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.
In addition to honors for his individual films, Nelson and his body of work have garnered every major award in the industry. He is a MacArthur “Genius” Fellow, and was awarded an individual Peabody Award, the 2016 Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Academy of Television Arts Sciences, and received the National Medal in the Humanities from President Barack Obama.
Nelson’s latest film, Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool, the definitive look at the life and career of the iconic Miles Davis, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2019. The screening marked Nelson’s tenth premiere at the prestigious festival in twenty years, the most premieres of any documentary filmmaker.
In 2018, Nelson directed a short film which examined the history and impact of racial profiling in public spaces. The Story of Access was screened at a mandatory training for 175,000 Starbucks employees across 8,000 stores, and received over a million views on
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.
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 the Senior Vice President for Programs 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.
Kristine is the Finance and Operations Coordinator at Firelight Media. She is a graduate of Barnard College, where she received her B.A. in Urban Studies & Sociology.
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.