“Unapologetic” directed by Ashely O’Shay

Sisters in Cinema, with support from Chicago Women’s Foundation LBTQ Giving Council, has awarded three first-time feature filmmakers with a $2,500 grant for the production of a documentary film. This program is an initiative created to support Black women and gender nonconforming non-fiction directors working on films that center LBTQ stories.

In this year-long fellowship award recipients receive a financial award, fiscal sponsorship and individually tailored mentorship focused on both professional and project development from Sisters in Cinema founder and CEO, Yvonne Welbon.

Filmmakers Cai Thomas, Luchina Fisher, and Ashley O’Shay tell stories centered at the intersection of race, gender, and social justice. Two films capture the untold narratives of Black women activists fighting for themselves and their communities at large. Luchina Fisher’s “Mama Gloria” tells the story of Gloria Allen, a trailblazing 73-year-old black transgender woman who transitioned before Stonewall, and started a charm school for homeless transgender youth in her 60s. Ashley O’Shay’s “Unapologetic” focuses on Janaé and Bella, two Black, queer women organizers and provides an intimate peek into the personal and political battles that have transformed the city of Chicago. In her “Untitled Black Lesbian Elders” documentary, Cai Thomas focuses on the growing population of housing insecure LGBTQ elders.

The Sisters in Cinema Documentary Fellowship is by invitation only in its inaugural year.


Documentary Fellows