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Since 2018, Logan Elevate Grant provides funds to emerging women and non-binary filmmakers of color directing feature-length journalistic documentary films. From 2022 onward IDA will award $30,000 to three grantees. This grant provides story consulting for grantees and also funds educational programming throughout the year. This program is made possible by the generosity of the Jonathan Logan Family Foundation.

2024 Grantees

Filmmakers Asmahan Bkerat, Cherish Oteka, and Sharon Yeung are selected out of 76 nominees to receive $30,000 each supporting their feature-length journalistic documentary films. Made possible by the Jonathan Logan Foundation, the Logan Elevate Grant provided $380,000 to support 17 filmmakers in addition to story consulting for grantees since 2018.

Asmahan Bkerat
Asmahan Bkerat headshot.

About the Project

Project: Concrete Land

Asmahan Bkerat

Asmahan Bkerat is a Palestinian-Jordanian documentary filmmaker. She started her career as a photographer and social justice advocate. Bkerat’s first short documentary Badrya won the Jury Prize for Best MiniDoc at the Sebastopol Documentary Film Festival. She is currently directing /Producing her first feature documentary Concrete Land and producing the feature doc Harvest Moon, and If These Stones Could Talk alongside other short doc films. Asmahan is also working on establishing a Documentary Association and collective for the MENA region. She is an alumna of Sundance, Hot Docs, IDFA, Thessaloniki, DFI, SDI, The Whickers, The American Film Showcase, Cannes Docs, Dhaka Doc Lab, DMZ, Doc Edge, AIDC, and IMS.

Cherish Oteka
Cherish Oteka headshot.

About the Project

Project: Gay Games

Cherish Oteka

Cherish Oteka (they/them) is a BAFTA award-winning filmmaker with a passion for telling nuanced human-interest stories with a cinematic flair.

In 2022, Cherish's won a BAFTA in the British Short Film category for their docu-drama The Black Cop. In 2024, Cherish was named as a Breakthrough Creator by Vimeo in 2023 as well as winning UKTV’s Rising Star Award and the Best Documentary Award at the Movie Screen and Video Awards.

Cherish has worked with a range of well-known brands and broadcasters including BBC One, Tate, Stonewall, SBTV, London Live, BBC Digital and The Guardian.

Cherish is currently directing and producing their first cinematic feature documentary about the Gay Games.

Sharon Yeung
Sharon Yeung headshot.

About the Project

Project: We Are Volcanoes

Sharon Yeung

Sharon is a Hong Kong director-producer who tells stories across short, feature and immersive formats. Her immersive documentaries, MADE, a VR piece that follows an iPhone factory worker in China and Create Your Own, an interactive piece about young people’s search for meaning has won multiple digital awards like W3 and DFA Awards. In 2017, she founded Singing Cicadas; a female-run production company turned impact agency that creates non fiction stories and campaigns around social justice issues in Asia. She received her BA at the University of Southern California. Her projects have been supported by Chicken & Egg, Rooftop Filmmakers Fund, Doc Society and she is a fellow at IDFA DocLab and DocNYCxVC. Very occasionally when she is not making films, she makes storytelling board games. Occasionally, she makes storytelling board games when she is not making films. Sharon is currently working on a feature documentary titled We Are Volcanoes.


2023 Grantees

This year IDA will award $30,000 to each Logan Elevate grantee. In addition to story consulting and dedicated artist support, this grant provides year-long individualized professional development opportunities and filmmaker-guided public programming.

This year’s grantees are Janay Boulos, a Lebanese journalist and filmmaker who is working on a currently confidential project; Arya Rothe, an Indian filmmaker and a co-founder of NoCut Film Collective, with her project Untitled (working title) about Somi, an indigenous woman from India who fought as an armed Naxalite to defend the land rights of her people; and Pallavi Somusetty, a filmmaker who creates doc portraits that center BIPOC voices, for her project Coach Emily (working title), about Emily Taylor, an Oakland-based queer Black rock climbing coach, who fearlessly trains a diverse group of BIPOC girls and non-binary kids, including her daughter Milo.

Janay Boulos
Janay Boulos headshot.

About the Project

Project: Currently confidential

Janay Boulos Bio

Janay is a Lebanese journalist and filmmaker. She graduated with a Master's degree in International Journalism from Brunel University. From 2012, she worked for BBC News in various roles, displaying versatility across TV, radio, and digital production. Her skills include shooting, editing, and field production in hostile environments. In 2021, she started a production company, Habak Films, with her partner, Syrian filmmaker and activist Abd Al-Kader Habak. She has worked on several documentaries for BBC News and Al Jazeera Arabic and her focus centers around sharing stories of lived experiences within the Middle East, particularly from Lebanon and Syria. Currently, she is immersing herself in the world of feature documentary production and has participated in several programs such as IDFA Project Space, Documentary Campus Masterschool, Sheffield DocFest's Future Producer School and Aflamuna Impact Lab.

Arya Rothe
Portrait photo of Arya Rothe headshot.

About the Project

Project: Untitled (working title) 
Somi, an indigenous woman from India, fought as a Naxalite (armed Maoist Guerrilla) to defend the land rights of her people. Now, she has to fight for the same rights but without her rifle. Her efforts to build a permanent home are cut short when another community claims ownership of her land.

Arya Rothe Bio

Arya Rothe is an Indian filmmaker and a co-founder of NoCut Film Collective, established in 2016 by filmmakers Cristina Hanes (Romania), Isabella Rinaldi (Italy), and Arya Rothe (India) after their studies within the DocNomads program. Their directorial debut, A Rifle and a Bag, received a Special Mention in the Bright Future Competition at the 2020 International Film Festival Rotterdam. The film has been showcased at over 50 festivals and was also featured on MUBI. Arya Rothe has garnered support for her work from organizations such as the Doha Film Fund, IDFA Bertha Fund, Chicken and Egg Pictures, DMZ Docs, AlterCine Foundation and Creative Europe. Currently, she is co-producing two documentaries and has worked in various roles, including director, writer, and editor, on documentary projects for platforms like Arté, RTBF, Netflix, and Amazon Prime.

Pallavi Somusetty
Pallavi Somusetty headshot.

About the Project

Project: Coach Emily (working title) 
Emily Taylor, an Oakland-based queer Black rock climbing coach, fearlessly trains a diverse group of BIPOC girls and non-binary kids, to conquer the pervasive discrimination they face in the great outdoors. As they claim their place in nature, Emily embarks on a profound journey of self-care, while working to dismantle an industry rife with institutionalized discriminatory practices.

Pallavi Somusetty Bio

Pallavi Somusetty is an Oakland-based filmmaker who creates documentary portraits centering BIPOC voices in the hope that we feel fully seen in the complexities of our identities and journeys. She’s a series producer for A-Doc, and her feature debut in progress, Coach Emily (working title), is a 2023 DocLands DocPitch Industry Award Winner. Pallavi’s short doc, Escaping Agra, about a young transgender Indian teen’s escape from family, has screened in festivals across the world, and her award-winning cinematography has appeared on Nat Geo, PBS, and other media outlets. Her work has been supported by Center for Asian American Media, California Film Institute, IDA, 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 doula.