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Director Laurie White

Daughter of Flint, Michigan, granddaughter of Eastern European Jewish immigrants and an early activist, White discovered film as a forger of social change and community building when producing Roger and Me with fellow Flint resident, Michael Moore, in 1986. Three decades as a psychotherapist and a mosaic of experience working to oppose violence, abuse and discrimination created her vision of Zeitouna’s story as a model for others. refusing to be enemies: the zeitouna story is White’s thirteenth film. Integral to every film project is White’s determination to integrate long-term community building into the art form’s collaborative process. Her pivotal position as a founding Zeitouna member and its trusted documentarian are reasons for the film’s intimate and authentic quality.  White likens the light of wisdom and transformation that yoga sheds on life to the “light” that Zeitouna has brought to its twelve female members.

Roles in other favorite film projects include associate producer of  Come Unto Me:  The Faces of Tyree Guyton, producer//director of  Yoga from the Ground Up: The Iyengar Tradition, director of  Race in This Place ( for the University of Michigan History Museum “Understanding Race Project”),  and Living History Project ( for African American Cultural and Historical Museum of Washtenaw County).           

from the director

I love that movie making is collaborative by nature. Though this is not my first movie, it is a particularly important one. I have the most personal relationship to its content and its issues. It has brought together what I hold dearest in life: friendship, building diverse community, celebration, creativity and personal transformation. This project has been a passionate love affair. It began by belonging to this group of women. It deepened by being granted the privilege of documenting and sharing what we’ve created. It has been a sacred trust and gift like no other. I feel the magnitude of this film’s life. I am hopeful that all who encounter it will own a part of it and that it will travel from one caring community to another so that our story can embody the collective hopes of the world we wish to inhabit together.

Laurie White
Producer/Director and Zeitouna member