Barnard Jaffier – Executive Producer/Director
British-born filmmaker Barnard Jaffier has been in the film business for 20 years as an editor, producer and director.
Jaffier’s journey into film began with the production company Blackside Inc., the filmmakers who produced the landmark, Emmy award-winning documentary series, Eyes On The Prize: The Civil Right Years.
Other award-winning and critically-acclaimed projects Jaffier has contributed his editing and producing talents to are: African American Lives, The Twelve Disciples of Nelson Mandela, Citizen King, This Far by Faith, Ken Burns Jazz: History of America’s Music, and the Peabody-awarded documentary Malcolm X: Make It Plain.
Barnard Jaffier is the Founder & CEO of Jaffa Films.
Samuel Pollard – Senior Producer/Consultant
For over 25 years, Samuel Pollard has had a significant role in bringing programming that illuminates the Black experience in America to both television and theatrical audiences. Pollard has edited award-winning films, including Jim Brown All American (2002); American Roots Music (2001); Half Past Autumn: The Life and Works of Gordon Parks (2000); Bamboozled (2000); 4 Little Girls (1997); Girl 6 (1996); Clockers (1995); No Dreams Deferred (1994); Surviving the Game (1994); Jungle Fever (1991) and Mo Better Blues (1990). Pollard has also co-produced the critically-acclaimed, When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts (HBO). Pollard’s credits also include the series: I’ll Make Me A World, and The Rise and Fall of Jim Crow, both broadcasted nationally on PBS. Pollard is a Professor at the Tisch School of Arts at New York University. Pollard won an Emmy as Producer and Supervising Editor for the Spike Lee co-produced HBO project, When The Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts.
Robin Espinola – Senior Producer
Robin Espinola is a documentary filmmaker, producer and writer. Her work has appeared on PBS, HBO, Lifetime and Investigation Discovery. Most recently, she served as a senior producer for a six-part documentary series which will air on ABC in the fall of 2020. In 2019, Espinola received the Eric Barnouw Award from the Organization of American Historians for The Chinese Exclusion Act, a documentary she produced and co-wrote with Ric Burns and Li-Shin Yu for public television. With Burns and Steeplechase Films, she produced numerous historical documentaries for the American Experience series on PBS, including The Pilgrims, Death and the Civil War, Into the Deep, and Eugene O’Neill. For Detour.com, she wrote and directed two immersive audio documentaries about history. Espinola has been recognized with two Primetime Emmy Award nominations and a News and Documentary Emmy Award for research. She began her career at Blackside, Inc. in Boston, the company best-known for producing Eyes on the Prize, the seminal television series on the history of the civil rights movement. She received a Bachelor of Arts in American civilization and semiotics from Brown University in Providence, RI.
Cindy M. Birch – Supervising Producer
Award winning producer and writer, Cindy M. Birch, has consistently created meaningful and impactful content which resonates powerfully with audiences. Ms. Birch’s work spans the spectrum of both television and feature film projects. As Lead Writer and Producer, Cindy Birch teamed with Director and Series Producer, Barnard Jaffier and won a Silver Telly award for TV One’s four part series, Murder in Black and White. The series was also nominated for a National Association of Black Journalists Excellence Award and hailed as an Emmy contender in the LA Times. Cindy returned and teamed once again with Barnard and produced Heart of the City: Katrina Five Years Later for BET News/Viacom, which won a New York Association of Black Journalists award. Cindy brings to Jaffa Films her producing and writing talents, but also her keen marketing and business acumen from the arts and entertainment worlds. Currently, Cindy oversees projects in development at Jaffa Films and continues to leverage her writing skills in fleshing out scripts, treatments and series bibles from Jaffa Films pipeline of entertainment properties. Cindy Birch is also the Executive Director of The Short Film Awards. The nonprofit organization, affectionately known as The SOFIES, is a global film community honoring the Giants of Short Film.
John G. Ives – Legal Counsel
John Ives has more than 25 years of experience in the entertainment industry, as an attorney as well as a producer, distributor and entrepreneur. He supervises finished and partially-completed feature films and documentaries, helps to place films at festivals with domestic and foreign distributors, and concludes deals with cable TV networks – as well as provides consultation on editing, music selection and clearances. Ives has appeared on countless panels at markets, festivals and film schools. Ives co-founded Cinecom Films in New York, responsible for the development, acquisition and release of such films as Robert Altman’s Come Back to the 5 & Dime, Jimmy Dean, Oscar-nominated El Norte, Jonathan Demme’s ground-breaking Stop Making Sense, and Academy Award winner A Room With A View. Ives has worked with Robert Altman, John Sayles, Ismail Merchant and James Ivory, Jonathan Demme, John Waters, the novelist Dennis Lehane, documentary filmmakers Malcolm Clarke (Prisoner Of Paradise), Laurie Kahn-Leavitt (A Midwives Tale, Tupperware!). Following Cinecom, Ives was President/CEO of Film Dallas Pictures, which helped create two Academy Award winners, Kiss of the Spider Woman and The Trip To Bountiful. At Film Dallas, he developed and supervised several productions, and released the critically-acclaimed Man Facing Southeast.
Charles Jones – Associate Producer/Assistant Editor
Charles Jones is a producer and editor of film and video. Jones graduated from Howard University with both a B.A. and an M.F.A. in film production. Following graduation, Jones worked as an archival researcher; then went on to write and direct commercials and PSA’s for various production houses in Washington, D.C. Jones has worked on independent documentaries, like The Twelve Disciples of Nelson Mandela, and PBS series, African American Lives. Jones separates his time between working on productions and teaching. Jones was a lecturer for the Art Institute of Washington, D.C., and spent four years teaching film and video abroad at the American University of Nigeria.
Mikael Short – Associate Producer/Social Media Director
Mikael Short has a decade of experience in communications and news media, which translates seamlessly to her role as Associate Producer with Jaffa Films. Ms. Short assists in production research, shoot logistics and talent management. Mikael maintains Jaffa Films’ online presence through websites and social media via research, copy editing, and design. She drives traffic and audiences to Jaffa Films’ online content, which is assisted by her understanding of the ever-changing digital environment. Short also supervises solicited TV and film script submissions and offers feedback to Jaffa Films production team.
Polina Montgomery- Line Producer/Production Manager
Polina Montgomery has been working in the filmmaking industry for sixteen years, mainly as Associate Producer, Production Manager/Designer for independent feature and short films, commercials, corporate videos, TV pilots and music videos. Polina has also worked at the Digital Film Academy in New York. Polina produced, casted, directed and edited two short films; while conducting marketing and training for a software development and database marketing company in Great Britain. Polina is a graduate from Central Saint Martins College of Art & Design in London, England, where she obtained a B.A. degree in Theatre: Design for Performance. Prior to College, Polina won several awards for her artwork and photography in Rome, Italy where she grew up.
Lewis Erskine – Editor
Lewis Erskine has been a film editor for more than 20 years. His credits include the award-winning The Black Press: Soldiers Without Swords; Marcus Garvey: Look for Me in the Whirlwind (American Experience); and two and a half episodes of the Ken Burns series, Jazz: A History of American Music. Erskine edited the Emmy award-winning The Murder of Emmett Till, which premiered at Sundance 2003, and The Fight, about the two historic bouts between Joe Louis vs. Max Schmeling, a Sundance 2004 special jury selection. Erskine’s Jonestown: The Life and Death of Peoples Temple and Freedom Riders each premiered at the 2006 Tribeca Film Festival and the 2010 Sundance Film Festival, respectively. Erskine received the Eddie and Emmy awards for editing in 2012, for the documentary, Freedom Riders.
Sasha Courtland – Development/Production Coordinator
Sasha Courtland has worked in television and film for the past 15 years as Writer, Production Coordinator and Show Producer. Courtland is experienced in managing complex logistical projects, on time and within budget. An eye for the next big trend in film and television; along with expeditious problem solving and quick thinking in the field, Sasha is fun and personable yet fastidiously organized. Courtland has become an incredible asset to Jaffa Films brand, as she also works with Jaffa Films’ nonprofit organization, Jaffa Media Works, under the stewardship of Founder, Barnard Jaffier. Causes Sasha is passionate about are Civil Rights and Social Action, Arts and Culture, Poverty Alleviation and Gender Inequality. Courtland has worked on projects involving clients: BBC, BET, MTV and Eurosports, Berlin. Courtland is an experienced pâtissier – skilled in the making of pastries, desserts, breads and other baked goods.
Maria Souza – Director/Producer’s Assistant
Maria Souza pursues her love of making films, recently completing her MA at New York University, NY. Souza brings her unique perspectives in observing life as a woman of color. Currently, Souza is developing a documentary short on the challenges of incarcerated women of color in her native Brazil. Souza supervises scheduling and the advancement of daily production efforts for Jaffa Films.
Andrea Cauthen – Business Manager/Still Photographer
Andrea Cauthen is a multi-media artist and designer. Prior to joining Jaffa Films, Cauthen studied Fashion Design at Parsons School of Design, which led Cauthen to working in the fashion industry. Her love for visual imagery continues as she embarks on numerous independent projects exploring culture and identity within the African Diaspora. Collaborating with Jaffa Films, Cauthen has created the overall visual marketing, while managing multiple feature film and television productions. An intrepid traveler and photographer, Cauthen continues her passion of photography, where she has won several awards for her artwork and photography and has creative work published in National Geographic, Reggae France, ARC Magazine and Bloomberg Business Week.