Falani Afrika

Executive Producer/ Director/ Wrtier/ Cinematographer

Raised in the inner city of Washington, DC, Falani considers herself a citizen of Africa and the Diaspora. She obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Howard University. A trip to Ghana, West Africa sparked her interest in film and telling the stories and experiences of Africa and her descendants scattered abroad. Falani has traveled to Brazil, Ghana, Jamaica, South Africa and Trinidad & Tobago working independent film projects. A former social studies teacher, she enjoys working with youth as an arts educator with Guerilla Arts Inc. which offers apprenticeship in video production and documentary design for youth. Maestrina da Favela is the first-feature length film project that Falani has produced. 


Briana Monet

Executive Producer/ Director of Photography

Briana is a filmmaker & photographer with 10 years of  both independent and commercial experience. As a cinematographer, director, photographer and editor she has worked alongside renowned directors and producers such as Gil Green, Dayo and Lance Rivera, Billy Corben and L.A Reid. After working on several professional music videos, commercials, feature films and documentaries such  as "The U" and "The Cookout 2" she relocated to her hometown, Washington D.C. Briana is now working as a  documentarian, producer, videographer and photographer and educator. Briana's passion for capturing the essence of  social and political elements and placing them on a two dimensional plane can truly be embraced in her works. Thus, her recent change in scale has allowed her to evolve her artistry to a more personal realm of documenting. During her spare time she enjoys teaching youth the skills of independent filmmaking. 

Dr. Doris Derby

Executive Producer

Dr. Doris A. Derby, educational administrator, documentary photographer and author, from New York, earned her BA Degree from Hunter College, NYC in 1962.  She received her MA and Ph.D. in Cultural/Social Anthropology, and African American Studies, at the University of Illinois, Champaign/Urbana, 1980.  After college, and teaching school in Yonkers, New York, Dr. Derby joined the southern Civil Rights Movement in Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi.

Growing up in New York provided Derby the inspiration, time and opportunity to paint, study with, and associate with African American artists, dancers, writers, photographers, filmmakers  and theater people.  Derby joined Southern Media, Inc., a documentary photography and film group in MS., associated with the Student Non Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), from 1966 to 1972.  Working with them enabled her to develop filmmaking, photography and editing skills.  She has produced thousands of photographs relating to the history, culture, status and struggle of black people in America, mainly in the south. Her photographs are in private art collections, numerous books, films, plays, public art murals and exhibitions.

Rosana Chagas

Producer/ Writer/ Researcher

Rosana Silva Chagas, is a Black Brazilian woman, from the Northeast region of Salvador - Bahia, Brazil. She is a Sociologist who received her degree from the Federal University of Bahia in 2007.  Currently, she is finishing her PhD in Sociology at The State University of Rio de Janeiro. She focuses on Urban Violence, Public Security and Racial Relations in Brazil. Being born and raised in the favela gives her research and analysis a grassroots approach. She provides a understanding of the social reality that the children in the film are facing. When it comes to film, she views it as an important tool that can  help  to give a critical view of society, in a short period of time. Socially engaged films can inspire, give hope and most of all influence policies. 


Kristen Iverson

Assistant Director/ Sound/Gaffer

Kristen Iverson is a freelance multimedia content producer with a passion for music, culture, and knowledge. She is motivated and inspired by the new possibilities for cultural and creative exchange recently afforded to us by the advances of social media. This can be seen in much of her latest work in where she seeks to explore the in depth influence social media has on cultures and generations, both who are native to the medium as well as those who are not so much. Her goal is to combine professional skill sets with her passions to create and continue a dialogue that will inspire and influence change for generations to come.


Producer/ 2nd Assistant Director

Born in Salvador, Urânia Munzanzu  is a poet, writer, journalist and filmmaker. In the 80’s she started working with the Grupo Olodum, an internationally acclaimed Afro-Brazilian cultural group from Bahia, Brazil. Since then, her professional life has been guided by Afro-Brazilian culture, especially in politics and religion. Currently, she is finishing two film projects: The First Kiss, a documentary film about the plague of drug addiction of Afro-Brazilian Women and the negligence of political leaders. The Bridge, is a film about the lost connection imposed by the slave trade and how the encounter was made possible through the faith of a religious ancestor.  The Bridge is intertwined between Benin (Africa) and Brazil through the Jeje Mahi system, through Vodun Pantheon. 



Iris de Oliveira


Iris is a researcher in documentary, experimental cinema, video art, contemporary arts, media activism and black cinema. She earned her B.A. in filmmaking at FTC - Faculdade de Tecnologia e Ciências in Salvador, Bahia, Brazil.


Working in the industry for over 16 years now, she has edited Marcelo Rabelo’s award-winning feature films “Cantador de Chula”, “Batatinha, Poeta do Samba”, “Zabumba – A Tradição das Bandas de Pífano no Sertão de Canudos”; Henrique Dantas’ “Sinais de Cinza: A Peleja de Olney Contra o Dragão da Maldade”; Maria Carolina and Igor Souza’s feature documentary “Diários de Classe”, awarded at the Brasília Film Festival, 2017 Panorama Internacional Coisa de Cinema, Mostra do Filme Livre, and Pirinópolis Doc; Amadeu Alban’s telefilm “Império da Beleza”, and American filmmaker Falani Afrika’s feature documentary “Maestrina da Favela”. She is currently editing Fernando Moraes’ feature film “Antes que me esqueçam, meu nome é Edy Star!”, and Tenille Bezerra’s documentary “Africanto”, both to be released in 2019.


Monique Dodd

Production Coordinator

Monique Dodd is a D.C. based filmmaker and producer. Her work focuses on the stories and experiences of people in the African diaspora. A world traveler, Monique has lived in Salvador, Brazil and Prague, Czech Republic. Monique will be receiving her Bachelors of Arts this May with a concentration in Film Production and a minor in Africana studies. 

Patrícia Magalhães

Transcriptionist/Production Assistant

After many years of Psychology studies in Bahia, little by little Magalhães re-oriented her focus to languages and the creative arts. As a creative writer and amateur photographer, she collaborates with singers, composers and visual artists. She has worked as Production Assistant/Road Manager for several projects associated with MacArthur Fellow Steve Coleman (saxophonist/composer) since 2004. In addition to working as a freelance translator, Magalhães has worked as an interpreter for director Spike Lee. She is currently performing independent research on storytelling.


Najma Nuriddin

Film Advisor

Najma Nuriddin is an award-winning filmmaker and producer from California, USA who received her M.F.A. from Howard University in Film. As a filmmaker Najma writes, directs and produces. Najma’s, films have traveled to various film festivals around the world and Najma herself has traveled and worked in Africa, Europe, and South East Asia as a freelance filmmaker. Additionally, Najma created Nsoroma films in 2010 which is “dedicated to telling aesthetically connected stories that are unique to the human experience from a cultural perspective, striving to be a catalyst for a creative revolution.” Currently residing in New Orleans Najma, previously an Emerging Voices Mentee with the New Orleans Films Society spends her time as an adjunct film lecturer and working on her next project.


Tyokia Harrison

Intern & Event Assistant

Born in Washington, DC and later raised in Prince Georges County, MD. Tyokia grew interested in the arts of all kind, especially that which reflects of African-American Youth. Her passion in studying the history of the Diaspora, along with the Arts, has been the catalyst to her activism in the arts and advocacy for youth. A recent high school graduate, she is attending Winston-Salem State University in the fall of 2016. She plans to study abroad, with the ambition to empower youth and those around her to become active in their communities.


Dee Dwyer


Dee Dwyer is an eclectic Photographer from Washington, D.C who produces awe-inspiring photos.  She utilizes her artistic ability to capture the essence of a wide range of subjects.  Her background includes a BFA in Filmmaking and Digital Production.  Always having a strong interest in Photography, once she became a wife and mother of two her thirst for still photography heightened. Growing up in the district's poorest, most segregated and longest-neglected ward, Dee suffered and witnessed individuals suffering from poverty. Having traveled to the West Indies and Brazil on assignment, she realized that poverty is universal. It has become an egregious epidemic. Cognizant of this, Dee was propelled to become a Humanitarian with a deep commitment to social justice.  She now uses her camera to tell stories for the people who've been muted due to classism. Dee Dwyer is in the process of becoming a world-renowned photographer. Her goal is to become a photography legend.


Tais Amordivino

Contributing Cinematographer 

Tais Amordivino is a Filmmaker from Salvador, Bahia with a Bachelors in Social Communication, Cinema and Video. Tais is the co-director of film festival Mostra Itinerante de Cinema Negro – Mahomed Bamba. In 2017, she directed and wrote a documentary called “The Invisibility of the Black Identity in Education" which was selected in the Mostra Lugar de mulher é no cinema (2017); COPECINE: Mostra dialogada de curtas cine dendê (2017);I Mostra Cine Dendê (2017), Cine Favela Brasil (2018) e 12ª Edição do Festival Visões Periféricas - Mostra Visorama (2018).

Tais recently directed and edited a short documentary "Motriz" which has been selected in the following national and international festivals: XIV Panorama Internacional Coisa de Cinema (Mostra Competitiva Baiana Salvador e Cachoeira (2018) - Vencedor como MELHOR CURTA BAIANO - JÚRI JOVEM, Festival 16º Curta Santos - (Mostra Competitiva Olhar Brasilis), XIV Cinefest Gato Preto - Sessão Direção – ouvir mulheres (2018) festival which won Honorable Mention; PLATEAU - Festival Internacional de Cinema da Praia (2018) and Inshort Film Festival 2018 (Nigéria).