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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.

Mia MacDonald

Mia MacDonald

MacDonald will be discussing What's for Dinner?

Mia MacDonald is the Co-Executive Producer of WHAT’S FOR DINNER?, a short documentary film directed by Jian Yi. She is the Executive Director of Brighter Green (www.brightergreen.org), a New York-based public policy action tank works to raise awareness and encourage dialogue on and policy attention to issues that span the environment, animals, and sustainable development globally, with a particular focus on equity and rights. WHAT’S FOR DINNER? grew out of policy research and analysis by Brighter Green on China’s changing food systems, shifting dietary patterns, and climate change. MacDonald is also a Senior Fellow of the Worldwatch Institute, worked closely with the late Nobel peace laureate Wangari Maathai on writing and other projects, and has taught in the environmental studies program at New York University and the human rights program at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs.

Leah Mahan

Leah Mahan

Mahan will be discussing Come or Hell or Highwater: The Battle for Turkey Creek.

Leah Mahan is an independent documentary filmmaker whose work has been nominated by the Directors Guild of America for Outstanding Directorial Achievement. She has been a fellow at the Sundance Institute Documentary Editing and Story Lab and the Producers Institute for New Media Technologies. Leah’s film Sweet Old Song (2002) was featured on the PBS series P.O.V. and was selected by film critic Roger Ebert to be screened at his Overlooked Film Festival (“Ebertfest”). The film tells the story of Howard “Louie Bluie” Armstrong, an old-time string band musician who undertakes a bittersweet journey with the woman he loves. In 2013 she completed Come Hell or High Water: The Battle for Turkey Creek, about a group of determined Mississippians who struggle to save their endangered Gulf Coast community in the face of rampant development, industrial pollution and disaster. She worked with Gulf Coast NGOs to develop a related community journalism project titled BRIDGE THE GULF. Leah began her career as a research assistant for filmmaker Henry Hampton on the groundbreaking PBS series on the civil rights movement Eyes on the Prize. A sequel to her first film, Holding Ground: The Rebirth of Dudley Street (1996), was completed in 2013. The films tell the story of a vibrant community organization that transforms a devastated Boston neighborhood through grassroots organizing. Leah’s work has been supported by the Sundance Institute Documentary Fund, Independent Television Service, Ford Foundation and W.K. Kellogg Foundation. She holds a BA in anthropology from Cornell University and an MFA in Cinema from San Francisco State University. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and their two children.

Edward Markey

Edward Markey

Senator Markey will be giving remarks at HR 6161: An Act of Congress.

Senator Edward J. Markey, a consumer champion and national leader on energy, environmental protection and telecommunications policy, has a prolific legislative record on major issues across the policy spectrum and a deep commitment to improving the lives of the people of Massachusetts and our country. Whether the issue is climate change, clean energy, safeguarding privacy, nuclear non-proliferation, investor protection or preserving an open Internet that spurs competition and consumer choice, Senator Markey stands up for the priorities and values of Massachusetts. While serving for 37 years in the U.S. House of Representatives, Senator Markey fought for his constituents throughout his Congressional District. When he was Dean of the Massachusetts delegation in the House, he worked to harness the energy and influence of his colleagues on behalf of the entire Commonwealth. Elected to the Senate in a special election in June 2013, Senator Markey is bringing his experience, energy and expertise to fight for all the people of Massachusetts.

Brentin Mock

Brentin Mock

Mock will be discussing Come Hell of Highwater: The Battle for Turkey Creek.

Brentin Mock writes regularly for Grist about the connections between environmental policy, race, and politics. He was lead reporter on Voting Rights Watch, a reporting partnership between Colorlines and The Nation. Before moving to D.C., he worked from New Orleans with The Lens and Bridge the Gulf.

Reilly Morse

Reilly Morse

Morse will be discussing Come Hell or Highwater: The Battle for Turkey Creek.

Reilly Morse is president/CEO of the Mississippi Center for Justice. In partnership with the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, he has led legal advocacy for environmental justice and equity in disaster recovery in southern Mississippi.

Merete Mueller

Merete Mueller

Mueller will be discussing Tiny: A Story About Living Small.

Merete is a writer and documentary filmmaker based in Brooklyn, New York. With a background in nonfiction editorial and writing, she was formerly the Managing Editor of elephant journal, a magazine-turned-online journal focused on sustainability and "the mindful life." She has also worked with environmental journalist Simran Sethi and as a freelance writer and producer. TINY, which premiered at SXSW in 2013 and was recently broadcast on Al Jazeera America Presents, is her first film. She is currently writing a book based on her grandmother's larger-than-life childhood in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, as well as developing a number of documentary shorts.

Diane Munns

Diane Munns

Munns will be discussing The Lithium Revolution.

As Senior Director, Clean Energy Collaboration, Diane Munns identifies potential partners, nurtures shared dialogue, develops opportunities to leverage our common work and implements tactical joint efforts for the EDF Clean Energy Program. Diane is no stranger to the clean energy sector.  Over the years she has worked tirelessly to improve energy efficiency.  In her previous position as Vice President of Regulatory Relations and Energy Efficiency with MidAmerican Energy Company, Diane represented the company at national and regional regulatory forums and was responsible for direct management of the energy efficiency group, including strategy, personnel, budget and compliance, among other duties.  She also spent a year as Executive Director for Retail Energy Services for the Edison Electric Institute, where she managed a staff of twelve, developed and directed EEI’s policy positions for investor-owned utility members in the states and before Congress and established the Institute for Energy Efficiency to provide services to membership on state ratemaking, energy efficiency, supplier diversity and National Accounts. Before that Diane spent over two decades with the Iowa Utilities Board first as General Counsel and later as the Chairman and Member.  As General Counsel, Diane was the chief legal officer for the agency responsible for management of the office, legal advice to the Board and all filings and pleadings made in state and federal court.  As Chairman, she acted as chief administrative officer responsible for budgeting, personnel, legislative and legal strategy and media messaging for the 65-member state agency.  And, finally, as a gubernatorial-appointed member of a 3-member quasi-judicial board, Diane was responsible for regulating gas, electric and telecommunication companies within the State of Iowa.  While Chair or the Commission, she served two terms as the President of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC). In 2006, Diane received the United States Energy Association Public Service Energy Leadership Award, which recognizes government officials who have motivated and advocated action to address energy efficiency.  She received her B.A. from University of Iowa (Phi Beta Kappa) and her J.D. from Drake University.

Jean-Nicolas Orhon

Jean-Nicolas Orhon

Orhon will be discussing Slums: Cities of Tomorrow.

Jean Nicolas Orhon is a writer director in both documentary and fiction film. After completing his studies in cinema and anthropology, he directed Asteur (2003), a documentary about the survival of the French language and culture in Louisiana. In 2008, he directed the short fiction film Tu t’souviens tu? The same year, he completed Tant qu’il reste une voix, a documentary about the collecting and recording of oral traditions. In 2011, he directed the short fiction Roule moi un patin, along with some fifteen vignettes exploring the world of wine for the TV program Des kiwis et des hommes. In 2012, he directed Les Nuits de la poésie, a feature length documentary celebrating Quebec poets from 1970 to the present. The world premiere of his most recent documentary, Slums: Cities of Tomorrow, is set for 2013 at the Montreal International Documentary Festival. (RIDM).

Kristin Pauly

Kristin Pauly

Pauly will be discussing Farming for the Future: Enduring Traditions - Innovative Practices.

Kristin Pauly is a managing director of Prince Charitable Trusts, in Washington, DC.  The Trusts operate as a family foundation with grant programs in Chicago, Washington, DC and Rhode Island.  She has been with the trusts since 1997.   From 1990 to 1998 she was manager of urban and metropolitan programs for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation based in Annapolis, Maryland.   In that capacity she wrote several publications advocating more sustainable growth in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan region.    Earlier Ms. Pauly was an assistant program officer with the Ford Foundation and also an assistant program officer with the Carnegie Corporation of New York.  Kristin served on the Board of the Funders Network on Smart Growth and Livable Communities and of the Center for Watershed Protection.   She was a founder of the Chesapeake Bay Funders Network and now serves as Co-Chair.  She is also a founding member and Co-Chair of the Washington Regional Convergence Partnership. She is a resident of Annapolis, Maryland, and has an 18-year old daughter.

Lee Pera

Lee Pera

Pera will be discussing Tiny: A Story About Living Small.

Lee Pera co-founded Boneyard Studios - the nation's first tiny house on wheels community - in Washington, DC after years of dreaming of building a tiny house.  When she's not building her house or organizing tiny house design workshops, she works as a geographer for the US Environmental Protection Agency where she teaches people how to make maps and tell stories with data.  Having spent much of her life moving and living in other countries, she is intrigued by how we conceptualize home and create community in our increasingly urbanized and mobile world.

Rowan Pybus

Rowan Pybus

Pybus will be discussing Amazing Grace as part of the Eric Moe Sustainability Film Award Program.

Director, Rowan Pybus, is a Cape Town based filmmaker. He began his career studying graphic design at CPUT, but ultimately shifted towards video and photography. His company Makhulu first opened its doors in 2003 and has subsequently established itself as a leading South African production house of online and broadcast content. Rowan’s dynamic approach as a filmmaker, cinematographer and editor has lead to Makhulu creating high-impact content for global brands like WWF, Red Bull, VW, and Adidas. Additionally, Makhulu is proud to be working on ethical projects for Princeton University, Wikimeida, Greenpop, 46664, African Impact, and Water Writes. An ongoing collaboration between Rowan and renowned local graffiti artist, Faith47 has also resulted in a series of internationally acclaimed short films that have been exhibited across Europe. Rowan describes himself as an artist/filmmaker and a social activist who is the product of two worlds, the rationality of my father and the spiritual faith of my mother. Rowan draws from these two opposing forces to create his moving images of the world. Rowan is currently directing a series for Mediahouse called +27: The Social Innovators of South Africa.

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