Violence Against Women Documentary | Behind the NO! Camera
Meet the key production and post-production personnel, scholar-activist advisors, attorney and non-profit fiscal sponsor of this groundbreaking documentary.
Tamara L. Xavier, Co-producer, Director of Choreography
Tamara is an avant-garde dance artist who applies deep listening and positive consciousness to the fore. Currently based in Philadelphia, PA, where she is completing a Ph.D. degree in Dance at Temple University. Tamara choreographs innovative dance dramas that raise awareness of current human rights issues and harkens back to Afro-Caribbean mythopoetic imagery. She was initiated into the world of experimental dance films via her collaboration with award-winning filmmaker Tina Morton in Morton’s If You Call Them. As Director of Choreography for the documentary film NO! and Choreographer/Performer in the documentary film Enemy on the Inside: Who Holds You Accountable?, Tamara has had the opportunity to create narrative movement vignettes for Aishah Shahidah Simmons and Grace Poore, respectively, two award-winning women of color film directors and activists committed to breaking the silence around sexual violence endured by women and children. She has performed with maverick artists such as The Hydrogen Jukebox, Leah Stein, Ju-Yeon Ryu, Victoria Rothstein, Monica McIntyre and is showcased in Academy Award-winning filmmaker Wendy Weinberg’s documentary The Art of Activism. Her dream choreographic assignment would be to make a dance work with the phenomenal dancers of Urban Bush Women set to lyrics written by Mary J. Blige.
Gail Lloyd, Co-producer, Contributing Editor
A graduate of Temple University’s Film and Media Arts program, Gail Lloyd is a Philadelphia-based, independent producer, director, and cinematographer who has 15-years experience of working with video and film. As a freelance film and video artist, she has worked with numerous award-winning film and video artists, media arts centers, and production companies across the United States, and in Australia, and Iceland in the fields of cinematography, editing, sound recording, lighting, and art direction. As an independent film and video artist, she has produced, written, directed, and/or photographed her own independent documentaries and experimental videos, which have been broadcast nationally, screened at film festivals, colleges/universities, high schools, and media arts centers, nationally and internationally. Her work has focused on a myriad of social change issues including but not limited to the impact of intimate partner violence on the lives of African-American children; best practices in public education through the work of an exemplar charter school; safer sex between women; and links between the system of colonization and Victorian era “science.” In addition to her own independently produced work, Ms. Lloyd has several feature film screen credits including Co-Producer and Contributing Editor for NO! the internationally acclaimed documentary by Aishah Shahidah Simmons; Assistant Director for the acclaimed documentary Homecoming by Charlene Gilbert; Casting for the award-winning narrative feature The Watermelon Woman by Cheryl Dunye; and Assistant Hair Design for Camp Stories, which was released by Miramax. She assisted in archival photo research and rights acquisition for the award-winning documentary W.E.B. DuBois: A Narrative in Four Voices by Louis Massiah. Ms. Lloyd has taught film and video at Arcadia University and is currently a non-linear editor instructor at Scribe Video Center.
Joan Brannon, Co-writer, Director of Photography, Associate Producer
Joan is an Independent Film/Videomaker, Media Artist, Writer, Teacher and Community Activist based in Lexington, KY. She combines her talents in an effort to balance mainstream media distortion of African-American lifestyles. Joan Brannon is particularly committed to offering well-produced documentation of the extraordinary existence of Black women. This focus has led to the production of several works, including a 30-minute documentary, RICE, The Book…The Bags, which features acclaimed poet Nikky Finney, Raised By Women, Natural Woman, My Baby…My Body…My Temple, Lil’ Kings, Growing Up Black and Proud, Rap Is Art Is Life,Twenty Years of the “F” Word: The Kentucky Women Writer’s Conference, ArtSpeaks and Brick City, to name a few. Ms. Brannon either produced, directed, photographed and/or edited each of these features .She is also the Co-Producer and Director of Living The Story: The Civil Rights Movement in Kentucky, a 60-minute documentary featuring activists whose work shaped the state from the civil war through the 1970’s. Works in progress include, Sacred Clay, a 60-minute biography of the life and work of nationally-renowned sculptor, Ed Hamilton, and Hear The Voices, a 60-minute documentary that features African-American Elder-Women in Kentucky. To promote grassroots exploration of independent media production, Ms. Brannon shares over 15 years of commercial and creative production skills by teaching videomaking courses to youth and adults at community centers and in schools. Ms. Brannon is a recipient of the Kentucky Arts Council’s Al Smith fellowship. She has received grants from the Kentucky Foundation for Women, The Kentucky Arts Council, Kentucky Educational Television, Kentucky Humanities Council and The Lincoln Foundation. Joan’s work has been screened throughout the United States, in Canada, parts of Africa, France and England.
Sharon M. Mullally, Editor
Sharon is a Philadelphia-based, award-winning, feminist, independent producer and editor who has worked in film and video for over 20 years. The themes of her projects have addressed a wide range of social issues including: women diagnosed with HIV, women moving from welfare to work, women who resisted the Holocaust, religious responses to anti-abortion violence, the legacy of the Vietnam War, and environmental education. These projects have been featured in film festivals and they have aired on cable television and public television both locally and nationally. Sharon has edited numerous critically acclaimed documentary films including Rosita, Legal But Out of Reach and I Witness (Attie & Goldwater Productions), Queen of the Mountain and Daring to Resist (Martha Lubell Productions), Stirring It Up and Our Food, Our Future (Shirley Road Productions), Plenty of Good Women Dancers (Philadelphia Folklore Project), YEARBOOK – The Class of ‘65 (FOX-Philadelphia), Biography: Mike Tyson (A&E at ZTV, NY), and The Dinosaurs! (PBS by WHYY-TV12). In addition to her work as an editor, she has produced and directed Rufus Jones – A Luminous Life, Walk With Me Sisters, New Voices, Earth YES, and Building a Peaceful Community for Shared Vision Productions, and Knee Deep with Ann Tegnell for Extended Play Inc. Sharon is the recipient of the Silver Apple Award from the National Educational Media Network and the Mid-Atlantic Regional Emmy.
Wadia L. Gardiner, Associate Producer, Production Manager
Wadia is a Philadelphia-based, African-American feminist who has worked extensively as a stage manager and/or managing director for Onyx Theater Company and Starfish Theatre Works in New York City; and Bistro Romano’s Mystery Dinner Theater and the ACME Mystery Dinner Theater in Philadelphia, PA. In addition to her work with NO!, she is presently producing Dinner Theatre Productions in Philadelphia, through Production Management Services, her own production company. In previous years, Wadia was the stage manager for Virginia Giordano’s production of the internationally acclaimed a capella recording group Sweet Honey In The Rock at the Academy of Music in Philadelphia, PA. In 1998, Ms. Gardiner was the production manager of the short film A Little Fierce by Nikki Harmon.
Salamishah Tillet, Associate Producer, Director of Archival Research
Salamishah is the co-founder of A Long Walk Home Inc. and the writer and the program director of A Story of a Rape Survivor (SOARS). Her poem Do You Know What Rape Feels Like? is performed alongside her testimony, in the award-winning Cambridge Documentary Film Rape Is., which examines how rape is a human rights outrage that directly threatens millions of women, children and men throughout the world. She is also a featured interviewee who shares her story in NO! Dr. Tillet is an Assistant Professor in the English Department at the University of Pennsylvania. She received her Ph.D. in the History of American Civilization Program at Harvard University in March 2007. She is a graduate of Brown University where she received a Masters of Art of Teaching in English (M.A.T) in May of 1997. She is also a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania where she received a B.A. in English and Afro-American Studies in May of 1996.
Amadee L. Braxton, Associate Producer, Archival Researcher
Amadee is a Philadelphia-based, independent filmmaker, political activist, and fundraiser whose life-long commitment to social change informs her creative work. Braxton’s first experience in filmmaking was as lead researcher of the Emmy-nominated research team for Louis Massiah’s PBS documentary, W.E.B. Du Bois: A Biography in Four Voices (1996). She was an archival researcher on Cheryl Dunye’s groundbreaking feature film, Watermelon Woman (1997); and later directed, co-wrote, and edited the educational health video, Teens On Sex (1998). She is now in the production phase of her own project, Ladies Spin (w.t.), a documentary on women dee-jays. She also is a Segment Producer as well as an Associate Producer for the Haiti Film Project, an independent documentary production on the history of U.S.-Haiti relations due to air on PBS in 2005. In addition to her work as a filmmaker, Braxton is a committed political activist. She serves on the National Coordinating Committee of the Black Radical Congress (BRC) an organization working to promote education, dialogue, and action around critical issues concerning people of African descent particularly and the human rights of all people.
Giscard (JEE EYE ZEE) Xavier, Original Score
“I have known about the NO! project since its inception, through my sister Tamara L. Xavier, the film’s co-producer and director of choreography. I was interested in contributing musically to the project since the beginning, and was thrilled to have been included. I composed the entire score with the intention of the music being felt rather than simply heard. Hopefully, the music enhances the film and accents, rather than distracts the viewers from, the very important words spoken throughout.”
Giscard Xavier (sometimes under the moniker JEE EYE ZEE) is a gifted, prolific and diverse artist who has produced songs for various theatre, dance, and film works, as well as R&B and Hip Hop artists including City High and Kool G Rap, among others. A musician, producer, and engineer, Xavier plays musical instruments and utilizes digital samplers or keyboards to create a new sound he has coined “digital organic²”.
Monica Dillon, NO! Song Composer
Monica is a New Orleans native singer, pianist, songwriter, and producer. Her smooth sultry sounds have captivated those around the globe. Monica’s debut CD, All I Have is a Moment has gotten worldwide attention reaching those in the USA, Germany, London, Japan, Spain, Greece, France and Croatia. Featured on her debut CD, her song, No, which is a powerful call to action to bring an end to all forms of violence perpetrated against women, is highlighted in NO! The Rape Documentary, by Aishah Shahidah Simmons. She edited and composed the original score for Breaking Silences: A Supplemental Video To NO! The Rape Documentary, which was produced and directed by Aishah Shahidah Simmons. She recently composed the score for the forthcoming documentary Belly of the Basin by Roxana Walker Canton and Tina Morton. This documentary focuses on the psychological and emotional healing of Hurricane Katrina survivors; and the retention of New Orleans culture in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. She also recently composed the score for the recently released Black Womyn: Conversations With Lesbians of African Descent, produced, directed, photographed, and edited by Tiona McClodden of Black Womyn Productions. Featuring candid interviews with over 50 lesbians of African descent based across the United States and in Canada, this feature length documentary breaks new ground by digging well-beneath the surface to begin this long overdue, consistently ignored audio/visual space for Black lesbians to speak in their own voices.Monica is working on her second CD project, A Beautiful Life. Already an EP, A Beautiful Life features the acclaimed song When the Levee Broke, which received national attention on National Public Radio’s News & Notes in a segment titled A Song for New Orleans. When the Levee Broke was recently licensed for the documentary Hurricane Katrina: Rescue and Refuge, by John Menzer. Among her list of accomplishments she has had the pleasure and privilege of opening for vocalist Lalah Hathaway, and legendary Grammy Award winning New Orleans artist Irma Thomas. She has performed with popular artists such as Bruce “Sunpie” Barnes, The Batiste Brothers, Kwest of Memphis, TN, Mother Earth of Memphis, TN, Aqua Moon of Chicago, IL, the late blues legend Harry Hippolite, Mathilda Jones, Marc Stone, and Mother Tongue.
Mishann Lau, Sound Editor, Re-recording Mixer
Mishann is an award-winning sound editor who likes to take pictures and make movies in between sound jobs. Raised on action-slapstick double features, Mishann loves horror movies, kung-fu flicks and cheesy comedies. Her passions include twiddling knobs, talking shop and martial arts. Mishann is currently working on appropriating Hollywood genres and reconstructing them with a queer feminist perspective.
Kia Steave-Dickerson, Set Director
Kia is a Philadelphia native and has had an interest in design since she was a child. Working alongside her father at Philadelphia’s premiere theater, Kia learned the ins and outs of set design and went on to study textiles at the Philadelphia College of Textiles. Building on her successes with fabrics and window treatments, Kia has built her own business, K.I.A. Enterprises, Inc. With a design style that is consistent and simplistic, yet bold and creative, Kia has worked on numerous sets as a set designer and prop master for movies including Signs, Unbreakable, The Sixth Sense, Beloved, Men In Black, Animal Factory, Prison Song, and One Fine Day. Additionally she has worked on sets as a set designer and prop master for commercials for Betty Crocker and Chrysler and stage musicals such as CATS and Grease. A self-described chatter box and theme queen, Kia’s favorite past time is coming up with a theme and then accessorizing the rooms featured on the Discovery Channel’s popular show Trading Spaces.
Scheherazade Tillet, Production Stills Photographer
In 2003, with her sister Salamishah Tillet, Scheherazade co-founded the national non-profit organization, A Long Walk Home, Inc. A Long Walk Home has several social documentary and art therapy programs that document, educate, and reduce violence committed against underserved women and children. Each program incorporates the testimonies, poetry, music, photographs, and videos of and by survivors to bring about social change and individual healing from traumas such as rape, domestic, gang, and neighborhood violence. Scheherazade is also the photographer and artistic director of A Story of a Rape Survivor (SOARS). In May 2000, she received her B.A. from Tufts University. She has studied photography at the Boston Museum School of Fine Arts and the Rutgers University Mason Gross School of Arts. She recently earned a Masters in Art Therapy at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and is currently an art therapist and rape crisis counselor at the Chicago YWCA Rape Crisis Center. In 1998, under the tutelage of social documentary photographer, Steve Hart, she began A Long Walk Home: A Story of a Rape Survivor as a mini social documentary project in which she intimately examined her sister‚s recovery from sexual assault. Scheherazade has transformed her initial project into a full-scale photography exhibition and multimedia slideshow presentation. In addition to her work with NO!, Scheherazade is a freelance photographer and has worked on numerous social documentary projects including: Children in Ghana, Body Image: The Last Trimester, and Harlem World.
Traci McKindra, NO! Logo Design
Traci graduated from Drake University in 2002 with a B.A. in Graphic Design and a specialized minor in Arts Management (with advertising, marketing and management coursework). She is Senior Art Director in the Midwest offices of Integer Group in Des Moines, IA. Traci also freelances as a web designer for Lori Robinson (LoriRobinson.com). From 2004 through 2007, she designed and maintained the NO! website. As a member of St. Paul African Methodist Episcopal Church, she serves as the leader of the Praise and Worship team, a member of the St. Paul Unity Choir and attends the Women’s Ministry. Traci (with partner Alesha Hartin) has also done some freelance print design work for the St. Paul A.M.E. Church Transformation Center, a social service agency being sponsored by her church that provides transitional housing, counseling and other programs to the Des Moines community. Traci also works in the community as a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. and a spiritual advisor to the Drake Gospel Choir.
Elsa Barkley Brown, Ph.D., Advisor
Elsa is an African-American feminist. She is an Associate Professor of History and Women’s Studies at the University of Maryland. She is also an associate editor of the two-volume work, Black Women in America: An Historical Encyclopedia. Her writings have appeared in Signs, SAGE, History Workshop, and Feminist Studies. Dr. Brown was one of the primary organizers of the African American Women In Defense of Ourselves campaign, the successful grassroots organizing effort which resulted in 1603 African American women taking out an advertisement in the November 17, 1991 New York Times in opposition to Clarence Thomas and in support of Anita Hill. Her ground-breaking essay, Imaging Lynching is featured in African-American Women Speak Out on Anita Hill-Clarence Thomas edited by Geneva Smitherman. Her current research focuses on African-Americans in post emancipation Richmond, Virginia.
Kimberly D. Coleman, Ph.D., Advisor
Kimberly is an African-American, womanist, developmental psychologist. Dr. Coleman is a researcher and evaluator with expertise in social science and behavioral research design, implementation, evaluation and instrumentation with particular emphasis on HIV/AIDS, communities of color, cultural competency, substance abuse, violence against women and mental health issues. Dr. Coleman is dedicated to utilizing her skills and knowledge to research the social and health developmental trends in communities of color, with an emphasis on women of color. She has provided technical assistance to a variety of agencies, helping them enhance their anti-physical and sexual violence against women programs and policies.
Charlotte Pierce Baker, Ph.D., Advisor
Charlotte is an African-American rape survivor, she is the author of SURVIVING THE SILENCE: Black Women’s Stories of Rape (W. W. Norton, 1998). Named one of the “best books of 1998” by The Los Angeles Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, and The New Haven Register, this groundbreaking book breaks the silence surrounding rape in the Black community. Dr. Pierce-Baker opens the book by sharing her own story of rape and recovery and then shares the stories of ten other African-American women and girl rape survivors. Her emphasis is on creating “community.” Usually not incorporated into discussions of rape, Dr. Pierce-Baker includes the narratives of five African-American men, including her husband, who have nurtured and supported African-American women surviving rape. She has taught literature and linguistics at the Germantown Friends School, the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Delaware, and the University of Illinois at Chicago. She is Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies at Vanderbilt University as well as Professor of English. She is a participating member of Chicago’s Voices and Faces Project on rape and sexual assault. Previously, as Research Full Professor in Women’s Studies and English at Duke University, where she created the course “Women, Literature, and Trauma,” she was an active member of the school’s Women’s Center. She is currently working on a new project on family and mental illness. Dr. Pierce-Baker resides with her husband in Nashville, Tennessee.
Aaronette M. White, Ph.D., Advisor
Aaronette is an African-American, feminist, social psychologist and activist who has conducted research on racist and sexist rape myths and how anti-rape education campaigns can best address such myths in African American communities. Presently, she is an Assistant Professor of Women’s Studies and African American Studies at Pennsylvania State University conducting research on African American men involved in feminist activism. She has been a Harvard University Postdoctoral Fellow at the Women and Public Policy Program, the Du Bois Institute, and the Bunting Program. She has also been a Rockefeller Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow at the Womanist Studies Consortium, University of Georgia. Dr. White’s writings have been published in Journal of Black Psychology, The Psychology of Women Quarterly, Gender and Society, and Women’s Studies International Journal.
Janelle L. White, Ph.D., Advisor
Janelle is the Executive Director of San Francisco Women Against Rape. She has been active in the movement to end violence against women for over ten years working with the University of Michigan Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness Center, the YWCA Rape Crisis Program of Greater New Orleans, INCITE! Women of Color Against Violence, the Hate Crimes Project of the Lesbian and Gay Community Center of New Orleans, and as an Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of New Orleans (UNO) and Director of the UNO Women’s Center. She received her Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Michigan. Her doctoral work examines U.S. based Black women’s mobilization to confront sexual and domestic violence. Ms. White has published several articles, including Anti-Oppression Theory, Survivors of African Descent, and Because Rape is a Weapon of Oppression, Anti-Rape Must Mean Anti-Oppression, which is featured in the anthology Just Sex: Students Rewrite the Rules on Sex, Violence Activism and Equality, Jodi Gold & Susan Villari, Eds. Rowman & Littlefield, © 2000. She is excited to once again be connected to community-based organizing efforts to challenge violence against women.
Michael Simmons, Creative Advisor
Michael has been an international human rights and peace activist over 40 years. Beginning as an organizer for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee during the sixties, Michael’s work has taken him to Africa, Asia, Europe and Middle East. The issues he has worked on include organizing conferences and seminars in Europe and Africa on the impact of East-West Tension on the Third World; seminars on peace and reconciliation in Bosnia, Macedonia and Kosovo during and after the Balkan War; a regional conference on sex trafficking in the Balkans; and work with Roma in Central Europe on Roma human rights issues. He has lectured on and written about US foreign and military policy, nuclear weapons, human rights, conflict resolution and all forms of violence against women, with an emphasis on trafficking of women and girls in the US, Africa and Europe. Living in Budapest, Hungary, Michael is the Co-Director, with Linda Carranza, of the Raday Salon.
Tina Morton, Post-Production Consultant
Tina Morton is an award-winning and prolific film and videomaker whose body of work aurally and visually creates a space where the perspectives, cultural work, and/or activist journeys of marginalized and disfranchised people are both seen and heard in their own image and voice. Her previously completed films and videos, most of which she produced, directed, photographed and edited include: A Promise Fulfilled, A Day’s Work, We The People, OpnFlo: Investigation, If You Call Them, The Plan, and Severed Souls. Her work has been broadcast on public television, featured in film festivals, exhibited in galleries and museums, and taught in colleges and universities in numerous cities across the United States. In addition to her independently produced work, Tina has worked as a both a consultant to and a freelance filmmaker for a host of cultural arts organizations and independent filmmakers. In one of her roles as the NO! post-production consultant, she was the director of photography and editor of “For Women of Rage and Reason,” the closing dance sequence of NO!, which was choreographed and performed by Tamara L. Xavier aka Moon Wisdom. Her numerous awards include: Temple University’s Future Faculty Fellowship and MFA Thesis Completion Grant; Pittsburgh Filmmakers Emerging Artist Grant; WYBE-TV35 (PBS Affiliate) Philadelphia Stories Finishing Funds; and a Leeway Foundation Art & Change Grant. Tina divides her time between Philadelphia, PA and Washington, DC where she is an assistant professor in the Department of Radio, Television and Film at Howard University. In addition to her teaching experience at Howard University, she has taught several film/video production courses at Temple University and has served as a project facilitator for several Scribe Video Center community based projects. She received her MFA in Film and Media Arts and her BA in Rhetoric and Communication from Temple University where she was a member of the Golden Key Honor Society. Tina also received a certificate in Desktop Publishing and Computer Graphics from Moore College of Art and Design.
Tonya Marie Evans, Esq.
Tonya M. Evans-Walls practices in the areas of public finance, intellectual property, literary law, and estate planning. The firm is listed in the Red Book. She is also Visiting Professor of Law at the Harrisburg Campus of Widener University School of Law and former Adjunct Professor at York College of Pennsylvania, where she taught Music Licensing, Publishing, and Copyright. During law school, Ms. Evans-Walls interned with the Honorable Arthur L. Burnett, Sr. in the Superior Court for the District of Columbia, with U.S. Congressman Chaka Fattah and with the Honorable Theodore A. McKee in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. Ms. Evans-Walls is a poet and the author of Literary Law Guide for Authors: Copyright, Trademark, and Contracts in Plain Language, Seasons of Her and SHINE! Her short story, Not Tonight appears in an anthology titled Proverbs for the People, published by Kensington. Prior to law school, Mrs. Evans-Walls competed on the women’s professional tennis circuit and played most notably in the US Open, Virginia Slims of Philadelphia, and Lipton in 1993. She now lives in Philadelphia with her husband, Orville R. Walls, III, and is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.
Women Make Movies, 501[c] Non-Profit Fiscal Sponsor of NO!
Women Make Movies is a multicultural, multiracial, non-profit media arts organization which facilitates the production, promotion, distribution and exhibition of independent films and videotapes by and about women. Women Make Movies was established in 1972 to address the under representation and misrepresentation of women in the media industry. The organization provides services to both users and makers of film and video programs, with a special emphasis on supporting work by women of color. Women Make Movies facilitates the development of feminist media through an internationally recognized Distribution Service and a Production Assistance Program. The Women Make Movies’ Distribution Service is their primary program. As the leading distributor of women’s films and videotapes in North America, Women Make Movies works with organizations and institutions that utilize non-commercial, educational media in their programs.
Celebrating its 38th year, California Newsreel is the oldest non-profit film and video production and distribution center in the United States. Over the past three decades they have distributed some of the most distinguished titles on pressing national and international issues. Currently they are the nation’s leading resource center for films and videos on race, diversity, African American life and history and African feature films and documentaries.