CO-CREATOR and WRITER
Sachi Leith is a writer and educator from Burlington, Vermont, USA. Drawing on past experience in journalism, editing, research, and teaching, she currently works as a Writing Instructor at NYU Abu Dhabi. She has been published in The National, The Common, and Seven Days, among others. Find more of her work at sachileith.com.
Valentina Vela is a Colombian/Peruvian actress, director, and theatre maker based in Abu Dhabi, UAE. Currently, she is a Writing and Speaking Instructor at New York University Abu Dhabi. She has studied at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts and the Experimental Theatre Wing in New York University's Tisch School of the Arts in New York City, USA, and participated in Theater Mitu's South India Artist Intensive summer program in Bangalore, India. Valentina graduated from New York University Abu Dhabi with a degree in Theater in May 2015.
Her online portfolio can be found at: valentinavelagiraldo.com
James Hosken is a film and interactive media artist from South Africa, living in Abu Dhabi. He studied Film and New Media at NYU Abu Dhabi, and has since worked for two years as the Instructor and Lab Manager for the Interactive Media program at the same institution.
From cinematic speculative fiction films to gritty docufiction web series, James’ work thematically explores how emerging technologies influence human relationships across long distances.
Yi Yi Yeap was born in Malaysia into an ethnically-Chinese family. Growing up in Australia as a third-culture kid, she has always struggled with the issue of identity. Yeap graduated from NYU Abu Dhabi, double-majoring in Film and New Media & Social Research and Public Policy. Her works address the Asian diaspora, seen through the lens of both the social sciences and the arts. Her thesis project 'Thirty' explores the relationship between mothers and daughters and the differences that cultural and generational gaps can have on this relationship. Her involvement in Ethnic Best Friend resulted due to her genuine interest in works about the Asian perspective, and also the many similarities that the script had to her own life, such as one of the characters sharing the same name as her Mexican best friend Natalia.
Garreth Chan is a composer, sound designer, audio engineer, and multi-instrumentalist from Hong Kong. With an avid interest in collaborative audio for film, theatre, and cross-disciplinary projects, Garreth's works cover diverse genres from classical orchestral arrangements to found sound pieces. He graduated from NYU Abu Dhabi in 2017 with a double major in Music and Social Research & Public Policy. You can find more of his work at garrethchan.com..
Adam Pivirotto is a young playwright and filmmaker. He recently completed a two year art and education fellowship at NYU Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates, during which he wrote and directed two short films and a full length play. His short film, METHODS, was featured on FilmShortage.com and premiered at the Richmond International Film Festival in March 2017.
Ethnic Best Friend is a webseries about the intersections of friendship and mentorship among women of color in white, male dominated environments. Our series follows two characters: Natalia is a Colombian actress, trying to find success as an artist while coming to terms with what her race means for her art, and Yuki is a half-white Taiwanese-American teacher, learning about her own racial privilege.
Formally, our series attempts to embody the web-ness of a web series. Using video chat as a key creative constraint, we want to play with distance, split screens, and side-by-side contrasts in space, place, and context. The characters often talk to each other over web chat, and part of the conceit of the show is to make the frame of the series fit more seamlessly into the frame of the computer screen.
Sachi and Valentina have collaborated in several projects in the past, including film, theatre, and performance. Their extended collaboration, Headspace, spanned across three years and took different forms -- a play, a staged reading, a conversation with an invited artist -- and involved extensive research by way of interviews with students, faculty, and community members. Their latest collaboration, Ethnic Best Friend, stems indirectly from their past work.