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ABOUT THE PRODUCTION TEAM
Both the Director, Amie Williams and the Executive Producer, Doug Pray are originally from Wisconsin, Amie was raised in Milwaukee, a “purple” baby, as her father is a Republican and her mother a Democrat. Doug still has family in Madison, including a sister who works for the Attorney General. Amie has spent much of her career as a filmmaker covering stories about workers, immigrants, and human rights worldwide. What we both encountered in Wisconsin brought it all back “home.”
AMIE WILLIAMS, Director, Cinematographer
Amie graduated from UCLA’s MFA program in Film Production in 1992. Her award-winning work has focused on giving voice to the margins, while pushing filmic conventions. From labor unions to African AIDS orphans, Amie’s work drives creative ideologies shaped for a world in constant flux. Her work has broadcast on PBS, Al Jazeera English, BBC, and CBC, winning numerous awards, including the IDA David Wolper, Paul Robeson, SONY/Streisand Award for emerging female filmmakers, and the MacArthur Foundation Peace Grant.
She was selected to participate in the 2007 Film Independent’s Director’s Lab for her first fiction film “JUA KALI, HARSH SUN” which she wrote, about an AIDS orphan in Kenya. This script was a finalist in the Ultimate Filmmakers Competition, sponsored by Filmmaker’s Alliance. She is the co-founder of Global Girl Media, a non-profit that trains under-served teenage girls in new media journalism, which launched during the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa. www.balmaidenfilms.com and www.globalgirlmedia.org
MARGERY TABANKIN, Executive Producer
As principal of Margery Tabankin & Associates, Marge provides consulting services that assist high net worth individuals in creating and implementing a vision for their philanthropy. Her firm also provides consulting services with regard to local, state and national political issues and candidates. Marge has directed hundreds of millions of dollars in support of such key issues as civic engagement, the environment, Democratic values, Jewish life, interfaith understanding and co-existence in regions of conflict.
Having begun her activist career at age 17, while a student at the University of Wisconsin, Marge was deeply involved in civil rights activities. Marge earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Wisconsin in 1969. Later, in 1997, she was also awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Farleigh Dickinson University.
After college, Marge went on to Washington, D.C. to work on the Youth Citizenship Fund’s campaign to pass a Constitutional amendment to lower the voting age to 18 and, not long after, became the first woman president of the National Student Association.
Marge served as Director of Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA) under President Carter from 1977-1981. From 1981 to 1988, Marge was Executive Director of the ARCA Foundation in Washington, D.C., a fund dedicated to supporting policy issues related to economic equity, civil rights, the environment and human rights. As Executive Director of the Hollywood Women’s Political Committee (1988 to 1994), Marge helped to build an extremely effective and powerful women’s political organization, raising millions of dollars for progressive causes and candidates.
Marge remains active on the Board of Directors of several philanthropic foundations and non-profit organizations including the ARCA Foundation, the Discount Foundation, People for the American Way, The Institute for America’s Future and Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund.
DOUG PRAY, Executive Producer
Director Doug Pray’s exuberant portraits of subcultures and maverick individuals have led him to three Sundance premieres, critical raves, numerous awards, and worldwide distribution. His feature documentaries include: “Art & Copy,” “Surfwise,” “Big Rig,” “Infamy,” “Scratch,” and “Hype!” Doug has also directed dozens of commissioned short films and documentary-style commercials for a wide range of major clients, including an AIDS awareness campaign which won him an Emmy. He grew up in Madison, Wisconsin, has a BA in sociology from Colorado College, and an MFA from the UCLA School of Film and Television. He lives in Los Angeles where he is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, The Directors Guild of America, and has served on the jury of numerous film festivals including Sundance, SXSW, AFI, Big Sky, and Silverdocs.
KATHRYN TAKIS, Producer
Kathryn has worked in film and television for the past 15 years rising in the ranks from production management to Executive Producer. She was part of the original team that helped create the groundbreaking docusoap, “Laguna Beach”. Trading in the beautiful California sunshine for the cold prairie, Kathryn spent 11 months in Greensburg, KS as Executive Producer on “Greensburg”, the 13 part documentary series chartering the devastation of the town by a tornado to the rebuilding of a green, sustainable community. “Greensburg” was Discovery’s flagship series in partnership with Leonardo DiCaprio’s company Appian Way that helped launch it’s Planet Green channel in 2009. Kathryn has also been Co-Executive Producer on MTV’s “Taking the Stage” a real life looks at Cincinnati’s School for the Performing Arts. She’s currently developing a documentary about the female Lawrence of Arabia, Gertrude Bell. Kathryn is a graduate of USC, a member of the Producer’s Guild, Women in Film and a proud board member of Global Girl Media.
ARLENE NELSON, Cinematographer
Arlene Nelson is an Emmy nominated, award winning, film, television and commercial cinematographer best known for her work on the documentary-style comedies of Christopher Guest. She shot Guests’ A Mighty Wind and did additional photography on For Your Consideration. This year, Nelson earned an Emmy Nomination for Outstanding Cinematography for Nonfiction Programming for her cinematography on the PBS American Masters documentary Troubadours: Carole King, James Taylor & The Rise of the Singer-Songwriter.
Nelson recently finished co-lensing Re: Generation, a documentary about remix culture and DJing featuring musical acts such as The Doors, Erykha Baddu and Mos Def. Other upcoming documentaries include Sunset Strip, directed by Hans Fjellestad and featuring talents such as Johnny Depp, Keanu Reeves, Slash, Billy Corgan, Ozzy Osbourne, Cheri Currie, Tommy Lee and Perry Farrell among others. She also lensed Documentary of a Yogi, a hybrid narrative/documentary film with Academy Award nominated director Paola Di Florio and co-director Lisa Leeman.
Between film projects, Nelson continues to shoot commercials. Her recent spots include a spot for Konami with director Jason Zada as well as commercials for clients such as Sears, Walgreens and National Geographic.
Nelson has traveled and worked on every continent in the world includingAntarctica. She lives with her husband and daughter inLos Angeles, where she is represented by Dattner Dispoto and Associates.
WILLIAM HAUGSE, Editor
William Haugse has been nominated in editing categories for both an Oscar (“Hoop Dreams”) and an Emmy (“Last Days of Kennedy and King” TBS), and received the American Cinema Editors top award among other prizes. He has edited scores of documentary features, and network and cable documentaries, including “Stevie” (Lionsgate) and “Sunset Story” (ITVS/PBS). His credits also include sixty or so of shorter films as director and/or editor, including his own 60 minute feature “Breakfast in Bed” starring John Ritter, which received multiple festival awards. He worked with Orson Welles and John Cassavetes editing shorter films, including making trailers for their films “F For Fake” and “Opening Night.” Other editing work includes the Universal feature “Cattle Annie and Little Britches” featuring Rod Steiger and Diane Lane and “Paul’s Case” starring Eric Roberts. During the past year, he has worked on films about animal abuse, a miners’ strike in California, and, in New York City, a feature documentary about two young men seeking success in the world of magic. He just completed work on a heroine of 9/11 who turns out to be an imposter.
Haugse graduated from the UCLA Film School, after which he worked on short films and documentaries for Churchill Films, Encyclopaedia Britannica, and others; repeatedly winning festival recognition.
He has lived and worked in Los Angeles, Oregon, New York City and Chicago (where he engaged not only in filmmaking but also writing and directing in live theater). He has worked on films in Switzerland, Egypt, Bali and India. Upon the nomination of the editing for “Hoop Dreams” for an Academy Award, he returned to Los Angeles from Chicago, where he has remained.
Since 1996 he has been a member of the professional editors honorary ACE
TODD DARLING, Editor
Todd Darling, one of the editors of “We Are Wisconsin”, is a filmmaker based in Venice,CA. An editor as well as director/producer, Todd’s films include “Black Rock Horse” and “Snow Mobile for George”, named one of the “Ten Best Environmental Documentaries” of 2009 by Mother Nature Network. In addition, he’s also served as Executive Producer on “Saviors of the Forest” which was in competition at Sundance. Todd’s also directed and produced several films aired on PBS films, and worked on the international production of five Olympic Games.
Prior to jumping head first into the world of social activism film-making, Todd’s editing chops were in much demand on a variety of television shows, from MTV to Comedy Central to Sesame Street.
Todd received his BA from UC Berkeley. After working as a free-lance print journalist, he entered UCLA’s Motion Picture and Television Department, where he received an MFA and won the Eric Sevareid Award from theAcademy of Television Artsand Sciences for his first documentary, “Año Nuevo”.
MARK TSCHANZ, Composer
Mark is a highly accredited musician and composer for film, TV and commercials.
He’s worked on over 22 films with the likes of Bernardo Bertolucci and Gus Van Sant.
Being of Swiss origin and having lived around the world, Mark brings a unique style
and vision along with his appreciation of American roots music to “We Are Wisconsin”.
MELISSA AUSTIN, Associate Producer/Photographer
Melissa comes to this project directly from the front lines of the struggle for worker’s rights in Wisconsin. Melissa has a diverse background, with experience in law enforcement, the private sector, and non-profit foundations. In addition to a labor and human rights activist, she is currently a professional photographer and social media expert. Melissa has also spent the last 10 years raising three wonderful children.
MATTHEW WISNIEWSKI, Additional Cinematography
Matthew Wisniewski is a 25-year-old award winning photographer, videographer and public employee in Madison, WI. Matt received a bachlor’s degree in Journalism while pursuing his love of photojournalism. After working for the Wisconsin State Journal, Madison Magazine and the Janesville Gazette, Matt won the 2008 WNPA’s College Photographer of the Year award. He now works for the University of Wisconsin as a graphic designer, web designer, photographer, and videographer.
AARON NEVILLE, Contributing Musician
Aaron is a well-known American, soul and R&B singer and musician. He made his debut in 1966 with the hit single “Tell It Like It Is,” a Number One hit on the Billboard R&B charts. In 1989, Neville collaborated with Linda Ronstadt and their album, “Cry Like A Rainstorm” reached Number One on the Adult Contemporary charts. Neville has released more than 20 singles, including three Number Ones on the Adult Contemporary format, and a fourth on the R&B format. Of mixed African American and Native American heritage, his music also features Cajun and Creole influences. Known for a member of the Neville Brothers, he is married to Sarah Friedman, the sister of a Wisconsin social worker, Rachel Friedman and has agreed to record signature songs for use in this film!
JOHN NICHOLS, Advisor
Nichols writes about politics for The Nation magazine as its Washington correspondent. He is a contributing writer for The Progressive and In These Times and the associate editor of the Capital Times, the daily newspaper in Madison, Wisconsin. His articles have appeared in the New York Times, Chicago Tribune and dozens of other newspapers. Nichols is a frequent guest on radio and television programs as a commentator on politics and media issues. He was featured in Robert Greenwald’s documentary, “Outfoxed,” and in the documentaries Joan Sekler’s “Unprecedented.” Author of The Genius of Impeachment (The New Press); a critically acclaimed analysis of the Florida recount fight of 2000, Jews for Buchanan (The New Press); and a best-selling biography of Vice President Dick Cheney, Dick: The Man Who is President (The New Press), which has recently been published in French and Arabic. He edited Against the Beast: A Documentary History of American Opposition to Empire (Nation Books), of which historian Howard Zinn said: “At exactly the time when we need it most, John Nichols gives us a special gift–a collection of writings, speeches, poems, and songs from throughout American history–that reminds us that our revulsion to war and empire has a long and noble tradition in this country.” Of Nichols, author Gore Vidal says: “Of all the giant slayers now afoot in the great American desert, John Nichols’s sword is the sharpest.”
PAUL BOOTH, Advisor
Executive Assistant to AFSCME President, Gerald McEntee, Paul Booth was a leader in the 1960s at the beginning of the student movement as National Secretary of Students for a Democratic Society, the largest organization of the emerging youth movement. In 1965 he directed the first march on Washington, D.C against the War in Vietnam and issued the statement to “build not burn” and organized the first sit-in at the Chase Manhattan Bank exposing it as a “partner in Apartheid.” As an organizer, he led the campaign to unionize the Chicago’s city workers.