Gabby Sumney is an Experimental Media Arist. Here, they handpaint designs on celluloid in their home studio.

New Affiliated Faculty member Gabby Sumney, who joins Digital Filmmaking in Spring of 2021, is one of 10 recipients of the 2020 LEF Foundation Early Development and Pre-Production grants.

The grants are funded through the LEF Moving Image Fund, and awarded to “films that demonstrate excellence in technique, strong storytelling ability, and originality of artistic vision and voice,” (LEF Foundation).

The LEF Program Officer Genevieve Carmel further elaborated, “‘This was the first year that LEF offered a new Early Development grant for four New England-based documentary filmmakers at the earliest stages of their process. We couldn’t be more excited to explore an expansion of LEF’s Moving Image Fund in this way, and this will be a learning process for us, informing how we approach future funding programs. By removing the current visual sample requirement at the Early Development stage, our goal was to learn more about and support projects in development by filmmakers who have not been able to create a visual sample for their current work, whether due to COVID-19 or where some initial seed funding might address the unique requirements of a project.'”

Sumney’s project Paradise, is a personal documentary exploring race, immigration, and imperialism through the filmmaker’s multiracial Caribbean American family. The film is produced by Women in Film & Video New England Board member Nerissa Williams – Scott.

On receiving the grant, Sumney remarked “Paradise started as short film I made in a Visual Ethnography class way back in 2015. It was called Fake Patty then, and it was basically a conversation I had with my grandmother on FaceTime about our heritage intercut with me making a food item that my great grandmother taught me how to cook when I was a child. I had to write a paper about the process as part of my final project, and in that paper I wrote that I could see myself revisiting this as part of a longer film. The LEF Foundation has really provided me with the financial buffer to continue working on this project in a way that I didn’t think would be possible in the pandemic times. I’m still in shock that I was selected and deeply grateful for the support. I look forward to challenges ahead. As someone who gets paid per class, the money from this grant will allow me to ‘buy my time’ to work on this project.”

Gabby joins Digital Filmmaking starting spring semester!



Ingrid Stobbe, Assistant Professor of Digital Filmmaking at Lesley University and Board Member of Women in Film and Video New England, is a 2020 recipient of the University Film and Video Association’s Award of Teaching Excellence.

She received the award for Junior Faculty member at the 2020 University Film and Video Association Conference on Tuesday, July 28th. The conference is an international annual gathering of filmmaking professors from around the world. During the weeklong event, attendees participate in workshops, screen films, engage in panel discussions, and create shared spaces for evolving media pedagogy. UFVA is the largest and longest running organization of filmmaking educators in the world, and members stem from all areas related to filmmaking.

Presenting the award on Tuesday, the UFVA selection committee said that the honor was “in recognition of professor Stobbe’s emphasis on rigor, thoroughness, thoughtfulness of materials and teaching philosophy, and work toward inclusive teaching and active learning.”

Stobbe is a 2012 MFA graduate of Emerson College, and joined Lesley University’s Digital Filmmaking program in the fall of 2019. She has previously taught at William Paterson University as well as Seton Hall University. She is also an independent media artist and author, whose multi-media work has been published, screened, and exhibited internationally. Her teaching philosophy extends beyond classroom skillsets, and she often speaks at various institutions on the changing media landscape, and creating professional development bridges for students within that sphere. Fittingly, she presented on “Building the Effective Professional Development Workshop for Students” at the conference, shortly prior to the awards ceremony.

On receiving the honor, Stobbe remarked “This is a particularly touching year to accept this award, as for obvious reasons many of us found ourselves adapting to a new way of educating and engaging with students. To have worked that hard, as everyone at Lesley did, to try to maintain the degree of learning students experience face-to-face, and to have that work acknowledged by peers – it’s honestly a bit emotional. Especially after moving to a different city last fall, and having just joined this community! This is really special, I’m super appreciative and really grateful to everyone at UFVA, at Lesley, and obviously my amazing students who make it so easy to have fun and explore new ways of making creative work.”