×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds
Back to IndieWire

After ‘Jihad Rehab’: Muslim American Filmmakers Tell Sundance How to Do Better in Open Letter

Exclusive: A group of Muslim and Middle Eastern, North African and South Asian (MENASA) filmmakers demand deeper conversation and concrete steps towards more ethical curatorial practices at Sundance.

“Jihad Rehab”

Courtesy Meg Smaker

The following open letter was submitted to IndieWire by the consortium of filmmakers outlined below. The letter has been written in response to the Sundance Film Festival’s decision to program the film “Jihad Rehab” at this year’s festival. The film, which is focused on former Guantanamo Bay prisoners detained by a Saudi Arabian rehab facility, instigated a divisive response in the weeks leading up to its premiere and in the aftermath. The festival addressed those concerns in a statement released last month.

To the Sundance Institute Leadership:

What is the curatorial vision of the Sundance Film Festival? Who does the Sundance Film Festival serve? What are the guiding values of the Sundance Institute? And to whom is the Institute accountable?

We are a group of Muslim, and Middle Eastern, North African and South Asian (MENASA) filmmakers, supported by allies across the film, journalism, and human rights fields, writing to demand deeper conversation and, crucially, concrete steps towards more ethical curatorial practices at Sundance, in ways we hope will ripple throughout the industry. While concerns around these issues have most urgently coalesced around the recent programming of “Jihad Rehab,” a film that is both ethically flawed and devoid of critical context, the larger systemic questions raised above come from years of witnessing limited or problematic representations of Muslims and/or people from communities directly affected by Islamophobia.

The documentary feature film “Jihad Rehab” follows several former Guantánamo detainees who are released after over a decade under the condition that they partake in a mandatory terrorist rehabilitation program funded by the Saudi government. Yet the film never makes it explicit that they were illegally detained and held without charge, nor does it address questions around free consent in a carceral environment. Numerous articles and reviews have elaborated on the many other ethical failures of this film (see Additional Resources below).

By platforming “Jihad Rehab,” the Sundance Film Festival engaged in reckless programming that: (a) may have jeopardized the safety and security of the people in the film; (b) provided a platform for subpar journalistic ethics and standards; and c) reproduced bias against Muslims (and those perceived to be Muslim).

While some of the public discussion about “Jihad Rehab” has centered on the issue of authorship — and while it’s well understood that predatory reporting on the “War on Terror” has contributed to a culture of Islamophobia — this is not the principal or most egregious problem with this film. In fact, this issue pales in comparison to the serious ethical concerns the film brings up.

Since its world premiere at the Festival in January 2022, film critics at prominent publications including Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, and IndieWire, have written reviews of “Jihad Rehab” that describe the men in the film as “terrorists” and “jihadis”, or otherwise state that the men are guilty of terrorist acts. The truth is that the U.S. government detained the men unlawfully for well over a decade without charge or trial, and tortured them. It is well established that the vast majority of Guantánamo detainees were held unlawfully and without charge — this is evidenced by in-depth investigations from the United Nations, the American Civil Liberties Union, the Center for Constitutional Rights, Seton Hall Law, and the U.S. government. While some film critics eventually corrected the errors they had published, the number of critics who came away with this shockingly incorrect understanding after watching the film makes clear that “Jihad Rehab” presents a false narrative of guilt and criminality.

In addition, human rights experts and veteran intelligence analysts have publicly shared their serious concerns about the film’s errors and the danger it poses to the men featured in it. Yet these warnings have been met with little corrective action, care, or even acknowledgment.

As Letta Tayler of Human Rights Watch elucidated on Twitter, “Jihad Rehab” violates basic ethical documentary standards because the film “doesn’t venture into the concepts of informed consent or the unlawfulness of detention without charge.” As Tayler highlights, “Involuntary rehabilitation is only legal as a sentence following a conviction.” Additionally, former CIA analyst Gail Helt also noted on social media, “This film places these former detainees at risk […] If the filmmakers think this film will not get to people who could cause harm to these men, whose lives are hard enough without the publicity, well, that’s just another indicator that they were ill-equipped to tackle the subject matter of this film.”

Many experts on Guantánamo, including former Guantánamo detainees such as author and campaigner Mansoor Adayfi, have also reached out directly to the Festival and the “Jihad Rehab” filmmakers to share their concerns about the safety and security risks the film poses. Some are in touch with the families of the men profiled in the film. They have expressed alarm about the harm the film could cause, and question the free and continued consent of the men to participate or to appear in the final film, given the reality that they were held inside a carceral facility in Saudi Arabia, a country well known for its human rights abuses. These interventions point out that the documentary repeats allegations derived from torture. As Adayfi states in a letter to the “Jihad Rehab” filmmakers: “The documentary reproduces false narratives that were produced almost entirely from unreliable information obtained through our torture […] it is surprising and disappointing that your film chose to ignore the cumulative [evidence] that undermines the whole question of “rehabilitation” (because how can you rehabilitate someone from something they haven’t done?).”

Given these serious safety concerns, your public statement of February 18, 2022 falls far short of an appropriate response.

The programming of “Jihad Rehab” makes clear the lack of adequate ethics or accountability structures in place at the Sundance Film Festival. Many respected documentary filmmakers, as well as Sundance Institute’s own Documentary Film Program, Engagement & Advocacy, and Outreach & Inclusion staff expressed urgent concerns months before the Festival about the very real threats to the safety of the protagonists. Two of your department leaders resigned over this matter. It is clear how aware of these conversations you must have been internally. It bears underscoring that concerns about this film have been widely held in the documentary field for years (see the recent Documentary.org article “Why Filmmakers Have Had A Problem With ‘Jihad Rehab’ For Years”), and numerous documentary funders and producers noted for their adherence to journalistic practice passed on the film.

On October 8, 2021, presumably as the 2022 program was in the process of being determined, Sundance Film Festival leadership responded to criticism concerns about participant consent in the film Sabaya, selected for the World Documentary Competition for the 2021 Festival. Sabaya was also a film that featured Middle Eastern participants at a distinct power disadvantage to the filmmaker. In their letter, Sundance leadership wrote: “What the Sabaya reporting has made even more clear is the importance of a field-wide (including filmmakers, festivals, funders, foundations) dialogue around informed consent and, more broadly, how we can build the capacity to be “trauma-informed” when the circumstances call for it…. In addition, we must ensure that the wishes of those who are giving informed consent have agency in the recounting of their own experiences.” We ask of your leadership, who were actively making these statements in the same timeframe as selecting “Jihad Rehab,” what accountability do you take for your own statements?

When some of the authors of this letter met with Festival leadership on December 17, 2021, we asked if you would gather data for us about the Festival’s programming track record on films about Arabs, Muslims and the MENA region. In the absence of your response, we informally gathered some data of our own. We found that in the past 20 years of publicly listed programming, the Festival has programmed a total of 76 films in the U.S. and World Documentary Competitions about people that are Muslim, and/or people from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), or films set in those regions. Fewer than 35% of these films were directed by Muslim or MENA filmmakers, and when it comes to films about the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria — the predominant lens through which Muslims and Arabs have been depicted in the Festival’s documentary competitions — only 25% of these films were directed by Muslim or MENA filmmakers. Especially disappointing is the fact that over two decades, the Sundance Film Festival’s documentary competition strands have featured only four films about the Muslim experience in the United States: of those two are about the War on Terror.

Even after 20 years of War on Terror policies, including the use of torture, drone warfare, and the targeting of Muslim communities through discriminatory policies such as surveillance and travel bans, your most recent programming choice, “Jihad Rehab,” recycles harmful and Islamophobic narratives. Sundance’s curatorial vision shapes cinema culture and, in turn, public opinion. These misrepresentations contribute to real harm upon members of these communities, real harm that we and our families have personally experienced, and continue to personally experience. The prioritization of narratives focused on terrorism and war also has the effect of strangling space for the work of Muslim, and/or MENASA filmmakers to tell stories outside of these violent frames and from their own positionalities. It is time for the industry at large to reckon with the unexamined Islamophobia that has allowed these biased frameworks to thrive for so long.

Thus, we, the undersigned, are calling for the Sundance Film Festival to publicly acknowledge and make amends for its part in perpetuating the above harm, and to take swift, documentable, and publicly shareable measures to correct these oversights in your Festival programming process. In the absence of your taking genuine steps toward accountability and transparency, we suggest the following:

  • A clear public statement from the Institute admitting fault, the necessary and first step in taking accountability.
  • The formulation and design of a revamped Festival curatorial practice, which should include: clear definitions for the circumstances under which a film may be removed from the Festival program, before or after its public announcement; and a clear conflict of interest policy for Festival programmers. If scientific, legal, human rights or other expertise and context is required to evaluate a film, we ask that these resources be sought and applied.
  • Mandatory training on, and implementation of, safety and security protocols and documentary ethics for all Institute and Festival staff before the opening of the submissions window to the 2023 Festival.
  • Mandatory anti-Islamophobia training alongside existing anti-racism initiatives for all Institute staff.
  • A documented commitment by the Festival leadership to a clear set of accountability, ethics, anti-racism and equity frameworks and tangible processes for diversifying your screeners, reviewers, programmers, implementing external accountability partners (with particular emphasis on increased Muslim, Middle Eastern, South Asian and African representation) and drawing from tools which have been developed by the Documentary Accountability Working Group, the DART Center, Doc Society’s Safe + Secure and others.
  • A recommitment to promises made in your public statement in 2020 in light of the Black Lives Matter uprisings, including your commitment to transparency by annually sharing the demographics of all Festival screeners, reviewers, and programmers and public reporting on this annually.
  • Publication of data on all films programmed at the Sundance Film Festival about people that are Muslim, and/or people from the Middle East and North Africa, or films set in those regions over the Festival’s history since 1985. This data should include the films’ descriptions as well as the identities of their makers.

Our call is not related to just one film, nor one organization. We ask our filmmaking community, funders, buyers, programmers, critics, broadcasters, distributors, and sales agents to hold themselves accountable regarding films that risk the lives of others. Several funders and film organizations participated in supporting this film along its journey to a Sundance premiere. With a few notable exceptions, most have now quietly distanced themselves from the project, or removed all trace of the film from their websites. While we focus here on Sundance, these other organizations know who they are. If we are to believe that discourse is the path through moments like this in our field, then that burden has to be carried by those gatekeepers with the most power.

These demands are intended to be comprehensive and equitable, in order to compel the many gatekeepers who enabled this harm to begin to repair it, as well as to mitigate the possibility of similarly damaging events in the future. We value the Sundance Institute, and therefore these demands are meant to be constructive, in order to begin to rebuild trust between Sundance and its artist and audience community. Accountability cannot be imposed, it must be chosen by the perpetrators of harm. The choice to practice accountability is yours.

Sincerely,

Amber Fares, Filmmaker, “Speed Sisters”, Sundance Grantee, Sundance Momentum Fellow, Sundance Edit and Story Labs, Catalyst Fellow, Sundance Women in Film Finance + Strategy Intensive, Film Forward

Assia Boundaoui, Filmmaker, “The Feeling of Being Watched”, Sundance Grantee and Festival Alum

Farihah Zaman, Filmmaker, “Ghosts of Sugar Land”, Sundance Festival Alum, Documentary Film Program Grantee & Fellow, Creative Producing Summit Alum. Director of Grants and Programs, Brown Girls Doc Mafia.

Jude Chehab, Filmmaker, “Q”, Sundance Documentary Film Program Grantee

Khaula Malik, Filmmaker, “How The Air Feels”, “There Was Nobody Here We Knew”

Malika Zouhali-Worrall, Filmmaker, “Thank You For Playing”, Sundance Momentum Fellow, Adobe Women at Sundance Fellow, Sundance DFP grantee

Marjan Safinia, Filmmaker, “And She Could Be Next”, Sundance Documentary Film Program & Luminate Fund Grantee, Catalyst Fellow

Nausheen Dadabhoy, “An Act of Worship”, Sundance Documentary Film Program Grantee

Rabab Haj Yahya, Editor, “Speed Sisters”, Sundance Documentary Edit and Story Lab Fellow

Razi Jafri, Filmmaker, “Hamtramck, USA”, Sundance Producing Lab and Fellowship, Sundance Institute Knight Fellow

Sami Khan, Filmmaker, “The Last Out”, Sundance Documentary Film Program Grantee, Sundance Documentary Creative Producing Lab Fellow

Samia Khan, Filmmaker, “Accidental Activist”

Senain Kheshgi, Filmmaker, “Project Kashmir”, “Divas of Karachi”, Sundance Documentary Film Program Grantee & Editing, Composing, Producing Labs Fellow

Smriti Mundhra, Filmmaker, “St. Louis Superman”, Sundance Film Festival Alum

Sura Mallouh, Filmmaker, Sundance Grantee

Talal Jabari, Cinematographer, “Naila and the Uprising”

Zeshawn Ali, Filmmaker, “Two Gods”, Sundance Music and Sound Design Lab Alum

With the support of:

Joanna Natasegara, Filmmaker, “The Edge of Democracy”, Sundance Festival Alum

Sonia Kennebeck, Filmmaker, “Enemies of the State”, Sundance Documentary Film Program Grantee

Abby Sun, Curator, The DocYard

Abu Bakar Khan, Producer, “The Lost Empire”

Ahmed Mansour, Director, “Brooklyn Insahllah”

Aidah Z. Muhammad, Producer/Programmer

Alex Flores, Producer, “The In Between”

Alex Fumero, Filmmaker and Sundance Festival Alum

Alex Pritz, Director, Sundance Festival Alum

Alexandra Moss, Producer, “Fauci”

Alison Klayman, Director, “The Brink” and Sundance Festival Alum + Grantee

Alysa Nahmias, Filmmaker and Sundance Festival Alum + Momentum Fellow

Aman Ali, Producer, “Two Gods” and Sundance Grantee

Amman Abbasi, Director, “Daveyon”

Andres Caballero, Director, “The Interperters”

Angela Tucker, Director, “Belly of the Beast” and Sundance Grantee

Annemarie Jacir, Director, “Wajib,” Sundance Screenwriting Lab Fellow

Anya Rous, Producer, “Always In Season” and Sundance Festival Alum + Creative Producer Fellow

Arshad Khan, Director, “Abu”

Asad Muhammad, Filmmaker and Sundance Institute Talent Forum

Ashley Lin, Digital Organizer, AAPIs for Civic Empowerment Education Fund

Ashley Mills, Director, “Unapologetic”

Ashwin Gandbhir, Editor, “Baltimore Rising”

Bassam Tariq Director, “Mogul Mowgli” and Sundance Festival Alum + Jury Award Winner + Art of Non Fiction Fellow + et al.

Ben Garchar, Editor, “Nobody Loves Me”

Beyza Boyacioglu, Director, “Zeki Müren Hotline”

Bhawin Suchak, Co-Director, “Outta The Muck” and Sundance Grantee

Brenda Coughlin, Filmmaker, “CITIZENFOUR”, “Dirty Wars”, Sundance Festival Alum, Grantee, Women at Sundance Fellow, Documentary Producing Lab Creative Advisor

Brett Story, Director, “The Hottest August” and Sundance Lab Alum + Art of Nonfiction Fellow

Brooke Swaney, Director, “Daughter of A Lost Bird” and Sundance Festival Alum + Grantee + Lab Fellow

Bryan Chang, Editor, “Narco Cultura” and Sundance Festival Alum

Carla Gutierrez, Editor, “Julia”

Charlotte Cook, Producer, “Do Not Split” and Sundance Festival Alum; Co-Creator and Executive Producer, Field of Vision.

Cherien Dabis, Director, “Amreeka” and Sundance Festival Alum + Grantee + Screenwriter’s Lab

Chithra Jeyaram, Director, “Foreign Puzzle”

Chris King, Director, “The Letter” and Sundance Grantee

Christine Turner, Director, “Betye Saar: Taking Care of Business” and Sundance Festival Alum

CJ Hunt, Director, “The Neutral Ground”

Damon Davis, Director, “Whose Streets?” and Sundance Festival Alum + Grantee + Edit & Story Lab + et al.

Daniel J. Chaflen, Producer, “Silenced” and Sundance Festival Alum + Creative Producing Program mentor

Danielle Beverly, Director, “Old South”, “Dusty Groove: The Sound of Transition”

Danielle Varga, Director, “The Hottest August” and Sundance Creative Producer Fellow

Darine Hotait, Filmmaker and Sundance Rawi Screenwriters’ Lab

David Felix Sutcliffe, Director, “(T)ERROR”, Sundance Festival Alum + Grantee + Lab Fellow

David Osit, Director, “Mayor” and Sundance Grantee + Non-Fiction Directing Residency

Deb Esquenazi, Director, “Southwest of Salem”, Sundance Festival Alum + Momentum Fellow + Adobe Women’s Fellow

Donald Young, Director of Programs, Center for Asian American Media

Eddie Martinez, Director, “The Monster And The Storm”, Sundance Grantee

Elaine M Sheldon, Director, “Recovery Boys”, Sundance Grantee

Elhum Shakerifar, BAFTA, AMPAS, BFI

Eliza Licht, Co-Producer, “Disclosure”, Sundance Festival Alum

Elizabeth Ai, Producer, “A Woman’s Work”, Sundance Grantee + Catalyst Fellow

Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers, Director, “Kímmapiiyipitssini: The Meaning of Empathy”, “The Body Remembers When the World Broke Open”, Sundance Merata Mita Fellow

Erika Cohn, Director, “In Football We Trust”, Sundance Festival Alum

Faisal Azam, Editor, “St. Louis Superman”, Sundance Festival Alum

Faroukh Virani, Editor, “Walker”

Farrah Rahaman, Curatorial and Research Fellow, BlackStar Projects

Fatimah Asghar, Co-Producer, “Ms. Marvel”, Sundance Uprise Grantee

Fawzia Mirza, Writer/Director, “The Syed Family Xmas Eve Game Night”, “Signature Move”, “The Red Line”

Geeta Gandbhir, Director, “Black and Missing”, Sundance Festival Alum

Grace Lee, Artist, “Beyond the Breakdown”, and Sundance Festival Alum + New Frontier Residency + Grantee

Hannah Choe, Associate Editor, “Dark Money”, Sundance Festival Alum + Contributing Editor at the Documentary Edit and Story Lab

Heba Elorbany, Producer, “An Act of Worship”, Sundance Grantee

Idil Ibrahim, Director, “Sega”

Ilana Coleman, Producer, “Dos Estaciones”, Sundance Grantee

Ina Fichman, Producer, “Fire of Love”, Sundance Festival Alum

Iman Zahwary, Director, “Americanish”, Sundance Momentum Fellow

Imran J. Khan Director, “Prom”

Imran Siddiquee, Director, “The Difference Between Us”, Sundance Screenwriters Intensive + Knight Alumni Grant

Inés Vogelfang, Editor, Alliance of Documentary Editors Inclusion and Access & Steering Committee

Iram Parveen Bilal, Director, “I’ll Meet You There”

Iris Ng, Cinematographer, “One of Ours”, “Stories We Tell”

Iva Radivojević, Director, “Evaporating Borders”, “Aleph”, Sundance Grantee + Art of Non Fiction Fellow

Iyabo Boyd, Sundance Creative Producing Fellow + Screenwriters Intensive Fellow

Jackie Salloum, Director, “Slingshot Hip Hop” and Sundance Festival Alum

James Longley, Director, “Angels Are Made of Light”, “Iraq in Fragments”, Sundance Festival Alum + Lab Fellow + Grantee

Jamila Wignot, Director/Producer, “Ailey”, “Riotsville”, Sundance Doc Fund + Catalyst + Momentum Fellow

Jasmin Mara López, Director, “Silent Beauty”, Sundance Grantee

Jason Fitzroy Jeffers, Writer, “Papa Machete”, Sundance Talent Forum Alum + Producers Summit Fellow

Jay Arthur Sterrenberg, Editor, “Dark Money”, “Trophy”, Sundance Festival Alum

Jeanelle Augustin

Jeff Johnson, Cinematographer, “A Thousand Cuts”

Jeff Reichert, Producer, “American Factory”, Sundance Festival Alum + Grantee + Creative Producing Summit Fellow

Jennifer Huang, Director, Treeclimber Media

Jessica Beshir, Director, “Faya Dayi”, Sundance Festival Alum + Grantee

Jessica Devaney, Producer, “Speed Sisters”, “Always in Season”, Sundance Festival Alum + Grantee + Lab Fellow + Women at Sundance Alum

Jessica Kingdon, Director, “Ascension”, Sundance Grantee

Jih-E Peng, Cinematographer, “The Light of the Setting Sun”

Jihan El-Tahri Director, “House of Saud”

Jimmy Goldblum, Director, “A Broken House”

Juan Pablo Gonzalez, Director, “Dos Estaciones”, Sundance Grantee

Judith Helfand, Director, “Blue Vinyl”, Sundance Festival Alum + Grantee + Catalyst Fellow

Juli Vizza, Editor “And She Could Be Next” and Sundance 2021 Adobe Sundance Mentorship Award

Julia Bacha, Director, “Boycott”, Sundance Grantee

Julia Liu, Cinematographer, “Take Your Pills”

Justin Mashouf, Director, “The Honest Struggle”

Kamau Bilal, Director, “Baby Brother”, Sundance Festival Alum

Dr. Kameelah Rashad, Founding President, Muslim Wellness Foundation, Documentary Accountability Working Group

Karim Ahmad, Writer & Culture Strategist

Katerina Cizek, Sundance Institute Alum & Advisor

Kelly Creedon, Editor

Kishori Rajan, Producer, “The Short History of the Long Road”

Kristi Jacobson, Director, “American Standoff”, “A Place at the Table”, Sundance Festival Alum + Creative Producing Fellow + Catalyst Alum + Grantee

Laila Kazmi, Director/Producer, “Let it Not Happen Again”

Lana Wilson, Director, “After Tiller”, “Miss Americana”, Sundance Festival Alum

Lena Khan, Director, “Flora & Ulysses”

Li Lu, Director, “A Town Called Victoria”, Sundance Grantee

Ligaiya Romero, Director “Becoming the Moon”

Lina Srivastava, Founder, Center for Transformational Change

Linda Goldstein Knowlton, Director “We Are The Radical Monarchs”, Festival Alum + Lab Mentor + Producer in Residence/Feature Film Program

Lindsay Utz, Editor, “American Factory”

Lisa Valencia Svensson, Producer, “Call her Ganda”, “Herman’s House”, and Sundance Grantee + Lab Participant

Loira Limbal, Director, “Through the Night”, Sundance Momentum Fellow

Lucila Moctezuma

M’Daya Meliani, Editor, Alliance of Documentary Editors Inclusion and Access Committee

Maissa Houri-Charron

Mansoor Adayfi, Sundance Episodic Lab Fellow

Maori Holmes, Director, “Scene Not Heard: Women in Philadelphia Hip-Hop”, CEO of BlackStar

Marco Williams, Director, “Banished”, four-time Sundance Festival Alum, Grantee

Margo Guernsey, Director, “Councilwoman”

Mariam Dwedar, Filmmaker

Martha Spanninger

Mary Jirmanus Saba, Filmmaker, “A Feeling Greater than Love”

Megha Kadakia, Sundance Momentum Fellow + Creative Producing Summit Fellow

Miasarah Lai, Community Manager, Brown Girls Doc Mafia and Co-Founder, Ethnocine Collective

Michael Gassert, Co-Director, “The Last Out,” Sundance Grantee

Michaelle McGaraghan, Editor, Alliance of Documentary Editors Inclusion and Access Committee/Steering Committee, Sundance Art of Editing Fellow 2020

Michèle Stephenson, Director, “The Changing Same”, “American Promise”, Sundance Festival Alum + Grantee + Fellow

Mila Aung Thwin, Producer, “Midwives”, Sundance Festival Alum + Grantee, + Former Juror

Minhal Baig, Writer/Director, “Hala”, Sundance Festival Alum

Misha Rizvi

Mohammed Ali Naqvi, Director, “Among the Believers,” Sundance Grantee

Molly Murphy, Director of Partnerships and Innovation, Working Films

Mona Eldaief

Mona Nicoara, Director, “Our School”, “The Distance Between Me and Me”, Sundance Grantee

Musa Syed, Director, “Valley of the Saints”, Sundance Festival Alum + Award Winner

Mustafa Rony Zeno, Filmmaker

Nadia Hallgren, Filmmaker

Nadia Shihab, Director, “Jaddoland”, Sundance Grantee

Natalie Bullock Brown, Producer, “Hazing”, Sundance Grantee

Nathan Truesdell

Nehad Khader, Director, BlackStar Projects

Nijla Mumin, Filmmaker

Orlando von Einseidel, Director, “Virunga”, Sundance Festival Alum

Paco de Onís, Producer, “500 Years: Life in Resistance”, Sundance Grantee

Pamela Yates, Director, “500 Years: Life in Resistance”, eight-time Sundance Festival Alum + Grantee

PJ Raval, Director, “Call Her Ganda”, Sundance Festival Alum, Fellow, Grantee + et al.

Poh Si Teng, Former Director of IDA Funds and Enterprise Program

Queen Muhammad Ali, Director, “Comin’ Up Short”

Rachel Leah Jones, Director, “Advocate” and Sundance Festival Alum + Grantee

Rachel Lears, Director, “Knock Down the House” and Sundance Festival Alum + Grantee + Labs

Rahi Hassan, Filmmaker and Co-Founder of Undocumented Filmmakers Collective

RaMell Ross, Director, “Hale County This Morning, This Evening”, Sundance Grantee, Art of Nonfiction Fellow, New Frontier Artist Residency MIT

Ramona Emerson, Director, “The Mayors of Shiprock” and Sundance Native Lab Alum

Rebecca Licthtenfeld, Executive Producer, “Strong Island”, Sundance Festival Alum + Funder

Reid Davenport, Director, “I Didn’t See You There”, Sundance Festival Alum + Grantee

Reuben Hamlyn, Director, “Another Body” and Sundance Catalyst attendee

Rita Baghdadi, Director, “Sirens” and Sundance Festival Alum

Ro Haber, Filmmaker and Sundance Momentum Fellow + New Frontier Lab + Advisor

Robert Greene, Director, “Bisbee ‘17” and Sundance Festival Alum + Award Winner + Former Juror

Robie Flores, Director, “The In Between”

Roger Ross Williams, Director, “Life Animated” and three-time Sundance Festival Alum + Award Winner + Grantee + et al.

Rudy Valdez, Director/DP, “The Sentence” Sundance Festival Alum + Audience Award Winner + Panelist

Ruun Nuur, Producer, “They Won’t Call It Murder”

Ryah Aqel, Filmmaker and Sundance Knight Fellowship + Sundance Women in Film Finance

Sabaah Folayan, Director, “Whose Streets?” and Sundance Festival Alum + Grantee + Edit & Story Lab + et al.

Sabrina Gordon, Producer, “To The End” and Sundance Festival Alum + Women at Sundance Fellow

Saeed Taji Farouky, Director, “A Thousand Fires”

Safa Al Ahmad, Director, “Saudi’s Secret Uprising”

Sahar Jahani, Writer, “RAMY”, Sundance Macro Episodic Lab Award

Salman Syed, Editor, “They Call me Magic”

Sana Malik, Filmmaker, Meerkat Media

Sandra Itäinen, Director, “Coming Around”

Sara Archambault, Producer, “Riotsville” and Sundance Festival Alum + Grantee

Sara Ishaq, Director, “Karama Has No Walls”

Sara Maamouri, Editor, “Black Mothers” and Sundance Grantee

Sara Nodjoumi, Director, “When God Sleeps” and Sundance Grantee

Sarah Ema Friedland, Director, “Lyd In Exile”

Sarah Garrahan, Co-Producer, “The Infiltrators” and Sundance Festival Alum + Grantee

Sarah Wolozin , Director, MIT Open Documentary Lab

Sarita Khurana, Director, “A Suitable Girl”

Sasha Perry, Editor, Alliance of Documentary Editors Steering Committee

Set Hernandez Rongkilyo, Director, “unseen”

Shaleece Hass, Director, “Real Boy”

Shiraz Ahmed, Filmmaker

Shruti Ganguly, Filmmaker and Sundance Festival Alum

Shuling Yong, Director, “Unteachable”

Sian-Pierre Regis, Director, “Duty Free”

Sierra Petengill, Director, “Riotsville, USA “ and Sundance Festival Alum + Art of Non-Fiction Fellow + Grantee

Sofian Khan, Producer, “An Act of Worship” and Sundance Grantee + Creative Producing Fellow

Sonya Childress, Documentary Accountability Working Group

Sophie Compton, Director, “Another Body” and Sundance Catalyst

Stanley Nelson, Director, “ATTICA” and ten-time Sundance Festival Alum

Stephanie Andreou, Filmmaker and Sundance Art of Editing Fellow

Steve Maing, Director, “Crime & Punishment” and Sundance Festival Alum + Grantee

Suha Araj, Filmmaker and Sundance Rawi Screenwriters’ Lab

Suhad Baba, Filmmaker and Sundance Creative Producing Fellow

Susan Youssef, Director, “Amsterdam to Anatolia”, Sundance Festival Alum

Taghi Amirani, Director, “COUP 53”

Tamara Dawit, Director, “Finding Sally”

Todd Chandler , Director, “Bulletproof” Sundance Grantee + Fellow

Ursula Liang, Director, “Down a Dark Stairwell” and Sundance Grantee

Usama Alshaibi, Director, “Nice Bombs”

Victoria Chalk, Editor, “Call Her Ganda”, A-Doc leadership team

Violeta Ayala, Director, “Prison X” and Sundance Festival Alum + Grantee

Vivek Bald, Director, “In Search of Bengali Harlem”

Yasmine Hamina, Filmmaker

Yazmeen Kanji, Director, “From Syria to Hope”

Yoni Golijov, Producer, “Project X” and Sundance Festival Alum + Grantee

Yoruba Richen, Director, “How it Feels to be Free” and Sundance Grantee + Producers Fellow + Women Mentorship Program

To join as an additional signatory to this letter, please fill out this form.

To join as an additional signatory to this letter, please fill out this form.

Additional Resources:

Articles:

Studies:

Sign Up: Stay on top of the latest breaking film and TV news! Sign up for our Email Newsletters here.

This Article is related to: Film and tagged ,


Get The Latest IndieWire Alerts And Newsletters Delivered Directly To Your Inbox