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.
Program Manager, Sarah Oberholtzer (they/them) is a filmmaker, educator, and community organizer invested in telling stories that allow audiences to imagine alternative futures that support BIPOC communities. They have made many works for local Chicago advocacy campaigns including their most recent piece Love Letter to Chicago’s Black Womxn made in collaboration with the national Black Girl Freedom Fund. As an educator, they were nationally recognized by PBS NewsHour Student Reporting Labs as the August 2019 Connected Educator of the Month. The city-wide PBS program Chicago Tonight also broadcasted a story highlighting their classroom and their students’ work. They received a bachelor’s degree in Radio, Television + Film from Northwestern University.
Project Manager, Cornell Braggs (he/him) is a Chicago born and raised filmmaker, who decided to take his chance at film in 2008. Since then, he has been involved in many projects from filming stage plays, music videos and short films. Currently Cornell is working on a documentary, which speaks on the past, present and future of the South Shore Neighborhood. “Having these opportunities within this industry has been a delightful challenge… I look forward to a limitless future.”
Program & Media Arts Center Associate, M. Lorin (she/her) is a multidisciplinary storyteller, primarily as a writer, painter and filmmaker. For Lorin, her art is a practice of magic and therapy. Her narrative focus invokes urban fantasy as allegorical expressions of Black womanhood in contemporary American society. She received a BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2015. She’s worked for various art institutions including Rebuild Foundation and FACETS as an administrative assistant, film programmer, teaching artist and more. Lorin has exhibited paintings and video works in spaces such as the Chicago Art Department, Zhou B. Art Center and the Museum of Contemporary Art. In 2021, she became a fellow of the Chicago intersectional media platform OTV, where she created and debuted the pilot of her anthology series, Chickweed Magik.
Financial Consultant, Hadassah Hickman (she/her) guides mission oriented ventures in aligning their strategic goals with financial planning and resources. She has over 15 years’ experience in leading and supporting nonprofit organizations through new stages of growth and heightened impact. Hickman has consulted to a wide cross-section of nonprofits including the Chicago Urban League, Girls, Inc, YWCA, AMPT, and Chicago Housing Authority. She serves as a collaborator and advisor to a number of nonprofits on the South and West Sides of Chicago. Hickman holds a BS in Finance from the University of Illinois at Chicago
Rachel Willis (any pronouns) is joining Sisters in Cinema as the summer 2023 Research and Programming Assistant. A graduate of Detroit Public Schools and The University of Michigan Ann Arbor, Rachel is now a third-year PhD student in the English department at The University of Chicago and a Neubauer Family Distinguished Doctoral Fellow, with a research focus on black feminist and black lesbian literature and film in the late 20th century. She has curated interactive photo exhibits and various digital humanities and arts-related projects, and is now interested in learning more about the craft of filmmaking and expanding her creative writing pursuits.