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Filmmakers

BESS KARGMAN
Director / Producer / Editor
Bess Kargman has produced timely, socially and politically relevant stories for numerous media outlets including National Public Radio, The Washington Post and NBC Olympics. She holds degrees from Columbia Graduate School of Journalism and Amherst College. Long before entering the world of film and radio, Kargman trained at Boston Ballet School (and has the bruised feet to prove it). First Position is her first movie and premiered at the 2011 Toronto International Film Festival (where it took People’s Choice runner-up for best documentary). When she’s not living out of a suitcase, Kargman divides her time between New York and Los Angeles. (Director’s Statement).

 

NICK HIGGINS
Director of Photography / Associate Producer
Nick has spent the best part of the last three decades living everywhere except his Scottish birthplace; most notably Saudi Arabia, Hong Kong, Brazil and now LA (where he gained an MFA in cinematography from the AFI). Nick’s camera work was featured in Academy Award Nominated Lucy Walker’s  COUNTDOWN TO ZERO which premiered at Sundance and played at Cannes. He also worked with Academy Award Nominated Morgan Spurlock for his documentary COMICON; EPISODE IV A FAN’S HOPE (TIFF 2011) and with Academy Award Nominated Stuart Sender on his NBC feature documentary HARMONY that showcased the environmental work of HRH Prince Charles. Nick is currently resident DP and one of the founders of the Department of Expansion.

 

ROSE CAIOLA
Executive Producer
With a love of ballet since childhood, Rose Caiola is the Founder and Executive Artistic Director of the Manhattan Movement and Arts Center (MMAC). An 18,000 sq. ft. performing arts center, MMAC houses a 199-seat Off Broadway theater venue, as well as  providing all genres of dance instruction at Manhattan Youth Ballet. Caiola is also a Broadway producer, her credits include producing and co-authoring the musical Freckleface Strawberry, as well as producing on Broadway The Heiress and Glengary Glen Ross.   Caiola’s goal through all her projects has been to provide equal educational, cultural and artistic opportunities for inner city youth. She is a graduate of NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and is a member of The Broadway League of Theatres and Producers, and the Screen Actors Guild.

 

CHRIS HAJIAN
Composer

Born and raised in Queens NY, Chris’ formal training started at New York City’s “Famed” High School of the Performing Arts, and continued at the Manhattan School of Music, where he studied classical composition. He has composed scores for a wide range of feature films, indies and documentaries, including “The Take” (2007), “Nursery University” (2008) and most recently “Unraveled,” which had it’s US premiere at the LA Film Festival and will have its broadcast premiere on the Showtime Network later this year.

 

 

KATE AMEND
Editor
Kate Amend has received the International Documentary Association’s inaugural award for Outstanding Achievement in Editing for her work, including two Academy Award-winning documentaries: Into The Arms of Strangers (2001) and The Long Way Home (1998).  She received the 2001 American Cinema Editors’ Eddie award. Other credits include the Oscar-nominated short On Tiptoe: Gentle Steps to Freedom (2001), HBO’s Thin (2006), and The World According To Sesame Street (2005). Amend has been a Sundance Institute Documentary Edit and Story Lab advisor since 2005 and is on the faculty of the Cinema Dept at the University of Southern California.

 

JENNILYN MERTEN
Associate Producer
Jennilyn Merten is the co-director/co-producer of the award-winning documentary film, Sons of Perdition, which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival and was purchased by the Oprah Winfrey Network’s debut Documentary Film Club. Merten is also the producer of the critically acclaimed Off-Broadway play, The Eyes of Babylon. Currently, Merten is directing and producing Movers and Shakers a new documentary about Parkinson’s Disease and the surprising relationship between illness and happiness. She also writes and produces commercial work with Left Turn Films partner, Tyler Measom. Jennilyn resides in Brooklyn, most days.

 

HASHEM SELPH
Production Manager/Field Producer
Hashem’s experience in documentary film has immersed him in a wide-range of issues and stories, including performance-enhancing drugs, nuclear weapons, the use of arts in education, and now ballet. A proud polymath of documentary production, Hashem has served as production manager, field producer, and cinematographer  (among other roles) for films that have been previously selected for Sundance and other film festivals; screened in theaters across the United States; and aired on PBS, History Channel, and HBO. He is currently a producer for a new YouTube original programming channel launching in July 2012. He lives in Los Angeles.