David Conover was born and raised in a New England family with strong ties to the sea and a tradition of active storytelling. Both grandfathers were amateur filmmakers in the 1920′s and 30′s. Upon graduating with a degree in comparative religious studies from Bowdoin College, David worked as a professional seaman—and then as an outdoor educator with the Hurricane Island Outward Bound School in Maine and in Florida. This was followed by a Master’s Degree in Education at Harvard, with a focus on moral development. His production company Compass Light has produced dozens of award-winning science and history programs for major broadcasters for 18 years, including the experiential series Sunrise Earth. David recognizes any discussion of belief must rest on straight-forward understanding. His own religious upbringing was within the community of a rural Congregationalist church with a strong universalist bent, but he characterizes his adult worldview as more secular humanist than religious. For credits, visit Compass Light, Inc.
Mandy Creighton is the co-producer of Within Reach, an upcoming documentary film about she and her partner’s bike-packing journey to visit 100 sustainable communities and rediscover a truly green America. She has a background in all aspects of non-profit development and small business management and has experience in designing and implementing sustainable methods to help organizations succeed. She graduated with a degree in Business Administration from Hope College, in Holland, MI. She traveled to Central America in a group in 1999 on a sustainable development service project and had dreams of living sustainably in community every since. In 2007, after shifting away from seeking “the American Dream” to fully engaging in a lifestyle of voluntary simplicity, she is now experiencing true happiness living at Hummingbird Community in the mountains of Northern NM. There, she is developing a small media production company as well as slowly becoming a biodynamic farmer and yoga practitioner.
Gordon Eriksen began making films together at Harvard University, where, as students, with co-director John O’Brien, they made The Big Dis, a festival and art house hit that was released in 1990 by First Run Features. Picked as one of the ten independent filmmaking teams to watch by Movieline magazine, Gordon and now his wife Heather Johnston have been the subject of profiles in the New York Times, Newsday, The Village Voice, New Word, and Egg Magazine. Gordon and Heather are recipients of grants from The Ford Foundation, The National Endowment for the Arts, The New York State Council for the Arts, The Jerome Foundation, and The Donnet Foundation. They have written screenplays for HBO and Samuel Goldwyn Films, and children’s teleplays for Concorde Films, Vlada Animation, and Northstar Entertainment, among others. On occasion they have taught acting for film, improvisory technique, and film production seminars. Gordon has taught film directing at Columbia University’s School of Fine Arts, the MFA program.
Brenda Hattery is an entrepreneur who is passionate about startups, community, as well as open space conservation. She has traveled and worked internationally as a commercial artist, engineer, and business consultant. She has an engineering degree from Texas A&M, and an MBA with focus on strategy and entrepreneurship from Wharton where she was a Gruss Public Policy and Administration Fellow. She is also a Senior Fellow of the Partnership for Public Service. Throughout her life, she has made a habit of fostering the growth of small businesses: partnering with them, volunteering with a business incubator, assisting individual business owners with strategy, financial analysis, business negotiations, market and technology assessment. She believes work is not a place but something you do and that a startup can be nurtured to grow anywhere. Recently while on sabbatical, she and her husband expertly restored an early 20th century schooner. Now living aboard the schooner with her husband and cat, they are working on a new startup while they sail coastwise along the West Coast of North America.
Jason McGuigan is an award winning creative director who excels at most anything he puts his mind to. Currently he leads a team of designers at Horizon Productions in Durham, North Carolina. Jason has a natural, engaging leader with energy and passion for excellent design, engaging marketing and savvy business strategies. Jason worked at Bigbuzz Communications in New York where he honed his skills as a motion artists and 3-d modeller, and has excelled at combining both into his latest video productions.
Chuck Killorin is an entrepreneur, creative director, and award-winning web designer who has worked in web and interactive media for more than 16 years. The former co-owner of a boutique design firm in New York that specialized in web design and development, print and graphic design, and brand identity. In 2009, he founded Mashbord, an online visual bookmarking productivity tool.
Luke O’Neill has been working to improve the lives of young people since his college days at Georgetown University. He began his career as a corporate attorney in Greenwich, Connecticut before devoting his full-time efforts to organizations such as the Boys Girls Club of Stamford, Outward Bound USA, and Shackleton Schools. Most recently, Luke served as both the President of The Henderson International School in Henderson, Nevada and Regional Vice President for its parent company, Meritas, LLC. Luke continues to instruct sea kayaking, sailing, and backpacking courses for Outward Bound. He earned his M.B.A. from Harvard Business School in 1995, his law degree from Georgetown University Law Center in 1984, and his B.A. from Georgetown University in 1981. Jason McGuigan is a multi-discipline creative professional with a focus on motion graphics. He’s worked for many large companies doing 3d animation, video production, motion graphics, graphic, print and web design, and creative direction. Jason has received dozens of local and national awards for projects as lead designer or team leader, and has been a featured speaker at many educational institutions.
Chris Palmer is a full-time professor of Film and Media Arts. He is also a speaker, author, and environmental and wildlife film producer. He has swum with dolphins and whales, come face-to-face with sharks and Kodiak bears, camped with wolf packs, and waded hip-deep through Everglade swamps. Over the past thirty years, he has spearheaded the production of more than 300 hours of original programming for prime-time television and the IMAX film industry, work that won him and his colleagues many awards, including two Emmys and an Oscar nomination. And from this treasure trove of experience came Shooting in the Wild, his controversial and entertaining memoir about the dark side of wildlife filmmaking. In 2004, Chris joined American University’s full-time faculty as Distinguished Film Producer in Residence at the School of Communication. There he founded, and currently directs, the Center for Environmental Filmmaking. Chris is also president of the One World One Ocean Foundation, a multimillion-dollar global media campaign to save the oceans.