ABIGAIL E. DISNEY
Abigail Disney is a filmmaker, philanthropist, and the CEO of Fork Films. Disney’s longtime passion for women’s issues and peace building culminated in producing her first film, Pray the Devil Back to Hell (winner, Best Documentary Feature at the Tribeca Film Festival). She then executive produced the five-part special series for PBS, Women, War & Peace. Since then, she has produced numerous acclaimed social-issue films, including 1971, Citizen Koch, Family Affair, Hot Girls Wanted, The Invisible War (2012 Academy Award Nominee 2012, Best Documentary Feature), Return, and Sun Come Up (Academy Award Nominee 2011, Best Documentary Short). Upcoming projects include The Trials of Spring, and her directorial debut, The Armor of Light.
Disney is also the founder and president of Peace is Loud, a nonprofit organization that seeks to identify and support women who are stepping up for peace and resisting violence in their communities.
Executive Producer and Director
Gini Reticker has been directing and producing award-winning independent documentary films for over 20 years. Reticker directed Pray the Devil Back to Hell (2008), the inspiring story of Liberian women whose actions helped bring an end to a brutal civil war—it premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival where it won Best Documentary. She produced the Academy Award-nominated short Asylum (2003) the story of a Ghanaian woman who fled female genital mutilation to seek political asylum in the U.S; that same year she produced A Decade Under the Influence that looks at the heyday of 1970s filmmakers, was nominated for an Emmy, and garnered the National Review Board Award for Best Documentary. She received an Emmy for Ladies First (2004), the story of women rebuilding post-genocide Rwanda. Her first film The Heart of the Matter (1994) a groundbreaking film about women and AIDS, won the Sundance Freedom of Expression Award. She was a creator and executive producer of the PBS series Women, War & Peace (2011), recipient of the Overseas Press Club’s Edward R. Murrow Award as well as The Academy of Television Honors Award. Reticker has also coproduced or executive produced such notable films as The Betrayal (Nerakhoon)— nominated for both an Academy Award and an Independent Spirit Award; 1971, Alias Ruby Blade, Citizen Koch, Hot Girls Wanted, and She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry.
REGINA K. SCULLY
Regina K. Scully is Founder and CEO of Artemis Rising Foundation, which develops and promotes media, education and healing projects that transform our culture; and Founder and CEO of RPR Marketing Communications, a premier public relations agency specializing in brand building and consumer products. Scully is a leading communications and media consultant, social entrepreneur, education activist and documentary filmmaker with a successful track record of building and producing premier brands, projects and films that integrate cause-related issues, social media, education and outreach programs. She is an Academy Award-nominated executive producer, most recently in 2013 for the documentary Invisible War, about the epidemic rapes of women and men in the military. Invisible War won the 2012 Sundance Audience Award. Her additional executive producer credits include MissRepresentation, Anita: Truth to Power, Alice Walker: Beauty in Truth, Boyhood Shadows, Half the Sky, Essence Road and Fed Up, among others.
SALLY JO FIFER
Executive Producer for ITVS
Sally joined ITVS, as President and CEO in 2001, and during her tenure, ITVS programs have garnered 17 Emmy Awards, ten duPont-Columbia Awards, 22 Peabody Awards, one Golden Globe Award, and 16 Academy Award nominations. Sally has piloted ITVS through major programmatic expansion, launching the Emmy Award-winning PBS series Independent Lens in 1999. She served as Executive Director of the Bay Area Video Coalition from 1992-2001.
Beth Levison is a producer/director based in New York City and the recipient of two national Emmy Awards and three Peabody Awards. Her independent documentary feature debut Lemon, executive produced by Impact Partners and Russell Simmons, screened at some 40 domestic and international festivals, was broadcast on PBS stations nationwide as part of the VOCES series in 2012, and was selected to participate in the U.S. State Department’s American Film Showcase in 2014. She served as a consulting producer on Marina Abramovic: The Artist is Present, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2012 and garnered numerous awards. In addition to her independent documentary work, Levison has had a rich career in documentaries for television, having directed and produced projects for HBO, PBS, Sundance Channel, and others.
Supervising Field Producer
Razan Ghalayini’s Arabic-language short film, Noor, was shortlisted for the Student Academy Awards and went on to play at 25 film festivals around the world, winning the Warner Brothers Film Award and the National Board of Review Student Film Award. A graduate of NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, Ghalayini was Associate Producer of Koran By Heart, a documentary tracking three children as they competed in the world’s largest Koran recitation competition. It premiered at the 2011 Tribeca Film Festival and aired on HBO. Ghalayini Co-Produced We Are the Giant, a documentary by the same team about non-violent resistance through the lens of the Arab revolutions, with a focus on Syria, Bahrain, and Libya. We Are the Giant premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2014.
MOHAMED S. AMIR
Field Producer & Cinematographer
Mohamed Siam is an independent director/cinematographer. He has received several international grants in support of his projects, including from the Jan Vrijman Fund (IDFA Bertha), ITVS, HotDocs, the Arab Documentary Film Program of the Arab Fund for Arts and Culture, and the Sundance Documentary Institute. He is a Berlinale Talent Campus Alumnus and also participated in The Berlinale Campus Editing Studio, where he worked with the renowned Molly Marlene Stensgaard, Lars Von Trier’s editor. Siam has worked on several feature films as a 1st Assistant Director including the feature documentary The City Of The Dead – a Portuguese/Spanish co-production that won Best Film at Documenta, Madrid in 2010, and Tamer Said’s feature film, In the Last Days of the City. Siam is the founder and artistic director of the Artkhana Film Center in Alexandria, Egypt.
Field Producer & Cinematographer
Tamer Ashry is an Egyptian filmmaker. He is a graduate of Cairo University and has been working in media since 2003 as a producer, scriptwriter, cameraman, assistant director and director. Ashry’s work has been featured on several major international and national TV channels, including Al-Jazeera TV, BBC, CBC and ONtv. Ashry recently completed work on a documentary film about sexual harassment in Egypt.
Field Producer & Cinematographer
Aida Elkashef is an independent film director and actress based in Cairo, Egypt. Her directorial debut Rhapsody in Autumn received the Dubai Muhr Silver Award from her alma mater, the High Cinema Institute in Cairo, along with several international awards. Her debut role in the Indian independent film Ship of Theseus, directed by Anand Ghandi, earned her the Best Asian African Murh award at the Dubai International Film Festival and the Best Newcomer at the Bollywood Life OK Screen Awards. Elkashef has been active in several organizations and media campaigns during the Egyptian revolution, including Operation Anti-Sexual Harassment/Assault and No To Military Trials of Civilians. She is also a co-founder of the Cairo-based independent media collective Mosireen.
Mohamed Hamdy is an Egyptian cinematographer based in Cairo whose credits include the Academy Award nominated documentary The Square and the 2013 Sundance-premiered We Are the Giant. Hamdy shot over 500 hours of footage of the Tahrir Square revolution, witnessing history as it happened.
Anya K. Lewis is a nonprofit and fund raising professional with particular expertise in development for the arts, media, women’s rights and peace building. Prior to joining THE TRIALS OF SPRING team, she served as founding Director of the Gbowee Peace Foundation USA, which supports and promotes engagement with the vision and work of 2011 Nobel Peace Laureate Leymah Gbowee. Lewis was previously Senior Major Gifts Officer at WNET, where she was a lead fund raiser for Abigail Disney, Gini Reticker and Pamela Hogan’s 2011 PBS series WOMEN, WAR & PEACE. She also served as Campaign Director for the New Museum of Contemporary Art’s $74 million capital campaign for its new building, which opened in late 2007 in New York City. Earlier in her career, she worked in development for various New York-based performing arts and international cultural exchange organizations. She is a graduate of Tufts University.
Jenny Golden began her editing career in London working on commercials and music videos. She edited a video compilation for Yoko Ono that screened at MoMA; worked as a lead editor on the television series This American Life; and edited several short films for the photographer Todd Selby. Golden has edited such critically acclaimed independent documentary films as Manda Bala, which won the Grand Jury Prize at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival and the 2008 Indiepix Eye for outstanding editing; Bully, which received a Producers Guild of America Award, a DuPont-Columbia University Award, and other festival honors; and Sons of Perdition, which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival. Golden recently completed work on Watchers of the Sky, a documentary tracing the origins of genocide (directed by Academy Award-nominee Edet Belzberg). The film premiered at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival, where Golden received the U.S. Documentary Editing Award.
Dalia Ali moved to the U.S. after having joined millions of fellow Egyptians as a participant in her country’s 2011 revolution. Most recently, Ali was Associate Editor and Colorist on the Academy Award nominated documentary, The Square, which provides an account of how the revolution unfolded in Cairo’s Tahrir Square from 2011 through the summer of 2013. The Square also received the IDA Best Feature Award, the Sundance World Cinema Audience Award, and the Documentary Award at the Toronto Film Festival. Previously, Ali spent five years in Cairo working as an Editor/Colorist for commercial films, and simultaneously, as a creator of short films about Egyptian women, sexual harassment, and violence against women. Ali is a 2012 graduate of the UCLA Extension Film Directing Program.
Taylor is a journalist based in New York. Prior to THE TRIALS OF SPRING, she worked at ABC’s Investigative Unit and ABC Nightline. She also spent a summer working as a reporter in Ramallah, Palestine. A recent graduate of New York University’s honors program, she studied journalism, political economy, and Arabic. Her writing has appeared in media outlets such as ABC News, NY Daily News, Al Safeer Newspaper, and the World Policy Journal.
Egyptian American filmmaker Mona Eldaief is the director of the award winning documentary Rafea: Solar Mama, the story of a Bedouin woman from the Jordanian desert who struggles against the patriarchal rules of her society to receive an education as a solar engineer at the Barefoot College in India and in turn, empower the women of her village. Eldaief has worked as director, director of photography, and editor on documentary film and television projects around the world. Her documentary feature credits include The Square, Control Room, Startup.Com, A Wedding in Ramallah, and Her Name Is Zelda. Her television credits include work on programs for Frontline World, Discovery Channel, ABC News, and MTV News and Documentaries.
Amina Megalli has over 20 years of experience editing long-form documentaries, TV series, and short films. She recently completed work on Life Under Siege, a documentary about a U.S.-Palestinian family divided by the siege on the Gaza strip. She also edited a series of shorts for Human Rights Watch, including segments on sectarian tensions in Lebanon and the legal prosecution of Chadian dictator Hissen Habré. Additional credits include the six-hour series Hopkins (ABC News), World Birthday (The Learning Channel), and The Upbeat (Yahoo!). Megalli is the co-owner of MultiMedia Video in New Jersey and is fluent in Arabic and French.
Lauren Feeney is a documentary filmmaker and multimedia journalist. Feeney was the senior multimedia producer for several PBS programs, including Moyers & Company; WOMEN, WAR & PEACE; Need to Know; and Wide Angle. Her multimedia work has earned some of the web’s highest accolades including Webby and ONA (Online Journalism Association) awards. Her video pieces have been broadcast on PBS and Al Jazeera English and have been featured in film festivals around the world, while her writing and photography have appeared in The Philadelphia City Paper and The New York Times, among other publications. Feeney is a graduate of Bard College and The Columbia Graduate School of Journalism.
Associate Digital Producer
Mariam Dwedar is a cinematographer and multimedia producer from Brooklyn, New York. She has previously worked in Human Rights Watch’s Multimedia Division, where she contributed to Peabody Award- and Webby Award-winning projects. Mariam has filmed and worked on field productions for HRW in Egypt, Mexico, the U.S. and Jamaica, on issues covering the Arab uprisings, immigration, LGBT rights, juvenile justice, labor and more. As an Egyptian and an Arabic speaker, her knowledge and skills were critical in producing multimedia content during the Arab uprisings, and beyond. Mariam has been a part of collaborations with media outlets including The New Yorker, TIME, and the E-Team documentary.
Blake Leyh is a composer, music supervisor, music producer, and sound designer who lives in New York City. Born in New York but raised in England until age fifteen, Leyh has worked in film post-production sound and music for thirty years. His credits include films by James Cameron, The Coen Brothers, Spike Lee, Ang Lee, John Waters, Jonathan Demme, Julie Taymor, Stephen Daldry, and Rob Marshall. Leyh was the music supervisor and composer for all five seasons of HBO’s acclaimed series The Wire, and was the music supervisor for David Simon’s New Orleans series Treme. For his music work on Treme he was nominated for a Grammy and awarded an Emmy. He has composed musical scores for more than twenty feature films, including many award-winning documentaries. In 2013 Leyh spent five weeks touring the US performing music and sound design as a duo with Thomas Dolby in Dolby’s transmedia performance The Invisible Lighthouse. In 2014 Leyh was supervising sound editor for Disney’s musical film Into The Woods.
Maryam Habil is a Libyan-American journalist, who worked in Qatar, Libya and the United Arab Emirates before moving to New York City. She was the co-founder of the first private satellite Libyan TV channel startup team, Libya Al Ahrar TV, which was created in response to the Libyan uprising in 2011. Maryam holds a Master of Arts in Journalism from Columbia University in the City of New York and a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from the American University of Sharjah, U.A.E.