After earning a master’s degree in journalism from NYU, Joanna worked for the American Masters series at WNET| PBS in New York, producing films for the outlet. During that time, Joanna co-produced the film Robert Capa in Love and War, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2003 and was the presenting film for the 2003 Emmy award for Outstanding Nonfiction Series.
Joanna spent the next decade working with one of the most illustrative documentary film houses in the country, Kartemquin Films. During her tenure at Kartemquin Joanna served as the company’s Director of Development and produced several titles for national public television telecast, including Bill T. Jones: A Good Man and Prisoner of Her Past.
Joanna made her directorial debut with In the Family a deeply personal story about coming to terms with having a mutation in one of the breast cancer (BRCA) genes. In the Family was broadcast nationally on the PBS’ P.O.V. series in 2008 and has since aired in over a dozen countries. The film, nominated for a national EmmyⓇ-award, was used to advocate for The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) via a Capitol Hill screening and to publicize the dangers of gene patenting, an issue that eventually rose to a Supreme Court ruling. The film continues to be taught in medical ethics, genetics, and genetic counseling courses today.
Joanna followed up In the Family, with the short documentary hit On Beauty. Of the film, Rogerebert.com wrote: “ON BEAUTY is, quite simply, a masterful example of how cinema can serve as a humanizing force in the world. We need films like this.” Before moving to the Bay Area, Joanna lived in Los Angeles working with Tremolo Productions (20 Feet from Stardom and Won’t You Be My Neighbor) as the Supervising Producer on Crossfire Hurricane, a documentary celebrating the Rolling Stones’ 50 years of making music history.
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