Shana Hagan

Director of Photography

Shana Hagan has photographed over 30 documentary and narrative films and worked with such distinguished filmmakers as Michael Apted, Kirby Dick and Jessica Yu.  Her work includes the Oscar-winning Breathing Lessons, Shakespeare Behind Bars, After Innocence, Married in America, and This Film Is Not Yet Rated.  Keeping a well-rounded schedule, Shana has served both as a DP at the Sundance Institute’s Filmmakers Lab, and shot four seasons of the television reality hit, Survivor.

The Team of Ted Thomas and Kuniko Okubo

Director/Writer and Producer

Ted Thomas and Kuniko Okubo began work on Walt & El Grupo in 2003.  A scouting trip took place in November of 2005, and production got into full swing in March of 2006.  From the start, they were drawn to the wide-ranging story and geography of the film, with qualities that are epic and intimate, poignant and inspiring.  Ted and Kuniko’s profile.

Lisa Palattella


Lisa Palattella is an editor and musician whose artistry with long-form and music documentaries is much sought after.  Some of her credits include Prairie Poet about author/conservationist/cowboy Dayton Hyde; Life on Jupiter profiling conductor Jens Nygaard; V-Day: Until the Violence Stops, executive produced by Eve Ensler and a Sundance Film Festival selection; Hate on Trial, a Bill Moyers Special on PBS; and The Politics of Quiet (a musical oratorio) produced by Meredith Monk and The House Foundation.   Walt & El Grupo is her fourth collaboration with Thomas and Okubo. 

James Wesley Stemple


Jim Stemple enjoys a prolific career composing music for film and television, applying a diversity of styles to suit each project’s needs.  For Walt & El Grupo, six months of research and a scouting trip to Argentina and Brazil preceded composing a score that is a thematic companion to the story and specific to the locales of the film.   His previous work includes the Sundance Film Festival Grand Jury nominee Shakespeare Behind Bars, and Bukowski:  Born Into This.

Bill Bryn Russell

Visual Effects

Here’s how Bill Russell describes himself:  Having started out making 8mm movies as a kid, Russell is most at home making "home movies".  An editor and effects artist in Los Angels, today he gets to do so with the best of the home movie makers, those who bring home festival bounty and sometimes even an Oscar or two.  Projects include Into the Arms of Strangers, Ray Harryhausen Presents:, Trail of the Screaming Forehead, and Calavera Highway.  Most recently Russell has been assembling the bones for Larry Blamire's The Lost Skeleton Returns Again, and Dark and Stormy Night.