Project Team

Steve Durham - Executive Producer

As a 5th generation Madeiran Exile descendant, Steve’s passion for telling the story of their persecution and escape  is a very personal thing; something that has been years in the making.  After decades engaged in the work of online digital media, Steve is making the transition to film, and is fortunate to have the support of several key industry professionals who have also developed a passion for this story and this film.

Maria Rychlicki - Executive Producer

With a master’s in communication arts from the prestigious Annenberg School for Communication Arts and a lifetime of public service, Maria brings a deep understanding of the human condition and a commensurate commitment to this project, telling the story of bravery in the face of persecution and hardships.  Her years in service have informed the project since the beginning.

Varushka Franceschi - Producer

Varushka brings a wealth of talent, experience, and connections to the project, with formal studies at schools like the international theater school L’Ecole Jacques Lecoq in Paris, and the American University in Paris.  Varushka went on to study and work in London as a model and actress.  She has worked extensively in theater in London and on British TV,  beginning her career in production working in Europe with such artists as Krzysztof Zanussi and Ben Gazzara.

Deb Struzyna - Genealogist

Deb Kleber Struzyna is a retired Microsoft Director with a long-standing passion for genealogy.  In the late 1990s, she began stumbling upon disjointed bits of Madeira Exile stories. Soon afterwards Deb created the website, using the first-ever version of something called an “internet browser.”  Via that site, hundreds of worldwide connections were made with fellow Exile descendants who began volunteering to assist others’ research by transcribing documents and uploading precious family photos. 

Professor Maria de Abreu - Cultural Studies

Maria Zina Goncalves de Abreu is Associate Professor at the University of Madeira, and Senior Researcher at ULICES-Ceaul (Research Centre of American Studies), University of Lisbon, Portugal. Her main areas of expertise are English and American cultural studies, but she has also dedicated much of her academic and research activities to women’s studies.

Jacinto Baptista De Gouveia - Advisor

Jacinto is a direct descendant of the Madeiran Exiles, whose family still resides in Madeira, after taking refuge in Trinidad and Tobago and Central Illinois, USA.  In 2012 he founded the Robert Reid Kalley Association, keep alive Kalley’s doctrine and the interconnection between the elements of this community and residents mainly in the USA, Brazil, Venezuela and Trinidad and Tobago and Hawaii.  After a lifetime career in business in Portugal and around the world, Jacinto is a value resource, not just in terms of history and religion, but also connections to both the Madeiran Exile community globally, and the Portuguese government and more importantly, the Madeiran government.

Virginia Langum - Advisor

Virginia is professor in English literature at Umeå University in Umeå Sweden, with a PhD from Cambridge University.  She is also a 6th generation Madeiran Exile descendant, with a strong understanding of the story, based on her ongoing research into the era, the culture, and the details surrounding the events of 1838-1846, when Dr. Kalley touched the lives of so many Madeirans.  Not incidentally, her father, David Langum, published a book about Dr. Kalley and the Madeiran persecutions and exile.  She has been an active part of the Madeiran Exile community for many years.

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