Marcia Smith is president and co-founder of Firelight Media, which produces documentary films, provides artistic and financial support to emerging filmmakers of color, and builds impact campaigns to connect documentaries to audiences and social justice advocates. Under her leadership, Firelight Media was honored with a MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions. Firelight Media’s flagship Documentary Lab program has supported more than 80 emerging filmmakers over the past decade, who have premiered at festivals such as Sundance, and gone on to earn numerous festival, Peabody, and Emmy awards.
She has written several films alongside documentarian Stanley Nelson including: Tell Them We Are Rising: The Story of Black Colleges and Universities; Through the Fire: The Legacy of Barack Obama; Freedom Riders; Jonestown: The Life and Death of the Peoples Temple; Marcus Garvey: Look for Me in the Whirlwind; and The Murder of Emmett Till. Marcia received a Primetime Emmy nomination and won the Writers’ Guild Award for best nonfiction writing for her work on The Murder of Emmett Till, and was honored with a 2016 Muse Award from New York Women in Film & Television, as well as the 2019 Luminary Award from BlackStar Film Festival. Marcia will also serve as the writer for Firelight’s upcoming 4-hour documentary series, Creating The New World, on the transatlantic slave trade.
Marcia is a member of AMPAS, currently sits on the Peabody Board of Directors - East Coast, and is a member of the Board for Martha's Vineyard Film Society.
Stanley Nelson is among the premier documentary filmmakers working today. His feature-length films combine compelling narratives with rich and deeply researched historical detail, shining new light on both familiar and under-explored aspects of the American past.
Rafiah Vitalis is Firelight’s Director of Finance and Operations. Rafiah has decades-long experience as a finance and nonprofit professional, deeply committed to work that creates transformative change in underserved and historically oppressed communities.
Kandace Fuller is a graduate of Columbia University, where she received her B.A. in English Literature. During her studies, she developed a passion for amplifying marginalized voices and developing narratives that animate and affirm people of color.
Loira Limbal currently serves as a consultant for Firelight Media. Limbal is an Afro-Dominican filmmaker and DJ interested in the creation of art that is nuanced and revelatory for communities of color.
Chloë Walters-Wallace is the director of regional initiatives for Firelight Media.
Monika Navarro recently joined Firelight Media as the Senior Director of Artist Programs. She has more than a decade of experience producing for public media, from directing her debut film Lost Souls (Animas Perdidas) which premiered on Independent Lens, to producing for World Channel, American Documentary and the Peabody-award winning PBS series Latino Americans.
Justin Sherwood recently joined Firelight Media as Communications Director to support Firelight’s mission of “changing the story.”
Patricia Marte is an Afro-Latinx Hip-Hop Artist, writer, and community engagement specialist. She is interested in using her talents and skills to amplify the Afro-Latinx community and to advocate for and empower people from marginalized communities to reach their highest potential.
Ximena Amescua Cuenca is the Artist Programs Coordinator at Firelight Media, fellowship programs that provide mentorship, funding, and access to first and second time filmmakers from racially and ethnically underrepresented communities.
Noel is Firelight’s Office Manager and the glue that makes everything stick at our Hamilton Heights location. He has extensive experience in financial services and facilities operations.
Jonathan Kitt is excited to join Firelight Media as Director of Development. In this role, he leads the organization’s fundraising strategy and operations, helping to articulate Firelight’s mission and vision to existing and prospective donors.