About Our Teaching Artists

Katherine Cheairs

Katherine "Kat" Cheairs is a filmmaker and educator from Atlanta, GA. Kat is the producer and director of the documentary, Ending Silence, Shame & Stigma: HIV/AIDS in the African American Family, currently in educational distribution with Dark Hollow Films. Ms. Cheairs has an MFA in Film and Television Production from Chapman University. Kat has designed and taught over fifteen media production courses at the college and high school level. Ms. Cheairs currently resides in Brooklyn, NY.



Marttise Hill

Marttise is a New York based filmmaker and the co-founder of Pryor Hill Productions. He is a 2016 Sundance Institute Creative Producing Fellow. Through Pryor Hill Productions, Marttise has produced two feature films that premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, Cronies by Michael Larnell and executive produced by Spike Lee in 2015 and How to Tell You’re a Douchebag by Tahir Jetter in 2016. Marttise was an NYU Cinema Research Fellow for his project, 'Independent Distribution; Cronies,' a year-long investigation and review of the independent distribution of his film Cronies and the experience of other filmmakers who decide to independently distribute their film.

Marttise received his Bachelor of Arts in English Literature from Morehouse College and his MFA in Film Production from New York University Tisch School of the Arts Asia in Singapore. Marttise is a member of the National Board of Review. Marttise has discussed his process as an emerging producer of ethnically diverse content with a variety of media outlets including Nofilmschool.com, Slant News, and the St. Louis American newspaper. He has taught courses on producing, screenwriting and directing at Brooklyn College, Tribeca Film Institute, and Ghetto Film School. Marttise hails from Saint Louis, Missouri.


Shirley Rodriguez

Shirley Rodriguez (also credited as Shirley Miranda-Rodriguez) is a New York-based editorial and commercial still and motion photographer and media producer. A celebrated photographer, her work has been appeared in Latina, Crain, Siempre Mujer, El Diario, Metro, Hispanic, Urban Latino, The New York Times Online and Vibe magazines among other notable publications.   Shirley is the co-founder and Creative Director of CREATE THE REMARKABLE, Inc. (CTR), a full service boutique production company specializing in short-form video productions, branded content and creative storytelling as well as promotional, editorial and commercial photography.  Passionate about media education, Shirley has had residencies and worked with various programs as an arts educator including The Tribeca Film Institute, Manhattan Youth, the Educational Video Center and The Brooklyn Children’s Museum. 


Julian Gerena-Quinones

Julian Gerena-Quinones is partner and the Technical Director of CREATE THE REMARKABLE, Inc. (CTR), a full service boutique production company specializing in short-form video productions, branded content and creative storytelling as well as promotional, editorial and commercial photography. Create The Remarkable's clients range from non-profits such as Bridge to Enter Into Mathematics (BEAM) and The Committee of Interns and Residents to the City of New York.  Before co-founding CTR, he was the owner and Executive Producer of Barrio Media, a community focused video production company where he created content for institutions such as Harlem RBI, the East Harlem Business Capital Corporation, Boys and Girls Harbor, and the iconic El Museo Del Barrio.  Julián offers his skills as an educator at both the Tribeca Film Institute and Manhattan Youth.


Nikyatu Jusu

Sierra Leonean-American filmmaker Nikyatu Jusu's short films have played at festivals nationally and internationally garnering her NYU’s prestigious Spike Lee Fellowship Award, the Princess Grace  Narrative film grant and Director’s Guild of America Honorable Mentions to name a few. Three of her shorts were acquired by and aired on HBO. Her feature screenplay Free The Town  was one of 12 projects invited to participate in Sundance Institute’s inaugural 2013 Diverse Writers Workshop. Additionally FTT was hand selected for Africa’s most prestigious Film Market, the 2013 Durban Film Mart and one of 5 narrative films selected for Film Independent's Fast Track.

Presently Nikyatu is in development on her feature film FLOWERS, which she co-wrote/co-directed with Yvonne Shirley. The two are touring the festival circuit with the short film rendition of the feature for which they were recently awarded the HBO Short film award.


Frank R. Hooker Jr.

A graduate of City College of New York’s Undergraduate and Graduate Film Programs, Frank R. Hooker, Jr. has been at the cutting edge of guerilla filmmaking for 20 years.  As CEO of HarlemWood Entertainment, a multi-media company, he has amassed a large catalogue of work ranging from groundbreaking films.  His themes, which focus on, social injustice, identity, pathos, and nobility in the face of ignorance, serve as templates to relate a multi-cultural society to their commonalities.  Frank currently teaches film at Tribeca Film Institute and Fiorello H. LaGuardia Performing and Fine Arts High School in New York City. He also oversees “Future Filmmakers of America” which is a Newark, NJ Mayor Ras Baraka backed “City of Newark Cultural Affairs and Recreation Center” Arts program servicing ages 11-17.  


Danny Kim

Danny Kim is a media educator and activist focused on building awareness on social justice issues ranging from police accountability to ending war and militarism. As a Tribeca Film Fellow, he works with Asian American students in Chinatown to critically understand and deconstruct political, economic, social, and cultural forces affecting the changes in the neighborhood. Together with the young people, they are working to create stories based on real experiences of Chinatown community members facing struggles around housing and gentrification. Danny is also a part of a collective oral history project in which Korean American artists and activists work to connect with and uplift the history(s) of Korean people that have experienced war, division, and state repression. 


Arisleyda Dilone

Arisleyda Dilone makes film work about her life and her family. Born in Santiago de Los de Caballeros, Dominican Republic, she spent her formative years in a hillside village outside of the city of Santiago. At the age of seven she was brought to New York and raised in a suburb of Long Island. She is the first college graduate in her family. She was a 2012 Jerome Foundation-Travel and Study Grant Fellow, a 2014 UnionDocs Collaborative Fellow and a 2015 Queer Art/Mentorship Fellow, in which she completed this short film: Mami y Yo y Mi Gallito/Mom and Me and My Little Rooster. She was awarded a 2015 Astraea Intersex Fund grant to continue her ongoing documentary work around this topic. Arisleyda is a member of Diverse Filmmakers Alliance and Brooklyn Filmmakers Collective.


Suha Araj

Suha’s filmmaking explores the displacement of immigrant communities and her passion lies in bridging cultures. THE CUP READER, shot in Palestine premiered at the TriBeCa Film Festival 2013 and won the Next Great Filmmaker Award at the Berkshire International Film Festival and the Baghdad International Film Festival.  Her most recent film, PIONEER HIGH (2014) is based on the true story of her mother’s first days in the U.S. after immigration. She is in development on a feature film, Khsara (PICKLED) which has been supported by the Sundance Screenwriters Lab, Torino Film Lab, IFP No Borders, Emerging Visions and the Berlinale Talent Campus and Talent Market.

Suha also works with agencies and clients as a brand strategy consultant. She was a co-founder of DivineCaroline a publishing platform for women to tell their stories.  Currently she is a teaching artist with the TriBeCa Institute and Maysles Documentary Center in New York City.


Julian Klepper

Two things: I am a filmmaker and a teaching artist. As a filmmaker, I wrote, directed and starred in two projects which I am really proud of: Hey There Stranger and Free Therapy. Both comedies which examine inherently funny people in sad situations. As a teaching artist, I believe deeply in the power of the arts to transform lives by engaging students to be agents of positive personal and social change. I for work some of the best non-profits in the NYC area: TriBeca Film Institute, BRIC Arts and the Brooklyn Arts Council. Teaching helps me to become more compassionate and a better human which in turn improves me as a writer and filmmaker. I have dedicated my life to both and I will never cease to attempt to improve.


Christopher Emanuel Smith

Christopher Emanuel Smith began his filmmaking journey at the NYU Tisch School of the Arts where he earned an MFA in Film Production.  Based in New York City, he has worked on numerous projects as writer, director and editor and has had his work screened nationally and internationally.  His passion for filmmaking is only equaled by his passion as an educator. He has been teaching film studies and film production since 2012 through the Tribeca Film Institute while holding a Teaching Artist Residency.  He continues to balance his time as both an educator and working filmmaker. 





Flongia Telegrafi

Flonia Telegrafi is an Albanian-American mediamaker and educator. Her personal creative work, as well as her professional endeavours explore the themes of memory, identity, and belonging. An educator by training, she has over 12 years of teaching experience, having taught filmmaking and media literacy to high school and university students. Since 2012, as part of Tribeca Film Institute's educational initiatives, she has taught a filmmaking program for young women on Rikers Island, New York City’s largest jail.  Flonia has worked as an associate producer for WNET-13 and Cablevision. Her short-form documentary works have screened at Pangea Day and the Red Hook International Film Festival. Her journalistic writing has appeared in The New York World, Mott Haven Herald, and Hunts Point Express.  ARCHIVE OF MEMORY, an interactive, oral history project comprised of intimate stories from Albania's 50 year communist regime, is her first web-based documentary work.