The Film Team


Loch has been making films for 30 years, plain and simple. He left graduate school thinking fiction but quickly got bounced into documentary via his first good job as the primary editor for UNICEF in NY. From there he moved into shooting and producing, traveling widely. His work for international organizations has been televised from China to Brazil and on CNN International. More recently Loch has been working with the multiple Emmy winning production company Hock Films, directing films for ESPN, Fox Sports, and Major League Soccer. He was the main director for Hock’s series, MLS Insider, which ran for 5 seasons and was Emmy nominated.


Adam has been living in Brooklyn for the last ten years, working as an editor, director and shooter. Creativity, artistic expression, and just outright making things have always been an important part of his life, and over the years he has developed a love for the art of visual storytelling, having the chance to work with the International Rescue Committee, the Environmental Defense Fund, Planned Parenthood, Major League Soccer, and others. Now working as the primary Director of Photography for Off Ramp Films, he relishes the opportunity to capture unscripted scenes unfolding in real time, and seeks to produce work that fosters genuine connection between subject and audience.


David is veteran journalist whose career has spanned television, radio and print. Born and raised in Utica, he is a former producer and writer at NBC News, and his work has also appeared on National Public Radio, PRI, BBC Radio News, the World Vision report, and in the Washington Post and other publications. He has reported overseas from Kosovo, Albania and Sudan. Dave is a former Knight Fellow in Science Journalism at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He currently chairs the journalism program at Utica College, and he is the moderator of the weekly public affairs program, Ivory Tower on WCNY-TV.


Zachai is an editor/filmmaker born in Brooklyn, NY. He studied film and got his B.A. at Clark University, MA. He has worked freelance for the past four years as an editor and started working with Loch and Adam when this project began. He is passionate about immigrant and refugee rights. In addition to working on this film he is a volunteer at Make the Road New York, an organization that supports immigrant populations in New York.


Alaa is an Egyptian video-editor/filmmaker. Solid Egypian citizen that he is, his passion for filmmaking came out of the Tahrir Square protest, the Arab Spring revolution that shook Egypt. Amidst the millions of protesters gathered to oust Mubarak, the dictator who ruled Egypt for 30 years, Alaa grabbed his small digital camera, hit the streets, and began shooting. Though he feels lucky to have been part of movement, it made Egypt an unsafe place for Alaa to be. He is now in New York, studying Film and TV at CUNY Lehman college and working as an assistant editor and Arabic translator. A big fan of Cinema Vérité, he’s excited to be just that much closer to Frederick Wiseman.


Hub has been making music for over 40 years. Originally writing and performing with various rock bands, he has been composing for film and video since the early 2000s. Concentrating mainly on documentaries, he has worked on numerous projects with Off Ramp Films. Considering himself to be primarily a writer and arranger, he has found film/video scoring to be right up his alley; pure musical creativity without all those autographs and poses. 


Hayley is a documentary film producer working out of Brooklyn, NY. Since coming to the industry, Hayley has worked with the Emmy award-winning production company, Big Mouth Productions, on films including CHARM CITY (Tribeca 2018, Independent Lens) and DARK MONEY (Sundance 2018, POV), for which she is an Associate Producer. Previously, Hayley supported the national outreach campaigns for several films on PBS’ documentary showcase POV at American Documentary | POV. Hayley graduated summa cum laude from Hamilton College in 2017 where she studied psychology and tutored fellow students in written and oral communication.


After a 25 year career in the natural and organic foods industry Matt Levine has since devoted his energy to things more important than the latest trends in salty snacks. He created and the podcast Cornucopia, The Cult, Culture & Business of Foods, both of which take a critical look at an industry he loves. Matt mentors at risk youth, drives a pedicab in San Francisco and is currently working on a book about living with HIV for nearly 35 years. When he learned that his friend Loch Phillipps and was working on a film about refugees he jumped at the chance to bring his expertise to the table.


Eric has directed and produced well over 100 media projects. He has received the John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship, Creative Capital Foundation Grant, National Endowment for the Arts Media Arts grant, and an Annenberg Foundation grant as well as many regional media grants. Saks’ past documentary projects have investigated contemporary issues including gun control, teen violence, electronic privacy, surveillance, hazardous waste, criminal conspiracy, culture jamming, fringe culture, corporate sabotage, time capsules, and eccentric personalities.


Matt provides business development and marketing support to the team. He has worked for 20+ years in the software industry, but his roots are in film and television production. His first career was 10+ years in the network television business. 


Alexa is currently a junior at Pace University studying Communications and Film and Screen Studies. She is from central NJ but lives in NYC for school. Alexa has a passion for film and TV and for using those formats to tell inspiring and authentic stories.


Becka is a Media Studies major with a minor in Photography at the University of Akron. She's also a member of the university's television station, ZTV, where she is a content producer. In her free time she likes playing video games, and working on a novel that she has been writing for around a year now.

Get to know us!


It’s hard to stay mad at Loch. He has a knack for absorbing anger and judgment and reminding you that it doesn’t much matter. I guess that’s what makes him a great documentarian. He has this childlike positivity about people. They excite and inspire him. What makes Loch good at conducting interviews is not the questions he asks nor the sensitivity he brings to what the subject is feeling. He’s just interested. Yes, sometimes he crosses a line but it’s always coming from place of a deep curiosity. And out of that childish curiosity comes trust and shared passion. Loch brings the best out of people and without him we would not have the intimate access we have built with the characters in this film. He may be brash and in your face at times, but it’s often what he knows you need to hear because he’s spent the time getting to know you. He brought that childish excitement back home to the crew as well when he wisely observed, “We’re making a good movie people!”  Zach, assistant editor


Not only was it Adam, our DP (Director of Photography), who presented the idea for making this film, his family also provides us a place to stay nearby while we’re shooting. His family’s support for the project has been unwavering and demands our best in return.

If you’ve seen any clips from the film, you know this film is going to look good. Have you seen our Spotlight Tuesday and Character Friday posts? All those stills are frame grabs from his shooting. Nice, right? Adam gets the most out of our gear, which is saying a lot because we don’t pause to let him sort things out or throw up lights. No, we are tracking lives in motion and he has to do his best on the go. He has surpassed my expectations for sure.


Dave and I go way back, but not back as far as I wish. We were at Hamilton College together, but didn’t know each other there. We bonded after over his passing his students on to work with me and via a shared interest in shooting films in Albania, of all places. When Adam presented the idea for The Last Refuge, I knew I wanted to call Dave right away. Dave grew up in Utica, he teaches journalism there, and he has done multiple stories for NPR on Utica’s refugees. It was a perfect match! Dave directs us to aspects of the story we wouldn’t have known we wanted. He has gotten key city figures, like the Mayor and Chief of Police, to sit down with us. Finally, at the end of the day, it’s Dave’s job to make sure the finished product has journalistic integrity, which he has plenty of experience with from his many years as a producer for NBC News. As the best public speaker among us, we’re hoping he’ll go on tour with the film too. If you haven’t seen Ivory Tower, the PBS show he hosts, check it out: Loch, director


Things can get tense during production of a documentary, so you want to have at least one person on the team who does not get rattled. Zach, our assistant editor, junior editor, and occasional b-camera/sound guy occupies that role at Off Ramp. If I’m freaking out about some access or shot we didn’t get, he’s reminding us of the good footage we do have. If we’re worried about our fragile pile of digital media disappearing or getting crazy messy, he’s on the phone with high levels of tech support at Adobe figuring out how to make sure we are technically rock solid on organizing files. Zach has recently begun editing a few scenes for us. The poignancy of these and Zach himself remind us of what we’re doing and why we’re doing it. Loch, director


The best thing about New York City is that it attracts people who want to try to kick some ass in life. Go getters come from all over. If you place an ad for even low paying film work on any of the trade sites, you’ll be overwhelmed with responses. Alaa was one of these. He stood out for the moody photo he used for his profile and for being Egyptian. If he could understand the variety of Arabic spoken by several of our Sudanese characters, he’d be invaluable to us. Turns out that he can and is very interested in the kind of documentary filmmaking we do, even if it is short of the true vérité he loves. On his second day here, over lunch I ventured to ask him about Tahrir Square and if he’d been involved at all. I found out that he had, and that he had shot lots of footage. Clearly a guy we want around, Alaa is now translating and cutting some of the Arabic scenes for us. He’s also going to film school and raising a brand new baby boy. Funny, despite being among the protesters during the Arab Spring, around here he’s the mellow master, good for fathering. But that’ll be my next lunch question: did you actually YELL anything in the Square? – Loch, director

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