The Origins of Our Name
Our documentary films share the remarkable and diverse stories of communities living extraordinary lives. We have followed five teenage girls growing up in a refugee settlement in Uganda, a group of American women coping with incarceration in a Nebraska prison, and a community of volunteers seeking meaningful connections with community and nature at a wolf sanctuary in rural Colorado. At the heart of our films is a common thread: balancing the complexities of an uncommon path while dreaming and working toward a different future.
Through our collaborative approach, we support people in telling their own stories as the experts on their own experiences. Our work often highlights the film, photography, poetry, dance, and music created by the characters themselves to more genuinely convey their unique voices and expressions to viewers.
NeeNee Productions Founder Gayle Nosal is both a filmmaker and a mother. Years ago her son Tomas was born prematurely. As a 28-week-old infant weighing three pounds, Tomas began life by facing adversity. The complications related to his early birth led him to experience developmental delays as a child, and he wrestled with pronouncing certain words. Together, Tomas and Gayle developed a nightly ritual of reading a story before Gayle would say goodnight. As she tucked him into bed, Gayle would say "see you in the dreaming time." Tomas would echo in return "see you in the neenee time."
Over time Tomas overcame his speech challenges. When Gayle discovered filmmaking as a mechanism for striving to understand and share the experiences of others, she was fiercely dedicated to allowing the unique voices of the characters to shine through in the process, just as she did with Tomas' pronunciation of the word dreaming.
The hands in our logo design are the outline of a drawing Tomas made when he was a child.
The origins of our name
Gayle Nosal believes in collaboration with people and communities featured in her films, and letting stories unfold organically. Her visual style is intimate and textural, incorporating drawings, animation, and other creative art forms. Her passion is making documentaries that illuminate the complex lives of underrepresented people and issues in our world today. Before entering filmmaking in 2012, Gayle worked in advertising, sales, writing, and teaching. Gayle’s work in advertising in New York City spanned ten years and she understands the art of branding, publicity, and new product development. She later spent twelve years working and capacity-building within local, national, and international non-profit organizations. Gayle has taught at the secondary and university levels.
Beret E. Strong has been making documentaries about social issue and ethnographic topics for more than 20 years. She has directed, produced, and shot award-winning films in Micronesia, Latin America, the United States, and Africa, and is the owner of Landlocked Films. Her documentary films, produced in collaboration with her husband John Tweedy, have focused on educational rights for children with disabilities (“Song of Our Children”), indigenous culture and history in Micronesia (“Lieweila”), the battle of Iwo Jima (“Iwo Jima: Memories in Sand”), and Afro-Bolivian dance, song, and resistance to oppression (“Saya”). Beret’s passion is giving voice to people whose voices are too often unheard, and exploring the tensions that arise when very different cultures collide. Trained as a literary scholar and poet before turning to filmmaking, Beret is the author of several books and has taught at the secondary and university levels in the U.S. and overseas.
Rachel first developed a love for storytelling while keeping a blog about her experiences serving as a Community Health Developer with the Peace Corps in rural Zambia. After six years of working in public health and social work in the U.S. and abroad, she was inspired to pivot her career path into professional storytelling after becoming involved with a grassroots social media campaign to address maternal child health disparities in Denver, Colorado. Rachel has a master’s degree in International Affairs and Media from The New School in New York City, and a double BA in Spanish Literature and Linguistics from the University of Colorado. She currently lives in Brooklyn with her sister, Emily, and their two cats, Ernest Hemingway and Olive.
Emma Whitehead grew up in a family of storytellers, and has always sought opportunities to further understand and engage with the world. Emma holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Colorado College, and has worked in more than 20 countries documenting politics, language, identity, religion and more. She is a writer, humorist, and producer, having worked on music videos, documentaries, and television shows. Her background also includes Spanish-language legal interpreting, higher education administration, global leadership development consulting, and social justice advocacy and training. She believes deeply in NeeNee’s collaborative and participatory approach to sharing stories and building empathy through film.