Ira McKinley is a filmmaker and activist and the producer and director of the award-winning documentary The Throwaways, which screened at dozens of film festivals, theaters, community centers and churches.  The film won best documentary at the Long Beach Independent Film Festival and was selected as best of fest at the Harlem International Film Festival. McKinley has won Northampton Arts Council’s grant for an “Emerging Film Maker” (2009); as well as Producer of the Year for Northampton Community Television (2009).  McKinley is currently a cameraman for the Sanctuary for Independent Media and Troy, NY and continues his activist work within a network of organizations and individuals seeking social justice within the Capital Region.



Bhawin is an educator and filmmaker who works with digital media as a tool to further expression and connection. In 2008 he founded Youth FX, a digital film and media arts program for young people in the South End of Albany, NY. Bhawin is the director, cinematographer and editor of the award-winning documentary, The Throwaways and also the cinematographer and editor of Free To Learn (2004) along with producing several short documentaries that have aired on PBS. For 15 years he has taught media arts at the Albany Free School and was the co-director of the school from 2007-2015. He has worked with youth teaching film and digital media at locations across the capital region including: The Sanctuary for Independent Media, Albany High School and The Arts Center of the Capital Region.




Sam Pollard, Director, is one of the most respected names in the world of documentary cinema, the recipient of an Oscar nomination and multiple Emmy awards.  He produced the HBO documentaries Four Little Girls, When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts, and If God is Willing and Da Creek Don’t Rise.  Pollard directed the acclaimed documentary Slavery by Another Name, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and subsequently aired on PBS. He also directed four episodes of PBS’s American Masters--including, most recently, August Wilson: The Ground on Which I Stand--and two installments of the groundbreaking series Eyes on the Prize.



Messiah is a Brooklyn, NY based filmmaker who has produced documentary films and videos that have been featured on websites such as VICE, New York Daily News, BKLYNR, Current TV, The Blaze, Huffington Post and many others.



Adele Pham is a filmmaker based in Brooklyn, NY. Since 2007 she has directed, edited, and produced four documentary shorts that have screened at over 20 film festivals domestically and abroad. Pham has lectured at NYU, Wesleyan, and The New School, taught documentary film to South Asian teenage girls in Queens, and youth of color in The Bronx and Brooklyn, NY.   She is currently a Firelight Fellow and working on her first feature length documentary, Nailed It!