KIRSTEN JOHNSON, DIRECTOR, PRODUCER & CINEMATOGRAPHER

Kirsten Johnson has worked as both documentary cinematographer and director committing herself to human rights issues and visual creativity. She is the principal cinematographer on over 40 feature-length documentaries and has been credited on countless others.

After graduating from Brown University in 1987 with a BA in Fine Arts and Literature she travelled to Senegal to study with acclaimed filmmakers Djibril Diop Mambety and Ousmane Sembene. The experience inspired her to apply to the French National Film School (La Femis), where she began to study cinematography. While in La Femis she began to shoot the documentary Derrida, with directors Amy Ziering and Kirby Dick the earliest of Johnson’s work to appear in Cameraperson.

After graduating from La Femis she went on to shoot a number of highly-acclaimed and award-winning documentaries including “Pray the Devil Back to Hell” “Fahrenheit 9/11”  “This Film is Not Yet Rated” and “The Invisible War.”  

She has a longstanding collaboration with Oscar-winning filmmaker Laura Poitras, credited as cinematographer for “The Oath,” “Citizenfour,” the upcoming "Asylum." Additionally, she shot footage that appeared in Poitras' visual exhibition on surveillance, which opened at the Whitney Museum in spring 2016.

In 2009 Johnson embarked on a directorial project documenting the lives of two teenagers in Afghanistan, the film was to be called “A Blind Eye.” After 3 years of shooting and cutting one of the teenagers retracted her permission to be featured and the film’s scope was reconsidered and structured around the footage that was shot, as well as footage from over 30 films Johnson had worked on over the years. Eventually this was edited into the film that became "Cameraperson."

When not shooting she teaches the class in “Visual Thinking” at the NYU Graduate Journalism Department, a course in cinematography at SVA, and often leads workshops for young camerapeople and documentarians under the auspices of the Arab Art and Culture Fund in countries such as Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, and Saudi Arabia.

 

MARILYN NESS, PRODUCER

Marilyn Ness is a two-time Emmy Award-winning documentary producer. Most recently Ness produced Dawn Porter’s TRAPPED and Kirsten Johnson’s CAMERAPERSON, both of which are premiering at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival. She also produced Katy Chevigny and Ross Kauffman's feature documentary E-TEAM, which premiered at Sundance Film Festival in 2014 and was bought by Netflix Original, as well as Johanna Hamilton's feature documentary 1971 which premiered at Tribeca Film Festival 2014 and was broadcast on Independent Lens in May 2015. Ness directed and produced the documentary feature film BAD BLOOD: A CAUTIONARY TALE that broadcast nationally on PBS in 2011 and was the centerpiece of a major campaign to reform blood donation policies in the U.S.

 

ABIGAIL DISNEY, EXECUTIVE PRODUCER

Abigail E. Disney is a filmmaker, philanthropist and the CEO and president 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, Tribeca Film Festival 2008). She then executive produced the five-part PBS series, WOMEN, WAR & PEACE.  Her executive producing and producing credits include Fork Films supported films 1971, CITIZEN KOCH, FAMILY AFFAIR, HOT GIRLS WANTED, THE INVISIBLE WAR (2012 Academy Award Nominee, Best Documentary Feature), RETURN and SUN COME UP (2011 Academy Award Nominee, Best Documentary Short).Her most recent projects include Fork Films original productions THE TRIALS OF SPRING, which she executive produced, and THE ARMOR OF LIGHT, her directorial debut.Disney is also the founder and president of Peace is Loud, a nonprofit organization that uses media and live events to highlight the stories of women who are stepping up for peace and resisting violence in their communities.

 

GINI RETICKER, EXECUTIVE PRODUCER

Chief Creative Officer of Fork Films, Gini Reticker is an Academy Award-nominated and Emmy Award-winning director and producer with a distinguished career that spans more than 20 years. In 2014, she directed THE TRIALS OF SPRING, which chronicles a young woman’s journey from an Egyptian village to becoming an international human rights activist.  Premiering at the Human Rights Watch Festival in June 2015, the documentary was part of a multi-media project which includes six short films appearing online on The New York Times.  Concurrently, Reticker executive produced Abigail Disney’s 2015 directorial debut THE ARMOR OF LIGHT, which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival.Reticker directed PRAY THE DEVIL BACK TO HELL, the inspiring story of Liberian women whose actions helped bring an end to a brutal civil war. She received an Academy Award nomination for the short film, ASYLUM, recounting one woman’s journey to political asylum in the U.S. The same year she was nominated for an Emmy for producing A DECADE UNDER THE INFLUENCE, a look at the heyday of 1970s filmmakers, which garnered the National Review Board's Award for Best Documentary. Her first film THE HEART OF THE MATTER, a groundbreaking film about women and AIDS, won the Sundance Film Festival’s Freedom of Expression Award. Reticker also garnered an Emmy for LADIES FIRST, the story of women rebuilding post-genocide Rwanda.  She was a creator and executive producer of the PBS series WOMEN, WAR & PEACE, recipient of the Overseas Press Club’s Edward R. Murrow Award as well as The Academy of Television Honors Award. Reticker has also co-produced or executive produced such notable films as: THE BETRAYAL (NERAKHOON) -nominated for both an Academy Award and an Independent Spirit Award - and Fork Films supported 1971, ALIAS RUBY BLADE, CITIZEN KOCH, HOT GIRLS WANTED, and SHE'S BEAUTIFUL WHEN SHE'S ANGRY.

 

NELS BANGERTER, EDITOR

Nels Bangerter’s feature documentary editing credits include LET THE FIRE BURNwinner of Best Editing awards from the IDA, Cinema Eye Honors, and Tribeca Film Festival; HBO's VERY SEMI-SERIOUS; KUMU HINA, winner of the Independent Lens Audience Award; and WAR CHILD, which premiered at the Berlinale and won Tribeca's Audience Award. He was also editor of BUZKASHI BOYS, an Oscar-nominated fiction short produced and edited in Kabul, Afghanistan, and he was nominated for a News & Documentary Emmy for his work at Dan Rather Reports. Nels holds an MFA in film production from USC and is based in Oakland, California.  Before becoming an editor, he worked in a gold mine, lived in a redwood tree, and earned degrees in English and electrical engineering.

 

DANIELLE VARGA, CO-PRODUCER

Danielle Varga is a documentary filmmaker based in Brooklyn, NY. She has worked in key roles on numerous award-winning documentary films and television series. Danielle was an associate producer on Johanna Hamilton’s 1971, which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2014 and won IDA’s award for its archival footage. She was an archival producer on Matt Wolf’s TEENAGE, which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2013. As a researcher she has worked on the documentary films E-TEAM (Sundance Film Festival, 2014) and PARTICLE FEVER (Sheffield Documentary Festival, 2013). For television, Danielle was associate producer on the PBS series MAKERS and on Bill Moyers' current affairs program MOYERS & COMPANY. She has worked on a number of films for PBS’s American Experience and Frontline series.

 

AMANDA LAWS, CO-EDITOR

Amanda Laws is a Brooklyn based independent filmmaker, working both in documentary and narrative. Her editing work includes most recently the romantic comedy IT HAD TO BE YOU, directed by Sasha Gordon and executive produced by Chris Columbus. In documentary her work has included editing (among others) THE IMPOSTER: HOW TO WRITE BANJO CONCERTO directed by Bela Fleck and SaschaPaladino, SHOOTING SCRIPT by Frank Hall-Green, and IT WAS RAPE by Jennifer Baumgardner. In 2011 she acted as a mentor to the documentary fellows at the DoxBox film festival in Syria, and in 2013 she attended the Sundance Doc Edit lab with an earlier version of CAMERAPERSON, then titled A BLIND EYE.