Brent E. Huffman




Brent E. Huffman is an award-winning director, writer and cinematographer of documentaries and television programs. His work ranges from documentaries aired on The Discovery Channel, The National Geographic Channel, NBC, CNN, PBS and Al Jazeera, to Sundance Film Festival premieres, to ethnographic films made for the China Exploration and Research Society. He has directed, produced, shot and edited short documentaries for online outlets like The New York Times, TIME, Salon, Huffington Post and PBS Arts.

Most recently, Huffman completed the documentary Saving Mes Aynak about the fight to save Mes Aynak, a 5,000-year-old Buddhist site in Afghanistan, threatened by a Chinese copper mine. "Saving Mes Aynak" has won over thirty major awards, been translated in over twenty  languages and has been broadcast on television in over fifty countries. The film premiered on Netflix in January 2017.

Huffman is also an associate professor at the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University where he teaches documentary production and theory from a journalism perspective.


Dr. Amina Asim



Dr. Amina Asim is an award-winning media analyst, data scientist, writer and producer. She is an expert in the field of transnational media strategy and digital storytelling. She has a PhD from Northwestern University in Media, Technology & Society and has been involved in a number of documentary film productions in Pakistan, including the 6-episode BBC documentary Democracy in Pakistan. Dr. Asim has produced marketing and current affairs content for major broadcast networks. 

She currently works in Washington, DC as a data scientist in the global strategy team at USAGM. She has also spent time there producing current affairs shows and implementing global audience strategy for Voice of America's Urdu Service.

Dr. Asim's research has focused on Afghanistan and American television news, Arab Spring and network technologies, and on global culture of filmmaking. Her dissertation titled Tonguing Time: Transnational Feminism, Film and Festival received Top Paper Award by the International Communication Association in 2015. She was born in Quetta, Baluchistan and is fluent in Urdu, Hindi, Punjabi and English.


                  Xiaoli Zhou



Xiaoli Zhou is an award-winning documentary filmmaker and instructor at University of Chicago Laboratory Schools with a strong journalism background. As a native Chinese and a graduate of UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism.

Zhou specializes in international reporting and making documentaries about Asian cultures. Zhou’s work has aired on The Discovery Channel, PBS and Al Jazeera, among others. Her documentaries have screened at various film festivals around the world.

For the past few years, she has been honored by the Foreign Press Association, American Women in Radio and Television, Asian American Journalists Association and Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. Zhou’s film The Women’s Kingdom received a silver medal in the documentary category of 2006 Student Academy Awards and won the Best Editing Award from San Francisco Women’s Film Festival. Most recently, Zhou has co-produced and co-directed The Colony about the Chinese in Africa for Al Jazeera. Zhou also translated former Vice President Al Gore’s global warming presentation, featured in the documentary film An Inconvenient Truth, for a Chinese audience.