Key Creative Personnel
William J Saunders, director, brings over a decade of professional documentary experience. He cut his teeth professionally at NFL Films where he directed sports documentaries for HBO, ESPN, ABC, CBS and the BBC. While at NFL Films he won an EMMY award for his documentary BIG CHARLIE’S, about a group of Kansas City Chiefs fans living in Philadelphia. He is a councilor at Camp Dreamcatcher, a summer camp for kids affected or infected with HIV. He also lends his skills to several charitable causes, including creating video presentations to help families raise money to fight cancer. His recent documentary feature "Billy Mize and The Bakersfield Sound" premiered at LAFF, June 2014 and was profiled by the New York Times.
Writer/Producer James Windeler has over a decade working in production in both the UK and the US, both in narrative fiction and documentary. He is currently Producing "The Penny Black", a documentary thriller directed by William Saunders and Executive Produced by Alex Gibney and Maureen Ryan. He is also a producer screenwriter with an award-winning feature film and a second project, "Man With A Van", commencing principal photography in the July 2014. He has an MFA from Columbia, New York, where he learned the storytelling craft, and has a background in social sciences, having earned an MA in Social Anthropology from Cambridge University. He has volunteered with inner city kids at the Harrow Youth
Club in London and taught High School English on the Pacific Island Kingdom of Tonga. He currently lives with his wife in Los Angeles.
Matthew Straeb co-founded the Heart Gallery of Broward. During its short tenure, Heart Gallery of Broward has achieved an above-average success rate of 40 percent, having already helped place 70 children in loving, permanent homes. Recognizing the benefits a national network of Heart Galleries could have, he co-founded and organized the Heart Gallery of America in August 2008. As co-founder of the national organization, Matt leads this group to share resources and broaden the pool of families seeking to adopt. Recently, he founded the Florida Association of Heart Galleries to organize the 15 Florida Heart Galleries and advocate for adoption in the Florida State Capiton Region. In 2009, he received the Florida Governor's Points of Light Award.
Wes Shelton recently completed a 3+ year tenure as Chairman of the Heart Gallery of Broward County and has served on the Board for over 5 years. During his time on the Board, the Heart Gallery played a part in over 100 permanent adoptions of children in foster care. His ultimate vision is to remove the negative stigma associated with foster children and drastically increase the demand of families who wish to adopt. Wes graduated from Southern Methodist University with a B.A. in Psychology and obtained an MBA from Nova Southeastern University.
The following is a partial list of subjects who have either given or agreed to give full on-the-record interviews. We have informally interviewed others who have offered various degrees of consulting support, not listed here. We are still searching for many other subjects, including foster youth, politicians, and scientists.
Molly McGrath Tierney – Former Head of Baltimore Social Services
Carlos (15), Joseph (11), and Raymond (10) Mejia-Tores - Foster Care Alumni
Judge Michael Nash – Dependency Court Judge, LA County
Dr. Jill Duer Berrick – Zellerback Family Professor, UC Berkely
Dr. Brenda Jones Harden – Child Development Expert, U of Maryland
Lydia Joyner – Foster Care Alumni and interactive performance artist.
Dr. Anthony Urquiza - UC Davis – PCIT/Trauma Specialist
Diane Granito - Heart Gallery founder.
Dr. Jacqueline McCroskey – John Milner Professor in Child Welfare, USC
Sid Gardner - President of Children and Family Futures, Inc, and Writer