ABOUT THE FILMMAKERS


TARABU BETSERAI KIRKLAND

Writer | Director | Producer

Tarabu hails from Buffalo, New York and resides in Los Angeles, CA. He is the last of Mamie Kirkland’s nine children and has been developing the “One Hundred Years From Mississippi” project for the last several years..

Tarabu hails from Buffalo, New York and resides in Los Angeles, CA. He is the last of Mamie Kirkland’s nine children and has been developing the “One Hundred Years From Mississippi” project for the last several years.

Tarabu’s background as a Media Artist, Producer and Administrator includes twenty years in Public Radio having served as General Manager of radio station KPFK-FM in Los Angeles, Assistant Manager of KPFA in Berkeley where he co-founded the Third World Media Department and helped establish national radio training programs for producers of color, and General Manager of the Community Information Network.

He is also the author and composer of the musical “Jukebox” which stared Danny Glover, author and producer of the stage play “Ritual of a Bop Solo,” producer of the stage play “Jungle Bells,” and producer and musical co-director for the National Public Radio drama “Quiet Thunder,” and has been the writer and producer for numerous radio documentary projects and video industrials.

In addition, Tarabu has worked in the cultural and social service sector as the Director of Programs at A Place Called Home, Managing Director of Great Leap, Inc., and Managing Director of the Black Theatre Artists Workshop.


JAMES SELIGMAN

Cinematographer | Editor |
Co-Producer

100 YEARS FROM MISSISSIPPI IS DEDICATED IN HONOR OF
JAMES SELIGMAN

When James met Mamie in 1986 he fell in love with her and became passionate about telling her life story. He made a lifelong commitment to capturing events, documenting history, interviewing people from all walks of life, and telling stories that enrich our lives, reflect our diverse cultures and provide understanding and inspiration. From the inception of this film, until he took his final breath on December 21st, 2017, James contributed his enormous talent and creativity to this project. His irreplaceable vision will forever guide us.


GINA RUGOLO

Producer

Gina Rugolo runs her own successful talent management and production company, Rugolo Entertainment, in Los Angeles.

Previously, she was a partner at Rigberg Rugolo Entertainment and worked at Relevant Entertainment. Rugolo began her management and producing career at More Medavoy Management. Prior to becoming a talent manager, Rugolo was a leading entertainment publicist at Geller and Associates.

Rugolo has also been a successful producer for many years. She served as a co-executive producer on the hit comedy series “Just Shoot Me” on NBC. She was an executive producer on the series “Getting Personal” with Jon Cryer and Duane Martin.

In features, she produced “Ringmaster” for Artisan Films and co-produced the critically acclaimed independent feature “Twist” which premiered at the Toronto and Venice Film Festivals. She executive produced the Lifetime television movie “What If God Were The Sun?” based on the book by famed psychic medium John Edward. She executive produced the web series “Vicky” and is currently  a producer on the weekly radio/web show CharVision on UBN hosted by Char Margolis.


HARRISON ENGLE

Executive Producer |
Director/Producer

With more than 80 films to his credit, Harrison has directed documentaries for nearly every broadcast and cable network.

Most often, his films deal with themes of history, biography and the arts. Among his productions are: HATCHING SHAKESPEARE (UMC), THE LOST KENNEDY HOME MOVIES (History), BENNY CARTER: SYMPHONY IN RIFFS (A&E), THE INDOMITABLE TEDDY ROOSEVELT (ABC; Emmy Nominee), THEY CAME TO PLAY (PBS), OBSESSED WITH VERTIGO (AMC) and the Native American-themed feature film, THE LEGEND OF TWO-PATH.

He has created tributes for seven ACADEMY AWARDS telecasts, and co-produced three AFI Life Achievement Specials. He is a past president of the International Documentary Association, and created the IDA Awards. Harrison has served on media arts panels for the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Rockefeller Foundation. He has lectured on film at USC, UCLA, AFI, the North Carolina School of the Arts and other schools.

In 2012, Harrison traveled to South Korea to speak about film for the U.S. State Department and USC’s program, American Film Showcase. For more info, visit: www.harrisonengle.com


CASSANDRA CHOWDHURY

Cassandra is an editor and producer, and the co-founder of Mindfruit Studios.

Though her career started in commercials and music videos, Cassandra has refocused on documentary and educational content and seeks with each of her projects to make people think more compassionately about the world around them. Cassandra has worked with such clients as National Geographic and the Endangered Species Coalition.  In 2018 Cassandra was selected as a fellow at the International Wildlife Film Festival due to her deep commitment to educational media.


KAREN L. ISHIZUKA, M.S.W, PH.D

Project Advisor

KAREN IS AN AWARD-WINNING DOCUMENTARY FILM PRODUCER/WRITER AND MUSEUM CURATOR.

Karen is a writer specializing in Japanese American and Asian Pacific Island history and culture. In addition to her documentary film work she has authored three books and many articles. Her most recent publication is Serve the People: Making Asian America in the Long Sixties (Verso 2016). Ishizuka also helped establish the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles. A third-generation American of Japanese ancestry, Ishizuka lives in Culver City with her husband Robert A. Nakamura and has two children and three grandchildren.


ROBERT A NAKAMURA, M.F.A.

Project Advisor

ROBERT IS A PIONEERING FILMMAKER AND INFLUENTIAL EDUCATOR KNOWN TO MANY AS THE GODFATHER OF ASIAN AMERICAN MEDIA.

Robert has been a major force in independent film since 1970 when he was the founding director of Visual Communications, the oldest continuing Asian Pacific American media organization in the country. An award-winning documentary filmmaker, Nakamura also founded the UCLA Center for Ethno Communications based in the Asian American Studies Center and the Watase Media Arts Center of the Japanese American National Museum.