We are pleased to announce director and producer Kiyoko McCrae joining our team as Director of Documentary Programming and Filmmaker Labs, a new full-time position at NOFS where McCrae will be leading the documentary programming for the New Orleans Film Festival and managing the Emerging Voices Mentorship Program and the Southern Producers Lab

McCrae will also oversee other efforts to support documentary filmmakers, including as part of South Pitch, an annual competition wherein filmmakers from across the American South have three minutes to pitch concept or work-in-progress film to panels of film professionals and industry guests for an opportunity to win cash to seed their next film production. McCrae will also contribute to the programming of South Summit, NOFS’ annual convening of local, regional, and national media makers, arts funders, and institutional stakeholders, with the intent of seeding conversations and actions around creating, resourcing, and amplifying film and media content that shapes how the U.S. sees the South and how the South sees itself. 

Photo by Aubrey Edwards.

Kiyoko McCrae fosters professional development initiatives and strives to connect Southern filmmakers to resources and relationships that are often inaccessible in the region. She is also an award-winning independent film and theater director and producer. She is currently completing a short documentary about the impact of COVID-19 on a group of mothers in New Orleans for the Hindsight Project, a new initiative with the Center for Asian American Media (CAAM), Firelight Media, and Reel South. She is also developing her first feature documentary, with support from CAAM and Southern Documentary Fund. She is a 2017-2018 Intercultural Leadership Institute Fellow and a 2020 John O’Neal Cultural Arts Fellow. She received her BFA in Theatre Arts from NYU’s Tisch School. She is happy to call New Orleans home with her husband Jason and their two children, Manami and Koji. Her work can be found at kiyokomccrae.com.

McCrae just wrapped the first of four weeklong filmmaker labs scheduled for this spring to support 40 alums of NOFS Filmmaker Programs, including the Emerging Voices Mentorship Program and Southern Producers Lab.

The Emerging Voices Mentorship Program, a filmmaker support program initiative, was created in 2014 for BIPOC directors in Louisiana to gain greater access to gatekeepers and promote Louisiana’s unique perspectives and cultures to the rest of the country and the world. The Southern Producers Lab is a program designed to bring together an annual cohort of emerging, diverse producers from around the South for an intensive series of workshops, panels, one-on-one mentoring sessions, and community-building opportunities over the course of three convenings throughout the year.

In the months following COVID-19, NOFS issued a round of support to filmmaker alumni of Emerging Voices and Southern Producers Lab programs and conducted surveys to understand better the pressing issues facing filmmakers in the wake of the pandemic. 

As a result of these conversations, NOFS decided in FY21 (July 1, 2020-June 30, 2021) NOFS will accept a class of fellows into Emerging Voices and Southern Producers Lab who have gone through the program in the past, rather than recruiting from a pool of new submissions. This spring, 40 filmmakers from these programs will participate in a total of four-day labs ––two Emerging Voices Labs and two Southern Producers Labs–– each specializing in documentary and narrative tracks. At the same time, NOFS also makes a round of flexible project support grants open to all who have participated in these programs, distributing a total of $102,000 for 49 filmmakers.  

For those interested in participating in Emerging Voices and Southern Producer’s Lab in the future, who are not alumni, NOFS anticipates opening submissions again to a new cohort in Fall 2021. 

The Director of Documentary Programming & Filmmaker Labs position is supported, in part by, South Arts Resilience Fund and Perspective Fund.

The New Orleans Film Society discovers, cultivates, and amplifies diverse voices of filmmakers who tell the stories of our time. Founded in 1989, NOFS produces the Oscar®-qualifying New Orleans Film Festival annually and invests year-round in building a vibrant film culture in the South to share transformative cinematic experiences with audiences and connect dynamic filmmakers to career-advancing resources. Year-round programming includes free and low-cost screenings for members and the broader community of cinephiles in New Orleans, a 24-year running French Film Festival featuring contemporary and classic French cinema, and filmmaker professional development programs created to nurture diverse voices in filmmaking in the American South. NOFS is a 501(c)(3) organization.