Rada Studio began 20 years ago as a partnership between spouses Joe Brewster and Michèle Stephenson. Balancing family life obligations with their artistic passions over the years, Michèle and Joe were determined to tell their stories without compromise and in an unapologetic way that centered the lived experience of the Black diaspora. The journey became as important as the story and a calling emerged for them that filled their life with purpose and community. The result is a resonant body of creative work that includes fiction films, feature and short form documentaries, immersive media installations, and experimental hybrid films. They have also authored books that challenge and inspire audiences across the world to think critically about their own place and roles in society.
January 2023, will bring to the audiences the culmination of 7 years of work by the duo director team-the World Premiere of GOING TO MARS: THE NIKKI GIOVANNI PROJECT at the Sundance Film Festival.
Also, the Brewster/Stephenson collaborative process continues to expand and is
passing the torch to the next generation of creatives. In 2021, Traveling the Interstitium with Octavia Butler, an immersive media project co-directed by their son, Idris Brewster, premiered at Sundance. Parent and son team are also currently collaborating on an immersive experience project launching in 2023. The Rada Studio team is extremely grateful for what this journey continues to teach and reveal through the stories it has told.
RADA STUDIO TEAM
Producer and Director, Joe Brewster is a Harvard trained psychiatrist who uses his training as the foundation in approaching the social issues he tackles as an artist and filmmaker. Brewster wrote and directed his first film, The Keeper (1995), after a two year-long stint as a prison psychiatrist at the notorious Brooklyn House of Detention.
The Keeper was screened at the Edinberg, Toronto, and Sundance Festivals; receiving numerous awards. Brewster has never looked back. In the past three decades, Joe Brewster has produced and directed narrative, documentary films, and immersive media. His feature documentary, American Promise, was nominated for three Emmys and won the Jury Prize at Sundance. In 2022, Brewster produced the O-DOGG: An Angeleno Take on Othello, featuring Tariq "Black Thought" Trotter, for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. His groundbreaking room-scale production premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and received a jury prize at the Tribeca Festival in 2021 for Best Immersive Experience. Brewster has produced and directed dozens of documentary works on PBS, Netflix, Amazon, Aljazeera, Vice, the Sundance Channel, Comcast, Disney, and the World Channel. He is a recipient of fellowships and grants from the Sundance Institute, the Tribeca Film Institute, BAVC, MacArthur Foundation, and most recently the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation. Joe Brewster is also a member of The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) and a four-time Emmy nominee. He has two children and resides in Brooklyn, New York, with his wife and cat, Tama.
Filmmaker, artist and author, Michèle Stephenson, pulls from her Haitian and Panamanian roots to think radically about storytelling and disrupt the imaginary in non-fiction spaces. She tells emotionally driven personal stories of resistance and identity that center the lived experiences of communities of color in the Americas and the Black diaspora. Her stories intentionally reimagine and provoke thought about how we engage with and dismantle the internalized impact of systemic oppression. Stephenson draws on fiction, immersive and hybrid forms of storytelling to build her worlds and narratives. Her feature documentary, American Promise, was nominated for three Emmys and won the Jury Prize at Sundance. Her work, Stateless, was nominated for a Canadian Academy Award for Best Feature Documentary. Most recently, Stephenson collaborated as co-director on the magical realist virtual reality trilogy series on racial terror, The Changing Same, which was nominated for an Emmy in the Outstanding Interactive Media Innovative category and premiered at Sundance Film Festival. It also won the Grand Jury Prize for Best Immersive Narrative at the Tribeca Film Festival. Along with her writing partners, Joe Brewster and Hilary Beard, Stephenson won an NAACP Image Award for Excellence in a Literary Work for their book, Promises Kept. She is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science, a Guggenheim Artist Fellow, a Creative Capital Artist awardee.
Kiana Jackson has worked in documentary for 6 years, producing content for TV, film, and digital
platforms including Netflix and PBS. In her work with Rada, she has developed and produced content
which centers BIPOC voices and perspectives. Whether she is researching decades old allegations of
abuse at an all boys school, connecting with children of parents who have been incarcerated, or listening to the experiences of BIPOC folks in a white healthcare system, Kiana has always had a passion for honest storytelling and the people who make these stories worth sharing. Originally from California, now living and working in Brooklyn, New York; she can be found hiking with her beagle or not found, because she's in her apartment watching a movie.