Filmmakers

Maria Ramas

Producer, Writer, Director

Ramas was an educator at the University of California at Los Angeles for over 25 years. Her articles on women's history and feminist theory have appeared in journals such as New Left Review and Feminist Studies and have been anthologized in collections along with writers such as Erich Fromm and Juliet Mitchell. She has been the recipient of grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and Women in Film and received an Emmy Award®, a Golden Mike award and Two Silver Telly awards for her work on Mia, A Dancer’s Journey. As Mia Slavenska's daughter, growing up in the ballet world of the 1950s and 1960s, Ramas experienced in an intimate and personal way the artistry of Mia Slavenska and the aesthetics of her era. This is her first feature-length documentary.

Kate Johnson

Producer, Director, Camera, Editor, Motion Graphics and Animation

Johnson is an artist, filmmaker and educator. Her work has been defined by an immersion in all aspects of filmmaking from performance, to production and post production, as well as media forms from avant-garde art to television broadcast and traditional film. Her collaborations have been seen internationally at venues such as the Cannes Film Festival, the Los Angeles Film Festival, the Museum of Modern Art NY, the Institute of Contemporary Art (London), Lincoln Center, Duke University, The History Channel, France’s Channel 5, American Film Institute, and at major conferences, art and film festivals, and exhibitions. In 2012 she founded Hyphen Media. She has served on the board of the Academy of Dance on Film, has lectured at The American Film Institute, DV Expo, SIGGRAPH, the University of Helsinki and Tekes (Finnish Government Technology Attache), a member of Film Independent, and is Assistant Professor in the Digital Media Department at Otis College of Art and Design. Kate received an Emmy Award®, a Golden Mike award and Two Silver Telly awards for her work on Mia, A Dancer’s Journey.

For more on Kate, visit www.studiohyphen.com.

Brenda Brkusic

Producer and Executive Producer of Program Development and National Productions for PBS SoCal

Brkusic is the Producer and Executive Producer of Program Development and National Productions for PBS SoCaL, where she oversees the development, production, and distribution of high-quality programs and series for national broadcast on public television. Brenda has received several Emmy Awards® including an Emmy for Mia, A Dancer’s Journey. Brenda also received a Golden Mike award and two Silver Tellys for her work on Mia. She received a CINE Golden Eagle Award, a Telly Award, and an International Documentary Association Distinguished Documentary Achievement Nomination for her feature documentary, Freedom from Despair, about Croatia's struggle for independence from communist Yugoslavia. Brenda is also the owner of Istina Productions, a documentary film production company in Southern California. She is a member of the Producers Guild of America and the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. "I was honored when Maria Ramas asked me to be a part of the making of this film about her mother's life. It has been a deeply personal journey for me to be able to further explore a topic of great interest to me - the Croatian Diaspora, and in this case, the life and work of Mia Slavenska. My professional training as a dancer and as a filmmaker has heightened my appreciation for Mia's incredible journey as an émigré artist who overcame adversity and contributed significantly to the American cultural landscape. This film will serve to educate, entertain, and enlighten PBS viewers across the country and I am delighted to be a part of the effort to reveal this important story to the nation."

Ted Sprague

Producer

Sprague is a dancer, director, and choreographer who has danced in 15 motion pictures, 250 television shows, and as a partner to Las Vegas headliners including Cyd Charisse and Mitzi Gaynor. He has directed over 100 plays and musicals and has choreographed several ballets, including the Trojan Women, Time and the Waltz, Face of Despair, and Tango Suite. Ted received an Emmy Award®, a Golden Mike award and Two Silver Telly awards for his work on Mia, A Dancer’s Journey.

Bridget Murnane

Associate Producer

Murnane is known for her creative media treatments of dance, as well as experimental and narrative projects. Her films have screened in over thirty international festivals and received numerous awards including two CINE Eagles. Her first feature, Odile and Yvette at the Edge of The World, premiered at the prestigious Edinburgh Film Festival and received special recognition from the Film Advisory Board and Brussels Diamond Film Festival. The PBS series, New Television and The Territory, have presented her work, as well as the cable channel, Classic Arts Showcase. Bridget is a Professor of Television, Film and Media Studies at California State University Los Angeles where she is the co-associate chair, Special Assistant to the Dean of the College of Arts and Letters, TVFM/TVFT Media Internship Director, and Student Production Unit Executive Director.

 

Douglas Turnbaugh

Associate Producer

Turnbaugh is the creator and a producer of the 2005 documentary Ballets Russes, which premiered at Sundance and was later released by Zeitgeist Films. He is also the producer of the 2008 short documentary on Marge Champion and Donald Sadler, Keep Dancing.

 

Michael Masucci

Director of Photography, Creative Consultant

Masucci is an award-winning film and videomaker, as well as a stage and multimedia producer, director, writer and artist. Masucci is Artistic Director of EZTV. Masucci has produced work throughout the United States, as well as in China, Croatia, the U.K., Mexico, Finland and Thailand. His work has screened at a variety of world-class venues including the Museum of Modern Art (New York), the Institute of Contemporary Art (London), the American Film Institute, Downtown Community Television (New York), and on BRAVO, the BBC, PBS, and numerous galleries, festivals and conferences. Masucci was an early advocate and adopter of the emerging digital filmmaking tools. He and EZTV have been honored by the American Film Institute as “some of the core pioneers and advocates of digital technology in the moving image arts.”

 

David Raiklen

Composer

Raiklen has composed music and sound design for theater, dance, television, museums, concerts, documentaries and features including Boone Stule, 30,000 Leagues Under the Sea, and Special Effects, directed by Ben Burtt. His compositions have been performed at the Hollywood Bowl and the first Disney Hall. In addition to Mia, A Dancer’s Journey, Raiklen is currently scoring The Secret Life of Gagarin, featuring Elliott Gould. He has taught at UCLA, USC and CalArts. Among his mentors are John Williams and Mel Power. He has worked for Fox, Sony, Disney and PBS. David’s composing is recognized by awards including a 2004 American Music Center Grant.