Meet the Directors
Here are the people WHO ARE ACTIVELY FIGHTING FOR CHANGE THROUGH THEIR ARTISTRY.
Lisa Biagiotti is an independent journalist and filmmaker. She is the director and producer of Deepsouth (2012), a feature documentary about the new American South.
Lisa has written and produced for the Los Angeles Times, PBS, Current TV and Human Rights Watch. Her work focuses on complex, under-reported social issues, from the sanitation crisis in South East Asia to homophobia in the Caribbean. The stories she produced on the humanitarian crisis in eastern Congo won the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award in 2009.
Prior to journalism and filmmaking, Lisa worked in marketing and advertising for magazine publishing houses, financial services companies and nonprofit organizations. In 2001, she received a Fulbright grant to research Muslim immigration to Italy. Lisa holds a master's degree from Columbia University's School of Journalism.
Kief Davidson is an Academy Award nominated director known for crafting films that inspire, inform, and entertain.
His prior film, The Ivory Game, is a documentary following undercover intelligence operatives across the globe for 16 months as they infiltrate deep-rooted corruption at the heart of the ivory trafficking crisis. The film was executive produced by Leonardo DiCaprio and premiered at the 2016 Telluride and Toronto film festivals. It launched internationally as a Netflix original and was shortlisted for the 2017 Academy Awards.
He also recently directed and produced the companion film, called Bending the Arc. This feature documentary follows Dr. Paul Farmer and an extraordinary team of doctors and activists whose work thirty years ago to save lives in rural Haiti grew into a global battle in the halls of power for the right to health for all. The film, produced by Matt Damon and Ben Affleck, premiered at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival.
Alexander Glustrom grew up in inner city Atlanta, where he was greatly influenced by his grandparents, who were Jewish allies in the civil rights movement. Alex graduated in 2010 from Tulane University in New Orleans, where he studied marketing and digital media.
Alexander has directed, shot, produced, and edited a wide variety of film projects ranging from commercial, music, and art videos that have reached hundreds of thousands online, to documentaries that have been featured in film festivals internationally. He has shot footage that has aired on HBO, CNN, Fusion, NYtimes.com, Great Big Story and Democracy Now. He has also created a number of fundraising videos that have raised thousands of dollars for New Orleans youth programs. Alex's major work is the award winning documentary film, Big Charity. Alex was awarded "Filmmaker of the Year" at the 2015 New Orleans Millennial Awards and named as one of New Orleans' "40 under 40 brightest and most innovative young people" by Gambit Magazine. He is currently in post production on his second feature length film Mossville.
Steve Gukas was born in Kerang, Nigeria. He trained at the NTA Television College in Jos, the University of Jos, and the London Film School. His features include A Place in the Stars (2014) and 93 Days (2016).
Steve obtained a Diploma in TV Production from the NTA Television College in Jos, then went on to read Theatre Arts at the University of Jos from where he graduated with a BA. He is also an alumnus of the Prestigious London Film School. Steve's latest film A Place In The Stars won Best Movie Drama at the AMVCA's 2015. He is the producer of Africa's biggest film to date. "Namibia - The Struggle For Liberation"
Jan Haaken is professor emeritus of psychology at Portland State University, a clinical psychologist, and documentary filmmaker.
Haaken has published extensively in the areas of psychoanalysis and feminism, the history of psychiatric diagnosis, the psychology of storytelling, group responses to violence, and the dynamics of social change. From refugee camps, war zones, domestic violence shelters and asylums to drag bars and hip-hop clubs, Haaken’s projects focus on people who inhabit the border zones of society and their insights on the broader social order.
A Japanese-American filmmaker with more than 14 years in broadcast television as a news producer and reporter, both in the U.S. and Japan, as well as a former professional chef.
Anita completed her first film in 2017, “Battlefield: Home – Breaking The Silence,” which was inspired by her own experiences as military child during the Vietnam War.
Anita has also worked on the award-winning reality series, “The Amazing Race,” served as Military Liaison for Jon Gries’ film, Pickin’ & Grinnin’, as well as assisted on other smaller projects. Currently she a collaborator on “Paging Dr. Faustus,” an upcoming multi-media play, in addition to working on her second documentary currently in production.
Anita is an active member of several organizations including the International Documentary Association, Film Independent and NY Women In Film & Television.
Anita holds a Master’s of Science in International Conflict Analysis & Resolution and undergraduate degrees in Sociology/Psychology, as well as a degree in the culinary arts.
Pedro Kos is an award winning director and editor living in Los Angeles. Bending the Arc marks Pedro’s documentary feature directorial debut.
Pedro recently edited Jehane Noujaim’s Academy Award and Spirit Award nominee, The Square, which also won the DGA and IDA Award for best Feature Documentary film, the Documentary People’s Choice Award at the 2013 Toronto Film Festival, and earned Pedro an Emmy Award for Best Editing for a Non-Fiction program.
His other work includes editing the Academy Award nominated documentary feature Waste Land, directed by Lucy Walker, for which he also won the Cinema Brazil Grand Prize for best documentary editing. The film went on to win Audience Awards at both the 2010 Sundance Film Festival and Berlin Film Festival, and the IDA Award for best feature documentary film. Additional past work from Pedro includes Elemental, directed by Emmanuel Vaughan-Lee and Gayatri Roshan, and Freida Mock’s Sing China! He also served as 2nd unit director on both projects.
Pedro was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and raised both there and in New York City and Miami, Florida. He received his B.A. in Theater Directing from Yale University.
Thomas A. LaVeist, Ph.D. is the dean of Tulane’s school of public health and tropical medicine. He received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, his doctorate degree in medical sociology from the University of Michigan and postdoctoral fellowship in public health at the Michigan School of Public Health.
Dr. LaVeist has provided consultation services for numerous federal agencies and healthcare organizations on minority health and cultural competency issues and racial disparities in health. His dissertation on racial disparities in infant mortality was awarded the 1989 Roberta G. Simmons Outstanding Dissertation Award by the American Sociological Association. He is the recipient of the “Innovation Award” from the National Institutes of Health, and the “Knowledge Award” from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Minority Health.
John Richie is a writer/director/producer based out of New Orleans. In 2004, he began his film career working in the camera department of many large Hollywood films like Factory Girl and Bug. John found his passion in documentary filmmaking in 2006 working on Spike Lee’s When the Levees Broke, the 5 part HBO series about Hurricane Katrina’s affect on the people of the Gulf South.
He began his first film, Shell Shocked, in 2009. This poignant film looks at gun violence in New Orleans from the perspective of the youth who are most affected by this epidemic. It aired nationally on PBS’ series America Reframed in February of 2015. The film continues to be used as a training tool for law enforcement, teachers, and organizations that work with teens. His newest film, 91%, is being released this year through The Cinema Guild. 91% examines Americans overwhelming support for comprehensive background checks on all gun sales, Congress’s failure to pass any meaningful legislation to date, and how it affects our public health.
Throughout hurricane Katrina, rap artist and filmmaker Kimberly Rivers-Roberts (Queen Kold Madina) was on the ground documenting the injustices that took place against her neighbors and friends. The resulting film, “Trouble the Water”, was nominated for an Oscar and won several awards including the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival.
Ten years later, Kimberly Rivers-Roberts is at it again, documenting the recovery in, “Fear No Gumbo”. This film provides a rare look into how the people of New Orleans are still struggling to recover from one of the worst natural/man made disasters in United States history despite the $6.2 billion plus an additional $800 million in recovery funds from the US Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Kimberly Rivers-Roberts refuses to give in to censorship or to the powers that would prefer that this part of the city’s history remain untold. Instead she and others in her community stand up and fight for their community.
Rayka Zehtabchi is an Iranian-American film director based in Los Angeles. Her short documentary, Period. End of Sentence., is about a group of village women in Northern India who start a sanitary pad business in an effort to improve feminine hygiene and de-stigmatize menstruation. Along with the film's release, the Period team co-founded the non-profit "The Pad Project" to fight the stigma of menstruation and improve feminine hygiene worldwide. Period double-qualified for the academy awards in 2018, winning Jury and audience awards at Michael Moore's Traverse City Film Festival and Cleveland International. The film also took home Jury and audience awards from AFI Fest among many others and was nominated in the Documentary Short category of the 91st Academy Awards®.
Rayka's passion is telling human stories that bring awareness and action to little-known social causes. She brings a naturalistic approach to her storytelling, striving for honesty and intimacy on screen.
David was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. He earned a Bachelor’s of Arts from the University of Michigan in Screen Arts & Cultures and a Master’s of Public Health from Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine. With a background in international documentary filmmaking, David is interested in using media and the arts in public health interventions. His film Unlock the Stage, about a theater revitalization project in rural Bulgaria, recently won the Audience Choice Award at the Way Down Film Festival. He is currently leading health communications campaigns at the Tulane Prevention Research Center for healthy eating and exercise, and hosts a weekly public health talk show on 102.3 FM WHIV in New Orleans every Friday. His educational short film Living Positive + portrays three individuals living with HIV in New Orleans, and covers the effectiveness of PrEP. David is one of the producers of F-NO.
Lorna Tucker spent her 20's working behind the camera and jumping on tour buses with bands such as Unkle, Lupe Fiasco, The Cult and Queens of The Stone Age creating tour videos and music promos. After cutting her teeth working with bands she moved into longer format storytelling, directing documentaries, writing scripts and creating more experimental video art projects for the likes of Alexander McQueen, Vivienne Westwood, Nike, Redbull and ShowStudio.
Amá, a feature documentary, has taken over 9 years to bring to fruition. Amá is a gentle yet powerful film about the sterilization abuses of Native American women across the United States during the last 60 years.