If a Tree Falls

PBS Premiere: Sept. 13, 2011Check the broadcast schedule »

Filmmaker Bio

Marshall CurryMarshall Curry's Emmy and Oscar-nominated Street Fight, which he directed, produced, shot and edited, aired on POV in 2005. The film chronicles Cory Booker's first run for mayor of Newark, N.J. against incumbent Sharpe James and won numerous awards, including Audience Awards at the Tribeca Film Festival, AFI/Discovery SilverDocs and Hot Docs. It also received the Jury Prize for Best International Documentary at Hot Docs and was nominated for a Writers Guild of America Award. In 2005, Filmmaker Magazine selected Curry as one of "25 New Faces of Independent Film," and he was awarded the International Documentary Association's Jacqueline Donnet Emerging Documentary Filmmaker Award. In 2007, he received an International Trailblazer Award at MIPDOC in Cannes. His most recent film, Racing Dreams, about kids competing in NASCAR's "little league," won numerous awards, including Best Documentary Feature at the Tribeca Film Festival, and will air on POV in winter/spring 2012.

Curry has been a guest lecturer at Harvard, Duke, New York University and other colleges, and he has served on juries for the International Documentary Association, Tribeca Film Festival and Hot Docs. Prior to working as a filmmaker, he taught English in Guanajuato, Mexico, worked in public radio and taught government in Washington, D.C. He is a graduate of Swarthmore College and was a Jane Addams Fellow at The Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University, where he wrote about the history, philosophy and economics of nonprofits. Curry lives with his wife and children in Brooklyn, N.Y.

Sam CullmanCo-Director/Producer/Cinematographer Sam Cullman is currently producing and shooting a documentary about the "war on drugs" in the United States, directed by Eugene Jarecki, and is starting post-production on Black Cherokee, a short he co-directed with Benjamin Rosen about a self-taught New York City street artist.

Cullman's camera credits have included Eugene Jarecki's Why We Fight (2005), which won the Sundance Grand Jury Prize in documentary; director Rob VanAlkemade and producer Morgan Spurlock's What Would Jesus Buy? (2007); directors David Redmon and Ashley Sabin's Kamp Katrina (2007); Jonathan Stack's Lockup: Inside Angola (2008) and The Farm: 10 Down (2009), both follow-ups to Stack's The Farm: Angola, USA (1998).

His cinematography on King Corn (2006), a Peabody award-winning documentary for ITVS, was noted for its "handsome lensing" by Dennis Harvey (Variety) and was dubbed "visually arresting" by Ann Hornaday (The Washington Post). Cullman's camerawork will be featured in the forthcoming 2011 documentary feature releases Reagan by Eugene Jarecki, and Watchers of the Sky by Edet Belzberg.

Cullman has also produced and directed a number of short films in collaboration with non-profits and governmental agencies, including the New York City Housing Authority and the Ford Foundation. In 2003, Cullman produced, directed, shot and co-edited three profiles for Beyond the Spin, a series for the Service Employees International Union on Democratic presidential candidates. In 2004, he directed, produced and shot, Self Service for the Alliance for Quality Services, a short documentary about Sodexho USA's policies and practices. His 2008 documentary for the National Center for Children Exposed to Violence and the Yale Child Study Center explored partnerships between police departments and mental health clinicians in cities across the United States.

Cullman graduated with honors in 1999 from Brown University, where he majored in urban studies and the visual arts, and he founded Yellow Cake Films in 2006. He lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.

Editor/Writer Matt Hamachek's work has aired on HBO, IFC, PBS, BBC and the Discovery Channel. He began his career, working on the Oscar®-nominated documentary Street Fight (POV, 2005) with Marshall Curry and went on to collaborate with Curry again on Racing Dreams (POV, 2011), which won Best Documentary at the Tribeca Film Festival.

He has worked on a number of other projects, including the non-fiction series Film School with Nanette Burstein (American Teen) and The One Percent with Jamie Johnson (Born Rich).

Hamachek recently traveled to Morocco as part of the U.S. State Department's American Documentary Showcase to screen Racing Dreams at universities and cinemas around the country.

He is currently editing Geeta Patel and Ravi Patel's movie One in a Billion.