Producer/Director: Laura Bialis
Laura’s work as producer and director has ranged from documentaries about human rights and global conflict, to commercial projects. REFUSENIK, Laura’s critically-acclaimed documentary about international human rights campaign to free Soviet Jewry, was theatrically released in 15 cities across the United States, and in over 50 community screenings internationally. It has been broadcast in Israel on IBA Channel 1, and Yes Doco. VIEW FROM THE BRIDGE: Stories from Kosovo, premiered at the Slamdance Film Festival and was broadcast on television in a number of European markets. The film was used by the European Union and NATO to train its staff working to rebuild Kosovo. TAK FOR ALT – Survival of a Human Spirit, the story of Holocaust survivor turned civil rights activist Judy Meisel, first brought Laura’s filmmaking to the attention of viewers across the United States. The film aired on PBS and was honored by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences as “one of the outstanding films of 1999.” Hundreds of thousands of high school students have viewed the film as part of Holocaust education programs along with an accompanying curriculum guide. To this day, the film continues to screen yearly in schools across the United States. Laura holds a B.A. in History from Stanford University, and an M.F.A. in Production from the USC School of Cinema-Television.
Co-Producer: Korelan Matteson
Korelan has worked as a writer, director and producer of non-fiction television and documentary films for over a decade. Her television network credits include Discovery, Science Channel, Spike, TLC, ABC, FX, ESPN, Travel Channel, E! and A&E. She has produced content for numerous independent documentary filmmakers, including Morgan Spurlock (Super Size Me), Brian Knappenberger (The Internet’s Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz) and she has been a long-time collaborator with director Laura Bialis, producing on location in Israel for the feature documentary, Refusenik.
Supervising Editor: Kate Amend, A.C.E.
Kate is the editor of the Academy Award-winning documentary features The Long Way Home (1998) and Into the Arms of Strangers: Stories of the Kindertransport (2001) for which she received the American Cinema Editors’ Eddie award. She teaches at the USC School of Cinema Arts. Amend edited the 2001 Oscar-nominated documentary short On Tiptoe: Gentle Steps to Freedom and the Peabody Award winner Beah: A Black Woman Speaks. She is a frequent advisor at the Sundance Institute’s Documentary Lab. Other acclaimed works edited by Amend include: The Case Against 8, First Position, Steal a Pencil for Me, Pandemic: Facing Aids, Dylan’s Run, The World According to Sesame Street, and Thin among many others. Amend serves on the Board of Directors of the American Cinema Editors and is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences. In 2005, she received the inaugural Outstanding Documentary Editing Award from the International Documentary Association.
Editor: Azin Samari
Azin Samari has been a documentary editor for over a decade. She edited Rory Kennedy’s highly acclaimed, Emmy nominated documentary, ETHEL. She’s collaborated extensively with RJ Cutler, and in 2009, she edited his award winning documentary, The September Issue. Azin has also worked with Morgan Spurlock, Marjan Tehrani, and photographer Todd Selby. Currently, Azin is working with Liz Garbus on a new documentary for Moxie Firecracker Films.
Story Consultant/Writer: Stuart Schoffman
Stuart Schoffman, a native of Brooklyn, New York, is a graduate of Harvard and Yale. Before moving to Israel in 1988, he worked as a reporter for Fortune magazine, a staff writer for Time, and a screenwriter for Hollywood studios and producers. He has taught American history at the University of Texas, and film at the University of Southern California, Tel Aviv University, and the Sam Spiegel School in Jerusalem. From 1990 to 2007, he worked as a columnist and book critic at The Jerusalem Report, and his essays on Jewish and Israeli history, culture and politics have appeared in many other publications. His translations from Hebrew include books by the Israeli authors A.B. Yehoshua, David Grossman and Meir Shalev.
Co-Producer: Elana Horwich
Elana Horwich is the executive producer of Andrea Pallaoro’s first feature, Medeas†, which premiered at the Venice International Film Festival, won best film at the Palm Springs International Film Festival New Voices, New Visions, and was awarded best director by Martin Scorsese at the Marrakech International Film Festival. Elana is a chef and the founder of Meal and a Spiel, a boutique cooking school for the “careergirl” generation based in Beverly Hills and New York City.
Co-Producer: Ravit Markus
Ravit’s critically acclaimed documentary Yiddish Theater: A Love Story became a phenomenon when it commercially played in theaters in New York, Los Angeles and Tel Aviv for months and months. Ravit is a graduate of the Film and TV Department at Tel Aviv University and her final thesis film was bought and aired on the Israeli Cinema Channel. In her mandatory army service in Israel she was selected to a prestigious film unit. Since moving to Los Angeles, Ravit has worked on various international co-productions, including a documentary for Channel 4 UK, which aired on TV networks around the world and the Sundance Channel in the US. She’s currently completing a documentary, in partnership with Willie Nelson’s Luck Films, on the political campaign to legalize marijuana in California.
Editor: Helen Kearns
Helen Kearns is a documentary editor living in Los Angeles. Most recently, Helen edited Morgan Neville’s documentary feature, The Music of Strangers: Yo-Yo-Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble, which premiered this year at the Toronto International Film Festival. Helen’s other editing work includes Good Ol’ Fredda, directed by Ryan White, on which she was also co-producer. It premiered at SXSW in 2013 and won the Cinema Eye Honors Award in 2014. Helen went on to work with White again as associate editor to Kate Amend on the Emmy-nominated feature documentary, The Case Against 8, which premiered at Sundance in 2014. Her other work includes the documentary feature Rock in the Red Zone, directed by Laura Bialis and the documentary short Judy Chicago: A Butterfly for Brooklyn, directed by Joan Churchill and Alan Barker. Helen is currently editing a feature.
Story Consultant/Writer: Mark Jonathan Harris
Professor Mark Jonathan Harris is an Academy Award-winning documentary filmmaker, journalist and novelist. Among the many documentaries he has written, produced and/or directed are The Redwoods, a documentary made for the Sierra Club to help establish a redwood National Park, which won an Oscar for Best Short Documentary, in 1968. The Long Way Home (1997), a film made for the Simon Wiesenthal Center about the period immediately following the Holocaust won the Academy Award for Best Feature Length Documentary (1997). Into the Arms of Strangers: Stories of the Kindertransport was produced for Warner Bros. and won an Academy Award for Best Feature Length Documentary, in 2000. In 2007, he produced Darfur Now, which was nominated by The National Board of Review and the Broadcast Film Critics Association for best documentary of the year. Living in Emergency: Stories of Doctors Without Borders, a film he executive produced, premiered at the Venice Film Festival and was shortlisted for the 2011 Oscar for Best Feature Documentary.
Story Consultant/Writer: Sophie Sartain
Sophie Sartain’s credits include the 2014 documentary Above and Beyond (writer), winner of the audience award at more than 20 film festivals; the 2012 documentary Hava Nagila (The Movie)(writer/producer), the opening or closing night film at more than 40 film festivals; and the Emmy-nominated 2008 film Blessed Is the Match: The Life and Death of Hannah Senesh (writer/co-producer). Sartain’s past positions include Executive Director of Editorial Services for MGM Home Entertainment and Managing Editor of Sony Online Entertainment. She has contributed as a writer and story consultant on several documentary projects, including Rock in the Red Zone (2015), Hotel Everest (projected 2016), and In the Matter of Cha Jung Hee (2010, PBS). As a freelance writer, her clients have included Los Angeles Magazine, 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, Universal Studios, New Line Home Entertainment, CBS Sports Radio and ABC Radio Networks. Sartain is a Morehead Scholar graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill with a MFA in film from UT-Austin. She began her career as a reporter for The Houston Post.