John Murray

Award-Winning Filmmaker

John Murray is a digital media arts professional specializing in sound design, education, documentary film, and the management of people and productions in creative environments.

One of six founding faculty at Tribeca Flashpoint College in 2007, Mr. Murray spearheaded development of the intensive Recording Arts program from the ground up, focusing on professionalism, workflow, theory, craft, and wide-ranging aesthetics. Mr. Murray served as Chair of the Recording Arts Department from inception until 2010, when he accepted the Associate Academic Dean position. In 2013, he was promoted to Dean of Faculty managing the performance of 50+ instructors across 8 degree programs.

Mr. Murray has worked professionally in film and video sound postproduction since 1983 designing and mixing award-winning soundtracks for features, documentaries, shorts, and advertising. He began his career at News/Sports Radio Network and then Orange Productions in Milwaukee. In 1984, Mr. Murray was tapped to start a sound for picture production and mixing suite at the legendary Fifth Floor Recording Studios in Cincinnati. He then moved on to Sound Images in 1987, where he was the recipient of numerous ADDY awards for radio and television audio production.

In 1989, he began a complementary career in higher education, teaching recording, production, and film sound editorial first at Xavier University, and then from 1994-2007 at Columbia College Chicago. In 2000, Mr. Murray was granted an 18 month Artist-in-Residence position where he began to develop and administer curriculum and assessment for the Audio Arts and Acoustics Department. He was subsequently named Director of the Audio for Visual Media program, a collaborative discipline with the Film and Video Department.

In 1997, Mr. Murray created JM Audio Services, specializing in remote recording and archival of orchestral, choral, and acoustic music that has resulted in numerous works broadcast nationwide on such programs as National Public Radio’s Performance Today.

While continuing his career in postsecondary education, focusing on immersive, project-based learning in collaborative environments, Mr. Murray’s further interests turned to social impact documentaries.  In 2010, he created ECHO 61 and began a five-year project producing and directing A Farmer’s Road, a documentary about sustainable, small-scale artisanal farming and locally-sourced food systems.

In 2012, Mr. Murray became an executive board member of Good Pitch Chicago, a 501(c)3 organization in partnership with BRITDOC Foundation and the Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program devoted to producing Good Pitch events in Chicago, which bring together documentary filmmakers with foundations, NGOs, campaigners, philanthropists, policy makers, brands, and media around leading social and environmental issues.  

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Myles Shank

Award-Winning Filmmaker


Myles Shank began his filmmaking and storytelling career shortly after college by creating several documentaries in countries around the world. 

From the bush of Africa to the bustling streets of Greece, he has found a niche in one-man directing and producing documentaries and short narratives.  After having footage featured on ABC's Shark Tank and premiering four documentaries in packed local theaters, Myles is finally entering work in several festivals around Florida and throughout neighboring cities. 

With a bachelor's in International Business, an MBA, and experience filming and traveling in five continents around the world, Myles is shifting his filmmaking to larger productions in an effort to make media that leaves a lasting positive impact in the world.

His award-winning film, Common Cents, can be seen at festivals world-wide.

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Sandra Chuma

Award-Winning Filmmaker


Sandra Chuma is a Zimbabwean-Canadian multimedia journalist and documentary filmmaker based in New York.   Sandra is currently the Documentary Fellow at Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.  She previously worked as a business consultant providing guidance on business strategy and technology to organizations in North America, Europe and Africa.  Sandra will graduate from Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism in December 2015.  

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Vida Lercari

Award-Winning Filmmaker


Vida Lercari is a 20-year-old photography student at NYU Tisch. Although taking photographs is her passion, she has developed an interest in the moving image.

Las Calles Que Hablan is her first documentary short, but hopefully not her last. The film follows Yulier Rodriguez, a Cuban artist who paints all across Havana from his studio to the streets.

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Kalisha Whitman

Award-Winning Filmmaker


Kalisha Whitman is an award-winning journalist who has covered wide range of stories including presidential election debates, natural disasters and the Civil Rights movement. Kalisha also produced a documentary profiling a woman who contracted the HIV virus from her husband, who had kept his infection a secret from her.  Kalisha is a graduate of Florida A&M University and Columbia Graduate School of Journalism.  

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Roz Sohnen

Award-Winning Filmmaker


Roz Sohnen, a native New Yorker, and filmmaker, was profoundly affected by the tragedy of 9/11. In an effort to help, she volunteered. The American Quilt project met with volunteers, but all of them could sew. She could not. When she learned that many of the families were interested in sharing their stories she set out with her camera to meet them. So, she began the journey that would become “An American Quilt”.

Roz began her filmmaking career with her award winning narrative short, PINK, which is in distribution through Phoenix Films. She has produced and directed, edited, written, and researched numerous film and video projects over the last 25 years. Some highlights include her role as Associate Producer on the PBS series, THEY CAME FOR GOOD (The History of the Jews in America); producing videos for the AUDUBON Society; and her work as producer/director of a series of short films for the MANHATTAN SCHOOL FOR EARLY LEARNING.

She holds an MFA from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, where she was honored with the Paulette Goddard Scholarship and received the Judge’s Special Merit Award for Directing.


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EUGENE HUGHES

Award-Winning Filmmaker


Eugene is the founder, Chief Exec of the multi-award winning ARTGYM, an organization dedicated to putting creativity to good work. Working with organisations and communities across the world, Eugene's work has been pioneering in leading creative collaborations that make a positive difference to people and the planet.

The Moving Theatre is one such project, which started by bringing together over 600 people over the course of one year to share their personal stories of migration through making art. From this came his idea to create The Moving Theatre, to give a platform to people to bring to life the most moving moments of their lives through their own creativity.

Eugene is also a qualified Art Psychotherapist working with vulnerable people with difficult life circumstances.

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​Jennifer Myhre

Award-Winning Filmmaker

​Jennifer Myhre makes video and audio documentaries and visual art informed by over two decades of experience as a sociologist and teacher.  She loves asking questions and listening to people's stories.  Jen sees documentary work as an act of bearing witness with compassion and finds it a gift when people open their lives to her.  Her documentaries highlight people's creativity and will to thrive.    As a visual artist she is motivated as much by the shape of things as their social meaning but increasingly finds sociology creeping into her art and film in ways that are highly satisfying to her.  And Jen could not survive without a sense of humor.

Jen Myhre has a Ph.D. in sociology with an emphasis on social movements and inequalities.  She loves teaching and working at a California community college, a public institution that embodies the radical notion that everyone has a right to a higher education.  She received the Distinguished Educator Award at De Anza College in 2007.  She also has been studying film and photography for the last five years.  In 2014, one of her photographs was chosen for the juried exhibit, Altered Views, at the Lightbox Gallery in Astoria, OR.  After a series of artist profile shorts, she completed her first feature length documentary, Homie UP: Stories of Love and Redemption, in 2015.

Homie UP: Stories of Love and Redemption is a film about the impact of mass incarceration on Latino families and it explores the ways in which education can be a path to redemption.  This film, filmed on a shoestring budget with funding from the California Humanities Community Stories program, was a collaborative labor of love made with a team of community organizers from the National Latino Research Center.  It focuses on a educational program for students who are incarcerated called Homie Universidad Popular and gives voice to those who have a loved one who is incarcerated.

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Ok-Hee Jeong

Award-Winning Filmmaker


Ok-Hee Jeong is a Berlin-based German journalist. Her articles have been published in important German newspapers like Zeit Online, taz and FAZ. Her documentary film SEWOL is her debuting film. 

She studied Art and Korean Studies in Germany.  She worked many years as artist and at the same time she belonged to the theatre education company “Theaterpädagogische Werkstatt Osnabrück” and played theater for children and teenagers at schools. 

She wrote also short stories and own plays and performed them nationwide. She was engaged in 2011, among others, for a theatre tour by the Thuringia ministery, Thüringer Ministerium für Soziales, Familie und Gesundheit.

She was awarded 1996 with the award “Piepenbrock-Förderpreis of the University Osnabrück” for painting. 

2006 she awarded the audience price of the story telling contest of the Berlin newspaper Der Tagesspiegel for her short story, Reiskorn A + Reiskorn B = Reiskorn C, oder die Reise in die interkulturelle Galaxis.

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Deeyah Khan

Award-Winning Filmmaker


Deeyah Khan is a critically acclaimed music producer and Emmy and Peabody award-winning documentary film director, whose work highlights human rights, women’s voices and freedom of expression. Her skill as a multidisciplinary artist led her to use music and film as the language for her social activism. Born in Norway to immigrant parents of Pashtun and Punjabi ancestry. The experience of living between different cultures, both the beauty and the challenges, dominates her artistic vision.

Her 2012 film Banaz: A Love Story won several international awards. This documentary, chronicles the life and death of Banaz Mahmod, a young British Kurdish woman killed in 2006 in London on the orders of her family in a so-called honour killing.  Deeyah is also the recipient of several awards for her work supporting freedom of expression and in 2012 she was awarded the Ossietzky prize by Norwegian PEN.  The focus of her work and access to voices that are often overlooked and misunderstood has led to increasing demand as a speaker at international human rights events and platforms including the United Nations.

Deeyah is the founder and CEO of social purpose production company Fuuse which creates works in the intersection of art and activism.

​Her film, Jihad a Story of the Others, can be seen at festivals world-wide. See the trailer here

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Deborah Sayer 
Melissa Elian

Award-Winning Filmmakers

Deborah Sayer is an award-winning filmmaker, singer, writer, and producer.  Last year, Deborah produced and completed the film Many Scars which won the Spotlight Documentary Film Award and will be featured at festivals across the country in 2016, including the American Documentary Film Festival.

Melissa "Bunni" Elian is a video journalist and photographer based in New York. Melissa's work has been featured in National Geographic, PBS, The New York Daily News, The Daily Beast, The Global Post, and The New York Times.

Deborah met Melissa in a class in NY at the same time she had her idea for her film Many Scars.  Though they graduated more than a decade apart, they realized that they shared the same alma mater.  After viewing one of Melissa's short video-journalism pieces, Deborah knew Melissa had something when it came capturing an impactful moment on camera.  Deborah hired Melissa to be her traveling camera person, production assistant, assistant editor, and essentially her sidekick while she dove head first into the deep waters of creating the Many Scars film.  


Learning while working together that Melissa was as headstrong as herself, Deborah and Melissa butt heads frequently throughout the production and editing process of Many Scars.  Despite the power duo's tumultuous relationship, somehow the friction between the two ultimately resulted in an exceptional end product.  They still remain good friends.  

In the Many Scars film Deborah conceals a debilitating illness from her co-workers, friends, and family for almost a decade. After experiencing multiple miscarriages, she reaches a breaking point and sets out on a journey to find a cure for the incurable. Many Scars is the story of Deborah's journey and the surprising truths she reveals and faces along the way. She persistently counters the accuracy of the questionable MS diagnosis, exploring causative factors, such as the dental industry's repression of the dangers of mercury exposure in "silver fillings," and its connection to chronic illness. Crisscrossing the country, Deborah films her encounters with an eclectic group of people from experts, to activists, to medical hobbyists. 

Facing her fears, and using her own case study as the entry in, it is initially Deborah's crusade to cure herself that drives the film forward, but as she video chronicles her day-to-day attempts to find a cure, the story transcends her own situation to become a symbol to resist the status quo, for others to not give up. 

"There are no such things as incurable, there are only things for which man has not found a cure." 
-Bernard Baruch

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Elizabeth Kraker

Award-Winning Filmmaker


Elizabeth Kraker is a Freelance Videographer and Editor from New York. If something involves media, film, music, video games, animation or comics she’s tried her hand at it, always looking to broaden her skillset.

 In her college days she hosted her own weekly radio show, played live events as a DJ, drew and wrote comics, and directed and wrote short student films.

 She has a Bachelors Degree in Film Production with honors from Hunter College where she participated and placed in their 2014 Campus Movie Fest with her short Rememories.

Her most recent project, Mental Health in New York, was a collaboration with her sister, Jessica Kraker, an English Literature and History student at Baruch College. Their documentary highlights the history of the stigma of mental illness in New York, what changes need to be made, and what actions have been taken to increase the public’s mental health awareness.


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Frank van Osch

Award-Winning Filmmaker

The Dutch director Frank van Osch (1962) had big dreams when he was young. He wanted to be a musician and if it all possible make the world a better place. But he became a filmmaker. He started his career in 1989 working for Dutch television. In 2005 he decided to focus on making documentaries and started his documentary production company ‘Van Osch Films’.

He never abandoned his love for music as you can see in his documentaries, ‘Drs. P, certainly not without talent’ about a Dutch poet and artist, ‘Bots, fight for the cause’ and ‘Songs of Hope’. You can see his hope for a better world in documentaries about the painful effects of war on ordinary people, like ‘Because we were beautiful’, about Indonesian comfort women and ‘Liberation children’, about the children of the heroes during the Second World War and their Dutch sweethearts and ‘Sons without fathers’, about the effect on growing up without a father figure.

Van Osch loves stories about people who struggle or people that are searching for something. He tries to get close to those people, looking at their motives, fears and pain. His films have a distinct trademark – they are always probing and personal. These stories cut close to the bone but also touch and inspire the viewer. They show secrets, fear, pain, motivation, inspiration and love.

With twenty-six years of experience in documentary and television his company is becoming better known every day. Looking back at his first documentary about beautiful ferries in the Netherlands, which to date more than one million people have seen. He now has his eyes set on the whole world. With ambitions to make well known international documentaries like his current project ‘The mother of beauty’, about Marilyn Monroe’s first modelling agent Emmeline Snively.

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Rodney Whittenberg

Award-Winning Filmmaker

Rodney Whittenberg is founder of Melodyvision where he works as a Creative Consultant by using his skills as a composer / song writer/ multi instrumentalist. producer / engineer / filmmaker and educator. He brings a fresh and unique perspective to each client and project adding value that results in creative solutions to often complex problems.  

Rodney has composed music for over 34 films and TV shows, and countless dance performances. Projects include: Anthony Bourdain’s show a Cooks Tour; PBS POV Documentary The Camden 28; horror cult classics Infested and Return to Sleep Away Camp. He's received a regional Emmy for his score for the TV Documentary Mother Dot’s Philadelphia and Best Sound Design at the Terror Film Festival for Toll Taker.  

His recent CD projects as producer and engineer include: Zones, by Philadelphia Percussion Project, featuring classical composer Jennifer Higden; and Naked World, by world jazz vocalist Phyllis Chappell. He's the creator and host of the podcast Pre-Concert an interview show where listeners meet and preview up-coming performances. Clients include PEW's Philadelphia Music Project, Philadelphia's Orchestra 2012, Montgomery County Community College, and Intercultural Journeys. Interviews include: jazz pianist Cyrus Chestnut; jazz bass player Ron Carter; jazz pianist and composer Omar Sosa; and, Pulitzer Prize winning composer and cast of the opera Silent Night.Rodney's work as a film maker centers around his passion for telling a story from start to finish in a creative way. Projects include: HBO Family segments 30X30: Kid Flicks; WHYY Wider Horizon educational spots; and numerous music videos and short-form documentaries. His most recent passion project  is aso-producer of the feature-length documentary Caregivers: Their Passion, Their Pain, which was recently featured on Radio Times and written up in The Guardian.

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Michael DiLauro

Award-Winning Filmmaker

A celebrated director and producer of documentaries, television programs, commercials, and corporate productions, Michael DiLauro has earned five Emmy Awards, a Blue Ribbon at the American Film Festival, and the Gabriel Award for outstanding television programming.

In support of his aims, DiLauro has received major funding from the Bill of Rights Commission, Catholic Communications Campaign, National Italian American Foundation, many state Arts and Humanities Councils, PBS, UNICO and the R.K. Mellon Foundation.

His feature documentary film Prisoners Among Us: Italian American Identity and WWII, chronicles the migration and assimilation of Italians into American culture through WWII. In particular, this film examines “enemy alien” policies that profoundly affected Italian-American identity. The program was awarded the Grand Jury Prize for Best Documentary at the New York International Film Festival and Montreal Film Festival and has been screened in over seventy venues in the United States and Canada. 

DiLauro’s feature length documentary, La Ma Strada-My Road, the story serves as a metaphor linking the ancient traditions of Italian culture with contemporary Italian American identity. The video was screened at the Palestrina Film Festival in Rome and recently was awarded a Silver Prize at the Media Communications Assocation International Film Festival. The story serves as a metaphor linking the ancient traditions of Italian culture with contemporary Italian Americans. 
http://www.lamiastrada.org

Michael’s latest documentary program, We Built This City: How the Allegheny Conference Remade Pittsburgh, this documentary tells the story of the evolution, the successes, and the struggles of the Allegheny Conference on Community Development as the key engine of positive change in making Pittsburgh America’s most livable city. 

The University of Pittsburgh, for his service to the Italian American community, honored DiLauro with the Italian American Heritage award. In 2011, UNICO (the largest Italian American service organization) awarded DiLauro their Mille Grazie award for cultural contributions to the Italian American community.

DiLauro earned an M.F.A. in Film Studies at Ohio University. Currently he is the Director of the Academic Media Center and Associate Professor of Media Arts at Robert Morris University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

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Ron Davis

Award-Winning Filmmaker


Docutainment Films is a Florida based documentary production company founded by award-winning filmmaker Ron Davis.  In 2008, Ron co-directed and co-produced PAGEANT (2009), a feature length documentary that follows the lives of five female impersonators as they vie for the crown at the 34th annual Miss Gay America Pageant. 

During 2011 and 2012, Ron directed and produced his second film, the HBO Original Documentary Film MISS YOU CAN DO IT. The film chronicled Abbey Curran, Miss Iowa USA 2008 and the first woman with a disability to compete at the Miss USA Pageant, and eight girls with various disabilities as the girls participate in the Miss You Can Do It Pageant. The documentary aired on HBO in 2013.

Ron premiered his current feature documentary HARRY & SNOWMAN at the 2015 Full Frame Documentary Film Festival to rave reviews. The film has garnered seven Best Documentary Audience Awards on the 2015 film festival circuit and will be released theatrically in 2016.

Docutainment Films is currently in development on LIFE IN THE DOGHOUSE, a feature documentary about Danny & Ron’s Rescue, which has saved the lives of more than 7,500 dogs and changed the way the world looks at recuse dogs. Ron is also is also in pre-production on AN INFINITE MIND, which explores the lives of individuals with dissociative identity disorder, a condition previously known as multiple personality disorder.

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ELENA Dirstaru

Award-Winning Filmmaker


Elena is a documentary filmmaker and a research student at the University of Essex, studying towards getting a PhD in Film with Creative Practice.

Her first film, Bethnal Green (2012) tells the story of the 1943 London tube disaster, focusing on the stories of two survivors. Her second film, Monashay (2013) is a documentary that focuses on the lives of Roma women living in rural Romania. The project applied Feminist Film theory to practice and had an intersectional approach to the representation of the lives of the people on screen, being primarily concerned with foregrounding the influence the means of representation can have on the construction of an identity outside of the dominant hegemonic culture. Her latest film, But They Can't Break Stones, focuses on women’s rights in Nepal. The film follows the feminisation of a national trauma, documenting the effect the civil war had on women and how women’s lives are shaped by political instability and cultural norms that place them in domestic roles, documenting activists’ roles in Nepali society, as well as the personal stories of women living in rural Nepal.

Her current research focuses on documentary interviews and their relation to representations of trauma in the media.

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PIA JONES

Award-Winning Filmmaker


After starting her career in advertising, Pia became an arts psychotherapist - helping people explore their stories and bring them to life through different creative media.

She is fascinated in stories in all their forms, drawing upon fairy tales and mythology in her work. Pia is a published author of Sometimes I Feel and gave a TEDx talk on the use of arts as a compass in times of transition.

The Moving Theatre has been an opportunity to integrate Pia's art therapy work with a long-standing passion for theatre and film. As Story Director, she worked closely with story tellers, puppeteers and the artgym team to ensure that the essence of stories was translated into powerful pieces of theatre. As a child and young adult, Pia lived in California, Ecuador, Florida, France, Hawaii, Spain and South Africa giving her a fascination for different cultures and a personal experience of migration. 

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Zuzka Kurtz

Award-Winning Filmmaker


Zuzka Kurtz, Czech born multi media artist residing in NYC. Wrote and directed the Off Broadway dance and puppetry performance "My Inner Sole" 2010, wrote and directed a collection of nine short films: "7 Ways 2 Skin A Cat" 2013.

Blade #1 is her first documentary film. Struggling financially, 5 NYC dancers respond to a Craigslist ad offering large amounts of money to women for shaving their heads.  The film focuses on Cori, a dancer whose unusual childhood comes into play as the women's relationship with the men evolves with surprising results.


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Eric Benson

Award-Winning Filmmaker

Eric Benson graduated from the University of Northern Iowa majoring in Electronic Media Production and Performance and Electronic Media Leadership with a Minor in Journalism. Eric also has a degree in Visual Communication from Hawaii Pacific University. In 2012 Eric founded Bus-Stop Productions, a full service film production company and sanctuary for creative nerds.

Eric served for twelve years in the United States Navy as a Photojournalist and Mass Communications Specialist serving in over 35 countries. His primary service was in Asia and the Middle East and has experience working with various news agencies to include CNN, MSNBC, The Associated Press, and Reuters. During his twelve years of service Eric has learned that wearing a number of hats, has given him an intricate understanding of how visual media appeals to the human experience and enjoys living his life catering to that primal desire.


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Ryan Kelley

Award-Winning Filmmaker


Ryan Kelley began his career as a journalist, covering local and national politics.  

His award-winning film Dixie was the result of several years researching and interviewing those associated with America's most controversial song.  

He is currently working on other documentary film projects and writing a book on the history and impact of blackface minstrelsy in American culture.

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Gilberto Gonzalez

Award-Winning Filmmaker


Gilberto Gonzalez is an award winning graphic designer, artist, filmmaker and community activist. In 2010, his book Three Rings came in as runner-up in the New York Book festival. In 2014 he was named one of the most influential Latino in the Delaware Valley and was named community activist of the year. Although he works full-time at CCP, he has dedicated his life to helping under served communities in the Philadelphia Region. From Handball Tournaments to Unity Softball Games Gil has worked with many groups to bring awareness, hope and educational access to North Philadelphia. He has been involved in and was one of the founders of some of major art movements in Philadelphia; Noches de Arte en el Barrio, Girard Nights and with North Carolina artist Alexandria Rose founded the SMASH movement.

Currently he has produce his 2nd film about the oldest Latino Gang in Philadelphia which goes back generations. The film, covers police abuse, drugs, deindustrialization and the forced and sometimes-violent gentrification of the Spring Garden Community.  In May of 2016 the Philadelphia Inquirer covered a short preview of his film, which got national attention.
Annually he speaks and presents at many of the local colleges, universities and companies on topics of Cultural Competence, the history of Puerto Ricans, and the gentrification of the Spring Garden community. Gil has an extensive collection of photos of the transformation of the former Barrio. His paintings have been exhibit throughout the state of Pennsylvania and in New York. His artwork has also been featured in local and national publications.  His Art is a reflection of his life.


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Ivana Noa

Award-Winning Filmmaker

Ivana Noa is a Flemish kid writer and director. She wrote her first short story at the age of 6. At the age of 9 she won the Belgian kids writing competition “The Wonder Quill”.  At the age of 10 she wrote her first script and worked on her first book.

Ivana directed her first short film in 2014. FEELING TO DIVE AND OTHER STORIES is official selection of a number of International Film Festivals and wins Best narrative short at Williamsburg IFF. 

In 2015, at the age of 12 and together with the release of her second film UNOFFICIAL: JUDO, Ivana Noa wins the Rising Star Award of Chicago International Film Festival. The film wins another three awards: in Atlanta, Fort Lauderdale, and Williamsburg and is official selection of festivals across the world. 

With her recent short ACTRESS and upcoming INTERVIEW WITH A DIRECTOR, she continues exploring the documentary genre. Her ability to mix different expressive elements in her films such as original poetry and conceptual art is establishing her as a young documentary experimental artist, searching into the interpreted reality.

Ivana Noa has been invited to be a jury member of several International film and theater festivals among which Het Theater Festival, Chicago Children FF, European Youth Film Festival.

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Garret Whittington

Award-Winning Filmmaker


Originally from Tennessee, Garret Whittington is an actor and award winning director. Garret has studied under many great teachers such as, Marcus Giamatti, James Franco and Robert Carnegie. His talents as an actor has allowed himself to work with artists like: Kings of Leon, Eric Church, Rascal Flatts, thus rising from the country artist to film. Films such as The Hunger Games Catching Fire, Insurgent and Table 19 which will be coming out in the Fall. Garret has also written two national commercials for Nike and Cohiba Cigars.
Garret worked as whitewater raft guide for two summers in the Appalachian Mountains, which soon prevailed into the idea of creating a documentary, capturing the story of his rafting boss, Ed Monroe, who has been commercially rafting for over 31 years. This was a story that Garret wanted to tell and share with everyone. In the summer of 2015, Garret directed and produced his first documentary   Effervescence soon went on to win many awards at several film festivals. 
Garret doesn't consider himself a directer, actor nor writer. It's all about the story, it always has been and it always will be. Garret strives to be the best storyteller that will allow his audiences to escape and identify who we are as people. 
We all have a story to tell, but how we decide to tell that story is where the fun begins.


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Hannah Furgiuele

Award-Winning Filmmaker


Hannah Furgiuele is a first-time film director, musician, and freelance photographer from the mountains of western North Carolina.  She earned an MA in Appalachian Studies and Sustainable Development from Appalachian State University and a BA in Visual Arts and Environmental Studies from Oberlin College. Hannah directs the Bascom Lamar Lunsford "Minstrel of Appalachia" Festival and works as the program coordinator for the Liston B. Ramsey Center for Regional Studies at Mars Hill University. Hannah is currently working on a documentary project about Bluff Mountain, a 4600 foot summit near the Appalachian Trail in Madison County, North Carolina, where she lives on a small mountain farm.  Bluff is a special place with a history as complex as the hardwood cove forest that resides on its steep banks. This new project combines Furgiuele’s passion for environmental stewardship and cultural preservation.


Her award-winning film, A Mighty Fine Memory, is currently making rounds on the festival circuit.


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Christophe Karabache

Award-Winning Filmmaker


Christophe Karabache is a French-Lebanese filmmaker. Born in Beirut in 1979, he completed his Masters in Cinema Studies at Université Paris III - Sorbonne Nouvelle (France) and through a joint program at The University of Iowa (USA).

Karabache began his exploration of film at l’Etna, an alternative workshop in Paris. He initially made short experimental films (on super-8 & 16mm).

His current filmmaking practice shifts between documentary and fiction (on digital video and HD). His films have been showcased and awarded at several international film festivals (in the USA, Lebanon, New Caledonia, Bosnia, Canada, UK, Greece, France, Benine, Australia, Hungary, Mexico, Germany, Switzerland, Romania, Portugal, Spain, Russia, etc.) and commercially released in movie theaters in France.

His current award-winning film, Beirut Kamikaze​, is currently screening at film festivals across the globe.


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Ben Mallaby

Award-Winning Filmmaker


Ben Mallaby is a BAFTA nominated director of shorts and commercials.

His BAFTA nominated short film Island Queen also won the Best Comedy award at the European Independent Film Festival, Battlecock! which was financed by Film London premiered at the BFI London Film Festival, his latest film While You Were Away was recently a Vimeo staff pick 

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Guosheng Ming

Award-Winning Filmmaker

Guosheng Ming is an outstanding young film director and producer who had been shortlisted "100 Chinese New Star Directors" in 2011. Currently, he as a graduate student is studying at Savannah College of Art and Design majoring in film and television production. He studied at Beijing Film Academy during 2013-2014 and studied at Tianjin University of Science and Technology during 2003-2007 in China. 

He promotes international communication of film culture and international cooperation of film production. He has been working in Joyversal Media Group (Beijing, China) for eight years during 2007-2015. He served as the leader responsible for Beijing International Science and technology Film Festival three times during 2011-2013. He is committed to promoting large-format giant screen movie 3D IMAX, full dome movie international cultural exchange and communication. He invited some international renowned filmmakers such as Elizabeth Daley (Dean of USC Cinematic Arts), Richard Weinberg (Professor of USC Cinematic Arts), Michael Daut (Producer& Director of Evans& Sutherland/ USA), Ed Capelle (Vice President of K2 Communications/ USA), Peter Popp (President & Director of Evans& Sutherland/Germany), and Yves Fortin (Producer& Director /Canada) etc.

His films focus on life. As independent director and producer, the documentary film Life On Earth is the first feature-length documentary created by him in 2015. The film focused on the vast land, people, plants, and small animals, he used simple and calm perspective try to capture and depict the spirit of life. He carved a real world of life that seemingly ordinary, but it is so poetic, sacred and compassion.

Dan Covert
Andre Andreev

Award-Winning Filmmakers


Dress Code is a boutique production company led by founders Dan Covert and Andre Andreev. Dan is from Ohio, Andre is from Bulgaria. They met while studying graphic design at California College of the Arts, where they first began to collaborate. To this day everything they do is filtered through a designed lens. They balance their time doing commercial work and self funded films, intentionally staying small and selective so they can stand behind everything produced and directed by Dress Code.

The duos award-winning film, Plamen, is a deeply moving, unforgettable documentary. In 2013 Plamen Goranov, a 37-year-old construction worker and artist from Varna, Bulgaria set himself on fire as a form of political protest. Plamen (also meaning "flame" in Bulgarian) explores what led the young activist to his protest and ultimately to his death, thus setting a disturbing trend of self-immolations in the EU's poorest country.

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Eva Vitija

Award-Winning Filmmaker


Eva Vitija was born 1973, has grown up and lives in Zurich. Since 2002 she has been working as a screenwriter and script consultant for television and cinema, in Switzerland and Germany. 

She wrote  several screenplays for full-length feature films, TV-Movies and TV series. As a consultant, Eva Vitija also supports other authors’ projects and is a screenwriting teacher. She is a member of the Cultural  commission of the Swiss copyright society Suissimage and is the Vice-Chairwoman of the Swiss Filmmakers Association (ARF/FDS).

“My Life as a Film” is Eva Vitija’s first full-length film as a director. She  made it in the course of her Master’s program at the Zurich University of the Arts (ZHdK). “My Life as a Film” won several national and international awards and was screened at many renowned film festivals. 

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Jonathan Schwartz

Award-Winning Filmmaker


Jonathan Schwartz is president and filmmaker of Interlock Media, Inc.  His goals are to produce original works in film, video and new media.  He is inspired by the relationship between indigenous peoples and environmental integrity.  Jonathan’s work reaches audiences with dramatic and non-fiction print, television, radio and community-based presentations across the planet.

His latest award-winning project, Faith in the Big House, explores the formulas used by Christian missionaries to convert inmates. At a maximum-security prison farm in Louisiana, a group of Christian evangelicals conduct a carefully scripted religious retreat. Five felons, misfits handpicked by the Warden, join other inmates in this "Encounter with Christ."

Can a gang-banger, a self-styled theologian, a narcissistic rocker, a twitchy jock and a former football phenomenon find redemption? Will the experience change these men?

Can religion keep convicts from almost inevitably returning to lock-up?

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Matt Starr

Award-Winning Filmmaker


Matt Starr is a Producer, Director, Writer, and Senior Partner for Innovative Connections Enterprises. He is also President of Kokosing River Productions, and a published author. His award-winning dramatic narrative short film productions include Cold, Recoil, and Neitzsche Ate Here. Matt produced and had a role in the upcoming feature film Looking for the Jackalope, and also wrote and produced the short documentary Hunting for Hunger. Currently his production company is getting ready to release the short documentary Uncommon Brilliance: Then and Now.

His other film credits include EnVieve (in production), Caleb's Gift, Homecoming, Pregnant Pause, April Dreams, As We Walked In the Woods, and ABC’s Final Witness. Theatrically, he’s played Shrek in Shrek The Musical, Lennie in Of Mice and Men, Sharktooth in How I Became a Pirate, the Cowardly Lion in The Wizard of Oz, and many others.

He received his Master of Arts in Sport Psychology from Kent State University and his Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Manchester University.  He is heavily involved in his community through several non-profit boards.  He is represented by CAM Talent in Columbus, Ohio, and lives with his wife, Joanne, in Mount Vernon, Ohio.

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Jayden Hua

Award-Winning FilmmakerJayden Hua is an Australian independent filmmaker, director, and journalist. He studies law and film at the University of New South Wales, and has studied film at the University of Michigan. 

His award-winning debut documentary, The Key of B, explores the life-changing power of music and arts in the community of Brightmoor in Detroit. Originating as a student project, the documentary attracted attention from the Michigan Daily , and has since enjoyed success at international film festivals and competitions. The piece has earned awards from the Ann Arbor Lightworks Film Festival, the Click-On-Detroit Film Competition, and the Atlanta International Documentary Film Festival. 

With a burning passion for both social justice and retro 80s B-movies, Jayden independently produces and directs fun and quirky short films and documentaries in Sydney with his friends and colleagues. 

Jayden currently stars in the online comedy sketch series: Very Noice Show covers events as a videographer, and works as the sub-editor of the Sydney based Tharunka Magazine.

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Michael Volpe

Award-Winning Filmmaker


Michael joined the Royal Borough Of Kensington and Chelsea in October 1989. His role was to promote the cultural offer of the borough including museums, art galleries, libraries and of course what was then known as The Holland Park Theatre. Over several years he learned the business of opera and in 1996 persuaded the council to start its own opera company; Opera Holland Park. By 2001, the company was producing all of the operas in house.  In that period, Michael has become something of a specialist in rare, late Italian opera and the company is well known for producing these works. 
Michael is from an Italian immigrant family and has three children, two of whom have operatic names. He attended one of the most interesting and experimental schools of post war Britain, Woolverstone Hall in Suffolk. The school took inner city London boys, often from broken families and gave them an opportunity that would only usually be available to the wealthy. The school challenged its pupils to think outside of their social backgrounds, to explore and exploit their natural intelligence and exposed its pupils to high art at an early age, inculcating them all with the sense of discovery.  Drama and music were high on the list of things that the school excelled in.
Michael has published an acclaimed memoir called Noisy at the wrong times (Hodder/Two Roads) which covers his early life in his Italian family and his time at Woolverstone.
Michael has also, curiously, appeared in movies directed by Woody Allen (You will meet a tall dark stranger)  and Dustin Hoffman (Quartet), appearances that came about in unusual circumstances. He also, from time to time, makes films for the company, his most recent being "From Footy to Verdi", a shirt film following the journey of some Chelsea fans into opera. The film has been featured on the BBC website and BBC Arts Online.
He is a Chelsea supporter, Huffpost blogger,  a regular contributor to newspapers and websites and a commentator on opera and the arts in general. He was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Music from Oxford Brookes University in June 2016.

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Cheryl Green & Cynthia Lopez

Award-Winning Filmmakers


Filmmakers Cheryl Green and Cynthia Lopez collaborated on two short narrative comedies about living with brain injury before embarking on their largest project together, the feature-length documentary “Who Am I To Stop It.” This film focuses on isolation, art, and transformation after brain injury. It intimately witnesses three artists who have disabilities from traumatic brain injury as they create their works, interact in their communities in the Pacific Northwest, and face the changes brain injury has brought to their lives. Rather than force their multifaceted experiences into a purely inspirational story of overcoming adversity, we look at very difficult questions around loneliness, stigma, poverty, and how people find their way in the world after brain injury. In the film, art is the throughline in each person’s life that represents meaningful work, reconnection to self-pride, and an avenue for social change.

Cheryl Green MFA, MS integrates her training in Performance as Public Practice and Speech-Language Pathology to explore how story can be used to break down stigma and barriers. After acquiring disabilities from brain injury, she began making films that combine personal narrative and activism to create dynamic, artistic tools to challenge misconceptions and stereotypes of disability while celebrating pride in disability experiences. Her artistic goals focus on making media accessible, cross-disability collaboration, and building equity.

Cynthia Lopez, MA, MUS, is interested in how we express values through narrative forms. She made her first film on Super 8 at age eleven in a llama pasture and soon thereafter began documenting the world around her with tools such as a cassette tape recorder and her parents’ VHS camera. She worked toward a career as a qualitative researcher who was deeply interested in exploring ethnographic methodologies, but found that the medium of film was more suited to her desire to create visual narratives. She currently produces documentaries and educational videos through Eleusis Films.
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Inda Reid

Award-Winning Filmmaker

With a widely diverse career background in film and theatre, award-winning director, Inda Reid  has worked in almost every facet of the film industry from Director to D.P., Cinematographer to Writer: Actor, Musician, Producer and Editor. 

Strongly influenced by the Cinéma Vérité movement, she has adopted the style for her award-winning documentary features, Brotherhood of the Popcorn (2014) and The Making of The Nutcracker (2009). 

Inda has also won awards for her narrative shorts: The Leading Man (2011), and Mormon Boys (2012). Extremely passionate about theatre and the timeless craft of storytelling, Inda studied Shakespeare, British History and period Styles in London, UK on a study abroad scholarship. After receiving a B.S. in History with honors, she completed a Masters of Fine Arts in Acting and Directing from The University of Arizona, where she won Best Director for her stage production, "From The Mississippi Delta.” In 1999-2001, she was a member of the all-girl band ROXXI, which toured Europe and opened for acts like Destiny's Child and 112.  Due to her diverse experience in (and on) stage and film, Inda has developed the reputation as an actor’s director; she is an effective communicator with a keen sense of story and movement. At the same time, she delivers her ultimate vision with unassuming authority, possessing the innate ability to create magic on a limited budget.

Inda Reid currently works as a writer, director and editor in Ventura, California.  She has many projects in development: one of which is a dramatic musical television series entitled, "Sunday Mornings (2017),” with ex-band mates, Michelle and Maria Acero. She is the founder and CEO of Predator Productions  and is a proud member of SAG/AFTRA, AEA, ASCAP and WGA.

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Suree Towfighnia

Award-Winning Filmmaker

Suree Towfighnia is a director, producer, DP, and documentary educator. She directed and co-produced Crying Earth Rise Up (2015), a PBS documentary revealing the impact of uranium mining on the water and people of the Great Plains. Suree previously directed Standing Silent Nation (2007), a PBS documentary chronicling a Native American family's struggle to grow industrial hemp on their sovereign Reservation lands. She began the Lakota Media Project (LMP) in 2003 to train and mentor Lakota girls and women seeking to tell their own documentary stories. Suree has been dedicated to working on social justice documentary and community engagement since 1997.

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Rebecca Branson Jones

Award-Winning Filmmaker


Rebecca Branson Jones was raised in the rural piedmont of North Carolina and earned a BS in Electronic Media and an MA in Appalachian Studies at Appalachian State University. Jones worked as a freelance videographer in North Carolina from 2010 to 2015 making films about Appalachian music and folklife. She has also worked with Appalshop filmmakers Mimi Pickering and Tom Hansell.  Jones is currently working with Florentine Films in New Hampshire as an apprentice editor on an 8-part series on Country Music.


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Kurt Neale

Award-Winning Filmmaker


Kurt Neale is a film maker/consultant in Dallas. Kurt manages KFN productions, and Capernaum Inc. a non profit group.

His award-winning film, Compelling Love & Sexual Identity, examines our culture polarized by strong and often differing opinions. How can people connect with those whose beliefs, values, and lifestyles they find offensive? Over the past year, his team traveled the country, posing this question to scores of people with different sexual orientations and gender identities. 
Compelling Love & Sexual Identity
is the result of their answers: a thought-provoking and moving feature-length documentary film that captures their personal stories and candid responses. 

Kurt is currently working on another documentary titled 

“Love in Addiction” that will be released in the Fall of 2016.

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Tom Hayes

Award-Winning Filmmaker

Tom Hayes, Assistant Professor in the Film Division at Ohio University, originally hails from Vermont. He worked his way through film school in the 70’s crewing on cargo ships, and working as a drive-in projectionist. Working as a freelance media ninja on commercial productions enabled him to pursue his independent documentary projects.

Hayes’s first long form documentary focused on the experience of Cambodian refugees, from their lives in a refugee camp on the Cambodian border, through their first year of resettlement in the U.S. That film, Refugee Road, was broadcast nationwide on PBS. His interest turned from the Cambodian refugee experience to the odd situation of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon. Weathering the Israeli occupation of Lebanon, and ongoing civil strife there, he produced Native Sons: Palestinians in Exile, which Martin Sheen narrated.

Once faced with the realities of the Palestinian experience, Hayes became engaged with the issue and continued his work documenting the human and political rights situation of this human community for decades. ITVS funded his film, People and The Land, about the role of the United States during the first Palestinian Intifadah. Two Blue Lines integrates footage Hayes began gathering in 1983 up to the present.

He has served as a lecturer in the Film Division at Ohio University for several years.

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Vic Compher

Award-Winning Filmmaker

After a successful career in social work, Vic began his “encore career” in filmmaking about 12 years ago. "Portraits of Professional CAREgivers:  Their Passion. Their Pain" is Vic's fourth documentary. His other films include: “Treasures of the Elders,” “ Peace of the Elders,” and “I Cannot be Silent” which appeared in a number of festivals.

Vic's documentaries, including CAREgivers,  present the dramatic, personal narratives of people who are making a difference in our world and the films address themes such as creative aging, peacemaking, and the intergenerational sharing of legacies.

His exploration of the subject of secondary trauma in “Portraits of Professional CAREgivers” shows the unknown, vulnerable side of professionals and public servants, who care for traumatized people, e.g. our child protective social workers, first responders, firefighters, police, emergency doctors and nurses, clinical psychologists, and hospice staff—all taking extraordinary emotional and sometimes physical risks, while seeking meaning in their lives and work.


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Judith Finneren

Award-Winning Filmmaker


This is Judith Finneren’s first film.  After growing up in Royal Oak, Michigan, being married thirty seven years and raising two beautiful children in Lake Orion, Michigan, Judith found herself in in Sedona, Arizona attending film school.

She discovered she had a passion for film making after being an extra in two films that were being made in Detroit. After experiencing the sudden tragic death of her spouse in July of 2011, she decided to go to Sedona Film School. This is where she created her first film GHOSTBIKE, a film of healing and hope.

Her award wining short documentary GHOSTBIKE, has screened at several film festivals including the Sedona International, Silver Springs International, First Glance, Sunscreen and this July is screening at the Love International Film Festival in Los Angeles.  Judith also won the Gutsy Gal award for GHOSTBIKE in 2015.  

Judith looks forward to creating more films and is currently authoring a book on healing and hope. 

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Jeongho Ahn

Award-Winning Filmmaker


Born in Seoul, Jeongho attended the Korea National University of Arts (KNUA) from 2011 to 2016 majoring in Documentary Films. During his years at KNUA, he filmed various genres from drama to documentary.

His works include Mr. Cute Dong-ki (2011), Non-Fiction Diary (2012), Restaurant The Day (2012), and a documentary called The Day (2014). He was also the producer of Road to Home (2012), and Lore (2013).

Interested in documentaries, he focused on production of short documentaries. Then 2012, he had the opportunity in shooting 'Non-Fiction Diary' which was a film directed by Yoon-Suk Jung. This film received awards from the Network for the Promotion of Asian Cinema (NETPAC),

He was a co-producer of the film "Road to Home (2012)' which portrays human's primary desire and inconsistencies and contradictions of capitalist system from a homeless' point-of-view. He also made the film "Lore" which depicts oppressed individuals in a metropolitan city. Lore was submitted to the Busan Peace Film Festival and also at the Hansung Design & Art Film Festival, and it received the Best Film award at Hansung Design & Art Film Festival.

His thirst for making a film on conflicts and coexistence has led him to start filming ‘The Wolf Mask’.

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A. Troy Thomas

Award-Winning Filmmaker


A. Troy Thomas is a native of Suffolk, Virginia and a 1986 graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University.  Troy began working in the video production industry as the Creative Director of Delmar Communications from 1988-92 in Richmond, Virginia.  Wanting to develop his craft in a larger market, he moved to Cincinnati in 1992 working at VideoWorks as their Production Supervisor.

However, it had always been Troy’s dream to build his own production company.  So in 1993, while still living in Cincinnati, he bought his first camera and thus began the dream, Inertia Films.  While in Ohio he began to shoot several national television shows, most notably one of the first reality shows, “Real Stories of the Highway Patrol.”As his company grew in reputation, Troy decided to relocate Inertia Films to Atlanta, Georgia in 1996.  Troy’s television credits now include: Gangland, House Hunters, Auction Kings, Mobsters, Biography, Dogs 101, History’s Mysteries and various NFL Network profiles.

Troy is the director and producer of “Liberty & Slavery: The Paradox of America’s Founding Fathers”.  The documentary was produced through Troy’s video production company.  Troy’s recognition now includes 140 awards in various film festivals and video competitions including 19 Telly Awards and two Southeast Emmy Awards.  He was also the Directory of Photography for “Forgiven for Life”, a documentary about the changed life of David Berkowitz, the serial killer known as the “Son of Sam”, and the PBS documentary “Papa said, “We should never forget’”.

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Jason Britski

Award-Winning Filmmaker

Jason Britski is an independent filmmaker who resides in Regina, SK, Canada. His films and videos have been screened around the world in such cities as Tokyo, Los Angeles, Brisbane, Rotterdam, Dresden, and Toronto (screened at approximately 150 venues in 20 countries). In the past 20 years he has made twenty experimental films, produced and directed two documentary TV series, and the feature length documentary “Voice from the Wilderness”. Jason has worked in a variety of positions in the film industry as a producer, director, cinematographer, videographer, sound recordist, and as a picture editor. Jason is currently a member of the Saskatchewan Filmpool Cooperative, Blackchair Distribution, and the Canadian Filmmakers’ Distribution Centre.

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Sue Keeton

Award-Winning Filmmaker


Sue Keeton is an Emmy Nominated Producer (2015 Outstanding Short Form - Nonfiction). Keeton is an Award winning Writer, Director and Producer originally from the Midwest. Keeton relocated to San Francisco and established her first career in the business world. Keeton holds an M.B.A in International Business from the University of San Francisco. Shortly after achieving her M.B.A, Keeton moved to Los Angeles to pursue her dreams of becoming a filmmaker.

Based on advice from a mentor, Keeton graduated from the New York Film Academy and has since written, produced and directed over a dozen short films and commercials including the internationally award winning short film “A Separate Tribe”. Keeton’s latest short film, “An Unspoken Partnership” recently won the Bronze Award for the Spotlight Film Awards

Keeton is currently developing a dark, supernatural one-hour TV drama. Keeton is a 2011 PGA Diversity Program Alumni. Keeton is an active member of the Television Academy and Producers Guild of America. She is involved in the community and is an avid supporter of Young Story Tellers of America and Step Up Women’s Network.

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ELLIOT SPENCER

Award-Winning Filmmaker


ELLIOT SPENCER is a Freelance Producer/Director with more than 10 years experience working in the Australian and Chinese Film and Television industries. He grew up in the Darling Downs region of Australia where he first started filmmaking.

His short films have won various awards Internationally including craft awards for editing and cinematography. Bond University granted Elliot a full academic scholarship to study Film and Television, which he completed in 2009. 

His award-winning film Marovo Carver can be seen at film festivals world-wide.

In recent years Elliot has worked in the Solomon Islands and
China, during which time he has learned Tok Pisin, and Mandarin Chinese. 

Currently Elliot is in production of a second documentary filmed in around the Artificial Islands of Langa Langa Lagoon, Solomon Islands.

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JEREMY SEIFERT

Award-Winning Filmmaker

​Jeremy is an award-winning documentary director, producer, and editor, recently winning Best Documentary at the 24th Environmental Media Award for his film GMO OMG. 


In 2010, Jeremy completed his debut film, DIVE! Living Off America’s Waste. Initially made with a $200 budget, a borrowed camera, and a lot of heart, DIVE! went on to win 22 film festivals worldwide.


Jeremy's second film, GMO OMG, is a journey in search of answers about genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and how they affect our children, the health of our planet, and our freedom of choice. The personal nature of his films find instant connection with viewers and inspire real change both personally and socially. Jeremy has appeared on “Real Time with Bill Maher”, “Dr. Oz”, “NPR”, and many other news outlets, to speak about his films and the most pressing environmental issues of our time. Jeremy and his wife, Jen, live in North Carolina with their three children, Finn, Scout, and Pearl.

His new award-winning project, Our Daily Dose, can be seen at festivals around the world.

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Brian Ronalds

Award-Winning Filmmaker


THE FINAL RESOLUTION is Brian's feature film directorial debut.
Brian produced and co-starred in the horror/comedy NETHERBEAST INCORPORATED starring Darrell Hammond, Judd Nelson, Dave Foley, Jason Mewes, Robert Wagner, Steve Burns and Amy Davidson, which was released nationwide in 2009. Brian was then brought aboard in 2009 to write for the second season of Tyler Perry's wildly popular TBS sitcom, “MEET THE BROWNS”. In addition, Brian produced and co-starred in the feature film, THE GRAVES, starring Tony Todd, Bill Moseley, Amanda Wyss, Clare Grant and Jillian Murray, which hit theaters nationwide in January 2010.
Brian also, wrote, produced and directed with his brother Dean a comedic web series , “HERE & NOW”, starring Judd Nelson, Traci Lords and Alexis Arquette which is an App currently available in the Apple App Store. Brian's third feature film he co-starred and produced was released in early 2012 titled DIRTY LITTLE TRICK starring Dean Cain, Christie Burson and Michael Madsen, and is now available on SHOWTIME.
Brian's fourth feature film ASHLEY starring Nicole Fox(America's Next Top Model Winner), Jennifer Taylor(Two and a Half Men) and Michael Madsen (Kill Bill/Reservoir Dogs) hit movie theatre's in 16 cities August 9th 2013. Brian produced the film with Tom Malloy and his brother Dean directed. Most recently, Brian's fifth feature film he produced, GOING BONGO, shot on location in Tanzania, Africa was released in the Winter of 2015.


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Ian Lapworth

Award-Winning Filmmaker


Ian entered the world of film-making relatively late in life - 2 years short of his 50th birthday! But he's no stranger to the media industry. Having first developed a passion for making home recordings in the 1970's, Ian became interested in radio - initially recording his own programmes in his parent's front room. In 1984, he took a step further, helping out at his local BBC Radio Leicester, before volunteering at the local hospital radio station. Ian had a weekly show for 14 years - during which he was honoured with two BT awards for presenting. In 1998, he landed a full time job as presenter and producer on Kettering's local commercial radio station, KCBC, which later became Connect FM.
Ian's always been a creative person - and following his Mum's deterioration with Alzheimer's disease - wanted to not only raise awareness of the condition, but also tell the story of her life, and the suffering that comes with it. This he wanted to do through film, and in 2015, released his first film 'Dark Clouds Far Away', a short documentary about his Mum, dementia, and how it affects those closest to her. The film's been shortlisted in several film festivals - and in June 2016 won Bronze at the Spotlight Film Awards.
Currently working in the retail sector, Ian's passion for making films has been set alight, and hopes to bring more ideas and stories to life very soon. Ian lives in Kettering, UK, with wife Bridget.
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2016 AWARD-WINNING documentary 

FILMMAKERS in the spotlight

SPOTLIGHT

DOCUMENTARY

FILM AWARDS

Dennis Spielman

Award-Winning Filmmaker


Dennis Spielman is an author and filmmaker with a passion for his longtime home state of Oklahoma. In addition to self-publishing several novels, he is also the creator of the website “Uncovering Oklahoma” and the related “Date Idea” book series, which provide information about Oklahoma events and businesses for both tourists and locals who are looking for fun, creative, and educational things to do.

His latest project is the documentary “District Up!”, which digs into the development of and cooperation between several of the more well-known metro-area districts over the past several years.


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Huaqing Jin

Award-Winning Filmmaker


Huaqing Jin has directed films like Living with Shame, Blossom with Tears,Lament of Yumen, Endless Road and so on, for which received 40 rewards in international film festival in 18 countries, like France, Italy, Mexico, Brazil, Korea, Japan and so on , including The UNICEF Prize, 2012, 27th Pärnu International Documentary and Anthropology Film Festival for Best children's Film Award, and 4th China Documentary Academy Award for Best Short Documentary Award.

The film Living with Shame was awarded "2008 Guangzhou International Documentary Film Festival Jury Prize", and the film Blossom with Tears was awarded "The UNICEF Prize". His Documentaries broadcasted on Al Jazeera television in Qata, BBC, EBS, Fuji TV and so on. Dierctor Hauqing jin served as the the jury of 21st Asian International Film Festival in Vesoul, the final student competition in the 8th Russian Anthropological Film Festival. Huaqing jin is the signed director of Shanxi Culture Industry Investment holdings co Ltd, the creative tutor of Lanzhou University, and the visiting Instructor of Zhejiang University Of Media And Communications, in addition, he is the adjunct lecturer of Suzhou University. In 2010, he started to hold activities, like Video Training Camp and Video Workshops, the students from different parts of China.

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Paul Catalanotto

Award-Winning Filmmaker


Paul Catalanotto is an award winning director, producer, and writer with a deep passion for storytelling and over a decade of experience in film and television. He started as a junior editor at Southeastern Louisiana University’s Educational Channel where he produced a variety of award winning programming including “College Night,” a Telly award winning student entertainment show and was the editor of the international and national award winning documentary, "Fighting Lions: The Glory Years".

However, it was in starting his own company, Untitled Films, Catalanotto really excelled. He directed and produced several local and regional television shows, documentaries, and music videos. In 2006, he won an Atlanta Hip Hop award for directing the music video "Lookin’ Down on Me" and placed in the top ten videos of the 2008 Inspirational Country Music Awards with the video "Pictures" featuring Tommy Brandt.  Over the course of his career, several of his music videos have made it into CMT, GAC, and the Country Network’s rotation, and recently he won CCM’s Music Video of the Year for “Good Days” featuring Hunter Erwin.

In 2009, he graduated with an MFA in Film Production from the University of New Orleans.  Several of his student films went on to highly successful festival runs, and to this day, he remains UNO proud.  In 2012, he produced the award winning feature, The Mourning Hills. A year later, he directed his first feature narrative - Proof of the Devil.  The film received national and international distribution, and the sequel, in which he scripted, is scheduled to premiere in late 2017. Recently, Catalanotto finished post production on his latest horror feature – Sacrilege.

Catalanotto’s current award-winning documentary, Painting a Normal Life began through his volunteer work at the Tangipahoa Chapter of the Louisiana ARC.  He met Hank and his wife at a yearend event and is grateful to have shared his story with festivals around the country.


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Louie Palu

Award-Winning Filmmaker

Louie Palu is an award winning documentary photographer and filmmaker whose work has appeared in publications, festivals and exhibitions internationally. Some of his awards include a National Magazine Award, Pulitzer Center Grant, Bernard L. Schwartz Fellowship and a Milton Rogovin Fellowship from the Center of Creative Photography. 

Palu’s work has been featured in The New York Times, TIME, BBC, PBS and many others. He is best known for his long-term projects including a 5-year project on Kandahar, Afghanistan, the detention center in Guantanamo Bay and the drug war in Mexico. In 2015 he completed his first feature length documentary film titled Kandahar Journals. 

Well known as a photojournalist for documenting the war in Afghanistan Palu’s work has always blurred the line between journalism and art. His work is held in numerous collections including the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C., Museum of Fine Arts Boston and National Gallery of Canada. He has lectured at universities and academic conferences internationally focusing mostly on the relationship between photography and violence. He is currently working on a documentary film in Ukraine.

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Marco Ortega

Award-Winning Filmmaker

Marco Ortega has more than ten years experience in broadcast television production and filmmaking. 

He received his B.A. in Film Production at the University of Houston and is a television director at Bandera Road CityChurch in San Antonio, TX. Ortega is an amateur home-brewer and craft beer advocate. BREWED IN THE 210 is his documentary feature debut.

BREWED IN THE 210 highlights San Antonio area brewers and local businesses, who have contributed to the growth and revival of handcrafted beer deep in the heart of Texas. Local brewers tell their stories, share their passion, and illustrate how craft beer has made an impact on the community of San Antonio.

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Dario Vrbanek

Award-Winning Filmmaker


Dario is a Canadian born filmmaker with a particular interest in social issues. His day job as a high school teacher inspires him to make films that can contribute to positive social change and create a better environment for his students.

Dario is a true “Indie” filmmaker as he funded and crowd-sourced the entirety of his film’s budget.  Let's Talk About Men is Dario’s first film.  Let’s Talk About Men is a film documenting Dario’s journey to discover and unveil the secret realities of men’s lives.  His honest and candid approach to challenging topics with strangers on the street leads men to share moments of tender reflection and previously undiscovered truths.  The film uncovers a world that is seldom discussed, and allows men the permission, for many the first time, to express their truth frankly and without judgement.  The discoveries of Dario’s journey lead him, and can lead any man, from a life of disconnection and isolation to a place of hope and healing.  Men and women everywhere will look at the lives of men differently after watching this important film.


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Paul Kakert

Award-Winning Filmmaker

​Paul Kakert is a multi-award winning director, editor and producer who specializes in conceiving, developing, producing, marketing and distributing independent productions including reality programming and documentary films. His latest award winning film, Escape from Firebase Kate, is being broadcast on PBS stations throughout the US and is on iTunes, and Amazon Prime. Paul founded Storytellers International in 2009 as a 501c3 non-profit organization to produce feature length documentary films that tell compelling stories from around the world. As President and Director of all productions for the organization, his goal is to build an online, fanatic audience for documentary films through his community website Paul’s prior documentary films include award winning Train to Nowhere: Inside an Immigrant Death Investigation 

In addition to promoting the films he and other independent producers create, the organization actively solicits story ideas from a growing community at DocumentaryTV.com. Anyone can pitch a story they would like to see Storytellers produce. Paul’s goal is to inspire the public to tell him what is important to them, and most importantly, to hear from those who are close to the stories and the people involved. To date, films by Storytellers have taken Paul to India and Kosovo and throughout the US to meet his vision of bringing a world of stories to a US audience.

Paul also owns Effective Digital Presentations which is a video and multimedia production company in Iowa. The company is a successful federal government contractor and GSA schedule holder. Paul has produced videos and 3D animations for broadcast, federal government, non-profit organizations, higher education, and corporate businesses throughout the United States and in 9 different countries including Afghanistan, Kuwait, Japan, South Korea, Germany and Italy.


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Kevin Bryce

Award-Winning Filmmaker


Kevin Bryce, an award winning filmmaker, editor, and producer, has directed 2 feature documentaries. His first, We Are Superman, is an award winning film about the racial and economic divide still found in almost every urban area in the United States. Focusing on Kansas City as a case study, Bryce investigated what work is needed to turn a dividing line into a gathering place. 

The award-winning, All These Flowers, is Bryce's second documentary feature. The film tells the emotionally charged story of 6 people diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder from across the United States.It digs into their relationships with their spouses, children, parents, counselors, and communities. Watch the trailer here

Bryce has written, directed, and produced countless short films and videos and is currently in production on his third documentary about historical and community trauma.


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Emily Preston

Award-Winning Filmmaker


Emily Preston is a Toronto-based director and cinematographer currently studying at Ryerson University. She worked on the project, Inside Ruffus,   a documentary that premiered at the 2014 Atlanta International Film Festival.

She makes her directorial debut with the award-winning film,  Positions. Alexandra Golden is the artistic director of a small ballet school called Positions. After her early retirement as a second soloist for the National Ballet of Canada, due to joint degeneration in her feet, Alex was forced to discover who she was outside of being a ballerina. Positions presents Alex’s story as a universal one. We often wonder “Who am I?”, but this documentary forces us to ask ourselves “What is my passion?”

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