Jackie Alabastro, Coordinator, Development and Production National Geographic WILD
Crawford Allan Senior Director, Wildlife Conservation World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Crawford Allan is an international expert on wildlife trafficking and trade, with 24 years’ experience in wildlife conservation, policy and regulation. Most recently he was selected for the Advisory Council to the U.S. Presidential Task Force on Wildlife Trafficking.He has led TRAFFIC’s black market investigations internationally in dozens of countries and has directly supported strong enforcement action, including some of the largest seizures, major arrests and prosecutions internationally. He is the TRAFFIC leader globally of the joint WWF and TRAFFIC Wildlife Crime Initiative. He was the leader of phase 1 of WWF’s Wildlife Crime Technology project – the recipient of a $5 million Google Global Impact Award Grant. The author of several publications and numerous papers on wildlife trafficking, species conservation, improving wildlife law enforcement and building strong enforcement partnerships, Crawford guides the development of innovative approaches to wildlife trade challenges. He helped to pioneer regional wildlife enforcement networks, including the ASEAN WEN and the Central American WEN.
David Allen, Producer Passion Pictures David Allen has produced and directed landmark natural history television programs for over twenty years. A partner in Passion Pictures, David works up a broad slate of specialist factual and feature documentaries, as well as continuing his innovative output of landmark natural history films. His second film for National Geographic Television Flying Devils won him an Emmy for best cinematography, two years later his Discovery/C4 series Bugworld won another Emmy for best director. His ITV series Deep Jungle broke adventure wildlife on UK’s commercial television, and the 90min Ocean Oddyssey merged natural history and computer graphics to realize the depths of the ocean for BBC1. His long-standing relationship with PBS recently culminated in the ambitious conservation series Earth: A New Wild which utilized big budget techniques to present the wildlife of planet earth, but turning the camera round to show the humans in the picture. Working with the BBC Natural world and PBS Nature he pushed at the genre of storytelling with people and wildlife with shows like Gorilla King, Elephants of Timbuktu, andLost Crocs of the Pharoahs. Most recently for these strands his film My Life as a Turkey was described by The Times as “probably the best documentary of the year” and won David his fourth Emmy, a Grierson nomination, his fifth Wildscreen Panda, and the Teton writing award here at Jackson Hole. From his base at Passion Pictures, David also runs a Green Media Lab that partners with companies like Swarorski, the Nature Conservancy and Alibaba to utilize Passion’s story skills and filming expertise to find ways to communicate critical stories about natural history and conservation to a wider audience.
Beth Allgood, Strategic Development International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) Beth assures the strategic development and implementation of US projects and campaigns with special emphasis on the U.S. role in ivory trade, wildlife trafficking, and wildlife security issues. She is IFAW’s liaison to the Clinton Global Initiative’s “Elephant Action Network”. Beth also leads IFAW’s innovative work to look beyond GDP for alternatives that better promote happiness and wellbeing for people and animals.
Tim Amick, VP, Post-Production NextVR As VP of Post Production at NextVR, Tim works at the technical and creative intersection of crafting audience experiences. Editing in virtual reality for both live broadcasts and VOD, Tim is continually improving the VR post production workflow. With the NextVR team, he was part of the first live stereoscopic multi-cam virtual reality broadcast at the 2015 U.S. Open of Golf and the first live VR broadcast of a major soccer tournament at Levi’s Stadium. Before diving into virtual reality, Tim spent 9 years working in immersive entertainment with Academy Award-nominated MacGillivray Freeman Films, the largest independent producer of IMAX theater films. Tim's past career accomplishments include editing the international giant screen film release "Humpback Whales" and leading a team of editors as part of the Webby Award-winning media campaign "One World One Ocean." The immense potential for an emotional audience connection in virtual reality and other cinematic mediums, be it for entertainment or education, is what drives Tim to continue working with the companies and colleagues that push their industries forward.
Allison Argo, Producer, Director, Writer Argofilms As producer, director, writer, and editor, Allison Argo has been making films for over two decades. Her films have won six national Emmys (11 nominations), a duPont Columbia, three awards from JHWFF, four Genesis awards from the Humane Society, plus over 100 awards internationally, including a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Ekotop Film Festival in Slovakia. Argo began making films in the 90’s after a chance encounter with a gorilla living alone in a shopping mall in Washington State. Concerned about the plight of gorillas like Ivan, Argo embarked on her first independent film, The Urban Gorilla. Argo won the very first “Newcomer” award from JHWFF; the film was broadcast by National Geographic in 1992. After the film aired, Ivan was retired from the mall and allowed to join other gorillas for the first time in 30 years. Nearly every one of Argo’s subsequent films have explored the plight of wild animals in a human-dominated world. She is currently in mid-production on the indie feature documentary The Last Pig, and in the early phases of production on the indie feature, The Story of Dao. In the spirit of Black Beauty, this moving saga follows 50 years in the life of an Asian elephant captured from the wild.
Stephanie Atlas, Senior Producer of Digital Short Form National Geographic Studios Stephanie Atlas is the Senior Producer of Digital Short Form for National Geographic Studios. In this role, Stephanie spearheads the development and production of emerging digital video programming and experiences including curating and launching National Geographic’s channel on Snapchat, conceptualizing and overseeing Travel video content and strategy, and piloting new omni-platform ideas for global mobile-first viewing. Before moving into the digital realm, Stephanie was a television writer and producer specializing in natural history, including the Emmy-award winning series Great Migrations. Stephanie is excited by the discovery of new and innovative ways to tell stories and looks forward to fostering additional cutting edge programming for new audiences.
Patricia Awori Pan-African Wildlife Conservation Network Born in Nairobi and educated first at a Catholic Mission school and later at Lock Haven University in the United States, Awori holds a B.A. degree in International Relations, with a minor in Behavioral Science. She continued her studies in Biodiversity and co-authored a published paper on Biodiversity. Awori is involved in community wildlife conservation programs, policy development, wildlife conservation, advocacy and conservation of wild species. She actively contributes to Kenyan legislations including The Wildlife Bill and has participated in campaigns such as Hands Off Our Elephants and Jim Justus Nyamu’s Walk for the Elephants. Awori is a consultant for IFAW and serves as advisor to a variety of organizations and senior government officials. Currently, Awori serves on the Board of Amboseli Trust for Elephants, Massai Wilderness Conservation Trust, and Tsavo Trust and has also spoken in a wide variety of conservation and environmental forums, including the Houston Museum of Natural Sciences. As Director of Pan-African Wildlife Conservation Network, Awori has worked to bring together 26 of the 37 African Elephant Range States under the umbrella of the African Elephant Coalition. She has attended international conferences including the Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species (CITES) and the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). Pat is a member of the East African Wildlife Society, Co-Chair of the Kenya Elephant Forum, an influential advocacy group in the campaign for preservation of elephants. Most recently she is a founding member of the new Conservation Alliance of Kenya that represents the future of advocacy between NGO’s, Government and the Head of State.
Lucinda Axelsson BBC As a commissioning executive in the BBC’s Natural History and Specialist Factual Formats team Axelsson has worked across a huge range of output including everything from high end Blue chip series such as Alaska: Earths Frozen Kingdom, Japan: Earths Enchanted Islands and Patagonia: Earths Secret Paradise, to immersive shows like Snow Wolf Family and Me and more poppy lower budget shows such as Tigers About the House, Worlds Weirdest Events and This Wild Life, and also live and ‘as live’ series such as Planet Earth Live (Earth 24/7), World’s Busiest Railway and Harvest 2015. Axelsson has been responsible for producing ground breaking and highly successful series such as Meerkat Manor made with OSF (for Animal Planet) which changed the face of storytelling in natural history, and Natures Weirdest Events which got over 4.5 million on BBC2 in its first series, breaking new ground in its stylish combination of UGC, journalistic storytelling and scientific revelation. She has also produced several other classic wildlife series such as Elephant Diaries, Elephants of Samburu, Wild Brazil and Snow Babies.
Jon Bardin, Director of Documentaries and Specials Discovery Channel
Kristen Bauer, Actress American film and television actress Kristin Bauer, who has been in the business since her early 20's, is most known for her role as Pam, the vampire co-owner of Bon Temps' Fangtasia bar, in True Blood, and currently Maleficent on Once Upon a Time. Born and raised in Wisconsin, Kristin had an idyllic childhood centered around nature and animals. In junior high she became interested in the arts, specifically drawing and painting, and after graduating high school Kristin completed three years of art school before moving to Los Angeles, California to pursue a career in acting. Two years later she was hired to portray flight attendant Maggie Reynolds on the FOX comedy The Crew. In 1996, Kristin appeared in one of her most memorable guest roles as "Man Hands" Gillian, Jerry's girlfriend, on Seinfeld. She has been on over 60 TV shows including, Everybody Loves Raymond, Dharma and Greg, and Boston Legal. Throughout the years, she has played a few other series regular characters including the Geneva Renault, the quirky secretary of a security agency, on the drama Total Security and Candy Cooper in the CBS family drama That's Life. In 2008, Alan Ball tapped her to co-manage the vampire bar Fangtasia on HBO's original drama True Blood. Today she lives in Los Angeles with her musician, South African husband, Abri van Straten, two rescued dogs and two rescued cats. She splits her time between shooting, painting and trying to bring light to things that should not be happening. She works with IFAW, The Amanda Foundation, Oceana, PCRM, Best Friends and many other wonderful charities. Currently she is editing her documentary about the plight of the African elephant and rhino in Africa, called Out For Africa. Nature and animals are her greatest passion as they “Have always given selflessly to me, so much more than I ever could have dreamed or given back. Mother nature is the greatest, most magical artist I have ever seen.”
Gerald Bigurube, Regional Coordinator Frankfurt Zoological Society Gerald Bigurube is the Regional Co-ordinator for the Frankfurt Zoological Society and manages projects in the Selous Game Reserve, Serengeti National Park and Mahale Mountains National Park. Gerald began his career in the Selous (at 50,000 square kilometers one of the largest protected areas in Africa) and rose to the position of Chief Warden at the peak of the first elephant and rhino poaching wave of the 80s and 90s. He then spent 15 years at Tanzania National Parks (TANAPA) where he became Director General in 2004, overseeing the management of Tanzania’s network of 15 National Parks until his retirement in 2009. Gerald is also a skilled pilot with experience in Systemic Reconnaissance Flights, wildlife counts, anti-poaching flights, radio tracking and aerial filmmaking. He received his undergraduate degree in Zoology at the University of Alberta, Canada.
Liz Brach, Director of Development and Production Discovery Networks International Liz Brach is Director of Development and Production for Discovery Networks International, a division of Discovery Communications, the #1 pay-TV programmer in the world. Brach is responsible for developing and executive producing some of Discovery’s most successful factual series and specials for local and international markets, to air in over 220 countries and territories around the world. She oversaw production of global hits Breaking Magic and Great White Gauntlet, DNI’s first Shark Week special. Her recent executive producer credits include Bear Grylls: Breaking Point, Brothers in Blood: The Lions of Sabi Sand, and Kings of the Wild. She also oversaw development and will executive produce the recently announced Free Ride (wt), Driving Wild (wt) and Question Everything (wt). A 10-year Discovery veteran, Brach oversaw development of new series, specials and events including the Emmy-winning Cash Cab, Emmy-nominated series Life, as well as Gold Rush, Storm Chasers, Most Evil, Man vs. Wild, Future Weapons, Ocean of Fear, and Into the Universe with Stephen Hawking. Prior to joining Discovery, Brach worked as a freelance production and development executive on series for Animal Planet, Discovery Channel, TLC, HGTV, History, National Geographic Channel and Travel Channel.
Jeanne Braha, Public Engagement Manager American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) A science communications and public engagement professional, she is responsible for management of the AAAS Center for Public Engagement with Science and Technology. The AAAS Center for Public Engagement provides a vehicle for boosting public awareness and understanding of the nature of science and the work of scientists, while at the same time increasing public input into scientific research and policy agendas. Braha’s work encourages scientists to take a more personal and proactive interest in public engagement, using evidence-based approaches. She previously worked in civic engagement, environmental education, and science communications at the National Academy of Sciences and other organizations.
Kate Brooks Kate Brooks is an internationally recognized photojournalist who has chronicled conflict and human rights issues for nearly two decades. Her photographs are regularly published in magazines such as TIME, Newsweek, The New Yorker and Smithsonian, and exhibited internationally in museums and galleries. In 2012 Kate was selected for the prestigious Knight-Wallace Fellowship at the University of Michigan. There she began researching wildlife trafficking and the pan-African poaching epidemic before embarking on directing the documentary film The Last Animals, which is currently in the pipeline. Kate’s drive and passion for this project comes from the fundamental belief that time is running out and that we are at a critical moment in natural history.
Dr. Susan Canney, Project Leader,WILD Conservation Advisor Mali Elephant Project Dr. Susan Canney has worked on a variety of nature conservation projects in Africa, Asia and Europe, including living for several years in Niger and Tanzania. Dr. Canney has also worked as a research officer at the Green College Centre for Environmental Policy & Understanding (UK). In addition to working with WILD, she also collaborates with the Wildlife Conservation Research Unit (WildCRU) based in Oxford. She has MAs in Natural Sciences, Landscape Design, and Environmental Policy, and a Doctorate for understanding changing human land use and its impact on a protected area in Tanzania. Her work involves using systems perspectives and collaborative approaches to understand the human-nature relationship and find sustainable solutions to conservation problems. Dr Canney is also the Secretary and a Co-founder of the Earth Systems Science Special Interest Group of the Geological Society of London, and of the Gaia Network. She teaches at University of Oxford and for the Green Economics Institute and is part of Forum for the Future’s ‘Reconnections’ team for business leaders. She is co-author of “Conservation” (Cambridge University Press, 2013).
Katie Carpenter Everwild Media & Yale University Katie Carpenter is an award-winning filmmaker specializing in wildlife, science and conservation subjects for public and cable television. She recently produced two National Geographic specials for PBS, Bones of Turkana and Battle for the Elephants, filmed on location in Kenya, Tanzania and China. Her latest production, Warlords of Ivory on the illegal ivory trade recently aired on the National Geographic Channel. Her films have aired on PBS, Discovery Channel, MSNBC, Fox, Animal Planet, ABC and the Disney Channel, and have been shot across East Africa, Southern Asia, Latin America and the U.S. As a partner in Everwild Media, Carpenter co-produced Hundred Heartbeats, a two-hour special on the most endangered species around the world for MSNBC, and the Emmy-nominated documentary feature film A Year On Earth for Discovery Networks. Her focus on conservation filmmaking dates back to her role as Vice President of Film/TV for National Audubon Productions, where she developed and produced award-winning wildlife series and specials, including In the Land of the Grizzlies, Saving the Everglades, and Panama: Paradise Found as well as educational videos on wildlife and habitats at risk around the world.
Greg Carr, President Gorongosa Restoration Project Greg Carr received a Masters in public policy from Harvard in 1986. In 1999, he co-founded the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at Harvard University. Carr has been active in philanthropic activities in his home state of Idaho. Joining family and friends, he co-founded the Museum of Idaho in 2000, a cultural and natural history museum. In January of 2008, Carr signed a 20-year agreement with the Government of Mozambique to restore and co-manage the country's flagship national park, "Gorongosa". The Gorongosa management team has reintroduced wildlife to the ecosystem, restored trees in the Mt. Gorongosa rainforest, and has created an international Restoration Ecology Science Research Center, named the "EO Wilson Laboratory". Additionally, the restoration team re-established eco-tourism in the Park creating local employment and Park income. The Park Community Relations Department provides health, education, and agricultural assistance to the local communities living near its borders. Carr is a member of the Board of Directors of the EO Wilson Biodiversity Foundation.
Robert Carroll, Senior Director Content Solutions – Imaging Dolby Laboratories At Dolby Laboratories, Robert is responsible for Production and Post Production solutions related to Dolby Vision. Robert’s career in cinema and television spans more than 36 years working in production, product engineering, marketing and executive positions.
Natalie Cash, Executive Producer Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) Cash is the Executive Producer in charge of video production at WCS, an international conservation organization with more than 3,000 field staff in 65 countries. WCS also operates the largest system of urban wildlife parks in the world – Bronx Zoo, Central Park Zoo, Prospect Park Zoo and Queens Zoo and NY Aquarium on Coney Island – educating four million visitors each year about the importance of conservation. With two decades of experience in the industry, Cash produces short-form programming about WCS projects and stories for multiple platforms. Her films have won awards at the International Wildlife Film Festival and NY Wild Film Festival and selected as finalists at Wildscreen and the Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival. Prior to joining WCS, she was a series producer and writer at the Emmy Award-winning documentary production company Pangolin Pictures.
Meghan Cassin, Associate Director, Development National Geographic WILD
Thure Cerling, IsoForensics and University of Utah Thure Cerling is a geologist and biologist who uses isotopes to understand Earth surface processes. His work relates to conservation and the forensic use of isotopes as tracers of diet, migration, and age. These isotope studies include elephant movement in Africa, geo-location of rhinos, age-of-death using "bomb" carbon, unidentified decedent investigations, salmon migration, and behavioral studies of marine mammals. He also works on early human origins and environmental geochemistry. He is Distinguished Professor of Geology and Geophysics, and Distinguished Professor of Biology, at the University of Utah. He is one of the co-founders of IsoForensics, a private research and analytical services facility located in Salt Lake City that focuses on applications of stable isotope analyses to forensics problems faced by law enforcement. He is a member of the US National Academy of Sciences.
Bryan Christy, Chief Correspondent &
Founder, Special Investigations Unit National Geographic Magazine Bryan Christy is an author and journalist. He is chief correspondent and
founder of the Special Investigations Unit at National
Geographic magazine and is a National Geographic Society Fellow. In 2014 he was named National Geographic Explorer of the Year, and his work on international wildlife
trafficking has been cited as one of ten way NAtional Geographic has changed the world. Christy
is author of The Lizard King: the true crimes and passionals of the world's greatest reptile smuggles (TWELVE). His non-fiction has appeared in National
Geographic, Foreign Policy, Playboy and
law journals. His 2012 international ivory investigation was made
into the award-winning National Geographic-PBS documentary Battle for the Elephants. His 2015 investigation is the subject of the 2015 Explored series premiere, Warlords of Ivoryaired on the National Geographic Channel.
Andie Clare, Director of Production Icon Films Andie Clare is the Director of Production at Icon Films – a long established award winning, UK independent production company. Over the last 25 years Icon Films has produced over 300 hours of high-end factual content for the international market. As Director of Production Andie ensures the delivery of all the productions at Icon Films; managing projects and the production department imaginatively within the constraints of deadlines and budgets. She is also the Series Producer of River Monsters, the best performing series of Animal Planet US currently in its eight season. Andie grew up enjoying the moss and moor of the Lancashire Pennines before heading further North to study zoology at Newcastle University. A decade of camera assisting and rescuing spectacled bears in South America followed and nurtured her passion for stories from the natural world. She joined Icon Films in Bristol in 1997 as an assistant producer and grew with the company to become Director of Production. Andie, her husband and three children enjoy an untamed home life of den building, vegetable growing and chainsaw sculpting.
Bridget Conneely, Science Education Fellow Howard Hughes Medical Institute Bridget Conneely is a wildlife ecologist with over 10 years of experience working with conservation organizations on ecological research and communications. A Science Education Fellow at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI), she works with the Educational Media team at HHMI BioInteractive to produce a variety of classroom resources with a particular focus on environmental science and conservation topics. Conneely earned her master’s degree in zoology from the University of British Columbia, where she researched the ecology of reintroduced buffalo and wildebeest in Mozambique. Prior to joining HHMI, she spent 9 years working with the Gorongosa Restoration Project, a non-profit organization working to restore Gorongosa National Park in Mozambique.
Peter Coppolillo, PhD, Executive Director Working Dogs for Conservation Pete received a bachelor’s degree with honors in Biology and Environmental Conservation from the University of Colorado and a Ph.D. in Ecology from the University of California, Davis. Pete worked with the Wildlife Conservation Society for 10 years, first at their New York Headquarters and then as part of the Africa and North America Programs. Pete has studied Ferruginous Hawks in North America, avian community ecology in Kenya, and large herbivore ecology and herding systems in Tanzania. He has helped plan and carry out conservation strategies in Bolivia, Ecuador, Argentina, Congo, Cambodia, Tanzania, and the United States. His publications appear in Conservation Biology, Biological Conservation, PLOS (Public Library of Science), Human Ecology, Landscape and Urban Planning, Landscape Ecology, and Science, and he is co-author of the book Conservation: Linking Ecology, Economics and Culture (2005 Princeton Univ. Press).
Peter Crithary, Marketing Manager Sony
Andrea Crosta, Co-Founder Elephant Action League/WILDLEAKS Andrea is the co-founder of Elephant Action League and a founding and supervisory board member of the recently established Wildlife Justice Commission. For over 15 years he has been working also as an international consultant for high-end security services & technologies. He holds an MS in Natural Sciences, an MA in Business, and a BSc in Psychology.
Maryanne Culpepper, Writer, Filmmaker Grafitti Works, Inc. Maryanne Culpepper is an award-winning writer and filmmaker with extensive experience in developing, writing and producing high-profile documentaries and nonfiction series. She is the former President of National Geographic Television, where she oversaw development and production of 100+ hours of factual programming annually. She specializes in writing for broadcast, digital and museum platforms through her company Graffiti Works. Current projects include films based in Mozambique and the Baltic Sea, and an internationally touring exhibition for science museums. She is an Adjunct Professor at George Washington University’s School of Media and Public Affairs teaching courses in writing and storytelling in film. She is also an instructor at the Maine Media Workshops.
Geoff Daniels, EVP & General Manager National Geographic WILD Geoffrey Daniels is Executive Vice President and General Manager of Nat Geo WILD, which launched in March 2010. In this role, Daniels annually commissions more than 170 hours of original series, specials and events for broadcast on WILD globally, furthering the network’s commitment to provide extraordinary wildlife programming that inspires people to care about the planet. Under Daniels’ leadership, WILD’s ratings have increased for four straight years, making it one of the fastest growing channels in all of cable, driven by the success of Big Cat Week and series such as, The Incredible Dr. Pol, Cesar 911 and Dr. Oakley, Yukon Vet. Additionally, he has launched programming stunts including Fishbowl and Safari Live. In his previous role as Senior Vice President of Development and Production for National Geographic Channels International (NGCI), Daniels commissioned more than 250 hours of original programming per year for broadcast in 166 countries, 315 million homes and 34 languages worldwide. Prior to joining NGCI in 2001, Daniels was Director of Development for National Geographic Television & Film, where, as part of the Program Enterprise Group, he developed and produced specials and series in support of the National Geographic Channel’s rollout worldwide and domestic U.S. launch.Daniels began his career in new product development at
Time-Life Video & Television (TLV), where he played a key role in building
TLV into one of the world’s leading home video distributors through the
acquisition and marketing of Sir David Attenborough’s Trials of Life, Ken
Burns’ The Civil War and in co-production with the BBC on the award-winning
children’s series Growing Up Wild. In 1996, Daniels directed Reader’s Digest’s
entry into the global television market, heading up international
co-productions and program catalog sales.
Dr. Wendy Darke, Head BBC Natural History Unit The BBC Natural History Unit (NHU) is world-renowned for pioneering innovation, not only in its use of the latest production technologies, but also in finding new ways to craft stories about the natural world that captivate audiences of all ages around the globe and across a wide variety of platforms. Wendy Darke has been Head of the NHU for more than 3 years and is responsible for maintaining editorial governance over all of its output, delivering around 150 hours of natural history content annually. This includes ambitious landmark titles such as Africa, Life Story and Shark, popular brands Natural World, Springwatch and the …Family & Me series,and the recently-launched BBCEarth.com website, as well as collaborations with BBC Worldwide’s Earth Productions, who create fresh short-form content for digital platforms and large-scale immersive experiences, from Giant Screen features to exhibits in the virtual reality theme park Orbi. During her career, Wendy has overseen the delivery of over 1,000 programs and takes pride in leading high-performing, empowered teams who are intrinsically motivated to produce the world’s best natural history content; on any one day she may have up to 50 crews on location across 7 continents. Prior to taking on her current role she was Executive Producer for NHU Children’s, where she grew this innovative and successful part of the business, overseeing more than 485 programs, amounting to almost 230 hours of content that has subsequently been sold in all territories worldwide, including the BAFTA award winning Deadly 60, which has become a global brand. During her 20-year career at the NHU, Wendy has worked on a broad range of output, including Land of the Tiger and Big Cat Diary. Wendy completed her BSc in Geology and Zoology at the University of Bristol and gained her PhD from James Cook University and the Australian Institute of Marine Science on the corals of the Great Barrier Reef. She is driven by a passion for developing lifelong relationships between people and the wonders of the natural world through the delivery of outstanding, never-before-seen natural history content to audiences worldwide.
Laurie David, Author For over a decade as an author and producer Laurie David has brought her passion and dedication to a variety of important environmental and food issues. For her first film project since An Inconvenient Truth, Laurie partnered with award-winning journalist Katie Couric to executive produce Fed Up, a feature-length documentary that examines the causes and impact of the childhood obesity epidemic. Laurie was a producer of the 2006 Academy Award winning documentary An Inconvenient Truth, executive produced the HBO documentary Too Hot NOT to Handle, and the TBS comedy special Earth to America! She also authored the bestselling book Stop Global Warming: The Solution is You! and co-authored The Down-to-Earth Guide to Global Warming, which has been published in over eight languages.
Mark Deeble & Victoria Stone, Wildlife Filmmakers DeebleStone Productions Mark Deeble and Victoria Stone are award-winning wildlife filmmakers, based in Kenya. They are known for their story-driven films, celebrating biodiversity and the inter-connectivity of the natural world ( Mzima: Haunt of the Riverhorse, The Queen of Trees) For the past four years, they have been shooting ‘The Elephant Movie’, a film for theatrical and giant screen distribution.
James Deutsch, Director of Wildlife Conservation Vulcan Inc. James Deutsch has just started at Vulcan Inc., Paul Allen’s organization, as Director of Wildlife Conservation, focusing especially on elephants, rhinos, sharks, rays, and wildlife trafficking. Originally from New York City, James studied philosophy (AB) at Harvard and anthropology (MPhil) and zoology (PhD) at Cambridge. He was a research fellow at Cambridge, lecturer in ecology at the University of East Anglia, and lecturer in behavioral ecology and conservation biology at Imperial College London before becoming the chief executive of Britain’s national fundraising charity for AIDS (Crusaid) for six years. In 2002 he returned to New York to head the Wildlife Conservation Society’s (WCS) Africa Program, and was appointed VP Conservation Strategy at WCS in 2014. James’ work in Africa has included field studies of Uganda kob antelope and Malawi cichlid fishes, school-teaching in Kenya, helping found and lead the Tropical Biology Association, and spending about one quarter time from 2002-2014 on management visits to WCS’s 12 African country programs (Nigeria, Cameroon, Gabon, Congo, DRC, Rwanda, Uganda, South Sudan, Tanzania, Zambia, Mozambique, and Madagascar). Under James’ leadership, WCS’s work in Africa was expanded and reorganized under country programs, growing in budget from $6 million in 2003 to $34 million in 2014. WCS helped to create and implement the Congo Basin Forest Partnership and associated Central Africa Regional Program for the Environment of the US Government. James launched new country programs in Nigeria, South Sudan, and Mozambique. He helped WCS’s large-scale alternative livelihood program in Zambia, COMACO, to grow and mature into an independent Zambian non-profit company. Under his leadership WCS helped create Gabon’s system of national parks, discovered a population of 125,000 western lowland gorillas in Congo, and re-discovered the great ungulate migrations of South Sudan. During 2012-2014, James’ focus has been on strengthening WCS’s role and capacity in protected area management and coordinating WCS’s efforts to end Africa’s elephant poaching and ivory trafficking crisis.
Danfung Dennis, Founder, CEO Condition One Danfung Dennis is the CEO and Founder of Condition One, a virtual reality company developing powerful immersive experiences with a conscience. His documentary film Hell and Back Again was nominated for an Academy Award for and his images from Iraq and Afghanistan were published in the New York Times and Newsweek.
Iain Douglas-Hamilton, Founder and CEO Save the Elephants (STE) Iain Douglas-Hamilton, D.Phil., CBE, is an authority on elephant behavior and conservation. His work in the 1960s paved the way for much of today’s understanding of elephants and current conservation practices. During the mid 1970s, he investigated the status of elephants throughout Africa, instituted a Pan African Elephant survey with a network of scientists and conservationists across the continent, and started the IUCN African Elephant Specialist Group. He chronicled the rapid diminution of Africa’s elephant population between 1979 and 1989, alerting the world to the ivory poaching crisis, and was instrumental in bringing about the world ivory trade ban. In 2013 he co-founded the Elephant Crisis Fund (a joint initiative between Save the Elephants and San Francisco based NGO Wildlife Conservation Network) to confront the threat to elephants by supporting the most urgent, important and catalytic projects across the world to stop the killing, stop the trafficking and end the demand for ivory.
Saba Douglas-Hamilton, Director of Special Projects Save the Elephants (STE) Saba Douglas-Hamilton is a conservationist, filmmaker and TV host. She served as as Trustee of Save the Elephants for a decade and is now Chair of the Advisory Board. With a first class degree in Social Anthropology (MA) from the University of St. Andrews, Scotland, she first worked with the Save the Rhino Trust in Namibia. In 1997 she joined Save the Elephants as Head of Operations, helping establish the organization's research headquarters in Samburu National Reserve. Saba is a sought-after communicator on conservation, acclaimed for her ability to inspire audiences around the world to engage with the wild world. In 2000 she began as a wildlife filmmaker with the BBC and has since hosted nine award-winning TV series and twenty-four documentaries including producing two films for Animal Planet, Heart of a Lioness and Rhino Nights. After taking a sabbatical to raise her family, she has recently returned to filmmaking with a new 12 part BBC series, This Wild Life.
David Dugan, CEO & Co-Founder Windfall Films David Dugan is CEO and co-founder of Windfall Films, a UK independent with a strong track record in science and natural history documentaries. This year we have five Finalist nominations at the Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival and two Emmy nominations. David was the Series Producer of Your Inner Fish a PBS series made in collaboration with Tangled Bank Studios. He was the Executive Producer of the Batman of Mexico, a Natural World for BBC. Windfall Films has pioneered natural history cross-platform events with shows like Foxes Live: Wild in the City and Easter Eggs Live. We also produced a 90’ Halloween special event for the BBC: Spider House. Other series include Operation Maneater and Sex in The Wild, both for PBS and Channel Four. David devised and produced the BAFTA-winning series Inside Nature’s Giants that dissects large animals to reveal their evolutionary secrets. He also produced the Emmy award-winning PBS series, DNA, celebrating the 50th anniversary of the double helix discovery and a film about legendary evolutionary biologist, E.O Wilson, Lord of the Ants. Currently he is Executive Producer of a NOVA mini series, Making North America about the geology of North America with Kirk Johnston, and a new feature documentary, The Hole, about the story behind the hole in the ozone layer.
Marc Dragun Dolby Laboratories Marc Dragun is the Director of Business Development for Emerging Media at Dolby Labs, where he has worked for the last 8 years. In that role he is responsible for evaluating new market opportunities primarily in the Internet media space, developing and executing market engagement strategies for those opportunities, as well as helping craft product, pricing and distribution strategies. Marc is the Business Development lead for Dolby’s Cinematic VR initiative, building on Dolby’s long history in traditional cinema. For the last 19 years Marc has worked at Internet Audio/Video companies, including Real Networks, at a time when the Real Player was the number one media player on the Internet, as well as BitTorrent, a highly popular consumer file sharing technology.
Peter M. Fannon, Vice President, Corporate & Government Affairs Panasonic Corporation of North America Peter Fannon manages Panasonic's government, public affairs, corporate communications, environmental, product safety, regulatory compliance, community relations, corporate outreach, and technology policy activities. He represents Panasonic in a variety of industry, trade, and advisory organizations. He is chairman, Electronic Manufacturers Recycling Management Company (MRM), and serves on the IBC Council. His earlier positions included President, Advanced Television Test Center (ATTC), President, National Association of Public Television Stations (NAPTS), and Director of Planning, Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), as well posts in the US Government. He earned Bachelor and Master of Arts degrees from The Johns Hopkins University and its School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), and he is a Fellow of the Society of Motion Picture & Television Engineers (SMPTE).
Carol Fleisher, President Fleisherfilm Carol has spent the last 38 years making documentaries for television. She is the recipient of the Writers Guild of America for her film The Secret White House Tapes (co-written with William Doyle). /Her six our telling of The Revolutionary War won the Cable ACE award for Best Documentary Series. She is one of two doc filmmakers to be honored with the prestigious Humanitas Prize for two consecutive years. Her work has also grnered eight Cine Golden Eagles, a Golden Hugo from the Chicago International Film Festival, a Gold Award from the Houston Film Festival, two Genesis awards and two Emmy Awards. "I feel that I've been able to avoid being 'pigeon-holed' in my career. I've made films on everything from prisoners of war to singing cowboys...from stolen children to Mother Teresa. I love my job."
Jeffrey Flocken, North American Regional Director International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) Jeffrey leads in the US and Canada advocating on behalf of animals. Flocken is also the founder and board co-chair of the Emerging Wildlife Conservation Leaders initiative and is the coauthor of the book Wildlife Heroes.
Frédérick Fougea, Founder, Writer, Director, Producer Boréales Frédéric Fougea has been the producer and distributor of a collection of 13x26’ documentaries called "The Lords of the Animals" about the ancestral and unusual relationships between human beings and animals. These films have been broadcasted all over the world and received over 100 awards. Among them are The Truffle Hunters Canal, He Dances For His Cormorants Best Children's Award at Banff Television Festival, Grand Prize at International Film Festival in Autrans (93) and nomination for an Emmy. He also produced with his brother, Bathélémy Fougea a collection which depicts young child prodigies throughout the world, the discovery of their world and their music. This 8x26’ series called Kids, Music, and Dance targets a young audience. In 2003, he wrote the narration of the breaking record documentary, Species Odyssey, directed by Jacques Malaterre. His love for nature and its beauties led him to direct and produce WILD FRANCE, best primetime score of 2013 on France Televisions, with 7 million audience and elected best TV program of 2013 by French viewers. In 2015, Frédéric will produce and co-author a series for prime time France 3 called The Messenger. Every episode will follow a celebrity that chooses to sponsor an animal cause at the other side of the world. Furthermore, two new prime time events will continue the WILD film franchise: Paris - A Wild Side Story, and WILD FRANCE 2.
Jorge Franzini, Producer CuriosityStream Jorge Franzini is a producer for CuriosityStream, the service for nonfiction programming. Launched by Discovery Communications founder John Hendricks in March 2015 and led by president Elizabeth Hendricks North, CuriosityStream is dedicated to providing the best programs from the top producers around the world. Franzini began his career working in the field on projects ranging from documentaries to broadcast television, for clients including the National Institutes of Health, the F.B.I., Microsoft and others. He eventually transitioned to production, working two seasons for Inside E Street, a national weekly public affairs show that aired on PBS, and for a digital media company specializing in streaming content. At CuriosityStream, Franzini has worked as a producer on short-form docs covering topics from string theory to Mars to maritime archaeology including, most recently, the original series Destination: Pluto, detailing the decade long journey of the New Horizons spacecraft.
Stephen Fromkin, Head of Production 360Heros & 360Licensing He joined 360Heros in January of 2015 after the company’s growth increased due to the expanded popularity of Virtual Reality. Mr. Fromkin’s first foray into immersive production was as Post-Producer on Director Chris Milk’s breakthrough music video featuring Beck shot with 360-degree camera rigs which went on to win numerous awards. As a freelance VR Producer Mr. Fromkin has worked with clients such as AT&T, Major League Baseball, Major League Soccer and more. Mr. Fromkin is also a Partner and CEO of inMotion Studios, a boutique motion graphics and promotional video production company based in Burbank, California. inMotion’s long client list includes NBC Universal, ABC, CBS, Discovery Channel, National Geographic Channel and A&E to name a few. Mr. Fromkin has also produced national commercials and hundreds of hours of web and promotional content for the companies. While fulfilling both of these media production-heavy roles, he remains active in the world of independent feature filmmaking, producing feature films including Dark Tourist and Across the Hall. Mr. Fromkin’s ability to manage the demand for creative, high quality content is based on his physical production expertise, understanding of complex post-production workflows and budgetary efficiency. Mr. Fromkin served as a full-time Adjunct Professor of Film Production at Boston University’s College of Communications for three years as he began his production career, prior to moving to Los Angeles. Stephen holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Film Studies from Clark University and a Master of Fine Arts in film production from Boston University. He is currently the Board of Director President for both iLead Charter School and Scarlet Foundation and lives in Los Angeles with his wife and two children.
Dr. Michelle Gadd, Program Officer, African Elephant and African Rhino Programs Division of International Conservation, US Fish and Wildlife Service Michelle has headed up the African elephant and the African rhino programs for the US Fish & Wildlife Service since 2005. Prior to joining USFWS, she spent a decade working in the field in Africa: catching frogs in Kenya and DRC; studying elephants in Kenya, South Africa and Botswana; and learning about natural history from local residents. She did her Master's fieldwork in the Kruger ecosystem and her Ph.D. fieldwork in Botswana and Kenya. Her work focused on ecological compatibility of elephants and cattle in arid areas, on the economic and sociological factors that cause conflict between wildlife and people, and the role of financial benefits on attitudes towards wildlife. More recently, she has worked to bring attention to the impact of fences and roads on wildlife.
Grace Ge Gabriel, Asia Regional Director International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) As IFAW Regional Director, Grace leads strategic development and implementation of conservation and animal welfare campaigns in Asia. IFAW successfully conducted wildlife trade reduction campaigns in China generating enhanced government policies and enforcement actions, marketplace trade bans and reduced consumer demand for parts and products from endangered species.
Bill Gardner, VP Programming & Development PBS Bill Gardner oversees content strategy, development and production for the PBS Primetime schedule in the genres of science, natural history, culture, current events and history as well as a portion of the PBS drama lineup. During his time at PBS projects he has shepherded have won two Peabody Awards and been nominated for multiple Emmys. Recent projects include The Big Blue (BBC) andGorongosa Park: Rebirth of Paradise (Off the Fence Productions and National Geographic),Your Inner Fish with Neil Shubin (Windfall Films and Tangled Bank Studios), Earth A New Wild (Passion Planet and NGT), How We Got to Now with Steven Johnson (Nutopia). Before joining PBS he was executive producer at Discovery Studios, where he oversaw and developed national productions in the reality, CGI and science genres for multiple networks. Prior to Discovery Bill spent over a decade in the independent production world, working as director, producer, writer and show runner on shows including Digging for the Truth on the History Channel, Treasure Quest on Discovery, CNN Presents and several episodes of Explorer for National Geographic Television. He has produced in over 30 countries, including spending 2 months in Iraq embedded with US Special Forces investigating the looting of the Baghdad museum. During this time he was also the first Westerner allowed to film inside the holy Shi’i Shrines of Hussein and Abbas in Karbala.
Anthony Geffen, CEO & Creative Director Atlantic Productions He is an acclaimed multi BAFTA and Emmy winning film maker and producer. His productions include television, theatrical films and IMAX, and innovative digital productions. After 10 years at the BBC, he then set-up Atlantic Productions in 1992, which has since become recognised as one of Britain’s leading specialist factual production companies. He has made 10 natural history films with David Attenborough including the BAFTA award winning Flying Monsters 3D; the BAFTA awarding winning Natural History Museum Alive; Galapagos 3D; and the multi Emmy winning series First Life. His numerous other films include the award winning theatrical film The Wildest Dream: Conquest of Everest; the Emmy winning Jerusalem: City of Heaven; and the landmark special Nefertiti Resurrected. His forthcoming BBC series, David Attenborough’sGreat Barrier Reef, will be shown this fall. He has also produced several award winning apps, and a number of virtual reality experiences with both Google and Sony.
Liz Gibbs, Co-founder, Director of Impact DIVA Networks, Inc. Liz is the Director of Impact at DIVA Networks, Inc., a design-centric technology company based in Jackson Hole, WY with offices of engineers and creatives in Tokyo, Köln and San Francisco. As Director of Impact, Liz leads strategic partnerships, user acquisition and public relations ensuring each external relationship has purpose and passion at its center. Further, Liz is a co-creator of DIVA’s first product, Ravio. Ravio is the first technology built to enable visual literacy - expressing through images what is difficult with words. Built on an open media repository and participation-based image remix technology, Ravio empowers everyone to say something important and re-imagine the impact they can have on the world.
Marc Goss, CEO, Director of Programs Mara Elephant Project Marc Goss works in the Maasai Mara for the Mara Elephant Project. His field based knowledge and close relationships with partners puts him in first hand contact with the elephant poaching crisis which started in Kenya in 2012. Marc began his conservation career in 2004 in the Aberdare National Park where he started the Mountain Bongo Project with Michael Prettejohn. Marc then completed his undergraduate degree in the USA and during this time was mentored by conservationist Dr. Richard Leakey who was Marc’s field supervisor. The work Marc did with Dr. Leakey focused on Sustainable Forestry in the Taita area in Kenya. In 2007 Marc moved to the Maasai Mara full-time, where he managed the Ol Choro Oiroua Conservancy and Mara North Conservancy. In 2011 he co founded the Mara Elephant Project, which is on the forefront of elephant conservation for the Mara/Serengeti ecosystem. Marc is currently the CEO for MEP and spearheads the intelligence gathering, Rapid Response to poaching, Human Elephant Conflict response, and training collared elephants. In 2012 Marc developed the first concept for using drones to intervene with human elephant conflict. Since then the project has gained traction in Tanzania where rangers use the UAVs on a daily basis to move elephants out of crops.
Jodie Gottlieb Vulcan Productions Jody Gottlieb is the Head of Development and Production at Vulcan Productions. She is responsible for the development and production of Vulcan Productions content, including network series and specials, theatrical productions, documentaries, digital content and social impact campaigns to ignite consumers and viewers to share in Vulcan's vision for positive change. Previously, Gottlieb served as the Executive Director of CNN Productions, the long-form programming division of CNN Worldwide and Turner Broadcasting System Inc. She was responsible for all production, programming, marketing, on-air promotions, operational, new business, international sales and management issues of the division, which produces long-form and documentary programming for prime-time newscasts and several weekly series and specials.
Jeff Greene Jeff Greene is a US Marine and a former member of Special Operations. He has extensive close protection, security and advisory experience gained in a multitude of assignments, ranging from protection of President Bill Clinton and the First Family at Camp David and the White House; providing combat protection for President Karzai in Afghanistan; and later serving in an advisory capacity to Prime Minister Ali Mohammed Ghedi of the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia. Greene founded Ridgeback LTD, a Kenyan-based company in 2005, which provides protective, advisory, intelligence gathering and training services across Africa. In 2007 Ridgeback launched its K9 division. The company’s working dogs have been used for the past decade both for personal and family protection, but also in a variety of search and rescue and military missions as well as counter poaching throughout the continent. In 2013 Greene relocated his family to Jackson, WY, where he established Svalinn, a world-class facility that breeds, raises and trains family protection dogs for clients around the globe.
John Gussman, Cinematographer Return of the River John Gussman is a cinematographer best known for landscape and time-lapse images. He was a still photographer specialized in architecture and location work before turning his attention to HD cinematography. Gussman began documenting the Elwha story consistently in early 2010, after 32 years of hiking, camping, fishing and filming the beautiful Olympic Peninsula. When dam removal was scheduled, he saw the opportunity to document this once-in-a-lifetime event and decided to focus his creative skills on witnessing the healing of this place and the people who share this land.
Marion Haberman, Development Producer Discovery Networks International Marion Haberman is responsible for developing and producing factual programming for global commissions, to air in over 220 countries and territories around the world, and serves as the primary point of contact for U.S.-based production companies in creating content to air across Discovery’s portfolio of global networks. Since joining Discovery, she has developed and produced several key titles including Super Predator – the highest rated show on Discovery Channel's Shark Week this year, Bear Grylls: Extreme Survival Caught on Camera, The Unexplained Files and the recently announced Free Ride (wt) from Raw TV and Question Everything (wt) from Essential Media. Haberman was previously on the development team at National Geographic Channel, contributing to the success of programs such as Wicked Tuna, Brain Games and Great Migrations. In this role, Haberman was responsible for production and editorial development in a variety of capacities.
Howard and Michelle Hall Specializing in wildlife and marine conservation films for television and large format theaters, Howard and Michele have worked together for more than two decades. Their projects include three episodes of the PBS series Nature and a National Geographic Special. Howard’s career as an underwater wildlife film producer, cinematographer, still photographer and writer began in the early 1970's. From 1976 until 1988 Howard hired out his cinematography skills to other producers. Among his favorite projects were the 16 episodes of the Wild Kingdom series he filmed and directed; filming for Survival Anglia; ABC's Dolphins, Whales, and Us; and being the primary cameraman for the 1981 National Geographic Special: Sharks. In addition to winning a Peoples’ Choice award at the very first Jackson Hole Festival and a Golden Panda at Wildscreen, the Hall’s television work has resulted in seven Emmy awards. Howard and Michele Hall are perhaps best known for their underwater IMAX films. In 1994 Howard directed the first underwater IMAX 3D feature, Into the Deep. In 2002 Howard was underwater sequence director and Michele was location manager for MacGillivray Freeman’s Coral Reef Adventure, a film in which both he and Michele are featured on-camera. Michele produced and Howard directed Island of the Sharks,Deep Sea 3D and Under the Sea 3D. Their IMAX features had grossed more than $200 million in box office receipts and won awards from Jackson Hole, Wildsceen, Giant Screen Cinema Association and the International 3D Society.
Susanna Handslip, Series Producer BBC NHU Susanna has worked for the BBC for twenty years. After ten years filming and directing a wide range of observational documentaries in London she moved to Bristol to work for the Natural History Unit. She has produced four of the NHU's 'Expeditions' series notably Lost Land of the Tiger and Land of the Lost Wolves with Discovery and The Dark: Nature’s Nighttime World with NDR. More recent series include Wild Burma, a co-production with the Smithsonian Channel, in which she went undercover to film the illegal wildlife trade. The series highlights the threats faced by tigers, Asiatic black bears, pangolins and Asian elephants as Myanmar opens its borders. She series produced This Wild Life, a new style of film-making for the NHU, which marries observational documentary techniques with blue chip filming to make stories even more accessible to viewers. Susanna is currently a Series Producer in NHU Development.
Suzanne Harle, Founder/Executive Director GREEN PLANET FILMS Suzanne Harle is the Founder and Executive of Green Planet Films, a non profit distributor of nature and environmental films which was incorporated in 2003 to promote this genre of films as a resource for environmental education. By creating an organization she wanted to work for, Suzanne puts to use her years of experience as a media freelancer. To disseminate her knowledge about educational distribution, she has been a panelist at various film festivals on distribution to schools and public libraries, and also gives insight into the growing movement of community/organization screenings. Some recent panels were held at Sunny Side of the Doc, the Dominican Republic Environmental Film Festival, Wild and Scenic, and Wildscreen. Suzanne was also the Associate Producer of the Emmy Award winning broadcast series Natural Heros Season 6, which can be seen on numerous public broadcast stations in the USA.
Hazen Audel Adventurer, explorer, biologist. Hazen Audel has travelled to the most remote places on earth to work and survive in some of the harshest environments. Ambitious, rugged and insatiably energetic he has spent the past 20 years embracing life with indigenous groups and navigating extreme terrains. With a passion for nature and anthropology Hazen has become a leading expedition specialist, who loves sharing his skills and knowledge as a survival instructor, jungle guide and as a high school biology teacher. Whilst exploring and working he has also gained skills in mountaineering, scuba diving and river rafting. Hazen graduated with a BSc in Biology before heading to Hawaii for further graduate studies in Ethno botany and Tropical Ecology. He later worked as a field biologist in the Americas, Australia and Indonesia. Through these experiences he has learned to speak Spanish and has become conversant in several indigenous languages. Hazen’s TV work includes two series for National Geographic Channels and produced by Icon Films: Survive the Tribe (6 x 60) that aired internationally in 2014 and Primal Survivor (8 x 60) that will air internationally in early 2016. As well as his passion for science and survival, Hazen also has a strong personal interest in art and sculpture. In his home town of Spokane, Washington he is the owner and principal artisan of Hazen Audel Architectural Artworks. Using his creative skills Hazen has previously been able to improvise and construct essential tools in both times of need and adversity. In the future, Hazen hopes to remain a positive mentor and influential educator, and continue to experience and highlight the lives and customs of indigenous people around the globe.
Shawn Heinrichs Shawn is an Emmy Award winning cinematographer, photographer, and marine conservationist. He has worked with leading journalist and film teams including CNN’s Anderson Cooper, Yann Arthus Bertrand, and National Geographic, and delivered projects for many of the top marine conservation organizations including WildAid, Shark Savers, Conservation International, The Nature Conservancy and Pew Environment Group. His award-winning work has been featured with National Geographic, BBC, New York Times, Huffington Post, Washington Post, WIRED and numerous other print and online publications. Shawn serves on the International Board of WildAid, is an Associate Director of Manta Trust, and an Associate Fellow of the International League of Conservation Photographers (iLCP).
Laura Helft PhD, Senior Researcher Tangled Bank Studios An accomplished education specialist with a PhD in Cellular and Molecular Biology, Laura Helft works with Tangled Bank Studios’ scientific advisors and editorial teams to ensure high standards of accuracy and fidelity to the scientific process. She also leads outreach and evaluation efforts for Tangled Bank Studios and creates content that extends project reach beyond the film. Prior to joining Tangled Bank Studios, Helft conducted research on plants and the bacteria that can make them sick at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In her time there, she was a leader in a number of initiatives to engage the public in science, including science festivals, after-school science clubs, middle-school and high-school classroom teaching, and the National Science Olympiad. To extend the reach of Tangled Bank Studios’ films into K-12 classrooms, Helft liaises with HHMI's Educational Media Group to develop short films, classroom activities, and interactive tools for educators.
John Heminway Wildlife Direct John Heminway is a writer and filmmaker, with a focus on nature, science, history, and Africa. He is completing his sixth book. His filmmaking career, which includes work at ABC Sports, Anglia Television, the Discovery Channel, PBS and National Geographic Television, spans four decades and over 100 films. For four years he was the host and producer of the PBS series, “Travels.” His awards include two Emmys, two Peabodys and a DuPont Columbia Journalism award. Heminway’s 2013 broadcast, “Battle For The Elephants,” produced with Katie Carpenter and J.J. Kelley, was voted Best Conservation Film, at the Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival in 2013. In September 2014, it was awarded Science Media’s “Best Environmental and Conservation Sciences Program.” “Battle For The Elephants” has had enormous impact in a number of African countries, across the United States, in the U.S. Senate, Department of Fish & Wildlife and at the U.S. State Department. As sequel to “Battle For The Elephant,” Heminway is helping complete “Warlord of Ivory,” featuring investigative journalist, Bryan Christy. It premiered on 30 August 2015, re-launching National Geographic Channel’s Explorer Series, and linked to a special Magazine cover story. Heminway has served on board and advisory councils of many environmental causes, including the African Wildlife Foundation (where he was Board Chairman for nine years), Trout Unlimited, American Prairie Reserve, White Oak Conservation Center, Tusk, Elephant Family. In 2013, Dr. Richard Leakey appointed Heminway Chairman of WildlifeDirect. John Heminway lives with his wife and daughter in Montana with frequent trips to New York to manage and complete films.
Janet Hess, Series Editor, NATURE THIRTEEN/WNET Janet is the Series Editor of NATURE, the premier natural history series from THIRTEEN/WNET for PBS. She develops new projects, shapes stories, and works with writers, producers, and editors to make strong narratives a part of the NATURE brand. Janet has written and produced numerous episodes for the series, among them Pale Male, for which she was awarded the 2004 News and Documentary Emmy for Outstanding Writing. Her work on An Original DUCKumentary was nominated for writing at the 2013 Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival and also for a News and Documentary Emmy Award. Janet is a graduate of Smith College and the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies.
Lynn Hirschfield, Senior Vice President of Strategic Alliances Participant Media Lynn joined Participant Media in September 2005 and is responsible for leading the development of strategic partnerships, integrating these partners into social action and advocacy campaigns across all of the company’s platforms, including the film divisions, Takepart.com and Pivot TV. Lynn is also responsible for launching Participant’s publishing division to complement the company’s films and social action campaigns. In September 2008, Participant announced its first publishing deal, a series of four paperback original books with PublicAffairs Books, followed by a deal with Penguin and Puffin Books on a series of activist guides for readers 10 to 17, inspired by Participant's social action activities on various issues. She has since published 8 books with Public Affairs, two of which hit number one on The New York Times best seller list. Lynn is the author of Girls Gone Green and two more books for younger readers, part of the Sassafras series. Prior to joining Participant, she consulted for a number of Internet content and technology start-ups, various studios and venture capital groups specializing in creating new verticals and generating strategic partnerships with corporate sponsors. Before to entering the internet arena, she worked as a development executive for productions garnering a number of awards, including four Emmys, a Peabody Award and two Television Critics Awards -- among them the PBS series Wishbone. She was also a story editor for National Geographic Feature Films, Scott Rudin, Norman Lear, Tim Burton and Sony, Fox and Warner Bros. Studios.
Bob Hirshon, Program Director for Technology and Learning American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Bob Hirshon's Active Explorer project lets educators create mobile expeditions – Quests –that kids join on their mobile devices. They then collect video, photos, audio and other data which they use to create ebooks, science posters, comic strips and presentations. Hirshon's other programs include the daily radio feature Science Update, the KC Empower project to provide informal science activities for kids with disabilities, education and public outreach for NASA's MESSENGER mission to planet Mercury, and the Kinetic City family of science programs, including after school clubs, books and online resources. Hirshon also oversees Science NetLinks, one of the top websites for science educators, and appears regularly on the Sirius/XM radio children's show Absolutely Mindy as Bob the Science Slob.
Iris Ho, Wildlife Program Manager Humane Society International Born and raised in Taipei, Taiwan, Iris Ho is the Wildlife Program Manager at Humane Society International (HSI), global affiliate of The Humane Society of the United States, the largest animal protection organization in the United States. She develops and leads initiatives that strengthen international protection for wildlife. She manages campaigns to curb the illegal wildlife trade and to eradicate shark finning through policy advocacy and public education. She attends meetings of the Regional Fisheries Management Organizations, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species and other governmental meetings on behalf of HSI. She has given briefings in U.S. Congress and testified at state legislatures to garner legislative and political support for stronger wildlife protection laws. She travels regularly to Asia and collaborates closely with HSI’s local partners, international organizations and national governments throughout the region. She coordinates U.S. state legislative efforts in cracking down on the trades in shark fins, elephant ivory and rhino horns. She has traveled to the Central African region to help local organizations and law enforcement agencies better understand the trends of illegal wildlife trade between Africa and Asia. She received her bachelor’s degree in Taiwan and master’s degree in international relations from the George Washington University in Washington, DC.
John Hoffman, EVP Documentaries and Specials Discover Channel
Rob Holloway, Executive Producer Discovery Networks International Rob Holloway is Executive Producer at Discovery Networks International, overseeing factual development and production for global commissions, to air in over 220 countries and territories around the world. Focusing on series and specials with global appeal, current and recent credits include: Brothers In Blood: Lions Of The Sabi Sand, Predators Up Close, Life Of Dogs, Mystery Of The Lost Islands, and Manhunt. Holloway also works closely with Discovery’s U.S. networks, including Discovery Channel, Animal Planet, and Science Channel. Prior to joining Discovery in 2011, Holloway was a member of BBC History’s International Development team, and worked as a freelancer with multiple production companies, spanning the factual, history, entertainment, and comedy genres.
Sabine Holzer, Head of TV Terra Mater Factual Studios As Head of TV of Terra Mater Factual Studios, Sabine oversees the television documentary output of the company. Focussing on the production of blue chip natural history, science and history programs for the national and international market, Sabine works with co-production partners all over the world. In addition to her international activities, she acts regularly as an executive producer for Terra Mater productions and also runs the ‚Terra Mater’ TV strand on ServusTV, the German speaking Free TV channel of the Red Bull Media House. Prior to joining Terra Mater Factual Studios, Sabine worked two decades for the science department of the Austrian Broadcasting Corporation (ORF) where she was responsible for acquisitions and scheduling of natural history and science programs and editor and executive producer of a great number of the ORF Natural History Unit’s documentary output.
James Honeybourne, Executive Producer BBC Natural History Unit
Doug Hope, Head of NHU BBC Doug Hope has been Head of the Natural History Units Development Team now for two years and in that time can hold up his hand to such wonders as Big Blue Live, Life in the Air, The Secrets of Bones and around a million other wonderful hours of television generated and produced by the BBC. Before that he actually made things – from kids shows (created Deadly 60) to fishing monster shows (as a River Monsters veteran) – for a range of broadcasters with blue chip wildlife films, talking animal series and green-screen presenter-led madness along the way.
Beth Hoppe, Chief Programming Executive & GM, General Audience Programming PBS Beth Hoppe is responsible for creating and implementing PBS’ primetime content strategy built around offering the highest quality productions in the genres of arts and independent film, drama, history, natural history, science, and news and public affairs. She is concentrating on strengthening PBS’ core series and commissioning new programming working with producers, partners, and funding sources. She joined PBS in 2011 as Vice President, General Audience Programming. She has shepherded programs including Your Inner Fish (Tangled Bank Studios and Windfall Films), Hawking (DSP), Call The Midwife (Neal Street Productions), My Wild Affair (Blink Films), and Vicious (Brown Eyed Boy) to the schedule. Under her leadership PBS primetime audiences have grown to being the sixth largest in all of television, behind only the big four broadcast networks and ESPN. Hoppe joined PBS from Discovery Studios. Prior to that she was President and CEO of Optomen Productions (USA), a New York-based television production company known for science, reality and factual programming. Having spent the early part of her career in public broadcasting, she is thrilled to be back in the PBS family.
Sarah Hume, VP Production Management Discovery Channel Originally from Scotland, Sarah has been working in the US for the last 23 years starting at National Geographic Television followed by Discovery Communications. As VP of Production Management, Sarah was instrumental in the early transition from Digibeta to HD Cam and was also front and center in the foray into 3D. Most recently, Sarah has been a member of the core team leading the charge working with production companies worldwide creating a pipeline for over 100 hours of UHD shows for Discovery networks. When she is not immersed in UHD, Sarah also leads a team of production managers in charge of Animal Planet, Science, Velocity, ID, Destination America, American Heroes and Family.
Emre Izat, Executive Producer Off the Fence Productions Emre has been with Off the Fence for over five years where he has developed, produced, and written programs on topics ranging from science and technology to health, crime, and wildlife. Over the last two and a half years, he has been an Executive Producer, co-series producer, writer, and cameraman on the series Gorongosa Park: Rebirth of Paradise for PBS and National Geographic while heading up Off the Fence's Amsterdam production division. Emre has a deep passion for elephants, and is currently in production for a new UHD elephant science documentary for Vulcan Productions. Previous experience includes five years on staff in development and production at National Geographic Television as well as productions for Discovery, TLC, MSNBC and others.
Dr. Kirk Johnson, Sant Director Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History Kirk Johnson is a paleontologist who has led expeditions that resulted in the discovery of more than 1,400 fossil sites on all continents. His research focuses on fossil plants, the extinction of the dinosaurs, and methods for dating rocks and fossils. He is known for his scientific books and articles, popular books, museum exhibits, presentations, and collaborations with artists. In 2010-11, he led the Snowmastodon Project, the excavation of an amazing ice age site near Snowmass Village, Colorado. This dig was featured in the NOVA documentary, Ice Age Death Trap, and in Johnson’s book, Digging Snowmastodon, Discovering an Ice Age World in the Colorado Rockies. At the National Museum of Natural History, Johnson leads a staff of nearly 500 who, each year, host more than 7 million visitors, publish more than 600 scientific papers, and care for 127 million specimens in the world’s largest natural history collection.
Dereck and Beverly Joubert Great Plains Conservation, Rhino Rescue Project Dereck and Beverly Joubert are award-winning filmmakers, National Geographic Explorers-in-Residence and wildlife conservationists, who have been filming, researching and exploring in Africa for over 30 years. Their mission is the conservation and understanding of the large predators and other key wildlife species that determine the course of all conservation in Africa. They are the founders of the Big Cats Initiative with National Geographic, which currently funds 73 grants in 25 countries for the conservation of big cats. The Jouberts have made over 25 films for National Geographic, published 11 books, half a dozen scientific papers, and have written many articles for the National Geographic Magazine. Beverly Joubert is also an acclaimed photographer and her international exhibitions have further helped to raise awareness for the plight of big cats across the world. Their films have received international recognition with major accolades. The Jouberts were also awarded the World Ecology Award alongside Prince Charles and Richard Leakey, and in 2009, they were inducted into the American Academy of Achievement. In recent years, the Jouberts have expanded their conservation outreach through another business venture, ‘Great Plains Conservation’. They bring together conservation, communities and conservation tourism to fund large tracts of land that can be protected for the local wildlife and the surrounding communities, totaling about 1.8 million acres in Africa. Currently the Jouberts are working on a rhino conservation project called ‘Rhinos Without Borders’ which aims to move 100 rhinos from South Africa to Botswana to save them from the poaching crisis, whilst creating a ‘Noah’s Ark’ for rhino genes. They also recently canoed 120km down the Selinda Spillway researching and filming elephants for conservation.
Dan Kahan, Professor of Law and Psychology Yale University Dan Kahan leads the Cultural Cognition Project, a team of communications and psychology scholars who study the most polarizing science-based issues and their treatment in the media. Topics from climate change to vaccines, evolution to gun control, are data-based and policy-relevant, which seems to make them open to interpretation. Print, radio and television coverage can sometimes result in further polarization of culturally diverse audiences, derailing attempts to build consensus and advance policy goals. Current research studies focus on how critical reasoning faculties relate to political conflict over science, and how evidence-based methods can be used to improve communication of science relevant to local democratic decision-making. Articles featuring the Cultural Cognition Project’s studies have appeared in a variety of scholarly and mainstream media, including the Journal of Risk Research, Judgment and Decision Making, Nature Climate Change, Science, Nature, the New York Times, the Boston Globe, Slate, Vox and Mother Jones.
Paula Kahumba Paula Kahumbu received her PhD in Ecology at Princeton University where she did her thesis on the ecology of elephants. She has been involved in conservation for over 20 years and held several policy, research and wildlife management positions at KWS including creating and running the CITES office. She headed the Kenyan delegation to CITES in 2000 and 2002. She is currently the CEO of WildlifeDirect. Paula is actively involved in education and is a lecturer at Princeton University, she is also the mentor of 15 year old innovator Richard Turere, the inventor of Lion Lights. Paula is a best-selling author of the children’s book Owen and Mzee and Looking for Miza.Paula is the winner of the National Geographic Howard Buffet Award for conservation leadership in Africa and is a National Geographic Emerging Explorer. She won the Whitley Award 2014 and received the Presidential honour of Order of the Grand Warrior in 2013.
Fred Kaufman, Executive Producer, NATURE THIRTEEN/WNET For over two decades, Fred has been a leading executive in the natural history genre. As executive producer of the acclaimed Nature series since 1991, Fred has won multiple Emmys and Peabody Awards. During his tenure, Nature has been honored with over 700 industry awards and in 2010 he accepted the Outstanding Achievement Award from the Wildscreen Film Festival in Bristol, England, the first time in the 20-year history of the Festival that the award was presented to an American series. In 2012, he was presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award for Media from the International Wildlife Film Festival in Missoula, Montana. Some of Nature’s most memorable presentations include Bears of the Last Frontier; Christmas In Yellowstone; Deep Jungle; An Original DUCKumentary; Echo: An Elephant to Remember; Cloud: Wild Stallion of the Rockies; and My Life As A Turkey.
Gisela Kaufmann, Producer, Director - Shark Girl Kaufmann Productions As the founder of multi-award-winning documentary production house, Kaufmann Productions, Gisela Kaufmann has built a reputation, both nationally and internationally, as a highly-experienced, hands-on producer with a rare skill set, combining a singular business acumen with a strong creative vision. She has produced and developed programming for major national public and commercial broadcasters around the world. In the last 15 years her focus shifted from human-interest stories to the wild challenges of natural history and science. Gisela’s documentaries have received over 60 international film awards and showcased at key film festivals around the globe.
Lauren Kickham, Sr. Program Officer Vulcan, Inc. Lauren Kickham is a Senior Program Officer at Vulcan Inc., the private, Seattle-based company that manages Paul G. Allen’s business and philanthropic interests. Lauren manages the Great Elephant Census, the first comprehensive Pan-African survey in more than 40 years intended to provide necessary data to protect African elephant populations, and other conservation initiatives. She also leads Vulcan’s Africa community development program, which seeks to empower remote communities to thrive in balance with local ecosystems. She manages a portfolio of investments, grants and projects in Eastern and Southern Africa that demonstrate viable models for achieving social, environmental and sustainability objectives. Prior to Vulcan, Lauren was an Executive for InfraCo Africa and AgDevCo, both of which are private fund managers investing patient capital into clean energy infrastructure and smallholder agriculture in sub-Saharan Africa, respectively. She helped secure $200m+ of funding from Development Finance Institutions to finance these efforts, solidifying significant public private partnerships committed to development in Africa. She has an MBA from the University of Oxford (UK) and a B.Eng. from Duke University (USA); she graduated with honors from both.
Dr. Winnie Kiiru, Founder Conservation Kenya Dr. Winnie Kiiru is an expert in elephant conservation and management. Dr. Kiiru has worked extensively on human-elephant conflict in Kenya and abroad. She is a member of the Coalition of Advisors for the Eco-exist project in Botswana which works to foster coexistence between communities and elephants in Botswana. Most recently, Kiiru was contracted by the UK Charity, Stop Ivory, to promote the Elephant Protection Initiative across Africa. Kiiru, working with a team from Stop Ivory has just completed the first National Inventory of Kenya’s Rhino horn and Ivory Stock pile. Kenya joined the Elephant Protection Initiative in July this year. Dr. Kiiru is passionate about introducing young Kenyans to conservation and she works as a part time university lecturer and student mentor in Kenya.
Tetsunori Kikuchi, Producer NHK Enterprises INC. Tetsunori Kikuchi joined NHK in 1992. He has been working on numerous natural-history productions. He was engaged in the series program, Satoyama, which portrays beautiful relationship between human and nature in Japanese countryside. Now he is a series producer of NHK's 30-minute weekly natural history slot, Darwin has come.
Michael Kintner, CEO & Founder 360Heros As a self-professed computer nerd with an affinity for aerial and 360° photography and videography, Michael Kintner has been in the tech business for 30 years. His latest company, 360Heros™, Inc., revolves around developing easy to use, portable and lightweight HD 360° Plug-n-Play video gear that utilizes GoPro® cameras. Although he holds degrees in Computing Graphics, Engineering, Information Systems, and Information Technology Management, much of his education has come directly from hands-on experience in the fields of robotics, UAV’s, CNC machining, and teaching others how to use today’s technology. Michael is committed to all aspects of his business – research and design, manufacturing, production, software and mobile app development, training and support – and having a great time transforming his hobbies into his latest innovations.
Peter Knights, Executive Director WildAid, Founder and Executive Director WildAid is the only nonprofit organization focused on reducing consumer demand for wildlife products such as elephant ivory, rhino horn and shark fin. The program uses sophisticated advertising techniques, donated airtime and celebrity spokespeople with the message, “When the buying stops, the killing can too.” The Duke of Cambridge (Prince William), Lupita Nyong’o, Yao Ming, David Beckham and Lang Lang are among WildAid’s current global ambassadors who speak out against the illegal wildlife trade. In 2014, media partners in China and Vietnam donated nearly $200 million in pro bono media for WildAid campaigns. Knights is a former program director working on illegal wildlife trade with Global Survival Network and a senior investigator for the Environmental Investigation Agency. In 1996 while working across Asia, he created the first international program aimed at reducing demand for endangered species products, and received an Associate Laureate of the Rolex Award for Enterprise for this work. Knights also initiated the Marine Protection Program and currently leads the Demand Reduction Program for shark fin, manta ray gill rakers, ivory, and rhino horn. WildAid’s campaign is widely attributed with helping to reduce demand for fins by 50-70% in China, while rising public opposition against the ivory trade in China precipitated a government announcement earlier this spring of a phase-out in the legal ivory trade.
Walter Koehler, CEO Terra Mater Factual Studios Walter has always felt a strong magnetic pull towards the media industry. After completing his master degree in journalism at Vienna University, he joined ORF as a freelance producer/writer/director and was lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time. As versioning producer, he premiered a new slot called UNIVERSUM in 1987. As writer/director he handled the original development and steered the first major series of the soon-to-be very successful strand. In 1994, he took over the UNIVERSUM team and created the ORF Natural History Unit destined to become one of the leading brands in factual television worldwide. When ORF made him Head of Specialist Factual in 2010, Walter soon knew that he and the whole ORF UNIVERSUM team had to move on to new and brighter horizons, which led to the formation of TMFS. As writer and executive producer, Walter has won numerous awards in his career, including an EMMY, several Pandas at Wildscreen and Teton awards at the Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival.
Mike Korchinsky, President and Founder Wildlife Works Mike is a serial entrepreneur who in 1997 founded Wildlife Works, with the goal of finding innovative market based solutions to protecting wildlife and wilderness. Wildlife Works signature project is protecting the 750,000 acre Kasigau Elephant Corridor between Tsavo East and West NPs, Kenya. Wildlife Works second project is protecting 750,000 acres of forest elephant and bonobo habitat in the DRC, which is at the heart of a Government program to preserve as much as possible of the Congo Basin Rainforest.
Hiroyuki Kozako, Director of Photography, Technical Operations & Engineering Division, NHK Enterprises INC. Hiroyuki Kozako entered NHK as a cameraman. Kozako was first appointed to the headquarters in Tokyo to learn the skills of shooting. He then spent some years at one of NHK’s local stations to further expand his experience shooting programs of many genres. He came to focus his interest and expertise in the genre of natural history and has produced many programs for NHK’s best-known natural history series “Global Family”. Kozako started shooting in HD almost fifteen years ago when he shot “Satoyama: Japan’s Secret Garden”, the first episode of the Satoyama series. Ever since, he has continued to explore many new shooting techniques using HD. His efforts can be seen in his camerawork for “Equator: River of the Sun” and “Life Force: Madagascar and Brazil Serrado.” Kozako is now based at one of NHK’s affiliate and is working on the new program of the Life Force 2nd series.
Csilla Kozman-Andersen Nokia Technologies
Alex Lindsay, Chief Architect Pixel Corps Alex Lindsay has been working in computer graphics and video production for over 20 years. Starting in Programming and Computer Aided Drafting, Alex has worked in print, games, interactive, broadcast, and film. He spent 3 years working at Lucasfilm and Industrial Light and Magic on "Star Wars: Episode 1" before starting his own companies, dvGarage and the Pixel Corps. dvGarage builds tools for the Visual Effects community.
Jared Lipworth, Vice President of Specials National Geographic Studios
Dennis Liu,Head of Educational Media and Tangled Bank Studios Howard Hughes Medical Institute Dennis is a scientist by training who left benchwork to develop multimedia science education programs, first for Videodiscovery and then for Microsoft. For the past 18 years Dennis has channeled his passion for explaining how scientists think and work by developing multimedia programs with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, primarily focused on serving the community of high school and college biology educators. The main vehicle for disseminating this work is the award winning BioInteractive website which serves a growing network of educators in all 50 states and 10 Provinces, as well as over 40 nations. The inception of HHMI’s Tangled Bank Studios in 2011 expanded the mission of the HHMI Department of Science education to include the power of documentary films. Currently Dennis heads both the film group and the education team, looking for opportunities to integrate and leverage the power of stories to reach educational audiences as well as the general public. In addition to producing long form and short films, the HHMI team produces virtual labs, high end 3D animations, short interactive documentaries, and artifact files for 3D printing.
Colby Loucks, Deputy Lead & Senior Director, Wildlife Conservation World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Colby Loucks joined WWF in 1996 and leads WWF’s Wildlife Crime Technology Project which focuses on harnessing the cutting-edge technologies to stop poaching. He also leads WWF’s effort to evaluate the environmental, biological and social impacts of Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification in tropical forests. Early in his WWF career, Colby led ecoregion conservation assessments for North America and the Indo-Pacific region, and led ecoregion planning analyses in the eastern Himalayas, Indochina, Mexico and China. He continued to combine his expertise in GIS, conservation biology and landscape ecology to identify remaining habitat for pandas in China's Shaanxi Province. Colby has contributed to several international collaborations, helping to develop, create, and publish analyses including: WWF’s Global 200, earth’s most at-risk biodiversity (Alliance for Zero Extinction), and estimating and mapping humanity’s global consumption patterns. More recently, he led an analysis in Cambodia that created a 50 year timeline connecting the impacts of war and peace to species loss; prioritization of global tiger conservation areas; analyzing the impacts of sea level rise on tiger populations in Bangladesh's Sundarbans ecosystem; and identification of critical migration corridors for pronghorn antelope in the USA’s northern Great Plains.
Refah Sayed Mahmoud, Producer, Director Dryft Digital Refah’s earliest memories are of seeing Aladdin in the theater with his Mom and of watching scratchy VHS copies of Merrie Melodies with his Dad. An inveterate day-dreamer, Refah still managed to graduate with an MFA in film from Montana State University, and has since applied his fascination with the structure of storytelling to the emerging field of virtual reality. Teaming up with Erik Rochner to form DRYFT Digital, their “quirky” VR short film Beer With A Bear has screened in headsets around the world, been featured in a Samsung commercial, and most recently earned them a spot in the “New Frontiers” program at Sundance.
Steve Mahrer, Senior Technologist Panasonic
Damien Mander, Founder & CEO International Anti-Poaching Foundation (IAPF) Prior to becoming involved in conservation Damien served as a Clearance Diver in the Royal Australia Navy and then as a sniper in the Australian Army’s niche Special Operations unit Tactical Assault Group East. Whilst later deployed in Iraq he was involved in training and went on to Project Manage the Iraq Special Police Training Academy in northern Baghdad with a focus on paramilitary operations. In 2009 Damien traveled to Africa for a snapshot of anti-poaching. What seemed like the beginning of another adventure soon turned into a reality check of the hardships rangers face on a daily basis trying to defend our natural heritage. Having both the experience required to assist and the funding to make that a reality, he founded the International Anti-Poaching Foundation. With a mission of ‘Wildlife Conservation through Direct Action’, the IAPF focuses on training and equipping rangers, developing and implementing joint conservation security strategies and overseeing anti-poaching operations. Now registered in four countries, the IAPF undertakes 5 major campaigns and has supported 41 other conservation initiatives up to the investment value of $50,000. Alongside the ground level work, IAPF is bringing global attention to the issue of poaching with their efforts featuring in National Geographic Magazine, twice on 60 Minutes, Discovery Network, Animal Planet Obama’s Presidential Advisory Council on Wildlife Trafficking in Washington DC, The United Nations Great Apes Survival Summit in Jackson Hole and the ‘We Are Africa’ Conference in Cape Town, among others.
Jimmiel Mandima, Director of Program Design and Partner Relations in the U.S. African Wildlife Foundation Jimmiel is from Masvingo Province in Zimbabwe, one of Africa’s great elephant range countries. He served in the field for many years as Director of AWF’s Zambezi Landscape, a transborder area that overlapped the borders of Zimbabwe and Zambia. Today he applies that field experience to represent AWF in policy discussions with the U.S. Government and other public-sector constituents. Jimmiel attended both the Denver and New York City Ivory Crushes.
Harry Marshall, Head of Production Icon Films Harry Marshall was born in 1960 and grew up in India where he learned how to catch elephants using binoculars, tweezers and a jam jar. In 1978 he won an open scholarship to read English at Oxford University. During the 80’s he worked at London Weekend Television on the South Bank Show, with Border Television, Channel 4 and at various independent production companies. Over the past 22 years he has overseen Icon's original production and has won national and international awards (Emmy/ Grierson/ Telluride/Jackson Hole/ Missoula/ Wildscreen) and nominations for his work as director, writer and executive producer. When not running Icon Films he enjoys off road cycling, dabbling with paints and living off-grid in a folly.
Laura Marshall, Joint Founder, Managing Director, Executive Producer Icon Films As managing director of Icon Films, Laura is responsible for its strategic direction, personnel, development, and drives marketing the company. Laura also Executive Produces much of Icon's output. Laura is a prominent member of the Bristol production community and Chaired the first year of Bristol Media, the cluster group for media companies and professionals working in Bristol. She is deeply committed to developing emerging talent nationally and internationally and promoting Bristol as a centre of production excellence both nationally and internationally. Laura was Chair of the Bristol Old Vic Theatre Trust from 2010 to 2013 and continues to sit on the Board. She also sits on the Advisory Committee of Wildscreen, the largest festival of moving images from the natural world. She is a member of the Society of the Merchant Ventures, a Governor of the Merchants' Academy and in January 2015 was awarded a Doctor of Laws honorary degree from the University of Bristol.
Tim Martin, Executive Producer BBC Natural History Tim Martin is an Executive Producer in the BBC Natural History Unit and enjoys exploring new approaches to natural history – combining it with science (Beyond Human, Ice Age Giants), adventure (The Polar Bear Family and Me, Expedition Guyana), history (Bill Bailey’s Jungle Hero), food (Harvest) and conservation (Wild Mission: Siberian Tigers, Expedition Tiger). From 2004-2010, Tim was Series Editor of BBC2's Natural World strand, commissioning and executive producing more than 100 films from BBC and Independent producers. Prior to this he spent 3 years in BBC Documentaries directing and filming a range of series including Airport, Rough Justice, Battersea Dogs Home, and Clarissa and the Countryman. Recent projects include Wild Japan, Wild Atlantic, Super Cute Animals, Harvest 2015 andThe Snow Wolf Family and Me.
Ann Merchant, Deputy Executive Director National Academy of Science Ann Merchant has worked in marketing and communications for more than 20 years. She is currently the Deputy Executive Director for Communications at the National Academies in Washington, D.C., where she is responsible for a number of innovative outreach programs that contribute to an increased public understanding of science. With a special interest in promoting science, engineering, and medicine through non-traditional entertainment channels such as television, film, and videogames, she was instrumental in launching and now overseeing the Science & Entertainment Exchange, a program of the National Academy of Sciences that seeks to connect entertainment industry professionals with top scientists and engineers. Merchant also served for many years as marketing director for the Academies’ publishing division where she and her staff promoted and marketed more than 175 new titles every year.
Jackson Miller, Lead Analyst, Wildlife & Environmental Crimes C4ADS Jackson leads the Environmental Crimes Fusion Cell at C4ADS, a Washington, DC-based nonprofit that specializes in providing data-driven analysis to map, track and expose illicit networks worldwide. A co-author of C4ADS’ 2014 report, Out of Africa, and a graduate of NYU, Jackson previously conducted independent research on Chinese diaspora networks across Asia and the United States.
Cynthia Moss, Director Amboseli Trust for Elephants Born and educated in the U.S.A., Cynthia Moss moved to Africa in 1968 and has spent the past 47 years studying elephants and working for their conservation. She began her elephant work in Tanzania as an assistant to Iain Douglas-Hamilton. In 1972 she started the Amboseli Elephant Research Project (AERP) in Kenya. Moss has directed AERP for over four decades, making it the longest running elephant research project in the world. It is also one of the longest continuous studies of any mammal. Moss’s research has concentrated on demography, social organization and behavior of the Amboseli elephants; her collaborators use the Amboseli dataset to study genetics, communication, reproductive histories, and cognition. Moss’ role as Director of AERP encompasses directing and supervising ongoing research; disseminating scientific results; mentoring and training young biologists and conservationists: and promoting public awareness about elephants. In 2000 she founded the Amboseli Trust for Elephants (ATE) whose mission is to ensure the long-term conservation and welfare of Africa’s elephants in the context of human needs and pressures through scientific research, training, community outreach, public awareness and advocacy. Moss is the author of four books: Portraits in the Wild, Elephant Memories, Echo of the Elephants and Little Big Ears and co-author (with Laurence pringle) of Elephant Woman. In 2011, Moss and her colleagues published a scientific volume on the AERP research results. She has written numerous popular and scientific articles and has made six award-winning TV documentaries about elephants, the best-known being the films following the famous matriarch Echo and her family.
Blake Mycoskie, Founder & Chief Shoe Giver TOMS A visionary global leader, entrepreneur, adventurer and bestselling author, Blake Mycoskie is Founder and Chief Shoe Giver of TOMS, and the catalyst behind the now-ubiquitous One for One® movement. Having championed a forward-looking model for corporate responsibility and conscious consumerism, he continues to guide TOMS toward its 10th anniversary milestone in 2016 while fulfilling its mandate to assist disadvantaged people worldwide through the targeted donation of products and services as well as the economic stimulus of local production and job creation. His initiatives provide, shoes, vision and health care and clean water to millions while creating jobs in developing countries. Blake was recently invited to join The B Team, a group of worldwide leaders which seeks to catalyze a movement of corporate executives who embrace a better way of doing business, both for the wellbeing of people and the planet. TOMS has recently created a unique Page 3 immersive experience – the first-ever Virtual Giving Trip – focused on a recent visit to Peru. Consumers can join that trip and experience the joy of giving by strapping on a virtual reality headset. An avid reader and traveler, Blake is an outdoor enthusiast and adventurer who enjoys surfing, sailing, biking, snowboarding, fly fishing, polo and golf. He and his wife Heather live in Los Angeles with their infant son, Summit, along with two Goldendoodles, Buddha and Gypsy.
Neil Nightingale, Creative Director BBC Earth Productions As Creative Director Neil leads the development of BBC Earth, including new forms of innovative content such as 3D feature films, Giant Screen films, 4D experiences, digital projects, live events and immersive exhibitions. Recent projects of BBC Earth Productions include the Earth Unplugged YouTube channel, the Orbi immersive experience with Sega in Tokyo, the Tiny Giants, Walking With Dinosaurs and Wild Africa 3D Giant Screen films, short form stories for BBC World News and BBC.com and the Earth Journeys travel experience with Tauck. Neil also co-directed the major 3D feature film, Walking With Dinosaurs, and was producer and co-director of Enchanted Kingdom, an ambitious 3D feature film about Africa. Before that Neil was Head of the BBC Natural History Unit, from 2003 to 2009.
Caitlin O'Connell, CEO Utopia Scientific Caitlin O’Connell is a faculty member at Stanford University School of Medicine and CEO of the nonprofit organization, Utopia Scientific. She is the author of six books about elephants including the acclaimed Elephant Don and The Elephant’s Secret Sense, the former being the subject of the award-winning Smithsonian documentary Elephant King. She wrote her debut novel, Ivory Ghosts, to broaden the conversation about the plight of elephants in Africa.
Vince Pace, ASC VER/Cineverse
Gina Papabeis, Co-Producer Oceanic Preservation Society
Megan Parker, PhD, Founder & Director of Research Working Dogs for Conservation Megan received a B.A. from Middlebury College and an M.S. in raptor ecology from Boise State University. She returned to her home state of Montana to earn a Ph.D. from the University of Montana in Wildlife Biology on the scent-marking behavior and territoriality of wild dogs in Botswana. She began pioneering training methods for conservation detection dogs in 1996. Megan has been involved in dog training, obedience, and search-and-rescue since childhood. She is interested in the international use of conservation working dogs to help under-funded projects acquire excellent data, reduce costs and preserve endangered species.
Jeffrey Parrish, Vice President for Conservation Wildlife Conservation Network Jefe (Jeffrey Parrish) is the Vice President for Conservation at the Wildlife Conservation Network, where he is responsible for supporting, growing and strengthening a network of the most innovative conservation heroes saving wildlife around the world. He has a particular focus on identifying the most urgent and innovative projects that can reverse the elephant crisis, and raising the funding and political will to ensure we will always live in a world with vibrant elephant populations. Prior to joining WCN, Jefe was a Managing Director at the World Wildlife Fund where he launched initiatives to engage the travel industry in conservation and developed new cutting edge concepts for game-changing funders such as Google and Leonardo DiCaprio. Prior to WWF, Jefe led the Freedom to Roam (FTR) coalition, where -with Patagonia Inc. - he developed groundbreaking partnerships and campaigns to promote the connectivity of increasingly fragmented lands and waters for wildlife in North America. Jefe held several leadership positions over his 12-year career at The Nature Conservancy and at Manomet Center for Conservation Science.
Kathryn Pasternak, Filmmaker Pasternak Media LLC Kathryn Pasternak is a veteran of wildlife and conservation films and recipient of two National Emmy Awards, spending some 16 years at National Geographic Television working on high-end television programs for international distribution. Since 2007, she’s been producing media independently both as a freelancer and small business owner. Doeville is her first independent feature documentary, and the first film she has shot and directed in its entirety. Today, her company, Pasternak Media LLC, produces documentary, wildlife and conservation media – from independent documentaries to high-end, blue chip television programming, character-driven series, fast-paced reversion projects, conservation advocacy films, and webisodes. Pasternak received her first Emmy in 2004 for supervision of the film Wolf Pack and another in 2006 for supervision of Predators at War. She was also nominated for a National EMMY award in 2006, along with wildlife cinematographer and producer Kim Wolhuter, for their film Hyenas at War aka Hyena Queen, an extraordinary story about a small clan of hyenas in South Africa’s Mala Mala wildlife reserve. In 2010, she was nominated for another Emmy for Best Science and Nature Film for her work as Executive Producer of Swamp Troop; the first film of African filmmakers Adrian Bailey and Robyn Keene-Young, it is a story about an extraordinary troop of baboons in Botswana’s Okavango Delta.
Miles Perkins,VP of Marketing Communications Jaunt Miles Perkins brings a wealth of experience to Jaunt in the fields of media communications, entertainment and emerging technologies. Before coming to Jaunt Miles was a 23 year veteran of Lucasfilm where as Head of Corporate Communications he was responsible for the development and implementation of communications and public relations across all Lucasfilm companies globally, including Industrial Light & Magic, Skywalker Sound and LucasArts. Prior to this role Perkins served as Director of Marketing and Communications for Industrial Light & Magic. During his tenure he was central in developing and managing the ILM brand and possesses a deep knowledge of the creative and post-production process. At ILM he worked on a wide range of projects including the Star Wars prequels, the Jurassic Park series, the Pirates of the Caribbean series, Iron Man 1 & 2 and is credited on films such asSuper 8, Rango, Star Trek, Transformers 1 & 2, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull and Iron Man.
Jessica Plumb, Producer, Co-Director, Writer, Editor Return of the River Jessica Plumb is a filmmaker focused on the relationship between people and the places they call home. Before producing and writing the award-winning feature documentary, Return of the River, Plumb’s short films, best described as video poetry, screened in theaters and galleries throughout the United States and internationally. Plumb directs a video production company producing educational and promotional videos for clients. She holds a B.A. from Yale University and an interdisciplinary MFA from Goddard College, and studied documentary film at 911 Media in Seattle and the New School University in New York. She left Boston and Beijing to live closer to the mountains on the Olympic Peninsula.
Cliff Plumer, Development and Production Jaunt Cliff is responsible for the development of content and production at Jaunt. Prior to joining Jaunt, Cliff was an angel investor and advisor to Oculus Rift, a Board of Director to Telltale Games, and a Producer of VR content for the launch of the Samsung GearVR. As CEO of Digital Domain, the company won an Academy Award for visual effects on the movie The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, in addition to receiving Technical Achievement awards from the Academy for innovation. At Digital Domain, Cliff established a studio in Vancouver and a Virtual Production Studio in Los Angeles. As CTO of Lucasfilm, Cliff directed the construction of the technical infrastructure of The Letterman Digital Arts Center in San Francisco, and the Lucasfilm Studio in Singapore. He worked closely with George Lucas on the development of the first Digital Cinema production for the Star Wars Trilogy. Cliff has worked on over 100 Hollywood feature films and television series. He began his career at NBC.
Charles Poe, SVP of Production Smithsonian Networks
Bob Poole, Presenter, Cinematographer Poole Films Bob Poole is an On Camera Personality and Emmy Award winning Director of Photography. He has an extensive credit list with PBS NATURE and NOVA, BBC, over 30 shows for Discovery Networks, and an additional 35 plus films for National Geographic Television. Bob grew up in East Africa where his family spent much of their time with the abundant wildlife that thrived there during the 1960s and 1970s. Poole’s unique upbringing gave him an appreciation and curiosity of the natural world, a highly adventurous spirit, and a strong sense of self-reliance. His passion for wildlife led to his involvement as a Board Member for the Gorongosa National Park Restoration Project. He is a Fellow with the Explorers Club and a speaker with National Geographic’s Speakers Bureau. Poole is currently the Presenter and Wildlife Cameraman for Gorongosa Park: Rebirth of Paradise, a 6 part series for PBS and National Geographic International.
Joyce Poole, Scientific Director ElephantVoices Joyce Poole has studied elephants and worked for their conservation and welfare for 40 years and is a world authority on their reproductive, communicative and cognitive behaviour. She graduated from Smith College, holds a Cambridge University PhD and was a Princeton University post-doctoral fellow. Poole’s scientific discoveries of African elephants include musth, infrasonic and long-distance acoustic communication, vocal imitation, vocal and gestural repertoires and she has collaborated in ground-breaking elephant cognition studies. Poole is a leading voice for the protection and well being of elephants. Her documentation of the damage wrought on elephant societies by poaching was instrumental to the 1989 ban on international trade in ivory. She has been an expert witness in numerous elephant cruelty cases, is lead author of The Elephant Charter and an outspoken critic of the capture of elephants for captivity. Poole began her elephant research in Amboseli, Kenya in the mid-1970s. She headed the Kenya Wildlife Service Elephant Program 1990-1994, where her knowledge and enthusiasm inspired many Kenyans who hold key elephant management positions today. She has published numerous scientific and popular articles, written two books, Coming of Age with Elephants and Elephants, and participated in scores of media projects. She received a Smith College Medal for her research and training in Africa. In 2002 she and husband, Petter Granli, founded ElephantVoices and continue to co-direct it. They currently run elephant conservation projects in the Mara ecosystem, Kenya and in Gorongosa National Park, Mozambique, and work globally for the survival and welfare of elephants.
Frank Pope, Chief Operations Officer Save the Elephants (STE) After studying zoology at the University of Edinburgh he began his career in marine science before joining The Times newspaper as the world's only Ocean Correspondent to cover the fast-changing science, environment and geopolitics of the sea and help increase visibility of the crisis facing marine ecosystems. During this time he published two books, Dragon Sea (Penguin, 2007) and 72 Hours (Orion, 2011) and hosted the BBC Series Britain's Secret Seas. After joining Save the Elephants in 2012 Frank helped establish the Elephant Crisis Fund (a joint initiative between Save the Elephants & the Wildlife Conservation Network), supporting more than 37 different partner organisations across Africa and the world in conducting over 50 projects in the realms of anti-poaching, anti-trafficking and demand reduction. Frank is married to Saba Douglas-Hamilton, daughter of STE founder Iain, and they live in Kenya with their three small children where together they made the 2015 BBC Natural History Unit series This Wild Life.
Barry Pousman, Director of Programming Discovery Digital Networks Barry Pousman is the Director of Programming at Discovery Digital Networks and head of Discovery VR Originals where he focuses on science, curiosity and a global awareness. He oversees multiple production teams and four digital networks (TestTube, Seeker, Animalist, Revision3) garnering millions of views each week. Barry is also a New Media Advisor at the U.N. helping to strategize and implement new media initiatives around the promotion of the Millenium Development Goals (soon to be the Sustainable Development Goals). So far, his work with the U.N. has taken him to Southern and Eastern Africa, South America and the Middle East to create content that ranges from virtual reality films to viral videos. His work has screened at the World Economic Forum at Davos, the White House, Sundance, won the Interactive Award at Sheffield Doc Fest and been written about in The New York Times, Vice, the BBC and more. From 2008-2011 Barry worked at Rocketboom, a renowned video blog focused on Internet news and culture. While there, Barry directed five digital news channels and developed two new web series for PBS.org. Barry earned his B.A. in visual media from Emerson College in 2006. He went on to serve with the U.S. Peace Corps in Senegal where he founded an organization devoted to video and development in West Africa and received two Fulbright Hays grants from the U.S. Embassy for his documentary work.
Louie Psihoyos Oceanic Preservation Society
Dennis Rentsch, Project Manager, Serengeti Ecosystem Management Frankfurt Zoological Society Dennis is a conservation biologist working with Frankfurt Zoological Society in Tanzania’s Serengeti ecosystem. As Project Manager for the Serengeti Ecosystem Management office, Dennis works with local partners to strengthen conservation throughout the ecosystem through empowering communities to engage and benefit directly from the conservation of wildlife and other natural resources. He works closely with protected area to improve mechanisms for local communities to benefit from conservation. Dennis has worked in the Serengeti ecosystem since 2005 on a variety of research and conservation initiatives. He completed his PhD through the University of Minnesota examining socio-economic drivers of bushmeat hunting by local communities around Serengeti National Park.
Mary Rice, Executive Director Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) Mary Rice is the Executive Director of the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA), which investigates and campaigns against a wide range of environmental crimes and abuses, including illegal wildlife trade (such as elephant ivory, tiger parts and derivatives), illegal logging and trade in climate- and ozone-altering chemicals. Trained as a journalist, Mary spent 15 years working in Asia before moving into the environmental sector. With close to two decades of experience in this field, Mary has extensive knowledge of the illegal international trade in wildlife, especially ivory, acting as a spokesperson on the subject and attending major international meetings on the issue. The findings of EIA’s global investigations into the illegal trade in ivory played a key role in establishing the international ivory ban in 1989. Subsequent investigations into the trade of ivory of species threatened by the increasing demand for their parts and products have been pivotal in providing decision makers with empirical evidence of the reality of the burgeoning illegal international trade in wildlife. Mary is a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and a published author. Heat, Dust and Dreams (Struik), an exploration of people and environment in Namibia’s Kaokoland and Damaraland, was the result of three years of research and photography in what is now known as the Kunene region, home to the last viable population of black rhino outside of protected areas.
Erik Rochner Dryft Digital
DJ Roller, Co-Founder NextVR As co-founder of NextVR, DJ draws on his vast cinematic and technical background to push the potential of virtual reality forward, both for live and on-demand VR experiences, bringing the audience “beyond the front row.” No stranger to immersive entertainment, he is an award-winning producer, director and cinematographer for 3D & 2D IMAX films, feature and digital cinema films, television shows, documentaries, commercials and special effects. If you can imagine a difficult place to put a camera, that’s likely where you’ll find DJ setting one up. Whether he’s filming under the sea ice in Antarctica, cave diving off the Yucatan, swimming with great white sharks in South Africa, shooting a Hollywood feature alongside James Cameron, or capturing an intimate Coldplay performance in VR, DJ is committed to bringing people an experience like no other. DJ also founded production company Liquid Pictures 3D, where he has been Producer and Director of Photography on numerous movies, TV shows and series for National Geographic, NOVA/PBS, CNN, BBC, CBS, NBC, Discovery Channel, History Channel and others. He has received several awards including the Cine Golden Eagle Award, was nominated for two Emmy Awards and a was recipient of the KODAK Vision Award for imagination and leadership in filmmaking. His other accomplishments include shooting the first live 3D sports broadcast (2007 NBA All-Star game) and the first digital IMAX 3D live action film, “U2 3D.” Bono said watching the film was the first time they felt like they had actually gone to one of their concerts. DJ also developed the world’s first digital 3D underwater beam splitter camera system, capable of capturing 4K 3D imagery on land, underwater and in macro-3D.
Alan Root, Filmmaker & MEP Advocate Mara Elephant Project Alan Root left school at sixteen already a good naturalist, with an old Boles camera he became a self-taught wildlife photographer. Five years later, after a short time working for Armand Denis, he was the principal cameraman on the film ‘Serengeti Shall Not Die’ which won an Oscar, and is considered to be one of the most influential conservation films. He went on to make wildlife documentaries for the next forty years, mostly in East Africa, but also in the Amazon, the Galapagos, Australia and New Guinea. Films that have garnered many awards, including Emmys, a nomination for an Oscar, three life-time awards from the world’s top Wildlife Film Festivals, and an O.B.E. for his services to wildlife photography and conservation. In the course of his work he has been bitten by a hippo, a gorilla, a leopard, and lost a finger to a deadly puff-adder. He flies planes, helicopters and balloons, and was the first to fly a balloon over Kilimanjaro. He now lives – camera-free - on the Lewa Conservancy in northern Kenya with his wife Fran and two young sons, and gets his adrenaline shots by flying his helicopter to dart elephant and rhino for translocation or fitting radio-collars for research.
Craig Rosa, Series Producer - Deep Look KQED Craig is the Series Producer for Deep Look, an ultra-HD (4K) short video series created by KQED San Francisco and presented by PBS Digital Studios. Deep Look explores big science concepts by going incredibly small, at the very edge of our visible world. Additionally, as the Senior Interactive Producer for the award-winning science media project QUEST and other KQED Science initiatives, he has been responsible for integration of traditional and web-based media across all platforms (TV, Radio, Web, Education, Community Outreach) and serves as editorial lead for KQED Science interactive. Prior to joining KQED in 2006, Craig served as the Director of Information Technology at The Tech Museum of Innovation, a hands-on science and technology museum located in the heart of Silicon Valley. In this role he worked with web & exhibition platforms to create innovative educational visitor experiences around informal science, both online and within the museum. He was also responsible for directing the museum's Information Technology operations.
Michael Rosenfeld, Chairman of the Board, Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival and CEO, Amber Road Media Michael Rosenfeld is an award-winning filmmaker and writer with extensive leadership experience in documentary production and digital media. In a career spanning network broadcast, cable, and public television, he won or led teams that won hundreds of awards, including the Peabody and almost 40 News & Documentary Emmys. At National Geographic Television, Rosenfeld executive produced two legendary series--Explorer and the National Geographic Specials--and ran the company as President. In 2011 he joined HHMI to launch Tangled Bank Studios, where he executive produced such landmark projects as Your Inner Fish, which was described by the Wildscreen Jury as “the most engaging exploration of evolution since Life on Earth. Rosenfeld is currently CEO and Executive Producer of Amber Road Media, a new independent production company.
John Rubin, Executive Producer Tangled Bank Studios John Rubin is executive producer at Tangled Bank Studios, a production company of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. He turned to documentaries after completing his PhD at MIT in cognitive science. He founded John Rubin Productions, Inc. in Cambridge, MA, where he worked as executive producer and writer-producer-director. Winner of a Peabody and three Emmys, he has made films for the PBS series NATURE, American Experience, and NOVA, as well as for National Geographic Explorer. Rubin recently executive-produced Raise the Roof, a feature doc that follows the reconstruction—with historically accurate methods and materials—of a seventeenth-century Polish wooden synagogue.
Brooke Runnette, President National Geographic Studios Brooke Runnette, an Emmy- and Peabody Award-winning producer, joined National Geographic Channels as vice president, development and special projects in October 2012, and a month later transitioned into her current position heading National Geographic Television. She oversees innovative series, special events and live programming that bring the stories of National Geographic’s scientists, explorers and unique storytellers to the National Geographic Channels. Before joining National Geographic, Runnette worked at Discovery Channel, where she was executive producer and director of development for specials, including Shark Week. Under her direction, the 2010 Shark Week received the highest ratings in the annuals event's 23-year history. She also led efforts within Discovery to work more closely with scientists and conservation organizations such as Oceana and the Pew Charitable Trust’s Global Shark Conservation group. Other landmark specials Runnette oversaw while at Discovery included “The Kennedy Detail” (nominated for a News & Documentary Emmy Award), Discovery Channel’s 25th Anniversary Week, the Amelia Earhart expeditions and current affairs programming such as “Secrets of Seal Team 6.” Prior to joining Discovery Channel, she worked at TLC as executive director of programming, where she was executive producer of the hit series “Little People, Big World."Runnette has also been a producer for ABC News’ “Nightline,” PBS's “Frontline” and CBS’s “60 Minutes II.”
Carl Safina Carl Safina Institute Carl Safina's work explores how human dignity and the survival of the natural world are intertwined. He has studied nature as a scientist, stood for it as an advocate, and conveyed his travels among free-living creatures in lyrical non-fiction writing. While studying seabirds and fishes for his PhD in ecology, he witnessed rapid declines in sea turtles, sharks, tunas, and many others. Responding, Safina helped lead campaigns to ban driftnets, overhaul fisheries law, achieve a United Nations fisheries treaty, and reduce seabird and sea turtle drowning on commercial fishing lines. Along the way, his writings made him a leading voice on humanity’s relationship with nature. Safina is author of roughly 300 scientific and popular publications and 7 award wining books including Song for the Blue Ocean, Eye of the Albatross, The View from Lazy Point, and the children's book Nina Delmar and The Great Whale Rescue. In A Sea in Flames Safina chronicled the 2010 Gulf oil blowout. He hosted the 10-part Saving The Ocean on PBS television. Safina has received many conservation and literary awards. He is founding president of The Safina Center at Stony Brook University, where he also co-chairs the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science. His new book--Beyond Words; What Animals Think and Feel—has a major section on elephants.
M. Sanjayan, PhD, Executive VP and Senior Scientist Conservation International Executive Vice President and Senior Scientist Conservation International Dr. M. Sanjayan (@msanjayan) is a global conservation scientist, writer and Emmy-nominated news contributor specializing in the role of conservation in improving human well-being. He serves on Conservation International’s senior leadership team as executive vice president and senior scientist. This summer, Sanjayan co-hosted "Big Blue Live," PBS’s three-part live television event showcasing marine life along America's west coast. His other recent television projects include the 2015 PBS television series, “EARTH - A New Wild” and Showtime’s “Years of Living Dangerously,” the 2014 Emmy-winning series on the impact of climate change. Sanjayan also led the launch of Nature Is Speaking, Conservation International’s critically acclaimed campaign that delivers a powerful message: people need nature to survive. His peer-reviewed scientific work has been published in journals including Science, Nature and Conservation Biology, and his expertise has attracted national media coverage in Outside, Time, National Geographic, AFAR, Grist and The New York Times. He was named to Men’s Journal’s 2015 list of the “50 Most Adventurous Men.” Sanjayan is a Clinton Global Initiative Senior Advisor, a Catto Fellow at the Aspen Institute, and an Ambassador for DisneyNature films. He is also a member of National Geographic Society’s Explorers Council, a distinguished group of top scientists, researchers and explorers who provide advice and counsel to the Society across disciplines and projects. He writes for Orion magazine, The Huffington Post and Fortune China, and posts frequently from his expeditions @msanjayan.
Gianna Savoie Executive Director Ocean Media Institute Gianna Savoie is an award-winning documentary producer, writer, and professor with over a decade of experience in Natural History filmmaking and a penchant for powerful storytelling that has led her to sink her teeth into some of the most critical conservation issues on the planet. Trained as an environmental biologist, she pairs her love of science with the art of filmmaking to craft stories that not only inform, but deeply resonate. Her work has been featured on PBS, National Geographic, Discovery, and the BBC among others, as well as in theatrical documentaries and in print and web publications. Dubbed The Mountain Mermaid, Gianna has recently established the Ocean Media Institute, a global media collective that serves to enrich and expand the public's understanding of ocean science and conservation through the collaborative creation, exhibition, and open-distribution of innovative visual media and artistic approaches to ocean education.
Ted Schmitt, Senior Program Manager, Conservation Technology Vulcan, Inc. Ted Schmitt leads technology aspects of philanthropic initiatives for Vulcan. Ted’s projects range from addressing illegal fishing to improving wildlife protected area management. Prior to joining Vulcan, Ted was Senior Program Officer for the Computer Science and Telecommunications Board at the National Academies of Science directing studies on topics such as disaster communications, healthcare IT, and broadband policy. He served as Technical Director at several technology start-ups in Germany, Sweden, and the United States, leading projects applying technology for impact on a range of issues. He started his career as a software engineer for IBM, earning patents and several technical achievement awards. Ted holds an M.A. in International Science and Technology Policy from George Washington University, a B.S. in Electrical Engineering, and a B.A. in German from Purdue University. He also studied at Universität Hamburg, Germany.
Louie Schwartzberg Moving Art Louie Schwartzberg is an award-winning producer, director, and cinematographer whose notable career spans more than three decades, providing breathtaking imagery for feature films, television shows, documentaries and commercials. As the only cinematographer in the world who has been shooting time-lapse 24/7 continuously for well over three decades, Schwartzberg is a visual artist breaking barriers, connecting with audiences, and telling stories that celebrate life and reveal the mysteries and wisdom of nature, people and places. His work was recently featured on Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday. His recent theatrical releases include the 3D IMAX film Mysteries of the Unseen World with National Geographic, narrated by Forest Whitaker, and Wings of Life, a feature documentary for Disneynature, narrated by Meryl Streep. Over his long trailblazing career, Schwartzberg has earned myriad awards and honors including two Clio Awards for Best Environmental PSAs, an Emmy nomination for Best Cinematography (Oceans of Air on the Discovery Channel), a Truly Moving Picture Award from the Heartland Film Festival (America’s Heart & Soul) and Best Film–Inspiration at the Ocean Film Festival (Gratitude). He was recognized as one of the “Top 70 Cinematographers” for the On Film Kodak Salute Series. Schwartzberg was also recently honored and humbled to receive the NAAPC Pollinator Protector award.
Cara Shousterman, Partnerships and Engagement Manager, ACLS Public Fellow Harmony Institute Cara Shousterman is a Partnerships and Engagement Manager at the Harmony Institute, where she assists with impact measurement, product management and outreach. She holds a PhD in Linguistics from New York University. Her interests lie at the intersection of media, language and society, and understanding the multi-directional influence of all three.
Noah Sitati, Program Manager of the Kilimanjaro Landscape African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) Noah grew up in Bungoma County in Kenya and has a PhD in Biodiversity Management from the University of Kent in England. He is presently the program manager of AWF’s Kilimanjaro Landscape, a transborder area overlapping southern Kenya and northern Tanzania and home to an important population of savannah elephants. Noah’s past areas of research included elephants, human-wildlife conflict, climate change impacts on livelihoods, forest use by local communities, and the dynamics and distribution of wildlife populations. As AWF’s Kilimanjaro landscape program manager, Noah is primarily focused on mitigating human-wildlife conflict, identifying and protecting wildlife corridors, bringing benefits to local communities, ensuring connectivity of wild habitat, and conservation of forests and wetlands in the region.
Liz Smith, Director, COO Conservation Media Group
Susannah Smith, Executive Producer Red Wolf Revival, Emerging Wildlife Conservation Leaders Susannah Smith is a communications professional with a specialty in social marketing and qualitative research. She is the Marketing Director for The Vault, a restored bank and event venue in downtown Tampa. On her off hours she explores the role of media as it applies to human behavior and wildlife conservation; her research has taken her across Florida to interview exotic pet owners regarding human-wildlife interactions on screen. As Executive Producer for the short film Red Wolf Revival, she is developing an engagement strategy that utilizes ethnographic research. Susannah worked at Busch Gardens Tampa for eight years as media spokesperson, zoo educator, and presentation trainer. She represented Busch Entertainment Corporation on CNN, Good Morning America, CBS’ Early Show, Jack Hanna’s Animal Adventures, and others. Susannah has a master’s degree in Mass Communications from University of South Florida and a bachelor’s degree in Cultural Anthropology from Tulane University. She was selected as an Emerging Wildlife Conservation Leader (2005) and is President of the Board of Directors for Wildlands Network. She serves on the Advisory Board for Film Tampa Bay and is President of the Tampa Prep Alumni Association.
Andrew Solomon, Head of Universum ORF/Universum
Dr. Anna Songhurst, Co-Founder and Director Ecoexist Dr. Anna Songhurst is a conservation biologist, specializing in elephants and human-elephant interactions. She has been working and conducting research in Botswana for the past 12 years. Anna is currently a co-director of the Ecoexist Project, a five year program that aims to reduce human-elephant conflicts (HEC) and foster coexistence between humans and elephants in the Okavango Panhandle, Botswana through a number of focused, integrated management tools and strategies that provide immediate and long-term solutions. She is also a Senior Research Associate in the Department of Zoology at the University of Oxford and supervising three PhD students at Texas A & M University.
Hilary Sparrow, Senior Supervising Producer Vulcan Productions Hilary Sparrow serves as Senior Supervising Producer at Vulcan Productions. Founded by philanthropist, entrepreneur and Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, Vulcan Productions develops and produces compelling feature films, television series, specials and digital content designed to inspire people to take action on the critical issues of our time. Sparrow helms key initiatives at Vulcan Productions, managing the production, marketing, strategy, outreach and impact of film and television projects. High profile projects that Hilary has spearheaded for the company include the feature documentaries Girl Rising, Pandora’s Promise andRacing Extinction, and series including the three-part PBS program This Emotional Life andSuccess at the Core, the web-based toolkit for middle school educators. She is currently in production on two documentaries focused on African Elephants. Sparrow’s projects have won numerous awards and nominations including two News and Documentary Emmy’s, Telly’s, Webby’s, among others. Sparrow is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, with a BA in Journalism and Spanish.
Neville Spiteri, Co-Founder & CEO WEVR Neville Spiteri is co-founder and CEO of WEVR, the leading Hollywood virtual reality studio and distributor. As one of the top software engineers and creative executives in the industry, Neville has been at the forefront of interactive storytelling throughout his career, directly influencing the future of virtual reality. Under his leadership, the WEVR team produced theBlu: The Encounter, an award-winning virtual ocean experience that earned partnerships with the Smithsonian and OceanElders. Prior to founding WEVR, Neville served as producer and senior development director at Electronic Arts where he began to explore the world of interactive storytelling while leading the technology and production teams for five years. Earlier in his career, Neville was the director of product management on the ground floor team at EMC|Greenplum (now Pivotal), where he first met his WEVR co-founders, Anthony Batt and Scott Yara. Neville began his career at Wavefront Technologies as a software engineer on the original team of the industry leading 3D animation product, Maya. After Wavefront Technologies, Neville moved to Los Angeles to join Digital Domain, James Cameron’s visual effects and digital production company as film technical director and digital effects supervisor where he worked on projects including “Apollo 13” and “Terminator 2/3D.” He then went on to gaming company, Square, where he worked in the same capacity on the animated feature “Final Fantasy.” Neville was on the cutting edge of machine vision technologies while at Perception Systems, a software development startup.He graduated Summa Cum Laude from Brandeis University in Computer Science and Cognitive Science. Neville’s initial interest in VR was sparked when he read Howard Rheingold’s book, Virtual Reality, in 1991. He still owns the original copy today.
Carlyn Staudt, SVP of Global National Geographic International
Phil Streather, CEO Principal Large Format Phil Streather founded Principal Large Format (PLF) in 1998 and is the present CEO. PLF is a production company dedicated to developing and producing: Giant Screen (IMAX) features, Theatrical Documentary features and UHD TV. In 1997/8 Phil produced Wildfire - feel the heat, in IMAX 2D, for Discovery Channel Pictures and in 1999 was the Producer on groundbreaking IMAX 2D drama, Legend of Loch Lomond, for Dunbartonshire Enterprise, Scotland. His IMAX film, Bugs! 3D, narrated by Judi Dench, has won many awards, including the prestigious Panda Award for Best Large Format Film at the Bristol Wildscreen Film Festival, Best Special Venue Program at JHWFF and was a Semi-Finalist in the Documentary Short Subject category of the 2004 Academy Awards® Competition. Bugs! has also grossed more than $50m worldwide. In 2010 Phil produced Carmen in 3D from the Royal Opera House ,which played in 1500 3D cinemas worldwide in Spring 2011. In the same year Phil was 3D producer and stereographer on Meerkats 3D, produced by Oxford Scientific Films in association with PLF, for National Geographic Channels/Sky 3D, which aired on Sky 3D October 2011. Also in 2011 Phil produced Madam Butterfly 3D from the Royal Opera House which played in cinemas around the world in 2012. Throughout 2012 Phil was a consultant to BBC Earth. In his capacity of Director of Giant Screen and Museum Films he advised on all aspects of their move into the Giant Screen 3D business. At the same time Phil worked with the BBC Natural History Unit as Stereoscopic Supervisor on the ground breaking Tiny Giants 3D, which delivered in 2014. Phil has finished his consultancy with BBC Earth and is currently in development on a Giant Screen 3D film about bumblebees, The Bumblebee Queen,and a Giant Screen 3D film about the sea with the working title Mysteries of the Mediterranean. Phil is also a board member of the Giant Screen Cinema Association (GSCA) and a member of the GSCA’s Technical Committee.
Ginger Thomson, Executive Director Lewa Wildlife Conservancy Ginger Thomson has spent the last four years working with the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy in Kenya to build their presence in the USA. She understood the unique opportunity Lewa offered to bring development to conservation strategies and conservation to development strategies in rural Kenya – and jumped on board to help catalyze the impact of this small and highly effective organization in northern Kenya. An animal lover with a call to the plight of the African elephant and the many endangered species of eastern Africa, Thomson recognized Lewa’s deep understanding of the critical connection between man and nature. Over time Thomson has focused her work on social impact management and investing in both the public and private sectors and has developed a passion for building great organizations, products and services that impact key issues. A collaborative and strategic leader in start-ups to large global businesses, Thomson entered the Conservation field hoping to find and help build a world-class institution that could reverse conservation trends and recognize the importance of holistic approaches to wildlife conservation and socio-economic development. Lewa is such an organization. Thomson’s previous areas of expertise include: digital payment systems, consumer mobile and internet, product management, user experience, web design, strategy, leadership development, team-building, international expansion, program management, marketing, brand development and management, ecommerce, financial services, software development, operations, financial inclusion, inclusive innovation, property rights, entrepreneurism and emerging market development.
Carole Tomko, General Manager & Creative Director of Vulcan Productions & Vice President of Philanthropy Vulcan Productions An industry leader with experience in launching and rebranding networks and producing award-winning content, Carole Tomko joined Paul G. Allen’s Vulcan Productions as General Manager and Creative Director in 2013. Vulcan Productions produces projects designed to entertain, inform and cultivate social change with powerful content and targeted impact campaigns around the critical issues of our time Tomko served as President and General Manager of several networks at Discovery Communications. She launched and rebranded Discovery Health, FitTV, and Discovery Kids. As President and General Manager of Discovery Studios, she led television development and production, feature documentaries, talent development, casting, branded entertainment, and footage and music services. Prior to her work at Discovery, Tomko directed development and programming for Time-Life Video & Television, and produced content for an array of media and entertainment companies including Orion Pictures, Editel and Westinghouse. In 2012, she launched Carole Tomko Media, a strategic advisory company to guide businesses in all aspects of content and media creation. Tomko has been recognized multiple times by CableFAX magazine as one of the Most Influential Women in Cable. She serves on the board for Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival; and she was also a board member for The Hub television network, the children’s network joint venture between Discovery Communications and Hasbro.
Kurt Tondorf Animal Planet
Lisa Truitt Lisa is a recovering corporate lifer turned entrepreneur. In a long career at National Geographic, she worked in television, feature films, giant screen/specialty cinema, film distribution, entertainment finance and education, most recently as president of the Cinema Ventures division. A year ago she left to become Chief Creative Officer and a managing partner in an immersive entertainment start-up, with an exciting first project in the works to be announced in the next few months. She is based in Washington DC with her husband, two kids, one puppy and two bunnies.
Jan Vertefeuille, Senior Director, Wildlife Conservation & Advocacy World Wildlife Fund (WWF) US Since joining WWF in 2002, Jan has looked for ways to engage the public, change government and corporate policies, and connect WWF's work directly to the people who live on the front lines of conservation. She led some of WWF's most successful advocacy campaigns to date, including one that resulted in leaders from all 13 countries with wild tigers committing to collectively doubling the current tiger population. Jan was also an architect of WWF’s recent campaign to elevate the global response to wildlife trafficking and to work with powerful champions to effect change, from Leonardo DiCaprio to revered faith leaders. She currently is working on new approaches to reduce consumer demand for products that drive wildlife crime, such as ivory and rhino horn. Jan is also working closely with partners across the globe to save one of the last large swaths of rain forest in Sumatra, Thirty Hills, a project that is breaking new ground by involving shared management of the forest with indigenous communities.
Janet Vissering, Senior VP of Development & Production National Geographic WILD Janet Han Vissering is responsible for over 150 hours of programming commissioned each year for broadcast in 166 countries, 330 million homes and 34 languages worldwide. In her role, Vissering manages WILD’s development team, working with the world’s leading independent producers, distributors, creative agencies and strategic broadcast partners to create the network’s signature series, specials and events. She also provides daily oversight of production to insure creative continuity and that all network programming objectives are being met from project conception through delivery. Previously she was SVP of Strategic Development and Co-finance for seven years. As part of Development, she has been responsible for developing key programs such as Dr. Pol, Cesar 911, Animal Fight Night and Wild Brazil among other highly rated shows. Prior to acquiring her current position, Vissering served as Vice President of International Acquisitions at NGCI from August 1998 to March 2000. She joined NGCI from Discovery Networks International, where she was Head of Program Acquisitions and Development from 1995 to 1998. In this post, she was responsible for managing the acquisition and development of over 2,500 program hours annually. She was also in charge of overseeing co-production agreements at Discovery, working closely with independent producers and companies in both the domestic and international markets. Vissering joined Discovery Communications, Inc. as a Regional Marketing Manager for The Learning Channel, Affiliate Sales and Relations in March 1993. Prior to this, she was a public affairs specialist for the Department of the Navy, based in Sasebo, Japan. A graduate of the University of Maryland in College Park, with a major in International Relations/Business, Vissering is a native of Korea and speaks Korean fluently.
Dr. Samuel Wasser, Director of Conservation Biology University of Washington Dr. Samuel Wasser is acknowledged worldwide as a pioneer of non-invasive wildlife monitoring methods, including the genetic, endocrine, toxicology and detection dog techniques used by the Center. After obtaining his Ph.D. from the University of Washington in 1981, Dr. Wasser received consecutive Career Development Awards from the Guggenheim Foundation and the Smithsonian Institution. In 2001, Dr. Wasser was awarded the Endowed Chair in Conservation Biology by the University of Washington Board of Regents. Dr. Wasser has participated in a number of conservation programs throughout Africa, South and North America, and SE Asia, in collaboration with state, federal, and international organizations. His groundbreaking work in noninvasive environmental monitoring and wildlife forensics is internationally respected among scientists, environmental activists, and government and non-government wildlife managers alike. This places Dr. Wasser in a unique position to negotiate the kinds of conservation solutions needed in our rapidly changing world.
Roger Webb, Series Editor, Natural World BBC Roger has worked at the Natural History Unit for nearly 20 years and is currently Series Editor of the popular Natural World strand. He is passionate about wildlife broadcasting, constantly striving for excellence. He has an eye for a good story and is always looking for fresh and compelling ways to reveal the wonder of nature to as wide and diverse an audience as possible. Roger’s experience is broad, taking in Springwatch, Planet Earth Live, Big Cat Diary, children’s programming and most recently, Big Blue Live. He prides himself on being able to bring the best out of individuals and teams. With extensive experience in the live television environment, Roger has a reputation for delivering quality under pressure.
Cody Westheimer, Composer Composer Cody Westheimer owns and operates New West Studios, Inc. with his wife, composer Julia Newmann. He is an avid adventurer and nature lover, having visited Africa twice and this summer was a fellow in “Composing in the Wilderness,” a field seminar in Denali National Park. Living in Los Angeles he has racked up nearly 50 feature scoring credits over the last decade and a half. Having recently scored projects for Discovery’s Shark Week and the Smithsonian Channel, he recently hand built his portable music studio - which allows him to have nearly the full power of his home studio while being inspired with whatever remote location is drivable in his Subaru. Join him and colleagues Lenny Williams, Robert Neufield and Maddie German (who will be playing filmmakers!) as he live scores a scene and explains the process for composing focusing on story telling and communication.
Rob Willox Sony
Ellen Windemuth, Founder & CEO Off the Fence Productions Ellen Windemuth founded Off the Fence in 1994 after working for Fremantle and Atlantis. Under her leadership the company acquired, produced and co-produced over 6,000 hours of content. Ellen is a seasoned Executive Producer and Distributor, and has produced over 400 hours to date herself. She is the Treasurer of the Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival and a Board Member of the Wild Talk Festival as well as an Advisory Board Member for Realscreen London. She is active in conservation and land development, has three children and a great passion for the outdoors.
William C. Woody, Chief of Law Enforcement U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service William C. Woody serves as the Chief of Law Enforcement for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. In this position, Woody directs the work of the Service’s agents, inspectors, officers, and personnel in the Forensic Laboratory, Digital Evidence Recovery and Technical Support Unit (DERTSU) and National Wildlife and Eagle Repositories enforcing the Nation’s wildlife laws both domestically and internationally. His priorities include strengthening enforcement partnerships with Federal, State and international partners and bringing these government law enforcement entities together in targeting international and domestic networks trafficking in illegally taken wildlife. Woody’s background in wildlife law enforcement includes 19 years with the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources. Hired in 1983, he worked as a conservation officer, investigator, and captain, before being appointed as the Director of Utah Department of Natural Resources Law Enforcement in 2001. In 2003, Woody was appointed as the Director of Law Enforcement for the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). In this position, he oversaw the work of BLM rangers and special agents in protecting the natural and cultural resources on more than 245 million acres of BLM-managed public lands located in the western United States. Woody earned his undergraduate degrees at Utah State University and Weber State University in Utah and is a graduate of the FBI National Academy. He was appointed by the Governor of the State of Utah to serve on the Police Officers Standards and Training Council.
Edward O. Wilson Edward Wilson is one of the leading American scientists of our time. A biologist, his life-long passion for insects led him early in his career to become the world’s foremost expert on ants, but this was just the beginning. He went on to make ground-breaking contributions to evolutionary theory and the study of population dynamics. His 1967 book written with mathematician Robert MacArthur, The Theory of Island Biogeography, is widely considered to be the cornerstone of conservation biology. But perhaps his greatest contribution has been to the study of social behavior in the animal world. Wilson’s 1975 book, Sociobiology, created one of the great academic controversies of the late 20th century but revolutionized thinking about the bases of animal societies, including our own. It opened up new avenues for thinking about human behavior and psychology which are still being explored today. Later in his career, he embarked on a grand re-thinking of evolutionary theory as it applied to social animals. His open espousal of the theory of “group selection” has brought him into conflict with many scientists, notably Richard Dawkins, but reinvigorated the field. Throughout his career he has been a tireless champion of conservation. A fine writer, Wilson’s books on philosophy, religion and the natural world have made him one of the most widely read scientists of our era and earned him two Pulitzer prizes.
Peter Wrege, Director The Elephant Listening Project Peter has made Cornell University and Ithaca, New York his base for nearly 40 years, although nearly half of that time has been spent conducting field work somewhere else in the world. Multi-year projects and extended field seasons observing animals in their natural environments have been his passion. He has worked in such places as Venezuela, Panamá, the Galapagos, Kenya, Gabon, Cameroon, Congo, and the Central African Republic. In 2007 Peter cautiously took over from Katy Payne as director of the Elephant Listening Project and began listening to the forests of Central Africa. Using innovative technologies to gather sounds, Peter and the team of experts in the Bioacoustics Research Program at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, has been developing and demonstrating new methods to gather and analyze data on forest elephants and the human incursions that affect their lives.
Liu Yuan, Communications and Outreach Officer United Nations, CITES (Convention on Illegal Trade of Endangered Species) Liu Yuan is the Communications and Outreach Officer of the Secretariat of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), the international treaty with 181 State Parties that regulates the world's wildlife trade since 1975. Yuan has been working on CITES since 1989 at both national and international levels.
Anne Zeiser, Founder & CEO Azure Media Anne is a critically-acclaimed transmedia and social impact producer and media strategist who works at the nexus of storytelling, marketing, and social change. Azure Media develops transmedia projects on air, online, and on-the-go that fuel social impact in communities, in schools, and in capitals. With deep expertise in science storytelling and communications, Anne’s developed groundbreaking initiatives on evolution, conservation/environment, science and religion compatibility, and public health. Before Azure, she stewarded the audience engagement of PBS’ iconic series for WGBH, produced news for CBS, managed national brands for marketing firms, and served in government. She’s the author of Transmedia Marketing: From Film and TV to Games and Digital Media; a member of the Television Academy and the Filmmakers Collaborative board; a contributor to the Huffington Post; and an adjunct professor at Emerson College.