Visible Silence is a documentary film that intimately explores a community of Thai women striving for visibility, authenticity, and acceptance in a traditional society.
Co-founded by filmmaker Ruth Gumnit and writer/producer/psychotherapist Marguerite Salmon in 2007, San Francisco-based Marea Media specializes in film portraits that illuminate larger social issues through compelling profiles of individuals and communities.
Ruth Gumnit, M.F.A, Director, Cinematographer and Producer, is an award-winning filmmaker and film installations artist. Her films have screened internationally and she has been honored with an NEA/Rockefeller Interdisciplinary Artist Award, Grand Jury Best Documentary award from the Washington D. C. Independent Film Festival, Judges and Audience Awards from the San Diego Women’s Film Festival, and Director’s Citation Award from the Black Maria Film Festival. In 2006, Gumnit was named one of Film Arts Foundation’s “Film Arts 30,” and profiled in its November/December issue of Release Print magazine.
Her last film, Don’t Fence Me In: Major Mary and the Karen Refugees from Burma has screened in such diverse venues as HBO’s Frame-By-Frame Festival, the Commonwealth Club of California and the World Affairs Council of Northern California. It has shown at dozens of prestigious film festivals, including: Canadian Film Centre’s Worldwide Short Film Festival; Slamdance Film Festival in Park City, UT; Cracow International Film Festival, Poland; Hawaii International Festival; and, Frameline’s San Francisco International LGBTI Film Festival. It has also been widely used as a public policy, fundraising, community building, and educational tool for refugee rights. She is also Director of Photography for a marriage equality documentary (working title: By the Power Vested in Me by filmmakers Lexi Leban and Lidia Szajko.
Marguerite Salmon, M.A., MFT, Producer and Writer, is a documentary producer, writer, and psychotherapist with over twenty-five years’ experience as a social activist and psychotherapist working in the LGBT, HIV/AIDS, homeless, and women’s communities. Salmon formally entered the documentary filmmaking world in 2001, as production assistant and promotion specialist on Ruth Gumnit’s film Don’t Fence Me In: Major Mary and the Karen Refugees from Burma. She was selected for the Sundance Producers Conference.
Visible Silence Film — Additional Principals
Ben Her (name changed to protect her identity), Producer, is a scholar and educator who has lived in both Thailand and the U.S. A self-identified Thai tom, Ben Her will serve as producer as well as a film subject, consultant, and liaison for Visible Silence. For the past seven years, she has worked as General Manager of a Bangkok-based manufacturing company owned by her life partner. Her decision to enter the business world stems from both her desire to assist her girlfriend and in response to sexist and homophobic discriminatory practices in the field of Thai academia. This project represents a return to an area of vital interest for Ben Her, who extensively researched this community for her 2001 Ph.D. from the University of San Francisco.
Ellen Bruno, M.A., Advisor, is a world-reknown San Francisco-based documentary filmmaker whose work has focused on issues at the forefront of human rights. She is a past recipient of both Guggenheim and Rockefeller Fellowships. Bruno’s films have been awarded many prestigious prizes, among them a Special Jury Award at Sundance Film Festival, a student Academy Award; a student Emmy and the Edward R. Murrow Award. Her films include Samsara, Satya, Sacrifice, Leper and Sky Burial.
Philly Archa, M.A., Co-Producer, Translator and Thai Linguist, is a native of Thailand. She currently lives in San Francisco where she runs a Thai language school and teaches cooking (her great passion) at City College of San Francisco. She brings intelligence and cultural insight to Visible Silence.
Elizabeth Finlayson, M.A., Editor, is a film editor whose credits include Ellen Bruno’s three films, Samsara, Satya: A Prayer for the Enemy,and Sacrifice, all of which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. Samsara is part of the National Film Registry. She also worked on Emmy award winning films Blink (dir. Elizabeth Thompson), and The Kids of Survival (dir. Dayna Goldfine and Dan Geller.)
Visible Silence Film — Advisory Board
Madeleine Lim is the Founder and Executive Director of the Queer Women of Color Media Arts Project (QWOCMAP).
Trinity A. Ordona, Ph.D., has a 40-year history of civil rights activism promoting grassroots organizing strategies linking international, national and local Asian and Pacific Islander lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people in the U.S. with their counterparts around the world.