|Vida Films is the recently incorporated broadcast
division of Our Bizniss Productions
Pty Ltd. “Ayen’s Cooking
School for African Men” is the
first title to be produced under the
badge of this new company.
Our Bizniss Productions is a video
production company that specializes
in creating educational training multi
media content for national and international
audiences. Both Vida Films and Our
Bizniss Productions Pty Ltd are owned
and run by Tracy Riddiford and Cathy
Beitz, who together, arguably make
one of the most experienced teams
currently operating in the video education
Our Bizniss Productions was established
in 1997. The company publishes human
resource videos. Tracy and Cathy design
and write the course work, leader's
guides and drama based videos. There
are over twenty Our Bizniss videos
and DVDs, which are distributed in
60 countries around the world and
translated into 13 languages, including
Mandarin and Cantonese.
Vida Films has two broadcast documentaries
in development “Bang Bang You’re
Dead” and “Confessions
of a Tax Evader”.
Ayen was born in 1965 in the small town
of Bor in central southern Sudan. She
refers to it as the "deep south", a
rich and fertile land on the upper reaches
of the White Nile. Her Dad was medical
worker, landowner and purveyor of many
cattle. He also had nine wives, 26 children
and a close extended family that are
"too many to count" according to Ayen.
They went to primary school in the local
town and went further a field to the
provincial town of Malakal to complete
their secondary studies. The family
was a close and bonded unit which included
Ayen's Grandma who was over a hundred
years old. Her young life was changed
forever in 1983. She was married to
Dr Robert Deng shortly before the most
recent war broke out in her home town.
The newly married couple had moved to
Kenya; and Ayen was separated from all
of her family till 1998 when they began
to re-unite in various refugee camps
throughout Africa. Her four children
were born in Africa and the family came
to Australia in 2000. The next five
or six years have seen many family members
join her in the new life in Australia
and others settle in America and Canada.
She has two mothers, two brothers, two
sisters and dozens of other family members
living here in Adelaide.
Sieh was born in Adelaide, Australia.
At 18 months old he moved to Tanzania
returning when he was nine to complete
his schooling. His father is from the
Makua tribe from South Tanzania and
his mother is part McKenzie (Scottish
tribe) and he's not sure of the other
part. He completed his secondary education
at Glenunga International High School.
As per family tradition, after finishing
high school he was dispatched back to
Tanzania (so he didn't forget the other
half) and then ended up in London. It
was supposed to be an 8 month round
trip; back to Adelaide to begin a nursing
degree. Things changed when he discovered
he had itchy feet, and his return ticket
was cancelled. He spent the next five
years traveling internationally and
around Australia; all the while, racking
his brain: What to do? What to do? Finally
an introductory course in filmmaking
(MAPS) grabbed his attention. The course
coordinator, Peter Thurmer was incredibly
inspirational, as were the rest of the
staff and fellow students. This year
long course has set him on the path
of filmmaking - directing four student
films, lots of editing and a stack of
Cathy began her career with an arts
degree from Griffith University after
quitting Teachers College. They told
her she lacked the ability to discipline
children. In between cab driving and
her job at the abattoir, she was executive
producer/producer of the tele-movie
Madness of Two.
She moved to the United States in 1985 and finally got a break from doing food/parking production tasks to direct cheap retail commercials and corporate videos on subjects like plastic extrusion and how Nancy Reagan wanted everyone to say no to drugs. Lots of them won awards including the 1989 Gold Effie for the most effective television commercial in America. Next opportunity was directing the award winning documentary, They Called Me Kathy, the story of Katharine Hepburn's childhood in Connecticut for the PBS network.
For the past decade she has lived in Adelaide and kept busy making documentaries for television - two one hour films for Channel 4 in the UK about the trial of the British Nurses in Saudi Arabia and a Seven Part Series on Great Australian Train Journeys for the PBS Network in the US. She has also co-written/produced and directed over thirty educational films that are distributed into 60 countries, translated into 13 languages and used by organizations such as NASA, The Mormon Church, the US Senate and The San Diego Zoo.
She has two documentaries in development, Confessions of a Tax Evader and Bang Bang you're Dead, What if it was legal for women to shoot men?
After 15 years of shooting cricket balls,
footballs, basketballs and speeding
cars, no one can have a camera on his
shoulder, rolling and in focus faster
than Gerald Manouge. And those are but
his technical skills. Gerald has also
worked for every network filming lifestyle,
current affairs, documentaries and drama.
That much experience and a solid dose
of good humoured curiosity was just
what was needed to realize the director's
vision for a fly on the wall view of
Like Gerald, David has a decade of experience
in news, current affairs, sport, lifestyle
and documentaries all over the world.
David accepted the challenge of recording
wonderful sound (which he often didn't
understand a word of what was being
said) and enjoyed the experience of
working with the Sudanese community.
David has edited almost twenty broadcast
documentaries, half a dozen television
series and a plethora of short films
and commercials during the past two
decades; episodes of Boney and Neighbours,
feature documentaries, Dam Right I'm
a Cowboy and Sacred Journey and the
children's television series, Humphrey,
Pigs Breakfast and Fairies.
For Ayen's Cooking School, David had
fifty-seven hours of footage, often
in Dinka language which needed to be
crafted into a 52 minute film. It was
a time consuming exercise. David edited
the film over a year with breaks for
other jobs, the director's absence and
everyone else's potted availability
- but never once lost his focus on what
a wonderful story was there to be told.