Biographies of Project Creators
Project Director, Professor and Filmmaker:
Janet Walker (Ph.D., UCLA, 1987) is Professor of Film Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara, where she is also affiliated with the Women's Studies Program. She is the recipient of grants from the American Council of Learned Societies and the National Endowment for the Humanities, and of a 2001 Distinguished Teaching Award from UCSB. Her essays have been published as book chapters and in journals including Screen, Signs, Wide Angle, and Camera Obscura, and she is the author or editor of Couching Resistance: Women, Film, and Psychoanalytic Psychiatry (Minnesota University Press, 1993), Feminism and Documentary (co-edited with Diane Waldman; Minnesota University Press, 1999), and Westerns: Films through History (Routledge, 2001). Her primary area of specialization is documentary film, and her new book, Trauma Cinema: Documenting Incest and the Holocaust (University of California Press, 2005), concerns the nonfiction filmic representation of catastrophic past events. “Video Portraits of Survival, Volumes One and Two,” comprised of short, expressive portraits of local Holocaust survivors and refugees, are a direct outgrowth of her research and creative activities.
Project Co-Director, Professor and Filmmaker:
Kwame Braun (M.F.A, New York University) teaches in UC Santa Barbara’s Department of Film and Media Studies. He is also an independent documentary filmmaker whose African videos, passing girl; riverside - An Essay on Camerawork (1997; Documentary Educational Resources) and Stageshakers!: The Ghanaian Concert Party (2001, videotape available from Indiana University Press) have screened at international ethnographic film festivals, including New York City's Margaret Mead Film and Video Festival. After a career as a scenic artist in theatre and television, he attended New York University's Graduate program of Film and Television, graduating in 1988 with a Masters of Fine Arts degree. He has taught film and video production at Chicago's Columbia College, and at UCLA. Since 1998, he has been a Lecturer at UCSB in the Departments of Art and Film and Media Studies, where he has developed a specialty in supervising student crews in designing and producing promotional videos for the University.
Elizabeth Wolfson (Ph.D., LCSW) was director of the Portraits of Survival program and of the Jewish Family Service of Greater Santa Barbara which (under the auspices of the Jewish Federation of Greater Santa Barbara) provides counseling, family life education and social/recreational programs to the entire Santa Barbara community.She served on the faculty of Columbia University School of Social Work and was Clinical Director of Jewish Family Service of Metro West, New Jersey. Dr. Wolfson's experience with a wide range of populations has included involvement with Holocaust survivors and their families through counseling and case management and psycho-educational programs on the east coast and in California. Dr. Wolfson is the author of several professional articles and will be presenting at the 2007 International Legacy of the Holocaust Conference in Krakow, Poland on “Portraits of Survival: Life Journeys During the Holocaust and Beyond: How one small exhibit made a big difference.”
Filmmaker Renée Bergan
Award winning documentary filmmaker Renée Bergan received her degree in film from the University of California, Santa Barbara in 1993 after studying cinema in Paris, France in the year 1989. While attending UCSB, Renée received a Corwin Award for her short documentary, Persistent Discretion, a 16mm film about domestic violence. She also received Best Cinematography for her work on a fictional short, Girl in the Window, in 1992. Sadaa E Zan (Voices of Women), a documentary about Afghan women, received the Social Justice Award for Best Documentary at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival in 2003, as well as the Audience Award and Best Director Award in the Documentary category of the New York International Independent Film & Video Festival in 2004. Her latest feature film, Paul Soldner: Playing With Fire is about revolutionary ceramist Paul Soldner. Other works include: Believe Me, a 30 second PSA for SB Rape Crisis Center, Change Not Charity, a promotional video for The Fund For Santa Barbara, Blank Canvas: Creating a New Life, a short documentary about overcoming addiction through art. Her work in progress, Poto Mitan, is about Haitian women labor activists confronting globalization.