Filmmaker Toolkits – DOCUMENTARY

Aug 18 - Sep 8, 2021
5 Workshops


The Documentary Toolkit is a thrilling opportunity to hear from some regional royalty of doc filmmaking for social change, and learn about resources offered by NWFF’s associates at the Sundance Institute.


Each Filmmaker Toolkit series is comprised of four separately ticketed consultation sessions.

  • Single-session registration: $125*

Series passes are available for access to all four sessions!

  • Series pass: $400*


Each session has one keynote speaker, with their own Zoom meeting date and time. Sessions begin with a ~15-minute presentation by the keynote speaker, followed by questions and free-form discussion among the speaker and the group.


* A limited number of scholarship seats are available in each session. Email vivian ({[at}]) nwfilmforum ({[dot}]) org with inquiries!

Featured Speakers

Gilda Sheppard reflects on the research process that produced Since I Been Down, her remarkable doc on the carceral state, Kimonti Carter, and the Black Prisoners’ Caucus; lifelong leader and storyteller Tracy Rector of Nia Tero and Longhouse Media discusses social change storytelling; and Firelight Media Artist Programs Manager Chloë Walters-Wallace shares development tips for short and feature film projects. A representative from the Sundance Institute will also take questions about resources that Sundance offers to documentary filmmaker.

Aug. 18 at 6:30pm PT – Social Change Storytelling with Tracy Rector

Tracy Rector

Tracy Rector

Managing Director of Storytelling, Nia Tero
FB: tracyrector IG: tracyrectorart

Tracy Rector comes to Nia Tero with a passion for amplifying and uplifting Indigenous voices. She brings two decades of experience as a community organizer, educator, filmmaker, film programmer, and arts curator, all infused with her deep roots in plant medicine. For the last 20 years, she has directed and produced over 400 films including shorts, features, music videos, and virtual reality projects. Her work has been featured on Independent Lens, ImagineNative, National Geographic, and the Smithsonian’s Museum of the American Indian, as well as at international film festivals including Cannes and Toronto. Tracy served as a Seattle Arts Commissioner for 8 years, sits on the board of the Mize Foundation, and is the co-founder of Longhouse Media and the founder of Indigenous Showcase.

Aug. 19 at 6:30pm PT – Researching Your Subject with Gilda Sheppard

Gilda Sheppard

Gilda Sheppard

Director: Since I Been Down
FB: gilda.sheppard IG: dr_sheppard

Gilda Sheppard is an award-winning filmmaker who has screened her documentaries throughout the United States, and internationally in Ghana, West Africa, at the Festival Afrique 360 Cannes, France, and in Germany at the International Black Film Festival in Berlin. Sheppard is a 2017 Hedgebrook Fellow for documentary film and a 2019 recipient of an Artist Trust Fellowship.

Sheppard recently completed her documentary Since I Been Down on education, organizing and healing being developed and led by incarcerated women and men in Washington State’s prisons. Since I Been Down has been accepted at over 13 film festivals in the USA and Canada, won the Gold Prize at the Social Justice Film Festival, and was recognized among “Best of the Fest” at DOC NYC.

For over a decade, Sheppard has been teaching sociology classes in Washington State women’s and men’s prisons. She is a sponsor for the Black Prisoners’ Caucus, and is among the founders and faculty for FEPPS: Freedom Education for Puget Sound, an organization offering college credited courses at Washington Correctional Center for Women.

Sheppard is the author of several publications including Culturally Relevant Arts Education for Social Justice: A Way Out of No Way (2013).

Gilda Sheppard is a Professor of Sociology, Cultural and Media studies at The Evergreen State College Tacoma Campus.

Sep. 8 at 7:30pm PT – Doc Resources & Support from Sundance Institute's Carrie Lozano

Carrie Lozano (she/her)

Carrie Lozano (she/her)

Director, Documentary Film Program

Carrie Lozano is the Director of the Sundance Institute’s Documentary Film and Artist Programs, and is an award winning documentary filmmaker and journalist. Prior to Sundance, she was director of the International Documentary Association’s Enterprise Documentary and Pare Lorentz funds, where she supported more than 60 diverse films and filmmakers at the intersection of documentary and journalism, including Welcome To Chechnya, A Thousand Cuts, and Through the Night. She is on the advisory board of U.C. Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism, where she is an alumnus and has been a lecturer and editor in its documentary film and investigative reporting programs. Lozano was previously an executive at Al Jazeera America and a senior producer of the network’s investigative series Fault Lines, where her team garnered numerous awards including an Emmy, a Peabody, and several Headliner Awards. Among other work, she produced the Academy Award nominee The Weather Underground, the live cinema piece Utopia In Four Movements and produced, directed, and edited the Teddy Award nominee Reporter Zero. She serves on the boards of the nonprofit production companies Kartemquin Films, Swell Cinema and The Free History Project. Her recent film credits include The Ballad of Fred Hersch and Prognosis: Notes on Living.

Sundance Institute

Sundance Institute
FB: sundance IG: sundanceorg

As a champion and curator of independent stories for the stage and screen, the nonprofit Sundance Institute provides and preserves the space for artists in film, theater, film composing, and digital media to create and thrive. Founded in 1981 by Robert Redford, the Institute’s signature Labs, granting, and mentorship programs which are dedicated to developing new work and take place throughout the year in the U.S. and internationally, are supported largely through contributed revenue. Sundance Co//ab, a digital community platform, brings artists together to learn from each other and Sundance Advisors and connect in a creative space, developing and sharing works in progress. The Sundance Film Festival and other public programs connect audiences and artists to ignite new ideas, discover original voices, and build a community dedicated to independent storytelling. Sundance Institute has supported such projects as Clemency, Never Rarely Sometimes Always, Zola, On the Record, Boys State, The Farewell, Honeyland, One Child Nation, The Souvenir, The Infiltrators, Sorry to Bother You, Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, Hereditary, Call Me By Your Name, Get Out, The Big Sick, Mudbound, Fruitvale Station, City So Real, Top of the Lake, Between the World & Me, Wild Goose Dreams and Fun Home. Join Sundance Institute on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.

Aug. 26 at 6:30pm PT – Development Tips for Shorts & Features with Chloë Walters-Wallace

Chloë Walters-Wallace

Chloë Walters-Wallace

Manager, Firelight Media’s Artist Programs
FB: chloe.w.wallace IG: jabohemia

Chloë Walters-Wallace is the manager of Firelight Media’s Artist Programs, including the Documentary Lab, a fellowship that provides mentorship, funding, and access to first and second time filmmakers from racially and ethnically underrepresented communities. She also heads up Firelight’s newest initiative the Groundwork Lab, which aims to expand the pipeline of emerging diverse makers from the South, Midwest & US Territories. Previously, Chloe led the New Orleans Film Society’s Emerging Voices Mentorship Program, and the Southern Producers Lab, a regional program bringing together 13 emerging, diverse producers from across the South. Chloe has worked for the Tribeca Film Institute, Clinica Estetico (under the late Jonathan Demme), Article 19 Films, and companies in New York, London, New Orleans, & Jamaica. In 2017 she produced Woke, a narrative feature infused with mental & sexual health messaging for youth, preceded by the feature documentary Back Story. Chloe has served on selection committees for the National Endowment for the Arts, Create Louisiana, Creative Capital, CAAM, Reel South, Cucalorus Works-In-Progress Lab, Doc Society’s New Perspectives Fund, IDA Documentary Awards & TFI If/Then Short Documentary Program. Chloe lives between New York & New Orleans and is on the board of Court 13 Arts.

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1515 12th Ave,

Seattle, WA 98122

206 329 2629

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