Category: Mentors

Joyce Chopra

January 11, 2016

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.”

Ric Burns

January 11, 2016

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.

Camilla Becket

Camilla Becket

January 11, 2016

Camilla Becket is co-owner of Becket Films, an independent production company based in California and Australia. She produced and directed the multi-award-winning documentary, The Seeds of Vandana Shiva, about the life of eco-activist Dr. Vandana Shiva.

Previously, she co-produced the award-winning Sons of Africa, about the sons of East African leaders Idi Amin and Julius Nyerere, who climbed Kilimanjaro on a historic peace climb between their two nations. She also directed an award-winning film about childhood epilepsy and co-produced nine films for the Ecumenical Patriarch of the Orthodox Church (The Green Patriarch) who brought together religious leaders, scientists and journalists to focus on ecologically threatened water bodies around the world.

“It was incredibly rewarding to witness Diya’s growing interest in filmmaking, evolving clarity around the story she wanted to share and emerging confidence in her own voice. Diya’s life experience is special, as she lives in a way we could all aspire to. She shows us that it is possible to live a modern life with a small ecological footprint and with respect to the natural world on which we all depend.”

Anja Baron

Anja Baron

January 11, 2016

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 on another film. When I left Berlin 30 years ago, there was hardly any Jewish life or community in Berlin to speak of. Coming back to this city after all these years — and after spending most of my adult life in New York and marrying a Jewish man — I am profoundly touched by the discovery that Jewish life is once again blossoming in Berlin. Mentoring a young Jewish man in the filmic exploration of Germany’s dark history while also exploring new horizons will be a profoundly moving experience for us both — and possibly help us navigate the many layers of the ongoing relationship between Germans and Jews.”

Mentor Rom Barnea

Rom Barnea

January 11, 2016

Rom Barnea is a Tel Aviv-based multidisciplinary cultural entrepreneur, filmmaker, photographer, social activist, actor and curator.

He is the co-founder and Creative Director of Pendulum, a creative agency aimed at social causes. He is also founder of Fish out of Sea – a global refugee photography initiative. Rom graduated from the Sam Spiegel Film & Television School in Jerusalem and the Hasifa School for Video-therapy.

Rom has vast experience in creating impact-driven content. His unique work method consists of working for and with vulnerable communities. He specializes in creating with refugees, people with special needs, youth-at-risk and NGO workers.

His work is directed at creating storyteller ambassadors from within the community, fostering a network of changemakers who are able to tell their own stories in a captivating, thought and emotion stirring manner.

Dr. Neal Baer

January 11, 2016

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?”