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Deconstructing Documentary Filmmaking

Is documentary film a colonial construct? This festival panel aims to turn a critical eye to the documentary filmmaking process from ideation to distribution. As part of this process, panelists will consider what we can do as filmmakers, programmers, and consumers to work towards “decolonizing” the industry. We are inviting AAPI filmmakers and programmers to share their experiences with the colonial gaze, capitalist consumerism, and the reception of their movies in different contexts. We hope this will be an opportunity for the audience to learn more about the current landscape of the industry and create a culture of critical consumption of documentaries.

The panel is moderated by Sreedevi Sripathy, is the Director of Production and Programming WHYY-TV, where she leads efforts to grow the impact of WHYY’s television service on people of the Philadelphia region, in the nation’s fourth largest media market. Previously she worked at the Independent Television Service (ITVS), as the Managing Director of Distribution and Content Management, working with independent filmmakers, public television distributors and digital partners on the distribution of independent documentaries representing underserved voices and audiences.

Rahi Hasan (they/them) is a formerly undocumented cultural organizer, impact producer, and multimedia documentary artist challenging power on all fronts to create space for healing and radical imagination. They immigrated to Queens, New York from Dhaka, Bangladesh before moving to Durham, NC 6 years ago. Rahi is currently the Program Coordinator of the Documentary Arts Continuing Education Program at the Center for Documentary Studies. Rahi is Co-Founder of the Undocumented Filmmakers Collective and on the board of Migrant Roots Media. As the Strategic Advisor for International Initiatives at Dhaka Doc Lab, Rahi is committed to supporting South Asian filmmakers get access to every tool they need to speak truth to power.

Emily Hong is a Seoul-born Philadelphia-based filmmaker, social change strategist and Assistant Professor of Anthropology and Visual Studies at Haverford College. Emily’s non-fiction film and video work combines feminist, decolonial and sensory ethnographic approaches with impact-oriented storytelling. Her current film project ABOVE AND BELOW THE GROUND features indigenous women and punk rock pastors leading an environmental movement in Myanmar’s North. Emily is the co-founder of Ethnocine and Rhiza Collectives, producer of the Bad Feminists Making Films podcast, and serves on the Leadership Team of the Asian American Documentary Network (A-DOC). She is the recipient of fellowships and support from the Center for Asian American Media, Tribeca Film Institute, Bertha Foundation, and the National Science Foundation.

Bhawin Suchak is an educator and filmmaker and in 2008 he co-founded Youth FX, a media arts organization focused on empowering young people of color in the City of Albany and around the country by teaching creative and technical skills in film and digital media while supporting communities of young artists. He is also the co-founder and co-director of NeXt Doc, a year-round fellowship program that exists to amplify the voices of documentary filmmakers of color between the ages of 20-24 years old. Bhawin is a director, cinematographer and editor, currently in post-production on Outta The Muck, a feature length documentary supported by Sundance Institute, ITVS, Just Films and Southern Documentary Fund. He previously directed the award-winning documentary, The Throwaways (2014). He is a 2019 Just Films Rockwood Fellow, 2019 Sundance Documentary Film Program Fellow and a member of A-Doc: Asian American Documentary Network. Bhawin has been an educator in the capital region for 22 years and is the former co-director of The Free School.

Dates & Times


November 9, 2020
8:30 pm