MARIANA VAN ZELLER
Correspondent / Executive Producer
Born and raised in Portugal – saudades. Moved to New York to attend Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism. A month into the program, I was reporting live back to Europe on the events of 9/11. In 2003, I went undercover to report on Syrian mujahidin crossing into Iraq to fight against the US invasion. The story captured the first signs of what would be a growing insurgency. Since then: diamonds in Brazil, gold in Colombia; migrants on trains in Mexico and boats in North Africa; Lebanon-Syria-Iraq-Iran; Rape on the Reservation and The OxyContin Express. London, Damascus, Rio are some of the places I’ve called home. Frequently in transit, but if you catch me at the border, I got visas in my name. Portuguese, English, Spanish, Italian and French spoken here.
Director / Executive Producer
Cristina most recently co-directed Mucho Mucho Amor, which premiered at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival. She also co-directed Science Fair with Darren Foster which won audience awards at both the Sundance and SXSW Film Festivals in 2018, as well as an Emmy and Critics’ Choice Award for Best First-Time Director. As an investigative journalist, she’s covered detention centers, sex trafficking, and the opiate epidemic. Her investigative work has been recognized with a GLAAD Media Award and an Alfred I. duPont–Columbia University Award. The Milwaukee native is a Yale grad who now lives in LA with her husband, Alfie, and a pug dog named Harriet.
Director / Executive Producer
Darren Foster is an award-winning documentary filmmaker and journalist. His feature documentary, Science Fair, won the Festival Favorite Award at Sundance 2018 and the Audience Award at SXSW. Darren and his co-director Cristina Costantini were named best first-time directors by the Critics’ Choice Awards. The film is currently being adapted into a narrative feature by Elizabeth Banks and Universal Pictures. Prior to directing and producing Science Fair, Darren took on darker subjects. His one-hour investigation Death by Fentanyl won a 2017 duPont Award for its in-depth look at how a powerful painkiller is turning the worst drug epidemic in U.S. history even deadlier. It was a continuation of Darren’s groundbreaking reporting on the opioid crisis that began with The OxyContin Express, which won a Peabody Award, a Television Academy Honor and an Emmy nomination.
Showrunner / Director / Executive Producer
Jeff is the showrunner on Trafficked, Muck’s new series about black markets for National Geographic. In 2018, he produced the Emmy Award-winning Science Fair. In 2016, he campaign hopped as a producer/director for Showtime’s The Circus. Previously he directed The Opposition for ESPN about the collision of soccer and politics in Chile, and Borderland, an Al Jazeera series about the realities of undocumented immigration. For previous films, he embedded with the English Defense League to explore Europe’s growing fear of Islam, posed as a soccer agent in Ghana and France to understand the illegal trade in young African players, and was thrown out of an tobacco industry conference in Jakarta while documenting Big Tobacco’s aggressive push into the developing world. Proud Berkeley j-school grad.
Director / Executive Producer
Alex is a co-founder of Muck Media and has directed and produced series for Apple TV+, National Geographic, CBS, Discovery and Amazon. His non-fiction work has been nominated for an Emmy Award, the Livingston Award for Young Journalists, and he is the recipient of an Overseas Press Club Award. On the narrative side, his feature film, Buddymoon, won the Audience Award at Slamdance before being released in theaters by Orion Pictures.
Dana is a documentary producer and investigative journalist who has worked with some of the biggest media companies in the world including The Wall Street Journal, National Geographic, Netflix, Al Jazeera English, and others. She's a director and producer on the National Geographic documentary series Trafficked, producing episodes on romance scams (2021) and lottery and investment scams (2020), which was nominated for an Emmy. Most recently, she co-directed an episode around LSD, its role in America's war on drugs, the cultural resurgence, and who's supplying the growing demand for acid. Dana produced two critically-acclaimed feature films: Groomed (2020), a story about one woman's search for answers about the man who sexually abused her as a child, and The Falconer (2021), a film based on a real-life friendship between two teenagers growing up in Yemen. Dana grew up in Lebanon And speaks English, Arabic and some French.
Head Of Development
Krista is an experienced producer, creative executive and content strategist for all things documentary. Prior to helming development operations at Muck, Krista worked in programming and development on the buyer side of nonfiction television. At VICELAND under the creative direction of Spike Jonze, she was responsible for developing a broad slate of programming including Black Market with Michael K. Williams, Woman with Gloria Steinam, Gaycation, Noisey, Weediquette, Huang's World and Vice World of Sports. At A&E Networks, she oversaw the development and production of award-winning documentary series like Intervention. Other noteworthy development credits include How To with John Wilson, The Principles of Pleasure, Keep This Between Us and The Sauce.
Head Of Production
Jennifer Wood started her career in the narrative world before falling in love with documentary storytelling. Before joining the Muck team Jennifer Wood worked in almost every visual medium including film, television, streaming, music videos and commercials. She has worked with the Muck team for over 15 years on documentary projects including line producing the Emmy-award winning Science Fair, Mucho Mucho Amor, and the Emmy-nominated series Trafficked with Mariana van Zeller... all while producing the occasional narrative feature.