I grew up on Staten Island in New York with a dad who was a police officer and a mom who was a social worker. Life was anything but boring.
My mother worked at Willowbrook State School, the outdated institution that housed mentally disabled people. My mother was a whistleblower and she and several others forced it to close. Geraldo Rivera covered the scandal on his television show. This was the my first experience with politics, power and the ability for citizens to create change.
We moved to Athens, Georgia, which wasn't the hip and cool place it is now. In fact, it was a small town still struggling with the aftermath of the Civil Rights Movement. Then we moved to Atlanta and I spent my teenage years living in the Quaker Meeting House in Little Five Points, amidst the artist’s community in Atlanta. This neighborhood had it all, filmmakers, actors, gay activists, political activists, feminists and the avant-garde of the time. I immersed myself in the culture. I joined a dance theater company with Celeste Miller and volunteered at Charis Books and More, the local feminist bookstore.
I attended a fully integrated Atlanta public school and the alternative public school. I am a strong advocate for public schools and school boards.
After high school, I attended Hampshire College and upon graduating, moved to San Francisco with intentions of working at Lucasfilm's Industrial Light and Magic in their optical department. I was excited to see where visual effects were being made through camera and film. After several years and a lot of hard work, I started working in the optical department as a compositor in 1989.
I worked on many feature films while at ILM, including FORREST GUMP, GHOST, BACK TO THE FUTURE 2, DEATH BECOMES HER, THE ROCKETEER, THE HUNT FOR RED OCTOBER, HOOK and IN THE MOUTH OF MADNESS.
After living in San Francisco for a few years, I moved to Los Angeles to broaden my film experience. I worked with several Hollywood studios including Warner Bros., Sony Imageworks and Technicolor. I worked as a visual effects producer, compositor, editor, digital intermediate conforming editor and producer of miniature effects. My credits include: RACE TO WITCH MOUNTAIN, THE HUMAN STAIN, KILL BILL Vol. 1+2, FINAL DESTINATION, HERBIE FULLY LOADED, BEOWULF, PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN and ENCHANTED.
I wanted to be an independent filmmaker and make my own movies. The first film that I directed was about a little-known southwestern architect. I called it MARY JANE COLTER: THE DESERT VIEW. It was narrated by Ellen Burstyn. I had been drawn to Ms. Colter's story because of her significant and ground-breaking work that seemed to be unfamiliar to most people.
I produced a film festival which was held at the Winslow Historic Theater from year 2002-2004. During that time, the Winslow Film Festival screened independent films and hosted a visual effects lecture series featuring noteworthy professionals that worked in the field.
My own film, FEMINIST: STORIES FROM WOMEN’S LIBERATION won "Best of the Fest" documentary at the Los Angeles Women's International Film Festival. It explores the significance of the second wave of the women’s liberation movement and the effect it has on our lives. Interviewees include author and NOW founder Betty Friedan, authors and activists Frances M. Beal, Robin Morgan, Sonia Pressman Fuentes, Betita Martinez among other feminists.
Today, I am invited to speak around the world. I see a clear connection between our public spaces, democracy and the history of women in America.
My speaking engagements have included the British Library, Feminism in London Conference, Berkshire Conference on Women’s History, Hampshire College, The Women, Action and Media National Conference, UCLA, University of Colorado, Boulder, Girls Athletic Leadership School, Denver, CO, Loyola Marymount University, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, University of Texas Dallas, and the International Islamic University in Islamabad, Pakistan.