MEET THE TEAM
PRODUCER/DIRECTOR/PRESIDENT WMF - George Butler
- Butler was born in England and raised in Wales, Somalia, Kenya and Jamaica. A 1972 photo assignment for LIFE Magazine to cover the Mr. Universe Contest in Baghdad led to the publication of Pumping Iron: The Art and Sport of Bodybuilding (Simon and Schuster, 1974), a book that proved to be an unlikely bestseller.
In 1977 Butler produced and directed Pumping Iron, which launched Arnold Schwarzenegger, put bodybuilding and the gym business on the map and became a classic film. In 1985, Butler produced and directed Pumping Iron II, The Women. The film, according to Gloria Steinem, redefined the boundaries of femininity. In 1990, Butler released In the Blood. The film was shot on location in Kenya, Tanzania and Botswana. It played at Sundance, Leningrad, Denver, Toronto and many other film festivals. It was also a finalist in the IDA award as one of the ten best documentaries of 1990.
In 2001, Butler completed a trilogy of films based on Caroline Alexander’s bestselling book, The Endurance: Shackleton’s Legendary Antarctic Expedition. The trilogy included the IMAX® Shackleton’s Antarctic Adventure, which won the Giant Screen Cinema Award for Best Film in 2001, a two-hour TV special and The Endurance, a 92-minute theatrical feature. The Endurance was nominated for a British Academy Award in 2000, won Best Documentary of the Year from the National Board of Review, was selected for over 30 international film festivals and was one of the most successful documentaries in the world in 2001.
In 2004 Butler completed a feature documentary about his longtime friend John Kerry, Going Upriver: The Long War of John Kerry, which premiered at The Toronto Film Festival and was distributed by TH!NK Film. It earned high praise across the country and was a selection for the 2006 Whitney Biennial. Butler’s latest IMAX® film, Roving Mars, was produced in 2006 by Frank Marshall and is now being distributed by Disney around the world. The New York Times called it “the best IMAX movie ever made”; it won Best Science Film of the year from the National Academy of Science in 2008.
EXECUTIVE PRODUCER - Julian Robertson
Julian Robertson is one of the most successful and well known hedge fund managers of our time. Now retired, Robertson is an active philanthropist and serves on a number of organization and university boards. He is the founder and benefactor of the Robertson Scholars Program which awards a merit scholarship that provides four year full-tuition, room and board, and travel funding for 36 Duke University and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill students each year. In August 2010 it was announced that Robertson had joined an initiative by software mogul Bill Gates and investor Warren Buffett in which the wealthy would pledge at least half their assets to charity.
WRITER & PRODUCER - Caroline Alexander
A widely published and highly acclaimed writer, Caroline’s books include The New York Times bestsellers, The Endurance: Shackleton’s Legendary Antarctic Expedition, and The Bounty. The curator of the major exhibition, “Endurance: Shackleton’s Legendary Antarctic Expedition,” Alexander has written extensively on global travel and adventure in such publications as The New Yorker, Smithsonian, Outside, and National Geographic Magazine, where she is a contributing writer. Alexander wrote the narrative for Butler’s award-winning films The Endurance and the IMAX® Shackleton’s Antarctic Adventure. A Rhodes Scholar, She is currently working on a new translation of Homer’s The Iliad.
PRODUCER - Keero Birla
Keero S. Birla, is an Indian-born, Montreal-based, producer & director known for the award-winning IMAX® films, India: Kingdom Of The Tiger and Dinosaurs Alive 3D! as well for 150+ hours of documentary / reality television series, including five seasons of Eat St, four seasons of the Gemini-nominated food series Chuck’s Day Off, the 2014 CSANominated series Chuck’s Week Off as well as The Big Decision, for CBC Television, and The Property Shop for HGTV. Recently, he produced the IMAX film, Flight Without Wings for the Dubai IMAX Theatre as well as the science frontier series Brave New Worlds With Steven Hawking for Discovery International.
DIRECTORY OF PHOTOGRAPHY - Tom Hurwitz
Winner of two Emmy Awards and the Sundance and Jerusalem Film Festival Awards for Best Cinematography, Hurwitz has photographed films that have won 4 Academy Awards and earned several more nominations--most recently for Dancemaker and Killing in the Name. Over the last 25 years, his television programs have won many of the highest awards, including--most recently-- two Emmys for Best Documentary Special for PBS’s Jerome Robbins and, separately, Franklin, on which Hurwitz directed photography. Other projects include: Valentino: The Last Emperor, Harlan County USA, Wild Man Blues, My Generation, Down and Out in America, The Turandot Project, Liberty, Dolley, and Faith and Doubt at Ground Zero, among others.
EDITOR - Mona Davis
- Mona Davis has edited numerous award-winning feature documentaries. Her credits include the critically acclaimed Love and Diane (premiered at the New York Film Festival), The Farm, Angola USA, (Grand Jury Prize winner at the Sundance Film Festival, Academy Award nominee), for which she won an Emmy, A Perfect Candidate and Dream Deceivers (both nominated for Emmys), and the American versions of 7 Up and 14 Up. She was the consulting editor on the award winning 51 Birch Street and Girls Like Us. Her work has appeared in theaters, and on HBO, CBS, PBS, BBC, Arte, and Showtime.
COMPOSER - Mark Kilian
- South African born Mark Kilian has had a successful and eclectic film scoring career since moving to Los Angeles in 1994. He is most known for his ethnic flavored scores like the oscar winning Tsotsi, Traitor, Rendtion, Bless Me Ultima, and Before The Rains. His most recent scores include Revenge Of The Green Dragons (executive produced by Martin Scorsese,) John Carpenter’s The Ward, Trust Me (Clark Gregg, Felicity Huffman, Sam Rockwell, William H Macy,) Seal Team 8 (Tom Sizemore,) Repentance (Forest Whitaker,) and Pitch Perfect for which he has a platinum album for soundtrack sales. His TV work includes HBO’s 41, ABC’s Killer Women and Daybreak. He has also written music for many TV commercials including Apple, Toyota, Budweiser, American Express and Microsoft. He has 3 albums out under the name ‘The Gravy Street’ which have received airplay in Los Angeles and also 2 albums with the electronica duo ‘Ape Quartet.’.