The 2023 Diverse Voices in Docs Fellows and projects in their own words:
Eli Hiller is a Filipino-American documentary filmmaker and photographer that has covered refugee crises, housing disparities, social movements, and environmental justice in North America, Central America, and Southeast Asia.
After graduating from Ohio University in 2016, Hiller moved to the Philippines for three years to grapple more deeply with his Filipino roots. While living in Manila, Hiller was a founding member of the production company, BARRIO 99, alongside other Filipino filmmakers. Hiller fulfilled a variety of roles within BARRIO 99, ranging from directing documentaries, working as a producer on sets, editing footage, and more.
Upon returning to the United States in May 2020, Hiller dove headfirst into the complex political interplay between local George Floyd uprisings and the crumbling of Republican trust in ballot voting during the 2020 Presidential Election. Through working for Getty Images, Hiller was able to cover a variety of Midwestern communities including Cleveland, Columbus, Louisville and Detroit.
He currently resides in Columbus, Ohio, working on regional video production and editorial news assignments.
Becoming Us: A filmmaker chronicles the journey of his donor-conceived siblings as they navigate their way towards acceptance and a sense of belonging. Separated from their genetic family and cultural roots due to anonymous donor conception, they come together for a family reunion in Ohio, redefining their notions of family and reconnecting with their biological father. In a bid to forge a connection with their ancestral homelands and reconcile with their Filipino-American identities, they embark on a journey to the Philippines – a place they have never been to before.
Lishune Mahone is an emerging filmmaker who holds a BA from Marquette University and a Master of Communications: Digital Media and Storytelling degree from Loyola University Chicago. As a Loyola student, she was awarded a Knight Foundation Scholarship by Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE). Lishune was previously an Assignment Editor for two local Chicago news networks. She is a past Chicago/Midwest Emmy nominee in the News Single Feature category. Lishune worked in TV film development for HBO and in production for the Oscars and Golden Globes telecasts.
Altgeld: A View from the Gardens – A Chicago Environmental Justice activist fights to gain environmental equity for her community and preserve her mother’s activist legacy amid the uncertainty of a changing political landscape.
Abdi Mohamed is a screenwriter, director, producer, and journalist from St. Paul, MN. He’s written for several local publications including the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder, Sahan Journal, MPR, and MinnPost. Mohamed was a producer with TPT’s Racism Unveiled and has worked on many documentary projects such as “Accept the Call” and “Trusted Messenger.” In 2022, Mohamed worked with Apple TV+, NBCUniversal, and Vox Media in their production of “Little America” Season 2 as a cultural consultant for their show. He received a regional Student Emmy nomination for his TV pilot project “Temp” while studying at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities where he earned a BA in Communication and Digital Media studies. Mohamed was a part of Film North’s inaugural Socially Conscious and Inclusive Film Lab and is a former New Angle Fellow with SPNN and the Jerome Foundation.
Out of The Shadows: As members of the East African community in the Twin Cities battle engage in an uphill battle with opioid addiction, individuals in the treatment, recovery, and religious spaces have taken on the issue to provide support to their community members and advocate for more resources to fund culturally affirming care.
My love for storytelling began at Wheaton High School where I produced a mini-documentary entitled, “Who is Frank Wheaton?” I’ve always been curious about the origin story. I obtained a bachelor’s in mass communication concentrated in video production. Afterwards, I worked for 8 years as an editor/animator. While I loved editing, I always felt more could have been developed on set. In 2017, I completed my master’s in Producing for Film, Television and Video, at American University.
In 2019, I moved to Chicago, and produced national and international video projects for an ad agency. Outside of work, I worked with non-profits from the south side telling their stories. My film, “Boxville: Creating a Just World” was accepted into the AIA International Film competition and won third place. In 2022, I launched my business, TaylorLane Creative. We visualize human stories and curate digital experiences that encourage audiences to act.
The Black Metropolis: This is a story of a people who ran from oppression in search for opportunity. In 1920, Blacks couldn’t shop or live in downtown Chicago so Black entrepreneurs built their own city within a city. Integration lifted redlining restrictions but left this land barren. This is the story of The Black Metropolis.