About the Filmmakers
Claudio Ruben - Executive Producer / Writer is the founder of Red Dzambhala Films (formerly Red Lotus Films International), a company dedicated to creating and producing compelling content for television and film. Active in the film industry since 2001, Claudio has worked on over two dozen feature films, documentaries, and TV episodes, and over 40 commercials. From 2005-2007 he was Co-Executive Director and Co-Founder of the Sun Valley Spiritual Film Festival. Prior to entering the film industry in 2001, he worked in Switzerland for Glencore International, one of the world’s leading commodities trading firms. Originally from Milan, Italy, he has a Joint Honors in Political Science and History from McGill University, and an English Law Degree from King’s College London.
Francesco Cabras - Director of Photography / Producer started to travel extensively as photographer and journalist after high school, living and working especially in Asian, Middle Eastern and Latin American countries. In 1999 he has founded ‘GANGA’, an independent production company based in Rome, through which he has made most of his works as director, author, producer and director of photography. GANGA has produced several music videos for some of Italy's most popular pop stars, as well as feature documentaries, video-art works and commercials. Their work has received many international prizes and selections in several festivals among which: AFI Los Angeles Film Festival, Bangkok International FF, Hong Kong Jumping Frames FF, Jerusalem FF, Torino FF, Sun Valley FF, Moskow FF, Grammy Latino, Dhaka Film Festival award and many more. Most of his work as director is shared with co-director, co-producer and co-DOP Alberto Molinari. Since 1999, GANGA has produced almost 100 productions and co-productions, collaborating with Rai, Rai Sat, Cult TV, Sky, Fox, La7, Grey, Procter&Gamble. In 2006 their feature documentary ‘The Big Question’ was distributed theatrically by “Think Film”, a top US distribution company. GANGA has also worked in Lebanon, and Dubai, and they were the first directors called by the Iraqi Kurdistan government to produce 45 short promo films on tourism in the Kurdistan area, which were broadcast on Al Arabiya TV.
About the Professors
Dr. Nathan Katz (PhD. Temple University) is the retired Distinguished Professor in the School of International and Public Affairs, Director of Jewish Studies, and Bhagwan Mahavir Professor of Jain Studies at Florida International University. Before his retirement, he also founded FIU’s Program in the Study of Spirituality, and was founding chair of its Department of Religious Studies. His research is in the field of Indo-Judaic studies, an area that he has helped to pioneer, and he has many written books about Jewish communities in India, as well as articles about ancient world links between India and Israel. In his writing, Katz makes comparisons of themes within Judaism on the one hand and Hinduism or Buddhism on the other, and sparks Hindu-Jewish, Buddhist-Jewish, Jain-Jewish, and Muslim-Jewish dialogues. In 1990 he joined a delegation of eight scholars and rabbis who met with His Holiness the Dalai Lama for extensive Jewish-Tibetan dialogue as later described in the best selling book The Jew in the Lotus. He published his memoir, Spiritual Journey Home in 2009.
Dr. Aisha Y. Musa holds a Ph.D. in Arabic and Islamic studies from the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations at Harvard University. She is assistant professor of Religion and Middle Eastern Studies at Colgate University, Hamilton, NY. Her research and teaching interests extend from the early classical period to the present and include Hadith and Sunna, translation of classical Arabic texts, Qur’anic interpretation, women’s issues, Islamic Law, and modern-day reformist and neo-traditionalist movements. Dr. Musa is the author of various books and articles, including Hadith as Scripture: Discussions on the Authority of Prophetic Traditions in Islam (Palgrave, 2008), “Hadith Studies” in The Bloomsbury Companion to Islamic Studies (Continuum, 2013), “The Relationship of al-ma‘qùl and al-manqùl in Mullā Khusraw’s Conceptualization of Sunna” in the Proceedings of International Symposium on Mullā Khusraw (Bursa, Turkey, 2013), “Jizya: Toward a more Qur’anically based Understanding of an Historically Problematic Term,” in Transcendent Thought (November, 2011), Al-Mostafa Center for Islamic Research, Manila, Philippines, and “The Qur’anists,” Religion Compass 4/1 (2010).
Imam Dr. Khaleel Mohammed (Ph.D. McGill University) is professor of religious studies at San Diego State University, and a core faculty member of the university’s Center for Islamic and Arabic Studies. He has an M.A. in religion with a focus on Judaism and Islam, from Concordia University, and obtained his Ph.D. in Islamic Law at McGill University. He is an Imam and one of the few Islamic scholars accepted by both the Sunni and Shia sects of Islam. A specialist in Islamic Law, he is the main legal consultant for the website www.forpeoplewhothink.org.
Rabbi Dr. David Novak (Ph.D. Georgetown University) has held the J. Richard and Dorothy Shiff Chair of Jewish Studies as professor of the study of religion and professor of philosophy at the University of Toronto since 1997. He received his B.A. from the University of Chicago in 1961, his M.H.L. (Master of Hebrew Literature) in 1964 and his rabbinical diploma in 1966 from the Jewish Theological Seminary of America. Novak received his Ph.D. in philosophy from Georgetown University in 1971. He is founder, vice-president and coordinator of the Jewish Law Panel of the Union for Traditional Judaism, and a founder and faculty member of the Institute of Traditional Judaism in Teaneck, New Jersey. The editor of four books, Novak is also the author of over 200 articles in scholarly and intellectual journals.