Michael W. King



Michael King has had an incredibly successful career in filmmaking worldwide including numerous award-winning documentaries. His projects have tackled powerful and resonating social and cultural issues such as youth and gang violence, high school literacy, African-American History, and the Holocaust.

In addition to a BA in Government from Connecticut College Michael King has a postgraduate degree from the Amsterdam Academy of Arts in Feature Film Directing (Maurits Binger Film Institute) and an MA in Film Studies from the University of Amsterdam. He is a former member of the International Documentary Association and a current member of the Director Guild of America. He’s the recipient of the 2010 Connecticut College’s Harriet Buescher Lawrence ’34 Prize for his lifework in film and television.

Michael King has produced, directed, and written documentaries, music videos, and feature films for the last 30 years. In 1991, his MTV music video on Dr. Martin Luther King’s speech “I Have A Dream” received national recognition. He later produced, directed, and wrote a PBS documentary in 1995 called “Making A Living the African-American Experience” featuring Joe Morton.

In 1999, his PBS documentary on ‘Youth Violence in America’ entitled “Bangin” won the 1999 Emmy and International Television and Video Association Awards for ‘Best Documentary’ and ‘Best Editing’ featuring Chuck D of Public Enemy. In 2007, he directed and produced a feature documentary entitled “Rapping with Shakespeare” at Crenshaw High School in South Central Los Angeles and was nominated for the 2008 A&E Spotlight Indie Filmmaker Award. In addition, he was the executive producer for an American Film Institute film, “Crenshaw Nights,”starring Vondie Curtis- Hall and Judd Nelson.

In 2011 Michael King produced and directed “The Rescuers,” an international feature documentary featuring world-renown historian Sir Martin Gilbert, Stephanie Nyombayire, anti-genocide activist, and HRH King Charles III about 13 non-Jewish righteous diplomats that risked their lives, families, and careers, and went against their countries policies to save tens of thousands of Jews and other people during World II. The documentary was nominated for the 2012 NAACP Image Award for Best Documentary and awarded Switzerland’s Carl Lutz’s Medal of Freedom Mr. King is currently filming the The Rescuers – Last Chance Project the remaining 35 righteous diplomats that weren’t covered in the first documentary. The film is in partnership with USC/Shoah Foundation and United State Department on Holocaust Issues.

Mr. King is an inspirational and motivating public speaker with respect to the holocaust, genocide, and other cultural issues in the world and he can provide perspective from almost a half century of experience all over the western world. When not making documentaries, King is an Adjunct Professor at Arizona State University, Sidney Poitier New American Film School, and is on the Board of Directors for GreasePaint Theater, located in Scottsdale, Arizona.

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Joyce D. Mandell

(Executive Producer/Producer)


Joyce Mandell is a successful businesswoman and philanthropist. She and her husband, Andy, co-founded Data-Mail, Inc., a direct mail marketing company that has operated as a family-owned business.

Joyce is a passionate documentary film producer, recently working with Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Michael King and world-renowned Historian Sir Martin Gilbert. The film, The Rescuers, premiered at the Palm Springs International Film Festival, winning multiple awards, and has been screened worldwide. Today, it resides with the prestigious humanitarian and educational organizations: Facing History and USC/Shoah Foundation.

Joyce has many philanthropic pursuits, focusing on community, education, and medical research. She is a benefactor of the Mandell Jewish Community Center; the Mandell Center for comprehensive MS care and Neuroscience Research, located at Mt Sinai Hospital; and the Mandell Academy for Teachers at the Connecticut Science Center,
Joyce is a member of the Board of Directors of St Francis Hospital and Medical Center and serves on the Strategic Plan and Medical Affairs Committees.

Joyce supports many institutions: the Boys and Girls Clubs of Hartford; Kingswood-Oxford School; The Greater Hartford Arts Council; The Bushnell; and Beth El Temple. The outstanding Film program, located at the Wadsworth Atheneum, and the newly formed Hartford Youth Orchestra, inspired by Rabbi Donna Berman and the Charter Oak Cultural Center, have become a model for underserved youth in urban cities such as Flint, Michigan. The HYO offers young Hartford residents the opportunity to add music to their lives at no cost to them or their families.

Joyce’s family remains her top priority. She lives in West Hartford with her husband, Andy, and has a loving relationship with her three children, their spouses, and eight grandchildren.

Irena Steinfeldt



Irena Steinfeldt was born in Jerusalem and graduated from Hebrew University.

She worked with French filmmaker Claude Lanzmann on his monumental documentary “Shoah”, and then joined Yad Vashem in 1994 where she worked at the International School for Holocaust Studies, developing educational materials, coordinating seminars for educators from abroad, lecturing on Holocaust education and participating in international workshops and conferences in Israel and abroad.

Between 2001 to 2007 she served the Executive Assistant of Yad Vashem’s Chairman, and in March 2007 was appointed as Director of Yad Vashem’s Righteous Among the Nations Department, where she was responsible for running research of rescue cases, the coordination of the work of the Commission for the Designation of the Righteous as well as the creation of an online database of the Righteous Among the Nations, and various outreach programs, such as exhibitions, educational programs, publications, etc.

Steinfeldt retired from Yad Vashem in June 2018.

Steinfeldt is the author of the educational unit How Was It Humanly Possible—a Study of Perpetrators and Bystanders During the Holocaust (Yad Vashem 2002), co-authored an interactive multimedia program Into That Dark Night (Yad Vashem 2003), and is the co-editor of The Holocaust and the Christian World (Kuperard 2000, Continuum 2002, to be re-published in 2019 by Paulist Press) and Our Living Legacy (Yad Vashem 2003).

Dr. Andrée Lotey



Dr. Andrée Lotey, who holds a Ph.D. in French Literature entitled Music in the Works of Jean Giono and a Master’s in Creative Writing, has taught French language and literature at the University of Montreal, McGill, Concordia, and the Université Canadienne en France

She is currently an interviewer for the Documentary series The Rescuers: Last Chance Project, a subject she is personally very strongly connected to. Thanks to a hidden suitcase, she discovered that her late father, Jacques Lotey (in reality Jacob Lotenberg) with his first wife and child, who escaped Occupied Paris, owed their lives to one of the Diplomats featured in The Rescuers: Righteous Portuguese Consul in Bordeaux, Aristides de Sousa Mendes, who saved thousands of refugees by issuing visas against the orders of his government.

She is writing a historical thriller about unearthing family secrets entitled The Green Suitcase which was the object of significant international media coverage, as well as being featured in a Canadian television documentary (https://sousamendesfoundation.org/family/lotenberg). Dr. Lotey is an Advisory Board member of the Sousa Mendes Foundation and is a frequent speaker on her story.

She also gives conferences on the writers and artists of Provence. For 7 years, she taught at UCF in France (Villefranche-sur-Mer), where she gave courses on the writers of Provence and organized guided tours of the surrounding towns and their museums (The Fondation Maeght in Saint-Paul de Vence, the Chagall Museum and Matisse Museum in Nice, the Picasso Museum in Antibes, Renoir’s Villa in Cagnes-sur-mer, the Fernand Léger museum in Biot, and the Town Hall decorated by Cocteau in Menton, etc.) She helped organize several literary and art trips to Provence and Côte d’Azur for the University of Montreal including visits to writers’ houses (Giono, Bosco, Pagnol, Daudet, Mistral, Magnan).

She has written a screenplay to be produced in France. As a journalist, she published numerous cultural articles. She has published fiction texts as well as several scientific articles. She prepared and hosted a radio series on French author Jean Giono, as well as a documentary. She collaborated on literary shows and produced live reports from the Cannes Film Festival.

Tarina Van Den Driessche

(Director of Photography)


In 2001, Tarina Van Den Driessche received a BFA in Cinematography from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts.

It was in this setting that she developed her passion for visual storytelling through the use of camera movement and creative lighting. Van Den Driessche’s artistic efforts were rewarded in 2000 when she received a cinematography internship with the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, then again in 2001 when she was selected to participate in the Sixth International Student DOP Workshop in Budapest, Hungry. These internships gave her the opportunity to study under renowned cinematographers James Chressanthis, ASC, Laszlo Kovacs, ASC, and Vilmos Zsigmond, ASC.

Van Den Driessche first discovered her passion for the visual arts in 1995, when she became a Combat Photographer in the United States Army Reserves. While serving 11 years as a camera operator in the military, she developed an ability to shoot in any adverse environment, whether it be on land, air, or sea. One of the highlights of her military career was a nine-month deployment to Bosnia, where her primary mission was to provide the Pentagon with visual documentation of all U.S. Army activities within the region.

Van Den Driessche has lived in Los Angeles since 2004. During that period, she has been the Director of Photography on 14 feature films, as well as on numerous documentaries and commercials. She has photographed noted film stars Armand Assante, Ed Lauter (“Blind Pass”), Steve Carell, Danny DeVito, Jason Alexander (“Don’t Give”), Elle Fanning, Danny Glover (“P.N.O.K.”), and Michael Madison (“Cosmic Radio”). She has also received two Best Cinematography awards at independent film festivals for “Pretty Rosebud” (2014) and “Lost in a Crowd” (2016).

In more recent years, Van Den Driessche has worked on television series, shooting two years on the documentary television series “The Art Of,”
an original series for Ovation TV. She even had the opportunity to combine her love for travel and food when shooting throughout the world on Andrew Zimmerman’s “Delicious Destinations.” She has been the Director of Photography for food (“Food Paradise”), true crime (“Up and Vanished”), and survival (“Naked and Afraid XL”) television series.

Due to her diverse background, Van Den Driessche can effortlessly transition from a handheld docu style to a studio setup on a dolly track. She believes that whether it’s a documentary or narrative film, an image is most powerful when it evokes a feeling, and that a cinematographer must use whatever knowledge they have to bring emotion to the screen, and in turn, to the audience.

George Artope



George Artope, a Chicago native, was born into the creative field. With both parents working in television, he gained exposure to the production and post-production process early.

Traveling frequently to Los Angeles and Europe as a youth provided him with opportunities to learn and work on commercial sets. He studied filmmaking at the University of Southern California’s (USC) School of Cinema-Television. Upon graduation, he began working in production on TV Shows, Music Videos, and Commercials before realizing his passion for editing. Editing shorts led to documentaries and feature films. Artope worked at Cucoloris Films in 2002 and left in 2004 to create his editing company, Eye Edit, a creative freelance editorial company located in downtown Los Angeles. Artope feels that editing is the backbone of film, and his specialties lie in storytelling, emotion, and music sensibility.

Since 2004, Artope has built up an impressive reel of independent films, commercials, documentaries, and music videos. His films have garnered many awards including a 2021 Emmy “Winner” for “Hollywood’s Architect.” He continues to enjoy collaborating with filmmakers to bring compelling stories to audience worldwide. .

Melissa Holt

(2nd Unit DP)


Melissa Holt grew up in New York’s Hudson Valley making Super 8 “Mr. Bill” movies with her uncle. She later attended Drexel University and, through a co-op program, PA’d on Terry Gilliam’s “Twelve Monkeys.”

This experience solidified her love for filmmaking and she moved to L.A. to pursue cinematography at AFI. Through the school’s independent study program, Holt learned cinematography, dramaturgy and the European style of filmmaking (making movies with limited budgets and resources) from DP Slawomir Idziak (“Bleu,” “Black Hawk Down”) in Switzerland.

Holt is known for her cinematography, camera operating, and still photography work in film and television. Her film,“Watercolors” premiered at HBO’s Outfest, where she won for Best Cinematography. Her other DP work includes comedic sketches for “Chelsea Lately,” “The Weekly Show,” and “Jimmy Kimmel,” and SFX for the upcoming David Lynch film, “The Happy Worker.” In 2017, Holt won an Emmy Certificate for her DP work on “Entertainment Tonight.”

In addition to her scripted work, Holt has DP’d documentaries for Biography, PBS, ESPN and theatrical release. A documentary that she shot additional cinematography for, “No Subtitles Necessary” was nominated for the Palme D’Or at Cannes and short listed for the Academy Awards. She directed and DP’d interviews and musical segments on location in Cambodia for the documentary “Winds of Angkor” and DP’d “Until They’re Gone,” about landmines and their removal.

Now a budding film director, Holt recently wrapped the music video “Desperate (On and On),” by Serious and the Girls, which is available on most streaming services, including Music Choice and MTV worldwide. She continues to operate and DP on TV shows, and recently wrapped shooting for a Belgium documentary about social media influencers. She and her husband, with several other industry colleagues, have opened an Enhanced Environments stage in NYC called “The Car Stage.” As a side gig, Holt manages two rock and oll bands: Serious and the Girls and Theadora Z. and The Tropical Hookers.

Robin Uriel Russin

(Associate Producer/Writer)

Robin Uriel Russin is a professor of screenwriting and playwriting in the Department of Theatre, Film & Digital Production at the University of California, Riverside, where he has served as both graduate advisor and director of the MFA in Creative Writing and Writing for the Performing Arts. After Harvard, Robin received degrees from Oxford, the Rhode Island School of Design, and UCLA, where he received his MFA in screenwriting. He previously taught screenwriting at UCLA in their undergraduate and graduate film departments, as well as their Professional Program. He is a Rhodes Scholar and member of Phi Beta Kappa and the Writers Guild of America.

Robin has written, produced and directed for film, TV and the theater, including Warner Bros.’ On Deadly Ground; America’s Most Wanted on Fox; and Vital Signs on ABC; and his original one-hour pilot script about King David, Beloved, was adapted by ABC as Of Kings and Prophets. He recently directed the independent feature film, When I Sing, co-starring Chris Mulkey, which won the People’s Choice Award at the Hollywood Reel Independent Film Festival in Los Angeles; the Special Jury Award for best low budget feature film at Worldfest Houston; and Best U.S. Feature and Grand Jury Award at Borderlands Film Festival, among others. Another feature he co-wrote with Veronica Hool, 2 Hearts, starring Jacob Elordi and Radha Mitchell, was in wide theatrical release as of October 2020, and is currently on Netflix (where it was in the top five movies for its initial two weeks) and all major streaming platforms. In 2021 Robin also directed another independent feature about the humor and challenges of disability, The Anxiety of Laughing, which premiered at Dances With Films. It went on to win honors at more than a dozen other festivals, most recently the Socially Relevant Film Festival in Manhattan, where it won the jury award for the lead actors, and is now streaming on VUDU and other TVOD streamers. He is proud to be working on The Rescuers: Last Chance, a documentary series about the “Righteous Among Nations,” the gentiles who saved Jewish lives during the Holocaust.

Robin has won or been a finalist for numerous awards for screenwriting and directing, including two Jack Nicholson Awards for excellence in screenwriting, and competitions such as ScriptPIMP, The Movie Deal, Award Winning Screenwriters, Northwest Film Forum, ScreenCraft, TV Writer People’s Pilot Award, Table Read My Screenplay, the Austin Film Festival, Fade In Awards, San Francisco International Film Festival, Kalakari Film Festival, Mumbai International Film Festival, Manchester International Film Festival, and Final Draft Big Break competition, among others.

Among his works for theatre, his play, Painted Eggs, was reviewed by The Los Angeles Times as “ambitious, heart-felt and hypnotic,” and his play, The Face in the Reeds, premiered in an extended four-month run at the Ruskin Group Theatre in LA.  He has also directed numerous stage productions.

Robin is co-author with William Missouri Downs of the books Naked Playwriting and Screenplay: Writing the Picture, both in their second editions.

Born and raised in Wyoming and Italy, Robin currently lives in Los Angeles. He also works as a sculptor, and has taught art, literature and art history.

Christopher Melendrez

(Assistant to the Producer)


Born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona, Christopher Melendrez has always held an interest in the arts, specifically music and film, and in the filmmaking process.

He went to Arizona State University, studying Film and Media Production – Producing, and graduated summa cum laude in the spring of 2020.

During his time at ASU, he worked on various film projects, both for school and for himself, and in various roles. He helped revamp the Maroon and Gold Entertainment Club at ASU, taking on social media roles, then taking over the role of secretary. Melendrez produced three award-winning short films his senior year at ASU, including a western that was shot in Old Town Tucson.

Recent projects since graduating from ASU include multiple music videos with local Phoenix bands, a couple of different shorts, and working on “Rescuers – Last Chance Project.”. Melendrez plans to work on narrative features in the future and looks to create works that can inspire and entertain.