Documentary Power Research Institute Team

ADVISORY GROUP

Documentary Power Research Institute Team

ADVISORY GROUP

Asad Muhammed

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Asad Muhammed

Asad Muhammad (he/him) is an impact strategist, organizational leader, professional listener, and father. As VP of Impact & Engagement Strategy at American Documentary | POV, Asad extends the impact of nonfiction films beyond their public broadcast date through community engagement, education, and public station relations work. With twenty years of service in public education, nonprofit leadership, restorative justice, and community development, Asad believes that trauma-informed care and harm reduction can be integrated in the duty of care to documentary filmmakers, protagonists, and audiences. He is most invested in sparking intergenerational conversations through the cultivation of inclusive spaces, inviting people of all backgrounds and life experiences to express themselves and exercise agency over learning. From orchestrating impact campaigns to organizing film screenings, Asad is a passionate witness to how nonfiction storytelling connects to the hearts and minds of underserved communities, policymakers, and leaders – inspiring folx to better focus their power and fight for change and transformation.

Denae Peters

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Denae Peters

Denae Peters is a documentary impact consultant and film programmer. She currently oversees the documentary field infrastructure portfolio at the Perspective Fund and is a founding advisory board member of Brown Girls Doc Mafia (BGDM), an advocacy initiative representing 5000+ women and non-binary people of color working across the documentary field. She has also been on the programming teams for the Toronto International Film Festival, Hot Docs, DOC NYC, Human Rights Watch Film Festival, and Tribeca Film Festival. Previously, she consulted on non-theatrical impact campaigns for Picture Motion and Film Sprout and spent 5 years at the Toronto International Film Festival, overseeing filmmaker relations.

Emily Wanja

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Emily Wanja

Emily Wanja uses storytelling to drive social change. She is an award-winning Impact producer, running the East Africa impact campaign dubbed ‘We Can Fight Climate Change’ for the feature documentary ‘ Thank you for the Rain’ in conjunction with Docubox (East Africa Documentary Film Fund) and Ground Volume Internatioanal. She works with Government agencies, Private stakeholders, Civil Society and Communities, using film as a tool for advocacy and social change. Previously, she was the in-house producer at Docubox (East Africa Documentary film fund). She has worked extensively with young farmers across Kenya through ‘Seeds of Gold’ TV show and the leading newspaper version for youth and agribusiness at Nation Africa Media Group. She has produced TV shows for different networks in Kenya and has worked on international fiction co-productions films. She is a Docsociety, Sundance and Skoll World Forum fellow.

Marcia Smith

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Marcia Smith

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. The 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; Freedom Riders; Jonestown: The Life and Death of the Peoples Temple; 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, recently joined the Board of Directors for the International Documentary Association (IDA), and is a member of the Board for Martha's Vineyard Film Society.

Megha Agrawal Sood

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Megha Agrawal Sood

Megha Agrawal Sood believes in the power of sharing stories and building unexpected collaborations to inspire action. She is the Head of the Climate Story Unit at Doc Society, a new initiative to support productions and impact campaigns of climate-themed stories across the globe. Megha’s previous work experience includes leading impact programming at the film company, Exposure Labs, and helping purpose-driven organizations grow at the innovation firm, IDEO. She is a graduate of Northwestern University, and is based in Boulder, Colorado.

Sarah Mosses

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Sarah Mosses

Sarah Mosses is the Founder & CEO of Together Films, a marketing, distribution & technology company based in London & NYC. Her work is at the intersection of creativity, technology & impact, having supported some of the boldest campaigns for films like For Sama (Oscar Nominated), The Tale (Emmy Nominated), and Unrest (Oscar Shortlisted). She manages a team of creatives who deliver strategy, impact, marketing, and technology services for Film Festivals including Sheffield DocFest, Athena Film Festival, and the Human Rights Watch Film Festival (London & NYC); and Films including To The End (Sundance 2022), 2040 (Berlinale 2019) and Roll Red Roll (Tribeca 2018). Her strategic industry clients include the Documentary Producers Alliance, Patagonia, and the Influence Film Fund, and she is a mentor and advisor to leading film training schemes with Documentary Campus, EsoDoc, and NFTS. During the COVID lockdown, Sarah launched a webinar series called Digital Perspectives that helped 3500+ film industry colleagues transition to virtual streaming options. This created a new department at Together, which has since worked with clients including Sony & Disney to deliver digital streaming initiatives. Together Films will be launching a sales agency in June 2022, focusing on expanding the reach of social impact entertainment. Sarah is a firm advocate for better mental health and wellbeing within the workplace.

Simone Pero

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Simone Pero

Emmy-nominated producer Simone Pero is founder of For Impact Productions. Pero’s portfolio includes the Sundance hit The Tale nominated for 25 awards including two Emmy’s and a Golden Globe, distributed worldwide by HBO Films. Under Pero’s leadership, the film was lauded for its groundbreaking film-anthropy model and global social impact campaign reaching more than 200 organizations and universities around the world and at the United Nations. Pero executive produced the documentary This Changes Everything, produced the short documentary Body & Soul: Diana & Kathy, and was impact producer for Escape Fire: The Fight to Rescue American Healthcare. Pero began her career in public policy at the U.S. Department of Labor, Women’s Bureau and served on the Clinton/Gore ’96 advance team. She was later Vice President, Corporate Communications at MTV and Director, Communication and Marketing at Rainbow Media. Pero is on faculty at the Stony Brook University Killer Films MFA in Film program, and holds a Master’s in Public Affairs and Policy. She also serves as Chair of NY Women in Film & Television Advisory Board.

Tracy Rector

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Tracy Rector

Tracy Rector is a mixed heritage filmmaker with a passion for amplifying and uplifting Indigenous and BIPOC voices. She holds three decades of experience as a community organizer, educator, filmmaker, film programmer, and arts curator, all infused with her deep roots in plant medicine. For the last 20 years she has directed and produced over 400 films including shorts, features, music videos, and virtual reality projects. Her work has been featured on Independent Lens, ImagineNative, PBS, and National Geographic, as well as at international film festivals including Cannes and Toronto. Tracy served as a Seattle Arts Commissioner for 8 years, sits on the boards of the Mize Foundation, Working Films, and the Flaherty Seminar. She enjoys travel, design, waterfall hikes, and learning about new cultural arts movements.

Vanessa Cuervo Forero

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Vanessa Cuervo Forero

Cultural organizer, dancer & impact strategist working across art, activism & social justice. Vanessa connects the world of human rights defenders with the spheres of art & film to promote social change. With DOCCO LABS she designed a virtual training program for Colombian Impact Producers, creating an online community called !ACCION!

At Doc Society she leads programs across Latin America, building strong partnerships with local host organizations in Colombia, México and Brasil, supporting documentary filmmakers designing impact campaigns and creating a strong network of doc allies in the region. Through Skylight SolidariLabs she supports grassroots activists and storytellers to shift cultural narratives.

As part of the peace process in Colombia, she supports the ongoing work of the Colombian Truth Commission as an advisor for Historias en Kilometros co-creating shorts with Afrocolombian teams, in order to come to terms with decades of conflict in their regions and contribute to the national historical memory.

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