Jennifer Townsend, producer and director, began working outside the home at the age of eight, selling cookies door-to-door after school to help her family. She raised four children as a single mother, while simultaneously attending college and law school. She had several careers and occupations, including epidemiologist, attorney, and commercial real estate broker.
Jennifer’s venture into filmmaking began in 2012, when she bought a video camera and set about teaching herself how to shoot and edit short films. She produced “Old Folks at Home,” a series of short documentaries which captured refreshingly candid vignettes of the senior generation. A few years later, filled with fear and trepidation, she dove off a cliff to make her first feature film: Catching Sight of Thelma & Louise.
Director of Photography, Stuart Ferrier, has developed expertise in many related areas of filmmaking, but working behind the camera will always be his first love. Throughout the decades he has mastered an impressive range of filming challenges, from intimate, fly-on-the-wall, video portraits and rigorous commercial work, to large theatrical and musical performances. He has directed and edited multi-camera shoots with as many as 12 camera angles and 20 audio channels. At the other end of the spectrum, Stuart’s camerawork reflects his innate ability to capture remarkable one-on-one interviews, even from nervous, camera-shy people. Whatever the occasion, Stuart’s creative work combines to place the viewer at the heart of the experience. Stuart is a co-founder of Blue Fern Productions, LLC, a video production company in Seattle, WA.
Sarah Ferrier wrote and directed her first narrative short in 2008. Her introduction to documentary editing occurred shortly thereafter as an assistant editor of Patriot Guard Riders, a highly acclaimed feature film, praised for its remarkable sensitivity and beautiful craftsmanship. Sarah has edited innumerable shorts as well as commercial productions. Before teaming up with Far Beyond Film, she worked as an assistant editor of Heart: Flatline to Finish Line, a feature documentary about cardiac patients who compete in the Ironman triathlon. Sarah is co-founder and lead editor at Blue Fern Productions, a Seattle production company. Her work has been accepted at multiple local festivals including the 60 Second Film Festival and Local Sightings.
Stephen’s first feature film, The Four Corners of Nowhere, premiered at the 1995 Sundance Film Festival. His most recent score for Everything’s Cool premiered at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival. He’s contributed music to the films Chuck & Buck and The Good Girl for director Miguel Arteta (Sundance 2000 and 2002). In addition, Stephen was awarded one of six fellowships to the 2000 Sundance Composers Lab where he studied with composers such as Carter Burwell (Fargo), George S. Clinton (Austin Powers 1 & 2) and Graeme Ravel (Sin City). In 2008, Stephen was awarded a regional Emmy Award for his work on the PBS series Community Stories as well as a residency with the prestigious St. James Cathedral Choir in Seattle, the first in it’s 100 year history.
Dina Guttmann joined the documentary film world in 1996. She is an editor specializing in unscripted documentaries. She has edited films that have aired nationally on PBS (Independent Spirits in 2001; National Geographic Specials’ The Last Royals in 2005; and, A Healing Art in 2010, which won the POV Award at the 2009 International Doc Challenge competition) and films that have enjoyed successful rounds on the film festival circuit (Ilona, Upstairs – 2005 HBO Audience Award at the Provincetown Film Festival; Mezzanotte Obscura – 2010 Best Short Documentary at the Kent Film Festival; and Zemene – 2014 Best Editing and Best Documentary at the Boston Film Festival). Dina is a principal of Dovetail Films, a production and editing company she co-founded with Toby Shimin in 2001. She received a Bachelors of Arts in architecture with a specialization in film from Columbia University.
Rebecca Murray is our marketing project manager and is responsible for meeting some of our local film needs as well as overseeing marketing-related projects. Rebecca is owner of Skagit Media Marketing, a media production company that produces innovative marketing, advertising and training videos for businesses, government entities, and non-profits. The company has produced more than 200 video projects in the Pacific Northwest, Los Angeles, and beyond.
Amy Benson, Project Advisor, Filmmaker and Sundance grant recipient co-owns Nonfiction Media, a Seattle-based video production company. Her short, Three: Impressions from the Struggle for Girls’ Education, was the centerpiece of the UNIFEM Singapore film festival. She has won awards for her documentary shorts from SIFF and The Seattle Times. She has premiered documentaries at the Langston Hughes Film Festival. Amy, together with her husband, Scott Squire, are currently producing, directing, and shooting Drawing the Tiger, a feature-length, Sundance Institute supported, documentary which will be released in early 2015.
Jilann Spitzmiller , Project Advisor, is an award-winning documentary filmmaker with a great depth of experience in creating long-range, character driven stories. She finds it profoundly moving to witness change and transformation in people over the course of time. Jilann has produced and directed several acclaimed feature documentaries, including Shakespeare Behind Bars and Homeland. Jilann’s work has appeared on PBS, POV, BBC, NBC, A&E and Aljazeera, as well as dozens of channels around the world. Jilann is currently producing and directing the feature documentary, Still Dreaming which will be released in 2014. She is passionate about supporting and mentoring documentary filmmakers and is the cofounder of DocuMentors.