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January 25, 2024

The Optics of Islam | Beyond Resilience

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December 7, 2023

The Documentary System is Broken. Now What? | Beyond Resilience

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November 1, 2023

Palestinian Voices | Beyond Resilience

Beyond Resilience, with support from Field of Vision, is proud to be a community partner for the Arab Film & Media Institute's 'Palestinian Voices' program.

November 15, 2023

Navigating the Ethical and Business Landscape of Artificial Intelligence | Beyond Resilience

A conversation about the evolution of artificial intelligence and its impact on documentary filmmaking, presented with DOC NYC PRO.


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