On a Knife Edge

A stunning coming-of-age journey set on the Pine Ridge Reservation.

Set against a background of rising tension and protest, a Lakota teenager learns first-hand what it means to lead a new generation and enter adulthood in a world where the odds are stacked against him. Filmed over a five-year period, On a Knife Edge provides a privileged view into the interior world of George Dull Knife as he becomes politically active with the American Indian Movement, confronts the challenges of growing up on the Pine Ridge Reservation, and wrestles with accepting leadership of his storied family from his aging father.

Director: Jeremy Williams
Producer: Eli Cane
Cinematographer: Steve Robinson
Co-Producers: Tom Roberts, Hugo Berkeley
Editor: Nick Fenton
Original Art: Guy Dull Knife, Jr.
Animations: Michael Burton

The film is produced in partnership with ITVS, Vision Maker Media, the Tribeca Film Institute, and the Humanities Councils of Nebraska and South Dakota


Rich, land-hungry nations are leasing Africa’s best farmland. Is it a crisis, or simply economic development?


Screened in more than 70 countries, this hour-long documentary tells the story of an industrial sugar plantation being built in rural Mali, West Africa. Digging into questions of economic development and land rights, the film follows characters who are trying to escape poverty without forsaking their traditional way of life. You can watch the film here. Also, visit the Why Poverty? site and read the Guardian’s review!

Directors: Hugo Berkeley and Osvalde Lewat
Producer: Eli Cane
Cinematographer: Crystel Fournier
Editor: Lizi Gelber
Creative Executive: Tom Roberts
Executive Producers: Nick Fraser, Mette Hoffman Meyer, Don Edkins

Produced in Association with Steps International


Can a commodities exchange end famine in Ethiopia?

This hour-long film follows Eleni Gabre-Madhin, a woman with a dream. The charismatic Ethiopian economist wants to end hunger in her famine-plagued country. But rather than relying on foreign aid, she’s designed the nation’s first commodities exchange, which she hopes will revolutionize an ancient market system responsible for the country’s food shortages. See the Market Maker site at PBS.org for more.

Director and Cinematographer: Hugo Berkeley
Producer: Eli Cane
Editor: John Balcom
Original Music: Girum Mezmur
Senior Producer, Wide Angle: Nina Chaudry
Executive Producer: Tom Caschiato
A production of Thirteen/WNET in association with Normal Life Pictures

A Normal Life

Born into the chaos of ethnic conflict, they came of age in war and now lead an unexpectedly free country.

A feature length documentary that follows 7 young friends over 3 years after the
 war in Kosovo. Through their stories of trauma and recovery, we 
witness children of
 conflict becoming young leaders of a fledgling state. An intimate and unexpectedly poignant 
documentary about life after war. Winner of the Tribeca Film Festival Best Documentary Award, 2003.

Directors: Hugo Berkeley and Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi

Original Music: Hunter Perrin

Executive Producers: Craig McKay and Marion Lear Swaybill

Distribution: Jane Balfour Services Ltd.
London, UK
Tel: (011) 44-207-727-1528
Fax: (011) 44-207-221-9007 Email: janebalfour@btconnect.com

Miles Español: New Sketches of Spain

The Jazz highlight of 2011, this massive concept album reimagines Miles Davis’ legacy in a Latin idiom

A groundbreaking collaboration between veterans of Miles Davis’s various bands and musicians from Spain, Morocco, and Latin America. Produced by Bob Belden and released by eOne Music in 2011. Check out the Miles Español iTunes LP, which contains loads of video, including performances, interviews, and a 26-minute documentary about the project!

Directed and Produced by Eli Cane
 and Hugo Berkeley

Cinematography by Jojo Pennebaker

Ensemble ACJW: Andy Akiho’s LIgNEouS 1

lig·ne·ous: made, consisting of, or resembling wood; woody.

Carnegie Hall’s resident Ensemble ACJW performs LIgNEouS 1, a piece by ACJW alumnus Andy Akiho at SubCulture on April 29, 2014.

Jojo Pennebaker – Director of Photography

James Fideler – Camera Operator

Chris Piazza – Camera Operator

Dustin Reid – Camera Operator

Clint Tuccio – Camera Operator

Patrick Leon – Production Coordinator

Craig Bundy – Recording Engineer

Michael Hampton – Mix Engineer

Paul Heck – Producer

Eli Cane – Producer, Editor


Nickel Creek – Destination

The single from A Dotted Line, Nickel Creek's new album

The year 2014 marks 25 years since the formation of the Grammy Award winning roots-music trio Nickel Creek, dormant since 2007. Normal Life Pictures filmed the performance of their single, “Destination”, written by Sarah Watkins, at CBS Studios in April. 

Jojo Pennebaker – Director of Photography

Eli Cane – Everything Else

Open Society Foundations

Advocacy films for a leading global foundation

We’ve been working on several short films for the Open Society Foundations, founded by George Soros, that highlight and advocate for issues the foundation focuses on. We’ve been filming and editing in multiple locations and languages. Check out the OSF YouTube page for more films and info.

Editing by Hugo Berkeley
Music by John Balcom

Jerry Douglas: Traveler

Paul Simon, Eric Clapton, Dr. John and Keb Mo join Jerry on this lovely, eclectic album

Recorded in the storied musical cities of New Orleans, Nashville, New York, and London, Traveler is a journey into American music by dobro genius Jerry Douglas, whom the New York Times calls a “matchless contemporary master”. Featuring special guests Eric Clapton, Dr. John, Alison Krauss, Paul Simon, Mumford & Sons, Keb’ Mo, and many more. Produced by Russ Titelman and released by eOne Music on June 26, 2012.

Directed and Produced by Eli Cane

Cinematography by Jojo Pennebaker

Still Photography by Russ Titelman


What are your kids eating today?

Cucina, a catering company that serves delicious restaurant-quality food in schools, asked us to make a short film about their food, the people who cook it and the kids that eat it. We worked with Doug Jenner of Best Words to craft the message, and filmed for 2 days at the Harefield Academy near London.

Check out http://www.cucina.co.uk for more info.

Director: Hugo Berkeley
Producer: Doug Jenner
Camera: David Agrawal
Graphics: Thomas Jones