KEY CREATIVE PERSONNEL
Nitin Sawhney, Ph.D. (Director)
Nitin Sawhney is Assistant Professor of Media Studies at the New School for Public Engagement. His research, teaching and creative practice engages the critical role of technology, artistic interventions and DIY cultures among communities in contested spaces. Nitin previously taught at the MIT Program in Art, Culture and Technology (ACT) and conducted research at the MIT Media Lab. Since 1995, Nitin has worked on several video shorts and interactive media projects, including HyperCafe, an experimental work, which won the Douglas Engelbart prize and was showcased at the MILIA Interactive conference in Cannes, France. Since 2006, Nitin co-founded a nonprofit initiative Voices Beyond Walls to conduct digital video and storytelling workshops with children and youth in Palestinian refugee camps in the West Bank and Gaza. During a 5 year period, the program was conducted in over 10 refugee camps with nearly 70 video shorts produced. Nitin also co-founded the Boston Palestine Film Festival to showcase Palestinian Cinema to mainstream American audiences and support emerging Palestinian filmmakers. Flying Paper is his first feature-length documentary film.
Roger Hill (Director)
Graduated from Ohio University with a degree in Film, Sociology and African American Studies. While a student Hill completed his first short feature length documentary, Witness a Peace Movement: a Documentary from the Streets of the U.S. Anti-War Movement. Shortly after relocating to the Bay Area he founded MentalRev Productions. Roger has since directed, filmed and edited a compilation of 12 short documentaries, music videos and a narrative-documentary hybrid on issues such as: Homophobia and the ballot box, Police violence during protest actions, the historic March for Women’s Lives in Washington D.C., Love Stories from people experiencing homelessness, Military Recruitment Lies, the experience of Lebanese Civilians during the 2006 "July War," and more. The Anthology DVD of Mental-Rev short films was completed in 2009. In 2012 Hill completed the documentary film Struggle concerning U.S. election fraud, and the racist allocation of voting resources. Struggle aired over 20 times on Link TV in the run up to the 2012 Presidential Election. Hill has co-produced a segment for the program Democracy Now, and contributed video to works by artists such as Roger Waters of Pink Floyd and rapper Pharoahe Monch, in addition to several independent documentary projects. His work has been seen in the Athens International Film and Video Festival, Minneapolis Film Festival, the traveling Take Back Democracy Film Festival, The Arab Film Festival in San Francisco, the Standing Rock Film Festival, received honorable mention at the Twin Rivers Media Festival, and more. Hill has toured with his films in cities across the United States and worked as a trainer with the Voices Beyond Walls participatory media program in Gaza during the summer of 2010.
Uzma Hasan (Executive Producer)
Uzma Hasan is an independent producer whose most recent feature THE INFIDEL was released in 22 territories internationally and has been met with critical and commercial acclaim. Spawning a Bollywood remake and an NBC spin off TV series, it has crossed $5m at the global box office. Her current slate includes BAPTISM, a thriller to be directed by Oscar nominee Uli Edel and the screen adaptation of Gautam Malkani’s cult novel LONDONSTANI. In addition to producing, Uzma consults for film financing companies in the UK, US and Middle East including the Doha Film Institute and Harvardwood Film Fund. She sits on the selection committees for Mira Nair’s MAISHA Filmmaking Labs, the British Independent Film Awards and Eurimages, the Council of Europe’s film fund. Prior to producing independently, Uzma was head of development at Slingshot Productions, with creative and commercial responsibilities across its entire slate. She has worked on both sides of the Atlantic - in the independent and studio sector - with companies including Focus Features, The Salt Company and Tribeca Film Festival on the development, production and exploitation of feature films. Before moving into film, Uzma was a PR consultant at Ogilvy and Mather. Graduating with first class honours in English Literature from University of Wales, Cardiff she went on to read Film and Literature at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences where she was a Kennedy Scholar.
Nitin Sawhney (Original Music)
Nitin Sawhney is one of the most distinctive and versatile musical voices alive today. Firmly established as a world-class producer, songwriter, DJ, multi-instrumentalist, orchestral composer and cultural pioneer, Sawhney has become a latter-day Renaissance man in the worlds of music, film, videogames, dance and theatre. Sawhney’s output as a musician is astonishing. He has scored for and performed with many of the world’s leading orchestras, and collaborated with and written for the likes of Paul McCartney, Sting, The London Symphony Orchestra, A.R. Rahman, Brian Eno, Sinead O’Connor, Anoushka Shankar, Jeff Beck, Shakira, Will Young, Taio Cruz, Get Cape Wear Cape Fly, Ellie Goulding, Asa, Horace Andy, Cirque Du Soleil, Akram Khan, Mira Nair, Nelson Mandela and John Hurt. Performing extensively around the world, he has achieved an international reputation across every possible creative medium. Often appearing as Artist in Residence, curator or Musical Director at international festivals, Sawhney works tirelessly for musical education, acting as patron of the British Government’s Access-to-music programme and the East London Film festival as well as acting as a judge for The Ivor Novello Awards, BAFTA, BIFA and the PRS foundation. He is a recipient of 4 honorary doctorates from British universities, is a fellow of LIPA and the Southbank University, an Associate of Sadler’s Wells, sits on the board for London’s Somerset House and in 2007 turned down an OBE for ethical reasons. Nitin is now signed with Universal Music Publishing (U.K.). www.nitinsawhney.com
Anne Paq (Co-Producer and Photography) (Gaza From Within: Co-Director and Cinematography)
Anne Paq is a French freelance photographer based in the West Bank since 2003 and an educational coordinator with Les Enfants, Le Jeu et l’Education (EJE), a non-govermental organization based in Bethlehem, West Bank (Palestine). She is a member of ActiveStills, a collective of photographers engaged in documenting subjects of social and political interest. Anne has focused her photographic work on capturing day-to-day life under occupation, Palestinian children, refugees and displaced persons, the Wall and its impact on Palestinians, as well as non-violent resistance to occupation. In 2006 she developed a project called Images for Life with the Al Rowwad Center in the Aida refugee camp, aimed at empowering Palestinians through photography and video. During the project, Anne trained a group of 8 young photographers (aged 13 to 17) who produced a photo exhibition presented in Palestine and abroad. Anne also participated in trainings with Askar and Shu’fat refugee camps. In 2007, she co-directed her first video short, “Bethlehem checkpoint, 4AM” which was selected for the 2008 Boston Palestine Film Festival. In July 2008 she joined the Voices Beyond Walls team and assisted with the workshop in Shu’fat camp, while supervising the production of a video short called “Intensive Care Unit”, based on a poem by Mahmoud Darwish. www.annepaq.com
Abeer Ahmed (Co-Producer, Gaza)
Abeer is a young student based in Jabaliya refugee camp, Gaza and a graduate from the Voices Beyond Walls Youth Media Program. She wowed her trainers right away with her intellect and pension for conducting matter-of-fact interviews with both kids and adults. Abeer is a leader amongst a dozen of her peers who both graduated from the four-week media program, and further went on to assist the director in the production of the film. Abeer and her counter-parts, several of whom appear throughout the film, were instrumental in conducting interviews, filming, and shaping this film. Abeer and her young colleagues straddle the film as both a characters within the story, and as vital members of the production team.
Anas A. Hamra (Gaza From Within: Co-Director, Cinematography)
Born in Qatar on 1991, Anas came to Gaza-Palestine in 2000 and has traveled many countries in the Middle-East and United States. Studied at New York University in 2013 -Journalism and Social Entrepreneurship, and a holder of BS degree in Information Technology of Multimedia from University of Palestine. Currently working in Gaza in the journalism & social media field, works as a media producer and specialist with many local and international organizations & private sector clients. Founder of RED Media Production for Multimedia and Information Technology Solutions www.RedMedia.org, and the media producer of www.VoicesOfGaza.com. Anas is interested in new media marketing, communications, photography, filmmaking, media production and blogging.
Rafael Parra (Supervising Editor)
Rafael is a two-time Emmy award winning editor, a faculty in Media Studies at the New School, and co-founder of Timeline Film and Video, Inc., a production and post production company in New York. His clients include: Public Health Solutions, Bravo Group (Young and Rubicam) Sesame Workshop, VIDICOM, and the United Nations. Parra has worked on all film and video genres including fiction, documentary, news, and commercials. Mr. Parra has been sharing his experience in digital media with university students in the Masters Program in Media Studies at the New School, teaching graduate courses in Aesthetics of Editing and Digital Video Editing for Documentary. Among his most salient work is the Sesame Street Series, Disney's "Out of the Box", ethnic documentary "Panchita, the Weaver" featured in the Margaret Mead festival and numerous short-form pieces and documentaries for the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).
Geeta Gandbhir (Consulting Editor)
Geeta has been nominated for three Emmy Awards and has won two, and her films have won one Academy Award and three Peabody Awards. Some notable works as Editor and Story Producer include the four-hour HBO documentary series "When the Levees Broke" for filmmaker Spike Lee, for which she won an Emmy Award for Best Editing, the feature documentary "By the People: The Election of Barack Obama", (executive produced by Edward Norton and released by HBO) for which she won her second Emmy Award, and "Music By Prudence", a documentary produced by HBO and Director Roger Ross Williams, which won the 2010 Oscar for Best Short Documentary, the feature doc "Budrus" by Just Vision Films which won Silver at the 2010 Berlin Film Festival and The Special Jury Mention at the 2010 Tribeca Film Festival, Spike Lee's follow-up to "When the Levees Broke" entitled "If God Is Willing and Da Creek Don't Rise" for which she was nominated for an Emmy Award, and "God is the Bigger Elvis" which was nominated for the 2012 Academy Awards. Her last film is with author and Academy Award nominated director Sebastian Junger about photographer Tim Hetherington who was killed in Libya in 2011.
Ahmed Elabd (Editor)
Ahmed is an Egyptian/American video editor, producer and photographer based in New York. Shortly after graduating from the American University in Cairo, Ahmed moved back to New York where he grew up as a child. He has worked on documentaries focusing on social issues in the Middle East including Words of Witness (a documentary following young female journalist Heba Afify through the Egyptian Revolution) as well as Holy Land a documentary following six diverse characters of the West Bank. His interests include Jazz, Philosophy, Travel and the Singularity.
Ramon Iriarte Campos (Assistant Editor)
Ramon studied political science at the Universidad Nacional de Colombia, and holds a Masters degree in Media Studies from The New School, New York. Ramon’s work is mainly focused on documentary filmmaking around social issues. He has worked on productions for NGOs like the UN-UNHCR, CHF International and the World Wildlife Fund, as well as mainstream networks like Al Jazeera, MTV Latinoamerica and DTV. Ramon's short films are showcased online here.
Farzad Wafapoor (Trailer Editing)
Farzad earned his Master's degree in Mass Media Communication from Webster University in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1998. As an independent producer and director, Farzad created numerous documentary films one of which won the 1996 Emmy Award of Mid America Chapter. His other works aired on PressTV, South American Public TV stations, and Eastern European TV channels. Farzad currently teaches advanced editing at the New England Institute of Art as an adjunct lecturer.
Steve Herbert (Music Direction)
Classically trained in the UK in music, biology and software, and in the USA in business, Steve has worked successfully with startup ventures for many years. Steve established Frogpond Studios in 2000 as a creative sound studio for kids. He has worked each year as a mentor to high schools kids in the greater Boston area guiding them towards their creative possibilities without limits. Other productions include soundtrack for Work of 1000, music for Geni Skendo’s Acoustic Cowboys and much wild and wonderful music from kids.
Daniel Nienhuis (Animation and Titles)
Daniel is a video editor and animator working out of central Pennsylvania, and holds a Masters degree in Media Studies from The New School, New York. He works primarily in After Effects and Final Cut Pro, but also does traditional stop-motion animation and has experience with 3D CG animation. Personal website: wataingi.com
Francois Vaxelaire (Website and Print Design)
Francois was born in Belgium with a background in Sociology. He is currently completing his Masters degree in Media Studies from The New School, New York. More about his media and design projects can be found on this website. One of his recent projects in the East DR Congo is called "Heavy Loads".
Hadeel Assali (Creative Consultant)
Lives in New York City, where she is pursuing an MA in anthropology at The New School. In a previous life, she worked as an engineer in design and environmental remediation. She has a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and a joint master’s degree from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the National University of Singapore. She founded the Houston Palestine Film Festival in 2007, which won the Houston Press award for Best Film Festival two years in a row. She produced and co-directed her first short film, “Daggit Gazza,” which screened in several cities across North America. Hadeel is originally from Gaza and was raised in the southern United States (Louisiana and Mississippi).
Butheina Kazim (Creative Consultant)
Butheina Kazim is a Fulbright Scholar of Media, Culture and Communication at New York University in New York City. Kazim served as the Channel Manager of Noor Dubai TV, the region’s first radio-television channel. During her time at Arab Media Group, home to MTV Arabia and Nickelodeon Arabia, she was the Project Manager for Seen TV, which was set to be the Middle East's first dedicated arts and culture broadcast platform. In 2010, she was the recipient of the Women in Leadership award for the Leading Woman in the Public Sector category. Butheina Kazim is the Producer of the award winning documentary film Letters to Palestine, which premiered at the Dubai International Film Festival, received a Special Jury Award at Abu Dhabi Film Festival and screened in Palestine, Spain and Argentina.
Sara Fusco (Festival Coordinator)
Sara is a freelance videographer, producer and non-profit communications strategist. She has ten years of experience directing advocacy, fundraising and outreach campaigns, with a particular focus on video and new media. Previous documentary work has taken her to Syria, Lebanon, Uganda, Rwanda and South Sudan in partnership with UN and NGO projects. Sara is currently studying for her Master's in Media Studies at The New School.
Julia C. Hurley (Outreach Coordinator)
Julia is a non-profit professional and Palestinian rights advocate, who lectures, writes, and raises funds for projects related to children and development in the Middle East, working primarily with American Friends of UNRWA as Adopt a School Campaign Liason and serving on the Board of the NJ Chapter of the Palestine Children's Relief Fund. She has traveled to the West Bank of Palestine three times since 2007 and the Gaza Strip twice since 2009, meeting the co-directors of Flying Paper during her first trip. She currently resides in Washington DC and tweets @JuliaCHurley.
Voices Beyond Walls (Youth Production Team)
This film was made in conjunction with Palestinian youth who were trained in the Re-Imagining Gaza program, as part of the Voices Beyond Walls initiative. Nearly a dozen Palestinian youths aged 12 - 16 joined the production crew filming intimate footage in neighborhoods across Gaza as well as evocative footage from the record breaking festival. Throughout the production the youth team assisted with the film in several areas including cinematography, photography, conducting interviews with their peers, creative writing, technical innovation for the filming (designing a aerial camera rig for kites) and general assistance throughout the primary filming of the documentary. This film carries it’s playful tone, and provides unique perspectives from children, because of the contributions of this extraordinary youth team. www.VoicesBeyondWalls.org