Filmmakers

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PAOLA DI FLORIO (Director)AWAKE_2_FILMMAKERS_PAOLA.jpg

Counterpoint Films founder Paola di Florio is an Oscar and Emmy-nominated filmmaker and television producer whose work has featured extraordinary individuals and the triumph of the human spirit. Di Florio’s films have been distributed theatrically throughout the world and featured in broadcasts on HBO, CBS, NBC, FOX, PBS, Sundance Channel, Court TV, TLC and A&E.

The New York Times described her work as “extraordinary” and “poignant.” The Los Angeles Times’ found it “deeply affecting, revelatory [and] gripping.” The Hollywood Reporter declared that it “should be required viewing for all Americans.”

Her documentaries (Speaking in Strings, Home of the Brave) feature the lives of strong, maverick women who impacted American culture. Her television work includes producing a TV series for Canal Plus entitled Directors on Directors, featuring unique portraits of Hollywood auteurs – including Sydney Pollack, Arthur Penn, Robert Altman, Michael Mann, and others – which was given a special screening at the Locarno Film Festival’s 50th Anniversary. Her independent films premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, garnered numerous awards and were honored by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, the Writer's Guild and the International Documentary Association. She has served on film juries and panels, including at the American Film Institute and has guest lectured at UCLA, USC, Berkeley, Stanford and other universities and conferences. She is also a founding partner of Nerd Girls, Inc., a New Media startup dedicated to creating new role models and empowering young women to enter the fields of science and engineering.

AWAKE_2_FILMMAKERS_LISA.jpgLISA LEEMAN (Director)

Lisa Leeman believes that strong narrative and character-driven films can change the world, one story at a time, and that the path to social change is through the heart. Lisa’s groundbreaking first film, Metamorphosis: Man into Woman, won the Filmmaker’s Trophy at the 1990 Sundance Film Festival and garnered the top broadcast ratings on POV, PBS’s documentary showcase. Roger Ebert named Leeman’s One Lucky Elephant as one of the best documentaries of 2011. That film was broadcast on OWN as part of Oprah Winfrey's Documentary of the Month Club, and selected for the U.S. State Department's American Documentary Showcase.

For the last twenty five years, Lisa has directed, produced, written and edited feature and short documentaries. Other notable works include directing the feature doc Out of Faith (PBS) & producing the feature doc Crazy Wisdom: The Life & Times of Chogyam Trungpa (Alive Mind Cinema). Lisa has collaborated with many acclaimed filmmakers, including Haskell Wexler, the renowned cinematographer with whom she co-directed Who Needs Sleep (Sundance, 2006).

Lisa spent a decade editing award-winning social issue documentaries, including the acclaimed Made in LA, and films for Renee Tajima-Pena; Michele Ohayon; Micha Peled; Stanley Nelson, and others. Lisa has served as a judge at the Sundance Film Festival, the president of the International Documentary Association, and on the boards of the IDA and the National Coalition of Independent Public Broadcasting Producers. She sits on the faculty of USC’s School of Cinematic Arts, and has taught master classes on documentary filmmaking in China, Portugal, Jordan, & Malawi. In addition to Sundance’s Filmmakers’ Trophy, honors include an Emmy nomination and the once-in-a-lifetime American Film Institute Independent Filmmaker Grant.

PETER RADER (Producer)AWAKE_2_FILMMAKERS_PETER.jpg

Peter Rader has worked as a film and television writer/director for twenty years. His first script,Waterworld, was produced by Universal in 1995. He has developed numerous projects for other studios, and industry leaders such as Steven Spielberg, Dino De Laurentiis, John Davis and Mario Kazar. He wrote and directed a remake of Escape to Witch Mountain for ABC/Disney. Rader attended Harvard University, where he graduated magna cum laude. He has taught writing workshops and is accomplished in a broad range of fields, including music and photography. He worked as a cinematographer on a number of award-winning documentary projects. Rader also directed episodes of the hit nonfiction TV show Dog Whisperer with Cesar Milan and authored Mike Wallace: A Life, a critically acclaimed biography of the legendary CBS journalist published by St. Martin’s Press. Rader was subsequently hired to adapt his book into a script for director Rob Reiner. He is currently writing a second book for Simon & Schuster.


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  • commented 2015-11-17 00:19:13 -0800
    Yogananda is so close and important to me that when I saw the film on Netflix I was leery of watching, for fear it would be cheesy, not worthy, but the film superseded my expectations. It is as I believe he would have wished it .. Not cloying, not circumventing truth and fact, beautifully done! Thank you!
  • commented 2015-08-07 22:43:01 -0700
    It will be blessings of My beloved Guru Paramhansa Yogananda through your film. You have done an extraordinary work intuitively. Dying to see the film, how can I have DVD?
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