Breaking the News

Film phase:Post Production


Frustrated by the dearth of women and people of color in the media, as well as all the white men dominating newsrooms, in 2020 a motivated group of women and LGBTQ+ journalists banded together to buck the status quo and launch The 19th* News. Based in Austin, Texas, the digital news start-up is named after the 19th Amendment which gave women the right to vote, but with an asterisk to acknowledge the Black women and women of color who were omitted. The 19th*’s work is guided by the asterisk–—asking who is overlooked in the story and how they can be included. 

Breaking the News is a 2022 Critical Issues Fund grantee.




Chelsea Hernandez looking left of the camera in a side profile. She has long dark hair and is wearing red lipstick with an embroidered blouse. Black and white portrait.

Chelsea Hernandez (she/her) is a Mexican-American filmmaker based in Austin, Texas. Named as one of Texas Monthly’s “10 Filmmakers on the Rise,” she is an 8-time Lone Star Emmy® Award-winning director, producer, and editor. Chelsea worked on the PBS special Fixing the Future, hosted by NPR’s David Brancaccio and directed by Ellen Spiro; United Tacos of America (El Rey Network series); and That Animal Rescue Show executive produced by Richard Linklater (CBS All-Access). Chelsea directed/produced the documentary An Uncertain Future (2018 SXSW Texas Short Jury Winner, Field of Vision, Firelight Media). She made her feature directorial debut with the award-winning documentary Building the American Dream (SXSW 2019, PBS).


Heather Courtney looking away from the camera to her left. She has long, wavy hair and is wearing a jean shirt. She is holding a mug and sitting on a wooden porch. Black and white portrait.Based in Los Angeles, Heather Courtney (she/her) is an Emmy® Award-winning filmmaker, and a Guggenheim, Sundance, and Fulbright fellow. Her film Where Soldiers Come From was broadcast nationally on the PBS series POV, and won an Emmy®, an Independent Spirit Award, and a SXSW Jury Award. She also co-directed and produced a Ford Foundation-funded feature documentary on DACA students, called The Unafraid, which was broadcast on the national PBS series America ReFramed. Prior to receiving her MFA in Film, Heather spent eight years writing and photographing for the United Nations and several refugee organizations, including in the Rwandan refugee camps after the 1994 genocide.


Princess Hairston looking off camera to her right. She has dark curly hair parted in the middle. She is wearing a black turtleneck blouse and large hoop earrings and is sitting in front of an out of focus brick wall. Black and white portrait.Princess A. Hairston (she/her) is a creative director, cinematographer, producer, and Emmy® nominated editor based in New York City. Princess was recently selected as one of the 25 filmmaker nominees for the 2020 Lynn Shelton Of A Certain Age grant. Aside from producing and directing multiple films, Princess has edited several films like Pier Kids, Fresh Dressed, Masterpiece of Love, and Capture with Mark Seliger. She is a 2018 recipient of the Karen Schmeer Editing Fellowship and a 2018 Winner of the NYTVF + WEtv Producer Pitch. Her work has been recognized with nominations and awards from the Emmys®, The Webbys, and many film festivals. 





Diane Quon looking directly at camera and is smiling. She has mid-length hair and is wearing a turtleneck, gold hoop earrings and black rimmed glasses. Black and white portrait.

Academy Award® nominated Diane Quon (she/her) worked as a marketing executive at NBC and Paramount Pictures in Los Angeles before moving back to her hometown of Chicago. Diane has produced multiple documentaries including the Oscar® and Emmy® nominated, and Peabody award-winning film, Minding The Gap (Hulu); Oscar® shortlisted Bad Axe (IFCFilms); The Dilemma Of Desire (Showtime); Emmy® nominated Finding Yingying (MTVDocs); and For The Left Hand (PBS). In addition, she produced Wuhan Wuhan (POV) and Surf Nation, and is developing the documentary Untitled Sam And Omar Project. Diane is an AMPAS and PGA member, and is a Sundance Creative Producing Fellow and Cinereach Producer Awardee.