Attending Filmmakers & Special Guests

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.

David Adamski

Adamski will be discussing Backyard Bugs.

Dr. Adamski has been an entomologist with the Systematic Entomology Laboratory, USDA, at the Smithsonian for the last 23 years. His expertise envolves studying night-flying moths, so you won’t see him in the summer months unless you’re in the middle for a forest around the “witching hour.” Dr. David Adamski has also been associated with the Smithsonian Early Enrichment Center (SEEC)  since 1990 when his son Jon was enrolled as a Bear (4-year olds). Later Dr. Adamski taught informal classes in both Bear classes for about 12 years before he officially became a part-time staff member at SEEC teaching science in the Kindergarten Class.

Bayar Banzragch

Banzragch will be discussing Give the World a Chance and Horse Trainer.

Bayar Banzragch was born in 1980 in Mongolia. In 2002 he graduated from the University of Culture and Arts with a major in painting. Since then, he has worked as a cameraman and director for TV programs and serials such as “Time and Youth,” “Moment,” “You Guess, You Think” and “Night Rhythm.” Currently he works as a director for his production company “Semoon.” In 2012 his film “Give the World a Chance” won the Second place in Egypt International Film Festival.

Elizabeth Becker

Becker will be discussing The Goose With the Golden Eggs: Tourism on Costa Rica’s Pacific Coast.

Elizabeth Becker is the author of OVERBOOKED: the Exploding Business of Travel and Tourism which Arthur Frommer called "required reading for anyone interested in the future of travel." She reported on international and national affairs as a correspondent at the New York Times, winning multiple awards, was the senior foreign editor of National Public Radio, and began her career as a war correspondent in Cambodia for the Washington Post. She is the author of the classic WHEN THE WAR WAS OVER, Cambodia and the Khmer Rouge.

Keith Bellows

Bellows will be discussing Gringo Trails

Keith Bellows is the Senior Vice President and Editor-in-Chief of National Geographic Travel Media and National Geographic Traveler magazine. Traveler is the world’s most widely read travel magazine and the category’s No. 1 performer on U.S. newsstands. Under his stewardship, the magazine has been nominated for two National Magazine Awards, won more than 60 Lowell Thomas Awards for best travel writing (it has been named best magazine eight of his 15 years as the editor), and 10 Folio Awards for Best Travel Magazine. In 2011 he was named as the winner of NATJA’s inaugural “Spirit of Kalliope Award” for overall achievement in travel journalism.  Prior to joining National Geographic, Mr. Bellows launched as its creative director; was the executive producer of; and was founding partner of WestWorld Media. He created and edited more than 30 magazines for Whittle Communications, and has written for Esquire, Sports Illustrated, Parenting, AARP, and many other magazines. He also wrote The Canuck Book and the 1998 Winter Olympics ACCESS Guide for ABC-TV. His book, 100 Places That Can Change Your Child’s Life, was published in February 2013. Mr. Bellows is a graduate of Gordonstoun School in Scotland and Dartmouth College. He lectures extensively around the world and his more than 200 television appearances include the TODAY Show, Good Morning America, and a regular segment on National Geographic Today.

Bill Benenson

Benenson will be discussing The Hadza: The Last of the First.

Producer-Director Bill Benenson has been making films for thirty years, beginning with his award-winning documentaries The Marginal Way and Diamond Rivers.  He has produced or executive produced numerous feature films including Boulevard Nights, The LightshipA Walk on the MoonMister JohnsonWatching the DetectivesDiminished CapacityTrucker, and the 2011 documentary Who Bombed Judi Bari?  Bill also produced and directed the acclaimed environmental documentary Dirt! The Movie, which premiered at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival and was featured as the Earth Day special on PBS’ Independent Lens in 2010. In addition to The Hadza: The Last of the First Bill is currently working on a documentary about the search for a lost Pre-Columbian city in Central America.  Bill served in the Peace Corps in Brazil. He has wanted to make a film about the Hadza ever since he encountered them on safari in Tanzania in 2003.

Suzan Beraza

Beraza will be discussing Uranium Drive-In.

Born in Jamaica and raised in Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, social and environmental issues pervade Suzan’s work. Her films have appeared on National Public Television and on the Documentary Channel, at Lincoln Center, and at many festivals. Her last film, BAG IT, was honored as a finalist at the Puma Creative Impact Awards in Berlin, and has been televised in over thirty countries. Her current project, URANIUM DRIVE-IN, is a recipient of Sundance Institute and Chicken and Egg funding and was featured at Good Pitch and at Hot Docs Pitch Forum. The film is currently on the festival circuit and recently won the Big Sky Award at Big Sky Film Festival.

Jon Bowermaster

Bowermaster will be discussing On the Edge, Antarctica 3D.

A six-time grantee of the National Geographic Expeditions Council and award-winning writer and filmmaker Bowermaster’s ten-year-long OCEANS 8 project took him and his teams around the world by sea kayak during the past ten years, on expeditions ranging from the Aleutian Islands to Vietnam, French Polynesia to Chile/Argentina/Bolivia, Gabon to Croatia and Tasmania to Antarctica. Seeing the world from the seat of a sea kayak has given Bowermaster a one-of-a-kind look at both the health of the planet’s ocean and the lives of the nearly four billion people around the globe who depend on them. His eight-part film series documenting the OCEANS 8 project has shown in 150 countries on the National Geographic Channel. Recently named one of a dozen Ocean Heroes by the National Geographic Society, Jon’s website and blog (Notes from Sea Level, continues his reporting on the world’s coastlines, the people who live along them and issues of importance to anyone interested in and concerned about the planet’s one ocean. Author of twelve books, Jon’s most recent are "Descending the Dragon" about his travels in Vietnam published by National Geographic Books and “Wildebeest in a Rainstorm,” a collection of profiles of our most intriguing conservationists and explorers and published by Menasha Ridge Press. His companion book to the Jacques Perrin/DisneyNature film “Oceans” was published alongside the premiere of the film on Earth Day 2010. Jon’s most recent documentaries are “Terra Antarctica, Rediscovering the Seventh Continent,” “What Would Darwin Think? Man v. Nature in the Galapagos” and the prize-winning “SoLa, Louisiana Water Stories.” His most recent film — “Dear Governor Cuomo” — looks at the controversy surrounding fracking in New York State. Jon’s next film, due in Spring 2014, is the first 3D film to be shot in Antarctica. “On the Edge, Antarctica 3D” begins distribution through museums and science institutions around the globe beginning Spring 2014. Bowermaster lives in New York’s Hudson Valley.

Joshua Brau

Brau will be discussing GMO OMG.

Joshua Brau is Program Manager for Food With Integrity at Chipotle Mexican Grill, where he works to develop and execute Chipotle’s vision for changing traditional fast food culture. He previously worked in the U.S. Sustainable Supply Chain group at McDonald’s Corporation. Josh received an MBA from the Yale School of Management and an MEM from the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies. He is a founding member of Elm City Market, a grocery cooperative in New Haven, CT.

Frans Bromet

Bromet will be discussing Escaping the Flood.

Frans Bromet is a renowned Dutch independent filmmaker. After his studies in cinema and editing at the Dutch Film Academy in 1964, he directed his own film productions and cinema films such as Ciske de Rat (1963) and Op Hoop van Zegen (1985). Since 1991 he has been producer, director and cameraman for a number of documentaries and tv series. He was guest of honor at the 2008 International Documentary Film Festival in Amsterdam, on which occasion a retrospective of 15 of his films were screened. He has also taught master classes, together with Raoul Heertje. In ESCAPING THE FLOOD, Frans Bromet raises awareness of the possible consequences if rising waters, due to climate change, threaten his family’s existence in the small Dutch village of Ilpendam, located in a Dutch polder. Experts predict that Ilpendam will be gone within 50 years, and Bromet and his family need to make the difficult choice whether they should stay there or move somewhere else. This discussion has become very relevant in the US as well, where after hurricanes Katrina and Sandy US citizens are faced with the same dilemma.

Amy Browne

Browne will be discussing A Will for the Woods.

Amy Browne grew up in Australia and moved to New York to study theater at The American Academy of Dramatic Arts. After graduation, she completed her Bachelor’s degree at The New School University. There, she directed three short films and initiated her first feature film, A Will for the Woods. When her sister Sophie first introduced her to the concept of green burial, which connects the profundity and beauty of nature with the cycle of death and life, Amy was inspired to further explore the idea through film. What started out as a short student project has grown into a life-changing four year journey. Amy also works with independent film producer Steve Holmgren in Brooklyn, NY. Her film credits include Assistant Producer on Marie Losier’s avant-garde documentary The Ballad of Genesis and Lady Jaye (Tribeca 2011), Associate Producer for cult favorite Cory McAbee’s Crazy & Thief (Los Angeles Film Festival 2012), and Unit Production Manager and Associate Producer on critically-acclaimed director Matthew Porterfield’s latest, I Used to be Darker (2013 Sundance Film Festival).

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Environmental Film Festival in the Nation's Capital