Meet the filmmakers
Dr. Jonathan Bornman
Social Anthropologist / Producer
Jonathan grew up in a Mennonite family in Indiana working on local farms and in his father’s masonry business. When he graduated from high school his eyes were opened to the world through a one-year cross-cultural service and learning opportunity in Brazil where he discovered a love of language and culture. Jonathan and his wife, Carol, served in Burkina Faso (1991-94) developing water resources. There, Jonathan learned French as well as a smattering of local language greetings and gained an understanding of African Traditional Religion, Islam and Christianity in Africa by living in a mixed community.
After earning a master’s degree in intercultural studies with a focus on Islam, Jonathan served with his family in Senegal from 1999-2009 as a Bible teacher. In 2013, Jonathan joined Eastern Mennonite Missions’ newly formed Christian-Muslim Relations Team and was privileged to be mentored by Dr. David W. Shenk (author, speaker and innovative thinker on interfaith relations). This work expanded his international experience to 37 countries and four continents.
His expertise includes nonviolence in Islam, Sufi Islam, missiology, immigration, and Christian-Muslim encounters. Jonathan is a connector who works to build bridges and equip people to participate in Jesus’ ministry of reconciliation, peacemaking and seeking the common good. He has a PhD from Middlesex University (Social Anthropology).
Inspired to harness the power of cinema to create a better world for people of all backgrounds, Jonathan founded Dove Tale Productions in 2021.
Producer - The Allies for Peace video series www.emm.org/peacemakers/resources
Producer and Host - A search for peace, a Palestinian perspective on nonviolent conflict resolution
Cinematographer / Producer
Ehab started his career in cinema in the early 1990s, working as a first camera assistant on more than thirty feature productions including iconic Hollywood films such as The Insider, The Apostle, The Body, and Sling Blade. He has worked with multi-award-winning cinematographers such as Vilmos Zsigmond, Dante Spinotti, Barry Markowitz, and David Burr.
Meanwhile, Ehab continued to work as a cinematographer in Palestine, lending his talents to a variety of short projects and documentaries before expanding to take on the role of producer. He eventually established his own company, Yellow Dawn Productions. Its first production was 2009’s award-winning period drama The Time That Remains by Elia Suleiman, followed in 2010 with the production Amazing Love by Kevin Downes. Ehab served as Executive Producer on Yellow Dawn’s first feature films.
In 2013, Ehab served as Cinematographer on Omar with acclaimed director Hany Abu Assad. The production was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at the 86th Annual Academy Awards, and Omar’s cinematography was recognized with a Silver Frog award at the 2014 Camerimage International Film Festival. Ehab subsequently served as Director of Photography with Hany Abu Assad on his 2015 film, The Idol.
D. Michael Hostetler
Director / Producer
Michael is an award-winning producer, director, and a communications consultant with more than 30 years of international experience. He is a deeply committed to peace and social justice work, with experience helping people from diverse cross-cultural settings communicate their stories.
Michael has a proven ability to bring projects in on budget. He was one of the founders of the production group Sisters & Brothers (1981) and served in a variety of production roles on their slate of films including The Weight (one-hour shot on super 16mm), The Radicals (full-length historical drama shot in central Europe), and a variety of children’s shorts.
In the early 1990s, Michael produced video that interpreted themes focusing on nutrition, health care, literacy, education, and community empowerment for the Coptic Evangelical Organization for Social Services in Cairo, Egypt. Later, he served as producer and director for the awarding-winning video series, including Reflections on the 23rd Psalm for People with Cancer for Vision Video, Pa., USA, on location in Israel/Palestine and produced and directed a series of videos on building mental wellness, for use in the educational setting.
From 1996 – 2005 Michael commissioned and gave oversight to feasibility and market studies conducted by Coopers & Lybrand, based in Tel Aviv, Israel. The study was commissioned for the creation of Nazareth Village, a full-scale recreation of Nazareth, as it was in the first century. Nazareth Village is a visitors’ center in Nazareth, Israel. He also commissioned and gave oversight, in collaboration with the University of the Holy Land, to four years of research in the anthropological, historical, archaeological disciplines to build a clear and strong foundation for construction of and the interpretive work of Nazareth Village (www.nazarethvillage.com). He served as the center’s first Executive Director during a time of economic and political unrest. More than one million visitors found their way to the Village since it opened its doors to the public.
Michael then moved back to Canada where he worked as the director of marketing and communications for Ontario charity KidsLink, until 2011.
He went on to develop and produce independent productions for Jacaranda Communications, as well as working with a variety of businesses and non-profit organizations.
Working once more with cinematographer Ehab Assal (who also shot “Omar”), he films the narrow confines of the Gaza Strip — positioned between miles of barbed-wire fence on one side and the open sea on the other — in muscular, expansive widescreen compositions that convey the region’s desolation as well as its harsh, rugged beauty.
Jonathan Bornman embodies some of the best qualities one seeks in a colleague or friend. He is bright, humble and generous. His research displays a masterful combination of academic rigor and cultural sensitivity. I am impressed by his ability to embrace religious diversity and build bridges that make him feel at home among Christian and Muslim communities across continents. He truly exemplifies the concept of Abrahamic brotherhood.
Cheikh A. Babou, Ph.D.
Department of History, University of Pennsylvania
As we worked together, I recognized that Michael had the ability to tease out my thoughts and to help me focus on what we really wanted to say and then to brainstorm what the possibilities might be. And from there he always pushed me just a bit further and expanded my thinking. The result was that we were able to create an impactful video.
President, COO, People Care
Once we found the right vision for the project, and once we identified the target audience, and what messages we wanted to give, it was amazing to me how [the filming] started to unfold so naturally. Underneath that there was a real excitement, even to have our team members respond to the suggestions Michael was making, approaches we could use and sending people off to look at various things, all of that helped us feel like we were a part of making decisions as to how these films would look. In the end I felt they really reflected what we wanted to get out of it, really did!
Video Production Coordinator, Waterloo Region District School Board Chief Speech Pathologist