Yvonne Welbon (she/her) is an award-winning filmmaker and founder and CEO of the Chicago-based non-profit Sisters in Cinema, inspired by her documentary of the same name, about the history of Black women feature film directors. She is a Senior Creative Consultant at Chicken & Egg Pictures, and has produced and distributed dozens of award-winning films, including Living With Pride: Ruth Ellis @100. Welbon’s work has been broadcast on PBS, Starz/Encore, TV-ONE, IFC, Bravo, the Sundance Channel, BET, HBO, Netflix, iTunes and screened in over one hundred film festivals around the world. Projects in development include The Spies Who Loved Me, a thrilling exposé on surveillance which focuses on the six-years she lived in Taipei, Taiwan and American Pride, a Black lesbian coming-of-age series set on the south-side of Chicago. She has taught at the University of Chicago, Northwestern University and chaired the Journalism & Media Studies Department at Bennett College. Raised in an Afro-Latinx Honduran household on the South Side of Chicago, Welbon holds a B.A from Vassar College, a MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, a Ph.D. from Northwestern University, and is a graduate of the American Film Institute’s Directing Workshop for Women. In 2020 she became a member of the Documentary branch of the Academy of Motion Pictures and Sciences.
Sisters in Cinema’s Operations and Program Manager, Joyy Norris (she/her) is a Chicago-born and reared writer, film programmer and filmmaker. Having held similar positions at the Rebuild Foundation, the University of Chicago’s Arts + Public Life, the Chicago International Film Festival and the University of Chicago Charter Schools, Norris brings a wide range of skills and talents to Sisters in Cinema. Her work is significantly influenced by her identity as a Black woman invested in discovering solutions to the issues that plague society through art and conversation. She finds value in these pursuits through the dynamic and effective form of documentary film. Norris holds a B.A. in Cinema Studies from University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana and an MFA in Documentary Studies from Northwestern University.
Sisters in Cinema’s Program Coordinator, Kierra Lewis (she/her), is a Creative Producer who’s committed to producing transformative stories full of culture and levity. She has been producing films, news segments, and short-form content for the past several years. Lewis developed a profound appreciation for the art of storytelling at a young age, initially influenced by early African American literature and films, ultimately leading to her passion and trajectory in cinema. When she’s not on set, she works part-time as the Program Coordinator for Sisters in Cinema, bringing a wide range of skills and creativity. Whether on or off set, Lewis makes sure her work centers around marginalized groups often neglected in TV & film. She has a BA in Journalism & Mass Communications and will earn her MFA in Creative Producing for Television & Film from Columbia College Chicago in 2022.