Mr. King has had an incredibly successful career in filmmaking worldwide including numerous award-winning documentaries. His projects have tackled powerful and resonating social and cultural issues such as youth and gang violence, high school literacy, African-American History, and the Holocaust.
In addition to a BA in Government from Connecticut College Michael King has a postgraduate degree from the Amsterdam Academy of Arts in Feature Film Directing (Maurits Binger Film Institute) and an MA in Film Studies from the University of Amsterdam. He is a former member of the International Documentary Association and a current member of the Director Guild of America. He’s the recipient of the 2010 Connecticut College’s Harriet Buescher Lawrence ’34 Prize for his lifework in film and television.
Mr. King has produced, directed, and written documentaries, music videos, and feature films for the last 30 years. In 1991, his MTV music video on Dr. Martin Luther King’s speech “I Have A Dream” received national recognition. He later produced, directed, and wrote a PBS documentary in 1995 called “Making A Living the African-American Experience” featuring Joe Morton.
In 1999, his PBS documentary on ‘Youth Violence in America’ entitled “Bangin” won the 1999 Emmy and International Television and Video Association Awards for ‘Best Documentary’ and ‘Best Editing’ featuring Chuck D of Public Enemy. In 2007, he directed and produced a feature documentary entitled “Rapping with Shakespeare” at Crenshaw High School in South Central Los Angeles and was nominated for the 2008 A&E Spotlight Indie Filmmaker Award. In addition, he was the executive producer for an American Film Institute film, “Crenshaw Nights,”starring Vondie Curtis- Hall and Judd Nelson.
In 2011 King produced and directed “The Rescuers,” an international feature documentary featuring world-renown historian Sir Martin Gilbert, Stephanie Nyombayire, anti-genocide activist, and HRH King Charles III about 13 non-Jewish righteous diplomats that risked their lives, families, and careers, and went against their countries policies to save tens of thousands of Jews and other people during World II. The documentary was nominated for the 2012 NAACP Image Award for Best Documentary and awarded Switzerland’s Carl Lutz’s Medal of Freedom
Mr. King is currently filming the The Rescuers – Last Chance Project the remaining 35 righteous diplomats that weren’t covered in the first documentary. The film is in partnership with USC/Shoah Foundation and United State Department on Holocaust Issues.
Mr. King is an inspirational and motivating public speaker with respect to the holocaust, genocide, and other cultural issues in the world and he can provide perspective from almost a half century of experience all over the western world. When not making documentaries, King is an Adjunct Professor at Arizona State University, Sidney Poitier New American Film School, and is on the Board of Directors for GreasePaint Theater, located in Scottsdale, Arizona.
Joyce Mandell is a successful businesswoman and philanthropist.
She and her husband, Andy, co-founded Data-Mail, Inc., a direct mail marketing company that has operated as a family-owned business.
Joyce is a passionate documentary film producer, recently working with Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Michael King and world-renowned Historian Sir Martin Gilbert. The film, The Rescuers, premiered at the Palm Springs International Film Festival, winning multiple awards, and has been screened worldwide. Today, it resides with the prestigious humanitarian and educational organizations: Facing History and USC/Shoah Foundation.
Joyce has many philanthropic pursuits, focusing on community, education, and medical research. She is a benefactor of the Mandell Jewish Community Center; the Mandell Center for comprehensive MS care and Neuroscience Research, located at Mt Sinai Hospital; and the Mandell Academy for Teachers at the Connecticut Science Center,
Joyce is a member of the Board of Directors of St Francis Hospital and Medical Center and serves on the Strategic Plan and Medical Affairs Committees.
Joyce supports many institutions: the Boys and Girls Clubs of Hartford; Kingswood-Oxford School; The Greater Hartford Arts Council; The Bushnell; and Beth El Temple. The outstanding Film program, located at the Wadsworth Atheneum, and the newly formed Hartford Youth Orchestra, inspired by Rabbi Donna Berman and the Charter Oak Cultural Center, have become a model for underserved youth in urban cities such as Flint, Michigan. The HYO offers young Hartford residents the opportunity to add music to their lives at no cost to them or their families.
Joyce’s family remains her top priority. She lives in West Hartford with her husband, Andy, and has a loving relationship with her three children, their spouses, and eight grandchildren.
Sir Martin Gilbert
Sir Martin Gilbert, the world-renowned historian and author of 88 books, was born in London in 1936, and was evacuated to Canada in 1940, returning to Britain in 1944. Educated at Oxford University, from which he was awarded a Doctorate of Literature for the totality of his published work in 1999, he has been the Official Biographer of Winston Churchill since 1968, publishing seven volumes of narrative, including Churchill A Life, and twelve volumes of documents.
In 1984 and 1985, Sir Martin was a Non-Governmental Organization representative and speaker at the United Nations Human Rights commission in Geneva. In 1995, he accompanied the British Prime Minister John Major to Jerusalem, Gaza, Amman and Washington. In 2008, he accompanied Prime Minister Gordon Brown to Jerusalem. His six -volume biography of Winston Churchill was Gordon Brown’s gift to President Obama in March 2009. In 2009, he accompanied Gordon Brown to Auschwitz. He has lectured widely, including at the Soviet Ministry of Defense in Moscow, the Canadian Houses of Parliament in Ottawa, the Academy of Sciences in Kiev, UNESCO in Paris (a Kristallnacht commemoration) at the White House, and at the British Foreign Office ceremony recognizing the British diplomats who helped save Jews.
Among his books are First World War, Second World War (in which the Holocaust is an integral part) and the three-volume A History of the Twentieth Century. His books on Holocaust themes include The Holocaust, The Jewish Tragedy (a comprehensive history), Kristallnacht (the story of the November Nazi pogrom and its aftermath), Final Journey (the documentary story of ten Holocaust-related journeys), Auschwitz and the Allies (which tells the story of how the news reached the West, and the debate about the bombing of the camp), The Righteous (the story of Christians who saved the lives of Jews during the Holocaust), Holocaust Journey (a diary of a journey with his university students to pre-war-Jewish communities and wartime camps), Never Again (an illustrated history of the Holocaust for students and young people), The Boys (the stories of 750 young survivors of the camps), and Atlas of the Holocaust (a pioneering 330-map history of the Holocaust in maps and text).
In 1995, Sir Martin was made a CBE (Commander of the British Empire) for “services to education,” and in 1995 was knighted (becoming “Sir Martin”) both for “services to British history” and services to “international affairs.”
During her freshman year at Swarthmore College, Stephanie Nyombayire co-founded the Genocide Intervention Network. As a representative, she traveled to over a hundred colleges, high schools to speak against the Darfur Genocide and give citizens the tools to take action. Stephanie has reported on the Darfur crisis from the Chad-Sudan border with MTV and testified before the Texas Senate Commission, which unanimously passed Senate bill 247 on Divestment from Sudan. Today, the Genocide Intervention Network has raised over three million dollars and divestment bills have been passed in over twenty states.
In 2007, Stephanie was named one of Glamour magazine’s Top Ten College Women for her work on Darfur. Stephanie was honored by Rwandan First Lady Jeannette Kagame for her role in founding the Genocide Intervention Network, and in 2008 was invited to speak on a Clinton Global Initiative panel on student activism.
In February, she will begin a two-month journey throughout Europe as part of a documentary that aims to shed light on the heroic actions of diplomats who went against their governments to save the lives of persecuted Jews.
Today, Stephanie is working with Orphans of Rwanda, Inc.-an organization dedicated to helping orphans and other socially vulnerable young people in Rwanda pursue a university education and ultimately become leaders in driving economic development and social reconciliation. After her studies, she hopes to return to Rwanda to continue empowering and serving the youth.
He has been trained in visual art his entire life. He attended Interlochen Arts Academy, one of the top ten boarding schools in the US for high school. At Interlochen, he majored in painting, drawing, ceramics and wood cut. In college he traded story telling in a single frame for the multiple frames of film and video. Dwjuan was awarded an Emmy for his work on Irrashi, a PBS Japanese language show that he was a lighting director on. He considers his path as a producer a natural progression, he has worked his way up from a production assistant on Rookie of the Year and Blank Man to his present credits as a Producer on features Scout, Undiscovered Gyrl, Needlestick and We the Party. Dwjuan currently has over ten credits as a feature film producer.
Dwjuan took a hiatus from his motion picture career at the start of the Bosnian / Kosovo Conflict and joined the US Army. Dwjuan quickly gained Sergeants rank and served in a Light Armored Cavalry Unit at the Joint Readiness Training Center at Fort Polk Louisiana. Dwjuan transitioned to the Officer core and served as a Tank Commander and Platoon Leader in a forward deployed Armored Battalion at Camp Casey in the Republic of Korea. Dwjuan completed his military commission in the 7th Infantry Division IRT, a special unit created to train and track three brigades of deploying soldiers to Operation Iraqi Freedom. While at the 7th ID IRT, Dwjuan developed the IRT Standard Arabic Language and Culture Program. Dwjuan went on to obtain his Masters degree in Producing from the prestigious American Film Institute in Los Angeles California. In consequent years Dwjuan has become the recipient of the Multicultural Motion Picture Association, Bank of America and Producer’s Guild of America Diversity Awards.
Next to founding Decipher Entertainment, Dwjuan holds his most notable work yet, as producing documentary feature, The Rescuers. The Rescuers was nominated for a 2012 Image Award. The documentary gave Dwjuan an opportunity to combine his film and military training by maneuvering up to 20 personnel, and equipment, by train, plane and automobile through thirteen different countries and five currencies over a combined six months of filming, all the while creating a project with substantial significance to the past and future state of humanity.
Russo is an American Award winning producer, on-camera host and accomplished artist. Russo initially found success as a producer most notably for her work in the independent film world securing a national theatrical release with Landmark Theatres for the film, “Naturally Native” which was the first film in history to be financed entirely by a tribal nation. The film debuted at the Sundance Film Festival in 2000. Years later, she expanded her work from motion pictures to feature documentaries, Reality Television and Long form television.
Born in Los Angeles, California Russo’s upbringing was split between the Rosebud Sioux Reservation in South Dakota and Los Angeles. Yvonne focused on entertainment studies at UCLA in Southern California. After studying she moved to Pasadena, California to study fine art at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena.
Russo began her professional career as Vice President of Red-Horse Productions where she developed and produced “True Whispers: The Story of the Navajo Codetalkers” with Valhalla Motion Pictures. “Naturally Native”, “Pop Hunter’s Dew Drop Inn” which was about the first Native American Jazz club owner produced for NAPT. After a six year term with Red Horse Productions Yvonne decided to produce independently to work on alternative forms of media. In 2005 Yvonne field directed over two-dozen episodes of, “Bringing Home Baby” TLC/Discovery Networks Cable Strip Series where she conducted interviews with show participants and help develop storylines for Norseman Television Productions in Studio City. Her field directing led to running a multi-camera shoot for the Academy Awards Party Sponsor, Sundoulous Sports where she conducted media line interviews with celebrity guests. Yvonne just produced a two-hour television special: “New Voices: All Roads Filmmakers” for National Geographic International Channel working with indigenous filmmakers and photographers from Nigeria, Kurdistan, New Zealand, Australia and Inner Mongolia. The project is scheduled to air in March 2009.
Yvonne is currently working on a camera/post workflow assessment series with Revelations Entertainment, ASC, The Producers Guild and The Directors Guild which will evaluate the latest HD Digital Cameras used in the marketplace by evaluating the data set to describe the careful step-by-step management of complex projects and strategies for managing digital production, editing and finishing.
Yvonne has received the “Producer of the Year” award from American Indian Film Institute as well as, “Outstanding Achievement in Producing” by First Americans in the Arts. And is a fellow of the Sundance Institute Producers Labs and the Tribeca All Access Program. Yvonne served on the Board of Directors for the Producers Guild of America and is Co-Chair of the Diversity Committee, which created the Producers Guild Workshop aiming to expand diverse voices in entertainment. Yvonne displays creative talent, ambition and the business skills that continue to define her career.
As adept at leading a hundred-person crew through the monsoon-soaked jungles of South East Asia as she is at cultivating an intimate atmosphere on a three-person documentary shoot, Anka is equally at home behind the lens of a multi-million dollar blockbuster as she is on an indie guerilla shoot. Anka’s traveled the world and back, hob-nobbing with dignitaries and diplomats, and hanging with East L.A. gangsters. She speaks three languages fluently, and is comfortably conversational in half a dozen more, which only enhances Anka’s ability to make absolutely anyone and everyone feel comfortable in front of the lens. Armed with an adventurous spirit and a keen understanding of human nature, Anka’s off-time is spent sucking the marrow out of life itself, be it trekking the Himalayas or surfing the cresting face of a twenty-foot wave.
Anka has traversed the globe photographing feature films & documentaries over the past decade: from National Geographic’s Most Amazing Photos television series to Walden Media’s latest feature Dear Dumb Diary. Anka began photographing her way around the world at fifteen. A distinction for student cinematography from the Academy of Television Arts and Science earned Anka an apprenticeship with noted cinematographer, James Chressanthis, ASC, which has since blossomed into an on-going creative collaboration. Anka went on to attend AFI, from which she graduated in 2007 at the top of her cinematography class. After graduation, Chressanthis nabbed her to shoot his directorial debut, No Subtitles Necessary; The Story of Laszlo Kovacs and Vilmos Zygmond, featuring Sharon Stone, Sandra Bullock and John Voigt. The film premiered at Cannes in 2008, and continues to garner acclaim and success at festivals the world over, including a Best Documentary win at the Santa Fe Film Festival.
In 2010 Anka received a Best Cinematography award for the feature- length documentary The Rescuers: Heroes of the Holocaust, for which she traveled to 12 countries spanning three continents with Emmy Award winning director Michael King. Her first full-length film, Camjackers, starring Olivia Wilde, was released in 2008. She filmed her second feature, The Lazarus Papers, starring Danny Trejo, Bai Ling and Tiny Lister, on location in Thailand in 2008. Anka’s feature clients include Jerry & Janet Zucker – who produced the latest feature Anka lensed for Tony Award Winning director and creator of Rock of Ages Kristin Hangi. Kristin’s and Anka’s collaboration on the children’s musical Dear Dumb Diary will premiere on the Hallmark Channel September 6th, 2013.
Anka’s work as a cinematographer propelled her to directing & shooting commercials as well as working on her first feature documentary In the Shadows of the Himalayas, which follows the her fathers climbing ascent and death on the roof of the world. Having the opportunity to be mentored by some of the best cinematographers in the world, she has become a mentor and teacher to aspiring filmmakers worldwide. She is driven by her belief in immense power of media and is committed to working on films that inspire & influence positive change in the world.
“Anka is suburb DP with an incredible eye for color, composition, and light, as well as dynamic camera movement. And what’s more, she’s a wonderful storyteller — she gets inside the tone of a piece and organically understands what it needs. Anka can move from a poetic moment to a humorous one with ease and great fluidity. Her crews adore her and she has a special way of bringing out the best in people. I feel blessed to call Anka one of my closest collaborators. She makes filming a total joy!” – Kristin Hanggi, Creator Rock of Ages
“We hired Anka as our Director of Photography on Dear Dumb Diary, a $5 million ninety minute film with seven musical numbers. Our budget only allowed us 24 days of shooting and four leads were under twelve. Anka made every single day. Her dedication to the film and the realities of our budget were a invaluable asset to the picture. Despite the schedule, he work showed striking creativity, reveling a great deal of depth to the shots and colors that would bring a kid’s musical to life for a youthful audience. She immersed herself into the world, developing color palettes for our various characters and locations. She also employed a clear vision for lighting each of the dynamic dance numbers that highlight the movie. Anka was totally collaborative with the director as well as all other departments. The finished film looks beautiful!” – Janet Zucker, President Zucker Productions
Anka brings so much more to the job than a camera. Her thoughtful, friendly approach to the story and characters belies her dedication to her craft. She makes excellence seem effortless. – Martha Conboy Executive Producer National Geographic, Director Smithsonian Channel.
Anthony Edward Valletta
Anthony Edward Valletta has been many things in his life including a soldier in the US Army, punk guitarist (for the band “Dead Angels,” among others), and missionary (yes, missionary). He has lived all across the United States, and traveled around the globe. He has written fiction since his youth, starting with a science fiction serial written for his Junior High School newspaper. First published by as a nonfiction writer for the Long Beach Press Telegram circa 1983, he has since been published in a few literary magazines and his mock children’s book “The Day The Rabbit Dung Died” was published in 2008. He also wrote and coproduced two off Broadway plays in New York entitled “Wasted Tears” and “Bleeding Hearts.” In 1998 he co-wrote a made for cable thriller, and has since done some script doctor work. Most recently, he collaborated with Michael King, co-writing the documentary “The Rescuers.”