Sean Kaminsky, Director/Producer
Sean Kaminsky is an award-winning documentary filmmaker and writer. The body of Sean’s work has tackled a broad range of urgent topics – from social to political – while telling impactful stories that engage and entertain. His short film series, “Save the Slogan” was included as part of Robert Redford’s “Green” programming launch on Sundance Channel. Save the Slogan looks at the surprising and little known history of environmental slogans turned clichés such as “Save the Whales” and “Hug a Tree” while performing emergency pop culture CPR to revive them. Also for Sundance Channel, his short series Green Man, visits artists at the Burning Man Festival who incorporated the environmental theme in their art work in unexpected ways. Further producing credits of note include Too Hot Not to Handle, an HBO feature documentary on global warming.
Sean also directed an investigative segment that looked at the separation of church and state for the award-winning PBS TV series, In The Life. His experimental short film on Zen enlightenment titled One Word or Less was commissioned by the Tate Museum for their public lecture series. Sean’s other broadcast TV credits include directing four episodes of the acclaimed MTV/LOGO show Be Real in its second season. In collaboration with ThinkFilm and Sundance Channel, Sean directed, produced and edited Gifted and Challenged: the Making of Shortbus. Gifted and Challenged examines the intersection of sex and art as it follows the making of John Cameron Mitchell’s controversial film, Shortbus, over a challenging three year period. He also produced the theatrically released documentary, Gay Sex in the 70s. The award winning film captures a frequently overlooked period in history: New York during the decade of gay liberation after the Stonewall riot and before AIDS. The film played in over thirty cities nationwide to widespread acclaim and strong box office numbers. His book, Naked Lens: Video Blogging & Video Journaling to Reclaim the YOU in YouTube, teaches readers how to use video blogging and video journaling for self-exploration (available at Amazon.com). It has been included in the curriculum of the New York Institute of Photography. His book on 3D Video, Shoot 3D Video LIke a Pro is taught at Florida State University.
Sean began using his middle name “Sean” (his first name is Michael) while living in an artist’s collective in the Mission district of San Francisco in the mid-nineties…there were four other Michaels. He has his Bachelor of Arts in Film and Television from the University of British Columbia in Canada and a Masters in Media and Communication from the European Graduate School in Switzerland. For more information visit Sean’s production company website at www.organikmedia.com
Lee Brooks, Composer
Lee Brooks is a composer for film, television, and advertising, specializing in modern orchestral music. His work is noted for using strong emotive melodies and often chilling use of neo-romantic harmonies and exciting builds. He is also a singer-songwriter, matching those melodies with ethereal vocals and orchestral influences.
He has scored original music and created sound design for a variety of films, advertisements, Web video and live events, working with talent such as Isabella Rossellini, Kronos Quartet, ETHEL (string quartet) and the Czech Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra.
He scored the finale of “The Story Beyond The Still,” commissioned by Canon and premiered at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival. He has performed around countless venues in New York, particularly in Greenwich village. Lee also consults as a musicologist, analyzing music for copyright infringement — underscoring his attention to detail and classical training. Lee’s experience as a Music Producer at Grey Advertising, helping corporations construct a musical image, has honed his ability to communicate a client’s vision with sound. Visit his website to learn more about his work or to contact him.
Melissa Nicolardi, Associate Producer
Melissa Nicolardi is a Brooklyn-based filmmaker and media educator whose work combines issues of social or political importance with thorough reporting and compelling storytelling. Whether documenting a group of women involved in a decades-long fight for environmental justice in the South Bronx, or reporting on high-school science students using wind-turbine energy to bring electricity to their off-the-grid community in southern Texas, Melissa’s work focuses on stories that bring a human element to the issue at hand.
Her most recent documentary film, The Pass it On Project, follows a group of Brooklyn students on a road trip though the South, in the summer following President Obama’s historic inauguration. It explores the relevance of the Civil Rights Movement today through the eyes of its young characters, as well as the oral histories of surviving Civil Rights Activists as told to the students.
In addition to her work as a freelance producer and editor, Melissa is an adjunct instructor at Rutgers University Hunter College, and DCTV. As an educator, Melissa is committed to the idea that information – in all of its forms - must be free and widely accessible if a society is to remain empowered. She is also a firm believe in the adage ‘you are what you eat’ and is extremely excited to be working on Open Sesame – The Story of Seeds!
Angela Stempel, Animator
Angela is an animator, director, and puppet-maker. She studied at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, for her BFA, and at Tufts University, where she earned a BA in Art History. She was the recipient of the Dehn Fellowship from Tufts University in 2010, to study abroad in Prague. She attended a puppet-making workshop called Puppets in Prague in the summer of 2010. In 2012 she received the Traveling Fellowship from the School of the MFA, Boston. She lives and works in New York.
Heeyoung Park, Opening & Closing Animation
Heeyoung is an animation student who finds delight in small things. She wishes to live a simple life close to nature and find warmth and happiness in herself and others. Her emotional connection to her work fuels her creativity and continuous efforts bring her vision to life.
Michael Pisano, Seed Ball Bike Ride Animation
Michael Pisano is a Motion Graphics Designer based in NYC with a BFA in Graphic Design from The School of Visual Arts. His work has been featured in The New York Times, Comedy Central, The United Nations, MONUMENTAL The Reimagined World of Kevin O’Callaghan and various music videos including Gaslight Anthem’s “Handwritten”, amongst others. Michael also has his own cartoon Jubei jubeisteele.com. To see more of his work visit: michaeljamespisano.com
Jenina Podulka, Assistant Editor
Jenina Podulka is a recent graduate of Montclair State University. She worked as a Production Assistant on the 2013 Oscar-nominated documentary How to Survive a Plague, about the AIDS activist group Act Up New York. She also worked as a Post Production Assistant/Assistant Editor on the 2013 South by Southwest-selected documentary Maidentrip, which follows the around-the-world adventure of teenage sailor Laura Dekker. As well as working on documentaries, she wrote, directed, and animated the short stop-motion film Our Mechanical Future, which takes the form of a fictional news show and is set in a world where robotic arms have become a fashionable accessory. She was born and raised in North Bergen, New Jersey.
Jenina’s eyes were opened to the issues of food and community during her stay at an intentional community/organic farm, through the WWOOF volunteering program. She is excited to start growing some of her own food (heirloom seeds only!) for the first time this summer.