Walking Iris Media was established by filmmaker S. Leo Chiang to facilitate the research, production, distribution of media projects which aim to engage the public on relevant historical and current issues through compelling storytelling. Through Walking Iris Media, Leo collaborates with other mediamakers and partner organizations to produce high-quality work and reach a broad audience with the work.
Walking Iris Media is a 501c3 not-for-profit organization.
Johnny Symons is a veteran documentary filmmaker. His film Daddy & Papa (2002), about gay men raising kids, premiered at Sundance, aired on PBS’ Independent Lens and received an Emmy nomination for Best Documentary. Johnny co-produced the Academy Award-nominated Long Night’s Journey Into Day (2000), about South Africa’s search for truth and reconciliation, which won the Grand Jury Prize for Best Documentary at Sundance. Ask Not (2008), about the US military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, broadcast on PBS’ Independent Lens. He has a BA in Development Studies from Brown, and an MA in Documentary Production from Stanford. He is an assistant professor at San Francisco State University.
MERCEDES COATS has directed and produced the award-winning documentaries Little Stars, about the unpredictable and challenging world of child actors, and Seoul II Soul, about a Korean/African-American family in post-riot Los Angeles (National PBS broadcast, 2002). She is the recipient of several awards and honors, including the Alfred P. Sloan Award, an Entertainment Weekly production grant, and the Women in Film/Paramount Pictures Crystal Award. Mercedes collaborated with producing partner, S. Leo Chiang, on To You Sweetheart, Aloha. She earned her MFA in Film Production from University of Southern California, and holds a BA in Theater from Occidental College.
BRITTNEY SHEPHERD is currently producing and directing Eye, Camera, about a San Franciscan artist’s attempt to install a wireless video camera into her prosthetic eye. She co‐produced A Fragile Trust (ITVS), about the Jayson Blair plagiarism scandal at The New York Times, and a co-‐creator of the ITVS-funded alternate reality news game, Decisions on Deadline. A longtime Walking Iris collaborator, she is co-producing Out Run and associate produced A Village Called Versailles and Mr. Cao Goes to Washington. Brittney has produced extensively with the Academy-Award winning director Debra Chasnoff. She has a B.A. in Ethnic Studies from University of California, Berkeley.
EVA MOSS is a freelance producer, cameraperson, editor and audience engagement coordinator for web-mercials, short promotional videos and social issue documentaries for public television. She currently enjoys directing, shooting and editing “micro-docs” for small to medium-sized businesses and non-profits. Past feature documentary projects include Emmy® Nominated A Village Called Versailles (Associate Producer), States of Grace (Co-Producer), Out Run (Co-Producer), Ask Not (Associate Producer), and Mr. Cao Goes to Washington (Associate Producer). She graduated from Smith College with a degree and a half in Film and Theater Studies.
Joanna Sokolowski is an independent Bay Area documentary filmmaker. Besides Walking Iris Media, Joanna works as an associate producer at Open Studio Productions, and she is also the associate producer for Very Semi-Serious. Joanna is currently in production on The Ovarian Psycos with her filmmaking partner, Kate Trumbull-LaValle. The film is supported by ITVS, Pacific Pioneer Fund and Women Make Movies. Her past directing credits include Still Time, a film about life after serving a life sentence in prison. She holds a BA in Community Development and received her MA in Social Documentation at the UCSC, where she was the recipient of the Human Rights Center fellowship.