Astrea Media is a nonprofit organization dedicated to creating innovative film and interactive multi-platform media projects about human rights issues that generate positive social change. Since our founding in 2000, we have created award-winning interdisciplinary work that exposes the ways in which our culture conceals and normalizes violence and injustice. Our projects have positively impacted the public sphere, government action, and people’s sex lives.
Our documentaries have screened at over a hundred film festivals, been used by hundreds of organizations and universities as an educational tool, and streamed online on the Sundance Now, Fandor, Vimeo, and Netflix globally. They've been theatrically released and broadcast on cable and public television stations in many countries.
Liz Canner, Director
Liz Canner is an award-winning filmmaker, artist, and writer who has created many documentaries and interactive media projects intended to inspire positive social change. She often employs cutting edge technologies to explore human rights issues from a new perspective. Symphonyofacity.org, about the housing crisis in Boston, was an early multi-platform interactive documentary. Her film Deadly Embrace was one of the first films to investigate the impact of structural adjustment and globalization. It was broadcast internationally and used by over a thousand organizations worldwide as an organizing tool. Orgasm Inc., a New York Times “Critic's Pick” about the search for the female Viagra drug, screened at over 70 film festivals, was theatrically released in 42 cities, broadcast on television in 12 countries, and streamed on Sundance Now, Fandor, Vimeo, and Netflix globally (“Most Popular” in the Critically Acclaimed section in 2012). A graduate of Brown University with Honors in both Visual Arts and Anthropology, she received over 60 awards and grants for her work including a Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study Fellowship from Harvard University, a Rockefeller Foundation Next Generation Leadership Fellowship, a National Endowment for the Arts grant and the Dartmouth College Visionary Award. Her documentaries broadcast on television on PBS stations, cable, and internationally in many countries. Her media art projects have shown at museums and galleries including Boston's Institute of Contemporary Art, The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and the California Museum of Photography. She has given over 150 talks about her work at universities, museums and screening venues. Committed to helping other independent filmmakers, she served on the board of directors of The Association of Independent Video and Filmmakers, the Boston Film and Video Foundation, Boston Cyberarts and White River Indie Films.
Sam Knowles, Associate Producer
Sam Knowles began working at Astrea Media as an intern on Orgasm Inc. She demonstrated her fabulous organizing and people skills and is now the Associate Producer of Silent U., our current project. Sam is an award-winning Brooklyn-based filmmaker who has directed and produced numerous short documentaries and videos. Her most recent film, Why Do You Have Black Dolls?, won the Spirit Award at the Reel Sisters Film Festival, earned a NY City Council Citation, and won the Audience Choice Award at the Women, Action, & the Media (WAM) Film Festival. She graduated cum laude from Dartmouth College with a B.A. in Film Studies and Psychology.
Josh Bertsche, Web Designer and Guru
Josh began as an intern at Astrea Media where he demonstrated strong ability in design and animation. He is now the web designer of this site.
Robert Bertsche, Legal Counsel
Robert Bertsche has been our brilliant legal advisor and friend since 2000 when he worked with us on Symphony of A City. He is a 1989 graduate (magna cum laude) of Harvard Law School and a member in good standing of the bars of: the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and Pennsylvania; the State of New York; the First, Second, and Third Circuit Court of Appeals; and the United States Supreme Court. He is a partner and head of the Media and Intellectual Property Group at the Boston law firm of Prince, Lobel, Tye LLP, where he has practiced since 2003. He has an AV rating (the highest possible rating) from Martindale-Hubbell, and has been designated among the “Best Lawyers in America” in the fields of First Amendment Law, Litigation - First Amendment, and Media Law categories (2005-present), and as a “Super Lawyer®” by the journal Law and Politics since at least 2004. For more than 20 years, he has authored the annual survey of First Circuit libel law published by the New York-based Media Law Resource Center. He also writes the outline of Massachusetts public access law published by the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press.
Board of Directors
Past and Present:
CEO, Carvers' Guild
Founder, RSK Strategies, LLC
Partner, Foley Hoag LLP
(former board member)
Former United States Ambassador to Spain and Andorra Finance Chair of the Democratic National Committee in 1997, Chairman and CEO of Solomont Bailis Ventures
A special thank you to our funders:
Anne Slade Frey Charitable Trust
Alan & Susan Lewis Solomont Family Foundation
Boston Cultural Council
Chicken and Egg Pictures
Green Valley Media
International Documentary Association Pare Lorentz Documentary Fund
Kargman Charitable & Education Fund
LEF Foundation, Moving Image Fund
Massachusetts Foundation For the Humanities
McColl Center for Visual Art
Nation Investigative Journalism Fund
New England Foundation for the Arts
Paved Art and New Media
Peter S. Reed Foundation
Potero Nuevo Fund
Radcliffe Institute For Advanced Study, Harvard University
Virginia Commission For the Arts
Numerous generous individuals donors