The Team

Khosro photo

Khosro Adam Beik

Founder, Project & Creative Director

Khosro Beik holds a BA in Film and Video from Columbia College Chicago and has 12 years of experience in corporate communications at Chicago Public Schools. At CPS he produced numerous pieces, including profiles of Michael Jordan, Vince Vaughn, Arne Duncan, former Governor Patrick Quinn, and other notable individuals. Additionally, he served as executive producer of the magazine-style show CPS Right Now that showcased positive aspects of the public school system.

Khosro has done camera work and production for City of Chicago events, including SummerDance, the Millennium Park Summer Film Series, and Taste of Chicago. He has worked on independent and commercial films and videos as a location scout (Native Son, Chicago Fire, Sprint); produced fundraising videos for nonprofits; and written, directed and produced independent film projects screened at venues such as Facets Multimedia, Chicago Filmmakers, Second City, Chopin Theater, and Chicago History Museum. He was the featured filmmaker at Shortcut 100 Film Festival.

In the mid-90s, Khosro worked as a CPS teacher in Lawndale on the West Side of Chicago. During that time, he served as Production Supervisor of “Rosa Parks: Mother of a Movement,” a 23-minute documentary film from 1998. A production of Community TV Network, the film won First Place in the documentary category at the Do It Yourself National Inner City Youth Video and Film Festival in Cambridge, MA. During the filming, Khosro and his students had the great privilege of meeting Rosa Parks in person. The film can be viewed here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FHNlUIhN_nQ&t=1257s

 

 

Brenda Berman

Executive Producer

Brenda Berman is an integrated marketing communications professional with 20 years of experience in brand marketing for nonprofits, associations and higher education. She is a former educator and editor, a passionate advocate for the arts, and has special interests in architecture and jazz.

Her public art and programming experience includes curating performance spaces for writers, spoken word artists and musicians; creating community murals and sound dome installations; advising the Wabash Lights project and helping to launch the Wabash Arts Corridor in the South Loop. Her heart sculpture created as part of a joint fundraising project for Northwestern Memorial Hospital and Columbia College Chicago was exhibited on Michigan Avenue and subsequently purchased by Goldman Sachs. She was a founding writer with the Changing Worlds project and has served as a producer on several independent film projects.

Ava Ginsburg

Producer

Ava Ginsburg is a production designer, writer and photographer working in the film and video industry in Chicago. She has a BA in Film Production from Columbia College Chicago.

 

Brendan Brown

Producer / Editor

Brendan Brown is a multidisciplinary filmmaker and animator who has spearheaded a variety of projects from the creation of narrative and documentary short films, to multimedia installation art. A Loyola University graduate, Brendan is a skilled cameraman, editor, animator, and musician. He currently resides in Ghent, Belgium.

Larissa Rolley

Larissa Rolley

Drone Photographer

A photography MFA graduate of Columbia College Chicago, Larissa is a photographer, content creator, educator & travel advisor based in Chicago & Tahiti. Larissa connects cultures through travel — travel to inspire our creativity and expand our humanity. Certified drone pilot. #LifeIsBiggerThanBorders

Ilko Davidov & Chili

Ilko Davidov (& Chilly)

Editor

Ilko Davidov founded Bulletproof Films in 1995, where he has produced, edited, and directed numerous award-winning documentaries, including producing and editing the much-acclaimed William S. Burroughs: A Man Within. In 2008, Davidov co-founded the Chicago International Movies and Music Festival (CIMMfest), an annual 4-day, multi-venue event highlighting the crossover of film and song. He also serves on the advisory board of the American Documentary Film Festival in Palm Springs, CA.  https://www.imdb.com/name/nm1768382/

Chilly has stood by Ilko through tough times and good times. Now, he has proven to be a loyal emotional support to Khosro Adam during the filmmaking process.

Ben Wolf

Director, Videographer

Ben Wolf made his feature documentary directorial debut with “Daniel, Debra, Leslie (and You?)”. Much of Ben’s work has been as a cinematographer. His documentary films range from Emmy winner “Baring It All” (Dir: Patricia Zagarella) to “Deceptive Practice: The Mysteries and Mentors of Ricky Jay” (Molly Bernstein & Alan Edelstein), a Kino Lorber release, as well as “Amsterdam Stories USA” (dirs: Rob Rombout & Rogier van Eck). He helped develop and shoot a web series for The Indian National Congress Party entitled “Billion And One Voices”, a collage of modern India.

In the Dance and Art film world he shot Nora Chipaumire’s “El Capitan”, Doug Elkins’ “A Hundred Indecisions”, as well as Wendy Seyb’s award winning “How You Look At It”. In addition, he created numerous pieces for the NY Times Instagram feed #speakingindance. Ben has shot and co-directed several music videos for cellist Maya Beiser, including “Air” and “Veil”, from her “TranceClassical” CD. Experimental work includes Shoja Azari’s Venice Biennale entry “The King of Black” and Shirin Neshat’s ”Games of Desire”, filmed in Luang Prabang. Ben also teaches Cinematography at Montclair State University and has taught at DocNomads in Brussels.

Kip Wilkinson

Photographer

Kip Wilkinson is a highly skilled photographer with over twenty years experience and proficiency in digital and multiple film formats.  His approach to photographic principles including composition and lighting brings an aesthetic style that is both immediately recognizable and also highly adaptable to many genres including portraiture, landscape, architectural, and commercial photography.

Richard Norby

Producer & Webmaster

Richard Norby has been in software development for over 30 years.  He developed some of the first commercial PC based software for banking applications, was on the team developing the first online recruiting platform for the US Army, and was a systems analyst in Customer Records and billing for AT&T.  Currently he develops specialty websites with an emphasis on learning management systems for companies that provide home health care.

He is delighted to donate his services to City Bricks: Report Card because he believes it is a project that can make a difference.  He invites others to get involved as well!

Drea Jay

Producer / Video and Podcast Host

With a Columbia College degree in Radio Broadcasting, Drea possesses the skills to do production, voice work, and can produce any media show. With a radio career of over 13 years she has mastered her craft, and has worked with some of the best in the industry. Drea worked along side Steve Harvey as a media personality for morning drive radio in Chicago. Her creative skills include DJing, writing music, percussion, and influencing other through social media. Maintaining a positive attitude always, and walking to be an example for those who need a true motivation.

Tyrese Pickett

Tyreese Pickett

Producer / Songwriter

Tyreese Pickett is a lifelong resident of Chicago. He has been working in healthcare for the last 23 years. A computer hardware, podcasting and music production hobbyist, Tyreese was introduced to video production in the mid 90’s while attending CCA Academy, an alternative high school in South Lawndale on the West Side of Chicago. He met a video production teacher there named Khosro Adam Beik. This would lead to many student-teacher collaborations, including working on cable access shows like “Hard Cover.” Currently the two have reconnected to shed light on issues facing the urban communities of Chicago.

 

Paul Long

Paul Long

Podcast Producer / Voiceover

Paul Long grew up and spent most of his life in Chicago’s Austin community. Now living in northern Virginia, Paul works in sales for a large communications company. Paul was introduced to video production by Khosro Adam Beik in high school while attending CCA Academy with City Bricks team member Tyreese Pickett. Paul went on to work on cable access shows like “Hard Cover” as a youth producer, director and editor, and with CTV (Community TV Network) as a producer and editor. Paul reconnected with Khosro to work with him on various projects at the Chicago Public Schools communications department. Currently the two have reconnected again through the City Bricks Project to bring about change in Chicago communities. 

 

Christian Moreno photo

Christian Moreno

Post-Production Supervisor

Christian Moreno is a filmmaker with a background in documentary film and corporate marketing. Currently, he works as a video professional at Proskauer Rose, a premiere law firm in New York City. He has created digital content for brands like Disney, Microsoft, Samsung, and more. But his real passion is in community outreach and documenting individual stories that portray the human condition and the environments they live in. A Columbia College Chicago graduate, his skills are in cinematography, motion graphic design, post-production video editing, and video production directing. He currently resides in New York City.

Ilko Davidov & Chili

Laurie Little

Color Correction

Laurie Little is a Chicago based filmmaker, color grader and educator. She has color corrected several festival-bound BulletProof Film productions and local indy shorts and documentaries. Her films have screened in festivals and exhibitions worldwide and her observational documentaries and short fiction films work to inspire dialogue and advocacy for change. She is currently in post on the documentary “Musher” following four female dog sled racers ranging from ages 13 to 64, on the Lake Superior north shore race circuit with film partner Anu Rana and is in production on the doc, “The Light of Truth: A Monument for Ida B. Wells” with partner Rana Segal. Little holds a BFA from York University and an MFA in Film and Video from Columbia College Chicago where she teaches the classes Documenting Social Injustice and Culture Race and Media. www.LuministFilms.com

Ilko Davidov & Chili

Richard Biethan

Audio Engineer

Richard Biethan is an audio engineer born and raised in Los Angeles. From a young age he was driven towards art and music. As a musician, he started to learn about the recording arts and the science behind the sound. He got into film production and post-production sound while living in Chicago. Whether composing music or cleaning up noisy audio files, he loves what he’s doing. Apart from film production, he is accomplished in the music field, having recorded and worked with such artists as John Legend, Ty Dolla $ign, Allen Stone, Michael Bolton, and many more. 

 

Irving Wright

Irving Wright

Boom Mic

My name is Irving Wright. I graduated from Morton Career Academy Elementary school and CSW High School. I like playing sports and spending time with my family. I am currently working for Amazon and helping out with City Bricks. I hope to bring some positive changes to our communities.

Zeb

Zeb

Artist

 Zeb is a transdisciplinary lens-based artist critically focusing on the political and artistic intersections that the act of graffiti writing transgresses. Zeb developed this analytical focus on graffiti in the photography department of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) under a merit scholarship, which allowed him to focus on the performativity and influence of graffiti in society. There he conducted extensive research in the Visual Critical Studies department utilizing autoethnographic strategies to write his thesis, On the Oppositional Nature of Graffiti.

Most recently, Zeb is the organizer and convener of the new Chicago Style Writing Community Archive, an off-line database of interviews, photographs and news articles focusing on late 20th-century Chicago graffiti.

Jaquan Parker

Jaquan Parker

Music Artist / Songwriter

JaQuan Devon Parker is a music artist and songwriter from the East Side of Chicago. His stage name, Chuloop, comes from his love for the talking Chihuahua in the Taco Bell commercials. Chuloop is a humble young man taking control of his life for the greater good. His passion for music is his primary source of coming to turns with his own reality. He uses his musical creativity with hopes of cultivating others into becoming better individuals, even with their flaws. His mission is to show others that we all are worth it, no matter what we have been through.

Charles Joseph Smith

Composer

 Charles Joseph Smith, who was born in 1970, started composing when he was 10 years old. He has completed over 600 music compositions and his latest accomplishment was a 10-composition music album of his original instrumentals called “War of the Martian Ghosts” in 2018, which he premiered as a pianist and musician at Hideout Chicago on February 17 of that year.

Tim Cross

Tim Cross

Videographer

Tim Cross is Director of Ananepho Productions. He is a photographer , playwright, videographer and actor. He has produced several plays in the Chicago and Detroit Areas, including “A.D and Me” and “A Cloud of Women.” He has worked as an actor in the film “Broken and Beautiful, The Movie” and and as a producer with Aqua Films in Chicago.

“My passion is using film and the creative arts as a medium to bring social and relevant change to an ever-changing world.”

Karla Galva

Karla Galva, Violinist & Music Programmer

Karla Galva was born and raised in Chicago, IL. Daughter of a Dominican father and East-Indian Trinidadian mother, she studied music at Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Maryland. Karla’s has performed with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, soloed with the Annapolis Symphony, collaborated with artists such as Emanuel Ax and Harry Connick Jr., served as Principal Second Violin of Orchestra Iowa, and had runs with Broadway in Chicago. She is a member of the first violin section of the Chicago Sinfonietta.

Karla is also active as a teacher and educator in the Chicago area, and is a student of Indian Classical Violin and jazz improvisation. 

Dan MacDonald

Artist / Designer

Dan MacDonald is an artist and graphic designer living in Chicago. With a background in fine art painting and drawing, Dan continues producing new work while also freelancing for clients on all types of creative jobs from storyboarding to logo design.

Jenaeth Markaj photo

Jenaeth Markaj

Fundraising & Partnerships

Jenaeth Markaj holds an MA in American Studies from the Universiteit van Amsterdam and BAs in English Literature and French from Lake Forest College. She has 17 years of experience in the nonprofit industry with a concentration in fundraising since 2007. Jenaeth has devoted most of her career to serving organizations in education,  human services, and arts & culture. 

Jenaeth is passionate about the arts and is inspired to find ways to unite the creative community with people, organizations and projects trying to make the world a better place through nonprofit work. 

 

Advisors

Dr. Audrey Tanksley

Health Advisor

Audrey L. Tanksley, M.D., was born and raised on the south side of Chicago in the Roseland community. She attended undergraduate at Southern Illinois University Carbondale and medical school at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine in Springfield, IL.   Dr. Tanksley returned to the Chicagoland area to complete her Internal Medicine residency training at UIC/ Advocate Christ Medical Center where she also served as chief resident. She has subsequently completed fellowship training in Medical Education Research at University of Chicago, Integrative Medicine at University of Arizona Andrew Weil Center of Integrative Medicine. She is certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine and is a member of the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society.

As a researcher, Dr. Tanksley’s academic work focuses on poverty and disease, cultural competency, mentorship and medical education.  Her scholarly work has been presented at various regional and national conferences, including the Association of American Medical Colleges and the Society for General Internal Medicine.

As an Internist, Dr. Tanksley provides medical care in Access Community Health Network, where she serves as Regional Medical Director. Her focus is Integrative Addiction Medicine. She serves as Chair of the Governmental Affairs Committee of the Cook County Physicians Association as well as a member of the Executive Board as the chapter’s Secretary. Dr. Tanksley is a former candidate for Commissioner of the Fifth District of Cook County. She is dedicated to improving the health of those in her community through shedding light on social injustice and health inequities. Dr. Tanksley is an active member of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc.

 

Pete Saunders, AICP

Community Development Advisor

Pete Saunders is the community and economic development director for Richton Park, IL, a suburb south of Chicago. He has more than twenty years’ experience in planning, economic development, and community development to the position, with stops in the public, private and non-profit sectors. Pete served in various senior planning positions with the City of Chicago, the City of Joliet, and the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP), and has also served as a planning and economic development consultant for municipalities and nonprofits in the Chicago area.

Pete is also a writer whose work centers on urbanism trends and developments in America’s vast middle, particularly as it impacts its Rust Belt cities. Pete is the editor/publisher of the Corner Side Yard, an urbanist blog that focuses on a variety of issues facing cities today. Pete is a former urban affairs contributor to Forbes Magazine’s online platform, and a former Urban Notebook columnist for Governing Magazine.

Rev. Dr. William Samuels

Faith Advisor

Reverend Samuels is pastor of the Commonwealth Community Church in Chicago, IL.  He is a past president of the International Council of Community Churches.  He received his AM and DMN  degree from the University of Chicago.

Zaccheus Torry

Zaccheus “Zach” Torry

Business / Community Advisor

Zaccheus Torry, aka ZackClipperHands the Barber, was born and raised on the unfortunate streets of the West Side of Chicago, in the ‘hood with no resources. His ultimate passion in life was to become a professional basketball player. As a child there were limited resources in his community. The lack of resources took a major toll on his lifetime goal and, despite considerable talent, slowly but surely he became discouraged as his hoop dreams vanished. However, he discovered a new passion and talent. He started cutting hair at the age of 12 to make ends meet. He’s still cutting hair as the owner of his own salon. He is wiling to be involved in communities all over to resolve the pain he went through in life and bring an end to the lack of resources. 

 

Mike

Mike Collins

Business / Community Advisor

As the owner of the building at 4333 W. Madison, Mike graciously provided our first mural wall and a film location.

 

 

Mehrnaz Saeed-Vafa

Film Advisor

Mehrnaz is an Iranian-American award-winning filmmaker. Her films A Tajik Woman, Saless far from Home, Ruins Within, and Jerry & Me, have been shown in many national and international film festivals. Her current film, “A House is Not a Home: Wright or Wrong, “is a feature documentary about Frank Lloyd Wright Rosenbaum House Museum in Florence, Alabama and its relationship to her own house and her mother in Iran.

Mehrnaz has been teaching as a full-time faculty at Columbia College in the Cinema and Television Arts department since 1989. Her areas of expertise are cinema studies (international cinema, Middle Eastern cinema, Exilic cinema, Women Filmmakers, Gender, Race in cinema), Documentary production, Documentary Film Theory and Alternative Forms.

She has lectured and written extensively on Iranian cinema. Her book on Abbas Kiarostami co-written with Jonathan Rosenbaum was published by the University of Illinois Press in 2003 and its expanded second edition has come out in 2018. Mehrnaz has been the Artistic Consultant of the Annual Festival of Films from Iran at the Gene Siskel Film Center in Chicago since 1989.

Terry Abrahamson photo

Terry Abrahamson

Content Advisor

A native of Chicago’s West Side, Terry won a Grammy writing songs with Muddy Waters as well music recorded by Prince, John Lee Hooker and Shemekia Copeland. His writing was regularly featured on The Oprah Winfrey Show, as well as in film, TV and live theatre, at Chicago’s DuSable Museum of African American History, before the U.S. Supreme Court and at Johnnie Cochran’s funeral. Photos from his memoir In the Belly of the Blues are in the permanent collections of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, the Blues Hall of Fame in Memphis, and Willie Dixon’s Blues Heaven Museum.

As an artist activist, Terry’s work has spotlighted the United Negro College Fund, immigracism (his term), LGBTQ rights, domestic abuse and gun reform. Terry’s recent kids’ history of the Blues, The Blues Parade, honoring the conjoined roots of the Blues and the Black Lives Matter movement, was an anchor of the Chicago Public Library’s 2020 African American History Month celebration. www.inthebellyoftheblues.com

 

Janice Misurell-Mitchell

Music Advisor

Janice Misurell-Mitchell is a composer, flutist and vocal artist. She teaches at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and has taught and performed in the US, Europe, Mexico, Lebanon, Palestine, Israel, Taiwan and China. For many years she a member of Chicago’s CUBE Contemporary Chamber Ensemble, where, along with Patricia Morehead, she was Co-Artistic Director. She was recently awarded an Artist Fellowship from the Illinois Arts Council for 2019.

Other honors include grants from Meet the
Composer, the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs, and residencies at the Ragdale Foundation. Her recordings are on the Southport Records label, MMC, OPUS ONE, Capstone, meerenaishim.com and Arizona University Recordings. www.jmisurell-mitchell.com

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