2018 Grantees

Each year One World Media offers funding to young journalists and students to help them cover a story in a developing country. See below for details of the current grantees.

JANUARY

Hanan Bihi

Freelance – Reporting from Somaliland

Mattha Busby

Guardian Global Development network – Reporting from Nigeria

Lisa Clifford

Freelance – Reporting from the Democratic Republic of Congo

Carlotta Dotto

Guardian Global Development network – Reporting from Nigeria

Dan Faber

Freelance – Reporting from Panama

Hazel Falck

Freelance – Reporting from Ethiopia

Amalia Illgner

Freelance – Reporting from Colombia

Ravi Lloyd

Freelance – Reporting from Cuba

Aran McCarthy

Freelance – Reporting from Mozambique

Larissa Romer Karl

Freelance – Reporting from Brazil

Mei Leng Yew

Freelance – Reporting from Sri Lanka

APRIL

Iman Alaouie

Freelance, reporting from Egypt

Adrian Emanuel

Freelance, reporting from Senegal

Flaminia Giambalvo

Freelance, reporting from Mexico

Charanpreet Khaira

Freelance, reporting from Italy/The Philippines

Lydia Matata

Freelance, reporting from Kenya

Gabriella Muasya

Freelance, reporting from Kenya

Faye Planer

Freelance, reporting from Colombia

Simona Rata

Freelance, reporting from Romania

Roxy Rezvany

Freelance, reporting from Pakistan

DECEMBER

Ali Sargent

Freelance - Reporting from Brazil

Arwa Aburawa

Freelance - Reporting from Guatemala

Aurora Herrera

Freelance - Reporting from Venezuela

Chloe Abrahams

Freelance - Reporting from Sri Lanka

Erica Beebe

Freelance - Reporting from Morocco

Faye Yan Zhang

Freelance - Reporting from China

Kendra McLaughlin

Freelance - Reporting from Bosnia and Herzegovina

Meera Darji

Freelance - Reporting from India

Nadya Gorodetskaya

Freelance - Reporting from Russia

Phoebe Fleming

Freelance - Reporting from Sierra Leone

Gabriella Isadora Nørgaard Muasya

Gabriella is a multimedia storyteller with a BA in Culture and Communication from Roskilde University in Denmark. She is particularly interested in stories from Copenhagen and Nairobi, and is currently studying MA Media Practice for Development and Social Change at the University of Sussex. She has a passion for examining topics related to gender, race and migration from a decolonial perspective. Gabriella recently made a multimedia project concerning black masculinity and barbershop culture in the UK.

THE STORY:
A shift is happening – a breaking point has emerged. Kenya’s youth have decided to challenge old power dynamics to secure the freedom of the next generations. The criminalisation and violence against LGBT+ groups (enforced by the British colonial rule and upheld after Kenya’s independence) is now being challenged in a historical high court-case. In Nairobi we meet a poet who is taking the front lead in the struggle for freedom – both on the streets where she uses her poetry as a healing tool, and her role in the Kenyan activist community.  We follow her journey as she sets out to publish her poetry, and claim her space and voice. 

AMBITION:
To continue questioning, learning, and connecting cultures in order to tell strong educational multimedia stories.

Follow Gabriella on Instagram

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Amalia Illgner

Amalia is a London-based journalist, who previously worked as an advertising copywriter for almost 10 years. She had always longed to be a journalist like her hero Joan Didion, so she left her job, studied an MA in journalism at Goldsmiths University and has never looked back. Currently Amalia writes about culture, food, design and technology for a range of publications including 1843 (the Economist’s bi-monthly magazine about ideas), The New Scientist, and The Guardian.  Amalia was adopted as a baby from Colombia, by a German father and Trinidadian mother and grew up in Sydney.

 

THE STORY:
The 2016 landmark peace agreement between the FARC and the Colombian government brought an end to more than half a century of armed conflict. However, one of the biggest threats to a lasting peace is if the thousands of demobilised combatants fail to find employment. Data shows that around one quarter of ex-combatants from rural areas are interested in using their in-depth knowledge of Colombia’s landscape to become tour guides.

This story follows a former combatant who, with the help of local NGOs, has retrained as a tour guide. Amalia will travel to “La Trocha Ganadera”, a spectacular trail with natural pools, waterfalls, and birdlife,  which was previously considered unsafe to visit because it was a favoured corridor by the FARC to transport narcotics.

 

AMBITION:
To spend more time in Colombia and bring its incredibly diverse voices and rich stories to a wider audience – and improve her terrible Spanish.

Follow Amalia on Instagram or check out her website

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Aran McCarthy

 

Aran is a London based documentary filmmaker with a keen eye for unearthing obscure stories. He started making films whilst coaching football for Arsenal F.C. in a variety of countries including Mozambique, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Barbados, Thailand and Australia. During these placements, he was immersed within local communities and wanted to share their stories through short documentary films.
Aran now works as a camera operator/editor at the Arsenal F.C. This year he was a successful participant on the Grierson Trust Doclab Scheme and also completed the Roundhouse Bloomberg Production Scheme.

THE STORY:
In a small town called Manica in the heart of Mozambique, there is a gifted football player who dreams of making it big. They have all of the qualities to be the next Maradona – the only problem is that there is no women’s football team. Through looking at the politics of who can play on the pitch, Aran hopes to shed light on the effect of entrenched gender roles on young women in Mozambique. 

AMBITION:
To create thought-provoking documentaries that engage a diverse audience and impact change.

 

Follow Aran on Instagram  

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Carlotta Dotto

Carlotta is a freelance journalist based in London, who has written for The Times, The Guardian, La Repubblica, Vogue UK, New Internationalist. She has previously worked for the Times and Sunday Times’ data team, focused on data-led investigations covering issues surrounding social justice. She is interested in using digital tools to carry out in-depth investigations and to keep exploring new narrative formats. She graduated from the MA Digital Journalism program at Goldsmiths last year.

 

THE STORY:
Carlotta will travel to the rural Senegal River Valley area, to cover the story of a group of women that is using new technologies and renewable energies to fight the migrant crisis and climate change – and that is reversing the traditional female role in the area.

 

AMBITION:
To produce original, public interest stories that will make a difference.

 

Follow Carlotta on Twitter or Instagram 

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Mattha Busby

Mattha is a freelance journalist and reporter at the Guardian. He has also written for Private Eye, Vice and the Independent. He is interested in society, the media, travel and inequality. He graduated from the MA Journalism course at Goldsmiths, University of London in 2017.

 

THE STORY:
Women in south-eastern Nigeria can be disinherited, dispossessed and banished from their in-law’s family upon the death of their spouse. Mattha and Carlotta will travel to the states of Enugu and Imo to explore this injustice and report on how NGOs, lawyers and communities are working to ensure widows are able to exercise their constitutional rights.

 

AMBITION:
To continue to grow as a journalist, develop multimedia skills and write stories that make a difference.

Follow Mattha on Twitter

 

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Hanan Bihi

Hanan Bihi is a freelance multimedia journalist who has an MA in International Journalism from City, University of London. She’s interested in narrating human-interest stories and challenging
misconceptions. And always keen to explore and discover new ways of storytelling through digital platforms.

THE STORY:
The Republic of Somaliland – a self-declared, semi-autonomous region of Somalia – is one of the poorest countries on earth and an unlikely refuge for war-fleeing Syrians and Yemenis. As a fledgling democracy, the country enjoys peace and stability and is giving opportunities to skilled refugees to set-up businesses and have a second chance at life. But what’s stopping the young population of Somaliland from accessing similar opportunities? What is driving them to pursue a better life elsewhere at a time when doors are shut on both refugees and economic migrants alike?

AMBITION:
To connect with those on the margin of different social spheres and to tell their stories in a just, simple and humane way, using various forms of media.

Follow Hanan on Twitter

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Hazel Falck

Hazel is a UK-based producer currently working with Doc Society on their education programme, Doc Academy. Following a Journalism degree from London College of Communication, Hazel worked as a copywriter and then a producer with Just So. She has made films in east Africa and Palestine and her work has increasingly focused on social justice, as well as the rights and experiences of young people. 

 

THE STORY:
Hazel will travel to the Amhara region of Ethiopia to make a film with girls and young women who are planning to migrate to Saudi Arabia to find work. The project will take a closer look at how and why girls embark on the journey and their experiences on returning home.

 

AMBITION:
To keep learning, to make more films, and to meet more inspiring people.

 

Follow Hazel on Tumblr and check out her portfolio

 

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Larissa Romer Karl

Larissa is a London-based Brazilian producer and filmmaker who has an MA in Visual Arts. She has 12 years experience working in all stages of TV production within soap operas, documentaries and corporate videos. She previously worked for companies in Brazil, Argentina and Columbia, including TV Globo, Caracol TV and Discovery Latin America. Larissa now works on her own projects. In August 2017 she produced the documentary competition “Projeto Doc 36” in Rio along with Movement in Media and London Documentary Network. Recently she founded the site Bramedia Connection to setup co-productions between Brazil and the rest of the world.

 

THE STORY:
In the last few years Brazil has suffered a number of crises, including the impeachment of President Dilma. Larissa will travel to Rio to make a short film about the fight for survival of a professor and researcher at UERJ University. His laboratory of Leshmaniasis research, a tropical disease that affects 1 million people from developing countries, is now in terrible condition. Without pay or classes to attend, many professionals and students are taking loans and suffering from mental health problems, with some becoming suicidal.

 

AMBITION:
To make films that give people a voice and to keep making co-productions between the UK and other countries.

 

Check out Larissa’s website

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Mei Leng Yew

Mei Leng is a British-born Malaysian Chinese documentary filmmaker whose work focuses on the immigrant experience, intersectional feminism and social inequality. Her recent documentary ‘You Can’t Do Nothing, Can You?’ was funded by the BFI/We The People’s Tweetapitch Award 2016. Filmed over nine months, it follows two asylum seekers in the UK who are left homeless and destitute as a direct result of an inefficient and unsympathetic immigration system. Mei Leng currently works as a researcher at the BBC across a range of factual programmmes and is an alumni of the Grierson Doc Lab.

THE STORY:
A new crisis has emerged almost a year after devastating floods in the capital of Sri Lanka. With half a million people displaced and homes devastated, families have found themselves unable to support their own children and have been forced to abandon them at orphanages. This film follows some teenagers at one orphanage in Colombo as they make a rare trip to visit their parents for the Tamil New Year, traditionally a time of family reunion. This film will examine the Sri Lankan government’s response to a major environmental crisis, through the lens of a family’s sacrifice.

AMBITION:
To make documentaries which inspire positive social change, and to tell stories from around the globe.

Follow Mei Leng on Twitter and Instagram are

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Ravi Lloyd

 

Ravi is a curious multimedia storyteller from Anguilla, British West Indies. He recently developed online video content deconstructing urban violence with the support of Doc Society, and has made a short documentary on the housing crisis in London with Film Roundhouse. Ravi holds an MA Degree in Documentary Filmmaking from University College London and works extensively shooting and editing content in the Caribbean region, the United States and the United Kingdom. His projects include nonfiction and fiction film, sound and visual installations as well as collaborating with brands and artists to produce visual content.

SYNOPSIS:
The Riomar is an access-led project that will give voice and visibility to the small collective of residents of a unique building in Cuba. Today, six families still live in the central block of the Riomar – which is now an endangered structure at the brink of total collapse. After decades of utter indifference, the government has initiated talks with the families in order to relocate them as soon as possible. The coastal area of Miramar has regained its forgotten value since the normalisation of US-Cuba relationships and American corporations are looking to buy land and build hotels on the island once again. Has gentrification caught-up with socialist Cuba, or vice-versa?

 

AMBITION:
To tell stories from the Caribbean region with a local perspective for global audiences.

Check out Ravi’s website

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Dan Faber

 

Dan grew up in London, UK. He has a BA Hons degree in Philosophy and English from the University of Bristol (2015) and has just completed an MA in Ethnographic and Documentary Film at University College London. He lived and taught for a year in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and has travelled extensively throughout Latin America. He speaks fluent Spanish and has worked on a number of film and photographic projects in both South America and the UK.

THE STORY:
Panama is currently in a state of national euphoria, having qualified for the 2018 football World Cup for the first time in its history. Panama City has football academies that offer life-changing scholarships to children from the roughest barrios, giving them an opportunity for real social mobility. This film is a portrait of the lives of some of those children. It examines the role of football in society as providing both hope for the children and a convenient distraction for those in power in a country where the wealth divide between rich and poor is among the sharpest in the world.

 AMBITION:
To work as a documentary filmmaker, with a particular focus on social issues in Latin America.

 

Follow Dan on Vimeo

 

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Adrian Emanuel

Adrian graduated from the University of Edinburgh with a First Class Masters in Social Anthropology and won a university-wide prize for ‘most outstanding undergraduate dissertation’. His research is currently pending publication in the Journal of Southern African Studies. After graduating, Adrian worked at anti-corruption NGO Global Witness for two years, developing written and visual communications for some of the organisation’s most high-profile campaigns. Having completed film commissions for the Single Homelessness Project and the Australian Institute for Infant Mental Health, Adrian was taken on a Muslim pilgrimage in Senegal which has become the focus of this documentary. Alongside this film, Adrian has a grant pending with the Arts and Humanities Research Council to conduct an in-depth anthropological research project on the pilgrimage and its followers.

THE STORY:

For many in the west, the subject of Islam in Africa conjures up images of kidnapped schoolgirls by Boko Haram in Nigeria or the violent suppression of unbelievers by Al-Qaeda in Mali. Largely unreported though is one of the biggest religious spectacles on the planet, when every year in Senegal, over four million Muslims journey from across the globe to the holy city of Touba, on a pilgrimage bigger than Mecca.

Seen through the lenses of relatable characters with everyday struggles at their hearts, this is a film which will reveal a kaleidoscopic new world of colour, spirituality and devotion, shining a light on a mystical and peaceful Islam that is all too often ignored.

AMBITION:

To innovatively use film and other media to tell anthropological stories from the African continent that have the power to shift global perspectives on the region.

Follow Adrian on Twitter

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Lydia Matata

Lydia Matata is a Kenyan filmmaker and independent journalist. She is currently directing her first feature film, a documentary called Better Sundays. In 2015, the project was selected for a grant and mentorship program by Docubox. In 2017, she received an opportunity to pitch her project at the Durban Filmmart in South Africa. Lydia is a 2018 Hot Docs Blue Ice Group Documentary Fund fellow and grant recipient. As a journalist, her work has received recognition from the Media Council of Kenya which awarded her the Gender Reporting Award in 2015. She also received the Young Journalist of The Year Award in 2014.

THE STORY:
The Grieving Circle is about the impact of stigma and silence surrounding Pregnancy and Infant Child Loss (PAIL) in Kenya. Roughly 10 – 20 percent of  pregnancies will end in miscarriage according to global statistics. In Kenya, a Demographic Health Survey carried out in 2014, estimates that 1 in 20 children will die before their fifth birthday. A lack of social support means that many Kenyan parents do not get the opportunity to go through the grieving process and heal from their loss, but are instead encouraged to quickly have another child. The pressure to ‘replace’ dead children is compounded by the fact that in many communities, childless couples are not viewed as a real family unit. Those courageous enough to openly seek help are met with a shortage of  mental health care services and a community that also stigmatizes mental illness.

The film follows different storylines of women sparked by their own struggle with child loss, to break the wall of silence and stigma that traps parents inside their pain. Their initiatives include support groups, mountain climbing, blogging and bringing together grieving parents to openly acknowledge their loss.

AMBITION:
To tell stories that explore the unique and creative ways youth, women and other groups on the margins of Kenyan society are amplifying their voices and becoming agents of change within their communities.

Follow Lydia on Twitter and Instagram

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Simona Rata

Simona is a freelance journalist based in London, currently on the MA Radio course at Goldsmiths University. She is passionate about connecting with people and finding the best way to tell their stories through sound. Simona has co-produced two podcasts for the Radio Academy, volunteered for the media team and press office of Amnesty International and reported for local news. 

THE STORY:
‘Caminele de ne-familisti’ or the ‘homes for those without families’, as translated from Romanian, are a forgotten legacy of communism. They are the modern-day, Eastern European ghettos that nobody writes about. Simona will travel to Bucharest in search of answers from the public, the press and the authorities on whose responsibility it is to cease the social injustice and human rights infringements these Communist cement blocks represent.

AMBITION:
To continue producing documentaries and features for radio. To have a positive impact on disadvantaged communities and individuals, and to hold power to account.

Follow Simona on Twitter or Instagram

 

 

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Roxy Rezvany

Roxy is a freelance filmmaker with a strong track record in developing and producing ground-breaking stories for independent documentaries and factual television. She was recognised by The Dots as one of their 200 Creative Trailblazers of 2018, and selected in 2017 by Sheffield International Doc/Fest as a ‘Future Producer’. She worked on both seasons of the two-time Emmy award-nominated series about LGBT+ rights, Gaycation, and the winner of the New York Newswomen’s Club Front Page Award for TV Special Reporting, States of Undress. Her debut film Little Pyongyang premiered in competition for the Next: Wave award at CPH: Dox 2018.

THE STORY:
‘Marium the Wondergirl’ defied Pakistan’s gender norms to become a champion hula-hooper. Her aim was to be a beacon for young girls, encouraging them to pursue their dreams in spite of the restrictions. From a young age Marium was taught by her father, who wanted to demonstrate that his daughter could be capable of anything. Everything changed dramatically when Marium left her family to elope and live with her new husband and his family. According to HRW’s 2017 report on Pakistan, 21% of girls marry before they are 18. However, rather than the usual reports of pressure from family – it appeared in this case that Marium chose to leave her family for the marriage. The film explores Marium’s story as a window to open up a bigger discussion about women’s rights in Pakistan, and the varying hurdles on the road to female empowerment.

AMBITION:
To combine both narrative storytelling and investigative journalism in documentary filmmaking, to practice fair filming and ethical methods as a journalist and filmmaker, and to find ways of sustaining a stable career as a freelance filmmaker whilst still telling the stories that she believes should be told.

Follow Roxy on Twitter and Instagram

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Charanpreet Khaira

Charanpreet is a Documentary and International Development student at the University of Sussex. Her first film, Grandmother, documented the stories of three migrant grandmothers (including her own) to the UK, in an effort to shift negative media stereotypes around migration. From October, Charanpreet will be a trainee broadcast journalist with ITV. 

THE STORY:
Lola/Yaya is an intimate portrayal of the human reality of economic migration from the Philippines to the West. Filipinos are the gold-standard of workers in the care industries across Europe and Italy’s ageing population, which means that the demand for caregivers for the elderly is immense. Often, the Filipino carers may be older than their Italian employers. Lola/Yaya is just such an example: a caregiver in one continent and a grandmother in the other. This film will depict the trials and triumphs of these elderly Filipino carers in Italy, while also highlighting the impact on their families back in the Philippines, documenting the extreme reality of the international division of labour that defines our world. 

AMBITION:
To tell stories that empower marginalised communities, giving them a global platform and prioritising their agency. 

Follow Charanpreet on Twitter or Instagram

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Flaminia Giambalvo

Flaminia Giambalvo is a journalist and producer. She has produced several documentaries for VICE on topics including migration to Europe, female Islamic terrorism and organised crime in Italy. She has filmed and directed shoots across Italy, the UK, Southern Turkey and Bosnia and her articles have been published across several UK national and international news outlets including VICE News, Al Jazeera English and La Repubblica. Her first film The Ceremony was shown at Sheffield Doc/Fest 2017. Most recently she was Assistant Producer on Channel 5’s Gangland 2.

THE STORY:
Nearly 3,000 Haitians are living in the Mexican border town of Tijuana, since the 2016 Obama administration began a crackdown on Haitian refugees in the US – leaving thousands stranded. The local government in Tijuana gave Haitians temporary humanitarian visas to work in the town’s rapidly growing economy, but the arrival of  a new administration in Tijuana with a tough stance on migration is now threatening their newly found “Mexican dream”.

The film follows the work of Evangelic Pastor Gustavo Banda , a 45 year old native, and his wife Valeria who for the past two years have dedicated their lives to supporting refugees in Tijuana and are now in the process of building a “Haitian Colony” with houses, job training and medical facilities. Through the eyes of Padre Gustavo we witness the frustrations caused by capricious immigration policy changes, but also the defiance of refugees who often find themselves at the sharp end of these policies in search of a place to call home.

AMBITION:
To continue to grow as a producer and develop skills as a filmmaker. To tell underreported international stories on crime and migration.

Follow Flaminia on Twitter

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Faye Planer

Faye is a freelance filmmaker and journalist who has been working in Latin America for the past two years for outlets including NBC, Vice, Al Jazeera and the BBC. She has made videos and written articles on post-conflict issues, land rights, indigenous rights and the economy, with a particular focus on Colombia. Her ambition is to always bring out compelling personal narratives from contributors and tell their stories as creatively as possible.

THE STORY:
In Colombia, the saying goes that you can build a church from empanadas. This isn’t just a phrase – it is actually true. When money needs to be made fast, they are the go-to street snack that can be easily made and sold in order to pay rent, feed families, and even build a church for your community.

This film will tell the story of one of Medellin’s poorest neighbourhoods through the women who sold empanadas to build the church. It is a way to explore the recent history of Medellin, informal economies in Colombia and, above all, the self-sufficiency of these women during decades of sustained violence.

AMBITION:
To create innovative, insightful films that are a pleasure to make and a pleasure to watch.

Follow Faye on I’m on Instagram and Twitter

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Iman Alaouie

Iman is currently studying for her MA in Sports Journalism and NCTJ diploma at St Mary’s University in London. She previously spent a year abroad in Paris studying Photojournalism, and has a degree in English from the University of Copenhagen. She is multilingual, speaking Arabic, Danish, English and French. Iman writes for the Sports Gazette and has recently undergone a two-week placement at Sky Sports News, working in Production and Multi-platform Media. She is interested in football, travel and creative storytelling.

THE STORY: 
Egypt has qualified for the World Cup for the first time in 28 years. Football has long reflected the country’s politics, from its anti-imperialist origin to the Arab Spring revolution in 2011. The documentary will explore how a sport that unites a nation for 90 minutes can also be used as a hidden political weapon. It will shed light on football in the Arab world, and tell the success story of Egyptian football during times of political instability. Mohamed Salah in particular, has taken the footballing world by storm, as he continues to cement his status as the “Egyptian King”. 
 
AMBITION:
To become a well-rounded sports journalist who tells stories that leave a lasting impression on people.


Follow Iman on Twitter

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Lisa Clifford

Lisa Clifford is a freelance journalist and documentary filmmaker who has reported from Europe, North America and Africa. Her career has taken her from daily newspapers in Canada to the Financial Times in London and New York. Her Masters degree in documentary filmmaking from the University of Sussex inspired Lisa to make her first feature documentary Militia Man.

The Story:

When the International Criminal Court (ICC) decided that 23-year-old Germain Katanga was the person most responsible for years of carnage in northeastern Congo, a complex 10-year legal process unfolded with a budget in the millions. Militia Man explores a flawed ICC war crimes trial, seen through the eyes of Katanga, his lawyers and a family that lost everything in a terrible massacre. It reveals a court that remains well funded and largely unchallenged despite failing to deliver justice and adequate reparations to restart shattered lives. Katanga, after serving eight years in The Hague, eventually returns home to a shock.

Ambition:

To tell interesting and provocative stories that inspire change and debate.

Follow Lisa on Twitter

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Ali Sargent

Ali Maeve Sargent is a filmmaker from London. She is interested stories that deal with major political themes at intersections of culture, memory, technology and resistance. Her short films have been shown at the Tate Modern (Mozilla Festival 2016), the ICA and the South London Gallery. She is currently working as a researcher on a feature documentary for HBO and as a freelance translator.

Over the past ten years she has made several trips to Brazil, including a semester studying Latin American History in Rio de Janeiro. She has an MA in Screen Documentary from Goldsmiths.

The story:

In March 2018 Brazil’s black, LGBT politician Marielle Franco was gunned down in a Rio street. The assassination shocked the world for its total brazenness. Local commentators called it Brazil’s Martin
Luther King moment; for many it seems to have foreshadowed the return of Brazil’s authoritarian past in the form of recently elected President Jair Bolsonaro. Following the most contested and violent election period in the country’s post-dictatorship history, where Marielle’s murder continues to be central to the political scenario, my film is about life and politics over death. I will follow the fight to continue her legacy, taking a long-term look at aftermath and attempts to build a meaningful future for residents in neighbourhoods like the one Marielle grew up in.

Ambition:

To keep making films, and to tell stories that help us imagine a more collective future.

Follow Ali on Instagram.

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Arwa Aburawa

Arwa Aburawa is a freelance journalist and documentary filmmaker with an interest in social and environmental issues. She has covered issues such as the water crisis in Iran, the life of sugarcane workers in El Salvador and farming communities in Burkina Faso. Previously a producer for Al Jazeera English’s environmental and medical shows, her work has been published in The Guardian, HuffPost, AdBusters and DW, amongst others. Arwa graduated from The University of
Manchester and has a master’s in international journalism. She is also an IWMF fellow.

The story:

Lake Atitlán is one of the main tourist destinations in Guatemala, but few visitors understand the huge challenges the lake is facing. Historically prized for its clear waters, in the last 10 years growing pollution has led to toxic cyanobacteria blooms across the lake, infecting fish and posing a health risk to its users. Everyone is agreed that something needs to be done. But what? The battle to protect the lake tells the story of a divided society and asks whether these differences can be put aside in the interest of Lake Atitlan. Or whether the state of the lake simply reflects the state of Guatemalan society – broken.

Ambition:

To keep on learning and to tell stories which are able to capture the complex ways our past interacts with our present. 

Follow Arwa on Vimeo and Twitter

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Aurora Herrera

Aurora Herrera is currently reading for her doctorate in journalism at City, University of London. Aurora began her career in media as a columnist for the Trinidad Guardian at the age of 14. Her perpetual interest in people and their stories of everyday life led her to a Specialist in Journalism at the University of Toronto with an MA internship with the CBC. Aurora has worked as a producer, journalist, publicist, blogger, assistant director, writer, digital strategist and First AD of the award-winning film Trafficked. She is based in London, UK.

The story:

Hyperinflation of the Venezuelan economy has led to a major economic and socio-political crisis in the country. Millions of Venezuelans have fled their home to evade starvation and risks to their health caused by shortages of food and medicine. In the early stages of the crisis when nationals had not yet begun mass migration they would utilize their age old trading relationships with the boat runners from Trinidad and Tobago, a twin island republic less than seven miles off of the North Eastern coast of the continent. With families to feed but having no money, they would trade guns for food.

Ambition:

As a person who believes that media is the best platform to effect positive change in the world, I aim to produce meaningful work of high quality that holds power to account, gives a voice to the voiceless and represents the truth of the world. 

Follow Aurora on Twitter

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Chloe Abrahams

Chloe Abrahams is a British Sri Lankan filmmaker and moving image artist based in London. Five of her works were shortlisted for the Bloomberg New Contemporaries in 2018 in her graduating year
from BA Fine Art at Central Saint Martins. Her work seamlessly fluctuates between fiction and non-fiction genres, using actors and non-actors alike to document real life, posing questions about authenticity in storytelling. Chloe had her first solo exhibition, Connect at OVADA at the age of 19, and has since shown work in London, Paris and Kyoto. As well as being a practicing artist and filmmaker, Chloe also programs short documentaries for Cheap Cuts Film Festival and works in theatrical distribution for Dogwoof.

The story:

Rozana, a British woman who moved to London from Sri Lanka in her early 20s, receives a letter out of the blue from her estranged mother, Jean; a woman who enabled years of abuse by a man she still calls her husband. Not yet ready to take the leap herself, Rozana sends her daughter with a camera to Sri Lanka to speak to Jean face to face, hoping that she will open up for the first time about her past.

Ambition:

To make documentary cinema more accessible to a wider audience

Follow Chloe on Instagram and Twitter

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Erica Beebe

Erica is an American documentary filmmaker pursuing her MFA in film directing at the University of Edinburgh. Her lifelong love of storytelling has led her to creative writing, radio production, magazine editing and video journalism. With documentary filmmaking, Erica hopes to combine poetry and journalism to tell stories that span cultures. Previously, Erica worked on the feature-length documentary Time for Ilhan, which is about Minnesota politician Ilhan Omar, the first Somali-American woman to be elected to the US Congress.

The story:

A Moroccan woman named Radia has established an outdoor leadership and adventure camp for children, which will culminate in a hike up Mount Toubkal, Morocco’s tallest mountain, in June 2019. In preparing for the climb, Radia must face the stigmas associated with being an adventurous Moroccan woman, including accusations from her neighbors that she is “wild” and neglectful of her family. Erica’s film will explore the literal and figurative weight that Radia must carry as she undertakes this journey.

Ambition:

To practice participatory filmmaking and promote female empowerment. 

Follow Erica on Instagram

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Faye Yan Zhang

Faye Yan Zhang is a visual artist and filmmaker, working primarily in comics art and documentary video. She was born in a mining town in China and grew up in the American Midwest before continuing her education on the East Coast. Currently, she is based in the United Kingdom, studying visual anthropology at the University of Manchester. Her works have appeared in the Harvard Advocate, the Lampoon, Plain China, the Asian American Writers’ Workshop, and is forthcoming in Harpur Palate, American Chordata, and Black Warrior Review. She has held fellowships at the Smithsonian Institution and Yaddo in Saratoga Springs.

The story:

After the Chinese Communist Revolution, healthcare reform was implemented across the countryside; the “Barefoot Doctor” program trained men and women from peasant backgrounds to provide medical care within rural communities. By the 1980s, the rural cooperative healthcare system was phased out, whereupon many barefoot doctors returned to agriculture, became village doctors, or (a few) attended medical school. Now, former barefoot doctors are elderly and rely on state pensions for their livelihoods. Apart from their propagandistic image as revolutionary icons, the history and testimony of barefoot doctors is neglected by discourse, media, and art.

Faye will create a graphic novel as well as a website incorporating documentary video, text, visual art, photography, and testimonies based on the lives of barefoot doctors. Part of the work will be based on an unpublished memoir written by her grandmother, who was a barefoot doctor as a young woman.

Ambition:

Faye plans to continue creating work in comics and documentary video, while working as an educator and researcher in the field of anthropology with a focus on China.

Follow Faye on Twitter and Instagram.

www.fayeyanzhang.com

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Meera Darji

Meera Darji is an ambitious filmmaker with a passion for telling stories of voiceless communities and people living on the margins of society. She aims to create an impact on society by portraying communities through the lens of cinema vérité and combining this with an ethno-sensory approach to capture the pure truth. Her documentary projects have been awarded and selected at international Film Festivals including Transindia which won the Royal Television Society Award for Best Student Documentary, Best short Doc at the Kashish Mumbai Film Festival and a nomination for the Grierson Awards. Meera continues to develop films that challenge conventions. She is currently a full-time practitioner and part-time lecturer at Coventry University.

The story:

In Gujarat, India, a movement is happening where the civilians of society are taking their own initiative and guts to revolt against animal violence, illegal slaughter and catching criminals along the way. Under The Bombay Animal Preservation Act 1954 (applied to Gujarat) the slaughter of cows, calves, bulls or bullocks are totally prohibited and anyone violating this law could be punished. Gaurakshas: The Cow Protectors documentary follows Neha Patel, the leader of the group and her journey in taking action in the form of rescues to protect the animals by all means including risking her life.

Ambition:

To capture pure truth in documentary cinema by telling stories of invisible communities and creating change in society.

Follow Meera on Instagram

www.meeraproductions.com

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Nadya Gorodetskaya

Nadya Gorodetskaya is a freelance filmmaker from Novosibirsk, Russia, currently working and living in the UK since 2012.
She worked as a photojournalist in her teens and early twenties in various newspapers in Russia and studied cinematography at the St Petersburg University of Film and TV (still trying to complete it – the course is 6 years long!) Nadya owns and manages a production company called Motiohead that specialises in 3D, animation and motion graphics.

The story:

For almost 70 years, the Russian economy and that of the rest of the Soviet Union operated on the basis of a centrally planned economy, with a state control over virtually all means of production and over investment, production, and consumption decisions throughout the
economy. Since the collapse of Communism in the early 1990s, Russia has experienced difficulties in making the transition from a centrally planned economy to a market based economy. I’m planning to cover the history of the Electromechanical factory in the small Siberian city where I grew up. It was built in the 60s as a secret Soviet facility, deep in the middle of the Siberian forests. It served the Soviet military and space industries. It still provides parts for the Russian military air force and the space agency today.

Ambition:

To make a great documentary

Follow Nadya on Twitter

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Phoebe Fleming

Phoebe is a camera operator, photographer and editor working in documentary, music videos and commercials. Her work ranges in topic, from shooting stories about the refugee crisis in Sicily and Calais, documenting research into Zika in Brazil, and filming with community groups across the UK as part of a branded documentary series for the Co-op.

‘Continental Drift’, her graduate film from the Arts University Bournemouth, that covered the Italian response to the refugee crisis in 2015, was screened in competition at Sheffield Doc/Fest 2016 and won a Student RTS award. She is an alumni of the Grierson Trust Doc/Lab scheme 2017, and has recently been working on ‘Conspiracies: The Flat Earth’ one of the first ever LAD Bible Originals, and as an AP and stills photographer for a feature length documentary about the history of the Paralympics.

The story:

For the last 25 years all the world has heard about Sierra Leone is of civil war, Ebola and devastating floods. In 2015 it was ranked as the most dangerous place in the world to be a young person, with the
mortality rate of 15-29 year olds higher than that of Syria (Guardian, 2017). Despite the ongoing challenges, a group of young women across the country are engaging in leadership and mentoring workshops to try and change the pathway for many young girls. Alice, a 20 year old singer and beauty pageant winner is based five miles out of Makeni, in an area populated by only 400-500 citizens, where 97 died of Ebola. She works directly with the community to give confidence and stability to young girls, particularly those orphaned by Ebola.

Ambition:

To use different forms of media to tell honest and thought provoking stories from across the globe; to be shared with both the international community and those at the heart of where the story takes place.

Follow Phoebe on Instagram

www.phoebefleming.com 

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Kendra McLaughlin

Kendra McLaughlin is a visual artist and researcher with a background in film, political science and human rights. Canadian, raised in Thailand, she is currently based in Paris.

The story:

As the European Union toughens its borders, the annual “Garden of Europe” landscaping festival in Bosnia and Herzegovina takes on inspirational and ironic undertones. Set against the current Balkan Route bottleneck, this short film explores how communal land redevelopment can cultivate solidarity and refuge in a time of divisive politics.

Ambition:

Through art, Kendra wishes to research and reveal how we conceive of ourselves within life’s bigger pictures.

www.kendramclaughlin.info

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