Our Instructors

Erin Semine Kökdil

Erin Semine Kökdil, Lead Instructor

Erin Semine Kökdil is a storyteller interested in building solidarity and inciting social change through film. Her work has screened at IDFA, Hot Docs, Camden International Film Festival, AFIDocs, San Francisco International Film Festival, Palm Springs International ShortFest, among others.

Cai Thomas YMA Instructor

Cai Thomas

Cai Thomas is a documentary filmmaker telling vérité stories at the intersection of location, self determination, and identity about Black youth and elders. She grew up in Miami’s Liberty City neighborhood and is deeply interested in stories rooted in place.

Chris Filippone YMA Instructor

Chris Filippone

Chris Filippone is a documentary filmmaker whose works explore physical labor, marginalized perspectives, and liminal spaces through aesthetically immersive approaches. His films have screened in the Berlinale, Visions du Réel, SXSW, Hot Docs, CPH:DOX, Sheffield Doc/Fest, and The New York Times Op-Docs.

Cuyler Ballenger YMA Instructor

Cuyler Ballenger

Cuyler Ballenger is a contemporary documentary filmmaker and video artist. His works explore connections among addiction, biography, labor and class as well as themes of metanarrative and filmmaking practice.

Elivia Shaw YMA Instructor


Elivia Shaw is an award-winning filmmaker and producer originally from Washington, DC. She is driven by filmmaking that uses intimacy and personal narrative to question our larger social systems and identities.

Ernesto Quintero YMA Instructor

Ernesto Quintero

Ernesto Quintero strongly believes in projects of social relevance and utilizes his skill in video and film to advocate positive change. Ernesto has been documenting A Sacred Journey, a story of his brother’s fight with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) since his diagnosis in 2005. In 2013, he decided to edit this heartfelt journey locking picture in May 2019 and won Best Film at DOCUTAH International Film Festival 2019.

Eugenia Renteria YMA Instructor

Eugenia Renteria

Eugenia Renteria is a Watsonville-based director, cinematographer and editor. Born and raised in a rural community in Zacatecas, Mexico she moved to California when she was 12 years old and that’s when her interest in filmmaking started.

Ivy MacDonald YMA Instructor

Ivy MacDonald

Ivy MacDonald is an enrolled member of the Blackfeet tribe of Browning Montana. She graduated from the University of Montana in 2017 with a BFA in Digital Filmmaking. Ivy believes in the importance of indigenous people telling their own stories, and work to give that power to the communities the collaborate with.

Myrna Perez YMA Instructor

Myrna Perez

Myrna Perez is a Colombian-American filmmaker and artist based between Los Angeles and Miami. Her work uses color and music to tell stories about immigration and cultural assimilation.

Nadia Samira Brito YMA Instructor

Nadia Samira Brito

Nadia Samira Brito is a feminist filmmaker, writer, poet, and content producer. She started her creative journey at age 15, when she participated as a writer and editor for Aguacatito Cartonera. She created and supported Agarte, a student collective that produced radio and visual shows with the intention of creating awareness around social issues, including the importance of community involvement in social development, women’s rights, and animal rights.

Raquel Salazar-Foster YMA Instructor

Raquel Salazar-Foster

Raquel Salazar is an award-winning Chilean-American filmmaker, journalist and cinematographer. Her work has been nominated for six NY Emmys®, numerous journalistic awards and broadcasted on U.S. and European television. Much of her work has covered race, immigration, youth issues and the criminal justice system.

Resita Cox YMA Instructor

Resita Cox

Resita Cox is a North Carolina-born, Chicago-based independent filmmaker and artist. Resita launched her career in journalism at WTVD-TV in Raleigh, NC and WCTI-TV in New Bern, NC as a multimedia journalist and news reporter. Resita transitioned from news media to documentary film in 2018, where she was named a Chicago Filmmakers Digital Media Production Grantee for her film, Regrowth, which is about food and environmental justice on the West Side of Chicago.