The crew of GUATEMAYA- The Unification of Wisdom
We are proud to be an international group of people representing over 4 countries from the Unites States, Guatemala, Mexico, Italy and Denmark.
Cassidy Rast (Director/writer/camera/photographer/executive producer, jill of all trades) Cassidy Rast is born and raised in northern California. Before she came into working in the film industry, she spent five years studying Theatre in New York and Australia. She graduated from Long Island University C.W. Post with a B.F.A. in Arts Management (emphasizing non-profit management), and a B.A. in Japanese Suzuki Performing Arts. Although Cassidy never formally trained in filmmaking while in college, she learned through her work in the theatre that story telling is the ultimate bridge of humanity. She wanted to see stories of deeper consciousness come to life on screen and set out on a path of documentary filmmaking and photojournalism. Cassidy has been working on GUATEMAYA- The Unification of Wisdom for the past 4 years while also working as a freelance artist through her company at Real Planet Media. During the 4 years, she would travel a couple times a year alongside other crewmembers
to document the story of the Maya working closely with their communities to make sure that the story was documented accurately and with the voice of the people.
This is her first feature film which she has directed and produced right out of college. She originally financed the production herself with some savings, through loans and credit cards with the goal to see if it was possible to put people above the bottom line and to create something from the heart. She believes that this project has been made possible on an ultra low budget becuase it was made on the hearts and minds of all of those involved. She was fortunate enough through time to recieve generous angel donors along the way that helped keep the project going over time and also through crowd funding. Her goal is to be able to ultimatley give back to the communities which are documented and be able to continue to share more stories of the heart with the world.
Her goal with making the film is to bring an awareness and help preserve the cultural traditions of the Maya. She is dedicated to creating a time capsule that captures the history, struggle and wisdom of the Maya so that present and future generations can learn from their heroic journey. She believes that the purpose of documentary filmmaking is to raise awareness and connect people through the human story across the world.
Roser Segura (Lead Editor)
Roser is a recent Los Angeles based film editor, she worked 10 years in several post houses in Barcelona, Spain, and also as a freelance editor. In Spain she edited many short films, worked in Tv networks, corporate videos and in 2 documentaries, released in Film Festivals Internationally. Since she arrived in LA she has edited 2 feature films and short-documentaries for the London Olympic Games. Her passion is to transmit and story-tell any kind of feelings through documentary/narrative form. Roser has dedicated countless hours and amazing creativity to the project. She has been working fiercly on and off with Cassidy for the past year and a half to complete GAUTEMAYA- The Unification of Wisdom for the 2013 festival circuit. To view more of Rosers work please click here to visit her website.
Ben McIntire (Director of Photography)
In May of 2007 Ben McIntire graduated from Wesleyan University in Connecticut, majoring in Theatrical Lighting Design with extensive coursework in Film Studies. Before graduating he also completed an internship with, and began working for, New York City based Production 920, where he worked on countless interviews for ESPN, MTV, HGTV, HBO, ABC and IFC as well as commercials for Hewlett Packard and Pontiac.
Ben is now an Emmy winning cinematographer and currently works in New York City shooting high-end programming with such companies as HBO, BET, ESPN, Vice-TV and MTV as well as a number of independent music videos, video installations, short films and documentaries.
Before working as a director of photography, Ben found a well-rounded on-set education as an audio tech., gaffer, grip, set designer and production assistant in the Tri-state area as well as the San Franscisco Bay Area. Ben has lived in England, Scotland, Egypt and Turkey as well as the United States, and loves to travel when possible for shoots. He was a part of the principal cinematography for the first two production shoots in 2008 and 2010, and along with him and Scott set the bar for the rest of the shooting process over the years. He has contributed a huge talent alongside Scott Jansson to bring to life the beauty of the Maya through the camera. To connect with Ben click here to view more of his work.
Scott Jansson (Director of Photography/Medium format still Photographer)
Scott is a New York based Director of Photography and has over eleven years experience in professional Film, HD, Video, & Photography production. He has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Film Production & Photography from Emerson. He has worked as a camera man with some of the best recording artists in the industry including Beyonce and The Dave Matthews Band. He shoots as a freelance Director of Photography for networks such as BET, CBS, ESPN and HBO, working as a camera man for the famous Tour de France. More recently he has been focusing his sights on documentary filmmaking and has worked with channels such as IFC. He contributed his talents significantly to the first initial 2 shoots which captured over 100 + hours of principal footage, alongside Ben McIntire during 2008 and 2010. He helped set a high standard in the quality of cinematography and set the bar for the whole production. To connect with scott click here.
Danielle is a Chicago native, her love affair with city life, music and counterculture served her well in her time as a traveling photographer documenting such bands as: (insert hipster and trendy name dropping bands from the 90's and 00's here that will impress people and make them want to hire her).
Her experience as a concert photographer led to a fascination with light and the spectrum of possibilities in it's technical manipulations. This led her to the Brooks Institute of Photography where she learned to hone her unique skill of "painting with light" in digital formats.
Today Danielle works in all forms of photojournalism from documenting the urban dance scene and social culture. She has moved into filming for documentary and commercial works and came onto the project in 2012 to help shoot the additional footage needed to complete the film and has lent a huge talent with her skillful eye and joyful spirit. To see more of her work click here.
Eduardo Santella (Additional Cinematography/post production support)
Eduardo Ronco Santella originally born and raised in Guatemala by a Guatemalan mother and Itallian father, started his career as a recording and production engineer, producing along side many artists in USA, EUROPE, CARIBBEAN & CENTRAL AMERICA. His love for the digital arts became the inspiration of his digital media studio Citric Media, which he currently runs out of Guatemala City, integrating audio, photography, video & digital marketing tools to serve companies in Latin America and Worldwide. As a media maker of all kinds, Eduardo has helped many organizations and cultures throughout Latin America by promoting social and development projects. Eduardo holds many awards in the advertizing field and nominations in various film festivals working along side companies like HBO, CLARO, MITSUBISHI, PEPSI, COCA COLA and many more. He came on board GUATEMAYA in 2012, to help shoot the remaining photography for the film and has brought a great talent and skill to the project and has gone above and beyond the call. To view more of his works click here.
Brian d Hardin (Sound mixing- Post Production support)
Brian has produced, engineered and recorded over 300 CDs/albums with over 120 being gold or platinum records. He has worked with such artist as Quincy Jones, India Irie, Tenacious D, Marley and Melody, Deepak Chopra and Willie Nelson to name a few. He works as an independent recording engineer based out of Los Angeles California. He also works in television and film and creates multi platform forms of media. He has been working with the project for the past couple years and has lent a great deal of talent and expertise in the sound and post process. He has always come forth to help in anyway possible lending his guidance and many years of experience. To view more of his works click here.
Jennifer Monterroso (Lead field producer/Translator/Production coordinator/Guide)
Jennifer Monterroso is from the Capital of Guatemala, Guatemala City, and is a professional guide, translator and has been working with the GUATEMATA- The Unification of Wisdom film crew for the Past 4 years they have been filming. She has always felt a special relationship and attraction towards the studies of Ancestral Wisdom, starting with the Mayan Culture and later branching out her interest to other cultures around the world. She is a professional tour guide for the Mayan Sacred Route or Sac´be (White sacred road) authorized to guide in the four cardinal directions by the Cosmic Energies and INGUAT ( Guatemalan Tourism Institution) . Through her journeys - both inside and outside of herself - she has realized that there are much greater similarities than separations between people around the world, realizing the way each culture and individual relates to a greater whole.
She has found her spiritual path through her own transformation and through the Mayan Cosmovision, as well as through her friendship and study with Mayan elders. She knows it´s her mission to share her understanding of the Maya cosmovision with the rest of the world. She strongly believes that if we every day choose to become the best version of ourselves, we will also reflect our efforts, our true commitment and our honest beauty in everything that comes our way through life. She was a guardian angel to the project overseeing the integrity and acting as a bridge for the communities. She is currently leading tours in Guatemaya which are very unique and based in celebrating the culture and wisdom of the Maya. To learn more about the Mayan Cosmic Tours and Jennifer please click here for more info.
Helen Samuels (Producer/Translator/Cultural adviser)
Helen Samuels raised in Mexico City, Mexico is among a rare group of innovative and courageous social entrepreneurs who are changing the way the world views solutions to our environmental and social challenges. With dogged determination, compassionate action and hands-on grassroots organizing, Helen, an ASHOKA Fellow, has spent more than 30 years and visited over 25 countries inspiring and supporting youth with projects mainly in Mexico and the United States. Devoted particularly to fostering self-generated solutions to the poverty and social devastation in and around urban settlements and rural areas. Her passion particularly extends to the “4th SECTOR” -the massive and fastest growing social sector of urban youth worldwide who are struggling with the day to day survival facing the challenges of POST – Development.
Her dedicated efforts have lead to the creation of more than 150 youth-run projects which have hence spawned an additional 500 community based projects themselves as they have replicated their sustainable practices through other local and global networks. In the last 20 years Helen has also committed to facilitating events that promote the protection and restoration of traditional native cultures and the promotion of sustainability practices with the. Helen has worked alongside Guatemaya- The Unification of Wisdom on and off for many years dedicating countless hours to help with the translation of the film and to lending important cultural insight. She has worked with the Maya since the 1980's and many other indigenous communties around the world and lent a great amount of knowledge to the project. To learn more about Helen you can visit her website at Ecohabitat.org
Jesse Barber (Field Producer/Production Coordinator/Translator)
As a scholar of cultural studies, and an independent documentary filmmaker for the organization C.A.S.T. (Calling All Societal Truths). Jesse or also known as Yeshai has been filming cultural truths both nationally and internationally within Guatemala, Mexico, Israel, and in the United States. Jesse has both studied and filmed with Tata Pedro previously during the sacred fire ceremonies of the solar new year in Guatemala in 2008. He was instrumental in laying the bridgework for the documenting of the Maya to be made possible. He has worked on the project off and on for the past 4 years and has helped with translating and organzing interviews and connecting communtiies together while on the grounds in Guatemala. He has been instrumental in lending to the project cultural insight and acting as abridge between two worlds. He most recently has been working as a director of sustainability within the peace corps in Guatemala.
Whitney Kear (Producer/ Pre/Production coordinator/still photographer 2008 album)
Whitney graduated from the University of San Francisco with a degree in Psychology. While attending college, Whitney was involved in human and animal rights organizations including travel to New Orleans post-Katrina as a Racism and Poverty Conference attendee and involved participant in residential renovation. Since a young child, Whitney has engaged extensive global travel, immersing herself in diverse cultures. In 2004, Whitney traveled to Kangaroo Island, Australia where she photographed and engaged in wildlife conservancy work at Hanson Bay Sanctuary, dedicated to preserving endemic species of Australia. In 2008, Kear continued to invest her time and passion with non-profits. She traveled to Tambillo, Ecuador in March 2008 where she photographed and volunteered with Hacienda Santa Martha, a sanctuary for wild animals that had been victims of animal trafficking.
As a photographer, Kear was in San Marcos, Lago Atitlan, Guatemala in February 2008 with Cassidy and Yeshai where they first met with Maya elders and experienced the ceremonies of Wayeb (The Mayan new year, time out of time). Whitney’s artwork which was inspired from Guatemalan travels was displayed as a feature artist at Big Umbrella Art Studios in San Francisco, April 2009. In late 2009, Kear and Rast travelled to Ecuador on a sponsorship to spend time with the the indienous peoples, the Achuar. This deepened her understanding and passion for indigenous ways and the call to preserve their wisdom. Kear is dedicated to preserving the wisdom of the ancestors and indigenous cultures with authenticity so that the clear message of the Elders can be maintained and translated for accessibility to the modern world. She was instrumental in the original shoot in 2008 and helped make sure things went smoothly during the shoot and has been a great vehicle for support over the years. To visit her latest work in holistic health practices click here to visit her website.
Sune Sunrider (Associate Producer/Translator/Caminantes)
Sune is originally from Denmark but has lived in Guatemala for the past 10 years. He works alongside the elders learning their cultural traditions and is deeply dedicated to the culture of the Maya and the path of Mayan spirituality. He has been working on the grounds on and off with the project for the past 4 years and has lent an incredible amount of production support and wisdom along the way.
This project would not have been made possible without the talent, dedication, love and hardwork that the crew put in to make it all come to life and of course with the dedication, trust and openness of the communities in Guatemala who shared such intimate moments and great wisdom.
Every step of the way, each and every person played a huge part to help bring the story of the Maya to the forefront.
In lakesh - I´m another you, and you are another me.