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2013 Filmmakers in Residence & Special Guests

2013 Filmmakers in Residence

Supported in part by a grant from the Massachusetts Cultural Council and the Woods Hole Foundation

Judith Helfand


Judith Helfand is known for her ability to take the dark worlds of chemical exposure, heedless corporate behavior and environmental injustice and make them personal, highly-charged and entertaining.  Three of her films premiered at the Sundance Film Festival with subsequent national broadcasts.  In addition to THE UPRISING OF ’34 (co-directed with George Stoney), her films include BLUE VINYL (co-directed with Daniel B. Gold) and its Peabody award-winning prequel A HEALTHY BABY GIRL, as well as EVERYTHING’S COOL, also co-directed with Gold.  Judith is an educator and a documentary film funder and supporter.  She co-founded Working Films, in 1999 with Robert West, and in 2005, co-founded Chicken & Egg Picutres with Julie Parker Benello and Wendy Ettinger, a non-profit film fund dedicated to supporting women documentary filmmakers.  In 2007, she received a United States Artist Fellowship, one of 50 awarded annually to “America’s finest living artists.”  Most recently, she was awared as MacArthur grant for COOKED – her film-in-progress about the politics of disaster, which she will show at the Woods Hole Film Festival and hopes to release in 2014.

James Mottern


James Mottern is an award winning documentarian and feature filmmaker. He is a recipient of the prestigious Nicholl Fellowship for Screenwriting sponsored by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. His critically acclaimed film TRUCKER was called “a powerful debut” by film critic Roger Ebert who gave it four stars, and was listed on Ebert’s top ten indie films of that year. The Los Angeles Times called the film “wonderfully unconventional;” and The Huffington Post called it “a revelation.”


James’ other projects include screenplays with Mandate Pictures and Bona Fide Productions; The Jordan Kerner Company; Jennifer Garner’s Vandalia Films; Maven Pictures and several others including.


James is a regular guest lecturer on the art of screenwriting and filmmaking and a well-respected script doctor. Born in Providence, RI, raised in Virginia, and later living outside of Boston, James now makes his home in Big Bear, California with his wife and three daughters.


Currently, James is in post-production on a stylistic action-crime film he directed set in Boston starring Ben Barnes, Leighton Meester, Harvey Keitel and Toby Jones produced by Bob Salerno (21 Grams;) and is prepping another performance-driven action-thriller set in New England he will direct in September 2013.

Special Guests

Anthony Brooks


Anthony Brooks brings more than 25 years of experience in public radio to his work as co-host of Radio Boston on WBUR and WBUA. He has worked as a producer, editor, reporter and host for WBUR and NPR. For years, was a Boston-based reporter for NPR, covering regional issues across New England, including politics, the economy, education, criminal justice and urban affairs. During the 2000 presidential election, he was one of NPR’s lead political reporters, covering the campaign from the early primaries through the Supreme Court’s Bush v. Gore ruling. His reports have been heard for many years on NPR’s Morning Edition, All Things Considered, and Weekend Edition.


Beyond NPR, Brooks was also a senior producer on the team that launched “The World” for Public Radio International. He was also a senior correspondent for InsideOut Documentaries at WBUR. His piece “Testing DNA” and “The Death Penalty-InsideOut” won the 2002 Robert F. Kennedy Award for best radio feature. Over the years, Brooks has won numerous other broadcast awards, including the Edward R. Murrow Regional Broadcasters Award, the AP Broadcasters Award, the Ohio State Award and the Robert L. Kozik Award for environmental reporting for his Soundprint documentary, “Chernobyl Revisited.”


Brooks also has been a frequent fill-in host for the national programs On Point and Here & Now, produced by WBUR, and for NPR’s Talk of the Nation. In 2006 Brooks was awarded a Knight Wallace Fellowship at the University of Michigan, where he spent a year of sabbatical studies focusing on urban violence and wrongful convictions. Brooks grew up in Boston, Italy and Switzerland, but he says none of those places have anything over Somerville, Mass., where he currently lives. You can follow him on Twitter, @anthonygbrooks.

Chico David Colvard

Chico Colvard

Chico David Colvard was born in Augsburg, Germany, the son of a WWII German- Jewish mother and African American father raised in the segregated south of Georgia.  After pursuing a career in theatre arts, Chico received a J.D. from Boston College Law School and now teaches “race, law & media” related courses at the University of Massachusetts, Boston.  He is a former filmmaker-in-residence at WGBH, a member of the Producer’s Lab at Firelight Media and former Sundance Institute Creative Producing Fellow.  FAMILY AFFAIR, Chico’s feature length documentary film debut, premiered at Sundance and was the first film acquired by Oprah Winfrey on the OWN network.

Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady


LOKI FILMS is a non-fiction film production company founded in 2001 by Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady. The directing team has been lauded for shining a light on unknown worlds and taking an honest approach to delicate subject matter. In 2007 Ewing and Grady were nominated for an Academy Award for best documentary feature for “Jesus Camp,” a candid look at Pentecostal children in America. The film received a wide theatrical release by Magnolia Pictures and was broadcast in over 40 countries worldwide, including the A&E Network. Heidi and Rachel recently completed “DETROPIA,” an arresting exploration of Detroit City and its struggle to transform itself into a new and innovative place. The film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January of 2012, and won the Editing Award for Documentary, enjoyed a successful theatrical release and will broadcast on the Independent Lens series on PBS on May 27, 2013. In 2010 Ewing and Grady premiered “12th & Delaware” in competition at the Sundance Film Festival. The movie, made for HBO, takes a quietly intense look at the raging abortion battle in America. The film won the prestigious Peabody Award in 2011. Ewing and Grady were also part of an all-star team of filmmakers adapting the bestselling book “Freakonomics” into a feature-length documentary, which recently enjoyed a wide theatrical release. Previously, the directing team was nominated for an Emmy for “The Boys of Baraka,” a film about preteens struggling to make it in Baltimore city. The film was winner of the NAACP Image Award and was distributed by ThinkFilm and broadcast on the prestigious POV series on PBS. Grady and Ewing are currently directing “Branded,” a film that is part of ESPN’s groundbreaking “Nine for IX” series that reveals the trials and tribulations of America’s most elite female athletes. In their previous television work LOKI has taken on a vivid array of subjects that include the inner workings of Scientology, the criminally insane, Saudi Arabian teenagers, the dissident movement in Cuba and the effort to rebuild New Orleans. The company’s projects have been seen on a variety of networks including CBS, National Geographic, HBO, A&E, PBS, VH1, Al Jazeera, MTV and CNN. Ewing and Grady have been featured in Time Magazine as innovators of the documentary craft. Both are members of the Directors Guild of America as well as the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. They are based in New York City.

Sandy Moore

Sandy Moore

Sandy Moore, Senior Vice President of Marketing and Operations for House Lights Media, has over 20 years experience in the film, cable and new media industries with an executive background in marketing and management.  She has forged relationships throughout her career with some of the best in the business, including Paramount, Comedy Central, Disney, Martha Stewart Omnimedia and Comcast, to name but a few.  In the three years that House Lights Media has been in existence, she has taken more than half of their projects to a limited theatrical release through some of the biggest theater chains in the country, including two of the Woods Hole Film Festival’s previous attendees, the dark British Comedy, THE DRUMMOND WILL and the smart romantic comedy LOSING CONTROL.

Ernest Thompson

Ernest Thompson

As a writer, ERNEST THOMPSON’s films include ON GOLDEN POND (Academy Award, Best Adapted Screenplay; Golden Globe, Best Screenplay, Best Film; Writers Guild Award, Best Adapted Screenplay), SWEET HEARTS DANCE (starring Susan Sarandon and Don Johnson), and THE LIES BOYS TELL (Kirk Douglas and Craig T. Nelson), and, as writer/director, 1969 (Robert Downey, Jr. and Keifer Sutherland), THE WEST SIDE WALTZ (Shirley MacLaine and Liza Minnelli), OUT OF TIME (for Showtime, nominated Best Director, Daytime Emmys), and THE LIVE ON GOLDEN POND (Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer), and his two newest, TIME AND CHARGES and HEAVENLY ANGLE, both produced with his partners in Whitebridge Farm Productions, Morgan Murphy and Lori Gigliotti Murphy, and both offered as On Location Training to anyone of any age interested in any aspect of filmmaking. More than 800 people have participated in Whitebridge’s films and many more in the numerous workshops and classes taught by Ernest and the Whitebridge team and through their nonprofit, Cross The Bridge, which avails to Boys and Girls Clubs and other service organizations an opportunity to host professional filmmakers (and Ernest’s Oscar) and to dream of telling stories of their own. TIME AND CHARGES has its world premiere July 16, 2013 at the Maine International Film Festival, HEAVENLY ANGLE at the Woods Hole Film Festival August 1, 2013. Being part of WHFF is like coming home for Ernest. For part of his childhood, he lived in Mansfield, Ma., and Cape Cod was a regular and warmly-remembered destination.