We are filmmakers, educators and students taking a stand against the stigma surrounding depression and all mental illness. We hope to use film and social media venues to raise awareness, foster empathy and provide information. Thank you for your interest; it's much appreciated! - Gina/Prof. G
Producer, Director and Mentor
Gina Guerrieri lives in Manhattan and teaches at William Paterson University in New Jersey. She has also taught at universities in New York and Italy and at the Asia Broadcast Center in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. She holds a B.A. from Loyola University, New Orleans and an M.F.A. from Columbia University.
Gina’s creative work focuses on populations marginalized by society and underrepresented in the media. As a professor, she created “Media That Matters,” a hybrid civics and aesthetics course with a component requiring student volunteer service in their local communities. She has volunteered in her own community with New York Cares, Free Arts and Project Sunshine.
Her short films have screened in national and international venues. In 2011, “Academania!” had its national television debut on PBS in “Official Best of Fest,” a short film program highlighting award-winning short films from across the country.
Her latest narrative screenplay, Enduring Freedom, was one of the top 50 semi-finalists (out of a record-breaking 7,251 screenplays) in the Academy’s 2013 Nicholl Fellowship in Screenwriting competition. Enduring Freedom was also chosen as a finalist in the 2013 Sundance Institute Screenwriter’s Lab competition.
Keith L. Smith
Cinematographer and Mentor
Keith Smith is a Los Angeles-based cinematographer. He holds a B.A. from Xavier University of Louisiana and an M.F.A. from the American Film Institute. He received AFIʼs distinguished Remy Martin Student Scholarship Award in 1991 – the first time the award had been given to a cinematography fellow, and the first time it had gone to a first-year student.
Keith was mentored by Bob Richardson, ASC, and has worked with many well-known filmmakers including Oliver Stone, Rob Reiner and Robert Townsend. He has also worked with many independent filmmakers as their D.P. on a variety of feature films, including “Hair Show,” “The Wash,” “A Good Man Is Hard To Find,” “Anything is Possible” and “Mysteria.”
In 2012, Keith was honored with the Best Cinematography Award for “The Lift” at the Annual Independent Filmmaker’s Showcase Film Festival in Santa Monica, California.
Keith is especially committed to bringing his keen visual aesthetic to true and authentic stories that inspire and entertain.
Associate Producer and Mentor
Diana Peck is a professor and the chairperson of the Communication Department at William Paterson University, where she was recognized for Teaching Excellence. She holds a B.F.A. from Boston University and an M.Ed. and Ed. D. from Columbia University Teachers College.
With interests in interpersonal communication and media policy, she chaired the Alliance for Community Media and was a co-organizer of the Annenberg Washington Center’s Summer Faculty Institute. Her research focuses on representation of women in the media.
Diana is currently writing a fictionalized account of how her mother's depression affected her life and family in the 1960s when open discussion about mental health issues was practically non-existent.
Composer and Mentor
David Weisberg is an Associate Professor of Music at William Paterson University, where he teaches theory and composition. He created a class titled "Composition for Media," which deals with scoring for motion pictures.
David completed his Ph.D. at Rutgers University in 2001, where he studied composition with Charles Wuorinen and jazz piano with Kenny Barron. He also performs as a freelance pianist in the New York-Metropolitan Area with groups such as the New Jersey Percussion Ensemble and the New Jersey Pops. David has presented papers at music conferences and has had his compositions performed both in the U.S. and abroad.
David created an original score for CINE’s inaugural Film Scoring Competition in 2013 and, out of 109 entries from 13 countries, his entry was chosen as one of 10 semi-finalists.
Associate Producer, Camera Operator, Editor and Mentee
Cecilia Potenza is studying film production and creative writing at William Paterson University in Wayne, NJ. She is attending the University on a full academic scholarship and has been on the Dean's List since her first semester. She served as the treasurer and, later, as the president of the student film club on campus with Gina Guerrieri, her professor and mentor, as the faculty adviser. Her films have been recognized and have placed in local film festivals in New Jersey.
With her family, Cecilia enjoys raising guide dogs for the visually impaired through The Seeing Eye of Morristown, NJ. She loves being able to make a difference in people’s lives through programs like The Seeing Eye and through film.
Cecilia is thrilled to be part of "The Dark Light Project," as she knows it will hold significant beneficial value for many people, including loved ones in her own life.
Art Director and Mentee
Alan is a newcomer to professional filmmaking, but what he may lack in experience, he more than makes up for in artistic vision and enthusiasm. He took up drawing as a hobby at age 8 and never stopped, eventually expanding his talents to include illustration, design and motion picture graphics. During his high school years, Alan had his own battle with depression, which impacted his visual style and shaped it into what it is today.
Alan is proud to be working on “The Dark Light Project” because of his own personal struggles, as well as those he sees loved ones experience on a daily basis. He feels that not only will this project help those he cares for, but it will help him focus on what keeps him grounded: tapping into his own creativity.
Alan is a Media Productions Major and has studied with Gina Guerrieri in various classes at William Paterson University; he is scheduled to graduate in May of 2014.