Amanda Gutiérrez (b. 1978, Mexico City) explores the experience of home, belonging, and cultural identity by bringing into focus details of everyday practices whose ordinary status makes it particularly hard for us to notice their key role in defining who we are. Trained and graduated initially as a stage designer from The National School of Theater, Gutiérrez uses a range of media such as sound art and performance art to investigate how these conditions of everyday life set the stage for our experiences and in doing so shape our individual and collective identities. Approaching these questions from immigrants’ perspectives continues to be of special interest to Gutiérrez, who completed her MFA in Media and Performance Studies at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and is currently elaborating the academic dimension of her work as a Ph.D. student at the University of Girona, Spain. Accordingly, these techniques also constitute the core of the pedagogical practice Gutiérrez has developed over a decade of teaching in diverse settings ranging from high schools on Chicago’s South Side to a senior center on New York’s Upper West Side, including academic institutions such as the SAIC, Connecticut College, and Columbia University. Gutiérrez has held numerous art residencies at FACT, Liverpool in the UK, ZKM in Germany, TAV in Taiwan, Bolit Art Center in Spain, and her work has been exhibited internationally in venues such as The Liverpool Biennale in 2012, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council. A recipient of a grant from the National System of Art Creators, in Mexico, Gutiérrez is currently the President of the Midwest Society of Acoustic Ecology.
Aston, Originally from Texas, I came here to pursue a degree in architecture. But I saw things in the world that pushed me to want to craft stories to showcase the collective human perspective which pushed me towards film. When I'm not working with reel works, I'm producing my own documentaries as a self-proclaimed storyteller, or you can find me at my gym preparing for my next competition.
Eloise Sherrid is an NYC based filmmaker, multimedia artist and educator. Her work explores the intersection, mechanics, and deconstruction of power, politics and narrative. She has been featured by DRØME Magazine, Bad at Sports, the Anthology Film Archives, and the Rhode Island International Film Festival. She holds a BFA from RISD.
Haley Trunkett, Student Teaching Artist, is a filmmaker and 2019 graduate of CUNY Hunter College, where she majored in Media Studies and minored in Sociology. Haley has worked as a freelance photographer and videographer, as well as worked in production on various sets, however, her true passion for filmmaking is in post-production. She is currently editing her senior thesis short film, "Forgive Me Father" and is excited to submit it for various Film festival considerations. Haley's background is primarily in the arts, but being involved at her college has given her great experience working with kids, and she is excited to apply her knowledge to the classroom at Boys and Girls High School.
Hugo Rojas is a Media and Art educator, and multimedia artist. He has a B.A. in International Relations from Mexican University and an M.A. in Media Studies from The New School. With over nine years of experience in education having taught from Spanish Language to Photography and video production in Mexico, Brazil, and NYC. Currently, he is teaching residencies in Manhattan and Brooklyn. He also explores public space through his art intervention, and in his spare time, he bikes around Brooklyn.
Ian Chen is a 19-year old cinematographer from Queens, New York. He currently works at Reel Works Productions as a Youth Producer and freelances in his off-time. He got his start in film at Reel Works’ 2016 Documentary Lab, where he created his first film “Firebreak.” From there, Ian continued to develop his knowledge and skills on cinematography and filmmaking at large through Reel Works’ other programs. He hopes to continue learning more about his craft and create films that put storytelling power in the hands of marginalized youth of color across NYC.
Katalina, Originally from Latin America, is a multimedia visual artist who currently resides in New York. She writes, produces, and directs fiction and documentaries both in New York City and worldwide. During the last five years, Katalina has produced visual content for nonprofit organizations such as Bank street Bookstore, the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music, and The Three Jewels. She also directed two fiction shorts, Ophelia and Second Light, teaches fine arts and photography. In addition, Katalina writes about cinema, gender dynamics, and the representation of women in film at katalinastudio.tumblr.com. Katalina is a freelance cinematographer and an artist teacher at ReelWork. She collaborates with activists groups such as BPP, Biking Public Project and other organizations that bring awareness through mindful and socially engaging media. As a Zen practitioner, she believes in creating art forms that mirror the infinite depth of our mind and human potential. She holds a BA in Media and Women Studies from CUNY and is currently part of the IMA MFA for socially engaged media at Hunter College.
Kendra Williams is a documentary filmmaker from Brooklyn, NY. She currently splits her time as a meetings and events coordinator for Reel Works and a teacher for the Reel Works In-Schools program. She is also a graduate of the Spring '09 Fall Lab at Reel Works where she made her first film, Ripple, in which she interviewed Civil Rights Activists on race relations in the county since the election of Barack Obama. She has always been a patron of the arts working for various non-profit organizations such as Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM), Brooklyn Arts Council, Tribeca Film Festival, and POV, and loves attending as many shows as she can. In her spare time Kendra enjoys photography, going to the movies, and spending time outdoors.
Langston Sanchez, Teaching Artist, is a born and bred New Yorker, who graduated from Hampshire College with a B.A. in Film and Video Installation. As an artist, his work sits firmly in the Cinéma Vérite style focusing on marginalized people and the spaces around them. As a teaching artist, Langston draws on his own experience as a youth in media education programs. When not making films, Langston is probably found watching or playing a sport.
Sophie, a graduate from Emerson College with a degree in visual and media arts. I lived in Portland, Oregon for a year working in documentary as an assistant producer and editor. I recently moved to Brooklyn, and I am excited to be a part of the reel works team here!
Liv Larsen works in the world of film education and documentary production. She holds a BA in Broadcast Journalism and a minor in Documentary Film Studies from Michigan State University. Liv works at Reel Works as an Education Assistant and Student Teaching Artist.She is the producer of the documentary film, From Flint: Voices of a Poisoned City, which is an award winning film that tells the story of the Flint Water Crisis from the perspective of the residents. In her free time, Liv likes to read and go on runs with her pup, Stella!
Tyler English-Beckwith is a recent graduate of the Dramatic Writing MFA program at NYU. She holds a B.A. in African and African Diaspora Studies and a BA in Theater and Dance from The University of Texas at Austin. Originally from Dallas, Texas, Tyler currently resides in Brooklyn, NY. Her plays include Mingus which was a 2019 O’Neill Finalist, first prize winner of the 2018 KCACTF Paula Vogel Playwriting Award and finalist for the 2018 Goldberg Playwriting Prize. Her play TWENTYEIGHT, received a world premiere in 2017 at The Vortex in Austin, Texas where it received Honorable Mention on The Austin Chronicle’s Top Ten Plays of 2017. She is currently writing and directing an afro-futurist interactive film project for Meow Wolf in Santa Fe, NM. Tyler hopes to create worlds, in her writing, where black women live beyond the basic means of survival and have the audacity to be autonomous.
Sekiya Dorsett, Born in Nassau, Bahamas, is a queer filmmaker giving voice to issues of equality. In 2008, her first film, Wisdom and Understanding, a short experimental film, made its debut at NewFest Film Festival and the Oakland Black LGBT Festival. In 2009, her short, Sisters, a story about a lesbian woman struggling to reconcile with her mother, was screened at the Austin LGBT Film Festival. Her first feature documentary The Revival Women and Word has played at Athena Film Festival, Frameline, Urbanworld, New Fest Film festival and the Brooklyn Museum. The Revival Movie is distributed by Women Make Movies. Sekiya has also worked with major media corporations. Her commercial work has appeared on USA Network, Logo, BETher, Refinery29, Essence.com and BuzzFeed.
Tyrone Zire McCants is a Brooklyn, New York-based photographer that uses his photography to share his vision of the world. Zire is best known for his portraits, motive documentary, and live performance photography. Rooted in community, culture, and music, he began his career as a freelance photographer in 2004, documenting people, culture and the performing arts. He founded the Zire Photography and Graphics Company in 2009. Prior to the arts, he worked for 15 years in the field of youth advocacy and counseling, family development and community development.
Shonda Westbrook has over fifteen years teaching multi-subject education, fundraising and youth programming. She has taught k-12 public education with a bachelor’s in Liberal Arts and Education from Ball State University. She has numerous accomplishments in the field of education, fundraising and community activism. She has served as Director for the New York Junior Tennis League, Boys & Girls Clubs and Youth Empowerment Project. She is a teacher-artist who has her hands deep into poetry, film editing and multimedia productions. In 2015 she started a Chess team for urban males who have went on to win local championships in NYC. She also runs a weekly poetic project for teenage girls to battle unplanned pregnancy and mental health- while engaging them in the political process. Currently she is earning her master’s degree at The New School of Public Engagement and Media Studies at The New School. She joined Reel Works in 2017 and is teaching filmmaking to middle school and high school students at Brooklyn Collaborative Studies and IS 171 Abraham Lincoln. Her passion is poetry and music. Her loves are young people, artists and history. Her pet peeve, injustice.