ROJA Productions

ROJA is a Harlem-based media company focusing on dynamic programs for television, museums and new digital formats that elucidate the American experience. ROJA's next project, currently in production, is a people's biography of Martin Luther King, Jr. Its broadcast on The American Experience will coincide with the 75th anniversary of his birth in January 2004.
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Filmmaker Biography

Executive Producer Orlando Bagwell

Senior Producer Jacquie Jones

Series Producer Dale Pierce Nielsen

Program Producers:

Orlando Bagwell and Lulie Haddad ("Race Is/Race Ain't");

John Valadez ("The Divide");

Sindi Gordon ("We're Still Here");

Phil Bertelsen("EveryOther"),Mike Siv,Aram Collier and Spencer Nakasako ("Who I Became"), and Dustinn Craig ("I Belong To This").

Writer Danzy Senna ("EveryOther")

Shola Lynch ("EveryOther"), Sindi Gordon ("I Belong To This"), Jean-Philippe Boucicaut ("We're Still Here")

Associate Producers
Bernardo Ruiz ("EveryOther"), Malinda Campbell ("The Divide"), Amelia Leafaitulagi Niumeitolu, Van Dora Williams, Jahmani Perry ("We're Still Here")

Coordinating Producer Sharon La Cruise

Talent:Featured Writers Eric Liu, Ruben Martinez, John Edgar Wideman, Jane Lazarre


Michael Chin, Steve Ferrier, Vincente Franco, Arthur Jafa, Orlando Bagwell, Harlan Bosmajian, Dustin Craig, Mike Siv & Aram Collier

Sandra Christie, Jean-Philippe Boucicaut, Lewis Erskine, Dominic DeSantis, Mike Siv & Aram Collier

Music: Camara Kambon

Matters of Race
Learn MoreYour ThoughtsFilmmakers
The Divide
Race Is/Race Ain't
We're Still Here
Tomorrow's America

Sindi Gordon and Dustinn Craig
J.T. Takagi

Orlando Bagwell, Executive Producer & Producer/Director, Show 2

A veteran filmmaker of eighteen years, Orlando Bagwell's extensive award-winning and internationally-acclaimed filmography includes: Executive Producer of Africans in America: America's Journey through Slavery, produced for WGBH and nationally broadcast on PBS in October, 1999; Malcolm X: Make It Plain, for The American Experience in 1995; Frederick Douglass: When the Lion Wrote History, for WETA, 1995; two films for the internationally celebrated Blackside Inc. series, Eyes on the Prize, Mississippi: Is This America? and Ain't Scared of Your Jails. He was also the supervising producer on the national PBS series The Great Depression and a staff producer for the national PBS weekly program Frontline from 1988-89. In 1989, Orlando Bagwell founded ROJA Productions, an independent film and television production company and produced its first documentary Roots Of Resistance: A Story of the Underground Railroad, for The American Experience. He served as executive vice president for Blackside, Inc. from 1991 to 1994 and continues today as the president of ROJA Productions.

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Jacquie Jones, Senior Producer

Jacquie Jones is an award-winning writer, director and producer of documentary films. Her credits include producer/director of "Brotherly Love" an episode of the PBS series Africans in America: America's Journey through Slavery. Africans in America has received numerous awards including a Peabody Award in 1999. Jones' credits also include a feature-length documentary From Behind Close Doors: Sex in 20th Century America, which aired on Showtime in 1999 and a series of interstitials for the History Channel titled The World Before Us. This series of 15 shorts looks at arresting moments in international history relying primarily on eyewitnesses filmed on location in nine countries. Her other films include Switched at Birth and the award-winning short Freestyle, a portrait of female rap artists in the San Francisco area. In addition to her filmmaking, Jacquie Jones is a widely published critic of popular culture. She holds a BA in English from Howard University and an MA in documentary filmmaking from Stanford University.

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Dale Pierce Nielsen, Series Producer

Dale Pierce Nielsen has been a vital part of the New York filmmaking community since 1986. She has served as Assistant Director on documentary films such as the Emmy Award-winning A Hymn for Alvin Ailey as well as the critically acclaimed Twilight Los Angeles and Malcolm X: Make It Plain. She began her film career as a production assistant on the feature film, Turk 182, and has since worked on more than 25 major theatrical films as Production Coordinator, Assistant Director and Associate Producer. Those films include Malcolm X, The Best Man, Blair Witch II, Having Our Say, Remember The Titans, One True Thing, The Preacher's Wife, Jungle Fever, 'Mo Better Blues and The Arrangement. Dale is also president of MBali Pictures, an independent film and video production company based in Brooklyn, NY. Dale is a native of Chicago, Ill., a graduate of Vassar College and a member of the Directors Guild of America.

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Lulie Haddad, Supervising Producer & Producer/Director, Show 2

Lulie Haddad has more than ten years experience in documentary film. Prior to joining the Matters of Race team, Lulie's credits include producer/writer/director of Guide My Feet, an episode of the This Far By Faith series produced by Blackside Productions. She has worked on several award-winning PBS series including The Great Depression, America's War on Poverty and "Truman" for The American Experience. She has also worked for ABC News, Wall Street Journal Television and VH-1. Lulie has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Brown University, and is currently pursuing her Masters in Theological Studies at Harvard University.

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Sharon La Cruise, Coordinating Producer

Sharon La Cruise has worked in television and film for fifteen years, both in the corporate and production aspects of the business. She began her television career with ABC Primetime sales, working closely with the account executives and advertising agencies. Sharon has worked for The Faith Project, Blackside Inc, The Coca-Cola Company, the 1996 Summer Olympic Games, and the Cable News Network (CNN). Her credits include: This Far By Faith: African-American Spiritual Journeys, The Life of Zora Neale Hurston, and CNN's Through the Lens, The Road to the White House and The Planetary Police. She has a B.A. in history from Adelphi University, and a M.A. degree in television journalism from New York University.

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John Valadez, Producer/Director, Show 1

John Valadez is an award-winning director who has been producing documentaries for PBS for the last ten years. John directed the critically acclaimed film Passin' It On. The film aired nationally on the PBS series POV. He went on to direct the first hour of the four-hour documentary series Making Peace. John is also a producer for the new PBS series Visiones: Latino Arts and Culture, which will air nationally in 2004 and he is the director of two forthcoming PBS documentaries. He has twice been a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellow, is a Rockefeller Fellow and sits on the Artists Advisory Board of the New York Foundation for the Arts. He is a founding member of the New York Chapter of the National Association of Latino Independent Producers (NALIP) and a graduate of the film program at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts. John has also worked on projects for Carlton UK Television, Frontline, American Masters, CBC, The Learning Channel & HBO.

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Sindi Gordon, Producer/Director, Show 3 & Co-Producer, Show 4

Sindi Gordon is a filmmaker and programmer whose experience in the film industry spans three continents: Africa, Europe, and North America. She has produced documentaries for SABC Television in South Africa, which included an interview with Nelson Mandela. She coordinated the 2nd Johannesburg Film Festival and, while working for Sithengi (Southern African International Film and Television Market), she co-produced the first African Mini INPUT in South Africa. She also coordinated a documentary forum for UNESCO in Zimbabwe. In her native England, Sindi produced the short film Cousins for the British broadcaster, Carlton Television, and co-programmed the seminal Taking Care of Business event at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London.

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Jean-Philippe Boucicaut, Co-Producer/Editor, Show 3 & Editor, Show 1

Jean-Philippe Boucicaut is an Emmy award winning editor and producer with over fifteen years experience in film and television. Jean-Philippe's credits include: Producer/Editor of Liberia: America's Stepchild, a documentary for Grain Coast Productions and PBS, Producer/Editor of Secret Daughter, winner of a National Emmy and a Dupont-Columbia Gold Baton, produced for WGBH and PBS. He has received numerous awards for his work including a Peabody Award, a Cine Golden Eagle Award, a United Press International Award and an Associated Press Award.

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Phil Bertelsen, Producer/Director, Show 4

Phil Bertelsen is an award-winning filmmaker for both his fiction and non-fiction work. His first film, Around the Time, was honored with several awards, including a Student Academy Award for drama and a Wasserman Award as Best Film at NYU where he was a Johnson Scholar and Spike Lee Fellow. His next film, The Sunshine, has screened in numerous festivals and has also won several awards for achievement in documentary. His last film, Outside Looking In, won a Paul Robeson Award for its exploration of transracial adoption among three generations of American families adopting across racial lines since the 1970's. It airs on public television and is a presentation of ITVS. Prior to coming to New York, Phil, who has a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and an M.F.A. in Film from New York University, helped to launch Philadelphia's PBS station WYBE-TV.

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Shola Lynch, Co-Producer, Show 4

Shola Lynch has seven years of experience in documentary film, five of which were working with Ken Burns and Florentine Films on the Peabody Award winning Frank Lloyd Wright and the ten part JAZZ series. She has also worked on the Emmy Award winning Do You Believe in Miracles? The Story of the 1980 US Olympic Hockey Team. Shola is currently producing and directing Chisholm for President '72, a documentary on Brooklyn Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm's run for the Democratic Presidential nomination in 1972 that will air on PBS in 2004. Shola graduated from the University of Texas and also has a master's degree in American History from the University of California, Riverside.

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Dustinn Craig, Producer/Director, Show 4

Dustinn Craig is an enrolled member of the White Mountain Apache Tribe. Dustinn's early work in film and video documents skateboarders on both the White Mountain Apache and Navajo reservations. Dustinn is currently working as an independent producer in Arizona, working primarily for the native communities in his area, and has recently created a re-installation project for the Heard Museum in Phoenix, Arizona. Dustinn's work is in the tradition of documentary filmmaking by and for the people. He and his wife, Velma, currently reside in Tempe, Arizona with their four children Kraig, Chance Michael, Ashlee and Tristan. I Belong to This is Dustinn's first film for national television.

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Spencer Nakasako, Producer, Show 4

Spencer Nakasako is an award winning filmmaker and current Artist-in-Residence at the Vietnamese Youth Development Center where he trains at-risk Southeast Asian youth in San Francisco to make videos about their lives. He produced and directed the Emmy Award-winning film, a.k.a. Don Bonus. His other works include, Kelly Loves Tony, which aired on POV in 1998; Life is Cheap…But Toilet Paper is Expensive, a feature film, co-directed by Wayne Wang, in 1997; and Refugee, an hour-long documentary about a young Cambodian refugee, Adoe "Mike" Siv's, journey back to Cambodia to reunite with his brother and father. He was artist-in-residence at Stanford University in 2003, artist-in-residence at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis in 2001 and recipient of the James D. Phelan Art Award in Video. Spencer has a BA from UC Berkeley, was a Rockefeller Fellow in 1996.

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Mike Siv, Co-Director, Show 4

Mike Siv is a 25-year-old Cambodian American filmmaker from San Francisco. He currently works at the Vietnamese Youth Development Center in San Francisco's Tenderloin District where he trains Southeast Asian youth in video production, and coaches the neighborhood basketball team. He recently completed the film, Refugee, with award-winning filmmaker Spencer Nakasako. Refugee follows Mike and two friends as they return to Cambodia to reunite with their families. It is currently on the festival circuit. Who I Became is his first film.

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Aram Collier, Co-Director, Show 4

Aram Collier first worked with Spencer Nakasako as a high school student in 1996 as part of a youth video workshop in the Tenderloin. The workshop resulted in Tenderloin Stories, a program of four short videos that won several youth video awards, and was broadcast on public television and played at various festivals, including the San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival and Taos Talking Pictures. Collier attended University of California at Santa Cruz where he graduated in 2001 with a B.A. in Film and Digital Media.

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    Matters of Race Series

    Original Music Composed and Arranged By Camara Kambon

    Score recorded by Rick Aoyama @ Inflx Studios

    "Dead Nigga Blvd"
    Sung by: Meshell Ndegeocello/Written by: Me'shell NdegeOcello and Cato Allen/Courtesy: Maverick Records

    The Divide(Part One):

    "I'm so Lonesome I Could Cry"
    Performed by: Ruben Martinez with Los Illegals featuring Joe "City" Garcia and Lupita Dominguez / Written by: Hank Williams/ CD: Crossing Over/ Courtesy of Ruben Martinez, by arrangement with Bug

    "Nuoco" Sung by: Santiago ("Chanta") Vielma Clavel - vocal & guitar/ CD: Mexico: Fiestas of Chiapas & Oaxaca/Courtesy: Elektra Entertainment

    We're Still Here (Part Three):

    "Thru It All"
    Sung by: Native Era

    "Graduation" (Friends Forever)
    Sung By: Vitamin C/CD: More/ Courtesy: Elektra Entertainment

    "Pele Kane"
    Sung by: Maunalua/CD: Kuleana/Courtesy: Koa Records/Lokahi Records

    "Pa Konane"
    Sung by: Maunalua/CD: Kuleana/Courtesy: Koa Records/Lokahi Records

    Lakota Poem: "Keep Going" from The Lakota Way: Native American Wisdom on Ethics and Character/Written by: Joseph M. Marshall III

    EveryOther (Part Four):

    "Half Breed"
    Sung by: Cher/Written by: Al Capps/Mary Dean/ Courtesy: "Sonny & Cher" Show/Paul Brownstein Productions

    I Belong To This (Part Four):

    Sung by: J. Mascis & the Fog/Written by: J. Mascis/ CD: More Light/ Courtesy: Ultimatum Music

    "Free So Free"
    Sung by: J. Mascis & the Fog/Written by: J. Mascis/ CD: Free So Free/Courtesy: Ultimatum Music

    "VC Riff #3"
    "Lone Wolf"
    Catch the Spirit
    "Lost Space Cowboy"
    "1974 Loop for David"

    Performed and Written by: Vincent Craig/ Courtesy: Muttonman Productions
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