Risa Morimoto is an award-winning producer and director for film, television and the Web. Her award-winning documentary about surviving Kamikaze pilots, Wings of Defeat, aired nationally on Independent Lens and in over 17 countries worldwide in 2008-09. She produced Spies of Mississippi (Independent Lens 2014), directed by Dawn Porter, about Black spies hired by the state government in the South during the civil rights movement. She has produced and directed several short documentaries including Memory/Loss about Cambodians in America and After the Darkness about youth rebuilding their lives after the devastating tsunami in northern Japan. In addition, she produces and directs television programs for HGTV, Animal Planet, A&E and others. Risa was a 2011 Fellow of the PBS/WGBH Academy and is a current fellow at Stanley Nelson’s Firelight Media Producers Lab. She received her Master’s Degree in film and education from New York University.
Paul Griffin has worked as a teacher and tutor, a butler and bartender, a driver and dog trainer, an EMT and an amanuensis. He was a dockworker too, in his college years, and then a dishwasher for a bit (alongside Vin Diesel), but the hardest–and best–work was the teaching. Paul started working with at-risk, incarcerated and special needs teens in 1989, with a concentration in conflict resolution workshops aimed at stemming the spread of violence, substance abuse and HIV/AIDS among young adults. (Check out the Creative Arts Team, the amazing organization that made those workshops happen, and continues to this day to work wonders with kids throughout NYC.) These days Paul works with awesome organizations like Behind The Book and Literacy for Incarcerated Teens, and his workshops focus on helping young men and women tell their life stories as they reach out to counselors, judges, admissions officers and potential employers. Twenty years to the day after Paul graduated Dartmouth, Penguin/Dial released his “first” novel Ten Mile River. For event and appearance info, please check out paulgriffinstories.com.