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 South Asian American documentary filmmaker and visual storyteller residing on unceded Lisjan Ohlone land (Oakland, CA). She has a passion for amplifying social justice issues by focusing on personal stories about marginalized communities. Her priority is to create portraits that both center BIPOC voices and offer an opportunity to feel fully seen in both identities and journeys. Pallavi’s award-winning documentary, Escaping Agra, has screened in festivals across the world. She holds a documentary-focused Master in Journalism from UC Berkeley studying with Orlando Bagwell, and a BA in Creative Writing from UC Santa Cruz. As a Director and DP, Pallavi is currently filming her first feature documentary. In her spare time, she climbs rocks with her family and provides doula support for incarcerated pregnant people.
Debra Wilson is an award-winning filmmaker. She made her directorial debut with her documentary Butch Mystique, which aired on Showtime. She followed it up with her next short documentary, Jumpin’ the Broom, which premiered on Showtime. She has produced several scripted films, such as the award-winning feature Mississippi Damned, directed by Tina Mabry. She produced several scripted shorts, two for ITVS Futurestates Crossover and Ant, also directed by Mabry, and the scripted shorts I Don’t. In 2019, Debra produced The Lake Merritt Monster, a film supported by San Francisco FilmHouse. For over ten years, Debra worked as a location manager and scout on such projects as Hereafter, Contagion, The Master, Looking, Sense8, 13 Reasons Why and others. Debra has been a BAVC National MediaMaker Fellow and San Francisco FilmHouse Resident. In 2020 her award-winning short documentary The Lucky Ones screened virtually in several festivals and had a theater screening.
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!