Barni Axmed Qaasim
I am a storyteller and documentarian who creates art to envision a just and sustainable world. I work with communities to document movements for social justice, to train members to use media tools, and to create media strategies to win campaigns. My work is rooted in the philosophy that those most impacted by injustice are capable, strong and the most qualified to tell their own stories. I focus on capturing images and sounds that evoke emotion and build connections between people, because art can bring people together in a way that politics cannot.
- Media Campaign
- Media Training
- Music Video
100 Women 100 Miles
Faces of Garfield
Black Lives Matter in Colombia
SNAG Magazine turns 10
A Little Rebirth
“I was ready for a film about midwives and mothers, but Catching Babies surprised me in its utter beauty and thoughtfulness.”
-Sarah Tarver-Wahlquist, SQUAT Birth Journal
“We are healing ourselves from the trauma of family separation by making videos to help other families fight deportations.”
Jennifer Hernandez, founding member of Puente Visión, a youth media collective that is using media to fight deportation cases in their community. I was honored to be their mentor for their first year.
“The reason Barni's films force viewers to connect with her subjects is because of how deeply she makes the connection herself. Watching her work is to see heart-led practice in motion. Few others do anything like it.”
B. Loewe, #Not1More Communications Director
No Papers No Fear: Ride for Justice AKA "UndocuBus" by #Not1More
Barni is directing the feature-length documentary The Gathering, about drug recovery in collaboration with Tamara Perkins, Sara MacPherson, Diana Pérez-Ramírez, and Beto Lopez. She is also a co-producer for Weed Dreams, a documentary about the Cannabis Equity program in Oakland with director/ producer Mathew Ramirez Warren. Barni is currently working as a Digital Strategist for the Solidaire Network, a funding network of individuals redistributing wealth for Black liberation and Indigenous sovereignty. She was the Digital Organizing Director for Communities United for Restorative Youth Justice (CURYJ), a grassroots organization working to close youth prisons and build youth leaders, from 2019 – 2021. From 2014 – 2019 Barni was a cofounder and a general partner at Devlabs Ventures, a venture capital firm managing funds in North and South America and the Caribbean. Barni was a member and later the Director of Production for Third World Majority, a women of color media collective based in Oakland, California from 2004 until they closed in 2009. Barni created media for immigrant rights campaigns at Puente Arizona and Mijente from 2010 – 2015. Barni taught video skills to the youth at SNAG Magazine a Native American youth arts magazine from 2008 until 2012. She is currently a board member of the Somali Association of Arizona and has been a member, contributing graphic design, photography and video skills, since 2006.
Barni directed Catching Babies, a feature length documentary awarded “Excellence in Documenting Women’s Health,” from Puente a la Salud in 2013, and screened at the Midwives Alliance of North America Conference, Black Midwives Conference, University of Illinois at Chicago’s African American Cultural Center, the Chagrin Falls Documentary Film Festival and the White Sands International Film Festival. Barni is Associate Producer for Under Arpaio, a documentary film and winner of the “2012 Best of Arizona” at the Arizona International Film Festival; the film was selected for the Sundance Institute’s Creative Change Artists’ Retreat. From 2010 – 2011 Barni’s documentary short, Youth on the Dividing Line, was featured in the ASU Human Rights Film Festival, the Applied Research Center’s Raceflicks Film Festival, aired on KPFA Radio’s FlashPoints, and featured on the ColorLines Blog. Barni was an Assistant Editor for the documentary, Into the Current, which was selected for the Lucerne International Film Festival and One World International Human Rights Film Festival. Barni directed A Little Rebirth which won an award for “Giving Somali Refugees A Voice,” by the Somali Association of Arizona and is regularly aired on PHXTV and Know99 television stations in the Phoenix Area.
In 2019 Barni collaborated with Equality Arizona on a film series, Out in Arizona, that profiles LGBTQAI+ and Two Spirit individuals from across the state of Arizona. In 2019 Barni organized the first Somali American public art in Phoenix Arizona with artist from the PANA and the Somali Association of Arizona. In 2018 Barni lead two delegations of Indigenous leaders and entrepreneurs from Native American communities in southern Chile to and from California and Arizona. In 2018 Barni’s work was featured in Rebecca Schreiber’s The Undocumented Everyday, which examines how undocumented migrants are using film, video, and other documentary media to challenge surveillance, detention, and deportation. In 2017 Barni travelled to southern Chile to launch Yikalay Zomo, an entrepreneurship and technology program. In 2016 Barni travelled with Ayọ Tometi, Executive Director of Black Alliance for Just Immigration and co-founder of Black Lives Matter to document an encounter with Proceso de Comunidades Negras and Afro-Colombian leaders. Barni spoke at University of New Mexico’s Transnational Americas Research cluster about the use of media in the Migrant’s Rights Movement in 2016. Generation Justice produced this radio segment with Barni after her presentation. Barni curated the 2015 Numbi Arts International Film Festival taking place on three continents in Atlanta, London and Hargeisa. In 2014 Barni was chosen to attend Storytelling Somalia, an artist retreat of Somali artists from across the globe, hosted by the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations, The Radical Middle Way and the Institute of Narrative Growth. In 2014 Barni was given an award of appreciation by the Somali Association of Arizona for her “Relentless Dedication to the Somali Community.” In 2013 Barni was chosen to attend the first La Escuelita hosted by the Zapatistas in Chiapas, Mexico. In 2013 she was awarded the “People’s Media Award” by Puente Arizona. In 2012 after speaking at the Women Who Rock (Un)Conference, Rebecca Simms & Angelica Macklin created a video interview about Barni’s work for the University of Washington. Barni holds a BA in Political Science with a minor in Interdisciplinary Arts and a Masters of Arts in Broadcasting.