Chris Rizzo is a New York based film editor, who has contributed to a variety of long form and commercial projects. Chris has worked with directors including Alex Gibney, Martin Granger and Earle Sebastian, to name a few. Chris joined Final Cut New York in 2016, and has edited campaigns for Comcast, HBO, Subaru and Amazon RED. Additionally, he was an editor on ‘Stray Dolls’, a narrative feature from director Sonejuhi Sinha. He lives in the Bronx with his wife and daughter.
“It’s been an incredible opportunity to work with BYkids and to contribute to Rinzin’s story. Bhutan is a fascinating and beautiful country, and documenting Rinzin’s spiritual discovery has been a deeply moving and rewarding experience.”
Cat Papadimitriou is a filmmaker born and based in New York City. Her first narrative feature NIA ON VACATION won the Orpheus Award for best picture at the London Greek Film Festival in 2020 and she is currently in development on her second feature. Cat has been an integral part of the production team of past BYkids films, including MY BEAUTIFUL NICARAGUA and FIRE IN OUR HEARTS. She looks forward to many more.
“It’s somewhat unusual that a teenager has a hard time talking about themselves, so helping Rinzin tell this story was uniquely challenging. That this film is set in a Buddhist country with someone like Rinzin makes it unlike any other film I have been a part of, and I’m so excited to share it with the world.”
Hollis Meminger is a renowned cinematographer with numerous film and television credits such as: The Blacklist (NBC), Narcos (Netflix) and Younger (TVLand). He is also a passionate documentarian, focusing on projects which feature the marginalized community. He is currently working on a sequel to the Academy Award Nominated film, Streetwise. Meminger is a recent graduate and now alumni advisor to the Presidential Leadership Scholars Program, and founded the Bridgebuilder Cinematic Arts Program, where he teaches filmmaking to high school students in some of the roughest neighborhoods in the country.
Zuberoa Marcos strongly believes in the power of science, education and storytelling to change the world. She is a producer and director known for her ability to capture extraordinary stories that unravel the complexity of our universe with simplicity, insight and beauty for a wide range of audiences. She has created highly-successful documentaries and shows for TV, short films and digital series that have reached over one billion people globally and have garnered her over 30 international awards. Her 2015 documentary series “Roman Engineering” won the coveted Bronze World Medal at the New York Festivals TV & Film Awards, as well as multiple recognitions for its visual effects, cinematography, script and educational value. Before her career in television Zuberoa was a scientist doing research in the field of molecular biology.
“Many people empowered me to be who I am. With BYkids now I have the opportunity to do the same with a young person using the art of storytelling, my passion, and I can’t think of a more meaningful mission. Young people are key. Their aspirations and achievements will shape the future. The act of telling one’s story is, itself, an act of self-empowerment. But it can also inspire and change others by watching real stories of overcoming struggles with fear, with lapses of confidence, or with cultural norms. Sharing stories of personal triumph has the potential to give hope, to inspire, to improve lives and that’s what the world needs more than ever. That’s why I’m thrilled to be part of the BYkids team.”
Chiemi Karasawa is an award-winning documentary director/producer who founded Isotope Films and has made Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me, The Betrayal: Nerakhoon (Academy Award Nominee, Emmy Award Winner), Billy The Kid, and Blue Note Records: Beyond the Notes (premiering at Tribeca Film Festival in 2018). She has worked with notable directors including Spike Jonze, Jim Jarmusch, Sam Mendes, Stephen Frears and Martin Scorsese as a Script Supervisor.
Elizabeth Hummer is a producer, director and educator. Her work has received two Emmy Awards and four nominations in children’s programming and five nominations for fashion content. Projects span production of a live after-school show for teenagers to covering fashion for Condé Nast. She has worked for Sesame Workshop, Nickelodeon, PBS (Cyberchase, In the Mix), and MTV, giving kids cameras to help them tell their stories.
For BYkids, Elizabeth mentored Ndèye Fatou Fall for her film “Walk on My Own”, capturing the voices of a diverse group of women – young and old – working to end child marriage and FGC (female genital cutting) in their Senegalese village. The film has won the gender equity prize at the 2020 Prix Jeunesse and is a finalist in the youth division of the Japan Prize.
Elizabeth also helped produce “Poet Against Prejudice” about Islamophobia, bullying and immigration, by mentoring 19-year-old filmmaker, Faiza Almontaser in the final scenes of the film and supervising post production.
Elizabeth has served on the board of the Children’s Media Association, is on the Board of Trustees of the Shelburne Museum in Vermont and is a leader of Harlem fifth graders with Sierra Club ICO’s nature excursions.
“Youth never cease to amaze me with their innate wisdom and adaptability to a world in constant motion. Mentoring young filmmakers with BYkids gives me the opportunity to amplify their individual voices and help them feel empowered to continue using them.”
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.”
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.”