Charlie Soap, Producer/Director, was Wilma Mankiller’s husband and community development partner for more than thirty years, and a leader in the Bell Waterline Project that inspired the film.

Charlie is a full-blood bilingual Cherokee and has a Bachelor’s Degree in Education from Northeastern State University. He served in the United States Navy from l965-l969, and received an honorable discharge. Mr. Soap has dedicated virtually his entire career working to strengthen the many Cherokee communities. He served as the community service group leader for the Cherokee Nation, overseeing a $100 million budget dedicated to public transit services, roads, bridges and infrastructure projects, environmental health services, self-help housing assistance, youth programs and natural disaster relief.

Due to his accomplishments and innovative approaches to community development in rural communities, Mr. Soap has received numerous awards, including the Common Cause Public Service Achievement Award, and two National Certificates of Merit from the Department of Housing and Development. Mr. Soap has lectured on community development at Cornell University, Arizona State University Law School, the University of Maryland, Tufts University, Indiana State University, Mayo Clinic, and numerous other places.

Mr. Soap also worked with business, education and political leaders to establish the Boys and Girls Club of Tahlequah and served as its founding Director. Under Mr. Soap’s leadership, the Club operated a comprehensive summer enrichment program and working with Tahlequah Public Schools developed the first after-school programs in the school system. The collaboration between the Boys and Girls Club and the Tahlequah Public Schools has served as a national model.

Mr. Soap served as Director of the Cherokee Nation Community Development Department and 7 years as the Oklahoma Area Director of the Christian Children’s Fund. 

He is also a skilled photographer who is working on a book of photographs of indigenous people in the South American Amazon. Mr. Soap is a fancy war dancer, an avid golfer, fisherman and cyclist.


Tim Kelly, co-writer and director, has witnessed the impact that his first film, Hanging in the Balance: The Future of Fishing in The Bahamas had on inspiring local Bahamians to affect change in their countries environmental legislation, Mr. Kelly co-founded the San Francisco based production company, Friday’s Films, to produce films that entertain an empower individuals and communities to become involved in the management of their own environmental, economic, and political resources.  He has shot, directed, and produced documentary, educational, and commercial programming in locations across North America, Asia, Africa, The Pacific, New Zealand, and Caribbean for clients such as; The New York Times, Sony Electronics, The U.S. Army, The Nature Conservancy, The Ocean Conservancy, and The Climb High Foundation. His films have focused on individual voices within communities finding local solutions to environmental, educational and health care crisis. 


Louise Rubacky is an writer, producer, editor, and filmmaker with over 25 years experience in narrative and documentary storytelling. She has edited for major international film directors Jean-Jacques Annaud (Wings of Courage), Francis Coppola (Godfather III), George Lucas (The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles), and Nicolas Roeg (Heart of Darkness) among others. Louise wrote and co-directed the 2004 documentary There’s Something About W, about the failed promises and policies of the Bush Administration, and has made several films to raise funds and awareness for the non-partisan consumer advocacy group, Consumer Watchdog. She is also an occasional contributor to the online publications Truthdig and Inside Climate.



Kristina Kiehl, Producer, has been an organizer in the women’s movement for more than three decades. She co-founded the Political Action Committee Voters for Choice along with author and feminist Gloria Steinem. Kristina created almost all of Wilma Mankiller's ads during her campaigns for Chief and has helped develop ads and events for a number of other national political candidates, including Ann Richards, Nancy Pelosi, Al Gore and others. In 2004, Kristina partnered with Gloria Steinem to organize a 1,500 mile tour in support Democratic Party candidates in the mid-west, and in 2008, the same team traveled to Colorado and partnered with local organizations to plan nearly thirty events in nine days.  As a skilled photographer, she has documented some of these historic campaign events with photographs and video productions. Her passion for The Cherokee Word for Water and dedication to Wilma’s vision has been one of the driving forces behind the movie since its inception and comes out of her decades of deep friendship with Wilma and Charlie.


Perry Pickert, Producer, received his bachelor’s degree from Amherst College. Pickert studied theater and film at Bristol University in England. Perry co-founded Friday’s Films in 2003 to tell the unique story of the fishermen of The Bahamas in Hanging in the Balance: The Future of Fishing in the Bahamas. The film aired on national television in The Bahamas and sparked a variety of other productions across the Pacific, Asia, North America and the Caribbean.


Paul Heller, Executive Producer, has produced over thirty-six feature films including Enter the Dragon, First Monday in October, and academy award winner My Left Foot. Although Heller worked as a successful Warner Bros. executive, overseeing such films as Skin Game, starring James Garner, and Dirty Harry, starring Clint Eastwood, he prefers the life of the independent producer. In that role he is able to combine the goal of making quality films with his love of hands-on involvement in the process of film-making. He is a Founder of both The Audrey Skirball-Kenis Theatre and the Community Film Workshop Council, as well as being of the board of the Hearst Castle Preservation Foundation. He is a member of the Directors Guild, the Screen Actors Guild, a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and is very active as a Board Member of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts. He lives in Los Angeles.