Malkia K. Lydia is a filmmaker who recovers authentic stories of community life. Malkia researched, produced and wrote short documentaries and other media exhibits for both the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture and the National Civil Rights Museum. In 2017, for the DC Commission on the Arts & Humanities, she created an archive-based video installation about education access that included her mom’s journey through school desegregation.
Malkia has long been a magnet for performance + media mashups, including THE COLLAB (a multiplatform series that travels the Black World through musical collaborations), music videos, two TV specials about Philadelphia jazz, and now, WHAT’S IN A NAME?, her first long-form documentary. The film follows a performance artist who traces generations of Black men in his family, and their divergent quests for self-determination in their South Philadelphia neighborhood. It is supported by development funds from the Independent Television Service.
Malkia has also worked on the advocacy and engagement side of media, including with a community television station, the AFI Silverdocs Documentary Film Festival, and the Center for Media and Social Impact. Malkia’s creative work has been recognized by the Maryland State Arts Council, Prince George’s Arts & Humanities Council, IFP Documentary Lab, Leeway Foundation, Greater Philadelphia Film Office, and Humanities DC. She was a Corporation for Public Broadcasting Producer Fellow at the 2014 International Public Television Conference in Helsinki. She is an Associate of the Investigative Reporting Program at UC Berkeley. Malkia earned her undergraduate degree in Public Policy Studies from Duke University and her MFA in Film & Media Arts from Temple University.