Robert Rooy, Producer/Director
Robert Rooy is documentary producer and director living in Maryland. He was formerly a first assistant director in the mainstream film industry and is a veteran of more than 40 productions, including Lonesome Dove, Honeymoon in Vegas, Minority Report, and The West Wing. He has also worked in more than 20 countries, creating media with and for international anti-poverty, human rights, and environmental organizations. His encounter with Muhammad Yunus, founder of Grameen Bank in Bangladesh and winner of the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize, led to producing and directing To Our Credit, a two-part PBS series that aired in 1998. To Our Credit was the first in-depth examination of microcredit, an innovative anti-poverty strategy, to air in the United States. On the basis of his media work on social issues, he was honored in 2011 with a Distinguished Alumnus Award by his undergraduate alma mater, Calvin College.
David James Savarese, Producer/Writer
Once written off as profoundly retarded, DJ Savarese recently graduated from high school in Grinnell, IA, with highest honors. A member of the National Honors Society, he attends Oberlin College as that institution’s first nonspeaking student with autism. DJ has received numerous scholarships, including the Herbert Hoover Uncommon Student Award, in recognition of the work he has done to promote inclusion and literacy-based education for nonspeaking people. He has presented at the Autism National Committee, the University of New Hampshire Institute on Disability, the Syracuse University Institute on Communication and Inclusion, and at several other venues. A poet, a memoirist, and a playwright, DJ has published his work in Disability Studies Quarterly, Stone Canoe, Autism Life Skills, and on several web sites. Two of his plays received Outstanding Performance awards at the Iowa high school state competition level.