Yvonne Welbon is Founder & CEO of the Chicago-based non-profit, Sisters in Cinema and a Senior Creative Consultant at Chicken & Egg Pictures. She is an award- winning independent filmmaker and has produced and distributed over 20 films which have screened on HBO, BET, PBS, Starz/Encore, TV-ONE, IFC, Bravo, Sundance Channel, Netflix and iTunes and in more than 100 film festivals around the world. Raised in an Afro-Latin Honduran household on the South side of Chicago, Welbon received a B.A. in History from Vassar College and then spent six years in Taipei, Taiwan, where she learned Mandarin and founded her first business, an arts magazine which she ran for five years that was the first of it’s kind in the nation. Welbon has taught at the University of Chicago, Northwestern University and chaired the Journalism and Media Studies Department at Bennett College. She completed an M.F.A. in Film/Video at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, a Ph.D. in Radio/TV/Film at Northwestern University and is a graduate of the American Film Institute’s Directing Workshop for Women.
Working in photography, production and mixed media, INDIA MARTIN is a visual artist and producer exploring social activism, culture and urban landscapes. She produces visual art and cultural experiences that transcend place and space by using strategies often found in Afro-surrealism. India’s interest in documenting spaces and places using photography and film comes from not only a desire to create visual narratives of black, brown and queer communities but also to show what is possible when we use our imagination within those communities. Her style of mixing textiles with photography comes from her interest in movement, the feel of materials and how certain colors and textures call up specific emotional states and change how we interpret images.
India is an award winning Creative Producer, 2017-2018 Artist in Residence in the Chicago Artists Coalition’s HATCH Projects program, a current Producer for Sisters In Cinema and a former Artist of Bronzeville Artist Lofts.
Fabiola (a.k.a. Fab/Fabi) Auxila is a Chicago native born to Haitian immigrant parents. Growing up in a multicultural background, she found her love for film (especially foreign film) which would later inspire her to study cinematography at Columbia College Chicago. Today, she is able to marry her background in content creation and advertising by working in production within the advertising industry. In the near future she is hoping to transition into film production with the start of some personal projects that she has on the horizon. With that being said, her goal is to produce independent films that continue to tell the narrative of women of color from all backgrounds. Fabiola is a Production Assistant for Sisters in Cinema’s Black Lesbian Writers’ Room.
Cai is a storyteller from Liberty City, calling Chicago home after living in New York the past two years. I’ve told stories about race, sports, gender, and waste management in Boston, Brazil, and beyond. My most recent doc follows 5th grade activists at Village Leadership Academy in Chicago.
I spent two years on the team behind CBS Sunday Morning, prior to that I worked on the American Public Media / Washington Post podcast, Historically Black. In 2017 I was a Berlin Capital Fulbright awardee. Cai is the Documentary Filmmaker in Residence for Sisters in Cinema’s Black Lesbian Writers’ Room.
When Cai isn’t trying to catch some zzzss or hunting down a story, Cai’s a creature of the internet tweeting away @aspire4gr8ness or reading/viewing something.
Troi Valles is a recent graduate from Sarah Lawrence College living in Chicago. She is passionate about film, art, and social justice. While at Sarah Lawrence, Troi pursued film while studying minoritarian histories, including South Pacific, African American, and Africana studies, which included a semester abroad in eastern and southern Africa. Her aim is to write diverse, passionate, complex characters, and to beat the odds by paying off her student loans before she hits 70. Troi is a Production Assistant for Sisters in Cinema’s Black Lesbian Writers’ Room.
Janaya Greene is a New York Times-trained journalist, photographer and award-winning film writer. She wrote a short film, Veracity, that was presenting on Hulu and Showtime networks; it’s now available on Amazon Video and YouTube. Janaya is dedicated to highlighting often ignored voices through her storytelling and multimedia reporting. She currently reviews television series and films on Thoughts with Mild Sauce and was previously a reporter for the New York Times Journalism Institute. She was also an Audio & Video Production intern with Dynasty Podcasts, Chicago’s first and longest-running music podcast. In the summer of 2016 Janaya was selected for the VICE Media & Center for Communication Editorial Fellowship in New York City. She loves examining cinema in relation to today’s cultural sphere and re-imagining and creating new worlds through screenwriting. Janaya’s an associate producer at Sisters in Cinema.