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Filmmaker Biographies

Richard Berge (Writer/Director/Producer) is a San Francisco-based filmmaker who has produced documentaries for PBS, Showtime, A&E, and others. With director Barry Levinson, he produced Yesterday’s Tomorrows, a documentary for Showtime that examines the human obsession with predicting the future. His other credits include Sing Faster: The Stagehands’ Ring Cycle, a behind-the-scenes look at Wagner’s Ring Cycle directed by Jon Else, and SPARK!, a weekly public television series about the arts in the San Francisco Bay Area. He has a Masters degree in Documentary Film from Stanford University.

Bonni Cohen (Writer/Director/Producer) is a founder of Actual Films in San Francisco and filmmaker for PBS, BBC, and Arte. She produced Wonders are Many, a documentary about the making of the Peter Sellars and John Adams opera, Doctor Atomic, which will air on the PBS series Independent Lens in December 2008. Before The Rape of Europa, Cohen co-produced Democracy Afghan Style about Afghanistan’s constitutional process for PBS and ARTE. Her other credits include The New Heroes, a PBS series hosted by Robert Redford, about social entrepreneurs around the world; The Nobel: Visions of Our Century, a chronicle of the first100 years of the Nobel Prize; Eye of the Storm, a verité portrait of United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan, and They Drew Fire, a portrait of the combat artists of World War II. She has a Masters degree in Documentary Film from Stanford University.

Nicole Newnham (Writer/Director/Producer) is a documentary filmmaker for PBS, National Geographic, Discovery, and BBC. She directed Sentenced Home, the Emmy-nominated film for PBSís Independent Lens about three Cambodian refugees deported back to Cambodia after 9/11. Her other credits include Skin, a documentary for PBS and National Geographic about the science and culture of human skin; They Drew Fire, a portrait of the combat artists of World War II; and Unforgettable Face, a Holocaust story that screened at the Sundance Film Festival about a sixteen-year-old woman awaiting execution and the two soldiers who liberated her. She has a Masters degree in Documentary Film from Stanford University.

Jon Shenk (Director of Photography) is a documentary filmmaker, cinematographer, and founder of Actual Films in San Francisco. He co-directed and photographed Lost Boys of Sudan, winner of an Independent Spirit Award in 2004. He co-directed and photographed Democracy Afghan Style, a PBS/Arte film about the post-war constitutional process in Afghanistan. He produced and photographed segments for The New Heroes, a PBS series about social entrepreneurs. He directed and photographed The Beginning about the making of Star Wars: Episode I. He recently wrote, produced and photographed the Emmy Award-winning “Blame Somebody Else” for the PBS series, AIR. Shenk has produced and photographed many documentaries for PBS, A&E, Bravo, CBS, NBC, the BBC, and National Geographic, and he has been nominated twice for Emmys for his cinematography.

Josh Peterson (Editor) is a freelance editor based in the San Francisco Bay Area, where he has been cutting documentaries, corporate pieces and independent features since 1993. His clients include Lucasfilm, the NewsHour with Jim Lehrer and the Kenwood Group. Josh’s work has appeared on PBS, ABC, the Sci-Fi Channel, U.S. and international film festivals and in theatrical release. He graduated from Harvard in 1991 with an honors degree in History.

Marco d’Ambrosio (Original Score) is a composer, producer, trumpet player and all-around noise wrangler. He has scored numerous award winning films, documentaries and live theatre projects including the anime hit Vampire Hunter D Bloodlust, Haiku Tunnel, the Emmy winning documentary Blink, and recently Emmy nominated Runners High for PBS and Red Diaper Baby for the Sundance Channel. In 2005, Marco was one of six accomplished composers awarded a fellowship from the Sundance Institute.The Rape Of Europa is the fifth project Marco has scored for Actual Films.

Joan Allen (Narrator)
Three-time Oscar nominee Joan Allen is one of the film world’s busiest actresses. In 2000, she was nominated for a Golden Globe, a SAG Award, an Independent Spirit Award and an Academy Award for Best Actress for her starring role in The Contender. For her role in 1996 as Pat Nixon in Oliver Stone’s Nixon, she received an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress and won 7 critics association awards, including the L.A. Film Critics Association and the National Society of Film Critics Awards. Allen received her second consecutive Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination in 1997 for her role in Arthur Miller’s The Crucible. She has appeared in numerous other feature films including The Upside of Anger, The Bourne Supremacy, Pleasantville, and The Ice Storm.

Lynn H. Nicholas (Author, The Rape of Europa)
Lynn H. Nicholas was educated in the United States, England, and Spain, received her B.A. from Oxford University and, upon her return to the United States, worked for several years in the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. While living in Belgium in the early 1980’s, she initiated what would become 10 years of research for her first highly acclaimed book. The Rape of Europa was a winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award. She was elected to the Légion d’Honneur by the government of France, and in 2005 released her second book, Cruel World: The Children of Europe in the Nazi Web. Ms. Nicholas and her husband live in Washington, D.C.

Robert Edsel (Co-Producer) is author of Rescuing Da Vinci, the companion photographic history. He began his career in the oil and gas exploration business. In 1996 he moved to Europe to pursue his interests in the arts. After settling in Florence, where he developed an even greater passion for art and architecture, he spent three renovating a villa and its gardens while living amidst the works of the Great Masters. While standing on the Ponte Vecchio one day, he looked towards the Ponte Santa Trinita and wondered how all the monuments and great works of art survived the devastation of World War II? He wrote Rescuing Da Vinci and served as co-producer of The Rape of Europa to find answers to that question.

David Davis (Executive Producer for Oregon Public Broadcasting)
David Davis is Vice President for National Production at Oregon Public Broadcasting, one of the top producing stations in the PBS system. With more than thirty years of experience in film and television, he is a long-time producer and executive producer of documentary series and specials for public television. He has three times won a National Emmy for documentary television production, in addition to the George Foster Peabody Award, The Robert F. Kennedy Award, the Cine Golden Eagle, and the Ohio State Award.

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