Sean Berdy is an actor who has risen to fame for his portrayal of Emmett in ABC Family's Peabody Award-winning drama, "Switched at Birth". Sean's brilliant depiction of Emmett, cast as a "Deaf James Dean", has earned him legions of fans as well as a nomination for TV Breakout Star by the Teen Choice Awards.
Sean was born on June 3rd, 1993, in Boca Raton, FL, to parents Terrie and Scott Berdy and was destined to be a performer. At a young age Berdy began putting on impromptu comedic shows alongside his brother, Tyler, to the utter delight of family and friends. Sean loved seeing the joy he brought to others while performing and quickly became very passionate about entertaining. Young Berdy soon became fascinated with magic, honed his skills in the art, and won the top award for young magicians at the World Deaf Magicians Festival held in St. Petersburg, Russia.
Never believing his Deafness was a roadblock to pursuing his dreams, Sean next set his sights on acting. He received his first big break when a casting call went out for a young deaf actor for "The Sandlot 2," the comedic sequel to "The Sandlot." Sean won the role of the lovably mischievous Sammy "Fingers" Samuelson and his formal acting career was launched. He went on to play roles in films including "The Bondage," "The Deaf Family" and "The Legend of the Mountain Man". In addition to films, Berdy has also been featured in numerous public service commercials.
In between filming movie engagements, Sean attended the Indiana School for the Deaf (ISD) where, as a sophomore, he competed alongside a classmate for the title of Mr. and Miss Deaf Teen America. Sean and his partner won the competition against contestants from deaf schools nationwide. Their new roles enabled them to travel around the country making public appearances for one year to proudly raise deaf awareness.
While attending ISD, Berdy also performed with Vibrations, the school's highly acclaimed performing arts touring troupe. Sean's inspired dance rendition of Michael Jackson's "The Way You Make Me Feel," performed entirely in American Sign Language (ASL), proved to be a tremendous hit at live Vibrations appearances across the country and the video of the performance continues to be a popular view on YouTube.
Sean completed his high school education remotely from California after his dream breakout role precipitously arrived in 2011 with ABC Family's new series, "Switched at Birth." The series was to chronicle the story of two teen girls, Bay and Daphne, who find out they were accidentally switched at birth by hospital staff. Berdy was a perfect fit to play the multifaceted role of Emmett Bledsoe, who producers described as a "Deaf James Dean" type. Fan favorite Emmett rides a motorcycle, plays the drums in a rock band, and is a photographer. He is also Daphne's best friend, a love interest to Bay, and the son of Melody Bledsoe, portrayed by Marlee Matlin.
"Switched at Birth" has been widely credited with increasing awareness of deaf culture and for garnering huge growth in the number of people learning ASL across the country. Berdy received the DeafNation Inspiration Award for Entertainment in 2012 for the positive impact his authentic portrayal of Emmett Bledsoe has had on the Deaf community.
When not on the set filming the TV series, Sean has kept busy on various projects including creating music videos performed in ASL, delivering motivational keynote speeches, performing live at Disney, and working on Twentieth Century-Fox's animated movie, "Ice Age: Continental Drift," where he provided an industry first on-camera ASL performance that displays in a picture-in-picture window when the movie is played on DVD.
Future personal projects for Sean include making additional ASL music videos and the development of "The Sean Berdy Show", a one-man show featuring a mix of Sean's stand-up comedy, life stories, skits, and other entertaining performances.
|Nat 'King' Cole
Nat King Cole was born Nathaniel Adams Coles at Montgomery, Alabama. He received music lessons from his mother and his family moved to Chicago when he was only five, where his father Edward James Coles was a minister at the True Light Baptist Church and later Pastor of the First Baptist Church. At 12 he was playing the church organ and at 14 he formed a 14 piece band called the Royal Dukes. Nat was a top flight sandlot baseball player at Wendell Phillips high school in Chicago. His three brothers, Ike, Eddie Cole and Frankie also played the piano and sang professionally. Nat was also an above-average football player in high school. His sister Evelyn Cole was a beautician in nearby Waukegan, Illinois. In 1939 he formed the King Cole Trio after his publicist put a silver tin-foiled crown on his head and proclaimed him King. He later toured Europe and made a command performance before Queen Elizabeth II. He had a highly-rated TV show in the 1950s but it was canceled (by Cole himself) because no companies could be found that were willing to sponsor the show. He was a big baseball fan and had a permanent box seat at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles. He met his wife Maria Cole (a big-band singer) at the Zanzibar nightclub in Los Angeles through Eddie 'Rochester' Anderson show. Her parents protested her decision to marry Cole, claiming he was "too black". However, they were married in 1948 and had two daughters, Natalie Cole and Caroline. On April 10, 1956, at Birmingham, Alabama, he was attacked by six white men from a white supremacist group called the White Cizizens Council during a concert and sustained minor injuries to his back. Cole appeared in several movies, his last one being Cat Ballou, starring Lee Marvin. Cole received 28 gold record awards for such hits as "Sweet Lorraine", "Ramblin' Rose" in 1962, "Too Young" in 1951, "Mona Lisa" in 1949 and Mel Tormé's "Christmas Song". His first recordings of the Christmas Song included the lyrics, "Reindeers really know how to fly" instead of "reindeer really know how to fly", a mistake later corrected by Capitol Records. He was also a composer and his song "Straighten Up and Fly Right" was sold for $50.00. A heavy smoker, he died of lung cancer.
Patrick was born in Boston, and though he moved to Los Angeles to pursue acting at a young age, his accent still comes through when he gets excited. At age fourteen, Patrick is most remembered for his break out lead role in the 20th Century Fox Feature Film, "The Sandlot" Directed by David M. Evans, and at sixteen he went on to star in Disney's "The Big Green" Directed by Holly Goldberg Sloan. He then went on to work steadily throughout the '90s and '00s in such films as "Son In Law", "PUNKS", "Ricky 6", "Very Mean Men", "Life Blood", "Dark Ride", "Dorm Daze" and countless others. He also has done several Movies of the Week and starred on such shows as "ER", "The X-Files" & "Boston Legal" (where he didn't have a Boston accent... #irony).
His long list of credits also include guest starring on "CSI", for CBS, and "The Closer", for TNT. Patrick previously recurred on "Over There", for FX, and "Judging Amy", for CBS.
One of his most recent projects, "Bad Roomies", is Patrick's first film as a producer and his return to the big screen as an actor. "Bad Roomies", Directed by Jason Schnell, Written by Justin Mooney and also starring Tommy Savas, is a dark comedy about two guys who decide to get a female roommate for all the wrong reasons, forever turning their lives upside-down. It is due out Spring 2015.
Even more recently Patrick starred opposite Steve Guttenberg for the Syfy Movie for Television "Lavantula", as well as guest starring on "Bones", for Fox.
|Brandon Quintin Adams
Best known for his role as Zeke in Michael Jackson's Moonwalker, Brandon Quintin Adams has been involved in the business since toddler age. Appearing in commercials and print ads, was just the start of his career. At the age of 9, he landed his first television role as 'Peter' in the NBC sitcom, Empty Nest in 1988. As a result, his career soared and he landed roles in numerous television sitcoms (A Different World, Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Moesha and Martin among others) and movies (Polly, The Mighty Ducks and The Sandlot among others) through the years.
After having previously taken a long hiatus to focus on family and music, Brandon is now back on the scene to resume his acting career.
David Akeman, the country musician known as "Stringbean," was a legend at the Grand Ole Opry and one of the stars of television's Hee Haw. Along with his long-time partner and Hee Haw co-star Grandpa Jones, he was one of the premier traditional-style banjo players in country music. Though Stringbean primarily performed as either a sideman or as part of a comedy duet, he began recording his own records in the 1960s and had achieved superstar status by the time the decade of the '60s closed.
Born on June 17, 1915, to a farm family in Annville in Kentucky's Jackson County, it was natural for Akeman to become a musical prodigy as his family loved and lived music. His father was a banjoist who played at local dances, but more importantly, Annville was full of talented musicians possessed of considerable skill, all of whom, including his father, helped the young David him master the instrument. When he was seven years old, David Akeman reputedly crafted his first banjo out of a shoe box strung with thread. Five years later, he bartered a pair of chickens for a real banjo, with which he began playing gigs at local dances, earning himself a reputation as a virtuoso on the instrument, which was an adaptation of a gourd-based string instrument introduced to America in pre-colonial times by African slaves. The banjo, as adapted and played by white folk, became one of the central instruments of country music before the 20th century.
During the Depression, when money was scarce and jobs were hard to come by, Akeman joined the Civilian Conservation Corps, where he was engaged in road-building and tree-planting. As a musician, he was discovered by country singer-guitarist Asa Martin, who was the judge at a talent contest Akeman had entered. Martin awarded the contest to Akeman, who thereupon joined Martin's band. It was Martin who gave Akeman his moniker, when during one performance, he forgot the banjoist's name and introduced him as "String Beans," a reference to his lanky, 6'5" physique. The name stuck.
Akeman went from a sideman who only played banjo to a leading performer, doubling as a singer and engaging in comic repartee. His comedic shtick became popular and he began dividing his time between musicianship and comedy. He also played some semi-pro baseball player in sandlots throughout the South, which he toured with various bands throughout 1930s. Akeman also was broadcast over the radio. "Stringbeans" and his future partner Grandpa Jones were two of the relatively few banjo players in mainstream country music during the '30s, as the instrument by that time had virtually disappeared from the repertoire.
It was Stringbean's association with country legend Bill Monroe that made his reputation. Monroe, who fielded his own semi-pro baseball team, discovered Stringbean on the playing field, and the banjo player became a member of Monroe's band in 1943. Stringbean stayed with the band for two years as Monroe's first banjo player, playing in the traditional claw-hammer style, as well as engaging in two-finger picking. It was with Bill Monroe who he first appeared on records. In this period, Akeman had additional gigs, teaming up with Willie Egbert Westbrook as "String Beans and Cousin Wilbur," a comedy duo that worked on the same bills with Monroe's band. He also played on one recording session as a Blue Grass Boy, laying down eight tracks in February 1945.
Stringbeans left Monroe's band in the fall and was replaced by another legendary banjo player, the great Earl Scruggs, who had a radically different technique than the old-style favored by Akeman and Grandpa Jones. Stringbean, who married Estelle Stanfill in 1945, first began working with Grandpa Jones, another comic-banjo player, in 1946. He later teamed up with Lew Childre to create a comedy-musical duo act in the late 1940s, and they became regulars at the Grand Old Opry. At the Opry, Akeman became a protégé of Uncle Dave Macon, a fellow banjo-player/comic who was well-loved by Opry audiences. After Macon's death in 1952, Stringbean as he now was known, became one of the Opry's biggest stars.
By the early 1960s, Earl Scruggs had become the most influential and popular banjo player in country music, and it was at this time that Stringbean first decided to record on his own, signing with the Starday label. There was still an audience for his traditional style of banjo playing and his admixture of comedy and song, best exemplified by the title of his first album: "Old Time Pickin' and Grinnin' with Stringbean," which was released in 1961. The album featured folk songs, particularly humorous ditties about animals, and jokes and tall tales. He would release a total of seven albums all together from the early 60s through 1972, and had country hits with "Chewing Gum" and "I Wonder Where Wanda Went."
In 1969, Stringbean and Grandpa Jones became part of the original cast of the country-flavored TV show _"Hee Haw" (1979)_ which made him famous outside of the country music niche. Just like at the Grand Old Opry, Stringbean became one of the most beloved of the show's stars.
Dave Akeman lived an extremely modest, simple life. Remembering the hard times of the Depression, Stringbean and his wife lived in a tiny cabin near Ridgetop, Tennessee, approximately 20 miles outside of Nashville, near his friend Grandpa Jones. Their only luxury was a Cadillac.
Stringbean did not trust banks due to the multiple bank failures of the Hoover years, and he kept thousands of dollars on his person, which he was known to flash around. It was rumored in nearby Nashville that Stringbean had a fortune in cash stashed at his house. It was these rumors that led two cousins, John and Marvin Brown, on the night of November 10, 1973, to break into the Akemans' cabin.
Returning from a performance at the Grand Old Opry, the burglars shot Stringbean dead after he entered his house, then ran down and killed Estelle. By immediately murdering Stringbean, they had no chance to question him on the whereabouts of any hidden monies, which they were unable to find. They managed to steal some firearms and a chainsaw, all at the cost of two lives. Stringbean and Estelle's neighbor Grandpa Jones discovered his slain friends the next morning, a Sunday.
The murders of the beloved Stringbean and his wife shocked the Nashville music community. Some of the less ethical members of the press tried to implicate Grandpa Jones in the slayings, intimating that he had been having an affair with Estelle. The charges were preposterous and hurtful towards Jones, who had lost his dear friends, but they helped sell papers.
Police work finally led to the capture of John and Marvin Brown. During the trial, Grandpa Jones identified one of the firearms the cousins had stolen from the Akeman cabin as one he had given Stringbean as a gift. The cousins, it was revealed, had ransacked the cabin and ambushed Stringbean and Estelle when they returned home. They were convicted of the double homicide and burglary and sentenced to life-in prison. (Ironically, a decomposed wad of about $20,000 in cash was discovered behind a brick in the cabin's chimney nearly a quarter century later, in 1996.)
David "Stringbean" Akeman and his wife Estelle were buried in Forest Lawn Memorial Gardens in Goodlettsville, Tennessee. The Stringbean Memorial Bluegrass Festival is held annually in Jackson County, Kentucky. The festival raises funds for Stringbean Memorial, Inc., a non-profit corporation that organizes, plans and hosts traditional music and heritage festivals in Jackson County to honor the memory of Stringbean and to preserve and promote traditional bluegrass and mountain music as well as support musical education and opportunities for area youth.
By age 3, Mycole was performing on stage in dance recitals. By age 10 touring with theatre groups and attending Shakespearean camp. Once on her first set, The Sandlot, she knew she had found her passion in life.
Mycole Metcalf is an American Film Actress, Fashion Model and advocate for many charitable causes. She is starring and producing a fun environmental documentary and is developing a foundation to provide art programs to less fortunate children.
With the support of her loving family, Mycole grew an Actress and Host, appearing in many local independent films and commercials. She also enjoyed her reign as Miss Utah, which made her realize the importance of giving back to the community. Mycole had a good time when she guest hosted for ESPN's Extreme Sports. A scholar in Theater, Mycole trained in Stanislavski and enjoyed doing many of theater productions. One of her favorites was playing Sophie in "Sophie's Choice". After graduating from the University, led by her passion, Mycole knew she was home when she moved to Los Angeles. Thus far she has enjoyed roles on the television shows NYPD Blue, Entourage and House. Mycole was fortunate in working with the talented Nick Cassavetes in Alpha Dog, where she plays Sunshine Parsons "Witness #3". After her role on the energetic set of Fast & Furious, she starred in both Ruthless in Love and Closet Cyclers. Both of which have been accepted into upcoming film festivals.
Mycole has a whole new appreciation for the filmmaking process after investors helped her produce some of her own scripts, with more in production.
Mycole looks for challenging and inspiring projects. From her intense emotional training at Ivana Chubbuck Studios, Mycole revels in dramatic roles; but also loves to make people laugh. She performed in an improvisational sketch show in in Hollywood, then with a troupe performing at the Comedy Store and Hollywood Improv. Mycole feels she has a acquired a good balance of her craft as she continues to develop and flourish in her professional acting career.
Mycole's hobbies include dancing, roller blading at the beach, and traveling. She is very much an adventurist. She likes to hike, snorkel, and is learning new martial arts techniques. Also, she plays many sports that involve a ball, thanks to her Dad.
|Cole Evan Weiss
Cole Evan Weiss is breaking the mold and curse of "Teens" in Hollywood. Instead of the glitz and skin we've become so used to, Cole is sparking a new kind of sex appeal and interest. He is sharp, informed, educated, involved and smart. This young man with his charismatic smile is poised for a breakthrough year with a series of projects that will certainly have his name on everyone's lips. As one of the stars in Fox Home Entertainment's premiere DVD Original movie, The Sandlot 2, Cole stars as Saul, the compassionate brother of a deaf boy, a role that allowed him to use his real life knowledge of sign language on the screen. This highly anticipated sequel takes place 10 years after the original, where the new generation of ball players, try to face their toughest challenge yet! In addition, Cole can also be seen in Martin Lawrence's Rebound where he plays a pompous Junior High School basketball player who thinks that Martin Lawrence's team stinks. At the age of 15, this successful actor has already had a number of varying projects under his belt. In the AFI film Double Negatives, Cole gave a breathtaking performance as a young boy suffering from Obsessive Compulsive disorder. He has starred in such films as the Sci Fi Channel's Movie-of-the-Week, Incident at Kelly, Cat's Bad Hair Day, Halloween Tricks and Sweets. His television credits include guest starring roles on: Let's Just Play, The Edj!, Second Noah, Rescue 911, Gullah Island and Boy Meets World. He has loaned his voice to numerous commercials, industrials, and computer video games including the blockbuster Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen Playstation video games. He is a Disney World young spokesman filming a series of promotions for the world-renowned resort and theme park. Although Hollywood keeps him quite busy these days, Cole has had the opportunity to hone his craft in the live theater with such starring roles as: Oliver in Oliver, Tom Sawyer in Huck Finn, Charlie in Charlie and The Chocolate Factory and Michael in Peter Pan. Cole is not just living for himself but he is dedicated to caring for others, always getting involved in charity events and humanitarian endeavors. His generosity and natural care for others are so genuine that it flawlessly transposes onto the screen through his characters. Although he spends much of his time in California, where he is home schooled, Cole also resides in Florida.
Entertainment entrepreneur, Rick Marcelli was practically born on stage in Hollywood. Raised in the showbiz capitol of the world, Rick grew up around the celebrities most people only dreamed about. While other kids played ball at local sandlots, Rick's baseball diamond was the vast backyard of legendary film director Cecil B. DeMille, Father of the Film Industry. While playing ball with DeMille's grandson, Rick had the opportunity to meet the great director. So impressed was he with Rick's knowledge of movies that he let the youngster tour his private trophy room and hold his treasured Academy Award. That experience, more than any other, set the stage for Marcelli's quest for showbiz success, always striving for the lofty goals of those whom he met during the golden years of Hollywood.
That road to fame has resulted in many extraordinary accomplishments. While Cecil B. DeMille may have planted the seeds for Rick's career in show business, it was hard work that got him there and keeps him active in ongoing major projects.
Marcelli's start in show business began at Hollywood's Meglin Studios (which jump-started the careers of legendary film stars Shirley Temple, Judy Garland, & Mickey Rooney), singing and tap-dancing his way into the hearts of audiences.
Like his mentor, child star Sammy Davis Jr., he started young. His parents changed his name to Riki Marcelli, and acting roles followed on numerous popular TV series' such as "Bourbon Street Beat," " Laramie" (where Marcelli co-starred with Charles Bronson), "The Untouchables," "Going My Way,"(Starring Gene Kelly) and a co-starring role on "The Jack Benny/Bob Hope Show."
When the Beatles landed on the shores of America, 15-year old Marcelli began pursuing a career in the music industry. Rick's exuberance and persistence got him a job as assistant to Capitol Records' top-rated A&R Producer Nik Venet known for the Beach Boys, Bobby Darin and Linda Ronstadt & The Stone Ponies and "The 2000 Year Old Man": Mel Brooks and Carl Reiner. There, he signed several rock artists to Capitol Records and tried to get many other rock artists deals including the band "Pacific Ocean" ( Edward James Olmos & Steven "Rusty Johnson") which helped establish his later career as a personal manager.
This led to work as an A&R Producer at Capitol Records (where he became their youngest staff member), working with Renaissance Productions / Dallas Smith (known for the Five Man Electrical Band and Allman Bros.) and other music production groups. Additionally, he provided artistic inspiration (credit on their album) for the songwriting /recording team Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham prior to their joining Fleetwood Mac on their first album Buckingham Nicks.
Marcelli's next venture was serving as General Manager for Grammy Award-winning country legend Roger Miller's publishing firm, Roger Miller Music. At an age when most teenagers were worrying about getting their driver's license, Rick was signing top country recording artists like Michael Martin Murphy to the publishing company.
Marcelli was also the first to book rock 'n roll acts for Universal Studios as their Outdoor Entertainment Director while also managing the tour's biggest attraction, Universal Studios' Stunt Team. When the opportunity arose to work for Hollywood commercial production studio FilmFair Inc., Marcelli signed on as assistant to owner/director Gus Jekel and Sr. Vice President Ben Norman. Working with Academy Award-winning cinematographers James Crabe, Conrad Hall and Haskel Wexler, he moved up the ranks editing, producing, directing and writing.
At the age of 21, he orchestrated a joint venture between ABC Records Distributing and The Southland Corporation's 7-11 stores creating what Billboard Magazine called "the largest singles outlet in the history of the record business." This venture brought Marcelli acclaim in the business world as a young entrepreneur, not to mention instant wealth.
Also during this time, Rick represented Photographer's and Graphic Art Designer's Lorrie Sullivan and Jimmy Wachtel. Over 200 Album and CD and Billboards campaigns were created i.e. Steppenwolf, Dave Mason, Joel Walsh, James Gang, Gino Vannelli, Phoebe Snow, JD Souther, Souther-Hillman-Furay Band, Warren Zevon, Jo Jo Gunne, Alice Cooper, Grand Funk Railroad, Bill Wyman, Buckingham Nicks to name a few.
Rick then parlayed his business experience into personal management, signing the husband and wife mime team Shields and Yarnell. Over a short period of time, he transformed these street performers into a worldwide touring attraction with their own Emmy-Award winning CBS TV series.
Rick's association with variety entertainers led to meeting and signing magician David Copperfield. With Rick behind the scenes creating Copperfield's image as the most romantic illusionist in the world and David's talent, his career blossomed and he became a theatrical box office record-setter, the star of several CBS Emmy Award-winning TV specials, and a worldwide celebrity.
Returning to FilmFair to serve as Executive in Charge of Production for their new Music Video Division, Marcelli began developing and marketing music videos for Al Jarreau, the Charlie Daniels Band, and Dwight Twilley. On the side, Marcelli talent coordinated Disney's "The New Vaudevillians" starring Harry Anderson, and NBC's "The Magic in the Magic Kingdom " hosted by international magicians Sigfreid and Roy and the late George Burns.
By the time he established The Marcelli Company in 1986, Rick had built a spectacular roster of comedians, magic acts, and variety entertainers including then, stand-ups George Lopez and Bobby Gaylor and stand-up comedienne Jenny Jones, comic puppeteer David Strassman, and the late, award-winning choreographer Steve Merritt of "Beach Blanket Babylon" and "Chippendales" fame. By bringing Jones to TV's Star Search, where she became the first female comic to win the show's $100,000 Grand Prize, Marcelli paved the way to Jenny Jones' longtime career (12 years in syndication) as a TV talk show host.
One of the other unique adventures Rick achieved was to manage and produce Rudy Coby. Creating a larger than life image for the performer, he landed Coby his own TV show, "The Rudy Coby Show," on the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). Co-produced by Marcelli, the show received a Montreaux Rose Award nomination as the BBC's "Best Variety Show." On the heels of that success, Marcelli teamed up with Dick Clark Productions, co-executive producing the Fox TV specials, "Rudy Coby: The Coolest Magician on Earth" (1995) and "Rudy Coby: Ridiculously Dangerous" (May 1996).
Award Winning Comic/Puppeteer David Strassman was another renowned talent whose career flourished with Rick's direction. Under Marcelli, Strassman went from a little known variety show performer to setting a new standard, worldwide, for performance in robotic puppetry winning his own critically-acclaimed, hit TV series, "Strassman," which aired in the United Kingdom , Australia , and New Zealand which Marcelli was Executive Producer. Rick Marcelli also created and designed one of Strassman's most unique character Ted E. Bare.
Marcelli partnered up for a few years with Ken Kragen, the man who produced "We Are The World," and blockbuster charity events like "Hands Across America," and "NETaid." Ken also managed the careers of Lionel Ritchie, Kenny Rogers, Travis Tritt, and Trisha Yearwood, to name a few.
Marcelli's Midas touch in business has well served the longstanding career of David Copperfield for over 27 years (as Personal Manager and Executive Vice President of Copperfield's Marketing Group).
Chris began his career in the motion picture business as an usher at the Uptown Theater in Washington, DC. After graduation from Brooklyn Law School, Chris became a film buyer for Circle Theaters, a large regional theater circuit in Washington. In 1984, Chris co-founded Circle Films, an independent theatrical distribution company, where he acquired and distributed Joel and Ethan Coen's first film, Blood Simple. In 1986, Chris was appointed Vice President of Production and Acquisitions at the Walt Disney Company where he developed and supervised numerous motion pictures including Beaches starring Bette Midler. In 1990, Chris assumed the co-presidency of Island Pictures in Los Angeles, a successful independent motion picture studio. At Island, Mr. Zarpas produced three films, Toy Soldiers for Tri Star, Strictly Business for Warner Bros. and Sandlot for Fox.
In 1996, Chris was named president and CEO of Scott Free, an independent production company in Los Angeles, co-chaired by filmmakers Ridley and Tony Scott. There, Chris produced or executive produced G.I. Jane starring Demi Moore, directed by Ridley Scott; Clay Pigeons starring Vince Vaughn, Joaquin Phoenix and Janeane Garofalo, directed by David Dobkin; Where The Money Is starring Paul Newman, Linda Fiorentino and Dermot Mulroney, directed by Marek Kanievska, and the critically acclaimed HBO motion picture, RKO 281 starring James Cromwell, Melanie Griffith and John Malkovich. Chris received a Golden Globe for RKO 281 and an Emmy nomination for Best Movie for Television.
Chris is a full time commercial real estate developer and occasional movie producer residing in his native Virginia. Chris last produced Grace Unplugged, a theatrical motion picture starring A.J. Michalka, Kevin Pollak and James Denton Grace Unplugged was released by Lionsgate on October 4th, 2013. Grace Unplugged won 2013 Movieguide Awards for Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Family Movie and Best Picture. It also won the 2013 DOVE Award for Best Drama.
Robert Celestino, graduate of The New School in Manhattan, exudes a gritty manner for transpiring character driven screenplays into life on the screen.
Mr. Celestino's fascination with obsessive and extreme behavior is established with his award winning film Mr. Vincent which premiered at the 1997 Sundance Film Festival. The film then made its mark at festivals around the world. It won the Critic's Award for best film at the Scermi di Amore Film Festival in Italy and the Best Dramatic Feature Award at the Long Island Film Festival. Mr. Vincent was also nominated by Movie Maker Magazine for the Breakthrough Award, and the 1998 Someone to watch Independent Spirit Award.
In 2008, Mr. Celestino wrote and directed Yonkers Joe which stars Academy Award-nominee, Chazz Palminteri, Academy Award-winner Christine Lahti, Tom Guiry (The Sandlot), Golden Globe-nominee Linus Roache, and Academy Award-nominee Michael Lerner. An ode to old time gamblers, now outdated in an age of powerful upscale casinos, the film tells the story of a dice hustler whose determination to make one last grab for a big score in Vegas is complicated by the reappearance of his estranged, mentally challenged son into his life. Yonkers Joe premiered at the 2008 Tribeca Film Festival and is distributed by Magnolia Pictures.
Robert's films also include No Promises, X-Factor - Portrait of a Stuntman, True Convictions and Stone's Law. In television, he wrote and directed the pilot episode for Alternate Realities.
Recently, Mr. Celestino directed, produced and co-edited the film 'Leave' starring Rick Gomez, Frank John Hughes, Vinessa Shaw, Ron Livingston and Bryan Cranston. 'Leave', won 'Best Feature' and the 'Audience Award' at the Gasparilla International Film Festival.
Mary Sandell is an award-winning Producer and Entertainment Executive with over 20 years of experience managing high-profile commercial and entertainment packages, feature film and television series. Mary's producing credits include the Academy Award nominated and BAFTA Children's Award winning animated feature, Coraline, DreamWorks Animation's first-ever prime-time animated series for NBC, Father of the Pride, and the Emmy Award winning prime-time series, The PJs.
As an executive, Mary was Head of Production at LAIKA where she oversaw projects in active production and pre-production, created and managed the execution of the studio's long term production strategy and advised on the acquisition, creative development and packaging of all LAIKA projects. In March 2014, Mary founded The Sandlot LLC, an independent production company dedicated to the acquisition, development and production of distinctive and compelling entertainment for film and television.
Earlier in her career, Mary worked in a variety of production roles including Executive Vice President of Production at Vinton Studios overseeing all commercial and entertainment production.
Producer, author, and serial entrepreneur. Nick Benas is a Southern Connecticut State University graduate, United States Marine, and Iraqi combat veteran.
Producer, CEO of the official Las Vegas Twerk Contest (Alexis Texas), Author, CEO & founder of Big League Wiffle Ball a Sandlot Recreation, LLC. Company. Nick Benas works as hard as he can in several different areas of business, he currently lives in Southern Connecticut State University, and was previously a Sergeant in the United States Marine Corps.
Born in 1966 in Indianapolis IN, Brian's father was a motor sports photographer. Brian grew up on the oval dirt tracks all over the mid-west. His Father and Grand Father both road and raced dirt bikes as amateurs. Brian got his first dirt bike at age 10 and began terrorizing his suburban neighborhood, stealing gas from the family lawnmowers. In 1978 the family moved west to Truckee California where Brian learned to ski in the Buddy Werner Racing, program thru the local schools. He also began learning observed trials on Donner Summit with Norm Sayler. He reached the level of expert skier and ski instructor/ski patrol at Donner Ski Ranch, while downhill ski racing for Donner Ski Team, his Highschool Ski Team and the Far West Ski Association. After graduation, Brian moved to Chico California to continue his education in communications, all the while, returning to Donner Summit on the weekends to work and race. After college, Brian moved south, to pursue a career in the entertainment industry. Landing in Malibu, Brian got work right away as a commercial production assistant. By 1991-92 the long days and low pay of a P.A. had run it's course and Brian worked his way into the camera department. Starting as a loader on low budget projects, Brian paid his dues on films and projects from Saban, PM Entertainment and Roger Corman movies. His first big break came loading cameras for pick ups on the movie "The Sandlot." A full Union (I.A.T.S.E. Local 600) member by 1995, Brian began a 4-5 year run of Camera Assisting on Visual Effects/Miniature/Motion Control projects. 3 of which were nominated for Academy Awards for Visual Effects. Moving back into "Live Action" production by 1999-2000, Brian was attracted to the fast pace and excitement of the "Second Unit" on feature films, shooting stunts and action sequences. At the same time, Brian used his extensive motorcycle and camera background (he had began competing again in 1996 in off road, desert, motorcycle competition) to get work as a Camera Motorcycle Operator. Riding Camera Motorcycles, Sidecars and ATV's, Brian worked on many commercials, features and TV shows, even covering the LA Marathon/Cycle Tour for 10 years. By 2003, Brian had moved into Stabilized Remote Heads, Cranes and Camera Cars and Camera Operating. Operating the "Moto Arm" from inside the Porsche Cayenne on "Talladega Nights" was a career highlight. Also shot in 2003, "Dust To Glory" was a great adventure and a proud project. By 2010, Brian had begun driving Camera Cars (Russian Arm) full time and in June 2012, was asked to run Camera Car Systems/Filmotechnic USA as the President! In 2014, Brian moved to Performance Filmworks, home of the Edge System Camera Cars as a freelance Precision Driver.
From eastern PA. FOH Engineer for Boyce Avenue, Secondhand Serenade, Sandlot Heroes, and ajar. Head audio engineer at The ArtsQuest Center, Steel Stacks, in Bethlehem PA. Freelance studio engineer. When John is not on the road, on the stage, or in a studio... he enjoys fishing and many other outdoor activities. John is proficient with ALL analog and digital sound consoles, and audio engineering is not just his job... it is his true passion.