THOMAS ALLEN HARRIS – producer, director, writer
Thomas Allen Harris is the founder and President of Chimpanzee Productions a company dedicated to producing unique audio-visual experiences that illuminate the Human Condition and the search for identity, family, and spirituality. Chimpanzee’s innovative and award-winning films have received critical acclaim at International film festivals such as Sundance, Berlin, Toronto, FESPACO, Outfest, Flaherty and Cape Town and have been broadcast on PBS, the Sundance Channel, ARTE, as well as CBC, Swedish Broadcasting Network and New Zealand Television. Born in the Bronx and raised in New York City and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, Harris is a graduate of Harvard College and the Whitney Museum of American Art’s Independent Study Program. Mr. Harris’ newly released film, “Through a Lens Darkly: Black Photographers and the Emergence of a People”, won the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Documentary (Theatrical), the Fund for Santa Barbara 2014 Social Justice Award and a Best Diasporic Documentary Award from the Africa Movie Academy Awards in Nigeria. Called “Wise and Passionate” by the New York Times and “Extraordinary” by Time Magazine, Through A Lens Darkly is presently opening in theaters across the country, accompanied by its transmedia community engagement project Digital Diaspora Family Reunion (1world1family.me), an interactive forum that combines film, photography, social media and oral histories in a live touring event where participants are encouraged to critically rethink how they read and interpret the welter of images they encounter, while also highlighting the significance of their own family photographs as historical artifacts in the making.
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DEBORAH WILLIS – producer
Deborah Willis has researched and written about the works of Black photographers for twenty years, becoming the preeminent documentarian of the unique legacy of these pioneers. A 2000 MacArthur Fellow, her academic writing has addressed critical questions in the broad areas of photographic history, visual culture, African American art and popular and material culture. In her work, Ms Willis looked at how photographs have been used by art photographers looking at the family, how families and the general public preserve images, the implications of stereotyping, how gender is portrayed and what assumptions are made of images of women. Most of her published works offer new interpretations of the generic photographic history, African American art and gender studies. Her most recent publications include; “Reflections in Black: A History of Black Photographers 1840 to the Present,” which forms the cornerstone of the film project and includes over 500 images that present the rich history and moving glimpses of Black life from slavery to the Great Migrations, from rare antebellum portraits to 1990s middle-class Black families; and “The Black Female Body: A Photographic History,” co-authored with Carla Williams, that includes over 185 images spanning three centuries by such historical and contemporary artists as Bravo, Weston, Renee Cox, Lorna Simpson, Joy Gregory and Catherine Opie, who photograph Black women asserting their subjectivity, reclaiming their bodies and refusing the representations of the past.
ANN BENNETT – producer
Ann Bennett is an award winning filmmaker, journalist, and educator. After studying American History and Documentary Production at Harvard College, Ms. Bennett began her film career at Blackside Productions in Boston. Since then, she has worked on a host of historical documentaries for public television, cable networks, museums, and non-profit organizations. Her production credits include; WGBH, HBO, WNET, History Channel, National Civil Rights Museum, and the Apollo Theater Foundation. Ms. Bennett has been honored with numerous awards including fellowships from; CPB/PBS Producers Academy, America Film Institute Digital – Content Lab, Independent Feature Project – Documentary Lab, and the Institute for Justice and Journalism at University of Southern California. Ms. Bennett recently received a Master of Arts degree from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and now focuses her work on exploring the nexus of history, culture, and technology within multi-cultural communities.
DON PERRY – consulting producer
Mr. Perry is Chief Operating Officer of Chimpanzee Productions, Inc. He was co-writer and co-producer of Thomas Allen Harris’ feature-length documentary E MINHA CARA/THA/T’S MY FACE. Mr. Perry is an experienced financial and management consultant with a wide ranging background in commercial finance. He is a Certified Insolvency & Restructuring Advisor and was Executive Vice President – Finance for Wyndhurst Associates, LLC, a boutique financial restructuring and turnaround management firm prior to his association with Chimpanzee Productions. Prior to joining Wyndhurst, Mr. Perry founded a strategic management consulting practice providing services to emerging growth companies focusing on business turnarounds; developing e-commerce strategies and services; mergers and acquisitions; business and process re-engineering; organizational design and development; and corporate finance. Mr. Perry holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in International Relations and Development Economics from Williams College. He received his Masters in Business Administration in Strategic Management from the Peter F. Drucker Center, Claremont Graduate University
PAUL CARTER HARRISON – Script Consultant
Award-winning Playwright/Director, currently Professor Emeritus at Columbia College Chicago where he served as Professor and Playwright-in-Residence from 1976-2002. Among his plays are The Great MacDaddy, Tabernacle, and Ameri/Cain Gothic, and the operettas, Anchorman and Doxology Opera. Frequently in the service of theaters as Dramaturg, he is the author of THE DRAMA OF NOMMO, the seminally influential discourse on Black Theatre aesthetics, and the editor of TOTEM VOICES, KUNTU DRAMA, and BLACK THEATRE: RITUAL PERFORMANCE IN THE AFRICAN DIASPORA. His feature films include Youngblood, and Lord Shango. He has also served as Script Consultant for film, The Twelve Disciples of Nelson Mandela.
K.A. MIILLE, Editor.
K.A. Miille began her film career working on documentaries for National Geographic, and HBO. Desiring to sharpen her skills, she worked in the fast paced realm of commercials and music videos. Yet her passions lay in the storytelling, and leading the audience on a journey. This led to her return to the documentary world. Her editorial experience in the documentary form include critically acclaimed “Still, The Children Are Here” produced by Mira Nair, HBO’s Emmy nominated “Half Past Autumn, The Life and Works of Gordon Parks” produced by St. Clair Bourne. And “Sidewalk” a documentary based on Mitchell Duneier’s book, directed by Academy Award nominee, Barry Alexander Brown. Recently, she completed work on the environmentally charged and critically acclaimed documentary, “Return to Penguin City”. Her thirst for storytelling expanded into the feature film world working with notable directors and producers, including Steven Soderbergh and Spike Lee. Up and coming notable director Pete Chatmon and she collaborated on the independent soon to be a cult classic “Premium”. With Spike Lee, she collaborated on the Peabody Award winning “A Huey P. Newton Story”, “Miracle’s Boys”, and the soon to be released crime thriller, “You’re Nobody ’til Somebody Kills You”.
GREGORY WARREN JR – Consulting Producer
SAM POLLARD-supervisor editor
For over 25 years, Sam Pollard has had a significant role in bringing programming that illuminates the Black experience in America to both television and theatrical audiences. Most importantly for Through A Lens Darkly, he has been instrumental in helping to shape and define major series that touch on issues and subject matter similar to that of the program. He was the producer of a segment of “The Blues”, the PBS series directed by Martin Scorcese which aired in 2003; “The Rise and Fall of Jim Crow”, a four-part series that aired in 2002; “American Roots Music”, a four-part series that aired on PBS in 2001; “I’ll Make Me A World”, a two-part series that aired on WNET in 1989; and “Eyes on the Prize: The Civil Rights Years”, which aired on PBS in 1989. His Rolodex of contacts is extensive and will be of critical importance in making a final selection of a scriptwriter and particularly as the series moves toward actual production.
MARTINA RADWAN-director of photography
Martina Radwan started out in her native Germany and moved to New York in 1995, where she attended the film program at NYU. Shortly after, she started to work as a Director of Photography. Most notable documentaries are WILLIAM KUNSTLER: DISTURBING THE UNIVERSE and FERRY TALES, which was nominated for the 2004 Academy Award and features like Jeff Lipsky’s FLANNEL PAJAMAS, RAIN, the first indigenous Bahamian feature and TRAIN, a horror film with Thora Birch.
WOO JUNG CHO-Production Counsel
Woo Jung Cho is a New York City-based filmmaker, distribution consultant and attorney specializing in the development, distribution and legal/business affairs of socially-impactful and artfully-crafted film and new media projects. Her latest documentary feature, The Dream of the Audience: Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, is currently in post-production and was featured in IFW’s Spotlight on Documentaries. She is a Sundance Institute Lab Fellow and her projects have received funding support from NEH, NYSCA, NBPC, and ITVS. From 2007 to 2011, as Head of Business Affairs for Arthouse Films, Woo handled acquisitions and licensing for a portfolio of over twenty award-winning films. Over the years, she provided legal counsel or served as distribution consultant to such award winning films as The Artist Is Present: Marina Abramovic; Daughter From Danang; Paradox Lake; and Flag Wars, among others.
SABRINA HAWKINS – Associate Producer
Sabrina Hawkins production career began as a NBC Sports utility/audio assistant during the 1996 Atlanta Summer Olympics. In 1997, Sabrina moved to New York and continued to work with a wide range of companies including A&E Networks and MTV Networks. At Rainbow-Media’s Voom HD, she was an associate producer for the high definition collectibles channel, Treasure HD. Additional projects worked on include the documentary, The Pressure Cooker, comedic short film Super Dude and Friend, KidRo Production’s documentary Stalking Streisand, Lion Television’s Cash Cab and American Idol. Sabrina continues to develop films with author Legs McNeil. They are producing Satan Sells Out! the story of film director Kenneth Anger and a documentary entitled That’ll Be The Day. Currently, Sabrina is the associate producer for Through A Lens Darkly.