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Thomas Allen Harris - Director-Producer-Writer

Thomas Allen Harris, an award-winning Director, is the President of Chimpanzee Productions, Inc. a company dedicated to producing unique audio-visual experiences that illuminate the Human Condition and the search for identity, family, and spirituality, including feature length films, performances and live multimedia productions.

Harris’s deeply personal and innovative films - Through A Lens Darkly: Black Photographers and the Emergence of a People (2014), Twelve Disciples of Nelson Mandela (2005), E Minha Cara/That’s My Face (2001), VINTAGE – Families of Value (1995), - have received critical acclaim at International film festivals such as Sundance, Berlin, Toronto, FESPACO, Outfest, Flaherty, Cape Town and Melbourne Arts Festival and have been broadcast on PBS, the Sundance Channel, ARTE, as well as CBC, Swedish Broadcasting Network and New Zealand Television. His performance-based videos have been featured at museums and galleries including the MoMA, Whitney Museum of American Art’s 1995 Biennial, Corcoran Gallery, Reina Sophia, the Long Beach Museum of Art and London Institute of the Arts.

In 2009, Harris and his team launched the transmedia community engagement project, Digital Diaspora Family Reunion LLC (1world1family.me), a performance-based touring Roadshow, and a virtual gathering space, where individuals are invited to explore and share the rich and revealing narratives found within their family photo albums. Working in partnership with museums, festivals, senior and youth centers, educational institutions, libraries and cultural arts spaces, Digital Diaspora creates communal linkages affirming our common humanity while privileging the voices of people whose stories have often been absented, marginalized or overlooked. Harris is currently working on several Digital Diaspora inspired projects including Remember Me: The Family Album Project – a documentary exploring how the family album shapes memory and identity in the digital age. The project draws on the 1000+ interviews and 18k+ photographs collected as part of the touring Digital Diaspora Family Reunion Roadshow.

Harris’s work has received numerous awards including a 2015 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Documentary Film, an Africa Movie Academy Award, American Library Association (ALA) Notable Videos for Adults, Fund for Santa Barbara Social Justice Award, Tribeca All Access Nelson Mandela Award, United States Artist Award, Guggenheim Fellowship, Rockefeller Fellowship, a Sundance Directors Fellowship, two Emmy Award Nominations and was most recently named a Peabody Award Finalist. His work has been supported by Ford Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, Andy Warhol Foundation for Visual Arts, Sundance Institute, Tribeca Film Institute, The Fledgling Fund, Rockefeller Foundation, Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Nathan Cummings Foundation, New York State Council on the Arts, Creative Time Inc. and the Banff Centre. A published photographer, curator, and writer, Harris lectures widely on personal archiving and the use of media as a tool for social change. His media appearances include C-Span, the Tavis Smiley Show, NPR, Metrofocus, and AriseTV. Reviews of Harris’ work have appeared in The New York Times, Time Magazine, Washington Post, Variety, The Los Angeles Times, The Advocate, Jay Z’s Life and Times, among others.

Harris has served on a variety of Juries including the Independent Spirit Awards, the Tribeca Film Festival’s Storyscapes and the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival. A graduate of Harvard College with a degree in Biology, Harris has taught as an Associate Professor of Media Arts at the University of California San Diego, as well as a Visiting Professor at Yale University’s School of Art, the International Center of Photography and Sarah Lawrence College. In addition, he serves as a mentor for both FireLight Media Lab Mentorship program as well as the Queer/Art/Film Mentorship program. Born in the Bronx and raised in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, Harris currently lives in Warwick, New York with his partner Don Perry (see bio below)

Don Perry - Producer

Mr. Perry is Chief Operating Officer of Chimpanzee Productions, Inc. He was co-writer and co-producer of Thomas Allen Harris¹ feature-length documentary E MINHA CARA/THAT¹S MY FACE. Mr. Perry is an experienced financial and management consultant with a wide ranging background in commercial finance. He is a Certified Insolvency & Restructuring Advisor and was Executive Vice President - Finance for Wyndhurst Associates, LLC, a boutique financial restructuring and turnaround management firm prior to his association with Chimpanzee Productions. Prior to joining Wyndhurst, Mr. Perry founded a strategic management consulting practice providing services to emerging growth companies focusing on business turnarounds; developing e-commerce strategies and services; mergers and acquisitions; business and process re-engineering; organizational design and development; and corporate finance. Mr. Perry holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in International Relations and Development Economics from Williams College. He received his Masters in Business Administration in Strategic Management from the Peter F. Drucker Center, Claremont Graduate University.

 

Deborah Willis - Producer

DEBORAH WILLIS, CO-EXECUTIVE PRODUCER Deborah Willis has researched and written about the works of Black photographers for twenty years, becoming the preeminent documentarian of the unique legacy of these pioneers. A 2000 MacArthur Fellow, her academic writing has addressed critical questions in the broad areas of photographic history, visual culture, African American art and popular and material culture. In her work, Ms Willis looked at how photographs have been used by art photographers looking at the family, how families and the general public preserve images, the implications of stereotyping, how gender is portrayed and what assumptions are made of images of women. Most of her published works offer new interpretations of the generic photographic history, African American art and gender studies. Her most recent publications include: Through a Lens Darkly History: A History of Black Photographers 1840 to the Present, which forms the cornerstone of the film project and includes over 500 images that present the rich history and moving glimpses of Black life from slavery to the Great Migrations, from rare antebellum portraits to 1990s middle-class Black families; and The Black Female Body: A Photographic History, co-authored with Carla Williams, that includes over 185 images spanning three centuries by such historical and contemporary artists as Bravo, Weston, Renee Cox, Lorna Simpson, Joy Gregory and Catherine Opie, who photograph Black women asserting their subjectivity, reclaiming their bodies and refusing the representations of the past.

 

Woo Jung Cho - Producer

Woo is a Principal at Imprint Features, a New York City-based firm that develops, produces and secures distribution for independent feature films.  Her producing credits include: Twelve Disciples of Nelson Mandela (Producer), and Lest We Forget (Associate Producer). As a Sales/Producer's Representative, she has worked on such acclaimed feature films as Daughter From Danang, É Minha Cara/ That's My Face, Paradox Lake, Face, My Flesh and Blood, Flag Wars, State of Denial and Gay Sex in the 70s.  She is currently developing a documentary feature about Korean-American avant-garde artist Theresa Hak Kyung Cha. Previously, Woo worked for Rudolph & Beer as a Development and Production Associate. She received her JD from New York University School of Law.

 

Paul Carter Harrison - Writer

Paul Carter Harrison is an award winning playwright/director/theatre theorist whose work has been produced and published in both Europe and the United States. He has had a long artistic association, as writer/director, with the Negro Ensemble Company which had produced his earlier plays, TOPHAT, ABERCROMBIE APOCALYPSE, and the celebrated GREAT MACDADDY which won an an Obie Award. Other significant plays include the ritual-drama AMERI/CAIN GOTHIC, the multi-media musical DEATH OF BOOGIE WOOGIE, and the Audelco Award winning musical-drama, TABERNACLE. As dramaturg/director, he has developed such distinguished works as AIN¹T SUPPOSED TO DIE A NATURAL DEATH, LADY DAY: A MUSICAL TRAGEDY, and the Audelco Award winning TRIAL OF ONE SHORT-SIGHTED BLACK WOMAN VS. MAMMY LOUISE AND SAFREETA MAE. The recipient of a Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship for American Playwriting, a National Endowment of the Arts Playwrights Fellowship, and two Meet-the Composer/Reader¹s Digest Commission, he is also the author of the The Drama of Nommo, a collection of essays that has been a seminal influence in the exploration of ritual stylization for many contemporary playwrights and directors in Black Theatre practice.

 

Terence Taylor - Photographic Animation

Terence has worked extensively as a graphic artist/designer and digital animator. He was creative director, graphic artist and digital animator on CD-ROM adaptations of five Mercer Mayer children¹s books, and designed interstitial graphics for Microsoft, Parkay and Ballpark Franks. For the last two years, under his own company name, Bedlam Ink, Terence's primary graphics client has been The Skillman Foundation in Detroit, designing annual reports, display graphics, a bi-monthly newsletter and weekly full-page children's ads for the Detroit News and Free Press. He designed animated maps, archival photographs and opening/closing credit sequences for Thomas Allen Harris' acclaimed documentary, "Twelve Disciples of Nelson Mandela", which premiered at the 2005 Toronto Film festival and won best documentary in its United States premiere at the 2006 Pan-African Film festival in Los Angeles. It also premiered this fall in 2006 on P.O.V. on PBS. Terence also designed still, movie poster and headline animation for "Fabulous", a documentary on the story of queer cinema for the Independent Film Channel, which premiered at the 2006 Berlin Film Festival. He is currently designing animated graphics for IFC's Indie Sex series.

 

Sam Pollard - Editor

For over 25 years, Sam Pollard has had a significant role in bringing programming that illuminates the Black experience in America to both television and theatrical audiences. Mr. Pollard has edited award-winning films including Jim Brown All American (2002); American Roots Music (2001); Half Past Autumn: The Life and Works of Gordon Parks (2000); Bamboozled (2000); 4 Little Girls (1997); Girl 6 (1996); Clockers (1995); No Dreams Deferred (1994); Surviving the Game (1994); Jungle Fever (1991) and Mo' Better Blues (1990). Mr. Pollard¹s credits also include the series: I'll Make me A World, and The Rise and Fall of Jim Crow, both broadcast nationally on PBS. Mr. Pollard is a Professor in the Tisch School of Arts at New York University.

 

Vernon Reid - Composer

Vernon Reid was born in London, England but spent most of his childhood in Brooklyn, New York. In the early 1980s, while working with jazz drummer Ronald Shannon Jackson's Decoding Society, Vernon began the rock group Living Colour. Living Colour subsequently released four albums and sold over four million records and won two Grammy Awards, two MTV Music Video Awards, an International Rock Award and several New York Music Awards. Vernon has appeared as a guest guitarist on the records of many diverse artists, including: Jack DeJohnette; Public Enemy; B.B. King; The Ramones; Mariah Carey; Mick Jagger; Tracy Chapman; DJ Logic; Salif Keita; Carlos Santana; Jack Bruce; and The Roots. Vernon has composed music for modern dance choreographers Ralph Lemon, Marlies Yearby, Bill T. Jones, Donald Byrd, and Gabri Christa. Vernon's work as a film composer and music supervisor has included the films: Fresh Kill ( feature/score), Once In The Life (feature/song), Paid In Full (feature/score), Ghosts Of Attica (documentary/ score), Vintage Families Of Value (documentary/score), E Minha Cara/That¹s My Face.(documentary/score), Almost Home (documentary/score), Mr. 3000 (feature/music supervisor), Shadow; Dead Riot (feature/score), Five Fingers (feature/score)

 


Any questions or comments please e-mail Thomas Allen Harris.
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