Justine Shapiro was born in South Africa and grew up in Berkeley, California, where she lives today with her young son. She
attended Tufts University in Boston where she studied History
and Theatre. She moved to Paris to study theatre with Phillippe
Gaulier and later went to Hollywood where she appeared in
films and television movies including "I'll Do Anything" (by James L. Brooks), "Storyville" (20th Century
Fox), "Floodtide" (Granada Television), and "SeaQuest
DSV"(Amblin Entertainment). During four years in Los
Angeles, Justine taught English to immigrants, and their stories
inspired her to take the next step in her life.
Justine returned to the San Francisco Bay area and became
involved in several documentary projects, including Voices
from the Storm about Gulf War veterans and IDG Film's Nagasaki Journey. In 1995, Justine began
producing an independent documentary film titled Promises,
featuring seven Israeli and Palestinian children in Jerusalem.
Rather than focusing on hard news, "Promises" offers
a human portrait of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. The
film was nominated for a 2002 Academy Award for best documentary.
It won News and Documentary Emmys for best documentary and
for outstanding background/analysis. The film also received
audience awards at the San Francisco, Vancouver, Sao Paolo
and Rotterdam film festivals, as well as juried awards at
the Hamptons, Valladolid, Locarno, Munich and Jerusalem film
With Globe Trekker, Justine has nearly conquered
her fear of flying as the show has taken her all over the
world. Justine loves to travel and has explored much of Europe,
Israel, Mexico, Morocco, and the Palestinian territories on
her own. She speaks French and Spanish.
"I think that the way to connect with other "distinct"
cultures is to go with an open heart and spend time with the
locals. Many travelers spend time within the glass bubble
of the resort or the hotel or the organized tour. People are
the same the world over and the only way to experience this
is to spend time with the people."
"You go some place and suddenly behold a landscape you've
read about but never seen before. I feel that that's the most
exciting experience. Just like I don't want someone to tell
me what a movie's about, I want to see it for myself."
"I believe that it's only when you read, travel, and
talk to people that you can come to realize that the things
you've taken for granted all your life aren't necessarily
right. People think that when they travel somewhere they're
going to go and learn about that place. I think what happen
a lot is that people go and learn about themselves."
"Just as long as they keep an open mind, put thought
into how they choose to spend their money and leave their
preconceptions at home, then travel can be a wonderfully enlightening
experience, both for the backpacker and the people they run
into along the way."
Good and bad food
"The strangest thing I've ever eaten are live jumiles
(beetles) in Mexico."
"You'd be amazed what you do when a camera is pointing
at you and the fact is that many people do believe in the
"enhancing" properties of snake blood so I had to
try it. My philosophy is: if it ain't gonna kill me, I might
as well try it."
"India is a place that turns all your notions upside
down and wakes you up to the many other ways of perceiving
time, life, and spirituality."
"Mali is a beautiful wonderful country and the Dogon
Escarpement is impressive. Make sure you don't go when there
are wind storms and bring photos of yourself and family to
show to the families there. They love to see where you come
from. Postcards from your country also make a great gift."
"The scariest thing was not on a GT shoot. I was camping
in Baja California, high up in the mountains in the middle
of no where and in the river beds where the cave paintings
are. There was a flash flood at 11:00 p.m. That was friggin' scary!
The water rose so incredibly fast and there were about eight
of us and eight mules backing up against the cave walls hoping
the water would stop. It finally did at 5:00 a.m. Not fun!"