Stanford Center for
Biomedical Ethics


Maren Grainger-Monsen, M.D.
-  Filmmaker in Residence and Program Director

Maren Grainger-Monsen, a physician and award-winning filmmaker, is currently Filmmaker in Residence and Director of the Program in Bioethics and Film at the Stanford University Center for Biomedical Ethics. She studied film at the London International Film School and received her medical training at the University of Washington and Stanford University School of Medicine.

Grainger-Monsen’s most recent film, Hold Your Breath, follows the dramatic story of an Afghan refugee family through cultural conflicts over medical treatment.  It currently broadcasting on national PBS beginning in April of 2007.  It was featured in a Newsweek magazine special issue on family medicine in an article entitled, “When Cultures Clash,” as well as in an “ABC World News Tonight” with the late Peter Jennings, and won the 2007 Wilbur Award from the Religion Communicators Council.  Hold Your Breath developed out of Grainger-Monsen’s last project, Worlds Apart, a series of award-winning short films on cross-cultural medicine developed for medical education that have met with an overwhelmingly positive reception.  The films are being used in over 750 institutions nationally, including 40% of all US medical schools, as well as for internal staff training at important medical accrediting organizations such as JCAHO and the AMA.  They have also been instrumental in policy reform, such as playing a role in the UNOS Board of Directors’ decision to increase minority access to kidney transplants by revision allocation priority for tissue matching.  Grainger-Monsen's previous work includes The Vanishing Line, a chronicle of her journey toward understanding the art and issues of dying, which was broadcast in 1998 on the national PBS "Point of View" series and again in an encore showing in 2000.  The film has won numerous prestigious awards, including an Emmy Award nomination, as well as First Place at the Nashville Independent Film Festival and Program of the Year Award from the National Hospice Organization.  It was also chosen to represent the United States in 1999 at INPUT, an annual screening event of the best and most provocative documentary films from around the world.  Grainger-Monsen’s other films include Where the Highway Ends: Rural Healthcare in Crisis, which won an Emmy Award, and Grave Words, which was awarded first place in the American Medical Association Film Festival.

Nicole Newnham
- Filmmaker-in-residence

Nicole Newnham is a documentary filmmaker and writer, currently co-producing The Revolutionary Optimists with Maren Grainger-Monsen as a filmmaker-in-residence at the Stanford Center for Biomedical Ethics Program in Bioethics and Film. Nicole recently co-produced and directed the critically acclaimed The Rape of Europa, about the fate of Europe's art treasures during WWII. The Rape of Europa played theatrically in 80 cities across the country, has been a much-broadcast PBS primetime special, was nominated for two national Emmys and a WGA award, and shortlisted for the 2007 Documentary Oscar. Nicole was also nominated for a national Emmy Award for co-producing and directing the documentary Sentenced Home (2006), broadcast on the PBS series Independent Lens, which follows three Cambodian refugees in Seattle who are deported back to Cambodia after 9/11. With Pulitzer-Prize winning photographer Brian Lanker, she co-produced They Drew Fire (2000), a widely-acclaimed special for PBS about the combat artists of World War II, and wrote the companion book distributed by Harper Collins. She lives in Oakland with her husband Tom Malarkey and sons Finn and Blaine.

Jason Crigler
- Composer

Jason Crigler has composed music for the feature-length documentary Ashtanga, NY and the film short, Grand Street. He has also composed music for numerous internet ad campaigns for GE, Blue State Digital, Forge Worldwide, and Frog Design. For many years, Jason has been guitarist to such artists as John Cale, Marshall Crenshaw, Linda Thompson, Teddy Thompson, Erin Mckeown, Ollabelle and others. He currently performs live with his own band. Jason is the subject of the award winning PBS documentary Life.Support.Music., which chronicles his unlikely recovery from a devastating brain hemorrhage. Jason and his sister Marjorie travel around the country delivering their powerful multimedia presentation Defying the Odds, in which they explore how intense family involvement makes the difference in a positive recovery.

Andrew Gersh
- Editor

Andrew Gersh is a documentary film and video editor based in Berkeley, California. His work has appeared on PBS (including NOVA and FRONTLINE), ABC, MSNBC, National Geographic, Discovery, Turner Broadcasting, the BBC and Channel 4, UK and in film festivals worldwide. Recent work includes Ask Not (San Francisco International Film Festival, MoMA NY, national PBS broadcast on Emmy-award winning series Independent Lens), National Geographic Explorer: Inside Guantanamo (Emmy nomination for Best Documentary, 2010) and Ready, Set, Bag! (Los Angeles International Film Festival). He is a 2011 Sundance Documentary Edit and Story Lab Fellow.


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