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Jennifer Maytorena Taylor is an award-winning documentary producer and director of character-based social issue feature films and community journalism projects. Her research interests include long-form and short form filmmaking for emerging platforms, and the intersection of point-of-view storytelling and journalism.
Prior to coming to UC Santa Cruz, Maytorena Taylor worked as a research fellow and instructor at the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism.
Her most recent project is Street Knowledge 2 College, a series of documentary short films launching on PBS.org in Fall of 2012 and commissioned by Latino Public Broadcasting for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting’s American Graduate initiative.
Collaboratively produced with youth from South Los Angeles, SK2C explores life south of the 10 freeway through the perspectives of young people and families trying to change the school-to-jail track.
Taylor’s latest documentary feature was the award-winning New Muslim Cool, the lead program in the 2009 season of P.O.V. on PBS. New Muslim Cool screened in prestigious film festivals, museums, and theaters around the world, garnering multiple awards and honors. It has been featured in the US Documentary Showcase and honored by the US Department of State, and broadcast on international outlets such as Sundance Channel in Canada, TV Polska in Poland, NDTV in India, NTR in The Netherlands, and NHK in Japan.
Taylor also co-produced and co-directed the multiple award-winning feature documentary, Special Circumstances, for the national PBS series Voces, presented by Latino Public Broadcasting.
Other documentary credits include Paulina, which premiered at Sundance, was broadcast by the Sundance Channel, and has been widely incorporated into curricula; the Emmy-winning Home Front, Immigration Calculations; Ramadan Primetime; and other short films and tv segments.
Taylor has held fellowships at the Sundance Institute, Banff Centre for the Arts, the Knight Center for Specialized Journalism, and the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, where she earned a Masters Degree.
She is a recipient of the James D. Phelan Art Award for her body of work, two Emmys, and multiple festival awards. Her work has been supported by the Ford Foundation, Nathan Cummings Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, Latino Public Broadcasting, the Sundance Documentary Fund, and other leading national funders.
She served as associate and co-producer for director Lourdes Portillo on Corpus: A Home Movie for Selena and Señorita Extraviada, two award-winning documentaries. She was also the initial Series Producer for KQED’s Emmy-winning magazine show Independent View, and produced several documentaries and short pieces for Northern California Public Broadcasting, the most-watched public television outlet in the country.
She is fluent in Spanish and Portuguese.