Photo by Marco Anelli © 2010
Matthew Akers – Director + Director of Photography
Akers is the Director and Cinematographer of MARINA ABRAMOVIĆ THE ARTIST IS PRESENT, a feature documentary about the legendary performance artist that will have its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival and air on HBO in 2012.
He was the cinematographer of the award winning documentary film LEMON, about the pioneering poet, three-time felon, and one-time Tony award winner Lemon Andersen.
Akers produced and was the cinematographer of CIRCUS, a six-part documentary series that aired in November 2010 on PBS.
Matthew was a producer and a camera operator on CARRIER, the 10-part Emmy Award-winning PBS television series that premiered in April 2008.
In addition, he has been the cinematographer of numerous other feature documentaries including BACK IN THE HOOD: GANG WAR II, HEIR TO AN EXECUTION and ELAINE STRITCH: AT LIBERTY, all for HBO.
Jeff Dupre – Producer + Co-Director
Dupre conceived and is producer and co-director of MARINA ABRAMOVIĆ THE ARTIST IS PRESENT a forthcoming feature documentary on the legendary performance artist Marina Abramović that will air on HBO in June 2012.
Jeff and Maro Chermayeff are partners in Show of Force, a film and television production company. Show of Force is currently producing HALF THE SKY, a 4 hour documentary series for PBS based on the eponymous book by the Pulitzer Prize winning New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn.
To commemorate their 50th Anniversary, Amnesty International recently commissioned Jeff to direct and produce AI50, which manages to condense the organization’s illustrious history into a 15 minute short film.
Dupre and Chermayeff, are the executive producers, creators and directors of CIRCUS, a six-part documentary series that aired in November 2010 on PBS. The New York Times called it “beautifully filmed,” “truly affecting” and “quietly addictive.” And asked readers to “think of it as investing six hours in an elegant eavesdrop-on-our-family reality show that puts all the noisy, obnoxious examples of that genre to shame.” Entertainment Weekly said that “running away and joining the circus has never seemed less glamorous—or more vividly thrilling and real. What’s fascinating here is the deeply empathetic storytelling.”
He was one of the producers of CARRIER, the Emmy Award-winning ten-part documentary series that premiered on PBS in April 2008 to widespread critical acclaim. Entertainment Weekly called the series “honest and engrossing” and said it is “mandatory viewing.” Newsday described it as “frank and intimate, hard-hitting and heart-rending.”
Dupre produced BROADWAY: THE AMERICAN MUSICAL, Michael Kantor’s six-part series that premiered on PBS in October 2004 to widespread critical acclaim. Variety called the series “engrossing” and “illuminating” and said “this lovingly crafted six-part series is in itself a milestone.” The series won the 2005 Emmy Award for Outstanding Non-Fiction Series.
His directorial debut, OUT OF THE PAST, won the Audience Award for Best Documentary at the 1998 Sundance Film Festival. The New York Post called Out of the Past “eye opening and moving” and The New Yorker described it as “an emotionally textured treatise on alienation and marginalization which is intelligent and entertaining.” The film also garnered the Audience Award at Outfest ’98; won a GLAAD Media Award for Best Documentary of 1998 and aired on PBS in October 1998.
Maro Chermayeff – Producer
Maro is a producer, director and former television executive whose numerous documentary films and television programs have toured the world in prestigious festivals (Sundance Telluride, London, Berlin), played theatrically, broadcast on prime time television and won multiple awards. She has made films and event television series for PBS, HBO, A&E, TLC, Bravo, Discovery, France 2 and Channel 4 UK. Maro is Founder and Chairman of the MFA Program in Social Documentary at The School of Visual Arts in New York City and is a former faculty member of NYU’s Graduate School of Film and Television.
Maro is currently Executive Producer and Project Director of HALF THE SKY, a groundbreaking transmedia initiative based on the book HALF THE SKY: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide by the Pulitzer Prize winning NY Times columnist Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn. At the heart of HALF THE SKY will be a multi-part documentary series for public television. The series follows Kristof and WuDunn and six activist actresses-- Eva Mendes, Olivia Wilde, Meg Ryan, America Ferrera, Gabrielle Union and Diane Lane – to nine countries in the developing world. Utilizing the PBS broadcast as well as an extensive website, games and education modules, HALF THE SKY is poised to tip the scales and create a movement that empowers women and girls around the globe through individual stories of courage and overcoming adversity. Narrated by George Clooney, HALF THE SKY will air on PBS in the Fall of 2012 and will also be distributed internationally.
With her partner Jeff Dupre, Maro is producer of the feature documentary MARINA ABRAMOVIĆ, THE ARTIST IS PRESENT, which will premiere at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival the broadcast on HBO in 2012. She also recently produced and co-directed with Micah Fink the feature documentary MANN v. FORD that aired in July 2011 on HBO. In 2010 she directed and produced with Christine Le Goff the feature documentary PARASOMNIA that premiered in Nov 2010 on France 2.
Maro and Jeff are the executive producers, creators and directors of CIRCUS, a six-part documentary series that aired in November 2010 on PBS. Maro was co-creator, an executive producer and director, and Jeff the producer of the Emmy Award-winning 10-hour PBS television event CARRIER that premiered in April 2008 to success both critically and in the ratings, with close to five millions of viewer on broadcast, download and dvd sales. In 2001-2002, she was a producer and director of the 6-part multi award-winning PBS series FRONTIER HOUSE for Thirteen/WNET and Channel Four UK. FRONTIER HOUSE is one of the highest-rated programs in the history of PBS. In 2002, she produced, wrote and directed the feature documentary special ROLE REVERSAL for A&E. In 2000, she produced, directed and wrote the 2-hour feature documentary AMERICAN MASTERS: JUILLIARD that aired as part of the Emmy Award-winning PBS series AMERICAN MASTERS. She is co-author of the companion book, JUILLIARD, published by Harry N. Abrams, Inc. In 1998, she produced, directed and edited the feature length documentary THE KINDNESS OF STRANGERS. Produced in conjunction with James Redford and Christine Le Goff, the film premiered at the 1998 Telluride Film Festival and aired on HBO in October 1999. In 1997,Maro produced and edited NASHVILLE: CROSSING THE LINE for the award winning series TRAUMA: LIFE IN THE ER for New York Times Television. Over the last ten years, she has worked as a consultant and editor on more then fifteen one-hour CHARLIE ROSE specials. In her early career Maro worked in feature and trailer promotion as a staff member of R/Greenberg and Associates and The Kanew Company.
Additionally, from 2002 to 2004, Maro served as a senior programming executive and network consultant for A&E Television Network, and was nominated for the Emmy in this position. She is partner and co-owner with Jeff Dupre of the New York-based production company Show of Force.
E. Donna Shepherd – Editor
Donna is currently editing Half the Sky, a four-hour Independent Lens special for PBS and ITVS and just completed work on "Marina Abramović The Artist is Present" premiering on HBO in the 2012. She has been editing films for the last twenty years including the Emmy Award-winning 10-part series CARRIER and the 6-part series CIRCUS, both for PBS. She also edited the Emmy Award-winning Bravo series, "Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List." She is currently on the editing faculty of the Masters in Social Documentary Program at the School of Visual Arts in New York City.
Francesca von Habsburg – Co-Producer
Born in Switzerland in 1958, Francesca von Habsburg is founder and chairman of Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary. Her studies lead her from Switzerland to London where she studied art at St. Martin’s School of Art and History of Modern Art at the ICA, as well as studying acting in London New York and Los Angeles at the Lee Strasberg institute. In 1989, von Habsburg became chief curator of special exhibitions of the Thyssen-Bornemisza collection at the Villa Favorita in Lugano. In 1991, she founded ARCH Foundation, which is dedicated to the preservation and restoration of cultural heritage. She received the Merit Award in Gold of the province of Vienna in November 2009 for her cultural engagement in Vienna.
By launching the Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary foundation (T-B A21) 2002, in Vienna. Francesca von Habsburg, daughter of the Baron Hans Heinrich Thyssen-Bornemisza (founder of Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza in Madrid) represents the fourth generation of the Thyssen family’s philanthropic and collecting spirit. The foundation is committed to support the production of contemporary art and is particularly known for its active engagement in commissioning and disseminating unconventional projects that defy traditional disciplinary categorizations. Beyond the more than 500 artworks in the collection T-B A21 supports the production of art in a variety of formats, including projects that are architectural, site-specific, or performative, keeping the collection firmly in touch with the ever-diversifying languages of contemporary art.
“The artist in present” is the second film that the foundation has co-produced. In 2007 Francesca von Habsburg also produced a documentary film called “The Sun Behind the Clouds” which offered an insight to the numerous positions that have developed over the last decades between Tibet, the exiled Tibetan community, the Dalai Lama and the Chinese Leadership have mounting over the “Tibetan Issue”. Amongst many others this film won the Vaclav Havel Award at the One World Human Rights Documentary Film Festival in Prague 2010, the Silver conk at the Bombay film festival and the audience choice at the Palm Beach film festival.
Through THYSSEN-BORNEMISZA ART CON]TEMPORARY Francesca von Habsburg is expressing her vision to act as an protagonist of transformation, to participate actively in the interpretation of our environments and our social space and to create a new provocative space of interdisciplinary dialogue and engagement in the creative process.