Filmmaker Biographies

Guy Perrotta, Co-Producer/Co-Director/Co-Writer  

Guy has acted as producer and has developed and researched works airing on PBS and elsewhere. He is a member of the Directors Guild of America (DGA), the National Television Academy (EMMY®), and Member of the Explorers Club (Fellow 16).  He serves on the board of the Scottish Documentary Institute (SDI). He has aided in developing film festivals and educational programs, as well as managing crew members for film and television. He has received EMMY® awards for producing and writing, and has presented at conferences on the impact of media on intercultural relationships, most recently on Celtic and Indigenous cultures. Guy consults for documentary and is also a visiting Instructor of cinema and media at the university level.

Jane Ferguson, Co-Producer/Co-Director/Co-Writer 

Jane has worked in film and television on such varied projects as A Call to Spy, Archive 81, Manifest, A Beautiful Mind, War Of The Worlds, National Treasure, Law & Order, In Treatment and 30 Rock.  She is a graduate of the Director’s Guild of America Assistant Director Training Program and has been a member of the DGA for over 20 years. In addition, she served many years as a theatre stage manager in Britain and in the U.S. 

A Note From The Directors

There is a place that has been called the land of murder and mayhem. The inhabitants “spoke a
different language, wore funny dress, carried arms.”  Who were these people? What happened here?
Why did so many of them leave?

This is a story about identity – American identity as seen through the lens of Scottish ethnic
identity.  We discovered that there are many people who attend Scottish events who may be partially
Scottish or sometimes have no Scottish roots at all.  We were curious about the appeal of this identity.
We also wanted to look beyond any stereotypes and clichés, and learn about the histories that brought
so many people from Scotland, and the Highlands in particular, to America.

It was our goal to show that there was a whole language and culture that was actively repressed. These
people were the Gaels, and many settled in North America, interacting with other groups and
influencing what the United States is today.  We discovered there has been a vast fusion of cultures
(as one of our interviewees has strongly elucidated). We have been fortunate to include interviews
with people who share a Scottish ancestry with those of Native American, and African American
lineages. Many participants also revealed Irish roots and the film looks at the formation of the Ulster
Plantation and Scots-Irish emigration.

We believe that there is much to learn about our identity as Americans by looking back into this rich
history. As we seek to belong, we must also ask the question, who is choosing you?

In this program, you will hear a variety of “voices” Some speak Gaelic, some from present-day
Scotland, and some have a wide variety of regional accents from the United States.  Many have
disparate opinions as to what happened, giving rise to debate among the descendants of those who
experienced these historic events.  Some use their literal voice to interpret how they see and hear what
these histories communicate. Additionally, the film gives voice to the many participants who
contributed to this documentary, including musicians, dancers, chefs, instructors and historians, and in
providing some impassioned voiceover work. Voices Over the Water was narrated by Karen Allen
who is an award-winning actor and director.  She is internationally known for her roles in Raiders of
the Lost ArkIndiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, Indiana Jones and the Dial of
DestinyNational Lampoon’s Animal HouseStarman, amongst others.  Actor Simon Prebble adds to
the “Establishment” voice, and provides a context in light of the Highland Clearances in a way which
he understands very well.

One of the challenges we embraced in creating this film was to give the subject matter some academic
gravitas and yet still show broad appeal for the general public.  This program is broadcast on public
television stations across the U.S. via American Public Television. There are additional hours of
interviews and archival materials from our production that we are working to have available for
streaming, presentations, and so on.

Guy Perrotta and Jane Ferguson, Directors

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