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Ariel Dorfman
Rodrigo Dorfman
Michele Hozer
Mark Ellam
Mark Korven


Ariel Dorfman is considered one of the Twentieth Century's most important literary voices, especially as a forceful example of cross-cultural writing well before the current trend. Called “a literary grandmaster” by Time and “One of the greatest living Latin American novelists.” by Newsweek, his writing often reflects his identity as an exile and outsider.

Born in Argentina in 1942, Dorfman attended grade school in New York City and then lived in Chile, where he became a citizen. Forced to leave that country in 1973 after the coup by Augusto Pinochet and the death of President Salvador Allende, for whom he was working at the time, he subsequently lived in Paris, Amsterdam, and Washington, D.C., returning to Chile during the dictatorship and then more permanently when democracy was restored in 1990. Since that date, he has traveled back and forth between Chile and the United States. With his wife, Angélica, he lives in Durham, N.C., where he holds the Walter Hines Page Chair at Duke University. Dorfman beautifully details this life of exile and bi-cultural wandering in his memoir, Heading South, Looking North , which was acclaimed by Elie Wiesel, Nadine Gordimer, Thomas Keneally and others.

Since writing his legendary critique of North American cultural imperialism, How to Read Donald Duck , Dorfman has built up an impressive body of work that has been translated into more than forty languages and performed in over 100 countries. Besides poetry, essays and novels— Hard Rain , winner of the Sudamericana Award; Widows; The Last Song of Manuel Sendero; Mascara; Konfidenz; The Nanny and the Iceberg, and Blake's Therapy —he has written plays, including Death and the Maiden , which won, among many awards, the Olivier for Best Play and was made into a feature film by Roman Polanski. He has written short stories, including My House Is on Fire , and general nonfiction including The Empire's Old Clothes and Exorcising Terror: The Incredible Unending Trial of Gen. Augusto Pinochet . He has won many international awards, including two Kennedy Center Theater Awards. In 1996, with his son, Rodrigo, he received an award for best television drama in Britain for “Prisoners in Time.” Hispoems, collected in Last Waltz in Santiago and In Case of Fire in a Foreign Land , have been turned into a half-hour fictional film, “Deadline,” featuring the voices of Emma Thompson, Bono, Harold Pinter, and others.  This is the second time Dorfman comes to TIFF, as he was in Toronto ten years ago to show the short fictional feature, “My House is on Fire” which he cowrote and codirected with his son Rodrigo.

Dorfman's human rights play, “Speak Truth to Power: Voices from Beyond the Dark” (based on interviews with human rights defenders by Kerry Kennedy), premiered at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., in 2000 and subsequently aired on PBS as part of its Great Performances series. The play starred Kevin Kline, Sigourney Weaver, Alec Baldwin, John Malkovich, Rita Moreno, among others. It has gone on to numerous performances around the world, including a recent run in New York City. It has featured, among its performers, Sean Penn, Woody Harrelson, Lynn Redgrave, Edie Falco, Sharon Stone, Lorraine Bracco, as well as Martin Sheen and actors from the “West Wing,” directed by Aaron Sorkin.

His latest works include the Lowell Thomas Award-winning travel book, Desert Memories ; a collection of essays, Other Septembers, Many Americas ; and a novel he wrote with his youngest son, Joaquín, Burning City , which has just been optioned as a film. His short story “Gringos” was awarded the 2006 O.Henry prize, given to the best short stories published that year. He recently returned from opening a musical, Dancing Shadows , in Seoul, Korea, with songs by Eric Woolfson, the principle composer for the Alan Parsons Project.  He also has several film and television projects in development with both his sons.  

Dorfman writes regularly for some of the most important newspapers and magazines worldwide.


Associate Producer

Born in Santiago, Chile, Rodrigo Dorfman is an award-winning freelance photographer, writer, video artist and multimedia journalist now based in Durham, North Carolina.

Rodrigo Dorfman's work mixes the immediacy of journalism with in-depth ethnographic fieldwork and flash technology in order to create multimedia documentary environments. He works in cooperation with NGO's, educational and grassroots organizations, film companies and private institutions as a means to develop intercultural, social, scientific and political communication.

My House is on Fire, Rodrigo Dorfman's short film, has screened at some of the top international film festivals
(Edinburgh International Film Festival, Telluride Film Festival, Toronto International Film Festival and The Sao Paolo International Short Film Festival among others.)  

Rodrigo Dorfman has co-authored many projects with his father, Ariel Dorfman. Together they won the prestigious 1996 Writer's Guild of Great Britain Award for best television screenplay for a BBC VJ Day special called Prisoners in Time starring John Hurt. That was followed in 1998 with Deadline, a movie for Britain's Channel 4, shown as part of the 50th anniversary celebration of the Declaration of Human Rights. And Konfidenz, a radio play for the BBC, which he also co-wrote with his father, aired in England in Spring 2001.

In 2006 Rodrigo made three short documentaries: The Jihad of Ebrahim Moosa, an intimate journey through the Madrasas of Northern India; Missing Heather, the emotional recovery of a young woman who was once abducted as a child; and Weaving Dreams, the story of a refugee women's collective in North Carolina.

Associate Producer of A Promise to the Dead: The Exile Journey of Ariel Dorfman, Rodrigo Dorfman is currently working on a film script for the BBC on the theme of terrorism and directing a Telenovela for Latinos based on an O. Henry short story. This summer Rodrigo Dorfman is on location shooting his next documentary.  


Picture Editor

Michèle Hozer, a two-time Gemini award-winning documentary editor, has been working in the Canadian film industry since 1987. Fluently bilingual, Michele grew up in Montreal and studied Communications at Concordia University.   She started her career at the National Film Board of Canada, working first in production then as an editor. In the spring of 1996, Hozer moved to Toronto, working as a freelance editor for well-known production companies and major broadcasters. She received her first Gemini in 2000 for the Nature of Things on their millennium special Race for the Future . In August 2001, Hozer established The Cutting Factory, ensuring the best possible editing environment within the audio post facility of Kitchen Sync.

She has cut over 50 documentaries, including award-winning series, such as The Baby Human, The Undefended Border, and China Rises. With a constant focus on story-telling, Michele applies her unique editing style to a variety of genres, whether arts documentaries, like Can't Stop Now with Karen Kain and Jiri Kilean, or social issues films such as Tsepong: A Clinic called Hope, or historical such as the feature length Artic Dreamer: The Lonely Quest of Viljhalmur Stefansson. In 2005, Hozer won her second Gemini for her work on the critically acclaimed feature length documentary Shake Hands with the Devil: The Journey of Roméo Dallaire .    

Hozer recently finished working with Peter Raymont on the feature length documentary A Promise to the Dead: The Exiled journey of Ariel Dorfman, which will have its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival. She now is in the edit room with director Patrick Reed, cutting a feature length documentary about Nobel Peace Prize winner Dr. James Orbinski.



In 10 years of feature documentary and fiction filmmaking, cinematographer Mark Ellam has brought a unique cinematic vision to reality. He has helped to create award-winning films including The Take by Avi Lewis (American Film Institute Best Feature Documentary 2004), Empz 4 Life by Allan King, Canada's "father of cinema verite", and Alexandre Trudeau's films So Close, So Far and Secure Freedom (CTV).

Leah McLaren described his work in the Globe and Mail: " impressive visual sense...abandoned factories take on an eerie gorgeousness through his lens." For Big Sugar (Prix Gemeaux best documentary 2006, Golden Sheaf Award for best documentary), Mark travelled alone and undercover to the Dominican Republic, capturing footage of Haitian plantation workers suffering under conditions of slavery. Mark's recent work includes The Great War: an epic docudrama by Brian McKenna (CBC/Radio-Canada), Territories: the story of Magnum photographer Larry Towell by Mary Ellen Davis (Bravo).

He is currently shooting The Basement Tapes (NFB/Documentary Channel/EyeSteel Films), directed by Brett Gaylor, and The Boys Project (Documentary Channel/NFB/Nomad Films), by Sarah Goodman, both feature documentaries for theatrical release.



Raised in Winnipeg, Mark began formal music education in Edmonton in 1977 where he studied jazz arranging and composition. Success as a singer/songwriter led to a 1987 move to Toronto where he released an album with Duke Street Records and wrote the music score for I've Heard the Mermaid's Singing [Patricia Rozema].

In the last twelve years he has been nominated for 9 Genie awards, and 8 Gemini awards for his work in Television and film, as well as winning the Hot Docs award for documentary film music for Hearts of Hate and agian in 2000 for The Toughest Job in the World.

In 1996 Mark won a Genie award for best Film score for Curtis' Charm [Dir. John L'Ecuyer] and in 1999 a Gemini award for A Scattering of Seeds.

contents © White Pine Pictures 2007