Beth Mendelson (Film Director)

Beth Mendelson is an award-winning documentary filmmaker and Executive Producer at Voice of America. Beth Mendelson’s communication career spans 30 years across non-profit organizations, broadcast media, and the U.S. government, including the White House. Prior to her documentary work at Voice of America, she was the Chief of the Afghanistan Service for 6 years, overseeing television, radio, and web programming. She has been an Executive Producer for major American and European networks, including PBS, CNN, ITN, ARD, and MSNBC. Her work producing documentaries and television specials has taken her to Russia, China, France, and England among other countries. Mendelson’s other work includes films and programming for the World Bank, World Wildlife Fund, Agency for International Development, World Food Program, U.S. Department of State, and the National Civil Rights Freedom Awards; honoring Oprah Winfrey, Paul Rusesabagina, and Ruby Dee.

Rana Kazkaz

Rana Kazkaz is an award-winning filmmaker, is an associate professor of communication in residence at Northwestern Qatar who teaches narrative filmmaking. Kazkaz’s films have been recognized at the world’s leading film festivals including Cannes, Sundance, Toronto, Tallinn, Tribeca, and Abu Dhabi. With a focus on Syrian stories, her producing, screenwriting, and directing portfolio includes The Translator (2020), Mare Nostrum (2016) which has been selected in over 100 international film festivals and won more than 30 awards, Searching for the Translator, a documentary (2016), Deaf Day (2011), and Kemo Sabe (2007). Her first feature film The Translator (2020) won several grants and development awards including the Earth Award at L’Atelier de la Cinefondation at the Cannes Film Festival (2017), the CNC Award at Meetings on the Bridge at the Istanbul Film Festival (2017) and a Tribeca Alumni Grant (2018). In 2021, she was invited to become a member of the Académie des César and was awarded the Roberta Buffett Visiting Professorship at Northwestern University.