About The Film

In Beyond Assignment, we see the approaches and personalities of three photographers as they work on longterm projects in their respective countries of Mexico, South Africa and Israel. That they are women should not matter, at the same time it is extremely important.

Through these women we learn lessons of how to see, what is important in story telling, and fine examples of commitment to their subjects. In one case the photographer has become an activist with intrepid spirit, with another we see an empathetic eye trying to make sense of violence plaguing a neighborhood and how people deal with it, and with the third we see how religion manifests itself in peoples' lives.

There are lessons to be learned from each photographer and this film comes as close to getting it right as real life. We are taken out of ourselves and into the world of people, vulnerable before us, by respectful warriors with cameras.

— Maggie Steber

About the Filmmakers

Jim Virga


Jim Virga has been a professional visual storyteller for more than 20 years. He has worked as a still photojournalist, cinematographer, director, producer, and has taught photojournalism for three universities.

After completing his undergraduate degree at The University of Florida, Virga worked as a staff photographer for The Sun-Sentinel in Ft. Lauderdale for ten years (1989-1999), and previously as a staffer for The Orlando Sentinel. His photographs from assignments covering history in such spots as Cuba, Panama, and Honduras have received national recognition and awards. A seasoned photojournalist, Virga's work has appeared in a wide variety of newspapers and magazines. His documentary films have appeared on PBS, and have been featured in both national and International film festivals.

Virga was awarded a Master of Arts degree in Visual Arts and Communications from the Newhouse School of Communication at Syracuse University in 2001. He has taught in London for Syracuse University’s intensive photojournalism study abroad program in conjunction with The Alexia Foundation. Virga was a member of the Journalism faculty at The University of Georgia where he taught a photojournalism sequence for four years. He joined The University of Miami School of Communication Visual Journalism faculty in 2007.  He is an advisor to students working on The Miami Hurricane, The Grand Avenue News, Distraction Magazine, and The National Parks Project.

Ed Talavera


Ed Talavera is an award-winning director of photography and cinematographer of narrative and documentary feature films. Talavera's numerous film credits include work that has aired on HBO, Showtime, Cinemax and theaters worldwide. His theatrical film credits include SUE, PERFECT PREY and BRIDGET. Feature documentaries include “One Water,” a global motion picture project about potable water, created under the auspices of the University of Miami, “Waking Up Screaming” and “Embittered Glory.” 

Talavera's unique and evocative visual style has garnered international praise and awards.  He is currently working on a worldwide feature documentary on aging issues.  A graduate of New York University's Graduate Film program, Talavera also serves as director of the Canes Film Festival, an annual showcase of student films.

Dia Kontaxis


Konstantia Kontaxis is a filmmaker and media artist. She has created films on artists: Carmen Herrera, Anna Valentina Murch, Cundo Bermudez, Jose Bedia, Maria Sevastaki, Robert Zakanitch,  Shan Shan Sheng and Brad Goldberg among others.

Kontaxis has been awarded film commissions by the city of Miami and the Corning Museum of Glass of New York and video art commissions by Broward County and Miami Art Central.

Her works have been screened at festivals, museums and galleries around the world including Rome, Venice (Art Biennale), New York (Tribeca Film Festival), Montreal (Art Fifa), Paris, Athens, Ankara, Lleida, Taipei, Miami (Art Basel). She has received honors at the Moondance Film Festival, Cleveland Film festival, Yorkton Film Festival, UFVA, Park City Film Music Festival.

In 2007 she was named on the panel for the 2008 South Florida Cultural Consortium Fellowships for Visual and Media Artists. Since 2007 she has been an associate producer for the Miami Short Film Festival and coordinator of the festival’s high school outreach program.

As an editor, she has worked for Israeli film director Amos Kollek, and New York photographer Brenda Ann Kenneally. Her professional credits also include production coordinator and script supervisor for several feature films. Kontaxis served as adjunct curator of film for Miami Art Museum (2007) and Miami Art Central (2005-2007) during which time she was a Miami correspondent for Greek cultural magazine.

Kontaxis holds a Master of Fine Arts in Film Production from Ohio University and a Bachelor of Arts in Communication from Panteion University of Athens, Greece. She is currently an associate professor and the director of the Motion Picture Program at the University of Miami School of Communication.

Sanjeev Chatterjee

Executive Producer

Sanjeev Chatterjee has been producing award-winning documentary films for over 25 years. His work has taken him to over 30 countries where he has been involved in making documentaries or teaching students about documentary media making. He holds the rank of professor at the School of Communication, University of Miami.

Beyond Assignment is a follow-up to an earlier film, Through Her Eyes, made by Sanjeev Chatterjee and Lelen Bougoignie-Robert about the American photographer Carol Guzy. For Sanjeev's full bio click here.

Watch Full Film at NurayPictures.com