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Return of the Musk Ox

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Attending Filmmakers & Special Guests

Most of our screenings are enriched by discussions or Q&A sessions with visiting filmmakers, environmental experts, and other special guests. Below are just some of the bios of those attending. Bios will continue to be added throughout the Festival.

Stanley Hallet

Stanley Hallet

Hallet will be discussing Tale of the Tongs.

Former Dean of the School of Architecture and Planning at The Catholic University of America (CUA) in Washington, DC, Stanley Ira Hallet, FAIA, is a Professor Emeritus of Architecture at CUA where he teaches undergraduate and graduate studios and seminars exploring the historic and contemporary relationships between culture, urban design, landscape and architecture. Given his early experiences in Tunisia as a Peace Corps Volunteer (1964-66) and in Afghanistan as a Fulbright-Hayes Lecturer at the University of Kabul (1972), his studio work and lectures often explore issues of landscape, urban fabric and sacred space. Recently he was Studio Head in Rome, Italy and currently acts as Graduate Studio Head, School of Architecture and Planning in Paris, France. Based upon research and his personal experience as a cameraman, he has offered seminars and studios addressing the relationship of cinema and architecture in Schools of Architecture in the United States, Puerto Rico, France and Italy and has produced several documentary films with his wife, Judith Dwan Hallet, an internationally recognized documentary filmmaker. He has lectured widely on these subjects in both the United States and Europe and his observations have appeared in major international and national journals of architecture.  Recognized as a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects for his contributions to both architecture and architectural education, his work has been distinguished with 12 AIA design awards.

Judith Hallet

Judith Hallet

Hallet will be discussing Tale of the Tongs.

Judith Dwan Hallet is an award winning documentary filmmaker who has been making films for over 45 years.  From 1987 to 1991, she was the Senior Producer for The National Geographic Television series, EXPLORER, where she oversaw sixty documentaries and produced four of her own.  While she was at the helm, EXPLORER won numerous awards including close to twenty national Emmys. In 1991, Judy formed her own company, Judith Dwan Hallet Productions.  For her company, she has produced and directed 14 award-winning documentaries for television and several other films for non-broadcast use. In 1995, Women in Film and Video awarded her their Woman of Vision Creative Excellence Award.  In 2001, she received The Mayor’s Arts Award for Excellence in an Artistic Discipline by the Washington DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities.  In 2008, The National Capital Chesapeake Bay Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences gave her an Emmy in recognition for her significant contributions to the broadcast industry. Over her career, Judy has produced films in seventeen countries around the world on subjects as diverse as an obscure tribe living in the rainforest of Irian Jaya, Indonesia to gauchos in Argentina and wild buffalo in Yellowstone National Park, to profiles on Jane Goodall and Pope John Paul II.

Ben Hamilton

Ben Hamilton

Hamilton will be discussing The Meaning of Wild.

Ben Hamilton is a filmmaker and outdoor enthusiast. He travels the world, loves the outdoors, and is infatuated with wildlife. Everyday in the field is a new learning experience and he strives to capture and share the majesty of our planet. Ben works as a freelance cameraman for National Geographic, Military Channel, among many others. His work has placed him face to face with a king cobra, hanging on a zip-line over alligators, surrounded by grizzly bears, eating unbelievably bizarre foods, and sitting in awe of the largest tidewater glacier in North America. When he is not working as a freelance cameraman Ben runs Pioneer Videography LLC.  He founded Pioneer in 2007 and since has produced content ranging from environmental documentaries to tourism commercials. Conservation has always been at the center of Pioneer's productions and Ben continues to pitch socially responsible films today.  Ben is Leave No Trace certified and is dedicated to minimal impact filming in the wild.

Frank  Hawkins

Frank Hawkins

Hawkins will be discussing Extinction in Progress.

Frank Hawkins is a conservation biologist and policy advisor with many years of experience working with governments, civil society and local communities in Africa and around the world. Prior to joining IUCN, Dr Hawkins was Senior Vice-President at Conservation International. In addition to leading CI’s programme in Africa and Madagascar, he worked closely on green economy policy and land-use planning issues, emphasizing the value of nature as the basis for sustainable development, particularly in Liberia, Botswana, Democratic Republic of Congo, Madagascar and South Africa. He has collaborated with the US government and US-based institutions on a range of policy issues based on that field experience, including links between economic growth and natural resource use, mechanisms for promoting green investment, and multi-stakeholder engagement processes. He has organized events to highlight the potential for public-private partnerships to deliver nature-based development. Dr. Hawkins is delighted to have the chance to work within IUCN and outside to move these partnership opportunities to a higher level. For 20 years until 2007, Dr Hawkins worked primarily in Madagascar, with CI and other NGOs, where he conducted research on birds, lemurs and carnivores, and supported the government, local communities and local NGOs in implementing the National Environmental Action Plan. He has written or co-authored over 60 peer-reviewed papers and 10 books, the latest of which, the Birds of the Malagasy Region, will be published later this year. Dr Hawkins has joint UK and Canadian nationality, and is married with two teenage daughters. When not sampling the manifold delights of biodiversity around the world, he enjoys cycling, cheese and cinema, not necessarily in that order.

Martha Honey

Martha Honey

Honey will be discussing The Goose with the Golden Eggs: Tourism on Costa Rica's Pacific Coast

Martha Honey, co-founder and Co-Director of CREST, heads the Washington, DC office. She has written and lectured widely on ecotourism, Travelers' Philanthropy, and certification issues. Her books include Ecotourism and Sustainable Development: Who Owns Paradise? (Island Press, 1999 and 2008) and Ecotourism and Certification: Setting Standards in Practice (Island Press, 2002). She worked for 20 years as a journalist based in East Africa and Central America and holds a Ph.D. in African history. She was Executive Director of The International Ecotourism Society (TIES) from 2003 to 2006. 

Luc Jacquet

Luc Jacquet

Jacquet will be discussing Once Upon a Forest.

Luc Jacquet was born in Bourg-en-Bresse in 1967. As a young boy he spent his time roaming the mountains of France’s Jura region. As he himself admits, he likes to ‘roam’, to lose himself in the wilderness. It was there in this mountainous region that he first discovered the joy of disappearing into the wild to observe the secret world of animals and plants over all seasons. Luc was originally drawn to science. In 1991 he studied for a Masters in Animal Biology at the University of Lyon I. He then studied for a Post Graduate Diploma (DEA) in Mountain Ecosystems and Environmental Management at the University of Grenoble. Throughout his studies, he took part in numerous field trips to study animal behaviour and ecology in various species. It was during his scientific training that he first travelled to Antarctica. Aged 24 he embarked upon a 14-month ornithology and ecology field trip for France’s National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS). During this polar mission to the French Dumont d’Urville base, he acted as Cameraman for the film The Congress of Penguins by Swiss director H.U. Schlumpf. It was there that he discovered his passion for filming and began his career in cinema as a Cameraman before becoming a Director of nature documentaries. Most of his documentaries are made in Antarctica and the islands of the South Pole. Enamoured of these magical locations, he spent a total of three years living under the 40th Parallel South. These trips to the sixth continent led to his first feature film March of the Penguins: the story of the Emperor Penguins and their battle for survival in the most extreme climate on the planet. The film was a global huge success and won many awards including the Academy Award (Oscar) for Best Documentary in Los Angeles 2006. Following the success of this first film, Luc Jacquet was able to realise another project that was close to his heart: The Fox and the Child, an unforgettable story of friendship between two beings separated by two different worlds: the human and the animal. The film attracted over 2.5 million viewers in France and was screened in over 50 countries. With two highly successful projects firmly under his belt, he has decided to launch into a new challenge: a spectacular journey taking us 35,000 years into the past with Fresco, an epic adventure into the world of the first Prehistoric painters. At the same time, Luc Jacquet has taken his commitment to nature conservation a step further: in 2010 he launched his NGO Wild-Touch, a link between man and nature. This association is devoted to supporting nature conservation programmes through films and events.

Sylvia Johnson

Sylvia Johnson

Johnson will be discussing Roaming Wild

Sylvia Johnson made her first film as a Fulbright scholar in the ghettos of Brazil. The documentary film short,  “Alagados,”  was nominated for an award by the International Documentary Association, and screened as an official selection at film festivals across the globe. She is the founder of The Alagados Project, a 501c3 nonprofit that provides college scholarships as an exit strategy from poverty for talented first generation college students from the community where the film was made. Sylvia works as a producer, cinematographer, and editor through her production company, Free Roaming Studios. Her clients include top leadership of organizations such as the National Park Service and the Inter-American Culture and Development Foundation. Sylvia’s work has screened at Aspen Shortsfest, Telluride Mountainfilm, National Geographic, deadCENTER, and the American Conservation Film Festival among others. Born in Bolivia and raised in six different countries, Sylvia is a global citizen who loves sharing the world with others through film.

Ben Kalina

Ben Kalina

Kalina will be discussing Shored Up.

Ben is a film director and producer whose work focuses on the intersection of science, culture and the environment. He directs and produces original documentaries, narrative shorts and cross-media projects as well as client-driven video productions. Ben has worked for years with Niijii Films on the documentaries Two Square Miles and A Sea Change, two award winning films which have been successfully deployed for environmental justice and education, and both of which have been nationally broadcast in the U.S. Among his current projects Ben is currently directing and producing Shored Up, which explores the Army Corps’ controversial and ongoing beach replenishment project along the New Jersey Shore. In addition to his documentary work Ben has won several international awards for his short narrative film, Diorama.

Jeremy Kaplan

Jeremy Kaplan

Kaplan will be discussing A Will for the Woods.

Jeremy Kaplan is a director, cinematographer, and editor who resides in Brooklyn, N.Y. He received his B.A. from Boston College in Film and Philosophy and his M.A. in Documentary/Media Studies at The New School. His documentary work has brought him across the globe to Costa Rica, Egypt, and South Korea. He has produced award-winning short fiction films while short documentaries he has worked on played more recently at the Woodstock Film Festival and Africa World Documentary Film Festival. The topics have ranged from the environmental impact of American corporations in Costa Rica to a portrait of a progressive New York orthodox Jewish community. In 2009, he was a post-production intern on the 2010 Oscar-nominated documentary, Restrepo. While considering himself mostly a documentarian, he has worked as a producer and production manager for fiction films including the feature length film, Surviving Family (2012). The almost four years spent on A Will for the Woods have been the most gratifying work yet due to moving subject matter and the collaborative nature of the project.

Douglas Kass

Douglas Kass

Kass will be discussing Emptying the Skies

Douglas Kass is an Adjunct Professor of Filmmaking and Film Studies at Elon University in the United States of America. He has a Master of Arts degree from the University of Southern California School of Cinema-Television and a Bachelor of Arts degree with High Honors in Film/Art from Wesleyan University, where he also received the prestigious Frank Capra Award. Emptying the Skies is Mr. Kass’ first feature-length film. His previous work includes several shorts – subjects including the documentary Behind the Walls of S-21, a devastating recollection of life and death at the notorious S-21 Prison during the Khmer Rouge era in Cambodia. This film includes rare interviews with survivors and the prison’s most notorious executioner.  Behind the Walls of S-21 was funded by the United Nations and distributed by The Documentation Center of Cambodia on Independent Networks though out Asia.

J.J.  Kelley

J.J. Kelley

Kelley will be discussing The Meaning of Wild.

J.J. Kelley is a distinguished filmmaker and adventurer.  A producer at National Geographic, Kelley has been contributing to the production of original content for The National Geographic Channel, NOVA, The New York Times and PBS.  Some of his shows include The President’s Photographer, Bones of Turkana, and Battle for the Elephants a 2013 one-hour special investigating the illicit trade in elephant ivory. He is also the co-creator of the adventure production company, Dudes on Media.  His award winning feature documentaries have aired NBC Universal Sports, PBS, Outside TV and 10 international television networks, in addition to winning over 20 film festival awards including The Best Environmental Film Award at the 2013 Sedona Int’l Film Festival.  Paddler Magazine called his Emmy nominated second film, Paddle to Seattle “the best feature film about paddling produced in the past decade.” Kelley is an Appalachian Trail Thru-hiker, biked across Alaska, kayaked from Alaska to Seattle, and traveled the length of The River Ganges.  He regularly stops in the studios as a guest on National Geographic Weekend to share his most recent adventures. This will Kelley’s 4th visit to EFF, pervious films include: Bones of Turkana, Battle for the Elephants and Go Ganges!

Fredric  King

Fredric King

King will be discussing Haiti Redux.

Fredric King was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award for Streets of Legend. The film was also the winner of Best Cinematography at Sundance. Fredric developed Blue Valentine, he launched the distribution arm of his company, Fountainhead Transmedia to spearhead the domestic and international sales of his cult film B.I.K.E.  When not making movies or video games, Fredric is making concrete in Haiti to aid in the rebuilding efforts.  While in production of Haiti Redux, a documentary about the reconstruction efforts after the earthquake of January 12, 2010. Fredric recognized the significant potential impact of private sector investment in 2011 he conceived, formed and launched the Haitian American Reconstruction Partnership (HARP) to harness this potential to affect positive social change.

Ben  Knight

Ben Knight

Knight will be discussing DamNation.

Ben, a self-taught photographer/filmmaker jumped ship after a decade at a daily newspaper just before the industry began cutting back and rolled the dice with his friend Travis—starting a small production company called Felt Soul Media. Ben was raised in North Carolina, but has spent the past 17 years in Telluride, Colorado where he spends the majority of his time in a dimly lit room obsessing over how best to tell an obscure story. Felt Soul Media has a neatly organized pile of awards on display in a tiny closet in Ben’s office.

Richard Krantz

Richard Krantz

Krantz will be discussing The Goose with the Golden Eggs: Tourism on Costa Rica's Pacific Coast.

Richard Krantz has a background of more than 20 years as a journalist, including 12 years as a newspaper reporter and eight as television reporter. He is the president of Pilot Productions, a video production company based in Columbia, Maryland, founded in 1986.  He spent much of his journalism career as an investigative reporter and won many national and local awards.  These include a Gavel Award from the American Bar Association; the Roy Howard Public Service Award; the Ohio State Broadcasting Award; two Emmys; plus awards from the American Political Science Association and the Associated Press Managing Editors.  He has worked for the St. Louis Globe-Democrat; the Louisville Courier-Journal and Times; and at WHAS-TV in Louisville; KTVI-TV in St. Louis; and WTTG-TV, in Washington, D.C.  He has produced documentaries on the founding of Columbia, Maryland, and for 10 graduating classes of the U.S. Naval Academy.  Through Pilot Productions he has produced videos for the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago; the National Electrical Contractors Association; Xerox Corp.; the International Law Students Association; and many other clients.  He has also taught journalism at Webster University, in St. Louis, and at Southern Illinois University.

Elizabeth  Kucinich

Elizabeth Kucinich

Kucinich will be discussing Ground Operations: Battlefields to Farmfields and GMO OMG.

Elizabeth Kucinich, Policy Director for the Center For Food Safety, is a sustainable pure food and vegan advocate, a champion for peace, human and animal rights and the environment. As a key advocate for GMO labeling, she was Executive Producer for the documentary, GMO OMG, which will be screening this year at the Environmental Film Festival in the Nation's Capital. She serves on the board of the Rodale Institute, America's oldest organic research institute.

Mark Kulsdom

Mark Kulsdom

Kulsdom will be discussing Dutch Weed Burger as part of the City Fixes - Shorts Program.

Mark Kulsdom is a cultural historian who works as a videographer and shoots one-man-crew documentaries. Prior to his film work, Mark was heavily involved in the Animal Liberation Movement in The Netherlands. He is mostly interested in people who engage in the large issues and conflicts in the world. His work brought him to countries like, Burma, Sudan and the Gaza-strip. He is currently rather occupied with The Dutch Weed Burger, because his film turned out to be a perfect recipe for a social enterprise serving the food of the future.

Dave Liang

Dave Liang

Liang will be performing and discussing Himalaya Song.

Dave Liang is the Emmy winning creator and producer of The Shanghai Restoration Project, an electronic group that combines Chinese instrumentation with hip-hop and electronica. His music has reached the top of the electronic charts and can often be heard in TV shows, radio programs, and advertising campaigns around the world. His projects have received coverage in The New York Times, NPR, BBC, and The Wall Street Journal. He has performed at the Sundance Film Festival, the American Museum of Natural History, MASS MoCA, the Hong Kong New Vision Festival and recently returned from touring in Indonesia and Japan. In addition to his production work for artists on his own label Undercover Culture Music, Liang has also worked with artists on Bad Boy, Warner, and Universal. His most recent album The Classics was featured on NPR's All Things Considered and consists of remakes of classic 1930s Shanghai jazz standards.

Judith Lit

Judith Lit

Lit will be discussing After Winter, Spring

After a childhood spent on her family’s farm in rural Pennsylvania, Judith earned a B.A. from Syracuse University’s Newhouse School of Communications and an M.A. in Theater Arts from University of Colorado. She began her filmmaking career as Associate Producer of internationally acclaimed DARK CIRCLE, a feature length documentary by Judy Irving, Chris Beaver and Ruth Landy, on the perils of the nuclear arms race and its link to nuclear energy production. The film garnered numerous awards including a National Emmy, Grand Prize at Sundance, Blue Ribbon at the American Film Festival and a Certificate of Special Merit from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences. Judith went on to produce and direct award-winning VOICES FROM THE CLASSROOM, a look at the crisis in American education, and AS SEEN ON TV, exploring the impact of television violence on young children. She was director of post-production for Teresa Tollini’s BREAKING SILENCE and Ruth Landy’s PLACES FOR THE SOUL, distribution coordinator for Pat Ferrero’s QUILTS IN WOMEN'S LIVES and HOPI: SONGS OF THE FOURTH WORLD, and was director of the San Francisco Women on Screen Film Festival. She has served on the jury of the San Francisco International Film Festival and the American Film Festival. In addition to directing and co-producing AFTER WINTER, SPRING, Judith is co-author with Jane Weiner of LES ABEILLES DE VÉZELAY, a documentary in production with Arte France about a village in Burgundy struggling to restore its biodiversity and to eliminate the use of pesticides. She is also completing a book entitled Other Harvests and for the last 16 years has divided her time between New York City and a small farm in the Périgord region of southwestern France.

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