The filmmakers are committed to work with a diverse, female-led creative team, some of whom came to the US as refugees.

Amy Bench is a filmmaker and visual artist who is drawn to the immediacy of film and photography to tell stories of community and resilience. Trained as a cinematographer, her observational style highlights small details of the human experience that transcend formal explanation. Her camera work has screened at festivals including Berlin, SXSW, Sundance, The New York Film Festival, and at MOMA/PS1. She was the cinematographer on Trans in America: Texas Strong, which won an Emmy for Best Original Short Documentary in 2019, and 2 Webby Awards. She is the cinematographer on Mama Bears (SXSW 2022), a feature-length film that builds on Texas Strong and follows the transformative power of Christian mothers who affirm their LGBTQ children. Amy’s animated documentary A Line Birds Cannot See won Special Jury Recognition at SXSW, and is now available on The New Yorker, where it won the 2020 Ellie Award (video) for excellence in digital magazine journalism.

Mugeni is studying to be a social worker, focusing her work on communities impacted by war and displacement. She came to the US when she was 16, via the Unaccompanied Refugee Minor Program (URM). She is working for the betterment of her family, and is dedicated to sharing kindness with those who have helped her on her journey thus far. She loves fashion and teaching her baby daughter new words through song.

Carolyn Merriman is the executive producer at the Future of StoryTelling (FoST) and a curator interested in the intersection of art, technology, and storytelling. As a producer she works across media, including documentary films, animations, apps, and other interactive experiences. She was an associate producer on The Unforeseen, a documentary executive produced by Terrence Malick and Robert Redford and directed by Laura Dunn. She was a producer on A Line Birds Cannot See.

Maya Edelman (Animation Director & Lead Animation Designer)
Maya Edelman is an illustrator and animation director who was born in Kiyv, USSR. Maya came to the US as a refugee when she was 13, and is familiar with the disorientation of being in a new place without the language it takes to fully express oneself. She feels deeply that everyone has a right to a safe and peaceful existence, no matter where they happened to be born. In her personal work Maya explores themes related to water, borders between physical spaces, sleep and wakefulness, life and death. She studied animation and film at Pratt Institute and went on to create a body of work spanning a variety of themes and media, including animation for documentaries, and short films, and has received an EMMY award for her work on Broad City.  She is currently working as a visual development artist on a feature film in production at Netflix. She was the animator of Sara Kiener’s The Shawl, which premiered at Sundance in 2020. Her great loves include film, getting lost in her home city, and cats.

Sebastián Bisbal (LEAD ANIMATOR)
Sebastián is an animator based in Rancagua, Chile who received his MFA at UT Austin in Film Production. He has a personal interest in stories of displacement due to his own family’s political persecution in Chile.

Samia Khalaf (Animator)
Samia is a Lebanese artist who moved to California at the age of 17 to pursue a career in animation at San Jose State University. For the past 11 years, she has worked on projects for Disney TV, mobile games, and virtual reality apps. Samia will be working under the direction of Maya Edelman. She is intimately familiar with war and displacement, as her best friend from childhood is a Syrian woman who has been displaced multiple times in her life.