Dominique Lasseur – Co-Founder and Executive Director
Dominique Lasseur is a producer of film and television, and a partner with his wife Catherine Tatge in Global Village Media. With numerous productions in the U.S. and abroad, his work has embraced performance, performance documentaries, biographical profiles, news and public affairs, and informational programming. From Holo Mai Pele—a dance/performance special on PBS’ Great Performances —and a series entitled Dances of Life, he also produced Breaking the Silence: Journeys of Hope, a PBS special on domestic violence, as well as special programming for the Pew Charitable Trust, Harvard Business School, and Fred Friendly Seminars. Other projects include Breaking the Silence: Children’s Stories and The Question of God: C.S. Lewis & Sigmund Freud. He recently produced a series on Ethics in America for the Fred Friendly Seminars, featuring many notable participants, including Supreme Court Justices Scalia and O'Connor.
Catherine Tatge – Co Founder and Creative Director
Catherine Tatge is a producer and director of film and television. For over 25 years, her work has encompassed many genres, from public affairs, performance and dance, to biographies and the world of ideas. She influenced American television as producer and director of Joseph Campbell and The Power of Myth with Bill Moyers, for which she received an Emmy Award. Ms. Tatge’s close working relationship with Bill Moyers led to many projects: the ten-hour Genesis: A Living Conversation; the two-hour special Fooling with Words and the series Sounds of Poetry, both documenting the largest poetry event in the United States; the special What Can We Do About Violence; three programs on the nature of hate—Beyond Hate, Facing Hate with Elie Wiesel, and Hate on Trial; and numerous interviews on Moyers: A World of Ideas. Her most recent work for PBS' American Masters series, John Muir in the New World, aired on April 18, 2011. In her career, she has tackled important and controversial public affairs issues, as she does in Breaking the Silence: Children’s Stories. Her talent for translating intellectual material to the screen includes numerous works about spirit and the human condition – including her series, The Question of God: Sigmund Freud & C.S. Lewis, and The Creative Spirit for PBS.
Gretchen Babarovic – Project Coordinator
Gretchen Babarovic was Executive Assistant to ABC News anchor Peter Jennings from 1983 to his death in 2005. As his right hand, she was involved in every aspect of his professional life from the gathering of the nightly news to his documentary productions. She did the administration for his second book In Search of America and researched material for his speaking engagements. Traveling the world with the broadcast allowed her to experience a front row seat to history which fueled her curiosity and allowed her to develop a unique perspective of the world and deep appreciation for the democratic process. In 2007, she was asked by the U.S. Military Academy at West Point to produce an inaugural dinner for their Center of Excellence's new Oral History Department. The following year, she became Project Director for The Connecticut Project For the Constitution - a center for education and dialogue seeking to educate Americans about the importance of the Constitution's intersection with every day lives. .
Ms. Babarovic is a graduate of Cornell University. Both her daughter and son in law are journalists
Kelley Santalla – Education Coordinator
Kelley Santalla is a graduate of Boston College with a degree in Speech & Communication. Over the past 20 years, she has worked in a variety of industries in administration, information technology, corporate training, marketing and advertising, consulting, accounting and legal services. Growing up in Central New York, Kelley helped to run multiple family businesses in the construction, real estate development, and airplane leasing industries. Additionally, she worked with a local marketing firm consulting with local businesses and providing paralegal services for an arbitration case with a local law firm. Travel around the country with her husband’s career led to positions at: Viacom’s Showtime Satellite Networks in the marketing and advertising department where she conducted comparative research on competing networks; a large Seattle-based HVAC Mechanical contractor working in project administration, providing corporate training and developing archival and information management systems; and Weyerhauser Corporation supporting the Information Technology and Research and Development departments. While living in Georgia and Florida, Kelley continued to work in information technology, and designed, programmed, and maintained database management systems for various small firms. Prior to joining Civic Life Project in September of 2011, Ms. Santalla spent several years teaching Spanish as well as teaching in the early childhood program at a private Connecticut elementary school. She resides in Torrington, CT with her husband and three children.
Ben Willis - Production Coordinator
Ben Willis serves as the Production Coordinator at the Civic Life Project, assisting students and teachers throughout the production process. Prior to joining the Civic Life Project, Ben worked as an Associate-Producer on the award-winning documentary Best Worst Movie, and more recently for NBC on the documentary The American Scream. Ben has also worked as an Assistant Director on various independent feature films, web series, and short films. Ben began working on documentaries in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where he worked with National Endowment of the Arts Fellow Michael Pettit on his documentary Living Traditions: Folk Art of New Mexico
Ben is a graduate of Connecticut’s Film Industry Training Program, and holds a BA in Moving Image Arts from The College of Santa Fe.
David Bayersdorfer - Academic Consultant
David Bayersdorfer was a public school Social Studies teacher for over forty years. During his 33 years of teaching at Housatonic Valley Regional High School, he also served as Athletic Director, Assistant Principal, and Interim Principal at various times. David received his undergraduate degree from Syracuse University and Master Degrees from Central Connecticut State University and Southern Connecticut University. He has served on the Planning and Zoning Board in the town of Salisbury and ran the town's Summer Job program. Currently. he serves on the Assessment Board of Appeals. He is also a board member of the Salisbury Association, as well as the 21st Century Fund. He teaches various courses for the Taconic Learning Center( including courses on Theodore Roosevelt, the VietNam War and Charles Lindbergh). In his spare time, he has acted in over 15 plays at the TriArts Sharon Playhouse.
Douglas Branson – Video Production and Technical Instructor
Douglas Branson is a graphic designer, photographer, filmmaker, editor, and performer and has worked in Philadelphia, NYC, and Connecticut producing multimedia since 1984. A graduate of The Art Institute of Philadelphia Branson started his career in advertising and publishing. He then worked in Audio and Video Production and built his own professional home recording studio. Douglas has designed and built sets, operated cameras, done on location sound, produced short promotional films and commercials. His Photoshop image preparation and formatting skills are used by other production companies in Commercials, Documentaries, and Films. He loves the process of teaching digital fluency and enhancing skill sets in both young and old, especially helping with use of social media and the Internet for promoting the arts, people, products, services, and ideas.
William Littauer - Production Instructor
Bill Littauer had a 50 year career in broadcast news. He was a reporter, anchor, producer and Executive Producer of television news programs in Washington and New York. He won the Emmy Award as Executive Producer of the Outstanding News Broadcast in New York three times. He has produced both hour long news specials and hundreds of daily reports on politics, civil rights, business and finance. He was the Executive Producer of Independent Network News which ran on as many as 150 stations from 1980 to 1990. He was the first Executive Producer of The Wall Street Journal Report when it was a joint venture of Tribune Company and The Wall Street Journal. As a reporter, he covered the civil rights movement of the 60s, the anti-war protests of the 60s and 70s and the recessions and inflation of the 80s. For 20 years, he was President of American Television News, Inc. a video production company in New York City providing video services to television networks and independent producers from around the world.