Specific Pictures
Award-Winning Non-Fiction Films


Jennifer Maytorena Taylor: Producer and Director

Over two decades of experience as an award-winning filmmaker of feature and short documentary films, Jennifer Maytorena Taylor has built a robust body of cinematic and journalistic non-fiction work. Her productions are regularly seen around the world through broadcast, film festivals, and theatrical screenings at venues like the Sundance, Hot Docs, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Locarno Film Festivals, International Documentary Festival Amsterdam, New York Museum of Modern Art, Sundance Channel, Al Jazeera, NHK-Japan-and frequently on PBS.

Jennifer holds a Masters in Specialized Journalism from the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, where she also worked as a research fellow and instructor in multimedia journalism. She is currently a Professor of Film and Digital Media at the University of California, Santa Cruz and the founding Faculty Director of the Social Documentation Lab, a new post-production and collaborative learning facility for graduate students. She frequently serves as a mentor for under-represented and emerging non-fiction filmmakers through organizations such as PBS, Latino Public Broadcasting, and Sundance Institute.

Jennifer’s most recent feature documentary, For the Love of Rutland, explores three years in the life of a small blue-collar town grappling with deep change in an era of refugee crises, the opioid epidemic, and ideological and cultural polarization. For the Love of Rutland was named one of the “10 Most Exciting Films” at Hot Docs 2020 by Indiewire and one of “2020’s 10 Best Films” by the documentary magazine POV.

After a successful film festival run, For the Love of Rutland had its national broadcast premiere in as part of Season 10 of the PBS World series America ReFramed. The film is currently streaming on the PBS Documentary Channels at Amazon Prime and Apple+TV, as well as on PBS.org.

Jennifer’s recent short film Redneck Muslim, co-directed with Mustafa Davis, was broadcast in 2020 on the PBS series POV and is currently streaming on The Atlantic magazine’s website. Other recent work includes Message To Zaire/The Talk for national PBS; Daisy and Max, a long-form documentary commissioned by Al Jazeera America for global distribution and broadcast; and the short Visiting Day for The Atlantic.

Previous credits include the award-winning feature documentaries New Muslim Cool, broadcast nationally as the opening night feature on the POV series on PBS; Special Circumstances for the Voces series on national PBS; and Paulina, which had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival and was acquired by the Sundance Channel after a theatrical release.

Other work includes Latinos are Essential and Street Knowledge 2 College, two award-winning digital series for PBS Digital Studios and Latino Public Broadcasting; the Emmy Award-winning documentary Home Front; and many other broadcast projects, short films, and co-productions.

Jennifer’s work has been supported by the JustFilms/Ford Foundation, Nathan Cummings Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, Latino Public Broadcasting, Sundance Documentary Fund, Fork Films, Catapult Documentary Fund, San Francisco Film Documentary Fund, Hartley Film Foundation and other leading national funders.

Jennifer is a Sundance Documentary Program Fellow, and has held fellowships at the Knight Center for Specialized Journalism, MacDowell Colony, Points North/Tribeca Film Institute, Banff Centre for the Arts, and the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. She is a recipient of the James D. Phelan Art Award for her body of work, two Emmys, and multiple festival awards.  Born in Los Angeles of Mexican, Sicilian, and Irish/English heritage, she grew up in both L.A. and Vermont and is fluent in Spanish and Portuguese.

Sally Jo Fifer: Executive Producer

Sally led Independent Television Service as President and CEO for 22 years. She launched the PBS series Independent Lens and executive produced films and docuseries for public television that, among many other honors, received 16 Oscar nominations, 37 Primetime Emmy Awards and 35 Peabody Awards.

Sally accepted the 2017 Peabody Institutional Award on behalf of ITVS from filmmaker Ava Duvernay, who introduced the organization as “a foundational place in the flourishing of documentary film [and public discourse] over the past generation.” The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences also honored ITVS under Sally’s leadership with a Governors Award for its early and unwavering commitment to diversity and inclusion in front of and behind the camera.

Sally completed executive training programs at Harvard and Stanford Business Schools, and holds a B.A. from University of California at Berkeley and a Masters in Communication/Journalism from Stanford University.

Supporters and Partners

Specific Pictures works with the generous support and partnership of diverse presenters, co-producers, and funders like these: