Since 1998, Maria Arruda has worked in casting and production on films such as The Love Letter (DreamWorks SKG), Me, Myself & Irene (20th Century Fox), The Perfect Storm (Warner Bros.), 61* (HBO Pictures) and The Perfect Gooseys (Tutoh River Films). With film director and producer Andrew Mudge, Maria co-produced the short film, The Perfect Gooseys, which was considered for an Academy Award nomination in 2002 and was the recipient of numerous film festival awards. In addition to her production experience, Maria served as an assistant director at the Academy of Screen Arts in East Legon, Ghana. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Film from Emerson College, a Master of Science in Education from Long Island University and has studied Islam and Muslim-Christian Relations at Georgetown University. Maria currently lives in Cairo, Egypt and serves as the Assistant Country Director for AMIDEAST.
BASSEM BEJJANI, MD
Bassem A. Bejjani, MD, originally from Beirut, Lebanon, is a longtime patron of the arts. He is trustee of the Western States Arts Federation (WESTAF) and immediate past Chair of the Washington State Arts Commission (ArtsWA). He is also on the Board of Trustees of The Henry Art Gallery at the University of Washington in Seattle, and has previously served on the Board of the Spokane Symphony where he was Executive Vice President. A graduate of the American University of Beirut, the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, and Baylor College of Medicine (BCM) in Houston, he is a pediatrician and a medical geneticist. He is Chief Medical Officer of Metis Genetics, a telegenetics counseling service company. He is co-founder of Signature Genomics, a genomics laboratory that was acquired by PerkinElmer, Inc. in 2010. He is interested in arts and science education and the role of art in enhancing creativity, scientific learning and critical thinking. He lives in the Seattle, WA area.
John Jolliffe is an author, philanthropist, psychotherapist, syndicated radio broadcaster and an international consultant. He is the previous Executive Director of actor Jim Carrey's international philanthropic foundation. Prior to this, John hosted a US nationally syndicated daily radio broadcast titled Issues of Life, that was also heard live throughout Singapore, Malaysia, and Indonesia, for which he received an Angel Award from the Motion Picture Council. A Licensed and Board-Certified Marriage and Family Therapist for over three decades, he maintains an international psychotherapy and consultancy practice. With graduate education in Theology and Psychology, John embodies a refreshing integration of entertainment and education, and has worked on dozens of films over the years. He is the Co-Executive Producer of the award-winning children’s television program Mack & Moxy on Netflix and PBS, which, in association with American Public Television, teaches children life-long lessons of charity and compassion, while celebrating the joy of helping others, and has been the recent recipient of two prestigious awards for programming, the Parent’s Choice Award, and Mom’s Choice Award. A resident of Newport Beach, California, John is a native Hawaiian.
Stuart Pollok has over 25 years of experience internationally in the development, packaging, financing and production of film and television in both the major motion picture studio and independent markets, with producer/executive producer credits on over a dozen features. He currently is a film finance consultant and is producing director Jon S. Baird next feature film, an adaptation of the acclaimed novel No Mean City. He holds a law degree from the University of Glasgow, a Masters in International Law from Georgetown University and an MFA from University of Southern California. A native of Scotland, Stuart lives in California.
Pierre Sarraf is one of the founding partners of “né à Beyrouth Films,” the Beirut-based film development and production company. Born in Beirut in 1975, Pierre grew up in a city divided by civil war. In 1990, he immigrated to Italy, France then Canada to study Biochemistry and Business Management (MBA). After a few years of professional experience, he returned to Beirut in 2003 to set up “né à Beyrouth Films” which develop, co-produce and line produce feature films and Documentaries. To date, Pierre was involved in the production of 7 feature films, 8 shorts films and 6 documentaries. His last completed features as co-producer are Insyriated (Audience Award, Berlinale 2017) and Capernaum (Jury Prize, Cannes Film Festival 2018). On the industry level, “..né.à Beyrouth” plays a major role in fostering the film industry in Lebanon by producing the Lebanese Film Festival in Beirut since 2001, serving on the board of the Fondation Liban Cinema since 2016 and teaching Cinema Production at ALBA university. Pierre lives in Beirut, Lebanon.
Brice Tebbs has worked in Technology and Entertainment for over 25 years. A founder in multiple companies, he has worked with many industry leaders to build and enhance tools for content creation and management. While working as Chief Technology Officer (CTO) for Cyan Worlds, Inc. (the creators of the Myst and Riven series), he was the producer for the groundbreaking online game Uru: Ages Beyond Myst. He currently is with Google, and lives in the Seattle, WA area.