Principles' Bios

STEVE JAMES (director, producer, editor) is best known as the award-winning director, producer, and co-editor of Hoop Dreams, which swept every major documentary award of 1994, among them, the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award and the Peabody Award. James recently served as an executive producer, story director, and series editor on The New Americans, a seven-hour miniseries on the lives of contemporary immigrants that aired to critical acclaim on PBS in 2004. The series won two Golden Hugos at the Chicago International Television Festival and recently won the 2004 Independent Documentary Association Award for Best Limited Series for Television.

In 2002, James produced, directed and edited Stevie, which won the coveted grand jury prizes at the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam and the Philadelphia Film Festival, and won major prizes at the 2003 Sundance Film Festival and Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival. The acclaimed film was released theatrically and landed on more than a dozen "Ten Best Films of 2003" lists.

SCOTT MOSIER (producer) is the house producer of Kevin Smith's New Jersey-based production company, View Askew Productions (home to their New Jersey series: Clerks, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back and Jersey Girl). Scott has edited all but one of this series of films (MALLRATS).

Scott Mosier has also executive produced four micro-budget features under the View Askew banner: Vulgar, a Lions Gate release for spring 2002, A Better Place, Drawing Flies, and Big Helium Dog. He has also produced a series of MTV commercial spots starring Jay and Silent Bob (re-occurring characters in Smith_s movies). Mosier also co-executive produced, with Smith, the Academy Award winning film Good Will Hunting. With Smith, Mosier also executive produced with Miramax and Disney animation, The Clerks Animated Television Show for ABC prime-time television. Mosier and Smith continue to help independent filmmakers on the path to their own feature film careers.

KEVIN SMITH (executive producer) In the few years since his entry into the indie film community, Kevin Smith has seen it all - from the surprise critical and commercial success he received for his debut film Clerks, to the disappointing critical and commercial drubbing he took on his second outing Mallrats. He caught a break on his third film, the critically hailed Chasing Amy, and managed not to get killed by the religious zealots over his fourth film, the comedic spiritual meditation Dogma. With the aptly titled Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, Smith wrapped up the five-film "Jersey Trilogy" and headed for more grown up territory with Jersey Girl.

As for the hood ornaments he's collected, there's plenty of tin to go around: the Filmmaker's Trophy at Sundance for Clerks; the Prix de la Jeunesse and the International Critic's Week Award at the Cannes Film Festival, also for Clerks: The Independent Spirit Award for Best Screenplay for Chasing Amy, and a Humanitas Award for Good Will Hunting. The Video Software Dealer's Association named him Visionary of the Year for his longtime commitment to the DVD format and sales success in the field. Smith also received the Defender of Democracy Award from Norman Lear's People for the American Way organization for his production of Dogma. For his writing in the comics field, Smith has received a Harvey Award, a Wizard Fan Award, an Eagle Award, and had Green Arrow: Quiver named as one of 2003's Best Books for Young Adults by the American Library Association's Young Adult Library Service. In the fall of 2002, the town of Paulsboro in NJ named a street after him: Kevin Smith Way.

JOHN PIERSON (executive producer, subject) graduated from NYU Film School in January 1977. Twenty- five years later, he left America behind to show free movies at the world's most remote theater, Fiji's 180 Meridian Cinema. In between, he played many pivotal roles in bringing the work of first-time filmmakers like Spike Lee, Michael Moore, Kevin Smith and Richard Linklater to the screen, a portfolio that Premiere called "a virtual hit parade of the independent movement." These tales are chronicled in John's book Spike, Mike, Slackers & Dykes: A Guided Tour Across a Decade of American Independent Cinema, revised and reissued in 2004 as Spike Mike Reloaded. Peter Biskind calls it "the bible for independents."

He was also creator and host of Split Screen, a half-hour magazine-format television show on IFC. Over its four year run, Split Screen spawned features ranging from The Blair Witch Project to How's Your News? Often in partnership with his wife and Grainy Pictures co-president Janet Pierson, John has directed film festivals, staged annual film workshops, and formed a completion funding company. He also executive produced Chasing Amy and once acted opposite Chris Noth.

The Piersons now live in Austin, TX where John teaches in the UT film department and is preparing a Split Screen box set with Aspyr Media.

JANET PIERSON (executive producer, subject), co-president of Grainy Pictures, has partnered with her husband John Pierson professionally since 1986. In 2002-2003, they showed free movies at the world's most remote cinema in Taveuni, Fiji. She was co-creator, executive producer and occasional segment director of their magazine-format cable television series, Split Screen. Earlier projects include staging the Cold Spring Film Workshop and serving as producer reps and/or investors in over two dozen original American independent features like She's Gotta Have It, Roger & Me, Slacker, and Clerks. From 1981 to 1986 she was assistant director of NYC's Film Forum. In 1977-1979 she ran Canyon Cinema Cooperative in S.F. She attended Hampshire College, graduating with a BFA from the San Francisco Art Institute in 1977. Having recently relocated to Austin with her famiily, Janet is now on the board of the Austin Film Society.

P.H. O'BRIEN (co-producer, director of photography) has been a writer, producer, director and cinematographer for the past ten years. P.H. worked as a producer/director for John Pierson's acclaimed TV show, Split Screen, which aired on the Independent Film Channel (IFC) for four years. He wore several hats as a part of How's Your News? documentary that aired on Cinemax and PBS after debuting at the 2001 Toronto Film Festival. A second How's Your News? feature, focusing on the American political process is currently in post-production. He has also produced and shot shows for American Movie Classics, the BBC, History Channel and Lifetime. P.H. has written and is currently in pre-production on a narrative feature called Route 1 to be directed by him in 2005. He lives in North Reading, Massachusetts where he enjoys watching movies, moving and restoring pre-1900 buildings, eating Japanese food and Oreos and occasionally running a 24-hour towing business.

AARON WICKENDEN (associate producer) began his professional career in the medium of still photography. He parlayed a job in Print Viewing at the Center for Creative Photography into internships with Richard Avedon and Annie Leibovitz. His interest in documentary film grew from internship with Peter Broderick's Next Wave Films where he helped to coordinate the grass roots publicity campaign for the award winning doc Fighter. After relocating to Chicago in 2002, Aaron became the Post Production Coordinator on Kartemquin Films' award winning series The New Americans. He is currently working as the assistant editor on Deborah Scranton's untitled documentary on soldiers in Iraq.

GITA SAEDI (line producer) is an award-winning independent documentary Producer/Director/Editor who has been working in film for over 15 years. She most recently served as the Series Producer for the PBS national series The New Americans - a 3-part, 7 hour series following five immigrant families journey to and first years in the U.S. Prior to The New Americans, she served on producing teams for Channel 4 in the UK, CBS and PBS in the U.S. and RTE in Ireland. Saedi currently lives in Montana with her husband where she is producing a multi-part series on Montana History for the state and pursuing new projects.