Mini Bio (1)

Producer James LaVeck graduated summa cum laude from Cornell University with a major in cross cultural studies. During his 20's, he spent six months traveling across India, earned a black belt in Tae Kwon Do, counseled inmates in the county jail, tutored pregnant teens, and wrote a novel about the generational impact of family violence. While he didn't realize it at the time, he was getting the education he needed to produce documentary films on the subjects of conscience and compassion.

In 2000, inspired by the idea that "one person's change of heart can change the world," LaVeck, together with director Jenny Stein, founded Tribe of Heart, an Ithaca, New York-based non-profit production company. LaVeck interviews all the subjects who appear in Tribe of Heart's documentaries, using a unique interactive style that recreates the experience of an extended late-night conversation with a trusted friend, the kind of one-to-one sharing that can lead to emotional and intellectual breakthroughs.

"My role models as a producer are those who successfully merge the creative arts with the healing arts," says LaVeck. "Documentary subjects know when you respect them, when you are listening not only with a sincere interest in understanding who they really are, but also with faith in the person who they are trying to become. Likewise, audiences intuitively know what you think of them and what you hope for them, and they make choices accordingly about how deeply to participate in the viewing experience."

Tribe of Heart films produced by LaVeck have appeared in 77 festivals around the world, where they have won 18 awards, including 4 for Best of Festival and 13 for Best Documentary. His work with Stein has appeared on PBS, LinkTV and FreeSpeech TV. Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Howard Rosenberg of the Los Angeles Times called their first film, The Witness (2000), "one man's truth that cries out for mass exposure...may be the most important and persuasive film about animals ever made."

LaVeck's and Stein's films are recognized beyond the independent film community for their contribution to the public's understanding of the ethics of the human-animal relationship. Their work has been endorsed by Dr. Jane Goodall, The United Federation of Teachers, and the California Teachers Association. They received a Distinguished Guardian Award from In Defense of Animals, the Outstanding National Activist Award from the Culture and Animals Foundation, and the Search for Excellence Award from the Latham Foundation for the Promotion of Humane Education.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: James LaVeck

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