Doug Block • Director, Producer, Writer, Camera
Doug Block is a multiple award-winning, New York-based documentary director, cameraman and producer. His first film, THE HECK WITH HOLLYWOOD! (1991), followed the many trials and tribulations of three first-time independent filmmakers. After acclaimed screenings at over two dozen festivals, including Berlin, London, Montreal, San Sebastian (Creative Documentary Prize), Edinburgh, Sydney and Seattle, others, it was released theatrically in the U.S. by Original Cinema. HECK was also broadcast internationally, including PBS and Bravo in the U.S.
Block’s second feature was the Emmy-nominated film HOME PAGE (1999), which chronicled the lives of several pioneers of personal expression on the internet. Called “Groundbreaking” by Roger Ebert, the film screened at Sundance, Rotterdam, SxSW, Thessaloniki and Full Frame festivals, among others, and was broadcast on HBO, IFC and throughout Europe.
In addition to his directing and camerawork, Block has helped produce some of the more acclaimed documentaries of the past two decades. He co-produced SILVERLAKE LIFE: THE VIEW FROM HERE (1993, dir. Peter Friedman), which was distributed by Zeitgeist Films in over 80 U.S. cities and won many awards, including the Peabody Award, Sundance Grand Jury Prize and Freedom of Expression award, Berlin (Golden Teddy), L.A. Film Critics Association (Best Independent Film), Prix Italia and International Documentary Association’s Distinguished Achievement Award. The film, which the Village Voice called, “Stunning by any standard”, was broadcast on PBS’s POV, Channel Four in Britain, Arte, and RAI. He also co-produced JUPITER'S WIFE (1995), an Emmy and Sundance award winning documentary feature about a homeless woman with a mysterious past, directed by Michel Negroponte. It was released theatrically in over 40 U.S. cities and broadcast on HBO/Cinemax, PBS, and internationally.
Block was consulting producer and cameraman on LOVE AND DIANE (2002, dir. Jennifer Dworkin) a co-production of ITVS, BBC and Arte, which won the prestigious Independent Spirit Award. New York Newsday declared the film “A landmark... will set standards of verité filmmaking for years to come". It screened at Amsterdam, New York and Sundance film festivals and was released theatrically by Women Make Movies. He co-produced PATERNAL INSTINCT (2004, dir. Murray Nossel), a co-production of HBO and BBC, about a gay couple’s relationship with the surrogate mother of their child. He is currently producing Esther Robinson’s personal documentary, THE DANNY WILLIAMS STORY, about her uncle, an extraordinarily talented filmmaker, who was Andy Warhol’s lover at the time of his mysterious disappearance in 1966.
Block is also the founder of The D-Word (www.d-word.com), a worldwide online community of documentary professionals. Started in 1999, The D-Word has grown to over 1500 members in 73 countries, and has ongoing partnerships with the IFP, European Documentary Network, and AIVF.
Lori Cheatle • Producer
Lori Cheatle produces both documentary and fiction feature films. She co-Produced the film Dashiell Hammett. Detective. Writer. (dir. Joshua Waletzky) for the PBS series American Masters, which premiered on PBS, aired in France on Gaumont TV, and is distributed by Winstar Video. She produced and co-Directed From Swastika To Jim Crow. Rated 4 Stars by the New York Daily News and called by The Boston Herald, “…an inspiring portrait of race relations in America”, From Swastika To Jim Crow screened at film festivals around the world, and has had over 100 specialty screenings nationwide, including The National Civil Rights Museum, Lincoln Center, The Museum of African American Heritage and The Museum of Modern Art. It aired nationally on PBS and has since shown on several cable television stations.
Lori produced and co-directed the feature-length documentary This Land is Your Land, which premiered at SxSW and is screening at festivals across the U.S. Europe, and Asia. The Atlanta Journal Constitution called This Land “Top rate-a must see”, and the Austin Chronicle wrote, “As powerful as Michael Moore’s firebrand muckraking without the grandstanding”. This Land is distributed internationally by Defiance Distribution and is slated for a Fall, 2005 theatrical release.
Lori produced the documentary Summer In Ivye, about a theater troupe that takes over a post-Soviet village (dir. Daisy Wright and Tamar Rogoff); she co-produced and co-directed American Corner, about Vietnam-era vets living on Washington state’s Olympic Peninsula, and she has been a producer on several cable television documentaries, including Sidney Lumet: An American Director, for Pacific Street Films, Paramount Pictures and Spelling Television and Final Take for Lifetime. Lori has worked as a producer and Director of Production on several fiction features, which have shown theatrically, and have screened on Showtime, The Sundance Channel and Canal+. For 5 years, she was Director of the New York-based Petrified Films.
In addition to 51 Birch Street, Lori is currently producing Live At The Fillmore East, about Bill Graham’s legendary New York City rock music hall, directed by Academy-award winning filmmaker Leon Gast (When We Were Kings) and filmmaker/photographer Amalie R. Rothschild.
Amy Seplin • Editor, Co-Writer
Amy Seplin has worked in post-production as an editor and post-production supervisor. She has edited a variety of documentaries, specials and narrative features, including In Search Of Al Qaeda, for the PBS series Frontline and Witness To An Execution, a one-hour documentary on capital punishment, which was broadcast on MSNBC. Amy was an editor of the ABC series Hopkins 24/7, which received the Dupont Award.
Other editing credits include It’s Right Now ‘00, produced by Nanette Burstein and Brett Morgen for the Sundance Channel; Colonial House for PBS and Channel 4; and as an additional editor on Cinderella Season, directed by Jon Alpert for HBO. Amy has worked as an assistant editor on both fiction and documentary features, including Swimsuit USA: America The Beautiful, directed by Susan Froemke and Albert Maysles; The Life And Times Of LBJ, directed by David Grubin, and the feature Tales From The Darkside. Amy’s short film Creatures Of Instinct screened at several film festivals including Sundance, Edinburgh and Melbourne and was featured in INTERVIEW magazine. She is a graduate of the Columbia University Film Division.
David Rivello • Associate Editor and Visual Effects Designer
Dave Rivello entered his mid-twenties as co-president of a graphic design studio he co-founded with four college pals in 2002. It was the first of several earnest attempts to avoid a real job that would play themselves out over the next two-and-a-half years. Through cooperation and occasional hard work, he and his associates managed to pay the rent and eat sparsely, cutting down on overhead by running the firm out of their living room, and forgoing the yearly Christmas party and bonus checks in favor of a Target-products-only Secret Santa exchange.
After moving to Brooklyn in the spring of 2003, he spent several months as a design assistant at The New York Times magazine, then several more as an artists’ creative assistant at a downtown artists-in-residence program. His inability to speak fluent French was a liability, however, and in early 2004 he made a move into documentary film under New York City producer/director Doug Block.
Rivello earned his undergraduate degree at Brown University, where he studied literature, journalism and the arts. He served a year as editor-in-chief of the Brown Daily Herald, one of America’s oldest collegiate daily newspapers. Nowadays, he spends his free time painting and is learning the drums.
H. Scott Salinas • Composer
Playing guitar since the age of twelve, H. Scott Salinas began his music career on the small island of St. Croix, where he became known as an accomplished sideman, touring the island in reggae and blues bands. After graduating from Princeton University and Berklee College of Music, Scott became the youngest person ever to be named Grand Prize Winner in the Turner Classic Movies Young Film Composers Competition. For this, Scott was commissioned to score the 1928 Lon Chaney film Laugh, Clown, Laugh, which aired on Turner Classic Movies to wide critical acclaim.
He has worked at Verité Music with film composer Sheldon Mirowitz, writing and orchestrating music for television films, documentaries, and commercials. In 2004, Scott joined Machine Head, where his most recent work includes Edison, an action thriller starring Kevin Spacey, Morgan Freeman, LL Cool J, and Justin Timberlake; Conventioneers, a love story and political satire taking place at none other than the 2004 Republican National Convention in New York.
Machine Head • Music Production
Machine Head is a music and sound design company founded by award winning Sound Designer Stephen Dewey in 1991. Following his personal success working on Academy Award nominated films “Jacob’s Ladder” and “Black Rain”, Stephen set out to build Machine Head, a collective of unique talents who differentiate themselves from others in music production with their collaborative efforts and diverse resources. Some of their credits include, The Matrix Trilogy, Freddy vs. Jason, The Laramie Project, John Q, Animatrix, Chronicles of Riddick-Dark Fury, Raise Your Voice, Full Spectrum Warrior. Machine Head has also produced award winning music and sound design for numerous commercial campaigns.