Meet SEJ member Leah Mahan! Leah is an independent documentary filmmaker whose work has been nominated by the Directors Guild of America for Outstanding Directorial Achievement. She is also a nonfiction producer, writer, storytelling consultant and teacher.
Leah served as Senior Producer on the limited-run podcast "But Next Time" (2021), which spotlights powerful stories of community-led disaster prevention and recovery and is one of the groundbreaking works created by the Rise-Home Stories Project. She is co-producer of two forthcoming documentaries: "Skin of Glass," about the tumultuous recent history of Brazil, as told through the story of a São Paulo skyscraper that was occupied by squatters before it caught fire and collapsed, and "The Color of Cola," about the all-Black sales team that broke the color barrier in 1940s corporate America.
Leah's film "Come Hell or High Water: The Battle for Turkey Creek" (2013) follows the painful but inspiring journey of Derrick Evans, a Boston teacher who returns home to Mississippi when the graves of his ancestors are bulldozed to make way for the sprawling city of Gulfport. Over the course of a decade, Evans and his family and neighbors stand up to powerful corporate interests and politicians and face Hurricane Katrina and the BP oil disaster in their struggle for self-determination and environmental justice. Her independent films have aired on PBS and have been supported by the Sundance Institute Documentary Fund, Independent Television Service, Ford Foundation and W.K. Kellogg Foundation.
Leah has been a Fellow at Sundance Documentary Editing and Story Lab and Sundance Stories of Change, a Research Fellow with the Center for Environmental Filmmaking at American University and a lecturer in the Social Documentation M.F.A. program at the University of California, Santa Cruz.
When asked how SEJ membership makes her job easier, Leah said, "It is heartening and always eye-opening to be part of a network of journalists and storytellers focused on the urgent environmental challenges we face. I find colleagues who share my interests and I benefit so much from their skills and experience." Join Leah at SEJ today!
More about Leah's work:
- "How a Convening in Utah Can Spark Ecological Change 8,000 Miles Away," Sundance blog, November 9, 2015.
- "'Come Hell or High Water' Report From Indonesia," May 28, 2015.
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