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.

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

[email protected]
(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

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(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

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(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

[email protected]
(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

[email protected]
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

[email protected]
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.


Barbara Cupisti - Producer

202-463-6154

Barbara Cupisti is a multiple award-winning documentary film director, TV producer and host, as well as a renowned actress. From 2007 to 2017, she completed ten documentary films focused on social issues all over the world, earning patronage from UNICEF, UNHCR and Amnesty International. Her films have received several awards at international film festivals. Most notably, her film “Madri” (Mothers), shown at the Venice Film Festival in 2007, won the David di Donatello for Best Documentary.

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In 2013, her film “Fratelli e Sorelle, storie di carcere” filmed inside Italian prisons, won the Ilaria Alpi, the nation’s most prestigious award for journalism. In 2016, her documentary “Exiles: The Wars” was awarded with a Nastro d’Argento Speciale, the oldest movie award in Europe. RAI TV regularly broadcasts Barbara’s documentary films on its TV channels reaching millions of people.

In 1998, Barbara made her debut as host on Italian state television (RAI) with a live broadcast program, “Survival” in prime time on Saturday night, featuring correspondents and guests from around the world. From the late 1980s until 2007, she wrote and produced television programs and documentaries for RAI, as well as private broadcast networks and cable TV channels focused on leading figures from the world of arts, literature music and culture.

Barbara Cupisti began her career as a leading actress in Italian and French films and television serials. For twenty years, she worked with prominent directors all over the world, including Dario Argento, Norman Jewison, Paul Planchon, Antonio Pedro Vasconcelos, Jhon Lofve, Gabriele Salvatores. In 2002, she appeared in her final film, the French production Total Kheops with Marie Trintignant and Richard Boheringer. In 2008, Barbara served on the international jury at the Venice Film Festival and is member of the Italian Film Academy.

Liz Mogrovejo - Production Associate

[email protected]
(202) 621-5490

Liz Mogrovejo joined Spark Media in 2017 as an Administrative Assistant/Production Associate. She graduated from George Mason University, where she studied Communications with a concentration in Media Productions & Criticism. She has worked on many media production projects throughout her collegiate career. She built her experience through multiple internships with WETA, the Washington D.C. metropolitan area PBS station.


Cindy Earley - Controller

[email protected]
(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

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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

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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

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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.


Dara Padwo-Audick

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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

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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

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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:

  • Platinum Pixie Award – Motion Graphics, 2017
  • Platinum Remi Award – Documentary Feature, WorldFest Houston 2017
  • 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