Jen Miller - Co-founder of Rare Equine Trust
Jen is a filmmaker whose career has taken her from Hollywood blockbusters to independent cinema. Cutting her teeth on "Forrest Gump", Jen’s subsequent inauguration in the film business was producing a feature film for MGM, on which she also served as Music Supervisor and Creative Director for the publicity campaign, overseeing key art one-sheet and trailer production. She was nominated for a Key Art Award as Copywriter and Creative Director for her efforts.
Over the next several years, Jen directed and produced music videos for MTV through her own production company. As a music supervisor she put together the soundtracks for several feature films for Miramax and MGM films and also free-lanced as a music supervisor, producing music for films, commercials, trailers and TV series. As a screenwriter, her screenplays have won honors in the Sundance writing program and have been optioned and produced by companies such as Columbia Tristar and Stormworks entertainment.
Jen's first novel “Billy Bones” was a semifinalist in the 2011 Amazon Next Great Novel contest in which publishers proclaimed " This is great stuff! ... Whatever the nature of the story unfolding, I am willing to follow".
Jen co-founded Horsefly Films with filmmaker Sophie Pegrum. Together they produced the critically- acclaimed documentary “Path to Glory” and now the ongoing series of RARE films under their Rare Equine Trust banner.
Sophie Dia Pegrum - Co-founder
Sophie is a director and filmmaker who has produced and shot films in the Antarctic, at the North Pole and in the Himalayas. Her many films include "77 Below" a documentary she shot in Antarctica featuring artist Lita Albuquerque, "Daughters of the Curved Moon" a film about the women of Jumla, Nepal and "Talking to the Air: Horses of the Last Forbidden Kingdom" a film shot on the Tibetan border for the Rare Equine Trust. She is currently working on a film about the maverick horse riders of Kyrgyzstan as well as a California project about the the White Horses of Camarillo.
Her debut feature film "Dogstar" was a narrative she wrote and directed with an AFI grad and a group of renegade filmmakers and was a crash course in all aspects of cinema. Critics praised the film “Dogstar” saying “There is a lilting grace to this low-budget indie". "Director Sophie Pegrum has a good eye for sensuous detail” and “This well-crafted, winsome fairy tale by writer-director Sophie Pegrum has an otherworldly quality reminiscent of Australian director Jane Campion. Definitely a new voice in danger of slipping beneath everyone's radar. “
Sophie co-owns a niche film production company, Horsefly Films, that focuses on equestrian subject matter. Along with her Horsefly films partner Jen Miller, she produced a critically acclaimed documentary “Path to Glory” about the history of Polish Arabian Horses and their enduring influence in the United States and around the world. Recently they established their “Rare Equine Trust” releasing the first film in the series, "Of Gods and Kings". They are shooting a series of films about critically endangered breeds of horses around the world and the unique cultures around them. Together they also produce promotional films, training videos, national commercials and documentaries.
Sophie is also a painter, and shoots the film footage for Horsefly Films and the Rare Equine Trust.
Miranda Morton Yap - Field Producer - "Talking to the Air
Miranda has worked as a facilitator, coordinator, producer and organiser in the creative arts for over a decade. Many hats have been worn for multiple projects ranging from commercials and short films, stage productions, as well as booking bands on tours and producing fundraising charity events.
In recent years, she has spent time exploring the globe. The inspiration she found on those journeys sparked a desire to share the stories of the vibrant people and colourful places she encountered. Combining her professional experience with her interest in people and culture has culminated in her venture into documentary filmmaking and the establishment of Shakti Pictures. Shakti Pictures
Dipendra Bhandari - DP - "Talking to the Air"
Dipendra Bhandari is Executive Producer at Adventure Nepal Productions in Kathmandu, a film production company with a focus on documentary material. Previously a producer at Kantipur Television, Dipendra Bhandari wrote and directed the 2011 award-winning documentary “Journey to Yarsa”. An audience favorite at Kathmandu International Film Festival, “Journey to Yarsa” is about the caravan of hunters who trek into the treacherous high Himal in search of the elusive yarsagumba, a fungus-larvae prized in East Asia for its medicinal properties. Dipendra followed the family of Punimaya of Rolpa up into the flanks of the Himalaya to capture the struggle, hope, laughter, romance and resilience in the lives of the hill people who go to dig for survival. Journey to Yarsa
Justin Burnett - Composer - "Of Gods and Kings"
Justine Burnett has worked on features, video games, commercials and branding. Bringing years of experience, technical knowledge and an innate curiosity for exotic instrumentation, he has donated his talent and expertise to several projects on behalf of Horsefly Films and the Rare Equine Trust. He believes in ingenuity and originality but ultimately understands the elusive and powerful magic created between the marriage of music and picture. Justin Burnett
Brandon Visel - Composer - "Path to Glory" "Talking to the Air"
Coming from a musical family, Brandon started playing the piano at the age of four, and music composition has always been part of who he is. He studied in the Guild Program with a Hungarian teacher and eventually entered the UCLA Film Score program.
Brandon believes there is a lot more to servicing a film than just being a great composer, and the ability to capture emotion on film without overpowering it takes a great deal of attention and care.
Brandon has worked on numerous compositions for Horsefly Films as well as the documentary score for Sophie's "77 Below". His talent and range is presented in full in Path to Glory, a visual and aural dance through history. Brandon Visel
Anup Panthi - Composer
Anup lives in Kathmandu, Nepal and is a young innovative composer who believes in blending the old and the new together. He has worked on many PSAs with Adventure Nepal Productions and other projects based in Nepal. Anup assisted with recordings of a Nepali's women's choir in Kathmandu and can be found seeking out rare instruments, recording little-known folk songs and developing riffs to build new sounds and tracks to reflect the vast remoteness of the Himalayan regions.
Greta Couper – College Professor
Greta specializes in research in art, music, and psychology. She is on the faculty of two universities, a published author, and often presents at international conferences. Her family includes accomplished sculptors, painters, and musicians, which brings cultural insight into her writing and marketing projects. Greta has studied art and culture in Italy and Greece, and her knowledge of languages and course development add an academic and educational component to the documentaries. Academia.edu
Alex is a graduate of English Literature, a book vlogger, a travel blogger, a passionate conservationist and aspiring novelist. She discovered Horsefly Films and the Rare Equine Trust through her volunteer work with the rare Skyros Horse at the Katsarelias-Simpson Stud. Alex contributes ideas, writing and an extra pair of hands where needed. @ajmullarky
DR. ALAN TAYLOR, PhD-- PROFESSOR OF HISTORY, UC Davis & U of Virginia
Two-time Pulitzer-Prize winning historian Alan Taylor specialties include Colonial North American history, the history of the American West, and the history of Canada. Since 2014, he holds the Thomas Jefferson Chair in American History at the University of Virginia. He is also active in the California State Social Science and History Project which provides curriculum support for K-12 teachers in history and social studies. He has authored many acclaimed books, two of which won him the Pulitzer Prize in History and one a Finalist for the National Book Award.
DR. ALBERT HURTADO, PHD-- PROFESSOR OF HISTORY, U of OKLAHOMA
As the Paul H. and Doris Eaton Travis Chair in Modern American History at the University of Oklahoma since 1998, Sacramento native Dr. Hurtado is an expert in the history of the American West and Native American History. Acclaimed author of many books on these subjects, he is the winner if the Billington Prize, awarded for the best book in American frontier history. Dr. Hurtado also has great expertise with horses, having been a trainer for many years.
KATIE LANTZ--GRADUATE STUDENT, U OF VIRGINIA
Katie received her BA in Religion from Reed College in 2012 and is now studying at the University of Virginia. With specialties in the Early American Republic and Native America, Katie is also a keen and passionate expert in horses, including an avid interest in the Camarillo White Horse.