Melissa Beatriz is a documentary filmmaker, media educator, writer, and cultural producer based in Philadelphia. As an artist, she believes that visual images and film have the power to create social change in order to resist the injustices that immigrants, people of color, and marginalized groups face. Her media work focuses on advancing immigrant rights, education equality, and decarceration, as well as preserving folkloric arts and culture. Influenced by growing up in a bicultural Uruguayan-American familia, her projects are often bilingual.
Since 2010, she has been working with grassroots organizations, arts/cultural spaces, and film festivals throughout Philadelphia, while using a range of tools for community building and storytelling. Some of these collaborations include working with Scribe Video Center, BlackStarFilm Festival, PHL Latino Film Festival, Reentry Think Tank, Media Mobilizing Project (MMP), and Taller Puertorriqueño.
Melissa’s recent documentary film collaborations include Baobab Flowers (creative producer), When Life Gives You Lemons (director), and The Engine of My Life (co-director). She is currently directing a project that centers the stories of immigrant rights leaders in Philadelphia, in partnership with the #ShutDownBerks campaign. She was invited to participate in the Sundance Institute’s 2017 New Frontier Philadelphia Day Lab intensive and the Public VR Lab. Melissa is a Double Exposure Scholar (2018) and an MMP Movement Media Fellow (2014). She is a recipient of the Leeway Foundation Window of Opportunity (2017) and Art & Change (2012) grants.
Melissa, Joanna Siegel, and Kate Zambon were awarded an Art and Change Grant in 2012. Learn more about that project here.