Director | Producer
Laurie is a Hawaii-born environmental documentary artist who investigates tensions between humans and nature. She has exhibited her art in New York, Los Angeles, Hawaii and internationally, in the UK, South Africa and Brazil and shown her award-winning films at DOC NYC, BAMcinemaFest and PS1MoMA. She was selected for the Firelight Media Lab Fellowship and Uniondocs Collaborative Fellowship, and several international artist residencies. She has an MFA in Integrated Media Arts from CUNY Hunter College, BA & BS in Art and Communications from Bradley University, and studied art at Lorenzo De’ Medici in Florence and Pratt Institute in NY. Laurie is an Assistant Professor at University of Hawaiʻi-West Oʻahu Academy for Creative Media.
Director of Photography | Co-Producer
Anne is an award-winning Director of Photography & Producer 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 University of Hawai'i - Mānoa Academy for Creative Media.
Tori is a recent graduate from the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada with a major in Environment and Sustainability and a minor in Economics, and was previously a director of a nonprofit organization called Kite Vancouver. After traveling and working abroad, Tori is excited to give back to her community while pursuing a future in environmental law.
Director of Photography
Natural History Unit
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 an editor who has worked 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. Satoko lives and works in Shizuoka, Japan.
Co-writer | Hawaiian Language Consultant
Hoku is a Kanaka Maoli (Native Hawaiian) writer and storyteller from Hawaiʻi Island. He is a fluent speaker of ʻōlelo Hawaii (Hawaiian language) who studied at Hawaiian immersion schools, Ke Kula o 'Ehunuikaimalino and Kua o Ka La PCS. While living in Milolii, a traditional Hawaiian fishing village, he learned sustainable fishing practices and was chosen to lead efforts to document Milolii's cultural practices. He also wrote, shot and edited TV segments for "HIKI NO” a state-wide student news network on PBS Hawaii from 2013-2016. Hoku won “Best Student News Story" in 2015 for his piece documenting Mauna Kea protests. He received an AS in Liberal Arts from Hawaii Community College, the Honda Scholarship and was selected as a student ambassador at University of Yamagata in Japan for a year. He is completing his BAS in Applied Business & Information Technology at the University of Hawaii Maui College.
Merlynne is an editor and storyteller based in Kapolei, O`ahu. She is a proud second-generation Filipino-American and aspires to be a creative writer and filmmaker. Currently, she assists her family in their craft business and can be found reading, writing, and making short videos in her free time. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Creative Media from the University of Hawai‘i – West O`ahu.
Consulting Animation Producer
Brittany is an award-winning animator, artist and independent filmmaker based in Hawai'i. As a Previs Artist and Animation Technical Assistant at DreamWorks Animation, her feature film credits include TROLLS, KUNG FU PANDA 3, and KUNG FU PANDA 2. Her short animated films, such as A TALL TALE, have screened in film festivals including the prestigious Annecy International Animation Film Festival and Los Angeles Women’s International Film Festival. She is a an Assistant Professor of Animation at University of Hawaiʻi-Mānoa Academy for Creative Media.
Consulting Animation Producer
Jeff has over a decade of experience managing and leading animation teams for DreamWorks Animation and Walt Disney Animation. His feature film credits include MONSTERS VS ALIENS, THE CROODS, and KUNG FU PANDA. Most recently, he served as the Production Manager on the Academy-Award winning film ZOOTOPIA. An avid writer and scuba diver, he has a love and fascination for wildlife and the environment. Jeff moved with his wife to Kauaʻi in 2014, where they co-founded Seascape Life, an ocean-inspired, outdoor apparel company. Jeff currently works as Content Operations Director at Calm, the Apple award-winning meditation app, and lives in Mānoa, Hawaiʻi.
Zoya is a documentary filmmaker, artist, and animator based in New York City. Her animations have appeared in dozens of independent films, commercials, music videos, and TV shows. As an artist, Zoya’s work explores our complex relationships to the natural world through animation and hybrid storytelling. Her award-winning films have screened at festivals around the world. She has been awarded grants from The New York Foundation for the Arts, The National Board of Review, and ASIFA Hollywood. Zoya has an M.F.A. from Hunter College Integrated Media Arts program and a B.F.A. in Film & Video Production from NYU. She is Associate Arts Professor of Animation at NYU Tisch School of the Arts.
Thomas is a contemporary composer fascinated by both Western and non-Western music who has lived in Honolulu since 2006. 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 is a Professor of Composition and Theory at University of Hawai‘i - Mānoa.
Cassidy is an artist and storyteller from Kailua, O’ahu, founder of Keika Productions. Cassidy formally studied acting in Los Angeles, London, and Stratford-Upon-Avon, and performed locally in Palikū Theater productions. She is an emerging writer for stage and film, who served on the Play Development Committee at Kumu Kahua Theater, and wrote PANDEMIC-ING IN HAWAII. Cassidy has been a haumāna hula for over 20 years, studying with kumu Māpuana de Silva at Hālau Mōhala `Ilima. She also works as an Environmental Educator at Moanalua Gardens Foundation doing social media, conservation outreach, and environmental instruction. Cassidy has a Bachelor of Arts in Creative Media, University of Hawai’i - West O’ahu.
Mākena is a Native Hawaiian writer, photographer and social media maven based in Ewa Beach, O’ahu who is passionate about expanding knowledge of Native Hawaiian culture. Born in Honolulu, she began her educational career at Kamehameha Schools Kapālama and went to high school in Sacramento, California. She spent several years in event production for music festivals in California, and film production in Hawaiʻi (FORGETTING SARAH MARSHALL). Mākena graduated from San Francisco State University with a Bachelor of Arts from San Francisco State University in Journalism with a minor in Holistic Health. She likes to spend her time outdoors with her animals, enjoying the boundless beauty that Hawai’i has to offer.
Celeste Lai is a Taiwanese American artist who graduated from School of Visual Arts 2D animation in New York in 2011. She loves exploring all the different dimensions of storytelling which is her main focus. Celeste codirected the short film Blankfillers in 2014 which traveled around the festival circuit internationally. She also worked at TED-Ed as a freelancer making educational animation collaborations between teachers and animators and as an assistant producer on Theory of Everything podcast from Radiotopia. Her work spans from animation, illustration to tattooing and comics. She is currently co-writing a long form graphic novel about standard of beauty.
Mulan is an award-winning filmmaker, animator, and illustrator from Shanghai. She has recently graduated from the Film and Television major at New York University Tisch School of the Arts and is currently pursuing a master's degree in educational game design at Teachers College Columbia University.
Winona Noronha is a visual development artist, illustrator, and a recent graduate of NYU Tisch, where she studied animation. She is passionate about storytelling and animation.
AUBREY LANI GAMBOA
Aubrey is a Filipino-American animator based in Honolulu, Hawaiʻi. She graduated from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa with a Bachelor of Arts Creative Media degree in Computer Animation.
Danielle is a senior at NYU Tisch school of the Arts studying film. In her spare time she enjoys going for runs and participating in pickup games with her friends. As an artist she hopes to spend more time developing her knowledge of the animation industry, particularly the craft and development pipeline.
Desirene is a Filipino-American animator based in Honolulu, Hawaiʻi. She is currently a senior studying at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa in the Academy for Creative Media, pursuing a Bachelor of Arts Creative Media degree in Computer Animation.
Gabriel is an aspiring animator based in Hawaii, eager to delve into the animation industry.
Jay is a trans illustrator/animation student, musician and content creator from Hawai'i. His work centers around his Asian American culture, mythology inspired fantasy and broadening queer narratives in media.
Josey is a student animator based in New York City. He currently studies Film and Television in the undergraduate program at New York University Tisch School of the Arts. His filmmaking career began when he wrote and directed the short "Homecoming Date Insurance" (2019), and later directing his high school's sketch comedy Wednesday Night Live. Josey's most recent short films include "Delectable Gift" (2020) and "Mr. Lonely's Trip To The Movie Theater" (2021).
MIA N. CLAUSE
Mia comes from a Hawaiian/German family. Recently, she graduated from UH Mānoa with a BA in Creative Media (Animation) and a BA in Information and Computer Sciences. She's now based out of Washington state, which has been a new and exciting adventure!
Shirley is a 30+ year, Emmy-award winning veteran documentary editor and story consultant based in Honolulu, Hawaiʻi. She is best known for the PBS documentaries she has edited; KŪ KANAKA (2016), WINNING GIRL (2014), and PIDGIN: THE VOICE OF HAWAI‘I (2008). Shirley recently edited and co-produced FINDING KUKAN, a feature documentary which screened at DOCNYC and CAAMfest and won the Documentary Audience Award at the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival.
Vera Zambonelli is a producer, filmmaker, and feminist activist. Vera co-produced Reel Wāhine of Hawaiʻi, a series of documentaries about the history and accomplishments of Hawaiʻi women filmmakers, distributed by Alexander Street Press. Thanks to a recent NEA grant, Vera co-produced Season II of Reel Wāhine of Hawaiʻi. Vera is Founder and Executive Director of Hawaiʻi Women in Filmmaking, a nonprofit feminist organization committed to achieving gender equity in filmmaking, and teaches at University of Hawaiʻi-West Oʻahu Academy for Creative Media.
Penny is an award-winning nonfiction filmmaker who was named one of Filmmaker Magazine's “25 New Faces of Independent Film” and a Chicken & Egg Breakthrough Award winner 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. Her most recent feature-length documentary HAIL SATAN? recently debuted at Sundance and will be released by Magnolia Pictures in 2019.
Kelly is an award-winning independent producer and director of documentary films, and 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 notable films include MY BROOKLYN, NEVER ENOUGH, EVERY MOTHER’S SON. She is a Professor of Documentary Production at CUNY Hunter College in New York City.
Robert Pennybacker has worked in television industry for more than thirty years, and written, directed and produced numerous TV documentaries. Robert signed on as PBS Hawai’i’s Vice President of Creative Services in September of 2007 and is now PBS Hawai’i’s Director of Learning Initiatives. Robert has been a co-executive producer PBS documentaries which received wide distribution, including PATSY MINK: AHEAD OF THE MAJORITY and E HAKU INOA: TO WEAVE A NAME. He was also a co-creator of the Pacific Islanders in Communications/PBS series Pacific Heartbeat.
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. Sam studied ‘oli (traditional Hawaiian chant) and hula with Kumu John Keolamaka‘āinana Lake, a master of Hawaiian religion and cultural protocols. He underwent the traditional Hawaiian ‘uniki rites of passage to attain the status of kahuna kākalaleo.