Lisa Russell is an Emmy® Award-winning documentary filmmaker and global health advocate who has 10+ years producing films and creative projects/outreach campaigns with UN/NGO agencies. Given her wide platform in the intersection of arts, creativity and global development, she is a nationally renowned keynote and TEDx speaker, writer, creative curator and global storyteller and is a regular presenter at leading universities, international conferences and youth leadership programs..
After completing her Masters in Public Health (MPH) in 1998, Lisa began her career as a humanitarian aid worker in Kosovo and Albania during the 1999 war. It was there she became inspired to become a storyteller and set out to learn all aspects of the filmmaking craft. Since then, Lisa has pushed the boundaries of forging creative advocacy with global development and has an extensive portfolio of work that spans the globe. Some of her well known work includes Love, Labor, Loss on obstetric fistula in Niger, Youth Zones on the impact of war and natural disasters on young people in Liberia, Lebanon, Colombia, Northern Uganda and New Orleans, USA. It's About the People on voluntary medical male circumcision in Tanzania, and Mother's Cry, a poetry-based video on climate change.
In addition to her filmmaking activities, Lisa is considered a leading advocate for the inclusion of creative communities in global health advocacy. As a teaching artist for young artists, Lisa embeds socially conscious performing artists in her filmmaking distribution and activism efforts. Lisa has collaborated with Grammy-nominated artist Zap Mama to create “The WOMAN Tour” –- a three-week nationwide initiative of film screenings and musical performances to increase awareness of women's issues. Lisa was also co-founder with soul singer Maya Azucena - MDGFive.com, a new media site which unites artists and activists for maternal health. Recently she worked with Grammy-winning musician and actor Common and Tanzanian hip hop icon, Fid Q, on a film profiling an innovative HIV prevention program targeting young African men. She also is the personal filmmaker for Ms. Lauryn Hill's privat events. In 2014, she launched a new initiative called “I Sell the Shadow” that aims on building meaningful and sustainable partnerships between creative professionals and international agencies. Under this initiative, she has curated high level events at the United Nations with socially conscious artists for the UN's High Level Meeting on Youth, High Level Meeting on HIV/AIDS, the Launch of the World Youth Report, the ECOSOC Youth Forum, the International Day of Youth and other events. Because of her expertise in filmmaking and global development, she has been asked to participate as an annual judge for the Population Connection Youth Filmmaking Initiative and the Every Footstep Counts Video Contest for Positive Action for Children Fund (PACF) in association with MTV/Staying Alive Foundation, the International AIDS Society and Keep a Child Alive. She is currently completing a short film on the role of artists in meeting the UN Sustainable Development Goals for Under Secretary General, Thomas Gass and the SDG Advocacy Group.
Lisa also applies her creative expertise with international conferences, curating the first ever Bhutan International Film Festival, the Women Deliver Cinema Corners in Copenhagen, Denmark (2016), Kulala Lumpur, Malaysia (2013) and Washington, DC (2010) and the Union World Conference on Lung Health.
Lisa also has experience with broadcast television. She was chosen as one of 25 filmmakers for the prestigious CPB/PBS Producer's Academy and the National Black Programming Consortium's New Media Institute, is a two time producer for WGBH's Lab Open Call and is a 2008 recipient of a New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA) grant and a Paul Robeson Fund for Independent Media Grant. In May 2009, she won a Boston/New England Emmy® Award in the "Outstanding Advanced Media Interactivity" category for her short film, "Bi-Racial Hair."
Lisa has ventured into VR/360 filmmaking through her involvement as a participating artist in the 2016 Art a Hack and the 2016 POV Digital Media Labs.
Currently residing in Brooklyn, NY, Lisa continues her work as a teaching artist for Urban Word NYC, a free after-school program for young writers and poets and also conducts digital storytelling workshops in various countries. She also is a widely revered speaker, writer and facilitator of a workshop around “Narrative Justice.”