Gail Bennett is a visual artist, designer and yoga teacher who grew up in the Pacific Northwest and graduated from Western Washington University with a degree in multi-media arts communication. She moved to New York City and began her graphic design career at Backstage, Knoll Graphics and Vignelli Associates. Gail concurrently earned an MFA in filmmaking at NYU Graduate Film School and her award winning thesis film showed regularly on Showtime.
At NYU she designed film sets and was soon hired by Estée Lauder as a professional stylist. She created beautiful environments for extravagant large-scale events.
Her stylist experience brought Gail to Los Angeles where she was a set decorator and production designer on films, tv shows and commercials. Gail has worked with a wide variety of artists in the entertainment industry, including Noah Baumbach, Julia Sweeney, and Quentin Tarantino. Gail also worked in LA as a reality show segment producer, where she gained a true love for meeting people from all walks of life and documenting their stories.
In 1996, Gail’s daughter was born. In 2003, she had a son. Being a mother created a whole new world of opportunities. Gail became a prenatal yoga teacher and a birth doula, and she is now a well respected Kundalini yoga instructor in Los Angeles and New York.
Throughout her varied career, Gail has always treasured working with others, solving problems, sharing laughter and connecting to communities. Gail was a founding member of “The Virginia Avenue Project” in Los Angeles - a theater program that brought professional artists and actors together with young, at-risk kids. Gail created hundreds of whimsical props, costumes, sets, and hand-drawn illustrations for the Virginia Avenue Project plays.
When Gail moved back to New York in 2016, she began collaborating with Judy Lieff at NYU’s ITP program. Their mutual obsession with clotheslines was the initial spark that inspired their current project, “Clothesline Stories”.
Judy Lieff is a filmmaker and educator with a background in dance and experimental film. She currently serves on the steering committee of New Day Films - a filmmaker-run distribution company providing social issue documentaries to educators since 1971.
Judy was selected to participate as a film envoy in the *American Film Showcase (AFS) 2013/2014 program with her first feature documentary, Deaf Jam, traveling to South Korea, Zimbabwe, and Turkey. Deaf Jam showcases American Sign Language (ASL) poetry through the story of a young deaf poet’s search for identity (www.deafjam.org). The project received funding from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Rockefeller Foundation, New York State Council on the Arts and a finishing grant from the Independent Television Service (ITVS). Deaf Jam had its broadcast premiere on the PBS series, Independent Lens, and has been translated into over seven languages.
Judy is on faculty at SUNY Purchase where she has served on the diversity task force and teaches an interdisciplinary lab exploring the intersections of film and choreography. She earned an interdisciplinary M.F.A. degree from the California Institute of the Arts (Cal Arts), following a career as a professional dancer. Her credits include: a Dance On Camera residency with BBC producer Bob Lockyer at the Banff Centre for the Arts, a National Dance/Media fellowship from the Pew Charitable Trusts, and six grants for media projects with youth. She has years of experience working in production and post-production on commercials, industrials, shorts, and electronic press kits for feature films. Additionally, she has worked as a motion capture performer/choreographer, and as a stop-motion performer/choreographer on projects including Terry Gilliam’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Research and Development for Nickelodeon’s SpongeBob series, and Pat O’Neil’s The Decay of Fiction.
*American Film Showcase is a partnership between the Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts.