Sheila M. Sofian, Director/Animator/Producer
Sheila M. Sofian creates films that investigate social issues utilizing a unique hybrid of animation and documentary. She has produced, directed, and animated six independent animated films. Sofian has received grants from the Guggenheim Foundation, Rockefeller Media Arts Fellowship, and the Pew Fellowships in the Arts, among others. Her award-winning films have been exhibited internationally.
Her films have won numerous awards and have exhibited internationally, including at MoMA, Annecy Animation Festival, Hiroshima International Animation Festival, Zagreb Animation Festival, and CaixaForum in Barcelona, Spain. Her films are distributed educationally and in home video markets.
Professor Sofian has taught painting-on-glass and documentary animation workshops internationally at several institutions including the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana in Bogotá, Colombia, the Central Academy Of Fine Art in Beijing, China, the University Of Buffalo and the Kansas City Art Institute. She developed curriculum and designed coursework for Documentary Animation Production and has written on the subject.
Ms. Sofian is an Associate Professor at the University of Southern California, where she teaches animation and a Documentary Animation Production course. She holds a BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design and an MFA in from the California Institute of the Arts. Website.
Tom Curran, Director of Photography
An Emmy Award-winning cameraman, Tom made his directing debut with Adrift. At the 2000 New England Film and Video Festival Curran won the Best Cinematography for his work as Director of Photography on the documentary Iditarodþa Far Distant Place, narrated by Susan Sarandon. Over the past 10 years as a documentary photographer, Tom has worked as Director of Photography on 20 episodes of Little People Big World for the Learning Channel. Other work includes ABC's WIDE World Of Sports, Blackside's PBS series, I'll Make Me A World, the Discovery Channel's Discover Magazine, and Chedd-Angier's PBS series Scientific American Frontiers. He is a graduate of Boston College. Website
Yu Gu, Editor
Yu Gu is an award-winning filmmaker born in Chongqing, China and raised in Vancouver, Canada. Working primarily in documentary, her films thrive on social awareness, lyricism and imagination. As an editor, she has worked on several documentaries of varying lengths. At the University of Southern California where she earned her MFA, Yu edited "Get Jumped In" which won a College Emmy Award. Since then she has edited "Other Than Honorable" for Brave New Films, documentary commercials for Artifact Studios, and assisted on the theatrically-released feature documentary "Somewhere Between". Yu's short documentary "A Moth in Spring" premiered at Hot Docs International Film Festival in Toronto, and since then it has garnered awards and screened in festivals around the world. "A Moth in Spring" was broadcast by HBO. Yu has also worked at the Sundance Institute in both the Documentary Program and the Feature Film Program. Yu is directing and editing a feature documentary project, "The House at Dayangba", about the adventures and eventual journey home of an exiled poet. She is an avid science-fiction fan and collects vintage dresses. IMDB.
Barbara Cohen, Composer
Barbara Cohen is a gifted composer, vocalist and multi-instrumentalist. Her intricate body of work embraces a variety of musical genres from folk, roots rock, trip-hop, electronica and world music. This former Virgin Records recording artist has credits that include co-founding the trip-hop band Brother Sun, Sister Moon (with Paul Robb), collaborating with England's rave luminaries Orbital on their big beat-techno classic Middle of Nowhere as well as being a featured vocalist for France's experimental duo Air. Cohen's diversity and ability to bring seemingly disparate musical elements together can be heard in her scores ranging from the 1930's klezmer influenced score for the Academy Award winning short The Confession to the Whimsical horn and Mellotron arrangements for the filmAmerican Shopper to the ambient, Andean guitar and charango music for the PBS documentary The Judge and The General. Her songs have been placed on a variety of film and television, including Fox pictures, Broke Down Palace, Director Michael Radford's Film Dancing at the Blue Iguana and NBC's Third Watch. Cohen has been the recipient of many awards among them: The 2005 Sundance Film Composer Lab Fellowship and The Minnesota State Arts Board Fellowship Grant for artistry and composition. Website.
Jonathan Rothell, Live Action Unit Production Manager
Jonathan recently received his MFA in cinema production from USC. Originally from Louisiana, Jonathan has produced two short documentaries and a number of short fiction films. Credits include Assistant Production Coordinator on Next Day Air, Field Production Coordinator on The Ode, and Production Coordinator on the television mini-series 30 Days of Night: Blood Trails. Currently he is working as a script editor and writer for video games and feature films.
PROFESSIONAL CONSULTANTS AND INTERVIEWED SUBJECTS:
James McCloskey, Professional consultant and Interviewee Founder, Centurion Ministries, NJ.
James McCloskey graduated from Bucknell in 1964 with a Bachelor of Arts degree majoring in Economics. He then spent three years as an OCS graduated officer in the U.S. Navy. He earned a post-graduate degree in international business from The American Graduate School for International Business in Phoenix, Arizona in 1968. From 1969 until 1973 he lived in Tokyo and worked for a management-consulting firm.
In 1974 he moved to Philadelphia where he worked for another consulting firm, The Hay Group. In 1979 Mr. McCloskey left Hay and the business world in order to be a church minister. While earning his Master of Divinity degree from Princeton Theological Seminary, he served as a student chaplain at Trenton State Prison. Mr. McCloskey met an inmate named Jorge de los Santos who was in the sixth year of a life sentence for a Newark, NJ murder. He claimed to be innocent. Convinced of Santos' innocence after studying the trial's transcripts, Mr. McCloskey took a one-year leave of absence from Princeton Theological Seminary to work on behalf of Mr. De los Santos.
Mr. McCloskey formed a defense committee and conducted his own investigation. In July of 1983, Mr. De los Santos was freed and exonerated by a Federal District Judge in Newark. By then Mr. McCloskey was convinced of the innocence of two other men, Rene Santana and Damaso Vega, and had returned to his studies and graduated from Princeton Theological Seminary. He established Centurion Ministries and dedicated his life to freeing the imprisoned innocent.
Since Centurion Ministries was founded in 1983, Centurion Ministries has freed and exonerated 27 innocent people, each of whom has spent an average of 15 years under false imprisonment serving life or death sentences for crimes they did not commit.
221 Witherspoon Street
Princeton, New Jersey 08542
Barry Scheck, Professional Consultant and Interviewee Co-founder, The Innocence Project, Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, New York, NY
Along with Peter Neufeld, Barry Scheck co-founded and directs the Innocence Project at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law in New York. He co-wrote: Actual Innocence: Five Days to Execution, and Other Dispatches From the Wrongly Convicted, a non-fiction book which grew out of the cases and stories of the Innocence Project.
In 1988, Barry and Peter became involved in studying and litigating issues concerning the use of forensic DNA testing. Their work not only shaped the course of case law across the country but helped lead to an influential study by the National Academy of Sciences on forensic DNA testing, as well as important state and federal legislation setting standards for the use of DNA testing. Barry and Peter have litigated and taught extensively in both the "hard" and behavioral forensic sciences. Their trials frequently redefine and expand the parameters of permissible defenses involving forensic psychiatry and laboratory science. Most of this work is pro bono and of public interest. Their cases often result in enhancing public awareness of systemic problems, improving the criminal justice system, and legislative reform.
Vincent Bugliosi, Professional Consultant and Interviewee Former Prosecutor and Author
Bugliosi has uncommonly attained success in two separate and distinct fields, as a lawyer and an author. In his career as a prosecutor for the Los Angeles County District Attorney's office, he successfully prosecuted 105 out of 106 felony jury trials, including twenty-one murder convictions without a single loss. Three of his true crime books, Helter Skelter, And The Sea Will Tell, and Outrage,The Five Reasons Why O.J. Simpson Got Away With Murder, reached number one on the New York Times hardcover bestseller list. No other American true crime author has ever had more than one book that achieved this ranking.
As a trial lawyer, the judgment of his peers says it all. "Bugliosi is as good a prosecutor as there ever was," Alan Dershowitz says. F. Lee Bailey calls Bugliosi "the quintessential prosecutor.” His most recent book is: The Betrayal of America: How the Supreme Court Undermined the Constitution and Chose Our President.
Justin Brooks Professional Consultant and Interviewee Project Director,California Innocence Project, California Western School of Law
Justin Brooks received aB.B.A. from Temple University, his J.D. from American University, and an LL.M. from Georgetown University Law Center. After law school, he practiced as a criminal defense attorney in Washington, D.C. and has continued to practice throughout his teaching career. Professor Brooks has taught at Georgetown Law Center and was the assistant director of Georgetown's Street Law Corrections Clinic. He then spent six years teaching at Thomas Cooley Law School, where he taught Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure, Corrections Law, Law and Literature, and ran a death penalty clinical program in which students worked with him on death penalty cases. He has been a visiting professor at Interamerican University of Puerto Rico Law School and a visiting scholar at the University of Sheffield in England. Professor Brooks has published extensively on the death penalty,corrections and sentencing law, and other criminal law issues.
Cathy Dreyfus, Professional Consultant Defense Attorney
Cathy Dreyfus, an activist for social justice since the 1960's, attended Berkeley as an undergrad, and USC Law Center. She has served as a Public Defender in Los Angeles County, and she worked on the Death Penalty Project as an ACLU staff attorney. She has also served as a legislative advocate for California Attorneys for Criminal Justice and Californians for Legal Aid. Additionally, Cathy was directing attorney of the Indigent Criminal Defense Appointments Program of the L.A. County Bar Association.
Over the years she has been involved in such issues as: anti intervention in Central America, Cuban solidarity, international human rights, death penalty abolition, socialist feminism, and a woman’s right to choose. In the past, she has served as both national vice president of the National Lawyers Guild, and president of the L.A. Chapter, where she currently is a member of the board. Cathy is also currently on the board of The Impact Fund and The Center for Study of Political Graphics.
Sheila Balkan, Ph.D., Professional Consultant and Interviewee Criminologist
As a criminologist in private practice since 1980, Dr. Balkan has consulted on over 3,000 criminal cases throughout the country in federal, state and juvenile courts. She has testified as an expert witness in the field of criminology and has served as an expert in numerous biographical documentaries and news programs. She holds a private investigator’s license in the State of California. Publications include co-authorship of a college textbook entitled Crime and Deviance in America (Belmont: Wadsworth, 1980), and social science journal articles concerning violent offenders and juvenile delinquency.
Related academic work includes teaching Sociology courses at UCLA and Los Angeles Valley College, as well as eight years as a researcher through UCLA, in areas of crime, delinquency, and mental health. Dr. Balkan has served as a research consultant for the Los Angeles County Probation Department, the Los Angeles Department of Mental Health Social Services, and the “gang unit” for Los Angeles County. Working under contract to Warner Bros. (2001), she served as a consultant and producer on a television pilot for NBC based on her work as a criminologist.
Marjorie Cohn Professional Consultant and Interviewee Associate Professor of Law, Thomas Jefferson School of Law, San Diego, California.
Professor Cohn has published articles and does media commentary about criminal justice, human rights, U.S. foreign policy, and media issues. She has monthly columns appearing in the Los Angeles Daily Journal, the San Francisco Daily Journal, and Jurist:The Legal Education Network. Asocial critic, a news consultant for CBS News and a legal analyst for Court TV,MSNBC and Fox News, Professor Cohn co-authored Cameras in the Courtroom:Television and the Pursuit of Justice(McFarland 1998). She also sits on the National Executive Committee of the National Lawyers Guild, is editor of Guild Practitioner, co-chair of the Guild's international committee,serves on the Advisory Board for the Haywood Burns Memorial Fellowships for Social and Economic Justice and serves on the Roster of Experts at the Institute for Public Accuracy.
A criminal defense attorney at the trial and appellate levels for many years, Professor Cohn was also staff counsel to the California Agricultural Labor Relations Board. She has lectured widely at regional, national, and international conferences, was a legal observer in Iran on behalf of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers, and has served on delegations to China, Cuba, and Yugoslavia.
Julius Debro, Professional Consultant and Interviewee Professor of Criminology,University of Washington
Julius Debro received his B.A. from the University of San Francisco, an M.A. in Sociology from San Jose State University, and his Ph.D. in Criminology from U.C. Berkeley. He recently has served as Professor in the Law, Societies, and Justice program until his official retirement in June, 2001, although he continues to teach in the program. His research interests are corrections, juvenile delinquency, and criminology. He recently has undertaken comparative studies in South Africa and Ethiopia of corrections policy and AIDS and drug prevention. Professor Debro will be developing drug treatment programs for addicted prisoners and expanding HIV prevention and research efforts as well as enhancing aftercare programs in these communities. He serves on the editorial board of Crime and Delinquency,and Journal of Justice. Debro also is a member of White House Leadership group on Juvenile Violence and member of the National Institute of Drug Abuse working group on Minority Drug and AIDS issues. Debro's book, Race, Class, Gender, and Justice in the United States: A Text Reader, with Charles E. Reasons and Darleen Conley, was published November 2001 (Central Washington University;Allyn and Bacon, Boston)
Professor William J. Aceves, Professional Consultant and Interviewee Director of International Legal Studies Program, California Western School of Law
Professor Aceves received his J.D. and M.A. in International Relations from the University of Southern California. After practicing law for two years, he entered the graduate program in the Department of Government at Harvard University, where he received an M.A. in Government. In 1994, he was named the Ford Foundation Fellow in International Law at the UCLA School of Law, where he also received an LL.M. In1997, he joined the faculty at California Western School of Law as a Visiting Scholar and became Associate Professor of Law in 1998. Professor Aceves teaches Civil Procedure, Human Rights Law, Foreign Affairs Law, and Comparative Law,and is the Director of the International Legal Studies Program. He also works with several organizations in litigation involving human rights violations and has submitted amicus briefs to several courts, including the First Circuit,Fifth Circuit, Ninth Circuit, Tenth Circuit, and the U.S. Supreme Court. Professor Aceves writes extensively on international law and human rights.