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Bio

Filmmaker Jennifer Maytorena Taylor

New Muslim Cool Filmmaker Jennifer Maytorena TaylorJennifer Maytorena Taylor’s documentaries and short films have been shown in theaters, on television, and in film festivals and museums around the world. Venues have included PBS, the Sundance Channel, the Sundance, Locarno, Karlovy-Vary, Amsterdam Documentary and Human Rights Film Festivals, as well as the Whitney Museum and New York Museum of Modern Art.

Jennifer’s recent projects include Immigration Calculations for Northern California Public Broadcasting and Ramadan Primetime for Link TV. She also recently completed work as the co-producer/co-director of Special Circumstances, a forthcoming PBS documentary following a Chilean exile on his quest to find the people responsible for killing his friends after the 1973 coup.

Jennifer’s debut feature, the Spanish-language experimental documentary Paulina, had its us festival premiere at the Sundance Film Festival, won five major festival awards, was released theatrically in over 20 cities in the United States, and was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award. The film was broadcast throughout the United States and Caribbean on the Sundance Channel, and was recently broadcast in primetime throughout Mexico on that country's largest network, Televisa.

Her Emmy-winning documentary Home Front, a co-production with KQED-TV, examined gentrification in two diverse working-class communities in the San Francisco Bay Area after the dotcom boom. Jennifer was the originating series producer of KQED’s magazine show Independent View and associate producer of Living Room Festival. She also produced and directed an Emmy-winning segment about Muslim hip-hop and spoken word for the station’s arts series Spark.

She has produced short stories for the public television series California Connected and Keeping Kids Healthy, and co-produced Sophia Constantinou’s Cyprus history Divided Loyalties for Sundance Channel. Jennifer also worked as an associate and co-producer with Lourdes Portillo on Corpus and Señorita Extraviada (POV 2002), two award-winning documentaries for national PBS broadcast.

Fluent in Spanish and Portuguese, Jennifer has worked throughout the United States, in Latin America and Europe. She is a native Californian of Irish and Mexican heritage and was raised in Los Angeles and Vermont.


New Muslim Cool Crew

Co-producer Hana Siddiqi was raised with a combination of traditional Islamic and modern Western ideals. As an undergraduate she designed her own interdisciplinary major and wrote her thesis paper on Muslim Politics, Identity, and Hip Hop in America. She received a Masters degree in Near Eastern Studies from New York University and was a fellow at the CPB/PBS Producers’ Academy at WGBH.

Co-producer Kauthar Umar is a New York-based writer, magazine editor and photographer whose work has appeared in ym, ESSENCE and Tokion, and her photography has been exhibited in New York City. Her work focuses on pop culture, Islam, identity and race in the U.S. and abroad. She holds a Masters degree in International Journalism and Public Affairs from the American University. Kauthar was a production fellow in the National Black Programming Consortium (NBPC) New Media Institute. She is a second-generation African American Muslim.

Cinematographer Davíd Sarasti, originally from Colombia, is a documentary cinematographer for Canal Plus, BBC, PBS, and other leading networks. His credits include MTV’s Real World, The Learning Channel’s Trading Spaces and Surviving Motherhood, and Mirror Dance for PBS. He lives in Philadelphia.

Cinematographer Jon Shenk works as a documentary cinematographer for PBS, National Geographic, A&E, Bravo, CBS, NBC, and the BBC. His credits include The Rape of Europa (short listed for the Academy Award), Lost Boys of Sudan (POV 2004) and Democracy Afghan Style. He lives in San Francisco.

Cinematographer Mark Knobil’s credits include dozens of titles for national and international broadcasters and production companies. Credits include The Great Robot Race, The First Flower and Into the Abyss for Nova on PBS, and Strange Days and The Skin We’re In for National Geographic. He lives in Pittsburgh.

Editor Kenji Yamamoto is a Bay Area-based editor and producer whose credits include award-winning national PBS documentaries such as Archeology of Memory, Thirst (POV 2004), and Downside Up, and the feature film, Thousand Pieces of Gold.

Composer and principal sound recordist Chris Strollo is a new music composer and production sound mixer for film and television. Based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, he has developed new electro-acoustic instruments and improvisational techniques, and teaches workshops in recording production sound for film and video.





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New Muslim Cool came out of my long-standing interest in the power of pop music and culture to create social change, and a deep feeling that we urgently need to look for common ground as our world grows increasingly diverse and interconnected.”

— Jennifer Maytorena Taylor, Filmmaker

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