About the Filmmakers

John Simpson, Screenwriter/Director

Director, John Simpson

John has had a passion for the Performing Arts his entire life.  He has experience as an actor in films, television, and the stage.  He was the managing director of a mid-sized theater company for four years and holds a Masters Certificate in Arts Administration. His father, Garry, is an Emmy Award winning Television Director.  John has simultaneously been actively involved in education, having taught at a number of colleges for over twenty years.

John and Suzanne first visited the Nkomo Primary School in 2002 and have become increasingly involved with the school, Mrs. Zikhali, and many of the learners every since.

John has over twenty years of experience in the finance/accounting field and is a Certified Public Accountant specializing in not-for-profit organizations.  His experience on both sides of the “camera” provides him with the insight as to the artistic and management challenges that are involved with making a film.

His unique set of skills that combine the arts, education, management, and finance, together with his passion to tell this story of success, ensures that this story will be told.

John holds a Masters Certificate in Arts Administration from Golden Gate University, an M.B.A. in Finance from the University of California, Berkeley, and a B.S. in Engineering from the University of Vermont.

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Suzanne Cross, Producer

Suzanne Cross

Suzanne’s interest in improving children’s education flows from her B.A. degree in Education.  She has continued to teach children through programs in Connecticut and Tanzania.  Suzanne is a weekly, classroom volunteer at Argonne Elementary School in San Francisco.  Her passion for the well being and educational opportunities of the Nkomo School learners is a major force behind the successful completion of this film project.

Her connection and financial support at Nkomo Primary School began in 2002 and includes providing educational supplies, uniforms so needy learners may continue on to high school, and computer education for both teachers and students.  In addition, she collaborates with five Argonne teachers, engaging their students with the needs and challenges of the Nkomo students through an annual “Read-A-Thon” that has provided over $13,000 to build classrooms and purchase educational supplies at Nkomo School.

In 2000, she created the Suzanne Cross Scholarship, East Haven High School, CT, which awards $5,000 annually to graduates for higher education.

Ms. Cross has been a consultant to the University of California, Office of the President (UCOP), since July 2003, providing technical advisory to the finance, development, and legal departments.  She formerly held several management positions at State Street Global Advisors.  She is currently on three company boards of the Nonprofits’ Insurance Alliance Group, a non-profit charitable risk pool, on the Board of Directors for the Coro Center for Civic Leadership, San Francisco, and a Board Member of Unite to Light, which distributes solar reading lights worldwide to those without electricity.  Ms. Cross holds a BA in Mathematics from the University of Connecticut.

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Jeremy Ambers, Editor

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Jeremy started his career working for a small marketing and production company in the suburbs of New York City, where he quickly learned the value of developing multiple skill sets.  After spending a few years working on a three-man film and video production crew, Jeremy eventually gravitated towards the post-production arena and the bright lights of New York City.

While keeping close with his roots in production, he spent over a decade editing everything from television commercials and corporate videos to television programming, short films and eventually feature-length projects.

His latest project Impossible Light is a big success on the 2014 festival run.

 

Alexis Holloway, Filmmaker/Field Producer

Alexis Holloway

Alexis is a New York based director and field producer. She has worked on programming for the Hallmark Channel, MTV, and WE networks as well as independent productions. Her recent work in reality television includes the Emmy Award winning series, MADE. She also has a background in both narrative and documentary filmmaking, as well as creating and producing a women’s film festival. In addition to film and TV production, Alexis has extensive experience working as an educator and advocate to end domestic and sexual violence. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Film Production and Women’s Studies.

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