JASMINE RIVERA is a director, writer, producer, and actor from Detroit, Michigan. As a narrative filmmaker she has written, directed and produced media via her company Anawim Productions as well as four narrative films including Nain Rouge, which won thesis honors at Columbia University, numerous awards for Best Short Film and Best Director and screened at film festivals around the country, including the Uptown/Detroit Independent Film Festival, Great Lakes International Film Festival, the Frankfort Film Festival, the Detroit Windsor International Film Festival, the Lake Michigan Film Competition, and Cinetopia International Film Festival. Her latest narrative short is American Prophet, set in 1968 Detroit and based on the true story of peacemaker Bishop Thomas Gumbleton. Jasmine is the recipient of the Loreen Arbus Scholarship from the New York Women in Film and Television Organization, was a Junior Professional Media Fellow at the United Nations University and a Detroit Sundance Screenwriters Lab Fellow. A recipient of the prestigious 2014 Kresge Arts Fellowship Award, she earned her Masters in Fine Arts in Film Directing at Columbia University in the City of New York.
Growing up as a native Detroiter in a city that exemplifies the rise and fall of the American dream, I have been made firmly aware by my surroundings of the impact of individuals on history and the intersection of the personal and societal. My work as a filmmaker examines the convergence and divergence of these paths, centering on protagonists’ journeys through moments of conversion, personal turning points, character evolution and the consequences of their actions on both individuals and society at large.
My commitment to local storytelling explores the Detroit experience through research, the gathering of oral histories, and conversations with individuals and communities. An emphasis on social justice imbues the work, not only through direct engagement with specific issues, but via the inclusion of voices and experiences not normally seen in the mainstream media. Respectful listening to and the celebration of the voices of my community forms the foundation of my work as a filmmaker, for without strong stories a movie is but visual spectacle that fails to produce a conversation of ideas between the filmmakers and audience.
Effective filmmaking also relies on intensive collaboration, so it is my hope that as I continue to listen, research, and produce films with fellow artists in the community that my own artistic practice will grow in a way that helps contribute to a Detroit-specific form of cinema, with small, rigorously crafted narrative works that honor the city's people and stories.
Marcelina, a feature documentary on the story of Marcelina Bandico, an immigrant from the Philippines who settled as a nurse in Detroit and was recently awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor as one of the last remaining Filipino World War II veterans in the United States (this would be my first documentary feature)
Democracy Detroit, a grassroots short documentary project highlighting the various communities and neighborhoods in Detroit, their political representatives, voices of the constituents and their relations to other communities.