BRICLAB 2020/2021 FILM + TV COHORT
BRIClab 2020/2021 Video Art Cohort artists: Dolly Li | Martina Sönksen, Juliana Curi, and Lívia Cheibub | Nova Scott-James
Dolly Li (she/her)
Dolly Li is the director, creator, and producer of CHOI. She is an Emmy award winning video journalist and filmmaker who has covered Asian American and Asian diaspora issues through short documentaries and videos over the last six years. In 2017, she produced the viral short documentary “The Untold Story Of America's Southern Chinese” with AJ+ (Al Jazeera), which now has over 7 million views across YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook. It was part of a three-part documentary series, “Chinese Food: An-All American Cuisine,” which won a regional Emmy in Northern California. In 2018, Dolly moved to Hong Kong to launch a digital media startup, Goldthread, which was incubated by the South China Morning Post. Dolly and her executive producer developed the content strategy, visual identity, and voice of the publication, which publishes video stories about Chinese culture, food, and travel. Dolly served as Goldthread’s Content Director, leading the editorial team while also reporting throughout Asia.
Previously, Dolly was a co-lecturer at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. She is currently a co-director of the Asian American Journalist’s (AAJA) Video Group. She navigates stories in Mandarin, Cantonese, and Spanish.
Project title: CHOI
Project format: Television
CHOI is an episodic documentary series that takes us inside the underground food system of Asian American farmers. Through lush visuals and human-centric stories, we examine the historical and modern impact Asian farmers have had on agriculture.
CHOI takes us into this secret life of Asian vegetables through a visually indulgent, ASMR-like experience that’s both entertaining and enlightening. Similar to Netflix’s "Taco Chronicles" in visual and audio indulgence, each episode focuses on one iconic Asian fruit or vegetable and invites the farmers, distributors, suppliers, researchers, and cooks who are involved in its production and consumption to explain the value and life cycle of these foods. For example, most of the bitter melon we see in the U.S. is grown in Honduras, shipped to Florida, then redistributed through New York’s Long Island City Asian produce network.
The fruit or vegetable item is as much a character in each episode as the interview subjects themselves. Retracing the journey of the episode’s vegetable or fruit to our plate serves as the narrative arc of the story. Along that item’s journey, we’ll encounter characters such as the moms and dads and grandparents who have cooked with these items from their home countries to the United States, the children who grew up with love-hate relationships to non-mainstream Asian vegetables, the immigrant chefs who are expanding on generations of cooking tradition, plus the corner fruit stand retailer, the wholesale distributor, and the farmworkers who all play a role in this food’s existence at our local immigrant supermarket.
Martina Sönksen (she/her), Juliana Curi (she/her), and Lívia Cheibub (she/her)
Martina Sönksen (Executive Producer and Writer ) is a Brazilian researcher, writer and producer living in New York, where she graduated with a degree in Communications and holds a certificate of Documentary Filmmaking at New York Film Academy and is interested in creating content across multiple mediums. Her filmography includes The Karma Killings (2016), available on Netflix and Amazon Video, selected by DOCS MX, DOCS Valéncia and recommended by Film Bazaar. The Pigeon Kings of Brooklyn (2015): featured on Narrative.ly and Staff Pick on Vimeo. Selected by BAM for the Brooklyn Bridge Park Free Summer Movie 2015.
Juliana Curi (Executive Producer, Director, and Writer) is a Brazilian multimedia film director, artist and writer. Deeply influenced by Social Cinema and Cinema Novo schools, she uses visual mediums to create socio-cultural impact projects and to tell underrepresented histories. Graduated in Journalism, she began her career in the creative department of MTV Brazil, developing social awareness campaigns (HIV, Politics, Environment) focused on youth. Since them, her projects include Stories in the Social Landscape at International Center of Photography (ICP), the Film-Manifesto “Stereotypes'' to launch “More Grls.” the first roadmap to female talent in Brazil which aims to fight gender inequality and projects dealing with gender for Avon, Dove, P&G, Pink Intervention at Spotte Art NY, Artsy and Battle of the Body at São Paulo Cultural Center (Brazilian National Commission for Cultural Incentive Prize).
Lívia Cheibub (Producer and Editor) is a director, producer and post-production coordinator based in Brooklyn, NY. She graduated as a journalist and has always been inspired by the many possible stories and subjectivities within people. Her work in film count with clients such as HBO, VICE, MTV and NYPR. She is also the founder and creative director behind Wild Galaxies, a production company interested in producing films that explore female and non-binary sexuality through film. Her first feature film, Landlocked, was an Official Selection at the 2018 Porn Film Festival Berlin.
Project title: Uyra, The Rising Forest
Project format: Film
Brazil leads the world in murders of trans, indigenous and environmental activists. Emerson is all three. He is also the drag queen Uyra. As one they are revolutionizing activism and the performing arts and disclosing urgent messages of the forest.
Like lightning strikes, social movements have been erupting in the skies of the authoritarian regimen in Brazil this year. A new type of insurrection manifests itself with special vigor among the younger generations, especially in the outskirts of urban centers.
In this scenario, Emerson's political body exists and resists. As a grandchild of a gold miner with white skin and blue eyes and a Munduruku grandmother, Emerson says that his body represents the encounter of two Brazils.
This film is necessary as it was born out of a common belief that art and especially documentary filmmaking is an important tool of social and political change since it can question foundational myths that support the homophobic, transphobic and racist mechanisms in our society. In addition to that, films are an important tool in the creation of new imagery symbols and repertoires of representation of LGBTQ+ and indigenous subjectivities breaking with stereotypes and building narratives that are not only based on pain.
So at the same time that the film intends to be a channel to denounce the violence against life and memory, it is essential in order to recognize the historical fractures in Brazil. It also proposes to show the beauty of the young people who are transforming the culture and politics in the North of the country and recovering the past and ancestry as a powerful tool to build the future.
Nova Scott-James (she/her)
Nova Scott-James is a filmmaker, innovation doula and community organizer from Harlem, NYC. Her childhood experiences of being flooded with the sounds and culture of jazz has impacted her creative aesthetic greatly as her work honors improvisation, altered states of consciousness, ritual and collaboration. Nova is also a reiki practitioner and dedicated intuitive worker – she uses these abilities to serve people as a director and creative coach by guiding them in honoring their creative genius.
Project title: Wild Darlings Sing The Blues
Project format: Television/ Multimedia
The Wild Darlings are a pro-black, pro- LGBTQ+ media and healing arts collective from NYC. This 10-episode documentary/narrative hybrid series follows them on a spiritual and physical pilgrimage from a sacred indigenous sanctuary in upstate New York.
Wild Darlings Sing The Blues is a pilgrimage to the temple of the soul, where one sits in council with their ancestors to receive the wisdom and knowledge needed for their highest growth.
The entirety of the series follows the Wild Darlings in retracing and honoring the pain of their ancestor’s trauma. Ancestral trauma is an entry point to understanding the Wild Darlings’ present trauma and celebrates the wisdom they each carry, the protective balm that has soothed and nourished the soul. They are in a transformational process of acknowledging their pain in an honest way and allowing deep healing to take place.
Episodes 1-9 will feature members of the Wild Darlings as they confront their pasts and use their own artistic methods as healing. The series culminates in Episode 10 with a group performance and healing ritual on the site of a former slave plantation.
As a part of the current movement of Black feminist healing and liberation, we have embarked on an honest exploration of trauma as a means to transform pain and suffering into medicine. How do we take this message from the mountaintop to the mainstream? The series is an homage to all black and queer artists that have found power in transmuting pain into creative power and spiritual intelligence. Bessie Smith, Prince, Little Richard, Billie Holiday... How can gender-bending, radical resilience, magic and performative play help us heal and transform the trauma of our past?