Our Team

Peter McDowell, Director and Producer: Surrounded by opera as a child and trained as a musician and actor, Peter McDowell has always been drawn to melding story, image and sound in his own productions. Born and raised in Champaign, Illinois, he produced opera professionally in Chicago from 1999-2006; prior to that, he made two Super 8 short films that were shown at San Francisco’s Frameline Film Festival. One of those shorts, I Dream of Dorothy, went on to festivals worldwide. In addition to filmmaking, Peter works as a nonprofit arts manager, which has helped him bridge the creative aspects of filmmaking with the more managerial aspects essential for production. Peter is the recipient of a highly competitive three year DeVos Institute for Arts Management International Fellowship at the University of Maryland. In 2018, Peter was also the recipient of a Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events Individual Artists Program grant for Jimmy in Saigon and in 2020 he won a California Humanities Council grant, also for this film. He currently resides in Los Angeles and runs his own firm, Peter McDowell Arts Consulting, as well as working as Director of Development for American Friends of the Louvre.

Executive Producer, Dan Savage is an author, an advice columnist, a podcaster, a pundit, and a public speaker. “Savage Love” first appeared in The Stranger, Seattle’s alternative weekly, in 1991. The column is now syndicated to more than 50 papers across the United States and Canada. Dan has published six books. In 2010 Dan and his husband Terry Miller founded the It Gets Better Project (IGBP), which has gathered thousands of videos from people all over the world offering hope to LGBT kids. In 2012, IGBP was awarded an Emmy. Dan is a regular contributor to This American Life. He has also been a frequent guest on The Colbert Report, Real Time with Bill Maher, and other television programs. Dan’s graphic, pragmatic, and humorous advice has changed the cultural conversation about monogamy, gay rights, religiosity, and politics.


Producer Lucia Palmarini is a Chicago-and-Mexico-City-based producer and creative consultant who has worked across the media sector for over ten years. Steeped in community media, film, and event management, Lucia brings a knowledge of production, community engagement and creative development together to help tell stories that challenge conventions. She holds an MA degree in Management from Columbia College Chicago, and a BA in Documentary Studies from the College of Santa Fe. Lucia has served as a producer on many projects, including: Drive Slow (an Independent Pilot Competition contestant at NYTF in 2017), a coming-of-age dramedy series & short film; Dizhsa Nabani (2018), a documentary web series on Zapotec language and identity in Oaxaca, Mexico; and No Refuge (tbd), a feature-length narrative in competition for best script at Oaxaca Film Festival exploring a rebel priest’s struggle with faith and transphobia in a tight knit Mexican-American working class community.

Peter Schulman

Producer & Assistant Editor Peter Schulman is a filmmaker, artist, and teacher based in Los Angeles. He has worked with various non-profits, including Free Arts Los Angeles, The Children’s Institute, and the Koreatown Youth Community Center. His non-fiction work is driven by curiosity and built on mutual vulnerability with his subjects. Peter also works with sculpture, digital collage, and photography. He is currently shooting his first feature-length non-fiction film, With Ben.

Editor Kelly Creedon is a documentary editor and filmmaker based in Durham, North Carolina. Her most recent film projects include Farmsteaders (Editor), which broadcast on POV in September 2019 and was nominated for an Emmy; You Gave Me A Song: The Life and Music of Alice Gerrard (Editor), which premiered at the Full Frame Festival in 2019; and Santuario (Editor), a Tribeca Film Institute If/Then-supported project which was awarded Best Documentary Short at the 2018 New Orleans Film Festival. She was a 2018-2019 NC Arts Council Artist Fellow, and she is a member of the All Y’all Southern Documentary Collective. She has taught visual journalism and documentary storytelling at the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University and the UNC Chapel Hill School of Media and Journalism, where she received her MA in Visual Communication. 

Editor Liz Kaar is an independent editor, director, and producer working in Los Angeles. She collaborated closely with Kartemquin Films, Chicago’s documentary powerhouse, for over a decade. Her editing projects have been honored with a variety of award recognition, including short-listed for the Academy Award, nominated for Emmy and IDA awards, and winning the Alfred I. duPont-Columbia Journalism Award. Among other projects, Liz recently edited SXSW-premiering documentary The Dilemma of Desire and the festival-favorite short film ‘63 Boycott, directed by Gordon Quinn. She co-directed and edited Hard Earned, directed, and produced, shot and edited Stranded by the State, a web series and TV mini series, co-produced by In These Times magazine and Kartemquin Films.

Cinematographer (Vietnam) Bret Hamilton moved to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, (formerly Saigon) in September 2016. Since then, Bret has produced and directed dozens of short documentaries as the Digital Content Director for local media start-up Vietcetera. More recently he was the Director of Photography for the youtube channel Best Ever Food Review Show, where his images accrued nearly half a billion views and a dedicated audience of over 3 million subscribers.

Composer John McDowell achieved worldwide recognition with his soundtrack to the Academy Award winning documentary Born Into Brothels. Winner of Best Musical Score at the Bend Film Festival, the score blends Western and Indian music in a mesmerizing mix. After receiving music composition degrees from DePaul and Northwestern Universities, McDowell lived in Europe and Africa. His research took him to Senegal, Gambia, India, and to work with Native American drummers and singers from the Tuscarora and Oglala tribes. In Europe, his dance scores have been featured at the Brussels Dance Festival, the Holland Festival, and the Berlin-Amsterdam Festival. He has written over 100 pieces ranging from solo flute music to dance scores, a requiem, and works for a world music ensemble and orchestra. He has performed at major venues and festivals including the Montreal Jazz Festival, Lincoln Center Out-of-Doors, and the United Nations. He is also a biodynamic farmer and has performed and toured in the U.S. and Canada with the chamber music project Music for Farms.

Animator Triet Le is a filmmaker from Vietnam whose short films have been screened at various international animation festivals including Anima Brussels, London Animation Festival, KROK, Les Sommets du cinéma d’animation, Primanima, Melbourne Animation Festival, Seoul Animation Festival and more.