CO-DIRECTOR, and EDITOR Ian Cheney co-created and appeared in KING CORN, directed THE GREENING OF SOUTHIE and TWO-BUCKETS(WGBH, 2006), and served as outreach producer for A SENSE OF WONDER(PBS broadcast, 2010). His latest documentary, THE CITY DARK, will premiere at festivals this year. A contributor to The Huffington Post, Cheney has spoken about his films at more than 30 universities from Palo Alto to Saudi Arabia. He has served on film festival juries at Camden International and Wisconsin International, and on panels at South by Southwest. He also directed TRUCK FARM and co-produced BIG RIVER.
PRODUCER, OUTREACH COORDINATOR and CO-DIRECTOR Diveena Cooppan, a South African, with 12 years experience in health. She has strong links to the HIV community and has worked extensively throughout South Africa, U.K. and U.S. developing health partnerships, and designing and implementing health programs. The film’s concept was developed during late night conversations with the film’s lead characters. Diveena has lost friends, colleagues and too many fellow global citizens to AIDS fuelling her interest in making this documentary. Positively Beautiful is her debut in film.
DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY, Lee Jackson, a South African cinematographer who has shot award-winning features, shorts, music videos and commercials. His work includes NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH screened at FESPACO (awarded the Silver Stallion) and Durban International Film Festival. GHOST OF THE GANGES for Animal Planet, LIFE FIRST for SABC3 and the BIGGEST LOSER for ETV. He has also served as a cinematographer for EASTERN MOSAIC, EXTREME SPORTS SPECTACULAR TELEVISION SERIES, BAY OF PLENTY and WILD FLY.
Arielle Samuelson has an anthropology degree from Washington University in St. Louis. She is a Reston, Virginia native, Midwest convert, and international sugar junkie. She is also responsible for the (perfectly legal) Italian Job-like maneuvers required as the driver for the July cinematographer on PB’s downtown D.C. shoot.
Richard Fields was born and raised in Prince George’s County, Maryland and is greatly influenced by the diverse Caribbean and American backgrounds of his parents. Currently he is earning his MFA in Film & Media Arts at American University in Washington, D.C. while working on the Positively Beautiful project and slowly launching a film career of his own.
Edward Elkins is a graduate of the University of Virginia and an aspiring filmmaker. With a background in psychology and media, he pursues filmmaking to tell stories that give insight into the lives and minds of ordinary individuals. In his spare time he brews beer, plays the trombone, and travels as much as possible.
Alexander Hamlin has worked on a number of films since graduating from Montana State University, including a documentary following a man running around the world and an adventure travel web series in Chile.
Kathleen Gardner is a native of the D.C. area though prior to joining the Positively Beautiful crew she spent a year living in England working at an art center for disadvantaged children. She is an aspiring producer and avid trombone player in her spare time.
Winnie Mulumba was born in Kinshasa, D.R. Congo, and grew up in the Washington, DC area. She has a background in development issues and women’s health and is currently studying at the London School of Economics.
Alexandria Kelly relocated to Washington, DC after attending school in New York. Since then she has been working at film festivals and on the production of several feature and short film projects.
Iftekar Husain is currently a journalism student. While at school, he has volunteered for community service projects ranging from preparing and serving food to people suffering from AIDS and cancer to tutoring students in the poorer areas of DC.
Susan Sebatindira is a final year undergraduate at LSE. She is a native Kenyan but has lived in several places across the continent. This has led to a firm interest in working within the development sector in Africa. She hopes to pursue an MSc in Development Studies and work with projects similar to Positively Beautiful whose focus is on social policy and development.
Mary Kate is a senior at Duke University studying American history and art history. She is a fan of documentaries, seeing them as a more visual sort of history and was originally drawn to Positively Beautiful because of her own experiences with chronic illness.