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Eric Christiansen


Director / Producer

Eric Christiansen is an acclaimed documentarian who has built his brand around socially responsible filmmaking that educates, inspires, and heals. He has the capability to identify an issue within a specific population and have it resonate with a general audience through compelling storytelling. A trauma survivor himself, having lost his home in the Santa Barbara Painted Cave fire disaster, he understands trauma, the resilience of the human spirit, and how important HOPE is to the healing journey. His previous films (Faces in the Fire, Homecoming: A Vietnam Vets Journey, Searching for Home: Coming Back from War) have been transformative in the recovery process for thousands of people whose lives have been compromised mentally, spiritually, and physically by trauma. Leveraged as educational tools by top mental health institutions, Christiansen's films migrate from the entertainment arena into environments that help additional audiences navigate the profound collateral damage trauma creates not only on the individual but the family and community as well.

The New York Times called his last film, Searching for Home: Coming Back from War, “strikingly photographed” and “...sure to give comfort and support to countless veterans and their families.” By spotlighting these survivors and their journeys, Christiansen has been able to help unify a variety of audiences around the power of HOPE, and educate the general population about the complexities of trauma. Christiansen, a seven-time Southwestern Region Emmy Award recipient, has also produced for major networks including Discovery, TLC, PBS, MTV, and an Imax film.


Ed Bell

A graduate from the Film/Video Program at the California Institute of the Arts, Ed Bell launched his career as a 2nd layout artist on Ralph Bakshi’s acclaimed series, “The New Adventures of Mighty Mouse.”

He has been a key creative at two legendary Bay Area animation studios for the past two decades: Colossal Pictures Animation and Wild Brain, for which he worked as an animator and director designing innovative commercials and shorts. Bell has also led the development of numerous television and film projects for
the studio’s animation division. For Wild Brain’s commercial division, Bell’s unique hip-hop/anime style
of animation can be seen in inspired commercial campaigns for such clients as Coca-Cola, Sony Music, MTV, Nike, Suntori, Cartoon Network.

Ariel Carpenter_Pic.jpeg


Associate Producer / Publicist

Ariel Carpenter is a producer, award-winning writer, and communications strategist specializing in arts and entertainment. She has produced several television programs, including the “KCET Local Heroes Awards”, the short film “Trust Me, I’m Famous” and the "Fine Cut Festival of Films."


Recently, Ms.Carpenter was Vice President of Communications for KCETLink Media Group where she oversaw publicity, on-air promotions, advertising, and corporate communications. She handled major corporate announcements and executive transitions and orchestrated numerous nationally recognized integrated marketing campaigns to support the mission and vision of the organization. While at KCET,
Ms. Carpenter oversaw the launch of Eric Christiansen’s last film, Searching for Home: Coming Back from War, securing the cast of Army Wives at the red carpet premiere in Los Angeles to help publicize
the film. 


Previously, Ms. Carpenter was the director of Public Relations for the University of Southern California where she cultivated angles for promoting select USC initiatives in national media outlets and shepherded social media efforts university-wide.  


Ms. Carpenter’s leadership has been recognized throughout her career, including an Award of Excellence by the Society for New Communications Research for Innovation: Digital and Marketing Experience in Media; two First Place Awards of Excellence from the Publicity Club of Los Angeles and the Greater Los Angeles Press Club; and two Honorable Mentions in national Cynopsis Social Good Awards, among others.  

She is also a professional journalist for outlets including LA Arts Online, Trojan Family Magazine,,, and The Twilight Zone Magazine.

Paulette Victor Lifton


Consulting Producer - Sound Supervisor

A Hollywood native, Paulette Victor Lifton’s career in filmmaking started from the ground up as an editor. She has edited 10 features for HBO, Showtime, and Syfy and numerous music videos in Nashville for the likes of Garth Brooks and Clint Black.


Along the way, Lifton opened a post-production facility where she won two Emmys and five MPSE awards as a Supervising Sound Editor. She is currently co-producer on the Netflix show, “Spy Kids.”  Her clients have included Viacom, DreamWorks, Disney, HBO, Lionsgate, The Weinstein Company, Paramount, and most major networks and studios.

Craig Dobbin



Acclaimed composer Craig Dobbin began his love for music at the age of 7, while studying the piano.
By age 14, he was mastering Contemporary Jazz Theory and Classical Composition. While still an undergraduate at UC Santa Barbara, Dobbin composed the music for two films and a variety of television commercials. Before being named Outstanding Senior and graduating with a B.M. in Composition in
1990, Dobbin had also recorded his first solo album for D&D records.


Since then, Dobbin has composed music for a wide variety of genres, from the popular PBS show,
“Jay Jay the Jet Plane” and “Betsy’s Kindergarten Adventures” to the world-renowned “Discovery Channel Shark Week,” which he has been scoring since 1991.  With such a wide range and depth, his compositions have also been featured in commercials for such major clients as Samsung, Visa, McDonalds, Mobile Strike, Netflix, Marvel, Exxon, State Farm, among many more.  Recently, Dobbin created music for the award-winning feature-length documentary “Searching for Home” and currently composes the score
for the top-rated CBS series “NCIS Los Angeles.”

In 1993, Dobbin, along with William Aura and Alain Eskinasi formed the contemporary jazz group 3RD FORCE. Their first CD on Higher Octave went to #9 at Radio, their second and third, Force of Nature
and Vital Force, both shot to #3, and their fourth CD, Force Field, hit #2.  Their 8th Album, Global Force, released in 2016 after a 10-year hiatus, hit the coveted #1 Billboard spot.




Roger Martel is an animator and illustrator from Southern California. He is a graduate from California State University Channel Islands, with a BA in Studio Art. His work consists of 2D hand drawn illustrations, animated short films, and music videos.

 Pam Payeur


Associate Producer / Line Producer

Pam Payeur is a relentless veterans’ advocate whose work has helped thousands of service members who might otherwise have fallen through gaps in the systems and had nowhere to turn for help in their recovery process. Founder and Executive Director of Wounded Heroes Program of Maine, Payeur founded this all-volunteer, registered 501(c)(3) in 2008 after her son was seriously injured from multiple blasts as a tanker for the U.S. Army, and she encountered bureaucratic and medical challenges having him treated. For 9 years, Pam has served and advocated for wounded veterans in Maine and created powerful partnerships with key resources and organizations to broaden her impact.


Her expertise in community outreach led her to collaborate with the Veterans Administration (VA), and she was later invited by then-Secretary Robert McDonald to be the keynote speaker at a two-day brain trust conference offering insight to researchers and clinicians into how caregivers can better manage
the PTSD struggles of returning service members. Also, through her partnership with the Red Sox Foundation, Payeur received a $10,000 Impact Award for her program in 2015, as well as a second prestigious award recognizing her efforts throughout New England in 2013. Locally, Payeur has also
been awarded the Paul Harris Fellow Award from Rotary International, selected ‘Person of the Year’
by AUSA’s Southeast Region in 2014, among many other honors.


For the documentary film, “Searching for Home: Coming Back from War” she secured a national partnership with the VA that developed into two key partnerships including a call center for veterans
(877 WAR VETS) and Coaching into Care, assisting family and friends to help their vets into assistance. These organization’s 800 numbers were featured at the end of the film and utilized as a “call to action”
by national public TV stations upon airing the documentary.

Stephany Yantorn


Stills Photographer, Production Assistant, NYC

Stephany is a dark comedy writer, working on her first screenplay and web series, as well as
a portrait/event photographer. She is deeply grateful to be working with a dedicated crew on
such a vital project.

The Experts


Amit Etkin MD PhD


Clinical Advisor

Amit Etkin, MD, PhD, is the founder and CEO of Alto Neuroscience, a clinical-stage biotechnology company pioneering precision psychiatry. Dr. Etkin is a trained psychiatrist, neuroscientist, and has been on Stanford University’s faculty since 2010. As a tenured Professor, he became an international leader in the neuroscience of psychiatric disorders and their treatments. In recognition of the influence of his ideas and work, Dr. Etkin received the Director’s Pioneer Award; the most competitive and prestigious NIH grant and the first one given in clinical psychiatry. He has also consistently ranked in the top 0.1% of researchers by citations. Dr. Etkin received his MD/PhD at Columbia University and completed his psychiatry residency and concurrent postdoc at Stanford.

Arieh Y Shalev, MD


Trauma Expert

Arieh Y. Shalev, MD is one of the world’s leading experts on trauma. He is a Barbara Wilson Professor
of Psychiatry at NYU School of Medicine and Emeritus Professor and Chair, Department of Psychiatry, Hadassah University Medical Center, Jerusalem. His current research involves traumatic stress and
post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), focused on ‘cracking the code’ of emerging PTSD via longitudinal studies of recent trauma victims. He published extensively on clinical, biological, psycho-physiological, brain imaging and genetic aspects of PTSD and related post-traumatic conditions. For this work, he won the Robert J. Lauer Memorial Award for outstanding scientific achievement in the field of PTSD, and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies. Specific research domains of his work include clinical and psycho-physiological studies of PTSD, testing neuroimaging and neuroendocrine processes leading to chronic PTSD, evaluating genetic and gene expression underpinning of responses to trauma performing large studies of PTSD therapeutics and prevention and implementing new bioinformatics methods to uncover heterogeneity in PTSD development and underlying mechanisms


After earning his medical degree from the University of Montpellier in France, Dr. Shalev was trained in psychiatry in hospitals affiliated with Tel Aviv University. Prof. Shalev is a clinician, teacher, and mentor
of young professionals. He runs an extremely busy and highly specialized research program at NYU with vast international collaboration.


Photo by Tom DeLooza

M. Katherine Shear, M.D.
Grief Expert

M. Katherine Shear M.D. is the Marion E. Kenworthy Professor of Psychiatry and the founding Director
of the Center for Complicated Grief at Columbia School of Social Work. Dr. Shear is a clinical researcher who first worked in anxiety and depression. For the last two decades, she has focused on understanding and treating people who experience persistent intense grief. She developed and tested complicated grief therapy (CGT), a short-term targeted intervention and confirmed its efficacy in three large NIMH-funded studies. CGT is strength-based and focused on fostering adaptation to loss. Dr. Shear is widely recognized for her work in bereavement, including both research and clinical awards from the Association for Death Education and Counseling and invited authorship of articles for Up-to-date and the New England Journal
of Medicine.

Laurie Margot Ross PhD


Author / Consultant

Laurie Margot Ross, PhD  is an author, consultant, curator, and the director of Glocal Matters, a research center in upstate New York, focused on cross-cultural emotions and religion at the nexus of visual and material culture. A leading expert on masks, emotions, and religion, her work is informed by over three decades of transregional research. Laurie earned her PhD from the University of California, Berkeley, where she studied emotions and the face with Dr. Paul Ekman. Prior to that, she studied the transmission of emotions in an Indonesian Islamic (Sufi) mask tradition. She offers sensitivity-training workshops that incorporate masks to at-risk populations—from the public schools and academia to other institutions and organizations. Dr. Ross is the author of The Encoded Cirebon Mask: Materiality, Flow, and Meaning along Java's Islamic Northwest Coast (Brill, 2016).

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