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:
"Based in the city currently known as Seattle, we acknowledge that we are located on the ancestral lands and territories of the Coast Salish people, including the Duwamish Tribe (Dkhw Duw’Absh), who are still present among us and leading much of the important cultural and societal work in the region.
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."
Brave Sprout partnered with Debbie LeeKeenan and John Nimmo on a documentary film. The 48-minute film Reflecting on Anti-bias Education in Action: The Early Years, shifts the focus away from the talking heads of experts and on to the voices of teachers committed to diversity and equity on a daily basis.
Awards and Festivals:
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
Best Short Documentary (April 2021) - Toronto International Women Film Festival
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 Social Justice Film (May 2021) - Oniros Film Awards – New York
Best Director of a Social Justice Film (May-June 2021) - Best Director Award - New York
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
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
About the Artist:
Filiz Efe McKinney is a Turkish American documentary filmmaker who typically wears the producer, director, and editor hats. She runs Brave Sprout, a film production house that is committed to crafting compelling educational films that drive organizational and cultural change.
Since 2016, Filiz’s work has specifically focused on supporting anti-bias, diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives with the University of Washington, City of Seattle, and Black Lives Matter Seattle-King County. She directed Reflecting on Anti-bias Education in Action: The Early Years (2021), a feature documentary that shifts the focus away from the talking heads of experts and on to the voices of teachers who place diversity and equity at the heart of what they do. Her upcoming documentary, Sounds Like Home, focuses on how accent bias affects individuals and society more broadly.
Filiz’s approach to filmmaking is to connect with the audience on an emotional level to deepen understanding, and create films that serve as a springboard to broaden discussion within communities. She also serves on the boards of KUOW Puget Sound Public Radio and Northwest Film Forum to help create a more equitable and vibrant future in Greater Seattle.
A multidisciplinary artist, 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.