About Us

Baraka Productions was founded in 2003 by a team of independent producers and journalists. Our work has appeared on many US and foreign television channels, including PBS, the Hallmark Channel, CNN, DW International, Al Jazeera, NHK, Sky as well as Swiss, French, Israeli and Polish public televisions. Baraka’s productions have screened at dozens of festivals and venues including the Film Society of Lincoln Center,  Anthology Film Archives, IDFA,  Hot Docs, the Asia Society, the Sheffield Documentary Festival, the Brooklyn Academy of Music, the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, the Stanford Film Society among many others.

Some of our main past and current collaborators:

– Nicolas Rossier – Baraka Founder/Filmmaker

Nic is an award-winning filmmaker. His work has appeared on many US and foreign television channels, including flagship PBS stations, the Hallmark Channel, CNN International, Al Jazeera, and Swiss, French, Israeli and Swedish Public Television. He has been featured in The New York Times, The Boston Globe, Variety, The Jewish Daily Forward, The Hollywood Reporter, and NPR, among others. His films have been screened at top film festivals and venues including the Film Society of Lincoln Center, the Asia Society, IDFA (Amsterdam),  Sheffield Documentary Fest and the Brooklyn Academy of Music among others. Perhaps best known for his uncanny ability to get often elusive characters to open up, Rossier’s classic semi-biographical documentaries LIFE IS A DREAM, AMERICAN RADICAL and ARISTIDE: THE ENDLESS REVOLUTION have received critical accolades in the United States and abroad. Rossier has interviewed many personalities including former South African president Thabo Mbeki, former US president Jimmy Carter, social critic Noam Chomsky, Nobel Peace Prize laureate F.W. de Klerk and many more. He was the first reporter to interview deposed Haitian president Jean-Bertrand Aristide while in exile in South Africa in 2004. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife and four children.

– Cameron Clendaniel – Film Editor

Born in Boston, Cameron has worked as a film editor in New York, Los Angeles, and Europe for more than a decade. Cameron has developed a deep passion for building stories through film and has extensive experience cutting documentary features for theatrical, television and festival release. Cameron’s award-winning work has aired on broadcast outlets like PBS, the Sundance Channel, and CNN, and at dozens of film festivals, including HotDocs and IDFA. In addition to his independent film work, Cameron’s has created films for the United Nations, Red Bull Media House, Microsoft Studios, Hertz, Time Warner, Novartis, Waste Management, StoryCorps and the US Dept of Energy — as well as the creative agencies Ogilvy & Mather andManaMedia. Cameron has edited three of Baraka’s previous documentaries.

– David Ridgen – Investigative Reporter/Filmmaker

David is a filmmaker, writer and director whose multi-award-winning work has been screened and acclaimed around the world. His first major documentary Canadian Images of Vietnam was acquired by the Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography at the National Gallery of Canada, being the only known production to critically document Canadian involvement in the US war in Vietnam. David was instrumental in creating a unique style and form for the hard-hitting documentary tape unit of CBC’s successful Sunday morning program “CBC News: Sunday”. In 2004 David produced, directed, and shot, Return to Mississippi, the first major documentary to look at the possibility of a trial for the Mississippi Burning murders in 1964. And in 2005, David wrote, directed, produced and shot Mississippi Cold Case, an investigative documentary about an unsolved civil rights case in Mississippi. He co-directed and produced with Nicolas Rossier award-winning documentary American Radical. More on him at www.ridgenfilm.com

– Emmanuel Tagnard – Journalist/Reporter

After graduating in Political Science from the University of Geneva, Emmanuel Tagnard obtained an MS in Broadcast Journalism at Boston University. In 1998 he won Boston University’s “Dennis Kauff Memorial News Reporting and Producing Award” for a series of reports produced single-handedly in South-East Asia. After an internship at CNN New York, he co-directed “Life is a Dream” with Nicolas Rossier. In 2000, Emmanuel joined the international newsdesk of the Swiss national television (RTS) based in Geneva, subsequently becoming a Video-Journalist for the following three years. Over a period of 13 years, he has worked for 12 different TV broadcast shows, producing more than 300 reports (of between 2 and 52 minutes in length) both as sole producer or with a crew of 2, 3 or 4. Emmanuel’s report “The Wizard Behind the Curtain”, about the Swiss virtuoso François Junod who creates automata, received the “Prix de la Fondation bernoise pour la radio et la télévision 2009”. His report “Mystery of the Restless Leg Syndrome” received the “Prix Suva des Médias 2010”. Emmanuel Tagnard is also a laureate of the Amiens International Medical Film Festival 2010. At the end of 2013, he joined the Catholic Centre for Radio and Television (Cath-Info) to become executive producer of the three ethical and religious TV broadcast shows of RTS. Emmanuel is the co-founder of Baraka Productions and an advisor. He co-directed the award-winning Life is a Dream, Baraka’s first television documentary.

– Jon Alpert & Matthew O’Neill – Filmmakers

Jon and Matt are the principal filmmakers of DCTV, an iconic media arts center based in downtown New York. It was founded in 1972 by Jon Alpert and Keiko Tsuno with the goal of fostering diverse viewpoints and creating outstanding documentary productions. DCTV has fostered a diverse and inclusive media arts community for 40 productive years. From humble beginnings (DCTV’s first educational projects operated from the back of a dilapidated mail truck), DCTV has established a community-based foothold in a field dominated by large corporations. DCTV is the most honored independent non-profit media center in the nation. Its productions, reaching millions of viewers each year, have received one Academy Award Nomination, 15 National Emmy Awards, 3 duPont-Columbia Awards, and every other major award in the television field. Jon Alpert and Matthew O’Neill acted as advisers and executive producers for Baraka’s investigative and historical documentary “The Other Man”. They also worked as directors and partners for “the Bridge” series that was produced by Baraka and Search for Common Ground in Washington DC. It aired several times on the Hallmark television in 2006.

– Naashon Zalk – Cameraman/Multimedia Producer

Naashon is a producer and director based in Cape Town, South Africa. He has written, directed and produced numerous hours of television, documentary and news content for local and international broadcasters. He has worked in over 30 countries, predominantly in Africa and South East Asia. He is also a communications consultant and visual media producer for non-profit and civil society organizations. His most recent production was the ETV biopic of Chief Albert Luthuli, the first African Nobel Laureate and president of the ANC during the ’50′s and ’60′s. Recently he was selected by the South African Documentary Filmmakers Association to attend IDFA and represent the documentary film industry in South Africa. His work has been broadcast on SABC, ETV, ARD, RTL, NOS, AFP-TV among others. Naashon co-produced and was the principal cameraman on our documentary “The Other Man.”

– Tami Woronoff – Producer/Journalist

Tami has produced for documentary film, television, and various multimedia platforms. In addition, she has worked as a film festival programmer, in visual effects, and in outreach and distribution for independent films. Previously, she worked with award-winning director Anne Aghion on the distribution of several of her films including the critically acclaimed MY NEIGHBOR MY KILLER, which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in 2009. She has worked on the development, production, and distribution of several of Baraka Productions’ films.

– Reed Lindsay – Filmmaker/Journalist

Reed Lindsay is a documentary filmmaker and journalist with 15 years of experience reporting, investigating, writing, producing, filming and directing around the world. In 2014, he won a Gracie Award for Fists of Fury, a short film about a 15-year-old girl in Kolkata, India, striving to be a champion boxer. He was one of the first journalists to enter Libya after the uprising and co-directed an hour-long film entitled Benghazi Rising that was nominated for a Rory Peck Award for best documentary in 2011. He reported on the Egyptian rebellion from beginning to end and was co-winner of an Emmy for his contribution to the HBO documentary In Tahrir Square. From 2004 until 2009, Lindsay was based in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, where he worked as a journalist.  His work has been published in more than 20 major newspapers and magazines aired on numerous radio stations and broadcast on television news networks throughout the world. He speaks three languages fluently (English, Spanish and Haitian Creole), and is learning Egyptian Arabic, Portuguese and German. His latest documentary Charlie vs. Goliath was produced in association with Baraka Productions.

– Sebastian Kauderer – Film Composer

Sebastian Kauderer is an award-winning composer of films, TV series, documentaries and advertising campaigns. He composed the original soundtrack for more than 10 feature films including Academy Award winner THE SECRET IN THEIR EYES, a score that was awarded the Clarin Award, Condor de Plata Award, Sur Award and Havana Film Festival award for Best Original Music and earned a Nomination for the Goya Awards. He composed the score for BORDER RUN, featuring Sharon Stone and Billy Zane. He also wrote the soundtrack for Disney´s Spanish-language versions of the international hit HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL, the feature motion picture LA REVOLUCION ES UN SUEÑO ETERNO and had the honor of working as a music editor with Academy Award winner Gustavo Santaolalla on the musical ARRABAL, directed by renowned Broadway choreographer Sergio Trujillo. Sebastian composed the music for Rossier’s latest television documentary “The Other Man”.

– Jennifer Utz – Multi-Media Producer

Jennifer has worked on several productions with us. As a video journalist and filmmaker, she’s been covering the Iraqi refugee crisis since the fall of 2006. She was one of the first journalists to highlight the extent of the crisis, first breaking the story on “Democracy Now!” in February 2007. Her subsequent reports aired on “ABC World News Tonight”, “France 24”, and “Current TV”. Between 2006 and 2007, Utz was a producer at “Democracy Now!” – the independent radio and television news broadcast hosted by the award-winning journalist Amy Goodman. Utz does ongoing producing and editing work at BBC America and CBS News. She’s also a regular contributor to The Huffington Post. She spent 2004 in India, teaching members of a women’s empowerment organization to produce outreach videos designed to educate a non-literate audience of Untouchable, Tribal, and Muslim populations. Prior to that, Jennifer co-edited a documentary about youth in Zimbabwe, comprised of footage smuggled out of the country. In 2003, Jennifer produced and edited a feature documentary about the academic program “Semester at Sea,” which documented the townships of South Africa, life in Castro’s Cuba, and the Movement for Landless People in Brazil. Jennifer produced our award winning documentary “American Radical”.

– Mike McSweeney – Cameraman

Has worked on and off on several of our projects. Mike is a Brooklyn-based cinematographer whose work specializes in documentary, but also spans across narrative, music video, and commercials. He received a Bachelors Degree in Cinematography from the School of Visual Arts, and has also directed several of his own films which have played across a variety of festivals including Full Frame, Max Ophuls Preis, World Fest, Traverse City, and several others. His short film entitled “Time & Space” won him the Grand Prize in Sony’s 2011 ‘Behind the Lens’ competition. In 2013 he was an additional Cinematographer for “Sandy Storyline”, which won Tribeca’s ‘Storyscapes’ competition, and also for “The Motivation” which premiered at Tribeca as well. Recently, McSweeney just finished working as the director of photography for the mid-lenth documentary “Do The Math”, which chronicles Bill McKibben as he works to solve the global climate crisis.

– Eli Cohn – Sound Specialist

Elie graduated from the University of Massachusetts, where he studied Cello Performance and the Recording Arts. His interest in audio continued to grow and he began sound designing for independent films. Recent notable features include Cruz Angeles’ Don’t Let Me Drown (Sundance 2009) and Kelly Reichardt’s Wendy and Lucy (Cannes 2008). His sound design, Foley, and mixes have established himself as an emerging sound engineer in the New York film community. Elie worked on the sound of our documentary “American Radical” and has since work on dozens of other acclaimed projects.