Independent Lens, Global Voices
Separated by time, place and politics, identical twins Margarita and Ramona de Saá continued to share a passion for dance.
Lily Yeh journeys from young artist in China to international activist, using art to transform destitute urban communities on two continents.
Frances McElroy began her career as an independent filmmaker in 1991, when she founded Shirley Road Productions, an award-winning nonprofit independent production company in Philadelphia. She is especially drawn to subjects that relate to the arts, community development, and social change, often with… an international perspective. Recent production credits include Ballycastle, a documentary she produced and directed, which tells the story of Stuart Shils, a Philadelphia painter of Jewish heritage whose infatuation with a remote Irish village changed his life. The film won a 2004 CINE Golden Eagle Award. An Angel in the Village, a documentary McElroy produced about Chinese-born community-based artist Lily Yeh, premiered nationally in 1999. It received a regional Emmy Award, First Prize for Documentary Excellence from the Society of Professional Journalists, Greater Philadelphia Chapter, and a Gabriel Award.
Before becoming an independent filmmaker, McElroy was director of program development and an Emmy award-winning producer/director at WHYY Philadelphia. Her credits include Philadelphia’s Ed Bacon, a documentary about renowned city planner Edmund Bacon, and Who is Red Grooms?, a documentary about the beloved American artist. In 1987/1988, she directed INPUT 1988, the International Public Television Screening Conference.
Lily Yeh is searching for a "dustless place" — the serenity depicted in the landscape paintings she encountered as a student in China. Sometimes called crazy and stubborn, sometimes compared to an angel, this feisty immigrant artist and activist sees potential in the most unlikely places. As director of the Village of Arts and Humanities — an oasis of culture and color in North Philadelphia — she believes community art projects foster economic and social change. Yeh has also exported this idea to a bleak village adjacent to Nairobi's garbage dump, where a burgeoning crafts industry is stimulating economic growth.