Originally from New York City, Sisa Bueno is a traveling film & multimedia maker who is dedicated to making inaccessible stories more accessible to audiences. She studied both film production and interactive technologies at the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University (NYU). The NBC Network named Sisa a 2013 Latino Innovator for her upcoming documentary TO THE MOUNTAINS (in post-production) about decolonization in Bolivia, and she has also completed a short film for AJ+ related to the same subject. Sisa is a recipient of the ITVS-PBS Diversity Development grant & Open Call, Hot Docs CrossCurrents grant, BAVC MediaMaker fellowship, Points North Institute North Star fellowship, and the IDA Pare Lorentz Doc Fund for her current work in progress, FOR VENIDA, FOR KALIEF (in production). Sisa is currently an instructor for documentary at her alma mater Tisch-NYU Film.
In 2010, 16-year-old Kalief Browder was sent to New York’s notorious Rikers Island jail for allegedly stealing a backpack–perpetually awaiting a trial that never came. For three years, he courageously survived pressures to take a plea deal, solitary confinement, and excessive physical and mental violence. He eventually was released without charge, but with tremendous trauma and not enough psychological support to help him process what he had endured. At the age of 22, Kalief Browder committed suicide. Just a year later, after tirelessly fighting for justice for her son, Kalief’s mother Venida died from a broken heart. She left a personal collection of poems detailing her family’s ordeal, which traverse a wide spectrum of emotions and shed light not just on the injustice, but also on a beautiful side of her family and community.
“For Venida, For Kalief” presents Venida’s words as poetic cinema, showcasing the full spectrum of everyday life for people of color in New York City; reveling in lyrical moments of Black and Brown joy and spirituality, as well as constant police surveillance, struggle, and activism. Featuring some of Kalief’s siblings as they take part in the markers of Kalief’s legacy, the film lyrically weaves together the deeply personal emotions of Venida’s poems with the community activism that emerged in the aftermath of Kalief’s death— all leading to ultimate question if the closure of the notorious Rikers Island jail will actually happen in the near future.