Meet our production team
Producer and Director: Brigid Maher
BRIGID MAHER is a filmmaker and tenured, associate professor of Film and Media Arts Division in the School of Communication at American University. Her previous documentary, Veiled Voices, focuses on the phenomenon of Muslim women religious leaders in Islam. Veiled Voices is distributed by Typecast Releasing in the United States and has screened on over 150 public television stations and three national networks. Al Jazeera Network recently acquired the film for broadcast in the Middle East and North Africa. The film has additional international distribution through TVF International and has screened in numerous international festivals in the United States and abroad. Maher won a Fulbright Senior Award to teach broadcast media in Lebanon in the spring of 2005.
Executive Producer: Ricki Lake
From acting and producing, to dancing her way into the hearts of television audiences, Emmy Award winning Host Ricki Lake is a pop culture icon who has built a career on her graciously candid sensibility and her authentic, relatable nature.
Ricki Lake’s legacy and perhaps her greatest love is her role as an independent filmmaker. Her award-winning documentary The Business of Being Born debuted at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2007. Lake worked closely with filmmaker Abby Epstein on the project, which resonated with audiences, striking up a conversation about a subject that is sometimes considered taboo. Declared a film that ‘should be seen by every pregnant woman in America’, it has also inspired a rise in homebirth rates and an increase in midwife practices.
Lake is again collaborating with Abby Epstein and they are currently in production on two documentaries; Sweetening The Pill, about hormonal birth control and Weed The People, about medicinal cannabis. Both films are slated for late 2015 release.
Lake competed on the 13th season of “Dancing with the Stars,” where she partnered with three-time champion Derek Hough, making it to the finals. She recently performed with The New York Pops at Carnegie Hall.
At the age of 24, Lake entered the living rooms of millions of television viewers with her daily talk show, “The Ricki Lake Show”. After 11 successful seasons, “The Ricki Lake Show” wrapped in 2005. Lake returned in 2012, and won the Emmy for Outstanding Talk Show Host.
The world first met Lake in 1988 as Tracy Turnblad in John Waters’ film Hairspray. Her additional film credits include Cry-Baby, Serial Mom, Working Girl, Last Exit To Brooklyn, and Mrs. Winterbourne. Television credits include “Babycakes”, “China Beach”, “The King of Queens”, “Matters of Life & Dating”, and “Loving Leah”.
Executive Producer: Abby Epstein
Abby Epstein produced and directed the celebrated documentary The Business of Being Born, with her longtime producing partner, Ricki Lake. Heralded as a “must-see for every pregnant woman,” The Business of Being Born premiered at the 2007 Tribeca Film Festival where it was named among “Best of the Fest” by New York Magazine and The Wall Street Journal. The Business of Being Born was released theatrically in 2008 and had its broadcast premiere on Showtime. The success of the film inspired Abby and Ricki’s book Your Best Birth, which was published by Hachette. Their follow-up DVD series More Business of Being Born featuring Cindy Crawford, Alanis Morissette, Gisele Bundchen and Christy Turlington was released in 2011. Abby made her film directing debut at the 2004 Sundance Film Festival with the documentary, Until the Violence Stops, featuring Jane Fonda, Eve Ensler, Salma Hayek and Rosie Perez. The film played at the Miami, Santa Barbara, Maui and Locarno Film Festivals and won the Audience Award at the Amnesty International Film Festival in Vancouver. Until the Violence Stops premiered on Lifetime Television and received an Emmy and a Gracie Allen Award. Under their joint venture BOBB Films, Abby and Ricki served as Executive Producers of the 2014 documentary Breastmilk and are in production on two new films: Weed the People and Sweetening the Pill. Prior to her film work Abby directed theater, helming National Tours and international premieres of RENT and “The Vagina Monologues.”
Executive Producer: Laila Rossi
LAILA ROSSI is an entrepreneur, business owner, philanthropist, and documentary enthusiast. As co-founder, owner,and CEO of software company Platinum Solutions, Laila managed one of the fastest growing companies in the United States from 1999 till the sale of the company in 2012. Platinum Solutions developed software for a wide variety of mission-critical applications, including law enforcement, national security, healthcare, and energy. The company was recognized with numerous awards, including multiple INC 500 awards for the fastest growing privately-held companies in the United States. In addition, Platinum Solutions was named as an Entrepreneur Magazine Hot 500 company. Platinum Solutions was also the recipient of the Washington Technology Fast 50 award, given to the fastest growing companies in the Washington DC metro area. Laila is a graduate of Virginia Tech where she received a Master of Business Administration degree. Laila lives with her husband and three small children in Northern Virginia.
Co-Producer/Post-Production Supervisor: Alex Perrault
ALEX PERRAULT is an Emmy-nominated editor who has worked in film, TV, and web for more than 15 years. His clients include National Geographic, Discovery, PBS, A&E, TLC, Animal Planet, Bungie, Microsoft, and the Gates Foundation. His work was nominated for a Golden Needle at the 2005 Seattle International Film Festival, and has shown at Hot Docs, Newport Beach Film Festival, and won Best Documentary at the 2012 Comic-Con International Independent Film Festival. He has also lectured at the University of Washington, American University, 911 Media Arts Center, and the Hazel Wolf Environmental Film Festival.
Co-Producer: Kari Barber
KARI BARBER is a journalist-turned-filmmaker, who travels the globe in search of stories that inspire and unite us. She has worked on documentaries that have shown on public television and in festivals around the world. After some exciting years covering elections, upheaval, progress and everyday life across Africa, Kari returned to the U.S. to live in Washington, D.C. where she is completing an MFA in Film and Electronic Media at American University. Equally comfortable behind the camera, writing or producing, Kari believes in the power of documentaries to search for truth and help us find common ground.
Associate Producer: Kelsey Marsh
KELSEY MARSH is a third year graduate student at American University and is pursuing her MFA in Film & Electronic Media. In 2009 she graduated from Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, Texas with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications – Radio/TV (emphasis in production) and Political Science. After graduating, Kelsey accepted her invitation to serve in the Peace Corps working as both a community health and economic development volunteer and primary resource teacher in the Kingdom of Lesotho. Her experience abroad reaffirmed her desire to produce documentaries highlighting human rights and social injustice. When not making media that matters, Kelsey enjoys reading, exercising, baking sweet treats and savory breads and traveling.
Graphics and Branding: Samer Chehab
SAMER CHEHAB created the branding for Veiled Voices. Born and raised in Beirut, Lebanon, he’s a self-taught graphic artist and has worked on experimental and commercial projects with several clients throughout the Middle East. He enjoys working with print and web media and lately has been trying to experiment with the fusion of oriental and minimalist design trends. He previously worked with Maher on the graphic design and as production designer for her film short A.W.O.L. When he’s not globe-trotting, by virtue of his daytime corporate job, he enjoys a strong cup of espresso in a foreign city with interesting company and daydreams about typography and other creative stimuli.
Editor: Nikki Jones
NIKKI JONES is an editor who has a long interest in documentary work. Recently, she was involved with “Sweetheart Deal,” a documentary about the struggle of working women living on the street. She has worked on projects bound for festivals, broadcast, and the web, and has worked for clients such as the Department of Energy, Microsoft, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Music Composer: Paul A. Oehlers
PAUL A. OEHLERS is most recognized for his “extraordinarily evocative” film scores. (Variety) Films incorporating hismusic have screened at the Berlin International Film Festival, the Philadelphia Festival of World Cinema, the Indiefest Film Festival of Chicago, and the Hamptons International Film Festival. His compositions have been performed in the United States and abroad including performances at the Society for Electro-acoustic Music in the United States national conferences, the International Computer Music Conferences, the Gamper New Music Festival, the Seoul International Electro-acoustic Music Festival, the Institut für Neue Musik und Musikerziehung in Darmstadt, Germany, and the VII Annual Brazilian Electronic Music Festival, as well as a 1987 command performance for former United States President Ronald Reagan. Paul was named the Margaret Lee Crofts Fellow by the MacDowell Colony for the year 2006. He is currently Assistant Professor and director of the Audio Technology program at American University in Washington, DC.
Partnerships and Outreach Initatives: Jennifer Goldsmith
JENNIFER GOLDSMITH is a DONA-trained postpartum doula, infant care provider, and aspiring documentary filmmaker. She sees her current role as a nurturer of mothers and babies as a great privilege and finds other birth workers to be among the warmest, kindest, people on the planet. Prior to becoming a postpartum doula, Jennifer graduated with a degree in Telecommunications from Indiana University. She lived in Paris for 3.5 years where she studied French at The Sorbonne and worked as a bilingual assistant for a film distribution company at the American Film Festival in Deauville and in Paris, France. Jennifer earned a M.Ed. at Xavier University and went on to teach high school French and English as a Second Language, in her native (not-so-exotic) Indiana during which time she won the Teacher Creativity Fellowship through Eli Lilly Endowment. Jennifer is honored to play a role in expanding awareness on women’s choices in maternity care.
Animator: Kristian Perry
KRISTIAN PERRY is a motion graphics artist who produces films and interactive experiences for educational institutions across North America. His work can been seen at The Annenberg Retreat at Sunnylands, The Fort Henry Discovery Centre, The Birthplace of Country Music Museum, and the Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum. He became a filmmaker after leaving a career in web development, and was aided in this endeavor by American University, where he earned his MFA in Film and Electronic Media. He discovered a passion for animated documentary, and his thesis film about an early aviator has become part of the permanent exhibit at The Discovery Museum and Planetarium in Bridgeport Connecticut. When not wrangling pixels, he indulges his beautiful cats, rides a bike, and plays guitar.