Gini Reticker
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Gini Reticker is an Academy Award nominated documentary filmmaker. Much of her work has focused on women engaged in struggles for social justice and human rights. Her directorial debut was THE HEART OF THE MATTER, a groundbreaking film about women and HIV that received the Sundance Freedom of Expression Award. In 2004, Reticker was nominated for an Academy Award for the documentary short ASYLUM, which portrayed the story of a Ghanaian woman who came to the US seeking political asylum. In 2005, Reticker took home an Emmy for LADIES FIRST, which highlighted the crucial role women played in rebuilding post-genocide Rwanda; and received a second Emmy nomination for producing A DECADE UNDER THE INFLUENCE, which celebrates the 1970s as a turning point in American cinema. In 2006, she joined forces with producer Abigail Disney to direct the renowned PRAY THE DEVIL BACK TO HELL, which tells the inspirational story of the women of Liberia and their efforts to bring peace to their broken nation after decades of destructive civil war. After winning best documentary at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2008, PRAY THE DEVIL BACK TO HELL went on to wide acclaim. Viewed across the US at community screenings, in theaters and on public television, it went on to screen in over 60 countries around the world, and is broadly credited with helping its lead figure, Leymah Gbowee, to be named a Nobel Peace Prize winner in 2011. Since then, Reticker was an executive producer of a five part series, WOMEN, WAR & PEACE, 2011 winner of the Overseas Press Club’s Edward R. Murrow Award and The 2011 Television Academy Honors Award. This series was a first-of-its-kind look at the role of women in war in the modern age, not just at victims of conflict but as active agents for peace in their communities. Other films to Reticker’s credit are: Director, IN THE COMPANY OF WOMEN (IFC); Producer/Director, NEW SCHOOL ORDER (PBS); Co-producer on THE BETRAYAL (Nerakhoon), a nominee for both an Academy Award and an Independent Spirit Award; and Executive Producer on Fork Films’ 1971, ALIAS RUBY BLADE,CITIZEN KOCH, HOT GIRLS WANTED, and SHE'S BEAUTIFUL WHEN SHE'S ANGRY. Reticker is currently producing and directing The Trials of Spring, a multi-media project about the role of Arab women before during and after the revolutions in Libya, Tunisia and Egypt.
Abigail E. Disney
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Abigail E. Disney is an award-winning filmmaker, philanthropist and the CEO and president of Fork Films. An active supporter of peacebuilding, she is passionate about advancing women's roles in the public sphere. Disney's 20+ films and series focus on social issues, sharing a quality of spotlighting extraordinary people who speak truth to power. Disney's directorial debut, THE ARMOR OF LIGHT, has been selected for the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival. THE ARMOR OF LIGHT follows an Evangelical minister trying to find the courage to preach about the growing toll of gun violence in America. Reverend Rob Schenck, anti-abortion activist and fixture on the political far right, breaks with orthodoxy by questioning whether being pro-gun is consistent with being pro-life. Having grown up in a family of filmmakers, Disney turned to documentaries in 2008, inspired to tell the story of a brave group of women who used nonviolent protests and sex strikes to bring an end to Liberia's long civil war. That film, PRAY THE DEVIL BACK TO HELL, won best documentary at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2008, and screened in 60 countries around the world on all seven continents. PRAY THE DEVIL BACK TO HELL is broadly credited with highlighting the bravery and sacrifice of its lead figure, Leymah Gbowee, who received a Nobel Peace Prize in 2011. The extraordinary response to PRAY THE DEVIL BACK TO HELL led Disney to work on the five-part special series for PBS, WOMEN, WAR & PEACE. which aired in 2011 and was the winner of the Overseas Press Club's Edward R. Murrow Award, a Gracie Award, and a Television Academy Honor. This first-of-its-kind series created and executive produced by Abigail Disney, Pamela Hogan and Gini Reticker looked at the role of women in war in the modern age, not just as victims of conflict, but as active agents for peace in their communities. PRAY THE DEVIL BACK TO HELL also led to Disney founding Peace is Loud, a nonprofit dedicated to supporting and spotlighting women who are stepping up for peace and resisting violence in their communities. Together, Fork Films and Peace is Loud produced WOMEN, WAR & PEACE screening kits, dubbed into four languages, for use by international grassroots organizations in an ambitious global outreach campaign. To date, over 1,500 screening kits have been shared with 250 partner organizations at 575 screening events reaching 35,000 viewers. Events featuring the films have taken place in 82 countries - reaching all continents, including Antarctica. Disney has also executive produced films on a wide array of social issues, including 1971, FAMILY AFFAIR, CITIZEN KOCH, HOT GIRLS WANTED, THE INVISIBLE WAR (Academy Award Nominee®, Best Documentary Feature), RETURN, and SUN COME UP (Academy Award® Nominee, Best Documentary Short). Disney's other producing credits include: THE MAS YOU LIVE IN; SHE'S BEAUTIFUL WHEN SHE'S ANGRY; THE IRAN JOB; SEXY BABY; MOTHERS OF BEDFORD; THIS IS HOW I ROLL; ALIAS RUBY BLADE; and PLAYGROUND.
Kirsten Johnson
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Director of Photography
Kirsten Johnson, who works both as a cinematographer and director, recently shot the Sundance 2012 Audience Award winner, THE INVISIBLE WAR. In 2011, she was the supervising DP on Abby Disney and Gini Reticker's series, WOMEN, WAR AND PEACE, traveling to Colombia, Bosnia, and Afghanistan. She shared the 2010 Sundance Documentary Competition Cinematography Award with Laura Poitras for THE OATH. Her cinematography is featured in FARENHEIT 9/11, Academy Award-nominated ASLYUM, Emmy-winning LADIES FIRST, and Sundance premiere documentaries, FINDING NORTH (now titled "A Place at the Table"), THIS FILM IS NOT YET RATED, AMERICAN STANDOFF, and DERRIDA. A chapter on her work as a cinematographer is featured in the book, "The Art of the Documentary”. She is currently editing a documentary on sight that she shot and directed in Afghanistan. Her previous documentary as a director, DEADLINE (co-directed with Katy Chevigny), premiered at Sundance in 2004, was broadcast on primetime NBC, and won the Thurgood Marshall Award.
Johanna Hamilton
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Johanna Hamilton most recently directed and produced 1971, about the break-in of a small FBI office in Media, Pennsylvania by a group calling itself the Citizens’ Commission to Investigate the FBI. The break-in revealed the existence of COINTELPRO, a huge secret, illegal, domestic surveillance program. It premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2014. It won the IDA’s ABC News VideoSource award and Cinema Eye’s Spotlight Award and was broadcast on Independent Lens in May 2015. Prior to that she co-produced PRAY THE DEVIL BACK TO HELL the gripping account of a group of brave and visionary women who demanded peace for Liberia, a nation torn to shreds by a decades old civil war. It premiered at the 2008 Tribeca Film Festival where it won Best Documentary and was short-listed for an Academy Award. She has produced non-fiction programs for, amongst others, PBS, The History Channel, and The Washington Post/Newsweek Productions. She began her career in the run-up to South Africa’s first all-race elections working on the country’s premier investigative news magazine program, "Carte Blanche".
Kate Taverna
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An artist, amateur pianist, documentary film director and editor, Kate Taverna has edited about 50 independent and broadcast films for PBS Great Performances, American Masters, Wide Angle, Court TV, A&E, ARTE France and Germany, and BBC Bookmark. SHE'S BEAUTIFUL WHEN SHE'S ANGRY won the Audience Award at the 2014 Boston Independent Film Festival. ASYLUM (2004) and KILLING IN THE NAME (2011) were nominated for Academy Awards in the Best short Documentary category. PRAY THE DEVIL BACK TO HELL won Best Documentary award at the 2008 Tribeca Film Festival. Her edited documentaries for Bill Moyers’ series and the Egg Show on PBS have received Emmy awards. Taverna has also co-directed, co-produced and edited the 2012 feature length In Bed with Ulysses, as well as the 1989 Lodz Ghetto, an award winning feature documentary which screened at international festivals, was theatrically released nationally, aired on PBS and continues to be broadcast internationally.


Leymah Roberta Gbowee
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Leymah Roberta Gbowee
Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, 2011

Request Nobel Peace Laureate Leymah Gbowee to speak at an event through SPEAK Peace. 2011 Nobel Peace Laureate Leymah Gbowee (pronounced LAY–mah, BEAU-wee) is a Liberian peace activist, trained social worker and women’s rights advocate. She is Founder and current President of the Gbowee Peace Foundation Africa. She also founded the Liberia Reconciliation Initiative and Co-Founder and former Executive Director of Women Peace and Security Network Africa (WIPSEN-A). She is also a founding member and former Liberia Coordinator of Women in Peacebuilding Network/West Africa Network for Peacebuilding (WIPNET/WANEP). Leymah currently serves as a member of the High-Level Task Force for the International Conference on Population and Development. She is a board member of the Federation of Liberian Youth. Leymah’s leadership of the Women of Liberia Mass Action for Peace – which brought together Christian and Muslim women in a nonviolent movement that played a pivotal role in ending Liberia’s civil war in 2003 – is chronicled in her memoir, Mighty Be Our Powers, and in the documentary, Pray the Devil Back to Hell. In addition, Gbowee is the Newsweek Daily Beast's Africa columnist. She serves on the Board of Directors of the Gbowee Peace Foundation and the PeaceJam Foundation, and she is a member of the African Women Leaders Network for Reproductive Health and Family Planning. Leymah has been an Oxfam Global Ambassador since 2013. She is also a member of the International Honorary Committee of the Global Biosphere Institute and the Aurora Prize Selection Committee. She holds a M.A. in Conflict Transformation from Eastern Mennonite University (Harrisonburg, VA), and a Doctor of Laws (LLD) honoris causa from Rhodes University in South Africa and University of Alberta in Canada. Leymah was honored as a flag-bearer for the opening ceremony of the 2012 Olympic Games in London. After receiving the Barnard College Medal of Distinction, she was named as a Distinguished Fellow in Social Justice and a Visiting Transnational Fellow at the Center for Research on Women, and Fellow in Residence at the Athena Center for Leadership Studies at Barnard College for the 2013/2014 academic year. Leymah was on August 20,2016 awarded the Lifetime Africa Achievement Price(LAAP) for Peace in Africa by the Millennium Excellence Foundation. She is currently Executive Director of the Women, Peace and Security Program at Columbia University, a Distinguished Scholar-Activist Fellow at the Union Theological Seminary, a Member of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Advocacy Group and a proud mother of eight children.
Etweda “Sugars” Cooper
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Etweda “Sugars” Cooper
Sec. General, Liberian Women's Initiative
Etweda “Sugars” Cooper is one of the doyennes of the Liberian women’s movement and is known for speaking out. In 1994, during one of the darkest hours of the civil war in Liberia, she and other women -- tired of being victimized and frustrated at the stalemate in the peace process -- founded the Liberia Women Initiative to advocate for disarmament and free and fair elections, and also to bring pressure to bear on stakeholders for the inclusion of women in negotiating a settlement of the Liberian conflict. Throughout 14 years of civil war she used mass action including picketing, sit-ins and marches involving grassroots and professional women and their groups to attract world attention to the plight of women and children and to urge the international community to take action to end the war. As a strategist for the Liberian Women peace activities under the auspices of Women In Peace building Network, WIPNET, Sugars was unrelenting in lobbying factional leaders through visits, dialoguing and pleading with them to resolve the stalemate in the Accra Peace Talks in 2003, urging them to agree to a ceasefire and to constitute a transitional government.
Vaiba Flomo
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Vaiba Flomo
President, Christian Women's Peace Initiative
Vaiba Flomo (pronounced VAH-bah FLOH-moh) was working with the Lutheran church’s trauma healing program when Leymah came to intern with the program and the two quickly became good friends. Vaiba, haunted by the constant reminders of war —children dying from hunger or being abandoned because their parents couldn’t feed them—began to press Leymah to mobilize the women of Liberia because as she says “there’s not a single woman in Liberia who will tell you that she doesn’t have pain from the crisis.” Together with Leymah they worked to bring the Christian and Muslim women’s groups together. Where there was some initial reluctance to engage with the other faith, Vaiba developed the message: “can the bullet pick and choose? Does the bullet know Christian from Muslim?” Reluctance faded into action, and the women began their campaign. To this day, Vaiba works with victims of trauma. And she marvels at what the women managed to achieve: “sometimes when I really think on the work I’m like ‘wow, just two little country African girls’ dream has become so big’.”
Asatu Bah Kenneth
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Asatu Bah Kenneth
Police Officer
Asatu Bah Kenneth was a police officer for 25 years—since before the war began. As the president of the Liberia Female Law Enforcement Association, Asatu was invited to the first meeting of WIPNET and then to the launch of the Christian Women's Initiative. She was so moved by what she heard that she stood up and pledged to mobilize the Muslim women of Liberia to help bring peace to Liberia. And she did, creating the Liberian Muslim Women’s Organization. Liberian Mass Action for Peace came into being when the two organizations joined. It was the first time Christian and Muslim women had worked together in Liberia. Asatu’s position in the police service gave her access to intelligence about the war. On one occasion, as the war was closing in on Monrovia, Asatu called a meeting with Leymah, Sugars and Janet and other key members of WIPNET. After that meeting the women issued the all-important position statement that they would eventually take to their meeting with Charles Taylor urging him to sit down at the peace table with the rebels. Her nickname is the “stabilizer” because she doesn’t take sides. After the war she became Liberia's Deputy Chief of Police and focused on bringing more women into the security sector. Recently she was appointed the Assistant Minister of Justice for Administration and Public Safety. She is proud to be part of the international peace-building community.
Etty Weah
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Etty Weah
WIPNET Activist
Etty Weah was one of the hundreds of ordinary women who became involved with WIPNET and the Liberian Mass Action for Peace. She was one of the many women who wore white and sat on the field day in and day out. Rain or shine. Bullets or no bullets. Before the war, she used to sell food in front of her house in one of the suburbs of Monrovia. As a regular church goer she responded to a call from the Christian Women's Initiative to become involved in Liberian Mass Action for Peace, and got to know Leymah. She was moved to attend the meeting because she deemed all Liberian women to be victims and thought there was strength in numbers if their voices were to ever be heard. As the war drew closer to Monrovia, and as the mother of two boys, she also feared for all the children who would be conscripted.
Janet Johnson Bryant
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Janet Johnson Bryant
Janet Johnson Bryant was a journalist. Much of the time she worked for the Catholic radio station, Radio Veritas in Monrovia. Her beat was the Executive Mansion, occupied by Charles Taylor, who had a virtual stranglehold over the media. Journalists were often openly bribed during press conferences. She also hosted a radio show about women’s issues. Bryant’s efforts to expose corruption during Taylor’s regime earned her the nickname "Iron Lady of Media." Janet met the women of WIPNET when she reported on them for a story. She soon became part of their outreach and advocacy program. Like Asatu, she used her position to garner important, strategic information that benefited WIPNET. In particular, Janet helped launch the Liberian Mass Action for Peace. Together with Leymah, Sugars and Asatu she helped draft the first press release calling for an immediate ceasefire and for all warring factions to sit down at the peace table. Janet then broadcast the message announcing the first meeting of the women in the field opposite Taylor’s house – hundreds of women showed up and stayed. She now lives in Dracut, MA, working towards a new goal: earning a master's degree in international diplomacy and returning to Liberia.



Gini RetickerPRODUCER
Abigail E. Disney

Johanna Hamilton

Blake Leyh

Kirsten JohnsonEDITORS
Kate Taverna and Meg Reticker

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