Filming Seattle-based teacher Claudia Garcia in action. Photo courtesy of John Nimmo.

Brave Sprout is a woman-owned video production house specializing in educational and documentary filmmaking. We have over a decade of experience successfully delivering high-impact work ranging from simple training videos to complex campaigns designed to build social awareness. We believe that knowledge is, indeed, power and that engaging learning experiences can have a profoundly transformational effect on people’s lives. To that end, we are committed to crafting informative, compelling stories that drive organizational and cultural change.
We proudly share the values and commitments of our partner organization Northwest Film Forum, and support the vision of a world where all people have the power to express themselves and connect with each other through visual storytelling and culture: 
"​​​​​​​In recognition of the role of the arts as a vehicle for social change, we are committed to undoing systems of oppression in our work and lives. We are working every day to learn and dismantle racist, sexist, and inequitable systems in our lives and organization."

What does it look like when you put equity at the heart of what you do? “Reflecting on Anti-bias Education in Action: The Early Years” (48 minutes) is a documentary that highlights how eight west coast early childhood teachers are doing just that. Weaving together candid interviews with scenes of daily activities, play, and conversations with the children about their families and communities, the film visualizes how these teachers incorporate their identities and anti-bias principles into their daily work. In addition to being a resource for educators, the film is a provocation to anyone looking for strategies to support young children in building a more just world.
Awards and Festivals:
Northwest Regional Emmy® Nominee in DEI Long Form (2022) - Northwest Regional Emmy® Awards​​​​​​​
Documentary Feature-Silver Prize  (2021) - Social Justice Film Festival
Official Selection (2021) - Local Sightings Film Festival
Official Selection (2021) - Seattle Film Summit 2021
Award of Merit: Educational / Instructional / Training (August 2021) - IndieFEST Film Awards
Award of Merit: Use of Film for Social Change (August 2021) - IndieFEST Film Awards
Award of Merit: Documentary Feature (July 2021) - Impact DOCS Awards
Award of Merit: Use of Film for Social Change (July 2021) - Impact DOCS Awards
Official Selection (2021) - Toronto Lift-Off Film Festival 2021
Best Director of a Social Justice Film (May-June 2021) - Best Director Award - New York
Best Social Justice Film (May 2021) - Oniros Film Awards – New York
Award of Merit: Educational / Instructional / Training (May 2021) - Accolade Global Film Competition
Award of Merit: Liberation / Social Justice / Protest (May 2021) - Accolade Global Film Competition
Award of Merit: Use of Film for Social Change (May 2021) - Accolade Global Film Competition
Best Short Documentary (April 2021) - Toronto International Women Film Festival
Best Educational Feature Film (April 2021) - Istanbul Film Awards - IFA
Best Social Justice Feature Film (April 2021) - Istanbul Film Awards - IFA
Best Social Justice Film (April 2021) - New York International Film Awards - NYIFA
Official Selection (April 2021) - Canadian Diversity Film Festival - CDFF

Filming for Reflecting on Anti-Bias Education in Action: The Early Years took place in Seattle, WA and San Francisco/CA. Shown here is Seattle-based teacher Joyce Jackson working with her students and project collaborators (from left to right): Cinematographer Jonah Kozlowski, Associate Professor/Project Co-Leader John Nimmo and Director Filiz Efe McKinney. Photo courtesy of Project Co-Leader Debbie LeeKeenan.

Director Statement:
As an immigrant, woman filmmaker, I’m personally invested in the topics of cultural identity, diversity, and equity. Having grown up halfway across the world, I have daily reminders that I’m not from around here, so I’m familiar with feeling like “the other”. This is one of the key motivators for putting social justice at the heart of what I do. And, the empathy I’ve developed through that experience informs the emotional core of my work. I want my films to be a provocation for critical thinking about our shared responsibility to make positive change. More importantly, I want my films to help start a conversation.
So, when the Producers Debbie LeeKeenan and John Nimmo approached me about making an anti-bias education film, I was on board immediately. As excited as I was about the topic, I was even more excited about the approach. We all agreed that we wanted to avoid presenting voices of authority and really lean into an authentic representation of how teachers were weaving anti-bias techniques into their daily work. This focus on authenticity was our north star and informed every decision we made. A big part of this was demystifying our filmmaking process for both the children and the adults. By being open about what we were doing, and giving everyone a peek at how we were doing it, they were able to get comfortable around the camera on our first day of filming. Which is how we were able to capture their authentic selves.
We started out with a well-established theoretical framework, but because we had adopted a documentary approach, I had to build a production plan without a predefined script. Instead, Debbie and John would take notes during filming and distill them into key messages. It was up to me to find ways to translate those messages into a series of vignettes based on individual classroom activities. It was a scary creative process. But, by treating specific scenes somewhat independently, I was able to experiment and even gave myself the freedom to fail at the small scale. Our collaborative approach passed the test when I edited together the first vignette. We all breathed a sigh of relief as our path forward became clear.
The film’s central question is “Why place equity and diversity at the heart of what you do?” And, early in the film, teacher Veronica Reynoso responds by stating that building a vision for the future starts from an exploration of the self and asks, "What kind of human do you want to be?" We never give a pat answer or a simple checklist for either question. There simply isn’t one. Instead, we present a guiding framework for exploring those questions through conversation and daily activities. Our goal is to incite you to answer them yourself and to spark a conversation within your community that extends well past the credits. We hope that our film can help guide this exploration.
So, what kind of human do you want to be?
Filiz Efe McKinney

Debbie LeeKeenan, Filiz Efe McKinney, John Nimmo (2021)

Latest News
4/12/2022 – Portland State University College of Education – Regional Emmy nomination announced!!
March 18-20, 2022 – Best of the Fest 2022. The Social Justice Film Festival and Institute in Spokane, WA presents Best of the Fest 2022, a weekend film festival of 12 award-winning films selected from the program of the 2021 Social Justice Film Festival.
February, 2022 – The film, Reflecting On Anti-bias Education In Action: The Early Years, has inspired many other initiatives. Here is a one by our colleague, Mona Abo-Zena from UMASS Boston.  #KnowBetterDoBetter- What Kind of Human Do You Want to Be? Commit to an Anti-bias Campaign!
10/5/2021 –
Anti-bias Film Premier
09/25/2021 – The SunBreak – A Moviegoing Lifestyle Magazine 
Summer 2021 – 
July/August 2021 – 
05/28/2021 - Embrace Race 
05/19/2021 - Portland State University 
04/30/2021 - The Efshar Project 
04/30/2021 – Defending the Early Years 
04/27/2021 – Exchange Everyday / Dimensions Educational Research Foundation 
04/11/2021 - The Early Link Podcast / Children's Institute 
04/07/2021 - Exchange Everyday / Dimensions Educational Research Foundation 
04/02/2021 - Teaching for Change 
03/22/2021 - Teachers College Press / Columbia University 
10/26/2020 - Portland State University 

Teaching Filmmaking Fundamentals at Northwest Film Forum. Photo courtesy of Jonah Kozlowski.

About Filiz:
Filiz Efe McKinney is a Turkish-American filmmaker based in Seattle, Washington. Her work focuses on supporting diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives. Filiz sees film as a provocation for deeper understanding on an emotional level, and as a springboard to broaden discussion within communities and drive organizational and cultural change. This storytelling approach is exemplified in her recent documentary, Reflecting on Anti-bias Education in Action: The Early Years (2022 Northwest Regional Emmy® nominee in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Category / Long Form). 

When not helming Brave Sprout, her production company, Filiz serves on the boards of KUOW Puget Sound Public Radio and Northwest Film Forum, where she works to help create a more equitable and vibrant future in Greater Seattle.

A University of Washington graduate and a multidisciplinary filmmaker, Filiz holds a Master of Communication in Digital Media, a Master of Arts in Communication Strategies and Public Relations, and a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Cinematography.
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