We Speak NYC is the city’s free English Language Learning program, created and managed by the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs in conjunction with CUNY. Our founder, Marc Lesser, was invited to direct his second We Speak episode, a TV series devoted to educating immigrants in New York about their rights. This episode, entitled Shola’s Voice, tells the story of an immigrant working at a local TV station, who finds her voice in the midst of the upcoming New York City elections. We shot the episode over the course of three weeks, building out sets for the TV station and apartments, as well as shooting exteriors in the streets of New York. It was a fantastic experience, allowing for creative collaboration across all departments with the common goal of making something that would both educate and entertain New Yorkers.
It was an incredible honor to find out that Shola’s Voice had been nominated for five Emmy awards, including Best Director, Best Cinematography, and Best Long-Form Broadcast. At the ceremony, the cast and crew reunited in our finest suits and gowns and toasted to our collective accomplishments. It was a night we won’t soon forget!