The Filmmakers

Read the bios of the team behind the program

A team of veteran filmmakers collaborated to create to bring the stories and ideas of Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn's best-selling book to public television audiences nationwide.

Show of Force - Production Company

Dedicated to creating feature documentaries and event television series of the highest caliber, Show of Force is known for dynamic, character-driven storytelling that consistently engages, entertains, and inspires. Show of Force is a media production company represented by CAA (Creative Artists Agency) with 20 years of combined experience and excellence between partners Maro Chermayeff and Jeff Dupre, and it is the production arm of the entire transmedia project of Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide. They have produced over 20 hours of television and media content a year with a staff of ten producers and are the recipients of numerous awards and accolades for their work on both US and international media broadcasts.

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The Half the Sky crew filming in Somaliland

Photo by Jenni Morello

Maro Chermayeff - Executive Producer and Director

Maro is an award-winning filmmaker, producer, director, author, and former television executive. She is Founder and Chair of the MFA Program in Social Documentary at the School of Visual Arts, and served as a programming executive at A&E Television Networks. Some of her extensive credits include: the six-hour series Circus (PBS 2010), Mann v. Ford (HBO July 2011), Marina Abramovic: The Artist is Present, (HBO 2012), Parasomnia (France 2 Oct 2010), the Emmy Award winning 10-hour series Carrier (PBS/National Geographic International 2008), the six-hour series Frontier House (PBS 2002), American Masters: Juilliard (PBS 2003), The Kindness of Strangers (HBO 1999), Role Reversal (A&E 2002), and Trauma, Life in the ER (TLC 2001), and over 15 specials for Charlie Rose. Maro is a partner with Jeff Dupre in the film and television production company, Show of Force, the production entity for the Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide transmedia project, and is represented by CAA.

Mikaela Beardsley - Executive Producer

Mikaela Beardsley has over 15 years of experience producing award-winning, critically acclaimed and socially engaged documentary television. Mikaela most recently produced Reporter: A Film with Nicholas D. Kristof, which premiered at Sundance 2009, aired on HBO in 2010, and was nominated for the Emmy Award for Outstanding Informational Programming - Long Form. She has worked in film and television production since 1993, producing primarily for HBO and PBS, and has made films with Alex Gibney, Martin Scorsese and Wim Wenders. Mikaela began her television career at WGBH in Boston, and holds a BA in comparative literature from Princeton University.

Jamie Gordon - Executive Producer

Since co-founding Fugitive Films in early 2005, Jamie Gordon has been busy producing and developing films. Her company recently produced Will Frears’ directorial debut, Coach, starring Hugh Dancy, as well as the comedy Wedding Daze, starring Jason Biggs and Isla Fisher and written and directed by Michael Ian Black. She is also in development on Grlzradio, a television project about girls empowerment which she is producing with Queen Latifah’s production company, Flavor Unit. Before founding Fugitive Films, Gordon was the Head of Development for GreeneStreet Films where she worked on the Oscar-nominated In the Bedroom and served as a Co-Producer on Fox's teen thriller, Swimfan, Leon Ichaso's ALMA-award winning Pinero, and Lionsgate’s A Love Song for Bobby Long, starring John Travolta and Scarlett Johansson.

Additionally, Gordon produced two independent features, Hellcab (aka Chicago Cab) which features John Cusack, Julianne Moore and Gillian Anderson, and Certain Guys. She began her career as a Story Editor for producer Wendy Finerman and assisted her on the Academy Award-winning film Forrest Gump before assisting the producers of The American President and Ghosts of Mississippi. Gordon graduated with a BA in History from Princeton University.

Jeff Dupre - Executive Producer

Jeff has been producing and directing documentary films for over fifteen years. Together with Show of Force partner Maro Chermayeff, Jeff is director, creator and executive producer of Circus, a 6-part documentary series that premiered on PBS in November 2010. He conceived and is producer and co-director of Marina Abramovic: The Artist is Present, which recently won the Audience Award for Best Documentary at the 2012 Berlin Film Festival. The Artist is Present will air on HBO in June 2012. He is a producer of Carrier (CPB/PBS April 2008), and he produced Michael Kantor's Broadway: The American Musical (PBS, 2004) which won the 2005 Emmy Award for Outstanding Non-Fiction Series.

Jeff’s directorial debut, Out of the Past, won the Audience Award for Best Documentary at the 1998 Sundance Film Festival. The New York Post called Out of the Past “eye opening and moving” and The New Yorker described it as “an emotionally textured treatise on alienation and marginalization which is intelligent and entertaining.” The film also garnered the Audience Award at Outfest ’98, won a GLAAD Media Award for Best Documentary of 1998, and aired on PBS in October 1998.

Joshua Bennett – Producer

Joshua Bennett has over 10 years experience working in film and television production, and has produced shoots in over 35 countries and on all 7 continents. In addition to film and television he has extensive experience producing commercials, new media and viral media campaigns. He has produced programming for PBS, HBO, MTV, Discovery, A&E, and The Sundance Channel as well as numerous music videos, independent shorts and experimental works as well as corporate and industrial pieces for a wide range of clients. Most recently, he co-produced a piece for Amnesty International’s 50th anniversary, and is currently in production on Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide for PBS. In addition to his production work, Joshua teaches Documentary Producing at SVA’s masters program for Social Documentary Film.

Joshua is also an accomplished musician who toured and performed while based in New Orleans for two years, performing and headlining with some of the city’s most celebrated blues and jazz musicians. His original music has been featured in PBS programming and in numerous independent and experimental films.

Mira Chang - Series Producer

Mira Chang is a producer, director, and director of photography of non-fiction content for television both domestic and international, and several feature length documentaries. Her work can be seen regularly on ABC, National Geographic, A&E, and Discovery. Projects include Sold (director of photography) — a feature documentary on human slavery in Pakistan and India narrated by Mira Nair, Jesus Camp (co-director of photography) — nominated for a 2007 Oscar for best documentary. Recent projects include A&E's Runaway Squad (series producer) following the rescue of runaway children, and the 6 part series Garo Unleashed (senior producer) for the Sundance Channel.

Michelle Ferrari – Writer

Michelle Ferrari has been creating innovative, critically acclaimed documentary narratives for over a decade. The writer of nine episodes of PBS’s celebrated American Experience series, she is perhaps best known for the highly-rated Seabiscuit, which was hailed as “essential viewing” and earned Michelle a Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Writing. Additional credits include the Emmy-nominated PBS series Reporting America at War and Out of the Past, winner of the Sundance Film Festival's Audience Award. Michelle also has served as story editor and creative advisor on scores of independent feature documentaries, including The Narcotics Farm, State of Denial, Bombay Eunuch, two-time Emmy nominee Blue Vinyl, and Marina Abramovic: The Artist is Present, winner of the 2012 Berlinale Audience Award.

Rachel Koteen - Co-Producer

Prior to working with Show of Force, Rachel was an Associate Producer on several projects for David Grubin Productions, including the Poetry Everywhere Series. While there she was also the Production Coordinator for the PBS documentary The Buddha. She has an extensive background as a researcher and has worked on political and issue campaigns.

Donna Shepherd — Editor

Donna Shepherd is currently editing Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide, a four-hour special for PBS and ITVS and just completed work on Marina Abramovic: The Artist is Present, premiering on HBO in 2012. She has been editing films for 20 years, including the Emmy-winning 10-part series Carrier for PBS; the six-part series Circus for PBS; and the Emmy-winning Bravo series Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List. She is on the editing faculty of the master’s degree in social documentary program at the School of Visual Arts in New York City.

Howard Sharp — Editor

Howard Sharp edited documentaries in the U.K. for the BBC and C4 before coming to the United States in the early 1990s. Here he has worked on many award-winning PBS shows, including American Experience, Frontline, Wide Angle and Nova. Before Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide, he worked on the series Carrier and Circus for Show of Force.


Presented by ITVS, funded by Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a private corporation funded by the American people, with additional support from the National Endowment for the Arts. Additional program funding provided by the Ikea Foundation, US Agency for International Development (USAID) (in partnership with FHI-360 and C-Change), Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women, the Ford Foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Coca-Cola Foundation, the NoVo Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation, the Seedling Foundation, the Nike Foundation, the United Nations Foundation. 

Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide is not in any way affiliated with or in partnership with the Half the Sky Foundation, a nonprofit organization created in 1998 to enrich the lives and enhance the prospects for orphaned children in China. For more information about the Half the Sky Foundation, visit halfthesky.org.