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.
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 is an award-winning filmmaker with artist grants from Showtime, San Francisco Foundation, Bay Area Video Coalition (BAVC) National MediaMakers Fellow, and more. Debra directed and produced the award-winning documentary Butch Mystique, and the critically acclaimed documentary Jumpin' the Broom, both which aired on Showtime. As location manager, 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 directed and produced the documentary short The Lucky Ones and received the Stop Stigma award from Canberra Film Festival. In 2022, she produced the online docuseries “Roots of American Culture” honoring the National Heritage Recipients for the National Endowment of the Artists. As the producer for Coach Emily, Debra was selected for the Sundance Producer Lab Intensive and is producing the short documentary Women Who Ride which has received support from Re-Present Media. Debra is an alum of SF FilmHouse, CID/Kopkind Workshop, and Kopkind Film Residency. She earned her BA from Cal-State University Northridge in TV/Film.
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.
Tax-deductible donations can be made through our fiscal sponsor, Women Make Movies. Thank you in advance for your generosity and investment in our vision!
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!