Born and raised in Baltimore, Jena has always been passionate about empathetic, community driven stories. She is a documentary filmmaker, an Assistant Professor of film production at Towson University and an MFA graduate from VCFA as well as a proud IATSE 487 Set Lighting Technician. The combination of these skills and interests has led Jena to focus her work on tying together all of her passions: to tell stories rooted in light and truth. She has an increasing interest is the human condition, particularly in the intricacies of family dynamics across cultures.
Jena is currently working on two new projects. "Our Time Kitchen" revolves around two Baltimore chefs, Cat Smith (she/her) and Kiah Gibian (she/they) as they race against the clock to build and open a shared commercial kitchen, called Our Time Kitchen, which will support BIPOC women, LGBTQIA+, and immigrants as they create sustainable businesses of their own.
And "Ora et Labora" which is inspired by the growth of the American craft beer movement. A group of Catholic monks in Spencer, Massachusetts produces America’s first “Trappist-certified” beer, a historically European tradition that signals growth opportunities for financially insecure monastic communities looking to preserve their unique way of life.
“Ora et labora” is Latin for “work and prayer,” and is the motto of the Christian monastic life.