Showing posts with label united nations. Show all posts
Showing posts with label united nations. Show all posts

Sunday, August 5, 2012

How I work as a Brooklyn-based filmmaker for UN and NGO agencies

I get a lot of filmmakers and development colleagues who ask me questions about how I was able to build a career as a filmmaker working for the United Nations and other NGOs. And also, at the same time as keeping my foot planted in the artistic and sociopolitical movements in Brooklyn.

Today I'll be speaking and will address some of these questions on a panel entitled, "Female Documentary Filmmakers" at the Art of Brooklyn Film Festival from 4-5:30pm.

Never heard of the festival?  Either have I but its been labeled as Brooklyn's Tribeca.

The festival runs from Aug 4-12 and you can find more info at

Hope to see you (and feel free to forward!)

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

High Level UN Meeting on Youth and Conflict

Today I'm looking forward to sitting on a high level panel at the UN on the issue of youth and conflict.  I was asked to participate in this because of a film and poetry initiative I did with UNFPA and the Women's Refugee Commission called Youth Zones (which you can view in English, French, Spanish or Arabic at

With Youth Zones, I traveled with youth activist Chernor Bah from Sierra Leone and poetry mentor, Luke Nephew from the spoken word/creative writing non-profit I work with - Urban Word NYC - to Liberia, Colombia, Lebanon, Northern Uganda and New Orleans to document the struggles and resiliency of young people facing conflicts and natural disasters.  My talk will focus specifically on the poetry workshops and how young people in emergencies can benefit and heal from such creative, safe spaces.

As part of my efforts to engage local artists in my film related outreach activities, I recruited Bajah from Bajah + The Dry Eye Crew to also sit on the panel to discuss his experiences as a youth growing up in war-torn Sierra Leone .Here is a really great 3-minute clip that touches on the experience of Bajah and his bandmates.

If you are attending the ECOSOC event at the UN or are interested in being a special guest, send an email to the RSVP listed on the invite above.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Happy Holidays!


As 2009 comes to a close, I want to take this time to thank those of you who have supported me and my work on behalf of women and young people. Whether as a colleague, a friend, an audience member, or a supporter, I couldn't have asked for a better year in being able to do the work I care so deeply about. As a colleague of mine said last night, "2009 was your year" and it was! It would not have been possible without the support I receive from so many of you.

As Maya Angleou wrote, "If one is lucky, a solitary fantasy can totally transform one million realities."

Thank you for helping me realize the power of a dream.

Many thanks and happy holidays!



Highlights of 2009
- April 2009: Premiered "Not Yet Rain", a short film on unsafe abortion, produced in association with Ipas
- May 2009: Traveled to the Cannes Film Festival with the pitch reel for my new film, "The Parliament of One" on US-UN relations.
- May 2009: Received the Emmy® Award in the "Outstanding Advanced Media Interactivity" category for "Bi-Racial Hair" starring Zora Howard and produced as part of the WGBH Lab with the National Black Programming Consortium.
- June/July 2009: Keynote at nine National Youth Leadership Forum conferences in Boston, Philadelphia, DC, Atlanta with "Love, Labor, Loss", on obstetric fistula in Niger.
- August 2009: Filmmed in Northern Uganda for "YOUTH ZONES", a film and poetry initiative with UNFPA and Women's Refugee Commission.
- September 2009: Filmmed exclusive interview footage with Pete O'Neal in Tanzania in preparation for a book/script on his life story.
- September/October 2009: Filmmed at the UN General Assembly and completed second round of interviews for "The Parliament of One."
- November 2009: Invited to join the Editorial Committee for the Maternal Health Task Force.

2010 Projections
- Develop and launch - a film and new media initiative to increase civic engagement to meet MDG Five on maternal health.
- Premiere "YOUTH ZONES", a film and poetry initiative with UNFPA and Women's Refugee Commission profiling young people in conflict and natural disasters in Liberia, Lebanon, Colombia, New Orleans and Northern Uganda.
- Research and development with award-winning choreographer, Tamilla Woodard and activist Joao Brando, on a live theater piece focused on sexual violence in the DR Congo and the Conflict Mineral Trade Act introduced by Representative Jim McDermott.
- Continue fundraising for production funds for "The Parliament of One" and "Myth of the Motherland."

Show your support of independent artists: Make a tax-free donation.
As independent filmmakers, we spend more of time raising funds than actually working on the projects we care about. Governess Films can definitely use your support to keep our projects moving.

If you are interested in making a tax-free donation to Lisa Russell's independent documentary projects, please visit the following sites:

And choose either,

"The Parliament of One"
"Myth of the Motherland"

Thank you!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

New Film Project - Youth in Conflict/Crises

Just got word that I was chosen for a film project creating portraits and an advoacy video on youth in conflict settings and/or natural disasters. Since its youth driven, I'll be bringing an incredible young poet with me to help draw out personal stories through poetry and creative storytelling as well as introducing a new media element for the distribution. We'll start shooting in Feb and then March in the following locations:
  • Liberia
  • Colombia
  • Lebanon
  • New Orleans

Will post more information soon.