James Weeks: Producer/co-director
The recipient of The Art of Living Black 2004, Jan-Hart-Schuyers Artistic Achievement Award, James Weeks is an award-wining photographer and a writer with more than 19 years of experience. His writings have appeared in Parenting, the Virgin Islands Daily News, the S.F. Weekly and other publications. He was initiated into the Ifa spiritual tradition and speaks the Yoruba language fluently. He has a B.A. Degree in French from Cal-State East Bay (formerly called Cal-State Hayward).
Tupac Mauricio Saavedra: Director of photography
Director/Producer/Cinematographer Tupac Mauricio Saavedra is a cameraman, reporter and documentary filmmaker that splits his time between his native home, Bolivia and the United States. Tupac recently completed Bolivian Baroque, a 42-minute documentary that aired on European and Bolivian television. During the historic 2005 presidential elections in Bolivia, he followed the campaign of Evo Morales, who went on to become Bolivia’s first indigenous president. His award winning documentary, On the Road With Evo, is a close look at Morales the person and the politician, as well as an examination of the political conditions that brought him into power. In making the documentary, Tupac had a certain inside track and added connection: like Evo Morales, Tupac (named for the legendary Bolivian leader, not the rap star) also has indigenous roots. In recent years, Tupac has worked as a freelance cameraman and editor, producing documentary shorts for the series Frontline World and TIME/CNN from India, Cuba, Peru, Brazil, and Bolivia. Tupac received his Masters degree from UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism.
Karen Everett: Editor/Story consultant
Documentary editor and storytelling specialist Karen Everett brings two decades of cutting experience and a deep understanding of narrative structure to the editing room. During the past eighteen years, Karen has also taught editing at UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism, named the top U.S. documentary program by Documentary Magazine. She has consulted on hundreds of documentaries and moderated filmmaking seminars.
A published author, Karen wrote “Reality in Three Acts: What Documentary Filmmakers Can Learn From Screenwriters” and is currently writing a book titled Documentary Editing. She teaches a popular two-day seminar on documentary storytelling at the San Francisco Film Society which is available online. Karen has directed and produced five documentaries, including the award-winning PBS biography I Shall Not Be Removed: The Life of Marlon Riggs. She received a Master’s in Journalism from UC Berkeley in 1992 and her B.A. degree from Smith College in 1987.
Omar Sosa: Composer
Across the King’s River proudly welcomes visionary pianist Omar Sosa as composer. Omar Sosa’s musical trajectory traces the Diaspora from Cuba to Brazil; from Central America to Ecuador’s African-descent communities; from San Francisco and New York to Western Europe, the Mediterranean, and the African continent. True to his Afro-Cuban origins, Omar Sosa fashions a spirited vision of uncompromising artistic generosity that embraces humanity at large.
Winner of the Smithsonian Associates’ lifetime achievement award, a three-time GRAMMY nominee, and nominated twice for both the BBC World Music awards and the Jazz Journalists Association awards, Omar Sosa entwines the cultural traditions of Africa, Europe, and the Americas in a unique, cosmopolitan voice. Omar’s search for musical freedom transcends orthodoxy, as an artist who exemplifies Monk’s determination never to play the same thing twice. He crafts a stylistically unique yet thoroughly contemporary global jazz idiom that celebrates the diversity of voices in the music of the Americas and far beyond.
Yet Omar always cultivates an intimate sense of connection with his own Afro-Cuban roots. As he relates, “Africa and the Diaspora represent an unequaled musical source. I have tried to express the continent’s melodic contour, and its great rhythmic strength. Rhythm connects every people with the supreme Spirit. Every land has ways of calling the Spirits, to pull people together. Philosophically, through jazz—perhaps the Diaspora’s freest genre—we have sought to combine the Caribbean, Latin America, and Africa in an expression of freedom, a celebration of the Diaspora, alive in our times.”
Across the King’s River proudly welcomes visionary artist Andrew Sikora for the creation of the King’s River T-shirt line and all promotional merchandise. From digital graphics to old school traditional pencils and inks, Andrew is master of many styles who has worked for some of the largest apparel firms in the world including VF Corporation whose brands include Lee®, Majestic®, Nautica®, Eagle Creek®, Harley-Davidson® and Wrangler. His distinctive style is widely sought after in the apparel design world. He is the driving force behind Eternyl Studios. To see more of his work, visit www.eternyl.com.
Shimrit Berman: Web Designer
Shimrit Berman is the heart of the Across The King’s River website design. “When I saw the work she did for another filmmaker, I knew I wanted her energy and vision on this project,” says producer James Weeks. Berman, an independent journalist and web designer/producer based in North California, has worked as a writer, web producer and graphic designer as well as in TV production and photography.
A warm welcome to Ailton Pinheiro Moreira for his wonderful translations of the King’s River Facebook posts into Portugese. Ailton, what would we do without you? And yes, we plan to visit you in Brazil one day. Peace and love to you. Thank you!!