When Allason Leitz (2010) ventured to Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo at age 19 to take an internship with Yole!Africa, a nonprofit that hosts the Congo International Film Festival, she didn't know how much that experience would continue to shape her work moving forward. She's wasted no time since, working the festival eight times, earning a master's in Arts Administration from Columbia University, marketing the i-doc series Kinshasa Collection from Berlin, and managing a cabaret theater on the Upper West Side of New York City (NYC).
Allason now juggles multiple professional positions — Programmer and Cinema Manager for the nonprofit Maysles Documentary Center and, recently, coordinator of the Double Lens Harlem DocFest — all while working with internationally acclaimed filmmaker Petna Ndaliko (founder of the festival in the DR Congo) on the distribution and publicity of his latest film, Matata. Additionally she's helping with a couple different projects at St. Marks Productions as their Creative Assistant Producer. This coming spring she's headed off to Rotterdam International Film Festival and Berlinale representing Maysles Doc Center and Ndaliko.
As busy as she is, Allason still finds time for two of her alma maters: Columbia's Arts Administration program and San Francisco Waldorf School. Waldorf education, she reflected in a phone call from NYC, taught her to step back from a problem, reflect, and really question how something logically works before diving into the deep. In the end, thanks to Waldorf teachers, "you know in your bones when you truly understand something."
Readers are encouraged to explore this graduate program spotlight and how Allason's advanced studies intersected with her professional path in independent cinema.