“For Ahkeem is an urgent, important, almost transcendent film, and among the best I’ve seen all year.” – Third Coast Review
Jeremy S. Levine & Landon Van Soest | Directors
Jeremy S. Levine and Landon Van Soest are an Emmy award-winning documentary filmmaking team whose work explores social commentary through rich characters and cinematic stories. Good Fortune, their feature documentary about how efforts to aid Africa may be undermining the very communities they aim to serve, was broadcast to millions of viewers in prime time on the PBS series POV. Good Fortune received a National Emmy Award in addition to awards for international reporting and promoting social justice from the Overseas Press Club, Fledgling Fund, and Witness. Their previous documentary Walking the Line, about vigilantes on the U.S.-Mexico border, was broadcast nationally in five countries and recognized with awards for production, reporting, and preserving human rights. In 2014, Levine directed/co-produced “Am I Next,” a short film about a teenager navigating the protests on the streets of Ferguson for Time. The short was also featured on Upworthy and Dazed Magazine and selected as a Vimeo Staff pick, with over 500K combined views. Van Soest is also currently directing Light Darkness Light, a feature documentary that tracks the life-altering experience of a man who receives a bionic eye and learns to see again after thirty years of blindness. Landon and Jeremy co-founded Transient Pictures, a full service production company that produces original content for organizations like Facebook, Unicef, Ben & Jerry’s, Toyota, and Lincoln Center. The team also co-founded the Brooklyn Filmmakers Collective, a tight-knit community of professional filmmakers in Brooklyn, NY who are dedicated to innovative approaches to filmmaking.
Iyabo Boyd | Producer
Iyabo Boyd is an independent film producer, writer/director, and entrepreneur. As a 2016/2017 Sundance Creative Producers Fellow, and a 2016 Impact Partners Creative Producers Fellow, Iyabo is currently producing the feature documentaries Charm Circle by Nira Burstein, and For Ahkeem by Jeremy Levine and Landon Van Soest, which will premier at the 2017 Berlin International Film Festival. Iyabo previously held positions at filmmaker support institutions Chicken & Egg Pictures, Tribeca Film Institute, Hamptons Film Festival, and IFP. She has served on juries for DOC NYC, the IDA Awards, Cinema Eye Honors, and SXSW. In 2015, Iyabo founded Feedback Loop, a documentary consulting firm, and started the Brown Girls Doc Mafia, a collective for women filmmakers of color. Originally from Denver, she graduated from NYU’s Tisch School with a BA in Film & Television, and lives in Crown Heights, Brooklyn.
Nicholas Weissman | Producer | Cinematographer
Nicholas Weissman is an award-winning documentary filmmaker based in Los Angeles. As a contract video producer he has worked for a variety of media outlets including The New Yorker, The New York Times, PBS, HBO, and the National Geographic Channel. His first independent film, The Minutemen, about vigilantes along the U.S. - Mexico border, won the Silver Hugo Award at the Chicago International Film Festival and both Best Documentary and Grand Jury Prize at the Brooklyn International Film Festival. Among his camera credits are contributions to Capitalism: A Love Story, Exporting Raymond, and the Accidental Anarchist. Between feature projects, he regularly produces short documentaries on current issues ranging from gun violence to same sex marriage legislation. In 2013, he received an Emmy for A Boy Helps a Town Heal, a Sports Illustrated feature story about the Newtown, CT shooting and in 2014, he produced Am I Next, a short about a teenager navigating protests on the streets of Ferguson for Time.
Jeff Truesdell | Executive Producer
Executive producer Jeff Truesdell is an award-winning journalist and staff writer for People magazine. His feature article for People about the Innovative Concept Academy in his native St. Louis introduced him to Judge Jimmie M. Edwards and the model program that serves as the backdrop of For Ahkeem. Since 2000, he's covered a human-interest/breaking-news beat that has taken him from coast-to-coast and to seven countries, reporting on stories that include mass shootings and the anti-gun-violence response, the Oklahoma City bombing, Hurricane Katrina, the Columbia Space Shuttle disaster, the Terri Schiavo right-to-die debate, and the search for the missing Natalee Holloway. He has previously written for The Miami Herald and was a founding editor of Orlando Weekly.
Lily Henderson | Editor
Lily Henderson is a director and editor of independent films. Last year she was named one of Filmmaker Magazine’s “25 New Faces of Independent Film” after screening her documentary Lessons for the Living at festivals around the world. She is currently writing and directing About a Mountain, a documentary-narrative hybrid film set in the fantasy land of Las Vegas. She has been a curator of film screenings at UnionDocs, a community center for art and documentary in Brooklyn, NY, and has served as an organizer of the Brooklyn Filmmakers Collective for more than six years. Lily has also directed and edited commercial work for Ogilvy, Nationwide, and IBM.
Brad Rayford | Field Producer
Brad Rayford is an independent photographer, video journalist, and human rights activist based in St. Louis. His work has been featured on CBS, NBC, MSNBC, Al Jazeera America, and the Los Angeles Times and has won two awards from the National Association of Black Journalists in its Digital Media category. He has been at the forefront of the Ferguson story, capturing historic moments seen around the world. Brad currently has a fellowship at MSNBC in New York.