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The Download with Rachel Watanabe-Batton

Join us for this exclusive virtual conversation! 

On Thursday, February 16th at 7:30 PM ET, join us at the virtual table for The Download with Emmy award-winning producer Rachel Watanabe-Batton to discuss producing for film and television.

Meet Rachel Watanabe-Batton

Rachel Watanabe-Batton is a film and television producer and founder of Contradiction and Struggle, which tells stories that reframe history and culture, and connects cinema, causes and capital. Watanabe-Batton executive produced the musical “Sneakerella” for Disney Plus starring Chosen Jacobs, Lexi Underwood and John Salley, released May 2022. Rachel recently won an Emmy for her work on “Sneakerella”, which was nominated an outstanding 11 times.

She produced the film installation “Out/Side of Time” by artist Jenn Nkiru for The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s new Afrofuturist Period Room Before Yesterday We Could Fly; and was Consulting Producer on EPIX docu-series “By Whatever Means Necessary” by Director-Exec Producer, Keith McQuirter, which received the 2021 NAACP Award for Outstanding Directing in a Documentary.

Watanabe-Batton’s producing credits include non-fiction series “I Pity the Fool” with Mr. T (TV Land/ Lionsgate), barbershop documentary “Cutting Edge” (Cinemax/HBO), and sports docu-series “Insider Training” (Discovery). She has produced narrative films with numerous auteur directors including features “Ripe” (Mo Ogrodnik), “Book of Love” (Jeff Byrd), and shorts “The Killers” (Tanya Hamilton) and “Bajo del Perro” (Polish Brothers). Her directing-producing credits reflect her wide range of interests, like documentary “Crisis in the Crib: Saving Our Nation’s Babies” linking infant mortality to racism featuring Exec Producer and campaign spokeswoman for The Office of Minority Health, Tonya Lewis-Lee; and “Blueprint” lifestyle makeover series for Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia. Her debut narrative film “Once You’re In,” co-directed with classmate Lauren Greenfield, starring undocumented Irish immigrants in Boston, aired on WGBH while she was an undergraduate at Harvard-Radcliffe and features Poet Laureate of Ireland Seamus Heaney.

Watanabe-Batton’s fluency in socio-historical storytelling is rooted in a lifetime of crossing class, race, gender, urban and rural lines, and is strengthened by years of collaborations with musical and visual artists. Her first jobs in film were as a temp development assistant at Danny Glover’s Carrie Productions and story researcher for Quincy Jones Entertainment. Her breakthrough job was working in creative development for veteran producers Paula Weinstein, Mark Rosenberg, Peter Heller and Julie Bergman at Spring Creek Productions on the Warner Bros lot. While there, she organized demonstrations from the studio lot during the L.A. Rebellion. She then assisted acclaimed Australian film director Peter Weir on “Fearless” starring Jeff Bridges and worked at the groundbreaking Propaganda Films on iconic commercial campaigns, music videos and sci-fi series “Thunderbirds Are Go.” During the heyday of music videos in the late 1990’s, Watanabe-Batton co-founded NY-based production company Department of Film with director Nick Quested at Goldcrest Post. She has produced content for leading recording artists including Diddy, DMX, Faith Evans, Fat Joe, Lil Jon, Nas, Trick Daddy, Usher, Wu-Tang Clan, and many others. Watanabe-Batton has also directed top ten videos in the U.S. (“Play No Games”) and Africa (“Incomplete”) and helmed international productions.

The Download

Offered multiple times a year, The Download is a special virtual guest conversation series hosted by the Black TV & Film Collective. It features impactful filmmakers who provide insider knowledge to help Black creatives do their work. Recent guests on The Download have included Aaron Rahsaan Thomas, Charlene Polite Corley, the editing team of A Black Lady Sketch Show, Janine Sherman Barrois and Pete Chatmon. 

#MakeYourWork

Join us at this edition of The Download and get the information and inspiration you need to #MakeYourWork! RSVP today!

Questions? Contact [email protected].

Interested in becoming a member? Sign up for our BTFC Membership!

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The Download: Producing for the Family with Fred Rogers Productions

Join us for this exclusive conversation featuring Black producers who are making an impact on children’s programming behind the lens!

On Thursday, February 9th at 7:30 PM ET, join us for the first edition of The Download for 2023!

We’re sitting at the virtual table with Chris Loggins, Olubunmi Mia Olufemi, and Kenney Randall from Fred Rogers Productions and discussing how they got their start, what they currently do and how they got there, how they are preparing for the next stage of their careers, and the range of opportunities in the children’s entertainment business.

Meet Our Panelists

Chris Loggins

Chris Loggins is Supervising Producer for Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, overseeing all aspects of television production, working closely with partners on everything from scripting through final episode delivery and beyond, and directing live-action segments for the series. An Emmy® Award-winning producer, Chris also serves as production manager for Peg + Cat and Odd Squad, which both air on PBS KIDS. Before joining Fred Rogers Productions, he served as the development coordinator at WQED, the PBS station in Pittsburgh. Chris has previous experience working with children in his roles as host of “Baby and Me Storytime” at the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh and driving the Storymobile for Beginning with Books Center for Early Literacy. He holds a B.A. in American Studies with a focus on African-American History from Kenyon College.

Olubunmi Mia Olufemi

Olubunmi Mia Olufemi is Supervising Producer of Alma’s Way, the new PBS KIDS series created by Sonia Manzano and produced by Fred Rogers Productions. Mia is responsible for overseeing all phases of production, serving as the company’s liaison with the animation studio and broadcaster. Additionally, she coordinates the creation of series assets for marketing and licensing efforts, among other duties. Mia started her career in children’s television at WGBH (now known as GBH) Educational Foundation, where she worked on acclaimed children’s properties including Arthur, Curious George, Martha Speaks, and Design Squad Global.

Most recently, she was the producer of Molly of Denali, the Peabody Award-winning PBS KIDS show. Her work is devoted to building inclusive productions, on screen and behind the scenes, that authentically celebrate and highlight under-represented populations, particularly minorities and immigrant cultures. For Alma’s Way, she has worked to create spaces to uplift new voices in children’s media. Mia received her M.A. in Writing, Literature, and Publishing from Emerson College.

Kennedy Randall

As Production Assistant at Fred Rogers Productions, Kennedy Randall provides support on series including Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood. She has previously worked as a freelance video editor, production assistant, designer, and editor. Kennedy has also served as an assistant to rapper, activist, and entrepreneur Kellee Maize for whom she has completed research, website editing, social media design, and much more.

With a background in digital media production and television as well as childcare, she has become interested in understanding the ways in which children consume media, and in turn, how that content can aid in their development. In her free time, she enjoys writing poetry and is at work on two novels. Kennedy holds a B.A. in Communications from Slippery Rock University.

The Download

Offered multiple times a year, The Download is a special virtual guest conversation series hosted by the Black TV & Film Collective. It features impactful filmmakers who provide insider knowledge to help Black creatives do their work. Recent guests on The Download have included Aaron Rahsaan Thomas, Charlene Polite Corley, the editing team of A Black Lady Sketch Show, Janine Sherman Barrois and Pete Chatmon. 

#MakeYourWork

Join us at this edition of The Download and get the information and inspiration you need to #MakeYourWork! RSVP today!

Questions? Contact [email protected].

Interested in becoming a member? Sign up for our BTFC Membership!

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