Sammy Sheik was born in Alexandria, Egypt. His passion for acting drove him to leave home shortly after high school and move to New York to study theatre. He soon landed his first film role in the Albert Brooks' satire comedy "Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World", playing Al-Jazeera executive "Mukhtar Al-Mujib." Sheik followed this with memorable roles in both film and television including recurring roles on Homeland, 24, United States of Tara and roles on Nikita, The Unit, NCIS and Lost, among others. Sheik's film credits include Attack On Darfur, Transformers: Dark of the Moon and Charlie Wilson's War among others. In 2012, ten years after leaving Egypt, Sheik finally returned to work on a series called "Hekayat Banat", which heralds the beginning of his rising international career. In addition to his acting career, in 2010 Sheik was appointed goodwill ambassador to the Middle East for Y-Peer, a youth education network, pioneered by the United Nations Population Fund. Sheik travels the world on behalf of the organization which is active in more than 36 countries.
Navid Negahban was born and raised in Mashhad, Iran. His passion for acting led him to Germany, where he spent eight years honing his theatrical skills prior to arriving in the US. Navid has been building a strong resume ever since, playing a broad range of intriguing characters for film, theatre, and television.
Navid has a powerful leading role in the stunning dramatic feature The Stoning of Soraya M., and significant supporting roles in Brothers with Tobey Maguire, directed by Jim Sheridan, Powder Blue with Jessica Biel and Forest Whitaker, and Charlie Wilson's War opposite Tom Hanks, directed by Mike Nichols. On TV, Navid had a recurring role on the eighth and final season of 24, and guest appearances include Lost, CSI: Miami, Law & Order, Covert Affairs, and NCIS: Los Angeles. Navid recently (2011) appeared as Dr. Robert Stadler in Atlas Shrugged Part 1. He also shot The Power of Few in New Orleans with Christopher Walken and Christian Slater. Navid is currently (2011/2012) playing the chilling Abu Nazir on Showtime's Homeland, with Damian Lewis and Claire Danes.
Om Puri is an Indian actor who has appeared in both mainstream Indian films and art films. His credits also include appearances in British and American films. He has received an honorary OBE.
Puri was born in Ambala, Haryana. His father worked on the railways and served in the Indian Army. Puri graduated from the Film and Television Institute of India. He is also an alumnus of the 1973 class of National School of Drama where Naseeruddin Shah was a co-student.
Puri has worked in numerous Indian films and in many films produced in the United Kingdom and the United States. He made his film debut in the 1976 film Ghashiram Kotwal, based on a Marathi play of the same name. He has claimed that he was paid "peanuts" for his best work. He has collaborated with Amrish Puri as well as Naseeruddin Shah, Shabana Azmi and Smita Patil in art films such as Bhavni Bhavai (1980), Sadgati (1981), Ardh Satya (1982), Mirch Masala (1986) and Dharavi (1992). He has been active in cinema. He was critically acclaimed for his performances in many unconventional roles such as a victimized tribal in Aakrosh (1980) (a film in which he spoke only during flash-back sequences); Jimmy's manager in Disco Dancer (1982); a police inspector in Ardh Satya (1982), where he revolts against life-long social, cultural and political persecution and for which he got the National Film Award for Best Actor; the leader of a cell of Sikh militants in Maachis (1996); as a tough cop again in the commercial film Gupt in 1997; and as the courageous father of a martyred soldier in Dhoop (2003). In 1999, Puri acted in a Kannada movie A.K. 47 as a strict police officer who tries to keep the city safe from the underworld - it became a huge commercial hit. Puri's acting in the movie is very memorable. He has rendered his own voice for the Kannada dialogues. In the same year, he starred in the successful British comedy film East is East, where he played a first-generation Pakistani immigrant in the north of England, struggling to come to terms with his far more westernised children. Om Puri had a cameo in the highly acclaimed film Gandhi (1982, directed by Richard Attenborough). In the mid-1990s, he diversified to play character roles in mainstream Hindi cinema, where his roles are more tuned to mass audiences than film critics. He became known internationally by starring in many British films such as My Son the Fanatic (1997), East Is East (1999) and The Parole Officer (2001). He appeared in Hollywood films including City of Joy (1992), opposite Patrick Swayze; Wolf (1994) alongside Jack Nicholson; and The Ghost and the Darkness (1996) opposite Val Kilmer. In 2007, he appeared as General Zia-ul-Haq in Charlie Wilson's War, which stars Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts. He has worked in Hindi television serials like Kakkaji Kaheen (1988) (roughly meaning "Uncle says") as a paan-chewing 'Kakkaji', which was a parody on politicians, and Mr. Yogi (1989) as a suave 'Sutradhaar' who enjoys pulling the protagonist's leg. These two serials underlined Om Puri's versatility as a comedian. He received critical acclaim for him performance in Govind Nihalani's television film Tamas (1987) based on a Hindi novel of the same name. He essayed comic roles in Hindi films like Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro which reached a cult status, followed by Chachi 420 (1997), Hera Pheri (2000), Chor Machaye Shor (2002) and Malamaal Weekly (2006). His more recent Hindi film roles include Singh Is Kinng, Mere Baap Pehle Aap and Billu. Puri was seen in the role of Mohammad Ali Kasuri in Road to Sangam (2009). In 2010, he appeared in The Hangman. In 2011 he was in the Indian action movie Don 2. He has also worked in Aahat TV Series in some episodes during second season which was aired between 2004-2005 on Sony channel.
A graduate of Boston College with a double major in finance and theatre and an M.F.A. in Acting from the prestigious Theatre School at DePaul University, actor P.J. Byrne has compiled a long list of impressive film and television credits. Byrne stars in the CBS drama Intelligence alongside Josh Holloway and Marg Helgenberger and he can be seen in a leading role in The Wolf of Wall Street directed by Martin Scorsese and starring Leonardo DiCaprio.
Prior to that, he was recognized for his pivotal scene-stealing role in Horrible Bosses in which he supports the stars of the film as they plot to kill their bosses. This film allows him to add Jennifer Aniston and Jason Bateman to a long list of important actors with whom he has had the opportunity to work. He has played opposite: Steve Carell in Dinner for Schmucks, Zach Galifianakis in The Campaign, Harrison Ford in Extraordinary Measures, Tom Hanks in Mike Nichols' Charlie Wilson's War, Will Ferrell and Nicole Kidman in Nora Ephron's Bewitched, Jack Black in Michel Gondry's Be Kind, Rewind, Jim Carrey in Bruce Almighty and Clint Eastwood in Bloodwork. Byrne was very well received for his starring role in the 5th installment of the phenomenally successful Final Destination franchise for Warner Bros. In the film Byrne's character meets one of the more unusual demises ever in the series of sci-fi horror films.
Byrne's television credits include the fan favorite role of Irv Smiff, the driven sports agent, who represents a number of professional football players in the ongoing BET hit series The Game. He has appeared in recurring and guest roles on hit and acclaimed series such as NCIS, The Mentalist, Burn Notice, Bones and It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Reno 911, West Wing, ER, Boston Legal, Desperate Housewives and New Adventures of Old Christine.
In addition to his on-screen roles, Byrne also voices one of the lead roles in the Emmy- nominated Nickelodeon series, The Legend of Korra.
A Garden State native, Byrne was born in Maplewood, New Jersey and was raised in Old Tappan, New Jersey.
Shaun Toub was born in Tehran, Iran, to a Persian Jewish family. He was raised in Manchester, England. At the age of 14, he moved to Switzerland and after a two year stay, he crossed the Atlantic to Nashua, New Hampshire, to finish his last year of high school. After two years of college in Massachusetts, Shaun transferred to USC. His high school yearbook notes: "The Funniest guy in school and the most likely to succeed in the entertainment world."
Through a chance encounter with an astute talent agent, he broke into the Hollywood scene with hope in his heart and a natural talent to entertain.
Toub has received accolades for several of his appearances in over 100 television episodes including Seinfeld, The Sopranos, Castle, NCIS, Chuck, Lost, Charmed, ER, Just Shoot Me, JAG, Married with Children and various movies made for television.
His filmography includes his memorable performance in Bad Boys, Broken Arrow, The Kite Runner, Charlie Wilson's War, Iron Man, The Last Airbender and the Oscar-winning film Crash. His recent work includes playing Majid Javadi in Season 3 of Homeland and the upcoming film Papa, the life story of Ernest Hemingway, in the role of Evan Shipman the poet.
Shaun is very proud of his Persian heritage and is very active in the community. Through various charity events and public speaking engagements, he inspires the community to embrace the arts, as the arts enhance everyday life. Shaun resides in Los Angeles and loves the outdoors, sports, and music.
|Pasha D. Lychnikoff
Born in Moscow, a student of Moscow Academy of Dramatic Arts, Pasha (aka Pavel) Lychnikoff, appeared on Moscow's stages in such productions as Googol's Inspector General and Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment. In early 90s Pasha moved to America to pursue his acting career in the United States. Arriving at JFK Airport with five dollars in his pocket, speaking only a few words of English, Pasha made his way to Brighton beach, to Harlem, to Hell's Kitchen, and then to Los Angeles to act.
Insights from Jonathan Banks and encouragement from private lessons with The Groundlings' creator Gary Austin, gave Pasha the advantage he needed. Jumping the fence at Twenty Century Fox, paid off, landing Pasha first television guest NYPD Blue.
Lychnikoff continues to build an impressive resume in both film and television. He has starred as 'Balzanov,' a Telegraph operator, in a lawless town in the second and third seasons of the critically acclaimed HBO series Deadwood. He just recently joined the cast of Wayne Wang's 1000 Years of Good Prayers and Mike Nichols' Charlie Wilson's War written by Aaron Sorkin. He is also one of the leads in Lions Gate's Trade -Welcome to America with Kevin Kline directed by Marco Kreuzpaintner, produced by Ronald Emmerich due to be released in March of 2007.
Pasha's TV credits include series regular role in David Milch and Tony Yarkovich TV drama Big Apple. He has had more than 30 TV guest appearances in shows such as Without a Trace, CSI Miami, The Shield, NYPD Blue, Alias, The Agency, Nash Bridges and others. His feature film credits include "Miami Vice" with Jamie Foxx and Colin Farrell directed by Michael Man, Air Force One with Harrison Ford and Gary Oldman and Playing God with Angelina Jolie, Timothy Hutton and David Duchovny.
Pasha has a big passion for theater which extended beyond acting to producing. The Shelter was his recent production debut at the Odyssey Theatre in Los Angeles. The play got 5 Ovation Awards nominations in 2006 in 5 different categories including the World Premier Play, Play Intimate Theater, Direction of a Play, the Ensemble Performance and Lighting Design. His performance in the play got him rave reviews by a number of critics.
Rick Avery, the patriarch of the family is an acclaimed stuntman, stunt coordinator, martial artist, actor, and director with over 500 credits, including Get Smart, Frost/Nixon, Charlie Wilson's War, The Prestige, The Italian Job, Meet the Fockers, Spiderman, and Poseidon. Rick recently joined forces with Emmy Award Winning Producer/Director Donna Keegan, of Controlled Chaos Productions, to create their production company, Check 6 Productions. C6P is currently in the distribution stage of the documentary, Raiders Remembered, which Rick wrote, produced and directed. Their venture now is bringing HardKnocks with the Averys to internet Television with world wide distribution. This veteran filmmaker has directed several films, including The Expert and Deadly Outbreak, which premiered on HBO, Cinemax, and Showtime. He is also a second unit director who's credits include Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny, Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, Cursed, Identity, Scream3, and The Sweetest Thing. As an actor, Rick has appeared in a wide variety of feature films such as Edge of Darkness, with Mel Gibson, Heat, and Batman Begins, as well as many television programs. Most recently, he had a leading role in Jesse James is a Dead Man: Jesse vs. the Cops. Rick recently won a Screen Actors Guild Award for Best Stunt Ensemble in a Motion Picture for Dark Knight and a Taurus World Stunt Award for Best Vehicular Work for Dark Knight. He has also won a Screen Actors Guild Cast Award for Traffic. Adding to his large array of Martial Arts Championships, Rick was recently inducted to the prestigious Martial Arts Hall of Honors. Rick is a Master Helicopter Instructor at Group 3 Aviation and flies full-time for National Helicopters, piloting A-Star and Jet Ranger helicopters. He routinely flies helicopters and airplanes for both film and television. He is a commercial, multi-engine airplane pilot, commercial helicopter pilot and instructor, 5th degree black belt champion, certified NAUI Scuba diver, U.S. Army veteran, and former Santa Barbara Metro Police Officer. He is also active in the community, participating in the Special Olympics as a donation partner since 1998, and continues to be involved in many charitable organizations. For example, Air LifeLine and Angel Flight, which fly patients with medical needs to hospitals throughout the United States, both depend on Rick for his tireless charitable giving of his time and piloting skills. He is also active in the community, participating in the Special Olympics as a donation partner since 1998 and he continues to be involved in many charitable organizations. Most recently, donating his piloting skills to the MS Foundation on behalf of the International Stunt Association, which he was a founding member of. With all that this man has accomplished, and all that he still lists as, "I want to ____ one day", he enthusiastically states with resounding love and pride, that the greatest joys in his life are his three children, Dianne, Brian, and Mike, and his grand-babies....Bailey and Mia. For Rick Avery ... it's all about family.
Enayat Delawary's passion for Afghanistan; its people, diverse culture and historical significance, is evident in every aspect of his life.
Born in Kabul, Afghanistan, Enayat was exposed to the lives of all Afghans, whether in remote villages or the highest levels of government, by his father, a top advisor to King Zahir Shah.
From a young age, Enayat studied the varied cultural traditions and mastered the languages of the different ethnic and tribal areas of the region.
In 1971, after graduating from the Nedjat (high school,) he worked as a tourist and mountain guide to deepen his understanding of the diverse geography of Afghanistan.
In 1973, Enayat moved to Germany where he received his Masters Degree in Social and Political Science. While in Germany, he worked closely with renowned scholars, filmmakers and journalists translating books and documentary films. This included translating material from Farsi, Dari and Pashto into German, as well as fact checking for historical, political and cultural accuracy.
Most recently, Enayat has had the privilege of working with some of the world's most esteemed directors as a dialect coach, translator, cultural advisor and actor on multiple films. He has served in all of these capacities for Mike Nichols' "Charlie Wilson's War" and Jim Sheridan's "Brothers," working intimately with Mr. Nichols and Mr. Sheridan through all stages of production.
Enayat's life has prepared him with a very unique skill set for providing unparalleled services to writers, filmmakers and historians during these tumultuous times. His passion for his homeland and a lifetime of ongoing curiosity and study makes him an ideal candidate for providing assurance for the accurate representation of the Afghan people, Afghanistan, and the entire Central Asian region.
Film, television and stage actor Michael Spellman hails from Detroit, Michigan. After discovering his passion for acting at a young age, he attended New York City's American Academy of Dramatic Arts, graduating from the school's Los Angeles campus in 1999. After furthering his skills at Oxford University's Balliol College, he made his way back to the states to formally pursue his career in acting. He made his film debut in the award-winning indie production How to Ace an Intervention (2005) and in his break-through television role, he played recurring character, Dr. Jim Babinski in the long-running series, ER. His first role in a major release was in Charlie Wilson's War (2008) directed by Mike Nichols, starring Tom Hanks and Philip Seymour Hoffman.
Spellman is also quite active on the Los Angeles stage, where he has appeared in numerous productions including the LA Weekly Award winning "The Grapes of Wrath" and the West Coast premiere of "Epic Proportions" both at the highly respected, West Coast Ensemble. He is also a member of The Actors' Gang theatre where he was seen in "The Seagull" (directed by Georges Bigot) and "Mephisto" (directed by Tim Robbins).
In (2007) John Robert returned to acting. Since then John has appeared in 40 feature films and 4 Boston Legal(s) among other entertainment projects. He appeared in a White Stripes music video and a Toyota commercial. He has worked in films connected to Tom Hanks, Robert DeNiro, Ron Howard, Jackie Chan, Sandra Bullock, Ron Howard, David Mamet, Mike Nichols. Jeremy Piven, Barry Levinson and William Shatner. John was a Congressman in Charlie Wilson's War, a Senator in Eagle Eye and The President in the recently completed K Citizen. He has been producer in a tux at Cannes in both What Just Happened and Entourage.
Melinda Esquibel is an award nominated producer and encompasses fourteen years of experience in the entertainment industry. Esquibel's current projects include producing and directing a documentary on the famous disappearance case of Tara Calico, producing National Wildlife Federation's Campus Chillout! (campus solutions for the climate crisis), a feature film entitled: PAIS: The Untold Story of Cuban Revolutionary, a feature documentary, and an all encompassing book on the life and death of Frank Pais.
Other projects Esquibel has produced include Shepard Fairey's Vote for Change and Hopes for Change Campaign, FOADAC's Virtual Telethon and Green Means Go (celebrity solutions for greener living).
Previously Esquibel worked in the Social Action Team at Jeff Skoll's company, Participant Media, and was the Campaign Manager for the Oscar nominated documentary, Muderball (which included raising $350,000 for program development at the Paralympics for Iraq war veterans who have come home with spinal injuries), and has been a Campaign Contributor to films such as: Oscar winner and Nobel Prize winner, An Inconvenient Truth, with Al Gore - the Train the Trainer Program and AIT school curriculum , Charlie Wilson's War, Angel's in the Dust, Good Night and Good Luck, Fast Food Nation, Syriana and North Country.
Prior to Participant Productions, Esquibel previously served as the Live-Action Production Supervisor for Fox Family Worldwide. A key player at Fox Family Productions, some of her credits include: Addams Family Series & Movie, Captain Kangaroo, Casper Meets Wendy and Power Rangers Series and Movies.
While at Fox Family, Esquibel served and was a founding board member on the Diversity Advisory Board at Fox Entertainment Group. This committee was created to increase minority vendor spending and diverse presence throughout the studio in compliance with the Multi-Cultural Coalition. Esquibel has also served on the Board of Directors of the Imagen Foundation and currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Foundation for Orphan Abandoned and Disabled African Children.
Esquibel has been awarded for her work by the Environmental Media Awards and was nominated for an Imagen Award in 2009 for Best National Informational Programming for National Wildlife Federation's Campus Chillout! Campus solutions to the climate crisis.
A native Californian, Nancy Beer grew up on both the East and West Coast. She began working in the creative department of an advertising firm in San Francisco, and later moved to Phoenix to join another ad agency as a Jr. Account Executive working on such accounts as the Arizona Biltmore Hotel and Valley National Bank. When Hollywood came calling, Ms. Beer found her way onto the staff of TV game shows "Face The Music" starring Ron Ely and "You Asked For It" hosted by Rich Little. "This was my boot camp for two years to give me production experience into video tape editing with major production companies," she said. Several years later, she joined a Beverly Hills business management firm working with Cher, Dolly Parton, Mac Davis, Kenny Loggings, The Commodores, Lou Rauls, and Planet Records, to name a few. Along the way, Nancy has also served as a Makeup Artist for print and TV commercials over the past 10 years as well as working on the feature film "Boogie Nights" and Playboy TV. She also served as an assistant casting director on such feature films as "Charlie Wilson's War," "Larry Crowne", "Hop", "Tropic Thunder" and "The Little Fockers." She has continued to move into the position of Casting Director for many productions. Nancy Beer has also been seen in front of the camera over the past six years as an extra and stand-in on hundreds of film and television shows. Away from the entertainment business, Nancy is an accomplished photographer who has worked with the L.A. County Fire Department photo unit. She also served on the board of directors of the American Women in Radio and Television.
Gingger is an Indian America composer, violinist and singer.
In 2007, Gingger was one of only six film composers selected from around the world to attend the prestigious Music Composer's fellowship at the Sundance Film Institute.
She has scored films such as Sundance award winning documentary 'Recycle', IDFA documentary 'This is My Picture When I Was Dead', 2011 Sundance feature film' Circumstance' and many others.
In 2008, Gingger was selected for the BMI conducting fellowship under Lucas Richman. Some of her film works were recently performed live at the opening night of the 2010 Sundance Film Festival.
Her haunting, angelic vocals and prolific composition and instrumental talents entwine to create a musical experience unlike any other. The artist and co-composer behind the poignant score of Mel Gibson's 2004 box office hit The Passion Of The Christ, Gingger has lent her voice and vision to several diverse projects ranging from soundtracks to soulful pop and electronic hip-hop.
She is the only female in the world that has mastered the 10-string Double Violin, an instrument that covers the entire range of the orchestra's double bass, cello, viola and violin, and of which there are currently only two in existence.
Gingger has collaborated with such uniquely talented and varied artists as L. Shankar, Zakir Hussain, Phil Collins, Steve Vai, Peter Gabriel, Steve Lukather, Cheap Trick, Smashing Pumpkins, Trent Reznor and Tony Levin, to name just a few.
Her music can also be heard in Mike Nichol's film, "Charlie Wilson's War" starring Tom Hanks, where she had a chance to collaborate with film composer James Newton Howard.
In the fall of 2008/2009, Gingger appeared as a special guest with the Smashing Pumpkins on their 20th Anniversary tour. During that time, Gingger debuted at Carnegie Hall as a soprano in the opera 'Ainadamar'.
|Ayn Olivia Vaughan
Ayn Olivia Vaughan grew up in theatre because of her mother's career in Costume Design and production. Some of Ayn's earliest memories are falling asleep in the front during rehearsals of a local community theatre, where the actors judged their performance on how long she stayed awake. Her stage debut was singing 'The Greatest Love of All' in an after school talent show at the age of five. From that point on, any production Ayn could be a part of, she was in, either on stage or behind the scenes. She continued to thrive on seeing regional contemporary theatre as well as the classics and Shakespeare, of course.
In 2000, Ayn was cast in 'Imitating Life', a profound one act original play about what is lost when a life is aborted. 'Imitating Life' placed third in the 2001 Delaware one act play competition and she worked on Gods & Generals in the costume dept later that fall. In 2002, Ayn supervised costumes for the independent film 'Steve Phoenix'. Moving to Los Angeles in 2005 allowed Ayn the opportunity to learn the entertainment business from both sides of the camera. Behind the scenes, she has worked in many capacities on Gilmore Girls, Indiana Jones 4, Charlie Wilson's War, Gods & Generals & Alpha & Omega. Whether working on the lot or with a small production, Ayn has always wanted to tell the story the best way possible.
Having worked on a variety of projects from major motion pictures, television, animation & independent film has given Ayn a unique perspective and depth of understanding that she continues to bring to her many projects in front of and behind the camera. And she says 'I've only just begun'.