Gregoire Thoby

Award-Winning Filmmaker

Gregoire is originally an actor. After completing an undergraduate degree in theatre and audiovisual media studies at the Sorbonne Nouvelle in Paris, he left the university in 2008 to focus fully on his acting career and his personal projects.

In 2006, he starred in Fabrice Delauré’s short film “One of Many Drops” which was shortlisted by over twenty festivals (Clermont-Ferrand, Sapporo in Japan…) and received various prizes (Grand Prix Signe de Nuit, Special Jury Award Festival of Nations, Jury Award Curtos actua). Their collaboration led to another short film (“Forever Twins” selected at the SSFF & Asia), a TV documentary (“Deborah”, featuring Claudia Cardinale and Daniel Auteuil) and several screenplays.

Cousin Madenn” is Gregoire’s film directorial debut. It tells the story of his cousin who is developmentally disabled. This film lets her speak for herself, freely and unreservedly, exploring her dynamic personality filled with dark tendencies and exuberance. Realistic, sensitive, funny, uncontrollable, and very much in love, Madenn does not conform to our stereotypes about the developmentally disabled.

Alongside his work on “Cousin Madenn”, Grégoire acts in various film shoots and is developing new projects as a filmmaker.
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Christina M. Paschyn

Award-Winning Filmmaker

Christina M. Paschyn is an international multimedia journalist and educator based in Doha, Qatar. A Struggle for Home: The Crimean Tatars is her first feature-length documentary film. It premiered at the Al Jazeera International Documentary Film Festival in November and was accepted into Docs for Sale at IDFA.

Christina, MS and MA, is a lecturer of journalism in residence at Northwestern University in Qatar. She has reported for major news organizations across the globe, including the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, in London, E News in Johannesburg and KVRR-TV as the station’s congressional correspondent in Washington, D.C. She delivered live shots and interviews about the rocket strikes on Be’er Sheva, Israel, during the 2009 Gaza War for multiple news outlets, including WEWS News Channel 5 in Cleveland. Her work has appeared on CNN, Euronews, the Christian Science Monitor, Women’s eNews, Chime for Change, Al-Fanar Media and in THINK. Magazine, Harper’s Bazaar Arabia, Cosmopolitan Magazine Middle East, and the Chicago Journal, among other publications.

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Kevin McCrea

Award-Winning Filmmaker

Kevin McCrea graduated from Wabash College with degrees in Physics and Philosophy.   He has always been involved in trying to help improve the world we live in.    He volunteers in various activities from homeless shelters, to coaching youth sports and Habitat for Humanity.     He has written for various publications from the Boston Globe, to American Roadracing and the Huffington Post.    In 2009 he ran for Mayor of Boston, MA on a platform of greater transparency, ending corruption and improving the schools.    Of course with that platform he lost...badly.   He now makes films documenting different aspects of society that an objective thinker would question.

His award-winning film, Gambling with Massachusetts, is currently making festival rounds. 

Jacqueline Jean-Baptiste

Award-Winning Filmmaker

A Teacher and Professor, Jacqueline Jean-Baptiste's teaching experience spans from Kindergarten to Graduate Studies. Jacqueline 's knowledge of curriculum development gave her an easiness in designing and building stories; skills that she applies to filmmaking using her knowledge of audiences, catching and keeping attention ,creating and structuring projects; all essential elements to successful filmmaking.

The abundance of exclusively negative writings and imageries about Haiti were the motivation and the challenge that prompted her to produce the documentary:  "Eavesdropping on Souls: A Journey into Haitian Arts"

This documentary touches one dimension of Haiti rarely shown in the media.  It is educational and fun to watch. Time stands still while learning and admiring these wonderful Haitian artworks, which are but a little sample of what is crafted by Haitian artists inside and outside of their beloved country.

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Cristian Piazza

Award-Winning Filmmaker

Cristian Piazza is an Award Winning Filmmaker and founder of City People Films.

He practically grew up inside a movie theater, like the protagonist of Tornatore's classic film Cinema Paradiso. He holds a Bachelor's Degree in Literature and he has studied Film Directing at New York University’ School of Professional Studies.

He has published articles about films and books in Argentina, Venezuela, Miami, Washington, and Spain, including interviews with James Lipton from Inside the Actors Studio, Franco Battiato, Paolo Sorrentino, Enrique Vila-Matas and Alberto Manguel.

Born in Venezuela from Sicilian parents, and living in New York City since 2001. He feels as South American as Italian and specially a Newyorker. He likes to paraphrase Bob Dylan when saying: “He’s convinced that he was born very far from where he’s supposed to be, and so, he’s (always) on his way home...” 

The award-winning WAITING (2015) is his first feature documentary. Winner of the "NYC Citiscape Award" at the 12th Edition of the Big Apple Film Festival in Manhattan and Winner of a Special Prize for Directing at the Foggia Film Festival in Italy, and featuring voice over by John Turturro, the documentary tells the story of three Italian Immigrants in New York City. 

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Justin Kramer

Award-Winning Filmmaker

Justin Kramer is an American filmmaker and artist. His career started in New York City where he formed Elwood Gentry Productions and worked on projects for HBO, MTV, CNN, VH1, and AMC among others.

His producing, directing, and cinematography have been seen in numerous award winning short films, television shows, feature documentaries, music videos and commercials.

Justin has displayed photography work in The Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, as well as lectured at Harvard University on documentary filmmaking.

In 2009, Justin moved to Qatar to join the Doha Film Institute where he produced and mentored numerous workshops and programs resulting in some of the first films and filmmakers from Qatar to gain international recognition.

Since, Justin has developed The Film House. The Film House is a first of it’s kind in Qatar, producing documentaries, commercials and design at a world-class level for clients like VICE, Levi's, Al Jazeera and BBC.

Justin’s first feature documentary, Zabaleen, is an intimate look at a family of Egypt’s garbage collectors. Zabaleen is due out soon.
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Paweł Jóźwiak-Rodan

Award-Winning Filmmaker

Paweł is most known as the author of the script, photos, and director of the documentary "MY MUM DAD GOD AND SATAN” which won numerous awards for and noted “for best director and master use of social and psychological contrasts and the way to enter the fate of his own family in the history of post-war Polish”. This film was an Official Selection at Camerimage 2008 in Lodz and has received Grand Prix at OFF/ON Festival in Warsaw, and the second Prize at The International Documentary Film Festival DOCUMENTA MADRID in Spain. 
Paweł Jóźwiak-Rodan directed also the film EIGHT9, which has been selected for the competition section East End Film Festival in London and won the Audience Award UNIFEST in Madrid and Best Fiction Film at OSTRAVA FILM FESTIVAL in Ostrava. His next documentary film AGNIESZKA IS NOT HERE won The best documentary Prize at ZOOM FILM FESTIVAL and Second Prize at OFF CINEMA FESTIVAL in Poznan. 
He graduated directing at the Krzysztof Kieslowski's Department of Radio and Television University of Silesia , and film studies at the University of Łódź. Now he is PhD student at Polish National Filmschool in Lodz (PWSTFITV). His interests include film, theater, literature, music and religion, new technology and among his additional skills mentioned editing, computer graphics and animation.
Last year he completed the documentary MY 89 GENERATION which he had worked more than two years. He is working now with Opus Film (main producer of Oscar winning "Ida") on the documentary film called THE PILGRIM about ex-prisoner walking by foot from Europe to Moscow.

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Cameron Trejo

Award-Winning Filmmaker

An Arizona native, Cameron Trejo is a passionate and talented up and coming name in the filmmaking world.  Cameron has spent much of the last 10 years honing his skills as a commercial and documentary producer working on projects all over the world, including Brazil, Italy, Israel, Honduras, and South Korea.  His projectReflections of Christ, distributed by Deseret Publishing, was viewed by over 1 million people worldwide, and was followed up by and international project entitledAnother Testament shot in the historic Copan Ruins of northern Honduras.  
In 2010 he Co-Produced Murder In The Dark, An Experimental Thriller Shot On Location In The Abandoned Village Of Craco, Italy. The Film Will Be Released Fall 2014 In Conjunction With A Six-Part Cable Tv Series "Making Of" That Explores The Opportunities And Perils Of Independent Filmmaking.  Cameron's work behind the camera on the short film entitled Everything is Beautiful took home best cinematography at the DC Shorts Film Festival in 2012.  Much of 2013 and 2014 was spent in production on Power’s War, as well as producing international commercials.
Power's War has taken nearly three years of extensive research and production to complete, as well as several grueling trips to one of the most beautiful and remote mountain ranges in the state of Arizona.  He currently resides in Phoenix, Arizona where he produces commercial and documentary films alongside partner Dagen Merrill for their production company Beautiful Science.

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Alan Chebot

Award-Winning Filmmaker

Alan Chebot is an award-winning Director and Executive Producer, with over 30 years of documentary film and television experience.  He founded Boston-based Parallax Productions in 1988 after eight years of “boot camp” as a nationally syndicated producer and director for “Evening Magazine” at WBZ-TV, Boston. The recipient of numerous awards including multiple Emmys, Alan has been recognized throughout his career for excellence in visual storytelling. He has worked on location throughout the US, Africa, India, The Middle East, Asia, and Europe. In the late 1990’s Alan was the Creator, Executive Producer, and Director of the nationally syndicated TV series, The Wild Wild Web. Distributed by CBS/Kingworld, 70 episodes aired from 1998-2000 in 148 markets across the USA. More recently he produced, wrote and directed the critically acclaimed documentary, “Song for New Orleans.” Broadcast nationally and distributed internationally by Hearst Television, the feature-length film chronicles the rebirth of the New Orleans music scene immediately after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina.  In 2007 Chebot teamed up with Carlos Watson for a series of nationally televised prime-time specials entitled “Conversations with Carlos Watson.” The series, also produced in conjunction with Hearst Television, focused on politics, pop culture, and rising stars. An Emmy Award-winning episode of “Conversations” profiled Barack Obama on the campaign trail to the presidency.

“Outermost Radio,” nearly 4 years in the making, is Alan's most recent feature-length documentary. Winner of the 2015 John Schlesinger Award at the Provincetown International Film Festival, “Outermost Radio” was also selected by the 2015 St. Louis International Film Festival, the Kansas International Film Festival, the Hamptons Take 2 Documentary Film Festival, the 2016 Idyllwild International Festival of Cinema, and the 2016 London International Filmmakers Festival.

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Samuel Crow

Award-Winning Filmmaker

Writer and director Samuel Crow was born and raised in New York City. He began making movies on Super-8mm film in high school. After five years in Portland, Oregon, where he received a degree from Reed College, made several short films, and worked on his first professional sets, Samuel moved back to New York City and began a full-time freelance career as a location sound recordist and camera operator for features, shorts, television, commercials, corporate films, and many other productions.
Around this time, he joined forces with producer Ramon Wilson, currently an executive at Relativity Media, to form Voodoo People Productions. They created original music videos, pilots, commercials, and industrial videos, most of which were directed by Samuel, with the company also enjoying success as a full-service production company for other directors and organizations. Voodoo People’s productions have screened theatrically and on cable and network television both here and abroad, in addition to winning multiple awards at both foreign and domestic film festivals.
Today, Samuel continues to work as both a director and freelance crew member, splitting his time between New York City and the Hudson Valley region of upstate New York.

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Sabrina Van Tassel

Award-Winning Filmmaker

Sabrina Van Tassel is a French-American director and a journalist living in France. As an investigative reporter for French TV, she has directed over 40 documentary films since 2004 for major television documentary programs. Focusing mainly on social matters, dear to her heart, such as human trafficking, under age sex trafficking, children in the white nationalist movements in United States and school bullying.

Simultaneously, she has been directing feature documentaries: “Married for Worse” (2004) exploring the world of two young women forced into marriage, “Shalom India: Tsahal’s Lost Soldiers” (2008) about young Israeli soldiers, recently discharged from the army, who go to India for their "big trip", and “Rivka’s Tribe” (2010) the amazing tale of six brothers and sisters surviving the Holocaust in France.

The Silenced Walls” (2015) is her first documentary theatrically released. It was critically acclaimed by the French press. It tells her journey to discover the history of the Drancy camp, the biggest internment camp in France, where almost every single Jew was detained before being deported to the death camps during the Second World War. “I discovered that the Drancy Camp still existed while filming my previous documentary “Rivka’s Tribe”. I was convinced that it had been destroyed more than half a century ago. When I got there, I was overwhelmed to see that the old camp was intact and that people were living in this place haunted by grief. Who were the people living there? How could they live in an old internment camp? Why wasn’t it a museum?” Her quest for answers lasted three years.

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Robert J. Barnhart

Award-Winning Filmmaker

Robert has a BA in comparative religion from Emory University in Atlanta, GA. He has been a strong advocate for the study of psychoactive materials in spiritual and nontraditional healing practices for many years. He sits on the board of both The Heffter Research Institute and The Multi-Disciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies. Robert also sits on the board of COSM, supporting the visionary art work of Alex Grey. Mr. Barnhart is active caring for the well being of our planet's environmental ecosystem.

Robert recently released his debut documentary about the use of psilocybin medicine in modern healing practices. He currently lives in Austin, Texas where he enjoys being a father to his ten year old daughter.

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Shawnelle King

Award-Winning Filmmaker

Shawnelle King is a filmmaker/ television news producer who enjoys combining her love of news with her love for storytelling to create feature length documentary films. 
Her most recent documentary film “Taking the Plunge” has been screened at film festivals across the country and selected world aquatic engagements. The film focuses on the issues of aquaphobia and drowning prevention by raising awareness to the topic of fearful swimmers. Studies show that over 100-million Americans are afraid of water and more than fifty percent of them have a desire to learn how to swim. This documentary acknowledges this FEAR as a real issue and reveals options that fearful swimmers can explore to help them conquer their fears and achieve this lifesaving goal.
Shawnelle has written, directed, and produced numerous short films, videos and other branded content including the short film “Blind Insult” and the Doritos Crash the Superbowl entry “Mama’s Boy.” 
She holds a MS in Broadcast Journalism from Florida A&M University in Tallahassee, FL where she won the 2004 University Award for best documentary editor.  She earned a BA in Mass Communications with a minor in Film Studies from Saint Augustine’s University in Raleigh, NC.  She is also member of the WGAe and alumni of Act One and Writers’ Boot Camp.

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Merajur Rahman Baruah

Award-Winning Filmmaker

Merajur (“Raj”) Rahman Baruah is an independent documentary filmmaker based in New Delhi, India. He attended the Film and Television Institute of India, and also has a Masters degree in Sociology and Mass Communication Research from Jamia Millia University in New Delhi. With numerous independent documentary films to his credit, Raj’s work has been featured at film festivals across India and beyond. He received the Commonwealth Vision Award in 2006 for the film “Beyond the Zero Line” from the Royal Commonwealth Society, United Kingdom. He also received Rajat Kamal Award for the best film on social issues at the 55th Indian National Film Awards, and the Best Director Award for his film “Shifting Prophecy” at the Hyderabad International Film Festival 2008. Raj’s others films have also been widely screened in various film forums, at universities and at international film festivals.

YiXin Huo

Award-Winning Filmmaker

I am an avid documentary, actually, is a complete lunatic, I have a unique documentary concept, although around people think I'm stupid, but I always had a dream documentary, with my camera to record the most realistic happening around the moving moment, I wanted to create a first-class unique documentary.

Hills, rural, elderly, loess, a hammer, a shovel, unknown, upright way the old man with a son literally bend strength tree planting in 14 years, more than one hundred thousand green color, the film recorded a upright old as the dream of a lifetime of stories to persist through the plain language of the camera, the real story appeal, recorded a time more than a decade old and deeply moving story of one hundred thousand trees ......

The first time I saw the way the old man's conversation, he gave me the first impression I can only be a "straightforward" to describe the relative ratio lower than the upright is reflected in the rapid development of our society in the absence of a belief on think of our new era of living conditions of young people, contrasting with the most basic of these people's lives, I can not help but shed a tear, tension, I put in the hands of "eyes" with the audience to record an elder, to sublimate their own, to feel simple.

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Jean Paul Fuenzalida

Award-Winning Filmmaker

Born in 1979 in Santiago of Chile, he arrived to Switzerland at the age of 4 and grew up in the Gruyere area where he studied Economy and Arts (photography and painting). 

After a long working experience as a manager in international companies, he decided to pursue his preferred career in arts and studies movie making at the Art and Design University of Geneva. 

In 2005, the gallery l’Appartement in Montreux showed his photographic project called "mi casa es su casa", series of portraits of people in their everyday environment with a slight abnormal staging. 

After graduating from the Art and Design University of Geneva in 2009, he worked on several movie projects as both movie director and director of photography. 
In 2011 he created the association Palm Tree Productions, a structure specialized in the support and the promotion of creative contents. 

In 2012 and 2015, he was a member of the Jury at the Quest Europe Film Festival in Zielona Gora, Poland. 

Along with his award-winning film, On Location, he working on a new documentary  project called "Tell me a story", a movie about nowadays historical moments and the perception we will have of them in a couple of decades from now, and a new photographic project around portraits, people and storytelling.

Most of his work runs around finding the magic of everyday, the beauty in the common and the understanding of what makes everyday so complex and special. "Every little detail contains the big picture deep inside and is needed for the big picture to exist and to shine bright"

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Mia Ma

Award-Winning Filmmaker

Mia Ma raised in Paris. The award-winning Cantonese Rice is her first documentary film. Before she studied philosophy then worked as a print journalist. She then became a backpack journalist, before discovering documentary films at the renowned french school Ateliers Varan.  

She has also directed some radio documentaries. Her current award-winning documentary Cantonese Rice been selected by film festivals around the world.

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Mark Dixon

Award-Winning Filmmaker

Mark Dixon is an award-winning filmmaker, activist, and public speaker exploring the frontiers of social change on a finite planet. Mark graduated from Stanford University in 1997 with a degree in Industrial Engineering. He started his technology career in Silicon Valley and worked for two start-up companies, including Akimbo Systems, where he managed the deployment of nearly 10,000 programs for its Internet video service.

As evidence for global warming and resource depletion moved into prominent view on an international scale, Mark decided to refocus his life and skills on tackling those issues, launching YERT – Your Environmental Road Trip in 2006 with his friend and fellow activist, Ben Evans. This team ultimately created the YERT feature film, receiving the audience award at its Yale Environmental Film Festival world premiere. YERT has been featured by the San Francisco Chronicle, the Huffington Post, Voice of America, the National Catholic Reporter, and Russia Today. Distributed by First Run Features, the film has screened at dozens of film festivals, colleges, and community groups around the world to great acclaim. In 2011, Mark received PennFuture’s “Citizens Choice Green Power Hero” award for his work on the YERT film and was featured in the cover story for the Spring 2014 edition of Bridge to Light magazine.

Mark’s most recent film, “The Power of One Voice: A 50-Year Perspective on the Life of Rachel Carson,” was accepted into the 2015 American Conservation Film Festival, the 2015 Woods Hole Film Festival, and the 2015 AASHE Conference (Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education). He is currently pursuing multi-year documentations of the popular Solar Roadways project, the Green Building Alliance’s Green and Healthy Schools Academy, and the South Side’s Schwartz Living Market renovation to Living Building standards. Mark also serves on the board of the internationally renowned Thomas Merton Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Mark’s films and public speeches have inspired audiences around the world, including TEDx Pittsburgh, Sony Pictures, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Phi Beta Kappa Society, Bioneers Conference, the Mother Earth News Fair, Carnegie Science Center, and the world’s oldest film school: Russia’s VGIK (Gerasimov Institute of Cinematography). 

A citizen of the world, Mark has lived on three continents and visited 26 countries, particularly enjoying a year in Tokyo, Japan. 

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Sterling Noren

Award-Winning Filmmaker
Sterling Noren is filmmaker and the Founder and Director of Noren Films, a digital film production company in Seattle, WA. Sterling has traveled around the globe as a motorcyclist and filmmaker and produced more than 20 feature length motorcycling documentaries and television programs for an international audience. His background includes 25 years of experience in the film and video industry as a cameraman, editor, producer, director and writer of award-winning programs for the corporate world, the travel industry and broadcast television. He lives to explore, discover, create and share his travels with the adventure motorcycling community and beyond.

​His award-winning film Run Free – The True Story of Caballo Blanco, is a feature documentary which chronicles the life of American ultra running legend Micah True (Caballo Blanco, or the White Horse) and his quest to create an ultra marathon in Mexico’s Copper Canyon to promote and preserve Tarahumara running tradition. True was a main character in Christopher McDougall’s best-selling book Born to Run – A Hidden Tribe, Super Athletes and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen. See the trailer here

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Phyllis Ellis

Award-Winning Filmmaker

Phyllis Ellis has worked in film and television for 20 years, as an actor, director, producer and writer, creating critically acclaimed and award winning films and television across genres. Most recently, the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television awarded Ellis the 2013 Donald Brittain Award for Best Social-Political Documentary for About Her, a feature length documentary she wrote, directed and produced, chronicling the lives of five women struggling with breast cancer. Ellis has worked in documentary, drama and lifestyle programming. She was nominated for a 2006 Gemini for Best Direction, Lifestyle Series for Made to Order and has a 2007 Gemini nomination for Best Director in a Documentary series for Crystal: Living the Dream. She also directed the Gemini-winning comedies The Wilkinsons and Three Chords From the Truth (Movie Central and CMT). Ellis has produced two award-winning feature films, both premiering at the 2000 Sundance Film Festival. She is proud to have been an Olympic athlete, competing for Canada in the 1984 Games.

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Aaron Hosé

Award-Winning Filmmaker

Born in the USA and raised on the island of Aruba, Aaron Hosé is an award-winning producer/director/editor with over 15 years of experience in the international film and video industry. His documentaries and television productions have earned him three regional Emmy Awards and six nominations between 2008 and 2014. Aaron has amassed a diverse body of work in the public and private sectors, for clients such as the American Automobile Association, T-Mobile, University of Florida, COBHAM, FIS Global, the PGA Tour Shops, Brooks Brothers, Florida Hospital, and the Government of Aruba. 
In 2010, Aaron produced and directed his award-winning Taiwanese documentary feature Voices in the Clouds, and followed it up with the LGBT-themed documentary Break Through in 2012. Both films are available worldwide on digital platforms such as Hulu, Amazon, IndieReign and SnagFilms.  Aaron is Associate Producer and Cinematographer for the documentary Just About Famous (currently on Netflix, iTunes and Google Play), and his latest documentary “The Sons of Mapes" is currently touring the film festival circuit.

Jonathan Evans 
Brock LaBorde 
Chris Trew

Award-Winning Filmmakers

Jonathan Evans is a New Orleans-based filmmaker. He has directed feature films, web series, commercials, and music videos, including Air Sex: The Movie, Sunken City, and Category 5 Wetlands Watch. He is currently in post-production on The Last Sentinels, a documentary about coastal erosion.

Brock LaBorde has written numerous film and TV projects, as well as a couple of books. Through his production company, Studio 8, he has created original TV & digital content for brands like Comedy Central, Machinima, Intel, AT&T, and Mattel.  Air Sex: The Movie is his first feature-length documentary. He also owns and operates The New Movement, a duo of critically-acclaimed improv theaters in Austin and New Orleans, cultivating an ever-growing army of comedic talent. He produces shows, festivals, films, and pretty much whatever else needs producing.

Chris Trew is a comedian, pro wrestling manager, and host of the Air Sex Championships. He was named one of 10 comics to watch in 2015 by Paper Magazine and has weirded out millions with his appearances on Bad Girls Club and America's Got Talent. Chris does comedy nearly every night of the week in Austin or New Orleans and has been featured in comedy and music festivals all over the country. ​

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Jonatan Jerichow

Award-Winning Filmmaker

Jonatan Jerichow is a Danish producer and director. 

Jerichows last production, "Goodbye Theresienstadt," was produced in the beginning of 2015, with a week long visit to the Theresienstadt Camp in the beginning of March 2015. On May 5, a Danish TV-version of "Goodbye Theresienstadt” was shown at the national channel for history and culture. It is among the most viewed programs in 2015 at the channel. 

In 2013 he produced and directed the documentary October 43 with fellow Dane Carl Otto Dethlefsen. October 43 has been shown on festivals in Denmark, Israel and Australia, and at screenings in France and USA.  

At the independent production company STV Production, Jerichow is the executive producer of a high ranking documentary reportage series about adopted Danes trying to find their biological family abroad. Before producing the series, Jerichow has been directing several episodes in foreign countries, mainly in Asia, Latin America and and South America. 

Jerichow is also a co-producer of an annual fundraising at the National Danish Broadcaster, benefiting leading humanitarian organizations. For the last seven years, Jerichow has been traveling to most subsaharan African countries to produce spots and documentaries for the National Broadcaster in Denmark.

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Irene Sosa

Award-Winning Filmmaker

Irene Sosa began working in film in 1982 and since then has been making documentaries. She has also worked as camera-person and editor in film and video, and collaborated with other artists in many multimedia installations and dance performances. 

She recently completed the award-winning Vertical Slum, a project that takes up issues of architecture and culture, and how buildings reflect the ever-changing social reality. The documentary focuses on a building in the heart of Caracas that was left unfinished and abandoned. In 2007 the building was taken over by some 200 families and has since become a “vertical slum” housing some 5,000 people.

Her previous work, Shopping to Belong, explores the search for cultural citizenship in the Latino community through consumerism.

In 2004 she was commissioned by the Centro Galego de Arte Contemporanea in Galicia, Spain to make an anthology of her work on artist Nancy Spero as part of a retrospective of the artist. Two of these documentaries are included in the DVD Spero/Golub produced by Kartemquin Films.

 In 1999 she made Sexual Exiles a documentary about gays and lesbians who left their home countries and how they deal with the sense of loss immigrants have for their homeland and how they claim space and their rights in this new society. Her work has been shown in many national and international venues and has received recognition in the press both here and abroad.

Since 1999, Irene Sosa has been a Professor of the Department of Television and Radio, and the Puerto Rican and Latino Studies Department at CUNY’s Brooklyn College. She is a Fulbright Scholar. A graduate of the MFA Film and Television, Tisch School of the Arts at New York University, she also holds a Licenciatura degree in Mass Communication from the Universidad Central de Venezuela.

Sosa has been the recipient of various grants and awards, including: an Individual Artist's Fellowship from the New York Foundation for the Arts, a fellowship from The Andrea Frank Foundation, an Individual Artist grant from the New York State Council for the Arts. She has also received five PSC-CUNY Research Awards as well as a Brooklyn College Creative Achievement Award and two Claire and Leonard Tow Faculty Research Travel Fellowship.

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Jon Leonoudakis

Award-Winning Filmmaker

Jon Leonoudakis is an award-winning documentary filmmaker who focuses on the human side of our national pastime. He is one of the producers of the internationally acclaimed music documentary, The Wrecking Crew. Since 2009, he has shifted his focus to baseball, producing and directing Not Exactly Cooperstown and The Day the World Series Stopped. Both films are in the permanent collection of the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, and, along with Hano! A Century in the Bleachers, are in the UCLA Film & Television Archive.

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Tiannah Bruce

Award-Winning Filmmaker

Tiannah Bruce is a filmmaker and photographer with a knack for storytelling. Her most recent documentary, The Portrait of an Artist: When the Light Turn Off, follows the personal account of R&B recording artist, J. Holiday, and his struggle to stay relevant in a constantly changing music industry. The film has won 2nd Place in the Documentary Short Film Category in the Capital City Black Film Festival in Austin, Texas and has won the Audience Choice Award for Best Student Short Film in the Gwinnett Center International Film Festival in Atlanta, GA. This film was also featured in The Peachtree Village International FIlm Festival.

Tiannah has an M.F.A. in Documentary Film Studies and Production from Hofstra University and a B.A. in Broadcast Journalism from Hampton University. Her recent experiences includes; producing, filming, and editing documentaries, as well as, event photography. She's interned as a Photographer with NBC's Saturday Night Live and with the Public Relations Department for BBC Worldwide America, as well as interning as a Videographer and Editor for JetBlue Airlines

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Leon Shahabian

Award-Winning Filmmaker

Leon serves as President and Executive Producer of Layalina Productions, a Washington, DC based non-profit. He co-founded Layalina in 2002 and has since produced twelve documentaries and television series that have been well received by MENA audiences and by the international festival circuit. In 2014, Layalina won 13 industry awards for their documentary films and reality television series. 

Leon has produced the multiple award-winning documentaries, Life After Death and Yemeniettes; produced On the Road in America, Seasons I through III; and created, wrote and executive produced the multiple award-winning series Generation Entrepreneur. He is currently in pre-production on Confessions from the War.  

A Phi Beta Kappa graduate of The Pennsylvania State University with degrees in International Politics and French Literature, Leon is fluent in Armenian, Arabic and French. He is a life member of The Public Diplomacy Council and a 2013 recipient of the Penn State Alumni Achievement Award.

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Nina Wells

Award-Winning Filmmaker

Nina grew up in a small picturesque town of Russell in New Zealand. An artisan up bringing as a child has lead her to pursue creative endeavors into her adult career. 

Nina has now been working as freelance film maker in New Zealand for the last eight years. With this passion comes a genuine, deeply seated interest in the families, clients, communities and individuals her work encompasses, valuing meaningful connections with them. 

She began her path into film making with a bachelors degree in Visual Communication Design at Massey University in Wellington, New Zealand. Her major project comprised of a 3 part educational documentary which went on to receive a Zonta Award and Best Design award. In 2015 she was short listed in the top five for the Jane Campion Female Cinematographers Scholarship in New Zealand.

Her current work and projects now consist of shooting short films, web-series and independently sourced commissions and projects. With her hunger for travel and adventure it remains her best combination when passion and work overlap. Her award-winning film, Birds of a Feather is currently making festival rounds.
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David Mitsuo Nixon

Award-Winning Filmmaker

David Mitsuo Nixon is a multi-disciplinary performance artist, filmmaker and musician with a Ph.D. in Philosophy. He teaches a variety of courses at the University of Washington Bothell, including: Ethics and Death, The Meaning of Life, History of American Popular Music, Music and Philosophy, Philosophical Explorations of Science Fiction, and Critical Thinking and the Paranormal (How To Think About Weird Things). David edits and publishes an annual collection of philosophically provocative science fiction stories called The Monolith.

Bladfold is the second musical documentary film David has created with musician Daniel Spils.  Bladfold is an animated musical documentary telling the outrageous true story of David’s father, Brad Nixon, a former president of the College Republicans who discovered LSD and then became a powerful and very controversial leader of a sect of Buddhism in the 1970’s.  Bladfold won Best Musical Film at the 2015 Oregon Independent Film Festival. It also won the Seattle Office of Arts and Culture’s prestigious CityArtists Project award.

David has won a number of awards and grants for his work. In 2013 David was the Scholar In Residence at Town Hall Seattle.  He was also picked as one of eleven “artists and tastemakers who will define 2013” by City Arts Magazine.

David lives in Seattle with his wife Jen, their toddler son Jules, and two cats.

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Jotja Bessems

Award-Winning Filmmaker

Jotja Bessems is an independent, self-made filmmaker. She earned her degree in Theatre-, Film and Television Studies from the University of Utrecht, The Netherlands in 1995. Subsequently, she developed her directing skills at the regional broadcasting company of Utrecht and many independent projects.

In 2002, Jotja founded her one-woman company, creating documentaries and short films commissioned by social organizations. She works as an independent director/producer and camerawoman, in close cooperation with other creative specialists in the field.

Interested in social issues and personal stories showing the bigger view, she independently produced and directed several short documentaries as well.

In 2015 Jotja finished her first feature independent documentary "Our Soldier”. This award-winning film is about the emotional bond between two continents, which is still strong 70 years after the Second World War. She follows her parents who adopted the grave of an American soldier at the US military cemetery in Margraten, The Netherlands, from the moment they meet the soldier’s family. The documentary shows how generations pass on the involvement with the adoption and Europe’s liberators. “Our Soldier” is now taking a tour through several festivals and events concerning war and liberation in Europe and the US.

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Zach Jordan

Award-Winning Filmmaker

Zach is the writer, director, and co-producer of "Carpe Kilimanjaro: An Alzheimer's Story". He is an award-winning Founder / Partner at Joe Digital, Inc. and has created and developed content for some of the leading platforms in traditional and new media. As a documentary filmmaker, he worked as a camera man on "America's Deadliest Catch", was a Producer and Cinematographer on "Buckle Brothers: A Documentary on the Soul of a Cowboy", which was one of 10 documentaries chosen to premiere at the 2005 AFI Film Festival in LA, and as a camera man on "Derailroaded", the award-winning documentary on Wild Man Fischer.
In addition to feature documentaries and TV, Zach directed and produced the digital series Operation Midnight Climax, about the CIA sponsored LSD experiments in brothels during the 1950's, which was featured at the 2009 ITV festival in Hollywood, as well as the Thrill Spy festival in Washington, D.C. In 2014, Zach co-created, directed, and produced the series "Idol Insider", for Fox Broadcasting and VEVO, which was in conjunction with the hit TV show, "American Idol". Working with MSN for several years, Zach wrote, directed, shot, produced, and/or voiced several digital series, that were featured on the MSN Video Network, as well as other platforms. His original MSN series "Road Raves", garnered a 2012 Webby Award for him and his partner, Peter Schankowitz. 
Before starting Joe Digital, Inc., Zach was a founding producer and VP of Business Development at, one of the world's largest producers of factual, online content. During his tenure, he wrote and produced over 2,000 videos, including over 300 titles for the MSN Live Earth event in 2007, featuring Nobel Prize winning scientist Dr. Oppenheimer and celebrity environmentalist Ed Begley, Jr. Zach has written and produced projects for major brands like: Coca-Cola, Nike, the NBA, Hasbro, Kiva, Friends of the Earth, and he's a survivor of the late 90's San Francisco dot-com boom, where he began his career producing short form, web and branded content and collecting useless stock certificates. In a past life, he worked as a voiceover artist, lending his voice to over 15 regional commercials, video games for Xbox, and the Walmart in-store networks. He studied as a professional actor for several years, under legendary teachers, Jean Shelton in San Francisco and Rick Edelstein in Los Angeles.
Most recently, Zach worked as an Executive Producer on "American Idol Season 12 and XIII", "So You Think You Can Dance", and "X Factor", for the Fox Digital team. Zach and Peter executive produced, designed, and executed on all facets of American Idol's digital presence during these two seasons and co-partnered with Fox to co-manage the very first, truly 360 degree, multi-platform effort, to bring the ultimate singing competition to the masses. Zach and Peter produced a raft of new content franchises, a 90 minute finale pre-show, broadcast live from the Nokia theatre in Los Angeles, and over 1,500 original videos, that were distributed across, YouTube, Hulu, and the show's official mobile platforms. In 2014, Zach and Peter took home a Social TV award, for their content featured on the American Idol Live Sync experience.

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Jonathan Helmuth

Award-Winning Filmmaker

Jonathan Helmuth is a serial entrepreneur and is a co-founder of Genesis Products. In 2007,  Genesis was listed in the Inc. 500 as the 8th fastest-growing manufacturing company in the US with an unprecedented 846% growth rate between 2003 and 2007.

In the fall of 2013, Jon transitioned away from his role as president of Genesis and began collaborating with teams of independent film makers. Jon has worked on several film and television sets as a camera operator, sound and foley editor and is currently producing several feature film projects scheduled in 2016. 

An artistic investor and serial entrepreneur, Jonathan spends time working with creative teams on private, business and community collaborations. This includes city planning directorship, collegiate boards and and Ignition Music, a record store and highly respected concert venue he co-owns in Goshen, Indiana.

His award-winning film, The Flying Dutchmen, can be seen at festivals world-wide.

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Dena Seidel

Award-Winning Filmmaker
Dena Seidel is an award winning documentary filmmaker, innovative educator, published short story author, and creator/designer of undergraduate film production programs. 

In 2013, Dena Seidel spent 6 weeks in Antarctica living with climate science researchers directing the feature film Antarctic Edge: 70° South funded by the National Science Foundation. Seidel is the founding director of the Rutgers Center for Digital Filmmaking in the Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University.  Seidel returned to Rutgers University from the south pole with 400 hours of footage that she then shaped with her undergraduate film students over 2 years to create the award winning feature documentary.The making of Antarctic Edge provided the educational model that became Rutgers first major in Digital Filmmaking. 

Other films Seidel produced with her Rutgers staff and students include Atlantic Crossing (premiered at Blue Ocean, 2010), Generation at Risk and The War After. Prior to Rutgers, Seidel worked on films for National Geographic, Discovery Channel, Channel 13/WNET, HBO, ABC, The Learning Channel, WGBH Boston and Turner Broadcasting. 

As a filmmaker, Seidel creates character driven non-fiction film narratives that engage audiences on journeys exploring and tacking important social justice issues.

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Andrea Capranico

Award-Winning Filmmaker
Andrea Capranico is a documentary and commercial director/cinematographer/producer based in Manila, Philippines.

Born and raised in Torino, Italy, he graduates in Chemistry in 2000 and, after few years of science research and corporate work, he pursues his original dream of being a world traveler, a photographer and a filmmaker.

After consolidating his experience with a targeted education in visual storytelling in California, Andrea establishes himself as director for documentary, commercials and multimedia productions in Asia and Africa, both as independent contractor for different international institutions and as in-house Director of Production for a UK-based media agency firm, working with major clients and broadcasters in Asia and Africa.

As independent documentary director and producer, Andrea is currently developing, producing and shooting a series of short and long-feature documentaries in Asia with a strong focus on the Philippines.

Shot over three years, his first long-feature observational documentary “The Undertaker” (produced by Bianca Balbuena and developed at Busan first Al Jazeera Viewfinder Asia Program 2012), had its Asian and World premiere at the Singapore International Film Festival 2014 and it has been screened in competition in many other festivals and venues in Europe and USA (Madrid, Manchester, New York among others).

Hollywood Reporter picked "The Undertaker" as one of the nine must-see movies at SGIFF2014, out of more than 150 titles-

In 2015 Andrea released his second long-feature documentary: “The Landscape within”, a lyrical portrait of a body-painter and conceptual artist in the rural Philippines (premiered at the Singapore International Film Festival 2015) and is finishing the production of his third feature observational documentary “Alvis for PRES” (the story of a Filipino Elvis Priestley’s impersonator committed to Industrial Safety in the outskirts of Manila). In 2016 Andrea is commencing pre-production and production of three new documentaries: "There was, and there wasn't" (Canada, Lebanon, Turkey, Armenia), "The Shaman on the bicycle" (Mongolia) and "The Four Kings" (East Timor, Indonesia).

Alice Bouvrie

Award-Winning Filmmaker

Alice Bouvrie has over 25 years of film and documentary experience. She earned a Master's Degree in Film Production from Boston University and a Master's Degree in Intercultural Relations from Lesley University. In 2005 Bouvrie was selected to participate in the Filmmaker-In-Residence Lab at WGBH for the 2005-06 year.  She is an active member of the Director's Guild of America, and an active member and former board member of Women in Film & Video/New England. As a graduate of the DGA Producer's Training Program out of New York, (DGA Trainee) she worked as an Assistant Director on feature films, TV series and specials, commercials and industrials.  Alice began producing documentaries as an independent over twenty years ago and has completed five award-winning feature-length films that have screened at festivals, in theaters, museums and Universities around the country. Her first film co-produced with Teresa Metcalf, Living Under the Cloud: Chernobyl Today exposes the health and environmental effects of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster.  Iditarod...A Far Distant Place follows three mushers racing against time and the elements in the long-distance Iditarod sled dog race in Alaska.  Her award winning film, Prison Pups explores prison reform through a dog program where inmates raise and train puppies to be service dogs.  And a recently completed film profiling a Male-to-Female transsexual who is a candidate for ordination in the Presbyterian church, Thy Will Be Done: A transsexual woman’s journey through family and faith, is currently being distributed through New Day Films, a distribution cooperative.  Her award-winning film, A Chance To Dress, is her most recent film and is currently traveling in the festival circuit. 

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Mathias Magnason 
Paulio Shakespeare

Award-Winning Filmmakers

Mathias Magnason is a Swedish-born, New York-based documentary filmmaker. He began his studies of visual storytelling under the early mentorship of his uncle, a renowned Swedish cinematographer. His first documentary for the United Nations in poverty stricken Africa changed his life and turned his focus to human rights stories that impact people’s lives and environments. Since then his cutting edge documentaries, including “Article 23”, “Hard To Believe”, and the series “Journey To The East”, have aired on Swedish Public Television, PBS, and other networks around the world.

Growing up in New Zealand, with only three TV channels, Paulio Shakespeare was encouraged by his parents to get a trade instead of entering the film industry. But bored with joinery, he switched to sound engineering and film and television studies, soon leaving the rolling hills of the countryside to work as a journalist and cameraman in the concrete jungles of New York. From news production he branched out to cinematography and running crews for documentaries that have aired on major global broadcasters. Currently Paulio is a partner at Swoop Films producing a feature documentary called “The Wang Family”.

Mathias and Paulio met in the programs department of NTD Television in New York City, The two hit it off and have since collaborated on many commercial productions, documentaries, and short films including the Persecution of Falun Gong.

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Shawn Thompson

Award-Winning Filmmaker

Shawn Thompson is an Award Winning Documentary filmmaker and writer. In 2000, he wrote FOUR DOGS PLAYING POKER (starring Forest Whitaker, Tim Curry, Balthazar Getty). Concurrently he wrote episodes for the television series, REDWALL. After editing and writing for several films and television shows, he edited the critically acclaimed documentary series On the Road in America (2007). He also won several awards including the Audience Choice “Best Short Film” in the Beverly Hills Film Festival (2003) for his black comedy, Shotgun Wedding.

In 2009, he once again turned his attention toward directing and completed the powerful documentary, LIFE AFTER DEATH, which won numerous Awards on the festival circuit. In 2010 and 2011, Shawn was the Editor and Post Producer on the second and third seasons of ON THE ROAD IN AMERICA.

In 2014, Shawn directed and edited the feature documentary, YEMENIETTES, and the reality series, GENERATION ENTREPENUER. Both winning multiple awards. He is currently the Co-Director and Supervising Editor for the Award Winning documentary, AMERICAN CARAVAN. His latest film, THE STATE OF ASSYRIA won the 2015 Golden Palm Award at the Beverly Hills film festival.

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Ruby Yang

Award-Winning Filmmaker

Director Ruby Yang won an Academy Award for Documentary Short Subject for The Blood of Yingzhou District (2006). She is also known for directing The Warriors of Qiugang (2010) and My Voice, My Life (2014).

In 2003, along with filmmaker Thomas F. Lennon, Yang founded the Chang Ai Media Project to raise HIV/AIDS awareness in China. Since then, its documentaries and public service announcements have been seen by hundreds of millions of Chinese viewers. Lennon and Yang made a trilogy of short documentary films about modern China, including The Blood of Yingzhou District (2006), Tongzhi in Love (2008) and The Warriors of Qiugang (2010), which was nominated for Best Documentary Short Subject in 2011.

Yang now lives in Hong Kong. She was appointed by the University of Hong Kong as Hung Leung Hau Ling Distinguished Fellow in Humanities in 2013. Her latest documentary, My Voice, My Life, was named "Hong Kong's 5 Most Essential Films of 2014" by The Wall Street Journal.

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Courtney James 

Award-Winning Filmmaker
My name is Courtney James and I got a fever.. A fever for more cowbell. Ha Ha - Nah .. the real fever that burns inside me is the passion I have for story telling. Ever since I was kid, I've been obsessed with the cinema and knew that this was going to be my destiny. I just turned 40 in November and it's been officially 20 years I've been a Jack of all Trades in the film and television industry in Toronto, Canada. I've had the opportunity to work on Hollywood big budget Films, Network TV shows, pilots, web series, as well as independent passion projects. I do background, stand in, stunts, special skills, PA and AD work, which lead me to writing, producing, and directing various projects through my own company - Admit One Productions. I currently have numerous genre TV, Film, Web Shows, as well Commercial work in development and pre-production for 2016. 
Life is but a Dream is the second instalment of my passion brand that focuses on shaping identity through music, called the Global Groove Network (GGN). GGN Presents examines this in more detail and looks at how we all have a soundtrack to our lives. The first feature documentary entitled The Global Groove Network features some of the biggest names in the EDM scene today including Armin Van Buuren, David Guetta, Carl Cox, Pete Tong, Steve Angello, and Tiesto. GGN was an official selection of the North by North East (NXNE) music and film festival in 2013 and has been picked up by the CBC network and the Documentary Channel in Canada, as well as has been distributed on Amazon, Vimeo, Hulu, and on demand services globally. For more information on the Global Groove Network .. Life is but a Dream will available later this year after it’s festival run. The Global Groove Network will be expanding it’s music coverage and exploring new genres moving forward under our mission statement of music shaping identity.. stay tuned!

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Jessica Kingdon

Award-Winning Filmmaker
Jessica Kingdon is a producer/director with a dynamic background in narrative, documentary, and experimental work. She has worked on three narrative features as producer and associate producer, and has produced and directed several shorts. Her short films have been screened in NYC and internationally.  She is an active member of the Brooklyn Filmmaker's Collective and completed a residency program at Union Docs in NYC.  Jessica is currently working on her short documentary "Yiwu" based in China.

Her award-winning film, Looking At Animals is a documentary that examines the ways humans relate to animals in zoos and aquariums.

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Chris Burket

Award-Winning Filmmaker
Chris Burket grew up in a small town in Kansas which is where his love of storytelling spawned.  He started as a part-time photojournalist with a local newspaper when he was only 13 which started a lifelong love affair with telling stories through images.  After graduating high school, he attended the University of Kansas and earned a bachelor’s degree in film and theatre.  After college he moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career in the film industry.  

He has worked in the camera department on films such as “Oz the Great and Powerful” and “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes”.    

Get Busy Living” marks his directorial debut in the documentary film market. Get Busy Living is the story of Nick Fener and Lindsay Showalter's perseverance over extreme odds after Nick was in a terrible skydiving accident that took both his legs and broke his spine. Their love for each other and the sport of skydiving set them on a path that would allow them to achieve incredible things that even doctors didn't think possible.

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Carl Otto Dethlefsen

Award-Winning Filmmaker

Carl Otto Dethlefsen has a degree in psychology. 

He joined Danish Broadcasting Corporation (DR) as a consultant in 1986, and has held numerous positions in DR among them, head of TV development, music editor and commissioning editor for culture. 

In 2011 he joined STV production as a director of music programs. 

In 2014 Carl Otto directed a documentary film about Danish seamen who took part in the invasion of Normandy in 1944, and together with co-director Jonatan Jerichow two films - October 43 (2013) and Goodbye Theresienstadt (2015) about the fate of Danish Jews during WW II.

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Rubi Rose

Award-Winning Filmmaker

Rubi Rose’s lifelong passion for photography began at seven years old when her uncle gave her a bright pink Kodak 35mm camera. Rarely seen without it, she trained her eye by taking hundreds of 35mm shots of friends, family, and her surroundings. Training at the Woodstock Youth Center brought her her first proper SLR camera, and eventually brought her to studying at Bard College, where she received her degree in photography.
Her photo projects have been realized on mediums as diverse as black- and-white and color, large-format 4x5 and digital. In addition to her art portfolio, she works as a photographer’s assistant for MacArthur Fellowship winning-photographer Wendy Ewald. and as a freelance camera operator. Her freelance work has included weddings, parties, bar- and bat-mitzvahs, and events as diverse as shoots for Vogue Italia, One Voice For Haiti, and the New York City Village Halloween Parade. This is her first documentary.
Coming off of her acclaimed show “Between a Peasant and a Patroon”, Rubi was selected for a fellowship from the Tierney Foundation, who provided the funding for her latest show, “Ten Again”, which opened in the spring of 2012.

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Bruce Spiegel

Award-Winning Filmmaker

For the last 25 years, Bruce Spiegel has been a producer/editor at CBS News/48 Hours Mystery. During that time, he’s also produced, edited and directed a number of films and documentaries.

In 2002 he co-produced the award-winning TV documentary “9-11” which won both an Emmy (2002) and Peabody Award (2003).

In 2012, alongside Wynton Marsalis (jazz musician and artistic director at Jazz at Lincoln Center) and Hugh Masakela (South African music legend), Spiegel co-produced a CBS News/48 Hours TV documentary titled “Nelson Mandela: Father of a Nation”. The documentary explored the South African music that was used for Nelson Mandela’s eulogy, and won The National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) Excellence Award in 2014. 

In the late 80’s Spiegel wrote and edited “Machito, A Latin Jazz Legacy”, a documentary that chronicled the rise of Latin music in the 40’s an 50’s. It has screened worldwide, and was the Jury Prize Winner at the 1986 San Antonio Film Festival and the First Prize Winner at the San Juan Film Festival in 1988. 

In 2006, he directed and produced “Long Road Home”, a documentary about John Malangone, a baseball phenomenon destined to be the next great Yankee catcher. The film won first prize at the Baseball Hall of Fame Festival in 2007. 

Spiegel’s latest work, a documentary titled “Bill Evans: Time Remembered” was completed in 2015, and tells the story of Bill Evans turbulent life and his unprecedented contribution to the jazz community.

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Bernadette Wegenstein

Award-Winning Filmmaker

Bernadette Wegenstein is an Austrian-Swiss-US documentary filmmaker, linguist and a professor at the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD, where she is also the founder and director of the Center for Advanced Media Studies. She is the author of the several influential books in the field of media studies, such as Getting Under the Skin: Body and Media Theory and The Cosmetic Gaze: Body Modification and the Construction of Beauty, both published with MIT Press. She is also the co-director for the first Austrian Human Rights Film Festival This Human World.
Professor Wegenstein has produced and directed the documentaries Made Over in America (55 min Icarusfilms, 2008) about the television makeover show The Swan, and co-directed See You Soon Again (The Cinema Guild, 2012) portraying Holocaust survivor Leo Bretholz in his efforts to pass on his story of survival to the Baltimore youth (in collaboration with Austrian director Lukas Stepanik). The film was theatrically released in Europe in 2012 and aired on PBS and on Austrian and German national television in 2013. Bernadette completed post production on her current documentary The Good Breast in January, 2016. Through the intimate stories of several breast cancer patients and their surgeons, The Good Breast explores the cultural roots of the loss of the breast. Unprecedented OR footage presents medicine as a ritual, and the mastectomy as a modern form of breast sacrifice. 
Bernadette is also a linguist. She studied semiotics in Bologna with Umberto Eco, medical anthropology in Paris and comparative literature at Stanford University.

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Hubert Marécaille

Award-Winning Filmmaker

Based in Brussels since 2009, Hubert Marécaille has made in 2014-2015 his first feature-length documentary, GIGOLO, which deals with social exclusion in the portrayal of an eccentric man in France, unemployed, forced into prostitution to cope with the fallout from the economic crisis.

His predilection for the documentary form follows his years of experience as a journalist. From 2005 to 2009, Hubert Marécaille worked as chief editor of a monthly magazine, targeted towards professional musicians and institutions in France. Other publications have published his articles. Columnist for a cultural magazine in France from 2005 to 2009, this director has also written for other professional’s newspapers, from 2005 to 2010. In addition to articles, Hubert Marécaille has published books, including THE LIAR’S TREATY in 2013, and a short novel in 2000, A MONUMENTAL MISTAKE.

Hubert Marécaille has also used his texts as the basis for scripts for his artistic videos. With A DECEPTIVE LIFE, series of nine short videos made in 2012, this filmmaker participated in 2013 and 2014 in various exhibitions in Belgium (Brussels), Netherlands (Breda), Norway (Oslo) and USA (Dallas). Before, from 2010 to 2012, Hubert Marécaille collaborated with the Scottish video artist Michelle Naismith resulting in the short video series LOVE IN THE LIFE QUOTIDIAN, shown in France (Paris, Nantes, Lille) and in Belgium (Brussels, Liège).

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Imran Syed

Award-Winning Producer and Writer

Imran Syed is an assistant clinical professor of law at the University of Michigan Law School in Ann Arbor, MI, USA. He teaches in the Michigan Innocence Clinic. Since joining the Innocence Clinic as a law student, Imran has spent seven years investigating, litigating and researching and writing about cases of wrongful conviction. Imran is also a former amateur film critic and journalist. He wrote and produced "The Price of Providence," which is his first film, combining his passion for innocence litigation with his longstanding interest in film and writing.

Adia Joëlle

Award-Winning Filmmaker

As the child of two professional actors/singers/dancers, it was only natural for Adia Joëlle to follow in their footsteps. She was born to perform! An alumnus of Guildford Conservatoire in England, she studied musical theater for three years and had the incredible opportunity to work with British directors Paul Brennana and Jay Villiers on Women Beware Women and Much Ado About Nothing.

Thrilled to be back home in Los Angeles, Adia has been fortunate enough to continue her career on the stage, on television and in film, including the award-winning independent film, Amnesia. Her passion for story-telling has grown and she’s expanding her creative horizons, boldly stepping into the role of director and editor on her new documentary film To Her Own Rhythm.

Adia is enjoying every moment of the ride.

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Keli Kittinger

Award-Winning Filmmaker

Keli Kittinger was born and raised in Los Angeles, CA has has a life-long passion for film and the entertainment industry.

Currently, she is the Assistant Digital Marketing Manager at Walt Disney Studios, and prior she did marketing for Sony Studios and ABC International Marekting.

Keli's passion is film and she has written, produced and directed a number of short films, including The Berlin Wall: A Love Story, which won third place at The Indie Gathering Festival.

Brave is her first documentary where one girl's story of sexual abuse is exposed to help others understand the struggles of being a survivor and give strength to others to speak out.

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Inaya Graciana Yusuf

Award-Winning Filmmaker

Inaya Graciana Yusuf (Director /Producer/Editor) is an Indonesian-American filmmaker and founder of Slow Your Roll Films. She has worked on short documentaries to feature length projects such as Miriam, Amplify: The Story of Synesthetes, Dhalang, The Realization of Not Being, Right of Way and Minding Our Own. Her works have participated in The Art of Brooklyn Film Festival, Hoboken International Film Festival, Women's International Film & Arts Festival, The Female Eye Film Festival in Canada, Awareness Festival, China International Women's Film Festival as well as Kerry Film Festival in Ireland. She has worked under the supervision of several acclaimed directors and director of photographers, and has contributed to several historical, biographical and environmental feature length documentaries, as well as online web-based series.

Inaya has served as Assistant Editor for theatrical as well as TV/broadcasting projects including The 50 Year Argument: The New York Review of Books (HBO), American Experience: Rachel Carson (PBS), Al-Gore's 24 Hours of Climate Reality (Online/Climate Reality Project), and America By The Numbers Season 2 with Maria Hinojosa (PBS). Additionally, she has served as a Production Manager for Stereotypes, a web series on Pharell Williams’ network I AM OTHER. She was recently Assistant Camera and Additional Camera for projects in production, including Baartman, Bey and Me, and Seed: The Untold Story.

Inaya is currently completing her first feature documentary, The One & The Many.

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Yannis Kalantidis 
Andreas Vakalios

Award-Winning Filmmakers
Yannis Kalantidis is a research scientist at Yahoo! Labs San
Francisco. He grew up in Athens, Greece and from early on he developed a passion for improvisation and experimentation in most aspects of his life: science, film, music and photography.

Andreas Vakalios has a MA from the Athens School of Fine Arts, has participated and awarded in festivals and competitions for animation, short films, scriptwriting and music. He was accepted in the Master Programs of FAMU in Prague and the Netherlands Film Academy.

The duo's award-winning Bling Crossing explores a film crew who abandons its fiction project to focus on the lives of the two leading men who are both visually impaired.

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​James BooAward-Winning Filmmaker

James is a filmmaker and multimedia journalist based in Brooklyn, New York. His current focus is the myth and reality of American small business.

James' first feature-length documentary, "Nothing With Something", tells the story of a family-owned, six-seat, hole-in-the-wall diner that struggles and fails to stay open after 20 years of success.

James' web series, 1 Minute Meal, aims to alter every viewer's perception of what a New York face looks like. Through micro-documentary, the series explores what cooks, diners, and communities do to keep their own layer of New York City alive.

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Carlo Christian Spano

Award-Winning Filmmaker

Carlo Christian Spano was born in Rome in 1973. Graduated in Law, he decided to follow his lifetime passion, photography. In combination with the three-year diploma in Photography and Video Editing at IED - European Institute of Design of Rome, in 2001 he begun his experience in film and digital holding, covering all the roles pertaining to the camera department. As a cameraman, crane operator, steadicam operator (SOA 2007 Steadicam Certificate of Completion), director of photography and photographer, he worked with italian channels, international channels, indipendent productions and institutions. An avid outdoorsman, Carlo specializes in filming numerous documentaries on nature and society, videoclips, musicals, commercials, concerts, theatrical performances, performing arts, sport, architecture, industrial video, military operations and photographic reportages.

He is a Photographer and Filmmaker that is strongly influenced by nature and instinct, with a tendency to convey a simplicity that is inherent in his work as a means of self-expression of his continuous search for inner knowledge.

In co-production with the Chinese based in Beijing, he is producing a "Wild World Series" of documentaries on the top extreme trekking routes in the world.

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Kathy Drasky

Award-Winning Filmmaker

Kathy Drasky runs KazzaDrask Media, a full-service digital media agency in San Francisco that works with startups, activists and artists to tell and distribute their stories across online and mobile platforms.

Kathy has worked as a writer, editor and graphic designer in publishing, journalism, PR and marketing since 1984. She was a pioneer in the desktop publishing industry, an original contributor to some of the first online publications and an early adopter of social media. An accomplished documentary digital photographer and videographer, the next step seemed inevitable: tell one of her own stories as a film made with her iPhone.
That film, Jeanne & Mike: Original Art, which showcases three generations of Kathy’s family of self-taught artists, has been featured in film festivals and was named one of the top 250 independent documentaries of 2015 by the Spotlight Film Awards.
As someone who, at every phase of her career has been part of the digital media revolution, Kathy is excited about what’s next.

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Andrew Friend

Award-Winning Filmmaker

Andrew Friend got his start at a small Illinois public access station, and built up a skills base at the non-profit co-op Chicago Filmmakers. He has worked in Chicago broadcast television since 2002, providing visuals for Emmy-winning series and specials at PBS stations. He now works as an independent cinematographer in Chicago. He provided principal cinematography for the documentary Immigrant Nation! about deportation resister Elvira Arrellano, and also worked with Oscar-winner Haskell Wexler on his 2012 documentary Four Days In Chicago. Friend has produced many episodes for the Midwest TV show Labor Beat, and the PBS series Pedal America.

Friend's film Workers’ Republic documented the victorious December 2008 factory occupation of Republic Windows and Doors by its laid-off employees. It was shown in 7 film festivals, with the Big Muddy Film Fest giving the film the John Michaels Human Rights Film Award in 2010. His recent 2015 feature film Schoolidarity, shown in 5 festivals and counting, documents and critiques the interwoven stories of the 2011 "Wisconsin Uprising" and the 2012 Chicago Teachers Strike.

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Jessica McGaugh

Award-Winning Filmmaker
Jessica McGaugh is an award-winning independent film director, producer, cinematographer and editor working out of Denver, Colorado. 

She has screened work in international film festivals and television stations including Rocky Mountain PBS, NDTV, The Indian Film Festival of Houston, Golden Door International Film Festival of Jersey City, Sun and Sand Film and Music Festival, and the Mumbai International Film Festival.  

Her Spotlight Documentary Film Award-winning The Creative Method asks viewers the difficult questions regarding arts in higher education. The film follows three university art students as they explore their creative mindset in an unforgiving environment.

Jessica received an MFA in Film from Syracuse University. She is currently an Assistant Professor in the Film & Television Program at the University of Colorado Denver.

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​Dan Noah

Award-Winning Filmmaker
Dan Noah graduated from film school with a Masters in Film (Direction). At once a stylist and a storyteller, he balances homage with iconoclasm to tell always relevant stories in a cinematically daring way. Another mainstay has been the occasional nod to the tradition of irreverence established by such celebrated fellow countrymen as Peter Weir, Alex Proyas and Russell Mulcahy.

'People Who Come' is his award-winning feature documentary debut and is a culmination of his passion for the immediacy and rawness of non fiction storytelling. 

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​Benjamin Steger

Award-Winning Filmmaker
Benjamin Steger is a filmmaker and educator. His most recent documentary, Stage Four: A Love Story, won the 2015 Award of Merit for Best Documentary Feature at  the 69th Annual University Film and Video Association’s national conference and received an International Award of Excellence from the International Film Festival for Spirituality, Religion, and Visionary in Jakarta, Indonesia.

His previous documentary feature, Left Field, was an official selection of the Austin Film Festival, the Kansas International Film Festival, and Dallas Videofest among many others. An article about the film was featured on the front page of the Chicago Reader-

Film critic Robert Butler featured Steger’s short fiction film, Great Bend, in the Kansas City Star as a “Critic’s Pick for Best of Festival” when it played at the Kansas City Filmmaker’s Jubilee in 2006.  Stewards of the Parks, a short documentary he directed and produced for George Mason University’s Center for Climate Change Communication and the National Park Service won the 2015 award for Best Film in the Hope Category at the International Film Festival for Climate Change in Portland, Oregon while receiving honorable mentions in the Advocacy, Documentary, Educational, and Water categories. His short documentary, Shalom House, was an official selection at the 2008 Non Violence Film Festival in Cambridge, Canada. 

Steger is a professor in the Film and Video Studies Department at George Mason University. He created and has taught the Potomac Academy’s Film and Video Summer Camp for adolescents since the summer of 2012. He has worked in varying capacities as an assistant director, actor, documentary cinematographer, and location sound recordist on hundreds of productions, including nationally broadcast films such as Standing Silent Nation, New Muslim Cool and The Calling. He is currently developing a new feature documentary as well as a short fiction film.

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Eli Jean Tahchi

Award-Winning Filmmaker

Eli Jean Tahchi (October 20, 1990), is a Lebanese director, screenwriter, experimental filmmaker, editor, and actor born and raised in Lebanon. Eli Jean studied Cinema in the Academie libanaise des beaux arts (ALBA) and earned a bachelor degree in film production. He moved to Montreal Canada in 2011 to attend the University of Montreal where he earned an excellent master's degree and was placed on the dean's honor list for his movie SHE IS LARS and his thesis the sacrificial female space in the films of Lars von Trier.

The function of film nowadays, Eli Jean believed, was to create an experience; lending to new conclusions in cinema.  He combined his interests in dance, history of art, identity and psychology in a series of perceptual short films using human body as a metaphore for topics related to politics, society, theology and art. he works on fictions, experimentals and documentaries.

His current documentary, the award-winning The Migrant Woman, can been seen at festivals across the world.

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AWARD-WINNING documentary 

FILMMAKERS in the spotlight

Jason C. Wilson

Award-Winning Filmmaker

Jason was born and resides in Atlanta, Georgia. He is married with 2 children. He stays busy with various documentaries, client videos, and film projects. Winner of Best Georgia Video by the Sprockets Music Video Festival 2014 for his direction on "Jean Shorts" by Athens, Georgia punk band, Burns Like Fire. He has also won numerous Tellys, a Gold Screen Award, 2 Southeastern Regional Emmy Nominations, and 1 Southeastern Regional Emmy win.

His award-winning feature documentary, 'Stopper: The Rise and Fall of the Bastard Squad' is a drug fueled tale of youth subculture run amok. Reckless, lawless, notorious. Stopper was the band that helped define the anger and intensity of the 1990s American Southeast Punk Rock scene. This is the story of a group that had everything going for them, but managed to turn every opportunity into another disastrous cautionary tale. This film follows Stopper from the vibrant early 90s punk scene to the substance abuse that destroys them, eventually leading to a life sentence for the singer in Georgia's most violent maximum security prison. 

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