Marshall Curry got his start shooting, directing, and editing the documentary "Street Fight", which followed Cory Booker's first run for mayor of Newark, NJ. The film went on to be nominated for an Academy Award and an Emmy. "Street Fight" won the Audience Awards at the Tribeca Film Festival, AFI/Discovery SilverDocs Festival, and Hot Docs Festival. It also received the Jury Prize for Best International Documentary at Hot Docs and was nominated for a Writer's Guild of America (WGA) Award.
After "Street Fight", Curry was the Director and Producer, as well as one of the Cinematographers and Editors of the feature documentary, "Racing Dreams"."Racing Dreams" follows two boys and a girl who dream of one day racing in NASCAR, and the film won numerous awards. Dreamworks is currently adapting it for a fictional remake.
Curry's newest documentary, "If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front", tells the story of a radical environmentalist who faced life in prison for burning two Oregon timber facilities. It won the Sundance Film Festival award for Best Documentary Editing and was acquired by Oscilloscope Laboratories. In the summer of 2011 it was released to critical aclaim, called "an intriguing and important film" by Filmmaker Magazine, "a sterling example of journalistic documentary" by Salon.com, and "a wildly successful and engaging documentary" by New York Press. In the fall it will air on PBS's documentary series POV.
Eric Strauss has been creating documentary films for more than a decade, shooting, writing and producing for broadcasters such as National Geographic, The History Channel, The Discovery Channel, and A&E. For National Geographic Explorer, Eric directed, shot and produced Heroin Crisis, about the global trail of Afghan heroin, as well as Iraq's Guns for Hire, a profile of the private security industry in Iraq. Eric also directed and produced for Hard Time, an Emmy-nominated prison series that premiered on the National Geographic Channel in March 2009. The Redemption of General Butt Naked is his first feature film.
Daniele Anastasion has worked regularly on documentaries for National Geographic, including the Emmy-nominated Inside the Body Trade. She directed and produced KKK: Inside American Terror for The National Geographic Channel and has also produced and shot for Frontline/WORLD. She also produced for Hard Time, an Emmy-nominated prison series for National Geographic that provides a gripping yearlong view into the world of incarceration. The Redemption of General Butt Naked is her first feature film.
Founder of Reel Thing, Suzan Beraza's films have appeared on national public television in the United States, and at many festivals, winning top awards at Worldfest, Montreal Film Festival, and Mountainfilm in Telluride, among others. Previous films include Life's A Beach, American Outrage, Blue Planet Run, Water, A Clear Solution and Troubled Waters: The Dilemma of Dams.
Beraza's latest film, "Bag It," follows “everyman” Jeb Berrier as he tries to make sense of our dependence on plastic bags. Although his quest starts out small, Jeb soon learns that the problem extends past landfills to oceans, rivers and ultimately human health. The average American uses about 500 plastic bags each year, for about twelve minutes each. This single-use mentality has led to the formation of a floating island of plastic debris in the Pacific Ocean more than twice the size of Texas. The film explores these issues and identifies how our daily reliance on plastic threatens not only waterways and marine life, but human health, too. Two of the most common plastic additives are endocrine disruptors, which have been shown to link to cancer, diabetes, autism, attention deficit disorder, obesity and infertility.
Heather Courtney is a filmmaker and cinematographer based in Austin, Texas. She has produced several films for PBS, including "Letters from the Other Side", which premiered at the Slamdance Film Festival in January 2006 and screened at the South by Southwest International Film Festival (SXSW), as well as other film festivals. Heather also organized over 20 grassroots screenings with churches, schools, and community centers all over Texas. In Fall 2006, LETTERS was broadcast on over 60 PBS stations across the country.
Her previous film, "Los Trabajadores/The Workers", won the Audience Award at SXSW in 2001 and an International Documentary Association award, and was broadcast nationally on the PBS series Independent Lens.
In her most recent film, "Where Soldiers Come From", Heather returned to her hometown in northern Michigan to follow the lives of a group of 20-year-old friends before, during and after their National Guard deployment to Afghanistan. The 2012 Independent Spirit awards recognized "Where Soldiers Come From" with the "Truer than Fiction" honor.
Gerardine Wurzburg is an Academy Award®-winning documentary producer and director whose work addresses disabilities, contemporary history, social justice, education and health.
Her films have had a major impact for social change. Major awards include an Academy Award® for the documentary Educating Peter, an Academy Award® nomination for Autism is a World, and the Cable ACE for Documentary Directing, among others. She is a recipient of three National Endowment for Arts grants, the Governor of Tokyo Prize and the Japan Prize. Her work is in the Broadcast Museum, the Lincoln Center Theater Library and the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences Library. (source: Wretches & Jabberers)
Director Michael Collins is the founder of Thoughtful Robot, a production company based in New York City committed to crafting compelling social justice films that galvanize change. Collins’ first documentary feature film "Give Up Tomorrow" is about a boy wrongfully convicted of murder and sentenced to death in the Philippines.
Collins answered questions regarding the film's structural elements, character arcs, creative content, and social impact. His responses are both astute and practical for aspiring filmmakers to follow. Watch the interview unfold and check out the film’s website for more information.
Karim El Hakim is a renowned director and director of photography who has contributed to numerous award-winning political documentaries about the Middle East. His latest film "1/2 Revolution" is a personal, intimate story from the Arab Spring: a group of friends living in downtown Cairo struggle to stay together during the first chaotic days of the Egyptian Revolution.
El Hakim recounts his experience on the front lines of the Revolution; providing insight into Egypt's current state of affairs as well as its relationship with Western Powers and the reaction the film has acquired in these regions. He also advises documentary filmmakers about proper techniques and storytelling structure. Watch his interview unfold and check out the film's website for more information.
Dynamic Writer/Director duo Katherine Fairfax Wright and Malika Zouhali-Worrall are Chaz & Roger Ebert Directing Fellows, and alumnae of the Film Independent Documentary Lab and the Garrett Scott Documentary Development Grant at Full Frame Documentary Film Festival. In 2012, Filmmaker Magazine named Katherine and Malika two of the 25 New Faces of Independent Film. Their collaborative film“Call Me Kuchu” intimately steps into the lives of gay Ugandans and the struggles they face on a daily basis trying to overturn the court’s ruling of the anti-homosexuality bill.
Fairfax Wright and Zouhali-Worrall sat down with the Center’s graduate fellows to discuss the film’s influence on LGBT issues in Uganda, character discrimination, and outreach campaign both in Uganda and abroad. The women also elaborated on the film’s story structure and master plan providing sound words of advice for beginning filmmakers. Watch their interview unfold and check out the film’s website for more information.
Pamela Yates is a co-founder of Skylight Pictures (with Peter Kinoy), a company dedicated to creating films and digital media tools that advance awareness of human rights and the quest for justice by implementing multi-year outreach campaigns designed to engage, educate and activate social change. Her latest project, “Granito: How to Nail a Dictator”, is a story of destinies joined by Guatemala’s civil war, the mass genocide of it’s people, and how a film made in the 1980’s is being used as evidence to indict the former Army General.
Yates visited the Center to talk about “Granito”; the meaning of the film, its influence on current human rights affairs in Guatemala and the priceless relationships made during filming. She also provided some valuable insight into making documentary films for social impact. Watch her interview unfold below and check out the film’s website for more information.
Bernardo Ruiz is a renowned director and producer who has contributed to numerous award-winning documentaries with Latino themes. His latest film "Reportero" tells the story of a veteran reporter and his colleagues at an independent newsweekly who defy powerful drug cartels and corrupt officials to continue reporting the news.
Ruiz is also the director and producer of "American Experience: Roberto Clemente" (PBS, 2008) and the co-producer of "The Sixth Section" (P.O.V.). As a director and producer for hire, he directed programs for PBS, MTV, the Discovery Networks, Travel Channel, Planet Green and the National Geographic Channel. He founded "Quiet Pictures" in 2007 to create a platform for more activist documentary films.
Ruiz recounts his experiences filming in Tijuana, providing insight into Mexico's current state of affairs and the reaction "Reportero" has acquired in these regions and internationally. Watch his interview unfold and check out the film's website for more information.