THANDIE NEWTON - EXECUTIVE PRODUCER
Thandie Newton is an English-Zimbabwean actress. She has starred in many films such as, Beloved, The Pursuit of Happyness, Mission: Impossible II, RocknRolla, 2012, and Crash – for which she received a number of awards, including a BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role. She was recently seen in NBC’s The Slap, and for her role in HBO’s Westworld she received a Critics’ Choice Award and a Golden Globe nomination. Thandie is actively involved in the V-Day foundation, and has been a Board Member since 2012. In 2011 she attended the opening of the City of Joy in Bukavu, DRC. It houses and supports women survivors of sexual violence and provides them with opportunities to develop their leadership skills through innovative programming. Thandie also spoke at the Ted Global Conference in 2011 on the topic of “Embracing Otherness.”
SHOFELA COKER - ANIMATION ARTIST
Shofela Coker is an illustrator and art director specializing in comics, digital sculpting, and look development. He comes from a family of artists originally from Lagos, Nigeria, which has greatly shaped his passion and artistic vision. Since graduating from the Memphis College of Art in 2009, he worked as a character artist at Robomodo, Sony Online Entertainment, and as an art director at Jam City in San Diego, CA. He and his siblings formed the Coker Co-op, a collective that creates comics, sculptures, and digital media. Shof is committed to telling distinctly African stories with a unique style.
AARON KOPP DIRECTOR/PRODUCER
Aaron Kopp is an award-winning filmmaker and national Emmy-nominated cinematographer who grew up in the Kingdom of Swaziland. Aaron shot and co- produced the Academy Award-winning documentary about acid attacks in Pakistan, Saving Face. He was also cinematographer for the Sundance Audience Award winning and Academy Award nominated film, The Hunting Ground, about sexual assault on college campuses. He has worked across Asia, Africa, the Caribbean, Europe, North America, and the South Pacific on films for HBO, Netflix Originals, National Geographic, Discovery, UK Channel4, CBS, CNN, and PBS. Aaron was awarded grants from the MacArthur Foundation and the Doha Film Institute for his upcoming feature directorial debut, Liyana.
AMANDA KOPP - DIRECTOR/PRODUCER
Amanda Kopp is an award-winning photographer and artist. She was producer and cinematographer for the short film, Likhaya, which won a Golden Palm, People’s Choice, and Best Documentary awards at international festivals. She also filmed for the Sundance 2015 premiered film, The Hunting Ground. Amanda’s photographic work has been published in the UK, US, Sweden,Germany, Russia, Pakistan, and Italy. Her photographs won the Grand Prize in the Photo District News Top Knots photography competition. She has traveled to Swaziland regularly over the past 14 years and directed her first feature length film, Liyana, with funds from Shine Global and Fork Films.
SAKHENI DLAMINI - PRODUCER
Sakheni Dlamini is a Swazi professional who holds an MBA in Entrepreneurship and Marketing from Simmons College in Boston. She has worked in both corporate and rural development settings, managing projects, facilitating discussions and implementing programs across Swaziland. Dlamini specializes in economic strengthening and has a passion for empowering women and students in their communities. LIYANA is her first film production.
SUSAN MACLAURY - EXECUTIVE PRODUCER
Susan MacLaury executive produced the Emmy Award®-winning, Academy Award®-nominated documentaryWar/Dance, as well as The Harvest (La Cosecha), the Academy Award® WinnerInocente, 1 Way Up in 3D, and The Eagle Huntress which premiered at Sundance. She is also the producer of Shine’s latest film The Wrong Light. Susan is in charge of the educational outreach and social advocacy efforts for all of Shine’s films. She is dually degreed in social work administration and health education and was associate professor of health education at Kean University from 1994 through 2013.
ALBIE HECHT - EXECUTIVE PRODUCER
Albie Hecht is a Co-Founder of Shine Global. Albie was most recently the head of the HLN Network. Prior to HLN he was the CEO of Worldwide Biggies, a digital studio creating transmedia content for film and TV. Before creating Biggies, Albie was President of Film and Television Entertainment at Nickelodeon, where he developed Spongebob Squarepants, Dora the Explorer and co-created and executive produced “The Kids Choice Awards.” As creator and President of Spike TV, Albie brought the UFC franchise to the channel. He won awards for his documentary “True Dads: the Story of American Fatherhood” with Bruce Willis. In the movies, he produced the Oscar®-nominated animated feature Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius, Shine Global’s first film, the Oscar®-nominated feature documentary, War/Dance, and the Oscar® winner Inocente.
DAVIS COOMBE - CO-EDITOR
Davis Coombe is an award winning editor, producer, and writer. His two most recent films, Casting JonBenet and Chasing Coral both premiered at Sundance in 2017, where Chasing Coral won the audience award for best documentary. Netflix has acquired both films. Davis produced and edited Saving Face, which won the Oscar for Best Short Documentary in 2012. He also edited Chasing Ice, which premiered at Sundance in 2012 and was shortlisted for an Academy award. Davis co-wrote and edited Keep On Keepin’ On (shortlisted for an Academy Award) and A Lego Brickumentary which both premiered at the 2014 Tribeca Film Festival. In 2013 he won two national Emmys for Editing and Best Documentary at the News and Documentary Emmys.
GCINA MHLOPHE - STORY ADVISOR
Gcina Mhlophe was born and raised in South Africa. She has been writing and performing on stage and screen for more than 25 years. She has written many children's books as well as poetry, short stories, and plays. Her writings are published all over the world and translated into German, French, Italian, Swahili, and Japanese. Her work has received awards from BBC Africa Service for Radio Drama, The Fringe First Award in the Edinburgh Festival, the Josef Jefferson Award in Chicago, and OBBIE in New York.
DANIEL JUNGE - PRODUCER
Daniel Junge is an Oscar-winning (and 2-time nominated) and Emmy-winning documentary filmmaker. His first feature-length film, Chiefs, won the Grand Jury Prize at the Tribeca Film Festival and broadcast nationally on PBS. Iron Ladies of Liberia premiered at the Toronto Film Festival and aired on over 50 broadcasters worldwide including PBS and the BBC. They Killed Sister Dorothy won the Audience and Grand Jury Prizes at the South by Southwest Film Festival before broadcasting on HBO and earning a 2010 Emmy nomination for Best Investigative Journalism. Daniel’s film The Last Campaign of Governor Booth Gardner was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Short in 2010. His film, Saving Face, won the 2012 Academy Award for Best Documentary Short. Daniel’s two most recent films – Being Evel and A Lego Brickumentary premiered respectively at the Sundance and Tribeca Film Festivals and opened in theaters in 2015.
PHILIP MILLER - COMPOSER
Philip Miller is a composer and sound artist from South Africa who works in many different media from live performance to film, video and sound installations. His long time collaboration with the artist, William Kentridge has gained him international recognition, especially for recent projects including Five Themes at the Tate Modern, London, the lecture-opera production Refuse the Hour, and the multimedia installation Refusal of Time exhibited at Dokumenta 13, Kassel, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York and the Whitechapel Gallery, London. His live performance of the award-winning choral composition, Rewind, a cantata for voice tape and testimony, has been performed in London at the Royal Festival Hall, at Celebrate Brooklyn, New York, the 62 Centre, Williams College Massachusetts, as well as the Baxter and Market theatres in South Africa. He has scored numerous soundtracks to feature films and television programs including, more recently, his Emmy-nominated soundtrack to HBO’s The Girl, as well as Mary and Martha, directed by Philip Noyce, the Emmy-award winner, Miner’s Shot Down, the TV series The Book of Negroes, and the score for the first episode of the remake of the television series Roots by BET.
BRIDGET PICKERING - CO-PRODUCER
Bridget Pickering has been working in television, media and film for over twenty years and has produced some of the highest rated shows on South African television such as U Gugu no Andile, Monna wa Minno, Usindiso, Dreamworld, End Game, Sticks and Stones, Keeping Score, and Hustle. In 2004 she was the South African Co-producer on the Oscar nominated Hotel Rwanda. She is a Co- Producer of the feature film Taste of Rain, which was shown at the Durban International Film Festival in 2012, won a Best Film prize at the Festival du Film Transsaharien and screened on the cable network, MNET. Her most recent production is the feature film, The Chemo Club, a comedy heist film, which completed principal photography in August 2015. She is a Co-Owner and Director of Fireworxmedia, which is one of the most Awarded Companies in South Africa. Bridget spent the summer of 2014 as a guest of the Producers Guild of America and at Revelations Entertainment developing her feature project, Saturn, which starts Principal Photography in July 2017.
LISA SCHEJOLA AKIN – EXECUTIVE PRODUCER
Lisa Schejola Akin is an activist and philanthropist and a dedicated supporter of women’s causes. She has been serving on Eve Ensler’s V-Day Board since 2011 and has been coordinating the One Billion Rising movement in Miami, where she resides, since its launch in 2012. The campaign has become the biggest worldwide mass action to end violence against women in human history. She co-founded Casa Valentina, a Miami-based organization that provides young adults who age out of foster care at age 18 with safe, affordable housing and the support services they need to become functional, independent adults. Lisa has recently become interested in supporting documentary films focused around human empowerment. Lisa’s professional background is in marketing and public relations. Born and raised in Italy, she is a graduate of Georgetown University and holds an MBA from Thunderbird, The American Graduate School of International Management. Lisa and her husband Jeffrey have two children.
JOHN CAULKINS - CO-EXECUTIVE PRODUCER
John has participated in the making of dozens of films, primarily arts documentaries. Notable are the Oscar-shortlisted “Keep On Keepin' On” (2014) and “Rolling Papers” (2015). Upcoming releases include “Leaning Into the Wind” about the artist Andy Goldsworthy as well as films on Afrika Bambaataa, Raymond Myles, John Gary Williams, DEVO and Bill Drummond. A Denver native, John now spends more time in Los Angeles.
ABIGAIL E. DISNEY - CO-EXECUTIVE PRODUCER
Abigail E. Disney is a filmmaker, philanthropist and the CEO and president of Fork Films. Disney’s longtime passion for women’s issues and peace building culminated in producing her first film, PRAY THE DEVIL BACK TO HELL (winner, Best Documentary Feature, Tribeca Film Festival 2008). She then executive produced the five-part PBS series, WOMEN, WAR & PEACE. Her executive producing and producing credits include Fork Films supported films 1971, CITIZEN KOCH, FAMILY AFFAIR, HOT GIRLS WANTED, THE INVISIBLE WAR (2012 Academy Award Nominee, Best Documentary Feature), RETURN and SUN COME UP (2011 Academy Award Nominee, Best Documentary Short). Her most recent projects include Fork Films original productions THE TRIALS OF SPRING, which she executive produced, and THE ARMOR OF LIGHT, her directorial debut. Disney is also the founder and president of Peace is Loud, a nonprofit organization that uses media and live events to highlight the stories of women who are stepping up for peace and resisting violence in their communities.
Photo: Joey L
GINI RETICKER - CO-EXECUTIVE PRODUCER
Chief Creative Officer of Fork Films, Gini Reticker is an Academy Award-nominated and Emmy Award-winning director and producer with a distinguished career that spans more than 20 years. In 2014, she directed THE TRIALS OF SPRING, which premiered at the Human Rights Watch Festival and was accompanied by six shorts that launched on The New York Times. The film chronicles a young woman’s journey from an Egyptian village to international human rights activist. Reticker also directed PRAY THE DEVIL BACK TO HELL, the inspiring story of Liberian women who helped end the civil war. Reticker also directed THE HEART OF THE MATTER, produced the Academy Award nominated short film ASYLUM, and the Emmy-nominated A DECADE UNDER THE INFLUENCE. She created WOMEN, WAR & PEACE, for PBS, executive produced Abigail Disney’s THE ARMOR OF LIGHT and produced THE BETRAYAL (NERAKHOON) - nominated for both an Academy Award and an Independent Spirit Award. She served as an Executive Producer on Fork Films supported 1971, ALIAS RUBY BLADE, CITIZEN KOCH, HOT GIRLS WANTED, and SHE’S BEAUTIFUL WHEN SHE’S ANGRY.
Photo: Guido Venitucci Photography