Lajwanti (Laj) P. Waghray has an extensive background in film and activism. In 2012, she directed and produced “Sleepovers,” a documentary about four girls as they grow into young adults. She co-directed the third film in Janet Fitch’s series, “Guns, Grief and Grace in America” (2009), co-produced Ramon Rivera-Moret’s documentary, “On Calloway Street" (2008) and worked as an associate producer for Shari Robertson and Michael Camerini’s “Well-Founded Fear” (2000). Waghray is a 2014 recipient of Kartemquin Films’ Diverse Voices in Docs fellowship. She also serves on the Milwaukee Film Festival's Education Committee. In addition to her film work, Waghray has served on the boards of Didi in Milwaukee and Sakhi in New York; both aim at ending domestic violence in the South Asian community. She currently serves on the board of Lynden Sculpture Garden, an institute committed to promoting the enjoyment, understanding, and appreciation of art and sculpture in nature.
Ramon Rivera-Moret is an award-winning experimental filmmaker. His films have been shown at Anthology Film Archives; Millennium Film Workshop; The Queens Museum of Art; PBS; and film festivals including the Chicago Latino, Ann Arbor, San Francisco Art Institute, and Athens International. He has received awards from the National Endowment for the Arts / American Film Institute, the New York State Council on the Arts, the Jerome Foundation, the Puerto Rico Institute of Culture, the Puerto Rico Film Development Fund, the Independent Television Service (ITVS), and the Amherst Art Series fund. Rivera-Moret is currently a visiting assistant professor in the Film and Video Department at Pratt Institute and lives in Brooklyn, New York.
Katie Boulden has been editing and writing professionally in print media for more than 22 years. With projects that range from editing an autobiographical book to writing promotional materials to producing the letters to the editor section of a daily metropolitan newspaper, she specializes in helping writers and speakers deliver a clear message without compromising each individual’s unique voice. Boulden, who was part of the “Sleepovers” team, calls Milwaukee, Wisconsin, home.
Randy Bobo is the founder of Independent Studios, an audio post-production facility in downtown Milwaukee, where he has worked on several documentaries, including “Sleepovers,” and the award-winning feature film “SweetLand” (2007 Spirit Award for Independent Film, Best First Feature).
Hema Malini Waghray or Malini is an archival researcher working on the Brahma Kshatriya community of Hyderabad and the founder at Choosing Wellness. She has been the Director at Code for Princeton working on civic-tech, managing teams create digital technology to benefit the residents of Princeton township. She believes that users are consumers, customers, clients, and humans in reverse order of value. She hangs on to the essential value of connecting with people at a level that is in the moment and about them.
Aasheesh Pittie is the editor of the journal “Indian Birds”; his monumental work “Birds in Books: Three Hundred Years of South Asian Ornithology” was published in 2010. He has been the Indian representative on the International Ornithological Committee since 2006 and is the member of numerous ornithological and environmental organizations.
Tim Vargo is the manager of research and citizen science at the Urban Ecology Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. His background is in applied biological research with an emphasis in conservation biology, tropical biology and ornithology. He has carried out research in Australia, Bolivia, Costa Rica, Panama and throughout the United States. Vargo received a bachelor’s degree in biology from Macalester College and a master’s degree in biology from Purdue University.
Manu P. Sobti is an Islamic architecture and urban historian and associate professor of buildings/landscapes/cultures at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. He studied at CEPT University in Ahmedabad, India; at the Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture at MIT; and at the College of Architecture, Georgia Institute of Technology. Aside from his extensive publications and grants, Sobti is working on an ongoing documentary film project for public television titled “Medieval Riverlogues.”
Dr. Sundeep R. Muppidi is an independent filmmaker and scriptwriter whose work includes “Inscrutable Americans” (2001), a 35mm feature film for the international market for which he was the co-screenplay writer and associate director. His documentary project “Seeing the Scientific Light” (2002) was funded by a grant from NASA. He serves as a consultant for national and international agencies, including UNESCO in Paris. He has a Ph.D. in Mass Communication from Bowling Green State University and a master’s degree in Communication/Television Production from the University of Hyderabad, India.
Janet Fitch Is a media activist reclaiming the public sphere for discussion of complex social topics. She co-produced “Through One City’s Eyes: Race Relations in America’s Heartland,” which garnered numerous awards. Her 3-part series “Guns, Grief and Grace in America” and outreach inspires solution-based conversations on gun violence in the United States. Fitch founded New Moon Productions (2000) to expand local, regional and global community thinking and actions on social issues. She is based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.