The Filmmakers



Violeta is an artist, writer and film director born in Bolivia. She studied Theatre and Journalism at Charles Sturt University in Australia, where her curiosity in filmmaking began and she made PROYECTO VILA-VILA a short film about the effects of cervical cancer on indigenous women in Bolivia.

In 2006 Violeta began her collaboration with Dan Fallshaw in North Africa on BETWEEN THE OIL AND THE DEEP BLUE SEA, an investigative documentary about corruption in the oil industry distributed by Ronin Films. In 2009 her first feature documentary STOLEN premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival, was shown in more than 80 festivals worldwide, winning fourteen awards and will be broadcasted on PBS WORLD in the US in 2013.

Violeta is currently directing two feature documentaries; COCAINE PRISON (supported by the Tribeca Film Institute, IDFA’s Fund, Fonds Sud Cinema, the Strasbourg Film Fund, Screen NSW, Screen Australia, the Norwegian Film Institute) and THE BOLIVIAN CASE (Supported by Puma Britdoc, NRK and NFI). She is an alumnus of the Film Independent Documentary Lab, the Berlinale Talent Campus and a Tribeca Film Institute Fellow. Violeta is currently writing two screenplays EL COMUNISTA; based on her grandfather’s life and COCAINE QUEENS; based on her three-year experience filming inside a Bolivian prison.




Dan is the lead producer, cinematographer and editor of UNITED NOTIONS FILM. He studied Visual Communications at the University of Technology in Sydney and St Martins College in London. Dan has worked in London and Germany as an Art Director and in Italy as a film editor. He made his first documentary in 1999 while at university, which looked at the lives of four women dealing with the consequences of chemotherapy.

Prior to starting UNITED NOTIONS FILM in 2006 with Violeta Ayala, Dan was the main designer at SBS Television in Australia. He produced he and Violeta’s first film together, BETWEEN THE OIL AND THE DEEP BLUE SEA in 2006, a documentary about corruption in the oil industry in Africa, distributed by Ronin Films.

In 2007 Dan produced and directed A VEGAN IN THE MEAT AISLE a short drama selected for the very competitive, Tropfest. In 2009 Dan, co directed, produced, shot and edited the multi award winner STOLEN, financed through Screen Australia’s special documentary fund. It has shown at more than 80 film festivals worldwide including Toronto and IDFA. STOLEN has garnered much press worldwide and will be broadcast on television in the US in 2013.

Dan’s current projects include THE BOLIVIAN CASE and COCAINE PRISON. Dan is a Tribeca Film Institute Fellow and an alumnus of the Film Independent Documentary Lab. He has participated on panels ranging from IDFA, Sheffield, Toronto, Films Fra Sor in Oslo, Latin Side of the Doc in Mexico, AIDC in Australia, Art Exit and Stranger than Fiction in New York.

Dan received the Best Editing Award at the Documentary Edge Festival in New Zealand for STOLEN.




Tom is one of Australia’s most respected documentary filmmakers and has an impressive body of work with more than 30 films. In 2008 Tom was awarded the Cecil Holmes Award by the Australian Directors Guild for his creative output, as well as for his contribution to the film industry, especially his mentoring of emerging directors.

Tom’s films have premiered at film festivals from Berlin to Toronto. He has won two AFI Awards, the highest award in the Australian Film Industry with THE DIPLOMAT and KEMIRA–DIARY OF A STRIKE and an international Emmy for producing EXILE IN SARAJEVO. Tom is also known for films such us MOLLY & MOBARAK, HOMELANDS, BILLAL, STOLEN GENERATIONS, MAKING VENUS, THE PRODIGAL SON, A FIGHTING CHANCE, MAD MORRO, WANJA, THE INTERVENTION and more recently STOLEN.




Deborah is an independent filmmaker who has had three films nominated for an Academy Award: FRANCES STELOFF: MEMOIRS OF A BOOKSELLER; SUZANNE FARRELL: ELUSIVE MUSE (co-directed with Anne Belle) and LALEE’S KIN, co-directed with long time colleague, Susan Froemke and legendary cinematographer Albert Maysles. She is also known for films such as THE EDUCATION OF GORE VIDAL; RUTHIE AND CONNIE: EVERY ROOM IN THE HOUSE; WITNESSES TO A SECRET WAR; the CARRIER series and ANOTHER DAY IN PARADISE. Dickson’s films have premiered at film festivals from Sundance to Berlin and been shown on PBS, HBO and other major networks. She has been funded by American Film Institute, Sundance Documentary Fund and ITVS. She is on the faculty of the new masters program of social documentary film at the School of Visual Arts.



(Film Composer)

John achieved worldwide recognition with his soundtrack to the Academy Award winning documentary BORN INTO BROTHELS, winner of Best Musical Score at the Bend Film Festival. Subsequent film scores by McDowell include ORGASMIC BIRTH: THE BEST KEPT SECRET, WHO DOES SHE THINKS SHE IS? and A SON’S SACRIFICE.

McDowell is also a highly gifted pianist, percussionist, producer, commissioned composer and instructor. McDowell served as founder, artistic director and leader of several musical projects including The Born Into Brothels Ensemble, the world music band Mamma Tongue. His touring and recording credits include: the platinum selling band Rusted Root, Krishna Das, and Ram Das. His solo CD Speaking the Mamma Tongue is featured on Raven Records and he was commissioned by Gaiam to create a CD for health and healing called Reflections. He has recently begun a piano/violin duo with the young Canadian violinist and composer Emmanuel Vukovich, who is also featured on the film STOLEN.



(Associate Producer)

Justine has 10 years of radio and television experience worldwide. She has a degree in Media and Journalism from the University of Wisconsin, USA. In 2003 she worked for the BBC’s radio 1 newsroom, covering the Iraq war with the world’s best journalists. In 2004 Justine returned to Australia to produce TV commercials for Volkswagen, Carlton Breweries, QANTAS and Coca Cola. From 2005 to 2008 she worked with different production teams and produced Radio 2UE’s morning and afternoon program, SBS’s Pizza series, Australian Idol and Masterchef Australia. In 2009 Justine set up her own company, a creative consultancy specialising in film and music production. Stolen is Justine’s first feature film as an associate producer and has been selected for the Toronto International Film Festival 2009.



(Associate Producer)

Ellen works as producer and creative/content advisor to documentary film, music and other projects in the arts associated with social and environmental issues, including the film and soundtrack for BORN INTO BROTHELS which garnered the Oscar for Best Documentary in 2005. She has worked with start-up non-profits and first-time capital campaigns, involved in both hands-on fundraising with individuals, corporations and foundations, and strategic planning for new initiative development.


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