Who We Are

Founded by director and producer Andrea Kalin in 1989, Washington D.C.-based Spark Media strives to both entertain and inspire audiences - changing one family, one community, one struggle at a time. Spark's driven production team crafts projects that combine ingenuity with integrity, intellectual rigor with strong narrative, vision with action. Excellence is our passion, and the standard that unites everyone at Spark to transform stories into impact and ignite lasting social change.  
Spark Media - Sizzle Reel 2017 from Spark Media on Vimeo.width="560" height="315" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen">

Our Mission

Spark’s deep roots are in activist storytelling that fosters social and institutional change. But we don’t just tell stories. We crystallize messages through our programming and give voice to needed perspectives outside the mainstream. By building partnerships with stakeholders, we extend our ability to create the change that will contribute to a better, healthier, and more inclusive society.


Our Team

Andrea Kalin - Founder and Creative Director

andrea@sparkmedia.org
(202) 621-5495

Andrea Kalin, founder of Spark Media, is a celebrated documentary filmmaker whose films have aired on major networks around the globe, screened theatrically to sold-out audiences, and earned more than 85 industry awards, including a Prime Time Emmy, and Golden Globe and WGA nominations. She has worked in over 25 countries, from disaster zones to remote tropical rain forests, crafting gripping human stories for the screen. Andrea specializes in bringing to viewers the emotional front line where lives of courage, perseverance and dignity battle brutal injustices and seemingly insurmountable hardships. Her films include the award-winning docs Partners of the Heart, The Pact, No Evidence of Disease, Red Lines, and First Lady of the Revolution.

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Filmography Partners of the Heart (2002); The Pact (2006); Prince Among Slaves (2007); Allah Made Me Funny: Live in Concert (2008); Soul of a People: Writing America’s Story (2010); Worlds of Sound: The Ballad of Folkways (2010); No Evidence of Disease (2013); Red Lines (2014); First Lady of the Revolution (2016)

James Mirabello - Production Manager/Producer

james@sparkmedia.org
(202) 621-5508

Spark Media’s primary researcher, production manager James Mirabello was the co-producer and lead archival researcher for First Lady of the Revolution and Soul of a People: Writing America’s Story, which went on to win five TIVA Peer Awards, including “Best of D.C.” He also served as associate producer for Prince Among Slaves, production manager for No Evidence of Disease and The Pact, and production associate and archival researcher for Partners of the Heart, as well as the writer and producer of The Advent of Heart Surgery, one of the featurettes of the Partners of the Heart DVD release.


Ethan Oser - Director of Photography/Editor

ethan@sparkmedia.org
(202) 621-5489

Ethan Oser joined Spark Media after graduating from the George Washington University, where he studied Journalism and Film Studies, and made a number of short documentaries, including the award-winning film, Invasive. In addition to his work on First Lady of the Revolution as an associate producer and assistant editor, Ethan was the producer for that film's companion educational game, Abolished! The Game of Peace, worked as an assistant editor and production associate on Red Lines, and was an associate producer and researcher on Spark’s educational game, Anne & Emmett: the other.


Honey Al Sayed - Inaugural Fellow

info@sparkmedia.org
(202) 463-6154

Honey Al-Sayed is an accomplished bilingual (English, Arabic) communications, marketing, public relations professional and award-winning journalist with a wide range of expertise in all aspects of media, art and culture, as well as public speaking, coaching and media training. After the outbreak of the Syrian uprising, Ms. Al-Sayed relocated to the United States and co-founded Souria Li– an independent, nonprofit, online radio network where she worked as a producer, host, and media consultant. Ms. Al-Sayed was a Creative Consultant on Red Lines, which has garnered numerous accolades, including: Best Documentary Feature, Peer Gold, Accolade, and Human Rights awards. She is currently working with Spark Media on an live show with interactive multimedia entitled Syrians Unwritten.

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She is regularly invited by prominent think tanks, organizations, and universities as a keynote speaker/moderator/panelist, to discuss women’s empowerment, and the role of media and the arts in catalyzing social change and peacebuilding. Ms. Al Sayed is a graduate of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University with a Master of Arts in International Affairs, where she received a full scholarship and was selected to address her graduating class at commencement. She offers a visionary’s perspective, which combined with her entrepreneurial spirit and thought leadership offers distinct benefits to both the nonprofit and for-profit sectors, as well as academic institutions and media enterprises.

Karen Simon - Producer/Outreach Advocate

karen@sparkmedia.org
202-463-6154

Karen Simon has worked extensively with Spark Media in the field, most recently as a lead producer of No Evidence of Disease and as outreach director for the GYN awareness campaign "What Every Woman Should Know." She previously worked on casting and directing talent for Soul of a People, field production, research and fundraising for Partners of the Heart, and in the casting and costume departments for Prince Among Slaves. In addition to her Spark responsibilities, she has produced educational videos for non-profit organizations like Project Interchange. Karen works extensively with non-profits on a spectrum of social issues, and has created and launched several community outreach campaigns.

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Karen joined Spark after years of producing and directing for broadcast and theatre. She managed and directed a non-profit organization called Voices From the Streets, working with homeless and at-risk children and adults in theatre. They performed their own stories to audiences all over the metropolitan DC area, including members of Congress, White House staff, religious organizations, and community and school groups.

Diana Moss - Producer

diana@sparkmedia.org
202-463-6154

Diana Moss heads Spark Media's Latin America Projects Division. Born in Mexico and fully bilingual, she is the project manager and senior producer of public service announcements, documentaries, new media content, social issue awareness campaigns, and international media events in or about Latin America and the Caribbean. Prior to joining Spark, she was the marketing communications manager for the Inter-American Development Bank and held various posts at WUSA Channel 9 and several independent production companies, creating programming for PBS, Discovery Channel, HGTV and others.


Kathy Dismukes - Impact Producer

kathy@sparkmedia.org
(202) 621-5497

As Impact Producer, Kathy Dismukes advances Spark Media’s mission to tell stories that foster social and institutional change, as well as its bottom line. She specializes in fundraising, business development, partnership-building, and outreach. Her revenue-raising expertise comes from 15+ years at nonprofits like The Nature Conservancy, World Wildlife Fund, and Island Press. Kathy served as Associate Producer on Aviva Kempner’s award-winning Yoo-hoo, Mrs. Goldberg. She coordinated business development for Cortina Productions, which creates high-end films and interactives for museum, visitor centers, and presidential libraries. And for several years, she provided fundraising, marketing, and outreach consulting services for documentary filmmakers. Kathy has been helping advance women in behind-the-camera roles by working with DC’s Women in Film & Video since 2007, and served on WIFV’s Board of Directors for four years.


Rachel Hawkins - Production Associate

rachel@sparkmedia.org
(202) 621-5490

Rachel Hawkins joined Spark Media in 2016 as a Production Associate on First Lady of the Revolution, helping extensively on archival research as well as creating materials for the film’s social media campaign. She graduated from Colby College, where she studied Theater and Dance, as well as Cinema Studies. She has worked on a number of theater and media productions, both collegiate and professional.


Nihal Horne - Production Associate

nihal@sparkmedia.org
202-463-6154

Nihal Horne is a filmmaker and producer with a diverse background in both television and education. She graduated with her undergraduate degree in Communications from University of California-Santa Barbara, and her Masters degree from the University of Puerto Rico- Mayaguez in English Education, where she taught freshman composition, and wrote her thesis on digital literacy. Prior to joining Spark Media, she held posts at E! News in Los Angeles, and WTTG FOX-5 in Washington D.C. She has also produced and directed several international short films for non-profit organizations and their initiatives, such as Trees for Children, and Global Fund for Children, and the Nyumbani Village based in Kitui, Kenya.


Cindy Earley - Controller

cindy.earley@sparkmedia.org
(202) 621-5494

Cindy Earley started working as Spark Media's controller in January 2016. She's a graduate of Strayer University's School of Business with over 20 years of accounting experience and 8 years of experience as Controller. She has supervised Accounting Departments, overseeing tasks including budget analysis, job costing, cash forecasting, A/P and A/R. She has also been a part of implementing software accounting packages, data migrating, whole training and mentoring peers and staff.


Staff Consultants

Lloyd "Raki" Jones

info@sparkmedia.org

Raki Jones is an award-winning independent producer and writer who has collaborated on several Spark Media projects. He is co-producer and writer on Sonata Mulattica, was a consulting producer on The Pact, and was co-producer and co-writer for Prince Among Slaves, which won numerous industry and film festival accolades. Before his work with Spark Media, Raki wrote the Emmy-nominated The Colored Cyclone in 1995, and has won a collection of awards for other multimedia projects. He is currently a film professor and lecturer at the University of the District of Columbia. When not dispensing sage wisdom as Spark's Obi-wan Kenobi, Raki can often be found poring over the latest books, DVDs, music, etc. at the local bookstore.


Nancy Camp

info@sparkmedia.org

Nancy Camp is an independent producer and writer who has worked with Spark Media for over 10 years. She was the co-producer/writer of the award-winning Too Brief a Child: Voices of Married Adolescents, creative consultant and outreach coordinator for Soul of a People, and a story consultant on Worlds of Sound and Prince Among Slaves, for which she also served as a writer/producer for several of that program's DVD and web features. She has served as a digital producer for Spark Media's educational game initiatives, including the in-development Soul of a Place, based on the Soul of a People documentary. As a professional narrator and actor, Nancy can be seen and heard on air and on camera, including for several Spark Media productions.


Nick Ray

nick@sparkmedia.org

A graduate of American University's Master in Fine Arts for film, Nick Ray has partnered with Spark Digital Media as Lead Developer for several projects. His focus is on the intersection between code, storytelling, and games for social impact. His past work includes mobile applications, consulting on interactive docs, and websites for nonprofits. In addition to his work at Spark, Nick also serves as an adjunct professor at American University.


Yael Luttwak

yael@sparkmedia.org

Yael Luttwak is a filmmaker. Yael directed and co-produced her first feature A Slim Peace, which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2007. Her film was broadcast worldwide and on the Sundance Channel in the US. Yael's recent films include My Favorite Neoconservative screened at the San Francisco, Boston and Washington, D.C., Jewish Film Festivals and To Step Forward Myself which premiered at the Atlanta Jewish Film Festival in February 2016 and won the Audience Award and The Robinson International Short Film Silver Prize. Yael is in post-production on her latest documentary feature Welcome To South Portland, Maine about immigrant teen girls in Maine.


Dara Padwo-Audick

dara@sparkmedia.org

Dara Padwo-Audick is a seasoned media professional with over twenty-five years of experience whose passion for telling impactful stories has taken her around the globe. She has written, produced and directed many programs and series for networks including Animal Planet, Discovery Channel, ESPN, Fox, Lifetime Television, and PBS. As an educator, mentor and dedicated life-long learner, Dara has embraced her work as an adjunct professor in the School of Communication at the American University since 2004. Dara earned her B.A. in Individual Studies from the University of Maryland and her M.A. in Film and Video from American University, and is a member of the Producers Guild of America.


Paulo Soto

info@sparkmedia.org

Filmmaker Paulo Soto has held several positions in the media world, including director of photography and editor for Spark Media’s First Lady of the Revolution, as well as director of photography for iMae and Prisoners, both directed by Esteban Ramirez. He also provided additional photography for Pandora’s Box, directed by Pablo Ortega and Spark Media’s Red Lines. In addition to his work on features and documentaries, Soto has shot and directed numerous music videos. Soto studied Cinematographic Arts at the University Veritas of San Jose, through a scholarship from the Cinergia Foundation, a development fund for audiovisual arts in Central America and Cuba.


Wanakhavi Wakhisi

info@sparkmedia.org

A graduate of Howard University's film program, Wanakhavi has worked at Spark Media since 2001, serving as a production associate on The Pact and Prince Among Slaves, and associate producer on Allah Made Me Funny. In addition to his work at Spark, Wanakhavi works at Howard University and as a freelance photographer and producer.


Awards

Spark Media has garnered over 85 prestigious international video awards for its productions. We believe that people connect with social messages that emerge from stories about people like themselves – with production values that display high quality, creativity, sincerity, and attention to detail. We are proud of the recognition that Spark has earned with the following awards:

  • Hoka Award – Best Documentary Feature, Oxford Film Festival 2017
  • Spotlight Award 2016
  • Accolade Award 2016
  • Audience Choice Award, Fairhope Film Festival 2016
  • TIVA-Peer Awards 2016 (3)
  • Award for Excellence, IndieFEST 2016
  • Audience Award – Best Alabama Film, Sidewalk Film Festival, 2016
  • Jury Award – Honorable Mention, Sidewalk Film Festival, 2016
  • Best Director, StarDoc International Documentary Film Festival 2016
  • Most Disturbing Film, Ramdam Film Festival 2016
  • Impact Doc Awards – Award of Excellence, Special Mention 2016
  • National Endowment for the Humanities Top 50 – 2015
  • Humanitarian Award, Tiburon International Film Festival 2015
  • IndieFEST Film Awards 2015 (3)
  • Global Film Awards, Humanitarian Award – Outstanding Achievement 2014
  • Pixie Award – Gold 2014
  • Accolade Award, Special Mention 2014
  • TIVA-Peer Award 2014
  • Maverick Award – Best Feature Documentary, Woodstock Film Festival 2014
  • Accolade Award 2013
  • TIVA-Peer Awards 2013 (2)
  • Madelyn’s Choice Award, Rocky Mountain Women’s Film Festival 2013
  • CINE Golden Eagle 2013
  • TIVA-Peer Award 2012
  • CINE Golden Eagle 2012
  • Accolade Awards 2011 (2)
  • Best of DC TIVA Peer Award 2010
  • TIVA Peer Awards 2010 (8)
  • Writers Guild of America Nomination 2010
  • Special Jury Award, Worldfest Houston International Film Festival, 2010
  • CINE Golden Eagle Awards 2010 (2)
  • Directors Choice, Black Maria Film & Video Festival 2010
  • Grand Jury Award, Mid-Atlantic Black Film Festival 2008
  • World Media Festival Gold Medal 2008
  • Paul Robeson Award Gold 2008
  • Telly Award 2008
  • Best Documentary Feature ABFF 2007
  • TIVA Peer Awards 2007 (6)
  • CINE Golden Eagle AWARD 2007
  • Grand Goldie Award 2007
  • CINE Golden Eagle Award 2006
  • Telly Award 2006
  • Best Indie Spec Documentary Award, Boston International Film Festival 2006
  • Prime Time Emmy 2004
  • Golden Globe Nomination 2004
  • Eric Barnouw Award 2004
  • Gold Special Jury Award, WorldFest – Houston International Film Festival 2003
  • Chris Award 2003
  • CINE Golden Eagle Award 2003
  • CINE Golden Eagle Award 2002
  • Gracie Allen Award 2000 AWRT
  • Telly Award 2000
  • The Communicator Crystal Award of Excellence 1999
  • The Communicator Award of Distinction 1999
  • Aurora Gold (2)
  • Aurora Platinum, Best of Category (2)
  • The Communicator Award of Excellence
  • Gold UNESCO 1997 NY Festivals
  • CINE Golden Eagle 1998 (2)
  • Certificate of Excellence, The Latham Foundation for the Promotion of Humane Education 1998 (2)
  • EdPress Distinguished Achievement Award 1998 (2)
  • Silver Screen Award, US International Film and Video Festival 1998