The Team

Jacob Bender, Writer / Producer/ Director

Jacob Bender is a documentary filmmaker, video producer, photographer, graphic designer, and interfaith consultant. During a career spanning more than thirty years, Jacob has produced dozens of television, video, audiovisual and radio programs, graphic and print projects, museums exhibitions and educational programs. His clients have included a wide range of major corporations, such as American Express and Time Warner, and nonprofit organizations, including The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York Lawyers for the Public Interest, NASA, The Baltimore Zoo, and the United States National Park Service.

During the many years Jacob lived in Israel, he worked as an audio-visual producer at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem, as well as for the Israel Ministry of Education.

Jacob was the Audio-Visual Producer for the United States Constitutional Bicentennial Exhibition in 1985. He is the director of the television documentary, “The Voice Still Speaks: Jews and Revelation,” broadcast nationally in 1999 on The Odyssey Channel, and “So Goes a Nation: Lawyers and Communities,” produced for Fordham University Law School and narrated by Sam Waterson and Jimmy Smits. “So Goes a Nation” has been screened at over 200 law schools around the world.

Following the attacks of September 11, 2001, Jacob was one of the initiators of interfaith dialogue with the American Muslim community. He has spoken dozens of times at mosques and at large gatherings of Muslims in the United States, particularly at the conventions of the Islamic Society of North America, the largest Muslim organization in the US.

In 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, Jacob was a featured speaker at the annual Doha Conferences on Religious Dialogue, organized by the Foreign Ministry of Qatar. In 2008, he was invited by the Saudi Embassy in Washington, DC, to participate in the historic interfaith conference in Madrid initiated by HRH King Abdallah of Saudi Arabia. In January and June of 2009, Jacob spoke at interfaith conferences organized by Al-Azhar University in Cairo, Egypt. Jacob has also been a featured guest on the Aljazeera Channel show “Min Washington.”

Jacob has published articles in Islamic Horizons Magazine, The Daily Star of Beirut, Lebanon, and an article appeared about him in The Arab News of Saudi Arabia. His “Letters to the Editor” have been published in newspapers around the world, including The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The International Herald Tribune, The Jordan Times, The Gulf News, and El Pais.

In 1984, Jacob was a speech writer on interfaith affairs for Rev. Jesse Jackson during his historic presidential campaign.

Jacob has been a leading voice in the American Jewish community for a just resolution of the Israel-Palestine conflict. 1995, he led delegations of American peace activists that met with Chairman Yassir Arafat in Gaza and King Hussein in Amman.

Jacob has a degree in “The History of Religions” from the University of California at Los Angeles, and studied film and television at New York University’s Graduate School of Film.

José Antonio Hergueta , Executive Producer / Producer

José Antonio Hergueta is a Spanish independent filmmaker and video-artist. He focus is on creative documentaries, a field in which he has produced and directed numerous programs and films.

Born in Malaga, José Antonio has lived in Madrid (from 1984 on), Maastricht (The Netherlands, 1990), Glasgow (1992 and 1997) and São Paulo (Brazil, from 1994 to 1996). José Antonio has developed his own career as a video artist and author of documentary films, co-produced by Canal Plus France, Eurocreation, the Spanish Ministry of Culture and Canal Satélite Digital. His video-art works and installations were exhibited at festivals, museums and TV channels all over the world, such as the Spanish Nacional Art Gallery Reina Sofía (Madrid, 1992 and 1996), the Andalusian College of Architecture (Málaga, 1989), the Fundació La Caixa (Barcelona, 1998-99, Gerona, 2000), and at international festivals such as Den Haag, Berlin, Geneva, Sydney, Locarno, Bonn and Montbéliard, as well as many other locales.

In 1999, José Antonio returned to live in his hometown of Malaga and founded MLK, a company dedicated to film production and cultural and educational projects, with an emphasis on subjects of historical and archaeological interest. He has specialized in producing documentaries about the past from a very contemporary view. MLK is currently producing documentaries for Canal Sur TV and other Spanish broadcasters, in co-production with European partners.

MLK’s international vision was realized in 2006 with the co-production of “Operación Úrsula,” produced in association with German and Italian partners. “Operación Úrsula” (2006) is about submarine warfare in Spanish Civil War, and specifically, the mystery of C-3, a missing submarine of the Spanish Republican fleet, which was recently discovered on the ocean floor.

His most important documentaries are “La tierra de la madre” (The Land of the Mother, 1994), which treats the exile of the so-called ‘Children of Russia’ to the Soviet Union during Spanish Civil War; “La Ciudad Mercante” (The Merchant City, 1997), a personal portrait of the Scottish city of Glasgow; “Paseo por la ciudad púrpura” (A Walk Through the Purple City, 1998), an educational program about the history of Mediterranean cities, starting with Malaga; and “Andalucia,” a Spanish/French co-production, and MLK’s first fiction feature.

As a scriptwriter, José Antonio is the author of several documentary films such as “Historia de la Televisión” (A History of Television) that was shown at the World Expo (Sevilla, 1992); or “La Sordoceguera” (The Deafblindness), produced by ONCE, the Spanish Foundation for Blinds (1992); “La ruta del sueño” (The Dream Road) and “La Máquina del Tiempo” (The Time Machine, co-written by  Regina Álvarez), both part of the series about the Spanish avant-garde movement of the twenties embracing Lorca, Dali or Buñuel, so called Generation 27, produced by Docus Andalucía (2007) for the Andalusian TV Channel Canal Sur TV and the Spanish and Andalusian Ministry of Culture; and “Tifariti, Los hijos de las nubes” (Tifariti, Children of the Skies, 2008), co-written by Jesús Cano.

José Antonio is a founding member of professional associations Docus Andalucia and PECAA (Plataforma de Empresarios y Creadores del Audiovisual Andaluz), an organization of independent film producers in Southern Spain, of which he is president, and associated to FAPAE, the national federation of film producers in Spain. He is also a member of Eurodoc network.

Joseph V. Montville , Executive Producer

Joseph V. Montville was a U.S. Foreign Service Officer for over 25 years. He served in Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco and numerous positions in Washington, DC at the Department of State, including the Near East Division, the Office of Global Issues, the Bureau of Intelligence and Research, and was Senior Consultant on Conflict Resolution at the Foreign Service Institute. He is currently a Member of the International Council for Conflict Resolution at The Carter Center. He is the editor of Conflict and Peacemaking in Multiethnic Societies (Lexington Books, 1989), and the author of over one hundred scholarly and general articles on conflict resolution, psychology, preventative diplomacy and international politics. Mr. Montville has received many honors over the last two decades for his work in the field of conflict resolution. He is currently Director of the  Abrahamic Family Reunion project.

Steven Montgomery , Associate Producer

Steven Montgomery has produced and directed the nationally-recognized documentaries “Morocco: The Past and Present of Djemma el Fna” and “Hobie’s Heroes.” His award-winning work has been televised on PBS, USA Network and Nickelodeon, and has been presented at New York’s Museum of Modern Art. His magazine articles on documentary filmmaking have been published internationally. He is vice-president of the Robert Flaherty Film Seminar. In addition to his efforts as a filmmaker, he is a development consultant, and has helped to secure funding for numerous New York City nonprofit organizations, including the New York Philharmonic, Henry Street Settlement and Rosie’s Broadway Kids.

Leif Karpe , Cinematographer

Leif Karpe, born in Germany, has worked for over 10 years as a cameraman and director for documentary films, specializing in intercultural projects. He has been a DP for international films, TV productions, and music videos throughout Europe, the Arab world, India and Sri Lanka. His work has appeared on ZDF, WDR, and ARTE. In 1994 he founded his own production company Planet Pictures that focuses on cultural and environmental programs in developing countries. His most recent film (2005) is “El Americano,” a documentary film he directed about the young Orson Wells in Spain.

Martin Kayser-Landwehr , Editor

Martin Kayser-Landwehr is an editor of documentary films, television series and publicity spots for broadcasters around the world, including BBC, ZDF, and ARTE. He works as a freelancer for production companies as Lichtblick, Spiegel TV, MTV and Endemol.

Antonio Meliveo , Original Music Soundtrack

Composer and film producer, Antonio Meliveo has composed music for theater, dance, feature and short films, documentaries, TV series, and advertising. He has won recognition from many international film festivals, and has been twice nominated for the Goya Awards, prizes of Spain’s National Film Academy.

, Additional Music

Marcel Khalifé is one of the most famous musicians in the Arab world, and a “UNESCO Artist for Peace.” Khalifé has composed soundtracks for many films, documentary and fiction. He has also composed several purely instrumental works such as The Symphony of Return, Chants of the East, Concerto Al Andalus- Suite for Oud and Orchestra. Marcel Khalifé’s compositions have been performed by several orchestras, notably the Kiev Symphony Orchestra, the Academy of Boulogne Billancourt Orchestra, The San Francisco Chamber Orchestra, the Orchestra of the city of Tunis, and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra.

Yuval Ron , Additional Music

World-music artist, composer, producer, educator and peace activist, Yuval Ron works internationally in film, television, dance and theater. Among his many honors, he was invited to perform for the Dalai Lama, for Pir Zia Iniyat Khan (Head of the Sufi International Order), and has produced albums of Turkish master-musician Omar Faruk Tekbilek. In 2006, Yuval won an Oscar for the musical film, West Bank Story, and in 2004 received the Los Angeles Treasures Award. He is the recipient of prestigious grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, American Composers Forum, California Council for the Humanities and the Rockefeller Foundation, among more.

Katharina Feil, Image Researcher

Katharina Feil was the Senior Manager of the Rare Books and Manuscripts Department of Sotheby’s New York for seven years, and the Curator of Judaica at Yeshiva University Museum for four years. She has a doctorate in European History and Jewish Studies from The Jewish Theological Seminary of America and an MA in Theology from the University of Heidelburg, Germany. She is fluent in English, German, Italian, French, and Hebrew.

Mitchell Abidor , Script Consultant and Translator

Mitchell Abidor is a writer and translator living in Brooklyn. He is the author of “The Greant Anger: Ultra-Revolutionary Writing in France from the Atheist Priest to the Bonnot Gang,” and the forthcoming “Communards: The Paris Commune of 1871, as Told by Those Who Fought for It.”

Joan Levinson , Script Consultant and Editor

Joan Levinson is an artist and editor.

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