Sarah Koenigsberg, director of Tensegrity Productions in Walla Walla, WA, is a filmmaker, photographer, and educator whose work focuses on stories of art, environment, and community in the American West. Her films and teaching cross disciplines, illuminating the power of storytelling as a medium through which to explore complex science and policy issues.
Her commercial clients include Pacific Northwest National Laboratories, American Rivers, Knowm Inc, National Park Service, US Forest Service, Grand Canyon Trust, Walla Walla Valley Wine Alliance, Methow Salmon Recovery Foundation, and Schoen Guitars. As a cinematographer she has shot for Discovery Chanel Canada, Scholastic children's book publishing, and The US Department of Energy. As an educator, she frequently works with Whitman College teaching video and audio production, and interdisciplinary storytelling. From 2008 to 2016 she taught the media and storytelling component of Whitman's environmental studies field program Semester in the West, developing the curriculum for their semester-long comprehensive project, an audio podcast. The Tensegrity Productions studio doubles as a community events venue, hosting everything from film screenings to live music performances to yoga retreats.
Sarah loves strong coffee, dark chocolate, organizing cupboards, and finding an excuse to climb up high things to "get the shot." She hates sticky jar lids, tangled power cords, and lima beans. Learn more about her work and production company at www.tensegrityproductions.com.
Chris is a freelance documentary filmmaker, cinematographer, and editor based in Portland, Oregon. He's been working with Sarah Koenigsberg as part of the Tensegrity Productions family since 2010. Check out his work at www.chriscresci.com.
After graduating from Chapman University’s Dodge College of Film, he co-founded the doc production house, Rainhouse Cinema. As a freelancer, he has worked on a variety of documentary, commercial, and narrative projects for companies like Patagonia, The Home Depot, and The Atlantic. His work has screened on PBS stations across the country, and film festivals across the world including AFIDocs, Banff, Big Sky, Wild and Scenic, and MountainFilm.
Chris strives to create compelling and inspirational films that connect people to and emphasize the importance of the natural world. He loves running in the rain, a good hoppy beer, and he spends entirely too much time working in his basement.
Faith hails from the sunny Sacramento Valley. Her passion for the visual arts began early, and upon receipt of her first point and shoot camera in 6th grade, so began an era of annoying her family with incessant attempts at curious snapshots. Since then, she has grown (thankfully) to become more graceful behind the lens, but she hasn’t put it down since. She has worked as a journalistic, communications, and theatre photographer for her recent alma mater, Whitman College, in addition to contracting photos and videos in recent summers for a small lumber company in rural Montana, the Grand Canyon Trust in Utah, and an urban farm in Sacramento. As an Environmental Humanities major, Faith focused her undergraduate education around critically examining the relationships between human beings and their natural surroundings. She is happy to combine both of her passions, the environment and the visual arts, with The Beaver Believers. Joining the project predominately for post-production, Faith has enjoyed crafting compelling character sketches and further exploring the art of storytelling with this fun tale of quirky, compassionate folks who love our favorite watershed friend, the beaver! You can view her work here.
Cathryn Klusmeier is a writer, medical anthropologist, and commercial salmon fisherwoman living and working in Sitka, Alaska. Her work revolves around the links between people, places, and health—both human and ecological. Recently, she graduated from the University of Oxford with a Master’s degree in Medical Anthropology, but her roots go back to Walla Walla, WA and Whitman College, where she graduated with a degree in Environmental Studies and Humanities. At the moment, she is working on a creative nonfiction book about commercial fishing in Alaska, Alzheimer’s disease, and the American South.
Cathryn is the winner of the MIT Media Lab’s 2018 Resisting Reduction Essay Competition with her essay on the “Fluid Boundaries of Non-Communicable Disease.” In 2017 her essay “Crucifixions” was included in the Best American Essays list of notable essays and won the “Crazyhorse” 2016 creative nonfiction prize.
Cathryn spends a lot of her time trail running, hiking, and fishing in Alaska. She likes picking blueberries, a good pen collection, and wandering the Tongass National Forest.
production intern/the sound guy
Keenan grew up in the remarkably mild and often damp climate of McKinleyville, California, a small town nestled between the redwoods and the roaring Pacific. What a surprise, then, to find himself chasing beavers through the interior deserts of the American West! Keenan has graduated from Whitman College with a degree in Politics-Environmental Studies, and he jumped on the opportunity to be a part of this filmmaking process. His involvement with The Beaver Believers saw him brandishing a microphone at a pulse of a southwestern flash flood, carefully recording Methow Valley silence, and consistently finding serene and private wooded pockets for the "groover" (the field toilet). Keenan could not get enough of the staggering landscapes that beavers of the American West call home, and he cannot wait to share them with you! In his free time, Keenan takes great pleasure in making small jokes with his friends.
additional camera: Utah, Colorado, Washington
A native of St. Paul, Minnesota, Brennan grew up with a curiosity to see what lay beyond the plains of the Midwest. Since graduating from Whitman College in 2016 with degrees in Environmental Humanities and Film, he has been based out of the mountains of Asheville, North Carolina. With an strong interest in culinary history and regional cuisines, he’s more often found interning at different restaurants around the country or sampling foods abroad. In 2019 he will be starting his own project back in Asheville, where he will offer baking and culinary classes out of his house in the Appalachians.
Perry Grant recipient/production intern
Molly is a biologist and outdoor enthusiast. She has worked throughout the western US as a biologist and science and outdoor educator for groups including US Fish and Wildlife, The Teton Research Institute, The Teton Science Schools, and the Northwest Outward Bound School.
Molly is currently finishing her Master’s in Ecology, Evolution, and Conservation Biology at San Francisco State University. She is studying the effects of wildfire on plant-pollinator networks in California’s oak woodland ecosystems. Molly is an alumna of Whitman College where she earned her bachelor’s degree in Biology and Environmental Studies and researched how forest management impacts songbird abundance, diversity, and distribution.
In her free time Molly enjoys exploring wild places by foot, bike, ski, and boat, drawing, adding to her ever-expanding house plant collection, and visiting bakeries.
additional camera: Colorado
Chase, a passionate amateur photographer from Grand Junction, Colorado, first found himself waist deep in murky beaver ponds on Whitman College's 2012 Semester in the West program. Six months later he realized that The Beaver Believers film was the ultimate opportunity to use his love for photography to help convey a positive message about climate change, ecosystem health, and our furry beaver friends. His energy for photography is surpassed only by his spirit for chemistry and cooking, and his love for wandering in desert landscapes. Chase compiles his ongoing photography ventures under the title Sadalsuud Photography. Check out his work here.