About Our Panelists


Stuart%20Sender.jpgStuart Sender, Producer/Director – Harmony
Stuart Sender has an eclectic background as an Academy Award® nominated filmmaker, broadcast journalist and screenwriter. His credits include producing and directing the Academy-Award® nominated documentary Prisoner of Paradise which also received a Directors Guild nomination and won the prestigious Grierson Award for best documentary on film. Stuart also executive produced The Garden which was nominated for an Academy Award® for Best Documentary Feature.
Stuart began his career at CBS news, then worked as Senior Producer of the weekly PBS series South Africa Now, which won a Polk Award for excellence in journalism and a New York Emmy for best newsmagazine. He produced the first exclusive interview with Nelson Mandela following President Mandela’s release from prison; and was Senior Producer of the documentary Mandela: Free At Last.
Stuart has worked around the globe: in Los Angeles, London, Paris, Berlin, Capetown, Delhi, Managua and Hanoi; from the huts of peasant farmers to the offices of industry titans; lobster fishing off the coast of Scotland and searching for Spirit Bears in Canada’s Great Bear Rainforest; filming sacred Buddhist ceremonies in India and a Ku Klux Klan cross burning in Pennsylvania; and working in war and conflict zones in Nicaragua, South Africa and the Middle East.
Stuart is a partner in Balcony Films, a Los Angeles based media production and consulting firm. Stuart produces and directs much of Balcony Films award-winning content which has featured some of our best-known public figures and personalities, including: His Holiness The Dalai Lama, Yasser Arafat, Yitzhak Shamir, KKK Grand Dragon David Duke and performers such as Will Ferrell, Jason Alexander, Felicity Huffman, Rosario Dawson and Stevie Wonder.

Julie%20Sender.jpgJulie Bergman Sender
Producer – Harmony

Julie Bergman Sender has a unique mix of experience—from producing feature films and documentaries to producing and directing groundbreaking media campaigns that focus on politics and social issues. Julie began her career as a film executive at Warner Brothers producing movies with her mentor, director Sydney Pollack, as well as working at Disney, Universal and partnering with Jodie Foster in the creation of Egg Pictures.
She has produced a number of feature films, including: “Washington Square” directed by Agneiszka Holland and starring Jennifer Jason Leigh, Albert Finney and Maggie Smith; Ridley Scott’s film “G.I. Jane” starring Demi Moore; and “Six Days, Seven Nights” starring Harrison Ford.
In addition to producing feature films, Julie executive produced The Garden which was nominated for an Academy award for best Documentary Feature.
Julie is a partner with her husband Stuart Sender in Balcony Films, Inc., a Los Angeles-based media production and consulting firm.

Lori%20Pye.jpgLori Pye, Ph.D
Dr. Pye comes from a background in education, environmental and marine conservation, ecopsychology and cultural mythology. As director of a nonprofit organization in Costa Rica she worked with international NGO’s to co-develop the Eastern Tropical Pacific Biological Seascape Corridor with the Ministers of the Environment from Costa Rica, Colombia, Panama, and Ecuador.
In her passion to foster and engage wider cultural discussion of global concerns she has directed international conferences: Nature and Human Nature, The Mythology of Violence, The Aesthetic Nature of Change, and upcoming Eros, Empathy and Evolution.
Dr. Pye has multiple publications in peer-reviewed journals and serves on the Editorial Board for Ecopsychology Journal. She teaches Ecopsychology and Environmental Ethics at the University of California in Santa Barbara (UCSB); Ecopsychology for Kaweah Delta Psychiatric Residency program at University of California Irvine; and at the International Union of Conservation of Nature’s World Conservation Congress in Korea. She also teaches at Antioch University Santa Barbara and Pacifica Graduate Institute. Lori founded and directs Viridis Graduate Institute: International School of Ecopsychology.

Nicholas%20Dietch_reduced.jpgNicholas Deitch, R.A
Mr. Deitch is Senior Principal and founding partner of Mainstreet Architects and Planners, Inc. He has twenty-eight years of professional experience in the fields of architecture and planning and has been involved in a wide variety of public and private projects, including numerous community planning efforts, historic restoration and adaptive re-use projects, and mixed-use residential, commercial and professional buildings. Mr. Deitch has been instrumental in developing community consensus and support for the preservation and revitalization of several downtowns and neighborhood centers in communities throughout Ventura County and California.
Mainstreet Architects + Planners, Inc. is a diverse and collaborative team of professionals with a shared passion for helping make our world a healthy and more beautiful place to live and prosper. MAP’s staff of 13 includes 5 registered architects, along with several graduate architect interns and support staff. MAP is committed to a collaborative approach to design and planning, including our Clients, Consultants and the communities in which we work. Through this collaborative effort, our projects create success for all involved. We welcome the opportunity to collaborate with public and private clients on projects of unique and diverse opportunity. www.mainstreetarchitects.com

Jim%20Churchill.jpgJim Churchill

Jim Churchill spent an important part of his childhood in Ojai. He has been farming in the Valley intermittently since 1978 and full time since 1997. With his wife Lisa Brenneis, Mr. Churchill grows organic tangerines and avocados. He is a founding member of the Ojai Pixie Growers Association. He is also a Board member of Food for Thought Ojai – working on school food issues in Ojai Unified School District since 2003.
Bio to be continued.

Michael%20Shapiro.jpgMichael Shapiro
Michael Shapiro began his career as a television producer with New York City’s WNEW-TV, Channel 5, producing a number of prime-time public affairs, variety/talk shows and news specials – one of which was With Mayor Lindsay – a live, weekly Sunday talk show hosted by New York’s Mayor. Relocating to Los Angeles, he started Threshold Productions, Inc., an independent film production company committed to producing films about ordinary people and institutions having an extraordinarily affirmative impact on the world. A significant percentage of the production company fees were donated back to the individual or organization whose life and/or work was the basis for the dramatic film produced. Shapiro developed and produced the network television movie (NBC) In The Line of Fire: The Morris Dees Story – the drama about the heroic founder of the Southern Poverty Law Center who defends victims of violent, racist hate-crimes and bankrupts the groups (i.e., the KKK, American Nazi Party) who commit them. Threshold is currently developing a four-hour mini-series for television about the life and times of 60s-70s cultural/political icon, Abbie Hoffman with the screenplay written by Shapiro and based upon the book Run, Run, Run: The Lives of Abbie Hoffman (Tarcher/Putnam) written by Abbie’s younger brother, Jack Hoffman.
Since moving to Ojai 22-years ago Shapiro has served on the boards of numerous civic, educational and pro-active environmental/political organizations — including co-founder and Board Chair of The Coalition To Stop Weldon Canyon Dump! (Grass-roots environmental/political action coalition that waged the successful battle against Waste Management, Inc.); Co-Chair of the Board of Oak Grove School; founding member & Co-Chair of the Ojai Playwrights Conference; former 1st VP and Board member of the Ojai Valley Land Conservancy; co-founder of the Ojai Valley Defense Fund; Co-Chair, Stop the Trucks! Coalition.