Project Leaders

Valarie Kaur
Project Director

Valarie Kaur (Founding Director) is an award-winning filmmaker, public speaker, and writer in her third yearat Yale Law School. In the last ten years, she has harnessed multiple tools – filmmaking, writing, speaking andlawyering – to advocate on behalf of communities swept up in hate crimes, racial profiling, and immigrationpolicies. Valarie wrote and produced Divided We Fall (2008), the first feature film on racism in the aftermath ofSeptember 11, 2001 and winner of more than a dozen international awards. The film sent her on a nation-wide tourto speak on race, religion, gender, and power in America in more than 150 cities in wide-ranging venues. She has been featured in print, radio, and television media such as CNN, NPR, and the BBC and in several books. Valarie earned her bachelor’ s degrees in religious studies and international relations with honors at Stanford University,where she was selected as commencement speaker for her class. She went on to study narrative ethics as a graduatestudent, receiving her masters in theological studies at Harvard Divinity School as a Harvard Presidential Scholar. Now at Yale Law School, Valarie studies and advocates on civil rights issues. As part of her clinical work, she has represented individuals arrested in immigration raids, helped secure a federal investigation into a local police department, and brought national attention to the problem of racial profiling and police brutality in East Haven, CT.In 2009, Valarie reported on the military commissions at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba as a representative of the National Institute of Military Justice. She also organized hearings on Guantanamo and worked on Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s Confirmation Proceedings as a legal clerk on the Senate Judiciary Committee for Senator Russell Feingold. In 2010, she co-founded the Common Ground Campaign, empowering young people to challenge anti-Muslim bias through creating programs for compassionate dialogue. The State of California presented Valarie with an official commendation recognizing her work as an advocate and storyteller.

Rebecca Wexler
Teaching Fellow

Rebecca Wexler (Teaching Fellow – Film) is an independent documentary filmmaker and co-founder of the Yale Visual Law Project. She is co-directing a program at Yale Law School to produce video products with professional production value while disturbing the methodological boundaries of textual scholarship. Her research interests also include the impact of network technologies on moral, ethical, and spiritual questions of human behavior at a collective level, with a particular focus on hackers. She holds an M.Phil in the history and philosophy of science from Cambridge University (2006, Rausing Dissertation Prize) where she studied visual culture in science on a Gates-Cambridge fellowship. She holds a B.A. from Harvard College (2005). She has worked with filmmakers Alex Gibney (producer of Taxi to the Dark Side, and Enron), Richard Leacock (producer of Primary, and Crisis), Ross McElwee (producer of Sherman’s March), Helen Whitney (producer of Faith and Doubt at Ground Zero), Michael Epstein (producer of Combat Diary), and Robb Moss (producer of Secrecy). She has worked ondocumentaries distributed by PBS/American Experience (Grand Central), HBO (Taxi to the Dark Side), VH1 (Sex! The Revolution), and Verve (Rock Docs), and has produced, directed, filmed, and edited documentaries distributed by the Yale University Art Gallery, La Maison Européenne de la Photographie, the Long Wharf Theatre and the Provincetown International Film Festival. She is currently completing work as Associate Producer on a four-hour North American broadcast PBS documentary about Forgiveness directed by Helen Whitney, and Directing/Producing/Editing a documentary for the Yale Art Gallery about the D’mba masked dance performance from Guinea, West Africa.

Nicholas Bramble
Teaching Fellow

Nicholas Bramble is a Lecturer in Law at Yale Law School and a MacArthur Media Fellow with the Information Society Project at Yale Law School, where he conducts research on problems of collective action and civic engagement relating to communications law, competition law, open access in the university setting, and patent and copyright law. Prior to his appointment at Yale, Nicholas was a judicial clerk for the Honorable Charles F. Lettow of the U.S. Court of Federal Claims. He is a graduate of Stanford University and Harvard Law School, where he was the online managing editor of the Journal of Law & Technology. He is a member of the New York State Bar.

Jennifer Bennett
Teaching Fellow

Charles Vogl
Development Director

Charles Vogl is a documentary film producer and co-founder of Broken English Productions LLC in New York City. He focuses on creating high social impact through non-fiction media. He has worked with both Academy and Emmy Award winning filmmakers. Vogl produced the independent feature documentary NEW YEAR BABY which has won nine international awards to date, including the ‘Movies That Matter’ human rights cinema awards (an Amnesty International initiative). The film aired on national PBS’ Independent Lens Series, and the U.S. State Department screened the film in Southeast Asia in 2010. Vogl worked with Directors Sarah and Emily Kunstler on the feature documentary WILLIAM KUNSTLER DISTURBING THE UNIVERSE (ITVS / CPB), about the legacy of the most famous constitutional lawyer in 20th century America. The film premiered at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival then released theatrically in the US. He also worked with Director Chris Wong on WHATEVER IT TAKES (Sundance Institute / CAAM / CPB). After a successful festival tour, it aired nationally on PBS’s Independent Lens series in 2010. Vogl consulted on Cynthia Wade’s documentary BORN SWEET. The film premiered at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival. He also worked with Cynthia Wade on the Sundance Film Festival premiere of her HBO documentary FREEHELD which went on to win an Academy Award. Vogl is a recipient of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting INPUT Fellowship and the Working Films Documentary Institute Residency at the Mass MOCA. His work has been funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the Independent Television Service, the Open Society Institute, the Movies That Matter Foundation and the New York State Council on the Arts. He has a B.S. from the University of Southern California Annenberg School, and he is currently completing graduate studies at Yale University, where he focuses on ethics and religion. At Yale, Charles was named a Jessie Ball duPont Foundation Scholar.

Project Members

Stephanie Keene

Stephanie Keene is a second year law school at Yale who originally hails from South Florida. After graduating with High Honors from Princeton University with a B.A. in English and a Certificate in African American Studies, Stephanie worked with the United Nations World Food Program in Dakar, Senegal. At Princeton, she received various academic awards, including the Ruth J. Simmons Thesis Prize and the Thomas Maren Prize for academic scholarship. As a law student, she is a member of the Allard K. Lowenstein Human Rights Clinic, a Civil-Rights Co-Chair of Yale’s American Constitutional Society, and a Submissions Editor for the Yale Journal of International Law. Stephanie was one of the Project’s founding members, and in addition to her current role as a Project Participant, she is also a Development Co-Director on the Project’s Board. Her interests in the Project’s mission stem from her background in journalism and creative non-fiction writing, and a long-time interest in the intersection between visual and textual mediums.

Allyssa Lamb grew up in the suburbs of Seattle, and attended the University of Washington. She graduated magna cum laude in 2004 with B.A.s in Classics and Ancient Near East Studies. Allyssa attended Oxford on a Rhodes Scholarship. She was a member of Merton College, and earned an M.Phil in Egyptology. She began a Ph.D. in the Classics Department at the University of Chicago before deciding to attend law school. She plans to pursue a career in public interest law in order to make a positive impact on the world. In addition to being Academic Director of the Visual Law Project, Allyssa is a Submissions Editor for the Yale Journal of Human Rights and DevelopmentLaw. She is a director of the Immigration Legal Services Clinic and a member of the Iraqi Refugee Assistance Project’s legal team. An avid reader and writer since childhood, Allyssa is looking forward to working with her VLP teammates to construct an interesting narrative alongside the compelling legal arguments presented in the film.

Spencer Wolff is a teaching fellow in the Yale Department of Comparative Literature. A Graduate of the Harvard Class of 2002, he has a J.D. from Columbia Law School and a Master 2 in Business Law from La Sorbonne. He is currently completing his Ph.D. in Comparative Literature at Yale, where his dissertation will focus on narratives of justice. In the past he has worked at the European Court of Human Rights and the UNHCR. He has also directed and worked on several films.

Megan Corrarino is a second-year student at Yale Law School, where she is a member of the Lowenstein International Human Rights Clinic and the Transnational Development Clinic, an Articles Editor for the Journal on International Law, and the co-director of the Lowenstein Human Rights Project. She is also pursuing a Master’s of Public Affairs in International Development at Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School. A native of Oregon, she recently interned at the Legal Aid Services of Oregon’s Migrant Farmworker Office. Prior to attending law school, Megan was a Fulbright Scholar to Brazil, where she studied the effects of various development models on traditionally under-served communities. She worked for the National Security Education Program, a federal program that provides financial support for U.S. students studying less-commonly-taught languages, and has also worked or studied in Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Peru, Italy, and Portugal. Megan graduated from the University ofChicago in 2007, where she won various academic and student leadership awards, including the Adlai Stevenson Prize for Best International Studies Thesis and the Margaret C. Annan Award for Creative Writing.

Sharanya Kanikkannan is a third year law student at Yale committed to the field of international development,and has focused on access to justice for the poor and human rights since she began law school. Sharanya worked with a paralegal services organization, Timap for Justice, in Sierra Leone her first summer in law school, and with the United Nations Development Programme in a capacity-building project with the national human rights monitor,the Provedoria dos Direitos Humanos e Justica. Sharanya is a student legal representative to clients in the Allard K. Lowenstein Human Rights Clinic, and the Jerome Frank Legal Services Organization as part of the Domestic Violence Clinic. She has participated in many student groups and journals, serving as an article editor for the Journal of Law and Feminism, and is interested in international law as well as foreign and domestic law relating to property, contracts, and criminal procedure. Sharanya comes from a diverse background but identifies strongly with her birthplace in south India and her roots in rural America. She is looking forward to her work with the Visual Law Project which integrates aspects of her work with women, identity, and basic rights.

Kevin Jiang

Nate Freeman

Advisory Board

David Saldana, Senior Associate for the National Security and Human Rights Campaign with ReThink Media, has a Masters Degree from the Columbia University School of Journalism and most recently worked as the Deputy Editorial Director at Media Matters for America. Prior to working for Media Matters, Mr. Saldana was anAdjunct Assistant Professor of Journalism at Iowa State University. He also served as the Communications Directorof the United Electrical Workers and was as an Emmy Award-winning television news producer. Mr. Saldana hasa law degree from the University of Southern California and is admitted to practice by the California Bar. As anattorney for five years prior to returning to communications work, he focused on labor and civil liberties cases. As the Regional Vice President of the National Lawyers Guild, Mr. Saldana also worked on racial profiling and police accountability issues.

Kalyanee Mam is a filmmaker and lawyer seeking to engage her experiences in human rights and the law to create documentaries that are both captivating and inspiring. Kalyanee is currently Director, Producer, and Director of Photography for LAND/WATER/RAIN, a documentary that traces the social and environmental impact of development in Cambodia. The film is produced in association with the Documentation Center of Cambodia and funded by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. Kalyanee  recently served as Director of Photography, Associate Producer, and Researcher for INSIDE JOB, a film by Charles Ferguson and a Sony Pictures Classics release about the global financial crisis, which was chosen as an Official Selection at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival, the 2010 Toronto International Film Festival, the 2010 Telluride Film Festival, the 2010 New York Film Festival, and recently received the 2011 Academy Award for Best Documentary. She is also Director and Producer of BETWEEN EARTH & SKY, a short documentary film that follows the hopes and struggles of four young Iraqi refugees living in Jordan, Syria, and Egypt. It is the First Place Winner for Best Directing-Short Documentary at the Los Angeles International Film Festival, a recipient of a prize for Artistic Merit from the Montana CINE International Film Festival and is an official selection at the St. Louis International Film Festival. As a lawyer, Kalyanee has also worked on human rights issues in various countries including Cambodia, China, South Africa, Mozambique, and Iraq. Kalyanee’s work has included assisting refugees in South Africa, documenting the atrocities committed against women during the Khmer Rouge Regime in Cambodia, and working as a lawyer in Iraq. Kalyanee and her family escaped war-torn Cambodia in 1979 and eventually fled to the United States as refugees in 1981. She is a graduate of Yale University and UCLA Law School.

Joan Mandell is a Detroit-based documentary film producer and educator. She currently works for the ArabAmerican National Museum as Community Curator and is producing a film on Detroit-area beekeepers. Her documentaries include Tales from Arab Detroit, Voices in Exile: Immigrants and the First Amendment, and Gaza Ghetto: Portrait of a Palestinian Family. Through Olive Branch Productions and New Day Films, she produces anddistributes social issue videos and screens at colleges and community settings. Ms. Mandell taught film production/studies and ESL at University of California/ Irvine, College for Creative Studies/Detroit, Birzeit University/Palestine, and, most recently, aboard a ship travelling around the world with the University of Virginia/Semester-at-Sea. She was a Fulbright Scholar, a Felton Scholar in Media Literacy and an affiliated fellow at UCLA’s von Grunebaum Center for Near East Studies. Ms. Mandell also co-founded Al Fajr, a newsweekly, and served on the editorial board of Middle East Report for two decades.

Lisa Lewin, president and founder of Mindgate Media, is a recognized innovator and leader in digital and social media targeted at the postsecondary education market. Prior to founding Mindgate Media in 2008, Ms. Lewin wasa senior executive and developer of educational products for the McGraw-Hill Companies. Overseeing content partnerships in McGraw-Hill’s higher and professional education division, she led the creation and distribution ofdigital and print media in conjunction with universities, professional associations, and other top learning institutions. Later, Ms. Lewin was tapped to run the group’s financial education division, managing operations and product development for a wide array of custom media products to promote adult financial literacy. An accomplishedspeaker, Ms. Lewin frequently addresses corporate, nonprofit, and academic audiences. She has been featured inpublications such as Newsweek and the International Herald Tribune. Ms. Lewin received her bachelor’s degree from Washington University in St. Louis and her MBA from Harvard Business School.

David Harris, a professor of law at the University of Pittsburgh, studies, writes and teaches about police behavior and regulation, law enforcement, and national security issues and the law. Professor Harris, the leading nationalauthority on racial profiling, has testified three times in the U.S. Senate and before many state legislative bodies on profiling and related issues. His 2002 book, Profiles in Injustice: Why Racial Profiling Cannot Work, as well as his scholarly articles in the field of traffic stops of minority motorists and stops and frisks, led to federal, state, and local efforts to address the practice. His 2005 book, Good Cops: The Case for Preventive Policing, uses case studies from around the country to show that citizens need not trade liberty for safety if law enforcement uses strategies based on prevention. In 1996, Professor Harris served as a member of the Civil Liberties Advisory Board to the White House Commission on Aviation Safety and Security. Before he began teaching in 1990, Professor Harris was a public defender in the Washington, D.C. area, a litigator at a law firm in Philadelphia, and law clerk to Federal Judge Walter K. Stapleton in Wilmington, Delaware.

Rebecca Richman Cohen, an award-winning filmmaker with experience in international human rights lawand criminal defense, founded Racing Horse Productions in 2005. As a law student, she interned with the BronxDefenders and did investigative work at the Special Court for Sierra Leone, working on a legal defense team for Alex Tamba Brima in the AFRC-accused case. She returned to Sierra Leone to produce War Don Don (HBO Documentary Films), which won the Special Jury Prize at SXSW Film Festival, the Karen Schmeer Award for Excellence in Editing at IFFBoston, and the Cinereach Award for excellence in vital, artful storytelling at theHuman Rights Watch Film Festival in New York. In 2010, Rebecca was profiled in Filmmaker Magazine’s 25 New Faces in Independent Film as an “up-and-comer poised to shape the next generation of independent film.” She hasserved as an adjunct faculty member at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) and at American University’sHuman Rights Institute. Ms. Cohen graduated from Brown University with a BA in Portuguese and Brazilian Studies and with a Juris Doctor from Harvard Law School and is also an alumna of the CPB/PBS ProducersAcademy of the IFP Independent Filmmaker Lab.

Nabiha Syed is a Knight Law and Media Scholar and a student fellow in Yale Law School’s Information SocietyProject. Through these programs, she co-founded the Media Freedom and Information Access Practicum. She is also a member of the Balancing Civil Liberties and National Security after 9/11 Clinic and the Iraqi Refugee Assistance Project. She is a submissions editor for the Yale Law and Policy Review and the senior editor of its forthcoming online magazine, Inter Alia, as well as a chair of the Muslim Law Students’ Association and a student class representative. She earned a BA with high honors in International Relations and Anthropology from Johns Hopkins University, where she received numerous awards and wrote her first book, Replicating Dreams, on Grameen-style microfinance in Pakistan.

Alex Gibney is the founder of Jigsaw Productions. An Oscar-, Emmy- and Grammy Award-winning producer,he is well-known for producing one of the top grossing documentaries of all time, Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room. In addition, Mr. Gibney is sought after for his experience in mounting large international productions, particularly multi-part series, such as Martin Scorsese’s Emmy and Grammy Award-winning The Blues and David Halberstam’s The Fifties. His other work as a writer/director includes the 2008 Oscar-winning film Taxi to the Dark Side and the current Magnolia Pictures release, Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson,featuring Johnny Depp. Mr. Gibney has produced films through Jigsaw for over 20 years; he also briefly worked as a director of special projects for the Samuel Goldwyn Company and served as the Senior Vice President of Offline Entertainment Group from 1998-2000. Mr. Gibney is a regular contributor to Huffington Post and has written for Newsweek, The L.A. Times, Newsday, New Republic, The Wilson Quarterly, L.A. Reader, Chicago Reader, and San Francisco Chronicle.

Lee Wang is an award-winning filmmaker and video journalist. Her work has appeared in film festivals around the world and on MSNBC, CNN, CurrentTV,, and the Her documentary,Someone Else’s War, won the 2007 Student Visionary Award at the Tribeca Film Festival and was recently featured at the prestigious Robert Flaherty Film Seminar. Ms. Wang spent much of 2008 covering the presidential election for Newsweek, traveling everywhere from rusting steel towns in Pennsylvania to the border in Brownsville, Texas. She is a graduate of Yale University and the University of California at Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism.

Socheata Poeuv is the CEO of Khmer Legacies, an organization whose mission is to create a video archive about the Cambodian genocide. Khmer Legacies aims to videotape thousands of testimonies of Cambodian survivorsby having the children interview their parents. Ms. Poeuv was selected as a 2007 Echoing Green Fellow and is a Visiting Fellow at the Yale University Genocide Studies Program. She made her filmmaking debut with the award-winning film New Year Baby, which was broadcast nationally on Independent Lens on PBS in 2008. She co-founded Broken English Productions in New York City and has served on the staff of NBC’s Dateline, ABC’s World NewsTonight Weekend, and NBC’s Today Show. Ms. Poeuv graduated cum laude with a BA in English literature from Smith College in 2002 and studied for one year at Hertford College, Oxford.

Alistair Ong currently runs Green Soul Shoes, a socially-minded company that works with local artisans to make shoes out of recycled material for children worldwide. Mr. Ong is a serial entrepreneur, having successfully created, financed and launched two online technology companies,,, and a real estate company, Ong8, LLC. Before starting these ventures, Mr. Ong was an attorney specializing in structured finance atBrown & Wood, LLP and a litigation associate at Wilson, Elser, Moskowitz, Edelman and Dicker. He holds a JD from Fordham University School of Law and a BA from Trinity College at the University of Toronto.

Lacey Schwartz is the director/producer of Outside the Box, a documentary tracing Ms. Schwartz’s upbringing in a white Jewish family, discovery at eighteen that her biological father is Black, and personal exploration of her mixed-race identity, all the while exploring her connection to other Black Jews in America. Ms. Schwartz has worked with a variety of production companies and networks, including MTV, BETJ, and Drive Thru Pictures. She has a BA from Georgetown University and a JD from Harvard Law School and is a member of the New York State Bar. Ms. Schwartz wrote, directed, edited and produced her first two films: Schvartze, a short autobiographical film, and Legally Black, Brown, Yellow and Red, a feature-length documentary on minority experiences at Harvard Law School.

Abby Ginzberg has been producing and directing award-winning documentary films since 1983. Her work has focused on character-driven stories, racial and gender discrimination and social justice issues, and has been shown in film/video festivals and broadcast on public television networks nationally and internationally. Ms. Ginzberg has produced more than 30 films, including films highlighting stories of trailblazing women and minority judges and more than 10 films about discrimination in the legal profession. Among her films are Soul of Justice: Thelton Henderson’s American Journey, which was featured at the Mill Valley Film Festival in October, 2005 and the Pan African Film Festival in February, 2006; A Tale of Two Cities (2005), which won a CINE Golden EagleAward; Opportunity of a Lifetime (2005); and Doing Justice: The Life and Trials of Arthur Kiny, which portrayed civil rights lawyer Kinoy’s landmark cases which began with the Rosenbergs and continued through Watergate. Doing Justice has become a staple in law schools helping to inspire the next generation of “people’s lawyers” andwon numerous national awards, including the Best of Festival from the Vermont International Film Festival, a CINE Golden Eagle, an ABA Silver Gavel and was screened at the Museum of Modern Art in NYC, the Oakland Museum, the Film Arts Festival; it was televised on public television and Free Speech TV, aired on Democracy Now radio following Kinoy’s death, and was broadcast internationally in Australia and the United Kingdom.


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