Director / Producer / Animator
Laurie Sumiye is a Hawai‘i-born artist and documentary filmmaker who investigates environmental tensions between humans and nature. Her background in interactive media and design uniquely informs her drawings, animations, videos, and installations. She has exhibited her artwork in New York, Los Angeles, Hawai‘i and internationally, in the UK, South Africa and Brazil and screened her award-winning films at DOC NYC, BAM cinemaFest and PS1MoMA. She has an MFA in Integrated Media Arts from Hunter College, BA & BS in Art and Communications from Bradley University, and studied art at Lorenzo De’ Medici in Florence and Pratt Institute. She spent 16 years working in creative and technology industries in San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York and London. She returned to Hawaii to work on her first long-form public television documentary, A PARADISE LOST. Laurie currently works and lives in Mililani, Hawai’i.
GEETA V. PATEL
Writer/director Geeta’s first film PROJECT KASHMIR, was funded by ITVS and Sundance, and was chosen for three Sundance Institute Labs and the Tribeca Institute TAA program. Her second film, MEET THE PATELS, was produced by PBS and Impact Partners and funded by ITVS, Impact Partners, Tribeca, Chicken and Egg, CAAM (and more). The film premiered on Independent Lens in 2014, won several awards, and enjoyed a successful theatrical run grossing over $1 million. Fox Searchlight Films purchased rights to remake MEET THE PATELS into a feature film with Geeta on-board to write and co-direct.
DOUGLAS W. PETERSON
Douglas is born and raised in NY, and has been in the film and event space for the last few years, including running sponsorships for the New York Asian Film Festival and London’s The Fashion Awards. He previously worked for United Entertainment Group’s experiential marketing team. He is also a licensed acupuncturist in the state of New York.
Sunawin Merci Andrews is a photographer, entrepreneur, and independent documentary filmmaker. Born in Florida and raised in an entertainment industry family in Los Angeles, Merci grew up on sets which informed her passion for filmmaking, cinematography and photography. Attending SVA and graduating from SUNY Purchase in New York and graduating in 2016, Merci has worked on a variety of film sets, in professional photography studios, and had her photography exhibited in New York City. She has since moved to Hawaii to continue her studies in environmental policy and find ways to inform the general public of the very serious extension crisis we are facing, through film making, photography, photo journalism, and volunteer work with homeless families and nature preserves.
Director of Photography
Anne is an award-winning Director of Photography of narrative and documentary film for over 25 years based in Honolulu, Hawaiʻi. Her recent work on TREELESS MOUNTAIN and MARGARITA WITH A STRAW screened at the Toronto International Film Festival, BFI Film Festival and Tribeca Film Festival and won several awards. Her directorial debut, WAKING MELE, screened at Sundance Film Festival. She holds a BA in English from the University of Hawaiʻi and an MFA from USC with an emphasis in Directing and Cinematography. Anne is an Associate Professor at the University of Hawai’i – Mānoa Academy for Creative Media.
From Antarctica to the tropical Pacific, Paul has filmed the world’s cultures and wildlife for National Geographic, for the BBC including such acclaimed series as PLANET EARTH and TRIALS OF LIFE, and for IMAX screens. His cinematography and directing have earned numerous awards including Emmys, British Academy Awards and a prestigious Telluride Film Festival Tribute. As cinematographer in feature films, Paul has collaborated with the most respected and innovative directors in the business; Peter Weir’s MASTER AND COMMANDER, which won the 2004 Academy Award for cinematography and Terrence Malick’s THE TREE OF LIFE, TO THE WONDER, KNIGHT OF CUPS and THE VOYAGE OF TIME.
Satoko is a New York City based editor and media artist. Satoko has worked as an editor on hundreds of projects in both documentary film and television. Her work has screened globally and been broadcast on Showtime, PBS, NBC, ABC, FOX, Discovery, TLC, The History Channel, National Geographic, MTV, MSNBC, Nickelodeon, and ESPN. Satoko, a native of Japan, has traveled around the world and lived in six different cities on three continents. She received her BA in Communications from the University of California, San Diego and an MFA in Integrated Media Arts from CUNY Hunter College.
Thomas is a contemporary composer fascinated by both Western and non-Western music; he has received commissions from the Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble, Korean gayageum soloist Ji-Young Yi, the Intermezzo Chamber Music Series (Salt Lake City), among others. His music has been performed by such notable American ensembles and performers as the American Composers Orchestra, the Pacific Symphony, the T’ang Quartet. He has received awards from BMI and was named the 2013 Distinguished Composer of the Year by the Music Teachers National Association. He has received degrees from Indiana University, Rice University and the University of Southern California. He has lived in Honolulu since 2006, and is Professor of Composition and Theory at the University of Hawai‘i – Mānoa.
Vera Zambonelli is an academic, artist, and activist. Engaged scholarship informs her research interests, which include issues of diversity, social justice and inclusion, community building, and feminist filmmaking. In 2011, Vera founded Hawaiʻi Women in Filmmaking (HWF) with the mission of using filmmaking to amplify women and girls’ voices and share their own compelling stories. She has been teaching at the Department of Women’s Studies at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa and the Academy for Creative Media at West Oʻahu. Recently, Vera has produced Reel Wāhine of Hawaiʻi, a series of short docs about the history and accomplishments of Hawaiʻi women filmmakers, distributed by Alexander Street Press. Thanks to a recent NEA grant, Vera is currently co-producing Season II of Reel Wāhine of Hawaiʻi.
Penny is an American independent filmmaker. She is known for OUR NIXON, which she directed and co-produced with Brian Frye. Filmmaker magazine named Lane one of “25 New Faces of Independent Film” in 2012 for the films OUR NIXON and NUTS! She received a BA in American Culture and Media Studies at Vassar College in 2001 and an MFA in Integrated Electronic Arts at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 2005.
Kelly is an award-winning independent producer and director of documentary films, and recent recipient of the George C. Stoney Award for Outstanding Documentary. She has received fellowships from the Rockefeller Foundation, the American Film Institute (NEA), and the New York State Council on the Arts. Her films include MY BROOKLYN, NEVER ENOUGH, EVERY MOTHER’S SON. She is a Professor of documentary production at Hunter College in New York City.
Robert has worked in the Hawaiʻi television industry since 1981 as a writer, producer, director, promotions manager, and marketing director at CBS, NBC, and FOX stations and currently serves as Director of Learning Initiatives for PBS Hawaii.
DR. SAMUEL M.‘OHUKANI‘ŌHI‘A GON, III
Dr. Gon is a highly respected biologist and Hawaiian cultural practitioner. Sam serves as Senior Scientist and Cultural Advisor for The Nature Conservancy of Hawai‘i. Sam has more than 35 years of experience in Hawaiian ecology and extensive knowledge of Hawaiian culture, history, language, chant, and dance.