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Suzanne has significant film experience as a writer and producer. She was the first screenwriter on the BBC’s four hour miniseries Portrait of a Marriage (1990). With filmmaker Lavinia Currier, Suzanne co-wrote the screenplay for Oka! (2011: Dada Films). It premiered at Telluride and opened its theatrical run at Angelika Film Center. Suzanne’s historical drama Scotch Verdict has won awards at film festivals in the US, Germany, France, Spain, and Mexico, and Great Britain. The Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts adapted and staged a production of the script in 2015 and made it part of their curriculum. Suzanne has associate produced two projects for FlatCoatFilms: My Grandfather was a Nazi Scientist (2012) and Public Memory (2004: Cinema Guild).




April Marcel is the CEO of Gibson & White Pictures, and has studied at Hollins University, and received her B.A. in theatre and film May 2011. April has had several plays produced; one includes her musical, God’s Eye, which was produced at the Downing-Gross Cultural  Arts Center and at New Millennium Studios. Her film, No Weapon Shall Prosper, was picked up by Maverick Entertainment Group and is distributed worldwide. Her comedic short play, Out Of Gas was also produced at Mill Mountain Theater in Roanoke, Virginia. April was Theatre Director at Booker T. Washington High School and enjoys being a part of helping students reach for their dreams. She was also an Editor at News Channel 3 in Norfolk, VA for five years.

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Heidi has worked as a professional studio audio engineer and producer since 1990 and founded her audio production company, All Access Audio, in 2001. She has worked extensively with music, spoken word, and sound design for radio, film, video and television, and her projects have garnered multiple Grammy and Washington Area Music Association Award nominations, as well as New York Radio Festival awards. She also served on the Board of Governors for the Washington D.C. Chapter of the Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. Gerber-Salins is Assistant Professor in the Department of Media, Journalism and Film at Howard University.




Ashton Rae is a cinematographer and visual storytelling fanatic that is based out of Los Angeles. A graduate of USC with an MFA in Cinematography, she is a student of nature and life’s mysteries. Her style is influenced by her surrounding environment, which leads to creating emotional intimacy with arresting imagery. Her body of work consists of mainly scripted narrative content that has been presented at festivals, such as Pan African Film Festival, and Chattanooga Film Festival. She has also worked in the commercial industry, working with brands such as Marriott, Google, Nars, and L’Agence.

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Pippa Gerber-Stroh is a junior studying at Drew University, planning to graduate with a major in Theatre Arts, and minors in Film Studies and Music. She has had the opportunity to portray roles on stage such as Belinda in Noises Off, Thea in Spring Awakening, and Woman In Aviatrix Costume in Chamber Music, among others. At University, she works as a tour guide, tutor,  and orientation leader, and is on the board of her a cappella group, On A Different Note. 



Jasmine is a talented, up-and-coming videographer who has worked professionally since 2012. She has received two Silver Addy awards, several local Emmy nominations, and her latest film, St. Louis Slam (2018), screened at the St. Louis International Film Festival. She currently works for the high-end commercial production company, Bruton Strobe Studios, in St. Louis, MO.




Anja Hanington is the production coordinator and boom operator for Hope of Escape. As a boom operator and sound technician, Anja has worked on a variety of short films that have garnered viral attention on YouTube, and been showcased at numerous film festivals including the Virginia Emerging Filmmaker Festival, the Cayenne Short Film Festival, and the Independent Film Festival – where The Plan (2019) received the award for Best Comedy. During her professional career, Anja has worked on projects ranging from Super Bowl commercials to BBC documentaries in various roles and capacities. She has worked in all areas of production, from development to post-production, and makes her own short films as well.

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I grew up in Mississippi, but we vacationed and holidayed in the Bronx. Accents, lots of accents. Then it went like this: Virginia, Colorado, Antarctica, went around the world some, then a bunch of other states later I ended up back in Virginia where I got a film degree from Hollins University and met Amy Gerber. Oh yea, I am also a carpenter, an artist, real good at camping in remote places, and an unapologetic RAP fan who is slightly obsessed with hand-made animation. 

Dr. Shannon Eaves - Historical Consultant 

Dr. Eaves earned her Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and currently serves as an Assistant Professor of African American History at the College of Charleston. She is a specialist in 19th century U.S. History, African American History, and Slavery and Gender in the Antebellum South. Her current book project Illicit Intercourse: How the Sexual Exploitation of Enslaved Women Shaped the Antebellum South inserts enslaved women, rape, and sexual exploitation into the center of scholarly debates on the Slave South’s system of power and culture.


Bryan Prince - Historical Consultant

Mr. Prince is a historian and author who has written several books such as I Came As A Stranger, A Shadow On The Household, One More River To Cross, My Brother's Keeper: African Canadians and the American Civil War, the script for the television documentary A Thousand Miles to Freedom. He was also historical consultant for the PBS television documentary Underground Railroad: The William Still Story. 

Dr. Anne E. Kerth - Historical Consultant 

Dr. Kerth is an Assistant Professor in the W.E.B. Du Bois Department of Afro-American Studies at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.  She holds a Ph.D. in History from Princeton University and a B.A. in History from Williams College.  Her research interests include the history of slavery and emancipation, labor history, the history of gender and sexuality, and carceral history.  Her current book project examines the lives and labors of enslaved and free African-American artisans in nineteenth-century South Carolina.  She teaches courses on early African American and African diasporic history; slavery and emancipation; and race, labor, and gender. 

Gerard Philips - Creative Advisor

Mr. Philips is the author of five novels, and numerous non-fiction works, including Cape Fear Rising and The Last Battleground: The Civil War Comes to North Carolina. He is Professor of Creative Writing at University of North Carolina. His award winning novel Cape Fear Rising is slated to be produced into a major motion picture next year.

Edward Ball - Consultant on Ball Family History

Edward Ball is a nonfiction writer who has published five books of history and biography, including Slaves in the Family, an account of his family’s 170-year history as slaveholders in South Carolina. Since 2010, he has taught nonfiction writing, part-time, at Yale University. Winner of a National Book Award for Slaves in the Family, Ball has written two books that reached the New York Times Best Sellers list. His book The Inventor and the Tycoon: A Gilded Age Murder and the Birth of Moving Pictures (Doubleday, 2013)—a story of the photographer Eadweard Muybridge in 1880s California—is in development as a television miniseries.

Frances Karttunen

Frances Esther Karttunen, also known as Frances Ruley Karttunen, is an American academic linguist, historian and author. She received her BA in 1964 from Harvard and her PhD in 1970 from Indiana University.

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