For over 20 years, Hugh Esten has been involved in the creation and production of multimedia educational products. His involvement with the field began in the 1980s when he served as a writer and producer of video-based products for Los Angeles-based CD-ROM pioneer Xiphias, Inc. For the last ten years he has served as principal editor of the web site Academy of Achievement (achievement.org), presenting over 200 original video interviews with the world’s leaders in politics, government, business and the arts and sciences, including former U.S Presidents and other chiefs of state, Nobel prize-winning scientists, and many of the world’s leading writers and artists. The Academy is a 501(c)(3) educational foundation, based in Washington, D.C. Prior to and during his involvement with educational media, Mr. Esten has been active in the live theater as a playwright and director; his plays produced in New York include Elmo Dunkel: Soldier of Fortune, All My Three Sons and Jungle Movie. His early theatrical career took him to pre-glasnost Russia, France and the Netherlands. His subsequent work with the Academy of Achievement and other media projects has taken him to Hungary, Germany, Ireland and the United Kingdom. He is a contributing reporter to Classical KUSC’s Arts Alive program, producing and presenting features on the arts in Southern California, with a focus on theater, dance and architecture.
Darroch Greer is an award-winning documentary filmmaker, freelance writer and historical researcher. After a theatre career in New York, Darroch moved to Los Angeles to begin work in documentary television. He’s researched, written, produced and directed films on American history, natural history and popular culture for PBS, TCM, Discovery, History, TBS and VH1. He’s worked broadly and deeply in the fields of Western history, the Civil War, Lincoln’s presidency, World War One, World War Two, jazz, Hollywood history and pop music.
In 2007, he and filmmaking partner Ron King founded Humanus Documentary Films Foundation to produce the documentary The Millionaires’ Unit – U.S. Naval Aviation in the First World War. Darroch wrote the film and was co-director/producer with King. They raised a million dollars for the independent documentary, which tells the epic story of motivated and idealistic young men learning to fly within the context of the U.S. Navy and America’s involvement in the Great War. The film demonstrates what it took to fly WW1 aircraft, augmented by stunning air-to-air photography shot in New Zealand. They shot the film along the Eastern Seaboard, over the North Sea, and in England, France and Belgium. In 2015, The Millionaires’ Unit began playing the film festival circuit and won Best Documentary Feature at the GI Film Festival in Washington, D.C., and at the Garden State Film Festival in Atlantic City.
Currently, Darroch is in production co-writing, directing and producing another Humanus documentary — this one on the famed Lafayette Escadrille. Filming has already taken place in France, New England, Washington, D.C. and Ohio. Depending on fundraising, the film is due to be completed late 2017/early 2018.
Darroch also has a career developing and writing for museums and theme parks, including the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield, Illinois, on which he worked for five years, and the Atturaif Living Museum outside Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. He’s also written for and coordinated the historical components for theme parks in Korea and elsewhere in the Middle East. Darroch has been published in the Los Angeles Times, The Christian Science Monitor, Millimeter Magazine and served as the editor/writer for In a Mellotone, the newsletter of the Duke Ellington Society.
Born in Topeka, Kansas, Darroch grew up in Santa Barbara, California, graduated with a BFA from Carnegie-Mellon University and lived in Manhattan for a decade. He enjoys adventure sports, French films and a martini. He currently lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Stephanie, three cats, and a large library.
Mimi Freedman is an Emmy-nominated documentary filmmaker based in Los Angeles. She began writing, producing and directing for nonfiction television after receiving her masters degree in Film History, Theory and Criticism from UCLA. Since then she has created more than fifty films, television specials and series episodes for Turner Classic Movies, A&E, American Movie Classics and Lifetime.
In 2007, Mimi’s film Brando, a 2-part documentary produced for Turner Classic Movies, received an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Nonfiction Special. Brando has screened at Cannes, Tribeca, San Sebastian and dozens of other film festivals around the world. Other projects include the critically acclaimed Steve McQueen: The Essence of Cool, the 2-hour A&E Biography special Elvis: Return to Tupelo, the Jewish Image Award-winning Backstory: Gentleman’s Agreement and the A&E Biography Charlie Sheen: Born To Be Wild, which received a Prism Award for its accurate portrayal of drug and alcohol addiction.
In May of 2008, Mimi was a judge for the Tupelo Film Festival. In past years she has also served on the nominating committee for the International Documentary Association Awards. She is currently a member of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, the Nonfiction Caucus of the Writers Guild of America, and the International Documentary Association. She has worked as a volunteer for the 2008 No on Prop 8 campaign, a precinct captain for the 1992 Democratic Presidential Campaign, and a fundraiser for the Lyric Opera of Toledo.
Mimi started her career in the opera business, working as a director and stage manager before making the transition to film and television. She is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of Michigan.
Ron’s experience in business and the corporate world include the founding and running of several small businesses in the service and construction sector as well as careers as a freelance graphic artist and videographer. At Team One Advertising and Saatchi & Saatchi LA, Ron served as an IT Manager, Computer Trainer and Interim Director of IT. During his tenure he created and produced an award winning computer training program called Computer Edutainment.
Ron was a co-founder of three theater companies in New York: Pink, Ridge Theater and Lookout Productions. As an actor he has performed in numerous plays on stages in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, London, Paris, and throughout the Netherlands. Ron has made many appearances in commercials, film & TV where his biggest claim to fame may be the portrayal of the first human to have contact with a Klingon on the TV premiere of Enterprise.
Ron has written three feature length screenplays, and several short films including the documentary Grand Canyon Rim to Rim which he also directed, produced and edited.
Ron received BFA from Carnegie-Mellon University in 1980. He is a member of Film Independent, The Digital Cinema Society and the Screen Actors Guild. He volunteered for several years with Boy Scouts of America as a leader and was the founding Crew Advisor for advanced scouts with Troop 50 in West LA. He has lead hundreds of miles of hikes through the High Sierra and Grand Canyon National Park. Ron has volunteered in hospice care, urban homesteading, and leadership positions in a community renters’ association. Ron participated in Lifecycle 4, an AIDS charity ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles and is a regular blood donor to the American Red Cross. Ron lives in Culver City with his wife.
Ron served as president of Humanus from 2008 to March, 2017