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Meet The Team

Barbara Kopple

Director / Producer

Barbara Kopple produced and directed HARLAN COUNTY, USA and AMERICAN DREAM, both winners of the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature. In 1991, HARLAN COUNTY, USA was named to the National Film Registry by the Librarian of Congress and designated an American Film Classic. The film was restored and preserved by the Women’s Preservation Fund and the Academy Film Archive and featured as part of the Sundance Collection at the Sundance Film Festival in 2005. The Criterion Collection released a DVD of HARLAN COUNTY, USA in 2006. HARLAN COUNTY, USA is currently streaming on Criterion Channel and on HBO/MAX. Barbara is also a nine-time Emmy-nominated filmmaker. Heading up Cabin Creek Films in New York City, Barbara is a director and producer of documentaries, scripted films, episodic television and commercials, she recently completed the documentary DESERT ONE about the daring US Special Ops mission during the Iranian Hostage Crisis, which had its world premiere at the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival was released theatrically by Greenwich Entertainment in August 2020 followed by a broadcast on HISTORY beginning September 12, 2021. Other films include NEW HOMELAND, documenting a group of refugee children from Syria and Iraq who experience a summer camp in the Canadian wilderness (premiered at DOC NYC 2018); A MURDER IN MANSFIELD, examining the murder trial in the 1990’s where a son testified against his father for the murder of his mother (premiere-DOC NYC 2017); with Sara Dosa, she directed "REMASTERED: TRICKY DICK AND THE MAN IN BLACK, nominated for a 2019 Emmy Award; THIS IS EVERYTHING; GIGI GORGEOUS, chronicling the life and family of Internet sensation Gigi Gorgeous (premiere-Sundance Film Festival 2017); MISS SHARON JONES premiered at the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival and was the opening night film at DOC NYC and received a 2017 Emmy Nomination; SHELTER for Al Jazeera America in 2015 about homeless vets; HOT TYPE: 150 YEARS OF THE NATION examines America's oldest continuously published weekly magazine; RUNNING FROM CRAZY premiered at Sundance in 2013 and received a 2014 Primetime Emmy nomination for Outstanding Documentary or Nonfiction Special; FIGHT TO LIVE exposes the roadblocks imposed by the current FDA approvals process; A FORCE OF NATURE celebrates the life and work of journalist and philanthropist Ellen Ratner; GUN FIGHT explores the place of guns in US culture; THE HOUSE OF STEINBRENNER, part of ESPN’s Emmy nominated “30 for 30” series, received a 2010 Peabody Award as well as the International Documentary Association Award for Best Continuing Series. The Emmy-nominated, WOODSTOCK, NOW AND THEN, looks back at the legacy of the historic music festival, 40 years later. Well known for her work on US labor issues, Barbara directed STEAMFITTERS: LOCAL UNION 638 in 2007 for HBO’s acclaimed Addiction Series. The New York Times likened this short documentary to “crisp tonic with lime.” This program was awarded the Television Academy of Arts and Sciences Governor’s Award. Barbara produced and directed, SHUT UP AND SING, following the Chicks (formerly The Dixie Chicks) and the fallout they faced after publicly criticizing President Bush; A CONVERSATION WITH GREGORY PECK, a film portrait of the legendary actor; THE HAMPTONS, a four-hour mini-series for ABC; MY GENERATION, examining the Woodstock legacy and Generation X; and FALLEN CHAMP: THE UNTOLD STORY OF MIKE TYSON, for which she was nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Individual Achievement in Directing. She directed the feature nonfiction film, WILD MAN BLUES about the European tour of Woody Allen and his jazz band, for which she won the National Board of Review Award for Best Documentary. Barbara also produced the HBO documentary AMERICAN STANDOFF, which chronicled an 18-month strike of the Teamsters Union against Overnight Transportation, and the A&E documentary BEARING WITNESS about female war correspondents working in Iraq. Barbara was a member of the WINTER SOLDIER COLLECTIVE, which created the film WINTER SOLDIER. Other nonfiction films include THE DC SNIPER'S WIFE, a documentary that lookS at the life of Mildred Muhammad, ex-wife of infamous DC sniper, John Allen Muhammad; HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL: TTHE MUSIC IN YOU, following students performing a stage adaptation of “High School Musical.”; NO NUKES, a "rockumentary" shot during five days of concerts at Madison Square Garden and distributed by Warner Brothers; DEFENDING OUR DAUGHTERS, an investigation into women’s human rights issues in Bosnia, Pakistan and Egypt and winner of a Voices of Courage Award; WITH LIBERTY AND JUSTICE FOR ALL?, a short documentary made for the Alliance for Justice, which explores the issue of immigration law. Barbara also directed a series of specials for the Disney Channel, including FRIENDS FOR LIFE: LIVING WITH AIDS, the first show about AIDS to air on that network. She also co-created, produced and directed I MARRIED..., a series for VH1 about the spouses and families of rock stars. Barbara directed the narrative feature HAVOC, starring Anne Hathaway, Bijou Phillips and Freddy Rodriguez and written by Stephen Gaghan. The film follows a group of wealthy teenagers coming of age and searching for an identity in Los Angeles. She directs episodic television and commercial spots. Her television work includes episodes of HBO'S OZ and NBC'S Homicide, for which she won a DGA Award for Outstanding Direction. Barbara has directed commercial spots for companies such as American Greetings, Sprint, Applebee’s, Dove, Intel, Target, The Tiger Woods Foundation, Pearl Vision and the Children’s Defense Fund. Barbara has been awarded the Human Rights Watch Film Festival Irene Diamond Award, Los Angeles Film Critics Award, National Society of Film Critics Award, the SilverDocs/Charles Guggenheim Award, New York Women in Film & Television Muse Award, the Maya Deren Independent Film and Video Award, the Woodstock Film Festival Maverick Award, Women in Film & Video of Washington, DC Women of Vision Award, the White House Project’s EPIC Award, the International Documentary Association Career Achievement Award, the San Francisco Film Society’s Persistence of Vision Award, the Sundance Film Festival Grand Jury Prize, Filmmakers Trophy & Audience Award, the Sarasota Film Festival Director’s Award, and the Nantucket Film Festival’s Special Achievement in Documentary Filmmaking Award. The Paley Center for Media has named Barbara a 2007 "She Made It Honoree.” She recently served her tenth year on the board of trustees for the American Film Institute and continues as an advisory board member for the American University Center for Social Media and Independent Feature Project’s Filmmaker Labs. In 2010, Barbara received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from American University. She is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, the Director’s Guild of America, New York Women in Film and Television’s Honorary Board, the British Academy of Film and Television Arts, and actively participates in organizations that address social issues and support independent filmmaking.

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David Cassidy

Producer

David Cassidy is a Peabody Award-winning and Emmy-nominated Documentary Producer. He has produced documentary series and features with two-time Academy Award winning director Barbara Kopple and Cabin Creek Films for over fifteen years. He recently premiered "Desert One" at the Toronto International Film Festival (History, 2020), which tells the story of the Iran Hostage Crisis with a particular focus on the American rescue mission Operation Eagle Claw. He served as producer on the MTV Movie Award Nominated film "This Is Everything: Gigi Gorgeous" (YouTube Red, 2017) which premiered at the 2017 Sundance Films Festival. He previously premiered "Miss Sharon Jones!" (Starz/Netflix, 2016) at the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival. The film follows the charismatic soul singer through her recent cancer struggle and return to the stage. In 2018, he produced the well-received true-crime doc "A Murder in Mansfield" (Investigation Discovery, 2018). Cassidy produced the Emmy Nominated documentary "Running from Crazy" (OWN, 2013) which had its’ world premiere at Sundance 2013 and aired in Spring 2014. Engaging his passion for baseball, Cassidy produced "The House of Steinbrenner" (ESPN, 2010) which aired as part of ESPN's Peabody Award Winning 30 for 30 series. He produced the verité documentary "Shut Up & Sing", produced & directed by Barbara Kopple and Cecilia Peck (2006), about The Chicks. Cassidy continues to produce with Cabin Creek Films where he is currently working on a broad development slate. Outside the office he lives in Red Bank, New Jersey with his wife, son, and four cats, where he is proud to serve as a volunteer firefighter and member of the Boro Planning Board.

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Esther Cassidy

Producer

Esther Cassidy joined Cabin Creek Films after years of experience developing and producing documentaries for nationwide release in theaters, broadcast, and streaming and also for widespread use by colleges and universities and social justice organizations. She directed two nationally broadcast documentaries, Enemies of War for PBS and The Wrong Man: The Case of Edward Lee Elmore for TRU-TV. Among the films she has worked on with Barbara Kopple is American Dream, which won the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature, among many other awards. She also produced a NY Times Critics' Pick, Birth of the Living Dead, a feature-length documentary released in theaters and streaming. Cassidy has a long record of securing funding for prestigious programs that support and train emerging documentary filmmakers from diverse communities.

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Williams Cole

Producer

Williams Cole has been producing, directing and editing documentary film for over 20 years. Feature-length producing credits include Sundance premieres like "Finding Fela!" (2014), 99% - "The Occupy Wall Street Collaborative Film" (2013), the HBO feature "Gun Fight" (produced with Academy Award winner Barbara Kopple), "Even Though the Whole World is Burning (PBS 2016) and "Giuliani Time" (2006).  His directing credits include "Rebel Rossa" (2017) and "Barney's Wall" (2018) and a series of shorts.  He filmed in cities around the world for the Rockefeller Foundation's "100 Resilient Cities" initiative and produced over 60 short profiles of writers for Open Road Integrated Media.  He was a Fulbright Scholar at the London School of Economics and a founder of the Brooklyn Rail. 

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Maureen Dougherty

Producer and Line Producer

Maureen Dougherty studied fine art at Carnegie Mellon University and the NY Studio School. She has spent the last twenty-five years in the film industry, the last sixteen of which at Cabin Creek Films. In 2003, her own production company, MOJO FILMS, Inc was incorporated. Currently two films are in production, “Failure Is Not An Option” is about the Abysinian Development Corporation’s creation of the first high school to be built in Harlem in over fifty years (the Thurgood Marshall Academy for Learning and Social Change), which opened the 50th Anniversary of Brown versus the Board of Education, and “Listening to the Mountain” which is about the first US Outward Bound Instructor Tap Tapley and the future of outdoor education in today’s virtual world.

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Ray Nowosielski

Producer

Ray Nowosielski is an Emmy-nominated filmmaker who has served as a film producer at Cabin Creek for the better part of a decade. He has also been a director, producer, consulting producer and writer on the productions of many acclaimed documentarians, including those of Academy Award-winners Art Bilger, Rob Epstein, Jeffrey Friedman, Alex Gibney and nominee Morgan Spurlock. He produced and directed on the Emmy-nominated third season of VICE on HBO and for the Webby-winning online series "We the Economy" and was a consulting producer to Gibney and Pulitzer Prize winner Lawrence Wright for the pilot episode of their Amazon original series "The New Yorker Presents". His investigative journalism exposing an alleged human rights abuser employed by the CIA was later dubbed “fantastic” and “brave” by The Intercept co-founder Glenn Greenwald. Nowosielski's string of collaborations with director Barbara Kopple include consulting producer for her Emmy and NAACP Image Award-nominated film, "Miss Sharon Jones!"; co-producer of a Discovery Channel film about climate change, "Killing the Colorado"; producer of two well-reviewed 2018 documentaries, the Netflix Original about "Johnny Cash,Tricky Dick & the Man in Black", and the Investigation Discovery true-crime film, "A Murder in Mansfield", and co-producer on her latest, "Desert One". He has written for Salon, Truthdig, Truthout and Fortune and contributed to investigations by The Daily Beast, Gawker, The Intercept and Newsweek. Skyhorse Publishing released Nowosielski’s first non-fiction book in 2018, "The Watchdogs Didn’t Bark", co-written with John Duffy.

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Michelle Purpura

Post Production Supervisor/ Associate Producer

Michelle Purpura has been a filmmaker, editor, and artist for over 10 years. She is the Post-Production Supervisor and Associate Producer at Cabin Creek Films for the past four years. The most recent film she has worked on was "Desert One" (2019), which premiered at The Toronto International Film Festival and will broadcast on The History Channel. Many of the other featured documentary films she has worked on include "New Homeland" (2018, NowThis), "A Murder in Mansfield" (2017, Investigation Discovery), "This Is Everything: Gigi Gorgeous" (2017, YouTube Red), and a mini-series "Future Works" (2016, Fortune). Before working at Cabin Creek Films, Michelle graduated with honors from SUNY College at Old Westbury, May of 2015, earning her B.A. in Media and Communications. She worked as a Project’s Manager at the Collaborative Media Center, where she tutored students in digital media productions, wrote and created video tutorials, and updated the center’s website. At SUNY College at Old Westbury, Michelle held the Vice-President position at the TV studio, OWTV. During her last semester, she created and produced her own show called Center Stage. Each episode featured the best talents on campus. In 2014, Michelle was a video editor and graphic design intern at WomenWorking.com. She also interned at "The Bill Cunningham Show", where she had the opportunity to work in the Production, Research, Audience, and Post-Production departments to help create each episode for season three. Michelle also has directed and produced her own films. At the 2015 Mac Awards, ten of her videos were nominated and three won first place. At the 2014 Mac Awards, six of her videos were nominated and the package “Conscious Scapes Photography Exhibit Fall 2013" won “Best News Package.” Michelle’s first accomplishment took place in high school when she received 1st place in the category of Documentary Films at the Locust Valley Film Festival in 2011. She also received the title of “Most Outstanding Broadcasting Student 2010-2011,” where her picture is displayed in the Hall of Fame at Oceanside High School.

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Cynthia Kane

Producer | Support Staff

Cynthia Kane is a writer and sometimes producer originally from New Mexico. She helped transform the way global documentaries are seen on U.S. television. She is an Alfred I. duPont Columbia University Award and Peabody Award winner, an Emmy Award-winning-and-nominated producer. She co-created DOCday on Sundance Channel in 2002 where she instrumental in the premiere US broadcast of Jean-Xavier de Lestrade and Denis Poncet’s The Staircase (2006 Peabody and Alfred I. DuPont-Columbia Awards, IDA Award for Limited Documentary Series.) She co-produced Anne Aghion’s In Rwanda we say, the family that does not speak, dies, winner of a 2005 News and Documentary Emmy. From 2007-2012 she shepherded over 150 international and U.S. co-productions for public media at ITVS. In 2013, she helped launch Al Jazeera America’s documentary unit/Sunday night strand with series - Kartemquin’s Hard Earned, winner 2016 Alfred I. DuPont-Columbia Awards, Inside Obama’s White House - and one-off documentaries including Albert Maysles’ final work, In Transit, three films by Soledad O’Brien about issues from finally honoring veterans overlooked because of race, ethnicity or religion- Honored Delayed, the US’ opioid crisis within midwestern suburban communities – Heroin USA and young incarcerated men of color in New Mexico’s youth prisons - Kids Behind Bars, Barbara Kopple’s Shelter, Leon Gast’s Sporting Dreams, Michelle Shephard and Patrick Reed’s Guantanamo’s Child, Marc Levin’s Freeway: Crack in the System (the last two nominated for News and Documentary Emmy’s) among many others. With her UK partners at gbgg films and Les Films de l’Après Midi in France, Kane executive-produced, New Eyes by award-winning Ethiopian director Hiwot Admasu Getaneh (Venice, TIFF, Rotterdam.) Kane joined forces with Executive Director of NYWIFT and former NYC Film Commissioner Cynthia Lopez as creative consultants for Zeva Oelbaum and Sabine Krayenbühl's Letters from Baghdad about the extraordinary life and times of Gertrude Bell. In 2018, she co-produced Kim A Snyder and Maria Cuomo Cole’s Lessons From a School Shooting: Notes from Dunblane, a Netflix Original Documentary now streaming in 190 countries and which won Best Short Documentary at Tribeca 2018, the DocDispatch Award at Sheffield DocFest and top prizes at the Athens (Greece) Short Film Festival, the United Nations Association Film Festival at Stanford University and was nominated for a Grierson Award. Recent work: producer: The Ants and the Grasshopper (2021 by Raj Patel and Zak Piper, premiering at the Telluride Mountain Film Festival, winner of the 2021 Moving Mountains Award); consulting producer: Carl Gierstorfer’s 2021 film with DocDays in Berlin, The River Between Us; executive producer: The Letter by Kenyan filmmakers Maia Lekow and Chris King which premiered at International Documentary Festival Amsterdam 2019 and was Kenya’s entry for Best Foreign Film for the 93rd Oscars; producer: Maria Finitzo’s The Dilemma of Desire which was scheduled to premiere at SXSW 2020, but did its virtual premiere at Hot Docs, AFI Docs and has screened in over 60 film festivals globally and winner of multiple awards; co-producer for Us Kids with Kim A Snyder, Maria Cuomo Cole and Lori Cheatle which premiered at Sundance Film Festival 2020 and won the Human Rights Award at Full Frame 2020 and six other festival awards. Kane produces educational workshops and webinars for Women Make Movies, has been an Emmy juror, on awards committees for the International Documentary Awards since 2006, a Hot Docs Blue Ice Labs mentor, a member of American Film Showcase and participates frequently in filmmaker labs and training initiatives. Kane currently works as a freelancer with Barbara Kopple and Cabin Creek Films.

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William Julien

Intern from Duke University

William Julien is from Parkland Florida and will be a junior at Duke University's Cinema Program this Fall 2022. He's been a filmmaker for the Africa Foundation and has won awards at several film festivals. He is fluent in both English and Spanish.

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Chrishanna Wood

Intern and Recent Graduate from Hofstra University

Chrissy Wood is a recent Hofstra University graduate where she received a BS degree in Radio, Television, and Film as well as a minor in Journalism. Chrissy is an ambitious and enthusiastic filmmaker who has worked on programs ranging from high caliber shows such as Hofstra Votes, to freelancing.

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Morgan Evans

Intern from Savanah College of Art and Design

Morgan Evans is a junior Film and Television student at the Savannah College of Art and Design, with a performance minor. She has interned at a talent agency based out of Los Angeles, however she resides in Savannah, Georgia. She is currently producing a documentary about invasive Burmese Pythons in the Everglades, and another on factory farming in America. Growing up in a digital era, she’s been experimenting with film and photography since the age of 12. Her heart lies in environmental documentaries.

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