Marcia Smith is president and co-founder of Firelight Media, which produces documentary films, provides artistic and financial support to emerging filmmakers of color, and builds impact campaigns to connect documentaries to audiences and social justice advocates. Under her leadership, Firelight Media was honored with a MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions. Firelight Media’s flagship Documentary Lab program has supported more than 80 emerging filmmakers over the past decade, who have premiered at festivals such as Sundance, and gone on to earn numerous festival, Peabody, and Emmy awards.
She has written several films alongside documentarian Stanley Nelson including: Tell Them We Are Rising: The Story of Black Colleges and Universities; Through the Fire: The Legacy of Barack Obama; Freedom Riders; Jonestown: The Life and Death of the Peoples Temple; Marcus Garvey: Look for Me in the Whirlwind; and The Murder of Emmett Till. Marcia received a Primetime Emmy nomination and won the Writers’ Guild Award for best nonfiction writing for her work on The Murder of Emmett Till, and was honored with a 2016 Muse Award from New York Women in Film & Television, as well as the 2019 Luminary Award from BlackStar Film Festival. Marcia will also serve as the writer for Firelight’s upcoming 4-hour documentary series, Creating The New World, on the transatlantic slave trade.
Marcia is a member of AMPAS, currently sits on the Peabody Board of Directors - East Coast, and is a member of the Board for Martha's Vineyard Film Society.
Stanley Nelson is among the premier documentary filmmakers working today. His feature-length films combine compelling narratives with rich and deeply researched historical detail, shining new light on both familiar and under-explored aspects of the American past.
Keith M. Brown is currently Executive Vice President of Content for Firelight Films, the premiere non-fiction content company for stories about the contemporary experience, culture and history of diverse communities of color.
Rafiah Vitalis is Firelight’s Director of Finance and Operations. Rafiah has decades-long experience as a finance and nonprofit professional, deeply committed to work that creates transformative change in underserved and historically oppressed communities.
Kandace is a graduate of Columbia University, where she received her B.A. in English Literature. During her studies, she developed a passion for amplifying marginalized voices and developing narratives that animate and affirm people of color.
Justin Sherwood recently joined Firelight as Communications Director. He previously served as the Senior Director of Communications and Strategic Initiatives at The New School (Schools of Public Engagement), where he also directed the college’s public program series, managed external partnerships, and was a part-time faculty member in the Creative Writing Program.