© Copyright 2016 Crossing Desert & Sea. All Rights Reserved.

Grayzna Kolondra, Director, earned her J.D. in Civil Law and doctorate in Canon Law.  In traditional legal scholarship she focused on issues concerning international criminal law, Canon Law, and the Holy See’s Diplomacy. Her legal research embodies a concern for human dignity and the protection of human rights. She examines how visual representation of human suffering can affect the practice of human rights advocacy.  Kolondra has interviewed Syrian and Iraqi refugees in Amman, Jordan. She visited the UNHCR, UNESCO, and WFP compounds at Za’atari refugee camp and Azraq refugee camp. She is directing the feature length documentary “Crossing Desert and Sea.”  She is advised by faculty at the USC School of Cinematic Arts and highlighted as "a true example of compassion and perseverance."

Ghasson  Nazami is a cinematographer based in Jordan who graduated from SAE Institute, Amman in 2008 with a degree in Digital Filmmaking. He joined the Red Sea Institute for Cinematic Arts, Aqaba in 2010 and holds a MFA in Screenwriting & Cinematography. He also shares his knowledge as a Cinematography Instructor at filmmaking workshops and currently teaches Cinematography for film in SAE Institute, Amman. Ghasson sees cinema as a more of an introspective & spiritual visual form rather than plain entertainment, for that he dedicated his lifetime profession. Projects include short narrative films, documentaries, music videos, corporate films & TV shows.

Nour Halawani is a sound recording and sound engineer who speaks Arabic and English. He attended Princess Sumaya University For Technology (PSUT) and studied Computer Graphics and Animation (2010). Afterwards, he earned an M.F.A in Cinematic Arts from the Red Sea Institute of Cinematic Arts (2012). He has worked in Jordan, UAE, Qatar, India, and Turkey.

Sama Wareh founded the “Art Therapy Program at Tuyoor Al Amal school for refugee children in Lebanon.” She holds a Masters of Science degree in Environmental Education and Communication and a Bachelors Degree in Film making and Art from California State University Fullerton. She has participated in art shows in venues all over the country (including galleries in Laguna Beach, the Bowers Museum and the Zeitgeist Multicultural Institute in New Orleans). Sama has illustrated children’s books, and has sold art internationally for over 13 years. Sama is author of the award winning book “How to Draw 60 Native California Plants and Animals: A Field Guide”. She co-founded with her husband the adventure travel company "Take Your Hat", which specializes in providing outdoor adventure with a purpose. Sama gave a TED talk in 2014, was recognized with Orange County Register’s OCMETRO 40 Under 40 Award in 2013.

Shela Maung is a soundie extraordinaire/writer who hails from Hampton Roads, Virginia. She currently attends USC’s MFA program in Cinematic Arts where she discovered her love of sound design in all its many forms. She is also is a hair dye enthusiast and hates writing in the third person. She is incredibly excited and honored to be a part of this amazing project. She looks forward to telling these incredible and heartbreaking journeys of the perseverance of the human condition. 

Xiao’ou Olivia Zhang
is a west coast-based sound editor and sound engineer focusing on human interest stories.