Cause: Social Justice
Project Type: Documentary
Runtime: 6 min
After seeing some of the work I had done for Equality Utah, MSNBC Producer Jon Groat contacted me about creating a short documentary for the MSNBC Originals series. It was the first time I’d done work directly for a large media company and I didn’t anticipate how much control I would be given on the project.
The direction I had was minimal: Shoot a story on being black in the modern-day Utah-based Mormon church. I accepted the challenge and began researching and reaching out to contacts. It wasn’t long before I found these two beautiful feisty women who call themselves the “Sista’s in Zion.”
I reported back to NYC on the story I had found and I was given the thumbs up to run with it. It was so fun to follow these two around and interview them about their experience. It was also a wonderful challenge and exciting introduction into video-journalism.
I wanted to be fair in the presentation of sensitive topics and really put effort into balancing the piece. I took it as a good sign that people on both sides of the conversation felt less than validated in their opposing camps. Black and white, clear-cut presentations lack the real complexity that lies beneath the surface of all polarity.
The short film was chosen to be featured on the MSNBC homepage the day it was released, which Jon told me attests to the quality of the piece. At year-end, it was named one of the best MSNBC Originals of the year.