The Filmmakers

Empowered is an independent film directed by Shira Golding Evergreen and produced by Suzanne McMannis, both residents of Tompkins County, New York.

Shira Golding Evergreen

Shira studied film theory and production at Cornell University, including a semester abroad at the British American Film Academy in London. Her hour-long thesis film In Search of Golding Street, a personal documentary about South Africa and Israel, earned her high honors and was screened at the New York International Independent Film Festival.

After moving to New York City in 2002 with Ari, Shira worked for the nonprofit Arts Engine for five and a half years, co-directing the Media That Matters Film Festival, winner of the best nonprofit/green website at the 2005 South by Southwest (SXSW) Interactive Festival. For three years she served as Arts Engine’s Director of Education & Outreach, creating school curricula, advising filmmakers on outreach and traveling around the country to screen films and speak about distribution, youth filmmaking and media justice. She curated and designed graphics for Media That Matters: Good Food, a collection of short films on food and sustainability and traveled to India to help launch Adobe Youth Voices, a global youth media initiative.

In 2006, Shira shifted to creative production, becoming Arts Engine’s in-house designer, video editor and writer. She has edited trailers and rough-cuts for numerous documentaries and designed graphics for the films Election Day (SXSW, P.O.V.) and the award-winning Gypsy Caravan (Tribeca Film Festival, PBS). She has written numerous articles about film and social change for MediaRights.org and Documentary.org. From 2007-2009, she served on the board of MIX NYC, a queer experimental film festival based in New York City.

Shira crossed-over to the narrative world in 2009 as Co-Director of Frac Attack: Dawn of the Watershed, an environmental zombie thriller that takes on the dark side of natural gas drilling. Frac Attack premiered at Ithaca’s Cinemapolis Theatre and is being screened in classrooms and community spaces around the region.

She is currently collaborating on an eco-musical movie called We Can’t Stop.

Suzanne McMannis

Suzanne McMannis homesteads with her husband, Lynn, on 50 acres in Freeville. After building their barn and straw bale house and putting in an orchard, gardens, ponds, and pastures for their sheep and dairy cow, they started an organic vegetable CSA that keeps them completely out of trouble with its never-ending workload. They heat and cook with wood and have lived off-the-grid for a decade (with a 1kW Bergey wind turbine and 720W of solar panels).

“I’d much rather be surrounded by fields of solar panels and wind turbines than by a ruptured landscape of drilling rigs and pipelines. I hope this film shows people how feasible renewable energy really can be.”

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