Emily Ratner is a lawyer whose practice focuses on civil rights and criminal defense in particular. She has studied film production with the New York Film Academy and the Cleveland Film Society. She has trained in social justice organizing and conflict resolution with a number of organizations, including Witness for Peace and the Peoples Institute for Survival and Beyond. In addition to her work with Patois, she also organizes with several New Orleans social justice organizations, including New Orleans Palestine Solidarity (NOLAPS) and the Organizers’ Roundtable.]]>
jewel bush, a New Orleans native, is an award-winning writer and communications professional. Her work has appeared in such newspapers as The Washington Post, Times-Picayune and The (Houma) Courier. She has covered international stories in places like Haiti and Palestine and has won numerous awards including distinctions from the Louisiana Press Association and the New York Times Regional Media Group. She writes a weekly opinion column for the Internet-based, Uptown Messenger.
bush has participated in VONA/Voices, the only multi-genre workshop for writers of color in the nation at the University of San Francisco as well as Callaloo Creative Writing Workshop at Texas A&M University. In 2010, she founded MelaNated Writers Collective, a multi-genre group for writers of color in New Orleans dedicated to cultivating the literary, artistic and professional growth of emerging writers. Her short story, “Red Polish” appears in “Dismantle: An Anthology of Writing from the VONA/Voices Writing Workshop.”
bush also has a diverse background in organizing and advocacy working with political prisoners, healthcare, reproductive justice organizations as well as labor unions.
She currently serves on the board of the Justice and Accountability Center of Louisiana and previously served as media consultant for Patois: New Orleans International Human Rights Film Festival for three seasons, 2009-2011.
A native New Orleanian and filmmaker, Gianna Chachere is also Producer of the Hamptons International Film Festival. A film curator for the IFP Market, the Two Boots Pioneer Theater and Howl Film Festival, Gianna is the former Festival Director of the Slamdance Film Festival in Park City, where she also served as Director of Screenplays. In 2003, she co-founded the Don’t Knock the Rock Film and Music Festival in Los Angeles with filmmaker Allison Anders. Gianna is also Co-founder of Righteous Fur, which produces events to protect Louisiana’s wetlands and is the founder of Sprout and Skillet, a children’s gardening and nutrition program in schools for traditionally low-income multi-ethnic communities in Los Angeles and New York.
Sebastian Rey is a born and raised New Orleanian. He has been combining his background in media production and a passion for social justice for over 15 years. His work in New Orleans’ film industry spanned from the production office to the costume department. He brings that attention to detail and production value to his current work; he co-owns and operates Let’s Hatch Media, which produces web solutions for businesses and non-profits. In addition to serving on the Board of Patois, he is the President of the LGBT Community Center of New Orleans.]]>
Mwende Katwiwa is a recent graduate of Tulane University where she received a dual degree in Political Economy and African & African Diaspora Studies. Through the Tulane-AmeriCorps Fellows Program, she is currently working with Women With A Vision (wwav-no.org), a social justice non-profit that addresses issues faced by women of color in New Orleans. She is a published, award-winning spoken word artist under the stage name “FreeQuency” (FreeQthaMighty.Tumblr.com or search FaceBook for FreeQuency aka FreeQ tha Mighty) who is currently on Team Slam New Orleans (Team SNO), New Orleans’ 2 time National Poetry Slam Championship winning team. She is also a contributing writer for Winnovating (www.winnovating.com), a website dedicated to profiling and highlighting Women Innovators (Winnovators) around the world, and was the chair of the 2014 Tulane Black Arts Festival (http://
Jordan Flaherty is a writer and community organizer based in New Orleans. He was the first journalist with a national audience to write about the Jena Six case, and played an important role in bringing the story to national attention. He has worked extensively in film and journalism, editing several feature films, co-producing the award-winning independent feature Chocolate Babies, and working for producers including Francis Ford Coppola, Michael Stipe, Christine Vachon and Bill Cosby. He has reported on arts, culture and politics internationally, from covering the Tehran Film Festival for The Village Voice, to reporting on nightlife in Cuba. Jordan has been involved with Patois since its founding in 2004.]]>
Hi everyone! In the midst of badgering you all to like the new Facebook page, bombarding you with Twitter updates, and exhausting my laptop keyboard typing out grant proposals, I forgot to introduce myself to everyone. I’m Jessica Callahan, and I’m beyond thrilled to be the new Director of Patois.
I spent a good portion of my life in rural West Texas in a tiny town of less than 800 people–you can bet that outlets such as stories and film were a welcome window into the wider world for me. The most exciting thing to me about film is that it can provide accessibility to complex issues. The connection created from the focus of a film to its viewers is one unlike any other. Patois is more than a film festival, in my opinion; it’s a platform fostering relationships between social justice and art, catalyzing awareness into action.
One of the best nights of my life was when I got to meet and introduce Angela Davis to over 1000 people as a speaker in the “Conversations on Power, Privilege, Race and Justice” lecture series that I helped to organize in 2013.
These days I strive to create events that give people that same chill of knowing they’re participating in a moment that could just maybe change the world. For this reason, I’m so excited to be a part of Patois now.
All this being said–we need your help! If Patois is going to be great, it will be because of all of you. We need people to care about Patois. If you’re an artist, activist, photographer, healer, dancer, musician, storyteller, writer, actor, filmmaker, film-lover, student, teacher, neighbor….we want you to be a part of Patois. So come, bring your ideas, your dreams, your concerns and your worries. Your engagement will make Patois that much stronger.
In addition to my time with Patois, I work at the LGBT Community Center of New Orleans and intern at the Press Street community arts center. If you want to read more about me, you can find me at my personal blog, or perhaps in real life at one of the Mid-City coffee shops where I spend at least 60% of my time.]]>
PATOIS: the New Orleans International Human Rights Film Festival has started up again. We took some time off for rest and reflection, and we are now ready to jump back into action–we hope you’ll join us!
Here at PATOIS, we care about film, and we care about people. We are an international human rights film festival committed to social justice. Since 2004, we’ve hosted seven film festivals in New Orleans and we’re gearing up for the 2015 Festival now.
In the meantime, be sure to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. We’re cookin’ up some great stuff that you won’t want to miss!]]>