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Pull Focus: Jessica Yu

Jessica YuJessica Yu is the Academy Award-winning director of “Last Call at the Oasis,” a documentary on importance of water and the often-overlooked yet seriously damaging effects of the global water crisis. The film, which was inspired by Alex Prud'homme's book “The Ripple Effect: The Fate of Fresh Water in the 21st Century,” premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival before moving to theaters.

On a recent visit to the Center, Yu sat down with American University professor Larry Kirkman to discuss her involvement in “Last Call,” the development and impact of the film, and her upcoming documentary “Misconception” on the implications of population growth.

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Pull Focus: Dawn Porter

Dawn Porter Photo

Dawn Porter is a director/producer and the founder of Trilogy Films. Realscreen named Dawn one of their 2012 Doc Hot Shots 15 emerging directors to watch. Her lastest film "Gideon's Army" follows the personal life of three young public defenders in the deep south, who devoted their lives fighting with a broken criminal justice system. "Gideon's Army" premiered at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival and aired on HBO Documentary Films. 

Porter recently visited the Center to share with us her experience in making "Gideon's Army", her relationship with the characters and the film's social impact. Watch her interview unfold below and check out the film’s website for more information.

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Pull Focus: Bernardo Ruiz

Bernardo Ruiz

Bernardo Ruiz is a renowned director and producer who has contributed to numerous award-winning documentaries with Latino themes. His latest film "Reportero" tells the story of a veteran reporter and his colleagues at an independent newsweekly who defy powerful drug cartels and corrupt officials to continue reporting the news.

Ruiz is also the director and producer of "American Experience: Roberto Clemente" (PBS, 2008) and the co-producer of "The Sixth Section" (P.O.V.). As a director and producer for hire, he directed programs for PBS, MTV, the Discovery Networks, Travel Channel, Planet Green and the National Geographic Channel. He founded "Quiet Pictures" in 2007 to create a platform for more activist documentary films.

Ruiz recounts his experiences filming in Tijuana, providing insight into Mexico's current state of affairs and the reaction "Reportero" has acquired in these regions and internationally. Watch his interview unfold and check out the film's website for more information.

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Pull Focus: Pamela Yates

Pamela Yates is a co-founder of Skylight Pictures (with Peter Kinoy), a company dedicated to creating films and digital media tools that advance awareness of human rights and the quest for justice by implementing multi-year outreach campaigns designed to engage, educate and activate social change. Her latest project, “Granito: How to Nail a Dictator”, is a story of destinies joined by Guatemala’s civil war, the mass genocide of it’s people, and how a film made in the 1980’s is being used as evidence to indict the former Army General.

Yates visited the Center to talk about “Granito”; the meaning of the film, its influence on current human rights affairs in Guatemala and the priceless relationships made during filming. She also provided some valuable insight into making documentary films for social impact. Watch her interview unfold below and check out the film’s website for more information. 

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Pull Focus: Katherine Fairfax Wright & Malika Zouhali-Worrall

Dynamic Writer/Director duo Katherine Fairfax Wright and Malika Zouhali-Worrall are Chaz & Roger Ebert Directing Fellows, and alumnae of the Film Independent Documentary Lab and the Garrett Scott Documentary Development Grant at Full Frame Documentary Film Festival. In 2012, Filmmaker Magazine named Katherine and Malika two of the 25 New Faces of Independent Film. Their collaborative film “Call Me Kuchu” intimately steps into the lives of gay Ugandans and the struggles they face on a daily basis trying to overturn the court’s ruling of the anti-homosexuality bill. 

Fairfax Wright and Zouhali-Worrall sat down with the Center’s graduate fellows to discuss the film’s influence on LGBT issues in Uganda, character discrimination, and outreach campaign both in Uganda and abroad. The women also elaborated on the film’s story structure and master plan providing sound words of advice for beginning filmmakers. Watch their interview unfold and check out the film’s website for more information. 

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