Team

Director Allison Walsh is both a Prospect High School alum and a former student of Mr. Camardella’s World Religions class. This class served as a fundamental catalyst for her development as an artist and filmmaker. Thus, she is personally invested in—and in many ways a testament to—the transformative power of thoughtful, explorative education in students’ lives and in society more broadly. She is interested in re-visiting the classroom she once sat in as a student; this time with a documentary lens, to observe and communicate the impact of religious literacy on high school students.

Allison Walsh 
Director/Producer

Allison Walsh is an independent documentary filmmaker and

fine artist, who is committed to

local political advocacy and documenting social issues in the Midwest. Walsh’s films have screened around the world including Paris, France (Paris Art and Movie Awards), Sayulita, Mexico (Festival Sayulita) and Chicago, Illinois (Pride Film Fest, Femme Filmmakers Showcase). She is the recipient of an Acorn Equality Grant, awarded to work that positively impacts the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender persons and allies. She has been invited to speak about her films at Western Illinois University and the El Paso Museum of History. Walsh is a recent graduate of the internship program at Kartemquin Films in Chicago. During her time at Kartemquin, she worked on the documentary film The Dilemma of Desire, led by the Emmy and Peabody award-winning director Maria Finitzo and City So Real, led by the Oscar-nominated director Steve James.

Shuling Yong
Sound

Shu Ling Yong is a

Singapore-born,

Chicago-based documentary filmmaker, DP and Location

Sound Recordist who has worked on films like The Feeling of Being Watched (Tribeca, 2018, dir. Assia Boundaoui) and America To Me (Sundance, 2018, dir. Steve James). Her feature-length debut, Unteachable, was the first local film to win the Audience Choice Award at the 30th Singapore International Film Festival 2019, Shuling is a Tribeca Film Institute program alum, a Kartemquin Films Diverse Voices in Docs Fellow, a participating filmmaker at the BRITDOC Queer Impact Producers Lab, the DocNet Southeast Asia Strategy Workshop and the KOMAS Video For Change Forum. She was also chosen as a DOC NYC "40 under 40" Honoree in 2019.

Lilly Hanson
Associate Producer

Lilly Hanson is a Midwestern creative focused on assisting projects that shed light on systemic issues and new ideas. With a degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in film & journalism, she has worked on projects that help grow the Madison film community. Hanson honed her skills for project management and producing for documentaries through her internship with Kartemquin Films, where she assisted with the successful Kickstarter campaign for The Dilemma of Desire (dir. Maria Finitzo). She recently managed the Kickstarter for the documentary Czechs in Chicago (dir. Susan Marcinkus) and is currently working as the associate producer for I KNOW (dir. Nadav Kurtz, producer Diane Quon) 

Hanna Awwad
Assistant Producer

Awwad is a writer and modern embroidery artist committed to supporting projects that explore the relationship between identity and place. She graduated from Oregon State University with a bachelor’s degree in English and a minor in Religious Studies. Awwad is currently based in Rhode Island and pursuing a Master’s in Urban Teaching at Providence College.

Alanna Schmelter
Editor

Alanna Schmelter is a film & television editor with a concentration in narrative non-fiction & documentary. After graduating with a degree in film editing from Columbia College Chicago, she started her career by cutting comedy at the world-renowned Second City. She has since edited series for Starz, National Geographic, Travel Channel, Ovation and A&E. Finishing in 2018, she served as Co-Editor for two years on an epic ten-part documentary series directed by Steve James titled America to Me (Kartemquin Films & Participant Media), addressing race & academic achievement in public education.  It made its debut in the inaugural Indie Episodic category of the 2018 Sundance Film Festival, and aired on Starz in Fall of 2018.  Her latest episodic project, Lady Parts Justice in the New World Order (dir. Ruth Leitman), premiered in November 2018 at DOCNYC and is still pending distribution. She is currently contributing work as an editor for an upcoming Steve James project following Chicago’s 2019 mayoral election, premiering early 2020. 

Melanie Walsh 
Writer/Story Consultant 

Melanie Walsh is a writer, literary critic, and story consultant. She recently completed her PhD in English Literature at Washington University in St. Louis and started a postdoc in the Digital Humanities at Cornell University in Fall 2019. Her writing has appeared in The Los Angeles Review of Books, American Quarterly, The Chicago Review, and elsewhere. Walsh has previously served as a story consultant on the films Parallel Lines and The Daily Aesthetics of Alexander Martin, directed by Allison Walsh.

Diane Quon
Producing Advisor

Diane Quon is an Academy Award-nominated producer who worked as a marketing executive for 17 years at NBC and at Paramount Pictures before moving back to her hometown of Chicago. Diane is producing Kartemquin Films documentaries including the Oscar and Emmy nominated, Peabody and Sundance award-winning film, Minding the Gap directed by Bing Liu; Left-Handed Pianist along with Chicago Tribune arts critic Howard Reich, and co-directed by Leslie Simmer and Gordon Quinn; The Dilemma of Desire with Peabody Award-winning director Maria Finitzo (premiering at SXSW 2020) and FINDING YINGYING with Director Jiayan "Jenny" Shi (premiering at SXSW 2020). She is also producing the documentary, I Know, by Nadav Kurtz (Paraiso). Diane is a 2017/2018 Film Independent Fellow, a 2019 IFP Cannes Producer Fellow and a 2019 Sundance Creative Producing Fellow. She is also developing a fiction film based on the New York Times best-selling book, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet.

Rev. Dr. Nathan C. Walker
Fundraising Advisor

The Rev. Dr. Nathan C. Walker is executive director of 1791 Delegates and he serves as the managing director of The Foundation for Religious Literacy and founder of the online learning community, ReligionAndPublicLife.com. Walker teaches First Amendment law and human rights at Jefferson University and Rutgers Honors College. He previously served as the executive director for the Religious Freedom Center of the Newseum Institute where he helped raise over $2,500,000 in three years - 98% of which came from new sources. Walker currently serves on the board of the Public Religion Research Institute, as an advisor to the Muslim Public Affairs Council, and as the associate editor of the peer-reviewed academic journal, Religion & Education. Walker served as a resident fellow in law and religion at Harvard University and he received his Doctor of Education degree in law and religion from Columbia University.

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