Director, GSE Films and Senior Fellow PennGSE
Amit is Director of GSE Films and a Senior Fellow at UPenn’s Graduate School of Education. He joined PennGSE after 15 years at NYU as a member of the NYU-Film faculty and Director of NYU’s Department of Film, Video and Broadcasting.
Recent filmmaking credits include Freedom School for WHYY PBS Philadelphia and A Safe Place To Play also for WHYY. The Prophecy, a short film on the Pennsylvania Lenape Native American community has been on continuous display at Philadelphia’s Museum of Anthropology and Archaeology since 2008.
Amit has lectured at the American Museum of the Moving Image in New York and is a Research Fellow at UPenn’s Center for Native American Studies. Recently he also developed and successfully taught one of the earliest “online” filmmaking courses in which CLO’s (Chief Learning Officers) both in and out of United States were taught to write, film, edit and upload short movies to the Internet. He was invited to be a keynote speaker at the Government of India’s conference on media hosted by ASSOCHAM, the Indian Association of the Chamber of Commerce and the Asian Academy of Film and Television and the 2011 Global Leadership Conference hosted by Corporate University Xchange.
His career as a media educator and filmmaker originates in India when satellite television was first introduced into the country. His film Building With Mud won the Best Film award at University Grants Commission of India’s Countrywide Classroom. He was a producer for India’s ever first Pre-school Television Project for the Jamie Millie Islamic Mass Communication Research Centre and the Centre for the Development of Instructional Technology (CENDIT) for whom he produced documentaries, educational films and conducted video training workshop in rural India. A Producer/director with Times of India Television, he produced and directed the Economy Series for Indian National Television Doordarshan.
Currently Amit is collaborating on a TV series on educational entrepreneurship, a documentary on Mexican immigrants in Norristown, Pennsylvania. He is also developing a video training program with WHYY PBS Philadelphia and co-teaching a new course on filmmaking and research.
Associate Producer and Editor, GSE Films
Aaron Walters is associate producer and editor at GSE Films. Trained in New York, he has developed television programming for CourtTV (now truTV), fuse.tv, and PBS. He was the editor for Psychic Detectives and was producer and editor at Character Studies, a PBS documentary series that looked at great plays from the perspective of the complex characters in them (http://www.pbs.org/characterstudies/). He has also developed films and multimedia projects with independent filmmakers and educators from Brooklyn to Mississippi. Mr. Walters collaborates on all aspects of film making at GSE Films, from camera work and lighting design to developing story and graphic content to post-production work. He edits all media for GSE Films’ productions, working with Final Cut Pro, After Effects, Motion, and all functions of the Adobe Creative and Microsoft Office software suites. He received his B.A. from Augustana College in the late twentieth century.
Producer, Director of Photography, Editor, Adelante
An anthropologist and filmmaker, his prior work includes co-producing, co-editing, and filming Sobresalir, as well as Searcy County, a documentary about a cattle auction in Arkansas that has screened at domestic and international film festivals including the Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival, the Sebastopol Documentary Festival, and the International Ethnographic Film Festival of Quebec. He won the Penn Dean’s Award for New Media which allowed him to build his own version of Errol Morris’ Interrotron and complete principal photography for a short documentary about Baruch Marzel, a prominent radical Israeli settler. This year, he has begun shooting a feature-length documentary about Mexican guest workers in the southeastern United States, a film that will serve as the dissertation for his Ph.D. in anthropology. This will be the first documentary film ever submitted for a Ph.D. at the University of Pennsylvania.
Executive Producer, Adelante
Stanton Wortham is the Judy and Howard Berkowitz Professor and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education. He also has appointments in Anthropology and Communications. He earned his B.A., with highest honors, from Swarthmore College and his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago in Human Development. He is a member of Phi Beta Kappa and has been a Javits Fellow, a Spencer Foundation Dissertation Fellow, a National Academy of Education/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellow, a William T. Grant Foundation Distinguished Fellow and an American Educational Research Association Fellow. He has received the Maine Campus Compact Faculty Service-Learning Award, the American Educational Research Association Cattell Early Career Research Award and the University of Pennsylvania Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching. Dr. Wortham’s research applies techniques from linguistic anthropology to study interaction, learning and identity development in classrooms and organizations. He has also studied media discourse and autobiographical narrative. Publications include: Narratives in Action (Teachers College Press, 2001), Education in the New Latino Diaspora (Ablex, 2002; coedited with Enrique Murillo and Edmund Hamann), Linguistic Anthropology of Education (Praeger, 2003, coedited with Betsy Rymes), and Learning Identity (Cambridge, 2006).
More recently, Dr. Wortham has done work on the development of employees in organizational contexts. His book Bullish on Uncertainty (Cambridge University Press, 2009, with Alexandra Michel) describes how two organizations managed uncertain environments differently and how this yielded very different outcomes for individuals and the organization. He is also doing research with Mexican immigrant and Mexican American adolescents who live in areas of the United States that have only recently been home to large numbers of Latinos. This work explores the challenges and opportunities facing both Latino newcomers and host communities, in places where models of newcomers' identities and practices for dealing with newcomers are often more fluid than in areas with longstanding Latino populations. He is a co-founder of Collaborative Advancements in Multimodal Research Activities (camrapenn.org), a Penn visual media pedagogy lab, and he has taught courses on visual anthropology, media ethnography and documentary film. He has been conducting ongoing ethnographic research in Norristown for the past eight years, and he has served as executive producer for several completed and ongoing film projects in Norristown, PA, including Adelante. His prior credits include Sobresalir, a 30 minute film about challenges facing Latino parents with children in public schools, a film that is now used as a teacher training tool in the Norristown school district. More information about his work can be found at http://scholar.gse.upenn.edu/stantonw.
John L. Jackson, Jr.
Associate Producer, Adelante
John is the Richard Perry University Professor of Communication, Africana Studies, and Anthropology in the Standing Faculty of the Annenberg School for Communication and the Standing Faculty of the School of Arts and Sciences. Before coming to Penn, Jackson taught in the Department of Cultural Anthropology at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, and spent three years as a Junior Fellow at the Harvard University Society of Fellows in Cambridge, Massachusetts. As a filmmaker, Jackson has produced a feature-length fiction film, documentaries, and film-shorts that have screened at film festivals internationally.
Associate Producer, Adelante
Catherine R. Rhodes is a joint Ph.D. candidate in the Education, Culture, and Society program in the Graduate School of Education and in Linguistic Anthropology in the Anthropology Department at the University of Pennsylvania. She holds an M.A. in the Social Sciences (specialization in Linguistic Anthropology) from the University of Chicago and a B.A. with highest honors in Latin American Studies from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her research interests include semiotics, language diversity and cognition, bi- and multilingualism, social identification, discursive self-making, narrative, and discourse analysis. Her dissertation research, conducted under a Fulbright-Hays Dissertation Research Fellowship, is situated in the Yucatan, Mexico and explores the relationship between the production of scientific knowledge and models of personhood. Specifically, she looks at the creation of scientific categories and how types of persons become associated with them; how models of indigeneity are formulated, circulated, and evaluated by indigenous peoples; how expertise, evidence, and the evaluation of knowledge-production are negotiated within the production of a scientific way of knowing; and, the role language plays in shaping this new way of knowing. She has conducted research in Latino communities in the U.S. and in Mexico, and has lived, worked, and traveled widely in Latin America and the Caribbean. Rhodes has worked as a teaching and research assistant and writing coach at the University of Pennsylvania, and most recently has been conducting ethnographic research in suburban Philadelphia on New Latino Diaspora communities in the U.S. Her research through this project contributed in large part to the production of Adelante. Before coming to Penn, Rhodes worked for over six years as a bilingual (Spanish-English) audience researcher and exhibit and program evaluator in museums and other non-formal learning institutions across the U.S. and has presented on topics relating to cultural congruency and accessibility in non-formal learning settings. Rhodes has published on topics including scale, narrative, social identification, and the New Latino Diaspora. Film has been an integral part of research, serving as both a means of data collection and analysis.