Made in LA
Director/Producer: Almudena Carracedo
Producer: Robert Bahar
Cinematographer: Almudena Carracedo
Editors: Lisa Leeman, Kim Roberts, Almudena Carracedo
Writers: Almudena Carracedo, Robert Bahar, Lisa Leeman
Composer: Joseph Julian Gonzalez
Executive Producers: Cara Mertes, Sally Jo Fifer
Running time: 70 min.
website * article
Made in L.A. follows the remarkable story of three Latina immigrants working in Los Angeles garment sweatshops as they embark on a three-year odyssey to win basic labor protections from trendy clothing retailer Forever 21. In intimate observational style, Made in L.A. reveals the impact of the struggle on each woman's life as they are gradually transformed by the experience. Compelling, humorous, deeply human, Made in L.A. is a story about immigration, the power of unity and the courage it takes to find your voice.
Born in Madrid, ALMUDENA CARRACEDO
is Emmy Award-winning director and producer of Made in L.A. Five
years in the making, Made in L.A. is her first feature documentary.
Her previous documentary, Welcome, A Docu-Journey of Impressions,
focused on Tijuana as a border town; it received the Sterling Award
for Best Short Documentary at Silverdocs Documentary Festival and screened
in numerous national and international festivals. Almudena is the 2008
recipient of the National Association of Latino Independent Producers
ESTELA Award, and has served as a jury in several film festivals, including
the Silverdocs Documentary Festival, Valladolid International Film Festival
and Santiago's International Documentary Festival in Chile (FIDOCS).
ROBERT BAHAR is an Emmy Award-winning documentary producer and the director/co-founder of Doculink.org, a grassroots and online community of over 2,000 documentary-makers. He is producer/co-writer of Made in L.A.. Bahar previously produced and directed the award-winning documentary Laid to Waste, and has line-produced and production-managed independent films including ITVS's Diary of a City Priest, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, and Pittsburgh, which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival. He has served on the board of the International Documentary Association and holds an MFA from The Peter Stark Program at USC.
A Man Named Pearl
Directors/Producers: Scott Galloway, Brent Pierson
Cinematographer: J. Steven Anderson
Editor: Greg Grzeszczak
Composer: Fred Story
Running time: 78 min.
A Man Named Pearl tells
the inspiring story of self-taught topiary artist Pearl Fryar, whose
unlikely journey to national prominence began with a bigoted remark.
In 1976, Pearl took a job in a can factory in Bishopville, South Carolina. New to this rural southern town, he and his wife Metra looked at a house for sale in an all-white neighborhood. The Fryars' real estate agent was notified by neighbors in the prospective neighborhood that a black family was not welcome. A homeowner voiced the collective concern: "Black people don't keep up their yards."
That concern motivated Pearl to prove that misguided man wrong. His goal was modest, but clear: to become the first African-American to win Bishopville's "Yard of the Month" award.
Realizing he would have to do something spectacular, Pearl began cutting every bush and tree in his yard into unusual, abstract shapes. He didn't know it then, but he was creating a magical wonderland that would, in time, not only garner local recognition, but draw thousands of visitors from across the United States and around the world.
Now 68, Pearl has been featured in dozens of local and national magazines and newspapers. The media interest that Pearl and his topiary garden generates helps steer much-needed tourist dollars into Bishopville and Lee County, the poorest county in the state of South Carolina.
But the impact that Pearl and his art have had on his community is not just economic. Visitors who wander Pearl's three-and-a-half-acre property quickly recognize that love is the garden's central theme. Meticulously etched into the ground in huge, flower-filled letters are three words: LOVE, PEACE & GOODWILL. These are the guiding principles by which Pearl lives his life and how he's been "keeping up his yard" for nearly 30 years.
A Man Named Pearl is a subtle and intriguing film that opens both hearts and minds. It offers an upbeat message that speaks to respect for both self and others, and shows what one person can achieve when he allows himself to share the full expression of his humanity.
SCOTT GALLOWAY has produced
or executive-produced more than 650 television programs for networks
including ABC, A&E, Court TV, ESPN, Food Network, HGTV, History
Channel and the Travel Channel.
In 1999, Galloway co-founded Tentmakers Entertainment, a television and film production company based in Charlotte, North Carolina. Tentmakers went on to produce more than 500 television programs for six different networks.
Highlights of his television career include writing and producing the A&E documentary special America's Castles and subsequently overseeing the highly acclaimed series of the same name.He produced the Court TV series Crime Stories and The Greatest Trials of All Time, including the New York Film and Television Award-winning documentary The Scottsboro Boys. Galloway co-created and supervised the HGTV series Restore America. He co-created and executive-produced the Food Network series Food Finds and Food Fight and more than 20 network specials.And he created and executive-produced the Turner South Network series Blue Ribbon and Three-Day Weekend, two of the network's highest-rated series and a Telly Award winner.
In 2006, Galloway formed Susie Films to specialize in high-end documentary film production. In addition to A Man Named Pearl, Galloway recently directed and produced the feature-length documentary Children of All Ages.
Director/Producer: Billy Luther
Executive Producers: Fenton Bailey, Randy Barbato
Cinematographer: Gavin Wynn
Editor: Mike Rysavy
Composer: David Benjamin Steinberg
Running time: 60 min.
of Wonder Productions and filmmaker Billy Luther, whose own mother was
crowned Miss Navajo 1966, the film reveals the inner beauty of the young
women who compete in this celebration of womanhood. Not only must contestants
exhibit poise and grace as those in typical pageants, but they must
also answer tough questions in Navajo and demonstrate proficiency in
skills essential to daily tribal life: fry-bread making, rug weaving
and sheep butchering.
The film follows the path of 21-year-old Crystal Frazier, a not-so-fluent Navajo speaker and self-professed introvert, as she undertakes the challenges of the pageant. It is through Crystal's quiet perseverance that we see the strength and power of Navajo womanhood revealed. No matter who takes the crown, this is a journey that will change her life. Interspersed with pageant activities are interviews with former Miss Navajos, whose cheerful recollections of past pageants break the tension the current contestants are undergoing.
Their memories provide a glimpse into the varying roles Miss Navajo is called upon to perform: role model, teacher, advisor and goodwill ambassador to the community and the world at large. For more than 50 years, Miss Navajo Nation has celebrated women and their traditional values, language and inner beauty.
As winners of the pageant, women are challenged to take on greater responsibility, becoming community leaders fluent in the Navajo language and knowledgeable about their culture and history. The film reveals the importance of cultural preservation, the role of women in continuing dying traditions and the surprising role that a beauty pageant can play.
BILLY LUTHER studied film at Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts, and worked on projects for the Smithsonian Institution's New York City National Museum of the American Indian Film and Video Center. A past honoree of Film Independent's Project: Involve program, Luther was recently selected for the 2006 Sundance Institute/Ford Foundation Fellowship, Corporation for Public Broadcasting/PBS Producers Academy at WGBH in Boston, and Tribeca Institute's All Access Program with his feature documentary Miss Navajo, which world-premiered at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival, had its national television premiere on Independent Lens on PBS and is the winner of Michael Moore's 2007 Special Founders Prize. He is in production on the documentaries Grab and The Untitled Indian Marching Band Project. Luther belongs to the Navajo, Hopi and Laguna Pueblo Tribes.
No Short Climb: "Race Workers" and America's Defense Technology
Director/Producer/Writer: Robert Johnson Jr.
Cinematographers: Ed Kearney, Alonso Perkins, Robert Johnson Jr.
Editors: Robert Johnson Jr., Kirstyn Lichfield
Running time: 58 min.
During the period immediately following the Great Depression, young African-American men and women graduated from high schools and colleges across the nation with degrees in the sciences. However, they found themselves unemployed and unemployable. Though large numbers of scientists, technicians and support staff were widely recruited from prestigious colleges and universities, racial barriers kept these ranks limited to White applicants. As the US geared up for the approaching war in Europe, efforts were made to aggressively recruit and place Blacks in positions in both the military and civilian service corps. Serving as the experimental proving grounds for a host of "state-of-the art" defense weaponry, Fort Monmouth brought on board its first African-American professionals in 1940. These new hires became engineers, project specialists and technicians, and as the war progressed, women were brought in to replace the men who were transferred overseas. In spite of barriers that hindered acceptance, promotion and recognition of their accomplishments, African-Americans made major contributions to the success of this facility. No Short Climb combines personal memoir with archival footage, still photography and graphics to present a first-hand account of the previously unknown story about the contributions of African-American scientists and technicians during the Second World War.
ROBERT JOHNSON JR. is an associate professor and chair of the Communication Arts Department at Framingham State College in Massachusetts. He has produced over two-dozen history of science documentaries, which have aired on PBS and cable throughout the US, Canada and England. He completed his BA at Rutgers University and his MFA at the Art Institute of Chicago. He has also exhibited work in photography, video, painting and mixed media.
Note by Note: The Making
of Steinway L1037
Director/Producer: Ben Niles
Cinematographers: Ben Wolf, Luke Geissbuhler, Ben Niles, Geoff O'Brien
Editors: Purcell Carson, Geoff O'Brien
Running time: 81 min.
The most thoroughly handcrafted instruments in the world, Steinway pianos are as unique and full of personality as the world-class musicians who choose them above all others. Noteby Note follows the creation of a Steinway concert grand, from the forest floor to the concert hall, exploring the relationship between the musician and the instrument, chronicling the manufacturing process, and investigating what makes each Steinway unique in this age of mass production. Each piano's journey is complex, spanning 12 months, 12,000 parts, 450 craftsmen and countless hours of fine-tuned labor. Filmed in key Steinway locations—the factory, Steinway's reserved "Bank," and private auditions—Note by Note is a loving celebration of not just craftsmanship, but of a dying breed of person who is deeply connected to working by hand. To this end, this is an ode to the most unexpected and perhaps ironic of unsung heroes. It reminds us of how extraordinary the dialogues can be between an artist and an instrument—crafted out of human hands but borne in the materials of nature.
BEN NILES is a documentary filmmaker and award-winning graphic designer. During his 15 years as a graphic designer, Niles directed and produced photo-shoots, videos, commercials and print campaigns for commercials and entertainment clients including Atlantic Records, Nantucket Film Festival and the Jacob Burns Film Center. In his years in the record industry, Niles created album packages for Collective Soul, Jewel and Jon Brion; celebrated box sets for Phish and George Carlin; and packages and identities for jazz musicians Cyrus Chestnut, James Carter and Henry Butler. A graduate of University of Georgia at Athens, Niles attended an intensive fine arts study abroad program located in Cortona, Italy.
One Bridge to the Next
Director/Producer: Kim A. Snyder
Producer: Peggy Rajski
Cinematographer: Greg Poschman
Editors: Shilpi Gupta, Li-Shin Yu
Running time: 31 min.
One Bridge to the Next addresses the emerging field of street medicine. In 1992, Dr. Jim Withers began doing night rounds on the streets of Pittsburgh, offering medical assistance and support to the homeless. Fifteen years later, the organization he founded, Operation Safety Net, is a pioneering model in a growing movement to provide healthcare to the homeless. Dr. Withers and his team navigate riverbanks, bridges and alleyways to bring medical help and social justice to those who have fallen through the cracks of society. The complex condition of the chronically homeless is depicted through vivid characters—a 70-year-old former architect, a laid-off steel mill worker and an ex-drag queen failing from cancer. In a time when our national healthcare policy is under increasing scrutiny, this story illuminates the committed efforts within a single urban area to create a humane society and dignity for those on our streets.
KIM A. SNYDER is an award-winning
documentary filmmaker. She most recently co-founded the BeCause Foundation
to produce a series of documentaries designed to raise awareness about
socially conscious global issues and inspire philanthropy through the
power of film. Following her short documentary One Bridge to
the Next, about the burgeoning field of "street medicine," Her
most recent short, Crossing Midnight, focuses on the healthcare
crisis in Eastern Burma and an extraordinary community of refugees battling
the odds to help their own. Her next work is set in America's rural
South, where on the eve of the recent election, a town deals with issues
of immigrant integration and reckons with its segregated past.
Snyder directed and produced the award-winning documentary I Remember Me, which won numerous festival awards including Best Documentary at the Denver International Film Festival, the Audience Award at the Sarasota Film Festival and an Honorable Mention at the Hamptons International Film Festival. I Remember Me was distributed theatrically in the US by Zeitgeist Films and has been distributed on DVD in over 22 countries. She has also directed and produced numerous short documentaries for cable network Plum TV.
Snyder has also published numerous articles for Variety and worked as media producer for the Hamptons International Film Festival, producing commercials, trailers and promotional media.
In 1994, Snyder associate produced the Academy Award-winning short film Trevor, directed and produced by Peggy Rajski, which became the cornerstone of The Trevor Project, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to suicide prevention among gay youth. Snyder also served on the admissions review committee for New York University's Graduate Film Program, and has been a producer's rep for several critically acclaimed foreign films including Crows (New Yorker Films), directed by Dorota Kedzierzawska. Snyder graduated with a masters in international affairs from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.
The Order of Myths
Director/Producer: Margaret Brown
Producer: Sara Cross
Executive Producer: Christine Mattsson-McHale
Cinematographer: Michael Simmonds
Editors: Michael Taylor, Geoffrey Richman, Margaret Brown
Running time: 80 min.
website * trailer
The Order of Myths is a documentary about Mobile, Alabama's
Mardi Gras. Celebrated since 1703, American Mardi Gras was born in Mobile.
In 2007, it is still racially segregated.
Filmmaker Margaret Brown, herself a daughter of Mobile, escorts us into the parallel hearts of the city's two carnivals to explore the complex contours of this hallowed tradition and the elusive forces that keep it organized along enduring color lines.
Though the film captures the historical traditions and social codes of the separate black and white Mardi Gras celebrations, The Order of Mythsis not a cinematic essay. It is not a polemic on race or a document of good guys versus bad guys. It is not a film of obvious questions and easy answers. It goes much deeper, and by its very nature, is both disturbing and captivating.
With unprecedented access, Brown traces the exotic world of centuries-old traditions and pageantry, and uncovers a centuries-old connection between the white Mardi Gras Queen's slave-trading ancestors and the African-American Queen's heritage, as well as subtle and not-so-subtle interracial social codes that cast a shadow on the proud Mobile traditions the white residents invoke.
It is the coronations of the all-white Mobile Carnival Association (MCA) and the all-black Mobile Area Mardi Gras Association (MAMGA) that provide the central narrative through which we view the festivities. Each organization has its own separate parades, balls and royal court; the MCA and MAMGA Kings and Queens cross the color divide only briefly to visit each other's event.
The Order of Myths ventures behind the merriment of Mardi Gras to reveal a tangled web of historical violence, power dynamics and intertwined and interdependent race relations, and. illuminate the complexity of race in the modern South.
MARGARET BROWN is the producer
and director of the acclaimed documentary Be Here to Love Me: A Film
About Townes Van Zandt, which was released in the US by Palm Pictures,
and received worldwide theatrical distribution in 2005.
Brown recently directed the music video Our Life Is Not a Movie or Maybe for Okkervil River, and produced Cat Power's Living Proof video, directed by Harmony Korine. Brown produced Six Miles of Eight Feet, which won a Student Academy Award in 2000, and was the cinematographer for Ice Fishing, which received a Special Jury Prize at the 2000 Sundance Film Festival, and for which she received the Nestor Almendros Award for Cinematography from the New York University Graduate Film Program.
Brown earned her BA in creative writing from Brown University and her MFA in film from New York University.
The People's President: Man, Myth, and the Media
Director/Producer: Chuck Workman
Producer: White House Historical Association
Cinematographers: Bruce Liffiton, John Sharaf
Editors: Jeremy Workman, Chuck Workman
Running time: 57 min.
America's perception of the
presidency is often driven by image. The People's President: Man, Myth, and the Media looks at the role of Hollywood film and
network/cable television in both shaping and reflecting America's
views of the presidency.
For as long as film has captured the president, Hollywood has been there to provide its take on the nation's leader. In 1915, Abraham Lincoln was portrayed in Birth of aNation. Henry Fonda played Young Mr. Lincoln in 1939. Fonda also played a fictional president in Meteor, trying to protect citizens from a runaway asteroid headed for Earth. With the help of the Soviets, and Sean Connery, the world is saved from annihilation.
In The People's President, Workman has woven together 130 clips from film (Kisses formy President, All the President's Men, Dave) television (The West Wing, Truman) newsreels and press coverage to explain the traits we treasure in our leader and the danger of idealizing the heroic president at the expense of understanding the daily grind of governance.
When Hollywood and television productions meet the presidency, viewers are presented with a mix of bio-pics and complete fabrication—both of which tend to give us the president we all wish to call our own. As film critic Richard Schickel comments, "When people set off to make a movie about a president, whether it's a fictional one or a real one, I think they start out good heartedly and seriously. And it's going to get into some of the ideas and some of the issues that plagued this president; ‘We're going to deal with that," but then the reality of movies take over. . . .And the reality of movies is always toward simplification."
CHUCK WORKMAN has been involved in filmmaking and theater for more than 30 years as an award-winning director, writer and producer. Workman's theatrical short, Precious Images, won an Academy Award for Best Live Action Short and has become the most widely shown short in film history, appearing in schools, museums, international conferences, numerous film festivals and over 1,000 theaters worldwide. Workman produced and directed the acclaimed documentaries Superstar, about Andy Warhol, and The Source, about the Beat Generation. A new film on JFK, In Search of Kennedy, will come out in 2009. He is a former president of the International Documentary Association.
Praying with Lior
Director/Producer: Ilana Trachtman
Cinematographers: Slawomir Grunberg, Ari Haberberg
Editor: Zelda Greenstein
Composer: Andy Statman
Running time: 87 min.
An engrossing, wrenching and tender documentary film, Praying with Lior introduces Lior Liebling, also called "the little rebbe." Lior has Down syndrome, and has spent his entire life praying with utter abandon. Is he a "spiritual genius," as many around him say? Or is he simply the vessel that contains everyone's unfulfilled wishes and expectations? Lior— whose name means "my light"—lost his mother at age 6, and her words and spirit hover over the film. While everyone agrees Lior is closer to God, he's also a burden, a best friend, an inspiration and an embarrassment, depending on which family member is speaking. As Lior approaches Bar Mitzvah, the Jewish coming-of-age ceremony, different characters provides a window into life spent "praying with Lior." The movie poses difficult questions, which as What is "disability"? Who really talks to God? Told with intimacy and humor, Praying with Lior is a family story, a triumph story, a grief story, a divinely-inspired story.
ILANA TRACHTMAN is an award-winning producer/director of documentaries and children's television programs. She has produced and directed programs in both English and Spanish for PBS, Showtime, Lifetime, HBO Family, ABC-TV, Sundance, Trio, A&E, Thirteen/WNET, The Biography Channel, Discovery and Sesame Workshop. Trachtman is especially experienced with content-rich, character-driven cinema vérité. She directed two episodes of PBS' Texas Ranch House, a reality/documentary series set in 1867. Other favorite projects include the Lifetime documentary special Our Heroes, Ourselves, profiling four grassroots women heroes in America, and hosted by Marlo Thomas; 24w/, a day in the life series following pop culture icons such as Vera Wang, Tina Brown and Damon Dash; Biography: Sylvia Plath; and the HBO Family series My Favorite Book, in which five-year-olds explain their own versions of favorite children's books. Trachtman's work has been awarded Emmys, a CINE Golden Eagle, Tellys, Media That Matters Awards and environmental awards. She is currently the supervising producer on Big Ideas for a Small Planet, a series for the Sundance Channel about environmental innovators. Praying with Lior is her first independent film.
Directors/Producers/Writers: Senain Kheshgi, Geeta V. Patel
Executive Producers: Diana Barrett, Geralyn Dreyfous
Cinematographer: Ross Kauffman
Editors: Shartmila Ariathurai, Billy McMillin
Composer: David Robbins
Running time: 88 min.
Project Kashmir is a feature documentary in which the directors—two American friends, one
a Pakistani-American Muslim, the other an Indian-American Hindu—investigate
the war in Kashmir and find their friendship tested over deeply rooted
political, cultural and religious biases they never had to face in the
US. Project Kashmir explores war between countries and war within
oneself by delving into the fraught lives of young people caught in
the social/political conflict of one of the most beautiful—and most
deadly—places on earth: Kashmir.
Beautifully lensed by Academy Award® winning filmmaker Ross Kauffman, the film captures the stunning beauty of Kashmir, while expertly interweaving deeply moving personal stories of Kashmiris with those of the two American women, who strive to reconcile their ethnic and religious heritage with the violence that haunts their homeland.
SENAIN KHESHGI is a Pakistani-American
journalist and filmmaker who has produced, written and directed projects
for numerous networks including CNN, ABC NEWS, PBS, Discovery and the
BBC. Kheshgi co-produced her first feature documentary, The First
Year, with Academy Award-winning director Davis Guggenheim (An
Inconvenient Truth), which was broadcast on PBS and went on to earn
the prestigious George Foster Peabody Award. She has also produced and
assisted on projects with Shari Berman and Robert Pulcini (American
Splendor) and Sophie Fiennes (Hoover Street Revival).
Kheshgi was a Sundance Institute Fellow, where she attended the Documentary Editing, Composer and Producing Labs (2006), and a Tribeca All Access Fellow (2005). She is a recipient of the Rockefeller Foundation/ Renew Media's Media Arts Fellowship and was recently awarded the Asia Society's Asia 21 Fellowship. Kheshgi recently served on the selection committee for the International Documentary Association's (IDA) DocuWeek Documentary Showcase. She was also selected as a Filmmaking Fellow for Jehane Noujaim's global Pangea Day project. Kheshgi serves on the board of advisors for Cine, a theater in her hometown of Athens, Georgia, and the board of directors on the International Documentary Association, and has served on the artistic board of LA art festival ArtWallah.
Kheshgi is also developing a documentary about the current state of affairs in Pakistan. Her keen interest in exploring religious and cultural conflict, human rights, and interfaith dialogue through film and media inspired her to make Project Kashmir.
GEETA V. PATEL is an Indian-American writer and director for both documentary and dramatic feature films.
Patel was a Sundance Institute Directing Fellow, where she participated in the Editing, Composer and Producing Labs (2006), and a Tribeca All Access Directing Fellow (2005). She is a recipient of the Asia Society's Asia 21 Leadership Fellowship. She has served on the nomination committees for the Rockefeller Foundation/Renew Media's Media Arts Fellowship, as well as the selection committee for the IDA's DocuWeek Documentary Showcase. She is a board member on The Center for Multifaith Education in New York and has served as a member of the artistic board for the LA-based art festival Artwallah.
Patel is currently directing One in a Billion, a comedic feature documentary that follows an Indian-American actor/comedian as he struggles with his desire to marry an Indian woman and his inability to actually date one. She is also working on a dramatic feature, The Spoon (Chamcha), a thriller about a son's investigation of his father's murder in a remote Indian village. Research for her first novel, The Laughing, led her to make the documentary Project Kashmir.
Directors: Travis Rummel, Ben Knight
Producer: Travis Rummel
Associate Producer: Lauren Oakes
Cinematographer/Editor: Ben Knight
Running time: 54 min.
The Bristol Bay region of Southwest
Alaska is home to the Kvichak and Nushagak Rivers, the two most prolific
sockeye salmon runs left in the world. Mining companies Northern Dynasty
Minerals and Anglo American have partnered to propose development of
an open-pit and underground mine at the headwaters of the two river
systems. The exploration site is the second largest combined deposit
of copper, gold and molybdenum ever discovered, and has an estimated
value of more than $300 billion.
Despite promises of a clean project by officials, the accident-plagued history of hard-rock mining has wrought one of the biggest land-use battles Alaska has ever faced. Documenting the growing unrest among native, commercial and sport-fishermen, Red Gold is a portrait of a unique way of life that will not survive if the salmon don't return with Bristol Bay's tide.
TRAVIS RUMMEL grew up within
the confines of suburban New Jersey, in the shadow of New York City.
Exposed to the grandeur and open spaces of the western US throughout childhood,
he knew he needed to move that way. He attended Colorado College and
graduated in 2001 with a degree in international political economy.
Moving to Telluride, Colorado, to pursue guiding white water rafting
and fly fishing after college, he met Ben Knight while shooting still
photographs for the local newspaper. After witnessing the power of film
to inspire and affect change at the Telluride Mountainfilm Festival,
Rummel decided to partner with Knight, and Felt Soul Media was born.
The two began to shoot, produce and edit short films. With the success
of their initial effort, The Hatch, they continued making films
and four years later produced their first feature, Red Gold.
BEN KNIGHT headed westward from his home in North Carolina at the age of 17 to follow his dream of documentary work and photojournalism. For 10 years, he worked as the photo editor for the Daily Planet in Telluride, Colorado. His still photography, video and editing skills are entirely self-taught. For years he operated the projector at the Telluride Mountainfilm Festival, soaking in the style of the films that showed from around the globe. In 2008, Knight stood upon the stage at the Mountainfilm Awards to accept the Director's Choice Award as well as Audience Choice for Best Film for Red Gold.
Director/Producer/Writer/Cinematographer: David Hoffman
Producer/Editor: John Vincent Barrett
Producer: Eric Reid
Executive Producer: Jay Walker
Writer: Paul Dickson
Running time: 87 min.
Fifty years ago, at the height
of the Cold War, the Soviet Union launched Sputnik, the first satellite
to orbit the earth, bringing America to its knees in awe—then fear.
Initially thrilling as a marvel of science, Sputnik was soon viewed
by America a weapon of mass destruction. Sputnik Mania explores
the fast-moving series of events that brought the world's super-powers
to the brink of nuclear war, and includes the story of two ex-generals
whose private agreement prevented World War III.
The film leads us through the first year following the launch of Sputnik. In 1958, a nuclear weapon was tested in the atmosphere by either Russia or the United States every three days. By the end of that year, nothing was the same. Sputnik spurred us into an arms and space race, necessitating the creation of an academic army of scientists and engineers. This led to the development of NASA, massive reforms in our education system, and the discoveries that enabled many of the consumer technologies on which we depend today (the Internet, cell phones, global positioning systems, credit card verifications and high-definition televisions). The launch of Sputnik also led to widespread panic, fear and anxiety as leading politicians and the media whipped the public into an escalating mass frenzy; only months after Sputnik's launch, 60 percent of Americans thought that nuclear war was imminent and that 50 percent of the American population would likely die.
Sputnik Mania sings an uncannily prophetic song of the past to the tune of the present. It tells a story of great relevance to issues facing the 21st century.
DAVID HOFFMAN is one of America's
veteran documentary filmmakers. Many of Hoffman's reality-style films
present a view of recent American events and how the American people
experienced them. During his 40-year career, he has made four feature-length
documentaries—King, Murray; It's All Good; Sing Sing Thanksgiving
with BB King; and Earl Scruggs: His Family & Friends. King, Murray earned the Critics Award at the 1970 Cannes Film Festival.
Hoffman has also made more than 100 primetime documentary television specials and series, mostly for PBS and Turner Broadcasting. Among his most notable projects include the acclaimed 10-part Ten Who Dared; the landmark six-part PBS series Making Sense of the Sixties; Turner Broadcasting's Moon Shot, which earned a George Foster Peabody Award; and episodes of the PBS series American Experience and NOVA.
Hoffman has founded several startup companies and is founder and CEO of Sagas, for locally based remote video interviewing.
Hoffman founded his production company, Varied Directions, 35 years ago and spent much of his career making films in Camden, Maine. Today he lives and works in Santa Cruz, California.
Director/Producer/ Cinematographer/Writer/Editor: Marshall Curry
Executive Producers: Liz Garbus, Rory Kennedy, Cara Mertes, Sally Jo Fifer
Running time: 82 min.
website * article
Street Fight chronicles
the bare-knuckles race for Mayor of Newark, New Jersey, between Cory
Booker, a 32-year-old Rhodes Scholar/Yale Law School graduate, and Sharpe
James, the four-term incumbent and undisputed champion of New Jersey
Fought in Newark's neighborhoods and housing projects, the battle pits Booker against an old-style political machine that uses any means necessary to crush its opponents: City workers who do not support the mayor are demoted; "disloyal" businesses are targeted by code enforcement; a campaigner is detained and accused of terrorism; and disks of voter data are burglarized in the night.
Even the filmmaker is dragged into the slugfest, and by Election Day, the climate becomes so heated that the Federal government is forced to send in observers to watch for cheating and violence.
The battle sheds light on important American questions about democracy, power and—in a surprising twist—race. Both Booker and James are African-American Democrats, but when the mayor accuses the Ivy League-educated Booker of not being "really black," it forces voters to examine both how we define race in this country.
Street Fight tells a gripping story of the underbelly of democracy where elections are not about spin doctors, media consultants or photo opportunities. In Newark, we discover, elections are won and lost in the streets.
MARSHALL CURRY was the director,
producer, director of photography and editor of the Academy Award-nominated
documentary, Street Fight.
In 2005 Marshall was selected by Filmmaker Magazine as one of "25 New Faces of Independent Film," and he was awarded the International Documentary Association (IDA) Jacqueline Donnet Emerging Documentary Filmmaker Award.
In 2007 he received the International Trailblazer Award at MIPDOC in Cannes.
He has been a guest lecturer at Harvard, Duke, New York University and other colleges, and he has served on juries for the IDA and Hot Docs Film Festival.
Before making Street Fight, Curry worked for a number of years as a senior producer at Icon Nicholson, a New York multimedia design firm, where he produced and directed interactive documentaries and websites for the Mashantucket Pequot Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and others.
Independently, he has shot, edited and directed a number of short films including The Day The Indians Won (for the Rainforest Foundation US), which tells the story of the Panará Indians in Brazil who successfully won back their land, and Negril Elementary (for the Rockhouse Foundation), which chronicles an education project in Jamaica.
Curry is a graduate of Swarthmore College, where he studied comparative religion.
Through Deaf Eyes
Directors/Producers: Lawrence Hott, Diane Garey
Cinematographers: Allen Moore, Michael Chin, Stephen McCarthy, John Baynard
Writer: Ken Chowder
Editor: Diane Garey
Executive Producers: Dalton Delan, Karen Kenton
Composers: Judy Hyman, Jeff Claus
Running time: 120 min.
Through Deaf Eyes explores
nearly 200 years of Deaf life in America. The film presents the shared
experiences of American history—family life, education, work and community
connections—from the perspective of deaf citizens. The film includes
interviews with former Gallaudet University president, Dr. I. King Jordan,
and actors Marlee Matlin and Bernard Bragg, as well as historians and
deaf Americans with diverse views on language use, technology and identity.
The film presents the story of Deaf life in America—a story of conflicts,
prejudice and affirmation that reaches the heart of what it means to
Through Deaf Eyes does not approach the topic of deaf history from the perspective of sentimentality or of overcoming the inability to hear, nor does it deny the physical reality of being deaf. The documentary takes a straight-forward look at life for people who are part of the cultural-linguistic group who use American Sign Language and often define themselves as "Deaf"—with a capital, and cultural, "D"—and deaf people who, for a variety of reasons, do not identify with the Deaf cultural community. The history often shows that intersections between deaf and Deaf people are many and that oppression and discrimination are common experiences.
LAWRENCE HOTT has been producing
documentary films since 1978, when he left the practice of law to join
Florentine Films. His awards include an Emmy, two Academy Award nominations,
a George Foster Peabody Award, the Alfred I. duPont-Columbia Journalism
Award, the Erik Barnouw OAH History Award, 14 CINE Golden Eagles, and
first-place awards from the San Francisco, Chicago, National Educational,
and New England Film Festivals.
In 2002 and 2003, Hott completed three films for PBS broadcast: Imagining Robert: My Brother, Madness and Survival; The Harriman Alaska Expedition Retraced;and Ohio: 200 Years. Imagining Robert was selected by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences as one of the outstanding documentaries of 2002. From 2004 to 2008, Hott produced and directing four more national PBS productions: Niagara Falls; Through Deaf Eyes; Audubon: Drawn from Nature for American Masters; and The Return of the Cuyahoga. He is now in production on 1812: The War We Forgot and Thin Ice: The Bering Sea at the Dawn of Global Warming.
Hott was the Fulbright Fellow in Film and Television in the United Kingdom in 1994. He received the Humanities Achievement Award from the Massachusetts Foundation for the Humanities in 1995; a Massachusetts Cultural Council/Boston Film and Video Foundation Fellowship in 2001; and the Rosalynn Carter Fellowship for Mental Health Journalism in 2001. He has served as a panelist for the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Massachusetts Cultural Commission and the Massachusetts Foundation for the Humanities. He is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the Directors Guild of America.
DIANE GAREY has had a distinguished career as a documentary and feature editor and producer. She edited and co-produced Wild by Law, which was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature in 1992 and was broadcast as part of the American Experience series on PBS. In 1997 she edited Divided Highways, winner of an Emmy Award for Outstanding Historical Programming, a George Foster Peabody Award, and Best Documentary at the New England Film Festival. She received the Humanities Achievement Award from the Massachusetts Foundation for the Humanities in 1995.
Garey, with her husband Larry Hott, has made over 23 films for national PBS broadcast.
Traces of the Trade:
A Story from the Deep North
Director/Producer/Writer: Katrina Browne
Co-Director/Editor/Writer: Alla Kovgan
Co-Director/Executive Producer: Jude Ray
Co-Producer/Executive Producer: Elizabeth Delude-Dix
Co-Producer: Juanita Brown
Cinematographer: Liz Dory
Composer: Roger C. Miller
Running time: 86 min.
website * article
This personal documentary tells the story of first-time filmmaker Katrina Browne's New England ancestors, the largest slave-trading family in US history. At Browne's invitation, nine fellow descendants of her prominent family agree to journey with her to retrace the steps of the Triangle Trade. The group gathers in their old hometown of Bristol, Rhode Island, where disturbing historic documents require a rethinking of American history as the 4th of July parade rolls by. They quickly learn that slavery was business for more than just the DeWolf family—it was a cornerstone of Northern commercial life, contrary to myths that the South alone is to blame. They travel to slave forts in Ghana where, they meet with African-Americans on their own homecoming pilgrimages, and then on to the ruins of a family-owned sugar plantation in Cuba. At each stop, the family grapples with the contemporary legacy of slavery, not only for people of African descent but for themselves as white Americans. Back home, they dive directly into debates about reconciliation and repair, and seek to take public action given all that they now know. The issues the DeWolf descendants confront dramatize questions that apply more broadly, in the US and in the world: What, concretely, is the legacy of slavery—for diverse whites, for diverse blacks, for diverse others? Who owes who what for the sins of the fathers? What history do we inherit as individuals and as citizens? How does Northern complicity change the equation? What would repair—spiritual and material—really look like and what would it take?
KATRINA BROWNE devoted nine years to the making of Traces of the Trade, and to the related family and community dialogue process, which involved hundreds of people. The film premiered at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival, and then aired on PBS's award-winning P.O.V. series. Traces of the Trade has received several awards and critical acclaim and is engendering powerful, honest, and heart-felt dialogue in public screenings across the country. Browne previously served as outreach planning coordinator for the film adaptation of Anna Deavere Smith's award-winning play Twilight: Los Angeles, about the LA riots. Earlier, she worked as a senior staff person at Public Allies, an AmeriCorps program that she co-founded in 1991 to recruit more young people and people of color into community leadership and nonprofit careers. Browne has an MA in theology from the Pacific School of Religion and a BA from Princeton University, where she studied cultural anthropology with a focus on oral history.
Claire Aguilar, M.K. Asante Jr., Mitchell Block, Diane Carson, Harrison Engle, Martha Foster, Betsy McLane, Patrick Murphy, Sandra J. Ruch, Bart Weiss, Thomas White
This program was funded in part by a grant from the United States Department of State. The opinions, findings and conclusions stated herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the United States Department of State.