Sachi Cunningham is an Assistant Professor of Journalism at San Francisco State University. Previously she was a staff video journalist at the Los Angeles Times, where she covered national and international stories from the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico to the historic El Niño big wave season of 2010. Prior to the Times, Cunningham worked on the staff of the PBS news documentary series Frontline and Frontline / World, where she covered stories around the world, from the first Presidential election in Afghanistan to sex trafficking in Dubai. The Emmys, Webbys and Pictures of the Year International, among others, have honored Cunningham’s work.
A graduate of UC Berkeley’s School of Journalism and Brown University, Cunningham’s stories focus on the ocean environment. Her camera has taken her in the water with 350-pound blue fin tuna and Michael Phelps. With a decade of experience in feature films and commercial productions in Hollywood prior to her career in journalism, Cunningham’s stories are both entertaining and informative. She is a co-founder of reelblue LLC, a media production company with Dr. Jennifer Galvin. An avid surfer, when not crafting stories, Cunningham can be found bobbing in the Pacific with her husband, eyes fixed on the horizon, waiting for the next wave.
Frederick Marx is an internationally acclaimed, Oscar and Emmy nominated director/writer with 35 years in the film business. He was named a Chicago Tribune Artist of the Year for 1994, a 1995 Guggenheim Fellow, and a recipient of a Robert F. Kennedy Special Achievement Award. His film Hoop Dreams played in hundreds of theatres nationwide after winning the Audience Award at the Sundance Film Festival and was the first documentary ever chosen to close the New York Film Festival. It was on over 100 “Ten Best” lists nationwide and was named Best Film of the Year by critics Roger Ebert, Gene Siskel, Gene Shalit, and Ken Turran and by the Chicago Film Critics Association. Ebert also named it Best Film of the Decade. It is one of the highest grossing non-musical documentaries in United States history.
Having worked for a time as an English and creative writing teacher, Marx began his movie career as a film critic, and has worked both as a film distributor and exhibitor. He has also traveled extensively. He’s lived in Germany, China, and Hungary. He’s traveled repeatedly through Western and Eastern Europe, North Africa and Himalayan India. With a B.A. in Political Science and an MFA in filmmaking, Marx has coupled his formal education with a natural gift for languages, speaking German and some Mandarin-Chinese. His interest in languages and foreign cultures is reflected in PBS’ international human rights program Out of the Silence (1991), the widely acclaimed personal essay Dreams from China (1989), and Learning Channel’s Saving the Sphinx (1997). He consulted on Iranian-Kurdish director Bahman Ghobadi’s feature Turtles can Fly (2004) and was a teacher of renowned Thai feature filmmaker Apichatpong Weerasethakul. His films are distributed throughout the web, on Amazon, and elsewhere. Having dedicated his life to the making and promotion of independent films, Marx, a true maverick in the increasingly commercialized world of “independent cinema,” continues to provide a voice of artistic and social integrity.
Associate Professor Joseph McBride, who has taught at SFSU since 2002, has written or edited sixteen books. They include the critically acclaimed biographies Frank Capra: The Catastrophe of Success, Steven Spielberg: A Biography, and Searching for John Ford; three books on Orson Welles; and the Howard Hawks interview book Hawks on Hawks. In 2012, McBride’s book Writing in Pictures: Screenwriting Made (Mostly) Painless was published by Vintage Books (New York) and Faber and Faber (London). Many of his books have been published in foreign editions; the French edition of Searching for John Ford, A la recherche de John Ford, won an award in 2008 from the French film critics’ association as Best Foreign Film Book of the Year. McBride was a reporter, reviewer, and columnist for Daily Variety in Hollywood for many years. His screenwriting credits include co-writing the cult classic punk rock musical Rock ’n’ Roll High School and five American Film Institute Life Achievement Award specials on CBS-TV. He has received a Writers Guild of America Award, four other WGA Award nominations, two Emmy Award nominations, and a Canadian Film Awards nomination. He spent six years acting for Welles as a film critic in the still-unfinished film The Other Side of the Wind, for which he wrote his part with the director.
Jesse Moss is the founder of Mile End Films, a San Francisco based production company. He is currently producing, directing and photographing an independent feature documentary set in the oil fields of North Dakota. And and he recently produced an hour long documentary about hard core Civil War re-enactors for National Geographic’s Explorer series, which aired on the NatGeo Channel in May 2012. Most recently, he produced and directed Full Battle Rattle, about life inside the US Army’s Iraq simulation in California’s Mojave Desert. The film premiered at the 2008 Berlin International Film Festival, won the Special Jury Prize at the SXSW Film Festival, and premiered theatrically at New York’s Film Forum. It is currently airing on the National Geographic Channel. His other films include Speedo: A Demolition Derby Love Story, which garnered numerous festival awards, critical raves and aired on PBS’s acclaimed POV series. The remake rights to “Speedo” were optioned by Warner Bros. Pictures and Producer Ed Saxon in 2004. His first documentary, Con Man, about an Ivy League impostor, was commissioned by HBO, and subsequently optioned by Paul Giamatti’s production company, Touchy Feely Films. He also produced William Kunstler: Disturbing the Universe, a documentary about the legendary radical lawyer, directed by Sarah and Emily Kunstler. The film premiered at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival and was released theatrically by Arthouse Films the same year. It subsequently launched PBS’s POV series in 2010. He is also completing series of short films about wheelchair provision in the developing world for the World Health Organization (WHO) and working with the Department of Veterans Affairs on videos related to the treatment of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) among military veterans. Since founding Mile End Films in 1999, he has also produced public health media projects on HIV prevention, bullying, and teen drinking for the Centers for Disease Control and the National Institutes of Health.
Prior to establishing his own production company, Moss worked as a producer for Academy Award winner Barbara Kopple and a speechwriter on Capitol Hill. He has been a fellow of the MacDowell Colony and the Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program, and was named one of 25 New Faces of Independent Film by Filmmaker Magazine in 2003. He graduated from the University of California at Berkeley.
Jim Nikas is a San Francisco native, he is a co-founder, curator of the New World Prints Collection www.newworldprints.com. Privately held, New World Prints houses one of the largest collections of works by José Guadalupe Posada and Manual Manilla in the United States. With a mission of preservation and education regarding the collection, Mr. Nikas was honored to curate an exhibition in 2010 sponsored by the Consul General of Mexico of San Francisco celebrating the Bicentenario of Mexican Independence and Centenario of the Mexican Revolution. Sponsored by Consejo Nacional para la Cultura y Las Artes (CONACULTA) of Mexico, Mr. Nikas was also invited as guest curator to exhibit a homage to JG Posada at the Centro Cultural Ignacio Ramirez Bellas Artes, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. He participated as a contributor in the Joint Bicentennial-Centennial Mexican Exhibition of the University of California Bancroft Library and Stanford University Sept. 13 – Dec. 31, 2010. In 2011/2012, the collection loaned material for the México: Política y Poética exhibition celebrating the country’s 200th anniversary of independence and 100th anniversary of its revolution at San Francisco State University.
Mr. Nikas is a co-producer for the Spanish edition of The Forgotten Eagles, a documentary about Mexico’s famed 201 Squadron directed by Victor Mancilla and is working on two documentary film projects with Mr. Mancilla: ART and Revolutions: The Collaboration of JG Posada and A. Vanegas Arroyo and Growing Dreams: Immigrant Successes in Mexican-American Wineries.
After graduating from SFSU with a Baccalaureate in Geology, Mr. Nikas worked as an exploration geologist for the Standard Oil Company of Ohio. He later founded GeoVerde Corp, a business advisory firm. He has served on a variety of public and private boards and is a former board member of the non-profit Coro Hispano de San Francisco. He divides his time between San Francisco, CA and San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.
Professor Greta Snider is an experimental filmmaker. Her earlier work on 16mm includes a collection of audio and visual experiences that combines photography, found footage, and her own experiences of the San Francisco punk scene in the early 1990s. Her work includes experiments with simultaneous soundtracks (Blood Story, 1990), engaging personal accounts of a scraped-together journey with friends (Portland, 1996), and an audio travelogue of the San Francisco punk scene. Professor Snider’s more recent work includes, in collaboration with Johunna Grayson, a series of slide show projections comprised of hand-processed photographs and stereoscopic images. The series is described as an update on the ‘campy Viewmaster format’, riffing on the concept of the travelogue to present the unseen and underground aspects. Subjects range from forgotten aspects of the everyday (“old man bars”, flowers, parts of the body) to the extreme (a Viewmaster series of atomic test blasts). Snider’s films explore the importance of small memories, retrieving pieces of ephemera from the underground and re-presenting them on screen.