Monday, June 21, 2021

Writer/Director Scarlett Li joins Janeane to talk about her short film Double Happiness, an official selection of the Palm Spring International ShortFest

Scarlett Li is a writer/director born and raised in Shenzhen, a young city on the south coast of China. She is currently pursuing her MFA in film directing and writing at NYU Tisch School of the Arts, where she is an Ang Lee scholar. Her latest short film Double Happiness was nominated for Best Film, Best Writer, and Best International Film at the BFI Future Film Festival, and is an official selection of the Palm Spring International ShortFest. Scarlett has been a published writer since the age of 13.



Type of Project: Comedy
Length: 10:52
Producers: Louise Zhang, Amanda Huang
Editor: Scarlett Li
Cinematographer: Shiyu Li
Sound Designs: Kelly Rodriguez, Jeanne Grivelet

In a Chinese wedding that can cause all parents to collapse into their most childish selves, can the couple survive the madness, with their love intact?

WATCH Lili Rodriguez - Artistic Director for the Palm Springs International Film Festival share details on the 2021 Film Festival coming up June 22-28, 2021

Lili Rodriguez has always been a film enthusiast, and following that passion has helped her shape a notable role in the industry. From majoring in film studies during her undergraduate work to being selected as the latest Artistic Director for the Palm Springs International Film Festival, Rodriguez has seen a consistent incline in her role with the Palm Springs International Film Society since she first joined in 2013.

Coming soon! Janeane speaks with Editor, Spencer Averick about the highly anticipated multi-part documentary series from co-creators and executive producers Oprah Winfrey and Prince Harry, The Duke of Sussex, featuring illuminating stories that help lift the veil on the current state of mental health and emotional well-being. In “The Me You Can’t See,” Oprah Winfrey and Prince Harry guide honest discussions about mental health and emotional well-being while opening up about their mental health journeys and struggles.

The highly anticipated multi-part documentary series from co-creators and executive producers Oprah Winfrey and Prince Harry, The Duke of Sussex, featuring illuminating stories that help lift the veil on the current state of mental health and emotional well-being.

In “The Me You Can’t See,” Oprah Winfrey and Prince Harry guide honest discussions about mental health and emotional well-being while opening up about their mental health journeys and struggles. Featuring guests including Lady Gaga, Glenn Close, San Antonio Spurs’ DeMar DeRozan, Phoenix Suns' Langston Galloway (formerly of the Detroit Pistons), mental health advocate and speaker Zak Williams, Olympic boxer Virginia “Ginny” Fuchs, celebrity chef Rashad Armstead and more, alongside a wide range of people from across the globe living with the challenges of mental health issues and addressing their emotional well-being. The series transcends culture, age, gender and socioeconomic status to destigmatize a highly misunderstood subject and give hope to viewers who learn that they are not alone. The producers partnered with 14 accredited and respected experts and organizations from around the world to help shed light on different pathways to treatment.

"The Me You Can’t See" is currently streaming on Apple TV+.


Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Janeane speaks with Eunice Lin Nichols - Vice President, Innovation, Eunice is passionate about intergenerational strategies and creating a better future.

Vice President, Innovation,


Eunice Lin Nichols is obsessed with bringing older and younger generations together to solve society’s greatest challenges, creating a better future for all. She is Vice President of Innovation at where she leads the Gen2Gen Innovation Fellowship.

Previously, she ran the Generation to Generation campaign, an initiative to mobilize 1 million adults 50+ to help young people thrive and The Purpose Prize (now a program of AARP), which has awarded over $5 million in prizes to nearly 100 social entrepreneurs over the age of 60 since 2006. She also spent 11 years leading a portfolio of initiatives to expand the social contributions of older adults in California, including scaling Experience Corps from one neighborhood school in San Francisco into a thriving Bay Area program helping thousands of kids read by third grade.

Eunice has been recognized as a Next Avenue Influencer in Aging and is a graduate of the Billions Institute Fellowship for Large-Scale Change. In 2019, she received the James Irvine Foundation Leadership Award for advancing innovative and effective solutions to California’s most significant issues.

Register now for Co-generate! Livestream — a 2-hour virtual, free & public event on June 23 for younger & older changemakers eager to join forces & work together for a better future.

The Co-generate! Livestream on June 23 (10am-12pm PT / 1-3pm ET) is a 2-hour free, publicly streamed event open to everybody interested in breaking down age silos to create a better future. We hope to amass an audience of 1,000+ for this first-of-its-kind Encore event featuring provocative conversations between established and emerging thought leaders on the power of co-generation, including:

Krista Tippet (On Being) in conversation with Rev. Jen Bailey (Faith Matters Network), Angela Glover Blackwell (PolicyLink) in conversation with Eric Liu (Citizen University), Chip Conley (Modern Elder Academy) in conversation with Sian-Pierrre Regis (director of Duty Free), and Andrew Ahn (director of Driveways) in conversation with Lucas Jaye (Actor in Driveways). We'll also debut performances from Mumu Fresh, MILCK, Justin Kauflin and John Clayton. The event will be co-emceed by Encore Senior Fellow Harriette Cole and Encore Creative-in-Residence Scott Shigeoka. REGISTER HERE for the Livestream.

Help us spread the word about Co-generate! Livestream on twitter using this Click-to-tweet, or via social media using the following copy: So excited about @EncoreOrg’s Co-generate! — a virtual, free & public event for younger & older changemakers eager to join forces & work together for a better future. Register now! #Cogenerate #Gen2Gen #intergenerational

Don't miss Meeting the Multigenerational Moment, a new essay series published by SSIR in partnership with and The Eisner Foundation.

WATCH Lisa Marsh Ryerson, President of AARP Foundation, in conversation with KUCI's Janeane Bernstein

Lisa Marsh Ryerson
President of AARP Foundation

Lisa Marsh Ryerson is president of AARP Foundation, the charitable affiliate of AARP. A bold, disciplined, and collaborative leader, she sets the Foundation’s strategic direction and steers its efforts to realize an audacious vision: a country free of poverty, where no older person feels vulnerable.

Since she took the helm, AARP Foundation has implemented pioneering initiatives, explored new avenues for collaboration, and secured unprecedented funding to support programs and services that truly change lives. In its last three-year strategic plan, AARP Foundation generated over $5 billion of income for older adults through work and jobs, tax refunds, and credits and food security benefits.

She also has served on the boards of numerous higher education and nonprofit organizations, including the Council of Independent Colleges, Southern New Hampshire University, Shriver Center on Poverty Law, the Congressional Hunger Center, and National Women’s History Museum. 

Lisa has spearheaded innovative partnerships with other organizations to create and advance effective solutions that help vulnerable older adults increase their economic opportunity and social connectedness. Before joining AARP Foundation, Lisa served as the president and CEO of Wells College in Aurora, NY. 

Twitter: @PresRyerson

Sunday, June 13, 2021

Coming up live at 9am pst on 6/14/21! Julianne O'Brien - Professor, Chair, Department of Dance College of Performing Arts Chapman University; Department of Dance Expertise: Dance Pedagogy; Choreography; Laban/Bartenieff Movement Analyst. She speaks to host Janeane about the success of her recent intergenerational program between Chapman University's dance students and older adults.

Julianne O'Brien
Professor, Chair, Department of Dance College
of Performing Arts Chapman University
Department of Dance Expertise: Dance Pedagogy Choreography 
Laban/Bartenieff Movement Analyst

Janeane spoke with Julianne about her recent intergenerational program between 
Chapman University's dance students and older adults.
The recent article in the Orange County Register is below.

Here is the recent Orange County Register article about
Julianne's intergenerational program between Chapman University's
dance students and older adults. 

From the Orange County Register:
Chapman University dancer Lauren Leung, 19, top, is lifted up by fellow dancers with Chapman University’s Department of Dance during a performance for residents at Emerald Court, a senior living community, in Anaheim on Monday, May 17, 2021. Chapman dance students in a Dance Education and Outreach course were assigned a project to pair up with a senior at Emerald Court. The student/senior pairs communicated via weekly calls where the student learned about the lives and experiences of the seniors. The project culminated with a dance performance choreographed based on the lives of the seniors. 

Julianne O’Brien has a background in the field of dance as a performer, choreographer, academic leader, and dance educator. She holds a Bachelor of Arts from Connecticut College, a Master of Fine Arts from the Ohio State University, and is certified yoga instructor and Laban/Bartenieff Movement Analyst.

Prior to joining Chapman University, she served as the Dean of the School of Dance at Dean College in Massachusetts and as program director and professor at Eastern Michigan University. She teaches modern techniques, pedagogy, dance history, career seminars, yoga, Bartenieff Fundamentals, Laban movement analysis, improvisation, and choreography.

Julianne performed as a founding member and soloist for fourteen years with the Peter Sparling Dance Company. While with Sparling, who was a member of both the Limon Company and the Graham Company, she had the opportunity to train deeply in two foundational modern techniques. She has also had the privilege of performing with William (Bill) Evans, and in repertory by Isadora Duncan set by Lori Bellilove. She has choreographed more than fifty works that have been seen in venues across the states and in El Salvador and received numerous grants and awards for choreography including funding from the US Embassy in El Salvador, and selection for the 2016 American College Regional Dance Festival.

An interest in K-12 movement integration curriculum has spanned two decades: receiving multiple grants from the Michigan Association for the Education of Young Children to work with under-served K-3 students in science and history classes; developing math in motion curriculum with the Malashock Dance School in San Diego, CA; multiple year teaching residencies with Malashock and Freese elementary school; and spear-heading movement curriculum into the Franklin, MA public schools in partnership with college internship programs.

Recent Creative, Scholarly Work and Publications
DIRECTOR: "Dance Masters at Chapman", with world famous choreographer Igal Perry, dancer Ido Tadmor, architect Charles Renfro, and pianist Daniel Gortler.

DANCER: performed in the duet "Almost" with Ido Tadmor, choreographed by Tadmor, Music: Max Richter with text from the movie "american beauty", 14 mins.

CHOREOGRAPHER/ARTIST IN RESIDENCE: "It Aint getting any greener" for Orange County School of the Arts Spring Concert

DIRECTOR: "Dance Masters at Chapman", An intimate evening of dance with legends Desmond Richardson, Ido Tadmor, and Eva Poidrun of Poland

CHOREOGRAPHER: "It Aint getting any Greener" 6 dancers, Music: Chucho Valdez, 6 mins, Chapman University Faculty Concert

DIRECTOR: "Dance Masters at Chapman", Chapman University's Memorial Hall. An intimate evening of dance with legends Dwight Rhoden, Ido Tadmor, and Clifford Williams

DIRECTOR: "Three Site Specific Dances", Chapman University Dances at Hilbert Museum, the crosswalk between Palm and Glassell, and the grass knoll sculpture near Oliphant Hall.
CHOREOGRAPHER: "Shore Line Project" with MarcArthur Fellow Artist Elizabeth Turk, Laguna Beach, CA

DIRECTOR AND RE-STAGER: "Let me Lament", solo choreographed by Peter Sparling, restaged by Julianne O’Brien. Music: George Handel, 4.5 minutes. Dancer: Lexi Defillipo.
 Performed for: --A Glimpse into moments of Grief Concert, Chapman University, with Dr. Louis Thomas on Piano and Dr. Rebecca Sherburn as vocalist, 4/20/2018 --Embark BFA Showcase, Chapman University, 4/8/2018

CHOREOGRAPHER: "Only a thought" 9 dancers, Music: Satie, with text, 13 minutes --Chapman University Faculty Concert, CA

CHOREOGRAPHER: A thing is just a thing, 2016 Spoken word solo. 12 minutes Chapman University Faculty Concert, CA

CHOREOGRAPHER: Everybody Knows, 2016 Music: Leonard Cohen. Set design: Jim Beauregard. 9 minutes Dean College Faculty and Guest Artist Concert, MA

CHOREOGRAPHER: Incipient Flower, 2016 Music: Brian Eno. Co-choreographed with Rose Beauchamp. 8 minutes CHOSEN FOR AMERICAN COLLEGE DANCE FESTIVAL REGIONAL GALA CONCERT, MA

DANCER: 2015 “Dreaming Gate” choreographed by Bill Evans. Dean College, MA.
CHOREOGRAPHER AND DIRECTOR: Franklin Sculpture Garden Site Specific Performances, 2015 5 dances choreographed in and around 5 sculptures, August Live music: Greg Woodsbie. Time 1 hour Franklin, MA. CULTURAL DISTRICT PERFORMANCE SERIES

CHOREOGRAPHER: There, There, There, 2005-20014 Music: Dvorak. Text from research on birth order theory. 12 minutes Dean College Faculty and Guest Artist Concert, MA John Malashock Faculty Dance Concert, San Diego, CA, 2011 Eastern Michigan University Faculty and Guest Artist Concert, 2005 Women on the Move Dance Gallery Faculty Concert, MI. 2005.

Coming up 6/14 at 9:30am pst - In conversation with Magi Avila & Michael Warkentin about their Award-Winning Film - Altitude Not Attitude. Gravitas Ventures Set to Release the Award-Winning Altitude Not Attitude on Apple+ TV and iTunes on June 8th The documentary feature film from Latinx filmmaker Magi Avila follows the happiest quadriplegic man’s journey around the world as he shares life’s greatest lessons. Janeane speaks with Filmmaker Magi Avila and Michael Warkentin, who stars in the film.

featuring Magi Avila & Michael Warkentin
Award-Winning Film - Altitude Not Attitude

LOS ANGELES, CA - 05/05/2021 - Imagine the nicest, liveliest, most gregarious self-made entrepreneur you could ever hope to meet. This is Southern California born and bred financial advisor, Michael Warkentin. Then recognize that he also happens to be quadriplegic. Altitude Not Attitude follows one man’s ambitious once-in-a-lifetime global adventure, traveling around the world amongst gorgeous European landmarks and spectacular vistas, all while exploring the six phases of recovery to which everyone who has experienced tragedy can relate. The uplifting and award-winning documentary premieres on Apple+TV and ITUNES on June 8th distributed by Gravitas Ventures, a Red Arrow Studios Company. The feature film marks a directorial debut for the promising Hispanic actress-turned filmmaker Magi Avila (A Better Life, Dog Eat Dog, First Kill).

Watch Trailer: Altitude Not Attitude Documentary trailer #1

Altitude Not Attitude (aka Untie Me) is the true inspirational life story of the vital, vibrant, type-A man, Michael Warkentin, who, at age 22, became a quadriplegic after a terrible three-story accidental fall that broke his neck. Despite his becoming disabled, Michael overcame suicidal thoughts once his fun-loving, thrill-seeking positive attitude focused him on ways to lead a magnificent life. As depicted in the film, his journey is a testament to resilience and overachievement. The film won ‘Best Documentary’ at the Spotlight Documentary Awards and Virgin Spring Cinefest and was an official selection at 13 other film festivals.

“Altitude Not Attitude is the type of film that dispenses with saccharine and instead, filmmaker Magi Avila presents a wonderful and frank look at life with a disability. Michael’s candor and his inspiring story has something for everyone, framed within the perspective of a life lived fully no matter the odds,” said Gravitas Ventures Acquisitions Coordinator Megan Huggins.

“Michael Warkentin is a larger than life character. His wit, humor, and courageous approach to life drew me in to make this film and share his empowering story with the world,” says director Avila.

“Working with Magi Avila was an absolute gift as her insight and film experience was a positive influence that has touched me deeply and surely will inspire others for generations to come,” says Michael Warkentin.

Magi Avila is emerging as a powerful multi-hyphenate voice from and for the Hispanic community. Her most recent TV Series streaming on Amazon Prime is My American Family featuring actor, producer and entrepreneur, Danny Trejo. The series was nominated for a 2021 Cannes World Film Festival Web Series-TV Award. Avila began her successful career in Mexican films, Television, TV News, Theater, and Opera Performances. Since coming to Hollywood, she has appeared in notable projects with Bruce Willis and Hayden Christensen in First Kill, in Dog Eat Dog with Nicolas Cage and Willem Dafoe, in A Better Life with Demian Bichir and Joaquin Cosio, and in the TV Series Training Day with the late Bill Paxton. She gives back to her community and coaches young talent on breaking through entertainment industry barriers. Under her new Kepler 22 Group banner, Avila is currently reviewing scripts and projects and preparing for her upcoming roles.

View Trailer: Altitude Not Attitude Documentary trailer #1 

About Gravitas Ventures

Gravitas Ventures, a Red Arrow Studios company, is a leading all rights distributor of independent feature films and documentaries. Founded in 2006, Gravitas connects independent filmmakers and producers with distribution opportunities across the globe. Working with talented directors and producers, Gravitas Ventures has distributed thousands of films into over a hundred million homes in North America - over one billion homes worldwide. Recent releases include “The Secret: Dare to Dream,” directed by Andy Tennant and starring Katie Holmes; “End of Sentence'' starring Logan Lerman and John Hawkes; “Looks that Kill,” “Tread,” “Loopers: The Caddie's Long Walk,” narrated by Bill Murray, Colin Hanks' “All Things Must Pass;” and the recently released “Our Friend “starring Casey Affleck, Dakota Johnson, and Jason Segel. For more information, please, and follow @GravitasVOD on Twitter and @gravitasventures on Instagram.

About Red Arrow Studios

Red Arrow Studios is one of the world's leading creators and distributors of entertainment content, comprised of an acclaimed network of international production companies and labels in seven territories; world-leading digital studio, Studio71, based in six countries; and global film and TV distributors Red Arrow Studios International and Gravitas Ventures. The group's significant output includes scripted, non-scripted, and formatted content and IP, from TV and film to short-form and branded content, made for an array of global networks and platforms. Red Arrow Studios is part of ProSiebenSat.1 Media SE, one of Europe's leading media groups.

Ernest Gonzales, PhD, MSSW - Associate Professor; Director of the MSW Program and The Center for Health and Aging Innovation at NYU

Ernest Gonzales, PhD, MSSW - Associate Professor; Director of the MSW Program and The Center for Health and Aging Innovation

Areas of Expertise: Gerontology and productive aging: employment, volunteering, and caregiving; health equity; discrimination and prejudice; intergenerational research; cross-national aging research; social policy


Ernest Gonzales is an Associate Professor, Director of the MSW Program at NYU Silver, and Director of The Center for Health and Aging Innovation. He is a scholar in the areas of productive aging (employment, volunteering, and caregiving), health equity, discrimination and social policy. His research advances our understanding of the relationships between healthy aging, social determinants of health, productive activities, and intergenerational contexts. His research has been supported by The National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities, National Institute on Aging, U.S. Social Security Administration, AARP Foundation, Fan Fox and Samuels Foundation, and other public and private funders. Dr. Gonzales publishes in leading scientific journals and he is on several editorial boards.

By invitation, Dr. Gonzales serves on the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM), Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education (DBASSE). He has been invited to review grants for the National Institute on Aging, as well as other international federal agencies. He is the Co-Lead of the American Academy of Social Work & Social Welfare’s Grand Challenge on Advancing Long, Healthy, and Productive Lives. He is also a Senior Fellow of the NYU Aging Incubator, a university-wide initiative bringing together faculty and students from across the University from all disciplines who are involved in the study of aging and its impact on society. He is also a member of the Sloan Research Network on Aging & Work, Society for Social Work and Research (SSWR), the Association for Latina/o Social Work Educators, and Gerontological Society of America.

Prior to coming to NYU Silver, Dr. Gonzales was an Assistant Professor at Boston University’s School of Social Work where he received the Peter T. Paul Career Development Award, a highly competitive and prestigious honor given to promising tenure-track scholars. During his doctoral studies, he received the Brown School of Social Work’s Dissertation Award and the Teaching Excellence Award for Doctoral Teaching Fellows; the John A. Hartford Pre-Dissertation Fellowship and Dissertation Fellowship; and the Washington University Chancellor’s Fellowship.


Coming up live at 9:15am pst on 6/14/21! Dream Horse featured on KUCI 88.9fm. The film tells the inspiring true story of Dream Alliance, an unlikely race horse bred by small town Welsh bartender, Jan Vokes (played by Academy Award® nominee Toni Collette). LISTEN to the conversation with Jan Vokes

Opening in theaters
NATIONWIDE on May 21st and
On Demand June 11th

Euros Lyn

Written by:
Neil McKay

Produced by:
Katherine Butler, Tracy O'Riordan


Toni Collette, Damian Lewis, Owen Teale, Joanna Page, Karl Johnson, Steffan Rhodri, Anthony O'Donnell with Nicholas Farrell and Sian Phillips

LISTEN to the conversation
featuring Jan Vokes

The film tells the inspiring true story of Dream Alliance, an unlikely race horse bred by small town Welsh bartender, Jan Vokes (Academy Award® nominee Toni Collette). With very little money and no experience, Jan convinces her neighbors to chip in their meager earnings to help raise Dream in the hopes he can compete with the racing elites. The group's investment pays off as Dream rises through the ranks with grit and determination and goes on to race in the Welsh Grand National showing the heart of a true champion.

Run Time:
113 minutes


Saturday, June 12, 2021

Janeane speaks with authors Fern L. Johnson and Marlene G. Fine about their thought-provoking book, Let’s Talk Race - A Guide for White People

Let’s Talk Race

A Guide for White People
By Fern L. Johnson and Marlene G. Fine

Let's Talk Race pulls no punches as it examines why white people struggle to talk about race, why we need to talk about race, and what obstacles preclude conversations that promote racial understanding and social action for racial equity.

Written by two specialists in race relations and parents of two adopted African American sons, the book provides unique insights and practical guidance richly illustrated with personal examples, anecdotes, and prompts for personal reflection and conversations about race.

LISTEN to the conversation featuring 
Fern L. Johnson and Marlene G. Fine

The authors talk about:
  • Seeing the varied forms of racism

  • How we normalize and privilege whiteness

  • Essential and often unknown elements of Black history that inform the present

  • Racial disparities in education, health, criminal justice, and wealth

  • Understanding racially linked cultural differences

  • How to find conversational partners and create safe spaces for conversations

  • Conversational do's and don'ts.

Let's Talk Race is for all white people who want to face the challenges of talking about race and work towards equality.

Fern L. Johnson, PhD, is Senior Research Scholar and Professor Emerita at Clark University, specializing in race, culture, and language. Her publications include Speaking Culturally and Imaging in Advertising, and many journal articles. Fern co-authored, with Marlene Fine, The Interracial Adoption Option, which draws on their experience as white parents of African American son

Marlene G. Fine, PhD, is Professor Emerita at Simmons University, specializing in cultural diversity, leadership, and dialogue. She authored Building Successful Multicultural Organizations, and her articles appear in a broad range of journals. She is a seasoned speaker and workshop facilitator. She lives near Boston, Massachusetts.

Praise for Let’s Talk Race

Let’s Talk Race is a solid and very practical guide to having the necessary conversations that those of us who are white are so reluctant to have with our families, friends, neighbors, and co-workers. This book will motivate you to break white silence and will support you in addressing the racism that engulfs our communities and diminishes all of our lives.

—Paul Kivel, educator, activist, author, Uprooting Racism: How White People Can Work for Racial Justice, 4th edition

Let’s Talk Race is wisely conceived and masterfully accomplished. Both a primer on cultural competence and a charge to engage in genuine conversation, this book is candidly honest, brilliantly transparent, and a phenomenal resource. The two authors are grounded in decades of experience, girded with wisdom and courage, and guided by a com

mitment to illuminate hope in the presence of fear. This is a must read!

—Emmett G. Price III, Ph.D., Executive Director, Institute for the Study of the Black Christian Experience, Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary

Let’s Talk Race can be part of our national racial reckoning. White mothers—like Johnson and Fine—raising Black male children straddle double consciousness where racial blindness and liberal platitudes are dangerous. The book intentionally speaks to a white audience. The hard work of talk and struggle are necessary for a white reconciling of historical facts to the current harmful narrative. Let’s Talk Race is a step along a long journey to truth and reconciliation.

—Tom Shapiro, Pokross Professor of Law and Social Policy, The Heller School for Social Policy, Brandeis University, and author, Toxic Inequality, The Hidden Cost of Being African American, and Black Wealth/White Wealth

Drawing on both the best of interracial communication research and their personal experiences as white women who have navigated count less interracial conversations, Johnson and Fine illuminate the barriers to such conversations and provide practical and accessible strategies for overcoming those barriers. No book is more relevant to everyday life in the socially diverse world of 21st-century America than Let’s Talk Race.

—Marsha Houston, Professor, Communication Studies, retired, University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, and co-editor, Our Voices: Essays in Culture, Ethnicity, and Communication and Centering Ourselves: African American Feminist and Womanist Studies of Discourse

Let’s Talk Race is a seminal book for this time. It is a desperately needed resource that will help our nation heal and live into its noblest ideals. Four hundred years after the start of slavery, America is having a racial awakening and beginning to reckon with the consequences of founding the nation on genocide, stolen land, and slave labor. As the country shakes off the husks of complacency and indifference, people of all races, creeds, colors, religions, and national origin are discovering an unprecedented opportunity to realize the aspiration of justice in the first sentence of the Constitution of the United States. If justice is to be realized, white America must stand in transformative solidarity with those who face the burdens of structural racism. This book provides a practical yet soul-enriching path forward to move from talk to action with grace, empathy, and a commitment to usher in an era of just and fair inclusion into a society in which we can all participate, prosper, and reach our full potential.

—Dr. Michael McAfee, President and CEO, PolicyLink

Ever the teachers, Marlene and Fern take care to scaffold the learning so that readers are able to build a strong foundation upon which to grow. While some of the information seems basic to me as a Black woman, I appreciate the importance of more white folks talking to one another about race because they understand the blind spots, the pit falls, the traps, and what I call “trash thinking,” that needs to be composted. I hope readers enjoy the personal storytelling, the Do’s and Don’ts lists, and the personal reflection prompts that are included throughout the book. Finally, I hope more of us reach a point when talking about race can be “cathartic, healing, and joyful.”

—Desiraé Simmons, Co-director, Interfaith Council for Peace and Justice, Ann Arbor, MI

Wednesday, June 9, 2021

"A laugh-out-loud heartwarmer." —O, The Oprah Magazine - Steven Rowley, bestselling author of Lily and the Octopus and The Editor, returns this May with THE GUNCLE, a warm and deeply funny summer read about a once-famous gay sitcom star who, after an unexpected family tragedy, gains custody of his niece and nephew for the summer.

Steven Rowley, bestselling author of Lily and the Octopus and The Editor, returns this May with THE GUNCLE, a warm and deeply funny summer read about a once-famous gay sitcom star who, after an unexpected family tragedy, gains custody of his niece and nephew for the summer. It’s a moving tribute to the power of love, patience, and family in even the most trying of times, wrapped up in the humor and heart that have become trademarks of his work, and will be sure to please readers of Rowley’s earlier novels and fans of Andrew Sean Greer, Maria Semple, Grant Ginder, and Matt Haig. THE GUNCLE is a perfect book for summer reading and Pride Month coverage.

"A laugh-out-loud heartwarmer." —O, The Oprah Magazine

Patrick, or Gay Uncle Patrick (GUP, for short), has always loved his niece, Maisie, and nephew, Grant. That is, he loves spending time with them when they come out to Palm Springs for weeklong visits, or when he heads home to Connecticut for the holidays. But in terms of caretaking and relating to two children, no matter how adorable, Patrick is honestly a bit out of his league. So when tragedy strikes and Maisie and Grant lose their mother and Patrick's brother has a health crisis of his own, Patrick finds himself suddenly taking on the role of primary guardian. Despite having a set of "Guncle Rules" ready to go, Patrick has no idea what to expect, having spent years barely holding on after the loss of his great love, a somewhat-stalled career, and a lifestyle not-so-suited to a six- and a nine-year-old. Quickly realizing that parenting—even if temporary—isn't solved with treats and jokes, Patrick's eyes are opened to a new sense of responsibility, and the realization that, sometimes, even being larger than life means you're unfailingly human.


“I’ve had a long fascination with AUNTIE MAME, the 1955 Patrick Dennis novel that was quickly adapted for the stage with Rosalind Russell as Mame, then for film also starring Russell, then as the Broadway musical MAME starring Angela Landsbury, then finally as a ghastly movie musical starring a miscast Lucille Ball. Dennis lived a complicated and often closeted existence which saw him marry and have children while living a double life; later he became very active in the Greenwich Village gay scene before his life was tragically cut short by pancreatic cancer in the mid-1970s. Mame is often described as being inspired by his own aunt Marion Tanner, a characterization that Dennis denied. And maybe she was, in part; writers don’t like to give away all their secrets. But to many, including myself, it seems clear Mame’s outsized personality, exuberance and general joie-de-vivre bloomed from the stifled parts of himself that were dying to break free. In short, Mame, like many of the other fabulous female characters created by closeted male writers of that era, was a stand-in for a gay man.

In the spring of 2018, two things happened. I was by chance rereading the Patrick Dennis novel and my brother and his family, including his two young boys, came to visit me for a week at my home in Palm Springs. I had quite a week planned for them, their first to the area, showcasing the best the Coachella Valley had to offer. Hiking in the hills to see mountain goats, visiting the zoo, taking the rotating, glass tram up to an elevation where there snow still capped the mountains, inflating every pool float in my collection until you could barely see blue from the swimming pool’s surface. But after only a day, my brother, a corporate attorney and partner in his law firm, was called to appear in court in Boston on behalf of his clients. And so he flew back across the country, leaving me with his kids for a weeklong adventure in Palm Springs. 

Their dad works long hours, and my nephews were looking forward to a week with him as much as a week with their uncle in his pool. Thank goodness I had their mother to help me navigate their disappointment, but it gave me a small taste of what it took to distract them from dismay, and it involved, in part, conjuring my inner Mame and being amusingly larger than life. By the end of that week I was exhausted, but it was worth it as I had somehow earned an outsized place in my nephews’ imaginations – and I knew what I wanted to write next. THE GUNCLE is a family love story, an uncle, his niece and his nephew leaning on each other in a difficult moment and learning from one another as they navigate their way through. While it tackles the difficult subject of grief, it’s also – as Auntie Mame was – funny as hell.” – Steven Rowley


Steven Rowley is the author of The Editor and the national bestseller Lily and the Octopus, which has been translated into nineteen languages. He has worked as a freelance writer, newspaper columnist, and screenwriter. Originally from Portland, Maine, Rowley is a graduate of Emerson College. He lives in Palm Springs, CA.

Danielle Henderson, TV writer and podcast host shares an uproarious, moving memoir of her unconventional childhood—and a moving look at what it means to be family

LISTEN to this week's conversation
with TV writer, podcast host, and author Danielle Henderson

Danielle Henderson, a TV writer for shows including Maniac, Divorce, and Difficult People, creator of the viral Feminist Ryan Gosling meme, and cohost of the podcast I Saw What You Did, shares her memoir THE UGLY CRY. With signature humor, wit and deep insight, she reminisces on being Black, weird, and overwhelmingly uncool in a predominantly white, granola town in upstate New York.

“The Ugly Cry is the funniest memoir I have ever read. It is also achingly sad. And powerfully redemptive.”

– Augusten Burroughs, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Running with Scissors

“If you fight that motherf**ker and you don’t win, you’re going to come home and fight me.” Not the advice you’d normally expect from your grandmother—but Danielle Henderson would be the first to tell you her childhood was anything but conventional. In her memoir, THE UGLY CRY, she shares how she grew up and grew wise with the help of her foul-mouthed, horror film-loving grandmother in Warwick, NY. 

Abandoned at ten years old by a mother who wanted to start a new family with her drug-addicted, abusive boyfriend, Danielle was raised by grandparents who thought their child-rearing days had ended in the 1960s. Under the eye-rolling, coarse, loving tutelage of her unapologetic grandmother—and the horror movies she obsessively watched—Danielle grew into a tall, awkward, Sassy-loving teenager who wore black eyeliner as lipstick and was struggling with the aftermath of her mother’s choices. But she also learned that she had the strength and smarts to save herself, her grandmother gifting her with a faith in her own capabilities that the world would not have most Black girls possess. With humor, wit and deep insight, Henderson upends our conventional understanding of family and redefines its boundaries to include millions of people who share her story.

In interviews, Danielle Henderson discusses:

· Growing up Black and on food stamps in the overwhelmingly white, crunchy town of Warwick, NY

· How being raised by her strong, unfaltering grandmother whose unconventional ways of expressing love taught Danielle to have a strong will and a sharp sense of humor

· How she has learned to overcome, deal with, and talk about childhood trauma

· Her grandmother’s hysterical, wildly inappropriate, yet sound advice

· Where the title of the book THE UGLY CRY came from

· The role that research played in her writing process, as she depicts details from coming of age in the 1970s such as escalators in Macy’s and New Jersey’s infamous Action Park

· What it means that Danielle is moving back to Warwick this year to care for her grandmother – the very person who saved her life.

Danielle Henderson reminds us of the capacity we all have to survive, the momentous joy we can find amidst the moments of pain, and that laughter can be found at every one of life’s corners. Razor sharp, irresistibly charming, and utterly hilarious, THE UGLY CRY is both Danielle’s happy ending and the beginning of what is sure to be a long writing career of a breakout talent.

About the Author:

Danielle Henderson is a TV writer whose credits include Maniac, Divorce, and Difficult People. A retired freelance writer and former editor for Rookie, she has been published by The New York Times, The Guardian, AFAR Magazine, BuzzFeed, and The Cut. A book based on her popular website, Feminist Ryan Gosling, was released in 2012. Danielle currently co-hosts the podcast I Saw What You Did There with Millie De Chirico about the weird ways we respond to and learn to love movies. She likes to watch old episodes of Doctor Who when she is on deadline, one of her tattoos is based on the movie Rocky, and she will never stop using the Oxford comma.

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

LISTEN to award-winning filmmaker Kim Snyder talks about her powerful film US Kids | Impact Partners Film

LISTEN to the show featuring Kim Snyder


From Kim A. Snyder, director of the Peabody Award-winning documentary Newtown, comes an insightful, rousing coming-of-age story of a generation of youth leaders determined to take the reins and fight for justice at a most critical time in our nation's history. Sparked by the plague of gun violence ravaging their schools, Us Kids chronicles the March For Our Lives movement over the course of several years, following X Gonzalez, its co-founders, survivors and a group of teenage activists as they pull off the largest youth protest in American history and set out across the country and globally to build an inclusive and unprecedented youth movement that addresses gun violence prevention, racial justice, a growing public health crisis, and shocks a political system into change.

Watch The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon Interview: X González’s March for Our Lives Documentary Made Sundance Film Festival History -

X González’s March for Our Lives Documentary Made Sundance Film Festival History #Sundance #USKids #Fallon #JimmyFallon #Kim Snyder


What is US KIDS about in your own words?

To me, the film is a coming-of-age story about what represents a generation. It's about a bunch of regular teenage kids who live their lives against the backdrop of this horrendous national issue of gun violence. The film begins with this tragedy, and we follow what happens to Samantha Fuentes in her school, in her town, and the group of kids who set out to do something about it.

For these kids, whose friends and classmates died, the tragedy was a catalyst. The story is born out of trauma and rage, which simmers throughout, and it serves as a window into this generation and movement that is so different than — yet also has so much in common with, the Vietnam era and the Civil Rights movement. These kids have to grow up so quickly and their willingness to give up everything to fight for those who were lost makes them able to build a remarkable and unprecedented movement that I believe is real and lasting.

This is obviously isn't your first foray into documentary on gun violence. You won the Peabody for your 2016 film Newtown. How did the experience of making US KIDS differ for you personally?

It's a very different kind of film, and it was by happenstance I landed in this situation, I was pursuing a different project in Florida at the time and ended up in Tallahassee the week that Parkland happened. After completing Newtown, I had the feeling that the U.S. hadn’t reckoned with the fact that there were hundreds of thousands of traumatized youth. There is a generation of kids who are terrified. I’ve heard it many times in many places from kids essentially saying: Why are the adults in this country not understanding how fucking scared we are everyday? So when I found myself on the steps of the capitol in Tallahassee and all these kids arrived by the busloads saying some version of this, I realized I had to start filming.

Us Kids is also a story I could never tell with Newtown, because with the tragedy in Newtown, CT, the victims were so young and we were telling the story of the parents and their enormous loss, as well as what a town looks like in the wake of tragedy. Us Kids is from the point of view of the kids themselves. It is about their rage and grief.

Grief plays out and looks so much different when you're a teenager. I think the kids you see in this film generally have a healthy reaction to rage in how they transformed it.

They did not want to just be crying. I remember at one point X Gonzalez said, "I don't want to have my dead friends in pictures around me. I want to do things. I want to act." I was totally taken by that sentiment. We need to honor the dead through action, as well as remembering. Historically, that's what kids did during the Vietnam War. They didn't just wring their hands. They got shit done. And these kids were clearly going to do the same.

How did you get started once you decided to make the film?

After Tallahassee I decided to visit Parkland. People knew about Newtown and had seen it, so there was proof that I had rendered something respectfully. As in Newtown, I had to overcome the contradictory nature of what I was doing. You have to have enormous patience and sensitivity while building the trust building to break through, because after the agony of gun violence, these towns and residents had also become traumatized by cameras and media in the tragedy’s aftermath — and there I was with a camera as well. You have to keep showing up. It was a series of one person leading to another person, and it was organic.

When did you connect with the March for Our Lives kids?

I actually didn't meet them until the summer, on the Road to Change bus tour, which made 50 stops in cities around the country. I spent two months on the road following their bus. It was grueling — you never knew where you were waking up — but in each town you’d see the incredible turnout, and my crew and I would be awestruck all over again as to how they pulled it off. The way they built this infrastructure for a movement was just tremendous.

The kids were exhausted at the end of every day, and in each city there would be local media all over them, so I wasn't going to ask to interview them then. My approach at that point was to follow them like a rock band, capturing them vérité style.

They didn't always feel they had control over their own narrative, so it took the whole summer of running around with them, being a fly on the wall, before I really started to dig deeper. They saw I hadn’t gone away and that I wasn't just another media person trying to get their story.

There were rules I put in place. If we requested something and the response was no, I would never ask again. I believe you have to earn trust with people who have been inundated and traumatized by the media. So we became a part of the tour, a constant presence just like the security team. We were just around, and we were very respectful of the fact that they were still in the midst of dealing with trauma. Also, I had an amazing crew, who were really wonderful with them.

What were some of the particular challenges you faced in filming and editing?

In terms of filming, we worked very hard to honor and capture what the kids themselves wanted to say about this incredible thing they were building, and represent the myriad of voices involved.

The two most recognizable people from the movement, X Gonzalez and David Hogg, didn’t want to be the faces of this activism, so they had an earnest mission to have the cameras turn outward. They recognized how their presence in particular communities coming from a privileged mostly white community might be interpreted. They understood how important it was for them to get the media to focus on everyday violence in these distinct cities that we were rolling through on the tour.

Mass shootings represent less than 2% of shootings. So as leaders of this March For Our Lives organization, they made some amazing rules: They recruited new team members from around the country, they wouldn't talk to local news alone, and they had to be with a local organizer or a kid of color when they would do press. Often, despite everything, the two seconds that made it to air would be X. They hated not having control over that. So we wanted to respect that and made sure this film reflected those values.

In editing, the biggest challenge was balancing the two elements - the movement’s rise, and the lasting trauma of gun violence on America’s youth. This film isn’t only the story of March for Our Lives. The through-line of trauma was indispensable to crafting something that was intimate and character-based. Samantha, who was shot with an AR15 in her class, became the heart and bedrock in that sense. Samantha's a rock star.

Something that is often missed in the coverage of school shootings are stories that center on the wounded survivors. Could you talk about that aspect in US KIDS, particularly with Sam?

I developed really wonderful relationships with each of the kids in different ways. I went to South Africa with David and X. But Samantha is a very special relationship, it’s absolutely collaborative and real. We're close and that trust is just everything. She's an old soul, she was before this happened, and I know in certain ways this trauma has made her stronger. We talk about that a lot.

She represents the idea that you don't have to be an activist with a capital A. She reminds me of me when I was a kid, I played guitar and skipped school. She has so much courage. She does not complain about how profound her PTSD is, and I have learned that it is so profound — you see it when she’s on stage giving those speeches. She’s an artist, not an activist.

One of the first times we talked about her emotional state, it was too much. I would observe her and begin to understand when it was too much and constantly learn. I had received some counseling in Newtown about how to interact with people dealing with that level of trauma, facing triggers every single day. You can't police it, and it actually would annoy her if you were too cautious with her.

Her story also was a conduit for us to get to know Nick, who was murdered next to her. It's through this lens, and Sam’s burgeoning friendship with Nick’s younger brother that we witnessed a whole different character journey and emotional arc.

What was one of your biggest takeaways about this generation after making this film?

What I really gleaned about this generation through these conversations was that they have an inevitable combination of necessary nihilism - that the world's going to be under water and anyone could be killed by guns at any time - and, at the same time, there is hope. I think it’s sort of the default nature of being 17. That juxtaposition was crucial. They're very pragmatic, practical, incredibly strategic, and resourceful in such impressive ways. I watched them work instead of party, bond with each other, study together, yet act silly when they needed to as well.

The film reveals various layers of guilt that these youth are dealing with. Can you elaborate on this aspect of what they are dealing with?

In the case of Sam, she asked “why wasn’t it me? Why did I get to be alive?” She looked up to her friend Nick, who was Olympic bound. He was extraordinary, and had just gotten a scholarship for swimming. The guilt manifested for her in a way that she concluded that life is precious and she had to live it and speak out.

When you’re dealing with trauma, however, that can potentially be unhealthy - she put pressure on herself to do more in a time when her body and mind needed healing. You physically see that manifest itself in her story when she throws up. She wants to put herself out there on Nick's behalf to honor him, also in part, because he would have for her. At the same time, she needed to reconcile and understand the manifestations of her PTSD.

There's also a specific guilt stemming from this tragedy resulting in a lot of attention and making these kids famous, though it’s not something they asked for. That alone is a whole different level of survivor’s guilt that is unique to these kids’ experience.

What is most incredible is how they responded to the guilt and the trauma by turning it into action. I didn’t want lionize that,or make them seem like superheroes in the film. Classically, however, in terms of myth and storytelling, it is what happened to them. Their friends were murdered and ripped away from them, so they felt they had to do something to honor and avenge the fallen. It's that simple. That is this story. What they did was absolutely heroic.

David Hogg suffered so much harassment from the far-Right and watching your portrayal of its impact was so devastating. There's a tragic irony to it all: here's this kid who is trying to reconcile the deaths of his friends by doing something positive, and then he becomes the subject of the very type of violent threats that took his friends.

David was in the media's eye more than anyone else. Over the year we filmed, he was on the receiving end of a lot of hate. Some people saw him as a media pawn, but David has the guts and the soul of a of a real revolutionary. He's got that heart and intellect, and he’s also incredibly gifted. X is, too. They are one of those people who's behind the scenes a lot - they are incredibly humble, in addition to being an amazing writer who pens a lot of the speeches for the organization.

All this pressure definitely took its toll, though. We ended up shooting a scene in the Everglades because David and X said that's a place where they felt safe. David can't hike anymore because he doesn’t feel comfortable going to public places. The danger is real - on the road there was security around the clock and it was absolutely necessary.

For David, particularly, there's this sense of burden, that it's all on his shoulders. He’s going to have to reckon with that at some point. There has to be a mantle to hand off.

Many of the kids also face a big question about whether they will ever be able to have the same kind of age appropriate lives that their peers do. 
Will they ever be able to be regular kids? They started this massive thing rote and in the midst of trauma. They had to give up their childhood innocence to do this, and it has been a big sacrifice. But I think they realize they couldn’t go back to being blissfully ignorant. And like anyone who has endured this kind of crisis, you either have to do something with it or suffer. Now they’re each navigating their own paths forward.

There are moments of respite in the film. What was it like to capture joy in the midst of tragedy?

Like in Stand By Me, there's never a time in life where you're more loyal and connected to your friends than at that age, and that's part of what motivates them to do what they do for the friends who didn't make it. Bonding and being together was, I think, the antidote for them. There were so many moments of the kids being themselves and debating about something silly like peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and how to make them. Those lighter moments were as fiery and as much proof of their debate skills as the serious gun reform discussions. It’s the shit like that that makes you a kid. I wanted to make sure that was clearly represented in the film.

Another trait about these kids that I find remarkable is their patience and openness. We keep hearing about how polarized the nation is — and it is, but they continually show that civil discourse is possible. It's possible to talk to people with very different points of view and find something in common. I think perhaps it's also related to them being teenagers. They're just more open.

The bus trip started as a group from Stoneman Douglas High School and then the students began collecting other youth activists as they went around the country on tour. For me, it kind of harkened back to Freedom Summer 64, where buses of young people were taken around to the South to register black voters.

The Road For Change trip was almost this Kerouacian journey. They began the tour as kids who were admittedly living in a privileged suburban Florida bubble, the Parkland area. X told me they had never been to more than two or three states. Actually, none of them had traveled much. In the wake of the tragedy, they leave their bubble to fight for change. Generally, with Gen Z, I believe there is a bigger sensitivity to inclusion than with prior generations. They were mindful to check their relative economic privilege.

When they rolled through these towns, through places very different than theirs, they had a lot of really hard, genuine conversations about race and about privilege with the people they met. The commonality they all cared deeply about, however, was gun violence. They started in Chicago, where they met up with Alex King, a kid with the group Peace Warriors. They met Bria Smith in Milwaukee who grew up with inner-city violence. She was such a brilliant speaker that they convinced her to join up. They went all over the country and experienced many points of view, including facing very pro-Second Amendment, hardcore people.

Including Bria's journey in the film was as crucial to this story as it was to the organization to have her on the team. When they visited the south particularly, her speeches were very powerful. She gave an amazing speech in front of the NRA headquarters in Fairfax, VA where she invoked the civil rights movement. It took all these kids from different places to create this movement. It became so much more than where it began. I think that there is a beautiful analogy to those times ... they were at an age where they were able to meet people from vastly different backgrounds and not be set in their own socioeconomic worldview. It’s something that will inform them as they go on in life.

There were more mass shootings in 2019 than there were days in the year. And though the students of the March for Our Lives had real impact, the shootings keep happening. Your film is hopeful, as are the kids. What do you think about the future of this movement?

I've always been an optimist, but I think we’re at a moment where things hang in the balance. Federal legislation, which passed in the house, is being held up at this very moment by Mitch McConnell and hasn't seen the Senate floor. I wholeheartedly believe that things can change like what has been accomplished with the Civil Rights movement and later for gay rights. I believe in what Martin Luther King said about the long arc of history - it goes backwards and it goes forwards. Stonewall was a hugely important moment, but look at how many years it took to get to same-sex marriage. And now, under the current administration, that could be taken away also.

Over 90 percent of Americans believe in background checks. We don't have many issues today that 90 percent of people agree on. So what's my hope? The NRA is showing cracks, thanks to March for Our Lives. Gun safety laws are being enacted, state-by-state. The kids are constantly saying this is not a red or blue issue, and I have optimism in watching them talk to conservative young kids, that this resistance to gun control will die out. It will just take time.

I have hope because there are currently over 300 chapters of March for Our Lives now. I have complete optimism that several of these kids will run for office. I have hope in seeing the little ones, the 10-year-olds now who are not looking at actors or musicians as their idols, they're looking at X or Greta Thunberg and saying “I want to be like that.” It is cool to be an activist. Now it's cool to pre-register to vote. There are a lot of kids today who are realizing the power they have when they are involved. I’ve seen an increase in activism and they proved it with the youth vote in the midterms - you see the proof in the film. I believe they're going to do the same thing for 2020, and they are going to make guns and climate change their issues. This is about survival for them.

Do you have political hopes for this film?

Yes, I do. This film is meant to inspire and mobilize. It's important to say that we made a very deliberate choice to have no adult main characters. You hardly see adults talking. We wanted to make this the voice of youth - it's their story, not mine. I hope it will raise awareness moving into the summer for pre-registration and the 2020 electoral cycle, without being preachy. Also, we want to work in tandem with all the folks in the gun violence prevention space. These kids don’t want pity or guilt. They don't want us to cry. They just want us to get up and work with them and stand beside them in this fight.

Bios: Filmmakers

Kim A. Snyder - Director / Producer

Kim A. Snyder’s most recent feature documentary, Us Kids premiered in the U.S. Documentary Competition at the 2020 Sundance competition. Prior, she directed the Peabody award-winning documentary Newtown, which premiered in the US Competition at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival. Newtown screened at premiere festivals worldwide and was theatrically released followed by a national broadcast on PBS’s Independent Lens and Netflix. Her most recent short, Lessons from a School Shooting: Notes from Dunblane, premiered at the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival and was awarded Best Documentary Short followed by the DocDispatch Award at the 2018 Sheffield DocFest and a Grierson Award nomination. Lessons… is a Netflix Original and is streaming in 196 countries. Snyder’s prior works include the feature documentary, Welcome to Shelbyville, nationally broadcast on PBS’s Independent Lens in 2011, and over a dozen short documentaries. Kim’s award-winning directorial debut feature documentary, I Remember Me was theatrically distributed by Zeitgeist Films. In 1994, she associate-produced the Academy Award-winning short film Trevor. Kim graduated with a Masters in International Affairs from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and resides in New York City.

Maria Cuomo Cole - Producer

Maria Cuomo Cole is the Peabody award-winning producer of the feature documentary, Newtown, which premiered at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival. She then partnered
with Kim Snyder on Lessons from a School Shooting: Notes from Dunblane. Lessons premiered at the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival and was subsequently nominated for a Grierson award. In her career, she has tackled relevant subjects such as gun violence, homelessness, veterans’ PTSD, domestic violence and sexual assault. She executive produced The Hunting Ground, directed by Kirby Dick. This Emmy and Peabody award winning film has been lauded as a powerful investigation into the epidemic of sexual assaults on college campuses. Ms. Cuomo Cole worked with the same film team, executive producing the 2014 Oscar® nominated documentary, The Invisible War. This groundbreaking documentary explored the epidemic of rape and sexual violence in the U.S. military, which served as a catalyst for federal legislation and enacted federal policy reforms.

Lori Cheatle - Producer

Lori Cheatle is a producer of over 25 award-winning films and the founder of Hard Working Movies, a director-driven production company with an appetite for bold, high-profile narratives. Titles include MATANGI/MAYA/M.I.A., about the musician M.I.A., directed by Steve Loveridge, which won a Special Jury award at Sundance 2018, the IDA Award for Best Music Documentary, and a Special Commendation at the Grierson Awards. 

 I Am Another You by Nanfu Wang, which won two jury awards at SXSW and is released by FilmRise and Independent Lens; Kiki (IFC Films/Sundance Selects) by Sara Jordeno, about the underground Kiki ballroom community in New York City, which premiered at Sundance 2016 and won the Berlin Teddy Award, the Kathleen Edwards Bryan Human Rights Award, the Outfest Emerging Artist award as well as Independent Spirit Award and GLAAD award nominations.

CAPTIVATED: The Trials of Pamela Smart, directed by Jeremiah Zagar for HBO/Sky Atlantic; Amy Hardie’s critically acclaimed The Edge Of Dreaming and her BAFTA nominated Seven Songs For A Long Life; This Land Is Your Land, which was selected for the Whitney Biennial; three films by Doug Block, which all aired on HBO, including 112 Weddings, The Kids Grow Up and 51 Birch Street, which was named one of New York Times 10 Best Films of the Year. Most recently she Executive Produced Hail, Satan? (2019) released through Magnolia Pictures. She received the 2019 Sundance I Amazon Producers Award.

Bios: Subjects

X Gonzalez

X Gonzalez is a 21-year-old gun control advocate born and raised in Parkland, Florida. A survivor of the Marjory Stoneman-Douglas High School shootings, X was instrumental in organizing the historic #MarchForOurLives protest, the largest student demonstration in American history. While in high school, X also served as the President of the Marjory Stoneman-Douglas Gay-Straight Alliance. In addition to their work with March For Our Lives, 
X is currently pursuing their undergraduate degree.

David Hogg

Thrust into the world of activism on February 14, 2018 by the largest school shooting in American history, Parkland survivor David Hogg’s mission of increasing voter participation, civic engagement and activism embraces a range of issues. He is a co-founder of March For Our Lives, now one of the world’s largest youth-led movements. A prolific voice on social media with more than a million followers, David uses his platform to promote civic engagement, activism and voting. As a speaker, he informs, challenges and energizes, empowering his generation to resist apathy and become catalysts for positive social change.

Alex King

Alex King is a youth activist from Chicago, Illinois and a member of the North Lawn College Preparatory High School’s Peace Warriors Foundation, where he graduated in 2018 and has been a leading student voice against gun violence in America's schools and communities. Peace Warriors’ goals has been to interrupt nonsense, to interject love and kindness; they are ambassadors of peace. The members live off the philosophy of Dr. Martin Luther King, living a non-violent life and teaching Kingian nonviolence. Peace Warriors partnered with March For Our Lives in 2018 to address gun violence reform in Chicago and across the nation.

Bria Smith

Bria Smith is a youth activist from Milwaukee, WI. A current Emerson College student, she has organized and mobilized young people of color to voice their concerns when it comes to inner city gun violence as a Board Member of March For Our Lives. Smith has crafted a website called to give young girls of color the platform to speak of their experiences with discrimination and oppression through writing. Bria’s future career goal is to continue her work through film and journalism.

Jaclyn Corin

After the Parkland Shooting on February 14, 2018, Jaclyn Corin became a primary organizer and co-founder of the March For Our Lives movement. Using her logistical prowess, Jaclyn spearheaded the Road to Change tour during the summer of 2018 where the organization registered tens of thousands of voters and held dozens of town hall conversations. She went on to be the Director of Outreach for March For Our Lives, igniting a chapter network that now has over 300 chapters in communities/schools nationwide. Now, Jaclyn studies Government and Health Policy at Harvard University.

Sam Fuentes

On February 14, 2018 a gunman wielding an AR-15 entered Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and fired on students, faculty, and staff. Seventeen people lost their lives and many others were wounded. Samantha Fuentes was amongst the injured in the Parkland tragedy, and while fortunate to be alive, her body and life changed forever. She has bullet shrapnel permanently embedded in her legs and behind her right eye, and currently manages symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). She lost revered friends and faculty members. Despite these tragic events, today, Samantha is resolved and committed to a poignant mission: to make sure that no child or adult is devastated by senseless and preventable gun violence ever again.

Annika Dworet

A native of Sweden, had been working as an ER pediatric nurse for 20 years when the shooting at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School took place on February 14, 2018 in Parkland Florida. Both of her sons were in the school that day; Alex, a Freshman was shot with an AR15 but survived, while his older brother Nick was murdered by an armed former student in the classroom across the hall. Nick had been recruited to the University of Indianapolis as a star scholarship swimmer a week before the shooting. 

On March 24, 2018 and what would have been Nick’s 18th birthday, Nick's Parkland schoolmates initiated March For Our Lives in Washington DC in response to the shooting to demand action on the gun violence issue. The global event spawned five continents and proved to be the largest youth protest in US history since the Vietnam era. Annika and her husband Mitch have committed themselves to honor the memory of Nick in a number of ways including a passionate concern for gun violence prevention. The Dworets are featured in the award-winning documentary film Us Kids that premiered at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival.

LIVE on KUCI - 7/17/24 9:00am - Janeane chats with Producer Jay Silverman about his latest film CAMERA, starring Beau Bridges

LISTEN ‘CAMERA’ starring Beau Bridges, centers around a young mute boy who uses an old film camera to express his point of view, with the h...