TORRY MERCER – WRITER, MUSICIAN, TEACHER, ASSISTANT DIRECTOR
Torry is a political philosopher, historian, writer, teacher, documentary filmmaker, poet, songwriter, composer, and chef. Torry has been a lifelong activist working to counter US foreign policy and assist low-income people of color.
Worked for Studio X Media in the early 1980’s, which published the alternative culture magazines Studio X and Punx Magazine. Has been a Pacifica Radio supporter and activist since 1976. Started Montrose Radio, a mission driven pirate radio station. Worked for Pueblo to People, a non-profit alternative trading organization that started the Fair Trade Coffee business in the US.
Studied history with John Mason Hart at University of Houston. Graduated with honors in 1999. Taught U.S. and World History, Geography, Government, Economics, and Sociology in Houston area high schools for many years.
Started Food Not Bombs in Houston. FNB is a loose-knit group of all-volunteer independent collectives sharing free vegan meals in public places to anyone who is hungry in order to call attention to poverty and homelessness. FNB serves surplus food donated by grocery stores, bakeries, and local farms that would otherwise go to waste as a protest to war and poverty, and to counter corporate and government priorities skewed to allow hunger to persist in the midst of abundance.
Torry writes short stories and screenplays, is working on a documentary film about Direct Democracy, and lends his quill to other screenwriters as a script doctor. Has been in numerous bands including punk, klezmer, world beat, Americana, prog, and folk, and is a multi-instrumentalist. His most recent musical projects are the bands Anarchitex and Deconstruction Crew.
BEN TECUMSEH DESOTO
Ben is a veteran photographer and documentarian of 30 years. He spent most of his career at the Houston Chronicle capturing the sights of Houston as a growing metropolis. While at the Chronicle, Ben documented the plight of the homeless in his many photo essays. That work was the inspiration for the Understanding Poverty Project, a photo exhibit, book, and documentary film narrative that spans 30 years of Ben’s work covering the subject of how urban poverty and public policies both relate to post-traumatic stress disorders. The photo exhibit debuted at Diverse Works in 2008. Work was presented in the Rotunda of City Hall, City of Houston in 2009.
With funding, Ben will coordinate another period of production in June 2016. Highlight work includes jail house interview with Judy Pruitt; Girl's Court; Harris County Jail Diversion programs and the Healthcare for the Homeless jail diversion programs.
Currently, Ben works as a freelance photographer and educator, adjunct professor of photography at Houston Community College, and cohort with Houston FotoFest’s “Literacy Through Photography” project.
Ben’s expertise in photography and video editing serve as the passion, knowledge and drive for this project.
People's Section Texas State Capitol, Austin. Photo by Lorraine Schroeder.
Deborah is a seasoned nonprofit leader with 30 years of proven, hands-on experience in organizational development, fund raising, financial reporting, and program concepts and implementation from start-up to maturity.
Her work experience includes: Diverse Works, 1986-1993; Project Row Houses, 1993-2003; and Row House Community Development Corporation, 2003-2005. She has worked nationally with: ACLA (Art . . . Community . . . Land . . . Activism!) Los Angeles; Watts House Project/Los Angeles; Metro Studios Project with Katherine Dunham Center for Arts & Humanities/East St. Louis; May Street Project, Fairmount Park Art Association, West Philadelphia; Detroit Project, and Detroit Institute for Arts. Grotfeldt recently concluded a seven-year stint as Advancement Director for Houston Public Media, raising funds for KUHF News, Classical 91.7 and Houston PBS.
Deborah had the privilege of working with Ben DeSoto at Diverse Works during the 1992 installation of his Understanding Poverty Project, and has been inspired by his passion and commitment for advocacy journalism since that time. For DeSoto’s new documentary film, The quiet Storms of Reform, Deborah will spearhead fundraising and administration of funds from the shooting and editing stages to distribution.
DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY
GIRL'S COURT NARRATIVE,
THE FAMILY OF JUDY PRUITT NARRATIVE.
Julye Newlin brings a love of photography and filmmaking and two decades of experiences as a freelance videographer. A Masters degree in Communications has refined a storytelling style balancing compassion, reason and human understanding with technical expertise as director, editor, and producer.
Newlin joins South Coast Film and Video in collaborating on The Quiet Storms of Reform.
Southwest Alternate Media Project (SWAMP) is the sponsoring 501(C)(3) organizing serving as the fiscal agent for The quiet Storm of Reform postproduction and distribution plans. SWAMP would make themselves available to any who would want to join our efforts through contributions as tax deductible to the fullest extent allowed by law.