Co-producer Tory Estern Jadow, a 20-year veteran of the New York City film industry, worked as a lighting designer on shows such as Saturday Night Live and Sesame Street, as well as countless feature films, commercials, music videos, and documentaries throughout the ‘80s and ‘90s. Tory’s short narrative film, The Fall, was a prize winner at the ’88 Suffolk County Film Festival.
After moving to the northwest corner of Connecticut to raise a family, Tory founded the Indian Mountain School film program, of which she was the department chair from 2006 to 2014.
During that time, Tory supervised the making of over 45 student short films and introduced hundreds of students to the art and craft of filmmaking. In addition to teaching film at IMS, Tory regularly produced and shot videos for the school website for the purpose of marketing, alumni development, and fundraising. Of particular note, she created two successful video marketing campaigns, Student Voices and Teacher Voices, for Indian Mountain’s admissions department.
A freelancer once again, Tory works as a director, cinematographer, and editor. Recent projects include a music video for the Harlem Line Band, a documentary for the Salisbury Historical Association, and a promotional video for Fusion Sports Performance in New York City. Currently, she is editing a documentary for Cotton-Hussey Films on the artist Roy Lichtenstein. She is also co-founder of RC Productions and is directing and co-producing RCP’s inaugural project, Recovering Community, on the root causes of drug-addiction and the transformative power of recovery.
Tory received her BA from Wesleyan University, and her MFA from Bennington College. She lives in West Cornwall, CT with her two teenage children and her Black Labrador, Pearl.
Co-producer Hope Payson, LCSW, LADC is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Alcohol and Drug Counselor who specializes in the treatment of addiction and trauma. She has over 20 years of experience working in community mental health in the following capacities: director of a supportive housing program for domestic violence survivors, coordinator of an assertive community treatment team and originator of a homeless outreach program that included on-site assessment, treatment placement and long term follow up for clients with histories of addiction and trauma.
Hope was the Clinical Director for EMDR Humanitarian Assistance Program for seven years, where the organizational mission included assuring underserved communities gain increased access to evidence based trauma treatment. She remains an active volunteer with this organization.
Hope currently coordinates a private practice in Winsted, CT and offers consultation services to other clinicians working in private and community settings, and provides training on issues related to addiction, recovery and trauma treatment. Hope Payson also identifies as a trauma survivor in long term recovery from drug and alcohol addiction. She lives a peaceful life in the northwest corner of Connecticut and works tirelessly to assure that people with histories of trauma, neglect, or oppression gain access to their own version of a good life.
Ali Muney is a Brooklyn-based editor. Her thought-provoking documentary and fiction work primarily focuses on social change. Ali’s work has screened on Netflix, PBS and at film festivals worldwide such as Cannes, Tribeca, LA Film Fest, Slamdance and AFI Docs.
Director of Photography Evan Estern is a cinematographer and videographer (who also happens to be Tory’s brother) with a broad background in film and digital media. He has shot numerous documentary films and commercial projects in the US and abroad. His areas of special interest include: Documentary, Travel and Adventure Storytelling, TV and Web Commercials featuring real people, marine and underwater cinematography. Evan received a B.A. from Oberlin College and an M.F.A from Hollins University in Roanoke, Virginia. He is excited to be part of this important project.
Coordinating Producer Greg Choa is a 20 year veteran of film and television production. His career began after film school at the University of Texas at Austin working as a production assistant on a number of feature films in New York, Los Angeles and Hong Kong. In 1990 he joined the staff of MTV Networks in New York where he spent the next decade production managing a wide range of network studio and field-based productions including: Club MTV, Unplugged, the MTV Beach House, Sandblast, MTV Sports, and MTV’s Sports & Music Festivals. In 1999 Greg went freelance and has since enjoyed a diverse and versatile production career working with a number of networks and production companies in a multitude of formats and genres on projects such as: The Super Bowl Halftime Show, Crank Yankers, ESPN’s Two-Minute Drill, Chef Academy, Model City, Comic View, Love & Hip-Hop: Hollywood, and Studio 7.
Married with two daughters, Greg is also a devoted family man and tennis enthusiast who divides his time between New York City and Cornwall CT, where he feels most at home.
Edie Dao Schechter
Executive Producer Edie Dao Schechter spent her early career in sales and marketing in both the retail and wholesale business. Later, she spent 10 years as a partner at Parallel Capital in commercial real estate in New York City. Over the last 20 years Edie has worked for various non profit organizations in both New York City and Salisbury, CT. Since becoming a full time resident of Salisbury, she has served on the boards of Tri Arts (now The Sharon Playhouse), the Indian Mountain School, and the Salisbury Volunteer Ambulance Service. We are thrilled to have Edie on board the RC production team. Business acumen combined with extensive non profit experience, Edie’s skillset will be invaluable as the fundraising effort continues and Recovering Community moves forward into production.
Edie received her bachelor’s degree from Oberlin College and a Masters in Business Administration from New York University.
Marketing and Production Manager Marina Kotchoubey is an experienced marketing and project manager with a diverse portfolio. Originally from New York City and Cornwall, CT, Marina began her career in Paris, France where she managed an e-commerce platform and digital marketing for a major retail brand. Recently, Marina returned to her beloved Northwest Corner, CT and is a freelance marketing, social media and e-commerce manager. She is beyond excited to work on this important project, as she feels passionately about the subject matter and believes that this film can help to bring about real discussion and change, not only to the area, but across the United States. Marina has a B.A. from Colby College in Waterville, ME.
Professional photographer John Gruen lives in Lakeville, Connecticut, with his 14 year old son, Ben. John studied film in college in Washington DC, graduating from American University with a degree in Visual Media. Moving to New York to pursue work in the film industry, John enrolled at the School of Visual Arts, studying film and photography, and working as an assistant for some of the top fashion photographers in New York. “The ones I most admired were the ones that used mostly natural light, and had a knack for letting the moment happen in front of them as if it were a movie.” With that influence John built a portfolio and went to Milan for the next two years. “The muted colors, patina of the walls, and cobblestone streets were great locations to shoot pictures.” Returning to the US, John settled in Seattle and for the next five years shot fashion advertising for a major department store. Traveling frequently to shoot on location, he photographed the landscape around him, finding beauty in the inanimate as well as the animate. Ultimately returning to New York City, John quickly earned a reputation for his intimate, serene, and honest imagery. “The medium may change but everything I’ve learned about light, composition, and capturing a sense of the story in the moment is the same whether shooting stills or digital video.” Today John’s work is featured in numerous books and magazines, as well as in the documentary, Recovering Community. John reports that he’s proud to be a member of the RC camera team, and to serve as the production’s official still photographer. “Working on a project that has the potential to help people live more fulfilling lives makes my life more fulfilling too.”