Ultimately got me to where I am today is recognizing that it’s important for us to create our own spaces, our own outlets for stories.
— Alexxiss

In this episode, we talk to Director of Photography and Music Video Director Alexxiss Jackson, who hails from Detroit, Michigan. Alexxiss shares her journey as a visual storyteller committed to social justice: from being an eight-year-old making home movies starring Transformers and Barbie dolls, to being one of few women of color in film school, to working double to get half the recognition on film sets. To our question What is it like to be a woman of color in the film industry?  Alexxiss offers nuanced insights based on her personal experiences, touching on the racialized dynamics of the filmmaking industry and the absolute necessity of unrepresented voices to create spaces and opportunities of their own.

ep 08: SET

Film is a tool...and it can be whatever you use it for. It can be poison, it can be medicinal, it can be toxic, it can be healing.
— Set

Filmmaker, organizer, and impact producer Set Hernandez Rongkilyo waxes lyrical about how to bring together the worlds of storytelling and organizing in the service of building movements. They share their journey of feeling like the only person without a social security number to being connected to an entire universe of undocumented superheroes fighting in the migrant justice movement. Set reflects on how film is a sharp weapon that can be wielded in toxic or healing ways, and the unique role of the impact producer to support directors and producers in shaping film into a powerful tool for organizing and movements.




You have a goal, you set your sights on it, you don’t know exactly the path that you can take, you just keep looking for those openings.
— Hilary

Artist and filmmaker Hilary Hess describes her journey from doing social media at a public television station to directing a TV series, being the videographer for Bernie Sanders and working with Melinda Gates: that is how she created her own opportunities and intensely focused on what was passionate about creating rather than the limitations she or others may have perceived about her. Maggie, Emily and Hilary discuss the difficult questions and “catch 22s” that women often face in terms of how they choose to show up and lead in historically white male dominated work cultures.



EP 06 : lEENA

When you’re on a journey thinking about race, you’re gonna make mistakes and it’s okay. And as long as you’re still continuing.....
— Leena

Filmmaker, photographer, and professor Leena Jayaswal joins the show for a deep-dive into her current film project MIXED. She describes her filmmaking journey with fellow director Caty Borum Chattoo, as they--two mothers, one brown, one white--set off to explore the experiences of mixed race families fifty years after Loving v. Virginia legalized interracial marriage in the U.S. Leena reflects on the vulnerability of sharing her own family’s story on screen; why filmmaking sometimes feels like therapy; and what the work of inclusion looks like in the film and academic worlds.




The work that we’re doing is not coming from a place of curiosity, but of deep love and affection for the communities that we’re a part of, for the people we love…
— Elena

BFMF goes on the road for an evening of storytelling with emerging and seasoned feminist filmmakers from across the U.S. who break down the “how tos” of mounting a decolonial lens onto your camera. Whether it's challenging stereotypes, forging a space for alternative narratives, or digging into solidarity work, we hear from Tricia Creason-Valencia, Elena Herminia Guzman, Laura Menchaca Ruiz, and Nadia Shihab about filmmaking as an act of resilience, love and courage.

We talk about representation and struggle and that there aren’t enough people in the industry who can do this, well, we know there are... here, so we need to hire each other.
— Tricia


Ep 04 : MONICA

I practiced law for many years, but I always used to be super nervous about oral arguments…my art practice..made me more fearless. I don’t think I would have been able to jump into the senate [to protest the Kavanaugh nomination, otherwise]
— Monica

Artist and activist Monica Jahan Bose describes “rising up” to challenge the Kavanaugh nomination by teaming up with other women media-makers. Monica reflects on where her fearlessness comes from—her background as an environmental lawyer and performance artist. She shares her unique approach to filmmaking and other art forms as one of “forming community”—using storytelling and shared artistic authority with women to tackle climate change and other social justice issues.



ep 03 : dawne

...when you’re the only woman & the only black person generally what you say is not...listened to, or it’s utilized as though they found if it were a a natural resource that they happened to discover.
— Dawne

Dawne Langford, DC-based filmmaker and creative producer tells us about “discovery syndrome”--or what happens when women and people of colors’ ideas are picked up without credit--and the hard lessons she’s learned about film collaborations with communities. Describing her journey from her beginnings at a black-owned public TV station (Howard University’s WHUT) to attending the highly selective PBS Producers Academy, Dawne offers some important ethical principles for filmmakers.



Ep 02 : PJ RAVAL

I was very conscious of not wanting to go into this story, this area... imposing my point of view. Recognizing that I am a foreigner, not just being respectful, but actually honoring what is there.
— PJ

What does it mean to decolonize film not just in theory, but in practice? Maggie and Emily speak with Dir. PJ Raval, who recently led an all-Filipino producing team on CALL HER GANDA, which tells the story of three women who galvanize a political uprising for Jennifer Laude, a Filipina trans woman who was brutally murdered by a U.S. Marine; together they pursue justice and take on hardened histories of US imperialism. We speak with PJ about his responsibility to make this film, the process of creating a transnational production team and what he learned about U.S.-Philippine colonial history and himself along the way.




Ep 01: eLENA & Miasarah

Emily and Maggie kick off the podcast by dropping some facts about the sad state of the filmmaking industry. Guests Elena Guzman and Miasarah talk about why feminism needs an asterisk & how it’s become a shorthand for knowing who you want to work with. Elena and Miasarah discuss the importance of feminist filmmaking as an anti-racist and anti-oppressive practice, and share some bad feminist moments they’ve had along the way. 

Everything about working on a set is patriarchal... Everything about it made me uncomfortable. There’s a lot of emotional labor going on within myself, trying to make myself comfortable, trying to show that i’m valuable, that i’m not just the cute girl on set that everyone can hit on.... That’s why I do independent documentary. I don’t have to deal with a lot of the bullshit that deals with the high stakes of working on big productions.
— Miasarah