BIOS OF SUGAR PICTURES' PARTNERS AND FRIENDS
  THOM POWERS

Thom Powers is the documentary programmer of the Toronto International Film Festival where he has presented premieres by veteran directors such as Werner Herzog, Jonathan Demme, David Guggenheim and Kevin Rafferty; as well as the first feature length works of Adria Petty, Kristopher Belman and Jeffrey Levy-Hinte.

In TIFF's Mavericks conversation series, Powers presented works-in-progress clips of Sicko (2007), Religulous (2008), and The People Speak (2009), a year ahead of each film's release.

For most of the year, Powers lives in New York City where he is the founder and artistic director of the Stranger Than Fiction documentary series at the IFC Center. At STF, he has interviewed dozens of filmmakers including Barbara Kopple, Albert Maysles, D.A. Pennebaker, Ken Loach, and Nick Broomfield.

He is the co-chair of the Cinema Eye Honors, started in 2008.

Since 2000, he has taught a class on documentary development at New York University's School of Continuing Professional Studies. He is writing a history of American documentary in the 1960s for Faber & Faber. He has also lectured at the Chicago Humanities Festival, John F. Kennedy library, the Academy of Motion Pictures' "Monday Nights with Oscars" series, and other universities. He has written for the Boston Globe, Los Angeles Times, Filmmaker and Real Screen magazine.

His most recent documentaries are LOVING & CHEATING (Cinemax), about monogamy and infidelity; and GUNS & MOTHERS (PBS), about women on both sides of the gun control debate.

He has directed several short profiles of artists including the musician Shane MacGowan for "After Effects" (Sundance Channel); the cartoonist Joe Sacco for EGG: THE ARTS SHOW (PBS); the poet James Fenton for "Bookvideos" (Barnes & Noble); and experimental filmmakers for SHORTS FROM THE UNDERGROUND (Sundance Channel).

Powers and Meema Spadola produced and directed the hour-long documentary PRIVATE DICKS: MEN EXPOSED (HBO). The show surveys how men feel about their bodies from childhood to old age. “They let it all hang out to achieve something close to wisdom” (Entertainment Weekly). Their previous documentary BREASTS premiered on HBO's Cinemax channel in 1997 and became the network's highest-rated documentary. It has been broadcast in over a dozen countries.

Prior to working in film, Powers was an editor for Fantagraphics Books. He founded The Woodward Review, a monthly newspaper in his hometown, Detroit, Michigan. He now lives with his wife Raphaela Neihausen in Manhattan.

  MEEMA SPADOLA

Meema Spadola is an award-winning producer, director and writer in television and radio. Her latest documentary RED HOOK JUSTICE, about an experimental courthouse in Brooklyn was broadcast on PBS's Independent Lens in 2005 and will be broadcast worldwide as part of PBS's international series Trues Stories: Life in the USA. She is now producing and directing a documentary about women's experiences of childbirth.

She co-produced the 2003 Independent Lens doc GUNS & MOTHERS (with director/producer Thom Powers). In 2002, she produced the four-part series SHORTS FROM THE UNDERGROUND, about experimental film, and four episodes of ANATOMY OF A SCENE, both for Sundance Channel. In 2001-2002, Spadola produced short segments for EGG:THE ARTS SHOW (PBS). She produced interview segments for the HBO presentation of the THE VAGINA MONOLOGUES, written and performed by Eve Ensler.

Spadola's documentary OUR HOUSE (ITVS) premiered on national public television in 2000, and featured the sons and daughters of five diverse gay and lesbian families around the United States. It was awarded Best Documentary at the New York and Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Film Festivals, and nominated for a GLAAD Media Award. It was re-broadcast on Sundance Channel in 2005.

Spadola and Powers' documentary PRIVATE DICKS: MEN EXPOSED, about men's attitudes about their penises, premiered in March 1999 on HBO's America Undercover series. Her film, BREASTS (produced with Powers) began as an independent production and in January 1997 premiered as the highest rated documentary ever on Cinemax.

Spadola has also produced and written radio documentaries for the Public Radio show THIS AMERICAN LIFE. She produced, directed and shot a series of short documentaries about a young female building superintendent, which was broadcast on Metro Channel in 2001. In collaboration with Powers, Spadola directed a "bookvideo" of E.B. White's "Here is New York," for Barnes & Nobel's bn.com. Spadola is the author of BREASTS: OUR MOST PRIVATE PARTS based on her documentary. Her essay appears in OUT OF THE ORDINARY, an anthology by and about children of gay, lesbian, and transgender parents. She is a contributor to STITCH N’ BITCH (Workman Press) and Interweave Knits Magazine. Spadola grew up in Searsmont, Maine and graduated from Sarah Lawrence College in 1992.


  ELIZABETH WESTRATE

Elizabeth Westrate is the owner of Five Spot Films, a documentary production company in New York City. Westrate has twelve years of documentary production experience on programs for HBO, The American Experience, American Masters, ITVS, and performing arts projects for the National Endowment for the Arts. Most recently, she produced and directed A FAMILY UNDERTAKING for public television, which is also being adapted as a piece for National Public Radio. She was Associate Producer on THE VAGINA MONOLOGUES, OUR HOUSE, 27TH & PROSPECT: ONE YEAR IN THE FIGHT AGAINST DRUGS, THE TELEPHONE and HEART OF A CHILD, for which she won a Cable Ace Award. Westrate’s documentary work has taken her to Europe, the Middle East, the Caribbean and throughout the United States.

 

  ROCKY COLLINS Rocky Collins is a versatile and award-winning filmmaker whose talents include writing, directing, producing and editing. His feature film debut as writer/director/co-producer was PANTS ON FIRE, which is currently being distributed both domestically and internationally. For seven years he was president of Elevator Pictures, Inc., a New York City production company that produced numerous documentaries, commercials, and industrials, as well as six fiction and documentary theatrical features. Collins has been recognized as one of the country's leading writer/directors of TV documentaries, with eight award-winning programs to his credit. He has contributed to three Peabody and Emmy winning series. He was an Executive Producer of Meema Spadola's BREASTS and OUR HOUSE.

  DAVID PETERSEN David Petersen’s most recent doc LET THE CHURCH SAY AMEN (ITVS) screened at the Sundance Film Festival and will be broadcast on PBS in 2005. Petersen was nominated for an Academy Award for his documentary FINE FOOD, FINE PASTRIES. He directed and produced the feature-length documentary IF YOU LIVED HERE YOU WOULD BE HOME NOW, which premiered at The National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. He has served as editor on documentaries for public television and on theatrical releases including the Warner Brothers film ROGER AND ME; the feature length documentary CITY AT PEACE, produced by Barbara Streisand; FAMILY MAN, a one hour PBS special on fatherhood; THE AIDS QUARTERLY, a WGBH series hosted by Peter Jennings; LOOSE NUKES and BACK IN THE U.S.S.R., two documentaries for the PBS FRONTLINE Series. Petersen was the editor on PRIVATE DICKS and BOOKVIDEOS.

  RICK BAITZ

Rick Baitz's current projects include the soundtrack to the THE VAGINA MONOLOGUES (HBO). Recent film credits include: LIFE AFTERLIFE (HBO); LIVE FREE OR DIE, (POV); FRESCO (PBS); National Geographic's THE NEW CHIMPANZEES, HEART OF AFRICA and LOOTERS; the feature film THE IRREVERSIBLE YEAR; Frontline's THE LOST AMERICAN; and THREE HOTELS (American Playhouse). For Sugar Pictures, Rick composed the music to THE GEOGRAPHY OF NOWHERE and UNCOMMON GROUNDS. Rick's quintet RIVER OF JANUARY, commissioned by The Juilliard School, won the Grand Prize of the Delius Composition Contest and was termed "a glowing jewel of a new score" by The New York Times. His solo synclavier piece KALEIDOCYCLES is available on CD on the Centaur label. Rick was born in LA, and grew up in Rio de Janeiro and Durban, South Africa. He currently owns a composing, recording and music production space at the Sugar Pictures facility in New York City.

  ALEJANDRO ECHAVARRIA

As a Director of Photography concerned with the human condition, Alejandro has fully or partially shot the following documentaries: SAKHI and GUNS & MOTHERS (for Sugar Pictures); DEATH OF A SLAVE BOY (on the murder of child activist Iqbal Masih, for Scandinavian TV); BROKEN EARTH (on humanitarian de-mining, for PBS); LIVES TOGETHER, WORLDS APART (on gender equity issues, for PBS and UNFPA); VACCINATION CRISIS (for CNN International); AIM, THE ROAD TO AWAKENING (on the American Indian Movement, for PBS); POPULATION: 6 BILLION (for PBS and UNFPA); GLOBALIZATION AND HUMAN RIGHTS (for PBS), and others.