The Sauti Team
Refugee from Rwanda
Favourite received a BA in International Relations and Development Studies from the United States International University Africa in 2017. She has held different leadership positions with CIYOTA (Coburwas International Youth Organization to Transform Africa), a nonprofit founded by refugees in Kyangwali to educate and empower their communities. She is also a Mastercard Foundation Scholar. Favourite is applying to Master’s degree programs in International Relations.
Refugee from South Sudan
Since the completion of Sauti, Betty finished secondary school in Hoima, Uganda and has taught social studies informally in Ugandan schools. She hopes to pursue higher education in the future. She continues to be the primary caregiver for her grandmother and her refugee resettlement case continues to remain in limbo.
Refugee from Uganda
After graduating from secondary school in 2018, Napona began pursuing her BA in Secondary Education and English Literature at Bugema University in Uganda. She received a scholarship from the Kapadia Education Foundation to support her studies. Napona has also served as a volunteer with the International Committee of the Red Cross to welcome new refugees to Kyangwali Refugee Settlement.
Refugee from the Democratic Republic of the Congo
Beatrice married her husband Amos in 2017. They had a daughter, Evelyn Paisley, in 2018. In early 2019, Amos was resettled to the United States (North Carolina) with his brother and other relatives. Because refugee resettlement is a complicated process, Beatrice and Evelyn were not resettled with Amos and remained behind in Kyangwali. In May of 2019, both discovered they were also accepted for resettlement, however, both will initially be resettled in Arizona with members of Beatrice’s extended family. Amos and Beatrice hope to live together in the United States one day, but the specifics of when they will be able to do so remain unclear.
Beatrice has continued honing her journalism skills and in 2019, after attending a training offered by the Refugee Youth Voices Project, she directed her first film titled Life in My Shoe, which follows her journey to pursue an education in Kyangwali despite the enormous obstacles that stood in her way. Learn more about it via neeneeproductions.com/lifeinmyshoe.
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 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.
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.
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 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 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.
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 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."
Marketing and Outreach
Rachel first developed a love for storytelling while keeping a blog about her experiences serving as a Community Health Developer with the Peace Corps in rural Zambia. After six years of working in public health and social work in the U.S. and abroad, she was inspired to pivot her career path into professional storytelling after becoming involved with a grassroots social media campaign to address maternal child health disparities in Denver, Colorado. Rachel has a master’s degree in International Affairs and Media from The New School in New York City, and a double BA in Spanish Literature and Linguistics from the University of Colorado.
Marketing and 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.