Project Team

Sascha Rice

Sascha Rice — Co-Writer/Director/Producer

Sascha Rice is an award-winning filmmaker, public speaker, teacher, and the granddaughter of California's former Governor Pat Brown. Ms. Rice's documentary California State of Mind recently garnered a Grand Jury Prize for Cinematic Vision and her celebrated feature romantic comedy Mango Kiss enjoyed national and international broadcast, screened internationally at over 80 venues, and received numerous honors including the "Director's Choice Award: Gold Medal for Excellence" at the Park City Film & Music Festival. Ms. Rice is President and Co-Founder of Fire of Life Films. She serves on the Board of Advisors of the Pat Brown Institute (a non-partisan public policy Institute based at Cal State LA.) Additionally, Ms. Rice is the program director and a mentor for the Young Writers Workshop at Ivanhoe Elementary, a Los Angeles public school. Ms. Rice has appeared on television, radio programs, and her writing has been published online.

Hilary Armstrong

Hilary Armstrong — Executive Producer

Hilary is Executive Producer of the award winning film, California State of Mind — The Legacy of Pat Brown. The feature documentary screened at dozens of film festivals and prestigious venues across the nation and is currently airing on public television ( Hilary is also Co-Founder of Fire of Life Films and Development Director for "My California Now." Hilary Armstrong serves as a member of the California Film Commission. Hilary serves on the board of trustees of The California Museum, which curates the California Hall of Fame awards. Hilary is also a senior marketing consultant and advisor to, which raises awareness and funds for causes that matter. Hilary is also a blogger for the Huffington Post.

Julia Mintz

Julia Mintz — Producer

Erin O'Malley

Erin O'Malley — Associate Producer

Erin O'Malley is a producer for television and film, producing the critically acclaimed and award winning television series "Curb Your Enthusiasm" and also "Da Ali G Show" for HBO. For both of these she received Emmy® nominations for Best Comedy Series.

Katherine Frisoli

Katherine Ripley Frisoli — Co-Producer

In addition to her feature work, Katherine produces and directs short documentaries. Her short Rhena, about a young girl's struggle with Spinal Muscular Atrophy can be seen on Current TV. She served as associate researcher on Bhutto and Countdown to Zero, both of which premiered at Sundance 2010.

Laura Nix

Laura Nix — Writer

Writer Laura Nix recently produced festival hit The Yes Men Fix the World. Previously, she directed and produced numerous non-fiction presentations at Automat Pictures, which she co-founded. Her award-winning narrative feature The Politics of Fur played at 65 film festivals internationally. Her work has been shown on HBO, IFC, and the History Channel.

Anne Etheridge

Anne Etheridge — Director of Photography

Anne Etheridge's recent credits include the feature Duck, starring Philip Baker Hall, Bill Cobbs and the AFLAC ducks. She currently photographs shows for MTV, The History Channel, The Food Network, and The Learning Channel. Numerous award-winning short films include South of Ten, which opened the 2006 New York Film Festival.

Lauren Giordano

Lauren Giordano — Editor

Lauren Giordano was Senior Editor at Imaginary Forces and Prologue Films, and has edited shows at Fox, Universal, Paramount and Disney. Film work includes NewPort South, Titus, and Mango Kiss. Lauren worked on the Reality-TV show, "Bands on the Run," which was nominated for an Emmy® for best editing.

Doug Blush

Doug Blush — Editor

Doug Blush has worked in documentaries as a director, producer, editor, writer and cinematographer. Feature credits include the crossword-culture hit Wordplay, the Academy Award® shortlisted I.O.U.S.A., and Outrage, about hypocritical closeted politicians. He is currently co-directing a documentary feature on new understandings of bipolar disorder entitled Of Two Minds with his wife Lisa.

Claire Chandler

Claire Chandler — Editor

Claire Chandler's feature documentary credits include the festival hit The Yes Men Fix the World, The Light in Her Eyes (in production,) and Long Way Home: The Loving Story.  She was Associate Producer and Assistant Editor on BBC World's Egypt: We are Watching You, which aired in 180 countries, and served as Associate Producer of Content for the Pangea Day Film Festival.

William Haugse

William Haugse — Editor

Renowned editor William Haugse has been nominated for an Oscar® (Hoop Dreams) and an Emmy® (The Last Days of Kennedy and King), and received the American Cinema Editors' Eddie award. He has edited over 50 hours of documentaries for HBO, PBS, The History Channel, and others. His work includes the award-winning Sunset Story, and Unprecedented, about the 2000 presidential election.

Kim Carroll

Kim Carroll — Composer

Irish-born Kim Carroll was awarded a Sundance fellowship in 2009 and his credits include the thriller The Colony (Gold Medal at the Park City Music Festival), the popular web series "Hellholes," the 2009 Sundance feature The Horse Boy, and the crime drama Across the Line (starring Andy Garcia, Aidan Quinn, Gina Gershon). He currently lives and works in beautiful Topanga Canyon, California.

Zora Wolter

Zora A. Wolter — Line Producer

A native of Berlin, Zora Wolter has worked on numerous features, documentaries, TV series and short films. Her recent feature film work includes Dark Streets and Shortcut to Hollywood. The short film Transport, which she line produced, was screened at the Berlin Film Festival 2004, and won the German Camera Award.

Hilary and Sascha with Rita Schmidt Sudman
Producers Hilary Armstrong and Sascha Rice with Rita Schmidt Sudman (center) of the Water Education Foundation

Board of Advisors

Mark Jonathan Harris

Mark Jonathan Harris has written, produced and/or directed a multitude of award-winning documentaries, including The Redwoods, Oscar®-winner for Best Short Documentary;The Long Way Home, about the immediate aftermath of the Holocaust, which won the Academy Award® for Best Feature Length Documentary; and Into the Arms of Strangers: Stories of the Kindertransport, which also won an Academy Award®. He received an Emmy® nomination for his writing on Unchained Memories: Readings from the Slave Narratives, which premiered at Sundance and aired on HBO. His recent film Darfur Now, a feature documentary he produced with Cathy Schulman and Don Cheadle, premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival. In addition to filmmaking, Harris also writes journalism and fiction, and has taught filmmaking for over 20 years.

Kevin Starr

California State Librarian Emeritus and Professor of History at the University of Southern California, Kevin Starr has written or edited 14 books, including his multi-volume series "America and the California Dream." His writing has earned him a Guggenheim Fellowship, membership in the Society of American Historians, and the Gold Medal of the Commonwealth Club of California. His most recent book is Coast of Dreams: California on the Edge 1990-2003. In November 2006 he was awarded a National Humanities Medal.

Sandra M. Itkoff

Sandra Itkoff has created, developed and produced programming for PBS, TBS, A&E, Disney, National Geographic, Showtime and ABC. She recently produced The Killer Within, which just received a News and Documentary Emmy® nomination for Best Documentary. Ms. Itkoff also executive produced the documentary series The Twentieth Century Project — with Norman Jewison, Barry Levinson, Garry Marshall, Gregory Nava, Robert Townsend, and Robert Zemekis directing — and was executive producer of Cadillac Desert, a four-part documentary about the epic political and environmental struggle for water in the modern American West.

Maxine Isaacs

Maxine Isaacs has been on the faculty of Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government as an Adjunct Lecturer since 1994, teaching "Foreign Policy, the News, and American Public Opinion" and "American Presidential Campaigns and Elections 1960-2004." Isaacs received her PhD in Policy Studies from the University of Maryland in 1994. Her dissertation was on the relationship between elite and mass American opinion. Isaacs has worked in the White House, U.S. Senate, and U.S. Congress. She was Walter F. Mondale's press secretary and Deputy Campaign Manager from 1983-1984.

Van Gordon Sauter

Former President of CBS News and former President of KVIE-TV (Sacramento's public television station), Van Gordon Sauter has enjoyed a far-ranging media career. After pursuing an MA in journalism at the University of Missouri, he covered civil rights and urban affairs for the Detroit Free Press and Chicago Daily News. In 1968 Sauter joined CBS, and held a variety of jobs from news anchor to Executive Vice President. He has since been an advisor to nonprofit organizations, a consultant on public policy, crisis management and media/image relationships, and has taught ethics at the Graduate School of Journalism at UC, Berkeley.

Mark Baldassare

Mark Baldassare is the President and CEO of the Public Policy Institute of California. He also holds the Arjay and Frances Fearing Miller Chair in Public Policy and directs the PPIC Statewide Survey — a large-scale public opinion project designed to develop an in-depth profile of the social, economic, and political forces at work in California elections and in shaping the state's public policies. His most recent book, A California State of Mind: The Conflicted Voter in a Changing World, examines the beliefs, concerns, and public policy preferences of Californians and how their distrust of government has shaped the state's political climate. He is the author of eight other books, including California in the New Millennium: The Changing Social and Political Landscape (2000), When Government Fails: The Orange County Bankruptcy (1998), and Trouble in Paradise: The Suburban Transformation in America (1986).

Rita Schmidt Sudman

Rita Schmidt Sudman is Executive Director of the Water Education Foundation, an impartial and non-profit organization whose mission is to promote a broader understanding of water issues and the resolution of water resource problems in the West through educational programs. She directs the development of Western Water magazine, the Layperson's Guide series, the foundation's Colorado River program, public television programs on water, poster maps, tours, press briefings, and school programs. Sudman is a former radio and television reporter and producer and received her MA in telecommunications from San Diego State University.