August 29, 2014

Field Notes: Burundi & the END to Neglected Tropical Diseases

Last week, I headed to Burundi with Jessica Dimmock on a project for The END Fund to look at  neglected tropical diseases (NTDs). With the threat of airport closures and quarantines due to Ebola, we made our way to Bujumbura without delays or setbacks. One of our greatest concerns was being stranded on our return through Nairobi, where Korean Airlines had already cancelled all flights as a health precaution.

While ebola was stealing the headlines, we were on a mission to document diseases that take hundreds of thousands of lives each year throughout the developing world. Neglected tropical diseases are diseases of poverty. They are preventable and curable with access to clean water and medicine. Seven years ago, The END Fund decided to make Burundi a case study for the best possible practices in public health. Their approach is to harnesses private capital to make sure that medicines donated by pharmaceutical companies actually reach the people who need them most. From there, they partner with local governments and other NGOs to take a comprehensive strategy to eliminate NTDs.

Burundi, the fifth poorest country in the world, struggles with an epidemic of parasitic diseases. During our visit, we documented a mass drug administration, where hundreds of school children received medicine for schistosomiasis and intestinal worms. We also filmed locals washing clothes, collecting water and bathing in rivers infested with parasites because there were no clean sources of water. One woman defiantly filled a jug with filthy water in front of our cameras, and then raised the jug to her lips to guzzle. She then returned home where a small child took several gulps from the same jug. She was well aware of the health hazard, but she wanted to demonstrate the reality of having no access to clean water.

While the challenges in Burundi seem insurmountable, the impact of education and treatment were evident everywhere we visited. In villages plagued by poverty, we witnessed mothers insisting their children wash their hands with soap before eating. We heard stories of children who died before the widespread availability of drugs since 2007. Through the efforts of the The END Fund, trachoma levels have been reduced by 90% in Burundi, and schistosomiasis and intestinal worms have been brought under control so they don't have to be fatal.

In a country with virtually no tourism and limited natural resources, Burundi is generally off the international radar. Wherever Jessica and I went, we created a stir. Other than NGO workers, we appeared to be the only foreigners for miles. The Ministry of Health had provided us with a police escort throughout our stay, not because our lives were in danger, but because we attracted such big crowds it made it difficult to work. The police proved to be incredibly helpful at dispersing crowds and keeping the children quiet.

Despite our crash course on NTDs,  the day before our departure Jessica and I were seduced by the waters of Lake Tanganyika. We should have been wary given all we had witnessed, but after five intense days of shooting, we decided to take our chances and hazard the water for a refreshing swim. Portions of Lake Tanganyika carry the parasite that causes schistosomiasis, but we were assured that if we contracted the disease, the medication is safe and effective....we double checked before taking the plunge. Our colleagues from The END Fund, on the other hand, opted to sit on the shore and watch from a safe distance. Hopefully, we won't regret the impulse.

August 27, 2014

Immediate Opening for 2014 Fall Internship

2014 Fall Multimedia Production Intern


Talking Eyes Media is now hiring a multimedia production intern for a five-month internship, requiring a five-day per week commitment in our Montclair, New Jersey office. This position will begin immediately and go through January 30, 2015. (We are located 35 minutes by train from New York Penn Station.)

This is a paid, advanced-level production internship. Interns must not only have strong editing skills, but must also be looking to expand and develop their storytelling skills, and work collaboratively with our production team.
The primary responsibility of this internship will include helping to edit short 2-3 minute videos.


  • Editing
  • Importing and organizing media content
  • Transcoding video
  • Scripting
  • Transcription and subtitling
  • Assisting producers and editors with story development

Desired skills & experience:

  • A passion for multimedia storytelling and social issues
  • Strong knowledge of Adobe Premiere, Final Cut Pro 7, Photoshop, and Expressions Media
  • Ability to execute, multi-task and meet deadlines
  • Must be self-motivated, a team player, and prepared to work independently. We will work closely and provide regular input and feedback, but we expect the right candidate to take a project from raw media to an assembly stage
  • Familiarity with After Effects is not required but is a strong plus
  • Please note: Although this internship’s main responsibilities will not include shooting, filming capabilities is also a plus.

Application Process:

  • This is an immediate opening. Interested candidates, please apply as soon as possible. Email with "Internship" in the subject line. No phone calls please.

  • All applications must include the following:
    • Resume
    • Cover letter
    • Links to pieces produced/edited with indication of what role you played

August 15, 2014

Help Bring Trauma Training to Iraqi Journalists

Every day, local journalists in Iraq put their lives on the line to cover events as they unfold.  Within the past two weeks, two young Kurdish photographers we know personally have been injured or have received death threats.  These courageous journalists do this without any preparedness training for medical trauma that might impact themselves or their colleagues. 

Talking Eyes Media is facilitating a training for up to 20 local journalists in Iraqi Kurdistan this September. The workshop will be conducted by a trained military medic with three tours in Iraq, three Kurdish medical doctors, and several journalists with experience in hazardous environments—all volunteering their time and expertise. Participants will also receive potentially life saving First Aid kits.

The workshop and supplies can be achieved for less than $6000.

Please support this urgent need by making a donation here. 

August 12, 2014

Eyes On This: Drowning World by Gideon Mendel

                                                                                        Photo Credit: Gideon Mendel
Thick clouds and an intermittent drizzle loomed over my commute today from Brooklyn to the TEM studios in Montclair. The weather forecast called for dangerous flash floods from tonight well into Wednesday. Although tropical storms are not the culprit in this case, I couldn’t help but think hurricane season is upon us. For a New Yorker, it is near impossible to think of hurricanes without remembering those dark autumn days in 2012 when Hurricane Sandy dramatically shifted the environment, testing the city’s systems and its people. It was only fitting to receive news this morning that the Guardian Weekly Magazine just published the latest chapter of Gideon Mendel's ongoing work Drowning World
Drowning World is an impressive photography and video project addressing the global threat of climate change. Since 2007, Mendel has immersed himself in the overflow of water, traveling far and wide to flood-ravaged areas, producing rich environmental portraiture. His short films show people living and coping with water outside of its normal confines. With this work Mendel highlights devastation, aftermath, and recovery in seemingly disparate locations such as Pakistan and Australia. The online version of the Guardian piece features portraits of families during the record-setting rainfalls in the UK earlier this year paired with images from the same locations six months later. 
Drowning World is a singular project with global reach and significance. Mendel captures the wake of loss with beauty and distinction, compelling us to acknowledge that extreme weather is now a part of all of our lives.   
Beginning September 5th, the Anderson Gallery in Richmond, VA will be showing nine Drowning World prints along with the Water-Chapters 6-9 video as part of a curated show entitled Forecast.
For more information, visit

August 6, 2014

TEM hits the road with the 2014 Purpose Prize winners

July and August has sent the team on cross-country jaunts to document the latest Purpose Prize winners, a group of motivated, highly skilled, social entrepreneurs honored for their encore careers. One of the shoots required photojournalist Ed Kashi to don a full beekeeper's suit.  

For the 6th year in a row, TEM is privileged to work with to provide video profiles of the winners and their contributions. We can't tell you who the winners of the $100,000 and $25,000 awards are yet, but stay tuned for the official announcement and accompanying TEM videos October 28, 2014.   

This week, the team is in San Francisco for our latest encounter with an Encore extraordinaire. With our recent short film Enemies to Allies published on MSNBC, our upcoming work on Chronic Kidney Disease in Nicaragua, and our continuing work with the International Women's Health Coalition, Mpala: Research Centre and Wildlife Foundation, and a host of other exciting projects-let's just say, we've been busy bees this summer.  

Want to know where we are? Follow @talking_eyes on twitter for the latest updates.  

August 5, 2014

We're Hiring!

Associate Producer
Talking Eyes Media – Montclair, NJ
Position Summary:

Talking Eyes Media is seeking a fulltime Associate Producer to work out of our Montclair, NJ office. The candidate should be a self-motivated individual with an interest in documentary film production and at least two years of experience.  We are seeking someone with a high-level of organizational, communication, and production management skills. This position will begin as soon as we find the right candidate. 

About Talking Eyes Media:

Talking Eyes Media (TEM), is a nonprofit production company that creates powerful media for pressing issues.  We are visual storytellers, creating documentary films, multimedia, books and exhibitions that actively stimulate dialogue and advocate for positive social change. 

Over the years, we have successfully translated projects across media platforms (from print to web to television) and have worked seamlessly between the nonprofit sector and the editorial world. We have an extensive portfolio of still photography, multimedia and documentary films and have received numerous awards from World Press International, Pictures of the Year International and UNICEF, as well as two Emmy nominations. Our work has appeared in such publications as National Geographic, The New York Times Magazine, and Time Magazine, as well as online (Time, MSNBC, Discovery, CNN) and on television (PBS and the Documentary Channel). 

We are highly skilled storytellers, who work with sensitivity, creativity and outright passion for what we do. To learn more, visit:

Position Description:

The Associate Producer at Talking Eyes Media will support the production team throughout every aspect of project development (from pre-production through post-production and final delivery).  In addition to providing creative and production support, this role is primarily responsible for operational and administrative support.  The ideal candidate will have an understanding of documentary projects and storytelling across all platforms, strong research skills, and outstanding communications skills. They will have several years experience in documentary films and/or in television production. The applicant should be reliable, well organized, outgoing and friendly, a team player, have a sense of humor and be able to work quickly to meet deadlines. *Note: This position will not require field producing, filming, or editing.

Position Responsibilities:

-       Work closely with producer/director and team members to successfully complete projects on time and within budget
-       Research topics, story ideas, and content to identify possible production opportunities.  Contact potential subjects and experts to conduct pre-interviews as needed.
-       Build and manage all production schedules
-       Perform grant and funder research for projects
-       Assist with grant applications
-       Manage and craft film festival submissions
-       Provide additional office and production support as needed
-       Craft and manage content for website, blog, social media networks (Facebook and Twitter), and digital channels (YouTube and Vimeo)
-       Write newsletters, project announcements and blog posts

Position Requirements:

-       Active knowledge of news/current affairs and documentary industry
-       Concern for social justice issues
-       Strong project management and organizational skills with ability to multi-task, prioritize assignments, and meet deadlines
-       Must be able to take initiative and work independently but also work with a team in a tight-knit environment
-       Able to formulate independent decisions using the available information and find a solution for, or deal proactively with problems
-       Ability to communicate effectively both orally and in writing with peers, employees, managers, and clients, to maintain confidentiality in daily operations and to conduct daily duties in a professional manner.
-       Must be comfortable using Mac computers
-       Extensive working knowledge of Microsoft Office (Word, Excel)
-       Knowledge of Photoshop, Premiere, FCP are a major advantage

Education & Training Requirements:

-       Bachelor’s degree from a four-year college or university in Film, Journalism, English, or Communications; OR two-to-three years related experience and/or training in film or television production 

Application Instructions:

Please e-mail cover letter and resume to Julie Winokur at with “Associate Producer” as the subject line. We will conduct interviews on a rolling basis.

No calls please.