Patrick Sammon has a mix of experience in filmmaking, broadcast journalism, and LGBT political advocacy. The President of Story Center Films, LLC in Washington, DC, he is the Creator and Executive Producer of CODEBREAKER, a “superb” (The Telegraph), “imaginative” (Sunday Times), drama-documentary that “artfully explored” (The Mail) the life and legacy of gay British codebreaker Alan Turing.
Sammon turned his idea for CODEBREAKER into a highly acclaimed film that has attracted more than three million viewers across the globe. He put together an award-winning international production team (including Great Britain-based Furnace Ltd.), secured financing, and helped oversee both the business and creative sides of the production. Sammon also developed and implemented a creative and comprehensive grassroots distribution strategy for CODEBREAKER, combining traditional distribution channels with a unique outreach campaign to connect with the target audience. More details about the film can be found at turingfilm.com.
Before founding Story Center Films, Sammon served three years as President of Log Cabin Republicans, which advocates for LGBT rights in the Republican Party on behalf of its 20,000 members. Sammon started his career as an award-winning television news reporter.
Bennett Singer has been making social-issue documentaries for more than 25 years. He co-produced and co-directed BROTHER OUTSIDER: THE LIFE OF BAYARD RUSTIN, a “beautifully crafted” (Boston Globe) and “electrifying” (MetroWeekly) film that premiered at Sundance, was broadcast nationally on PBS’ POV series and Logo, and has won more than 20 international awards, including the GLAAD Media Award and prizes at LGBTQ film festivals in New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and other cities. Singer received a duPont-Columbia Award for his work on EYES ON THE PRIZE II, the landmark PBS series on the history of the civil rights movement, and co-directed ELECTORAL DYSFUNCTION, a “frightening and enlightening” (WBEZ Radio/NPR) documentary about voting in America. Hosted by political humorist Mo Rocca, the film was featured in a four-part New York Times Op-Docs series, aired nationally on PBS, and won multiple awards, including the American Bar Association’s Silver Gavel Award, which recognizes media projects that foster public understanding of the law.
The former Executive Editor of TIME Magazine’s Education Program, Singer is the author or editor of five books. He edited 42 UP, the companion volume to Michael Apted’s acclaimed documentary series, and co-authored The Student Body, a “wry, insider thriller” (Village Voice) published by Random House. With his husband, David Deschamps, he co-authored LGBTQ STATS, an “astounding” and “indispensable” (Booklist, starred review) compendium of facts and figures about the ongoing LGBTQ revolution. The book won a 2018 Stonewall Honor Book Award from the American Library Association. Singer is the recipient of a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship in Video, a Visiting Artist Fellowship at the American Academy in Rome, and the 2018 National Endowment for the Arts Residency for Collaborative Teams at Yaddo.
Mridu Chandra is a New York-based filmmaker and archival producer of award-winning documentaries and fiction films. Credits include STEVE JOBS, BROTHER OUTSIDER, OUT IN THE NIGHT, ELECTORAL DYSFUNCTION, WHOSE STREETS?, and the five-part PBS series WOMEN, WAR AND PEACE. Most recently, she served as the founding director of IF/Then Shorts at Tribeca Film Institute where she created, launched, and managed a program awarding monetary grants and deep mentorship to filmmakers working regionally across the US and around the world.
Lewanne Jones is a Brooklyn-based archival producer, audio-visual researcher, and project archivist. She was nominated for a research Emmy for her work on WITH GOD ON OUR SIDE: THE RISE OF THE RELIGIOUS RIGHT a six-part PBS series on the history of religion and politics in the United States. Among the many award-winning projects to which she has contributed are EYES ON THE PRIZE, ABC’s CENTURY, PBS’ FRONTLINE and AMERICAN EXPERIENCE. Recent documentary projects include BLACK PANTHERS: VANGUARD OF THE REVOLUTION (Firelight Films), JACKIE ROBINSON (Ken Burns / Florentine Films), and AMERICAN VISIONARY (a documentary about Daniel Patrick Moynihan).
Andrew Tobias, author of THE ONLY INVESTMENT GUIDE YOU’LL EVER NEED and THE BEST LITTLE BOY IN THE WORLD, among other books, has written extensively for New York, Esquire and Time and served as treasurer of the Democratic National Committee from 1999 to 2017. Among the documentaries he’s been involved with are OUT OF THE PAST (1998 Sundance audience award winner; executive producer), COMPARED TO WHAT? THE IMPROBABLE JOURNEY OF BARNEY FRANK (2014 Frameline audience award winner); A SINNER IN MECCA (2015, “brave … an unprecedented exploration of Islam” —OUT Magazine), THE LAVENDER SCARE (2017, narrated by Glenn Close and winner of 15 best documentary awards; executive producer), and WHERE’S MY ROY COHN? (2019 Sundance premiere; co-producer).
Cole Rucker has more than 20 years of experience in the creation and implementation of treatment programs for adolescents and their families. He is co-founder of Paradigm Malibu, a teen treatment center in Malibu, California, and previously served as director of the largest teen treatment program in southern California. A former member of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s Youth Work Group, he is frequently cited as an expert in the treatment of adolescent mental health and behavioral health issues in publications ranging from Teen Vogue to The Huffington Post and Good Housekeeping.
To honor the life and legacy of Dr. John Fryer, Rucker established the Fryer Fund for Diversity and Inclusion at Transylvania University in Lexington, Kentucky. This fund was created to support and protect the rights and well-being of students who come from historically marginalized groups.
Dr. Jeff Nalin
Dr. Jeff Nalin is a licensed clinical psychologist who has spent more than 20 years working in and around the most prestigious treatment centers in the world. During that time, he has worked with thousands of patients dealing with the shame and stigma related to issues around sexual orientation and identity. Throughout his career, Dr. Nalin has dedicated himself to empowering marginalized and disenfranchised populations as well as training professional therapists to be mindful of the culture in which these feelings have been created so as not to perpetuate their damaging influence on the psyche. He is co-founder of Paradigm Malibu, a teen treatment center in Malibu, California, Dr. Nalin has appeared as an expert on programs ranging from CBS News and Larry King to CNN, MTV, and The Today Show. In 2017 he was awarded The Sigmund Freud Foundation and Sigmund Freud University’s Distinguished Achievement Award in recognition of his work with youth in the field of mental health over the course of his career.
Sally Jo Fifer
Sally Jo Fifer is President and CEO at ITVS, where she oversees a staff of 70 as well as the funding, production, and public television launch of more than 75 programs each year. During her tenure, ITVS programs have garnered 43 Emmy Awards, 11 duPont-Columbia Awards, 42 Peabody Awards, one Golden Globe Award, and 17 Academy Award nominations, the 2017 Peabody Institutional Award for ITVS, and the 2017 Television Academy’s Governors Award for ITVS, among other industry accolades. Since taking the helm, Fifer has piloted ITVS through major programmatic expansion, including launching the primetime Emmy Award-winning PBS series Independent Lens and the organization’s first international venture, the Global Perspectives Project, which has funded over 140 international independent documentary films for more than 100 million viewers in two dozen countries. In 2012, ITVS spearheaded the launch of “Women and Girls Lead,” a new public media model combining broadcasts and transmedia featuring 50 documentaries, such as HALF THE SKY, WOMEN WAR AND PEACE, and INVISIBLE WAR, working with 100 sustaining NGO partners to advance civic dialogue on gender equity.
Assaf Mor began his career in film working for international sales agent Cinephil, where he was in charge of international co-productions. Mor served as Executive Producer on NOMAD’S TRAIL and festival favorite MY SWEET CANARY. He also worked as production coordinator and line producer on multiple films, collaborating with top Israeli directors such as Eytan Fox and Avi Nesher. In 2015, Mor relocated to Los Angeles to obtain an M.F.A. from USC’s Peter Stark Producing Program. While at USC, he interned at MGM, River Road, and Fox Digital’s development departments. After graduation, he produced several short films and music videos before launching Mor Productions, which co-finances, develops, and produces projects that strive for unique storytelling and social impact. The company’s first films, NOCTURNAL and THE UNBORN, are set for release in 2019.
For 25 years, Christopher Racster has made an international impact as an advocate and filmmaker, employing media to help shape public perception and acceptance of the queer community. Most recently, he served as Executive Director of Outfest, the world’s preeminent LGBTQ media arts organization and home to Outfest Los Angeles LGBTQ Film Festival. During his tenure, Racster led the organization to play an increased role in addressing the systemic issues faced by LGBTQ people in the entertainment industry, growing their stature internationally by investing in filmmaker education, connecting filmmakers to the industry, and advocating for increased inclusion at all levels of film and television production.
Prior to Outfest, Racster was a sought-after producer focused solely on queer storytelling. During this time, he produced five award-winning, internationally distributed feature films that premiered at festivals including Sundance, Tribeca, and BFI London. In 2008, Racster was invited to become a founding Patron of the Iris Prize Festival in Wales alongside Lord Glendonbrook (Michael Bishop) and Matthew Rhys (BROTHERS AND SISTERS, THE AMERICANS) and a Trustee of the Iris Prize Foundation, which focuses on launching the careers of queer filmmakers worldwide.
Michael Ehrenzweig is a Supervising Producer at ITVS and joined the organization in 2015. Before ITVS, Michael produced, line-produced, and managed production for numerous award-winning documentaries and nonfiction films for PBS, the History Channel, HBO, National Geographic Channel, ARTE Europe, Channel 4 UK, Canal Plus France, and Germany’s ZDF. Focusing on international productions and co-productions, he has produced in Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Americas. Ehrenzweig’s work has been shown in theaters and on television worldwide and includes such seminal works as THE CELLULOID CLOSET, PARAGRAPH 175, HOWL, HERE’S LOOKING AT YOU BOY, THE ROYAL ROAD, LIFE 360, and UNSEEN ENEMY, a feature documentary for CNN Films.
Sam Henriques won a Primetime Emmy for Nonfiction Cinematography for shooting Academy Award nominee ANGOLA: THE FARM, produced and directed by Liz Garbus and Jonathan Stack, about inmates at the notorious Angola State Penitentiary. Recent documentary credits include THE GOOD SOLDIER, for which he won an Emmy as Producer for Documentary & Historical Programming, and RIDING THE RAILS for American Experience, which garnered a Peabody Award. Other notable films that he shot include GOOD PEOPLE GO TO HELL, A CANTOR’S TALE, and MY ARCHITECT.
Steve Heffner (1967-2021)
CURED wouldn’t be what it is without the passion, talent, and vision that Steve Heffner brought to his role as the film’s editor. After a courageous battle with cancer, Steve passed away in May of 2021 at the age of 53. “He was an amazing editor, but more important than that, he was a great person. He’ll be sorely missed by those of us who were lucky enough to know and work with him,” says co-director Patrick Sammon. Adds co-director Bennett Singer: “Steve took his work incredibly seriously and was supremely dedicated. At the same time, he never took himself too seriously. Words cannot express the depth of this loss.”
In addition to CURED, Steve’s credits included THE DOG DOC, INDIAN POINT for director Ivy Meeropol, the Emmy-nominated BROTHERS IN WAR for NatGeo, the highly successful independent release THE AMERICAN NURSE, and the Emmy-nominated WWII IN HD and VIETNAM IN HD, both for the History Channel. He recently directed, wrote, and edited an episode of THE APOLLO CHRONICLES for the CW Network. Steve received several CINE Golden Eagle awards for his educational work and two for broadcast projects.
Lillian E. Benson
Lillian E. Benson, ACE, is a television, video, and feature film editor whose body of work spans almost forty years. A member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, she was nominated for an Emmy for her work on the landmark Civil Rights series EYES ON THE PRIZE II. She was lead editor of MAYA ANGELOU: AND STILL I RISE; this documentary feature was an official selection at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival, was broadcast during the 2017 season of American Masters on PBS, and won a Peabody Award in 2018. Benson has edited films for American Experience, American Playhouse, Independent Lens, and Great Performances. Benson is the first African-American woman to become a member of American Cinema Editors, the honorary society of editors, and currently serves on the ACE board.
Jenn Stamps is a freelance editor/assistant editor who lives and works in the Hudson Valley of New York. She has worked on many award-winning films, including BUCK (Sundance Audience Award), HOW TO DANCE IN OHIO (Peabody Award), THAT WAY MADNESS LIES, INDIAN POINT, MR. ANGEL, ECHOES FROM THE ATTIC (short), as well as the 7 CLINICS WITH BUCK BRANNAMAN series. Recently, she worked on THE DOG DOC and she made her directorial debut on the equine educational DVD HORSE SPEAK – FIRST CONVERSATIONS. Currently, Stamps is working on a limited television series about Apollo and editing the forthcoming DOG DOC educational series.
Julianne Donofrio is the director and producer of the award-winning documentary PIECED TOGETHER, the first film about the American barn quilt trail movement. Her decades of journalism experience include earning a Peabody Award and recognition in the Smithsonian Institution Exhibit “September 11: Bearing Witness to History” for her work on the ABC News production NIGHTLINE: THE SURVIVORS, which profiled two of the burn survivors from the 9/11 Pentagon attack. Donofrio writes, produces, directs, films, and edits short documentaries and video content for various media outlets and socially active clients. Projects include the GOOGLE/YOUTUBE/PBS NEWSHOUR live interview with Captain Mark Kelly and the crew of the space shuttle Endeavour during their final flight, and co-executive producing the WASHINGTON INSIDER, a seven-part podcast documentary during the White House Correspondents Weekend. She currently lives and works in New York and Washington, DC.
Ian Honeyman is a prolific film composer, music producer, and multi-instrumentalist who has written music for more than 50 films. He plays a wide variety of instruments, including violin, guitar, piano, unusual instruments from around the world, and some that he built himself, which contribute to his unique sound. Formally trained in composition at Peabody Conservatory, he combines classical skills, cutting-edge production, and a focus on using live musicians to create unforgettable film scores. Credits include POSEIDON, directed by Wolfgang Petersen; MIAMI VICE, directed by Michael Mann; 16 BLOCKS, directed by Richard Donner; CONSTANTINE; ULTRAVIOLET; and many others. Honeyman has scored feature films such as Disney’s LILLY THE WITCH: THE DRAGON AND THE MAGIC BOOK, directed by Academy Award winner Stefan Ruzowitzky, and documentaries including GORE VIDAL: THE UNITED STATES OF AMNESIA, directed by Nicholas Wrathall, and HANK: 5 YEARS TO THE BRINK, directed by Academy Award nominee Joe Berlinger.
Lois Vossen is the Executive Producer of Independent Lens and has been with the show since its inception as a primetime series on PBS. Vossen is responsible for commissioning new films, programming the series, and working with filmmakers on editorial and broadcast issues. Independent Lens films have received 25 Emmy Awards, 23 George Foster Peabody Awards, 5 Alfred I. duPont-Columbia Journalism Awards and 9 Academy Award nominations. The series was honored in 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2017 with the International Documentary Association (IDA) Award for Best Series. Before joining ITVS, Vossen was the Associate Managing Director of Sundance Film Festival and Sundance Labs.
Julie Sandler is a New York-based filmmaker and recent graduate of Vassar College. She began her work on CURED as a production intern in the spring of 2019. During the production, among other things, she helped identify and organize archival photographs. Also, she conducted extensive research at the Lesbian Herstory Archives in Brooklyn. Sandler is a recent recipient of the David C. Magid Memorial Prize in Cinematography for her achievements in cinematography and film studies at Vassar. She has created several short films and videos, including BUEN PROVECHO, which she produced during her study abroad experience at the Film and TV School of the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague, Czech Republic.
John Campbell has over twenty-five years of development and non-profit management experience working with a variety of public policy and advocacy organizations in Washington, DC, Los Angeles, and San Francisco.
Over the course of his career, he has met with and successfully solicited funds from some of the nation’s leading philanthropists. He has raised millions of dollars for organizations through the establishment of major gifts programs, direct mail marketing, foundation and corporate fundraising, and special events and galas.
Campbell has served as a board member, along with actress Jane Seymour, of City Hearts, a Los Angeles-based organization that addresses the needs of at-risk and disadvantaged children.
Libby Hanks is a marketing strategist and visual storyteller with 12 years of experience producing digital content and marketing strategies for brands and filmmakers. She has produced custom campaigns for companies such as 3M, Las Floristas, and Local First Arizona. Hanks also has worked to raise brand awareness across the globe for non-profit organizations, government entities, and feature films using creative digital content.
With her guidance, Hanks’ clients have received millions of dollars in charitable donations and have benefited from increased conversion rates and expanded audience reach. She uses metrics and innovation to build comprehensive strategies and has a solid reputation for creating engaging visuals in web and graphic designs, brand advertising, digital photography, live broadcasts, and media production.
Singer songwriter TUCKER sings “THE OTHER SIDE OF THE RAINBOW” – co-written with composer Ian Honeyman – as the finale of Cured. You’ve heard him on SNL, The Today Show with Carole King, and show themes, network IDs, parodies, and promos for Nickelodeon, Amazon, iHeart, and more. TUCKER began releasing singles as a pop recording artist in 2021. A loud and proud gay artist and activist, TUCKER has performed at the LBGTQ+ concerts Stonewall Gives Back with Troye Sivan and The Music of PWA Founder Michael Callen at Joe’s Pub. The Huffington Post says: “What sets TUCKER apart is his material…melodic songs that sound contemporary but also recall an era when the Brill Building invented Top-40 radio, and some of America’s greatest songwriters ruled the airwaves.” Paul Shaffer, David Letterman’s CBS Orchestra leader and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame producer, says: “TUCKER is the kind of guy who’ll have the longevity — and success — that comes from being an original.”