Big Shoes Media Team
MUSTAPHA KHAN – director/writer
Mustapha Khan is an Emmy Award-winning film, television and commercial director. His credits include: the multiple award-winning documentary House on Fire, the critically-acclaimed television film Reflections of a Native Son, the primetime PBS NATURE Series Wild TV, the Emmy-Nominated Sesame Street’s 25th Anniversary Special and the new independent action feature, Rocksteady.
Mustapha’s commercial credits include national spots for clients such as: Coca-Cola, Honda, Nickelodeon, Burger King, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Bristol-Myers Squibb, the Children’s Defense Fund, Save the Children, the Legal Aid Society, Sesame Workshop, HBO, PBS and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Actors and artists he has directed includes: Bill Cosby, Alicia Keys, Gloria Estefan, Snoop Dogg, Quincy Jones, Dave Chappelle, Ray Charles, Mya, Missy Elliott. LL Cool J, Queen Latifah, Maya Angelou, Sean Kingston, Savion Glover, Elmo, Big Bird and all of the Sesame Street Muppets.
Mustapha is a graduate of Harvard University and was a Rotary Scholar anthropologist in East Africa before becoming a filmmaker. He lives in New York with his wife, jewelry designer Allyson Smith, and their two dogs, Boyo and Little Bootsy Collins.
MAGGIE LEVIN – writer/producer
Maggie is a film & theatre artist with rock n’ roll roots. She is the founding artistic director of The Real Theatre Company, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to interactive arts experiences. She’s worked in production for ESPN, The National Board of Review, Digital Kitchen, The School of Visual Arts, Fox Theatricals, and Orbit Digital Media among others. She is a director & writer of plays, including the new musical US with music & lyrics by Peter Gabriel. She graduated from the Neighborhood Playhouse and UCB LA Sketch program, and has studied television writing with Barry Vigon & Gloria Calderon Kellett. Currently, Maggie resides in Los Angeles where she is a writing & performing member of the sketch group Guilty Party, a pop reviewer for MXDWN.com, and a freelance screenwriter. Awards include the Young Playwrights’ Inc. National Competition (Finalist), DUTF Audience Award (for direction of the play “America” by Kim Yaged), and NBC’s “Freaks & Geeks” Film Contest (Winner). www.maggielevin.com
REBECCA RIVERA – producer
Rebecca Rivera is an Actress/Writer/Entreprenuer currently working out of LA. A Brooklyn native who spent her childhood building forts and writing plays, she became serious about her craft after attending LaGuardia High School of the Performing Arts (the Fame school) – where she received a Drama Desk Award for Performance there. She went on to earn her BFA in theatre from Carnegie Mellon University. Rebecca has worked in all theatrical mediums and is a member of SAG/AFTRA. Most recently, she can be seen playing “Pedra” alongside Cuba Gooding-Jr. in the film FIRELIGHT for ABC. As a playwright, Rebecca’s one-act “Rubble” about a child’s search for her soul amongst a pile of talking trash, has been produced in both LA and NYC receiving rave reviews. Rebecca is also the co-founder of Towne Hall, a non-profit warehouse space in Downtown Los Angeles, dedicated to providing a community venue for artists of all professional levels and socioeconomic means to create, connect, and share. For more information check out her website: www.RebeccaBerkmanRivera.com.
TOMMY WALKER- director
Tommy Walker, born to Mrs. Walker and the Right Reverend Bishop John T. Walker, the first African American Episcopal Bishop in Washington DC, graduated from the University of Virginia with a Bachelors of Arts in History. He began his career in 1985 working in postproduction for National Geographic’s Explorer series. In 1991 Walker was the production manager for the PBS documentary “Mandela in America, ”which followed Mandela on his first visit to the United States. In 1998, Walker served as a segment producer on the PBS documentary “Tutu and Franklin-A Journey towards Peace,” which followed Archbishop Desmond Tutu, John Hope Franklin and 21 students to the 21st Century Summit on Race and Reconciliation.
Walker has produced and directed big- budget films for Toyota, Mercedes, Daimler Chrysler and Hewlett Packard. Walker has also produced and directed several promotional films for multicultural non-profits such as the Robin Hood Foundation-sponsored Kipp School and Norman Lear’s “Declare Yourself,” a campaign to energize a new movement of young voters.
In 2005 ,Walker co-directed and produced the feature length theatrical documentary, “God Grew Tired of Us,” about refugees from war-torn Sudan, their subsequent immigration to America, and their experience in a Post 9/11 world. The film won Best Documentary as well as the Audience Award at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival.
In 2004, Walker produced the primetime, Emmy-nominated documentary “With All Deliberate Speed,” a portrayal of the brave souls who fought to integrate America before the civil rights movement began, for Discovery Communications Doc Series. Acclaimed actors and musicians including Alicia Keys, Mekhi Phifer, Larenz Tate, Jeffery Wright, Joe Morton and Terry Kinney brought the words of historical figures to life on camera. Also in 2004, Walker produced “A Southern Town,” which has been a mainstay of programming on Discovery Times Network.
Walker is currently a Executive Producer and partner with Freemind Ventures, the production company responsible for “The Blacklist Project,” an HBO documentary series which reveals the diverse experience of being black in America through portrait style interviews with leading African- American figures.
KARL H. BERGER- composer
Composer / Arranger / Conductor / Pianist / Vibraphonist / Educator Karl Berger is a six time winner of the Downbeat Critics Poll as a jazz soloist, recipient of numerous Composition Awards (commissions by the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York State Council on the Arts, the Rockefeller Foundation, European Radio and Television: WDR, NDR, SWF, Radio France, Rai Italy. SWF-Prize 1994). Professor of Composition, Artist-in-Residence at universities, schools and festivals worldwide; PhD in Music Esthetics.
Karl Berger became noted for his innovative arrangements for recordings by Jeff Buckley (“Grace”), Natalie Merchant (“Ophelia”), Better Than Ezra, The Cardigans, Jonatha Brooke, Buckethead, Bootsie Collins, The Swans, Sly + Robbie, Angelique Kidjo a.o.; and for his collaborations with producers Bill Laswell, Alan Douglas (“Operazone”), Peter Collins, Andy Wallace, Craig Street, Alain Mallet, Malcolm Burn, and Bob Marlett. He recorded and performed with Don Cherry, Lee Konitz, John McLaughlin, Gunther Schuller, the Mingus Epitaph Orchestra, Dave Brubeck, Ingrid Sertso, Dave Holland, Ed Blackwell, Ray Anderson, Carlos Ward, Pharoah Sanders, Blood Ulmer, Hozan Yamamoto and many others at festivals and concerts. His recordings and arrangements appear on the Atlantic, Axiom, Black Saint, Blue Note, Capitol, CBS, Columbia Double Moon, Douglas Music, Elektra , EMI, Enja, Island, JVC, Knitting Factory, In&Out, MCA, Milestone, Polygram, Pye , RCA, SONY, Stockholm, Vogue a.o.
He is founder and director of the Creative Music Foundation, Inc. dba The Creative Music Studio, a not-for-profit corporation, dedicated to the research of the power of music and sound and the elements common to all of the world’s music forms; and to educational presentations through workshops, concerts, recordings, with a growing network of artists and CMS members worldwide.
Dr. Berger has conducted CMS Residencies worldwide. In the 90s, he was Professor of Composition and Dean of Music Education at the Hochschule fuer Musik, Frankfurt / Germany. Chairman of the Music Department at UMass Dartmouth till 2006. Currently, Dr. Berger is re-establishing CMS programming, directing the CMS Archive Project, recording and producing. CMS is joining forces with Planet Arts, Inc., performing internationally with the Allstar Ensemble “In the Spirit of Don Cherry” and with numerous projects, collaborating with vocalist/poet Ingrid Sertso.
SAUNDI WILSON – composer
Saundi Wilson has been active in virtually every sector of the music industry. His work in film and television began at age 19, and he has since composed music for A&E, CBS, ABC, and Disney as well as numerous short films. Saundi has licensed music to more than fifteen different television shows, including MTV’s “Jersey Shore.”
Shortly after completing the masters program at NYU’s Steinhardt School, Saundi scored his first feature film, “Manito,” which garnered honors at several film festivals, including Sundance and South by Southwest. Since it’s theatrical release by Film Movement, it has been licensed to HBO, Showtime and the IFC.
Saundi then began to collaborate with Sebastian Bardin, and together, they created The Brüknahm Project. Their first LP was released on Knitting Factory Records to critical acclaim and they went on to complete two European tours, performing on some of Europe’s greatest stages (North Sea, Jazz a Vienne). Brüknahm was commissioned by Universal (France) to produce tracks for Algerian star Khaled, and two remixes for AIR on the LP On My Way (EMI/Capitol). Saundi also laid down his eclectic groove as a DJ in various locales in Europe as well as his monthly Brooklyn Zoo parties in Paris.
Shortly after recording the second Brüknahm album The City of Light (distributed on Believe Digital), Saundi moved back to the U.S., bouncing between Los Angeles and Brooklyn. He remains active with The Brüknahm Project, performing with them as the featured artist at the Shanghai International Jazz Festival. Currently, Saundi is licensing songs from his catalog through Stephen Arnold Music, producing/writing for his new project Red Claire, featuring country/bluegrass artist Claire Holley, and he recently co-produced Canadian singer Jessica Brooks’ debut album Our Place Now (Bungalow 7).