Menkin Nelson 

When even today’s “reality” shows are scripted for shock, drama and curiosity, a life as eclectic as Menkin’s is almost impossible to believe.  Thirty miles from the nearest medical facility and up axle breaking dirt roads was the A-frame shack where Menkin was born.  Her mother, who practiced as a lay midwife talked her father through the delivery, with her six year old brother also in attendance. Shortly after her first birthday she was strapped onto her parent’s backs for a horseback ride that covered 700 miles across several states. It was during this long trip that her parents decided to go their separate ways and her multi-experience life began.

Growing up, Menkin spent half the year with her mom, breeding Arabian horses in the rural Okanogan County where she was born, and the other half with her dad who lived in the Seattle area running dive trips. There were also extended stays with her wealthy grandparents in Port Townsend and the long trips both sides of her family took into Central America, where Menkin lived sometimes with the expansive free run of a mansion, and at other times cramped into the free-range meanderings of a van. Growing up in these extreme settings, she became a chameleon, easily switching from small town country lass, to hardened street girl, to friendly tourist, to high-class polished woman.  

At the age of 12, Menkin started diving with her father in the Puget Sound harvesting sea cucumbers and sea urchins for a growing Japanese market. During high school she was sent with an all-star basketball team to Europe to play College level matches throughout Ireland, the Isle of Mann, England and Wales.   After graduation, Menkin did another about-face and moved to Seattle, blowing through the Microsoft Computer Systems Engineer training program.  She followed that with a short career in accounting, realizing quickly that the travel bug was far too deeply ingrained for her to find satisfaction in a 9 to 5 office job. By 21, she owned a 28’ sailing sloop, which got her back onto the water and determined to find a way to navigate around the world. With the help of her big brother she fixed and flipped her sloop, aiming her sites big and dead-center into the very male domain of yachting. Within 3 years she earned her spot as one of only 2% of female yacht captains in the world and was driving boats as large as 112 ft. She now holds tickets as both a 1600/3000 ITC OSV Master and a 500 ton Oceans USCG Master.  She’s managed the staffs and luxuries of the world’s wealthiest people, piloted through the difficulties of sexism in her own country and profession, as well as far-flung Arabic cultures and communities, and been privy to some of the most magical vistas on 6 of the planet’s continents, from standing within ancient Egyptian architecture to the rarest and most fleeing moments of the Alaskan wild where she spent a summer monitoring grizzly bears on the Katmai Coast.

In her spare time, she’s built art installations and participated at festivals from Ibiza to Burning Man, which she’s been attending since 1997, oftentimes travelling half way around the world to be back in Black Rock.  She has backpacked alone across New Zealand and Australia.  She has sailed across the Pacific and hiked the countries she encountered along the way.  She’s played with sea lions in the Galapagos, done cage-less shark drift dives in the Tuamotus, and swum with Manta rays in the Marquesas Islands.  Menkin has jumped out of planes, ridden bulls, helped build cars, and even scavenged a ship wreck. Her constant thrill seeking has filled her journey with amazing friends and monumental parties, playing as wild, far-reaching and hard as she’s worked. 

But now one single realization has started to come from her myriad of experiences: she’s finally discovered that bringing all her skills and energy to bear on helping those less fortunate than her can be the key to living a life not only of excitement and limitless adventures through her travels, but also of meaning and purpose. 


Peter Ruprecht 

is currently an award-winning photographer and filmmaker and was formerly in charge of Digital Strategy at WDDG, a leading Interactive Media Agency.  Before joining WDDG, Peter was  Vice President of Interactive and New Media for the global lifestyle and fashion company Marc Ecko Enterprises. In 2004, Peter co-founded Forza Films, a South American documentary production company that has produced work for leading networks.

Peter has also had a long-standing career consulting companies of stature, including Merrill Lynch, Price Waterhouse Coopers and Opera Solutions. Born in Argentina, Peter was raised in Vermont and attended Dartmouth College. He was ranked as a top skier in the United States and has traveled the world extensively.

Peter Ruprecht has photographs that are unique. "On peregrinations across continents light and lens have been his teachers. He has learned the language of imagery. And his images often speak to us in quiet, meditative tones. Through the technology of digital image refracted through flawlessly ground lenses Peter reveals a visual poetry in everyday life, in ritual that celebrates life, in moments of solitude and contemplation. He captures the drama of light on stone architecture and reveals the ethereal quality of water sculpted by light.

It is the irony and one of the profound tragedies of our lives that few of us cross the river. We seldom encounter ourselves in the other. We are variously fascinated, repelled, bored, fearful, but ultimately too often dismissive of those who do not embrace our way of life. We rarely comprehend the complexity and integrity of simplicity, of living harmoniously with the world around us, with acknowledging our common biological heritage and nurturing cultural diversity.

Peter’s photographs express the monadic quality of humankind’s relationship with the Earth – integral, indivisible, at times impenetrable, but always primary. The nomadic photographer records the monadic moment, quiet reflections that stand in stark contrast with driving greed and engines of globalization that systematically destroy Earth and marginalize those most connected to it. us, by way of light and his lens, Peter raises fundamental questions about where we are going, where we have been, and who we really are."  -John Ripton

Sergio Cesari with Forza Films

ForZa Films is a film and video production company, co-founded with Sergio Cesari, that specializes in extreme sports video, still photography, mini camera cinematography, underwater cinematography, aerial cinematography and a host of other extreme activity productions such as rally racing snowboarding.

With headquarters in Buenos Aires, New York and London, ForZa Films is able to specialize in the most exotic and yet cost effective film and video productions in South America, Europe and North America.