Make Him Known
Director: Rudy Valdez
United States, 2020, 20 min
Genres:Sports, Social justice, Female sports, Criminal justice reform
WINNER: Best Short Documentary
Cast:Maya Moore, Jonathan Irons
Crew:Producer: Meghan Schale. Executive Producer: Robin Roberts, John R. Green, Lindsay Kagawa Colas, John Dahl, Libby Geist, Rob King, Erin Leyden, Connor Schell; Production Company: Rock'n Robin Productions; Co-Executive Producer: Reni Calister; Editor: Viridiana Lieberman; Sound Mixer: Emily Strong, Zack Thorpe
Over the course of more than a decade, 4-time WNBA champion and Olympic Gold medalist Maya Moore and her family have been fighting for the release of a wrongfully convicted man named Jonathan Irons. This short film intimately follows Moore as she embarks on a road trip from Atlanta, GA to Jefferson City, MO to bring home the man who, after 23 years behind bars, has not only become a part of her family, but has also strengthened her faith and inspired her pursuit of criminal justice reform.
About the director
Rudy Valdez is an Emmy Award-winning Michigan-raised, New York City-based filmmaker committed to creating social, cultural, and political stories through a cinematic and meaningful lens. He got his start in film as a Camera Operator on the Peabody Award-winning, Sundance series Brick City and went onto direct a true passion project, The Sentence (HBO). Shot and directed by Valdez over the course of a decade, this feature documentary tells the very personal story of his sister's plight in the criminal justice system while tackling subjects like mandatory minimums and sentencing reform. For this work, the filmmaker won the 2019 Primetime Emmy Award for Exceptional Merit in Documentary Filmmaking, US Documentary Audience Award at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival and was a 2018 Critics Choice Documentary Awards Best New Director nominee.
Prior to The Sentence, Valdez has worked as a Cinematographer on a multitude of projects including: The Last Patrol (HBO), directed by Academy Award-nominated Director Sebastian Junger; Whoopi Goldberg presents Moms Mabley: I Got Something To Tell You (HBO) produced and directed by Whoopi Goldberg, premiering at the 2013 Tribeca Film Festival; Remembering the Artist, Robert De Niro, Sr., (HBO), premiering at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival; The Conversation Series, a New York Times OpDoc; the series Second Coming?: Will Black America Decide the 2012 Election? (BET); Prison Dogs, directed by Primetime Emmy Award-winning Director Geeta Gandbhir and Perri Peltz, premiering at the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival; Buried Above Ground, directed by Ben Selkow, premiering at the Woodstock Film Festival; as well as, The Talk (PBS), directed by Academy Award-nominated Director Sam Pollard.
Valdez is currently in production on Heart and Hustle, a 5-part docu-series premiering on Netflix in Fall 2020 (produced by Imagine Documentaries), two documentary projects following WNBA superstar, Maya Moore and her fight for criminal justice reform debuting on ESPN in 2021 (produced by Rockin' Robin Productions), and the definitive feature documentary of Carlos Santana (produced by Imagine Documentaries).