Meet the four incredibly talented Milwaukee filmmakers chosen for our 2023-2025 Focus Finder cohort.


Justin Goodrum is a director, producer, and writer. Justin has worked with NBCLX on directing and producing a short documentary on mental health disparities in Milwaukee’s black community. Justin was a participant in Firelights 2021 groundwork Lab with his film, The Stigma of the Durag that explores his personal experience of being labeled as a gang member at a predominantly white college for wearing a Durag. The Stigma of the Durag premiered at the 2022 Milwaukee Film Festival where it won Honorable Mention. For the last three years Justin has been producing One Minute Remaining, an independent feature length documentary exposing the social and economic burden of incarceration on women. Currently in post production the film aims to be released in 2024. Currently Justin is in pre-production of his feature film, Christopher. This film is tackling mental health disparities in the Black community in a familiar and entertaining genre. Christopher, won a Brico Forward Fund award 2022; Milwaukee’s largest independent film grant via Milwaukee Film.


Paula Lovo is a Latine artist, educator, and film programmer from the Southside of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Her work taps into intergenerational relationships, spaces that create community and those who built it, folklore, and memory. Working towards creating accessible art spaces, she helps program low-cost, all ages, multilingual film programming.


Nateya Taylor is a multimedia storyteller based in Milwaukee, WI. As a strong advocate for racial and health equity, her artistic practice intersects film, photography, and creative writing to shed light on Black history, Black culture, Black wellness, and Black experiences, to challenge institutionalized and internalized anti-blackness, and to reveal the multifacetedness of Blackness.

She holds a M.S. in Urban Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and a B.A. in Criminal Justice from Carthage College where her research focus was residential segregation, Black geographies, and Black resistance. She incorporates her academic expertise into her artistic practice to tell informative and educational stories.

Her first film “The Good Land” is currently in post-production. It is a four-part documentary series that reveals the economic challenges of Black Milwaukeeans and the intersectional wellness practices Black community leaders in Milwaukee use to uplift their communities.

Nateya is also the founder of Naesthetycs, an emerging multimedia production company that aims to use storytelling and aesthetics as a catalyst to ignite the activist in viewers and shift public policy to create more equitable futures for Black folks and other marginalized groups.


In 2022, Laj Pershad Waghray received a grant from Milwaukee Film’s Brico Forward Fund and accepted Marquette’s 2022-23 Emerging Filmmaker Fellowship, helping continue their work on Arthur Byas-Rewriting the Narrative, a film about an 80-year-old formerly incarcerated Milwaukee man. Also in progress is “Searching for Sparrows,” a feature-length documentary about four citizens finding solutions to problems caused by rapid urbanization in Hyderabad, India. Laj Pershad Waghray pitched this film at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2017 and was selected as a DVID fellow at Kartemquin Films in 2014. In 2020, they produced a two-minute film in response to A-Doc’s call for Asian stories during the COVID-19 pandemic: “Together, Alone” documents one doctor’s experience in isolation at home.

As a resident artist of the Ozaukee Washington Land Trust's ARTservancy program and Gallery224, Laj Pershad Waghray made two short films at a nature preserve, the Donges Bay Gorge, over one year, beginning in late 2020. In 2018, they directed and produced a 75-minute non-linear narrative, “On Hands,” for the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Libraries, which calls attention to an essential way of experiencing the world — by using our hands.

In 2012, Laj Pershad Waghray directed and produced “Sleepovers,” a 53-minute retrospective film documenting the coming of age of four suburban Milwaukee girls during three sleepovers over 10 years. In 2009, they co-directed the third film in Janet Fitch’s, three-part series, “Guns, Grief and Grace in America.” In 2008, they co-produced Ramon Rivera-Moret’s documentary “On Calloway Street” about immigrant stories in Queens, New York.

In addition to my film work,Laj Pershad Waghray co-founded Didi, which aims to end violence against women in Milwaukee’s South Asian communities. They are on the board of Lynden Sculpture Garden, offering radicalized access to arts and nature programming for diverse communities in Milwaukee.


Joanne Williams career began in high school when she hosted the teen talk show on Milwaukee’s WAWA Radio. Two weeks after graduating with honors in film from Northwestern University, she started working for WTMJ TV. In 1973, Joanne and Pete Wilson started The Morning Scene – the first 30-minute, early morning TV newscast in Milwaukee.

That was followed by several years at WGN TV in Chicago as a reporter, writer and part-time weathercaster.

She returned as WITI TV’s (later FOX6) Community Relations Director in 1978, producing many projects, including “The Disabled Are Able”, which was nominated for a daytime Emmy. In 1982, Joanne returned to the WITI newsroom and wore many hats as reporter, anchor, and producer during her tenure. Over the years, Joanne hosted live call-in programs, town hall meetings, and participated in thousands of community events on behalf of FOX6.

For 8 years, she was the host and segment producer for Milwaukee Public Television's "Black Nouveau" which won a regional EMMY in 2018. She has won awards from the National Association of Black Journalists in 2012 and won the Bronze award from the Milwaukee Press Club for Best Documentary or new special for the program "Harry Kemp: The Photography Man".

Joanne was a regional director on the board of the National Association of Black Journalists, a founding member of the Wisconsin Black Media Association, past president of the Milwaukee Press Club and has served on many boards and committees of service agencies in Milwaukee. She is a member of the Milwaukee Press Club Hall of Fame. and a National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Silver Circle honoree in 2009. In 2014 the Milwaukee Business Journal honored her as a Woman of Influence for her inspiration to others.

In 2023 Joanne was inducted into the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame.

Joanne worked with United Way of Greater Milwaukee and Waukesha County for 10 years and was a part of the teams that raised over $51-million dolars every year. She has become associated with Milwaukee Film as an independent documentary filmmaker, with her film “The Exchange. In White America. Kaukauna & King 50 Years Later”.