About Us

Vision

Our mission is to create cultural awareness and strategic, sustainable justice through transformative, community-based production and impactful distribution of media.

Behind the scenes on the set of Chavela.
Behind the scenes on the set of "Chavela."
Aubin team meeting at the original SoHo location.
Aubin team meeting at the original SoHo location.

The stories we tell frame the culture in which we live. Narratives uphold fundamental assumptions by which we interpret and understand the world. We encounter stories everywhere — in headlines and political discourse, institutions and pop culture. Though practices are shifting, right now we live within a mainstream story structure that, fundamentally, is not a friend of women, people of color, LGBTQIA+ people, people living with disabilities, people who have experienced incarceration, or people who have immigrated. This fact turns people into statistics and embeds harmful narratives in our cultural fabric and institutions. As filmmakers who care deeply about social justice, it is our job to find ways to reveal, challenge, and change damaging mainstream narratives. 

As Manning Marable said, “Numbers cannot communicate the human face of economic misery.” But storytelling can. Where there is trauma, filmmaking paves ways to healing. Where there is injustice, documentaries expose it and imagine our just future.

Storytellers understand the forces that are behind the statistics and can create the conditions for change. We are able to reimagine the rules our society lives by, shape the way in which problems and priorities are identified, and build narrative power. This is what Aubin Pictures strives to achieve.

Values

Our work is collaborative and justice-driven. We make films about our people, communities, and movements. We are intersectional and intergenerational. We are based in family. Our values inform our social practices across our organizational programs and are baked into the media we produce and the campaigns we launch.

We believe in

  • Imagination
  • Community
  • Collaboration
  • equity, inclusion, intersectional feminism & anti-racism work
  • Narrative Power

Origin Story

Since 1996 Aubin Pictures has been committed to justice-driven storytelling to illuminate change.

Aubin Pictures, Inc. was founded in 1996 by queer documentary filmmaker and lifelong activist Catherine Gund and organizer and scholar Scot Nakagawa. Disillusioned with popular media’s portrayals of HIV- and AIDS-affected youth in the 1980s, Catherine directed a number of short works with Paper Tiger Television and co-founded DIVA TV, a video-documenting affinity group within ACT UP. In the early 1990s, Catherine was the producer of the four-part PBS series, Positive: Life With HIV. Understanding the power of documentary to change the dominant media narrative, Catherine and Scot created Aubin Pictures to make films that catalyze social change. Aubin’s first film, When Democracy Works, was directed by Catherine and written and narrated by Scot. Scot has served on Aubin’s board of directors since the organization’s inception.

Naming

Aubin / Au'bin / noun

The name “Aubin” lived with Catherine Gund’s family for some time. First it was proposed as a potential name for Catherine when she was born, and later she considered naming her first child “Aubin.” Eventually, “Aubin” found its home as the name of Catherine’s nonprofit documentary film production company, which she founded with Scot Nakagawa the same year her daughter was born. A little etymology: Aubin is a French given name variant of Albin, from the Roman Albinus and from the Latin albus meaning “bright.” At its core, Aubin Pictures strives to shine bright lights on the social justice issues that matter most, illuminating change one film at a time.

Community

The Aubin Pictures community, fondly called the “Aubin Family,” is our network of creatives and activists. We’re filmmakers, directors, sound designers, camera people, writers, academics, organizers, students, parents, community leaders, nonprofit professionals, mediamakers, and more.

Aubin Pictures community
The Aggie's crew at the film's Hammer Museum Screening in Los Angeles.
Audience members.
Audience members of an Aubin Pictures film screening.
The Aubin family at Sundance Film Festival.
Members of the Aubin family at Sundance Film Festival for the Aggie premiere.

People

Aubin Pictures is an organization for filmmakers and activists that’s run by filmmakers and activists. We’re embedded in our community as artists, advocates, philanthropists, and creatives, and we work to continually evolve to address our stakeholders' needs and ambitions.

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Catherine Gund

Catherine Gund

Founder and Director

Founder and Director of Aubin Pictures, Catherine Gund is an Emmy-nominated producer, director, writer, and activist. Her media work focuses on strategic and sustainable social transformation, racial justice, arts and culture, HIV/AIDS and reproductive justice, and the environment. Her films have screened around the world in festivals, theaters, museums, and schools; on PBS, the Discovery Channel, Sundance Channel, Netflix, and Amazon Prime.

Her most recent films include: Aggie (Sundance, Doc Fortnight), a stunning journey with powerhouse art maverick Agnes “Aggie” Gund who sold a Roy Lichtenstein painting to end mass incarceration through her Art for Justice Fund fueling artists and activists working at the forefront of the movement, Dispatches From Cleveland (CIFF, MSPIFF), a five-chapter documentary that looks at the police murder of 12-year-old Tamir Rice and shows how people joined together to vote out the prosecutor who didn’t have their backs; and Chavela (Berlinale, Hot Docs, Ambulante) a documentary about the life of the iconic Latin American gender-ending diva, Chavela Vargas, America, Born to Fly: Elizabeth Streb vs. Gravity, What’s On Your Plate?, A Touch of Greatness, Motherland Afghanistan, Making Grace, On Hostile Ground, and Hallelujah! Ron Athey: A Story of Deliverance.

Gund currently serves on the boards of Art For Justice, Art Matters, Baldwin for the Arts, and The George Gund Foundation. She co-founded the Third Wave Foundation which supports young women and transgender youth, and DIVA TV, an affinity group of ACT UP/NY. She was the founding director of BENT TV, the video workshop for LGBT youth. She was on the founding boards of Bard Early Colleges, Iris House, Working Films, Reality Dance Company, and The Sister Fund and has also served for MediaRights.org, The Robeson Fund of the Funding Exchange, The Vera List Center for Art and Politics at the New School, and the Astraea Foundation. An alumnus of Brown University and the Whitney Independent Study Program, she lives in NYC with her four children.

Andrea Austin

Deputy Director

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Andrea Austin

Andrea has a broad background in strategic planning and organizational management. Before joining Aubin she oversaw operations and programs for the Human Rights Foundation, and prior to that managed public affairs for the United Nations Foundation’s Girl Up campaign. Andrea has also done advocacy and communications work for various anti-trafficking organizations including Polaris and Shared Hope International. She has an M.A. in international human rights law from the United Nations-mandated University for Peace, and a B.A. in English from the University of Virginia. In her spare time you can find Andrea training Muay Thai or rolling around with her pups.

Kyla Searle

Outreach & Partnerships Coordinator

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Kyla Searlie

Kyla is a writer, producer, and educator. She specializes in community initiatives, collaborative art-processes, and new work development. Kyla served as Community Producer for the Creative Ecosystem project at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts and advised on its expansion at 651 Arts and the Kennedy Center. Kyla has worked with Jack.Brooklyn, Soho Rep, the Sundance Institute, La Mama, ETC, Memorial Sloan Kettering, the Sadie Nash Leadership Project and more. She has presented her work in creative research at the University of Heidelberg, The American University of Paris, New York University, and the New School. Kyla holds a B.A. in Metropolitan Studies, minor in Public Health from UCLA, an M.A. in Interdisciplinary Research from NYU and an M.F.A. from Brown University.

Lauren La Melle

Officer Manager

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Lauren La Melle

Lauren is a filmmaker and a published poet. She holds an M.A. in Media Studies from Pratt Institute, where her studies focused on the intersections of gender, race, and class in horror films.

Christina Bartson

Communications & Development Associate

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Christina Bartson

Christina is a writer and filmmaker. Previously, she worked at the American Civil Liberties Union of New York where she helped organize The Museum of Broken Windows, a pop-up museum that explored the history of policing in New York City and the (in)justice system. You can find her writing and photography in BOMB, Ms., Catapult, Bayou, The Rumpus, Women’s Health, the International Journal of Health and Media Research, among others. Ask her about her short documentary Brewsters. Christina holds a B.S. in Communication Studies, minor in Philosophy from Emerson College. She is also a contemporary dancer.

Miyah Powe

Communications Intern

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Miyah Powe

Miyah is a recent graduate from Bucknell University, where she majored in Literary Studies and Creative Writing. As an Arts Merit Scholar, she was able to combine her interests in literature, film, photography, and theater both in and out of the classroom. She was recently published in The Adroit Journal and awarded Bucknell’s Smithson Memorial Prize in Poetry. In the past, she has worked in editorial positions, as well as with the Smithsonian American Art Museum. She is passionate about inclusive and intersectional storytelling, equitable access to education, and using the Oxford comma.

Beck Roman

Projects Intern

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Beck Roman

Beck is a recent graduate from York College of Pennsylvania with a B.S. in Marketing and Advertising. He has done work previously with the York County Food Bank designing deliverables and developing their Stock the Shelves program, as well as the York County Literacy Council during their rebranding process by participating in the early logo design steps. While pursuing a college education in central Pennsylvania, he also helped organize numerous local LGBTQ+ and social justice events in the York area and on campus such as Pride while collaborating with other organizations, including Planned Parenthood of Harrisburg. His main focus is using creativity and graphic design to give back to communities and highlight the importance of activism.

Board of Directors

Board of Directors

Aubin’s Board of Directors is composed of the incredible activists, authors, communications and media professionals, researchers, and scholars you see below. Our Board is critical to our work and we are deeply grateful for their knowledge, spirit, and commitment to documentary film in service of social change.

Dana Ain Davis
Dana Ain Davis, President
Catherine Gund
Catherine Gund, Secretary
Vivien Labaton
Vividen Labaton, Director
Scot Nakagawa
Scot Nakagawa, Director
Marques McClary
Marques MacClary, Director
Jessica Ruffin
Jessica Ruffin, Director
Jacqueline Woodson
Jacqueline Woodson, Director