I am a Bay Area-based documentary director and cinematographer specializing in vérité-style shooting with a passion for under-reported stories and people doing inspiring work outside of the spotlight. I strive to create emotional, character-driven films.
I've worked for a variety of institutions over the last two decades including National Geographic, Al Jazeera English, TIME Magazine, VICE Media, New York Times, SF Chronicle, Pulitzer Center for Crisis Reporting and others.
In January of 2012, I cofounded Blackbeard Films with reporter and producer, Jason Motlagh, where we specialized in immersive in-depth investigative stories from around the world, ranging from illegal poaching of endangered rosewood trees by Cambodian militias in the Thai jungle ("Bloodwood" for National Geographic) to a successful, and very unorthodox, mentorship program for violent gang-affiliated youth in Richmond, CA ("Targeting the Shooters" for Al Jazeera America).
In 2015, I founded a production company, Onyx & Ash, which focuses on telling the stories of primarily nonprofit organizations and other mission-driven organizations and individuals making a positive change in the world. We have worked with national and international organizations including The Innocence Project, Refugee Women's Alliance, Fortify Rights, KIVA, Transgender Law Center, Outward Bound, Disability Rights Advocates, Project Open Hand, GO2 Foundation for Lung Cancer and many others.
Ultimately, I believe that building kind, trusting, and honest relationships is essential to a successful project. If we want an audience to connect to a film after it is made, we need to foster a spirit of understanding and compassion as we are making it.
It's been an honor to have my work widely recognized and viewed. "Outcast: Adrift with the Rohingya" a film I shot, edited and co-directed for Al Jazeera's People & Power, aired internationally, was rebroadcast multiple times over the following years, and then was reprised for a follow-up edition in 2016. The short documentary "Toxic Tanneries" on the environmental and human toll of the leather industry in Bangladesh, filmed for AJ+, won the South Asian Journalism Assoc. (SAJA) award for Outstanding Feature and Best Cinematography. And three more recent documentary films I shot and directed, "Conexiones: A Cuban Mexican Connection", "Conexiones: NOLA" and "Threads of Life" have all been broadcast nationally on PBS and have won a number of film festival awards, including Best Documentary Feature at Cine Miami Festival. Over the years, I have also had the opportunity to document the work of nonprofit groups around the world, such as CARE Int’l and Save the Children, and this ongoing work was highlighted in a feature in Popular Photography Magazine.
- National Geographic
- Al Jazeera
- Vice Media
- Pulitzer Center for Crisis Reporting
- The Innocence Project
- New York Times
- San Francisco Chronicle
- Fortify Rights
- Transgender Law Center
- CARE Int'l
- Save the Children
- Outward Bound