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PBS Frontline taps six journos for diversity in documentary film initiative

January 20, 2023

Posted by Mariam Ahmed

The following excerpt was sent out:

FRONTLINE, the award-winning PBS investigative documentary series based at GBH in Boston, today announced the selection of filmmakers for the Investigative Journalist Equity Initiative (IJEI), a new effort aimed at increasing diversity in the documentary filmmaking landscape.

The initiative is generously supported by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the Abrams Foundation, PBS and GBH.

The six journalists selected for the IJEI’s inaugural cohort:


Juanita Ceballos
Juanita Ceballos

Juanita Ceballos is a documentary producer and filmmaker who has extensive experience working in the U.S. and abroad, with bylines in Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, El Salvador, Venezuela, and Ukraine. She has covered sensitive topics, including Colombia’s civil conflict, police brutality in the United States, and the refugee crisis in Venezuela. Her work has appeared on VICE, HBO, Showtime, Telemundo, Al Jazeera, Univision, NBC News, TIME, Narratively, and The New York Times. Ceballos will partner with The Documentary Group, a two-time Academy Award-nominated production company.


Jonathan Clasberry (Photo Credit/Corporation for Public Broadcasting)

Jonathan Clasberry is an Afro-Tejano filmmaker based in Brooklyn, NY. He has produced documentary series for Netflix, CNN, and Epix, collaborating with journalistic outlets like The New York Times and world-renowned journalists such as Christiane Amanpour. He has also produced documentary features that have screened at film festivals around the world. His list of credits includes High on the Hog: How African American Food Transformed America; Anthony Bourdain: Parts UnknownFiasco, a documentary-series examining the Iran-Contra scandal; and, most recently, The 1619 Project, premiering this month on Hulu. Clasberry will work with the production company Left/Right.


Lora Moftah (Photo Credit/Corporation for Public Broadcasting)

Lora Moftah is a reporter, producer and director with over a decade of journalism experience across print and television. Moftah’s work has appeared on ABC, Al Jazeera, CNN and most recently on The New York Times Presents, the award-winning documentary series from The New York Times, Left/Right, FX and Hulu. She produced multiple films for the series, including The Killing of Breonna TaylorTo Live and Die in Alabama, and They Get Brave. Her most recent film for the series, Superspreader, which she also directed, was about the proliferation of COVID vaccine misinformation online. Moftah also helped to develop, launch and produce The Weekly documentary series on FX and Hulu, where she worked on stories about U.S. arms sales to Saudi Arabia, the rise of Deepfake technology, and election disinformation campaigns. Moftah is currently working with Maxine Productions, a newly launched film and television production company in Sony Pictures Television’s nonfiction group.


Serginho Roosblad
Serginho Roosblad

Serginho Roosblad isan Emmy Award-winning documentary filmmaker who is part of the Associated Press’ Global Investigations team. At the AP, he has worked on a variety of investigative short documentaries, including on police use of force on children, Retired Lt. General Michael Flynn, and a contaminated former army base, which might have caused cancer in hundreds of veterans. As a lover of photography, Roosblad has also directed and produced a trio of award-winning films on prolific photographers in America. Prior to his work in documentary film, he spent much of his early career in journalism reporting on Africa, where he covered a wide range of topics such as drug addiction in Uganda, piracy in Somalia, and the musical heritage of Zanzibar. For his documentary, Roosblad will partner with the production company Trilogy Films.


Patty Talahongva

Patty Talahongva is a Hopi journalist, documentary producer, and news executive. She was the first Native American anchor of a national news program in the United States and is involved in Native American youth and community development projects. A past president of the Native American Journalists Association, she was the recipient of their Medill Milestone Achievement Award. In 2019, she was hired by Indian Country Today to create the first national television newscast produced by an all-Indigenous news staff and focused on Indigenous Peoples. As an independent journalist, she produced several documentaries including one for the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian on American Indian code talkers; a series of videos for the Native Voices exhibit at the Penn Museum; and Lady Warriors about a girl’s cross-country team at a high school on the border of the Hopi and Navajo reservations.


Xinyan Yu
Xinyan Yu

Xinyan Yu is an award-winning video journalist and filmmaker based in Washington D.C. Yu began her journalism career working as a producer for BBC News, covering breaking news across Asia in Beijing. In 2018, she launched the North America video team for Hong Kong’s flagship English newspaper South China Morning Post in New York as its senior video producer. She later rejoined the BBC in 2020 as a senior video journalist covering the U.S. from Washington D.C. Yu has directed, produced and shot content from short news features to hour-long documentaries for the BBC, CNBC, NOVA (PBS) and Channel NewsAsia. She is a New America National Fellow, a Firelight Media Doc Lab fellow, a Brown Girls Doc Mafia Sustainable Artist fellow and an alumnus of the Yaddo Residency.



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