ABOUT US

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LYNN NOVICK

director & producer

Lynn Novick is an Emmy, Peabody and Alfred I. duPont Award-winning documentary filmmaker. For nearly 30 years, she has been a principal creative partner of filmmaker Ken Burns, with whom she has directed and produced films about American history, culture, politics, sports, and music. Together they have been responsible for more than 80 hours of programming, including some of the most acclaimed and top-rated documentaries to have aired on PBS: Baseball, The Tenth Inning, Jazz, Frank Lloyd Wright, Prohibition, and The War, a seven part, 15-hour exploration of ordinary Americans’ experiences in World War II.  

Novick’s most recent film is the landmark ten-part, eighteen-hour series The Vietnam War,  co-directed with Burns, produced by Sarah Botstein and written by Geoffrey C. Ward.

In 2019, PBS will air Novick’s solo directorial debut, College Behind Bars, a four-hour documentary series, produced with Sarah Botstein, her producer and creative collaborator for more than twenty years. Ken Burns is executive producer.

Novick is currently collaborating with Burns, Botstein and Ward on several projects including a three part biography of Ernest Hemingway, an exploration of America’s response to the Holocaust, a series on the presidency of Lyndon Johnson and a series on the history of crime and punishment in America. She is a magna cum laude graduate of Yale, the mother of two children, and lives in New York City.


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SARAH BOTSTEIN

producer

Sarah Botstein has been producing award-winning documentaries with Ken Burns and Lynn Novick since 1997. Most recently, she produced The Vietnam War, directed by Burns and Novick, the 10-part, 18-hour epic about one of the most divisive and consequential events in American history that premiered in 2017.

Botstein is the senior producer on College Behind Bars, the four-part series directed by Lynn Novick that explores the personal and intellectual transformation of incarcerated men and women in the Bard Prison Initiative (BPI).

Currently, for Florentine Films, she is producing a biography of Ernest Hemingway, slated for broadcast in 2020, a film about the Holocaust and the United States, scheduled for release in 2021, and a three-part series on the life and times of Lyndon B. Johnson, planned for 2023.

Previously, Botstein produced Prohibition (2011), a three-part series about the rise, rule, and fall of the 18th Amendment, and The War (2007), a seven-part series about the American experience of the Second World War. The War and Prohibition each received numerous awards and were among the most-watched series on PBS.
Botstein was an associate producer on Jazz (2001), the critically acclaimed ten-part series.

Botstein works on Ken Burns’s digital / education initiatives, and produced and curated the content for the Ken Burns App and currently for Ken Burns Unum. These platforms employ cutting-edge technology and innovative design to highlight themes in American history and explore Florentine’s body of work.

In 2008, she and Burns partnered with Herzog and Company to produce The Work To Come, a tribute to the late Senator Edward M. Kennedy. The film premiered at the Democratic National Convention.

Botstein is a graduate of Barnard College/Columbia University with a degree in American Studies.


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TRICIA REIDY, ACE

editor

Tricia Reidy has worked as a documentary film editor for nearly 30 years, beginning as an associate editor on The Civil War.  She has collaborated on six other series with Ken Burns and Lynn Novick, including episodes of Baseball, Jazz, Frank Lloyd Wright, The War, Prohibition and most recently, The Vietnam War. Tricia has received two Emmy® Award nominations for best documentary editing for Frank Lloyd Wright, and The War, which also became an official selection at the Cannes Film Festival. 

Tricia has also had the opportunity to work with other filmmakers – including editing five films for WGBY in Springfield, Massachusetts, documenting issues facing public schools.


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SALIMAH EL-AMIN

producer

Salimah El-Amin is a producer on College Behind Bars.

El-Amin is also a co-producer on a forthcoming documentary film about the life and work of Ernest Hemingway. Directed by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick, Hemingway is slated to be released in 2020. More recently, she was a co-producer on The Vietnam War, where she received an Emmy Award in Research for her work.

Prior to joining the Florentine Films team, she worked on numerous theatrical and television documentaries and programs including Martin Scorsese Presents: The BluesFahrenheit 9/11Taxi to the Dark SideGonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. ThompsonHow Bruce Lee Changed the World; and Beats, Rhymes and Life: The Travels of A Tribe Called Quest.

Salimah has bachelors and masters degrees in Anthropology and Media Studies from Rutgers University, Columbia and the New School University. She resides in Manhattan with her husband and son.


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MARIAH DORAN

producer

Mariah Doran has been working with Ken Burns, Lynn Novick, and Sarah Botstein since 2011. In 2014, she joined Skiff Mountain Films where she is currently a producer on College Behind Bars.

Previously, Mariah worked for many years at Florentine Films as an associate producer on The Vietnam War, an epic 10-part, 18-hour series about the history and meaning of the conflict. Directed by Burns and Novick, The Vietnam War premiered on PBS in 2017.

Born and raised in Florida, Mariah graduated from the University of Florida with a degree in Anthropology. She now lives in Takoma Park, MD with her husband, Lewis.


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NADIA HALLGREN

cinematographer & consulting producer

Nadia Hallgren is an award-winning filmmaker and director of photography from The Bronx, New York. With a focus on vérité storytelling, her cinematography credits include the Sundance award-winner Motherland (2017), Academy Award-nominated and Sundance Grand Jury Prize-winner Trouble the Water (2008), and Sundance award-winner Trapped (2016). 

Most recently Nadia won the special jury prize at SXSW 2018 for a independent episodic series she directed about women running for office in response to Trump’s election and a Webby (2018) for her film Gavin Grimm vs. about a transgender teen from Virginia headed to the Supreme Court. Nadia is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, a CineReach fellow, a Concordia Studio Artist in Residence and an alum of International Center of Photography.


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BUDDY SQUIRES, ASC

cinematographer

Buddy Squires is an Oscar-nominated filmmaker and Emmy-winning director of photography and a founding member of Florentine Films.

His cinematography credits include six Oscar-nominated films, one Academy Award winner, twenty-two Emmy-nominated productions and ten Emmy Award winners. He has ten personal Emmy nominations and one Emmy Award. In 2007 Squires was honored with the International Documentary Association’s Outstanding Documentary Cinematography Award (career achievement).  His work is regularly featured at the Sundance, Telluride and Tribeca Film Festivals.

Buddy Squires is best known for his work on numerous documentary features and television specials including:  The National Parks, The War, Masterclass, Into the Deep, Soundtrack for a Revolution, Stonewall UprisingJazzThe Civil War, New YorkNankingMark Twain, Crime & PunishmentSmashedBaseballLewis & Clark: The Journey of the Corps of DiscoveryThe Donner PartyReporting America at WarAnsel AdamsRam Dass: Fierce GraceOne Survivor RemembersAmatoFrank Lloyd WrightSoldiers Of Peace: A Children’s CrusadeHeart of a ChildCompassion in Exile: The 14th Dalai LamaChimps: So Like UsThe WestScottsboro: An American Tragedy and Out of the Past.

His producing credits include: Statue of Liberty (Oscar nomination with Ken Burns) and Coney Island (Sundance Film Festival).  He is the director of Listening to Children (Emmy nomination) and the co-director of Fast EddieSeeking JusticePeople’s Poetry, and War Files.


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Jongnic “JB” Bontemps

composer

Jongnic “JB” Bontemps is a uniquely modern film composer, harmonizing a classical education with his rich tech background as a maestro of Silicon Valley to write everything from the hip-hop infused score for the Tribeca-favorite documentary United Skates, to rousing additional music for Creed II. He’s been the go-to composer for the latter film’s director, Steven Caple Jr., including the score for the coming-of-age drama, The Land, where he also produced the song “This Bitter Land” for Nas and Erykah Badu.

He has scored dozens of features, documentaries, shorts, and videogames in all genres—fusing a contemporary sound with timeless emotion. Other recent projects include the Toni Braxton-starring drama, Faith Under Fire, and the Sundance selection Leimert Park, produced by Charles King (Mudbound). JB’s scores have echoed at Cannes, the Warsaw Film Festival, Pan African American Film Fest, and American Black Film Fest, and at home on HBO, BET, Lifetime, NBC, Showtime, Netflix, PBS and Disney XD.


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CHASE HORTON

assistant editor

Chase Horton is from Never Heard of It*, North Carolina where he developed an unhealthy obsession with watching movies. This affliction has led him through film school (UNC-Wilmington. Go Seahawks, but please stop asking me for money when I'm still paying off loans), and later New York City where he worked with acclaimed documentary filmmakers such as Marc Levin, Geeta Ganbhir, and Alex Gibney. Now at Florentine Films working as an Assistant Editor, he is inspired every day by the team's emotional intelligence, collaborative spirit, and diligent pursuit of truth. Above all, he is humbled by the bravery and generosity of the individuals who grant us the privilege to be the stewards of their stories. 

*Snow Camp, NC. No disrespect, but it is comically rural**
**He is also obsessed with footnotes. 


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STEPHEN SOWERS

associate producer

Stephen Sowers has been working in documentary film since 2012. Following his work as a production assistant on the independent feature length film, Prince Avalanche, directed by David Gordon Green, Stephen joined the team at Florentine Films as a researcher and production associate on The Vietnam War, a 10-part documentary series directed by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick. He continued working with Novick as an associate producer on College Behind Bars.

Currently, Stephen is working as an archival producer on the documentary series Saturdays in the South, an 8-part history of SEC College Football for ESPN Films, and he has been producing, directing, and editing short-form digital documentaries and promotional videos. He lives in Queens, New York, with his wife, Becca.


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Megan Ruffe

post-production supervisor

Megan Ruffe is the post-production supervisor on College Behind Bars. She also works for Florentine Films on Ken Burns’s digital platform UNUM, a new initiative to add historical context to today’s issues. Previously, she worked for several years as an apprentice editor and production associate on The Vietnam War (PBS, 2017). She produces short-form documentary and promotional content for organizations, including the National Book Foundation. Megan graduated from Penn State’s Schreyer Honors College with degrees in geography and film.