PGA Unveils Documentary Teams for Immersive Lab Dedicated to Underrepresented Producers (EXCLUSIVE)

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The Producers Guild of America has invited 11 documentary producing teams to take part in the inaugural cohort of the PGA Create lab for emerging and mid-career documentary producers from diverse backgrounds. The program, which will take place from April 25-28, is designed for producers in active development, financing and packaging of nonfiction features or series, and the producing teams are making films about topics including climate change activists, women’s roles in the Catholic Church and queer activist Sarah Hegazi.

The first cycle of PGA Create, which took place in October, spotlighted scripted feature films or series. The nonfiction cycle includes nine feature docu projects and two docuseries. In all, 20 producers will be part of the four-day session.

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Sponsored by Google, PGA Create works to support producers from underrepresented backgrounds. Participants will have opportunities to hone their project pitches, attend master classes with experienced producers and build their network of fellow producers

“We are thrilled to welcome our inaugural class of PGA Create documentary fellows alongside Google,” said Producers Guild Presidents Gail Berman and Lucy Fisher in a joint statement. “Documentary filmmaking and television has grown tremendously in the past decade, and audience consumption of nonfiction content has never been stronger.”

PGA Create is designed to provide touch points over the span of one year, including an invitation for participants of its Scripted and Documentary cycles to re-convene during the PGA Create Forum, a new day-long event held during the Guild’s signature Produced by Conference June 11-12 on the Fox Studio Lot.

“At Google we are committed to supporting diverse and underrepresented voices, which is why we’re so proud to sponsor the Producers Guild of America’s PGA Create program for documentary producers this spring,” said Elle Roth-Brunet, Google’s Entertainment and Marketing Partnerships lead. “After the success of the scripted cycle last fall, we’re thrilled to bolster a platform for a new cohort of creatives that will help guide and support them in their important work.”

Producers and producing teams invited to participate in the PGA Create documentary cycle include:

Documentary Features

“The Inquisitor”
Jameka Autry, producer, and Angela Tucker, director/producer
Through the exploration of the legacy of Barbara Jordan, the first black woman elected to Congress from the South, the Inquisitor asks, “What does it mean to be Black and patriotic in a divided America?”

“Remaining Native”
Paige Bethmann, producer-director, and Jessica Epstein, producer
This project explores the legacy and impacts of Indian boarding schools by following a young Native American cross-country runner who runs the 50-mile escape route his great-grandfather took as he fled from the Stewart Indian School.

“New Wave”
Tracy Chitupatham, producer, and Anh Phan, producer
Seeking healing and community, teenage refugees in 1980s California unknowingly pioneer an underground “Vietnamese New Wave” music scene so popular that it catalyzes the establishment of an influential diaspora entertainment industry.

“Querida”
Christine Delp, producer
Fed up with a thousand years of exclusively male leadership, a global coalition of women in Latin America and the United States work together to change women’s roles in the Catholic church.

“Messengers”
Nadia Gill, producer, and Nevo Shinaar, producer
Four conservative climate change activists try to persuade their conservative tribe to call for immediate climate action.

“Untitled ‘Mistress Formika’ Documentary”
Kristina Goolsby, producer, and Maeve Kerigan, producer
“Mistress Formika” AKA Michael Formika Jones pioneered ‘90s NYC nightlife as a radical form of rebellious queer performance art until repressed childhood wounds resurface and gentrification displaced him and drove him into addiction. Now sober, he undertakes his next metamorphosis in Albuquerque.

“Providencia”
Juliana Schatz, director-producer, and Tanja Tawadjoh, producer
A Colombian woman witnesses members of her family lose their memory and wonders if she will be next. Unknowingly, she may hold the cure as medical researchers race against time — and history — to access the answer within her.

“Dear Friend: The Sarah Hegazi Documentary”
Nicole Teeny, producer, and Mariel Sarkis, producer
Determined to change Egypt, queer activist Sarah Hegazi became one of the first-ever in Egypt to raise the rainbow flag publicly. It cost her imprisonment, torture, and ultimately her life. However, she didn’t only change Egypt, she changed the world.

“Untitled Labor Union Documentary”
Mars Verrone, producer, and Samantha Curley, producer
This promises to be an intimate portrait of workers taking on one of the world’s largest and most powerful companies in the fight to unionize.

Documentary Series

“Scam Dunk”
John Lopez, producer
A documentary series that aims to expose the illicit trade of young international basketball players to America. Trapped in a con by nefarious agents, they are cheated out of all their money and left to compete in horrid living conditions.

“Black Minds Matter”
Garland McLaurin, producer, and Mike Brown, Producer
The human mind can break down in the face of police brutality, voter suppression, barriers to quality healthcare, the prison industrial complex, education inequalities, and media bias. How do we carve out space for healing and restoration? Psychologist Dr. Thema Bryant, also a producer on the series, will guide this journey of the mental health landscape for Black people in America.

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