Coach Emily (w.t.) is a feature documentary that follows Emily Taylor, an Oakland-based Black and queer rock-climbing coach, as she battles systemic racism in her professional and personal life.
Through her Brown Girls Climbing program, Emily supports young girls of color (including her own daughter) as they grapple with discrimination in the climbing world and work to define their identities.
Watch our 8 minute short film to get a preview of the feature doc to come!
Director, Producer, Cinematographer
Pallavi Somusetty is a filmmaker who creates doc portraits that center BIPOC voices in the hope that we feel fully seen in the complexities of our identities and journeys, and that meaningful impact can result. Since 2020, she has been a series producer for A-Doc (including Emmy-nominated series Asian American Stories of Resilience and Beyond) and is a supervising producer for their 2024 shorts initiative in partnership with WORLD Channel. Pallavi's feature directorial debut in progress, COACH EMILY, is a 2023 DocLands DocPitch Industry Award recipient, and 2022 Athena’s Works in Progress Pitch Forum participant. Pallavi is also producing CHIRAKU (Dir. Neelu Bhuman) about a young transman’s dreams of becoming a commercial pilot. She is a 2023 Unlock Her Potential Mentee working with Linda Goldstein Knowlton, and a 2022 Center for Asian American Media Fellow with mentorship support from Marjan Safinia.
Her award-winning short doc, Escaping Agra, which chronicles a young trans Indian American teen’s experience of being illegally detained in India, has screened in festivals across the world, and her work has been supported by The Puffin Foundation, Eddie Bauer, Studio IX Project, Center for Cultural Innovation, and more. Pallavi holds a documentary-focused Master in Journalism from UC Berkeley and a BA in Creative Writing from UC Santa Cruz. In her spare time, she climbs rocks with her kids and supports incarcerated pregnant people as a trained doula.
Debra Wilson (she/her) is an award-winning director and producer. Her directorial debut with Butch Mystique massed several awards and aired on Showtime. Her second film Jumpin' the Broom, aired on Showtime as well. As a creative producer, she has produced such films as the award-winning feature Mississippi Damned, two ITVS Futurestates shorts Crossover and Ant, and The Lake Merritt Monster, supported by San Francisco FilmHouse. Debra was a location manager for over 10 years. She worked on films like Milk, Contagion, Blindspotting, and Ryan Coogler's breakout film Fruitvale Station where Debra won the California On Location Award for Best Location Team.
In 2020 Debra won the Stop Stigma award for her short documentary The Lucky Ones from Canberra Film Festival. In 2022, Debra produced the National Endowment of the Arts docuseries "Roots of American Culture," honoring the recipients of the National Heritage Fellowship. As the producer for Coach Emily, Debra participated in the 2022 Sundance Producers Lab Intensive and is producing the short documentary Women Who Ride, which has received support from Re-Present Media. Debra is an SF FilmHouse Residency alum and BAVC National MediaMaker Fellow. She earned her B.A. from Cal-State University Northridge in T.V./Film.
Jen Gilomen is an award-winning documentary producer, director, and cinematographer who has created films screened on PBS, Netflix, Amazon, and at film festivals around the world, exploring topics such as queer issues, youth, immigration, and climate change. Jen often works collaboratively with subjects and has practiced participatory filmmaking and done extensive impact work since 2005. In addition to directing, producing, and shooting her own work, Jen often creates client media and serves as a DP, additional cinematographer, or consulting producer for other talented Bay Area filmmakers. She has had a long career mentoring and supporting other filmmakers as a director at BAVC Media, supervising producer at ITVS, board member of Working Films, member of distribution cooperative New Day Films, and co-founder of the Collective of Documentary Women Cinematographers. Jen is an associate of the U.C. Berkeley Investigative Reporting Program and member of the Documentary Producers Alliance, Film Fatales, and Bay Area Women Director’s Collective, and lives in San Francisco with her wife and four-year-old daughter. She is currently freelance producing as well as directing, producing, and shooting two films about different aspects of the maternal healthcare crisis, one a feature called DELIVERING JUSTICE, and the other BORN FOR THIS, through her production company Forward Films.
Jessica Jones is an Emmy® nominated documentary filmmaker and editor and a 2023 Sundance Editors Lab participant. Her work often focuses on community, cultural representation, and racial equity through character-driven narratives. Jessica recently edited BORN FOR THIS, a feature documentary following one family in Oakland as they plan and hope for a home birth. She has served as an assistant editor for multiple feature documentaries, including “A Fragile Trust”, and an associate editor for “Voices Rising: Music of Wakanda Forever”. She has edited numerous short documentaries, which have appeared on the New York Times, KQED, the BBC and @instagram. In 2021, she completed a short film ON THE PULSE OF LIFE, which screened at the Smithsonian FUTURES exhibit. A resident of Oakland for almost 10 years, Jessica freelance edits documentary features and shorts. Currently, she is directing and editing a short documentary called WOMEN WHO RIDE, about Oakland’s first Black all-women motorcycle club, and is a consulting producer for DELIVERING JUSTICE.
Coach Emily is a powerhouse — she shows up for her students and their families both on and off the rock. She uses a holistic teaching method to cultivate physical and emotional self-awareness in young Black and brown girls and non-binary kids. She and her students navigate a predominantly white outdoor adventure industry that often lobbies racism, sexism, ableism, and homophobia in BIPOC communities. Yet we have filmed Emily and her students enduring and finding their own piece of hard-won beauty at the top of a precipice. In doing so, they challenge the notion of which persons can occupy these spaces.
if you believe in the power of documentary film to create change. We have filmed Emily and the Brown Girls Climbing team from Oakland to Yosemite to Hawaii and back, from 2019 to the present day. Now we are raising funds both for a culminating climbing shoot that incorporates Emily’s holistic teaching approach with our cinematic vision, and to complete our film.
Funds go towards final production costs (cinematic climbing shoot), post-production support (allowing our award-winning editor and assistant editor to complete the film by 2023), and impact campaign financing (bringing adventure experiences to urban students with less access to the outdoors).
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We're eager to chat about partnerships to support the completion of our feature film, and our impact and outreach plans. Please get in touch!