ABBY GINZBERG | CO-PRODUCER/CO-DIRECTOR
Abby Ginzberg, has been producing award-winning documentaries about race and social justice for the past 30 years. She is the co-producer and co-director of Agents of Change, which premiered at the Pan African Film Festival in Los Angeles and won the Jury and the Audience Award for Best Feature Documentary. Abby attended Cornell during the time depicted in the film.
Her feature award-winning documentary, Soft Vengeance: Albie Sachs and the New South Africa(2014) won a Peabody award and has screened at film festivals around the world. It has won four audience awards for Best Documentary. It also won an Outstanding Achievement Humanitarian Award from the Global Film Awards. It will be broadcast on public television later this spring and a segment will be broadcast on Independent Lens in April, 2016.
Her work as a documentary filmmaker took her to the Academy Awards in 2012 with a short documentary film, The Barber of Birmingham: Foot Soldier of the Civil Rights Movement, for which she was the Consulting Producer. The Barber premiered at Sundance in 2011 and won numerous awards for Best Short Documentary at film festivals across the US.
Abby’s documentaries, Soul of Justice: Thelton Henderson’s American Journey and Cruz Reynoso: Sowing the Seeds of Justice (about an African American and Latino judge) have aired on public television and been screened at film festivals across the United States and abroad and won numerous awards, including a Silver Gavel and CINE Golden Eagle for Soul of Justice.
Her short films, Cracking the Habit and recovering lives, uncovering hope, have been critical in helping to document model programs for both adult and juvenile drug courts, as well as other successful programs for at-risk youth. She has also documented the innovative work of cities in combatting the HIV epidemic with films about Oakland, Miami and the Bronx. She produced Turning the Tide Together for the Opening Session of the AIDS 2012 conference in Washington, DC.
She is the President of the Berkeley Film Foundation, which has awarded over $1 million in grants to documentary filmmakers; is on the Boards of the Thelton Henderson Center for Social Justice at UC Berkeley Law School, The Impact Fund and the Yale Law School Visual Advocacy Project. She was selected as a Gerbode Foundation Fellow in 2008.
KEN SCHNEIDER | CO DIRECTOR/EDITOR
Ken Schneider has edited over 35 feature-length documentaries, focusing on war and peace, human rights, artists’ lives, untold American histories, and contemporary social issues. Ken co-edited the Oscar-nominated Regret To Inform, described by the NY Times as “unforgettable…exquisitely filmed, edited and scored.” His films have screened on PBS’ American Masters, POV, Independent Lens, Frontline, HBO, Showtime, in television and film festivals worldwide, and have been honored by Emmys, two Peabodys, a Columbia-Dupont, IDA awards, an Indie Spirit, top awards at Sundance, other major festival awards, and have been nominated for an Oscar and additional Emmys.
Ken’s work includes: Have You Heard From Johannesburg (Emmy winning series); The Good War and Those Who Refused To Fight It; El Poeta; Orozco: Man of Fire; Ralph Ellison: An American Journey; Store Wars; School Colors; Bolinao 52; Ancestors in the Americas and
Speaking in Tongues. Ken’s editing can be viewed on kenschneidereditor.net.
Ken lectures at NYU, Harvard, San Francisco City College, the SF Art Institute, and Chapman University. He lives in San Francisco with his wife and two kids.
GEORGE TAKEI | STARRING
Although primarily known for playing Hikaru Sulu in the television series Star Trek (1966) and the first six features, George Takei has had a varied career acting in television, feature films, live theater and radio. He also is a successful writer and community activist.
George Takei was born Hosato Takei on April 20, 1937, in Boyle Heights, Los Angeles, California. His mother, Fumiko Emily (Nakamura), was born in Sacramento, to Japanese parents, and his father, Takekuma Norman Takei, worked in real estate and was born in Japan's Yamanashi Prefecture. Following the attack on Pearl Harbor, George and his family were relocated from Los Angeles to the Rohwer Relocation Center in Arkansas, and later, as the war was ending they were moved to a camp at Tule Lake in Northern California. Takei's first-hand knowledge of the unjust internment of 120,000 Japanese Americans in World War II, poignantly chronicled in his autobiography, created a lifelong interest in politics and community affairs.
He recently collected over 300,000 signatures opposing the Muslim travel ban and remains an outspoken activist against the travel ban and registry.
ASHLEY JAMES | DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY
Ashley James holds Bachelor and Master of Fine Arts degrees in Filmmaking and has national television credits. He is the co-founder (with Kathryn Golden) of Searchlight Films. Former newspaper journalist, The Hartford Times, (Gannett News Service) Hartford, CT; instructor of graduate studies in Department of Cinema, San Francisco State University and station manager of KTOP/Channel 10, Oakland, CA. which won 32 national awards for excellence in television programming during his 12 year tenure.
Recent documentaries include: Director, Kitka and Davka in Concert-Old and New World Jewish Music (PBS); Producer/Director Gordon Parks—The Man and His Music a 90-minute television special featuring Issac Hayes, Danny Glover and the Oakland (CA) Symphony Orchestra; Director/Cinematographer, Bomba – Dancing the Drum, (PBS), a one-hour portrait of the legendary Cepeda Family of Puerto Rico; Producer/Director Home and Almost Free, a one-hour film about ex-convicts in the San Francisco Bay Area; Director of photography for Zen Brush Mind & Kazuaki Tanahashi – Painting Peace for the Buddhist Broadcasting System (Netherlands)
Other films include: Director of Photography for the 2012 Academy Award nomination for Best Short Documentary, The Barber from Birmingham; Producer/Director, We Love You Like A Rock – The Dixie Hummingbirds, the feature-length film about the legendary gospel quartet; And Still We Dance, a one hour portrait of the San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival and the premiere program for KQED’s From San Francisco series; Producer/DP for Zenju’s Path & Moments of Illumination for the Buddhist Broadcasting Network (Netherlands); Producer/Director American Treasure, and Tchuba Means Rain, two ethnographic films about the Cape Verdean-American community of New England. Other Director of Photography credits include: Blacks & Jews by Snitow Kaufman Productions; Street Soldiers by Avon Kirkland; Crumb, a portrait of cartoonist Robert Crumb; Isadora Duncan – Movement From The Soul; I Can’t Believe You’re Forty, Charlie Brown; The Color Of Honor; Booker; Ethnic Notions; Cut Loose; and Ancestors In America, among many other programs for international broadcast, and cable television.
VINCENTE FRANCO | DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY
Vicente Franco is one of the most respected documentary cinematographers working in the US. He has shot numerous award-winning films including Academy Award nominated films, Daughter from Danang, The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers. Other recent films include Finding the Gold Within, Havana Curveball; Don't Stop Believin': Everyman's Journey; Standing on Sacred Ground: Fire and Ice and Frontline's Rape in the Fields. He recently shot a segment of Hard Earned produced by Kartemquin Films. He shot the US segments of Soft Vengeance and was Director of Photography on Abby’s films, Soul of Justice and Cruz Reynoso.
TATSU AOKI | COMPOSER
Tatsu Aoki is a leading advocate for the Asian American community, as well as a prolific composer and performer of traditional and experimental music forms, a filmmaker, and an educator. He has produced more than 30 experimental films and is one of the most in-demand performers of bass, shamisen, and taiko, having contributed more than 90 recording projects and touring internationally during the last 25 years. Aoki is Founder and Artistic Director of Chicago Asian American Jazz Festival, which observes its twentieth year in 2015. Named President of San Francisco–based Asian Improv Records (AIR) in 1999, he has managed or produced more than forty AIR albums, notably the Max Roach and Jon Jang collaboration The Beijing Trio, and several projects in the hip-hop and Asian Pacific American arts arenas, from film screenings to concert series. In 2010, he received the Japan America Society of Chicago’s Cultural Achievement Award as well as a 3Arts Artist Award. He received the “Living in our Culture” award by the Japanese American Service Committee in 2014 and Jazz Heroes’ Award by National Jazz Journalist Association in 2015. In the summer of 2016, his Miyumi Project ensemble was chosen as the official musical presenters for the unveiling of Yoko Ono's first permanent installation in North America, "SKYLANDING", in Chicago's own Jackson Park. The Miyumi Project is Tatsu Aoki’s laboratory of sound, where he explores the nexus of cultures: Asian and American; Japanese and African; past and present. The compositions provide a conceptual framework for each band member to interpret. Each successive grouping of Miyumi musicians over the past two decades has contributed to the ongoing evolution of the work.
RICHARD CAHAN | CONSULTING PRODUCER
Richard Cahan is the author or co-author of more twenty books. His most recent is Un-American: The Incarceration of Japanese Americans During World War II. He is also the co-author of two books about the photographer Vivian Maier as well as books about law, architecture, photojournalism, baseball, interior design and baseball. He is a graduate of the University of Illinois with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. He worked for the Chicago Sun-Times for sixteen years, primarily as the paper’s picture editor.
MICHAEL WILLIAMS | CONSULTING PRODUCER
Michael Williams is the author or co-author of more than a dozen books, including Un-American: The Incarceration of Japanese Americans During World War II. He writes, designs and publishes books under his publishing company CityFiles Press. He has co-authored two books on architectural photographer Richard Nickel, two books on photographer Vivian Maier, and two books on the history of Chicago through the photographs of the Chicago Sun-Times. He also produced a book about Chicago mass transportation called Chicago: City on the Move, a book about the long-term effects of reversing the Chicago River called The Lost Panoramas: When Chicago Changed
JONATHAN LOGAN | EXECUTIVE PRODUCER
Jonathan Logan is president and CEO of the Jonathan Logan Family Foundation. He brings more than 30 years of experience to the world of philanthropy. From his founding of Our Family Coalition and chairmanship of the Center for AIDS Services, to helping create the Logan Nonfiction Program at the Carey Institute for Global Good, Mr. Logan provides guidance and support to a significant number of nonprofits. His main areas of interest include investigative reporting, documentary film, social justice, photography, visual arts, music, and the performing arts. He is former chair and long-time board member of the Center for Investigative Reporting and serves on the board of the Berkeley Repertory Theatre. He is also a member of the advisory board of the Investigative Reporting Program of the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism.