Leslie D. Farrell (producer/director/writer): Emmy-, Peabody-, and two-time duPont-Columbia Award-winning producer/director/writer Leslie D. Farrell has been making documentaries for more than 20 years. She served as Series Producer and Producer/Director of Episode 3 of AFRICAN AMERICAN LIVES, a four-hour documentary series tracing Black history through genealogy and DNA science. The series, hosted by Henry Louis Gates Jr. and featuring Oprah Winfrey, Quincy Jones, and Whoopi Goldberg, aired nationally on PBS and was hailed by The New York Times as “the most exciting and stirring documentary on any subject to appear on television in a long time … exquisitely produced and brilliantly conceived.” Farrell is also known for documentaries she created for HBO, SPORTS ON THE SILVER SCREEN and JOURNEY OF THE AFRICAN AMERICAN ATHLETE, both highly successful award-winning films. She began her career at Blackside, Inc. in Boston, where she directed, wrote, and produced BROTHER’S KEEPER as part of the acclaimed national PBS series AMERICA’S WAR ON POVERTY. In subsequent years, she continued making films for PBS, including THE CHALLENGE OF FREEDOM, which aired nationally as part of WNET’s landmark series SLAVERY AND THE MAKING OF AMERICA. Farrell’s work has also been seen on BRAVO, The History Channel, MTV, BET, NBC, and other national outlets.
Bennett Singer (producer/director/writer) is an award-winning New York-based filmmaker/writer with 20 years of experience. His feature-length film BROTHER OUTSIDER: THE LIFE OF BAYARD RUSTIN premiered at Sundance, was broadcast nationally on PBS’ P.O.V. series, and went on to garner more than 25 international awards. It was shown at the Kennedy Center, the United Nations, The Department of Justice, and for members of Congress, as well as at more than 250 festivals and community screenings in Africa, Asia, Europe, and North America; it has also been used by an array of social-justice organizations including Human Rights Watch, which has shown the film to more than 5,000 high school students. The film, which Singer produced and directed with Nancy Kates, was broacast on LOGO/MTV and in 2012 was selected by Bill Moyers for his list of Ten Documentaries on Champions of Social Justice. Singer worked for five years at Blackside, Inc. in Boston, where he was an Associate Producer on the Emmy- and Peabody-winning EYES ON THE PRIZE II and an editor of two books on civil rights history. He served as producer/director for WITH GOD ON OUR SIDE: THE RISE OF THE RELIGIOUS RIGHT and as producer for THE QUESTION OF EQUALITY, both broadcast on PBS. For eight years, he was executive editor of TIME Magazine’s education program, where he produced award-winning teaching materials for a variety of film and television projects, including HBO’s THE LARAMIE PROJECT, UNCHAINED MEMORIES, and JOHN ADAMS. A recipient of a New York Foundation for the Arts fellowship in video, Singer has served on the P.O.V. Editorial Committee, as a reader for ITVS’ Open Call, and as a juror for the Emmy Awards.
David Deschamps (producer/director/writer) first conceived of the idea for a humorous documentary on America’s election system while serving as Senior Researcher for John Nichols’ JEWS FOR BUCHANAN (The New Press), an irreverent look at the election of 2000. He was a researcher for William Martin’s WITH GOD ON OUR SIDE: THE RISE OF THE RELIGIOUS RIGHT IN AMERICA (Broadway Books). A former staff writer for TIME Magazine’s Education Program, Deschamps has edited several political-science anthologies published by Pearson Prentice Hall, including a collection of readings on the 2004 presidential election. He studied film scoring at Berklee College of Music and is the co-director of WHAT I DID FOR LOVE, a forthcoming feature-length documentary on the joys and struggles that face musicians in America.
Mridu Chandra (co-producer) has been producing both award-winning documentaries and narrative films for over a decade. In addition to producing THE CANAL STREET MADAM (SXSW 2010) and co-producing BROTHER OUTSIDER: THE LIFE OF BAYARD RUSTIN (Sundance 2003, PBS/P.O.V. 2003), she produced LET THE CHURCH SAY AMEN (Sundance 2004, PBS/Independent Lens 2005), which was selected by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences as one of the “most outstanding documentaries” of 2004. Her independent feature film credits include LOVE, LUDLOW (Sundance 2005), PUNCHING AT THE SUN (Sundance 2006) and POUNDCAKE (AFI-LA 2008). Additionally, she served as coordinating producer for the award-winning documentary series WOMEN, WAR & PEACE (PBS 2011), which profiled the impact of modern conflicts on women, and the role that women are increasingly asserting in peace-building. She has taught graduate level film classes at The New School Department of Media Studies and at New York University in their School of Continuing and Professional Studies. A grant recipient of the Urban Artist Initiative and of the Tribeca Film Institute, she has been selected to participate in the CPB/WGBH Producers Academy, the Tribeca Film Institute’s All Access Program, and in the 2011 Open Doors co-production lab at the Locarno Film Festival in Switzerland.
Joseph Friedman (director of photography)chose a career in filmmaking because of his love for documentaries and his fascination with the real world. One of his earliest assignments as cinematographer was WE’RE NOT THE JET SET, an unromantic and candid view of a Nebraska farm and ranching family that was produced and directed by Robert Duvall. He shot Duvall’s second feature, ANGELO MY LOVE, which premiered at Cannes and had an international theatrical release. Over the past 25 years, Joe has shot dozens of documentary features and docudramas that have appeared in theaters and on HBO, PBS, The Discovery Channel, The History Channel, CBS, ABC, NBC and BBC. Selected credits include MARTHA & ETHEL (Sundance premiere; Best Documentary, Hamptons Film Festival; theatrical release via Sony Pictures Classics); DEATH BY HANGING (HBO’s American Undercover series); LIFE OF GRIME: NEW YORK (BBC/Discovery); AFRICAN AMERICAN LIVES (national PBS broadcast); and NEW SCHOOL ORDER (Sundance film festival premiere). Joe just completed shooting two one-hour shows for the acclaimed PBS series “NOVA Science Now” which will air this fall. He’s currently shooting a feature documentary about the romance novel industry.
Jay Keuper (editor) is an award-winning editor with more than 25 years of experience. He recently completed work on HALF THE SKY, a two-part PBS film based on the book by Sheryl WuDunn and Nicholas Kristof. Keuper edited ADDICTION INCORPORATED, a 2011 feature-length documentary about a scientist turned whistleblower against Philip Morris. Additional credits include BOSTON MEDfor ABC (the only documentary series selected for The New York Times 10 Best Television Series of the year); THIS EMOTIONAL LIFE, a six-hour PBS special exploring human emotion; BUILDING ALASKA (PBS); CARRIER (Emmy-winning PBS series); WOMEN OF THE HOLY KINGDOM (New York Times Television); THE BATTLE FOR SOULS (New York Times Television); and an adaptation of Eudora Welty’s THE WIDE NET for American Playhouse. For EGG, Keuper edited and co-produced the Emmy-winning special A DAY AT THE MET and served as supervising editor on CITY ARTS, an Emmy- and Peabody-winning documentary series examining the art scene in New York. He was an editor for Michael Moore’s Emmy-winning TV NATION, LATE NIGHT WITH CONAN O’BRIEN, and SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE.
Don Epstein (Executive Producer) has been the heart and soul of Greater Talent Network for more than 30 years. As CEO and founder, Epstein’s interest in the lecture industry began when he was a student at the University of Florida booking concerts and speakers for the student body. After graduation, Epstein pursued his love of entertainment, working for New Line Cinema and running their speakers’ division. Then in 1982, he went out on his own to do what he does best and started GTN. During the agency’s infancy, Epstein promoted avant-garde cultural icons like Hunter S. Thompson, Abbie Hoffman, and Timothy Leary. Over the years, his knack for recognizing talent on the cusp of their careers catapulted GTN into the country’s most prestigious speakers bureau. He has since expanded the influence of the lecture circuit, utilizing it as a proving ground and launching pad for some of the most exciting new voices in broadcasting, literature and entertainment.
ABOUT MO ROCCA
Mo Rocca (host): Humorist, actor and writer Mo Rocca is best known for his off-beat news reports and satirical commentary. Currently a Correspondent for CBS Sunday Morning, he’s also a panelist on NPR’s hit weekly quiz show Wait, Wait…Don’t Tell Me! and the host of Foodography and My Grandmother’s Ravioli on Cooking Channel. Mo spent four seasons as a correspondent on Comedy Central’s The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and four seasons as a correspondent on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.
The former president and author of Harvard University’s Hasty Pudding Show, Mo is no stranger to the stage, where his credits include the roles of Vice Principal Douglas Panch in Broadway’s The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee and Doody on the Southeast Asia Tour of Grease.
Mo’s book All the Presidents’ Pets: The Story of One Reporter Who Refused to Roll Over is a tour-de-force of investigative journalism that blows the lid off a long-held Washington secret: Presidential pets are more than just photo-ops. Equal parts All the President’s Men, Charlotte’s Web and The Da Vinci Code, Pets is the journalistic watershed event of the decade. Really.
Mo began his career in TV as a writer and producer for the Emmy and Peabody Award-winning PBS children’s series Wishbone. He went on to write and produce for other kids’ series, including ABC’s Pepper Ann and Nickelodeon’s The Wubbulous World of Dr. Seuss — a pre-school series combining the whimsy of Seuss characters with the magic of Jim Henson puppetry.
Mo also served as consulting editor at the adult men’s magazine Perfect 10. Doing “pre-school by day and porn by night” helped prepare him for the broad range of topics he’d tackle on The Daily Show, where his eccentric profiles ranged from a man obsessed with first ladies to the point that he dresses as Florence Harding, to a husband/wife pet-mummification team.