Suzanne Thompson, a native of Southern California, has served over 30 years in nonprofit, community based and arts organizations. Her work in the early 90’s with Central American refugees and later in 2004 for US Democratic presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich, provided introductions and long standing relationships with several progressive Hollywood celebrities, artists and public officials.
In 2003, Suzanne produced an event and subsequent short documentary filmed by multi-Academy Award winner Haskell Wexler, “An Appeal for Justice: The Case of the Cuban 5”, featuring lead US defense lawyer and civil rights campaigner, Leonard Weinglass.
The Venice Arts Council (www.venicartscouncil.org) was co-founded by Suzanne in 2005, and the Endangered Art Fund which she serves as chair, promotes and restores public art in Venice, California. She is one of the founders of the Venice Japanese American Memorial Monument Committee (www.venicejamm.org), which honors Americans of Japanese descents who were ordered by the US government to abandon their homes, businesses and possessions and then, although having committed no crime, were imprisoned in 1942.
In 2007, Suzanne produced her first documentary film and soundtrack, “From Wharf Rats to Lords of the Docks” about International Longshore and Warehouse Workers Union leader Harry Bridges”. Directed and shot by multi-Academy Award winner Haskell Wexler, with Edward Asner and Elliott Gould, the documentary aired for several years, nationwide on PBS. The CD soundtrack “Step by Step”, features music by Pete Seeger, Jackson Browne, Arlo and Sarah Lee Guthrie.
Suzanne made her first trip to Cuba in 2009, and was introduced to pianist Chucho Valdes and filmmaker Gerardo Chijona. She subsequently hosted receptions for Chucho and his band while on a tour in Southern California.
In 2010, Suzanne began working with the International Committee and founded Actors and Artists United for the Freedom of the Cuban 5 and later attended the 8th International Colloquium for the Cuban 5 in Holquin. She worked with director Ian Padron to promote his film “Habanastation”, Cuba’s 2011 best foreign film official entry to the Academy Awards.
Suzanne led a May Day ILWU labor delegation to La Habana in 2012. She worked as associate producer on Catherine Murphy’s short documentary “Maestra” about the Cuban Literacy Campaign. In 2013 she worked with the Cuban Women Filmmakers Mediateque and Women In Film International to produce the Cuban Women Filmmakers US Showcase in Los Angeles, New York City and Miami (articles.latimes.com). Suzanne led a Women In Film delegation to the La Habana Film Festival in 2013.
Long standing relationships and partnerships were created which spearheaded the founding of this foundation.