Meet the team

Director, Producers, Writers & Cinematographer

Kerry Candaele, Director, Writer and Producer

Kerry Candaele was born in Vancouver, Canada, and grew up in Lompoc, a small town on California’s central coast.

He has produced and directed several documentaries. His producer credits include Following the Ninth: In the Footsteps of Beethoven’s Final Symphony, Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price and Iraq For Sale for Brave New Films. He has also collaborated with his brother on the documentary, A League of Their Own, about their mother’s experience in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League. This documentary was later turned into a blockbuster hit by Columbia Pictures with the same title starring Tom Hanks, Madonna, and Geena Davis. Kerry has also made films for the Raiford Rogers Dance Company of Los Angeles, the Festival of Sacred Music (UCLA), and other organizations.

The first part of Kerry’s Beethoven | Hero trilogy was Following The Ninth: In The Footsteps of Beethoven’s Final Symphony, which followed the impact of the Ninth across the globe. The film premiered in 2013 and has won critical acclaim while showing in more than 250 cities across the U.S. and around the world.

Kerry attended Columbia University, where he was a Richard Hofstadter Fellow and President’s Fellow in U.S. History. Earlier, he studied at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and California State University, Chico. He has worked all over the world—including China, East Timor, Guatemala, Indonesia, Jordan, South Africa, Gaza, and the West Bank—for the Democracy Council (, an NGO dedicated to peaceful reform in developing nations.

The most recent of Kerry’s three books is Journeys With Beethoven: Following the Ninth and Beyond, co-authored with journalist Greg Mitchell. He has also has written extensively about U.S. history, and has published articles and opinion pieces in scholarly and popular publications including USA Today, Symphony Magazine, Irish America Magazine, The Nation, and The Huffington Post. Having made music a passionate hobby, he has written and released two CDs, Gas Money and Icarus Descending, for Battle Hymns Records, and has produced a CD for Western Beat, a collection of Los Angeles-based singer-songwriters.

He lives in Venice, California with his wife and three daughters.

Pamela Gunther, Producer

Pam has been active in research, project coordination and community development on a wide range of local and international social-justice initiatives. For nearly seven years, she has served as the co-chair of a Global Justice Committee in Santa Barbara, California. Under her leadership, the committee most recently built a preschool in Rwanda, and has given the school ongoing support with educational materials and more.

A longtime vocational counselor for the State of California, Pam has written and lectured on trauma and vicarious trauma, and she is the founder and co-organizer of the annual Mayor’s Awards recognizing business and community leaders in disability access.  An adjunct faculty member at two colleges, she has also served on the Tri-County United Nations Board.

Pam is a member of the International Documentary Association and the Executive Producer of Just Choice Productions. She is working on a documentary about the committed men behind Middle East peace-building projects, and the many challenges they face. Pam is a lifelong opera enthusiast and student of classical ballet. She holds an M.S. Degree from Western Oregon University and lives in Santa Barbara, California.

Greg Blake Miller, Writer-Producer

After serving as story producer for Following the Ninth, Greg continues his work with the Beethoven | Hero team. A professor of narrative media at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, he has written extensively about film and culture, culminating with Reentry Shock (2010), the story of how a group of post-Stalin Soviet filmmakers, most famously Andrei Tarkovsky, dug deep into cultural and personal memory to create art that transcended ideology. A former staff writer for The Moscow Times, Greg has also worked at Mosfilm Studios and is currently working on a novel set in the Soviet 1960s. As a writer and editor, he has been honored as Nevada’s Outstanding Journalist, and publications he has led have won more than 100 state, regional and national awards. Greg earned his doctorate in International Communication from the University of Oregon, where he also taught writing and media studies. He and his wife, the illustrator and translator Svetlana Larionova Miller, live in Henderson, Nevada, where they direct Olympian Creative Education. In 2015, they collaborated on the illustrated short-story collection Decemberlands.

Chris Bottoms, Director of Photography

Chris Bottoms has several decades of film and video production experience in New York, Los Angeles and across the globe. After attending The School of Visual Arts in Manhattan, Chris has shot numerous feature films, commercials, music videos and documentaries, and trained under the legendary cinematographers Matt Mahurin, Crescenzo Notarile, and Matthew LeBatique. He is a member of The International Cinematographers Guild.


Ali Eckert (left) & Oliver Herder (right), Producers

Ali Eckert (born Ralph Arthur Eckert ) is a German-American filmmaker, film director and screenwriter. In addition, Eckert worked as a photo artist and turned several music videos into the 2000s. He lives in Berlin.

Oliver Herder is a producer and actor, known for Wings of Desire (1987), The Art of Football from A to Z (2006) and Video Kings (2007).