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 stage and film 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 fundraiser, publicist, and a teacher of fundraising, which has helped him bridge the creative aspects of filmmaking with the more managerial aspects essential for production. Peter recently served as Director of Development for American Friends of the Louvre, and 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, currently teaching fundraising workshops for filmmakers and other artists.
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.
Producer & Assistant Editor PETER SCHULMAN is a filmmaker, artist, and teacher based in New York City. 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 Hồ Chí 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.
Composer SABINA SCIUBBA is a contemporary European singer, visual artist, polyglot, and actress. A singular musician, she known for her multi-lingual story-telling compositions, and her enigmatic contralto voice and stage presence. Sciubba is the front woman and songwriter of the GRAMMY-nominated band Brazilian Girls, and she has recorded and composed two solo albums (Tojours and Force Majeure) and several film scores (including Oscar-winner Born Into Brothels and The Party’s Over with Phillip Seymour Hoffman). As an actor, she most recently played “Penelope” in the FX series Baskets, starring alongside Zach Galifianakis.
Animator TRIẾT LÊ 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.
Associate Producer JANE FLYNN-ROYKO is an accomplished corporate exec with a lifelong passion for theater, writing, storytelling and the arts. She transformed an education in performance and literature into a successful, creative professional communications career. Her belief in the power of art and empathy to inspire individuals and transform cultures has informed all aspects of her life. In her consulting work for large organizations, she frequently develops communications programs that emphasize “truly human” teams and workplace design. Jane served as a guest lecturer on “Corporate Change & Communications” at New York University, and appeared on the “Women: Transforming Experience and Psychological Well-Being at Work” panel at the CoreNet Global Conference in 2019. She has also adapted and directed children’s literature for a middle-school theater program.
Administrative Associate SACHA MULLIN has worked with director Peter McDowell for nearly eight years as part of Peter McDowell Arts Consulting, and in his career has been part of several promotional campaigns with talent ranging from Sia to George Takei. An educator and former reality TV talent scout, Mullin is also a critically acclaimed singer-songwriter. He was named a 2021 ‘Chicagoan of Note’ and ‘backup singer extraordinaire’ by the Chicago Reader, and has shared stages with Bobby McFerrin, Dessa, and Mitski. His sophomore album Duplex was praised by The Wire and BBC3, and his forthcoming third album Casino Wilderness Period, produced by Todd Rittmann (of U.S. Maple and Dead Rider fame), is due late-2022 on Dog & Pony Records.
Colorist ANASTASIA SHEPHERD, C.S.I. is based in Los Angeles, with a background in cinematography, editing, photography, and painting. Shepherd has graded independent features, documentaries, shorts, commercials and music videos. Their primary tool is DaVinci Resolve, while also using Baselight and Lustre. Shepherd’s career has given them the chance to grade projects all over the world—from Denmark and Belgium to Cambodia, Armenia, & Mexico—plus teaching color grading and editing at universities and film programs in the United States and abroad. After working for some time at Company 3, most notably on Avengers: Endgame, they joined the team at Technicolor as a Junior Colorist. Shepherd now works as a freelance colorist from their home studio and from several local post houses, with the goal of bringing studio-caliber finishing to independent stories from under-represented communities.
Sound Mixer JEREMIAH MOORE is a sound explorer, artist, maker, sound designer and mixer, and a born transdisciplinary innovator and collaborator. Moore loves interesting challenges, good stories and unique experiences, and loves conjuring worlds and making projects come alive with sound. A collector of sounds for over 25 years, he has an extensive library of custom material which comes into play on nearly every project—and then there are the projects which require new unique sounds to be created using materials, microphones, processors, and synthesizers. Moore boasts an Oscar-Nominated short (Last Day of Freedom), one Oscar-shortlisted (Slomo). He’s worked for major brands, agencies and studios, with work heard on NPR, PBS, Netflix Originals (Resurface), and winning awards at festivals from Tribeca to SXSW to Full Frame and IDA.