ISHA SESAY is a Peabody Award and Gracie award-winning journalist who covered the 2014 kidnapping of more than 200 schoolgirls in northeastern Nigeria. Throughout her career as a social justice reporter, and 13-year anchor with CNN International, Sesay is committed to shining a light on the most critical and under-reported stories from across the globe – from the pandemic outbreak in Africa to her work as a United Nations Goodwill Ambassador combatting the ongoing violence against women and girls.

Sesay is the founder and president of W.E. (Women Everywhere) Can Lead, a non-profit organization in Sierra Leone empowering teenage girls to become Africa’s next generation of dynamic female leaders.  She published Beneath the Tamarind Tree in 2018 -- the first definitive account of the mass abduction of the Nigerian schoolgirls. 

EXECUTIVE PRODUCER

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Sesay was recently named co-founder and CEO of OkayMedia’s new production arm, SPKN/WRD. The boutique production company will bring seldom heard global voices and fresh perspectives to the cultural forefront. Central to her priorities will be expanding the company’s commitment to innovative storytelling to move global culture to the forward.   She is also a member of OkayMedia’s board of directors – which includes the manager of The Roots.

 

Of Sierra Leonean descent, Sesay grew up in Britain and holds a BA with honors in English from Trinity College, Cambridge University.

THE FILMMAKERS

From cinema vérité to impressionistic documentaries,  TINA DiFELICIANTONIO + JANE C. WAGNER’s critically acclaimed films have been screened and broadcast in countries throughout the world.  Their wide-ranging work—teenage sexuality, AIDS, civil rights, art, science, ethics, wartime rape, education, child abuse, sustainable energy, alien abductions, human rights and social justice—has garnered dozens of top honors, such as two National Emmy Awards, and, two Sundance Film Festival Awards, including the Grand Jury Prize for Best Documentary.

DiFeliciantonio and Wagner began their professional careers after graduating from Stanford University’s M.A. Film Program, where DiFeliciantonio made her directorial debut with the student Academy Award-winning LIVING WITH AIDS, which was the first film on the subject to be broadcast nationally on PBS. 

 

Over the course of 35 years, DiFeliciantonio and Wagner’s intellectual and creative collaboration continue to be sustained by a shared vision and passion for storytelling.  They have produced in countries throughout the world, including Hungary, Senegal, Abu Dhabi, Bangladesh, India, Japan, Australia, Jamaica, China, England, Mexico, and Turkey.  Their films have been seen on PBS, Sundance Channel, Showtime, T.L.C., MTV, SyFy, U.S.A. Networks and foreign television.

They have participated on juries and moderated panels for the Sundance Film Festival, International Documentary Association, New York Women in Film & Television, Independent Television Service, Jerome Foundation, and P.O.V./PBS, among others. DiFeliciantonio and Wagner also serve(d) on the Board of Directors of such organizations as ITVS, Women Make Movies, Frameline, Foundation of Independent Film and Videomakers, and Independent Filmworks Inc. 

 

Over the years, they had the pleasure of collaborating with documentary filmmakers in the roles of cinematographer (DiFeliciantonio), editor (Wagner) and consulting producers on such films as Roger Williams' Oscar-Winner "Music By Prudence" (both).  DiFeliciantonio has worked on a number of fiction feature films with directors such as Jonathan Demme, Mira Nair, and Susan Seidelman.

 

DiFeliciantonio and Wagner are dedicated to mentoring the next generation of filmmakers and have enjoyed teaching at educational institutions, including Columbia University, N.Y.U., Swarthmore College, and the Oklahoma Arts Institute. 

DiFeliciantonio is especially committed to public service and was appointed eight years ago to Manhattan Community Board 4, where she sits on a variety of committees, including the Racial and Social Justice Task Force.  In addition, she sits on the board of the Flatiron Business Improvement District, and is a former member of the 34th Street BID.  For five years Tina participated on the Advisory Board of a homeless shelter that serves mentally ill and substance dependent men, and is a founder of the HDFC Coalition, a policy and support organization that advocates and creates legislation for fair and affordable housing.

 

Wagner holds an M.Sc. in Political Sociology and a B.Sc. Political Science and Economics from the London School of Economics.  DiFeliciantonio holds a B.S. in Humanities and a B.S. in Business from Drexel University.  Each graduated from Stanford University with an M.A. in Communication.