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Directors’ Bios

Cambria Matlow

Cambria Matlow is a filmmaker and photographer. Her work depicts the beauty of growth and decay, seeks meaning in moments of stillness and movement, and values the sensory experience of texture and atmosphere. Small interactions reveal personal and political truths, and simple images allow for clarity. As a film director and producer, she has won funding from the Experimental Television Center, Brooklyn Arts Council, the Puffin Foundation and LEF Foundation.In 2005, she cofounded Birdgirl Productions, whose projects include the award-winning feature documentary BURNING IN THE SUN, about a young man who starts a local solar energy business in Mali, West Africa. The film, which Cambria co-directed and coproduced, was selected for IFP’s 2008 Documentary Rough Cut Lab as well as Independent Film Week’s ‘Spotlight on Docs’ section. After showing as an official selection in over 30 international film festivals, in 2012 the film premiered on PBS World’s AfroPop series and won the prestigious Cinema for Peace International Green Film Award in Berlin.

Cambria has also worked in development and production with social issue media organization Arts Engine on the documentary feature films NICARAGUA DREAMING and PUSHING THE ELEPHANT, which showed on PBS. As a film distributor, Cambria worked for two years with Film Movement, where in her role as manager of non-theatrical programming she led nationwide distribution and outreach efforts for international and American independent films, including notable award winners MUNYURANGABO, LAKE TAHOE and ALAMAR. More recently she’s crossed over into film exhibition, serving as the Filmmaker Liaison at the 2011 Ashland Independent Film Festival in Ashland, Oregon, and running a monthly community film series at the Alma Education and Movement Space in Portland.

Cambria is currently working on two new films—THE WOODSRIDERS, a portrait of an Oregon mountain community though the eyes of a female snowboarder, and a documentary about her sister’s coming to terms with her identity as the daughter of a long-absent Ecuadorian father. She holds a Certificate in Film Production from Burlington College in Vermont and a B.A. in Hispanic Studies from Columbia University.

Morgan Robinson

Morgan Robinson is a producer at Punched in the Head Productions, an Emmy-winning documentary film production company based in Brooklyn. Morgan has produced “True Life: I’m Addicted to Marijuana” and “True Life: I’m Being Sent Away by my Parents.” He was an associate producer on three other True Life episodes: “I’m Homeschooled,” “I’m a Fanboy” and “I Can’t Sleep.” Morgan has field-produced various ads and educational projects, as well as documentaries for filmmaker John Halpern in Mexico and Kashmir. Inspired by his work on BURNING IN THE SUN, Morgan is fascinated by stories where global and environmental trends meet the deeply personal lives of individuals within their communities. He is passionate about telling stories of people pursuing the resources they need.

Morgan Robinson began his filmmaking career in the production department for Spike Lee’s HE GOT GAME and SUMMER OF SAM. He attended the New York Film Academy and his narrative short CATABASIS won first prize at the Dominique Dunne Memorial Film Festival and a Golden Apple at the National Educational Media Network Film Festival. Morgan assisted filmmaker John Halpern shooting and producing his documentary film ANGER on location in Mexico, Colorado and Arizona. Subsequently Morgan took on the project of co-directing and photographing BURNING IN THE SUN, and has been working on every aspect of this film since 2005. In addition he has produced the promotional video JI DUMA: BRING THEM WATER, as well as a narrative short, HANDS and a documentary short, THE DOMINO PROJECT. Recently Morgan produced and photographed John Halpern’s latest documentary ONCE PARADISE on location in Kashmir, India. Currently he is an associate producer at Punched in the Head Productions making the Emmy-winning show True Life for MTV. Morgan studied religion at Columbia University and speaks English, French, Spanish and Mandarin.


Claire Weingarten, Coproducer/Additional Cinematography

A veteran of the film distribution and exhibition worlds, Claire Weingarten has worked with The Film Society of Lincoln Center, The American Film Institute, and on the inaugural two years of AFI’s documentary film festival, Silverdocs. In 2005 Claire co-founded Birdgirl Productions and BURNING IN THE SUN is her initiation into the world of documentary production. Claire’s work at Silverdocs cemented her love for the documentary film genre and paved the way for her role as a producer of BURNING IN THE SUN. Claire received a Masters degree in Cinema Studies from New York University and graduated cum laude from Columbia University with degrees in Film Studies, Ethnic Studies and Anthropology. In addition to her role as a documentary film producer, Claire currently oversees publicity and marketing for the Chelsea-based foreign and independent film distribution company, Film Movement.

Emily Paine, Editor

Emily Paine has been a film editor of feature films and long form documentaries for the past 25 years. She edited the documentary THOTH, directed by Sarah Kernochan, which won the Academy Award for Best Short Subject Documentary in 2002. Other work includes the feature films STATIC directed by Mark Romanek, FLESHTONE directed by Harry Hurwitz and GHOSTS OF THE HEARTLAND directed by Allen Blumberg. She received a Cable Ace nomination for best editing for an episode of Remember WENN on AMC. She has also worked as a professional music editor and edited many hour long documentaries for the History Channel, Discovery Channel and Biography.

Daniel Praid, Editor

Daniel Praid is an editor and associate producer of documentary feature films. Recent work includes: MR. UNTOUCHABLE (dir. Marc Levin); HEIR TO AN EXECUTION (dir. Ivy Meeropol, Academy Award shortlist); BACK IN THE HOOD: GANG WAR 2 (dir. Marc Levin); PROTOCOLS OF ZION (dir. Marc Levin, Official Sundance Selection).

Ronen Landa, Composer

Ronen Landa composes music for film and media as well as music for the concert hall. His music has been heard on national television broadcasts, film festivals and screenings around the globe as well as in live concert venues. Films featuring his scores include the landmark Iraqi-made documentary THE DREAMS OF SPARROWS and the romantic drama DIVERGENCE. His music has been heard on MTV, CNN, and NPR as well as internet radio. Ronen received his B.A in Music and Political Science from Columbia University, where he graduated with honors from the Music department, and his M.A. in music composition and film scoring from New York University. He plays guitar, mandolin, oud (Arabic lute) and other stringed instruments. Buy Ronen’s CD, PICTUREBOOKS, featuring music from BURNING IN THE SUN, here. Or, download the album from Itunes.

Yacouba Sissoko, Featured Kora Player

Yacouba Sissoko is a Master Kora player from the Djely griot tradition. He was born in Kita, Mali. His grandfather, Samakoun Tounkara, began teaching Yacouba when he was 12 years old. Samakoun’s wife Bintouba Diabate was a famous singer in her own right. They raised Yacouba and educated him in his griot heritage and in many lessons about life. Oumou Tounkara, his mother, was a star in the Ensemble National du Mali. Yacouba attended the Institut National des Arts du Mali in Bamako. After his graduation, he played with artists like Taye and Oumou Sacko, Haja Soumano, Djallou Demba, Ami Koita, Fantani Koure, Kandia Kouyate and l’Ensemble Instrumental du Mali.

In 1993, Souleymane Koli,the leader of the Ensemble Koteba of Abidjan recruited him. Yacouba spend the next 5 years performing all over the world with this 45-piece band. In his career, he has traveled to almost every nation on the African continent, as well as most of Europe, Canada, the US and Australia. He is in demand as one of the best kora players in the world, playing with jazz, Latin and R & B bands as well as traditional African ceremonies. As leader of his own band, Siya, and member of the group Super Mande, Yacouba continues to record with many famous musicians, including the groups Source, Tamalalou and Fula Flute. Click here for more music and details for shows.

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