FILMAKER BIOGRAPHIES & INTERVIEWS
Director Gini Reticker (left) and Producer Abigail E. Disney (right)
Photo Credit: Greg Kessler
Gini Reticker (Director) is one of the world’s leading filmmakers on women’s issues. She produced Asylum, the 2004 Academy Award®-nominated short focusing on the story of a Ghanaian woman who fled female genital mutilation to seek political asylum in the U.S.; and was the producer/director of 1994 Sundance Award-winning Heart of the Matter, the first full length documentary about the impact of HIV on women in the U.S. She produced and directed the 2005 Emmy Award-winning documentary Ladies First for the PBS series WIDE ANGLE, which focuses on the role of women in rebuilding post-genocide Rwanda. For WIDE ANGLE she has also directed The Class of 2006, which spotlights the first fifty women in Morocco to graduate from an imam academy in Rabat.
Reticker’s other credits include: Producer: A Decade Under the Influence, a look at the heyday of 1970s filmmakers, winner of a National Review Board Award and an Emmy nomination for Best Documentary; Director: In the Company of Women, IFC’s spotlight on women in Hollywood; Co-Producer: The Betrayal, Nerakhoon, Ellen Kuras and Thavisouk Phravasath’s brilliant portrayal of a Laotian refugee family’s epic tale of survival and resilience, 2009 nominee for both an Academy Award® and Independent Spirit Award; Executive Producer: Live Nude Girls Unite, Julia Query and Vicki Funari’s raucous look at the successful union organizing efforts of San Francisco-based strippers.
Reticker started her career as an editor on renowned documentaries such as Michael Moore’s Roger & Me; Deborah Shaffer’s Emmy-nominated Fire From the Mountain; and The Awful Truth: The Romantic Comedy, for the PBS American Cinema Series.
Abigail E. Disney (Producer) is a filmmaker, philanthropist, and scholar. She has produced a number of documentaries focused on social themes including the award-winning Pray the Devil Back to Hell, Family Affair, Playground, and Sun Come Up.
Her ongoing film work continues to incorporate her longtime passion for women’s rights and peace. Abigail is now working on the 5-part television series currently in production, Women, War & Peace, co-produced by WNET and Fork Films for broadcast on PBS in 2011. Women, War & Peace, the most ambitious global media initiative ever mounted on the roles of women in war and peace, challenges the conventional wisdom that war and peace are men’s domain and places women at the center of an urgent dialogue about conflict and security. Through unreported and deeply moving stories of women in Bosnia, Columbia, and Afghanistan, the ground-breaking series will focus on women’s strategic role in the post-Cold War era, where globalization, arms trafficking, and illicit trade have intersected to create a whole new type of war.
The daughter of Roy Disney and grandniece Walt Disney, the co-founders of the Walt Disney Company, Abigail turned to the family business of filmmaking in 2006, when she met Liberian peace activist Leymah Gbowee and was inspired to bring attention to the unknown but remarkable story of the small band of women dared to challenge the barriers of gender and politics in Africa to end a century of civil war. Abigail’s film career began with that film, Pray the Devil Back to Hell (2008), which she made with Academy Award nominated, Emmy Award-winning director Gini
Reticker. The film won Best Documentary Prize at the 2008 Tribeca Film Festival, the Silverdocs Witness Award, the Jackson Hole Audience Award, and was the first film to be shown at The World Economic Forum at Davos.
With her focus on women’s engagement and leadership in politics and society, Abigail frequently travels abroad to host screenings and workshops aimed at practical ways to help foster peace in the world’s conflict zones. In 2008, following the groundswell of interest in Pray the Devil Back to Hell, she launched Peace is Loud (peaceisloud.org), an organization that supports female voices and international peace-building through nonviolent means.
Continued interest in Pray the Devil Back to Hell also led Abigail to organize a 2009 Global Peace Tour, which brought the film to hundreds of community screenings in churches, living rooms, community spaces, and forums in the U.S. and abroad, sharing the inspirational story of the women of Liberia.
As a philanthropist, Abigail has played a key role in a number of social and political organizations for more than 20 years. Along with her husband, Pierre Hauser, Abigail is co-Founder and co-President of the Daphne Foundation, a progressive, social change foundation that makes grants to grassroots, community-based organizations working with low-income communities in New York City. Since 1991, the Daphne Foundation has given millions of dollars in grants in areas ranging from women’s rights to AIDS advocacy, children’s health, labor conditions,
incarceration and community organizing.
Currently, Abigail serves on the boards of the Roy Disney Family Foundation, the White House Project, the Global Fund for Women, the Fund for the City of New York, and Peace is Loud, as well as the advisory boards of a broad range of organizations working in the areas of poverty, women’s issues, education and environment.
By Gini Reticker
When Abby Disney first approached me to direct Pray the Devil Back to Hell, I had some trepidation. All the stories coming out of Liberia had been so bleak, the violence against women appalling, the forced conscription of child soldiers heart-wrenching. I wondered if I could immerse myself in that material for the length of time it takes to make a documentary. And then, we met Leymah Gbowee, one of the main characters portrayed in the film. All of my trepidation turned instantly into unfettered enthusiasm. I couldn’t believe how fortunate I was to be able to tell the extraordinary story of these women who had joined together to bring peace to their devastated country. Their remarkable accomplishment had been virtually ignored by the press and was on its way to being forgotten. Being part of ensuring that their story shines has been an absolute privilege.
Director Gini Reticker interviewed during the Tribeca Film Festival in 2008 where Pray the Devil Back to Hell had its world premiere and won Best Documentary.
Producer Abigail E. Disney interviewed during the Tribeca Film Festival in 2008
WHEN: Thursday 14th July 2011
WHERE: Basement @ Donkey Wheel House
ADDRESS: 673 Bourke Street, Melbourne 3000 (near the corner of Spenser Street)
TIME: 7.30pm Doors open at 7pm
The Good Brew Company will be back to supply beer and wine @ basement prices. Free soft drinks and nibbles.