Producer and Principal Investigator – Since Last We Met: The Descendants Documentary Project; Director & Producer, I Am The Bridge (2023)
Dr. Bernie Cook is Associate Dean in Georgetown College and Founding Director of the Film and Media Studies Program at Georgetown University. He is the author of Flood of Images: Media, Memory and Hurricane Katrina (University of Texas Press, 2015) and editor of Thelma & Louise Live! The Cultural Afterlife of an American Film (University of Texas Press, 2007). A native of New Orleans, Cook wrote Flood of Images as an intervention in the ongoing process of remembering and understanding Katrina and the flooding of New Orleans, a contested process with implications for racial and ecological justice. Since 2015, both on campus and in Louisiana, Cook has helped to connect members of the GU272+ Descendant Community with students and colleagues to develop shared projects focused on reparative justice. He is currently in production on a documentary series entitled Since Last We Met, which shares stories of the living descendants of the 272 enslaved people sold by the Jesuits of Maryland in 1838 and explores the possibilities for reconciliation and justice from the descendants’ perspectives. I Am The Bridge (2023) is the first film in this series. He is a member of the core faculties of the Film and Media Studies Program and the American Studies Program, and he has created and taught a range of courses at Georgetown focused on documentary media, film studies, social justice, and the American past. He is Founding Chair of the University Core Requirement in Humanities & Culture, and he is a member of the Board of the Georgetown Humanities Initiative. He has been active in Digital Humanities and Public Humanities at Georgetown and has participated in national-level conversations about the future of the Humanities, including presenting at the National Humanities Conference. Cook earned a PhD in Cinema Studies from UCLA, a graduate certificate in Documentary Filmmaking from George Washington University, and a BA and an MA in English Literature from Georgetown University.
Creative Principal and Co-Producer – I Am The Bridge (2023)
Melisande Short-Colomb was recently an undergraduate student at Georgetown University. She is a descendant of Mary Ellen Queen, one of the 272+ enslaved people sold by the Jesuits of Maryland to Maringouin, Louisiana in 1838. Short-Colomb is a founding board member and vice president of the GU 272 Descendants Association. Short-Colomb has worked as a library assistant in the Booth Family Center for Special Collections at Georgetown, where she had access to historical family documents. She currently serves as a Community Relations coordinator for the Lab for Global Performance and Politics.
In collaboration with the Lab, Short-Colomb created and performed the one-woman play, Here I Am, as a virtual performance in 2021. Short-Colomb adapted the virtual performance as an -in person theatrical experience in 2023. In Here I Am, Short-Colomb communes with her maternal ancestors and examines her complex feelings about the histories and legacies of Jesuit Slaveholding and about the possibilities for reparative justice for the American sin of slavery.
Short-Colomb is a retired chef whose 20-year culinary career took her to Austin, Texas, Mississippi, the U.S. Virgin Islands. She taught hundreds of students as a culinary instructor in her hometown of New Orleans. Short-Colomb attended Xavier University from 1976-1977 for journalism, and graduated from Louisiana Tech University Culinary Arts School in 1997. She raised four children and has two grandchildren.
Editor – I Am The Bridge and IM4REAL
Dawne Langford is a filmmaker and 2022/2023 Sundance Producer’s Lab Fellow. After years of working in public media as a broadcast television editor, she expanded her practice to wider roles. In 2013 Dawne was accepted to the PBS Producers Academy and started work supporting independent documentaries, including; CHECK IT, KANDAHAR JOURNALS, and FINDING JOSEPH I, about the lead singer of the seminal all-Black punk band, Bad Brains. Currently, she is producing the Sundance-supported The Body Politic (2023) due to air nationally on PBS in 2024 and previously collaborated on projects for CNN, CGTN, and Moxie Pictures in N.Y.C. with director Lee Hirsch. She has been a long-time collaborator on I Am The Bridge and other projects documenting stories from the GU272. Her primary interest is amplifying traditionally suppressed narratives and presentations of historical events to deepen understanding, support learning, and stimulate community dialogue.
Co-Producer and Assistant Editor – I Am The Bridge
Christina Dropullic served as co-producer, assistant editor, and researcher on I Am The Bridge. She graduated from Georgetown University in 2022, with a major in American Studies and a Minor in Film and Media Studies. Dropulic currently works at Radical Media in New York City, as Executive Assistant and Coordinator for Filmmaker Joe Berlinger. At Georgetown, she led the Georgetown University Dance Company and produced short documentary films and experimental work.
Director of Cinematography, I Am The Bridge, IM4REAL, The Pilgrimage
Kuna Hamad is a freelance videographer and photographer and video and photo content creator for Georgetown University’s School of Continuing Studies. After graduating from Georgetown’s Walsh School of Foreign Service in 2009 with a degree in Culture and Politics, Hamad worked for Georgetown University’s Georgetown College as a lead videographer and photographer who created over 500 video and photography projects for programs, professors, students, and events. For Georgetown’s School of Continuing Studies, he has created over one hundred video and photography projects for more than 20 programs within the school, including three commercials that have aired on Hulu. Within his freelance work, Hamad’s notable contracts include Oscar and Emmy-winning documentary filmmaking team Fine Films LLC, global educational non-profit One Voice Community, art filmmaker and photographer Gregory Colbert. For the Descendants Documentary Project, Hamad serves as lead videographer for I Am The Bridge.
Hamad is skilled in conducting film interviews, technical filmmaking skills with all brands of camera, as well as conducting large groups on film. He has also been a Brazilian Zouk Dance Instructor since 2016 and has taught classes in over 50 cities that span four different continents.