What We Do
Our field experience spans more than 100 countries and six continents, with a focus on conflict, social justice and the environment. We are drawn to difficult and underreported stories, and we deliver them to a global audience that values depth and engagement.
Co-Founder / Director
Jason is an award-winning writer, photographer and filmmaker. Formerly TIME
magazine’s Kabul correspondent, he has reported from more than fifty countries spanning West Africa to Southeast Asia for The Washington Post
, with stories forthcoming in Outside
. He is a contributing editor at VQR
and his work on conflict and human rights issues worldwide has been supported by the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting
In 2010, he won the National Magazine Award for News Reporting for “Sixty Hours of Terror,” a four-part VQR
series on the Mumbai terror attacks. His essay, “The Ghosts of Rana Plaza,” was a finalist for the 2015 National Magazine Award in Reporting and winner of the Overseas Press Club’s Madeline Dane Ross award for best international reporting on the human condition. Other recognitions include the Sigma Delta Chi and Daniel Pearl Award for best reporting on South Asia.
Jason is the co-founder of Blackbeard Films, an Oakland, California-based company that produces news documentaries and online features for the Al Jazeera networks, National Geographic and others. He enjoys teaching workshops on multimedia journalism and previously worked as a commercial fisherman in Alaska.
Co-Founder / Director of Photography
James is a photographer and documentary filmmaker who has worked for National Geographic
, programs on the Al Jazeera English
, the New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle
and others. He has worked extensively in Southeast Asia and Central America, producing social documentary projects for non-profit groups such as CARE International
, World Vision
and Save the Children
You can view more of his photography at jameshallphotography.com
Director of Development
Susie is a film producer with a background in international law. She has reported on a wide range of issues in the developing world, with a focus on post-conflict transitions and women’s rights. She has worked on films for Al Jazeera America and Time.com. Her writing has appeared in The Atlantic, American Interest and Ms. Magazine. A visual artist and advocate, Susie has also spearheaded global street art campaigns for Blackbeard in partnership with JR & The Inside Out Project.
Mark Oltmanns is a documentary filmmaker and director of photography whose work has appeared on PBS, Al Jazeera, VICE-on-HBO, the GlobalPost and others. In 2014, he was a Livingston Award finalist for a film on Thailand’s southern insurgency. He earned a Masters Degree from the University of California-Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism in 2012. Mark also lived and worked in Southeast Asia for 7 years and speaks fluent Thai and French.
Spencer Chumbley is a producer and director of photography based in Washington, DC. His work has been featured by VICE, Al Jazeera English/America, The Economist, TIME and more. Chumbley’s documentary work is grounded in a strong academic foundation gained through the study of conflict, international development and economics at graduate level. He holds a MSc in Violence, Conflict and Development from the School of Oriental & African Studies at the University of London.
Roger is an award-winning filmmaker and photographer who has been producing features for broadcasters, magazines and humanitarian organizations for over a decade. Based in Bangkok, he has worked in over 50 countries including the most remote areas of Asia, Africa and the Pacific. His portfolio ranges from war in Afghanistan to in-depth documentary features on women in conflict zones, and investigations into wildlife trafficking and environmental crime. His coverage of the Red Shirt protests in Thailand won the 2010 Rory Peck Award for News and was featured on the BBC’s ‘Firing Line’.
David Zlutnick is an award-winning documentarian and video journalist based in San Francisco. His work has taken him around the globe – from Latin America to the Middle East to back home in the Bay Area – and is regularly featured on outlets such as MSNBC, The Guardian, Al Jazeera, USA TODAY, RT, Colorlines.com, among others. David focuses on under-reported issues to amplify the voices of historically marginalized communities and highlight the human side of complex social issues.
Editor / Project Development
Mark is a pioneer in public interest video production in the nation’s capital. He has been in the business of producing television programs, documentary films and online video productions for more than 25 years. In addition to partnerships with clients such as National Geographic, The World Bank Group, Ocean Foundation and The Ford Foundation, Mark has produced the popular PBS series Foreign Exchange with Fareed Zakaria and numerous documentaries.