Director Biography – Mary Musolino (OLD HABITS)

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Mary Musolino is an Actor, Writer and Director living in Melbourne, Australia. She has worked both in front of and behind the camera on more than 30 short films. Mary has also featured as an actress in 3 feature films.

Old habits is her directorial debut.

Director Statement

Film has been instrumental in shaping me as a person and as a creator. I endevour to create films that give something to others, like so many films have given to me.

Director Biography – Denise Hurley (BET THE DEMON WINS)

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Denise is the President of Devilhouse Films and Director and Producer of the web series #Me4TV – next gen talk show. She is also a Producer of So This Is it Then, Wrapped, Sunshine Backpackers, Red Wire, Knock Knock and Initiation. She is a former journalist, magazine editor and crisis communications and reputation management consultant, and she manages a small group of talented Australian actors.

Director Statement

Bet the Demon Wins aims to highlight the impact gambling has on families; an issue that heavily impacted our family.

Director Biography – Penelope Berkemeier (REMOTE ACCESS)

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Penelope Berkemeier (Director) is a graduate of Sydney Film School and the Actor’s Centre of Australia, where she trained both on and offstage. She has worked in the Australian film industry for over ten years, an experienced 1st, 2nd & 3rd Assistant Director of countless features, short films, webseries and television series, including “Home & Away”, “Love Child”, “The Secret Daughter”, “54 Days”, “Skin Deep” and “Love Is Now.” “Remote Access” marks Penelope’s directing debut.

Director Biography – Elina Gress, Lenee Son (MY NAME WAS JANUARY)

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Photo: Lenee Son (left) and Elina Gress (right)

BIOGRAPHY OF LENEE SON

Lenée is a Khmer Krom settler who grew up in Surrey on unceded Kwantlen, Katzie, Semiahmoo, and Kwikwetlem territories. She has a Bachelors of Journalism and minor in Sociology from Kwantlen Polytechnic University. Her work as a freelance multimedia journalist has appeared in publications such as rabble.ca, Multimedia Photojournale, The Volcano, Westcoast Food, and Inside Vancouver. When she’s not working on multimedia projects, Lenee is committed to anti-poverty community organizing in Surrey and Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.

She/Her pronouns.

BIOGRAPHY OF ELINA GRESS

Elina is a freelance multimedia journalist, primarily photojournalist, in the search for a greater understanding of our world. She has a deep interest in the complexities of the human population. Telling people’s stories from their perspective and not her own. Telling stories that can change people’s hearts and minds through photography and documentary. That said, Elina has a passion for wildlife conservation and preservation; not to mention the determination to protecting our one and only home. Earth.

 

Director Statement

 

ELINA – I didn’t know January and I never heard about her murder. This made me cringe. Why was January murdered? Why did I not hear of this? Why was her murder not covered as strongly as other news items? These are all concerns I had when Lenée and I were approached to do this film. This is why I am doing this. January was a person; a human being. Her life was just as valuable as yours and mine. The purpose of this film is not to generate fame or profit, but to educate our population about transgender rights and lives. There is no ‘script’. Just real people. This film is a platform for trans* women of colour to share their voices in a safe environment. The lives of trans* women of colour are important and that’s something I want to make clear in this film. This is for January.

LENEE – Her name was January. She was loved by her friends and family. She was fearless and compassionate. When I interviewed people who knew her, they described her as a “bright light” whose energy and personality radiated in a crowded room. At just 26 years old, she was lost too soon. I wanted to tell January’s story because I was saddened to learn of the loss of another transgender woman at the hands of gender violence. Trans women are being murdered at an unprecedented rate. For racialized trans girls living in poverty like January, transphobic violence is also inherently connected to race, gender, and class. As an immigrant from the Philippines, a sex worker, and trans girl, January navigated through these multiple structures of oppression. My Name Was January is a memorial of January’s life and light. It is a call for justice for January and for all our sisters who have lost their lives to transmisogyny. It is a refusal to lose another sister to gender violence.

Director Biography – Gretl Claggett (STORMCHASER)

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GRETL CLAGGETT is a writer and director committed to creating singular stories that reflect current dilemmas but are timeless — stories that entertain and catalyze conversations that can transform cultures.

Gretl’s first film Happy Hour — narrated by Julianne Moore — is based on true events and a poem from her book, “Monsoon Solo: Voices Once Submerged.” The film screened as an official selection at 17 festivals, winning several awards and garnering praise from Oscar-winning Writer/Director Robert Benton: “Happy Hour is a lush, elegiac film about an extremely difficult subject and Ms. Claggett handles it masterfully.”

Happy Hour is now available on iTunes and Amazon in association with a nonprofit campaign. All proceeds go to a small group of nonprofits whose focus is treating and preventing sexual abuse and promoting healthy relationships.

Another passion of Gretl’s is pioneering the use of innovative technologies to shape stories that engage and inspire audiences.

She wrote and directed Sony’s first-ever 4K 360° cinematic music video, which premiered at the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show and was featured in Sony’s activation at SXSW. She leads creative on high-profile, tech-forward events, such as Entertainment Weekly’s inaugural festival, PopFest, in Downtown LA, IBM’s Amplify Conference on Watson Cognitive Marketing in Las Vegas, and the AT&T Business Summit in Dallas.

One of her specialties is merging live performance with state-of-the-art multimedia. “Cognitive in Motion,” IBM Amplify’s opening experience — which she conceptualized, wrote, directed and produced, incorporating ‘pop & lock’ dancers, Notch (real-time generated art) and IBM cognitive data visualizations — won two top Telly Awards.

Gretl is currently at work on treatments to expand STORMCHASER, as well as developing a new long-form narrative project, plus an immersive media experience focused on environmental issues.

Director Statement

WRITER/DIRECTOR’S STATEMENT

“He’s a door-to-door ‘door’ salesman,” my friend said.

“A what…?” I thought I’d misheard what her new boyfriend did for a living.

“He lost his job. Now, he sells storm doors, door-to-door.”

Our exchange conjured black-and-white images from the Maysles’ documentary, Salesman, about door-to-door bible peddlers in the ‘60s. Surely, this daily grind was a thing of the past. But as I did some digging, I discovered it still exists; and that many contractors targeting weather-torn areas this way are called “storm chasers” — instead of “ambulance chasers” — because of their predatory practices.

This triggered a deep compulsion in me to express my own sardonic commentary on what I’ve experienced growing up in small-town Tornado Alley, plus selling incentives as the lone woman in an old-boys’ club: America’s culture of greed, its celebration of bad behavior, and the rise of “disaster capitalism” which preys upon the most vulnerable suffering from man-made and natural catastrophes.

All that gave birth to Bonnie Blue, a down-on-her-luck storm chaser turned naive, door-to-door huckster of roofing, siding and storm doors.

We shot STORMCHASER in a visually epic style with Sony CineAlta VENICE Cameras and Sigma Cine Lenses — the first truly indie team to use this killer combination. Company 3 color-graded the 4K film, and will sponsor a High Dynamic Range (HDR) version. HDR will give us a wider palette to further emphasize the grimy, makeshift, claustrophobic office interiors versus the expansive, weathered, brooding-sky exteriors — merging the story’s real and metaphoric storms.

Magical Realism is sparingly interspersed throughout the film to physicalize the characters’ internal landscapes. There are scenes in which characters, themselves, become “the storm.” These moments — that break free from the more realistic narrative — hopefully engender intimacy with the characters’ psychologies, compress and accelerate action, as well as heighten dilemmas so they can be felt personally, politically and universally.

“Tell all the Truth but tell it slant,” wrote Emily Dickinson. To me, that means we can more easily face the world’s toughest problems when storytelling and performances are not on the nose. Acting was my first passion, and I loved collaborating with this cast. Each one of them authentically embodies their characters, skillfully playing that razor’s edge between nuanced farce and heartfelt, gritty naturalism.

My intention is for audiences to experience STORMCHASER as entertainment; but process it as a satire of our socio-political system — a darkly funny dramedy with a dash of romance and allegory: Flip Smyth epitomizes the Old ‘Merica and culture of entitlement. Don Stuckey, a dark-skinned man in a white man’s world, like far too many employees, lives in fear of losing his joyless job. And, Bonnie Blue, our anti-heroine, who really wants to pursue her passion for chasing storms, but — to make ends meet — finds herself preying upon the very vulnerabilities that are preyed upon within her. She, along with Don, represents the changing face and values of a New America struggling to find its way.

One only has to follow the news — global warming, disaster capitalism, Trump, #MeToo, a country divided, shrinking middle class, recession clouds looming — to see the consequences of a violent, predatory society. But STORMCHASER aims to explore these inflammatory issues without becoming a political polemic by looking at both the noble ambitions and dog-eat-dog urges that make people so damn complicated, asking: How do we stop the storm of violence in a culture where we’re all complicit — even when we’re oppressed by forces that seem so much larger than ourselves?

Director Biography – Teresa Lavina (BAD FRUIT)

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Teresa Lavina trained as an Stanislavski actor in Bilbao Spain from 1992. She moved to Ireland to continue her acting training in 1997, she trained in the Focus Theatre in Dublin with Deirdre O’Connell and for 3 years full time in Bull Alley. She has trained the Meisner Technique both in London and Dublin with former Meisner student Scott Williams. She is an acting coach of this technique. She has also trained with Terence Stamp, Michael Attenborough, Larry Silverberg and Briget Panet, most recently she became a teacher of “Acting with passion”, coached by Niki Flacks, creator of the technique. For the past 20 years she has worked as an actor, director, producer and writer. She started her career in RTE’s “Don’t feed the Gondolas” with Ferdia Mc Anna, she produced and directed several plays including Stewart Parker Award Winner “Wideboy Gospel”. She wrote the play “Every Woman’s Thoughts” that was performed in the Irish Writers Centre. She worked as a TV producer and co presenter with Liam O’Maonlai in the pilot TV series “Blend”, she created the TV series “Outside Inside”, which RTE broadcasted as MONO. She has worked as an actor both in Spain and Ireland. She has worked with Ken McCue (Dublin Cultural Planner) for the over 20 years producing different projects including the creation of Ethnovision (Ethnic Television) and helping in the early stages of SARI (Sports Against Racism in Ireland) both projects were part of the National Plan Against Racism in Ireland. Teresa studied Level 6 Film and Doc in GCC where she was awarded student of the year, then she progressed to study a level 8 in Film and Documentary at GMIT (Ireland). Currently she is director Nova Productions and its programme European Youth Cultural Project, where she teaches filmmaking to international students. Teresa is the artistic director of Nova Productions Limited, she has recently directed and produced the documentaries “Still” (which was shown as part of Galway’s film Fleadh programme in July 2017) and “Darkest Corners of Ireland”. She has directed and produced over 10 short films and one feature film, “The Audition”. She has written 7 screen plays. She has been recently funded by Galway 2020 Small Towns Big Ideas project as co-creator of the newest Irish Film Festival, “Shot by the Sea”. She is director and co-producer of the TV series “One for the road” which is currently in development and the feature documentary “Broken Men”.

Director Statement

This piece it is very close to my heart. I shot this documentary with a very small budget. In the days I spent with the survivors of Tuam’s mother and baby home, they taught me about their suffering, about their hopes and about the pain and hardship of life. I am hoping to do a longer version of this documentary sometime as I really feel, the powerless are often unheard and brushed off….I hope I can really spread the word around the world and their voices are finally heard

Director Biography – Evgeniya Radilova (PATRIK)

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Evgeniya Radilova is a internationally award winning actress and a filmmaker. After making a name for herself back in Bulgaria, she comes to the States to pursue her career as an actress. She appeared Off-Broadway, became a SAG-AFTRA, AEA, and a lifetime member of The Actors Studio, where she performed opposite Ellen Burstyn in The Cherry Orchard, directed by John Gould Rubin.  She has appeared on 5 prime time TV shows, multiple short and feature films. Won the Charles Jehlinger Award for Best Actress at AADA.

Naturally she decided to take a step in her career and started directing. Her first music video, “True Paradise” was accepted in 8 festivals, and won three of them for Best Music Video: “Winter Film Awards”, “LA Cinema Festival of Hollywood” and “Film Miami Festival”. After the success at her debut as a director, she co-founded “iDareProductions”, where she has been producing, writing and directing for the past few years!

She wrote, produced and directed two short films. “Patrik” which won the Gold Award at “Spotlight Film Awards”, and Evgeniya was featured as one of the best filmmakers In “The Spotlight”. Her film also won for Best Narrative Short at “Olympus Film Festival” in LA. “Patrik” also won the Silver Award at “Latitude Film Festival”- in London, and Best Original Story and Best Actor at “GSF Awards” in Cannes, France. Patrik also won for Best Indie Filmmaker, Honorable Mention at the “Top Shorts”, and lastly won for Best First Time Director (Female) the Bronze Award at the Independent Shorts Awards, in LA.

She also, wrote, produced and directed her second film “El Cavil”, as well as a new music video called “Nothing Changed for Me” by Rada Angelova. Evgeniya also is co-producing and co-directing a film called “Then and Now”, and directed a short called The Burden, all coming out in 2019.

She is in preproduction of the first feature film she is co-directing and co-producing with Michael Tosner called “Bacon”, this coming fall.

A film she directed called “My Relationship With The Moon” won the “Special Recognition Award” at the “Cayanne Film Festival”.

She also became a proud lifetime member of the Playwrights Directors Unit at The Actors Studio.

For two consecutive years, she has been invited to teach and direct Film and Theatre workshops with the students of Chongqing and Kunming in China. She created two films with them: “Fortune Sticks “& “Marga”, and directed a production of W. Shakespeare’s “Midnight Summer’s Dream”, and “Peter and The Starcatcher”. She gave a very successful talk for film industry and film professors in China, Kuming! And is going back regularly to teach.

Evgeniya has a great passion for fire dancing and has opened her own entertainment company, Evgeniya Entertainment, which includes artists from Circus Du Soleil to NYC’s top performers, underground and street performers. She has performed in the most high-end cabarets stages in NYC as well as festivals and directed shows all over the county.

Director Statement

I have reached an age when, if someone tells me to wear socks, I don’t have to.” Albert Einstein

My prototype for “Patrick” is an anonymous elderly man who caught my attention years ago. I was 18, aspiring actress, student at that time at the Film and Theater Academy in Bulgaria and while on a lunch break, I suddenly found myself starring at this man struggling to cross over a busy road. He moved very slowly, with a persistence and patience, but obviously intimidated by the fast world around him, failing in every attempt he does to cross the street. He kept on going back to the starting point, facing the semaphore and waiting for a green light. He would barely make a few steps when the light would turn red again forcing him to go back and start over. Eventually, he gave up and walked down the street.

That story became one of these seemingly unimportant memories, we are not sure why we keep, until it finally made sense, and I felt the urge to share it the moment I met Patrik Baldauff. We both performed in a production of The Cherry Orchard at The Actors Studio, alongside Ellen Burstyn, as lifelong members in the actor’s unit.

I found the perfect actor for my story and “Patrik” was born! His exceptional persona and our work together inspired me to develop a lot more the narrative and established the main topics of the movie.

The beauty and maybe just a bit of sadness aging brings, when striped from expectations and ambitions, we find joy in the little pleasure the morning sunshine brings, a memory hanging on the wall, the calming sound of ticking clock and the freedom of not putting your socks on if you don’t want to. Yet the world is changing and it’s harder and harder to keep up, but maybe the need of slowing down is a call from the universe to take a breath and let the things that matter happen to us. Often something small we would barely notice it’s what we really need at that very moment and gives a new meaning to what is important.

It is when we find a greater sense of acceptance of and tolerance for those normally disregarded in our community that we can begin to work towards change.

“Patrick” is a story about a man of the theater, a giant of the stage and a charmer of the screen. I am honoring the long carrier Patrik Baldauff has had, and we follow the happiest day of his life when he is being honored with a life time achievement award. He needs to make one last effort and proudly walk alone all the way to the theater to receive his award. This is his Golgotha.

But the world out there is too busy and won’t stop for the old man. He misses his ceremony, but unexpectedly, he’s been given a different reward, which turns out to be even more significant – the gift of opening one’s heart. My little hope is that the young man offering a hand on the street, is you and I.

I’ve been compelled to make art that is deeply personal and accessible to a larger audience and my intend is to fill my films with the purest and honest form of storytelling to life.

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