Founded in 1996 by Barak Goodman and Rachel Dretzin, Ark was created to be a vehicle for the films they both felt privileged to make. Together with longtime collaborator, John Maggio, Goodman and Dretzin have grown Ark Media into a hub for large multi-part series and smaller, one-off films. Recognized as nurturer of young talent, Ark has grown to include dozens of accomplished and passionate filmmakers working together and separately. Ultimately, it's about the work: projects with intellectual depth, strong narrative and the ability to challenge viewers to reach their own conclusions. While setting a standard for excellence, Ark thrives because of a dynamic, engaged, and passionate group of people assembled for a common purpose: to collaborate on meaningful projects.
Executive Producer, Producer/Director, Writer
Barak Goodman is co-founder of Ark Media and a principal producer, director, and writer with the company. His films for Ark Media have been nominated for an Academy Award and won multiple Emmys and Writers Guild Awards, the DuPont-Columbia, and Peabody Awards, the RFK Journalism Prize, and twice been official selections at the Sundance Film Festival. Currently, he is the series director and producer of the six-part PBS series The Story of Cancer: The Emperor of all Maladies, based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning book by Siddhartha Mukherjee, airing in the Spring of 2015. Other recent projects Barak has directed, produced, and written include Makers, the first complete history of the modern women's movement; Clinton, a four-hour biography of Bill Clinton for American Experience; and My Lai, the story of America's most notorious war crime, also for American Experience.
Executive Producer, Producer/Director, Writer
Rachel Dretzin is co-founder of Ark Media and a principal producer, director, and writer with the company. She was senior producer on the six-part PBS Series Many Rivers to Cross, a history of African Americans hosted by Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. She previously senior produced the first season of Finding Your Roots, also hosted by Dr. Gates, which premiered in the spring of 2012. Among the many films she has produced and directed for PBS' FRONTLINE are: Football High, Digital Nation, Growing Up Online, Failure to Protect, The Persuaders, Merchants of Cool, The Lost Children of Rockdale County, and Hillary's Class. Rachel's films have won the Peabody Award, the Robert F. Kennedy Grand Prize for Journalism, the Columbia DuPont Award, and been nominated for the Emmy Award. She has also produced for WNET New York, MSNBC's Edgewise, and NPR's "All Things Considered," as well as the NY Times Magazine on the Web.
Executive Producer, Producer/Director, Writer
Filmmaker John Maggio's work appears regularly on both of PBS's premier series: FRONTLINE and American Experience, including Kinsey, Billy the Kid, College Inc. and The Private Life of Bradley Manning. Maggio's films have been honored with the National Emmy Award, Writers Guild Award, an Independent Spirit Award nomination, as well as multiple News and Documentary Emmy Award nominations. His work has premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and has screened at festivals around the world. He recently completed the four-part PBS series The Italian Americans to air in 2015. He is currently writing and directing Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid for American Experience coming in February 2014 and Senior Producing the second season of Finding your Roots with host Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
Business Manager / Line Producer
Stef Gordon has handled the finances and other business miscellany as Ark Media Business Manager since 2008 and has worked on every production since. Prior to joining Ark, Stef handled the production accounting for dozens of films for the PBS series Frontline. Also serving as Line Producer, she is trusted with managing the cash flow, budgets, and financial reporting for all Ark productions as well as helping to manage a solid organization that has supported Ark's incredible growth. Despite the never ending ribbing she receives about receipts, which certain colleagues always seem to find hilarious, Stef mostly loves her job and takes great pride in her work. She lives in the Lower East Side with Steve the boyfriend and Georgia the cat.
Post Production Supervisor
Stephen Altobello has been working in NYC film and TV for almost 20 years, beginning as a sound editor in the glory years of independent cinema (such as The Cruise, Judy Berlin and Wet Hot American Summer). At the turn of the century, he produced documentaries, most visibly the Making of… content for the DVDs of nine Martin Scorsese films. Then it was back to Post Production, working for Ark (Finding Your Roots), doing reality TV (Making News), and even animal shows (Too Cute). His favorite production is the one he created with his wife, Debbie. His name is Harry, and the three of them live in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
Muriel Soenens is an award-winning documentary director and producer based in Brooklyn. Her work, spanning the past fifteen years, has focused primarily on contemporary social and cultural issues, as well as historical films. She has produced several films for PBS's FRONTLINE, including the Dupont-Columbia award and RFK Journalism Prize-winning Failure to Protect, as well as The Persuaders, A Hidden Life, and Pope John Paul II: The Millennial Pope. Earlier in her career she worked at PBS's AMERICAN MASTERS, where she made the biographical films Alfred Stieglitz and Richard Avedon. Between Frontline films, she produced Global Woman and Poverty for BILL MOYER'S NOW and directed AMC's Precinct Hollywood. Muriel most recently directed a two-hour special for PBS, Looking for Lincoln, and a four-hour series, to air on PBS in 2015, The Italian Americans. She is currently in production on an episode of PBS's Finding Your Roots 2, with host Dr. Henry Louis Gates Jr.
Chris Durrance is a documentary filmmaker, who has worked on more than a dozen films for PBS FRONTLINE, including College Inc. about for-profit education, The Madoff Affair and Return of the Taliban. He has worked all over the world, including Europe, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia and China and is the winner of a Peabody, two Emmys, a duPont-Columbia silver baton and an Overseas Press Club award. He worked with Barak Goodman on Clinton, the four-hour presidential biography for PBS American Experience, which aired in February 2012. More recently, Chris wrote the treatment for MAKERS: The Women who Make America and is currently a Producer/Director for The Story of Cancer: The Emperor of All Maladies. Chris lives in Brooklyn with his wife and three children.
Sabin Streeter is an independent writer and filmmaker, specializing in documentary television. His recent projects include the first two episodes of Many Rivers to Cross (PBS 2013), the concluding episode of America Revealed (PBS, 2012), Fabric of the Cosmos: Space (PBS, 2012), Gloria: In Her Own Words (HBO, 2011), and the six-hour NOVA special This Emotional Life (PBS, 2010). Streeter is also the editor of GIG (Random House), an oral history of the contemporary workplace and a contributing editor of US: Americans Talk About Love (Faber & Faber), an oral history of romance. He has contributed to The New Yorker, Harpers, Open City, and other publications. He lives in Manhattan with his wife and two children.
Jamila Wignot is a Brooklyn-based filmmaker. Her body of work includes, Town Hall, a feature-length co-production with ITVS, about the Tea Party movement (Seattle International Film Festival '13); and for the PBS history series, American Experience, the Peabody Award-winning Triangle Fire; and the Emmy-nominated Walt Whitman. Wignot also produced The Rehnquist Revolution, the fourth episode of WNET's series The Supreme Court, which won a 2007 Cine Golden Eagle Award. She is currently directing two-hours of the PBS history series, Many Rivers to Cross, hosted by Henry Louis Gates and slated for national broadcast in October 2013. In the fall, she will begin directing one hour of the six-part women's series, Makers.
Producer / Director
An award-winning filmmaker, Phil Bertelsen works in both fiction and non-fiction. Most notably, he produced the Peabody Award winning documentary Chisholm '72. His feature film Rock The Paint won a Creative Promise Award from the Tribeca Film Festival. Most recently Bertelsen produced and directed two episodes of Many Rivers To Cross- The African Americans, hosted by Henry Louis Gates, Jr. He is currently producing and directing episodes of the next installment of Finding Your Roots.
Jamila Ephron has been an essential part of Ark Media since 2007. Her work at Ark includes the Emmy and Peabody award winning My Lai, The Assassination of Abraham Lincoln and Clinton, each for the American Experience series on PBS. She is currently developing and producing the film adaptation of Andrew Solomon's best-selling book Far from the Tree. Most recently, Jamila co-produced the three-hour documentary Makers: Women who Make America for WETA and the upcoming The Story of Cancer, based on the Pulitzer Prize winning book, The Emperor of All Maladies. Prior to joining Ark, Jamila worked on the American Experience and FRONTLINE co-production The Mormons. Jamila loves pretty much everything about her work, but never dreamed a life in film would involve so many spreadsheets. A Seattle native and Sarah Lawrence College graduate, Jamila lives in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn.
Josh Gleason entered the documentary world after a number of years producing stories for various NPR programs, including This American Life, All Things Considered, and Weekend Edition. Since arriving at Ark he's been an Associate Producer on Finding Your Roots, and a Co-Producer on The Italian Americans and Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid.
Hazel Gurland-Pooler is currently co-producing two hours of the upcoming six-hour series for PBS, The African Americans: Many Rivers To Cross. Hazel joined Ark Media in 2011 for Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr. She has contributed to documentary television and film production for over ten years, working on American Experience programs Robert E. Lee, Earth Days, and Oswald's Ghost, two of which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, enjoyed a national theatrical release, and one of which was nominated for an Emmy Award. Hazel was the Coordinating Producer on the international PBS documentary Brazil In Black & White, which was nominated for IDA Award. She was an Associate Producer for News Wars for Frontline and Hollywood Vietnam for AMC, which won a Silver Angel Award. Hazel has worked on documentaries for ABC NEWS, The History Channel, A&E, the National Geographic Channel, the Travel Channel, and the Sundance Channel. She began her career at HBO. Hazel received her Masters from Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism in 2001.
Emily Chapman has been a part of Ark Media's team for several films, working on Clinton, Finding Your Roots, and now The Story of Cancer: The Emperor of All Maladies. Her additional work for PBS includes Panama Canal for American Experience, Constitution, USA and Superheroes. Originally from Portland, Oregon, Emily studied film at the University of San Francisco and Universidad Complutense in Madrid. She was a producer and contributing filmmaker on A Trip Down Market Street, a film celebration held by the Exploratorium and featured at the SFMOMA, and producer/director of Above Kingston, filmed in the Blue Mountains of Jamaica. She lives in Crown Heights, Brooklyn.
Nicole Bozorgmir is an Associate Producer at Ark Media. Currently, she is working on Many Rivers to Cross, a six-hour series hosted by Henry Louis Gates, Jr. Nicole has worked on a number of documentary films for PBS including Finding Your Roots, FRONTLINE'S Football High, and Clinton for American Experience. She began working at Ark Media in 2010 after graduating from the University of Southern California. Nicole took a year off to pursue a Master's Degree in International Relations Theory at the London School of Economics, with a focus on US–Iranian relations. She returned to Ark in 2012 and is currently based in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.
A Minnesota native, Hannah Olson has been at Ark since 2011. She has worked on The Italian Americans, Finding Your Roots with Dr. Henry Louis Gates Jr., and is currently an Associate Producer on the second season of Finding Your Roots. In 2012 Hannah worked on a short film in Haiti on sustainable waste water treatment. She has produced pieces for radio on farming in Mexico, Arab-American literature after 9/11, and the police force in Rio de Janeiro. Prior to joining Ark, Hannah lived in Vietnam, where she did anthropological research on the nation's HIV/AIDS epidemic. Hannah graduated from Brown University, where she studied Spanish and Portuguese Literature and Economic Development.
Stephen Robinson came to Ark Media in June 2011 after graduating from Brandeis University. Since then, he has contributed to a number of Ark Media projects including Finding Your Roots, MAKERS and The Italian Americans. Stephen most recently worked as the Researcher on episodes 3 & 6 of Many Rivers to Cross. Prior to his tenure at Ark Media, Stephen completed a short documentary on the Israeli/Palestinian conflict called NO STATE. He also directs, produces and edits short music documentaries for New York Magazine.
Bonnie joined Ark Media to work on Makers: Women Who Make America after six years as a theatrical writer/director/puppeteer. Documentary film has challenged her to think about storytelling in refreshing new ways, especially working on the very real subject of The Story of Cancer: The Emperor of All Maladies. She is honored to have the opportunity to work on this groundbreaking project. Bonnie is a native of the Pacific Northwest, an alumna of Sarah Lawrence College, and continues to write and direct narrative film.
Brittany Clemons joined Ark Media in 2012 for Many Rivers to Cross, a six-hour series hosted by Henry Louis Gates, Jr. Brittany previously worked in Washington, D.C. as an Associate Producer on the PBS documentary series 180 Days: A Year inside an American High School. After Brittany graduated from Howard University in 2010, she worked as a Public Media Corps Fellow for the National Black Programming Consortium. During her fellowship, she assisted with the implementation of various digital engagement models and developed a Digital Media Arts program offering digital production and literacy training at two under-performing District of Columbia high schools. She looks forward to her next journey with Ark Media on the second season of Finding Your Roots.
Brittany Kaplan started at Ark Media in 2009 and worked on FRONTLINE: Digital Nation, after graduating from Vassar College. She was an Assistant Editor on Faces of America, Finding Your Roots, and Many Rivers to Cross. Before Ark, Brittany PA'd on the Academy Award winning documentary, Inside Job. Between projects at Ark, she has worked as a Promo Editor for Showtime and TruTV, an Assistant Editor on the Emmy nominated documentary, The Longoria Affair, as well as commercials, music videos, documentary features, and TV documentaries. She is thrilled to be part of the current Ark team working on The Story of Cancer: The Emperor of All Maladies. For fun, Brittany casually plays the violin, and competitively plays ultimate frisbee on a nationally-ranked NYC women's club team. She is often seen in the office icing her latest injury.
Ben has been with Ark Media as the IT Manager since July 2013. He is a transplant from the Midwest and is very happy to be living in Brooklyn. Ben also works as a freelance photographer throughout the country specializing in press and publicity imagery for the theater and performing arts industries. His current project is The New Face of Vinyl: Youth's Digital Devolution, in collaboration with writer Owen McCafferty exploring the resurgence of vinyl records in youth culture. A book is scheduled to be published in Fall 2013. Ben can also be seen playing bass around the city with a variety of ensembles. http://www.benmeadors.com