About Us

PhotoSynthesis Productions is a little film company that exists on a big world stage. We have filmed the Dalai Lama, documented a total eclipse of the sun in Bolivia, and had our film, They Call It Myanmar, named one of the top documentaries of 2012.  At the same time our work for clients like Cornell University and the National Geographic Society have won more than 200 national and international media awards.


PSP is dedicated to using the power of film for education and social justice. For 30 years we have produced long and short form films that reach international audiences with diverse messages of equity and positive change. Our work is widely praised for its visual excellence, educational value, and emotional impact.  


We enjoy collaborating with clients as well as creating our own documentary and narrative projects. The films we make are designed to educate and inform, to inspire change and spark dialogue.  


Please join us in helping shape the conversation!


Deborah C. Hoard - President


Deborah C. Hoard has been a producer, director and writer at PhotoSynthesis Productions for 30 years, and president since 2003.  Her work is focused on education and social justice and has won more than 200 national and international media awards.  Her most recent documentary They Call It Myanmar screened in festivals worldwide, and was named “one of the top 12 docs of the year 2012” by Roger Ebert.  She has a BS from the University of California at Berkeley and an MPS from Cornell University.  She was recently appointed to the President’s Council of Cornell Women.  


David Kossack - Senior Editor/Videographer


A long time Ithacan, David graduated from Ithaca College’s Park School of Communications with a degree in Cinema Production. Since joining PhotoSynthesis Productions he has worked as an editor and videographer on numerous projects, including editing the award-winning documentary They Call it Myanmar.


David is also actively involved with The Actor’s Workshop of Ithaca where he teaches acting and has directed several stage productions for the Workshop’s theater company.

Norm Scott - Editor/ Videographer/ Sound Design


Norm got his first tape recorder at the age of five, and has been recording and archiving sound ever since. He likes robots and inventing essential new gadgets with no discernible purpose.


He received a B.S. in Art from James Madison University in 1999, specializing in sculpture and interdisciplinary work. As studio manager at Harmonic Ranch in NYC's TriBeCa, Norm worked to craft experiences and shape the atmosphere for a variety of eclectic artists and musicians. Currently, Norm continues to construct hybrid electro-acoustic instruments, and finds frequent inspiration in his archive of over 300 tapes of field recordings.

Rachel Ferro - Editor/ Videographer


Rachel has worked as a film-maker since 2003 and has a BA in Documentary Studies and Production from the Park School of Communications at Ithaca College. Her interests lie in documentary and experimental film, and in 2013 she completed a feature-length documentary, Tell Me The Day Backwards, which she produced, directed and edited and has since shown at festivals nationwide.  Rachel is Co-Director and Editor for PSP's upcoming film RE:Thinking and, as an aspiring astrologer, is excited about the potential synthesis of filmmaking and astrology.

Jeff Hodges - Editor/Videographer


Jeff has been with PSP since the fall of 2012, providing editorial, graphic and production assistance on projects ranging from promotional to documentary work. He graduated from Tompkins Cortland Community College with an Associate Degree in Broadcast Production, and has directed numerous music videos for The Blind Spots and other local bands.


Jeff is an an avid pop-culture enthusiast with a strong love for film, music, video games, and 80's power ballads. 


Matthew Mikkelsen - Media Manager/Sound Design


Matthew Mikkelsen is a sound recordist, audio engineer, and documentary filmmaker living in Ithaca, New York. He has worked as an engineer, sound designer, and producer on two award-winning documentaries, but has devoted most of his professional career to observing, recording, researching, and preserving natural soundscapes. Matthew graduated from the Roy H. Park School of Communications at Ithaca College with a degree in audio production. He also serves as a board member for One Square Inch, which aims to protect Olympic National Park from noise pollution. 


Rose Pinnisi - Assistant Editor

Rose is a former student of Cornell University, and is currently studying film and graphic design at Tompkins Cortland Community College. She started working with PSP as an intern in 2014, and liked it so much that she has stayed ever since. Her personal film career so far has been limited to student films, but she has worked with PSP on a variety of projects as a production assistant and assistant editor, including both promotional and narrative work. Her main interests lie in editing, though as her filmmaking skills develop she hopes to get behind a camera more often. She spends most of her free time learning new art programs or buried in one creative project or another, generally drawing or composing music. She has also recently started getting into animation.


Scott Hitz - Artistic Producer


Scott Hitz is a Producer, Director, & Performer who has spent much of his career studying the art of Puppetry. His work has been seen on television: TV Funhouse (Comedy Central), The Book of Pooh (The Disney Channel), Sony Television commercial (shot in Mexico City), and on stage: Avenue Q (original production at The Vineyard Theatre, NYC), The Little Prince (The New Victory Theatre, NYC), Little Shop of Horrors (Ford’s Theater, Washington DC).  

Ella Ornstein - Festivals Coordinator 


Ella Ornstein studied linguistics at Oberlin College and spent nearly a decade working as a German-to-English translator in Berlin. Although a relative newcomer to the world of film, she has years of experience in theater, both as a playwright and behind the scenes as a stage manager. With a life-long habit of being the highly organized one, the note-taker and list-maker, she's put these talents to use in arenas as diverse as coordinating concerts and music events, running a children's arts program, and teaching a variety of languages in a variety of countries around the world.


A native Ithacan, Ella is pleased to be back again and steeped in the creative culture of Ithaca.

Ken Christopher Hill - Community Manager/Web Development/Design


Ken Christopher Hill manages a constellation of social media profiles, builds microsites for film projects, and is always open to expanding his skillset. He majored in English at Columbia University and spent five years conducting marketing and social media outreach for a variety of national brands and organizations. A practicing artist and photographer, he can often be found haunting isolated landscapes and forgotten built environments at odd hours. 


Peter Carroll


Cameraman and Director of Photography, Peter Carroll is one of the founding members of PhotoSynthesis Productions. Peter now works with his own company, Peter Carroll Productions, but also still helps PSP to film in new and innovative ways. 

Peter has had his hands in many of PSP's most recent movies, including much of the work they have accomplished at Cornell University.

Che Broadnax


Che Broadnax is a filmmaker who has served as director of photography on Sci-Fi/Horror feature Welcome to Willits and the 40-minute Art of Dreaming. As an emerging voice in the independent film world, he cites DPs Eric Lin and the late Harris Savides as influences and mentors. Che has also has kept busy working in camera departments on critically acclaimed films such as The Exploding Girl, and The History of Future Folk. Che serves as Producer/Director on PSP's Civil Warriors and is busy finishing a long-standing animation project as well as developing a new project with frequent collaborator Rachel Whelan. 

Robert H. Lieberman


Director/Producer: Robert H. Lieberman is a best-selling novelist and film director. He is also a longtime member of the Physics faculty at Cornell University.  Mr. Lieberman has six published novels, his newest is The Boys Of Truxton.


His most recent film, “They Call It Myanmar,” was a New York Times Critics Pick and was named one of the top dozen films of 2012 by Roger Ebert.


More information can be found at: http://www.roberthlieberman.com