Azilia Films sifts culture’s gray areas, studies its forgotten bookshelves, and searches the globe for compelling stories that confirm and illustrate humanity’s shared past and present in all its vast complexity and richness.

Our storytelling produces thought-provoking educational films using creative minds, engaging artistic approaches, and state-of-the-art technology.


Our Team

Matt McDaniel, President and Creative Director


Matt has studied and worked across the United States documenting local history, architecture, landscapes, and cultural sites for two decades. In his other career, he is one of the most experienced and accomplished regulatory historic preservation practitioners in the Southeast. Matt’s first book, Emigration to Liberia from the Chattahoochee Valley of Georgia and Alabama, 1853-1903, was published by NewSouth Books in 2013. He holds degrees in history and historic preservation from Hampden-Sydney College, the University of Georgia, and Louisiana State University, and studied at St. Anne’s College, Oxford University. Matt is Cultural Resources Group Manager with NV5 Engineers + Consultants, a Raleigh, N.C.-based civil engineering firm.

Jeff Springer, Director


Jeff Springer is an Emmy-nominated documentary filmmaker who has worked with PBS, NBC, The Economist, Sony Pictures, SundanceTV, Lucasfilm, as well as brands such as Nike and Microsoft. His last feature documentary Rodents of Unusual Size, about giant swamp rats invading coastal Louisiana, showed at over 100 film festivals, is rated 98% by Rotten Tomatoes, and was broadcast nationally through Independent Lens on PBS.  He has lived in Afghanistan, Russia, London, Berlin, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and is now based in New York, although Columbus, Georgia is almost a second home

Paige Swift, Producer

Paige Swift has worked in film and television production for over 20 years.  Upon graduating the University of Georgia’s Grady College of Journalism with a degree in Radio/Film/Television Production, she worked for corporate production houses and freelanced with Advanced Field Production in Atlanta. After time spent raising three children, exploring a retail business, repping commissions for Portraits, Inc., and fundraising in the nonprofit sector, her role in producing The Wintering Grounds documentary brings her back to what she loves doing most.

Jeanne Cyriaque, Historian

Jeanne 2016

Jeanne Cyriaque researches, lectures, and facilitates initiatives and interpretive projects to raise awareness of the contributions of African Americans to Georgia’s and the nation’s cultural past. She is the former coordinator of African American programs for Georgia’s Department of Natural Resources. During her 15 year career in state government, she was the lead writer and editor of Reflections, an award-winning publication that features the preservation of African American cultural heritage in Georgia. Jeanne was an inaugural commissioner of the National Park Service’s Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor and contributed to the development of the management plan for the corridor that encompasses barrier islands and coastal areas in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina. Jeanne currently serves as vice chair of the Georgia Humanities Council and is a member of the board of advisors for the National Trust for Historic Preservation. She received the Lillian C. Lynch Citation from the Georgia Museum of Art and the Mary Gregory Jewett Award from the Georgia Trust for her achievements in historic preservation.

Dan Quigley, Cinematographer


Dan Quigley works as an independent filmmaker, teaches digital media and editing at Brookstone School, and helps non-profit organizations tell their unique stories through digital film products. Born in New Jersey, Daniel graduated from Columbus State University in Columbus, Georgia. Recently, Daniel led a Brookstone student group to explore Europe, where they honed their photography skills and learned a little world history.

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