Helen Whitney

Writer, Director, Producer

Emmy and Peabody award-winning, film producer, director and writer Helen Whitney has been a prolific creator of documentaries and feature films. Her compelling subject matter has included topics such as youth gangs, presidential candidates, the McCarthy era, mental illness, Pope John Paul II, Great Britain’s class structure, homosexuality and photographer Richard Avedon. Among the actors she has worked with: Lindsay Crouse, Austin Pendleton, David Strathairn, Brenda Fricker, Teresa Wright, Estelle Parsons.

Throughout her career, she has maintained a deep interest in spiritual journeys, which she first explored with her documentary The Monastery, a 90-minute ABC special, about the oldest Trappist community in the Americas. Whitney followed this film with a three-hour Frontline documentary for PBS, John Paul II: The Millennial Pope, and in 2007 she produced The Mormons, a four-hour PBS series that explored the richness, complexities and controversies surrounding the Mormon faith. Following the Sept. 11 attacks, she produced Faith and Doubt at Ground Zero, a two-hour documentary that examined how religious belief – and unbelief – of Americans was challenged and altered by the spiritual aftershocks of 9/11. The film has been repeated numerous times since it first aired in 2002, and it was a PBS featured presentation on the 1st and on the 10th anniversary of the attacks.

One of Whitney’s recent works examines the power, limitations, and in rare cases, the dangers of forgiveness through emblematic stories ranging from personal betrayal to genocide. This film involved shooting throughout America, and such countries as South Africa, Germany, Rawanda, The three-hour series, Forgiveness: A time to Love and a Time to Hate, aired on PBS in 2011 and it also inspired Whitney to write a book of the same title, with a forward written by the Dalai Lama.

The filmmaker has also received an Academy Award nomination, the Humanitas Prize, Emmys, two DuPont-Columbia Journalism Awards and many other recognitions for her work. She is a Woodrow Wilson Fellow, and has presented her films and lectured at universities, museums and churches around the country (including Yale, Princeton, Harvard, Brigham Young, Stanford, the National Cathedral, the Corcoran Gallery, the Minneapolis Art Institute). 

Kris Liem


Emmy-award winning editor Kris Liem started with the Maysles brothers and has gone on to edit films for all the major networks, as well as theatrical distribution and video streaming. She edited, among others, the Emmy-award winning series Broadway the American Musical; the Peabody Award winning Broadway Musicals: A Jewish Legacy; episodes of the series American Masters, American Experience, Frontline and Independent Lens.  

Paul G. Sanderson III

Director of Photography

Sanderson photographed Whitney’s two most recent films, Forgiveness: A Time to Love and a Time to Hate and The Mormons. Other recent work for PBS includes We Knew What We Had: Jazz in Pittsburgh, Augustus Saint-Gaudens: Master of American Sculpture, Peter Matthiessen: No Boundaries, and I Can Dance: Four Stories.

Katie Taber

Senior Producer

Taber is a documentary film and television producer and director. Most recently she produced Milwaukee 53206, about the impact of mass incarceration on this African-American neighborhood and co-produced the Emmy-award winning documentary The Homestretch, about the challenges faced by homeless adolescents in Chicago. Taber has worked on many films for the award-winning PBS series FRONTLINE including Life and Death in Assisted LivingDollars and Dentists, and The Child Cases and was a co-producer on the four-part PBS NOVA series The Fabric of the Cosmos, based on the book by Brian Greene. Taber was also a founder of the award-winning Chicago-based theater company Division 13 Productions with whom she performed, wrote and directed numerous plays. Taber is currently directing a documentary about a young man who has emerged from his symptoms of autism.

Rocky Schenck

Principal Still Photography

Schenck has been loitering in the motion picture, musical, literary, theatrical and fine art worlds for decades. As a writer, director and photographer, he’s collaborated with a wildly diverse list of artists, including Adele, Nick Cave, P.J. Harvey, Ray Bradbury, Willie Nelson, Nicole Kidman, etc., and has directed over 150 short films. His fine art photographs are included in prestigious museums and private collections around the world, dozens of books, and have been utilized as sets in several operas. 

Ed Bilous

Original Music

Composer, artistic director, and educator, Bilous is the Founding Director of the Center for Innovation in the Arts at the Juilliard School and Artistic Director for Virtua Creative. Bilous began his career in arts education in 1978 as one of the first teaching-artists at the newly created Lincoln Center Institute. Together, with colleagues in theater and dance, he helped to create the basic cannon of aesthetic education practices that continue to inspire students and teachers around the world. As a creative artist, Bilous’ innovative work includes music for film and dance as well as multimedia theatrical events and virtual reality experiences.

Greg Kalember

Original Music

Kalember has been creating original music for film and television for over 20 years. His scores for television include the PBS documentary series Circus, and Carrier (Icon Productions). Kalember has scored many other documentary series such as Explorer (National Geographic), Biography (A&E), and the classic anime series Shaman King (Fox). His film credits include Voices Unbound: The Story of the Freedom Writers, Pokemon – The First Movie, Shoot Down (Rogues Harbor Productions), the award winning Asparagus! – Stalking the American Life, and Blood in the Sand by Noah Haidle and Sam Gold. Recently Kalember completed the score for the Emmy award winning The Homestretch (Kartemquin Films) as part of PBS Independent Lens series, which was named to Bill Moyers’ top 10 social justice documentary films of 2014 list. He is the co-composer of the multimedia production Basetrack Live which was selected as a New York Times critics pick, and featured in Charles Isherwood’s Top 10 in theater for 2014 after it’s successful national tour and New York presentation at Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Next Wave festival. Kalember also composed and produced the score for the Ken Burns produced documentary series Cancer: The Emperor of All Maladies, directed by Barak Goodman.

Jane Barnes

Senior Story Consultant and Reporter

Barnes previous work with Whitney includes The Mormons, John Paul II: Millennial Pope, The Choice, 96 and Richard Avedon. Barnes is the author of Falling in Love with Joseph Smith and is currently working on a book about the end of Mormon polygamy entitled The Prophet and the President.

Lesley Karsten

Senior Reporter

Karsten has had a long and varied association with Whitney, working on subject matter as diverse as mental illness, the class system in Great Britain, bigotry, the spiritual aftershocks of 9/11, and the Mormons. Prior to her work on Into the Night: Portraits of Life and Death, Karsten was associate producer on Whitney’s two-part PBS program Forgiveness: A Time to Love; A Time to Hate. Most recently, Karsten conceived, co-wrote with Stephen Wadsworth and performed the theatrical concert piece, That's Not Tango – Astor Piazzolla, A Life in Music

Sharon Stone


Sharon Stone is an American actress, voice actress, film producer, and former fashion model.

Her films include Total Recall (1990). Basic Instinct (1992), for which she received her first Golden Globe Award nomination. She won the Golden Globe Award and was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance in Martin Scorsese's Casino (1995). She received two more Golden Globe Award nominations for her roles in The Mighty (1998) and The Muse (1999). 

Other notable film roles include Catwoman (2004), Broken Flowers (2005), Bobby (2006), Lovelace (2013), and Fading Gigolo (2013). Stone has made guest-appearances in The Practice (2004), winning the Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series, and in Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (2010). 

In 2005 she was named Officer of the Order of Arts and Letters by the French Ministry of Culture.

Emily Calhoun

Archivist and Associate Producer

Calhoun is a writer, editor, researcher and consultant, interested in the social sciences, public policy, cultural anthropology, health and the environment. She has explored these and many other subjects through academia, journalism, and more recently narrative storytelling. Last year she produced and directed her first narrative short film, The Last Glimmer. She is now currently based in California and working on a documentary about working-class artists.