From the Classroom to the Operating Room by Kate Lord

In October, I had the opportunity to visit my friend Maheshwari in Chennai, India, and help her tell a part of her story for She's the First. I met Mahesh in 2012 when she graduated high school; this film is a follow-up to Magho, a short documentary which follows her on her graduation day.

I can't express in words how much I look up to her (even though I'm almost 10 years older!), so we made you this video.

Breaking Taboos about Menstruation in Uganda by Kate Lord

Congratulations to Esther and Dorcus, She's the First Scholars in Uganda, for earning a 2017 Mentor Breakfast award!

Esther is a 5th grader at the Arlington Academy of Hope (AAH) in rural Uganda. She's become skilled in performing songs, dance, and poetry, and shows her leadership at school assemblies where she can lead her classmates in all three.

Dorcus is a 7th grader at AAH. She is head speaker at her school, giving a voice to her class whenever needed, and also loves to participate in the school choir and debate team.

Together, they led a service project in which they taught women and girls from their community how to make reusable sanitary pads. In the process, they sparked conversations about feminine hygiene and the reproductive system and broke taboos around menstruation.

Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund Launches New Video by Kate Lord

Last year, my friend Brianne Riviello called to talk about a project she was working on via Viacom Talent for Good and asked me to be the director of photography. With Michelle McLaughlin, Brianne was directing and producing a promotional video for the Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund Name Change Project. I'm so pleased to share the final story here. The Name Change Project pairs pro bono lawyers with transgender individuals attempting to navigate the legal system to change their names to match their true identities. This process is much more complicated than changing your name after marriage and can often lead to embarrassing and discouraging exchanges; with the help of TLDEF, clients receive respectful and knowledgeable legal guidance through the proceedings.

When your legal name does not match your identity, daily tasks can easily become daunting and humiliating, from getting a new driver's license, looking for a job, going to the dentist, or even raising your hand in class to be marked present. TLDEF is working to change that.

Kricket, Athena, Naz, Mike, Cecilia: thank you for sharing your stories and being a part of this project!

Take a look, share! And learn more:

'Save Renewal Farm' Campaign Suceeds by Kate Lord

Renewal Farm, a unique substance abuse program set on a farm in Upstate New York, helps long-term drug users with histories of chronic homelessness and unemployment renew their lives. It is twice as successful as similar programs. But, due to federal funding cuts, Renewal Farm was at risk of closing if they didn't raise $150,000 by December 31, 2015.

It is set in a special sanctuary in Garrison, New York, far from the neighborhoods and people that enable drug use. The natural beauty of the setting -- along with integrated drug treatment and critical reentry services like job training, job placement and housing assistance -- inspires change.

Thirty-three-year-old James from Elmhurst Queens, who had a serious alcohol and prescription pain killer addiction, lost his job in 2011, and was cut off by his family. James joined Renewal Farm in July 2015, committed to a better life for him and his son. “I have been to lots of treatment programs and sober houses, but none of them are like the Farm,” says James. “The Farm provides a very safe environment and staying here gives me the time I need to work on myself,” he says.

After a successful crowd-funding campaign, Renewal Farm raised more than their goal and will remain open for another year. They are currently looking for long-term funding.

Pursuing Dreams: Stories of Refugee and Immigrant Youth in California by Kate Lord

I'm thrilled to finally share my latest short film, Pursuing Dreams, produced with Refugee Transitions. I spent two weeks with Jyoti, Fatuma, and Win, three students who immigrated to the U.S. with their families from Bhutan, Somalia, and Burma (Myanmar), and now call Oakland, CA, home.

Refugee Transitions is a community-based nonprofit agency serving high-need, low-income refugee, asylee, and immigrant newcomers from over 50 countries in the Bay Area.

Now more than ever, it's important to get to know our newcomers and welcome them to our country. These students are AMAZING and are working hard to make their communities stronger. It was a privilege to help them tell their stories.

The Race for Equality by Kate Lord

Their goals were simple: to raise awareness about the status of women in Nepal and to help empower women in their community, all while having fun. She's the First Scholars Jharana and Sirjana gathered their classmates to organize the first-ever 5K race in their district, in hopes of attracting eyes and ears to the cause of women's equality.

To see this video with captions, click here:

I created this film in collaboration with Christen Brandt, co-founder and director of international operations for STF, to celebrate the hard work of Jharana and Sirjana, and to support the organization's Sweat for STFcampaign. The annual fitness campaign encourages supporters to mobilize or participate in a race or other fitness activity to fundraise for girls' scholarships.

Focused by Kate Lord

Have you ever woken up with a business idea that you just knew would change everything? Fatou has.

This is her story – the story of what happens when you give a student the skills she needs in order to achieve her most audacious goals.

I co-directed this film with She's the First co-founder and director of international operations Christen Brandt, and I was also the director of photography. Fatou graduated high school as a She's the First Scholar in The Gambia.

Gala Videos for Girl Scouts of Greater New York by Kate Lord

The Girl Scouts of Greater New York celebrated their 101st anniversary this spring. For their annual gala, I created five videos introducing their honorees and featuring different aspects of the Girl Scout program. As an alumni of the Girl Scouts, it was really fun to meet the girls and hear about what they're learning!

This video features Dayle Haddon, founder of the nonprofit WomenOne and a former model. WomenOne is devoted to creating positive change in the lives of women and girls globally through access to quality education. Working with Ms. Haddon was a joy, not only because of my personal interest in global girls' education, but because she had such a wonderful connection with the girls! They all loved her and really took her talk to heart. Check it out below!

View four more videos I created for the Girl Scouts of Greater New York on their YouTube page.

My First Film Festival as a Filmmaker by Kate Lord

This weekend, I attended my first film festival as a filmmaker. Magho (Daughter)  -- the short documentary for which I was co-director, director of cinematography and editor -- was shown at the Asheville Cinema Festival in the mountains of North Carolina. 

Magho (Daughter) follows 18-year-old Maheshwari during her last week of high school leading up to her graduation. She comes from India's "untouchable" caste and is the first person in her family to study past the eighth grade. In the 11 minute film, Mahesh reflects on her life at home, her future and her relationship with her mother. 

My co-director (and the film's producer) Christen Brandt and I came down from New York and arrived the night before our screening. When we opened the local paper, The Asheville Citizen-Times, we found our film listed as one of the 10 films to see at the festival!

We really enjoyed seeing other films in the festival, and our only regret is that we missed films we really wanted to see because our schedule was packed!

Our film played in the first block of short documentary films, and we were able to answer questions from the audience about our experience. They were curious about the production process, how we'd selected Maheshwari as our star, and where we want to take the film next. 

It was wonderful to introduce our film to a totally new audience and to present girls' education as a solution to global poverty. Maheshwari's story shows the power of education to transform a family. I'm so happy that we were able to bring Mahesh's voice to Asheville and share her strength, perseverance and compassion with a larger audience.


Magho Selected for Asheville Cinema Festival! by Kate Lord

Magho (Daughter), the short documentary I co-directed with Christen Brandt, has been selected for Asheville Cinema Festival in Asheville, NC! I'm super excited about this festival because it's in my home state! 

Magho will be screened on Saturday, Nov. 9 at 12:30pm at the Masonic Lodge. Our film will be shown in a block with four other short documentaries, and Christen and I will participate in a Q&A after the screenings.

I'm so excited to bring Magho  to North Carolina! 


Magho Selected for the Silent River Film Festival! by Kate Lord

Magho (Daughter), the short film I made over the past year with Christen Brandt, is an official selection for the 2013 Silent River FilmFestival in Irvine, CA!

The film follows Maheshwari, an 18-year-old girl from India's "untouchable" caste, during her final week of high school. Maheshwari was the first person in her family to move beyond eighth grade and the first high school graduate. Magho documents her graduation day, reflecting back on her home life and her aspiration to become a cardiologist to lift her family out of poverty. 


The festival is October 17- 20, so unfortunately Christen and I will miss it because we'll be visiting She's the First's partner organizations in East Africa. If you live in Southern California, swing by to see our film on the big screen!

Promo Video: Coro's Leadership New York by Kate Lord

I've been working with Coro New York Leadership Center for more than a year, shooting stills and video that explains their purpose and expresses the enthusiasm of their participants. Their programs vary depending on on the participants' career level and goals, but all of them have sung the center's praises, from recent college graduates to established private sector professionals.

Leadership New York is targeted at successful mid-career professionals who are looking to grow their understanding of public policy and professional development exploration. In this promotional video, recent alumni program explain what they've learned from the program.

Building Connections for a Better City by Kate Lord

For the second year, Coro New York Leadership Center asked me to create a promotional video for their annual gala. While last year's video focused on the organization's network and the power of those connections to improve the city, 2013's focus is Coro's ability to create positive change in New York during times of crisis, times of prosperity and for the future.

For this video, I met a city employee and a business development district director who worked together to create a volunteer hub in Red Hook after Hurricane Sandy; I spent time with the Mayor's Youth Leadership Council, a group of high school students who are influencing city policy as it effects young people; and I attended a meet-up of African immigrants looking for employment that matches their education and professional experience.

Trailer: Magho (Daughter) by Kate Lord

Eighteen-year-old Maheshwari comes from a family of quarry workers in rural India, none of whom completed schooling past the eighth grade. For the first four years of Maheshwari's life, it seemed she would follow a similar path: Waking at 5 a.m. to start the household chores, marrying young, bearing children, and bringing in money through odd jobs wherever she could. Instead, she was selected by the Shanti Bhavan Children's Project to attend their boarding school, a brush with fate that would change the trajectory of her entire life.

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