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The Filmmakers

Olivier Sarbil Director

Olivier Sarbil is a multi-award winning French documentary Director and two-times Emmy®️ winning cinematographer based in New York. Over the past two decades, Sarbil has worked extensively in the Middle East, Africa, Europe, North America and Asia, on many of the most pressing global conflicts and social issues that the world has faced. 

In 2011 he was severely wounded by a rocket-propelled grenade while covering the civil war in Libya and spent nine months in the hospital. His wounds only strengthened his resolve to continue telling stories that further the understanding of the human condition, in all its contradictions. Since then he has filmed from the frontlines of the war in Syria, the spillover of that conflict in Lebanon and Jordan - and was in Gaza during the 2012 war with Israel. Sarbil accompanied French troops deployed to combat jihadists in Mali and filmed in the Central African Republic at the height of the interethnic violence. From 2014 to 2015, he documented the war in eastern Ukraine, following Russia's illegal annexation of Crimea. In 2016-2017, over the course of Mosul's nine-month battle, Sarbil followed a group of young Iraqi Special Forces tasked with leading the fight against ISIS. The resulting eponymous film, MOSUL, aired on PBS Frontline. His directorial debut was met with huge critical acclaim, garnering Sarbil an Emmy nomination for Best Documentary, an Emmy win for Best Cinematography and a BAFTA nomination for cinematography, among countless other accolades and awards. The Guardian described the film as “an astonishing portrait of urban combat, and a gripping reflection of the universal, eternal truth of warfare”.

For his next feature, ON THE PRESIDENT’S ORDERS (2018), Sarbil filmed a chilling portrait of the ongoing drug war in the Philippines. Praised for its clarity of vision, striking images, and unique access, the film played at film festivals around the world and garnered an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Documentary, with Variety describing it as “a wholly cinematic, sensory experience, with straight-ahead reportage electrified by glaring streetlights and a panicked urban wall of sound.”

From 2020 to 2021, including six months embedded with the forward deployed US Special Forces in Afghanistan, Sarbil has been working with Academy Award®️-nominated Director Matthew Heineman as cinematographer and co-producer for his new National Geographic film RETROGRADE which chronicles the end of the U.S. war in Afghanistan. The film won three Emmy, including for Outstanding Cinematography. It was shortlisted at the 95th Academy Awards and described by Variety as “Sharper and more artfully framed than most Hollywood features”.

Darren Aronofsky Producer

Academy Award®-nominated filmmaker Darren Aronofsky was born and raised in Brooklyn. Aronofsky heads Protozoa Pictures based in Chinatown NYC. His credits include π, REQUIEM FOR A DREAM, THE FOUNTAIN, THE WRESTLER, BLACK SWAN, NOAH, mother! and THE WHALE. As a producer he is responsible for JACKIE, ONE STRANGE ROCK, SOME KIND OF HEAVEN, PACIFIED, CATCH THE FAIR ONE, WELCOME TO EARTH, THE GOOD NURSE, KINDRED, LIMITLESS WITH CHRIS HEMSWORTH, and THE TERRITORY. Most recently, he directed POSTCARD FROM EARTH for the MSG SPHERE. He released a middle school book MONSTER CLUB last fall, the sequel of which will be released in 2024.

Dylan Golden Producer

Dylan Golden is a producer at PROTOZOA. His work includes Darren Aronofsky’s mother! and THE WHALE, the docuseries BLACK GOLD, and the films THE TERRITORY and LITTLE DEATH.

Brendan Naylor Producer

Brendan Naylor is a producer at PROTOZOA working across film, TV, and theater. While at PROTOZOA, he's worked on Darren Aronofsky's THE WHALE, and the films SOME KIND OF HEAVEN and THE TERRITORY. Upcoming films include RISE and LITTLE DEATH. 

Sigrid Dyekjær Producer

Danish Producer Sigrid Dyekjær has produced more than 30 documentary films during the last 23 years. She is the producer of the Oscar nominated film 2020 THE CAVE by Feras Fayyad where she won an Emmy for best producer and won a Peabody Award. She won best producer at Cinema Eye 2020 for THE CAVE, and was nominated for Producers Guild of America also in 2020. She produced THE TERRITORY by Alex Pritz, which premiered at Sundance 2022, which won 2 Awards at Sundance, Audience Award and Jury ́s special award for Best Craft and has just picked up its twenty-fifth Award and was shortlisted for an Oscar. She is Emmy nominated with The Territory, 2023 and nominated at Producers Guild of America. She produced UNDER THE SKY OF DAMASCUS by Heba Khaled and Oscar nominated Talal Derki and Ali Wajeeh which premiered at Berlinale Panorama Feb. 2023. She has produced the film MERKEL by Eva Weber, that premiered at Telluride 2022 and Oscar nominated Guy Davidi ́s film INNOCENCE that premiered at Venice Film Festival in Orizzonti Competition and won for best Mediterranean film. She has produced Oscar-nominee Hanna Polak’s SOMETHING BETTER TO COME, which had theatrical release in the US and won more than 80 awards. For this, Sigrid was nominated at the Producers Guild of America Awards 2016 for Outstanding Producer of Documentary. Sigrid is a Producers Guild of America member. She has produced AQUARELA by Victor Kossakovsky, shortlisted for an Oscar in 2020, and co-produced Lauren Greenfields film THE KINGMAKER 2020 and Ulrich Seidl's film SAFARI.