The Production Team

Katy S. Fox


Katy is completing her thesis and will shortly graduate from the University of Pennsylvania, with a Masters of Science in Organizational Dynamics.  Her thesis titled: Advocacy through filmmaking: Producing Staging Hope: Acts of Peace in Northern Uganda.

Prior to graduate school, Katy worked in Los Angeles where she gained extensive film and television production experience.  Credits include work on the classic independent film “The Last Supper” and associate producer of “Campfire Tales” and as production associate on Taken, the Emmy award-winning SciFi Channel hit produced by Steven Spielberg and Leslie Bohem.  Katy has also worked on the production team on several of Christopher Guest’s films including the most recent one, “For Your Consideration”.  Katy then went on to produce the documentary, “Staging Hope: Acts of Peace in Northern Uganda”.  Recently Katy produced the documentary, “Halfway Home” which profiles servicemen and women who are struggling to readjust to life away from combat. The film features Former Senator and Vietnam Vet, Max Cleland and Iraq War hero, Sergeant Tommy Rieman.  Katy resides in Los Angeles, CA.

Melissa Fitzgerald


Melissa Fitzgerald is an actor, producer, and activist.  Her acting career has included film, theater and television.  She is best known for playing the role of Carol on the award-winning political drama The West Wing.  Melissa produced the award winning short film Hope Not Lost.  Throughout her life, Melissa has been dedicated to community service and outreach.  In 1995 she and David Ackert co-founded Voices in Harmony, a non-profit organization that works with at risk teens on a mentoring theater program.  Melissa has been extensively involved in local, state and national political organizations and campaigns and served on the Advisory Board of the American Democracy Institute (Impact Center), dedicated to giving young people the skills necessary to be powerful forces of social and political change. Her writing has been featured in the Huffington Post and The New York Times. Melissa also won the Nick Kristof contest, “Your Turn to Tell the Story”, for her writing on Darfur.

Melissa served on the board of the International Association of Physicians in AIDS care (IAPAC) and traveled to South Africa as an IAPAC volunteer.  In 2005, Melissa represented International Medical Corps (IMC) at the G8 Summit as part of the ONE Campaign to end poverty.  The following year Melissa traveled to northern Uganda as an IMC volunteer.  She remains deeply involved in advocating for peace in northern Uganda and the surrounding region. Melissa is a graduate of The University of Pennsylvania and the Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre.

Dule Hill


Best known for his work as Charlie Young on “The West Wing,” Dulé Hill stars in “Psych”, the hit hour crime/comedy series in which an amateur sleuth (James Roday) cons the police into believing he has psychic powers that help solve crimes. Hill plays straight man to Roday’s foil. Produced by NBC Universal TV Studio, “Psych” premiered in July as the # 1 rated cable show on USA Network.


John Prendergast


John Prendergast is a human rights activist and best-selling author who has worked for peace in Africa for over 25 years. He is the co-founder of the Enough Project, an initiative to end genocide and crimes against humanity affiliated with the Center for American Progress. John has worked for the Clinton White House, the State Department, two members of Congress, the National Intelligence Council, UNICEF, Human Rights Watch, the International Crisis Group, and the U.S. Institute of Peace.  He has been a Big Brother for over 25 years, as well as a youth counselor and a basketball coach.

John is the author or co-author of ten books.  His forthcoming book,Unlikely Brothers, due in May 2011, is a dual memoir co-authored with his first little brother in the Big Brother program. His previous two books were co-authored with Don Cheadle:  Not On Our Watch, a New York Times bestseller and NAACP non-fiction book of the year, and The Enough Moment: Fighting to End Africa’s Worst Human Rights Crimes.
John has been profiled in The New York Times Magazine, Vanity Fair, Men’s Vogue, Time, Entertainment WeeklyGQOprah Magazine,Capitol File, Arrive,InterviewThe Washington PostThe Los Angeles Times, and The Philadelphia Inquirer, and the Pittsburgh Post Gazette.

Martin Sheen


Throughout his prolific career in film, television and the theater, Martin Sheen has been recognized by his peers and fans for performances in films such as Francis Ford Coppola’s Vietnam War masterpiece Apocalypse Now (1979)Gandhi (1982)Wall Street (1987)The American President (1995), and Catch Me if You Can (2002). Along with his career in film, Sheen found success on the small screen with the critically acclaimed television series The West Wing, which first aired in 1999 and for which he received a Best Actor Golden Globe Award in 2001. Sheen was nominated for an Emmy Award six times for his work on the show, including for the show’s final 2005-2006 season. In addition to his acclaimed acting career, Sheen is known for his social and political activism. He has campaigned against nuclear weapons and for workers’ rights among many other causes.

Cindy Landon


With 18 years of experience in the entertainment industry and in TV syndication, Cindy Landon brings considerable expertise and many valuable contacts to her philanthropic work for international and local charitable organizations.  Currently, she is Co-Chair and Host for the Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine’s (PCRM) 25th Anniversary Gala to be held in April of 2010 in Malibu, California.  As such, Cindy Landon spends a significant amount of her time dedicated to supporting charitable organizations that are committed to helping children, the environment, animal rights and holistic health.

Notable as well is her involvement as President for the Michael and Cindy Landon Foundation, Founding Champion and advocate for the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network (PanCan), Honorary Board Member and Event Host for Free Arts for Abused Children, Co-Chair and Event Host for Malibu Global Awareness benefiting Doctors Without Borders and Sponsor and Event Host for Voices of Uganda.  She also is Co-Producer of the documentary film, Whaledreamers ( and Executive Producer of the upcoming documentary film, Voices of Uganda( Cindy Landon is the mother of two children and lives in Malibu, California, along with nine dogs, two horses and two parrots.  When not working on her own projects, Cindy likes to adventure travel, practice yoga and run.


Bil Yoelin


Bil Yoelin has focused his filmmaking career on creative storytelling through the medium of documentary film and television.  As editor, his credits include the award-winning independent documentary The Target Shoots First, which won him Best Editor at the 2000 Slamdance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. The film also won Best Documentary that year at the Slamdance and South by Southwest film festivals.

Paul Freedman


Peabody award-winning and Emmy nominated filmmaker, Paul Freedman, began his career as an editorial assistant for television commercials. As an editor and director, his
commercial credits include spots for Nike, Diet Coke, Southwest Airlines, Nissan, Lexus and Budweiser and many more. Paul’s first documentary role came as editor on a film about minor league baseball. Since then, his love of the documentary form has led him to win numerous awards covering a vast array of subjects around the globe. His latest film, “Halfway Home”, profiles servicemen and women who are struggling to readjust to life away from combat. The film features Former Senator and Vietnam Vet, Max Cleland and Iraq War hero, Sergeant Tommy Rieman. His film, “Sand and Sorrow”, was shot on location in Darfur, Sudan and aired on HBO. The acclaimed doc chronicled the international community’s legacy of failure to respond to genocide and featured Elie Wiesel and Barak Obama. George Clooney narrated.

Paul has directed and edited episodes for the History Channel Series, “Food Tech”. He is also creator of the America’s Army Real Heroes program “mini-films” profiling men and women of the US Army and Army National Guard who have been awarded medals for valor in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan.

David Ackert


In the business world, David Ackert is an e-learning entrepreneur and business development consultant and President of The Ackert Advisory. But Staging Hope drew upon his two decades of experience as a film, television, and theater actor. David and Melissa co-created the theater curriculum you see in the documentary. They also co-founded Voices in Harmony.

Pamela Griner


Pamela Griner’s production credits include feature films, commercials, music videos, and some television.  She has a specific interest in non-fiction films, which were the focus of her thesis project for her M.A. in Media Studies at Cal State University, Los Angeles. Past production work includes Christopher Guest’s films For Your Consideration and A Mighty Wind.  She is also active in several political and volunteer organizations and she also holds a B.S. in Journalism from the University of Colorado at Boulder.

Leslie Thurman


Leslie Thurman directs outreach initiatives at Warner Bros. Entertainment, a division that focuses on community outreach, volunteerism and special projects aligning the Studio with nonprofit and NGO partners. Prior to joining the  Studio, Leslie was Director of the William Morris Agency Foundation, where she developed and launched the initial mission and focus, as well as advised top-tier individual and corporate clients on program related investments. She directed development, communications and outreach for a $120 million international humanitarian agency, International Medical Corps.

Warren Lam


Warren’s career began on Madison Ave, as an award winning advertising copywriter working for blue chip clients like AT&T, General Motors, Philip Morris, Reebok, Kellogg’s and Pepsi. In 2001, he produced, wrote, directed and edited one of the first digital web series, “The Wendy Channel.” In 2002 he moved to Los Angeles to work in entertainment, starting in post production as an assistant editor/post supervisor. Currently Warren is producing and developing a variety of episodic television shows that introduce innovative distribution and interaction techniques across digital and social media.

Marlene Towns


Marlene Morris Towns is a clinical professor of Marketing at the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business where she teaches undergraduate courses in Marketing Fundamentals and Entertainment Marketing, and executive education courses in Media & Entertainment Branding and Fashion Retailing. Marlene has served as a consultant at several organizations including Andersen Consulting (Accenture), Pepsi Cola, AT&T, Geneva Films, the New York State Attorney General’s Office, Dream Nightclub (Washington DC) and the U.S. State Department.

Jamie Dunlap


After being on the road in cover bands from Seattle for much of the 80′s, Jamie made the move to LA and graduated from the Musicians Institute in ’89. There after working for the Latin jingle house AZ Productions for four years, Jamie sharpened his composing skills writing music for numerous National and Regional commericials.

Then breaking away in 1997 to form the successful music post company Mad City Productions with Partner Co-Owner Scott Nickoley writing and producing score and source cues for film and TV. Recent clients include South Park, MTV, CMT, The History Channel Maris Entertainment (Independent Feature Films).

Jonathan Furmanski


Jonathan Furmanski has been shooting for film and television for the past 14 years, starting with independent films including Minimum Wage – winner of Best Cinematography at the 2000 No Dance Film Festival – moving into commercials and industrials for dozens of clients such as PBS, Merrill Lynch, Vogue Magazine, Time Warner Cable, Nabisco, Nike, MSNBC, VH-1, and CNN. Credits include: loudQUIETloud, about the band Pixies on their 2004 reunion tour; Arctic Son, about a father and son reconciling in the Yukon Territory; and I Am An Animal: The Story of Ingrid Newkirk and PETA, about the world’s largest animal rights organization.

Tony Hardmon


Tony Hardmon is an award winning cinematographer of verite documentaries. His credits include programs for HBO, PBS, Discovery Channel, National Geographic, and MTV. He has collaborated on several films with acclaimed documentary filmmaker Liz Garbus. These credits include The Execution of Wanda Jean (HBO), Girlhood (TLC), and Juvies (A&E). His recent credits include Michael Moore’s Sicko and Stacy Peralta’s Made in America. Other credits include the IDA and Emmy Award winning film A Walk to Beautiful, and the Emmy nominated Hard Road Home. Tony was also the additional cinematographer on the Academy Award nominated feature documentary Jesus Camp. He also photographed The Boys of Baraka.

Tony Bensusan


Tony Bensusan was brought up with photography as his father, a keen landscape photographer was assembling a collection of old cameras and related photographic historia that was later to become the Bensusan Museum of Photography in Johannesburg. Tony spent many hours in the darkroom exploring the craft and even mixing his own chemicals. After school he started a Degree course in Journalism but this was interrupted when television was to come to South Africa in 1976. He joined the broadcasting corporation and was trained by British television workers as a film cameraman.

Joshua Wolff


Joshua Wolff has been a classroom teacher for over five years. He has taught both English and Mathematics to inner city middle school students in New York and also English as a Second Language in the rural mountainous Japanese town of Ishibe. It was here where he learned how to both bow and use chopsticks properly.