KIRSTEN TRETBAR (Left) - Producer

(see "The Director")

LESA PAULSEN (Right) - Producer

Lesa is a real-life cowgirl. Lesa loves cattle and has worked with animals
since she was old enough to walk. She received a BS in Animal Science from Kansas State University in '90. From '90 to '94 Lesa co-owned and operated a well-known Angus ranch in the middle of the Kansas Flint Hills. The bull Paulsen hand raised consistently took grand prize at dozens of US livestock shows. From '95 to '96, she lived and worked on a horned Hereford cattle ranch in Saskatchewan, Canada.

Working as ZENITH'S co-producer was Lesa's first experience in film production. For the last several years she's traveled all over the US to farm shows, working in promotions for Successful Farming Magazine. She now works for another company, selling ad space for implement dealers all over the Mid-West.

Since filming ZENITH, Lesa has taken an active interest in helping her home-town, and has moved back to Zenith's neighboring town of Stafford, Kansas to spend more time with her family, and to start a new ranch with her soon to be husband, Doug.

When it comes to agriculture, if you can think of it, then Lesa's probably done it. A typical week in Lesa's past life might go like this: perform artificial insemination on 20 cows, hand feed calves, wash and groom bulls, drive a huge semi full of cattle to a livestock show in Texas, cook for and entertain 50 perspective buyers at an elegant Ranch sale, bale hay, load hay, feed 200 head of cattle…start all over again. When she's not raising cattle, you might find her driving a combine or wheat truck during harvest. What makes Lesa unique is that, at a petite 5'2", 110 lbs., she's always done the work of men twice her size. (Next time you go to the gym and complain, think of Lesa!)

Paulsen explains that farmers are gardeners on a huge scale. They're people who are passionate about rich soil, planting, growing, and creating something from nothing. Lesa has loved being a part of an ancient tradition, being her own boss and working outside under a prairie sky with her family. But, as the film shows, due to a terrible drop in wheat and livestock prices, many family farmers have been forced to sell their land, and move to town to find other ways of making a living. There are relatively few family farms left, and certainly very few women, like Lesa, who choose to stay. Lesa hopes ZENITH will be an inspiration to other struggling farmers who feel they are alone; and that it will give a voice and present hope to our farming communities.


Pamela Calvert is the former outreach and station relations manager for the ITVS, where she directed national outreach for releases including THE FARMER'S WIFE, LA CIUDAD and FORGOTTEN FIRES. She managed the organizing campaign for Judith Helfand's A HEALTHY BABY GIRL, and is now coordinating post-broadcast outreach for Appalshop's STRANGER WITH A CAMERA.

TRACY HULING - Co-Producer

Tracy Huling is an independent producer/director whose most recent public television production, YES IN MY BACKYARD, documents the growing attractiveness of prisons as a panacea for struggling rural communities.

ERIC TRETBAR - Co-Producer

Owner of WINER LIGHT FILMS, LLC, and MOD EXPLOSION, LLC. Recently Wrote, Directed, and Produced his third feature, HE'S MY THING. Writer, Director THE USUAL, Berlin Forum, 1992, The Berliner Zeitung Audience Award. Writer, Director, Producer SNOW, '99 "Someone to Watch Nominee", Independent Spirit Awards. Aired on the Sundance Channel 1999-2001. Eric is Kirsten's brother, and they often work together on each other's films. Kirsten co-produced HE'S MY THING fall, 2003.

THOMAS ETHAN HARRIS - Adviser to the Producers

Programming Director, Los Angeles Independent Film Festival (The LAIFF), 1996-2001. Co-creator (with Margot Gerber), American Cinematheque's Alternative Screen.

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