Producer and Co-Director
Erin’s production experience ranges from writing and producing for scrappy start-up social enterprises to CNN International and documentary feature films. She’s won numerous film festival awards, two Peabody Awards, and an Emmy. Erin also enjoys curating and producing events, partnerships, and impact campaigns that bring people together to celebrate, collaborate, and educate. You can find IMBA MEANS SING, Erin’s first independent documentary feature film, on Netflix worldwide. Prior to independent filmmaking, Erin served in the Peace Corps in Madagascar, worked as a Writer/Producer at CNN, and most recently worked as the Director of Engagement for Points of Light, President George. H. W. Bush’s foundation. She is a lifelong volunteer, currently focused on NEXUS, the Atlanta BeltLine, and LEAD Atlanta. A multi-passionate soul, Erin also loves traveling and teaching yoga. Fun Clarkston fact: Erin’s been volunteering in Clarkston for over ten years; in fact, her 2nd date with her husband was volunteering with CNN and the Fugees Family in Clarkston.
Co-Director and Director of Photography
Joseph East is a documentary filmmaker. He’s worked nationwide covering subjects as diverse as climate change, animal rights, education, the Junior Olympics, youth arts and more. Joseph directed and shot the feature documentary, I WILL DANCE, which toured on the Southern Circuit and broadcast on PBS.
Joseph has always loved the way storytelling and cinema bring people together from all walks of life. He is drawn to stories that challenge audiences to look closer at people and their common humanity.
Danielle Bernstein is the founder of Clear Films, the full service, story driven production company that uses media to amplify social and environmental struggles affecting our global community. She is an award winning writer, producer, director, and editor of independent film. Committed to film as a form of activism, Danielle’s mission is to positively influence the community around her one film at a time.
Danielle’s directorial debut, When Clouds Clear, attended over 50 film festivals and was the recipient of numerous awards. Her last feature documentary, Imba Means Sing screened at the United Nations, received two IndieFest awards and is distributed in over 37 languages worldwide by Sony Entertainment and Delta, and it is now available worldwide on Netflix. Her current feature project, Homemade, is the recipient of the 2016 Creative Vision Program Grant and will be released in 2017. She is a winner of a Cine Golden Eagle Award, Social Justice Award at the Santa Barbara film festival, recipient of the NYSCA grant, and was Nominated Best Environmental Documentary of the Decade for When Clouds Clear. She is also a Film Fatales and a member of NEXUS.
Danielle and Jason and partners in life and film. Outside of their media endeavors, they have a growing family and are based in Atlanta, Georgia.
Din Blankenship is an architectural designer by training who unexpectedly fell into filmmaking. For over 10 years, Din has used architecture as her tool to elevate and empower overlooked and marginalized communities through the design and construction of affordable housing and educational buildings. While filmmaking is new to Din, the creative process is not.
Din has also designed transitional shelters for refugees and was invited to present her work at the Symposium for the Architecture of Disaster Relief. Having lived and worked in Ugandan Refugee Camps and Internal Displacement Camps, Din enjoys being part of and working alongside refugee communities, so naturally, she feels right at home in Clarkston.
As a co-producer for CLARKSTON, Din wears many hats on the team. Among many things, she is responsible for team management, relationship-building with the Clarkston community, marketing and social media.
Din has a Masters in Architecture with High Distinction from the University of Michigan, where her thesis earned the Thesis Award of Excellence. She also has a Bachelor of Science in Architecture from the University of Virginia. When Din is not working on the film, she can be found hiking with her husband and two insta-famous dogs (check us out @woodfordandwink), reading a good book, or teaching classes at Platesculpt.
Assistant Director & Videographer
Mohua Thakurta is an independent producer who partners with non profits, small business owners and documentary filmmakers to grow and create engaging video content. Mohua, a passionate educator taught and mentored students for six years at the Art Institute of Atlanta from 2010- 2016. Prior to teaching she worked as an AD of various award winning film and television projects and shorts. Since moving to Atlanta in 2001 she has added to her expertise as a producer AD, Director and editor on multitude of projects. In addition to being involved in creating content she volunteers Clarkston based entrepreneurs at the START:ME accelerator program. When Mo is not working on a project she loves to read and spend time with her kids.
With over a decade of combined experience in Technology Innovation, Marketing and Storytelling, Joanie Twersky is an established expert at bridging ideas and communicating across diverse audiences. In addition to her involvement with the CLARKSTON documentary, Joanie currently leads 5G Innovation for AT&T’s Entertainment Group, supporting AT&T’s pivot from a telecommunications company to a Media and Entertainment company. Her role involves collaboration with WarnerMedia on creative concept development for augmented reality, virtual reality, and immersive storytelling products. Joanie’s active projects include a Virtual Reality Story Booth currently slated for display at the WSJ’s 2018 Innovators Awards and Tribeca Film Festival 2019.
As part of the Leadership Team for TEDxAtlanta, Joanie collaborated with Dr. Heval Mohammad Kelli in 2016 on his talk, Invest In Refugees; Invest In America’s Future. That experience inspired her to befriend several families in the Clarkston community and Co-Found New Neighbors Circle in partnership with her husband and Dr. Kelli. In 2017, this work was profiled in a short documentary by Welcoming America.
Clarkston Consultant/Production Assistant
Abdulkadir, an Ethiopian, was raised in the Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kenya, where his parents fled due to Civil War at home. Mohamed oversaw a film which won Best Documentary at the 2013 FilmAid Film Festival. The film, called KAKUMA CAN DANCE, “tells the stories of diverse young people living in Kakuma refugee camp, who are united through their passion for hip hop dancing.” In 2013, Mohamed directed and shot a one-minute piece for UNICEF’s “It’s About Ability Contest.” Mohamed’s film, SHADE LIGHT, was selected as a finalist.
In 2013, Mohamed attended a film and TV training program for young African students at the Mohamed Amin Foundation. When Mohamed returned to the Kakuma Refugee Camp, he worked with aspiring filmmakers on the storytelling skills necessary to advocate for themselves, their communities, and their right to a hopeful future.
Mohamed has lived in Clarkston, Georgia since October, 2015.
From his start in life as a child soldier in the war-torn region of Southern Sudan in the early 1980s, Emmanuel Jal has come through a huge number of struggles during his life to become a successful and acclaimed recording artist and peace ambassador. In 2008, a feature documentary on his life was released, titled WARCHILD winning 12 prestigious film festival awards worldwide. His autobiography of the same name was published the same year. Emmanuel has released five award-nominated studio albums, and has collaborated and performed alongside artists such as Peter Gabriel, Nelly Furtado, Darryl “DMC” McDaniels, and Alicia Keys. Emmanuel co-starred with Reese Witherspoon in the film THE GOOD LIE, which tells the story about the journey of four young Sudanese refugees who win a lottery for relocation to the United States. Emmanuel also appeared as the adult lead in AFRICA UNITED. Jal has received numerous awards for his peace efforts in South Sudan, including recognition from Ban Ki Moon at the UN.
Mary Beth Minnis
A friend’s story brought Mary Beth into the world of documentary filmmaking. What started with a desire to tell her friend’s story, became a true passion for Mary Beth. Striving to bring individual stories of redemption, hope, and truth to the world, she has produced a number of documentary films. Mary Beth is currently an Executive Producer on JUMP SHOT: The Kenny Sailors Story (featuring Kevin Durant, Dirk Nowitzki, and Stephen Curry). She also served as an Executive Producer on TOWER, which won the Grand Jury Prize at the 2016 SXSW Film Festival and won the Critics Choice Award for “Most Innovative Documentary;” TOWER is also short-listed for this year’s Academy Awards. In 2016, Mary Beth was an Associate Producer for MAMA RWANDA, directed by Laura Waters Hinson. In 2015, she Associate Produced IMBA MEANS SING which is now available on Netflix Worldwide, and in 2014, she produced RETURN TO MOGADISHU: REMEMBERING BLACK HAWK DOWN, a documentary short featuring Army Best Ranger Jeff Struecker.
(Portrait by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders)
Pat Mitchell is known for her leadership in the media industry as a CEO, producer and curator. Her career has focused on using media as a force for social change, with a special emphasis on the representation of women’s voices and stories.
Mitchell partners with the TED organization to co-curate and host an annual global TEDWomen conference. Mitchell also advises foundations and corporations on issues of women’s empowerment and leadership development as well as media and governance. She is the chair of the Women’s Media Center and Sundance Institute boards, a founding board member of V-Day, a member of the board of the Acumen Fund, and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.
The first woman president and CEO of PBS, she most recently served as president and CEO of the Paley Center for Media; she is now a senior adviser to the organization. Mitchell is also the former president of CNN Productions, where she executive produced hundreds of hours of documentaries and specials, which received 35 Emmy Awards and five Peabody Awards.
She was inducted into the Broadcasting and Cable Hall of Fame in 2009, named one of the Most Powerful Women in Hollywood by Hollywood Reporter and featured in Fast Company’s special report, The League of Extraordinary Women: 60 Influencers Who Are Changing the World.
Mitchell is a magna cum laude graduate of the University of Georgia with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in English literature (watch the 2012 commencement address she gave at her alma mater). She has taught at the University of Georgia, Virginia Commonwealth University, and at Harvard University’s Institute of Politics.
Stephen Nemeth formed and heads up Rhino Films, the independent film company that originated as a division of iconoclastic record label Rhino Records. He has produced and executive produced dozens of films. His Producer credits include THE SESSIONS (Sundance 2012 Audience Award, 2013 Academy Award nomination for Helen Hunt), C.O.G. (Sundance 2013), FEAR AND LOATHING IN LAS VEGAS, WHY DO FOOLS FALL IN LOVE, WHAT WE DO IS SECRET, SNAKE AND MONGOOSE, RADIO FREE ALBEMUTH and SPACEMAN. He is developing the New York Times bestselling book CONFESSIONS OF AN ECONOMIC HIT MAN as a television series with George Clooney and Smokehouse and is in pre-production on the Robert Johnson biopic, LOVE IN VAIN, and on both Hunter S. Thompson’s THE CURSE OF LONO and THE BATTLE OF ASPEN. Nemeth’s documentary credits include DOGTOWN AND Z BOYS (Sundance 2001 Audience Award), WARDANCE (2008 Academy Award nomination), FUEL (Sundance 2008 Audience Award), FLOW (Sundance 2008), PUMP, the follow-up to FLOW, CLIMATE REFUGEES (Sundance 2010), ROBERT WILLIAMS MR. BITCHIN’, PATRIOCRACY, RIDE WITH LARRY, UNDER THE BOARDWALK: THE MONOPOLY STORY, BEISBOL, PICK UP THE MIC, THE THREE HIKERS, EDUCATION INC, and the upcoming CRUTCH, THE PEACEMAKER, T24, OVERLOAD: AMERICA’S TOXIC LOVE STORY, LOGAN’S SYNDROME, MAGNIFICENT BURDEN and LIFE IS A MOVIE. He serves on the boards of Friends of the Earth, the International Documentary Association, the STAR Ecostation, the EarthX enviromental film festival in Dallas, the Carmel Film Festival, Wheels For Humanity, Children Uniting Nations, and on the advisory board of the Full Frame Documentary Festival, the Woodstock Film Festival, Children Mending Hearts and OneVoice. He is an advisor to the Zurich Film Festival and on the dean’s board of UC Santa Cruz’s School for the Arts. While on the board for Artists for Amnesty, he developed numerous human rights related features and documentaries. Nemeth is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the recipient of the 2013 Global Action Awar the 2009 Vision Award for Documentary Producer and the 2009 Artivist Award for his advocacy and production of socially conscious films. Prior to forming Rhino Films, Nemeth worked as an independent producer and as a motion picture agent at the William Morris Agency. He is a graduate of UCLA and is both an American and British citizen.
Brenda Robinson is an entertainment attorney whose practice focuses on intellectual property and entertainment matters on behalf of clients in the music, film, television, sports and social media industries. Brenda is a proud associate member of The Recording Academy and a Patron of the Arts Circle of Film Independent where she is a voting member of the Spirit Awards. Brenda is also an active philanthropist in the arts and entertainment community through the Chicago Media Project, Sundance Catalyst, and Women Moving Millions. Brenda has acted as production counsel and executive producer for numerous documentary and feature film projects as well as scripted and unscripted television programming. Brenda is a graduate of the University of Michigan and obtained a law degree from the University of Pennsylvania Law School and a certificate in Business & Public Policy from the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School. She splits her time between Chicago and Los Angeles.
Caroline Tucker joins the team with a professional background in Agency Marketing and Advertising and Magazine Publishing sales. After settling in Atlanta to raise her family, Caroline shifted her focus to community service and advocacy by serving on numerous advisory boards in the arts arena (The MC Carlos Museum at Emory, the Atlanta Ballet, Georgia Shakespeare), and more recently, in the youth advocacy areas through her work with GCAPP (Georgia Campaign for Adolescent Power and Potential)
As a theater and music enthusiast, Caroline looks to art and media as a means to raising awareness and action to create and promote change. She has experience in fundraising, and importantly, in bringing together passionate advocates to promote projects that make a difference.