Behind the Scenes of the 2017 BridgeUp: Film program

Hear more about what the BridgeUp: Film experience was like for the scholars involved in the program and watch behind the scenes of how their stories came alive. 

 
 

BridgeUp: Film Scholars

 
Erika Mejia   Erika is a senior at Oakland International High School. She was born in El Salvador, and moved to the United States two years ago. She graduates this June, and will attend Alameda College in the fall to study criminology, and hopefully continue making films. Erika was a member of the basketball team at her school, helping her team win 2nd place last season. Her favorite thing about filmmaking is to find new stories from society and share them with the world.

Erika Mejia

Erika is a senior at Oakland International High School. She was born in El Salvador, and moved to the United States two years ago. She graduates this June, and will attend Alameda College in the fall to study criminology, and hopefully continue making films. Erika was a member of the basketball team at her school, helping her team win 2nd place last season. Her favorite thing about filmmaking is to find new stories from society and share them with the world.

Serina Grinage    Serina Grinage is 16 years old and a sophomore at Oakland Technical High School. She is on the cheerleading team and is in the computer science academy at her school. Serina is currently pursuing a job with Oakland Park, Recreation, and Youth Development under the position of a summer lifeguard. Prior to BridgeUp: Film,  she had some experience in photography and wanted to learn more about media. She is very excited to have learned documentary film, and looking forward to seeing what she can do with the skills she learned in the future.

Serina Grinage

Serina Grinage is 16 years old and a sophomore at Oakland Technical High School. She is on the cheerleading team and is in the computer science academy at her school. Serina is currently pursuing a job with Oakland Park, Recreation, and Youth Development under the position of a summer lifeguard. Prior to BridgeUp: Film,  she had some experience in photography and wanted to learn more about media. She is very excited to have learned documentary film, and looking forward to seeing what she can do with the skills she learned in the future.

 
 
Claire Brock Mansell   Claire Brock Mansell is a senior at Millennium High School, and will attend The Ohio State University in the fall, where she plans to study digital media communications and continue developing her skills as a documentary filmmaker. She has been a yearbook editor for two years, and runs her school’s social media account, People of Piedmont High School. She works at the Montclair Recreation Center as a counselor, and when not at work or school, she likes to box, write and listen to music. Her dog, Captain, is the cutest puppy in the world.

Claire Brock Mansell

Claire Brock Mansell is a senior at Millennium High School, and will attend The Ohio State University in the fall, where she plans to study digital media communications and continue developing her skills as a documentary filmmaker. She has been a yearbook editor for two years, and runs her school’s social media account, People of Piedmont High School. She works at the Montclair Recreation Center as a counselor, and when not at work or school, she likes to box, write and listen to music. Her dog, Captain, is the cutest puppy in the world.

Lily Shannon-Sutter   Lily is a junior at Oakland Technical High School.  Born in China, she was adopted at the age of one and has grown up in Oakland, CA.  She has played competitive soccer since the first grade for teams such as the Bay Oaks and the Clippers.  She is an only child who likes to paint, write, take photos, play the piano and relax in nature.  Lily has always been an aficionado of good films and TV shows, especially those of the BBC. Lily loves her dog Pinto, and tolerates her two cats, Rosy and Dotty.  After graduating high school, Lily would love to go to college in New York and take one year to study abroad in Europe.

Lily Shannon-Sutter

Lily is a junior at Oakland Technical High School.  Born in China, she was adopted at the age of one and has grown up in Oakland, CA.  She has played competitive soccer since the first grade for teams such as the Bay Oaks and the Clippers.  She is an only child who likes to paint, write, take photos, play the piano and relax in nature.  Lily has always been an aficionado of good films and TV shows, especially those of the BBC. Lily loves her dog Pinto, and tolerates her two cats, Rosy and Dotty.  After graduating high school, Lily would love to go to college in New York and take one year to study abroad in Europe.

Isabel Torrence   Isabel is a junior at Oakland Technical High School, where she is in both the Health Academy and Paideia Program (honors english and history.) She is a member of the film club and the feminist club, and is Junior Class Vice President.  In her free time Isabel enjoys creative writing and working with the animals that she fosters from her local SPCA. A strong advocate for social justice, she looks forward to using investigative reporting as a platform for change.

Isabel Torrence

Isabel is a junior at Oakland Technical High School, where she is in both the Health Academy and Paideia Program (honors english and history.) She is a member of the film club and the feminist club, and is Junior Class Vice President.  In her free time Isabel enjoys creative writing and working with the animals that she fosters from her local SPCA. A strong advocate for social justice, she looks forward to using investigative reporting as a platform for change.

 
 
Vanessa Melgar   Vanessa Melgar is a sophomore at Holy Names High School. She was born in Guatemala, and moved to the United States with her family when she was 6. Vanessa is a member of the Technical Theater Club, is involved in Student Council, and is a peer mediator at her school. Her hobbies include playing volleyball, going on little photo shoots with her friends, and volunteering at the Children’s hospital every Sunday. Her favorite thing about filmmaking is making a story into a video and trying to make the audience feel and understand what is going on.

Vanessa Melgar

Vanessa Melgar is a sophomore at Holy Names High School. She was born in Guatemala, and moved to the United States with her family when she was 6. Vanessa is a member of the Technical Theater Club, is involved in Student Council, and is a peer mediator at her school. Her hobbies include playing volleyball, going on little photo shoots with her friends, and volunteering at the Children’s hospital every Sunday. Her favorite thing about filmmaking is making a story into a video and trying to make the audience feel and understand what is going on.

Natalie Barr   Natalie is a 17 year old Junior at Oakland Technical High School. She was born and raised in Oakland. She has  always had a passion for visual arts, and in recent years, developed an interest digital media. Natalie is the president and founder of a film club for girls at her high school. She has been making short films since she was 14, but has found a new love for documentary film through the BridgeUp: Film program. Natalie also has a passion for social justice and women’s empowerment and intends to use film as a medium to create change. Her favorite aspects of filmmaking are editing and cinematography. She hopes to continue in the field of journalism and filmmaking going into post secondary education in the fall of 2018.

Natalie Barr

Natalie is a 17 year old Junior at Oakland Technical High School. She was born and raised in Oakland. She has  always had a passion for visual arts, and in recent years, developed an interest digital media. Natalie is the president and founder of a film club for girls at her high school. She has been making short films since she was 14, but has found a new love for documentary film through the BridgeUp: Film program. Natalie also has a passion for social justice and women’s empowerment and intends to use film as a medium to create change. Her favorite aspects of filmmaking are editing and cinematography. She hopes to continue in the field of journalism and filmmaking going into post secondary education in the fall of 2018.

 
 

BridgeUp: Film Staff

 
 
Aubrey Aden-Buie, Director   Aubrey is the creator and Director of the BridgeUp: Film program.  Aubrey was named one of Cynopsis Media's Top Women in Digital in 2016 for her coverage of what life is like for refugees coming to the United States. Her project “What is Home?," exploring the lives of South Africans living in shacks two decades after the end of apartheid, earned an Online Journalism Award from the Online News Association in 2014. She was a producer on the Romania chapter of “Our Dream,” a documentary highlighting discrimination that Europe’s Roma communities face and working to create conditions for their social inclusion. The video “A Tale of Two Villages” won best director at the Golden Wheel Festival in Skopje, Macedonia. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, Mashable, NPR, Fox Sports, Sports Illustrated and the Special Olympics. Aden-Buie graduated from the Schreyer Honors College at Pennsylvania State University and received her master’s degree in journalism from the University of Miami. Before a back injury ended her career, she was a professional soccer player.

Aubrey Aden-Buie, Director

Aubrey is the creator and Director of the BridgeUp: Film program.  Aubrey was named one of Cynopsis Media's Top Women in Digital in 2016 for her coverage of what life is like for refugees coming to the United States. Her project “What is Home?," exploring the lives of South Africans living in shacks two decades after the end of apartheid, earned an Online Journalism Award from the Online News Association in 2014. She was a producer on the Romania chapter of “Our Dream,” a documentary highlighting discrimination that Europe’s Roma communities face and working to create conditions for their social inclusion. The video “A Tale of Two Villages” won best director at the Golden Wheel Festival in Skopje, Macedonia. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, Mashable, NPR, Fox Sports, Sports Illustrated and the Special Olympics. Aden-Buie graduated from the Schreyer Honors College at Pennsylvania State University and received her master’s degree in journalism from the University of Miami. Before a back injury ended her career, she was a professional soccer player.

Debora Silva, Coach/Mentor   Débora Silva is a Brazilian reporter and filmmaker based in California. She started her career as an on-air reporter and producer at a news station in São Paulo. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Universidade Cruzeiro do Sul and a master’s degree in television from The University of California, Berkeley. Her thesis film, “A New Rhythm for Mozambique,” was awarded “best short length documentary” at the 2016 Silicon Valley African Film Festival. Silva was selected as a National Association of Black Journalists fellow for The New York Times Institute Fellowship program in New Orleans. Her work has appeared on KQED, Fusion, Univision, PBS, BBC and Al Jazeera.

Debora Silva, Coach/Mentor

Débora Silva is a Brazilian reporter and filmmaker based in California. She started her career as an on-air reporter and producer at a news station in São Paulo. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Universidade Cruzeiro do Sul and a master’s degree in television from The University of California, Berkeley. Her thesis film, “A New Rhythm for Mozambique,” was awarded “best short length documentary” at the 2016 Silicon Valley African Film Festival. Silva was selected as a National Association of Black Journalists fellow for The New York Times Institute Fellowship program in New Orleans. Her work has appeared on KQED, Fusion, Univision, PBS, BBC and Al Jazeera.

 
 
 
Olivia Merrion, Coach/Mentor    Olivia Merrion is a producer and documentary filmmaker who has produced online videos for NPR, PBS, Recode, the Associated Press, Discovery Communications, and Slate, among others. She attended James Madison University, where she earned her degree in digital video and cinema. Her capstone film received honors from the Broadcast Education Association and won the Audience Choice Award at the Virginia Student Film Festival. After graduating, she worked in Washington, D.C., as a freelance shooter and editor for NPR and other media outlets. In late 2015, she joined the creative studio collective 1504 as a contributing producer.

Olivia Merrion, Coach/Mentor

Olivia Merrion is a producer and documentary filmmaker who has produced online videos for NPR, PBS, Recode, the Associated Press, Discovery Communications, and Slate, among others. She attended James Madison University, where she earned her degree in digital video and cinema. Her capstone film received honors from the Broadcast Education Association and won the Audience Choice Award at the Virginia Student Film Festival. After graduating, she worked in Washington, D.C., as a freelance shooter and editor for NPR and other media outlets. In late 2015, she joined the creative studio collective 1504 as a contributing producer.

Emily Harger, Coach/Mentor   Emily Harger is a filmmaker and photojournalist with a passion for documenting social and economic issues in rural America. She recently graduated from Ohio University’s School of Visual Communication with a focus in photojournalism. She has interned at the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review and Kertis Creative, where she produced storytelling campaigns for Kentucky nonprofits. She is a regular contributor to Fly Over Media, a cultural education nonprofit that produces content for rural and underrepresented communities. In 2015, she was a finalist in the Hearst Journalism Awards’ National Photojournalism Championship news and feature category.

Emily Harger, Coach/Mentor

Emily Harger is a filmmaker and photojournalist with a passion for documenting social and economic issues in rural America. She recently graduated from Ohio University’s School of Visual Communication with a focus in photojournalism. She has interned at the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review and Kertis Creative, where she produced storytelling campaigns for Kentucky nonprofits. She is a regular contributor to Fly Over Media, a cultural education nonprofit that produces content for rural and underrepresented communities. In 2015, she was a finalist in the Hearst Journalism Awards’ National Photojournalism Championship news and feature category.