Hip Hop Films
Hip Hop Films is an Innovative, Award-Winning, BC-based Canadian Production collective of creative Black, Indigenous, POC, Female, and diversely abled filmmakers! We crowd source visionary cinematic content with passionate dedication and a sense of purpose to our communities. We seek to inspire and elevate realism in a disruptive mashed-up hybrid model of social Influence! We love movement, entertainment, education, music, art, story, culture, and cinema! We are instinctive, intuitive, accessible, inclusive, diverse, and equitable! Our projects achieve full gender parity in our cast and crew, both above and below the line, with the full participation of underrepresented, underserved, marginalized, equity-seeking, people of colour, those of diverse abilities, all genders, sexual orientations, ethnicities, religions, ages, and those from disabled, and LGBTQ2S+ communities. If you want to get down? Come dance with us...
Our Crew of Collaborators
Kevin John Fitzgerald
Director - Producer -
Kevin is a Netflix Diversity of Voices fellow, HBO Maverick, and Award-Winning and critically Acclaimed Hatian-Canadian Artist of Arawak-Kanak heritage & African: Tuareg-Bantu,
and Irish-French Polynesian ancestry born in Lënapehóking the unceded homeland of the Lenape people, known colonially as the Southern Canadian border of Ontario and Nothern New York State. He is known for his renowned cult classic theatrically and Criterion released feature documentary film "Freestyle The Art of Rhyme". It was distributed by Palm Pictures, Universal, Netflix, Sony-EMI, and Agnes B, He is a Club (The Breaks, Root Down, Funky Soul) and Radio DJ (KPFK 90.7FM), And a Musican having played with Ozomatli, Black Eyed Peas, Breakestra, Young MC, Ben Harper, and Macy Gray. He is a Warner Media Access Fellow, a Black & Indigenous Screen Office - Creator and Solidarity Filmmaker, and a Rogers -Independent Black Screen - Recipient. He is the founder of The Hip Hop Film Festival. As well as a member of Forward Doc, an organization that advocates for filmmakers with disabilities. He is one of the principal founders of:
Emmy-nominated producer Stef Smith has an innate talent for uncovering elegant solutions to complex challenges, a visionary documentary filmmaker who thrives on making the intricate art of production seem effortless. At the helm of groundbreaking projects like "Dear Mama" (FX/HULU) and "ARNOLD" (Netflix), Stef not only brings creative visions to life but also fosters an environment where diverse voices shine. Guided by an unwavering commitment to collaboration, she weaves narratives that transcend boundaries, inviting audiences to see the world anew. As a relentless advocate for inclusivity, Stef envisions a future where every voice finds resonance, leaving an indelible mark on the world of storytelling and beyond. She is a longtime collaborator of Documentary Hip Hop filmmaker Doug Pray.
Director of Movement -
Maija García is a director, producer, and cultural curator, developing original work at the intersection of music, theater, dance, and film - and an advocate for equity in the arts. Executive Producer of Art of Dance documentary, García’s signature work in film and
tv includes Spike Lee’s Oscar award-winning Blackkklansman, Chi-Raq and She’s Gotta Have It on Netflix. Directing credits include Salsa, Mambo, Cha Cha Cha with Isaac Delgado and X Aflonso at Teatro Mella in Habana, Cuba. García made waves as a Choreographer of FELA! working alongside Bill T. Jones to choreograph the Tony award winning musical on Broadway and at the National Theater of London, becoming Creative Director of FELA! World Tour and FELA! The Concert in the US, Europe, and Africa. Maija developed the original choreography for West Side Story. John Leguizamo, Meshell N’degeocello at Harlem Stage, SF Jazz and Kennedy Center. Garcia founded Organic Magnetics to generate urban folklore .I Am NY: Juan Rodriguez at El Museo del Barrio - a musical about the first Afro-Latin/Indigenous New Yorker. Director of Education and Professional Training at the Guthrie Theater, Maija is dedicated to building professional opportunities for theater artists, BIPOC leaders, and change makers.
Anand is an Indo-Canadian documentary director/ producer, of over 75
hours of completed content and 35 awards (6 Geminis/ Canadian Screen Awards (Canada’s Emmy), including two Canada Awards for excellence in diverse content). He produced Wapos Bay, the Indigenous series that premiered at Sundance and won Best TV Movie at Kidscreen, int. doc Cosmic Current, winner of the Gemini Canada Award and Mad Cow Sacred Cow, one of CBC News world’s top-rated doc. Feature doc Who Killed Gandhi?, nominated for 2 CSA’s and included in the Best in Canada Showcase at MIPDOC. The theatrical feature Brotherhood
starring Jake Manley (The Order, Midway) winner of the 2020 CSA for Best Visual Effects (SPIN VFX). Anand has worked with Nomadic Pictures (Van Helsing), Don Carmody (Resident Evil),
Jobro Productions (The Witch), The Boyfriend with Director Ashim Ahluwalia (Miss Lovely – Cannes Official Selection), Truth About Monsters with Anita Doron (Oscar nominee for The Breadwinner
Wesley is a Seasoned African-American, documentary series producer Wesley Jones' credits include: A&E's Emmy-nominated, L.A. Is Burning: The Riots 25 Years Later, Biggie: The Life of Notorious B.I.G., The History Channel's The L.A. Riots 25 Years Later, and VH1's NWA: The World's Most Dangerous Group. Wesley also produced Uprising: Hip Hop and the L.A. Riots for VH1, which premiered at the SXSW film festival. Additionally, he created The Streets of Compton, A&E's, MTV's The Ride featuring Snoop Dogg, Macklemore, and Ryan Lewis, and VH1's landmark Emmy nominated, Behind the Music featuring episodes on Notorious B.I.G., Jennifer Lopez, T.I., and Bobby Brown. He also served as series Archive Producer on the Peabody Award-Winning PBS and Blackside series I'll Make Me A World: A Century of African American Arts.
Kookum brings both music, film and dance to the table having won multiple awards, as well as her expertise in the dance community. Being a
celebrity ambassador for the Native culture, she is also able to bring a unique and genuine voice that other artists and creatives cannot. She is behind multiple film/tv projects as an Editor and with her music.
Aloe Is a Grammy and Peabody Award-Winning & Emmy®, Nominated American singer, songwriter and rapper. He is best known for his singles "I Need a Dollar", "The Man", which topped the charts in the United Kingdom, and for writing and performing vocals on Avicii's "Wake Me Up", which topped the charts in 22 countries, including Australia and the United Kingdom. Aside from his solo career, Blacc is also a member of hip hop duo Emanon, alongside American record producer Exile.
Shadrach Kabango better known as Shad or Shad K, is a Canadian rapper and broadcaster. He has released six studio albums. Four of his albums have been shortlisted for the Polaris Music Prize, and he won a Juno Award for Rap Recording of the Year. CBC Music named Shad the second-greatest Canadian rapper of all time. Shad hosted Q on CBC Radio One from and hosts the International Emmy and Peabody Award-winning documentary series Hip-Hop Evolution on HBO Canada and Netflix. He won $17,500 from 91.5 The Beat’s Rhythm of the Future talent competition.He was entered in the radio contest by his sister.The prize money was used to finance his self-released debut album When This Is Over. The album was recognized for Shad’s honest lyrics and focus on social causes—like the Rwandan genocide and includes poetry written by his mother.
Raised in Stockholm, Sweden by his street-
dance legend father
Damon Frost and skateboard-rebel mother. He plays drums and believes rhythm is the secret to everything. He travels the world
directing award-winning films & commercials, &
loves making people
share their deepest
secrets with the camera.
Bill T. Jones
Bill T. Jones has been called "one of the most notable, recognized modern-dance choreographers and directors of our time. His renowned for provocative performances blend an eclectic mix of modern and traditional dance, creates works that challenge us to confront tough subjects and inspire us to greater heights. Artistic director of New York Live Arts and artistic director/co-founder of the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company, he received major honors ranging from a MacArthur “Genius” Award and Fellowship to Kennedy Center Honors. He was honored with the Doris Duke Award, recognized as Officier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French government, inducted into the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, and named “An Irreplaceable Dance Treasure” by the Dance Heritage Coalition. He is a two-time Tony Award recipient for Best Choreography along with Maija Garcia for FELA! and Spring Awakening and received an Obie Award for Spring Awakening's off-Broadway run. Jones met his long-time partner and companion Arnie Zane. Employing openly gay choreography. In 1982 they founded Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane and Company He’s worked with Toni Morrison and Max Roach, Keith Haring at the Brooklyn Academy of Music and New York’s City Center theater. Jones was commissioned to create “Fever Swamp” for the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. After Zane’s death in 1988 from AIDS, Jones received a Bessie Award, and Jones was recognized as an “innovative master” with the Dorothy B. Chandler Performing Arts Award.
Jessica Beshir is a Mexican-Ethiopian director, producer and cinematographer based in Brooklyn. She made her directorial debut with her short film, HAIRAT, which premiered at Sundance 2017/ Criterion/ Topic/ The Atlantic. She is a recipient of the Sundance documentary fellowship, Jerome Foundation, Doha Film Institute and NYSCA artist fellowships. Her short films including He Who Dances on Wood/PBS and Heroin/Topic, have screened at Festivals and museums around the world including the Rotterdam Film Festival, Hot Docs, IDFA, Tribeca Film Festival, Museum of the Moving Image NY and the Eye Film Museum Amsterdam among others. Faya Dayi is her feature film debut..
Yvonne Chartrand is a contemporary choreographer and dancer as well as a national award-winning master Métis jigger. Her ancestors come from the Métis community of St. Laurent, Manitoba. She began performing with a traditional Métis dance group called The Gabriel Dumont Dancers in Winnipeg in 1986. She lives on the lands of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm, Sḵwx̱wú7mesh, and səl̓ílwətaʔɬ/Selilwitulh Nations home (Vancouver BC). Her creativity crosses the boundaries of dance, music, poetry, and film. Her expressions engage with identity, justice she has worked with theatre and dance companies across Canada, as well as creating numerous dances for films the National Film Board and other independent films. Her personal and collaborative works have been presented across Turtle Island. Alongside her work as an artist, She is a long time consultant, facilitator and educator working within the practice of creativity. This work has been shared across Turtle Island, India and the UK
Henry Alex Rubin won initial acclaim with his first feature, a documentary film titled Who is Henry Jaglom? featuring Candice Bergen and Dennis Hopper and released by PBS and First Run Features. He was mentored by James Mangold and hired by Mangold to direct the second unit on several films including Cop Land and Girl, Interrupted. In 2000, Rubin returned to documentaries and produced Freestyle, with Kevin Fitzgerald which won Best Documentary at the Woodstock, LAIFF and Urbanworld Film Festivals. This was followed by him co-directing Murderball with Dana Adam Shapiro. Murderball won the Audience Award at the Sundance Film Festival and was nominated for a Best Documentary Academy Award in 2005. Rubin directed the 2012 feature film Disconnect, which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival and the Venice International Film Festival in 2012. Rubin's feature, Semper Fi, starring Jai Courtney, Nat Wolff, Leighton Meister, and Finn Wittrock was released in 2019. Since 2004, Rubin has been directing commercials for SMUGGLER. This includes award-winning campaigns for brands such as Adidas, Gatorade, Volvo, Samsung, AT&T and Coca-Cola. Rubin directed several landmark campaigns including "Whopper Freakout" for Burger King and "Pizza Turnaround" for Domino's and was named one of the top 5 most award-winning commercial directors in the world with over 60 Cannes Lions and 5 Clio Awards over his career. In 2020, Rubin won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Commercial for gun safety advocacy group Sandy Hook Promise. The spot, which debuted during the “Today” show, is described as “harrowing” by the New York Times.In 2022, Rubin was nominated by the Directors Guild of America for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Commercials for Sandy Hook Promise's "Teenage Dream".
As a writer, director, producer and entertainer, Judi Lewinson (aka JudiLew) enjoys an adventure filled career, packed with wide-ranging projects in Canada, United States, UK, Europe and the West Indies. The diverse nature of her work coupled with an unwavering commitment to excellence. A Canadian woman of Jamaican heritage, Judi Lewinson proudly embraces her ancestral country's motto "Out of Many, One People" and seeks to tell diverse and incredible stories that highlight a multi-cultural world while celebrating the universal strength of the human spirit.
As a teenager, JudiLew's foray into entertaining & content creation began as an author & recording artist. She sold her first book at age 7 and started touring professionally at 17. This led her to share the stage with some of the music industry's greats including Beyoncé, Kelly Rowland, Michelle Williams, Aaliyah, Shaggy, Naughty by Nature, Mary J. Blige and many more. Ms. Lewinson's time in the music industry as both artist and producer adds another valuable dimension of creativity and key relationships that continue to support her current endeavors. JudiLew's career seamlessly evolved to include film, television, gaming, publishing and streaming content. Over the years Judi career outputs have been as eclectic as her interests. Some of Judi Lewinson's most notable works include Emmy nominated & multiple Parent's Choice Awards winning television series, Hip Hop Harry, Official Sundance Selection & Peabody Award winning documentary, Bhutto, Hollywood Black Film Festival winner.
Lindsay MaCadam is an Executive Producer and has previously served as a producer at Vancouver-based Foundation Features. She has worked on several film and television projects, including Bell Media series Motive and the Netflix film Brain on Fire, alongside Charlize Theron’s banner Denver and Delilah Productions. She was eP on the Dark Corner TV series, Ferocious, Random Acts of Romance, The Entitled, and Hard Core Logo 2. Macadam’s experience working with Canadian and U.S. studios give Great Pacific Media a better understanding of “the creative, operational and financial aspects of scripted productions in her current role has VP of scripted and factual development.
Shane Belcourt is a two-time CSA-nominated Director, with award-winning narrative and documentary works in both film and TV. His debut feature film TKARONTO, had a theatrical release, was sold to SuperChannel and Air Canada, and was showcased in both the TIFF Indigenous Cinema Retrospective and the UCLA Film & Television Archive traveling exhibition, “Through Indian Eyes: Native American Cinema”. Shane also directed CHANIE WENJACK which Walrus Magazine noted as “the Heritage Minute Canada needs to see”. His most recent feature film, RED ROVER, premiered at the Whistler Film Festival, opened the Canadian Film Festival and was released in March 2020 to glowing reviews.
On the documentary side of things, Shane directed KAHA:WI, which features dancer and choreographer Santee Smith. It premiered at the imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival, aired on APTN and CBC Docs, and won a CSC Award for Best Cinematography in 2016, along with a CSA Best Director nomination. Shane co-directed (with Lisa Jackson) the CBC one-hour INDICTMENT: THE CRIMES OF SHELLY CHARTIER which won Best Doc at imagineNATIVE. In the Fall of 2020, AMPLIFY, aired on APTN, which Shane created and showran. He was a Consulting Producer (writing room story editor) on CBC”s new drama series, THE TRICKSTER.
Moncell Durden is a dance educator, choreographer, ethnographer, embodied historian, author and assistant professor of practice at University of Southern California Glorya Kaufman International School of Dance who specializes in pedagogical practices that prove cultural and historical context in what he calls the morphology of Afro-kinetic memory.
A highly sought after instructor, Durden teaches practical and theoretical classes in the U.S. and abroad and is an expert in locking, house, hip-hop, authentic jazz, and party dances from 1900 to the present. He is a member of Mop Top Crew, the pioneering NYC hip-hop dance group, and alumnus of Rennie Harris Puremovement, the Philadelphia-based hip-hop theater company. Before joining the USC Glorya Kaufman School of Dance faculty, Durden taught for seven years at Drexel University. He held appointments at the Yale School of Drama, Wesleyan University, and Bennington College. He has published articles in Jazz Dance: A History of the Roots and Branches and the Encyclopedia of African Cultural Heritage in North America, is currently writing an article for the Oxford Handbook of Hip-Hop Dance, and 21st Century Jazz Dance a follow up book to Jazz Dance. He’s groundbreaking documentary, Everything Remains Raw: Hip-Hop Dance in Context, was invited by the U.S. Embassy in Vladivostok, Russia as a work in progress to screen at their 2013 film festival. In 2010, Durden founded Intangible Roots, an organization dedicated to the education and preservation of Afro-Diasporic social dance formations.
BRIAN “B+” CROSS is one of the most prominent music photographers working today. He has photographed many album covers for artists such as Damian Marley, David Axelrod, DJ Shadow, Flying Lotus, Eazy-E, J Dilla, Jurassic 5, Rza, Company Flow, Madlib, Dilated Peoples, Mos Def, Thundercat, Kamasi Washington and Q-Tip. Cross was the director of photography for the Academy Award–nominated documentary Exit Through the Gift Shop, and he has made several feature-length music films (Keepintime, Brasilintime and Timeless) and many music videos.
B+ is co-founder of the renowned production house Mochilla with Eric Coleman. Cross was the photo editor of the music magazine Wax Poetics from 2004 to 2010, and Rappages from 1993 to 1998. Cross’s 1993 book It’s Not About a Salary: Rap Race and Resistance, was one of the first books to document the burgeoning West Coast hip hop scene.
Cross is an Associate Professor in the Department of Visual Arts at the University of California, San Diego, lives in Los Angeles and his new book, Ghostnotes: Music of the Unplayed came out on the University of Texas Press in early December of 2017
Doug Pray directed his first feature documentary, “Hype!” about the emergence and explosion of the early ‘90s Seattle music scene. That led to “Scratch,” which was a celebration of hip-hop DJs and turntablism. "Hype!" and "Scratch" both premiered at the Sundance Film Festival (1996 and 2001), and are consistently ranked among the best music docs of all time. From there, he delved into the underground world of graffiti writing with “Infamy,” and a 21,000-mile road film about independent truck drivers called “Big Rig,” which premiered at SXSW. Next came “Surfwise” about the legendary Paskowitz surfing family, which premiered at the Toronto Intl. Film Festival in 2007. Then he made two art-related films, the Emmy-winning "Art & Copy," a film about creativity and advertising (Sundance 2009), and “Levitated Mass,” the story of land artist Michael Heizer and the public spectacle surrounding the transport and installation of America's heaviest sculpture at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. HBO Max released “Love, Lizzo” a documentary about the superstar singer, rapper, and flute player. The film, which he directed and helped edit, tells the story of Lizzo’s rise to fame and journey towards self-acceptance. Prior to that, he was executive producer, editor, and writer on HBO's “The Defiant Ones,” (directed by Allen Hughes) about the dynamic relationship between Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine, and the music stars, top hits, and controversy they inspired. The series was nominated for five Emmys and won a Grammy for Best Music Film. His work with Allen Hughes led to "Arnold" a three-part series he helped executive produce for Netflix, about Arnold Schwarzenegger, which debuted in June. Other television work includes the first season of the AppleTV+ series "Home" and the Dave Grohl series “From Cradle to Stage” (Paramount+).
Deborah Augier was raised in Wabamun Lake, Alberta, Treaty 6 territory. Deborah’s mom was Cree and Iroquois, and her father was a Metis Veteran. She grew up in a very traditional Metis family in the countryside, along with eight siblings. Her father was an accomplished fiddler and avid hunter and her mom loved to dance, do beadwork, canning, and speaking Cree! Deborah graduated from “Aboriginal Digital Filmmaking Program” from the Native Education Centre in Vancouver. Storytelling through digital media based on Indigenous teachings and culture, creating and collaborating on short films and documentaries. She also graduated from Kairos Yoga Studio as a Yoga Instructor, working with Indigenous youth at risk combining yoga teachings, and Metis culture, teaching meditation, postures, and mindful breathing. Her Yoga physicality transformed into free form dance and then Metis Dancing with Vni Dansi from 2009 – 2013. Deborah rejoined Vni Dansi in October, 2021. Deborah has written a collection of poetry over a 25-year span. Her first collection entitled “When the Sun Turned Dark” and has started a second collection entitled “Metis Spirit”.