Artist Biographies

Penda Diakité

Penda Diakité


Penda Diakité, born in Portland, Oregon, grew up between her two homes in Mali, West Africa, and Oregon. As a result, much of her artwork consists of her thoughts and experiences living between these two cultures. Around age 11, Penda began to develop a growing interest in video making in which she continues to expand and experiment. In 2006 her film Welcome to Mali was screened at the 16th Annual Cascade Festival of African Films Family Film Day. In 2010 she began attending California Institute of the Arts, majoring in Film and Video with a minor in Cultural Studies. With her minor focusing on Women Studies, Black Studies and African Studies, much of her work is geared toward cultural awareness through her own perspective. In May of 2012, her short film Diary of Reflection was screened at the Roy and Edna Disney RedCat Theater in downtown L.A. Presently she is continuing her studies at CalArts, where she is producing film and video work.

Eliaichi Kimaro - photo by Joshua HustonEliachi Kimaro

Director of A LOT LIKE YOU

Activist-turned-filmmaker, Eliaichi Kimaro is founder/director of 9elephants productions, a company that uses video to bring stories of struggle, resistance and survival to a broader audience. In addition to producing non-profit videos about social, economic, and environmental justice issues, she has led a week-long filmmaking camp for girls, and consults with non-profits to support them in producing their own videos.

Eliaichi brings a lifetime of personal and professional experience exploring issues of culture, identity, race, class, and gender to her award-winning directorial debut, A Lot Like You. Most recently, her film won the Jury Award for Best Documentary Film at the San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival, Asian American International Film Festival and Female Eye Film Festival.

Drawing upon her nine-year film journey, she is currently on the campus/conference lecture circuit, inviting communities across the country to explore using creativity and experiences to strategically re-center conversations around ethnicity, identity, accountability and justice.


philippe-niangPhilippe Niang


Philippe Niang was born on October 12, 1951, in Paris, to a Senegalese father and a French mother. Philippe attended the High Cinematographic Studies Institute in Nice, France, and became a television program assistant. He also worked as a scriptwriter for TV programs such as Mammy Mamours shot in Senegal and Gaffe Loulou, for which he won a Golden Angel award at the International Festival of Nice. He went on to direct numerous documentaries before making his first feature film.

Niang is the creator of a famous TV show called Josephine, The Good Angel. He also wrote Black Baby in a White Cradle, which was selected for the TV Festival of Luchon. He later wrote The Big Brothers. When Niang met France Zobda and Jean-Lou Monthieux, the two producers of Eloa Productions, they soon realized that they all share the same convictions, which led to Niang writing and directing with them. Niang wrote and directed Prohibited Love for Eloa Productions, which was selected for the Pan-African Festival in Burkina Faso (FESPACO), the African Diaspora International Film Festival in New York and Vues d’Afrique in Montreal. His film Toussaint Louverture has gained worldwide acclaim on the festival circuit and is just one of his many filmmaking accomplishments.