THOMAS ALLEN HARRIS – producer, director, writer
Thomas Allen Harris is the founder and President of Chimpanzee Productions: a company dedicated to producing unique visual experiences that illuminate the Human Condition and the search for identity, family, and spirituality. Chimpanzee’s innovative and award-winning films have received critical acclaim at international festivals such Sundance, Berlin, Toronto, FESPACO, Turin, Tribeca, Rio, Outfest, Flaherty and Cape Town; and have been broadcast on PBS, the Sundance Channel, ARTE, as well as CBC, Swedish Broadcasting Network and New Zealand Television. In addition, Mr. Harris’ video and installations have been featured at prestigious museums and galleries, including the Museum of Modern Art, Whitney Biennial, Corcoran Gallery, Reina Sophia and London Institute of the Arts. Mr. Harris is a recipient of numerous fellowships and awards including the United States Artist Fellowship, Guggenheim Fellowship, Rockefeller Fellowship, as well as CPB/PBS, and Sundance Directors Fellowships. A graduate of Harvard College, Mr. Harris lectures widely on the use of media as a tool for social change.
DEBORAH WILLIS – co-producer, co-writer
Deborah Willis has researched and written about the works of Black photographers for twenty years, becoming the preeminent documentarian of the unique legacy of these pioneers. A 2000 MacArthur Fellow, her academic writing has addressed critical questions in the broad areas of photographic history, visual culture, African American art and popular and material culture. In her work, Ms Willis looked at how photographs have been used by art photographers looking at the family, how families and the general public preserve images, the implications of stereotyping, how gender is portrayed and what assumptions are made of images of women. Most of her published works offer new interpretations of the generic photographic history, African American art and gender studies. Her most recent publications include; “Reflections in Black: A History of Black Photographers 1840 to the Present,” which forms the cornerstone of the film project and includes over 500 images that present the rich history and moving glimpses of Black life from slavery to the Great Migrations, from rare antebellum portraits to 1990s middle-class Black families; and “The Black Female Body: A Photographic History,” co-authored with Carla Williams, that includes over 185 images spanning three centuries by such historical and contemporary artists as Bravo, Weston, Renee Cox, Lorna Simpson, Joy Gregory and Catherine Opie, who photograph Black women asserting their subjectivity, reclaiming their bodies and refusing the representations of the past.
ANN BENNETT – multimedia producer
Ann Bennett is an award winning filmmaker, journalist, and educator. After studying American History and Documentary Production at Harvard College, Ms. Bennett began her film career at Blackside Productions in Boston. Since then, she has worked on a host of historical documentaries for public television, cable networks, museums, and non-profit organizations. Her production credits include; WGBH, HBO, WNET, History Channel, National Civil Rights Museum, and the Apollo Theater Foundation. Ms. Bennett has been honored with numerous awards including fellowships from; CPB/PBS Producers Academy, America Film Institute Digital – Content Lab, Independent Feature Project – Documentary Lab, and the Institute for Justice and Journalism at University of Southern California. Ms. Bennett recently received a Master of Arts degree from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and now focuses her work on exploring the nexus of history, culture, and technology within multi-cultural communities.
PAUL CARTER HARRISON – script consultant
Award-winning Playwright/Director, currently Professor Emeritus at Columbia College Chicago where he served as Professor and Playwright-in-Residence from 1976-2002. Among his plays are The Great MacDaddy, Tabernacle, and Ameri/Cain Gothic, and the operettas, Anchorman and Doxology Opera. Frequently in the service of theaters as Dramaturg, he is the author of THE DRAMA OF NOMMO, the seminally influential discourse on Black Theatre aesthetics, and the editor of TOTEM VOICES, KUNTU DRAMA, and BLACK THEATRE: RITUAL PERFORMANCE IN THE AFRICAN DIASPORA. His feature films include Youngblood, and Lord Shango. He has also served as Script Consultant for film, The Twelve Disciples of Nelson Mandela.
K. A. MILLE – editor
K.A. Miille began her film career working on documentaries for National Geographic, and HBO. Desiring to sharpen her skills, she worked in the fast paced realm of commercials and music videos. Yet her passions lay in the storytelling, and leading the audience on a journey. This led to her return to the documentary world. Her editorial experience in the documentary form include critically acclaimed “Still, The Children Are Here” produced by Mira Nair, HBO’s Emmy nominated “Half Past Autumn, The Life and Works of Gordon Parks” produced by St. Clair Bourne. And “Sidewalk” a documentary based on Mitchell Duneier’s book, directed by Academy Award nominee, Barry Alexander Brown. Recently, she completed work on the environmentally charged and critically acclaimed documentary, “Return to Penguin City”. Her thirst for storytelling expanded into the feature film world working with notable directors and producers, including Steven Soderbergh and Spike Lee. Up and coming notable director Pete Chatmon and she collaborated on the independent soon to be a cult classic “Premium”. With Spike Lee, she collaborated on the Peabody Award winning “A Huey P. Newton Story”, “Miracle’s Boys”, and the soon to be released crime thriller, “You’re Nobody ’til Somebody Kills You”.
SAM POLLARD – supervisory editor
For over 25 years, Sam Pollard has had a significant role in bringing programming that illuminates the Black experience in America to both television and theatrical audiences. Most importantly for Through A Lens Darkly, he has been instrumental in helping to shape and define major series that touch on issues and subject matter similar to that of the program. He was the producer of a segment of “The Blues”, the PBS series directed by Martin Scorcese which aired in 2003; “The Rise and Fall of Jim Crow”, a four-part series that aired in 2002; “American Roots Music”, a four-part series that aired on PBS in 2001; “I’ll Make Me A World”, a two-part series that aired on WNET in 1989; and “Eyes on the Prize: The Civil Rights Years”, which aired on PBS in 1989. His Rolodex of contacts is extensive and will be of critical importance in making a final selection of a scriptwriter and particularly as the series moves toward actual production.
MARTINA RADWAN – director of photography
Mr. Perry is Chief Operating Officer of Chimpanzee Productions, Inc. He was co-writer and co-producer of Thomas Allen Harris’ feature-length documentary E MINHA CARA/THA/T’S MY FACE. Mr. Perry is an experienced financial and management consultant with a wide ranging background in commercial finance. He is a Certified Insolvency & Restructuring Advisor and was Executive Vice President – Finance for Wyndhurst Associates, LLC, a boutique financial restructuring and turnaround management firm prior to his association with Chimpanzee Productions. Prior to joining Wyndhurst, Mr. Perry founded a strategic management consulting practice providing services to emerging growth companies focusing on business turnarounds; developing e-commerce strategies and services; mergers and acquisitions; business and process re-engineering; organizational design and development; and corporate finance. Mr. Perry holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in International Relations and Development Economics from Williams College. He received his Masters in Business Administration in Strategic Management from the Peter F. Drucker Center, Claremont Graduate University
WOO JUNG CHO – production counsel
Woo Jung Cho has extensive experience in film production, distribution, and entertainment law. Her producing credits include: Twelve Disciples of Nelson Mandela (Producer), and Lest We Forget (Associate Producer). As a Sales/Producer’s Representative, she has worked on such acclaimed feature films as Daughter From Danang, Minha Cara/ That’s My Face, Paradox Lake, Face, My Flesh and Blood, Flag Wars, State of Denial and Gay Sex in the 70s. She is currently developing a documentary feature about Korean-American avant-garde artist Theresa Hak Kyung Cha. She received her JD from New York University School of Law in 1996.
SABRINA HAWKINS – associate producer
Sabrina Hawkins production career began as a NBC Sports utility/audio assistant during the 1996 Atlanta Summer Olympics. In 1997, Sabrina moved to New York and continued to work with a wide range of companies including A&E Networks and MTV Networks. At Rainbow-Media’s Voom HD, she was an associate producer for the high definition collectibles channel, Treasure HD. Additional projects worked on include the documentary, The Pressure Cooker, comedic short film Super Dude and Friend, KidRo Production’s documentary Stalking Streisand, Lion Television’s Cash Cab and American Idol. Sabrina continues to develop films with author Legs McNeil. They are producing Satan Sells Out! the story of film director Kenneth Anger and a documentary entitled That’ll Be The Day. Currently, Sabrina is the associate producer for Through A Lens Darkly.
SIENNA PINDERHUGHES – production assistant
Sienna Pinderhughes graduated cum laude in May of 2006 from Spelman College, with a B.A. in Comparative Women’s Studies, concentrating in literature and media. Over the course of her senior year she directed, produced, and edited a documentary entitled “Reclaiming Our Sight”, which explores beauty standards for women over 40 years of age. Soon after completing her documentary, Sienna saw a film called “Favela Rising”, which further inspired her to pursue a career in documentary filmmaking because of its positive, powerful, and unique message about an Afro-Brazilian community in Rio de Janeiro. She was amazed at the impact that real-life stories can have, especially in a world seemingly overrun by superficial media messages and images. Upon returning home to New York City from college, Sienna interned at Stick Figure Productions as an office PA for the E! series “Kimora: Life in the Fab Lane”. Since then, Sienna has been fortunate enough to begin working as a production assistant with directors Sam Pollard and Thomas Allen Harris. She intends to continue to explore the film industry and one day direct and produce documentaries on subjects that she is passionate about and that give voice to individuals whom often go unheard, with hopes of inspiring the lives of others.