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This project is dedicated to my father, who has always been my biggest fan and continues to help me hold and manifest the vision.

Thank you Dad!  (1934-2021)

I am very grateful to Sterling Cunio and the following people for believing in me and my vision for this project. Thank you for sharing your creativity and talents to bring Cellblocks to Mountaintops to life.    
Director / Producer
Lydia B. Smith

Lydia B. Smith is a veteran award-winning documentary filmmaker.  Her last documentary,  Walking the Camino: Six Ways to Santiago was the #12 documentary in theaters in the US/Canada in 2014 and #5 in Australia/New Zealand, had over 1.2 million viewers on PBS and garnered a 90% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.  Lydia and Phil were classmates in high school and remained friends over the years.  When Phil put on “The Bucket” at Oregon State Penitentiary, he urged her to come watch the performance.  The play mesmerized her, especially the remarkable redemption demonstrated by Sterling Cunio.  That very night she committed herself to getting his inspiring story of transformation out into the world. 

Debra Marie Simon

Debra Marie Simon, Producer IMDb is an award-winning documentary producer and writer.  Credits include PBS Buffalo Soldiers: Fighting on Two Fronts, the limited PBS series, Hacking Your Mind, Guys ‘N Divas: Battle of the High School Musicals, – Showtime/Lionsgate,  Beyond the Mat -- Imagine/Universal - nominated as one of 12 Semi-finalists for the Academy Award for best documentary.  

Debra has produced films for CBS, NBC, A&E, Discovery, and 20th Century Studios.  She is a recipient of the World Fest Platinum Award for Historical Screenplay and has received several Telly Awards and Webby Awards for web content.

Story Editor - Podcast
Jessica Pupovac

Jessica Pupovac is an award-winning audio and digital producer, investigative reporter, and team leader whose work aims to illuminate the human impacts of policy decisions, especially on marginalized populations. She led the audio team at Religion of Sports, crafting deeply reported, sound-rich stories on crucial issues at the intersection of sports and society. Before that, she worked as a digital and audio producer at NPR, an editor at WBEZ/Chicago Public Media, and a multimedia producer and editor at WTTW, Chicago Public Television. Her stories have also been featured in The Chicago Reader, The Chicago Reporter, and In These Times.

Phil Stockton

Over the last 20 years, Phil Stockton, a seasoned actor in both stage and film, has taught theater in numerous correctional institutions, working closely with both incarcerated youth and adults. His remarkable tenure at Oregon State Penitentiary spanned three years, during which time he collaborated with Sterling Cunio and other prisoners to produce two captivating full-length plays about prison hospice and solitary confinement. The unforgettable and intensely moving production entitled "The Bucket" garnered significant acclaim, winning first prize in the national PEN America Awards. Phil has a deep commitment to social justice work, youth education, and prisoner rehabilitation. 

Video Editor
Dan Sadowsky

Dan Sadowsky is a documentary film editor who's been practicing the craft of nonfiction narrative storytelling in a variety of media for nearly three decades. Since 2013, he's been producing videos for inspiring campaigns and causes, and helping documentary film directors tell stories that move audiences to action. His editing credits include two Oscar-nominated documentary shorts, LIFEBOAT and HUNGER WARD.

Executive Producer for PRX Productions
Jocelyn Gonzales

Jocelyn Gonzales is an accomplished professional in the dynamic realm of radio and podcasting. Currently serving as the Director of PRX Productions at PRX, she has made significant contributions to the industry. With a background as the Executive Producer of Studio 360, a public radio show exploring pop culture and the arts, Jocelyn has played a crucial role in shaping and showcasing influential voices. Her journey includes 20 years of teaching sound design at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts, and diverse projects, such as producing podcasts for The New York Times and working in the newsroom at New York Public Radio.

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