Who We Are

About Our Team
Active Voice uses film, television and digital media to spark social change. Our team of strategic communications specialists works with filmmakers, funders, advocates and thought leaders to put a human face on the issues of our times. We frame and beta-test key messages, develop national and local partnerships, plan and execute outcome-oriented screenings and high profile events, repurpose digital content for web and viral distribution, produce ancillary and educational resources, and consult with industry and sector leaders. Since our inception in 2001, Active Voice has built a diverse portfolio of film-based campaigns focusing on issues including immigration, criminal justice, healthcare and sustainability. Active Voice Consulting offers research, strategic planning, concept design and intermediary services on a fee basis to foundations, producers and nonprofits. For more information please write to [email protected].

About the Prenups

The idea for the Prenups evolved as Active Voice noticed the rise of promising but often complicated relationships as filmmakers and funders collaborated at various stages of media production. Finding scant research on these trends, Ellen Schneider, Jon Funabiki and Gordon Quinn (see bios below), with support from the Tides Foundation, launched an inquiry into these emerging hybrid models. In 2007, we conducted filmmaker-only focus groups and one-on-one meetings with program officers who fund media. In 2008, writer Paul VanDeCarr conducted a detailed survey of and a series of in-depth, off-the-record interviews with a number of influential independent producers and leading media grantmakers. Their anecdotes, lessons learned, advice, horror stories and successes helped Active Voice develop the Prenups: What Filmmakers and Funders Should Talk About Before Tying the Knot.

The Prenups Team

Ellen Schneider, Executive Director, Active Voice

Ellen Schneider created the Prenups concept and has worked at the intersection of film and civic engagement for over 25 years. Prior to founding Active Voice, Schneider was the executive producer of P.O.V., PBS’s longest running independent documentary series. Schneider lectures widely and has served juries ranging from the Sundance Film Festival to the RioCine Festival in Brazil.

Jon Funabiki, Chief Consultant: Philanthropy

Jon Funabiki helped shape the Prenups and offered one grantmaker’s perspective on seeing “eye to eye” with grantees. (He also came up with the name “Prenups.”) For 11 years, Funabiki was at the Ford Foundation, one of the world’s leading philanthropic institutions. As Deputy Director of the Media, Arts & Culture (MAC) Unit he was responsible for the Foundation’s multimillion-dollar grantmaking strategies on news media issues. He is currently a Professor of Journalism at San Francisco State University where he heads up the Center for Renaissance Journalism.

Gordon Quinn, Chief Consultant: Filmmaking

Throughout the development of the Prenups, Gordon Quinn helped sort out a host of issues that are close to the hearts of many filmmakers. Artistic Director and founding member of Kartemquin Films, and a 2007 recipient of the MacArthur award for Creative and Effective Institutions, Quinn has been making documentaries for over 40 years. His recent producing credits include such award-winning and highly acclaimed films as Hoop DreamsVietnam, Long Time Coming5 Girls; and Stevie, for which he won the Cinematography Award at the 2003 Sundance Film Festival.

Paul VanDeCarr, Writer

Paul VanDeCarr conducted dozens of interviews with filmmakers and funders, analyzed them, and wrote most of the Prenups. He is a writer and researcher for foundations and nonprofits, with expertise in media/arts, faith-based programs, and community and workforce development. VanDeCarr also writes about the arts and the many forms of storytelling, with credits including the New York TimesSan Francisco MagazineFilmmaker MagazineFilm in FocusRelease Print, and others.

Zaldy Serrano

Zaldy Serrano designed www.theprenups.org and the Prenups guide. He is a three-time Emmy nominated art director who values a collaborative relationship between designers and stakeholders. He has over twelve years experience creating innovative design solutions for branding, book and editorial design, print collateral, web design and motion graphics. He is currently the art director for KQED, a PBS affiliate for Northern California.

Elliot Greenberger, Web Director, See3 Communications 

Elliot Greenberger directed the strategy, design, and development of www.theprenups.org. He is Communications Manager at See3, where he helps social causes use the web—with a focus on multimedia—for education, fundraising, and advocacy.  He has strategized online campaigns for nonprofits such as Sierra Club, Refugees International, NARAL Pro-Choice America, and the Center for Global Development. 

Daniel Moretti, Operations Manager, Active Voice

Daniel Moretti managed budgets, content, web assets and project details for the Prenups. He also oversees organizational operations and contributes to the digital and production components of various Active Voice campaigns. He comes to Active Voice with experience in both the nonprofit sector and the film industry and was a program associate at The Global Film Initiative, where he provided support for programs that promoted cross-cultural understanding through cinema.

Maikiko James, Program Coordinator, Active Voice

Maikiko James supports Prenups surveys, co-sponsors and resources. In addition, she coordinates Active Voice programs and projects that deal primarily with cultural and immigration issues. She has held development positions at Asian Pacific Islander Legal Outreach, TADA! Youth Theater in New York City and Interfaith Coalition for Immigrant Rights.

Share Your Perspective
Tell us about your own thoughts and experiences in dealing with the issues raised in the Prenups.

The Prenups are a work-in-progress and need your input! Did we miss an important question? Did you have a great collaboration you want to tell us about? Or do you believe that all independent films need heat-proof editorial firewalls to protect the filmmaker?

Let us know—we may ask your permission to publish your perspectives, either attributed or anonymously. (You decide.)