Maiden Voyage Productions

Mission Statement

Maiden Voyage Productions (MVP) creates and supports media and education projects that ignite social, cultural and environmental awareness, including documentary films, interactive platforms, curriculum and websites. We focus on programs that deepen understanding of different ways to live in the world, empower indigenous communities to share important cultural and environmental issues, and foster the growth of compassionate, informed and engaged global citizens. All products are intended for distribution through social, advocacy and educational networks, broadcast on public and cable media, and dissemination to schools, libraries and the general public.


Gail Evenari founded MVP in 1994 with the production of Wayfinders: A Pacific Odyssey, an award-winning PBS documentary, chronicling the history and renaissance of Polynesian voyaging and navigation. She has worked in the fields of education and media for over four decades. In addition to teaching for many years, Gail researched, wrote, designed and produced Social Studies textbooks for major publishers. Her background in educational research led to making films about indigenous cultures for public television and schools. Over the past few years, Gail’s MVP work has included leading international service and cultural immersion trips with teens to Mexico, Israel and France. MVP’s current focus,  Our current project, World Wise, brings her expertise, experience and passion together into a powerful vision for building empathy and global awareness in youth.

Additional MVP films include Hawai’i: Continuing TraditionsIn the Wake of Our AncestorsAlaska: The Yupik EskimosTimeless Craft: The Building of Mauloa, and A Gift for Abuelo, a film about Mexican culture and sea turtle conservation. Curriculum guides for PBS films include A Doula StoryThe Calling, Havana Curveball andElie Wiesel: First Person Singular

World Wise uses Virtual Reality documentaries (VR) and interdisciplinary curriculum and interactive media to introduce young people to our planet’s diversity and engage them in global challenges we all face together. Taking action on an issue is usually sparked by feeling a connection. VR has the power to transform peer storytelling into immersive experiences that feel like personal interactions. Problems that are far away seem close; people and places that are different become familiar. World Wise leverages this connection and diminishes the sense of “the other” by encouraging the discovery of commonalities with youth who live in other cultures and environment and providing innovative opportunities for learning, cross-cultural exchange and community action.  

Maiden Voyage Productions is a California nonprofit organization (Tax ID 94-3191142).



With four decades of experience in education and media, Gail Evenari is committed to deepening connections and creating opportunities for growth and learning. As an educator, she introduces students to global perspectives through books, curricula, art, service and travel. As a filmmaker, she empowers indigenous communities to voice important cultural issues and compelling personal stories. Most recently, Gail has launched Just Like Me But Different, a project that uses the power of Virtual Reality films and interdisciplinary project-based curriculum to foster the growth of compassionate, informed and engaged citizens of the world.

See résumé.




Abby has been an independent documentary film director and producer for nearly 30 years, creating films on discrimination, criminal justice reform, innovative HIV programs and diversity in the legal profession. She graduated from UC Hastings College of the Law in 1975, and taught at  from 1975 to 1976, and at New College School of Law from 1981 to 1985. Her most recent production, Agents of Change, features actor/activist Danny Glover, sociologist and sports expert, Harry Edwards, among many others. This film tells the untold story of the civil rights movement on college campuses, which challenged the status quo and creating demands for black studies programs and increased minority representation on campus. Her 2014 film, Soft Vengeance: Albie Sachs and the New South Africa, was an official selection at IFP in 2013 and premiered at Full Frame in 2014. It won the People's Choice Award from the Vancouver South African Film Festival and the Audience Award for Best International Documentary from the Encounters Film Festival in South Africa. She has produced and directed two other award-winning feature length documentaries about judicial trailblazers: Soul of Justice profiled Thelton Henderson, one of the first African American federal judges who is currently overseeing the reform of medical care in California prisons; Sowing the Seeds of Justice about Cruz Reynoso, one of 11 children from a farmworker family who became the first Latino appointed to the California Supreme Court.  Her thought-provoking films seek to inspire audiences to follow in the footsteps of those who have committed themselves to transforming the societies in which they live. Abby was the Consulting Producer for The Barber of Birmingham, which was nominated for an Oscar in the short Documentary category in 2012.



Strategist, analyst, author and speaker — for more than a quarter-century, David Kleeman has led the children’s media industry in developing sustainable, kid-friendly practices. Kleeman is Senior Vice President of Global Trends for Dubit, a strategy and research consultancy and digital studio based in Leeds, England. For 25 years, he was President of the American Center for Children and Media, a creative professional development center. Kleeman is advisory board chair to the international children's TV festival (Prix Jeunesse), a board member of the National Association for Media Literacy Education, and serves on the Academic Advisory Board for the Children's Advertising Review Unit. From 2011-2016, he was a Governor of the Television Academy. He was a 2013 Senior Fellow of the Fred Rogers Center. In 2014, he received the “Pioneer” Award from Kids @ Play Interactive. Kleeman travels worldwide seeking best practices in children’s and family media, technology and products; he has given presentations on six continents (anyone need a speaker in Antarctica?). He writes extensively for trade and general press, including frequent commentaries for the Huffington Post and Kidscreen.

Amy LaMeyer


Amy is a corporate development professional with over 15 years of experience in high growth technologies. She currently advises and supports start-ups in the VR/AR space with strategy development, fund raising and network connections. Amy is also a mentor of VR/AR accelerator programs and non profit organizations in the Bay Area.  She is a writer for Virtual Reality Pop and has been interviewed by WiredAmy has experience in M&A, strategic partnerships, divestitures, start-up accelerator and innovation  programs, international expansion, profitability modeling, financial and product operations and engineering scale.   Amy led integration and  diligence analysis of 20 acquisitions, divestitures, and strategic partnerships with aggregate value exceeding $1.5B.  She has been a key driver of cross functional teamwork, strategic alignment, financial analysis, due diligence, project management and integration execution.   She has spent the last year meeting with and learning about VR/AR technologies and markets and is looking forward to enabling VR/AR companies during this period of growth.



President and Founder of Mitroff & Associates, Donna holds a PhD in Education and a Masters degree in Special Education. Dr. Mitroff has nearly three decades of experience in the entertainment industry from her career launch at WQED, the Pittsburgh Public Television and WQED West, its West Coast production center to Fox Kids and the Fox Family Network to current clients including Netflix, Univision and others. Donna was one of the founding members of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences committee that oversees the Fred Rogers Memorial Scholarship, and she is co-author with Ian Mitroff of “Fables and the Art of Leadership: Applying the Wisdom of Mister Rogers to the Workplace," Palgrave Macmillan, 2012. She has worked at and consulted with production companies, networks and studios in the areas of program development, educational content design and review, children and families and media use, media policy, and media impact. She has credits as an executive producer, producer, development executive, executive in charge of production, script consultant and educational consultant. At Fox Family Channel she established a new department with new vision for Standards and Practices in the digital age and she writes and speaks on this topic. She is also an educator who teaches a variety of courses, gives in-house seminars on children and media and authors and presents papers at national conferences. 

Billy Richards (William K. Richards Jr.)


Billy Richards serves as the Director of Communications for the Consortium for Hawai‘i  Engineering Education (CHEEE) dba Mālama ‘Aina Foundation, an organization dedicated to bringing interested parties together to carry out research and education programs that focus on the preservation and protection of Hawai‘i’s natural environment. He has held management positions in both the public and private sector, primarily in the field of aquaculture. He spent close to two decades at The Oceanic Institute, a non-profit research organization where some of his cumulative responsibilities included: serving as assistant to the Institute’s Vice-President of Program Development in the development of new programs domestic and international; Research Associate of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) funded marine shrimp research program; Manager of the Hawaiian Fishpond Revitalization Project (HFR) which sought to revitalize ancient Hawaiian fishponds for economic purposes while maintaining their cultural integrity, and; Manager of The Oceanic Institute - Ke‘ahuolū, a facility located near Kailua-Kona on the island of Hawai‘i that served as a site for the Institute’s aquaculture education and training programs and, which housed the USDA Marine Shrimp Consortium's Specific Pathogen Free (SPF) shrimp stocks. More recently in the private sector, he was Vice-President and General Manager of Hawai‘i High Health Seafood Corporation, the sales and marketing subsidiary of a large land-based aquaculture operation located on Kaua‘i. He has been involved with Hawai‘i’s voyaging community since 1975 and has served aboard the voyaging canoes Hōkūle‘a, Makali‘i, Hawai‘iloa, Hōkūalaka‘i, and Hikianalia. He is taking part in the present Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage of the Polynesian Voyaging Society, and sits as President of "The Friends of Hokule‘a and Hawai‘iloa", a non-profit organization whose mission is to "perpetuate ancient Hawaiian canoe resources by building, restoring and sharing traditional canoe building skills".
Current Affiliations: President, Friends of Hōkūle‘a and Hawai‘iloa; Vice President, Aha Kane; Vice President, Paepae O He’eia; Second Vice President, Bishop Museum Association Council; Treasurer, Kānehūnāmoku Voyaging Academy; Senior Chair, ‘Ohana Wa‘a; Board of Directors, LUA Inc.; Director of Communications, Partners In Development Foundation; Member, Pā Ulukukui / Ka‘aikanahā; Member, Polynesian Voyaging Society.



Gail was the primary force behind Film Arts Foundation for more than 25 years, first as co-director, then executive director and finally president. Now the veteran advocate for indies has become an indie herself, as advisor, curator and mentor to the field. In 1976, a ragtag band of filmmakers came together to create an independent cinema collective, and Film Arts Foundation was born. Gail came on board in the early years of the organization, and under her leadership, Film Arts developed into the largest regional independent media-service organization in the country, with more than 3,400 members. During her tenure at Film Arts Foundation, Gail co-established the groundbreaking Fund for Independent Cinema, the Film Arts Foundation’s grant program. She shepherded hundreds of fiscal sponsored projects from conception to completion. Through her work in organizations like NAMAC, INPUT and National Coalition of Independent Public Television Producers she championed the cause of independent media on the national and international level. In 1996, the San Francisco Bay Guardian dubbed her “the doyenne of the Bay Area independent filmmaking community” with their “Local Hero” award. In 2002, her years of dedication to artistic excellence and advocacy were recognized by the presentation of the California Arts Council’s “Directors Award.” 

Currently Ms. Silva serves as the President of the Board of California Newsreel, the leading nonprofit distributor of media on the African American experience and African cinema. For the last five years she has represented the interests of independents by serving on the nominating committee of the National Coalition of Independent Public Television Producers (NCIPTP) who select and seat the Board of Directors of the Independent Television Service (ITVS). She has been a panelist for CPB, NEH, NEA, California Arts Council, Rockefeller Foundation Intercultural Fellowships and many others.