Motivate Action with Select Speakers
Video Project is pleased to offer the following speakers, both live event and Skype. They are available for a film Q&A and/or workshops.
For availability and rates, please contact Michael Kuehnert, [email protected]
Director / Producer / Editor / Writer
Linda Booker is a water-loving traveler whose childhood play instilled a respect for nature that drives her to make films that entertain and inspire possibilities for a healthier planet. Linda produced and directed the feature documentary films LOVE LIVED ON DEATH ROW and BRINGING IT HOME (Jury Award 2014 Wild and Scenic Film Environmental Festival, Best Environmental Film 2014 Sedona International Film Festival) that has reached audiences worldwide. Her company By the Brook Productions has produced videos for Clean Jordan Lake and City of Durham on the topics of litter and water pollution. She completed the Certificate in Documentary Film Arts from The Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University in 2005.
Founder / Traveler / World Citizen
Jackie has spent most of her life surrounded by water. Her passion for ocean sports, the environment, and community service inspired her to create The Last Plastic Straw. When not traveling the globe she makes her home in Santa Cruz, California. In addition to The Last Plastic Straw, Jackie spends her time biking, gardening, kayak guiding, sailing, hiking, camping, playing and visiting friends and family whenever possible.
It's estimated every day 500,000,000+ plastic straws are used once and tossed in the U.S. alone. Ocean Conservancy ranks straws as the #5 most found litter item on beaches. They're non-recyclable, so they wind up in landfills, litter streets and add to the estimated 8.5 million metric tons of plastic debris in oceans annually.
Director Linda Booker interviews Jackie Nunez, founder of The Last Plastic Straw, restaurant owners with “Straws by Request Only” policies, renown marine biologist and author Dr. Wallace J. Nichols, researcher Dr. Jenna Jambeck and Drifters Project artist Pam Longobardi. In Costa Rica we meet Turtle researchers Nathan Robinson and Christine Figgener, PhD student, Texas A&M University, who rescued and filmed the removal of a plastic straw in a sea turtle's nose that went viral in 2015. That story inspired middle school age student Max Machum to start #NoStrawChallenge #SinPajillaPorFavor and join a movement around the world that's making a sea of change, one plastic straw at a time.
The Foreigner's Home
Director / Producer / Editor / Animator
Rian Brown is an independent filmmaker, visual artist, and Associate Professor of Cinema Studies at Oberlin College. She grew up in Boston, studied visual art at Massachusetts College of Art and received her Masters of Fine Arts in film from the University of California, San Diego. Brown’s work spans a variety of film genres, including experimental, animation, documentary, and video installation. For the past two decades she has written, produced and directed many short films including Into the Scrum, Presence of Water, The Settler and Death of the Moth which have screened internationally at film festivals and museums including the L.A. Hammer Museum of Art, Harvard Film Archive, The Wexner Center for the Arts, Anchorage Museum of Art, MOCA Cleveland, Nashville International Film Festival, Ann Arbor Film Festival, Women in the Director’s Chair and others. Reflecting Brown’s background in painting and cinematography her films employ visually dynamic imagery, hand-painted animation, and experimental techniques. Brown co-directed Blue Desert ~ Towards Antarctica, a multichannel video installation shot during an expedition to Antarctica with National Geographic. Brown was Associate Producer for feature documentary, Raise the Roof, a heroic story about rebuilding a Polish synagogue, which appeared on PBS in 2017 and won Best Documentary in the Seattle Jewish Film Festival and screened in over sixty film festivals worldwide. In 2009, she co-founded and co-directs the Apollo Outreach Initiative, a media education program that works with urban youth in the Cleveland area. She has received numerous awards including three Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence awards and was an artist in resident at the Headlands Center for the Arts. In 2015, Brown and her colleague Geoff Pingree were awarded grants from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the Ford Foundation’s Just Films initiative for the production of The Foreigner’s Home, a feature-length documentary on the intellectual and artistic vision of author Toni Morrison. Her work focuses on women’s issues, social justice and experimenting with new forms of animation and time-based art.
Director / Producer / Editor / Writer
Geoff Pingree is an Emmy Award winning documentary filmmaker, a photographer, a writer, and Professor of Cinema Studies at Oberlin College. He earned both a master’s and doctorate in English and American Literature and Film Studies at the University of Chicago and, before coming to Oberlin, worked in public television in Washington, DC, where he also directed Catholic University’s Program in Media Studies and George Washington University’s Institute for Documentary Filmmaking. His film work has been broadcast on venues including PBS and Discovery. His photography received National Geographic’s 2008 World in Focus Grand Prize and has been published widely in magazines and newspapers includingNational Geographic Traveler, the New York Times, and the International Herald Tribune. He co-edited New Media, 1740-1914(MIT), a collection of scholarly essays, has authored scholarly articles on documentary and Spanish cinema, has written about media, culture, and politics for the New York Times, the International Herald Tribune, the Los Angeles Times, Wired, theNation, the Economist, the American Prospect, Ms. Magazine, Cineaste, and National Geographic Traveler, among others, and has worked as a correspondent in Spain for both TIME and the Christian Science Monitor. With colleague Rian Brown, he founded and directs the Apollo Outreach Initiative, a media education and community outreach program housed in Oberlin’s historic Apollo Theatre. He also directs StoryLens (storylens.org), a non-profit organization that produces short independent documentary films about pressing social issues in order to promote education, encourage public dialogue, and facilitate political change. He is currently editing The Return of Elder Pingree, a feature-length autobiographical documentary he shot in Guatemala. With Brown, he created BLUE DESERT ~ Towards Antarctica, a multi-channel video installation shot during a three-week expedition to Antarctica. With grants from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the Ford Foundation’s JustFilms Initiative, he and Brown are currently completing The Foreigner’s Home, a feature-length documentary on the intellectual and artistic vision of Nobel Laureate Toni Morrison. The film, which will be released in summer 2017, explores the ideas that Morrison articulated—and the public conversation she began—in an exhibition she guest-curated at the Louvre in 2006.
In 2006, the Louvre asked Toni Morrison to curate an exhibition that became “The Foreigner’s Home” and included the author in conversation with other artists about the idea of “the foreigner.” Morrison’s son Ford accompanied her to Paris and shot video footage throughout the two-week event.
In 2012, longtime friends and neighbors Toni Morrison and Jonathan Demme sat discussing the fate of Ford’s footage, now stored in her home. Demme, sensitive to Morrison’s wish for discretion and aware that she grew up in Lorain, Ohio (just up the road from Oberlin), suggested taking the footage to two filmmakers at Oberlin College with whom he had developed a friendship.
Demme, after consulting with Oberlin College President, Marvin Krislov, brought the project to us. Not long after, we traveled with President Krislov and Demme to meet with Toni and Ford Morrison at her home in New York. By the end of the afternoon, she had agreed to grant us exclusive access to Ford’s Louvre materials and given us permission to make a film.
Producer / Director / Writer
Melinda graduated cum laude from Emerson College in Boston, MA. Shortly after, she formed Turning Point Productions, a company that specialized in promotional videos for the non-profit sector. In 2003, after moving to Southern California, she created Fire in the Belly Productions, Inc., after reading an article about the broken Indian Trust and Elouise Cobell’s fight for justice. For the next two years Melinda traveled the country creating relationships of trust with the lead plaintiff, Elouise Cobell, Native leaders, Indian Trust beneficiaries, Senators, Congressmen, Federal Judge Royce C. Lamberth, and high-level officials of the Department of the Interior. She was granted exclusive access to both sides of the story and filmed in eight states, Washington, D.C., and on many Tribal Lands. Melinda has been interviewed by the BBC Radio, NPR, and Indian Country Today and wrote a special feature article honoring Cobell for the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian Magazine.
Throughout my filmmaking career, I have always been attracted to stories about the triumph of the human spirit, and people overcoming great odds. So when I went looking for a story in March 2002, I looked for one that would inspire, make a difference, and maybe even change the way we see the world. What I found was an article in Mother Jones magazine about a people, a government and a betrayal of trust. It is a story that has its roots in the 19th century but still continues today. This little known story has evolved into “100 Years”.
During my research and investigation, I was shocked to find that most Americans did not know about Cobell v., the largest class action lawsuit ever brought against the federal government. How can billions of dollars belonging to some of the most impoverished people in America be unaccounted for and not be front-page news? It troubled me that mainstream media always focused on Indian wealth through gaming. Unfortunately the facts about casinos and the nouveau riche American Indians are distorted, and ignore the truth---- one in three live in poverty. Among them, Mad Dog Kennerly, a Blackfeet Indian who makes beaded necklaces to supplement his $89 monthly oil payments; Mary Johnson, an 93-year old Navajo woman who has never been able to afford running water despite the five oil wells on her land; and Ruby Withrow, a Potawatomi Indian, who searched for years for answers to why her grandfather died penniless despite the oil wells that pumped 24/7 on his land. They are the invisible Indians that most Americans never see. And that is why I decided to tell this story. For if the standards of fiscal responsibility are compromised for one group of people, how safe are the rest of us? And as Judge Royce C. Lamberth said, “Justice delayed, is justice denied.”
Skin Deep: The Battle Over Morgellons
Producer / Director / Writer
Pi Ware is an Emmy-winning filmmaker who works across several genres — from feature films to documentaries to concerts to world-wide competition shows. His work as a director includes the fictional films Solitude, My Beautiful Me, The Act and the documentary film, Skin Deep: The Battle over Morgellons. As an editor, Pi has crafted documentaries, indie films, and such series as America's Got Talent, Netflix's Fastest Car, Comedy Central's Roast Battle, World of Dance, American Idol, and Q'Viva. Pi got his start in the film industry in Madrid, Spain, and currently lives in Los Angeles
There is a period of time, a time before the science of a disease is widely accepted, a time when doctors sawy 'What you're suggesting goes against what I learned in medical school,' a time when patients with a new disease are vulnerable to the prejudice and arrogance of otherwise well-meaning physicians. History is replete with examples of this; from ulcers, to Multiple Sclerosis to lupus. There is a period of time when the victims of a disease are 'blamed' for their disease, and the resulting shame, confusion and anger doubles their suffering. Morgellons patients are living in that time right now.
Morgellons disease is a complex issue. Not everyone on the internet who uses the term 'Morgellons' is sick with the same thing or even signifies the same malady. In fact, conspiracy theorists who claim Morgellons is government mind control via chemtrails get more YouTube hits than trained scientists explaining the infectious process of Morgellons disease.
Adding to those complexities are the psychological and neurological symptoms that Morgellons disease can cause. Because of the complexities and the stigmas surrounding Morgellons disease, the world needs a well-made documentary film that both explains and legitimizes this disease. Skin Deep is that documentary.
Kids Can Save the Planet
Producer / Supervising Director
Dawn has always been an environmentalist and community organizer. As a producer of Rock Island Media, she taught her son, Dylan, all aspects of filmmaking during the KIDS CAN SAVE THE PLANET series, and also served as the supervising director and producer for the series
Dylan is a young filmmaker who took on a journey to learn all about plastic pollution and how it affects the planet. The success of his first film led him to create a series from a kid's perspective about environmental issues our planet is facing. His goal is to reach kids worldwide through the power of film and show them that they are not powerless, and that their daily actions will affect our future.
At the age of 13, Dylan D'Haeze had a simple question. What happens when we throw plastic away? The more he learned, the more he realized how big the problem is - and the more it scared him. But rather than be afraid, he decided to do something about it! That was the beginning of the Kids Can Save The Planet documentary series. Issues that face our planet - from a kid's perspective!
Finding the answers took him on a journey across the continent - listening to experts, and witnessing first hand some of the shocking details. The result is the award-winning documentary "Plastic Is Forever", the first in a series of documentaries. After several screenings that have played around the world, the message is clear - kid power is the future of the planet! The movement has grown into a series of documentaries, exploring two other 'earth-shaking' topics… climate change, and zero waste and sustainability.
The “Kids Can Save The Planet” series of documentaries are now available for purchase, direct from The Video Project. They are a perfect resource for schools, libraries, businesses, and other institutions to educate and inspire!
The Bullish Farmer
Filmmaker / Producer / Director
THE BULLISH FARMER is directed and co-produced by Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize winning Ken Marsolais. For over 40 years, Marsolais has worked in theater, film, and the arts, inspiring viewers to open their minds and think thoughtfully about how we view our world.
Ken produced on Broadway, among others, THE SHADOW BOX, WHO'S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF, directed by Edward Albee and starring Colleen Dewhurst and Ben Gazarra, LONG DAYS JOURNEY INTO NIGHT, starring Jason Robards and Colleen Dewhurst, and YOU CAN'T TAKE IT WITH YOU, which was taped and shown on PBS and Showtime. He also directed opening and closing ceremonies in Savannah, Georgia for the 1996 Olympics, hosted by Walter Cronkite.
Marsolais' films include, award winning RONALD MCDONALD: THE HOUSE THAT LOVE BUILT, hosted by Jason Robards; PHILIP C. CURTIS: AN AMERICAN ORIGINAL, a documentary on one of America's foremost artists, which aired on PBS; EACH DAY A DIFFERENCE, a film on children and adults with extreme disabilities, hosted by Brian Dennehy.
Marsolais’ goal in making THE BULLISH FARMER is to inspire awareness about the importance of the food we eat and gain support for the small farms and help save rural America.
THE BULLISH FARMER is a feature-length documentary on sustainable agriculture. It journeys into the life of a Wall Street investment banker-turned farmer as he struggles to build and run a farm that feeds his family and his community.
Over a decade ago, John Ubaldo, aka “John Boy,” decided to call it quits with his career in high finance. Distraught over the loss of his best friend in the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center, John decided to purchase 185 acres of land on the Battenkill River in Cambridge, NY, and to live a quiet life as a small farmer raising livestock and crops. His goal was to raise delicious and nutritious food and return to healthier farming methods that were used 100 years ago.
But John’s dream of living an uncomplicated, traditional, agrarian life gets complicated when he comes up against Big Agriculture (Big Ag), a corporate farming technique that uses all-in-one resources for large-scale producers, operators, and growers. With this ever-growing monolith in the background, John soon realizes that his preferred farming methods are not in sync with today’s prevailing agricultural practices. This very private farmer becomes a passionate and outspoken activist lobbying for GMO (genetically modified organisms) labeling, animal rights, the preservation of crop diversity, and the reduction of chemical fertilizers to help preserve small farms and rural America. The birth of John's first child only deepens John’s commitment to leave the world a better place for all children.
It is our hope that THE BULLISH FARMER will inspire families to reconsider their eating habits and to better understand how their food choices affect their health. We further hope that the film will contribute to society’s current shift toward good clean food, and that it will spark dialogue about how to change prevailing farm policies.
Sickies Making Films
Director / Producer / Writer
Joe Tropea earned a Masters in Historical Studies with a concentration in Public History at the University of Maryland Baltimore County. He currently works at the Maryland Historical Society where he is the Curator of Films and Photographs and a co-founder of the Preserve the Baltimore Uprising Archive Project. In 2013 he co-directed the award winning documentary Hit & Stay: a history of faith and resistance.
Sickies Making Films looks at our urge to censor films and asks why? We find reasons both absurd and surprisingly understandable. Using the Maryland Board of Censors (1916-1981) as a lens, as well as archival materials, classic film segments, and interviews with filmmakers and exhibitors who were subjected to censorship, this documentary examines the recurring problem of censorship in America.
Art Of The Prank
Bring Joey Skaggs, the notorious artist and activist to your campus to compliment your screening of Art of the Prank, the award-winning documentary film about his work.
Using guerilla-marketing tactics and aided by an ever-changing international band of co-conspierators, Skaggs has, for decades, produced elaborate and hilarious illusions targeting corporate greed, inequality, sexism, environmental issues, vanity, and more. As the results go viral, uncomfortable but highly relevant truths are exposed.
His work has been featured on CNN, Entertainment Tonight, Good Morning America, Phil Donahue, Geraldo, and National Public Radio, and written about in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, The New Yorker, Newsweek, Life, WIRED, New York, and People among others.
Art of the Prank, directed by Andrea Marini, takes audiences on an intimate journey into Joey’s never-before-seen world. Bring Joey to your school and make your screening an event experience--it’s a unique opportunity to actually meet the wizard behind the curtain! Learn how this creative and provocative artist’s strategies and techniques can benefit you, giving you new tools and creative ways to get your messages heard.
In workshops and speaking engagements he focuses on divergent approaches toaddressing social issues through art. His objective is to raise awareness and connect in unorthodox ways that work. He's taught at a New York's School of Visual Arts. A lifelong artist and educator, he has reached millions on a global scale.
California Assembly 1996-2002 / California Senate 2004-2008
A leader on the issue of domestic partnership, Carole Migden is a powerful champion of equal rights for all people, including the LGBT movement in California over the last 30 years. She received a Master of Arts in Psychology and was the Executive Director of a nonprofit serving LGBT with mental concerns when she first met Harvey Milk. Together, the two secured funds from United Way, marking the organization’s first donation to a LGBT cause. When Harvey Milk, was murdered, she felt compelled to take up the cause of her fallen hero. Migden was elected to the Board of San Francisco Supervisors and chaired the SF Democratic Party for eight years before making her way to Sacramento. She represented San Francisco in the State Assembly from 1996-2002, served as Chair of the State Board of Equalization in 2002-2004, and in the State Senate from 2004-2008. She became the first lesbian and the first woman to chair the Assembly Committee on Appropriations. While in office Migden also was committed to protecting state farm workers right and preserving the environment, but her background in community health and personal experience nursing friends during the AIDS crisis inspired Migden to take the lead in ensuring that domestic partners received access to health insurance coverage benefits. In 1999 with AB26, Carole authored legislation to institute California's domestic partner registry, the first time domestic partnerships were recognized at the state level without court intervention. Currently, Carole is a Political Consultant specializing in bringing female leaders into office and recently heightened her involvement in the Presidential election campaign for Hillary Clinton.
Political Animals tells the story of the civil rights struggle of this century – the gay rights movement - through the eyes of four elected women - a group often left out of gay histories until now. Emotionally charged like its subjects, the film follows four ground- breaking lesbians who took the fight for the causes most personal to them and their communities off the streets and into the halls of government.
Fierce, determined, focused and passionate, these women had the courage and foresight to start the work of legal rights of the LGBT community, ultimately paving the way for other states across the nation. Bills they authored included the first domestic partnership registry enacted by a legislature, the first anti-bullying bill protecting gay students and many more. It was a hard fight – filled with surprisingly heated debates and hateful insults hurled by opponents. This film shows how their legislation brought about change in laws and societal acceptance, the strategies behind this incremental change, and what tough bargains had to be made to get us to where we are today. While legislators often follow the will of the people, these visionary women were brave pioneers in creating lasting and significant social change.