NeXt Doc Announces Award-Winning Presenting Filmmakers


Sabaah Folayan, Samuel Pollard and Sonia Kennebeck to lead master classes at emerging documentary filmmaker program

Rensselaerville, N.Y. —NeXt Doc, a program to support the next generation of diverse documentary storytellers, collaboratively organized by Youth FX and the Carey Institute for Global Good, will host 15 emerging filmmakers at the Carey Institute’s 100-acre historic estate at its second residency this June.

The five-day intensive program will feature three award-winning filmmakers: Sabaah Folayan, Samuel Pollard and Sonia Kennebeck. Each filmmaker will offer a master class and a screening session of their latest films, followed by an exclusive Q & A for NeXt Doc participants.

Sabaah Folayan uses written and visual media to bring a fresh perspective to the urgent questions of our time. She made her directorial debut at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival with “Whose Streets?,” which chronicles the experience of activists living in Ferguson, Missouri when Michael Brown Jr. was killed. Folayan will lead a master class on the experience of being a first-time filmmaker working with a community to tell their story.

“I have an amazing community of filmmakers who support me, so I feel like it’s my duty to give back,” said Folayan. “I want to be a visible example of what’s possible for people of color, particularly Black women, in a field where there are so few of us.”

Academy Award nominee and Emmy winner Sam Pollard is one of the most respected names in the world of documentary cinema. He has produced numerous documentaries for HBO and PBS. His latest film “ACORN and the Firestorm” premiered at the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival. Pollard’s master class will focus on editing.

“One thing that I learned years ago was the importance of passing on knowledge. Any knowledge that I have, I feel a real responsibility to pass it on to young people,” said Pollard. “I think NeXt Doc is a great way to introduce them to the world of documentary filmmaking; to create a new army of young people to continue the tradition that I have been on for many, many years, and to take it to another level to make films that even challenge the ones I make.”

Sonia Kennebeck is an independent documentary filmmaker and investigative journalist with more than 15 years of directing and producing experience. She has directed eight television documentaries and more than 50 investigative reports. Most recently, she completed her first feature length documentary, “National Bird” about the U.S. drone war, which premiered at the 2017 Berlin Film Festival and aired on PBS Independent Lens in 2017. Kennebeck will lead a master class on the intersection of news and journalism.

“All independent filmmakers face challenges during the production of a film, but for artists of color, the stakes are often higher,” said Kennebeck. “Social and financial pressures and a lack of industry connections and support networks can hold even the most talented filmmakers back. Community and mentorship are invaluable to help artists of color realize their vision and create the innovative content that we all want to see!”

The goal of NeXt Doc is to convene a diverse group of emerging filmmakers for a unique, professional and creative development experience. More than 35 applications were received for the June program, from young filmmakers in 12 states and two countries. The 2017 class will be announced at the end of May.

NeXt Doc has garnered support from several organizations who will offer mentorship and other resources to participants. This includes: The Alliance for Media, Arts + Culture, POV, the International Documentary Association, The Sanctuary for Independent, MediaStorm, as well as Firelight Media and The D-Word, who will both present workshops during the week. The Carey Institute and Youth FX continue to seek programmatic and financial sponsors to support this unique program. Visit www.goffundme/next-doc-2017 to get involved.


The Carey Institute for Global Good is a not-for-profit organization founded in 2012 by Wm. Polk Carey and is dedicated to making the world better by contributing to a strong, educated and just society.

Youth FX, is an intensive hands-on program, based in the City of Albany, that is designed to empower youth aged 14-19 by teaching them the technical and creative aspects of digital film making and offering a thorough overview of the production process from script to screen.