In June 2011, representatives from our 14 participating host sites met here in Baltimore to view the top 30 films from our nationwide call for entries. With their votes in hand, the staff of the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation identified the top 12 films and built two tours. The selected filmmakers are a diverse and talented group. Read more about the filmmakers traveling on Tour A below.
What’s ‘Organic’ About Organic?
Director, Shelley Rogers
Raised in rural East Tennessee, Shelley Rogers has a Master’s degree in Media, Culture, and Communication from New York University and a Bachelor’s degree in Art History from Smith College. Rogers produced and directed the documentary film What’s ‘Organic’ About Organic?, which was inspired by her study with seasoned documentary filmmakers, George Stoney and Lora Hays, and interest in food politics, public health, and environmental stewardship. The film has received critical acclaim and has been viewed by thousands of people, with screenings both nationally and internationally. In addition to distributing the film to educational institutions, Rogers has developed the film’s “Green & Screen” campaign, an innovative engagement strategy that combines screenings of her film with volunteer or awareness-building activities to encourage audience participation in the organic food movement. Rogers also co-founded and co-curates a documentary screening series in New York City, called “Hungry Filmmakers,” which is accompanied by a panel discussion and reception with the filmmakers whose upcoming works are related to food and agriculture. Rogers operates Little Bean Productions and has collaborated in filming several food projects including The Dirt Café Sitopia Debate and Salon, Hungry New York, and The Rye Bread Project.
Beatboxing – The Fifth Element of Hip Hop
Producer, Angela Viscido
Born and raised in Wales and a resident of New York City for the past 22 years, Angela Viscido is a videographer, editor, entrepreneur and the President of Eclectrix, Inc., a full service multimedia specializing in live performances. Viscido is committed to the visual and performing arts, including developing a company to enhance talent in the actors, dance and music industries by creating and developing marketing visuals for the performer. She has captured creative icons such as Hiram Bullock, The Drifters, Bernard Purdie and Lou Marini, Toshi Regan, Citizen Cope and others. Combining 14 years of corporate work with 22 years as a performer and videographer have led Viscido to explore the world of movie making under the creative and dynamic direction of various film directors.
Out in the Silence
Directors, Joe Wilson and Dean Hamer
Joe Wilson got involved in documentary filmmaking through his social activism on human rights issues. Frustrated by the limitations of traditional organizing and advocacy and the constraints of his role as a program officer at a private foundation, he picked up a camera with hopes of reaching broader audiences with stories that would inform and compel people to act. Wilson’s first film Otros Amores, which examines other forms of love in Oaxaca, Mexico, won the Videomaker Magazine National Documentary Challenge and started him on his way. Since then he and Qwaves.com partner Dean Hamer have produced over a dozen pieces for national cable television and won numerous awards including the Audience Prize at the One-in-Ten Film Festival, Best Short Film at the Barcelona Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, runner-up in the Seeds of Tolerance Competition, and official selection at film festivals in New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Miami, Philadelphia, London, Lisbon, Copenhagen, Cape Town and Melbourne.
Scientist turned filmmaker, Dean Hamer became interested in journalism and filmmaking as a result of being a frequent guest on television news shows to discuss his research on AIDS, human sexuality and behavior genetics. Convinced that there was a better way to communicate the complex scientific and social ideas raised by these topics, he decided to try his own hand at turning these stories into compelling documentaries. Hamer’s debut film The Preacher and the Poet was a winner of the PBS/Independent Lens Online Shorts Festival. In collaboration with Qwaves.com partner Joe Wilson he has produced over a dozen pieces for national cable television and won numerous awards. He has also consulted for many documentary and news productions and written three award-winning nonfiction books including “The Science of Desire,”, which was a New York Times Book of the Year.
Concrete, Steel and Paint
Directors, Cindy Burstein and Tony Heriza
Cindy Burstein is an award-winning independent producer. Formerly a community organizer, she received her MFA from Rutgers University to pursue the use of documentary film as a tool for dialogue and civic engagement. She also works with other independent filmmakers to develop public engagement initiatives for theatrical releases, broadcast premieres and educational distribution. She is a 2010 recipient of the Leeway Transformation Award, a fellowship which recognizes women artists engaged in social change.
Since co-founding the Community Media Workshop in Dayton, Ohio in 1974, Tony Heriza has been involved in many aspects of media for social change: producing, editing, teaching and working with community organizations. His work has been broadcast nationally on PBS and featured in many festivals. He is now the Director of Educational Outreach for the American Friends Service Committee and along with his co-producer, Cindy Burstein, is an active member of the New Day Film distribution co-operative.
Proceed and Be Bold!
Director, Laura Zinger
Laura Zinger is the founder and owner of Chicago-based, creative content production company 20K Films. In 2008, Zinger independently produced and directed the feature-length documentary Proceed and Be Bold!, which has screened internationally in Italy, Germany, Austria, England and Canada. The documentary also screened as an official selection in seven film festivals, including the San Francisco Documentary Film Festival and the St. John’s International Women’s Film Festival in Newfoundland, Canada. Zinger has worked for various film companies, including MGM, Pretty Pictures and MOJO, a post-production trailer house. In addition to 20K Films, Zinger works as the Web Video Producer for Milk For Thought, a new national website dedicated to connecting, empowering and supporting breastfeeding mothers. She previously taught introductory courses in video production and editing at the College of DuPage as well as workshops on HDSLR camera technology and post-production editing and workflow at Calumet Photographic.
Milking the Rhino
Director, David E. Simpson
David E. Simpson
David E. Simpson is a producer, director and editor who has crafted award-winning documentaries for over 25 years. David’s pioneering film about disability culture, When Billy Broke His Head… garnered dozens of major awards including a jury prize at Sundance and a duPont-Columbia Baton for journalistic excellence. David directed Refrigerator Mothers, about the mothers of autistic children, which won top honors at many festivals and aired on public television’s POV. His Milking the Rhino, about community-based conservation in Africa, aired on PBS’ Independent Lens and screened at over five dozen film festivals on six continents. David has edited numerous long-form documentaries, including Forgiving Dr. Mengele (Special Jury Prize, Slamdance 2006), Shtetl (Grand Prix, Cinema du Reel), the critically praised PBS series The New Americans, as well as programs for Frontline and NOVA.