Cultural & Educational Media (CEM Productions) is a non-profit media group producing films, TV series, and web-based programming that promote new insights on the meaning and depths of human existence. CEM uses the power of film and storytelling to inspire, bring together, and unify people and audiences worldwide.
“CEM” is also a powerful concept in several other languages - pronounced, “GEM” in Turkish and “Jam” in Arabic and Farsi. The root “CEM/GEM/JAM,” as a verb, means “to bring together” or “to Unite.” As a noun, CEM/GEM/JAM means “a gathering” or “a community that has been brought together.”
The concept “Unity Consciousness” has been the focus of our work and the core of our mission since the establishment of CEM in 1983. CEM’s programs weave timeless wisdom traditions and cultural nuances together with 21st century scientific discoveries and understandings about the nature of “Us and Them” to promote understanding and respect among peoples, cultures and faiths worldwide.
We invite you to explore CEM’s exceptional library of award-winning programming with unique and compelling human stories, memorable characters, knowledgeable teachers, and intimate and insightful journeys into different cultures, wisdom traditions, and worldviews.
To further fulfill on this promise of bringing communities together, CEM is now combining web-based distribution with social networking and traditional television broadcast to engage new audiences worldwide. We invite you to journey through some of our memorable video “GEMs;” video samples from some of our current and previous projects. We hope you enjoy our site and share it with your interested friends.
Stephen Olsson, President of CEM Productions, (and former VP of Original Programming at Link TV) has produced and directed documentary films, television series and feature news reports throughout the world for US and European broadcasters. Stephen's work has won numerous national and international awards, including the National Emmy Award for Outstanding Director, the Du-Pont Columbia Award for Excellence in broadcast journalism and the George Foster Peabody Award. He is currently producing & directing Global Spirit - the first “internal travel” series on national television and the internet, - an inquiry into humankind's belief systems, wisdom traditions and states of consciousness. Other current projects include: Healing A Soldier's Heart, on PTSD and the traumatic impact of war on the human soul, and One Through Love, on the life and teachings of the sufi mystical poet Hz. Jalaluddin Rumi.
Previous films include:Sound of the Soul, a portrait of The Fez Festival of World Sacred Music, has been broadcast on national television networks in the US, Europe and Australia, and has screened in dozens of international film festivals including Tribeca, Tehran, Mill Valley, Dubai, Sarajevo, Jerusalem, Vancouver and others.
Our House in Havana, broadcast nationally on PBS and throughout Europe, Japan, Canada and Latin America, Last Images of War, for the BBC, photographed in eight countries, narrated by actor Ben Kingsley, and premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, before receiving the National Emmy Award for Outstanding Director, and two additional National Emmy nominations. After September 11th, Olsson wrote and co-produced a re-release of the film for National Geographic Explorer. He also produced & directed: Afghanistan: The Fight For a Way of Life, which was broadcast throughout the world and cited by The New York Times as one of the best documentary films of the year. To Find the Baruya Story and Her Name Came on Arrows are two award-winning ethnographic films featuring the work of French anthropologist Maurice Godelier. John Collier: A Visual Journey, highlights the life's work of visual anthropologist, educator and photographer John Collier Jr.
Olsson was writer and Senior Producer of School Colors a feature-length documentary produced for the PBS “Frontline” series, which received the Dupont-Columbia Award for Excellence in Broadcast Journalism, and was cited by The Boston Globe (and others) as one of the best television programs of the year.
Stephen was a co-founder of the national satellite channel Link TV, where he produced and directed programs in all factual genres with a wide-range of personalities including journalist Walter Cronkite, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, actor Sean Penn, entertainer and social activist Harry Belafonte, linguist Noam Chomsky, singer and songwriter Willy Nelson, actor Ben Kingsley, writer and comedian John Cleese and others.
During his nine year tenure as Link TV's VP of Original Programming, Stephen created a number of original television series, including the Peabody Award-winning: Mosaic: World News from the Middle East - the first regional news digest, broadcast daily for over eight years, The Active Opposition - a live, 90-minute current-affairs series hosted by actor Peter Coyote Global Spirit - the first “internal travel series” which brings together teachers from different wisdom, faith and scientific traditions to explore consciousness and spirituality in the 21st century (also broadcast on PBS), Bridge to Iran - a bi-lingual film/discussion series hosted by filmmaker Parisa Soultani, celebrating Iranian cinema and filmmakers, Spotlight, an international investigative series hosted by journalist/author Mark Hertsgaard, Lunch with Bokara, a 13-part series hosted by artist/performer Bokara Legendre exploring the intersection of philosophy, metaphysics, science and religion (also broadcast on PBS) and Explore China, the original pilot one-hour documentary which launched the “Explore” series, hosted by Charles Annenberg.
Olsson has also worked as a senior media consultant and project director for a number of media projects in Asia, Eastern Europe, Africa, the Caribbean and South America. He has directed large television projects in Ukraine and Pakistan and holds a Master's degree in Anthropology and Communications.
Parisa Soultani is CEM's senior web producer. She is the co-producer, editor and website host for ONE THROUGH LOVE project, on the poetry and teachings of Jalaluddin Rumi. Parisa is also the host and editor for the bi-lingual television series BRIDGE TO IRAN on Link TV, and editor for the PBS/Link TV television series GLOBAL SPIRIT.
She was born and raised in Iran where she studied Software Engineering at Tehran Azad University. Before coming to the U.S. in 2006, she studied Computer Technology and Information Systems at Bilkent University, Ankara, Turkey. In the U.S. she finished her B.A. in International Business at Sacramento State University and is currently completing her M.A. in Humanities at San Francisco State University.
Vicente Franco has been a Director of Photography/Director for more than 30 years.He was a 2003 Oscar nominee for Best Documentary and Emmy nominee for Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography for Daughter from Danang, winner of the Sundance Film Festival 2002 Grand Jury Prize.He was Director of Photography on 3 other Academy Award nominees: The Barber of Birmingham (2012), The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers (2010), and Freedom in my Mind (1994). He won the Silver Apple/Latin American Studies Association for Cuba Va: the Challenge of the Next Generation. He is an accomplished cinematographer of documentaries, drama, news and public affairs who won a Peabody for coverage of the 1985 Mexico City earthquake. His recent credits include the PBS series Latino Americans, and Latin Music USA, He also shot The Storm that Swept Mexico, Don’t Stop Believin’:Everyman’s Journey, Botany of Desire, Orozco Man of Fire, Archeology of Memory: Villa Grimaldi, The Fight in the Fields, The Good War as well as Summer of Love, which he co-produced and co-directed for the PBS/American Experience series, about the SF Haight Ashbury hippie community in 1967.
Tim Metzger has been a cinematographer, filmmaker, for over 35 years. He has spent the last ten years shooting high definition television projects that have aired on PBS-TV, History Channel, National Geographic, and BBC-television. As a cinematographer he has work more then 200 films. His clients include: CEM Productions, PBS Frontline, POV and Bill Moyers and Company and German ZDF-TV. He has also shot segments for CBS 60 Minutes, Fox, ABC-Oprah, Discovery Channel and Animal Planet.
Kristin Tieche is a Northern California-based independent producer and Emmy-nominated editor. She has edited award-winning films and television programming for national cable and satellite networks such as PBS, CBS–5 (KPIX), Link TV, Fine Living Channel, Food Network, Home and Garden, Smithsonian On Demand and Current TV. Ms. Tieche founded SelvaVision to showcase new perspectives on issues dealing with sustainability and social responsibility. She is also co-founder and co-editor of Vélo Vogue, a popular blog focusing on San Francisco's vibrant and stylish bicycle culture. Ms. Tieche holds a Master of Arts in Television, Radio and Film from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University, where she received awards from the regional chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences in screenwriting and sound design.
Megan McFeely has been in communications for over 20 years gathering experience in public broadcasting, cable television, Internet, radio, public relations, film and advertising. She has worked internationally and been responsible for communications strategies for business applications in technology companies – IBM, Microsoft and several Internet start-ups.
Over the last 12 years she worked communicating spiritual ideals and perspectives to a more mainstream audience, working with leaders in consciousness research and human development such as the Esalen Institute, Institute of Noetic Sciences, California Institute of Integral Studies, Planetwork, and on film projects One the movie, Global Oneness Project and Shift of the Ages, as well as with several spiritual teachers and authors. She currently writes a blog on the Huffington Post about the internal journey and her own efforts to reclaim the feminine voice and wisdom.
Joseph Kulin is a Media and Publishing consultant with extensive experience in not-for-profit management and fundraising development. As publisher of Parabola magazine for over 20 years he was instrumental in significantly expanding the journal's readership as well as developing new product lines such as the Parabola Video and Audio Series, acquiring distribution rights to such classics as "The Power of Myth" and Peter Brook's "The Mahabharata." He produced an award-winning audio/radio series, "Native American Storytime," and was Executive Producer of "A Sense of the Sacred," the film biography of Jungian counselor, Helen Luke, which aired on public television. He launched and directed Cinema of the Spirit Film Festivals which played in a half dozen major cities, and continues to present spiritual film programs to the public. He currently serves on the board of the New York Open Center and the Greenfield Review Press. He is also a board advisor to Land is Life, an international grassroots organization which advocates for the land and human rights of Indigenous Peoples.
Bequia Sherick works on research for the Global Spirit series. She received a B.A. from the University of Colorado at Boulder in Philosophy and an M.A. from Dominican University in Humanities. Beyond her academic work, she spent several years living at the yoga community and retreat center Mount Madonna Center and she is a certified yoga teacher. She will be joining the adjunct faculty in Philosophy at Los Medanos community college in the summer of 2014. Her interests include the nature of the self, Eastern religion, authenticity and self-actualization. Through her work in media and the classroom she aims to contribute toward creating a culture that encourages individuals to seek self-knowledge and healing from within through the help of the wisdom traditions.
With over 20 years of accounting experience, Alan has been responsible for payroll accounting for national retailers, property management firms and non-profit organizations. After starting and managing a wireless site development company, Alan transitioned into asset management of commercial centers and residential apartment complexes. He is a graduate of the University of Colorado, School of Business where he studied accounting. He now lives in Windsor with his wife Kathy and stepdaughter Grace.