NALIP Announces 10 Selected Projects for 2015 Diverse Women in Media Residency Lab at Artist Retreat Center in Vermont, October 3-11


2014 Residency Lab mentors and fellows 

Friday, September 25, 2015 - Los Angeles, CA- The National Association of Latino Independent Producers (NALIP) announces the 10 projects selected for its 2nd annual Diverse Women in Media Residency Lab, taking place at the Artist Retreat Center in Vermont from October 3-11. The Lab is a residency program of NALIP’s year round Diverse Women in Media Initiative where they work to empower, inspire, and advance women of diverse background in media.

NALIP announces the 10 projects selected for its 2nd annual Diverse Women in Media Residency Lab, taking place at the Artist Retreat Center in Vermont from October 3-11. The Lab is a residency program of NALIP’s year round Diverse Women in Media Initiative where they work to empower, inspire, and advance women of diverse background in media.

Projects and fellows selected for the 2015 Diverse Women in Media Residency Lab span from various parts of the United States and represent female creatives of Latino American, African American, and Asian American backgrounds and bring experience from impressive creative resumes spanning from documentary, narrative and new media.

"We are thrilled to be able to host an incredibly talented, dedicated and powerful group of participants. This program is particularly designed to maximize and move forward the careers of high caliber content creators,” said NALIP executive director Axel Caballero. “There is a huge pressing and a dire need to open important spaces behind the camera and at the executive level for diverse women in media and our Residency Lab, through its strong agenda, mentorship, and liaisons with funders, sponsors and industry supporters is the first step of many to bridge this gap."

At the Residency Lab, under the leadership of Ben Lopez, and artistic direction of Maria Agui Carter, each project will be workshopped by the group, as well as receiving individual mentorship from feature mentor Ligiah Villalobos (Under the Same Moon) and documentary mentor Maria Agui Carter (REBEL). 

Fellows and Projects selected for the 2015 Diverse Women in Residency Lab at ARC (October 3-11) are:

 aurora_guerrero.jpgAurora Guerrero | Los Valientes: After years of living an out gay life in San Francisco, Felix must face the life he left behind in Mexico when his sister and members of his village migrate to the U.S.

Aurora Guerrero is a writer­-director with over 12 years film experience. Guerrero wrote and directed Mosquita y Mari, her debut narrative feature. Since premiering at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival, Mosquita y Mari has traveled over 100 film festivals including TIFF's Next Wave, San Francisco International, Melbourne, Guadalajara, Sao Paulo, and has garnered multiple awards while picking up Spirit Award and GLAAD nominations. Mosquita y Mari was theatrically released in New York where The Times praised: “An unassuming indie jewel...”. Prior to making her feature, Guerrero directed short films, including Pura Lengua (2005 Sundance Film Festival) and Viernes Girl (winner HBO/NYLIFF competition). Currently, Guerrero is developing her second feature film, Los Valientes, winner of grants from Sundance, Tribeca, San Francisco Film Society and the Global Arts Fund and was selected to participate in IFP's No Borders program. Guerrero is a Time Warner Fellow(2013) and a Berlin Talent Campus Fellow (2015).

 Melissa_Haizlip_Headshot.jpgMelissa Haizlip | Mr. SOUL! Ellis Haizlip and the Birth of Black Power TV: Before Oprah, Before Arsenio, there was Mr. SOUL! -- Ellis Haizlip makes television broadcast history with SOUL!, America's first black "Tonight Show."

MELISSA HAIZLIP is an award-winning filmmaker born in Boston and raised in the US Virgin Islands, Connecticut and New York. Melissa is a Chaz and Roger Ebert Producing Fellow and an alumnus of Film Independent’s Project: Involve, Firelight Media Producers’ Lab, and the PGA Diversity Workshop. Melissa attended Yale University. She produced YOU’RE DEAD TO ME, directed by Wu Tsang, about a grieving Chicana mother coming to terms with the loss of her transgender child on Día de los Muertos. The film won Best Short at the 2014 Imagen Awards, Reel Sisters of the Diaspora, Everybody’s Beautiful (Geneva), LesGaiCine Madrid, and Reel Rasquache Art & Film Festival (Los Angeles). It has screened at over 50 festivals, including the PBS Online Film Festival, San Diego Latino Film Festival, CineFestival (San Antonio), MIX Mexico, MIX Brasil, Can[Be]Gay (Tenerife, Spain), LA ShortsFest, HollyShorts, Palm Springs International ShortFest, Frameline38, Outfest and the NYWIFT Women Calling the Shots program at Hamptons International Film Festival. Melissa’s documentary work-in-progress Mr. SOUL! screened at IFP’s Spotlight on Documentaries during Independent Film Week, and at the Martha’s Vineyard African American Film Festival, where it won the Audience Award. Her two- channel art films have been funded and exhibited by the Hammer Museum’s Los Angeles Biennial, the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, and the Clifton Benevento Gallery in SoHo. Melissa received the 2015 Media Projects Production Grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities for Mr. SOUL! She has also received awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, ITVS, National Black Programming Consortium, Firelight Media, support from IFP and Latino Public Broadcasting. Melissa is a proud member of NALIP.

 Sarita_Khurana.jpgSarita Khurana |Marriage Brokers: Three young women in India -- a newlywed, a recent MBA graduate, and a school teacher -- try to negotiate the expectations of arranged marriage with their own hopes and dreams.

Sarita Khurana was born in London in 1970, and immigrated with her family to New York City six years later. She has lived and worked in New York since then. Her work spans the narrative, documentary and
experimental film genres and is concerned with stories pertaining to the South Asian subject, often female. Themes of migration, community, memory, marginality, territory, and sexuality pervade. Her most recent short narrative film, What Remains (2013), was a collaboration with the visual artist, Chitra
Ganesh, and screened at the Brooklyn Museum of Art, the Goteborgs Konsthalle in Sweden, and was recently available on Comcast Xfinity. Her documentary, Bangla East Side (2004), about Muslim teens growing up in post 9-11 New York, won a NY Times production grant, screened at festivals worldwide, and is distributed by Third World Newsreel. She is currently working on a feature-length documentary on arranged marriage in India, Marriage Brokers, co-directed with Smriti Mundhra, with a release set for 2016.   

Sarita holds a B.A. from Oberlin College, an Ed.M from Harvard University, and an M.F.A. in Film with a concentration in Directing, from Columbia University's School of the Arts. Her work has been shown in festivals, galleries, and universities in the U.S., India, and Europe.

She lives in Brooklyn, New York.


Robin Lung | Finding KUKAN: A filmmaker turns history detective to uncover the forgotten story of Li Ling-Ai, the un-credited female producer of KUKAN, a 1941 Academy Award-winning color documentary about World War II China that has been lost for decades.

Producer/Director Robin Lung made her directorial debut with WASHINGTON PLACE: HAWAI’I’S FIRST HOME, a 30-minute documentary for PBS Hawai’i about Hawai’i’s historic governor’s mansion and home of Queen Lili’uokalani (aired 2008).  She was the associate producer for the national PBS documentary PATSY MINK: AHEAD OF THE MAJORITY; unit producer for acclaimed documentary VIVAN LAS ANTIPODAS; unit producer for NOVA’s KILLER TYPHOON; and producer/director of numerous short documentaries for the Historic Hawai’i Foundation.  A fourth generation Chinese American who was raised in Hawai’i, Lung is a graduate of Stanford University and Hunter College in New York City. Through filmmaking, she has come to realize that the missing faces of women and minorities in popular culture only mirror much deeper and disturbing exclusions of their stories from our historical records. Her independent film work is aimed at correcting the injustices that still exist in how we record history and tell stories in America.


Nancy Mejía | Jennifer’s Tigers: An interracial lesbian couple comes of age in the American South during the mid-20thcentury.

Nancy Mejía is an emerging writer and director born and raised in Los Angeles. She is a first-generation Salvadoran American and first member of her family to graduate from college (UCLA). She is a 2015 Latino Screenwriting Project Fellow and a 2014 Latino Film Fund Seed Grant recipient. Since 2012, Nancy Mejía has been developing her original feature screenplay,Jennifer’s Tigers, which made the quarterfinal round of the 2014 Academy Nicholl Screenwriting Fellowship competition. She is the writer and director of Mateo, a short narrative film that premiered at the 2014 Hollyshorts Film Festival and has been recently selected to air on Robert Rodriguez’s El Rey Network in celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month. She is currently developing an episodic project titled Feel Me Now, a series chronicling the joys, struggles of an eclectic group of twentysomethings hailing from various neighborhoods of East LA as they collide and form a rock band. Creative expression has always been an integral part of her identity. The medium of filmmaking allows her to fuse her creative interests in literature, music, visual composition, and performing arts. She is proud to be a storyteller.

 AdelPham.JPGAdele Free Pham | #NailedIt: Vietnamese & The Nail Industry: A fortuitous encounter with 20 Vietnamese refugee women and The Birds actress Tippi Hedren in 1975, spurs a monopoly of Vietnamese nail salons we see today.

Director/Editor/DP, Adele Free Pham is a mixed-race Vietnamese American documentary filmmaker with experience in all aspects of documentary production including editing, cinematography, and direction. Parallel Adele, a documentary she directed about mixed Asian identity screened at the Smithsonian and aired on PBS. She edited The Prep School Negro, a feature documentary Directed by Andre Robert Lee which screened on PBS’ America: ReFramed. Rebirth: New Orleans a feature documentary she filmed for PBS about the charter school takeover post Katrina is streaming on Netflix. Fine Threads a short doc Adele directed about south Asian teenage girls growing up in Queens, NY screened on HBO. While producing #NailedIt: Vietnamese & The Nail Industry Adele has been coordinating community screenings for The Throwaways, a feature documentary she produced about the impact of mass incarceration and police brutality on black males in America, told through the narrative of Director Ira Eugene McKinley. She is also the cinematographer for The Forgotten Occupation Directed by Alain Martin. 

 Nicole__Headshot_dp.jpegNicole Taylor-Roberts | A Girl from Haiti: In 2010 Haiti, a 17-year-old school girl, her crush, and a criminal work together to survive after a massive earthquake strikes their village and sends them a perilous trek to flee their devastated country.

Nicole Taylor-Roberts is an emerging screenwriter and director. She works professionally in digital distribution and produces for TV and film. An alumna of Northwestern University and Columbia University's SOA Film, her short films have won awards and done well in the festival circuit. Most notably was “Botes al Amanecer”, featuring Jose Yenque (Miss Bala), which was invited as a special selection to Santa Barbara International Film Festival and was written up in Movie Maker’s Magazine.

Through her company, Rocketlight Films, Nicole and collaborator Augustus T. Romeo have done work for Sony Pictures, New York Fashion Week, General Motors and Nike. Rocketlight’s recent short film, "Slumflower," is a co-production with Street Etiquette and VSCO Cam. The film was featured in GQ and The Fader challenges the misconceptions held about life in a public housing.

Also a talented painter, Nicole started her creative career early in life and garnered recognition from the National Foundation for the Arts, the NAACP, and the ABC - Disney before working professionally.

Nicole is a serious writer, often solicited to write and consult on many independent scripts.  Her work has been invited to workshops and fellowships held through the WGA, including her most recent feature script. A Girl from Haiti, inspired from a story by creative collaborator Lisa Grant, has been her passion project for several years.  The development process has been transformative and inspired Nicole to spend time in Haiti with friends. A Girl from Haiti was recently invited to the NALIP Diverse Women in Media Residency Lab. Nicole is excited to see the project develop further.

 HONEY_B_SINGH.jpgHoney B. Singh | ARRANGE ME: A twenty-something Indian Canadian woman who runs a successful cake shop is obsessed with romantic love (of the fairytale kind) however when she is dumped by the "love of her life" she copes by completely giving up on love and deciding to get an old-fashioned traditional Indian arranged marriage leaving her family and friends baffled!

Honey is a Canadian-Indian writer-director who graduated from the film production MFA from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts Asia in Singapore. Honey was behind the very popular & much loved Bollywood celebrity gossip blog and even ventured into Bollywood movie reviews and gossip on Youtube where she was signed with Maker Studios. However, Honey quite blogging & the Youtube world in 2012 to realize her dreams of becoming a filmmaker. For the past three years, Honey has been writing, directing and producing short films, music videos and commercials which have won awards, been played at film festivals, shown on television and even theatrically in theatres. Honey’s short film HEER won the Best Actor, Best Emerging Female Filmmaker, Best Editing and Best Cinematography at the prestigious Indian film festival Dada Saheb Phalke Film Festival earlier this year. Honey’s first-ever commercial which she wrote-directed for the MOFILM competition won 3rd place and subsequently Haagen Dazs incorporated in their China campaign and it was played in movie theatres this past Spring all over the country. Besides this Honey has been doing freelance commercial work in Singapore including working with brands like IKEA, F&N Beverages and RedMart.

 JenniferSuhr_DirectorPhoto.jpgJennifer Cho Suhr | You and Me Both: Upon the death of their adoptive mother, two sisters, estranged by  the older one’s drug addiction, set out on a road trip to find their birth mother.

Jennifer is an award winning director and writer based in New York City. She received her BA from Yale University studying American Studies and Ethnicity, Race & Migration and received her MFA from New York University's Graduate Film Program where she was awarded the Tisch Fellowship, the Spike Lee Film Production Grant, and the Clive Davis Award. Her short films and music videos have screened at festivals all over the world and her film Saeng-il (Birthday) won the Audience Award for Best Short at the Gen Art Film Festival 2011. Her feature script, Out There, was selected as part of NYU's Purple List, a short list of the best unproduced screenplays from New York University. She has been commissioned to write and direct a web series for Subway and My Damn Channel, which premiered at SXSW, and co-created, wrote, and directed the acclaimed web series American Viral starring Michael Showalter for SnagFilm's, which was featured by Entertainment Weekly, the New York Times, and the Boston Globe, among others. She is a member of LaTiDa, and the female filmmaker collective, Film Fatales

She is currently developing her first feature, a dramedy entitled, You and Me Both, which received the Tribeca All Access Grant 2015.

ET_Photo.jpg Ela Troyano | 1968: 1968 is an imagined portrait of a Latin superstar culled from the life stories, songs and myth of the legendary pop singers in New York City’s fabled Latin arts scene in the mid 1960’s.

Ela Troyano is an interdisciplinary filmmaker, born in Cuba and based in New York City. The Arsenal in Berlin presented a career survey of her work in 2012 including rarely seen films from the eighties. Her recent shows include Recycling Atlantis (2014), a live installation at the 80WSE Gallery (2014) in New York, and live film performances at the New Horizons Film Festival in Wroclaw, Poland (2011) and Berlin International Film Festival (2010). Select films include the acclaimed PBS documentary La Lupe Queen of Latin Soul, and the award winning film Carmelita Tropicana Your Kunst is Your Waffen (Your Art Is Your Weapon). Troyano has worked as a writer/director in film, theater and television and improviser in experimental music and dance. Select awards include a screenwriting lab at the Sundance Institute with Gabriel Garcia Marquez and playwriting at INTAR with Maria Irene Fornes, and funding from Creative Capital, the Ford Foundation, Jerome Foundation, Latino Public Broadcasting, Independent Television Service, New York State Council on the Arts, Rockefeller Media, Theo Westenberger Estate and United States Artists.


About NALIP:

The National Association of Latino Independent Producers (NALIP) seeks to inspire, promote, and advocate for Latino content creators in media. As an established non-profit organization, NALIP advances the development of Latino content creation through its programs focusing on narrative, documentary, TV, and digital formats. For more information on the NALIP Diverse Women in Media Initiative (DWIMI), please visit