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. He produced opera professionally in Chicago from 1999-2006; prior to that, he made two Super 8 short films in the early 1990s 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. 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.
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.
Associate Producer 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.
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.