Founder and Head of Development, Open TV (beta)
Open TV (beta) is a Chicago-based platform for queer television. We develop programming (pilots and series) major studios and networks cannot develop consistently, mainly work by queer, trans, cis-women and artists of color. The research-based project asks what practices might sustain independent and community-based art in the digital age.
Open TV programs have received recognition by the Tribeca Film Festival, Gotham Awards and the City of Chicago, along with funding from Northwestern, University of Chicago, Propeller and Voqal Funds. Programs have screened at the Chicago Cultural Center (2016-17 Arts and Culture Organization Residency), museums (Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Block Museum, Smart Museum), galleries (Woman Made, Cooper Gallery, Glass Curtain), universities (University of Chicago, Northwestern University, Notre Dame), and various community- and artist-run spaces.
For more information about programming, please read our development reports: http://weareopen.tv/development
Below is a trailer reviewing the first cycle (March 2015 — August 2016) and previewing the second (January — June 2017).
Creator, Writer, Director, Nupita Obama
Nupita Obama follows queer artists of color as they work to secure love and housing. The pilot, “Nupita Obama Creates Vogua,” launched Open TV (beta)’s Open TV Presents series about artists exploring alternative relationships. Currently in the early stages of development, the first season picks up four weeks later, expanding the cast and narrative to more emerging Chicago artists who will contribute acting, music and performances. The full story depicts a diverse queer community coming together over 24 hours through art to survive and support one another, despite jealously, insecurity and scant resources.
Nupita Obama marries queer performance with unseen stories centered on queer love. It extends to television recent queer theories about intersectionality – the works of Jose Munoz, Roderick Ferguson, Kara Keeling, E. Patrick Johnson, among others – by extending performance art to serial comedy. Nupita Obama proposes a different fantasy of love in post-gay marriage America. What if, instead of striving to find the one, upwardly mobile person to help us achieve mainstream respectability, we worked toward loving and supporting each other in all our complexity?
To learn more about the production of the Nupita Obama pilot and an exploration of “queer production value,” read this essay in No More Potlucks.
To learn more about the artists in Nupita Obama, you can watch video profiles of Erik Wallace, Saya Naomi, and Kiam Marcelo Junio on the Open TV website. Kiam’s profile:
Fellowships and Curation
Peabody Fellow at the Media Center at Peabody (2017-19). Served as a faculty judge and committee head for web programming and content nominations starting 2015.
Tribeca Film Festival, Tribeca Now
An advisory committee member for a new program showcasing storytellers publishing work online: http://tribecafilm.com/online/tribecanow
International Press Academy
Following membership to the organization, contributed nominations for original short-format series for the 2013 awards, including High Maintenance, Blue, Eastsiders, Little Horribles, Ask A Slave, Burning Love, Ghost Girls. #JustSaying took home the trophy.
Education Fellow, Philadelphia Museum of Art
Student Projects from 2008-2012
Co-Producer, She’s Out Of Order
She’s Out of Order follows a complicated black woman trying to keep it cute in spite of life’s little catastrophes. The scripted comedy web series is based on a character created and performed by Teresa Michelle Lasley and features an ensemble cast. I served as co-producer, assistant director and designer (logo, website). This project was partially produced with funds from the University of Pennsylvania and Northwestern University as part of my dissertation and book projects. The series was an official selection of the 2015 LA Web Fest, one of the longest-running independent television festivals, with creator Teresa Lasley nominated for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series and LaJune Grant nominated for Outstanding Guest Actress.
For more about the production, read “Why I Produced the Web Series She’s Out Of Order“
Fame: Kade Style
A short documentary on local Philadelphia web celebrity Arthur Kade. For more information, click here.
A web series pilot. For more information, click here.
Artspace New Haven
A short documentary about Artspace New Haven’s art party. For more information, click here.
The Urban Catwalk