Saving Jackie

Saving Jackie - About the Filmmaker

Selena A. Burks-Rentschler / Film Producer

Selena A. Burks-Rentschler is a filmmaker with a passion for storytelling and confronting the complex issues facing urban America. Selena earned her BFA from Wright State University in 2003. With a fellowship grant from the Wexner Center for the Arts at The Ohio State University, she completed the documentary short Saving Jackie, the profound story of her mother’s battle with drug addiction. The film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2005 and was an Official Selection at the Cleveland International Film Festival the same year. Selena was awarded an Ohio Arts Council Fellowship Grant for her work with Saving Jackie.

“S.A. Burks' engaging and warm personality, and her ability to articulate her painful childhood, connects her to her audience. People who hear her speak are amazed with her strength and ability to survive the unthinkable. Her film reveals an intimate portrait of her sister and her mother and gives the viewer a window into a world that we never hear about.”
-Dr. Meera Rastogi, Psychology, Edgewood University

Following the completion of Saving Jackie, Selena formed S.A. Burks Productions and has since presented her film to a variety of drug outreach programs, state and county child service organizations, and high schools and universities.

In March 2006, Selena was one of 22 artists awarded the prestigious Rockefeller Foundation Media Arts Fellowship Grant to produce a feature focused on the dangers facing the health of adolescent girls in impoverished environments. As her next film project, Selena co-directed a documentary short entitled The True Body Project. This film follows thirteen teenage girls through a creative writing and physical fitness program which led the girls through the process of self-discovery and challenged them to identify with their bodies from a holistic perspective. This film premiered at the Cleveland International Film Festival 2006.

To gain additional experience working on independent feature films, Selena moved to Shreveport, Louisiana in 2008. While there, she worked on several film productions, including director Oliver Stone’s biopic of former President George W. Bush, entitled W. After production on W ended, Selena moved back to Ohio to focus on developing her own feature film projects and to re-energize her child advocacy campaign. After receiving an Audience Engagement/Website Development Grant from Chicken & Egg Pictures and The Fledgling Fund, Selena launched her website,

Selena continues to work closely with a variety of funders, as well as Working Films, a non-profit group that supports independent filmmakers by leveraging the power of storytelling through documentary film to advance struggles for social, economic, and environmental justice, human and civil rights. Selena’s current motivation is to strengthen and grow her national audience through an engagement campaign that focuses on the issues raised in Saving Jackie. She is also working on the development of her first feature film.

Selena currently lives with her husband in Cincinnati, Ohio.