The Team

Director – Nailah Jefferson

Nailah Jefferson is a New Orleans-based filmmaker, best known for her 2014 documentary Vanishing Pearls, about the aftermath of the 2010 BP Oil Spill. The film was distributed by Ava DuVernay’s distribution company ARRAY. In 2017, Nailah was nominated for a National Magazine Ellie award for directing Essence Magazine’s Black Girl Magic Episode 4. Nailah’s first narrative film, Plaquemines, was awarded the inaugural Create Louisiana $50k Short Film grant. It was chosen as an American Black Film Festival HBO Shorts finalist and is currently available on HBO platforms. Nailah’s current work includes the documentary Commuted, about a 51 year old woman whose triple life sentence was commuted by the Obama Administration in 2016.

Consulting Producer – Laurens Grant

Laurens Grant is the Producer and Director of Black in Space: Breaking the Color Barrier [Smithsonian Channel via Hulu+ and Amazon Prime] about the untold story of the Cold War race to get the first Black astronaut into space. 3-time Emmy & Peabody Award-winning documentary filmmaker with 3 films premiering at Sundance. Voting member of both the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences [Oscars] and the Television Academy [Emmys]. Producer-Director on CNN’s acclaimed series “The Nineties,” directing two episodes: “New World Order” and “Can We All Get Along?” which received a 2018 ACE editing award nomination. Director of the documentary “Stay Woke: The Black Lives Matter Movement” which aired on BET with Jesse Williams [“Grey’s Anatomy”] as executive producer. Consulting Producer of the documentary “The Rape of Recy Taylor” which received a human rights award at the Venice International Film Festival. Oprah mentioned Recy Taylor during her Golden Globes speech. Consulting producer of the documentaries “United Skates” and “Mr. Soul!” both of which will have their world premieres at the TriBeca film festival. Producer of the feature length documentaries “The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution” and “Freedom Riders”, both of which premiered at Sundance and were released worldwide in theaters. Director of the Emmy-winning documentary “Jesse Owens,” the first full length documentary about the Olympic athlete. My documentaries influenced the Hollywood films: “Race,” “Selma” and “Lee Daniels’ The Butler.” I’ve also co-produced two 4-part documentary series for PBS.

Producer – Michelle Budnick

Michelle Budnick began her broadcast television career in London, England making shows for BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5 and international cable channels before relocating to New York in 2007. After initially working in non fiction and reality television, Michelle moved into documentary features and digital shorts as a Line Producer and Producer at Transform Films. Michelle has worked on the award winning documentaries, Newtown (PBS), Milwaukee 53206 (America Reframed) and Lessons from a School Shooting (Netflix) and Run for His Life. Michelle is currently in production, for Transform Films, on a short documentary that visits the lives of the descendants of those who lived and lost during the Tulsa massacre.

Associate Producer – Vashni Korin

Vashni Korin is a Caribbean-American Director from New York. She is best known for her dream-like music video direction and documentary work on various aspects of womanhood, tradition and spirit of the diaspora. Her directorial debut on the Baby Dolls of New Orleans explores themes of identity, sexual liberation and freedom. She’s worked alongside Lizzo as a cinematographer for her upcoming documentary and is a contributing Producer to Black History in 2 Minutes with Henry Louis Gates Jr.

Associate Producer – Amber Handy

She is a freelance Filmmaker, Videographer, Photographer. Based in Oklahoma, always happy to travel. Amber also took all the BTS pictures for the documentary.

Director of Photography – Marcus Guider

Working in many genres, Marcus has lit and shot for narrative, commercial, documentary and broadcast media. He is a continuous student of the art- observing and learning from all that is around him. By spending countless hours on set and studying his craft, he has successfully led crews on notable American shows. Marcus Guider is passionate about people, the art of storytelling, and the powerful influence of the visual medium

Sound Recordist – La’Ron Cooper

Sound Mixer known for Strawberry Hill, Below the Fold (2021), 12th Floor (2019), Two Fins on a Fish (2020).

Assistant Camera – DeVonte Brown

DeVonte Brown is known for his work on Psycho-Syndrome (2017), Downright Cur: The Ballad of Syd and Pattie and Black Zone (2020).

Editor – Jason Pollard

Jason Pollard’s involvement in the film industry began when he was a young child accompanying his father, acclaimed film producer/ editor Sam Pollard, to different edit rooms and watched as his father magically turned strips of celluloid into complex and wonderful stories about people across the world. After transferring to New York University’s Film/TV program He has edited several acclaimed documentary films including 2007’s “Pete Seeger: The Power of Song,” “Sing Your Song” which premiered at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival, “Slavery By Another Name” which premiered at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival and most recently the Netflix documentary “Get Me Roger Stone” which premiered at the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival.

Assistant Editor – Darnell Laval

Darnell Laval is a post-production professional who has spent the last 13 years developing technical workflows and partnering with media companies to create and distribute content in the broadcast television industry. He takes pride in the social contribution of providing mentorship to up-and-coming media personnel, especially those from communities of less opportunity.

Archival Researcher – Sam Aleshinloye

Sam Aleshinloye is a documentary film Archival Producer, Researcher, Historical Consultant for fiction films, and Filmmaker/Visual artist. In his documentary film work, he has worked on the 2015 Sundance Film Festival premiere selection/prime-time emmy nominated documentary Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution, the WORLD Channel Against All Odds: A Fight for A Black Middle Class, SHOWTIME Networks documentary Burn Motherf*cker, Burn!, Anthony Bourdain’s 4-hour series Once In A Great City: Detroit 1962-1964, CNN’s 4-hour series Tricky Dick, PBS’ American Masters special Decoding Watson, PBS original television series America In Primetime, PBS multi-Emmy award winning documentary series POV, the PBS World Channels Your Voice, Your Story, and the EPIX network’s 4-part docu-series By Whatever Means Necessary: The Times of the Godfather of Harlem.

Composer – Kelly Mac

Kelly Mac is a highly esteemed music producer and composer who specializes in modern genres as well as scoring to picture. She is based in New York City and is constantly working on creating a uniquely fresh and commercially successful sound. She has collaborated on cutting edge campaigns with numerous recognizable brands including Nike, Reebok, ESPN, and Cover Girl and television shows including The George Lopez Show and Disney’s Gamer’s Guide to Pretty Much Everything. She has been featured in iStandard’s Producer Showcase and produced singers from MTV’s Making the Band, The Voice, and X Factor. Recently she has been working alongside Grammy-winning producer LuneyTunez (Rihanna, Future) and a vast array of top level writers and producers. She is also highly sought after for motion pictures, and has provided music for films on Netflix, HBO, and Tribeca Film Festival. Her work is regularly heard in advertisements, tv, radio, and interactive media.

Sound Designer – Ashley Simmons

Ashley Simmons, born and raised in Brooklyn, is a talented mixer and sound designer at Sound Lounge, an industry leader in all things audio-post. With skills and versatility spanning across film, documentary and commercial, she brings creative visions to life sonically. Ashley is passionate about visibility and opportunity for black creators, women, and the LGBTQ+ community both on-and off-camera.

Ashley has worked on meaningful campaigns alongside the National Women’s History Museum, Proctor and Gamble, and DoorDash, as well as the award-winning short film “Pay Day” for Synchrony Bank and Black-Owned Brooklyn’s “Soul Summit”.

Executive Producer – Nick Stuart

Nick Stuart is founder and CEO of Transform Films Inc and a Peabody award winner whose 30 year career as documentary director, producer and TV reporter and presenter spans both sides of the Atlantic. Apart from independent documentary films Nick has made programming for Netflix, Starz, BBC, ITV, Discovery, National Geographic and Al Jazeera English and was EP on Serving Life with Forest Whitaker that won the Cine Golden Eagle Judges’ award in the U.S. His experiences reporting around the world led him to set up Transform Films Inc. as a focus for independent filmmakers committed to using documentary storytelling as a catalyst for change to bring about a more just world.

Nick is a member of the Producers’ Guild of America.

Executive Producer – CarolAnne Dolan

CarolAnne is an Emmy and Peabody Award-winning executive producer who has been committed to creating high quality content throughout her career as a network executive and as an independent producer.

She has worked across genres, including feature documentaries, non-fiction series and short films, and on subject matter as diverse as mass incarceration, shark attacks and The Beach Boys. Before joining Transform Films, CarolAnne was Vice President of Documentary Series at A&E Television, where she served as executive producer of the Biography series, which won numerous awards including two Emmys, and was consistently the highest-rated series on the network. She was also Executive Producer at NHNZ, an independent production company in New Zealand, she created many top-rated shows for National Geographic Channel, Bio Channel, Animal Planet, Discovery, and others. CarolAnne began her television career at National Geographic, where she worked on the series Explorer and nurtured her love of all things wild.

Transform Films

TRANSFORM FILMS creates extraordinary, thought provoking and entertaining non-fiction content. We are exceptional in our delivery of high prestige and quality films and series. We approach each and every project with fearless storytelling. Recent accolades include a Peabody Award in 2018 and a Peabody nomination in 2019, Best Doc Short at the Tribeca Film Festival, a Special Prize for Human Rights at the Venice International Film Festival and Best Documentary at the Urbanworld Festival, and a Golden Telly to name just a few. One of our films, Serving Life, launched Oprah Winfrey’s Documentary Club.

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IMPACT CAMPAIGN – Odyssey Impact

ODYSSEY IMPACT, INC., is an interfaith media nonprofit with a mission to drive social change through innovative storytelling and media connection faith and secular communities. Odyssey Impact will conduct the Social Impact Campaign for Stranger / Sister. A social impact campaign is a strategic engagement program providing the resources for faith and secular communities to address the most critical social issues in our society, such as hate. The guiding principle of each campaign is to use film to raise audience awareness, shifting attitudes and inspiring action among people of faith and goodwill. The result? A society connected, engaged and united.

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