Meet our Summer 2016 Docu Work-In-Progress Lab Filmmakers


June 27, 2016

We are thrilled to invite the following six filmmakers to participate in our Summer 2016 DCTV Docu Work-In-Progress Lab, bringing together a cohort of diverse styles, topics and capacities, with exceptional promise for transformation. It will be facilitated by Lana Wilson, with David Teague joining as the guest for the final crit.

Learn about them and their projects below, follow #dctvlab this month as they develop their documentary rough cuts, and get ready to apply to our next Lab by joining our mailing list.

Lana Wilson

Lana Wilson


Lana Wilson is a New York-based writer, director, and producer. Her feature documentary After Tiller was nationally broadcast on the PBS documentary series POV, and recently won the 2015 News and Documentary Emmy Award for Best Documentary. Wilson’s new film, The Departure, currently in post-production, tells the story of a remarkable Zen priest doing suicide prevention work in Japan.

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David Teague

David Teague

Guest for Final Crit

David Teague is a documentary film editor whose work includes Oscar-winning and Emmy-winning films. His most recent film, the Sundance-winning Life, Animated, will hit theaters Summer 2016. Other recent projects include Emmy-nominated and Sundance-winning Cutie and the Boxer, a Sundance-winner named by the New York Times as one of the top five docs of the year.

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Mitra Bonshahi

Mitra Bonshahi | The Exiles

Mitra Bonshahi is an editor and multimedia artist living in Brooklyn, NY. She is the editor of the feature-length documentary Bronx Obama (Showtime, 2014), which screened at several festivals including HotDocs; assistant editor of This Time Next Year (TriBeCa, 2013); and has edited multiple short documentaries for the web. Prior to her role as a video editor, Mitra worked at StoryCorps, a non-profit oral history project, where she recorded and produced stories for their broadcast division. She holds a master’s degree in Media Studies from The New School.

The Exiles

An Iranian-American woman returns to her parents' birthplace to explore her roots and heritage. Through her journey across Iran, she finds herself a foreigner in a strange land, an exile amongst other exiles. The stories and people she encounters on her way, change her perceptions of her parent's homeland. The Exiles is a film about the connection we have to our ancestral lands and how our identities are inextricably linked to the places we call home. Memories and history shape the narrative throughout The Exiles, blurring the fine line between historical events and the stories we tell ourselves.

Lisa D'Apolito

Lisa D'Apolito | LOVE Gilda

Lisa is a filmmaker from New York. She started out as an actress in film and television including a part in Goodfellas. Lisa went into producing, eventually making her way to SVP/EP of Production for an advertising agency, where she was responsible for managing the production department. Lisa directed numerous awards winning branded content and won a Clio for a cancer commercial. In 2013, she launched her commercial production company, 3 Faces Films. Her pro bono clients include Planned Parenthood, New Destiny Housing, GC and Gilda’s Club (where she fell in love the spirit of Gilda). Her short narrative film, The Gynotician, starring Amber Tambyn & David Cross, won several film festival awards. LOVE Gilda was selected to attend CID Kopkind Retreat, IFP Speed Pitch, Sebastopol Peer Pitch, selected to the Illuminate Accelerator Lab in Sedona, and also won an A&E Cine Pitch.

LOVE Gilda

The name Gilda Radner will put a smile on the faces of those who remember watching her as one of the original cast members of Saturday Night Live (1975-80) where she created iconic characters such as Roseanne Roseanadanna Emily Litella and Baba Wawa. Many modern day comedians cite Gilda as being the reason they became entertainers. Audiences loved her and she was known as America’s sweetheart. When Gilda died in 1989, people felt as if they and lost a friend.

Gilda’s zest for living, her honesty and her philosophy of finding humor in the most challenging of times is why her story is important. She felt like an outsider as a kid, her father died when she was a teen and she spent her life looking for love. But every time Gilda was faced with a challenged she found a way to bounce back. Recently discovered tapes she used to write her book serve as the backbone of LOVE Gilda, literally infusing the film with her own authentic voice.

Weaving together personal photos, rare home movies, letters and journal entries, we hear Gilda's poignant reflections on her personal and professional life, sharing what she has learned along the journey with tender honesty. Archival footage of Gilda’s performances entertains us and shows why she is a comedic legend. Interviews with close family, friends and colleagues add their perspectives to the funny, loving, whimsical and honest world of Gilda.

Nele Dehnenkamp

Nele Dehnenkamp | Down the River

Nele Dehnenkamp is a video journalist and documentary filmmaker from Berlin, Germany. Her work has appeared in the German public broadcasters ARD and ZDF as well as the foreign broadcaster Deutsche Welle. In 2013, she co-directed the documentary feature film Die Elfenbeinarmee (The Ivory Army) that was aired on German national television. The film uncovers the social costs of elephant poaching and ivory trade in the lawless savannah of Northern Kenya.

Down the River

Down the River intimately captures the struggle of Michelle Bastien-Archer and her teenage children, Paul and Kaylea, to maintain their family life in the long shadow of a maximum-security prison. Wrongfully convicted, Michelle’s husband Jermaine is serving a sentence of 22 years to life at the infamous Sing Sing prison. In a burdensome everyday-life of short visits, expensive toll phone calls, and letter-writing, Michelle dreams of an idyllic family life outside of the prison walls. Racing against her children‘s fast-approaching adulthood, she works tirelessly to prove her husband’s innocence. The documentary film is a meditation on love, separation, and the hidden costs of a broken criminal justice system.

Erin Martell

Erin Martell | Sanctuary

Originally from Ottawa, Canada, Erin received her BFA in Film Production from York University in Toronto. She relocated to Kingston, Jamaica and worked at a local news station as Senior Editor and Videographer. She edited and co-produced the short documentary Belonging, which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival. She has edited short form projects across number of genres, including documentaries, narratives, video art installations and a long running series for The OpEd Project. Assistant Editing credits include the feature documentaries Don't Stop Believin': Everyman’s Journey, Sound of Redemption: The Frank Morgan Story, One Bullet Afghanistan, In the Land of Pomegranates and many factual entertainment television series. Erin recently completed a Contributing Editor fellowship at the Sundance Documentary Edit & Story Lab and is currently working with Director Annie Kaempfer on her documentary Sanctuary, a story of empowerment through nature.


Sanctuary is a story of second chances, both for injured birds, and for an underserved community in Washington, DC, that is falling through the gap in our country's education system. African American falconer, and former drug dealer, Rodney Stotts, shows that what you're learning matters only as much as who you're learning it from. A unique figure in both the falconry world, and in the environmental education world, he believes in looking beyond academic outcomes at the humanity of learners and the reality of what it’s like to learn, and then return home to an economically stressed community. He has something to teach us all. This story of empowerment through nature shows the growing field of environmental justice in action.

Filmed over the course of three years, Rodney works tirelessly to provide Washington DC’s underserved youth and endangered raptors with a safe haven for mutual healing and growth. He has big dreams for a small but beautiful piece of land with abandoned barns and sheds donated to his non-profit by the DC government. Each building is named for a fallen friend - the Monique Johnson Welcome Center comes first, next is the Gerald Hewlett Aviary, then the Benny Jones Education Center and finally the James Medley Bird Hospital. That’s the plan anyway. It’s a long way off, but Rodney has dedicated his life to his birds and to honoring his friends’ memories.

Anna Moot-Levin

Anna Moot-Levin | Human Conditions

Anna Moot-Levin is an award-winning documentary filmmaker and editor based in Brooklyn. Her work has been screened internationally at numerous festivals, including the AFI Film Festival, the Slamdance Film Festival, and the Short Film Corner at Cannes. She has directed five short documentaries, A Breath of Life, Still in Motion, Tears of Men, Well-Fed, and Track by Track. She is also an associate producer of the Academy Award-winning documentary Inside Job (2010) and is an editor for Winton/duPont Films NY. Moot-Levin has an M.F.A. in Documentary Film and Video from Stanford University and received her B.A. in film and sociology from Vassar College.

Human Conditions

Human Conditions is a feature length documentary about rural primary care providers fighting addiction and chronic disease in small town America. The film takes a character-driven, cinema-verite look at the journeys of three practitioners and their patients. Set in a low-income Hispanic and Latino community in New Mexico, the film highlights medical issues common to poor communities across America: opioid addiction, chronic disease, and untreated mental illness. For the film’s practitioners, these challenges are made exponentially harder by the constant shortage of rural physicians. The providers are stretched to their limits as they treat all who walk through the doors at El Centro Family Health, regardless of ability to pay.

The providers struggle against burnout as they are faced with the enormity of their patients’ suffering and strive to treat them with scarce resources. Truck driver turned nurse practitioner Chris Ruge pioneers a program in which he treats high-need, complex care patients – i.e. emergency room “frequent flyers” (or as one provider put it, “everybody else’s headache patients”). Dr. Hayes, affectionately known as “the matron saint of heroin addicts,” is one of few remaining doctors who delivers babies in the area. Physician assistant Matt Probst was initiated into the family cocaine-dealing business at age 15. After turning his life around, he has made it his mission to improve the wellbeing of his community.

Sebastian Lasaosa Rogers

Sebastian Lasaosa Rogers | Ulle

Sebastian is a filmmaker and cinematographer based in New York City. He grew up in Concord, MA, and graduated magna cum laude from Vanderbilt University with a BA in Film Studies and Anthropology. While living in Nashville, Sebastian grew to love the South, where he first became involved with social justice activism and film production. Sebastian has directed and DP’ed numerous documentary projects including films for the Southern Environmental Law Center, Dignidad Obrera, Metro Nashville Public Schools, and the Show Me $15 campaign. He is also currently an instructor for DCTV workshops.


Ulle is a short observational documentary film about “la trashumancia,” a centuries old tradition of taking livestock up the mountains to graze on greener pastures throughout the summer. Over dirt paths, through towns, and along winding roads, we follow a family from the rural town of Ulle, Spain as they walk their 200 cows and calves over 40 kilometers into the Pyrenees Mountains. The rich sensory textures of Ulle transport you to a special place and time where the meditative rhythm of hooves and cow bells are punctuated by little moments of surprise and delight along the way up.

Follow #dctvlab this month as they develop their films, and get ready to apply to our upcoming labs by joining our mailing list.