Cast and Credits
Filmmaker Bio
Press Room

Filmmaker Bio


VANESSA ROTH, Producer/Director
Vanessa Roth is an artist and advocate whose documentary films have won every major award for documentary filmmaking, including an Academy Award and an Alfred I Dupont-Columbia. Her work has been theatrically released; broadcast nationally on PBS, HBO, the Discovery Channel, A&E, and the Sundance Channel; screened at hundreds of film festivals; used in colleges and universities across the country as training for lawyers, social workers, journalists, and fellow filmmakers; and shown on Oprah, NPR, and as part of the Youth Inaugural Events in Washington D.C. Her films include Taken In: The Lives of America’s Foster Children, Close to Home, Aging Out: Schools of the 21st Century, The Third Monday in October, 9/11’s Toxic Dust, Freeheld, and No Tomorrow.

Nínive Calegari is a veteran teacher with almost ten years’ experience in the classroom, including experience in both charter schools and large comprehensive high schools. She is the cofounder and former executive director of 826 Valencia, and most recently served as the CEO of 826 National, a literacy nonprofit that galvanizes volunteers in eight cities to support teachers and help students improve their writing skills. The program has been duplicated in thirty smaller satellites worldwide. She is also the founder of The Teacher Salary Project, the non-profit that created the film American Teacher. She holds a Master’s Degree in Education in Teaching and Curriculum from Harvard’s Graduate School of Education, and is a co-author of the New York Times bestselling book Teachers Have It Easy: The Big Sacrifices and Small Salaries of America’s Teachers. She is an advisory board member of the George Lucas Educational Foundation and a recipient of Edutopia’s 2007 Daring Dozen award for being one of twelve people “reshaping the future of education.”

Dave Eggers is the author of six books: A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, You Shall Know Our Velocity!, How We Are Hungry, Teachers Have It Easy: The Big Sacrifices and Small Salaries of America’s Teachers, What Is the What, and Zeitoun. He is the founder and editor of McSweeney’s, a quarterly magazine and book-publishing company, and is cofounder of 826 Valencia, a nonprofit tutoring, writing, and publishing organization with locations in eight cities across the country. His work has appeared in the New Yorker, Esquire, and The Believer. In 2004 he co-taught a class at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism, out of which grew the Voice of Witness series of books, designed to illuminate contemporary human crises through oral history.

BRIAN MCGINN, Co-Director/Editor
Brian McGinn has had his film work featured on ESPN’s Sportscenter, Current TV, MySpace, Gawker, Defamer, Wired.com, and Wholphin. His third documentary, The Frozen City, which he created, produced, and edited, premiered at the AFI Film Festival in Dallas in 2008, and received an honorable mention at the 2009 Cleveland International Film Festival. Most recently, he worked with Emmy Award–winner Gary Hawkins on a documentary about Thelonius Monk, In My Mind. McGinn is a graduate of Duke University in Durham, NC.