Story Movements 2024 Speaker Bios

Maori Karmael Holmes

Founder, BlackStar Projects

Maori has organized programs in film at Anthology Film Archives, ICA Philadelphia, Museum of

Contemporary Art Los Angeles, The Underground Museum, and Whitney Museum of American Art. She has organized the exhibitions Terence Nance: Swarm (2023), Assemblage (2019), and Lossless(2017). Her film and video works have screened internationally including Scene Not Heard: Women in Philadelphia Hip-Hop. She has directed and produced works for, Visit Philadelphia, as well as many musicians. She hosts the podcast Many Lumens and her writing has appeared in Seen, Documentary Magazine, The Believer, Film Quarterly, Pleasure Activism: The Politics of Feeling Good, How We Fight White Supremacy: A Field Guide to Black Resistance, and Collective Wisdom: Co-Creating Media Within Communities Across Disciplines and Algorithms. In 2023, Maori was announced as a recipient of the United States Artists’ Beresford Prize and as a Philadelphia’s Cultural Treasures Fellow; in 2022, was named as one of the Kennedy Center’s #Next50 List. She was Mediamaker-in-Residence at the Annenberg School for Communication at University of Pennsylvania from 2020-2023 and a 2019-2020 Soros Equality Fellow. Maori received her MFA in Film from Temple University, her BA in History from American University, and received formative training at Howard University. In 2022, Maori was included among Philadelphia Magazine’s 100 Most Influential Philadelphians as well as “Best Film Ambassador”. She was previously named a DOC NYC Documentary New Leader (2021), included in Essence Magazine’s Woke 100 (2019), served as a Ford Foundation JustFilms/Rockwood Fellow (2016), and was a Flaherty Film Seminar Fellow (2014).

Natalie Bullock Brown

Natalie Bullock Brown is an award-winning producer, a 2021 Rockwood Institute JustFilms Fellow, and the proud director of the Documentary Accountability Working Group, a collective she helped to found in 2020, which released a values informed framework for documentary filmmakers in 2022 that emphasizes care, consent, and collaboration as a pathway to ethical storytelling. Natalie is director/producer of a documentary work-in-progress that explores the impact of messaging about beauty and aging on Black women; is a producer on award winning filmmaker Byron Hurt’s PBS documentary, HAZING, as well as his upcoming NOVA film, Lee and Liza’s Family Tree; and served as producer for filmmaker Resita Cox’s demo for her upcoming film, Basketball Heaven. Natalie is an adjunct professor at North Carolina State University where she served as an Assistant Teaching Professor in Interdisciplinary Studies for five years. Natalie was the StoryShift Strategist for Working Films, where she guided the organization’s work in promoting accountable documentary storytelling. Natalie was also a monthly guest and contributor for #BackChannel, a segment on North Carolina public radio’s The State of Things. And for nearly 12 years, Natalie was an assistant professor of film and broadcast media in the Department of Media & Communications at Saint Augustine’s University. She also served 12 years as co-host of Black Issues Forum, a public affairs program on UNC-TV, North Carolina’s statewide public television network. Natalie was an associate producer on documentary filmmaker Ken Burns’ 10-part PBS series, Jazz. She holds a Master of Fine Arts in Film Production from Howard University, and a Bachelor of Arts in English from Northwestern University.

Maggie Crane

Maggie Crane
Maggie Crane is a stand-up, writer and actress in New York City. She has been featured in The New York Comedy Festival, High Mud Comedy Festival and has just returned from debuting her hit solo show Side by Side at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. She can be seen on HBO, Comedy Central, and in dive bars all over Brooklyn.

Isaias Hernandez

Isaias Hernandez is an educator and creative devoted to improving environmental literacy through content creation, storytelling, and public engagements.

Isaias is more commonly known by his moniker, Queer Brown Vegan: the independent media platform he started to bring intersectional environmental education to all. His journey to deconstruct complex issues, while centering diversity and authenticity, has resonated with a worldwide audience. He also collaborates with leaders from the private and public sectors to uplift and produce stories of change for his web series, Sustainable Jobs and Teaching Climate Together.

Isaias has been featured in several noteworthy publications, including Vogue, New York Times, The Washington Post, The Guardian, and Yale Climate Communications. His social media advocacy earned him recognition as a top climate creator by Harvard C-CHANGE. As a public speaker, he’s presented for New York Times, Nike, Environmental Media Association, Billie Eilish’s Overheated Summit, Harvard University, Deloitte, and more. He recently co-produced the Symbiocene event series in London and New York City.

Isaias is based in Los Angeles, working as a full-time content creator, public speaker, and dog daddy.

Jen Richards

Jen Richards is an actor and writer best known for writing and starring in the web series Her Story, which was nominated for an Emmy and won Peabody, Gotham, and GLAAD awards. She was a writer on an upcoming Star Wars series, and is the creator of shows that have been in development at HBO and Amblin Entertainment. She recently performed in La Jolla Playhouse’s production of As You Like It, and has been seen on screen in The Mayfair Witches (AMC), Framing Agnes (Feature), Clarice (CBS), Gossamer Folds (Feature), Mrs. Fletcher (HBO), Disclosure and Tales of the City (Netflix), Blind Spot (NBC), Better Things (FX), Doubt (CBS), Easy Living (Feature), and Nashville (CMT). In addition to her creative work, Jen is the Entertainment Partnerships Director for the nonprofit Resetting the Table, a leader in the field of social cohesion and bridge building through collaborative deliberation in the face of strong differences. Her work at Resetting the Table focuses on helping Hollywood produce creative content that builds recognition, hope, and new norms for healthy engagement across divides on a broad scale. Prior to coming to Hollywood, she had 20 years of experience in advocacy work and nonprofit administration. Jen was born in Mississippi and currently resides in Los Angeles with her wife and two dogs.

Nick Marx

Nick Marx is Associate Professor of Film and Media Studies in the Department of Communication Studies at Colorado State University. His co-authored book exploring the rise of right-wing comedy, That’s Not Funny: How the Right Makes Comedy Work for Them, was named by Vulture as the 3rd best comedy book of 2022. He is author or co-editor of three other books exploring the relationship between comedy, media, and politics: Sketch Comedy: Identity, Reflexivity, and American Television (2019), The Comedy Studies Reader (2018), and Saturday Night Live and American TV (2013).

Sahar Driver

Sahar is a veteran documentary impact strategist, field builder, and researcher. Her career has focused on social and cultural transformation through nonfiction storytelling. She has led impact campaigns and strategy for over two-dozen documentaries, independently and with Active Voice. She has designed and led impact trainings and grantmaking programs to support impact producers and filmmakers of color with Firelight Media. She worked with Doc Society to update the second edition of their Impact Field Guide and wrote the 2019 Impact Hi5 case studies. She is on the Picture Motion Advisory Board, was a 2022 Intercultural Leadership Institute Fellow, and a 2021 Rockwood/JustFilms Fellow. In 2020 she authored the Ford Foundation commissioned report: Beyond Inclusion: The Critical Role of People of Color in the U.S. Documentary Ecosystem. Sahar is a second generation, Iranian American living in Oakland, CA on the ancestral lands of the Muwekma and Ohlone.

Brandon Kramer

Brandon is a DC-based filmmaker and co-founder of MHP. Brandon directed THE FIRST STEP (Tribeca, AFI DOCS); CITY OF TREES (Full Frame, PBS, Netflix); and the Webby Award-winning documentary series THE MESSY TRUTH. Brandon won Best Director at the 2016 Chesapeake Film Festival and Indie Capital Awards, and was a 2022 & 2015 DC Commission on the Arts & Humanities Individual Arts Fellow. Brandon has directed over 30 short films commissioned by organizations including the AARP and US Institute of Peace. Brandon holds a bachelor’s degree in film and cultural anthropology from Boston University.

Kurt Braddock

Dr. Kurt Braddock is an Assistant Professor of Public Communication at American University. His research focuses on the persuasive tactics used by extremists to recruit and radicalize audiences to their cause. Dr. Braddock has published many articles and chapters on these topics in key security and communication journals, including Terrorism and Political Violence, Studies in Conflict & Terrorism, Communication Monographs, New Media & Society, and others. His first book, Weaponized Words: The Strategic Role of Persuasion in Violent Radicalization and Counter Radicalization, was published in 2020. His latest work — a book titled Crying Havoc: How Violent Subtext Triggers Extremism, Hate, and Terror — will be published by Cambridge University Press in 2024. Dr. Braddock has advised several national and international organizations, including the US Department of Homeland Security, the US Department of State, the UK Home Office, Public Safety Canada, and the UN Office for Counter-Terrorism.

Ravi Iyer

Managing Director of the USC Marshall School’s Neely Center
Ravi Iyer is the Managing Director of the USC Marshall School’s Neely Center. Previously, he spent 4+ years leading data science, research and product teams across Meta toward improving the societal impact of social media. He has a Ph.D. in social psychology from USC, co-founded Ranker and continues to work at the intersection of academia, civil society, and the technology industry.

Nabiha Syed

Nabiha Syed is the chief executive officer of The Markup, an award-winning journalism non-profit that challenges technology to serve the public good. Under her leadership, The Markup’s unique approach has been referenced by Congress 21 times, inspired dozens of class action lawsuits, won a national Murrow Award and a Loeb Award, and been recognized as “Most Innovative” by FastCompany in 2022.
Before launching The Markup in 2020, Nabiha spent a decade as an acclaimed media lawyer focused on the intersection of frontier technology and newsgathering, including advising on publication issues with the Snowden revelations and the Steele Dossier, access litigation around police disciplinary records, as well as privacy and free speech issues globally. Described by Forbes as “one of the best emerging free speech lawyers”, she has briefed two presidents on free speech in the digital age, delivered the Salant Lecture at Harvard, headlined SXSW to discuss data privacy after Roe v. Wade, and was awarded the NAACP/Archewell Digital Civil Rights award in 2023 for her work.

A California native and daughter of Pakistani immigrants, Nabiha holds a J.D. from Yale Law School, where she co-founded one of the nation’s first media law clinics, a B.A. from Johns Hopkins University, and a law degree from Oxford, which she attended as a Marshall Scholar. She serves on the boards of the New York Civil Liberties Union, The New Press, and the Scott Trust, among others.

Ali Petrosova

Alisa Petrosova leads the consulting program and climate research for Good Energy and has spearheaded bold storytelling projects at the intersection of Hollywood and climate with studio executives, showrunners, screenwriters, and organizations like Spotify, Wondery, and CBC.Alisa has also worked on research teams for TV/films that reach millions of people, including Extrapolations on Apple TV+ with showrunner Scott Z. Burns. In addition, Alisa has convened global conversations on climate with renowned leaders like Naomi Klein, Mary Robinson, and Bill McKibben.Previously, Alisa was the Creative Director of the Climate Imaginations Network under renowned climate scientist Dr. Kate Marvel. She has an MA in Climate and Society as a graduate of the inaugural class of the Columbia Climate School and also a BFA in Film at The Cooper Union.

Matt Sienkiewicz

Matt Sienkiewicz is Associate Professor and Chair of the Communication Department at Boston College, as well as the Director of Boston College’s Jewish Studies Program. He is the author and editor of four books, including That Not Funny: How the Right Makes Comedy
Work for Them and The Comedy Studies Reader, both with Nick Marx.

Jasiri X

Jasiri X is the first independent Hip-Hop artist to be awarded an Honorary Doctorate, which he received from Chicago Theological Seminary in 2016. Still, he remains rooted in the Pittsburgh-based organization he co-founded, 1Hood Media, whose mission is to build liberated communities through art, education, and social justice. In 2017, he received the Nathan Cummings Foundation Fellowship to start the 1Hood Artivist Academy. Jasiri is also a recipient of the USA Cummings Fellowship in Music, the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation Artist as Activist Fellowship, and the President’s Volunteer Service Award.

Rollie Williams

Rollie Williams is a Brooklyn-based comedian, video editor, and guy with both student debt and a Climate Science & Policy degree from Columbia University. He is the creator and host of the digital comedy series Climate Town. In the past few years, the channel has amassed 544,000 subscribers, several millions views, a handful of awards, and has spawned an engaged Discord community of fun climate people. Rollie is also the co-creator and co-host of The Climate Denier’s Playbook which is exactly what it sounds like. Formerly, Rollie performed a monthly comedy show ‘An Inconvenient Talk Show’ doing sketches and comedic deep dives by pairing comedians (SNL, The Daily Show, The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, etc) together with climate scientists (NASA, MIT, Harvard). When he’s not doing climate stuff, Rollie plays an unhealthy amount of billiards and recently achieved his dream of commentating for the World Cup of Pool in England.

Yasmin Elhady

Yasmin Elhady is a touring comedian and storyteller. She’s performed at The Kennedy Center and is featured on NBC’s True Story with Ed Helms and Randall Park. She’s also appeared on NPR, Netflix is a Joke Radio on SiriusXM, and The Washington Post, WUSA9 with Reese Waters, and in Vice Media’s book “Little America: Incredible True Stories of Immigrants in America,” which was later turned into an Apple TV+ series by Kumail Nanjiani. She was named a 2022 “Yes, And…Laughter Lab” finalist for comedy and social justice.


D’Lo is an LA Based queer/trans actor/writer/comic whose work range includes stand-up, solo theater, plays, films and poetry. His solo shows Ramble-Ations, D’FunQT and To T, or not To T have been presented at theaters & festivals internationally, and his stand-up show D’FaQTo Life tours the college/university circuit. His work has been published and/or written about in academic journals, literary anthologies, and print/online journalism sources, such as LA Times, The Guardian, NBC, and The Advocate. He was invited as a commentator on CNN, appeared in Buzzfeed and Fusion videos, and is the subject of an award-winning documentary PERFORMING GIRL which has been used as a conversational tool on college campuses. He facilitates ‘writing for performance’ & ‘healing trauma through comedy’ workshops, and created the “Coming Out, Coming Home” writing workshop series for South Asian and/or Immigrant LGBTQ Organizations across the nation. As an actor, he has television roles in: LOOKING, TRANSPARENT, SENSE 8, Mr. ROBOT and CONNECTING, QUANTUM LEAP and Billy Eichner’s BROS.
D’Lo has been awarded the Sherwood Award from Center Theater Group, an Artist Disruptor Fellowship for TV Writing through the Center for Cultural Performance and 5050×2020; was offered the opportunity to work with Sameer Gardezi’s Break the Room Initiative housed at Paul Feig’s Powderkeg Media, and was part of the YALL 2021 Cohort. He is also a Senior Civic Media Fellow through USC’s Annenberg Innovation Lab funded by the MacArthur Foundation.

Gabe González

Gabe González is a Puerto Rican comedian, writer and actor living in Brooklyn, NY. He was born and raised in Central Florida.
Gabe can be seen in Season 4 of The Last OG, the HBO Latino documentary Habla y Vota, and recently starred in Audible’s The Comedians. He was featured in Brooklyn Magazine’s ’30 Under 30’ in 2017, Time Out New York’s ‘Comedians of Color You Should Know’ in 2018 and his pilot ‘Los Blancos’ was a winner at the Yes And Laughter Lab in 2019. His satirical sketch “Bootlickers” was an official selection at the LA Comedy Film Festival and Atlanta Comedy Festival in 2022.
He’s hosted and produced digital videos for places like MTV, GLAAD and Remezcla, and performed stand-up across the country including places like NYC, Baltimore, Los Angeles, and Washington D.C.
Gabe also hosted the Queerty Podcast from Forever Dog, wrote for Seasons 7 & 8 of MTV’s ‘Decoded with Franchesca Ramsey’ and hosted Scruff’s comedic queer trivia show ‘Hosting,’ where he wrote and co-produced weekly games focused on LGBTQ+ pop culture. His most recent projects include a monthly queer history comedy show in NYC called ‘The Lavender Scare’ and working with Imagine Entertainment to pen the short film Alma.

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