Ani Mercedes is the Founder & Film Impact Producer of Looky Looky Pictures, a filmmaker, and an aspiring amateur boxer based in her hometown of Miami, Florida.
She is a Sundance Institute Short Film Intensive Miami Fellow (for current project, Fearless) and Firelight Media Impact Producer Fellow. She started her film career studying hours of raw footage by Oscar-nominated Director Steve James (Hoop Dreams, The Interrupters) via transcription, doing impact production research for The Homestretch, and falling in love with the process of archiving 50- year-old footage as a Kartemquin Films intern. She’s directed, produced, shot, and edited two short documentaries, The Hall and Hand Built Boat.
She aims to create and work with stories that go beyond empathy; that serves the transformational work of building solidarity towards justice. This led her to impact producing. She’s implemented or advised on impact production on over 36 documentary films including Councilwoman, Building the American Dream, LIYANA, Our 100 Days by Fusion & Field of Vision (consulting on impact strategy), Unaccompanied Children (impact research & relationship management during Good Pitch Miami).
She’s also passionate about addressing financial sustainability in the arts and created Thriving Filmmaker, an educational resource that helps filmmakers build sustainable careers through a live video podcast and online and in-person workshops. She’s taught over a dozen workshops to more than 400 participants in 5 countries.
She earned a Bachelors in Anthropology from the University of Chicago and a Masters in Public Administration from Syracuse University. She was a White House intern (President Obama’s Administration), is a Teach for America alum (Miami-Dade), and has been practicing combat sports for 20+ years (10 years of kickboxing, 4 years of Tae Kwon Do, and 5+ years of boxing).