RACHEL PIKELNY, Director/Producer
Rachel Pikelny is an award-winning filmmaker, currently the Director of Production at Siskel/Jacobs Productions (SJP) and a 2017 Impact Partners Documentary Producing Fellow. With SJP, she is producing two in-progress feature documentaries: No Small Matter, a co-production with Kindling Group about early childhood education; and The Road Up, which centers on The Cara Program and its students as they rebuild their lives and find employment. Previously, with Kartemquin Films, she produced The Trials of Muhammad Ali (Independent Lens, 2014), which premiered at the 2013 Tribeca Film Festival and won a national Emmy for Best Historical Long-Form Program; served as co-producer on American Arab (IDFA premiere; America ReFramed, 2016); and as associate producer on A Good Man (Full Frame premiere; American Masters, 2011). In 2010, Rachel coordinated the web engagement campaign for The Calling, a four-hour documentary miniseries produced by The Kindling Group and broadcast on Independent Lens. She spent several years at Kurtis Productions, creating episodes of the acclaimed docuseries Cold Case Files for A&E and American Greed for CNBC. A versatile producer/director, Rachel has produced promotional content for Fortune 500 companies such as Pepsi and USAA. She remains active in the independent filmmaking community, having judged entries for the News & Documentary Emmy Awards and the Chicago Short Film Brigade, and currently leading the Chicago chapter of the Documentary Producers Alliance (DPA).
JON SISKEL & GREG JACOBS, Executive Producers
Jon Siskel and Greg Jacobs are the founders of Siskel/Jacobs Productions (SJP), which seeks to tell compelling stories with integrity, complexity, emotion, and humor. Jon and Greg produced and directed the documentary feature Louder Than a Bomb, which won the 2011 Humanitas Prize for documentaries and aired nationally as part of the Oprah Winfrey Network’s “OWN Documentary Club.” In 2008, SJP produced the groundbreaking History Channel documentary 102 Minutes That Changed America, which won three Primetime Emmys, including Outstanding Nonfiction Program, and has since been seen by more than thirty million viewers in over 150 countries. SJP has also produced shows for the Discovery Channel and the National Geographic Channel, including Witness: Katrina, which won the 2011 News and Documentary Emmy for Outstanding Historical Programming. In 2009, SJP was named to Realscreen Magazine’s Global 100, its annual list of the world’s most influential factual production companies. SJP has also produced videos for a number of non-profits, including The Robert R. McCormick Foundation, The Ounce of Prevention Fund, The Joyce Foundation, and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.
KATIE WROBEL, Editor
Kate Wrobel is a professional video editor with more than 25 years of experience. While getting her MFA in Film and Video, Kate fell in love with the craft of editing. She started working at Optimus, a full service post production house in Chicago, and, after a short stint as an assistant started editing commercials. In addition to creative editing, Kate was responsible for coordinating and working with telecine, audio, design, and graphics as she followed her work through the finishing process. Kate lived and worked in Tel Aviv, Israel, from 1996 - 2000 where she had a successful editing career, despite the fact that she doesn't speak Hebrew. After her daughter was born, Kate returned to Chicago and continued editing for clients such as Johnson and Johnson, McDonald's, State Farm, NorthShore University Health Systems, Proctor and Gamble, and SC Johnson, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, specializing in real people, documentary-style work where she strives to find the truth in any story. In addition to editing, Kate has directed work for The Shedd Aquarium, Ronald McDonald House Charities, Off the Street Club and Pediatric Epilepsy Research.
DANA KUPPER, Director of Photography
Dana Kupper is a documentary cinematographer from Chicago who has traveled the world to tell people’s stories. She started in the film business as a union camera technician, working on feature films and TV shows, but left to follow her passion in documentaries. She is an associate at the highly respected Kartemquin Films, a media arts organization that received the MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions. Dana was one of the main Directors of Photography on Stevie, a documentary by Steve James, director of Hoop Dreams. Stevie won the Documentary Cinematography Award at The 2003 Sundance Film Festival. She recently went to Sundance with the Roger Ebert film, Life Itself. Dana and her husband own a production company, and have produced over 30 videos for Chicago Public Schools. She also shoots corporate pieces and commercials in the naturalistic documentary style that is her specialty. Recently she traveled to Saudi Arabia as an Arts Envoy for the US State Department to talk to fellow filmmakers in the kingdom. She has taught digital and documentary cinematography classes at Columbia College for over 28 years, and is now a full time faculty member at DePaul University's School of Cinematic Arts.