detail of still from Before Our Eyes, work in progress




RAFAEL SAMANEZ is a filmaker, and the Founder of Elevate Media Films, which focuses on social justice films and news. Samanez shares, “Film has played a central role in my understanding of our political and social realities. It is a crucial medium that has inspired my life’s work for social change. As a community organizer and a director of a grassroots non-profit, I came to understand the power of storytelling and fell in love with the artistic aspect of film to create engaging pieces. I recognized that there was a need to not only educate others about the community we were helping, but to also educate the community itself. As a migrant of color, with Native American and Latinx roots, from a working class family that settled in Cleveland, Ohio, I am eager to use my artistry to show the beauty, the contradictions, the power and relationships of our culture that adds to the global human family.”

detail of still from Gelatines of Hope

detail of still from Out of the Shadows