Voices With Impact

Join us on Thursday, June 27 at 7:00 pm at the Downtown Independent in Los Angeles for our Voices With Impact Premiere!

See our current available film grants here.

In October 2018, Art With Impact offered $5,000 grants to filmmakers to make films about mental health issues currently not represented in the OLIVE Film Collection.

Our two priority topics for this round of grants were:

Mental Health and Sexual Violence Films

Mental Health and Indigenous Communities Films

A panel of AWI’s judges (listed below) selected five filmmakers for each subject area to be awarded $5,000 each to create an original film. Selected filmmakers were matched with partner organizations, subject matter experts, and mental health professionals related to the content area for consultation and support, with AWI’s Program Directors also available to support filmmakers.

Selected filmmakers spent the months of December 2018 to February 2019 creating films. The finished films will be featured on AWI’s website, and at a live community screening event in Los Angeles on June 27, 2019. All films will also be eligible to be added to the OLIVE Film Collection.

Voices With Impact grants are generously supported by funds from the California Mental Health Services Oversight and Accountability Commission, the McQueen Family Foundation and the California Institute for Contemporary Arts.

Voices With Impact Selected Filmmakers

Congratulations to the ten filmmakers who were selected to receive this years Voices With Impact short film production grants! After a competitive proposal process, we are delighted to be supporting the following filmmakers.

Filmmakers making films about Mental Health and Sexual Violence

Maya Bastian is an award-winning filmmaker, a writer, and an artist. Her work examines socio-political ideas, with a particular focus on the emotional impacts of trauma. She is currently developing her first feature film and continues to exhibit her films and art internationally. Find out more at www.mayabastian.com.

Film Title: Me Too

Synopsis: A 17 year old Youtube vlogger experiences sexual violence at a party, and how she learns to cope with the after effects of trauma is seen through the eyes of her webcam. ‘Me Too’ is the public dramatization of a very private struggle faced by millions of women worldwide.

C. Nathaniel Brown is an award-winning writer, director and producer based in Atlanta. Founder and CEO of Expected End Entertainment, the Baltimore native enjoys storytelling with impact, including tackling such topics as domestic violence, sexual assault, mental illness and suicide. The company’s motto is to Entertain, Educate and Empower. Author of a dozen books, Brown enjoys mentoring up and coming media and entertainment personalities.

Film Title: Question

Synopsis: After being sexually assaulted in jail, Jayson Perryman struggles to reclaim the life he left while incarcerated.

Emilie Cheung is an 18 year old filmmaker based in the UK and currently studying Film Production at the Arts University Bournemouth. She made her directorial debut in 2017 with her short film ‘Pas De Deux’ commissioned by Screen South as part of Channel 4’s ‘Random Acts’ which has gone onto festival success, garnering a number of award nominations. Emilie is also a member of the UK’s ‘National Youth Film Academy’, as well as also working on a number of freelance shoots and music videos for artists such as ‘Sean Merlin’ and ‘Sleeping at Last’. Emilie seeks to create thought provoking, impactful films, and is dedicated to tackling issues that are personal and important to her.

Film Title: Walk of Shame

Synopsis: An 18 year old girl walks down an empty street of houses. However, the trauma of her sexual assault taints an otherwise simple and routinely action as she recollects the incident.

Kristin Kinsey is a Maryland filmmaker graduating in December, 2018 from Towson University with a degree in Electronic Media and Film. She fell in love with filmmaking at age 11 when she picked up her family’s video camera for the first time. Now, Kristin focuses on telling stories with strong social context and modern relevance, finding the most meaning in telling authentic stories of the human experience. She enjoys writing characters that reflect the complexity and diversity of the world we live in, and advocates strongly for women and minorities in the film industry. In between film shoots, she enjoys traveling and spending time outdoors, usually with a camera in hand.

Film Title: Believe Me

Synopsis: In the wake of the Brett Kavanaugh hearings, a teenage girl is raped at a party and fears she won’t be believed because of the rape culture messages overwhelming her online and at home.

Dominique Nieves is a Nuyorican actress, writer, producer, director and founder of Iron Glove Productions. She took courses in writing & film in high school & as an undergrad at Columbia University, but it wasn’t until she pursued acting professionally that she realized she was passionate about making her own work from the ground up. As an actress, she is known for portraying strong willed characters and her commanding presence. As a filmmaker she aims to highlight imperative social justice issues by challenging audiences to examine unique perspectives. Her current films on the festival circuit explore society’s perceptions of sexual assault and immigration. IronGloveProductions.com

Film Title: If I Told You

Synopsis: When you’re as spontaneous and courageous as Vera, you have plenty of incredible stories to tell, but her most life-altering story proves the most difficult to believe.

Filmmakers making films about Mental Health and Indigenous Populations

Tomás Karmelo Amaya is Yaqui (Yoeme), Zuni (Ashiwi), and Tarahumara (Rarámuri). He is a director, photographer, and writer born and raised in Phoenix, AZ. As a Native person, the traditional teachings and values of his people have heavily influenced how he internalizes and interacts with the world. His work has been known to empower communities by way of high-quality, striking images that show dignity, respect, and cultural sensitivity. Raised by storytellers and healers, he continues to explore the concept of taking a poet’s perspective to honor people, spaces, and items, describing his style as “moving my camera as I would my pen.” Tomás’ work has been published in the The New York Times, Buzzfeed, The Sundance Institute, Northwestern University, The Guardian, Arizona State University, Fader, Pacific Standard Magazine, and BBC News.

Film Title: Tekona

Synopsis: Tekona reflects on his family’s teachings while he braids his hair in the early morning and makes deeper connections to his indigenous identity.

Victoria Anderson-Gardner is a queer Anishnaabe filmmaker and activist. She comes from the Ojibway lands of Eagle Lake First Nation but is based out of Toronto, Ontario. She currently is completing her thesis at Ryerson University for her BFA in Film Production with the School of Image Arts. The most recent projects she has worked on include: “An Inconvenient Indian” directed by Michelle Latimer; she was an additional director for “In Search of a Perfect World”; as well as a couple independent films she’s in the process of completing. She wants to be able to share the stories of Indigenous people from around the world through film, whether that be through a narrative lens or a non-fiction perspective. She believes that it’s important for people’s voices and stories to be heard in order for change to occur.

Film Title: The Hurt That Binds Us

Synopsis: An intimate look into an Indigenous family’s journey to come to terms with their intergenerational trauma due to the Indian residential schools. Seen through the eyes of three generations bound together by the same hurts.

Jonathan Elliott is a Tuscarora filmmaker from the Six Nations Reserve in Ontario. Since attending York University’s Film Production program, he has worked as a director and cinematographer on a variety of projects, including: Her Water Drum (imagineNATIVE commissioned film), Wild Archaeology (APTN TV series), This Wild Season (imagineNATIVE 2017 film festival), and Blood Child (Blood in the Snow film festival). Jonathan’s work has been nationally broadcast and screened at various film festivals internationally in Italy, Germany, the United States and Canada. He was the 2018 artist-in-residence with imagineNATIVE and Charles Street Video, a 2018 Reelworld Emerging 20 Participant, and has been the recipient of several grants to produce his work. Currently, Jonathan is in post-production on his latest short film project, Taken Home, funded by the Toronto Arts Council.

Film Title: Even in the Silence

Synopsis: A young man struggles with the aftermath of a terrible drunk-driving incident and is forced to confront his fears and mistakes in order to heal.

Georgina Lightning has a long track record in the film and entertainment industry, starting out as an actress in 1990, evolved into an acting coach and then in 2008 she founded, “Tribal Alliance Productions” as a filmmaker dedicated to producing powerful narratives on the indigenous experience. As a filmmaker, Lightning was named one of the 25 New Faces of Independent Film in “Filmmaker Magazine,” in the Summer 2007 issue. After her directorial debut with “Older Than America,” she received international acclaim from receiving the “White House Project, Emerging Artist Award” in April 2010. The award recognizes women in leadership who create social change from the work they do. By 2011, “Older Than America” had garnered 23 awards, and had been distributed all over the world in many different languages. Lightning has been heard by audiences worldwide as an advocate, keynote speaker, panel participant and ambassador for human rights, sexual exploitation of women and children, missing and murdered women, mental illness, healing, injustice, equal rights, and our environment.

Film Title: The Opioid of Genocide

Synopsis: A film that promises to shock, inspire and motivate change, for our nations, who are faced with the continued devastation in the Opioid Epidemic that started at the beginnings of colonization.

Coleen Rajotte is an award winning Indigenous Director/Producer based in Winnipeg, Mb Canada. Ms. Rajotte is a former CBC television reporter. She now owns her own production company and is currently working on a new season of her Indigenous plants program. Ms. Rajotte was awarded the Queen’s Jubilee Medal by her Majesty the Queen for her work as an Aboriginal filmmaker and journalist.

Film Title: Amanda’s Choice

Synopsis: An Indigenous career woman finds that past trauma keeps interfering with her life.

Voices With Impact Jury

Mental Health Professionals

Dr. Dawn McGuire

Dawn McGuire is a physician who is board-certified in Neurology and Psychiatry. She trained at UCSF. She is also a poet, whose most recent collection, The Aphasia Cafe, received the Indy Book Award for Poetry. Dawn’s clinical work focuses on neurological and psychiatric complications of HIV/AIDS. She founded a free clinic for AIDS patients in 1990, which she continues to run. Her research interests include neuropsychiatric effects of concussion in military veterans and in high-impact sports.


Kristin Kosyluk, Ph.D., CRC

Dr. Kristin Kosyluk received her Ph.D. in Psychology from Illinois Institute of Technology’s Rehabilitation Counseling Education program in December 2014. She is currently Assistant Professor in the Department of Mental Health Law & Policy at the University of South Florida. Dr. Kosyluk’s research agenda is defined by a focus on mental illness and psychiatric disability, with a special interest in social justice issues and stigma. Much of her work to date has investigated how stigma interferes with outcomes for this population. As a rehabilitation counselor, she recognizes the crucial role that vocation plays in the lives of individuals with disabilities, and has undertaken work in the area of employment and postsecondary education.


Claude Kerven

Kerven is the Chair of the Filmmaking Department at the New York Film Academy. His career began with the debut of his short film, “Candy Store,” which won an Academy Award for Best Dramatic Student Film. In 1982, he directed a series of Afterschool Specials for ABC-TV, including the Emmy Award winning “Starstruck” and the Director’s Guild of America nominated “High School Narc.” Kerven also directed over 25 short films for Saturday Night Live, including the much celebrated “Synchronized Swimmers.” His most recent directorial work, “They Never Found Her,” starred Madmen’s Elisabeth Moss and Fargo’s Peter Storemare. In 1990, Kerven co-authored “Mortal Thoughts,” for Columbia Pictures, starring Bruce Willis, Harvey Keitel and Demi Moore.

Jason Brennan

Jason Brennan headshot

Jason Brennan is a proud member of the community of Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg and the owner of the award winning production company Nish Media. In ten years, Nish has produced over 200 hours of television for various networks such as APTN, CBC, Radio-Canada, Ici ArtV, Canal D, TV5, RDI and CBC Docs. From their library, Hit The Ice, Mouki, Wapikoni, Skindigneous and Fosse aux tigres have all been screened in festivals around the world. In 2015, Nish Media released its first feature film in Quebec theatres. “LE DEP”, written and directed by Sonia Bonspille Boileau,was selected in some of the world’s top film festivals such as the Karlovy Vary Film Festival, the Vancouver Film Festival, the Raindance Film Festival, ImagineNative and the American Indian Film Festival. Nish Media is now in full production of its second feature film, Rustic Oracle.


Pepper O’Bomsawin

Angie-Pepper O’Bomsawin is a bilingual Mohawk/Abenaki Director and Media Professional from the Odanak territory in Quebec along the St. Francis River, who now lives with her son on the Mohawk territory of Kahnawake.A 2009 she graduate in Fine Arts with a Specialization in Communication from Concordia University, where she also earned certificates in Graphic Design & Desktop Publishing and Business Management, she graduated with Honors from Capilano College in 2002 with a Diploma in Film and Video Production. A writer, director, and producer, her career in film began in 1995 when she acted in Blood of The Hunter, a film directed by Gilles Carle. She has been responsible for and directed many different projects, ranging from children’s programming – as writer and director for CBC Kids Cultural Capsules – to being Director for such socially driven documentaries as Working It Out Together, documentary series from Rezolution Pictures and broadcast on APTN that followed Olympian Waneek Horn-Miller on a journey with six Mohawk people seeking to reclaim their vitality through health, wellness, and fitness.


Sexual Violence Subject Matter Experts

Nicolle Zapien, Ph.D.

Nicolle Zapien received her BA in psychology with a minor in mathematics from the University of Oregon. She holds an EdM in teaching and curriculum from Harvard Graduate School of Education, an MA in clinical psychology from the Professional School of Psychology and a PhD in psychology from Saybrook University. Dr. Zapien also is a licensed and practicing MFT with a private clinical psychotherapy practice in San Francisco through which she serves a variety of clients, the majority of whom are adults and couples. She is also faculty in the Human Sexuality Doctorate program at the California Institute of Integral Studies, is a certified sex therapist through AASECT and has completed a coaching certificate through CTI.

Antonio Ramírez Hernández, Psy.D.

Antonio began working with violent men in 1987. In 1990 he set up a Spanish speaking batterers program in San Francisco that later would be known as POCOVI. Antonio created CECEVIM to address the specific cultural training needs of Latino men in the United States and Latin America. Antonio holds a Master’s Degree in music and a doctoral degree in clinical psychology. He is the author of the book “Masculine Violence in the Home”. He collaborated with a chapter in the book “Programs for Men Who Batter” edited by Aldarondo and Mederos published by Civic Research Institute in 2002. He is also interested in Latin American shamanic and indigenous spiritual practices. Antonio is also a professor at California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS).

Indigenous Community Representatives & Researchers

Alice Miller

Alice Miller is a Trainer and Researcher at the Biocybernaut Institute, a world leader in Neurofeedback programs. At Biocybernaut, Alice has lead Trainings with people who have had a wide range of trauma including sexual, physical and emotional abuse, Residential School Survivors with all manner of trauma and injury. Alice has led personal and spiritual groups for many years. Alice was certified in a 3 year program in Transpersonal Psychology, Myth, Dreams and Symbols and four years Training with a Shaman from Greenland as well as a myriad of other certifications and trainings in spirituality and personal growth. The combined education and experience in business, technology, research and spiritual and personal growth makes her a powerful advocate and an effective coach and trainer to assist others on their paths of personal and spiritual transformation. Alice is a member of Mattagami First Nation in Ontario, Canada. She currently resides in Victoria, British Columbia.

Dawn Martin-Hill

Dawn Martin-Hill (Mohawk, Wolf Clan) holds a PhD in Cultural Anthropology and is one of the original founders of the Indigenous Studies Program at McMaster University. She is the recipient of a US-Canada Fulbright award, Outstanding Teaching Award from the Aboriginal Institutes Consortium, and she has received grants from SSHRC, CIHR and the Ontario Trillium Foundation. Her research includes: Indigenous knowledge & cultural conservation, Indigenous women, traditional medicine and health and the contemporary practice of Indigenous traditionalism. She is Co-PI on a CIHR-IAPH funded NEAHR grant (Network Environments in Aboriginal Health Research), the Indigenous Health Research Development Program (IHDRP).

She has contributed chapters to several books, has authored a book of her own, and has also produced three documentaries from a six day Elder’s Summit that she organized which was attended by over 600 elders and youth from across the Americas.

Please direct questions to: [email protected]