Sheila Ganz, Director/Producer/Editor, Unlocking the Heart of Adoption aired on public television and The Documentary Channel. Recipient of Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute’s Angels in Adoption Award. The film is in distribution to adoption agencies and educational institutions worldwide. Sheila was inspired to make Unlocking the Heart of Adoption after hearing numerous adoption stories in adoption support groups and her own experience as a birthmother. Sheila become pregnant as the result of rape. In 1969, in an attempt to move to another state, she totaled her car and fractured her pelvis at five months pregnant. After recuperating in a hospital, she went into a home for unwed mothers in Pittsburgh, PA. Sheila unwillingly relinquished her baby for adoption. She later found her daughter. Sheila is an activist for adoption reform and testified before the California State Judiciary Committee for adult adoptees’ civil right to their original birth certificate and birthmother rights. Over the years, Sheila wondered, “Why can’t there be homes to help mothers keep their children?” She decided to make her next film about family preservation and reunification. The Emmy-nominated documentary On Life’s Terms: Mothers in Recovery follows five mothers in a women and children’s residential treatment program, where they learn recovery and parenting skills and become self-sufficient. www.onlifesterms.org Family situations can impact a person in different ways. Sheila’s sister lives with schizophrenia. This led her to the current documentary project Piece of Mind about families with loved ones and person’s living with serious mental illness and the struggle for treatment in a broken mental health care system. www.pieceofmindfilm.com. Sheila is committed to making a difference in the lives of marginalized and underserved populations by giving a voice to their untold stories.
Vivien Hillgrove, Consulting Editor, experienced as picture and sound editor for many years. Vivien’s numerous documentary credits include The Devil Never Sleeps, Tell Me A Riddle, Corpus: A Home Movie For Selena and Broken Rainbow, Academy Award, Best Feature Documentary. Among her feature film credits are Henry and June, The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Blue Velvet and sound editor for Amadeus, Academy Award, Best Picture. Vivien has edited six documentary films by Lourdes Portillo including “Corpus: A Home Movie for Selena” and “Senorita Estravianda,” which won a special jury prize at Sundance and the 2002 International Documentary Award. Her other documentaries include “Yakoana, First Person Plural” (POV), “Heart of the Sea” (Independent Lens) and “The Future of Food,” advising the public on genetically modified food. Vivien is a reunited birthmother.
Witt Monts, Cinematographer, shot the stills for the film. After more than twenty-five years of experience in the media business he still believes in the wonder of the documentary. Witt’s credits include Everyday Heroes, Favorite Poem Project, Rabbit In The Moon, Sundance co-winner for documentary cinematography; Tell The Truth and Run: George Seldes and The American Press, Academy Award nominee; KPFA: On The Air, P.O.V.; Absolutely Positive, P.O.V.; and Wallace Stegner: A Writer’s Life.
Mary Watkins, Composer, is an eclectic composer as well as a pianist, arranger, recording artist, and record producer. Her music reflects many styles – jazz, gospel, country, rock, classical and pop. She has composed for solo piano for both adults and children; for wind ensembles, string quartet, chamber, and full symphony orchestra; and for theater, dance, and film. She’s composed songs for solo vocalist, vocal ensemble, and large chorus and has completed two operas: “Queen Clara,” (Lance Belville librettist) and “Dark River.” While continuing to compose, Mary performs both solo piano and as part of ensemble. She conducts improvisation workshops, teaches piano and music theory privately in Oakland, CA. Mary has been commissioned to write a symphony piece for Women in the Arts, Inc., producers of the National Women’s Music Festival. Nan Washburn will conduct the NWMF orchestra’s performance at the festival. Recipient of many fellowships and commissions for her musical compositions including National Endowment for the Arts Grant and California Arts Council Artist in Residence. Her original scores for documentaries include Ethnic Notions, Emmy Award and the Oscar nominated documentaries Freedom On My Mind, Complaints Of A Dutiful Daughter and Straight From The Heart. Mary is a reunited adoptee.
2021 (c) Sheila Ganz