About the Team

THE ROAD CREW:

“Blue Coyote” a.k.a. JoMarie Fecci

After more than 15 years focused on international conflicts and refugee issues, New York-based documentary filmmaker JoMarie Fecci is turning her attention back home with The Great American Roadtrip 2010.

As a photojournalist Fecci covered war and humanitarian crises worldwide. From 1998 through 2001, she focused on the Middle East where she was the first American journalist to spend significant time in Hezbollah-controlled southern Lebanon since the hostage-takings of the mid-1980s. She spent much of the 1990s covering the civil war in ex-Yugoslavia as well as conflicts in West Africa, Latin America and the Caucuses. She has also done extensive work covering the United Nations, the U.S. military, and the special operations forces of many other nations.

Then in 2001, Fecci began producing and directing her own documentaries. Her first film, PARIS CAFES: SOUL OF THE STREET, chronicled neighborhood life in Parisian cafes. A departure from her typical subject matter, the cafe film was Fecci’s response to the growing gentrification in the city she calls her second home.

Returning to familiar ground, Fecci documented the plight of a forgotten refugee community abandoned in the most desolate part of the Sahara over a two year period. As co-producer/co-director and cinematographer of WESTERN SAHARA, AFRICA’S LAST COLONY, she collaborated with Shantha Bloemen, to bring viewers the Sahrawis’ story of of sacrifice and courage in the face of international indifference.

In association with Isabelle Nikolic, she produced and directed JUSTICE FOR DARFUR, a documentary film that examines the quest for justice in the face of genocide in the Darfur region of Sudan.

Fecci has often been part of United Nations and international relief agencies’ humanitarian missions, most recently as a member of the Darfur Consortium’s mission to Sudan and Chad.

Fecci has her Master’s in Foreign Service, from Georgetown University’s Graduate School of Foreign Service.

“Cactus Killer” a.k.a. Isabelle Nikolic

Isabelle Nikolic has been teaching in some of the most difficult Paris suburbs for 10 years. Previously, she spent 15 years as a charge d’assistance for French assurance firms, responding to emergencies, translating and organizing emergency medical care and repatriations for travelers in trouble.

Languages have always been important to her. Nikolic speaks French, English, Serb, and a bit of Spanish. As a child of immigrants in France, she has been traveling her whole life. She would go regularly to Yugoslavia and Greece, by car, bus or train, via Italy, Switzerland, Germany and Austria. The trips were long, and often uncomfortable, but always worth while.

Voyaging far from her home in France remains a great pleasure — seeing and feeling the lives of others, learning to understand their perspective. She enjoys discovering the common points across cultures, but also appreciates exploring the differences.

As a university exchange student, Nikolic experienced the Soviet Union under Gorbachev in 1986-87, then returned to see how life was changing there as the Soviet period came to a close in 1992. That same year, she joined photojournalist JoMarie Fecci covering the Armenian-Azeri war in Nagorno Karabakh. And continued on to Uzbekistan and Kirghistan.

It was only afterwards, that Nikolic discovered the U.S.A, living in Manhattan, and some years later on suburban Long Island.

In 2006, Nikolic and Fecci again teamed up on a documentary film project, JUSTICE FOR DARFUR, shooting on location in Chad and Sudan.

For Nikolic, “The Great American Road Trip 2010,” represents “The Road,” Route 66, but it is also a larger discovery of the U.S.A. — an opportunity to get to know the country and the culture more deeply — to explore the historical and social dimensions of the nation. Route 66, the road that so many millions of men and women travelled to go West, in search of a “better life.” It is a road of hope — and opportunity — the “American Dream” that made it possible for so many to leave their homelands as immigrants to a new world. Nikolic is setting out on the journey with the hope of uncovering some of that history, but also, of experiencing the pull of the road firsthand.

“Silly Squirrel” a.k.a. Dimitri Nikolic

Dimitri Nikolic is a 12 year-old student at the International School of Sevres, France. He has been traveling regularly to the U.S.A. since age two, and spent a year living in New York where he attended a normal American public school. He speaks French, English and Serb.

Dimitri loves to travel and has already visited many countries including Russia, Serbia, Montenegro, Greece, Israel, Canada and the U.S.A. He is always ready for a road trip. And over the last few years he has developed a growing interest in photography.

One of Dimitri’s favorite things is camping in wilderness areas. He enjoys hiking in the woods, discovering nature, and photographing wildlife. He prefers the challenges of primitive tent camping, with only a bare minimum of modern conveniences, as it offers opportunities to build new skills and experience the natural world more closely. When on the road, Dimitri also enjoys visiting local attractions, museums, and the national parks and forests.

In 2008 Dimitri travelled to Moab, Utah (with his mother Isabelle Nikolic and family friend JoMarie Fecci), where he participated in a 3-day Jeep off-road adventure on the White Rim, followed by a canyoneering expedition, making his first rappels along the slickrock formations and down the Morning Glory Arch — one of the longest natural arches in the world.

Dimitri is very impatient to hit the road again, and is sure that Route 66 will be an even better trip than his all-time favorite, Moab.