Steve James is best known for directing Hoop Dreams, winner of every major critics prize including a Peabody and Robert F. Kennedy Award. Other films include festival winner Stevie, which landed on a dozen year-end ten best lists; the acclaimed miniseries The New Americans; At the Death House Door, which won numerous festival awards and was James’ fourth film short-listed for an Academy Award; No Crossover: The Trial of Allen Iverson for ESPN’s Peabody winning “30 for 30” series; and The Interrupters, James’ fifth film to premiere at Sundance, winner of the Independent Spirit Award, the two top Cinema Eye Awards and numerous festival prizes. It was the top documentary in the end of the year national critics’ polls for both IndieWire and the Village Voice. The New York Times’ Manohla Dargis calls it, “A hard wallop of a documentary… Mr. James has put a face to a raging epidemic and an unforgivable American tragedy.”
Raj Patel is an award-winning author and activist, who has worked at the World Bank and the World Trade Organization and has protested against them on four continents. He is affiliated with UC Berkeley's Center for African Studies, the School of Development Studies at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa, and the Institute for Food and Development Policy, also known as Food First. He is also an IATP Food and Community Fellow, at Utne Reader Visionary and has testifed to the US Congress on the causes of the global food crisis. He is the author of the international bestseller The Value of Nothing: How to Reshape Market Society and Redefine Democracy, and the critically acclaimed guide to the food system Stuffed and Starved.
Julie Goldman founded Motto Pictures in 2009. She specializes in producing and executive producing feature documentaries by creatively developing films, securing financing and building distribution strategies. Julie was nominated for the PGA Producer of the Year Award for Sergio, which was shortlisted for the Documentary Feature Academy Award, and was a consultant on the Academy Award winning The Cove. Julie produced Cindy Meehl's debut feature, Buck, which had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival, where it won the US Documentary Audience Award. Sundance Selects/IFC Films released Buck to critical and popular acclaim and it has since played on over 500 screens across the country and was one of the top 5 grossing documentaries of 2011.Julie premiered two new films at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival: Finding North directed by Kristi Jacobson and Lori Silverbush and Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry directed by Alison Klayman. Recent films include: Better This World directed by Katie Galloway and Kelly Duane de la Vega, Koran By Heart with Greg Barker and John Battsek for HBO and Our School directed by Mona Nicoara. She also has several films that are in production: 1971 directed by Johanna Hamilton; The Great Invisible directed by Margaret Brown; Gideon’s Army directed by Dawn Porter, and God Loves Uganda directed by Roger Ross Williams. Some of Julie’s earlier films include: In the Shadow of the Moon, Sons of Perdition, Easy Riders Raging Bulls, Sketches of Frank Gehry, Devil’s Playground, Black Sun, What Remains and Cat Dancers.
Rachel Wexler set up Bungalow Town Productions in the UK with her partner Jez Lewis in 2004. Bungalow Town specialises in producing international feature documentaries for a worldwide audience. Rachel has produced many acclaimed films including: The English Surgeon (Dir: Geoffrey Smith), Guilty Pleasures (Dir: Julie Moggan), All White in Barking (Dir: Marc Isaacs), Shed your Tears and Walk Away (Dir: Jez Lewis), Out of the Ashes (Dir: Tim Albone, Lucy Martens) Garbage Warrior (Dir: Oliver Hodge) and My Perestroika (Dir: Robin Hessman). She has produced films with support from broadcasters and funders around the world including: ITVS International, BBC Storyville, POV, Sundance Institute, Ford Foundation, More4 True Stories, Sundance Channel, Britdoc Foundation, and the UK Film Council. Films that Rachel has produced have been screened at prestigious film festivals including Sundance, Cannes and London and have won many awards including a Grierson award for Out of the Ashes in 2011 and an Emmy for The English Surgeon in 2010.
Cynthia Kane (US Producer) created gbgg productions with Lisa Scott Gordon (UK) in 2010 with the mission to produce social issue fiction and documentary film. She’s had many incarnations from actor to writer to producer. Kane co-created DOCday on Sundance Channel during her 10-year tenure there. In January 2007, Kane moved cross-continent to work as Senior Programming Manager for ITVS (Independent Television Service) overseeing the International Initiative for funding and to support the domestic funding teams. ITVS International promotes an international exchange of documentary films made by independent producers, bringing international voices to U.S. audiences and stories from the U.S. to audiences abroad. During her tenure, ITVS International co-produced 140 international documentaries since its inception in 2005, including the multi-award winning Fallen City, Putin’s Kiss, Last Train Home, The English Surgeon, Stranded and Waltz With Bashir and many more.
After ten years of working as a photographer and filmmaker in what is fashionably known as ‘development’, Jason Taylor has finally come to the realisation that much of what he was involved in was little more than managed poverty. He started to realise that he was becoming a part of that system and as he looked around and interacted with media, development, photographers and filmmakers, he began to understand that it was an industry like any other. He began to question the work he was doing and the disconnect between those who commissioned him and those he was there to document. The Second Green Revolution is a perfect example of this disconnection. The global media focus primarily on a failed industry-driven model of agriculture. Recently, the UN has published two reports, both of which come to the conclusion that to sustain our environment and our food security we need to move away from these input-intensive systems of agriculture. The Source Project is about using media to engage people in some of the many issues we need embrace. Telling stories from people who are not driven by anything more than compassion moves us away from the traditional confrontational format, which does little more than foster an overwhelming sense of helplessness.
In 1966, Kartemquin Films began making documentaries that examine and critique society through the stories of real people. Their documentaries, such as The Interrupters, Hoop Dreams and The New Americans, are among the most acclaimed of all time, leaving a lasting impact on millions of viewers. Kartemquin Films is a home for independent media makers who seek to create social change through film. With a noted tradition of nurturing emerging talent and acting as a leading voice for independent media, Kartemquin is building on over 45 years of being Chicago's documentary powerhouse. Kartemquin is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization.
Sam Grey is a Settler Canadian studying political thought at the University of Victoria. Her doctoral work is in reparations politics and decolonization praxis in the Settlement Commonwealth… which sounds terrifically dull and eggheady but is anything but. Food? Absolutely, it’s in there – in fact, it’s central. ‘First foods;’ colonized tables; the revivification of lost cultivars, threatened species, and the Indigenous political and social systems that steward them; the renewal of longstanding relationships with nonhuman peoples. Food sovereignty writ *massive.* Sam has lived and studied in Peru, Thailand, Canada, and Scotland; and is currently a guest on unceded Lekwungen and WSÁNEĆ traditional territories.
Shin Shiga grew up in Japan and went to schools in Norway and Canada. During his MA, he worked with Ainu communities in Hokkaido, Japan to understand how technology and colonialism informed the indigenous landscape restoration project. After graduation his interest in social and environmental justice and pursuit for good food landed him on Generation Food. When Shin is not cooking or eating, he works on gardens or is out harvesting wild foods.
Alexandra Tung holds a MS in Agriculture Food and Environment from Tufts Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, and a BS in Nutritional Sciences from Cornell University. She has lived in Hong Kong, England and the United States. While her grandmother's cooking inspired her to pursue a career path related to food and nutrition, the rural setting of Ithaca, New York, sparked her interest in agriculture. Prior to joining the AgDreams team, she has worked on books and publications including Worldwatch Institute's State of the World 2011. She hopes to continue working on projects that support the use of sustainable agriculture techniques in nourishing underserved populations.
Vishrut Arya is a researcher at Food First in Oakland, CA. Prior to Food First, he was a business analyst at Google. He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania where he studied chemical and biomolecular engineering and economics. Upon graduating, he worked an investment analyst at Sequoia Fund. Vish is a passionate advocate for food sovereignty and biodiversity and is curious about human lifeways which are egalitarian, fulfilling, and ecologically vibrant.
Anil Bhattarai is currently writing his dissertation on transformations of economic, ecological and knowledge landscapes in a farming community in Nepal's Chitwan valley. He is a trained permaculture designer and has grasped some bits of creating washable mud-floors and non-stick wall plasters. He has been writing a weekly column, (un)commonsense for The Kathmandu Post since May 2009, the explicit aim of which is to make alternatives mainstream.
Anne Gough is a researcher on farming systems and landscapes, currently based in Beirut, Lebanon. After working on small organic farms in the U.S. and studying political economy, Anne became dedicated to issues of food sovereignty and agrarian livelihoods. In Palestine, she worked with the Palestine Wildlife Society to create a survey of native Palestinian plant and bird species. In Beirut she studies and writes with Dr. Rami Zurayk (www.landandpeople.blogspot.com) at American University of Beirut. Their monograph on the use of food as tool of control is soon to be published by the Institute of Palestine Studies. It was the preparation for this article that led her to Raj Patel's work. She is grateful to be a part of Agricultural Dreams and a part of this network of researchers devoted to detailed research on the struggles for food sovereignty around the world.
Daniela Andrade is an agronomist and social science researcher, engaged in studying and taking action on issues of rural poverty and agrarian development. She lived for three years among rural communities in ‘Ribeira Valley’ (SP-Brazil), analysing the effects of agrarian transition, and spent four years of intense work and activism with the ‘Landless Workers’ Movement’ (MST). She is currently living in the Netherlands, where she graduated from the International Institute of Social Studies (Erasmus University, Rotterdam) in 2009 with an MA in Agricultural and Rural Development. She is committed to combating poverty and inequality promoted by the global food system.
Paolo Cravero holds a Masters in International Relations from the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva and a BA in Politics from the School of Oriental and African Studies in London. Prior to joining the AgDreams Team, he has worked as a freelance for various publications and interned as a fact-checker/researcher for The Nation magazine in New York. He hopes to continue working on projects dealing with food security and sustainable agriculture and development.
Susanne Knoll is the child of a German family with a long agricultural tradition. She grew up at the Hungarian country side on a cattle farm, where she fell in love with the farming and everything in connection with it. She studied as an agriculture engineer and teacher of agricultural science at the University of Kaposvár, Hungary. Susanne also had the opportunity to expand her knowledge of international food production with the support of the University Wageningen, Holland , the University of Valencia, Spain and her Columbian husband. Now she lives in Brazil, where she is planning to work in the sphere of Latin American animal and plant production.
Oday Kamal has over five years of experience in the food domain. His work has encompassed food advocacy, academic research and cooking. He is the founder of the Youth Food movement in Australia which is bringing together young Australians that desire a different and more sustainable food future. In 2011, he was recruited by the American University in Cairo to create a new food education program in the aftermath of the Arabic spring. Oday was a coop scholar at the University of Sydney graduating with honors for his thesis on the association of financial information and food security in Australia, he will be pursuing his masters at Oxford University in late 2012.
Mette Vaarst, was born 1961, Danish. First educated as a veterinarian, classical human and veterinary homoeopath and then took a master degree in Health Anthropology, and in this way worked with food and agriculture and humans in various ways over the last couple of decades. She is currently senior scientist at Aarhus University, Denmark. Works with many different aspects of organic dairy production, animal health and welfare and organic agriculture, farmer group learning and social capital building, and sees animal farming as one of the major problems in the world, because of its huge contribution to the global imbalance. She works as a volunteer in Organic Denmark and other organizations, and works primarily in Uganda with agro-ecological farming approaches, learning and development of local food systems and social networks.