Suha Araj, Writer & Director
Filmmaker Suha Araj is often found overhearing, watching, or telling a story. Her work explores the displacement of immigrant communities and her passion lies in bridging cultures. Her latest feature script, Khsara explores the humor created from the contrast of cultural expectations. Khsara has been developed with the Sundance Screenwriters Lab and RAWI, Torino Film Lab, Dubai Film Connection, EAVE, IFP No Borders and Suha was chosen for the Emerging Visions program by IFP and the Lincoln Center. She participated in the Berlinale Talent Campus and Talent Market in 2012 and she just completed the short film, The Cup Reader which was shot in Palestine in 2012 and will premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival. For seven years she was part of the film selection committee of the Arab Film Festival in San Francisco and has also served on the LunaFest Board of Advisors. Her short film, I am Palestine screened at festivals internationally and is used as an educational tool. She served as a story advisor to the Sundance selection, Slingshot HipHop and produced the narrative short, Fruition. Installation art (Displacement, Inshallah Falasteen, Buried in Michigan) and acting (Chocolate in Heat, Suitcase) have inspired her storytelling in new mediums. She is a co-founder of DivineCaroline.com, a publishing platform for women to tell their stories and is currently a teaching artist with the Tribeca Institute.
Nilou Safinya – Producer
Nilou is a NY-based producer working in film, TV and theatre. After graduating from Columbia University, Nilou pursued a mission to work on global and culturally diverse issues, helping to bring people together through the arts. Nilou has many credits in NY theatre, including work at Juilliard and with the Alternate Theatre Co. She worked for three years in TV and film development and production at Levantine Entertainment (Associate Producer for Amreeka, 2009) before turning freelance. Nilou is a partner of Grandma’s Chicken Pants (GCP), a high-end creative & content development production company that has worked all over the US and in twenty-two countries around the world. GCP is currently producing a family TV show all about interacting with cultures worldwide – for which the pilot episode won two regional emmys. Nilou also cofounded Eyes Up Here Productions in NYC and just produced their first short film, Running with Sharks. She concurrently has two features in development and is producing a youth outreach public performance piece. Nilou also sits as President of the Board of Directors for Noor Theatre.
Rumzi Araj – Executive Producer
Rumzi Araj is a New York based producer and lawyer. He produced the feature length documentary Slingshot Hip Hop which was an official selection in the 2008 Sundance Film Festival and has won numerous awards and screened at nearly 100 international film festivals. Prior to Slingshot Hip Hop, he was the associate producer for the 2005 Sundance short, Planet of the Arabs. Outside of film, he served as the Director of Operations for the Tony Award Winning Broadway playwright/performer Sarah Jones, overseeing pubic appearances, media relations and daily operations. In addition to researching and securing funding, Rumzi continued his arts management at the Arab American National museum overseeing the planning of the National Conference of Arab Artists as well as coordinating the Music and Entertainment of Dearborn International Festival. He is currently a lawyer with the Legal Aid Society in NYC.
Meg Kettell – Director of Photography
Meg Kettell is a filmmaker and photographer based in New York City. She has shot narrative and documentary films for over twelve years, working on everything from student films to 300 million dollar studio pictures, features, commercials, TV shows, pilots, music videos, IMAX films, aerial photography and documentaries. A member of IATSE Local 600 (International Cinematographers Guild) and a graduate of NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, Meg has spent the last several years traveling the world, working and shooting in over 24 countries and across the United States. She has worked in such places as Vietnam, Thailand, Mexico, Guatemala, Cuba, South Africa and Australia. While at NYU, Meg won the Bahoric-Meisel Scholarship for Women Cinematographers two years in a row. Meg works on a combination of features and commercials, as a camera assistant, while still shooting her own projects. Having worked with virtually every camera system and in every format available today, as well as for every major production company and movie studio around, her work as an assistant has helped shape her vision and confidence in her own movies. While continuing to build her DP reel, Meg learned the craft of cinematography by working under such masters as: Dante Spinotti, Stephen Goldblatt, Harris Savides, Patrick Capone, and Andrew Lesnie. She has worked on such feature films as: Tower Heist, Julie & Julia, The Other Guys, The Last Airbender, I Am Legend, and American Gangster.
Kit Bland – Assistant Director
Kit Bland was first assistant director on the features Sleepwalk With Me, which won an Audience Award at Sundance. He was also first AD on the feature On the Ice, which won the Crystal Bear at Berlin and was shot in the Alaskan Arctic, and on Circumstance,” shot in Beirut, Lebanon, which won an Audience Award at Sundance. He was first AD on the History Channel series “Chasing Mummies,” which was shot in Egypt. Kit produced Now, Forager, a feature by Jason Cortlund & Julia Halperin, which premiered at Rotterdam, and played at MoMA’s New Directors | New Films. Kit also produced “The Line,” an award winning short starring James Rebhorn. He co-produced the features Nor’easter, and The Aspern Papers, an adaptation of the Henry James novella. He also produced the short films “Slipaway”, which premiered at the Kent Film Festival, as well as “Through the Door”. Kit was associate producer on Daylight, the second feature from writer-director David Barker. Kit has also been a producer or first assistant director on dozens of commercials, documentaries, videos, and pilots, including Denis Leary’s “Two Chicks,” a comedy pilot for the F/X Network. Other feature film credits include May the Best Man Win, El Camino, and Bette Gordon’s Handsome Harry, which premiered at Tribeca. Kit recently worked on “The Substitute,” a new game show for MTV, and “Brain Games” for National Geographic Television.