News | March 27, 2017

DLA video producer honored by D.C.’s Women in Film & Video

By Beth Reece

Nutan Chada went all the way to war-ravaged Bosnia 19 years ago to record the realities of deployment so Defense Logistics Agency employees and customers could see for themselves the importance of DLA’s mission. She captured one of the most striking visuals of her career as a convoy of Humvees entered a U.S. military base there with a soldier towering over the gun mount of an up-armored vehicle.

“The soldier had his goggles on, a stern look on his face, and his rain poncho was flying back in the wind while soft raindrops were falling around him. Hollywood couldn’t have created a better military visual in a million years,” she wrote in a journal that day in May 1998.

Chada’s passion and talent for bringing awareness to DLA’s work around the world was recently recognized by Washington D.C.’s Women in Film & Video in observance of Women’s History Month. 

Melissa Houghton, executive director of the nonprofit organization, which is part of a global network of nearly 40 chapters and 10,000 media professionals worldwide, called Chada an amazing producer and wonderful resource for content creators in the D.C. metro region.

“To compete against industry people who are producing for Disney or Lockheed Martin is very humbling. There are so many creative and qualified people out there,” Chada said. “That they see value in what I do makes me feel really good.”

Chada has spent the past 25 years producing videos for DLA and teaching others about the educational value of video. Her industry peers often assume her work as a government producer involves shooting training videos, but Chada quickly corrects them.
“Their eyes get real big when I tell them I’ve spent time in foxholes, slept in tents, flown in Blackhawk helicopters and been on aircraft refueling missions,” she said. “As I started learning more and more about what DLA does, I became very aggressive about finding opportunities to film those things. It allows me to paint a picture of what our troops go through for people who’ve never deployed or been in the military.”

Some may envy the time Chada spends traveling to places like Europe and Africa to document DLA employees working alongside military and federal customers, but she and her crew of camera and sound technicians log arduous 10- to 14-hour days on the road.

The “Profiles in Resiliency” and “Logistics on Location” video series are among the wide range of products Chada oversees as executive producer of DLA’s Video Production Team. One of her favorites is a documentary she produced on DLA’s first director, Army Lt. Gen. Andrew T. McNamara, after whom the agency’s headquarters complex at Fort Belvoir, Virginia, is named. And in “The Story of Us,” which she completed in 2016, Chada highlights how the DLA team is connected and valuable to the mission.

“This was a passion project for me. I had to do it, because in all my travels I saw such a disconnect with people referring to each other as ‘you’ and ‘they’ and ‘them,’ not ‘us.’ My goal was to show how connected DLA employees truly are as we work together to support the same cause,” she said.

While Chada knows more about DLA’s mission and history than many of its employees, she wasn’t always respected by her industry counterparts. 

“In the beginning, there weren’t many women doing this work. It was primarily men, so I was looked upon as more of a production assistant than the boss,” she said. “That’s changed, but for a long time people didn’t take me seriously.” 

Women like Mae DeVincentis, former DLA vice director, and Army Gen. Ann Dunwoody, the first woman to serve as a four-star general in the U.S. armed forces, have inspired Chada to seek new challenges. She also admires Phyllisa Goldenberg, former director of DLA Strategic Plans and Policy, who is now a special assistant for the DLA chief of staff.

“She works so hard but shies away from the limelight, and I really respect that,” she said. “That’s what a good producer is supposed to do. I’m just the storyteller giving a voice to others so they can bring recognition to what they do and how they support DLA’s customer.”

More of Nutan’s work can be viewed on YouTube after searching for “Defense Logistics Agency” and via the “Video Archives” option located under the “DLA Videos” tab on the left side of DLA’s homepage.