Kiira Benzing, Director, Producer
As an international creator Kiira has trained, performed and organized projects worldwide at the Sorbonne in Paris, the National Theater Institute, The St. Petersburg Academy of the Arts, and MXAT in Cambridge, MA. A graduate of Lafayette College, Kiira holds a Post-Graduate degree in Classical Acting from The London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA).
A first-time initiator of projects and organizations her creative direction spans from founding the non-profit organization The Angels for Children Foundation, to a medieval translation, Sotise Played by Eight Characters, the New World, a 500-year-old play from Middle French into English. In classical theater that pushes boundaries, she worked as an Assistant Director to Philippe Adrien at the Théâtre de la Tempête in Paris, France
Kiira is a recipient of the Julia Meade Fellowship for Acting, the Gilbert Prize in English, and a member of Phi Beta Kappa. In 2003 she was nominated for the Russ Berrie Award for “Making A Difference.” Her work in medieval translation and storytelling has been selected for conferences including NCUR. In 2007 Verizon named her a “Local Hero.” In 2009 she founded Double Eye Productions whose mission is: “Dedicated to telling inspirational stories for the evolution of mankind.”
Kim Jackson, Producer
Kim is the founder of Streetwise Pictures Entertainment and has over 15 years of experience in the film, TV and commercial industry. Ms. Jackson got her start in Los Angeles working with Disney/Touchstone Television in business development.
As producer Kim's credits include 5G, Young Americans, tran.si.tions, Good Intentions, Children of God and TUB, a Sundance 2010 Official Selection. As a Production Coordinator, some of Kim’s studio credits include Inside Man, Munich and Click.
Most recently, Kim served as Unit Production Manger on Gun Hill Road a Sundance 2011 Official selection, starring Esai Morales and Judy Reyes, directed by Raashad Ernesto Green.
She served as the Executive Director of the Malibu Celebration of Film, and as Festival Operations Manager, Programmer and Special Events Director for film festivals including Tribeca Film Festival, Hamptons International Film Festival and the Global Peace Film Festival. She currently serves on selection juries at NYU First Run Film Festival, Hamptons International Film Festival, SVA Dusty Film & Animation Festival as well as the Daytime Emmy Awards.
Herman Rush, Consultant
Herman Rush is the former Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Coca Cola Telecommunications, Inc; Senior Vice President of the Entertainment Business Sector of the Coca Cola Company; CEO of the Columbia Pictures Television Group; and a member of the Board of Directors of Columbia Picture Industries, Inc. (now Sony Pictures).
While at Columbia, he was responsible for over one hundred television movies, miniseries and specials. Primetime television series launched during his years as CEO of Columbia Pictures TV include Designing Women, Mike Hammer, Hart to Hart, Blue Thunder, and TJ Hooker.
Prior to Columbia Pictures, he was President of the Television Division of General Artists Corporation (now International Creative Management /ICM) and one of the leading television packagers of many television classics including All in the Family, The Jackie Gleason Show, The Hollywood Palace, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, Lost in Space, and many others.
For the past seventeen years, Herman Rush has been Executive Producer of the Montel Williams Show, a highly successful syndicated television series. Herman helped launch the series with the Chris Craft TV Stations and Viacom (Paramount, CBS-TV).
Alfredo Alcantara, Director of Photography
Alfredo grew up in Mexico City, and for six years worked in the commercial industry under a variety of Cinematographers. He studied high school in Colorado, where he directed and shot documentaries about the loss of the Western lifestyle and cowboy traditions in modern America. He received his BFA in Film and Television production from NYU, where he concentrated in cinematography and shot a variety of independent films on 35mm, 16mm, and High Definition. He studied 35mm cinematography at the FAMU Film School in Prague.
Alfredo recently shot a feature documentary, The View from Bellas Luces in Guatemala about an ancient Mayan deity, and its extensive following throughout the country. Other documentaries include: An American Promise. In narrative films Alcantara has specialized in 35mm. Narrative films include: Shudder House and Rock & Control. He has filmed multiple music videos, and has been involved as a DP for the trilogy series by Director Michael Woods including his latest film, Melancholia.
Daniel Halle, Composer
Daniel Halle holds a Bachelor of Arts from Lehigh University in Music, with concentrations in composition and conducting, and a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from the same university. While at school, he received the Lehigh University Williams Prize for Words and Music (for Evolatio), and the Braddock Award for Composition. He was a member of both the Lehigh University Choir and Choral Union; holding positions as Stage Manager, Bass Section Leader, and Student Conductor. With the Choir, he performed at Lincoln Center in New York, Germany, the Czech Republic, and China. He was also the musical director of two of Lehigh's A Cappella groups: "The Melismatics" and "A Whole Step Up", arranging over 75 songs during his tenure.
Daniel has written pieces that have been performed by the Lehigh University’s Philharmonic Orchestra, the University Choir, the Princeton Singers, and the Serafin String Quartet.
Currently, in addition to other smaller works, Daniel is composing his first piano concerto and the scores for two feature-length documentaries.
Denise Kron, Assistant Editor
Denise Kron is a writing professor who has studied creative writing around the world. She has been teaching English and Creative Writing for ten years at the college and university levels. She has been working as an editor and researcher on three documentaries and is continuing to pursue her interest in film at the New York Film Academy this winter. At the present time, she works as a full-time professor in the Department of Language and the Arts at Ocean County College in New Jersey.
Karen Rudd Santiago, Assistant Editor
Karen Rudd Santiago studied journalism at West Virginia University. Karen moved to New York City and explored photography and catalogue fashion. After several years working as a fashion stylist, Karen's passion for documentaries inspired her to enroll at The Edit Center in Manhattan to study film editing. Since graduating from The Edit Center she was worked as an Assistant Editor on From Texas to Tehran. Short films she has worked on include: Co-Dependent Space Age… and Life is Beautiful. She resides in Lyon, France.