OFFICIAL SELECTION- MERCEDES: Portrait of Street Sweeper

Meena_with_cleaning_barrel

A portrait of a Cuban woman who loves her job and her country. This short documentary was shot one month before the US lifted its 50 year embargo on Cuba.

Key Crew: Amie Williams, Meena Nanji, Mark Tshanz, Shirley Gutierrez

 

 You can view Mercedes: Portrait of Street Sweeper at Latinas in Cinema in San Francisco July 23rd. For the complete lineup and tickets click here.
Amie_shooting_Mercedesthe_teamMeena_shoots_Mercedes_at_home

72447333Director: Amie Williams

Amie founded her own film/video production company, BAL MAIDEN FILMS (Gaelic for women who worked in the mines), in 1991, at the dawn of the digital revolution, when the entire landscape of filmmaking was shifting. A renowned American feminist/activist filmmaker and journalist, Amie is never content to stay put when there is a rally, protest, election, or uprising to follow. Since 1998, she has been excavating stories from Siberia to Soweto, Tokyo to Nairobi, crossing borders, building bridges and pushing boundaries, as well as her art to activate dialogue and debate. Her work has broadcast on PBS, Al Jazeera, BBC, Current TV and CBC Canada. Her feature documentary films include UNCOMMON GROUND, FALLON, NV: DEADLY OASIS, STRIPPED AND TEASED, ONE DAY LONGER, NO SWEAT, and most recently, WE ARE WISCONSIN, a film about the citizen uprising against anti-worker legislation, recently nominated for an International Documentary Association Award and featured on Moveon.org, “This film will be the record people will refer to a hundred years from now when they study this era of greed. ” said Michael Moore, who hosted her his Traverse City Film Festival in 2012.

In 2010, Amie co-founded the non-profit, GLOBALGIRL MEDIA, which develops the voice and media literacy of young women by teaching them to create and share digital journalism designed to improve scholastic achievement, ignite community activism and spark social change. Currently, she is the Executive Director, managing projects in South Africa, Morocco, Chicago, Los Angeles, London, Tunisia and Oakland, California.

Through this work Amie was asked to blog for Huffungton Post, and has written as a freelance journalist, most recently for Moveon.org and TruthDig. She also gave a Tedx TALK on women in media in Barcelona in 2015: Amie also works as a freelance producer/director for Al Jazeera English and produces short documentaries, PSA’s, and political ads for a variety of clients, organizations, NGO’s, etc.

Amie’s films have won numerous awards, such as the International Documentary Association Award, Top Ten Audience Aweard at Hot Docs, a National Endowment for the Arts Media Grant, the SONY/Streisand Award for emerging female filmmakers, and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation International Peace Grant. In 2010 she was selected to tour the world by the America Film Institute /U.S. State Department, partnering with other filmmakers in the inaugural 20/20 Cultural Exchange Program (now run by the Sundance Institute and State Department). Amie is also in development for her first narrative feature, A JOURNEY OF WINTER AND SUMMER, a story of two sisters from Tunisia, one of whom runs away to join ISIS (in development with the Tunisian/Paris Company) CineteleFilms.

Amie’s first feature screenplay, JUA KALI (Harsh Sun), was based on her three years working as a secondary-school teacher in rural Kenya in the late 19990’s at the dawn of the African AIDS crisis. The story concerns a young female AIDS orphan who overcomes incredible odds to become a journalist. The script was selected for the 2007 FILM INDEPENDENT Director’s Lab, where Amie worked with Producer Tracey Bing (March of the Penguins), and workshopped with Director Raul Peck (Sometimes in April, Lumumba). She directed two scenes for the lab with actors Edi Gathegi (House, Gone Baby Gone, Twilight) and Idris Elba (The Wire…) The project was selected for the IFP/No Borders Screenplay market and was one of five finalists out of 500 in the Ultimate Filmmakers Competition, 2010; however the project never received sufficient financing to go into production.