The filmmakers behind No Small Matter

About Kindling Group

Kindling Group crafts powerful documentaries and engagement campaigns that ignite change. KG's filmmakers, strategists and activists create films and media for all screens, from large to small, that promote inquiry and connect viewers to critical social issues.  Learn more at www.kindlinggroup.org

ABOUT SISKEL JACOBS PRODUCTIONS

Siskel/Jacobs Productions (SJP) is a documentary production company that seeks to tell compelling stories with integrity, complexity, emotion, and humor.  Co-founders Jon Siskel and Greg Jacobs produced and directed the documentary feature Louder Than a Bomb, which received a perfect 100% score from rottentomatoes.com, won the 2011 Humanitas Prize for documentaries, and aired nationally as part of the Oprah Winfrey Network’s “OWN Documentary Club.” The film has helped Young Chicago Authors, the non-profit that created and runs the Louder Than a Bomb youth poetry festival, seed “LTAB”-style events in ten cities and counting, and garner national and international attention.

In 2008, SJP produced the groundbreaking History Channel documentary 102 Minutes That Changed America, which won three Primetime Emmys, including Outstanding Nonfiction Program, and has since been seen by more than thirty million viewers in over 150 countries. SJP has also produced shows for the Discovery Channel and the National Geographic Channel, including Witness: Katrina, which won the 2011 News and Documentary Emmy for Outstanding Historical Programming. In 2009, SJP was named to Realscreen Magazine’s Global 100, its annual list of the world’s most influential factual production companies. SJP has also produced videos for a number of non-profits, including The Robert R. McCormick Foundation, The Ounce of Prevention Fund, The Joyce Foundation, and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Learn more at www.siskeljacobs.com

Danny Alpert is a director, editor, and producer. In 2002, his documentary work was nominated for both Academy and national Emmy Awards. His films have aired on PBS, HBO and A&E and at festivals around the world.  Alpert was Series Director and Executive Producer on  The Calling , a groundbreaking documentary series that shares the journeys of Muslim, Christian and Jewish Americans who have decided to enter the clergy. The series aired nationally on PBS’ acclaimed series  Independent Lens  in December 2010. His previous film,  A Doula Story , about a remarkable woman who empowers disadvantaged pregnant teenagers with the skills and confidence to become loving mothers, aired on PBS stations across the nation. Alpert also directed  A History of God,  a two-hour documentary special for A&E Networks, based on the bestseller by British theologian Karen Armstrong. He co-produced and edited  Legacy,  a feature length documentary for HBO, which was nominated for a 2001 Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature, a National Emmy for Best Documentary and was an official selection at the 2000 Sundance Film Festival. From 1994 to 1997, he produced  No Time to be a Child,  a three-part series that aired nationally on PBS and was nominated for a national Emmy Award.

Danny Alpert is a director, editor, and producer. In 2002, his documentary work was nominated for both Academy and national Emmy Awards. His films have aired on PBS, HBO and A&E and at festivals around the world.

Alpert was Series Director and Executive Producer on The Calling, a groundbreaking documentary series that shares the journeys of Muslim, Christian and Jewish Americans who have decided to enter the clergy. The series aired nationally on PBS’ acclaimed series Independent Lens in December 2010. His previous film, A Doula Story, about a remarkable woman who empowers disadvantaged pregnant teenagers with the skills and confidence to become loving mothers, aired on PBS stations across the nation. Alpert also directed A History of God, a two-hour documentary special for A&E Networks, based on the bestseller by British theologian Karen Armstrong. He co-produced and edited Legacy, a feature length documentary for HBO, which was nominated for a 2001 Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature, a National Emmy for Best Documentary and was an official selection at the 2000 Sundance Film Festival. From 1994 to 1997, he produced No Time to be a Child, a three-part series that aired nationally on PBS and was nominated for a national Emmy Award.

Daniel Alpert, Co-Director

Jon Siskel co-founded the Chicago-based television and documentary production company Siskel/Jacobs Productions in 2005. Prior to Siskel Jacobs Production, he was executive producer and co-creator of the series “Fake Out”, which ran for two seasons on Court TV. He has produced shows for the A&E series Investigative Reports  and Biography, and his work has been shown on the Travel Channel, Discovery, and History. Jon serves on the board of directors of Free Spirit Media, a Chicago-based youth media organization.

Jon Siskel co-founded the Chicago-based television and documentary production company Siskel/Jacobs Productions in 2005. Prior to Siskel Jacobs Production, he was executive producer and co-creator of the series “Fake Out”, which ran for two seasons on Court TV. He has produced shows for the A&E seriesInvestigative Reports and Biography, and his work has been shown on the Travel Channel, Discovery, and History. Jon serves on the board of directors of Free Spirit Media, a Chicago-based youth media organization.

Jon Siskel, Co-Director

Rachel Pikelny is the Director of Production at Siskel/Jacobs Productions. Prior to joining SJP, Rachel was affiliated with Kartemquin Films, where she collaborated on five feature-length documentaries, including The Trials of Muhammad Ali and A Good Man. She has also produced shows that have aired on the Oprah Winfrey Network, CNBC, and A&E.

Rachel Pikelny is the Director of Production at Siskel/Jacobs Productions. Prior to joining SJP, Rachel was affiliated with Kartemquin Films, where she collaborated on five feature-length documentaries, including The Trials of Muhammad Ali and A Good Man. She has also produced shows that have aired on the Oprah Winfrey Network, CNBC, and A&E.

Rachel Pikelny, Producer

Martine Granby joined Kindling Group in 2014 as a Story Producer, primarily working on ‘No Small Matter’ and ‘The S-Word’. Martine previously interned at Kartemquin Films and worked as a reporter at Medill News Service, covering community and culture in Chicago. Martine received her M.S. in Journalism and Video/Broadcast from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism in 2014.

Martine Granby joined Kindling Group in 2014 as a Story Producer, primarily working on ‘No Small Matter’ and ‘The S-Word’. Martine previously interned at Kartemquin Films and worked as a reporter at Medill News Service, covering community and culture in Chicago. Martine received her M.S. in Journalism and Video/Broadcast from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism in 2014.

Martine Granby, Story Producer

Alex Y. Ding is a documentary filmmaker, organizer, and writer based in Chicago. She is a 2019 NeXtDoc Fellow and the Dr. Aizik Wolf Fellow in Human Rights at  Siskel/Jacobs Productions , where she produces short-form multimedia content about early learning in America, and supports  No Small Matter  as an impact associate. She has produced videos for   Chicago Reader  ,  The TRiiBE , and  Free Spirit Media , and for non-profits and people across Chicago. Her writing has has appeared in WBEZ, City Bureau,  Chicago Defender, In These Times, The Huffington Post , and more. You can find her at  @alexyding  on  Twitter  or email her at  alexyijiading@gmail.com .

Alex Y. Ding is a documentary filmmaker, organizer, and writer based in Chicago. She is a 2019 NeXtDoc Fellow and the Dr. Aizik Wolf Fellow in Human Rights at Siskel/Jacobs Productions, where she produces short-form multimedia content about early learning in America, and supports No Small Matter as an impact associate. She has produced videos for Chicago Reader, The TRiiBE, and Free Spirit Media, and for non-profits and people across Chicago. Her writing has has appeared in WBEZ, City Bureau, Chicago Defender, In These Times, The Huffington Post, and more. You can find her at @alexyding on Twitter or email her at alexyijiading@gmail.com.

Alex Y. Ding, Siskel/Jacobs Fellow

Alyssa Villegas manages the incoming community screening requests for  No Small Matter — she has helped the film make an impact on hundreds of diverse audiences across the country.  Alyssa was born and raised in Uptown, Chicago, IL. She is involved as an organizer in Chicago's Puerto Rican community, Humboldt Park, focusing on cultural and historical preservation. Alyssa graduated with her MFA from Brooklyn College in May 2018. Her thesis film, Esta Niña Linda, was recently selected by the National Board of Review. She was also awarded the Tribeca Film Institute All Access grant for her feature film producer debut, No Half Steppin’, in 2018.

Alyssa Villegas manages the incoming community screening requests for No Small Matter— she has helped the film make an impact on hundreds of diverse audiences across the country.

Alyssa was born and raised in Uptown, Chicago, IL. She is involved as an organizer in Chicago's Puerto Rican community, Humboldt Park, focusing on cultural and historical preservation. Alyssa graduated with her MFA from Brooklyn College in May 2018. Her thesis film, Esta Niña Linda, was recently selected by the National Board of Review. She was also awarded the Tribeca Film Institute All Access grant for her feature film producer debut, No Half Steppin’, in 2018.

Alyssa Villegas, Impact Coordinator

Greg Jacobs co-founded the Chicago-based television and documentary production company Siskel/Jacobs Productions in 2005. Prior to Siskel Jacobs Productions, he served as VP/Chief Creative Officer at Towers Productions, where he oversaw the content of more than two hundred documentaries on five different networks, including award-winning shows and series for A&E, History, Discovery, The Weather Channel, and CNN. A graduate of Yale University, Greg has a master’s degree in history from Ohio State, and is the author of Getting Around Brown: Desegregation, Development, and the Columbus Public Schools. He is also a 2016 New America fellow.

Greg Jacobs co-founded the Chicago-based television and documentary production company Siskel/Jacobs Productions in 2005. Prior to Siskel Jacobs Productions, he served as VP/Chief Creative Officer at Towers Productions, where he oversaw the content of more than two hundred documentaries on five different networks, including award-winning shows and series for A&E, History, Discovery, The Weather Channel, and CNN. A graduate of Yale University, Greg has a master’s degree in history from Ohio State, and is the author of Getting Around Brown: Desegregation, Development, and the Columbus Public Schools. He is also a 2016 New America fellow.

Greg Jacobs, Co-Director

Alfre Woodard was born on November 8, 1952 in Tulsa, Oklahoma, the youngest of three children of Constance, a homemaker, and Marion H. Woodard, an interior designer. She was named by her godmother, who claimed she saw a vision of Alfre's name written out in gold letters. A former high school cheerleader and track star, she got the acting bug after being persuaded to audition for a school play by a nun at her school. She went on to study acting at Boston University and enjoyed a brief stint on Broadway before moving to Los Angeles, California. She got her first break inRemember My Name (1978) which also starred Jeff Goldblum. She lives in Santa Monica, California with her husband, writer Roderick M. Spencer, and their two adopted children: Mavis and Duncan. She was named one of the Most Beautiful People in America by People Magazine.

Alfre Woodard was born on November 8, 1952 in Tulsa, Oklahoma, the youngest of three children of Constance, a homemaker, and Marion H. Woodard, an interior designer. She was named by her godmother, who claimed she saw a vision of Alfre's name written out in gold letters. A former high school cheerleader and track star, she got the acting bug after being persuaded to audition for a school play by a nun at her school. She went on to study acting at Boston University and enjoyed a brief stint on Broadway before moving to Los Angeles, California. She got her first break inRemember My Name (1978) which also starred Jeff Goldblum. She lives in Santa Monica, California with her husband, writer Roderick M. Spencer, and their two adopted children: Mavis and Duncan. She was named one of the Most Beautiful People in America by People Magazine.

Alfre Wood, Narrator

Laura Fallsgraff leads strategy and impact for Kindling's feature films and digital campaigns. After writing for video and digital content for President Obama’s re-election campaign, she joined Kindling Group as a producer and impact producer. She has led campaigns for Kindling's films @home and Radical Grace, and just premiered her directorial debut, The 39th, a short about a grassroots political campaign in her Logan Square neighborhood of Chicago.

Laura Fallsgraff leads strategy and impact for Kindling's feature films and digital campaigns. After writing for video and digital content for President Obama’s re-election campaign, she joined Kindling Group as a producer and impact producer. She has led campaigns for Kindling's films @home and Radical Grace, and just premiered her directorial debut, The 39th, a short about a grassroots political campaign in her Logan Square neighborhood of Chicago.

Laura Fallsgraff, Co-Producer

Sierra Council is a community-driven digital strategist with a passion for multimedia creativity. Originally from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, she manages No Small Matter’s online content and social media platforms. Her diverse background includes documentary production, international reporting and social media development, in which she has integrated her multifaceted understanding to assist journalists, filmmakers and nonprofits achieve their engagement goals. Also a story producer, Sierra focuses on innovative ways to utilize digital storytelling to highlight marginalized narratives, encourage community action and promote sustainable change.

Sierra Council is a community-driven digital strategist with a passion for multimedia creativity. Originally from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, she manages No Small Matter’s online content and social media platforms. Her diverse background includes documentary production, international reporting and social media development, in which she has integrated her multifaceted understanding to assist journalists, filmmakers and nonprofits achieve their engagement goals. Also a story producer, Sierra focuses on innovative ways to utilize digital storytelling to highlight marginalized narratives, encourage community action and promote sustainable change.

Sierra Council, Social Media Producer

Adam Joel guides  No Small Matter ’s Impact Team as they book hundreds of diverse community screenings across the country and beyond. His goal for this film is to make early education a top international issue by uniting diverse audiences of parents, medical professionals, educators, advocates, policymakers, business leaders and more.  Adam is an impact-driven filmmaker who sheds light on difficult social issues by drawing viewers in with powerful metaphors and a bit of humor. His own original short,  The Green-Burger Challenge,  was selected as a Top 5 Finalist in an international Eco-Comedy Competition sponsored by The Nature Conservancy. He also wrote and directed the award-winning short film,  Under the Weather,  in which shifts in a young woman’s mental health come to life as shifts in the weather. Adam is always looking for new and creative ways to inspire empathy and create systemic change.   adamwjoel@gmail.com

Adam Joel guides No Small Matter’s Impact Team as they book hundreds of diverse community screenings across the country and beyond. His goal for this film is to make early education a top international issue by uniting diverse audiences of parents, medical professionals, educators, advocates, policymakers, business leaders and more.

Adam is an impact-driven filmmaker who sheds light on difficult social issues by drawing viewers in with powerful metaphors and a bit of humor. His own original short, The Green-Burger Challenge, was selected as a Top 5 Finalist in an international Eco-Comedy Competition sponsored by The Nature Conservancy. He also wrote and directed the award-winning short film, Under the Weather, in which shifts in a young woman’s mental health come to life as shifts in the weather. Adam is always looking for new and creative ways to inspire empathy and create systemic change.
adamwjoel@gmail.com

Adam Joel, Impact Manager

Rachel Giannini is a childhood specialist, an early childhood advocate, and a video blog host. She is currently the writer, director, and on screen talent for a series of video blogs for the Chicago Children’s Museum and feature length documentary, No Small Matter.  Rachel has been published in The New York Times, HuffPost, Child Care Exchange, and Chicago Parent. Her adventures can be heard on Kids Stuff Podcast and Hi Mama. Rachel has a MFA in Museum Education from the University of Illinois and a volunteer hospital magician for Open Heart Magic.

Rachel Giannini is a childhood specialist, an early childhood advocate, and a video blog host. She is currently the writer, director, and on screen talent for a series of video blogs for the Chicago Children’s Museum and feature length documentary, No Small Matter.

Rachel has been published in The New York Times, HuffPost, Child Care Exchange, and Chicago Parent. Her adventures can be heard on Kids Stuff Podcast and Hi Mama. Rachel has a MFA in Museum Education from the University of Illinois and a volunteer hospital magician for Open Heart Magic.



Rachel Giannini, Featured Preschool Teacher