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Chairman | Jerome Gary
Jerome Gary is an Academy Award and Emmy nominated filmmaker. His film credits include Pumping Iron, the Academy Award-nominated documentary that launched the career of Arnold Schwarzenegger; Stripper, the critically acclaimed feature documentary distributed by Twentieth Century Fox; Old Boyfriends, starring John Belushi and Talia Shire; The Russians, an eight hour television series for TNT that won a Cine Golden Eagle; the award-winning Laughs series for HBO with P.J. O’Rourke; The Gathering (Miramax); Rebel Highway (Showtime); and Double Switch (an interactive game for Sega), and Generation Iron, released in 2015.
He has worked extensively in the Middle East since 2004. He created, executive produced and directed the Sundance Channel series, On the Road in America (three seasons) about four young Arabs traveling across America with an American film crew. Other productions include Arab Muslim Women (6-part series), Trading Places (pilot), American Caravan (6-part series ), and Life After Death, a feature documentary.
He has been the recipient of more than $12 million in grants for public diplomacy related productions. In 2010, he produced iDiplomacy a two-day symposium on citizen diplomacy at the Gallup Organization with more than 120 attendees sponsored by the Office of the Secretary of Defense and Gallup. In 2011, he was the spokesperson for the Media Committee at the DOHA forum.
For 13 years, he was a senior lecturer in screenwriting and directing at the American Film Institute Center for Advanced Film and Television Studies and was, for ten years, on the directing faculty at the University of Southern California School of Cinema and Television. He has also taught directing, screenwriting, storytelling and digital filmmaking at the Los Angeles Film School, Esalen Institute, Yale University, Dartmouth, The University of Hawaii and in numerous foreign countries.
In 2006, 2007 and 2008, he went to Afghanistan three times leading teams of 10 filmmakers to teach two-week media capacity building in Kandahar. As a result, the programming output of both TV stations in Kandahar more than tripled. In 2012, he taught a three-day Pakistani documentary filmmaking intensive sponsored by Meridian International and the Department of State and master classes in storytelling and screenwriting for MA candidates in 2012, 2013 and 2014 at the Universite ́Saint Esprit de Kaslik in Lebanon.
He has also been the President of Production at Cinema 5 (1978-1980), an independent studio that was the Miramax of its day; President of Visionaire Communications (1981- 86) that did more than 60 hours of high quality programming for television; and the Strategic Director for USC’s esteemed ‘Think Tank,’ The Institute for Creative Technologies (2000-2006). He is currently the Chairman of Visionaire Media.
He graduated from Yale University with Honors in History of the Arts and Letters and is a member of the WGA and DGA.
Director | Shawn Thompson
Shawn Thompson is an Award Winning Director, Writer, Producer and Editor. In 1994 he founded the independent production company, Mo’z Art Pictures, producing numerous Award Winning Features, Shorts, Music Videos and Commercials. In 2000, he wrote FOUR DOGS PLAYING POKER (starring Forest Whitaker, Tim Curry, Balthazar Getty). Concurrently he wrote episodes for the television series, REDWALL. After editing and writing for several films and television shows, in 2007 he joined Visionaire media and edited the critically acclaimed documentary series ON THE ROAD IN AMERICA . He also won several awards including the Audience Choice “Best Short Film” in the Beverly Hills Film Festival (2003) for his black comedy, SHOTGUN WEDDING. In 2009, he Produced, Directed and Edited the powerful documentary, LIFE AFTER DEATH, which won numerous Awards on the festival circuit. In 2011 and 2012, Shawn was Editor, Producer and Post Production supervisor on the second and third seasons of ON THE ROAD IN AMERICA and edited the cult classic MEGA PYTHON VS. GATOROID, a feature film for SyFy Channel directed by MARY LAMBERT. In 2014-2015, Shawn directed and edited the feature documentary, YEMENIETTES, the reality series, GENERATION ENTREPENUER and the short film, ANGEL ROAD, winning dozens of awards on the festival circuit. He is currently the Co-Director and Supervising Editor for the Award Winning documentary, AMERICAN CARAVAN. His latest film, THE STATE OF ASSYRIA won the 2015 Golden Palm Award at the Beverly Hills film festival.
Shawn began his career as an actor and musician in NYC before he moved to LA to star in the Aaron Spelling television series, THE HEIGHTS. He received a Gold Record for singing, songwriting and playing guitar on Gold Record for the hit soundtrack and the single, HOW DO YOU TALK TO AN ANGEL, which went to #1 on the Billboard Charts.