Director Biography – Melissa Lesh, Tim Laman (PERSON OF THE FOREST)

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Documentary filmmaker Melissa Lesh (Co-Director) founded Emerging Earth Films as a way to bridge the gap between the arts and sciences, focusing on natural history and conservation stories. Her first award-winning documentary, James River Sturgeon, was a collaboration with scientists to uncover the uncharted migration of the endangered Atlantic Sturgeon. Lesh is the Co-Director and Editor of Person of the Forest (Mountainfilm 2017) and has filmed for clients such as National Geographic Magazine, Nat Geo Wild and the US Fish and Wildlife Service. Born in Mumbai, India and having grown up in Madison, Wisconsin, she now calls Richmond, Virginia home

Tim Laman (Co-Director) is a field biologist, photographer and filmmaker. Since receiving his doctorate degree from Harvard for pioneering research in Borneo’s rainforest canopy, his cameras have become the main tool he uses to tell the stories about rare and endangered wildlife and reveal some of earth’s wildest places. A regular contributor to National Geographic with 22 published stories, Laman has also received 10 grants from the National Geographic Society for scientific expeditions to remote parts of Borneo, Australia and New Guinea. He’s involved in a long-term exploration of the birds of paradise in collaboration with the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and has made forays into wildlife cinematography, shooting for the BBC’s “Planet Earth II” and other projects. Laman won top honors as Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2016 with an orangutan image from his portfolio that showcases the lives of wild orangutans and the conservation issues they face — work that has grown out of lengthy collaboration with his wife, orangutan researcher Cheryl Knott.

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