MARLBORO PRODUCTIONS: Our films tell the stories of individuals of courage, vision, and persistence whose lives and actions lead to a greater understanding of our interconnectedness with each other and the natural world. They are teachers, farmers, activists, artists or musicians. They know that change takes time. They understand that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, and that the integrity of the parts will inevitably lead to that greater whole. It is this integrity, which is the basis of their power and of their drive. They inspire hope.
In The World in Claire’s Classroom a master teacher raises a whole generation of children into a life of the knowledge of tolerance and fairness, and through these children the whole community is moved to greater understanding. In Taking Root: The Vision of Wangari Maathai a world renowned environmental activist who understands the linkages between poverty, environmental degradation, human rights and democracy exposes and successfully challenges the role of colonialism and extractive economic development in undermining the tenets of social justice, in corroding an intact culture. In Home to Tibet a refugee’s return to his occupied homeland illustrates the inseparability of spirituality, family, culture and politics for the Tibetan people.
ALAN DATER graduated from Goddard College with a B.A. in Philosophy. He began his film career in New York City working with the documentary filmmaker Bill Jersey, for Brian De Palma on his film Hi Mom, starring Robert De Niro, and with Bob Elfstrom on the now classic documentary on Johnny Cash, Johnny Cash: The Man, His World, His Music (recently rebroadcast on POV.) His freelance experience includes many productions that were broadcast on major U.S. networks including: Lifeline, an Emmy Award-winning medical documentary series for NBC; The Body Human, an Emmy Award-winning medical series for CBS; and National Geographic Specials. After moving to Vermont in the early 70s, he started Marlboro Productions. He continued his freelance work and also began producing and directing his own documentaries.
LISA MERTON worked professionally as a weaver for ten years. Her intent was to weave tapestry and use it as an art form for social change but instead she ended up as a production weaver. It was not until she started making films in 1989, that she fulfilled her intent to weave images that could inspire social change. She has a Masters in Teaching English and has taught English as a second language in multi-cultural classrooms. She brings her interest in education, cultural diversity, and social change, as well as her skill as a craftsman, to the filmmaking process. She has been a member of New Day Films since 1996.
Dater and Merton co-directed and co-produced Home to Tibet, a film about a Tibetan refugee’s return to his homeland, shown on many PBS stations, and at the International Documentary Film Festival in Amsterdam; Bridge of Fire, the story of the collaboration of a Japanese potter and a Vermont potter, winner of a Cine Golden Eagle, The Best Media Work at the Montréal Festival of Films on Art, and screened at the Museum of Modern Art and the Louvre; Wolf Kahn: Landscape Painter, a portrait of the well known American painter, winner of a Cine Golden Eagle; The World in Claire’s Classroom a documentary about an extraordinary Vermont public school teacher; and Taking Root: The Vision of Wangari Maathai, the dramatic story of Wangari Maathai the founder of The Green Belt Movement of Kenya and the first African woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize. It has won numerous international awards including The Audience Award at Hot Docs and was broadcast on PBS/ Independent Lens in April 2009.
CHRIS HARDEE joins Dater and Merton as Associate Producer for BURNED. He co-founded a non-profit media production organization in the early 80s. Early work with conservation organizations and for Public Radio focused on nature and environmental topics and then expanded to include multimedia for museums, parks, and historic sites, including the Smithsonian and major science museums nationwide. Recently, he has been involved in freelance writing, marketing/communications, PR, and evaluation of educational programs.