I have spent my career in the world of independent filmmaking, as a producer, director and writer, an executive producer, a conference and festival director, educator, board member, and former executive director of Filmmakers Collaborative. At FC I mentored many filmmakers, was creative director of two national media conferences, and co-founded the Boston International Kids Film Festival. In 2014 we received three great short films about autism, which I curated into a workshop that inspired my next project.
In 2015 I started developing “Stories from the Spectrum,” a series of short films about teens and adults on the autism spectrum. I have finished two films, have two more in production, and more characters and ideas than I can possibly produce by myself. This is the place where my passion most closely meets the world’s needs: there is so much misunderstanding, fear, and unnecessary suffering in this world of autism, alongside beautiful stories of courage, perseverance, innovation, humor, and love. My hope is to create films that deepen public understanding, lessen stigma, celebrate accomplishments, and give voice to people who often have none.
I have taken a hiatus from this project to write NEH proposals for a few other filmmakers, and have been particularly involved with one by director Asaf Galay, “Cartooning America: The Fleischer Brothers Story.” I will produce it in 2019-2020, while Mr. Galay directs. But I will get back to the autism films. Ideally I will find a platform partner and raise enough funding to hire a small team of filmmakers who will help me realize the full potential of this series.
My educational affiliations include Tufts University (my alma mater, and where I was Visiting Artist from 2015-2018; Emerson College (where I started teaching in the spring of 2019 and will continue next year); Babson College (where I am a leadership training coach); and the Mass College of Art & Design (where I teach a summer producing class).
The Snow Ball (2016)
This short film features middle and high school boys who plan a dance as part of a social skills and friendship building class. I love the way it encourages “invisible skills” like cooperation and making friends.
Official selection: Boston International Kids Film Festival
Team of Brothers (2017)
This story features Jenna, who struggled with OCD, Tourette Syndrome, and a life-threatening peanut allergy. All through school she had no friends, and her parents, also disabled, did not know how to help her. When she was diagnosed with autism at age 14, it opened doors to her. She was invited to skate on the East Coast Jumbos, a disability hockey team where she was the only female — and where she found a community of brothers. I was drawn to Jenna’s story because girls on the spectrum can easily fall through the cracks. I was also interested to see how families with limited means manage, especially when dealing with multiple disabilities.
Official selection: Audience Awards, Boston International Kids Film Festival, Boston Short Film Festival, and Azalea Film Festival.
Targeting Cancer: The Story of Leukemia (2012)
Role: Producer, Director, Writer
This short film is part of the 3-part series, “Getting Better: 200 Years of Medicine,” commissioned by the New England Journal of Medicine. I produced the series with filmmaker Nancy Porter, and was writer, director, and producer of this 2nd film, “Targeting Cancer,” which looks at breakthroughs in cancer research and the first-ever cure for one kind of leukemia.
Nasser's Republic, the Making of Modern Egypt (2016)
Role: Executive Producer
I was executive producer and helped write funding proposals for this documentary by FC filmmaker Michal Goldman. It was completed in 2016, and has shown to sold-out crowds on the festival circuit worldwide.
The Adventures of Saul Bellow (2017)
Role: Executive Producer
I am executive producer of this new film by director Asaf Galay. I wrote the NEH proposal which received production funding. The film is now in production, with expected release on PBS in early 2020.
Cartooning America: The Fleischer Brothers Story (2017)
Role: Executive Producer, Producer
I wrote a successful NEH development proposal for this film by director Asaf Galay, and then did the development work, including writing a successful NEH production proposal and script. We are now in production and I am producing, with Mr. Galay directing. The Fleischer brothers created Betty Boop, and KoKo the Clown, and popularaized print characters including Popeye the Sailor Man and Superman. They were inventors who helped build the cartoon industry, and their cartoons were urban, edgy, rude, and very funny, featuring characters who would have been at home in their own Jewish neighborhoods in Brooklyn and Manhattan.
Big Little Town: The Story of Needham (2012)
Role: Producer, Director, Writer
I made this film for the town of Needham’s 300th anniversary, never imagining the rich and funny history of my town! It was my first foray into the world of community access media, and a mostly terrific experience. The film has been broadcast on WGBH Boston numerous times, as a Fourth of July special, and seen locally in Needham and Wellesley – which used to be West Needham!
Young & Restless in China (2008)
A 2-hour film exploring the values, trials and successes of young Chinese professionals, which premiered theatrically and on PBS Frontline in 2008. I produced it while at Ambrica Productions, a company I co-owned with filmmaker Sue Williams for 23 years.
Mary Pickford (2005)
This 90-minute portrait of the silent era film superstar premiered on PBS American Experience in 2005.
Time of Fear (2004)
A one-hour film about Japanese American internment camps in Arkansas during WWII, which premiered on Arkansas PBS in 2004 and nationally in 2005.
China in the Red (2004)
A 2-hour film for PBS Frontline, exploring how ordinary people raised under the “iron rice bowl” were coping with China’s evolving capitalism.
Eleanor Roosevelt (2000)
This 2.5 hour documentary on the former first lady premiered on PBS American Experience and is still one of their most popular biographical portraits.
CHINA: A Century of Revolution (1989)
This 6-hour series provide a sweeping and dramatic account of China’s 20th century history. The films have been seen in over 25 countries, have won numerous prestigious industry awards, and are still in educational and home video distribution through Zeitgeist Films in NY. The films of this series are:
China in Revolution (1911-1949)
The Mao Years (1949-1976)
Born Under the Red Flag (1976-1997)
Making Nature Accessible (2016)
I was hired by Mass Audubon to make this short film about accessible trails across their state properties. They call them “All Persons Trails,” and make the experience of walking outdoors, feeling the sunshine and hearing the birds, accessible to all.