Olha Onyshko is originally from Western Ukraine, from the region of Galicia. She began her career in Ukraine as a broadcast journalist. She worked for almost 10 years in communications, running public education campaigns to promote democracy and market reforms in Ukraine for several international development organizations. When working for the World Bank, she provided trainings and support for NGOs in Ukraine, Belarus and Moldova.
In 2002, she moved to the United States, worked as a reporter for Voice of America and then in 2006 went back to school to obtain her Masters of Fine Arts in Film and Electronic Media. After producing and directing several short films, Olha completed the production of feature length documentary Three Stories of Galicia in 2010.
Sarah Farhat is originally from Lebanon. She obtained her degree in Film and Television in Beirut where she produced and directed several short documentary and fiction films focused on women’s issues and inter-religious dialogue. Her work has been broadcasted on several local and regional Arab TV stations.
In 2006 Sarah moved to the United States where she enrolled at a graduate program in Film and Electronic Media. That’s where she met Olha and the two women started working on the production of the documentary “Three Stories of Galicia.”
After teaching photography, video and design at the American University in Washington DC, Sarah is now a multimedia producer at the World Bank.
Petro Didula is a journalist, cinematographer and photographer based in Lviv, Ukraine. Didula completed his studies in journalism at the Ivan Franko National University of Lviv in 1993. In 1999 he also graduated from the theological academy at the Ukrainian Catholic University. From 1993 until 1999 he was the deputy editor of several Ukrainian magazines and newspapers. From 2003 until 2009 he was the editor of the magazine “Patriarch.” Didula has participated in several international photo exhibits and is the author of photographs in the photo book “Revolution of Spirits” about the Ukrainian Orange Revolution. He is currently the director of video production at the Ukrainian Catholic University.
Petro is the father of five children, he lives in the outskirts of Lviv in a house he built by his own hands and believes that one person can change the world. According to Petro, while being part of the crew of “Three Stories of Galicia”, his beliefs were reinforced.
Serge El Helou was born in Beirut, Lebanon. Serge always had a passion for music and he began playing guitar, piano and percussion at an early age.
While pursuing his degree in Musicology at USEK University in Lebanon, Serge had the privilege to learn harmony and composition with the highly renowned Lebanese composer Toufic Succar.
In 2003, he pursued his musical career in Paris, France at the Rene Descartes University where he earned another degree in Music Therapy. He also received his orchestration diploma from the Boulogne Billancourt Conservatory in Paris where he studied with Pierre Grouvel.
His diverse works include composing music for children plays, Christian songs, short films, and documentaries.
Yurko Duda is a pianist, composer and arranger based in Lviv, Ukraine. In 2002, Duda graduated both the Lviv Music Academy and Kyiv Music Academy with a specialization in trumpet and fortepiano. In 2003 he graduated from the Academy of Music Hanns Eisler in Berlin.
As a pianist, he regularly performs on the classical and jazz stage. He has composed numerous music scores for stage, films and advertisements.
For the Ukrainian young audience he is mostly known as one of the members of the “Jeremy Cry” rock band.
Graphic Designer and Animator
Charles “C.J.” Walls graduated magna cum laude from School of Communication (SOC) at American University with a BA degree in film and media arts and a minor in graphic design. C.J. animated the intertitles and created the website for the documentary, “Veiled Voices”, which is currently being viewed on LinkTV and PBS stations. He created the mfx opening for the “2010 Make Your Media Matter” an annual event held by the AU Center for Social Media. He was the recipient of two 2009 Visions Media Awards from SOC at American University in the New Media category. C.J. currently works as an IT Professional for a company on the Eastern Shore. He also continues to work on mfx projects and documentaries.
Gary Keith Griffin is an award-winning producer and cinematographer whose work includes Autism is a World, a documentary co-produced with CNN which tells the story of an autistic woman’s path to communication, and Gerrymandering, a film about the unfair legislative practice of redistricting. Griffin won the Sundance Film Festival’s 2005 American Excellence in Cinematography Award for his work on The Education of Shelby Knox, the story of a feminist’s coming-of-age. Griffin holds an MFA from Prague’s FAMU Film Academy of Performing Arts and is an Artist in Residence at the American University in Washington, D.C.
Associate Producer – Poland
John Kubiniec studied economics, Slavic languages, and language teaching. He has traveled and lived in several countries of Central and Eastern Europe and is currently based in Poland. He has an interest in the non-profit sector and democratic development, something he cultivates by serving on the boards of several NGOs. He was formerly Freedom House’s regional director for Central and Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union, and also served as a board member of Freedom House Europe. John is presently a partner in Klos Training, a company specializing in building communication skills.
Associate Producer – Ukraine
Valentyna Podgorna was born in Turkmenistan. When she was a child, her family moved to Kharkiv, Ukraine. In 1989 she graduated as a stage director from the Kharkiv State Institute of Culture and worked as the director and one of the actresses of the Kharkiv Theater Madrigal.
In 1991, Valentina started working with the Sigma Bleyzer investment company. In 2006, she moved to Kyiv where she created the DAAR charitable foundation, an affiliate of Sigma Bleyzer. The DAAR Foundation is focused on improving the lives of children, supporting the arts and remembering the past in Ukraine. Valentina has been involved in several documentary projects and art exhibits around those themes.
Oleh Voloshyn has an engineering degree from Ukraine and a Master in Finance from the United States. He was born in Lviv, Western Ukraine as “Oleh” and grew up in Odesa, Southern Ukraine as “Oleg”- two cultural centers, where the views on nationality and history differ significantly.
In addition to his day time job in finance and business development, Oleh has extensive experience organizing and promoting concerts, movie screenings and community events.
He was an early supporter of Three Stories of Galicia, and now, he works as part of the team to bring the stories and the message of the film to a wider audience.