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DC/DOX Film Festival 2024

Reality Check Workshop: The Weight of Witness

Friday, June 14
12:00 PM - 1:30 PM

Eaton Crystal Room

1201 K Street NW, Washington, DC 20005

Reality Check Workshop: The Weight of Witness

Malikkah Rollins, Co-Founder, DocuMentality; Director of Industry and Education, DOC NYC

Jennifer Zelaya, Mental Health Therapist & Consultant

The Weight of Witness: Protecting Mental Wellbeing While Making Documentaries, presented by Documentality

Are you a director, producer, or team leader looking to foster a safe and healthy environment for your team, participants, and audience? This introductory workshop begins to explore your “why” for making a film, your responsibilities to those involved, and ultimately, how to prioritize everyone’s well-being throughout the documentary journey.

Together, we’ll tackle these crucial questions:

  • Self-Awareness: What drives you to make this film? How are you taking care of yourself during the demanding filmmaking process?
  • Crew Care: What are your ethical and practical responsibilities towards your crew? How can you implement sustainable well-being practices?
  • Participant Protection: How can you ensure a respectful and safe environment for your documentary participants?
  • Audience Impact: What considerations should you have for the potential emotional impact your film may have on viewers?

Co-Founder, DocuMentality; Director of Industry and Education, DOC NYC

As a co-founder of DocuMentality, Malikkah Rollins, MSW, champions mental health awareness within the global documentary industry. Her focus groups have granted her valuable insights into the intricate challenges filmmakers, participants, and crew members face while illuminating important stories. With a decade-long background as a psychotherapist, she specialized in supporting young adults navigating mental health struggles. Beyond her advocacy work, Malikkah holds the position of Director of Industry and Education at DOC NYC, the largest documentary film festival in the United States. Her previous experience includes six years as an independent documentary producer. When not immersed in the world of cinema, Malikkah eagerly plots her next international travel escapade.

Mental Health Therapist & Consultant

Jennifer Zelaya, LICSW, LCSW, MPH, is a licensed independent clinical social worker and public health practitioner with over thirteen years of diverse and practical experience in the fields of public health and social work. As a clinician and consultant, she has worked with adolescents and adults in supporting them through trauma, grief, anxiety, and depression. Most recently, she supervised mental health therapists across several Washington, DC Public Schools. Currently, Jennifer provides therapy to pregnant and postpartum women who are experiencing Perinatal Mood & Anxiety Disorders (PMADs). Jennifer also serves as a consultant for film industry professionals to enhance their projects pertaining to mental health. Through employment in federal, non-profit, academic sectors, and health systems, Jennifer has gained a unique understanding of both project management, consulting, and clinical practice. She approaches all of her work with a passion and commitment to the field of mental health and with a desire to increase access for disenfranchised communities.