ABOUT THE PRODUCERS
SAMITE The world-renowned musician Samite was born and raised in Uganda, where his grandfather taught him to play the traditional flute. When he was twelve, a music teacher placed a western flute in his hands setting him on his way to becoming one of East Africa’s most acclaimed flutists. Samite immigrated to the United States in 1987, and now he and his wife Sandra make their home in Ithaca, New York. Today his smooth vocals accompanied by the kalimba, marimba, litungu, and various flutes mesmerize audiences throughout the world.
Samite has released eight CDs internationally and in 2009, the film Taking Root: The Vision of Wangari Maathai, which features his original score, debuted nationally on PBS.
Samite is the subject of the documentary, Song of the Refugee, distributed by PBS in 1998. It was while filming this that Samite’s work as a humanitarian began. In 2002, he founded Musicians for World Harmony, and in that capacity he travels to sing, play music, and exchange stories with victims of war, poverty and HIV/AIDS. He has traveled extensively in the war-torn and distressed countries of Uganda, Kenya, Congo, Rwanda, Tanzania, Latvia, Liberia and Cote d’Ivoire to work in refugee camps, with former child soldiers and AIDS orphans. In his role as Founding Director of Musicians for World Harmony, Samite is fortunate to bring his message of peace to a wide audience including several performances for the Dalai Lama and various United Nations events.
And link to www.samite.com
CHARLES EVANS, JR. At age nine, Charles Evans Jr.’s first film work was clearing 16mm trim bins (reconstituting picture and sound scraps) for his mother, documentarian Frances Evans, while she edited.
Evans earned his undergraduate degree at UC-Berkley with a major in “Short Story Writing.” His thesis, a collection of short stories, won the University’s Eisner Prize For Literature. Evans went on to complete the production program at University of Southern California’s film school. He wrote, produced and directed his thesis, “Second Son”. Shot in 35mm, the film went on to win twelve awards including the Grand Prix at Clermont-Ferrand’s competition. The film-maker worked for two years at Touchstone Pictures as Director of Development for Randall Kleiser Productions, before founding Acappella Pictures in March, 1993.
Evans produced Johnny Depp’s directorial debut, THE BRAVE, based on the novel by Gregory Mcdonald. Johnny and Marlon Brando starred. The production was an official selection for competition in the 1997 Cannes film festival. His enduring commitment to produce a film on the life of Howard Hughes resulted in THE AVIATOR (2004, BAFTA, Golden Globes).
In his directorial debut, ADDICTION INCORPORATED, he tells the true story of how Victor DeNoble’s unexpected discovery of an addiction ingredient in tobacco leads to both more addictive Marlboro cigarettes and Congressional testimony. The public revelation of long held tobacco industry secrets leads journalists, politicians, attorneys and whistle blowers into an unexpected alliance, that achieves the first ever federal regulation of the tobacco industry.
TONY CEDRAS Born in Elsies River, Cape Town, South Africa and based in New York, Tony Cedras is a composer and musician who has toured internationally. Cedras’ first musical experiences were in the local church choir, singing and also playing piano and accordion. He soon progressed to trumpet, taking in the local jazz scene, as well as the American jazz influences prominent in South Africa at that time.
After touring inside South Africa, Cedras relocated to Gaberone, in the neighboring state of Botswana in the early 1980’s. At that stage, Botswana was a home-away-from-home for many exiles of the Aparthied regime in South Africa, and it was here that he met trombonist/bandleader Jonas Gwangwa. Gwangwa was the musical director of the Amandla ensemble of the ANC, which Cedras joined, traveling not only in Africa, but also in Europe, Canada and Brazil to perform and spread the word of Nelson Mandela’s movement.
Late in 1986, Cedras returned to Southern Africa. He again worked with the exiled artists community, participating in the Buwa project headed by Caiphus Semenya and Letta Mbulu. While in Zimbabwe, Cedras was contacted by Paul Simon to join his “Graceland” tour band--a pioneering effort that helped launch the “world music” phenomenon, a fusion of various musical traditions from around the globe. Since then he has toured regularly with Paul Simon and Simon and Garfunkel. Recording credits include work with Paul Simon, Hugh Masekela, Miriam Makeba, Joan Baez, Harry Belafonte, Ziggy Marley, Henry Threadgill, Milton Nascimento, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Cassandra Wilson, Joe Bonamassa, Garland Jeffries, Kaissa, Christine Vaindrilis, Jonathan Butler and Samite.