Gail Prensky, Director
As creator and director of The Jüdische Kulturbund Project, Gail brings to this project a deep and first-hand understanding of the Kulturbund’s spirit and recognizes the issues of living under oppression that continue with artists around the world today. Her interviews with the Kulturbund survivors and current-day artists form the basis of her passion and vision for this project, which is rooted in the Kulturbund’s strong regard for music and the performing arts. In 2001 Gail started researching and gathering material about the Kulturbund. Several years later she brought together select talent, partners, and like-minded supporters to make this project possible and then interviewed artists living under oppression in various countries. Her hope and dream is that the project will serve as a beacon of inspiration to all people.
Gail has written, produced, and directed a broad range of media projects in film, multimedia, books, and exhibitions for clients such as Banner Health’s Alzheimer’s Registry, the New America Foundation, the Pew Charitable Trust, Discovery Communications, National Geographic, the Smithsonian Institution, Time-Life Books, and Glaxo-Wellcome. Through her Meteopa Productions, Gail produces independent projects focusing on advocacy, art, human rights, and music themes, and cultural exchange. She is on the advisory board of the Breaking Barriers Institute to develop films about those who made an impact on civil rights in the United States. Between 2013 and 2016, Gail served on the board of The Welders, the DC-based playwrights’ collective and winner of the Helen Hayes-John Aniello Award for Outstanding Emerging Theatre Company (2016).
Gail is a recipient of the Mandela Washington Fellowship American Impact Award; an Awardee of the Reciprocal Exchange component of the Mandela Washington Fellowship (2019 and 2022); and U.S. State Department Arts Envoy Program Awardee (2019). She is also honored to be an ongoing participant in the Mandela Washington Reciprocal Exchange Alumni Ambassadors Initiative.
Noa Zimmerman, Co-Director
Noa Zimmerman’s career has reflected her belief in the responsibility of artists to push society forward by using their platforms to raise awareness about injustices, and inspire others to take action to create positive change. As a musician and filmmaker, she strives to present herself and her art as authentically as possible and create human to human connections. In May of 2021 she graduated with a double degree from University of Southern California’s Thornton School of Music, studying Popular Music Performance with an emphasis on Songwriting, and Music Production. Upon admittance to USC, Noa was awarded a full-tuition Stamps Scholarship for her leadership, academic achievement, and community engagement. In March 2020, Noa co-founded and became Executive Director of the Artivist Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to amplifying the voices of activist artists, and connecting them with local and global communities to advance social, racial, environmental, and economic justice.
Noa is an Awardee of the Reciprocal Exchange component of the Mandela Washington Fellowship (2022).
James Egan — Producer, ARTIVISTS
Prof. James Egan founded the Immersive Technology and New Media Lab at the Academy Art University where he did extensive research on this exponentially expanding new medium that is changing entertainment, gaming, medicine, education, and museum exhibitions to name just a few of the fields that will be completely disrupted. As Executive Director he produced VR (Virtual Reality) content with Advanced VR makers starting with VR Ideation, to Immersive Visualization, production, and post-production. As a New Media consultant, Prof. Egan has extensive relationships with VR/AR (Augmented Reality ) professionals and experts in this emerging industry as new technological breakthroughs are occurring daily in hardware and software that are redefining the production and post-production workflow. He has also produced and sponsored three VR/AR Summits with industry professionals that have helped explore many of the creative challenges that this new medium has presented. Working with the International Documentary Association, he sponsored the first VR conference in LA focused on VR documentary filmmaking. Prof. Egan was chosen as one of the first International Judges for the first global VR Art Competition sponsored by Red Bull where 45 artists were chosen from around the world to compete using Google Quill. As CEO of Wild of Heart Films, he has produced award-winning documentaries and films that have focused on social issues. He is the producer of the critically acclaimed documentary RAISE HELL: THE LIFE AND TIMES OF MOLLY IVINS (2019).
Monique Zavistovski, Editor
Monique Zavistovski graduated with an MFA in Cinematic Arts from the University of Southern California and holds a BA in Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania. Her work has won awards worldwide, including at Sundance and the Emmys. Her latest project, “RAISE HELL: The Life & Times of Molly Ivins”, premiered at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival and won the Festival Favorites Audience Award at SXSW. Her more recent work includes “The Light In Her Eyes” (a window into a Qu’ran school for girls in Syria, which aired on POV and toured the world with Sundance’s Film Forward series), “Limited Partnership” (Winner 2015 IDA Humanitas Award; Independent Lens), “CITY 40” (2017 Emmy Nominee for Best Investigative Documentary; Netflix; Hot Docs and Sheffield Grand Jury Prize Nominee), “Abortion: Stories Women Tell” (HBO Documentary Films; 2018 Emmy Nominee for Best Social Issue Documentary), “Served Like a Girl” (SXSW; 2017 theatrical release), “The American Meme” (Tribeca and Hot Docs; 2018