In a Ugandan refugee settlement, five teenaged girls approach their uncertain futures
to create lives of their own choosing with tenacity, tenderness, and imagination.
Gayle Nosal, Executive Producer and Director:
Gayle Nosal believes in collaboration with people and communities featured in her films, and letting stories unfold organically. Her visual style is intimate and textural, incorporating drawings, animation, and other creative art forms. Her passion is making documentaries that illuminate the complex lives of underrepresented people and issues in our world today. Before entering filmmaking in 2012, Gayle worked in advertising, sales, writing, and teaching. Gayle’s work in advertising in New York City spanned ten years and she understands the art of branding, publicity, and new product development. She later spent twelve years working and capacity-building within local, national, and international non-profit organizations. Gayle has taught at the secondary and university levels.
Beret E. Strong, Associate Producer and Director:
Beret E. Strong has been making documentaries about social issue and ethnographic topics for more than 20 years. She has directed, produced, and shot award-winning films in Micronesia, Latin America, the United States, and Africa, and is the owner of Landlocked Films. Her documentary films, produced in collaboration with her husband John Tweedy, have focused on educational rights for children with disabilities (“Song of Our Children”), indigenous culture and history in Micronesia (“Lieweila”), the battle of Iwo Jima (“Iwo Jima: Memories in Sand”), and Afro-Bolivians dance, song, and resistance to oppression (“Saya”). Beret’s passion is giving voice to people whose voices are too often unheard, and exploring the tensions that arise when very different cultures collide. Trained as a literary scholar and poet before turning to filmmaking, Beret is the author of several books and has taught at the secondary and university levels in the U.S. and overseas.
John Tweedy, Editor:
John Tweedy edits for lyricism, human stories, and the emotions inherent in music and image. For over 20 years he and his wife, filmmaker Beret E. Strong, have collaborated on a range of documentaries, educational films, and videos that benefit nonprofits. He has directed two broadcast documentaries: “Penny and Red: The Life of Secretariat’s Owner; and “Streams of Gold,” a film about gold mining, imperialism, and a search for family roots in the Ecuadorean Andes in the 1920s. John is also an attorney and mediator with 24 years of experience, currently a contract mediator with the Colorado State Office of Dispute Resolution.
Edwin Kariuki, Director of Photography:
Edwin Kariuki is a Nairobi-based cinematographer who has been doing documentary, corporate, news, and broadcast work for nearly twenty years. Owner of Reel Productions, Edwin speaks Swahili and English, and has worked for a range of African, European, and American NGOs and broadcast entities, including Reuters, Radiotelevisione Italiana, Arabiya News Channel, Al-Jazeera, UNHCR, and Nation Television. Edwin excels at earning the trust of many different kinds of people in Sub-Saharan Africa, an ability that enables him to capture vérité scenes filled with human emotion and the intimate details of people’s lives. He has extensive experience as a broadcast journalist. As a young videographer, he was voted the Best Cameraperson of the Year by Kenya’s National Media Trust.
Joshua Habarugira, Head Field Producer:
Joshua was born in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), one of the largest countries in Africa. The country has had political and economic troubles from colonial times to the present day and has experienced genocide and the use of rape as a weapon of war. As Joshua says, “This is a place where human rights violators are active daily, and this is a place I call home. I left my country at age 7 and have been a refugee for 20 years in Uganda, one of the most hospitable countries in the world. I credit it for recognizing our common human origin and destiny. My life in a refugee camp has not been easy, and I believe strongly that our lives are made not through luck but through hard work. My hard work has earned me United Nations scholarships, and I was able to earn a Bachelor’s degree at Makerere University in Kampala. My family and I registered for a refugee resettlement program with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and, in August of 2016, I was resettled to the U.S. state of Texas. I have little experience in America, but there seem to be enormous opportunities in all spheres of life, given its hospitable citizens. Hard work will see me through various challenges until I feel I am a motivating force for the coming generation.
Charity Watson, Cultural Liaison:
Charity Watson has a yearning to deeply understand, share, and begin to solve the complex problems that exist in our world. In 2010 this passion led her to study and work internationally, when she spent a month in Kyangwali refugee settlement living alongside communities and striving to understand their lives, experiences, and struggles as refugees. Charity then studied post-conflict transformation in Uganda and Rwanda where she focused her field research on the UNHCR’s durable solutions in cases of protracted refugee populations. She graduated summa cum laude in International Affairs from CU-Boulder and then worked in Uganda’s grassroots development sector before beginning work on the production of Sauti.
During the production of Sauti, Charity strived to guide the film towards an authentic representation of the characters, their stories, and the larger context. She believes that her ability to help do so originated not from her formal education, but from the raw lessons learned through working within communities, alongside local people, and having the courage to try new things and teach herself new skills. Charity now works in Afghanistan for a humanitarian organization and hopes to return to filmmaking in order to share the many untold stories of that region.
Karen Fisher, Visual Artist:
Karen Fisher created the portraits of the Sauti girls that were used on this site and in the film. She works primarily in 2D mixed-media using acrylic paint and found papers, and is greatly influenced by the fashion world, mythology, nature, urban settings and the human figure. Her work combines a photo-transfer process and hand-painted elements, often juxtaposing hard-edge graphics with loose brushwork. She aims to create works that are highly gestural using collage-like elements that render movement in the figure.
Karen is currently working on a commission creating artwork for Central City Opera’s 2017 season. She is also commissioned to create murals in two of the suites in the new Dairy Block boutique hotel in Denver opening 2017. She will teach an atelier workshop in February 2017 at the Art Students League in Denver and will show new work in two group shows in 2017 at the Creative Framing and Art Gallery in Louisville, CO and the Helikon Gallery in RiNo in Denver. Karen lives and works in Colorado and Ohio.
Karen's portraits from the film will up for auction (link coming soon) and the sales benefit the girls directly.
Andrew Brislin, Motion Graphics, Web Design, Graphic Design:
Andrew Brislin was an assistant editor in the early phase of the Sauti project and later settled into the role of creating the motion graphics for the film. He also designed the SautiFilm.org website and did graphic design for the various web and print collateral needed to promote the film.
Andrew Brislin has been producing and editing digital content for the last 15 years as well as doing post-production for audio, video and digital photography projects as Needmore Productions.
Nana Boachie, Animation:
Nana Boachie brought the girls' drawings to life with her animations.
She graduated with a degree in animation from the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) in 2011. She became interested in animation because she enjoys telling stories. "Some of my most cherished experiences have been in creative environments in which I got to learn and be energized by the other artists around me."
Rachel Stevens, Marketing/Outreach:
Rachel first developed an interest in storytelling while blogging about her work as a community health volunteer with the Peace Corps in Zambia. Continuing to work in public health in her home state of Colorado, she eventually found herself spearheading a grassroots social media campaign designed to mitigate maternal child health disparities affecting underprivileged communities in Denver. Through this project, she discovered a passion for crafting and disseminating digital messages that engage hearts and minds, and has since contributed to campaigns at Half The Sky/A Path Appears, Doctors Without Borders, Feet in 2 Worlds, and Americas Quarterly. She holds an MA in International Affairs and Media from The New School in New York City, where she completed a group film thesis project researching how the international fair trade market for Guatemalan textiles impacts the well-being of Maya women. Her BA is a double major in Spanish Literature and Linguistics from the University of Colorado.
Emma Whitehead, Marketing/Outreach:
Emma Whitehead grew up in a family of storytellers, and has always sought opportunities to further understand and engage with the world. Emma holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Colorado College, and has worked in more than 20 countries documenting politics, language, identity, religion and more. She is a writer, humorist, and producer, having worked on music videos, documentaries, and television shows. Her background also includes Spanish-language legal interpreting, higher education administration, global leadership development consulting, and social justice advocacy and training. She believes deeply in NeeNee’s collaborative and participatory approach to sharing stories and building empathy through film.