John Billingsley, Director/Producer
John has over two decades experience in a media production as a recording engineer, producer and composer. He has engineering and production credits on a wide range of musical projects, from Philip Glass to Phish, and television credits on programs aired nationally in the US on networks including MTV, VH1 and PBS. He has composed music for several independent film, television and radio productions. John has traveled extensively throughout Africa, Asia and Central America, travels that first led him to ride the Liemba in 2001. He currently resides in Vermont with his wife and three kids, where he produces a musical performance series for VT Public Radio titled “Live from the Fort” and performs regularly with his band REDadmiral.
Andrew Subin, Director/Producer
Andrew Subin has been creating documentary films since 2001. Some of his previous films include “Tai Chi Morning”, a documentary short that examines how Chinese immigrants use the daily practice of Tai Chi as a way to maintain a sense of cultural identity, and “Who Needs ‘Em?”, a humorous look at the question of why people decide to have children. Andrew has traveled extensively throughout Africa. He first rode the Liemba in 1991 while working on a study of invertebrate evolution in Lake Tanganyika. After that first voyage, the idea to make a documentary about the ship was born. In addition to producing Liemba, Andrew is currently in pre-production on two new projects: “Second Base Buddha” a feature length documentary about a little league baseball team’s quest for the elusive state championship; and “The Sentence” a mockumentary series about a fledgling public defender. Andrew lives and works in Bellingham, Washington.
Chiwoniso Maraire, Narrator
Chiwoniso was an award winning Zimbabwean singer, songwriter and international recording artist. Her album Ancient Voices made her a star of the World Music scene in the 1990s and topped the World Music Charts in Europe. Chiwoniso released several more albums and toured he world with her music. She was an exponent of Zimbabwean mbira music as well as a fighter for social justice. Tragically, Chiwoniso died in 2013 at age 37. We were honored to have had her participation on this project.
TJ Martin, Cinematography / Camera
TJ is a filmmaker from Washington State. When Andrew interviewed him soon after he had finished college, and we saw some of his film work, we knew right away we wanted him on the project. TJ captured much the stunning footage seen in Liemba. After working on Liemba, TJ went on to receive Academy Award for Best Documentary for his film Undefeated in 2012, a documentary about a high school football team. He is the first African-American to win this award.
Martin Stump, Associate Producer / Sound
Martin came to the Liemba film crew with over 12 years experience as a sound engineer in music, radio, and film, including having worked extensively with African musicians and journalists. He worked as a sound engineer in New York City, Paris and Lübeck, Germany. In 2002 Martin moved to the DR Congo with the United Nations peace keeping mission MONUC to help establish the Radio Okapi network of stations that radio-phonically unified this war torn country and continues to broadcast in the name of peace. We were devastated to learn of Martin’s sudden death the year after we completed shooting Liemba. Martin was a great, tireless & just spirit whom we miss dearly.
Laura Subin, Associate Producer
Laura has been an integral part of this project from the very beginning. Whether it was helping write fundraising grants, editing the script, or befriending James, our main character, aboard the Liemba, Laura brought her many talents to multiple facets of the production. Laura has served as the Executive Director of anti-violence organizations in Vermont and in New York City and is a graduate of NYU Law school.