THE FILMMAKERS

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JOHN J. VALADEZ

Writer/Director/Producer

John has been producing and directing award winning, nationally broadcast documentaries for the past 16 years.  Last year his film THE CHICANO WAVE, a history of Mexican-American music, for the PBS/BBC series LATIN MUSIC USA received a prime-time national broadcast in both the United States and Europe.  Valadez had two films on the acclaimed PBS series POV:  PASSIN’ IT ON, about the false imprisonment of a former leader of the Black Panther Party and THE LAST CONQUISTADOR about an artist creating a statue of a Spanish explorer who committed genocide.  As the project nears completion The artist finds he must face the moral implications of his work.   John directed the first hour of the PBS series MAKING PEACE about Chicano writer, activist and former gang leader Luis Rodriguez and produced THE DIVIDE, the first hour of the PBS series MATTERS OF RACE about a town in North Carolina fractured by racial division.

PAMELA A. AGUILAR

Co - Producer

MERRIL STERN

Editor

JUDITH VECCHIONE

Executive Producer

TONY PLANA

Narrator

Tony recently starred in ABC’s landmark, hit series UGLY BETTY and in the Showtime series RESURRECTION BOULEVARD.  Tony’s resume is vast.  He has acted in more than 70 feature films including such iconic works as:  JFK, NIXON, SALVADOR, AN OFFICER AND A GENTLEMAN, LONE STAR, THREE AMIGOS, BORN IN EAST LA, and EL NORTE.  On Television he has also had a prodigious career acting in series like: LA LAW, THE WEST WING, SCI and MONK.    As a director and producer Tony’s work includes the films A MILLION TO JUAN, THE BROTHERS GARCIA and GREETINGS FROM TUCSON.   From the ground-breaking play ZOOT SUIT to innovative interpretations of Shakespeare Tony continues to do challenging and cutting edge theater work. 

Tony attended Loyola-Marymount University where he graduated magna cum laude.  He later trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London.
Judith is an executive producer for national programming at WGBH in Boston.  She has been the executive producer of  award-winning series including DISCOVERING WOMEN, AMERICAS and DE GAULLE AND FRANCE.  She has has also worked extensively with independent filmmakers as executive producer for THE CHINA TRILOGY and ELEANOR ROOSEVELT.  She was series senior producer and producer for two programs of the acclaimed series EYES ON THE PRIZE and produced two programs for VIETNAM: A TELEVISION HISTORY, for which she won a national Emmy.   Judith produced and wrote FIRE WARS for the PBS series NOVA, was executive producer for CHINA IN RED for the PBS series FRONTLINE and executive Producer for MARY PICKFORD which aired on AMERICAN EXPERIENCE.   For the past ten years Judith has run the PBS/CPB Producers Academy at WGBH in Boston.
Pamela recently produced BRIDGES (with director Dan McCabe) the first hour of the PBS/BBC series LATIN MUSIC USA and produced the US version of hour two THE SALSA REVOLUTION (also with Dan McCabe).  She began her career in television and film making 30-seconds spots for clients such as McDonald’s, L’Oreal, BMW and Jeep.   She co-produced HIGH STAKES TESTING for the Emmy-Award winning series CNN PRESENTS; and has exercised her passion for archive footage, music and pop culture on nationwide theatrical documentary productions such as SHUT UP AND SING and BIGGER, STRONGER, FASTER which premiered at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival.  Pam is a graduate of the PBS/CPB Producers Academy at WGBH in Boston.
Merril has been editing award-winning documentaries for twenty years.  Her films include FACES OF AMERICA, AFRICAN AMERICAN LIVES and AFRICAN AMERICAN LIVES 2 with Henry  Louis Gates Jr.  and SLAVERY AND THE MAKING OF AMERICA: THE CHALLENGE OF FREEDOM for PBS.
John was a producer of the nationally broadcast PBS series VISIONES: LATINO ARTS & CULTURE and he was also a producer 
of the prime-time PBS special BEYOND BROWN.  The film explored the re-segregation of American schools 50 years after the Supreme Court decision Brown v. Board of Ed.   At CNN, Valadez wrote, directed and produced the award winning film HIGH STATES TESTING for CNN PRESENTS.  The film was an hour-long hard hitting investigative work about the Bush administration’s education policies.  Next year Valadez will be a writer, producer, director of the forthcoming six-hour PBS 
series LATINO AMERICANS.  This prime-time series will explore the history of Latinos in The United States.  

Valadez has twice been a New York Foundation for The Arts Fellow, is a Rockefeller Fellow, and a graduate of the CPB/PBS Producers Academy at WGBH in Boston.

Valadez regularly screens his films and lectures at universities across the United States.  A member of The Writers Guild of America East, Valadez is also a founding member of the National Association of Latino Independent Producers (NALIP) where he regularly mentors emerging filmmakers at the annual NALIP Producer’s Academy in Santa Fe, New Mexico.  Valadez is  a graduate of the film program at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts.
Elia has been shooting documentaries, music videos, television commercials and feature films for sixteen years.  His documentary projects include SEED WARIORS, THE LAST CONQUISTADOR for the PBS series POV, FREEDOM SUMMER, CNN PRESENTS: HIGH STAKES TESTING, BEYOND BROWN, 270 MILES FROM GRACELAND, and PHISH - BITTERSWEET MOTEL.  His feature films include: THE ESCAPE ARTIST, ASTORIA, THE MONEY SHOT, NOT EVEN THE TREE, THE LAMASTAS, NO MONEY DOWN, PUZZLES OF BLUE and VOICES FROM NEW YORK.

ELIA LYSSY

Cinematographer

A native of Chicago Richard has been playing, and writing music since he was eight years old.   He attended Berklee College of Music in Boston and was the keyboard player for the legendary Jazz/Rock band BLOOD, SWEAT AND TEARS.  He has worked with Director Julie Taymor and Academy Award winner Elliot Goldenthal.  Credits include FRIDA, TITUS, INTERVIEW WITH A VAMPIRE, and BATMAN AND ROBIN.  As a composer he created the music for HOWARD ZINN: YOU CAN’T BE NEUTRAL ON A MOVING TRAIN, BOSSA NOVA, DAY TRIPPERS, ESCAPING JUAREZ and THE LAST CONQUISTADOR.

RICHARD MARTINEZ

Composer

RICHARD MARTINEZ

Composer