James V. Hart (J.V.) hails from Shreveport, Louisiana and grew up in Fort Worth, Texas thriving on drive-in movies and Saturday matinees. He began producing films in the 1970’s, and his first feature film, Summer Run, opened the USA film festival at Southern Methodist University, his alma mater, in Dallas, Texas. After settling in New York City, J.V. began his screenwriting career, writing and producing such celebrated films as Hook directed by Steven Spielberg, Bram Stoker’s Dracula directed by Francis Ford Coppola and Muppet Treasure Island directed by Brian Henson. Other writing and producing credits include Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Sahara, Lara Croft: Tombraider — The Cradle of Life and August Rush. His production of the 20th Century Fox film The Legend of the Leafmen, a collaboration with children’s book illustrator William Joyce, is his first animated epic and is followed by a book series by J.V. and Joyce.
J.V.’s first novel, Captain Hook — Adventures of a Notorious Youth, was published by Laura Geringer Books for Harper Collins and named Top Ten Young Adult Books in 2006 by the American Library Association. Its sequel, Captain Hook — Pirate King, was released in 2011.
“Made by young people from all ethnic origins and cultures, BYkids films make us feel our co-existence across the planet. They’re proof that the arts will save us.”
“BYkids is an extraordinary opportunity for the next generation of cinematic storytellers. It also provides an intimate window into their disparate worlds, and a means of self-expression and support not found elsewhere.”
Karen Goodman’s documentaries have garnered an Academy award (”Strangers No More, 2011″), three previous Academy Award nominations, many Emmys and the Dupont-Columbia Award for Independent Programming. She has received filmmaking grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, National Endowment for the Humanities, The Ford Foundation and the American Film Institute. She has been making documentaries for nearly four decades and is currently working on Season Two of the HBO series MASTERCLASS. She is a partner in the Simon & Goodman Picture Company, based in New York City.
Her documentaries have been broadcast nationally on PBS and HBO, and screened at festivals around the world including Sundance, New Directors/New Films, London, Berlin, Montreal, and St. Petersburg.
Ms. Goodman is a member of the Executive Committee of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ Documentary Branch. She has served as a consultant to the National Endowment for the Humanities Media Program, and as a judge for the Emmy Awards and the DuPont-Columbia Broadcast Journalism Award.
Maryann De Leo is an Academy Award winning filmmaker who directs and produces courageous documentaries of international scope for both film and television. Honored with numerous awards, including two Emmy Awards, an Alfred I. duPont – Columbia University Award, and a CableACE Award, De Leo’s work has premiered at the American Museum of the Moving Image and has been shown at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
Her 2003 documentary, Chernobyl Heart, revealing the devastating effects of radiation on children after the 1986 nuclear accident at Chernobyl, garnered worldwide attention and won Best Documentary Short at the 2003 Academy Awards. De Leo’s other well-known titles include High on Crack Street: Lost Lives in Lowell, Rape: Cries from the Heartland and Bellevue: Inside Out.
De Leo is also an internationally renowned photographer with the Sipa Agency, and runs her own production company, Downtown TV Documentaries. She teaches at the School of Visual Arts graduate program in social documentary.
“This is what life is all about, reaching your hand to others and having the privilege to witness their imagination.”
Marshall Curry is a two-time Academy Award nominated filmmaker based in Brooklyn. He is a cinematographer and editor, and was the director and producer of Street Fight, Racing Dreams, If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front, and Point and Shoot. All of his films have taken top awards at dozens of film festivals, including Sundance and Tribeca, and have played in theaters and on television around the world.
Marshall has been a guest lecturer at Harvard, Duke, Columbia, NYU, and other colleges, and he has served on juries for the International Documentary Association, Tribeca Film Festival, Hot Docs Film Festival, and the Gotham Awards.
Joyce Chopra has produced and directed a wide range of award-winning films, ranging from Smooth Talk, winner of the Grand Jury Prize for Best Dramatic Feature at the Sundance Film Festival, to the A&E thriller The Lady in Question with Gene Wilder. She has received American Film Festival Blue Ribbon and Cine Golden Eagle Awards for her numerous documentaries, including That Our Children Will Not Die, about primary health care in Nigeria, and the autobiographical Joyce at 34, which is in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art.
“When we see the world through the eyes of these courageous young film-makers, we can all learn so much about different cultures throughout the globe and about the universal experiences that unite us.
I am thrilled to become a BYkids mentor to a young girl from India, who has an important story to tell us. As a film director, I have always been drawn to stories about vulnerable young people, from the rebellious teen played by Laura Dern in the fiction film Smooth Talk to the kids I’ve been privileged to work with in documentaries. Gramercy Stories, my most recent documentary, followed the lives of homeless gay and transgender kids in Manhattan, and I was constantly amazed at the courage these young people showed in the face of difficulties most of us would collapse under. BYkids’ mission to have young people from around the globe shape their own film stories so that we may learn from them is truly inspiring. I feel fortunate to be part of it.”
In addition to his active role on the Board and his support of the launch of BYkids, Ric serves as a BYkids Film Mentor. Ric is an award-winning documentary filmmaker, and is best known for his groundbreaking PBS series, New York: A Documentary Film and his documentaries on Eugene O’Neill, Ansel Adams and Andy Warhol.
Sacha Dean Biyan is an international gypsy who speaks five languages and has lived in the US, Canada, Europe, South America and Asia. He holds a Master’s Degree in Aeronautical Engineering and worked for over 10 years as a consultant in the aerospace industry before becoming an award-winning photojournalist and filmmaker. Biyan has shot for Sony Music, Adidas, the Gap and Discovery, and his images have appeared in GQ, Vogue and Marie Claire. He has held solo exhibitions of his works in São Paulo,Florence, Barcelona, Paris, Tokyo,and in Los Angeles as a benefit for Amnesty International. Biyan is the author of two fine art books, Spiritus Mundi, which documents his encounters with remote indigenous tribes in Brazil, Ecuador, Bolivia, Peru, The Philippines, India, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, etc.; and Eccentris, a retrospective of his work in fashion and advertising from 1998-2006.
Anja Baron is an award-winning documentary filmmaker, producer and director whose work has been screened at prestigious festivals worldwide and shown on U.S. and European television to critical acclaim, including two Emmy nominations.
In addition to her documentary work, she has also worked as a correspondent for UNICEF reporting on crises concerning women and children around the world. Her extensive travels have influenced much of her work, giving it a strong multicultural component that covers a wide range of subjects with a focus on human rights particularly in regards to children.
“BYkids lends a voice to the often voiceless. BYkids empowers youth in lasting ways all the while creating an invaluable platform for the global issues of a future generation. In turn, the viewer is not only afforded a rare glimpse into often-marginalized existences but also given an opportunity to see important issues in a new light. Shining such a light on one story often shines a light on the greater whole. The results are genuinely powerful and empowering all at once.
I am honored to be working with BYkids to bring the story of one young Syrian refugee to this wonderful series. Through the eyes of this young man we are able to see and feel the inescapable effects of what has been called the largest refugee crisis since the end of World War II – a crisis that is still ongoing as more refugees are trying to make their way to safety every day.”
Seven-time Emmy nominee Neal Baer was a writer/showrunner for ER; showrunner of the hit NBC series Law & Order: SVU for 11 seasons; and showrunner for Under the Dome for its entire run on CBS. Before his career in television, Neal was a practicing pediatrician and teacher.
Neal traveled to Mozambique in August 2007 to work with 16-year-old Alcides Soares. Our first BYkids youth filmmaker, Alcides tells his story of recreating family after having lost both of his parents to AIDS.
“Storytelling is our basic way of communicating our dreams, our hopes and our fears. Yet many stories go unheard, stories that could move us, stories that could motivate us to take action, because the poor and the disenfranchised too often do not have the technology to tell their personal tales. BYkids gives these youth a voice, by giving them a camera and a mentor. Now, through the work of BYkids, the world will get to see and hear their moving stories. What better way to share my love of storytelling than by helping young people who are aching to share their lives?”