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THE VOTING FILM PROJECT » Production Team

Production Team

mo-roccaMo Rocca (host): A contributor to THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH JAY LENO and CBS SUNDAY MORNING WITH CHARLES OSGOOD, Mo Rocca is known for his offbeat news reports and satirical commentary. A former correspondent for THE DAILY SHOW WITH JON STEWART, on which he appeared for five years, Rocca can be heard regularly on National Public Radio’s hit weekly quiz show WAIT, WAIT…DON’T TELL ME! as well as ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. As the creator and host of AOL’s popular blog Mo Rocca 180° (www.morocca180.com), he provides witty and irreverent observations on everything from Presidential politics to pop-culture news.

Rocca began his career in TV as a writer and producer for the Emmy and Peabody Award-winning PBS children’s series WISHBONE. He went on to write and produce for other kids series and served as consulting editor at the adult men’s magazine PERFECT 10. Doing “pre-school by day and porn by night” helped prepare him for the broad range of topics he’d tackle on THE DAILY SHOW, where his eclectic profiles ranged from a man obsessed with First Ladies to the point that he dresses as Florence Harding, to a husband/wife pet-mummification team. Rocca is a frequent guest on COUNTDOWN WITH KEITH OLBERMANN and LARRY KING LIVE, as well as a judge on IRON CHEF AMERICA. He was a regular on the VH1 retrospective I LOVE THE … series, and served as host of THINGS I HATE ABOUT YOU and WHOA! SUNDAY WITH MO ROCCA. His groundbreaking exposé ALL THE PRESIDENT’S PETS was published by Crown Books.

leslie-farrellLeslie Farrell (producer/director/writer): Emmy-, Peabody-, and two-time duPont-Columbia Award-winning producer/director/writer Leslie D. Farrell has been making documentaries for more than twenty years. She served as Series Producer and Producer/Director of Episode 3 of AFRICAN AMERICAN LIVES, a four-hour documentary series tracing Black history through genealogy and DNA science. The series, hosted by Henry Louis Gates Jr. and featuring Oprah Winfrey, Quincy Jones, and Whoopi Goldberg, premiered nationally on PBS in 2006 and was hailed by “The New York Times” as “the most exciting and stirring documentary on any subject to appear on television in a long time … exquisitely produced and brilliantly conceived.” Farrell is also known for documentaries she created for HBO, SPORTS ON THE SILVER SCREEN and JOURNEY OF THE AFRICAN AMERICAN ATHLETE, both highly successful award-winning films. She began her career at Blackside, Inc. in Boston, where she directed, wrote, and produced BROTHER’S KEEPER as part of the acclaimed national PBS series AMERICA’S WAR ON POVERTY. In subsequent years, she continued making films for PBS, including THE CHALLENGE OF FREEDOM, which aired nationally as part of WNET’s landmark series SLAVERY AND THE MAKING OF AMERICA. Farrell’s work has also been seen on BRAVO, The History Channel, MTV, BET, NBC, and other national outlets. 

bennett-singerBennett Singer (producer/director/writer) is an award-winning New York-based filmmaker/writer with 20 years of experience. His feature-length film BROTHER OUTSIDER: THE LIFE OF BAYARD RUSTIN premiered at Sundance (where it was nominated for the Grand Jury Award), was broadcast nationally on PBS’ P.O.V. series, and went on to garner more than 25 international prizes. It was shown at the Kennedy Center, the United Nations, and for members of Congress, as well as at more than 100 festivals and community screenings in Africa, Asia, Europe, and North America; it has also been used by an array of social-justice organizations including Human Rights Watch, which has shown the film to more than 3,000 high school students. The film was selected to kick off the 2008 documentary season on LOGO/MTV. Singer worked for five years at Blackside, Inc. in Boston, where he was an Associate Producer on the Emmy- and Peabody-winning EYES ON THE PRIZE II and an editor of two books on civil rights history. He served as producer/director for WITH GOD ON OUR SIDE: THE RISE OF THE RELIGIOUS RIGHT and as producer for THE QUESTION OF EQUALITY, both broadcast on PBS. For eight years, he was executive editor of TIME Magazine’s education program, where he produced award-winning teaching materials for a variety of film and television projects, including HBO’s THE LARAMIE PROJECT, UNCHAINED MEMORIES, and JOHN ADAMS. Singer has served as a juror for the Emmy Awards, Cable Ace Awards, and for numerous film festivals.

david-deschampsDavid Deschamps (producer/director/writer) first conceived of the idea for a documentary on America’s election system while serving as Senior Researcher for TIME Inc. and Glencoe Publishing’s Moments in Time, a comprehensive guide to primary source documents from American history for high school and college students. At that time he was amazed at the rich and colorful history of elections in America and became determined to make a film on the subject. A former staff writer for TIME Magazine’s Education Program, Deschamps has edited several political-science anthologies for Pearson Prentice Hall, including a collection of readings on the 2004 presidential election. He studied film scoring at Berklee College of Music and is the co-director of What I Did For Love, a forthcoming feature-length documentary on the joys and struggles that face musicians in America.

joe-friedmanJoseph Friedman (director of photography): Over the past 25 years, Friedman has shot dozens of documentary features and docudramas that have appeared in theaters and on HBO, The Discovery Channel, PBS, The History Channel, CBS, ABC, NBC and BBC. One of his earliest assignments as cinematographer was WE’RE NOT THE JET SET, an unromantic and candid view of a Nebraska farm and ranching family that was produced and directed by Robert Duvall. He shot Duvall’s second feature, ANGELO MY LOVE, which premiered at Cannes and had an international theatrical release. Selected credits include MARTHA & ETHEL (Sundance premiere; Best Documentary, Hamptons Film Festival; theatrical release via Sony Pictures Classics); DEATH BY HANGING (HBO’s American Undercover series); LIFE OF GRIME: NEW YORK (BBC/Discovery); SURPRISE BY DESIGN (Discovery); DALE CHIHULY: PORTRAIT OF A GLASSBLOWER; AFRICAN AMERICAN LIVES (national PBS broadcast); PUT BACK THE STONES (produced by The United Nations); and NEW SCHOOL ORDER (Sundance film festival premiere).

Merril Stern (editor) began her film career in advertising, editing national television commercials for corporate giants like American Express, Coca Cola, and Procter & Gamble. She left Madison Avenue in 1992 and spent a number of years editing independent films. She worked with Academy Award nominee Bill Plympton on his animated as well as live-action features and with internationally renowned artist Cindy Sherman on her film OFFICE KILLER, among other directors. During the past 15 years, she has edited a wide range of documentaries. Among her more than 30 credits are AFRICAN AMERICAN LIVES I and II (Kunhardt Productions/WNET), SLAVERY AND THE MAKING OF AMERICA (WNET), POLITICS AND THE MEDIA and ARE WE SAFER? (New York Times Television), FEDERICO FELLINI (A&E Biography), POWER, PRIVILEGE AND JUSTICE (A&E), ROY COHN/JACK SMITH (Good Machine), QUEER EYE FOR THE STRAIGHT GUY (Nick Davis Productions), Bobby Flay’s BOY MEETS GRILL (Granada Television), THE AMERICAN BREW (Florentine Films), and MY AMERICAN DREAM (a forthcoming verité documentary series about how democracy works in America).

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