Director & Producer
Sheri Shuster is a documentary director and producer interested in advancing intersectional and moral conversations about power. An Iranian-American and L.A. native, her commitment to human rights drew her into the world of advocacy and public policy. For over fifteen years, she worked with nonprofits and elected officials in fund development and communications, including former U.S. Congressman Tom Lantos, and The Center for Women and Democracy. From 2008-2012 Sheri served as a director of Covenant House in Oakland advocating for homeless and trafficked youth. This experience inspired her directorial debut, Still I Rise. The film has been supported by the Berkeley Film Foundation, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Ratliff Fund,and the Harnisch Foundation. Sheri is an alumnus of U.C.L.A. and the Evans School of Public Policy and Governance.
James joined the Still I Rise team in 2013, while concurrently a scholarship recipient and wide-receiver for the Cal Bears at UC Berkeley. After graduating, he worked with homeless families in San Francisco at the Hamilton Shelter Program and for the Berkeley Unified School District. In 2017, James was nominated in the top four at Cambridge University’s Watersprite Film Festival for Filmmaker of the Future Award. In the same year, the African American Policy Forum selected James to participate in the intergenerational Imagining Otherwise program at Vassar College. He currently works as an editor and composer for Still I Rise. An exceptional artist and creative partner, the team has been elevated by James' contributions on all fronts.
Layda is the Emmy Award winning producer of Presunto Culpable (Presumed Guilty, 2008), a documentary film that won the Emmy Award for Outstanding Investigative Journalism (2011), and went on to win more than twenty awards at international film festivals. She is an attorney with over 20 years of experience conducting criminal justice research in Mexico. Her work has been funded by the United Nations, the Hewlett Foundation, and the World Bank. Layda holds a law degree, master's in public policy and is completing her PhD at UC Berkeley. Currently, she works as senior researcher at the World Justice Project, a prominent think tank devoted to promoting rule of law in the world.
DJ serves as Assistant Professor of Practice in the Media Arts + Practice Division (MA+P) at the USC School of Cinematic Arts. He is a filmmaker and educator who has worked in media education for over twenty years, with a focus on media strategies for social change and community organizing. DJ has worked with nonprofits and educational institutions to design media and promotional campaigns in the areas of violence prevention, youth development, drug prevention, literacy, mental health, family services and healthy parenting. DJ serves on the Board of Directors of Picture Alternatives, a nonprofit that uses creative media and high impact storytelling to promote effective alternatives to violence.
Chanee is an experienced litigator specializing in affordable housing and civil rights law. She is a Gubernatorial apointee designated by Governor Jerry Brown to serve in a rulemaking capacity to adopt, clarify and enforce California's civil rights laws concerning employment, housing and hate crimes. Chanee has served on the board of the Charles Houston Bar Association and is a graduate of Emerge Califonia. Her lifelong commitment to civil and human rights has inspired her civic engagement and professional accomplishments. Chanee is an alumnus of UCLA, Cornell Law, Oxford and the American University in Paris.
Documentary filmmaker Maureen Gosling has been creating films for more than thirty years and is best known for her twenty-year collaboration with acclaimed independent director, Les Blank. Gosling's films include Burden of Dreams (1982), Blossoms of Fire (2001), This Ain't No Mouse Music (2013) and A New Color (2015). Her work has often focused on themes of people and their cultural values, music as cultural expression and the changing gender roles of men and women. Her films have been seen in countless film festivals around the world, on national public and cable television, on television in Europe, Australia and Asia, and have been distributed widely to educational institutions.
LUIS DAMIAN SANCHEZ
John Nutt is a BAFTA Award winning filmmaker and the secret sauce in Still I Rise. He has been an early champion and creative strategist on all things substantive and technical involved with production as well as diplomatic attache for the team. John is a veteran of decades of filmmaking and the Vietnam War. He has worked in the capacity of editor, director, sound editor and dialogue editor for over 100 films. John is an understated artist, extraordinary mentor, and local legend in the Bay Area film community. His films include: Amadeus, Se7en, Munich, Iron Man, and Bravo! Common Men, and Uncommon Valor.
Luis Damian is an accomplished director, editor and cinematographer whose filmmaking credits include: editor of EL HOMBRE QUE DISPERSÓ SUS SOMBRAS (2006), director of photography of EL INFORME TOLEDO (2009), editor and director of photography of ERASE UNA VOZ :Proyecto del FONCA (2010), and director and editor of 24 EN SISBICHÉN (2010). From 2009-2011 he served as a producer and cinematographer for Canal 11. As an independent documentarian, he has worked closely with human rights NGO Documenta, a documentary film company that engages in strategic litigation and informs criminal justice policy in Mexico. He is an alumnus of Centro de Capacitación Cinematográfica.
Four-time Academy Award and two-time BAFTA winning sound producer Mark Berger has mixed sound for over 160 films, including The Godfather: Part II (1974), Apocalypse Now (1979), Amadeus (1984), The English Patient (1996), and The Royal Tenenbaums (2001). With over 30 years of experience working in sound, Mark is currently a Professor of Film at the University of California, Berkeley.
He holds the Academy Award record for "perfect score" with 4 nominations and 4 wins.