“Who Does Your Hair 4” – Vega Darling (2020)

About Vega Darling

Director-Producer, Vega Darling is an independent filmmaker and long-time community organizer. Darling’s film work has been screened at film festivals and events worldwide. Punk rock, DIY, and community organizing built the foundation for developing Darling’s innovative programming and events. He has worked with the Atlanta Pride, South Georgia Pride, Atlanta Trans Day of Remembrance, Newport Beach Film Festival, Gender Reel Film Festivals, TransYouth Family Allies, Philadelphia Trans Wellness Conference, Philadelphia Alliance for Labor Support, Mondo Homo Festival, Ladyfests, among others. Darling designed and implemented the first-of-its-kind trans youth and family conference programming (for the Philadelphia Trans Wellness Conference in 2005).

He leads workshops on various topics around serving and navigating the LGBTQ community, DIY filmmaking, documentary film techniques, and feminism in punk rock. Darling co-founded Atlanta Riot Grrrl in the mid-’90s, has booked many punk rock shows, managed the first riot grrrl/queercore band out of the American South (Pagan Holiday) and wrote several zines in the ’90s and early 2000s. Darling keynoted Ladyfest Los Angeles 2013. In 2016, he produced the DIY GRRRL series zine, music video compilation, and compilation album.

Darling’s film works share the intersecting themes of queerness, transness, feminism, and punk rock. He directed Lost Grrrls: Riot Grrrl In Los Angeles (2016). He co-directed An Excerpt From the Forthcoming Documentary, GRRRL (2013), a short film installation commissioned for the first major art exhibition on riot grrrl — Alien She. He art directed Lynn Breedlove’s film adaptation of the punk rock dystopian novel, Godspeed (2007). He also worked on the gay transgender prequel to Battleship Potemkin, Maggots and Men (2009), and the experimental film adaptation of Michelle Tea’s novel, Valencia: The Movie/s (2013). 

More recently, Darling produced the POC, queercore mockumentary film Vulveeta (expected release date in late 2020). He is currently wrapping up his feature-length documentary, GRRRL: 25 Years of Riot Grrrl (expected release in 2021). Darling is an alumnus of the University of California, Irvine with a double B.A. in Psychology and Social Behavior, and Film and Media Studies. Vega hails from the Dirty South but calls the East Bay home. 

Curriculum Vitae

Education

B.A. Psychology and Social Behavior
B.A. Film and Media Studies 
University of California, Irvine
2016

Experience

Freeland Videographer
Atlanta, GA
2013-Present

  • Coordinate and manage video crews for independent films, special projects, conferences, keynotes, faculty presentations, trainings, live music, and special events
  • Commissioned videos include:
    • 10-minute short documentary film commissioned for Alien She, the first major art exhibition on the subject of riot grrrl (2013)
    • Jack Off Jill’s exclusive  Asheville, NC reunion weekend (2015)
    • A short video truck installation for the Atlanta Pride parade (2017)
  • Manage budgets, schedules, and deliverables
  • Video editing using Final Cut Pro X and Adobe Premiere Pro

Independent Events Producer and Programming Consultant
Atlanta, GA
1996-Present

  • Deliver innovative Programming for LGBTQ festivals, conferences, and events
  • Film, edit and distribute short videos for nonprofits and individual clients
  • Consulting on organizational structures, programming, and missions
  • Consulting on social media and communications management, and strategies for engagement
  • Fostering sustainable community relationships, locally and nationally, with organizations and community leaders with the shared goals of liberation and social justice

Director-Producer | GRRRL: 25 Years of Riot Grrrl  (a feature length documentary)
Atlanta, GA
2012-Present

  • Project direction, fundraising, research, grant writing, scripting, draft contracts, camera operation, lighting design, sound design, editing, distribution, social media management, website management, outreach, executive tasks.
  • The most comprehensive riot grrrl project to-date. 
  • 10-minute short commissioned for Alien She art exhibition which toured major contemporary arts museums from 2013-2016.
  • 18 months of original research. Data collected by survey.
  • Research published for Alien She art exhibition.
  • Emphasis on collaboration, under-represented voices and multiple points of view.
  • Worldwide interviews.
  • Working with regional Directors of Photography.
  • 70% of primary footage is complete.
  • Seeking grant funding for completion.
  • 2 years of research and development.
  • Fiscally sponsored by SIMA Studios.
  • Successfully crowdfunded $11,000.
  • Dozens of test screenings with overwhelmingly positive feedback.
  • Screenings include: Los Angeles Punk Film Festival, East End Film Festivals, San Francisco Transgender Film Festivals, Reel It Out Queer Film Festivals, Ladyfest Sacramento (Sold Out two dates), Rama Em Flor Festival, Feminist Film Series at Women’s Center for Creative work in Los Angeles, Gender Reel Film Festivals (multiple cities), Grrrls on Film Festival at Loyola Marymount University, Alumni Screening at UC Irvine, and UC Irvine’s Women’s Empowerment Iniative Symposium, Glasgow Zine Fest at the Centre of Contemporary Arts (Sold Out), and Ladyfest Los Angeles (Keynote speaker).
  • Grant funding through University of California, Irvine Undergraduate Research Opportunities (2015).
  • General community participation through: survey-based research, 4,000 member Facebook group, social media presence, collaborative zine/compilation album/music video compilation project called DIY GRRRL, as well as, self-submitted riot grrrl fan videos.
  • In-production

Producer | Vulveeta  (a feature length mockumentary)
San Francisco, CA
2019-Present

  • Grant funding for trailer and pre-production.
  • 100% crowdfunded for production, crew, and post on Seed & Spark.
  • Expert subject consultant.
  • Specialty casting.
  • In post-production.

Programs and Partnerships Manager | Atlanta Pride Committee Inc.
Atlanta, GA
2017

  • Managed and developed year-round programming and key components of operations of the festival which hosts 300,000 annual attendees over three days
  • Supported Atlanta Pride fundraising efforts through managing APC’s Small Business Partnership program from recruitment to recognition of Partners
  • Fostered strategic relationships with other allied organizations. Initiated, implemented and supported co-programming as appropriate
  • Supported and executed the organization’s communication plan, including website, mobile app, electronic newsletters, videos, and social media
  • Oversaw the APC Events Committee, and the recruitment, training, and recognition of volunteers

Records ManagerRome and Associates Law Firm
Marietta, GA 
2016 – 2017 

  • Managed electronic and paper-based information systems for a small law firm
  • Trained and supervised Records staff
  • Designed and developed filing systems and business classification schemes
  • Managed the changeover from paper to electronic records management systems
  • Ensured compliance with relevant legislation, regulation, and HIPPA

InternUC Irvine Social Science Academic Resource Center (SSARC)
Irvine, CA 
2014-2015

  • Produced promotional videos for SSARC
  • Primary videographer
  • Designed videos, scripted dialogue, shot primary cinematography and oversaw aesthetic

Intern | Newport Beach Film Festival 
Newport Beach, CA 
2013-2015

  • Developed community sponsors and partnerships
  • Assisted in the operations of the Newport Beach Film Festival, which hosts 65,000 annual attendees

Creative Director | Gender Reel Film Festivals
Oakland, CA
2010-2014

  • Provided creative direction for the first coast-to-coast trans film festival
  • Led organizers across the US in 11 cities in developing programming for each film festival
  • Developed themes for programs to draw in target groups of attendees
  • Recruited and managed volunteers
  • Promoted, solicited, and interviewed for press
  • Procured performers to accent the film festival programming

Scheduling Coordinator | TransYouth Family Allies
Oakland, CA
2010-2012

  • Empowered children and their families with the nation’s first trans youth advocacy group by partnering with educators, service providers and communities to develop supportive environments for trans and gender creative youth
  • Assisted in developing IEPs and 504s, and planning for the specific needs of the child
  • Served as a key member of a coalition of parents, friends, and adults who dedicated significant time and resources to raise public awareness about the medical and cultural challenges faced by transgender children

Programming Coordinator | Philadelphia Trans Wellness Conference
Philadelphia, PA  
2004 – 2010

  • Developed programming including the first-of-its-kind trans Youth and Family track.
  • Focussed on meeting the needs of the community by building relationships to ensure a diversity of marginalized voices were represented
  • Strategically cultivated the growth of the conference from 500 annual attendees to 3000
  • Curated an array of activities, workshops, services, and environments to encourage building community and creating person connection between attendees
  • Worked alongside other organizers to create the nation’s first transgender health-focused conference — serving 3,000+ annual attendees
  • Educated and empowered trans individuals on issues of health and well-being and helped facilitate networking, community-building, and systemic change to improve relations and health outcomes
  • Developed a day-camp like Child Activity Center to serve the childcare and social needs of children and parents attending the conference
  • Worked extensively to create and sustain an accessible and respectful environment that was inclusive of all members of society, but particularly those with transgender identities.
  • Championed the cause to increase awareness and funding for PTWC to continue in their efforts to create a safe space for trans people and their allies, families, and providers, particularly in health-related areas
  • Helped to expand the availability of quality, culturally-competent care for trans communities by supporting PTWC’s Professional Development track including medical and behavioral health professionals, school faculty and lawyers

Birth and Postpartum Doula
Philadelphia, PA/Durham, NC 
2004 – 2011

  • Provided support and coaching during pregnancy, labor, childbirth, and new parenthood
  • Developed a close bond and relationship that was built on open communications and trust
  • Shared evidenced-based information on key areas such as infant feeding, emotional and physical recovery from birth, mother-baby bonding, infant soothing, and newborn care
  • Played a strong role in the postpartum area with the main goal of helping “mother the mother” while also nurturing the entire family as they transition into life with a newborn
  • Gained a very positive reputation for helping to ensure a positive birthing experience and emotionally healthy beginning for first-time, teenage and young high-risk families an area mostly ignored by other doulas
  • Provided information, education, and resources that helped prepare the parents and their families for the birth process and the postpartum period, improving the overall experience
  • Assisted with community outreach efforts, targeting local hospitals and medical staff, community clinics, community agencies, childcare providers and others to communicate the importance of doula-assisted births

Leadership Positions

2020-present | Director of Sponsorships   | South Georgia Pride Board

2019 – present | Secretary of the Board of Directors  | Atlanta Transgender Day of Remembrance

2017 | History and Legacy Co-Chair  | Atlanta Pride Committee

2014 | Event Organizer | Long Beach Trans Day of Remembrance (TDOR)

2012 | Event Organizer | Ladyfest Bay Area

2005-2008 | Youth and Family Program Chair  | Philadelphia Trans Health Conference

2007 | Event Organizer | MondoHomo Dirty South

2004-2007 | Collective Organizer/Volunteer Doula  | Philadelphia Alliance for Labor Support

2004 | Child Activity Center Coordinator  | Philadelphia Trans Health Conference

Additional Skills

  • G Suite, Microsoft Office Suite, Airtable, Slack
  • Adobe Premiere Pro, Final Cut Pro X
  • Social Media, Communications, App, Website Management
  • Programming and Event Planning
  • Fundraising, Sponsorships and Community Partnerships
  • FilmFreeway, Wufoo, Mailchimp, PrideLabs, Survey Monkey, WordPress, Hootsuite

Selected Film Projects

Producer | Vulveeta (Dir. Maria Breaux, in post-production)
Completely improvised, this “mockumentary” explores the nature of trust, the strengths (and weaknesses) of community, social and cultural changes in San Francisco since the first dot-com boom, aging as an artist, and what it means to keep pursuing a dream, against all odds.

Director | GRRRL: 25 Years Of Riot Grrrl (in-production)
Out of the culture of the 1990’s Pacific Northwest independent music scene, riot grrrl established third-wave feminism and brought girl power to the masses, proving that music can change the world.

Director | Lost Grrrls Riot Grrrl in Los Angeles (2016) 56 min.
World Premiere | London’s East End Film Festival’s 40 Years of Punk
Lost Grrrls: Riot Grrrl in Los Angeles is a documentary film on feminism in punk rock in Los Angeles, California. 
New screenings are expected in early 2020.

Co-Director | An Excerpt From the Forthcoming Documentary, GRRRL (2013) 10 min.
Film Installation | Alien She Art Exhibit curated by Astria Suparak and Ceci Moss
A short video installation on the riot grrrl movement. Featuring Kathleen Hanna, Kembra Pfahler, Molly Neuman, Theo Kogan, Erin Smith, and others.
Exhibited at Pittsburgh’s Carnegie-Mellon University, Philadelphia’s Vox Populi Gallery, San Francisco’s Yerba Buena Arts Center, Orange County Museum of Art, and Portland’s Pacific Northwest College of Art. The short film was also screened at various small film festivals.

Art Director | Godspeed (Dir. Lynn Breedlove and Jen Gilomen, 2007) 16 min.
A dystopian punk love story based on Lynn Breedlove’s book of the same title.