The Filmmakers

BEN SELKOW, Director/Producer/Cinematographer/Co-Writer

BEN SELKOW is a non-fiction film & television director, showrunner, and executive producer with over nineteen years of experience making prestige docu-series (Netflix’s Rapture), documentary feature films (HBO’s Prayer for a Perfect Season), and hosted international travel series (CNN’s Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown + Believer with Reza Aslan, Nat Geo’s Trafficked with Mariana van Zeller) while collaborating with studios such as Netflix, HBO, CNN, NatGeo, Starz, Discovery Channel, SundanceTV, Participant Media, Univision, PBS/World Channel, Esquire Network and exhibiting work at Tribeca, SXSW, Hot Docs, DOC NYC, Seattle, Miami, New Orleans, and Zurich Film Festivals.

Ben was the director/producer/director of photography/writer of A Summer in the Cage, a feature-length documentary about bipolar disorder that premiered on Sundance Channel in October 2007 and is being distributed for home video by Indiepix Films, for educational by 7th Art Releasing and for digital content by Cinetic Rights Management (CRM). A Summer in the Cage won the 2009 Mental Health America Media Award in the Documentary Category. The film also received an honorable mention at the 2009 Voice Awards and was nominated for a 2008 Prism Award for Bipolar Disorder Depiction by the Entertainment Industries Council. A Summer in the Cage has screened internationally in film festivals and partnered with mental health groups to bring awareness and community to those patients and family members coping with mood disorders.

Ben produced the feature documentary film The Carrier for director Maggie Betts. The film is about a young mother Mutinta, a Zambian subsistence farmer in a polygamous marriage who has just learned she is HIV positive. Newly pregnant, Mutinta does everything she can to protect her unborn baby while navigating complicated family dynamics and village politics. The Carrier sculpts a sensitive observational portrait of one woman’s struggle leading up to her newborn’s birth. The film premieres in the World Documentary Competition section of the 2011 Tribeca Film Festival.

Ben was the director, producer and director of photography of Buried Above Ground. The documentary film explores the harrowing stories of three Americans living with these burdens of PTSD—a combat-wounded Army Captain returning from Iraq with a Purple Heart, a native New Orleanian survivor of Hurricane Katrina, and a rape/domestic violence survivor. With three stories, Buried Above Ground takes the realities of living with PTSD out of the shadows and allow audiences to experience the emotional, medical, and financial costs of this growing mental health epidemic.

Ben was selected as a Fellow for The Carter Center’s 2010-2011 Rosalynn Carter Fellowships for Mental Health Journalism for his documentary Buried Above Ground. The fellowship program is part of the Carter Center’s Mental Health Program, which works around the world to reduce stigma and discrimination against people with mental illnesses and to decrease incorrect and stereotypical information. The program also seeks to increase access to mental health services and inform mental health public policy. Ben also was selected to participate in The Dart Center for Journalism & Trauma’s 2010 conference entitled “When Veterans Come Home: A Workshop for Working Journalists” at The Carter Center in Atlanta, GA. The Dart Center for Journalism & Trauma, a project of the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, is dedicated to informed, effective and ethical news reporting on violence, conflict and tragedy.

With his project Buried Above Ground, Ben was selected to participate in The Dart Center for Journalism & Trauma’s 2010 conference entitled “When Veterans Come Home: A Workshop for Working Journalists” at The Carter Center in Atlanta, GA. The workshop featured a wide range of leading mental health and policy experts, award-winning journalists and veterans’ advocates, in addition to opening speaker Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter. The Dart Center for Journalism & Trauma, a project of the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, is dedicated to informed, effective and ethical news reporting on violence, conflict and tragedy.

In 2007, Ben was honored as one of 50 Non-Fiction Filmmakers at the Current TV/Fader Films Symposium “A Day of Dialogue and the Future of Non-Fiction Film,” featuring keynote speaker former Vice President Nobel Prize honoree, Academy Award winner and Current TV founder Al Gore, as well as luminary documentarians Barbara Kopple, Albert Maysles, Alex Gibney, and Marc Levin.

Ben first became interested in film after seeing his mother, a psychologist, being featured in the National Film Board of Canada documentary L’Interdit (1976), about an alternative commune for treating schizophrenics in Canada. Ben is a member of the Independent Film Project (IFP) the International Documentary Association (IDA), as well as being fiscally sponsored by the IDA. Ben was born in Montréal, Canada and is a dual-citizen.

Ben holds Bachelor of Arts with Honors in Film Studies and African-American Studies from Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut where he received the W.E.B. DuBois Academic Award for Overall Excellence. He received a certificate from the School for International Training in Tanzania, East Africa.

JOHN MIMS, Editor/Co-Writer

John Mims is the editor and co-writer for A Summer in the Cage. Prior to this film, he edited two other feature documentaries: The Voyagers, a profile of Brooklyn based artist Ward Shelley and his walking sculpture project; and Slammed From the Street, a showcase of urban league basketball highlights and profiles of its dominant players. He has also edited several other programs including: ThinkNOW, an experimental short examining the effects of commerce on the psyche and a segment for Beyond the Glory on Fox Sports. John is currently the senior editor at UNICEF Television, and has worked with the organization since 1998, producing and editing numerous PSA’s, short features and news reports. He is developing an as yet unnamed television series for UNICEF. Before becoming an editor, John was a fine arts painter, holding a BA in Art from UC Berkeley. He resides in Brooklyn.

HAJO CARL, Composer

Hajo is a performer, producer and co-writer for the New York-based trip-hop band Vortex with lyricist and vocalist Juliet Hanlon. Hajo has always been inspired by music and technology’s synergy and the limitless possibilities of creative expression that they proffer. He was classically trained in piano in Nuremberg, Germany and then attended the musical school Wolfram-Von-Eschenbach. Following his formal studies, Hajo moved to Berlin where he worked for Germany’s biggest Apple computer retailer Gravis as a consultant on the technology side. Concurrently, while in Berlin, Hajo produced and engineered albums for such bands and labels as Nustyle for EMI, Madonna Hiphop Massacer for East-West Records and unsigned acts Worldcup and Rekord at DCM Tonstudios. In 1996, he came to New York City where he currently resides.

PAOLA FRECCERO, Executive Producer

Paola Freccero is the Founder and President of Fast Forward, a consulting firm dedicated to new business development and strategic planning for the entertainment industry. Prior to starting Fast Forward, Paola was Sundance Channel’s Senior Vice President, Film Programming. In that role, she supervised the acquisition, programming and scheduling of Sundance Channel’s film line-up which included independent Americana and international features, non-fiction series and documentaries, and shorts. During her tenure, Paola launched both Sundance Channel Home Entertainment and the Sundance Film Series, and previously held the title of Vice President International, spearheading Sundance Channel’s business development activities overseas. Prior to joining Sundance Channel, Paola was Artistic Director of the Nortel Palm Springs International Film Festival and the Palm Springs International Short Film Festival. Before joining the festival, Paola spent five years working as a publicist in independent film and television. Paola lives in New York City.

JOEDAN OKUN, Associate Producer

Joedan Okun is currently the Head of Production at Our Time Projects, a New York production company founded by Oscar-nominated and Emmy-winning director/producer Matthew Heineman. With over 15 years experience on projects that have exhibited on Showtime, HBO, ESPN, Netflix and A&E, Joedan has a proven track record producing both non-fiction television series and feature-length documentaries. For Our Time Projects, Joedan was recently a Supervising Producer on The Trade, a 5-part docu-series that premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and was honored by the International Documentary Association as the Best Episodic Series of 2018. Before that, Joedan co-produced the DGA award-winning City of Ghosts, Matthew Heineman’s feature documentary that premiered at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival. He also worked as a Field Producer on the Peabody Award\-winning Time: The Kalief Browder Story, a 6-part docu-series from Executive Producer Jay-Z that also screened at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival. Prior to that, he was a producer on Maggie Betts’ documentary, The Carrier, an intimate look at the prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission that was broadcast by PBS.

Additional credits include work on the Academy-Award nominated Cartel Land, the Raf Simons’ profile Dior and I, the Cuban racing film Havana Motor Club, the PTSD documentary Buried Above Ground, the Academy-Award nominated documentary short Why Can’t We Be a Family Again? and the Emmy Award-winning documentary The Pill. Joedan graduated with Honors from Wesleyan University.