Inaya Graciana Yusuf
Inaya Graciana Yusuf is an Indonesian-American filmmaker. She has worked on short to feature length documentaries, branded content, as well as live action and animated shorts both as a freelance editor and camera operator. Throughout the years she served clients including HBO Documentaries, ESPN, Lifetime, Yahoo!, FOX, PBS, MLS Soccer USA, Climate Reality, Netflix, VICE and MSNBC. She has also produced several videos for non-profit organizations in New York Tri-State area and Jakarta.
Splitting time between Indonesia and United States, her personal work is often driven by her surroundings and often revolves around women and children, identity politics and immigration, criminal justice system, contemporary issues in Islam, LGBTQ, and environment. She is currently working on her first feature documentary film, "The One and The Many," following an Italian prison theater troupe, Compagnia della Fortezza. On her spare time, she can be found teaching at School of Visual Arts at MPS Directing (Short Live Action Film) or supporting the Indonesian Film Festival NY.
A Q&A WITH FILMSHOP BREAKTHROUGH SERIES 2018 FEATURED ARTIST Inaya yusuf...
What was the inspiration for your project?
I learned about Compagnia della Fortezza about 10 years ago. Given my passion for theatre and my personal interest in criminal justice systems, I developed an interest in the work of Armando Punzo, the founder of the prison theatre troupe. Through many deep conversations with Armando, I was drawn into their theatre-making process and I felt compelled to share my experience. With time, it became a documentary endeavor that I pursued and nurtured from 2014.
What do you feel is your greatest challenge moving forward?
The greatest challenge is both fundraising for post-production and preparing for outreach and engagement. I am constantly looking for ways to engage people in my documentary, and the biggest challenge I continue to face is that it is in fact a foreign language documentary about art and human interest that takes place outside of the United States. It is very specific.
How has the Filmshop community contributed to your project's development?
I've workshopped this project last year with my Taco Tuesday group, who have been absolutely helpful in helping shape my film idea and sizzle reel to make it presentable and strong. I've never really shared my thoughts or work-in-progress with anyone other than my team. They helped me think about structure and approach, as well as how to push the idea forward. A couple of individuals gave very good feedback, which made me think about how to improve certain elements that I presented or have written. I think the most important aspect of it all is that Filmshop is a diverse community of filmmakers from various backgrounds and everyone had something to say or add onto from different perspectives.
What might Filmmaker Magazine say about your project?
The One and The Many provides a fresh take on the depth of Compagnia della Fortezza's history while unveiling a unique approach to an Italian group making experimental theatre behind bars.
My next mission is to get the word out there and make sure people know about The One and The Many. I would like to develop connections, expand my network and bring people into my film as mentors, collaborators, supporters and even funders.
Tell us something about yourself that most people don’t know.
I genuinely practice my Italian with Compagnia della Fortezza's inmate-actors and collaborators. Their continued support is what keeps me moving forward.
What keeps you up at night?
My long to-do list that focuses on ways to get the film to the finished line.