Crew | The Red Tail


Melissa Koch

Koch is an emerging filmmaker introducing her feature-length documentary debut, "The Red Tail." She is a multi-disciplinary media-artist who has directed narrative short films and has worked in documentary video, photography, and radio. Koch studied cultural theory, media arts, and social change at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities and the University of Tasmania, Australia. She has worked with community organizations for ten years primarily focusing on work with youth, LGBTQ communities, and the arts. In addition to working as a free-lance video producer, Koch currently serves as the Community Programs Director for In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre.

Dawn Mikkelson
Executive Producer/Director

2010 McKnight Filmmaking Fellow Dawn Mikkelson’s work has been seen on PBS, OUTtv, and Free Speech TV, and has screened at numerous international festivals including the Galway Film Fleadh,
Cambridge Film Festival, International Documentary Festival Amsterdam, DocuFest Atlanta, Leipzig DOK Market, American Indian Film Festival, Planet in Focus, and Washington DC Environmental Film Festival. Mikkelson has completed four award-winning independent feature documentaries, The Red Tail, Green Green Water,THIS obedience, and Treading Water: a documentary, which illuminate larger societal issues while creating understanding through the intimate stories of individuals.
A former television news reporter at an ABC affiliate, Mikkelson often speaks and writes on issues around documentary filmmaking and social justice for MPR (Minnesota Public Radio) and MovieMaker Magazine and at festival panels, colleges, and universities. Mikkelson has taught Documentary Film as Adjunct Faculty at Ottawa University in Kansas, as well as at IFP Minnesota. In 2006 Mikkelson’s film,
Hope for Recovery: Understanding Mental Illness (produced in collaboration with Twin Cities Public Television and NAMI-MN) won the Eric Sevareid Award by the Northwest Broadcast News Association (NBNA).
Adrian Danciu
Director of Photography

Adrian is an award-winning cameraman that started his career in Romania where he worked for Romanian Television and was involved with projects ranging from breaking news, documentary dramas to educational videos. His assignments took him from crowded city streets to remote regions of the Carpathian Mountains and underwater caves of the Banat region. He is also credited in documentaries for Duna TV and Hungarian Television in Budapest, Hungary and WDR in Germany. Upon moving to Minneapolis, MN in 1999 Adrian contributed to programs originated on NBC, PBS and several production companies. He also enjoyed photographing treasure hunters for National Geographic Television in the Gulf of Mexico, the Caroline Rhea Show at the Mall of America and Frozen Feet Films independent documentary film project: Urban Explorers. He is currently in production with a story about our ancestors: The Early Humans in Europe.

Chris Waller
Associate Producer

As a child Chris Waller loved nothing more than when her teacher pulled the screen over the chalkboard and threaded film through the projector. These little movies sparked in her a love of documentary film and a life long quest to better understand others. This fascination led Chris to believe that she could do more than just understand; she could help. Thus began a career in social service working with HIV/AIDS and homeless youth. After twenty years Chris decided to merge her love of film and her social service background. With a newly minted degree in screenwriting she has fulfilled a life long ambition to work on a feature length documentary. Chris has written for numerous independent film producers with subjects ranging from Las Vegas pit girls to child soldiers. She brings with her the inspiration of a writer and the passion of the wife of a union man. Chris has a deep commitment to foster a better understanding of one another through film. She also likes horses and candy. Chris is the proud mother of three daughters. She graduated with a BS degree in human services from the U of M and holds an AS degree in screenwriting from MCTC

Lori Barbero
Music Supervisor

Lori Barbero was the co-founder and drummer for Babes in Toyland, a hard rock band from Minneapolis. They were some of the precursors of what came to be known in the early 1990s as RiotGrrl, a subgenre of grunge music. In 1990, Babes in Toyland toured with Sonic Youth throughout Europe. The group's break into the national scene came in 1992 with the release of their first full-length album Fontanelle and inclusion in the documentary film 1991: The Year Punk Broke. The following year, they joined bands including Dinosaur Junior, Alice in Chains, and Rage Against the Machine for Lollapalooza 1993. Since the band’s breakup, Barbero has been deeply committed to the independent music scene in Minnesota and around the world. She has also been in half a dozen other bands; Sean Na Na, Eggtwist, The Willis Project and most recently, Koalas. Nobody plays drums like Lori. Then there are the more recent incarnations; Lori as DJ, Lori as party promoter, there are even some rumors about her work as a paramilitary operative, but those have yet to be confirmed.

Beth Wilson
Associate Producer/Research/Soul

With a degree in journalism and a lengthy career as a flight attendant with NWA, Beth Wilson left the company in 2005 when the mechanics went on strike, refusing to cross their picket line. In her words: “When I was a little girl growing up in a major Midwestern city, my dad used to load us up into the family car and drive us to the airport. He parked the car directly across the road from the runway, and we all marveled at the airplanes touching down, and taking off directly over our heads. My dad’s unbridled enthusiasm for flying machines, along with a passion for travel, instilled in me a powerful curiosity of aviation. I finally succumbed to the lure of the skies and was hired as a flight attendant in the late 1980s by a solid company with a promising future: Northwest Airlines. That first year I was flying all over the world, and seeing places I had only dreamt about. I was in love with my job. Just one short year later things changed. Terms like leveraged buyout and corporate raiders were tossed around by employees. This marked the beginning of a turbulent downward spiral for Northwest employees, as the threat of bankruptcy and layoffs was now hanging over our heads. From that point on we never again felt secure about our jobs, our pay, our benefits or our futures. We did what good employees do who believe in the company they work for…we soldiered on, while a procession of CEOs came and went. Things went from bad to worse – a bitter pilots’ strike, the trauma of 9/11, skyrocketing fuel prices, contentious contract negotiations, and finally, a showdown between the mechanics and Northwest management. The mechanics went on strike in August 2005, and the following month NWA declared bankruptcy – the first time in its 79-year history. I chose to quit because I did not want to cross the mechanics’ picket line. I supported their cause, and could no longer justify working for a company that placed profit above all else. To me, Northwest had lost its soul. My friends who remain employed by the airline endure experiences that no one should ever have to deal with: their pay cut nearly in half, benefits slashed, pensions hanging in limbo. All employees continue to deal with the tough issues of how to pay their mortgage and buy food for their families. Some work two, even three jobs to stay solvent. Some have lost their homes. Most are bitter, and cannot understand how this chain of events was allowed to happen. Those that left the company and those still there all feel a profound sadness and loss of control. I was one of the lucky ones. I had enough money saved to survive the transition to a new career. What’s happening at Northwest is truly a microcosm of what’s happening to middle class America: corporate greed, outsourcing, layoffs, globalization, loss of pensions, union-busting, and the beginning of the end for the American dream. This happens to good people every day. That’s a big story that needs to be told. And I’m going to be the one to do it.”

Carly Zuckweiler
Sound Designer

Zuckweiler is an audio engineer and sound designer at HDMG, a video post-production house in Eden Prairie, MN. She has worked with a broad spectrum of clients including BigLots!, Cargill, Regis, Best Buy, Target, General Mills, and Honeywell. She also recently mixed audio for the feature documentary Green Green Water. Before joining the HDMG team she worked as an assistant engineer to producer and engineer Brian Ricke at Fuzzy Slippers Studio (Saint Paul, MN). She currently serves as secretary on the board of directors for the Minnesota chapter of Women in Film and Television. With over three years of experience at HDMG, she is looking forward to future collaborations with the Twin Cities community and beyond.