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DC/DOX Film Festival 2024

Reality Check Panel: Filmmaking within a Cooperative

Friday, June 14
11:45 AM - 1:00 PM

Planet Word, Friedman Family Auditorium

925 13th Street NW, Washington, DC 20005

Reality Check Panel: Filmmaking within a Cooperative

Kelly Anderson, Co-director, Emergent City

Chloe Gbai, Meerkat Media Collective, Netflix Documentary

Jay Arthur Sterrenberg, Co-director, Emergent City


This panel explores alternative production company models such as member-owner cooperatives, collectives and other non-hierarchical systems. Meerkat Media is a cooperatively owned production company and media arts collective based in New York specializing in documentary production that has been making work for over 19 years. Their latest feature Emergent City is playing at DC/DOX this year.

New Day Films is a cooperative of over 140 filmmakers who share the work of distribution, operations, and leadership — creating a powerful and self-sustaining model for collective work.

Filmmakers Jay Arthur Sterrenberg (Emergent City, Meerkat Media) and Kelly Anderson (Emergent City, New Day Films) share their first-hand experiences as long-term members of these organizations and invite an open and honest conversation about the possibilities and challenges offered by filmmaking cooperatives.

Co-director, Emergent City

Kelly Anderson is a Sunset Park-based documentary filmmaker whose most recent films are Rabble Rousers: Frances Goldin and the Fight for Cooper Square (w. Ryan Joseph and Kathryn Barnier). Her 2012 film My Brooklyn, about the hidden forces driving gentrification, was broadcast on PBS’s America ReFramed. Kelly produced and directed Every Mother’s Son (PBS, 2004, with Tami Gold) about mothers whose children were killed by police, which won the Tribeca Film Festival Audience Award and aired on POV. She also produced and directed Out At Work (HBO, 2000, with Tami Gold), which premiered at Sundance and won a GLAAD Best Documentary award. From 2015-17, she co-chaired the cooperative distribution company New Day Films. Kelly is the Chair of the Department of Film and Media Studies at Hunter College (CUNY).

Meerkat Media Collective, Netflix Documentary

Chloe Gbai is an Emmy-nominated producer and filmmaker. She’s worked for over a decade on independent and commercial projects, starting with her first PA job working for Amir Bar-Lev on Happy Valley (2014, A&E Indie Films). Her most recent project, Shut Up and Paint, follows artist Titus Kaphar grappling with an insatiable art market seeking to silence his activism. The short film was released in 2022 on POV Shorts, played numerous film festivals, and has been honored with a Cinema Eye Nomination and Shortlisted for the 2023 Academy Awards for the Short Documentary category.

She currently works on Netflix’s Original Documentary Films team. Previously, as the POV Shorts and Streaming Producer, she launched POV Shorts, which in its first season earned a Documentary Short Oscar nomination, two Emmy nominations, and an IDA Awards nomination for Best Short Form Series. She’s a graduate of NYU’s Gallatin School and a proud member of Brown Girls Doc Mafia. She’s a 2020 Impact Partners Producing Fellow, a DOC NYC New Leader, and a member-in-residence of the Meerkat Media Collective.

Co-director, Emergent City

Jay Arthur Sterrenberg is a director and editor based in New York City. His documentary editing credits include Academy Award-shortlisted Dark Money (PBS, 2018), Emmy winning Trophy (CNN Films, 2018), Tribeca award-winning Untouchable (2016), Academy Award-shortlisted Netflix Original After Maria (2019), and the 2020 Netflix doc series Immigration Nation, which won a Peabody Award and Best New Documentary Series at the Independent Spirit Awards. Jay is a co-founder of the Sunset Park-based Meerkat Media Collective. His short documentary Public Money (PBS, 2018) is an observed portrait of an experiment in participatory democracy in Sunset Park.