Meet The Paksima Productions Team

Jamila Paksima - Chief Creative Officer and Director

JAMILA PAKSIMA |Chief Creative Officer and Director

Bring it on! Jamila thrives on storytelling challenges. She is notorious for making the impossible come to life through her video and animation visions. Her persistent, creative, and positive perspective have been the key to her successful 25-year career (shh…it’s true, she’s been a filmmaker that long). Jamila easily has the boldest laugh and ambitions in the company! She loves digital storytelling, doing the right thing, exotic food, travel, her husband, son, daughter, dog, and the color orange.

More About Jamila

Jamila is an Iranian born two-time Emmy Award nominee and an independent documentary filmmaker, video director, and journalist. Some of her most prestigious awards are three Webby Awards, RFK Journalism First Prize in Domestic Television Broadcast, CINE Golden Eagle, and the OMMA Awards for Best Medical Animation Series.

For 15 years, Jamila has created hundreds of videos as the Executive Producer and Creative Director at Paksima Productions. In 2014, Jamila directed eight videos for a world wide advertising campaign for IMS Health’s successful IPO offering. She also produced and directed a series of short documentary films in China, South Africa, Columbia, Argentina, and the United States for Janssen Pharmaceuticals and Johnson & Johnson.

“I see my role as a true partner in your success as a business,” says Jamila. CMO’s, brand managers, and directors of communication rely on her proven track record and originality to ensure they’ll have a fresh and effective video or branding campaign for their healthcare organization, company, or non-profit. Jamila is proud of retaining her clients for years because she consistently delivers her projects on time and on budget.

Reporting on human interest stories is a personal passion for Jamila. Since 2001, she has produced three one-hour MSNBC specials with Chris Matthews and Forrest Sawyer as well as numerous fundraising and educational videos for non-profit organizations in Africa. In the summer of 2009 she completed three fundraising films for two South African NGO’s: Mosaic SA and Acres of Love. In March 2007, Jamila was exclusively invited to join a delegation on a groundbreaking peacekeeping mission to speak to the top religious and political leaders of the Islamic Republic of Iran. This report aired on Now with David Brancaccio on PBS. She has personally interviewed President Khatemi of Iran and traveled to Africa for Bill Moyers PBS program “Now” with President Jimmy Carter and The Gates Foundation to report on efforts to combat the HIV/AIDS crisis in sub-Saharan Africa. Jamila reported on exclusive meetings with former President Nelson Mandela, President Daniel Arap Moi, and other leaders.

Prior to her freelance career, Jamila worked at NBC News for 11 years producing documentary films for NBC News Specials, as well as producing and associate producing segments for Dateline NBC, Tom Brokaw Documentary unit, and “First Person with Maria Shriver.” Jamila is also a contributing author of the book, “The aWAKE Project: Uniting Against the African AIDS Crisis.” She has a B.A. in Television and Radio Journalism from Ithaca College.

Dita Gruze - Associate Producer / Editor

DITA GRUZE | Associate Producer / Editor

Dita’s passion for the career behind camera started during a brutal Baltic winter in 2002, when, acting for a TV commercial, she was covered in ice cold water pretending to happily run through spring rain. As a revenge, she became a producer.

More About Dita

Dita has more than 15 years of international media experience, writing for newspapers, magazines, and publications in her native Latvia, Spain, and the U.S. She has also worked as a producer, assistant director, director, and editor on more than 50 documentary and narrative films, commercials, and corporate videos in the U.S., Latvia, Canada, Russia, UK, and India, where she filmed in hospitals, rehab centers, patients’ homes, and special schools across the country. Some of the films Dita has worked on have won the Best Short Film at Slamdance, premiered and received awards at Sundance and Tribeca, and featured on the PBS series FutureStates. Her fluent knowledge of Latvian, Russian, Spanish, and English and extensive leisure and professional travel experiences open up many doors to personal stories and unique insights into local places and cultures. Dita has a B.A. in Film and Media Arts from Temple University.

Steve Buckwalter - Director of Photography / Editor / Motion Graphics

STEVE BUCKWALTER | Director of Photography / Editor / Motion Graphics

Steve is a consumate perfectionist who loves making people look impeccable on camera. Fun facts: Steve drives fast cars, edits even faster to classical music, and distracts the team with adorable pictures of his baby daughter.

More About Steve

He is an experienced filmmaker, videographer, and editor who has worked in movies, commercials, documentaries, and corporate video productions. Some of his clients include The Walt Disney Company, Showtime, the U.S. Army, Glaxo, and the AARP. Steve and Jamila have worked as a creative team for eight years, and Steve has helped create and complete campaigns for Janssen, Johnson & Johnson, Sanofi Pasteur,, IMS Health, and other clients. Steve has a truly unique combination of deep technical expertise and the eye of a gifted visual artist who captures exquisite images while crafting compelling visual stories.

Will Strathmann - Second Director of Photography / Editor

WILL STRATHMANN | Second Director of Photography / Editor

Although he loves working in the editing suite, Will is our in-house outdoor enthusiast. Whether it’s diving with 4-foot groupers in the Bahamas or hiking in the North East, he’s always got a camera in hand looking for the next shot!

More About Will

Will is a Philadelphia based photographer and videographer with over eight years of experience in the field. He has worked extensively in the non-profit and environmental research sector, most recently as a staff photographer and marine research videographer at the Cape Eleuthera Institute in The Bahamas. Will also currently serves as the Creative Director for the Entidaled Project, a media based non-profit that aims to connect conservationists from around the world through shared stories and visual media.

Cynthia O'Hara - Studio Manager

CYNTHIA O’HARA | Studio Manager

Cynthia is our tenatious QuickBooks ninja and prop master. She is our go-to person every time we need to create an exceptional set design, herd hundreds of production expense receipts into one tidy spreadsheet, or when we crave delicious homemade food.

More About Cynthia

A graduate from Rhode Island School of Design and a Business School in Indonesia, Cynthia handles studio’s administrative and artistic tasks, such as graphic design, set design, and studio interior design. She has 17 years of experience in high-end furnishing industry, interior decorating, and project management.

Butterscotch - Chief Production Pup

BUTTERSCOTCH | Chief Production Pup

With his off the charts cuteness and affection for filmmakers, Butterscotch keeps our creative juices flowing, visiting everyone in the edit rooms and offices making sure they are happy, appreciated, and feeling super productive. Truth is, he loves chasing tennis balls as much as we love finding great clients to work with!

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