In his early career as the 4-year-old "World's Youngest Ordained Minister," Hugh Marjoe Ross Gortner became a 'Miracle Child' extraordinaire. Preaching gospel from memory and performing faith healings, he drew capacity crowds as he barnstormed throughout the Bible Belt. Marjoe (the name a combination of "Mary" and "Joseph") eventually became disillusioned with what he considered a huge deception and withdrew from the scene entirely during his teen years. But his God-given talents for drawing an audience and public speaking were to be put to good use later on.
After singing with a rock band, he felt a compulsion to act. The amazing documentary Marjoe, based on his life as a fake evangelist, introduced the public to a new and profoundly hypnotic performer. Marjoe's potent roles in the TV projects The Marcus-Nelson Murders and The Gun and the Pulpit capitalized on this off-centre flamboyance and showed off his obvious potential. The extremely positive reviews here helped catapult him into films. Unfortunately, most of them, promising as they must have seemed at the time -- Earthquake, The Food of the Gods, Viva Knievel!, and When You Comin' Back, Red Ryder? -- went on to become dismal failures, and his quest for stardom never materialized. Marjoe stumbled through some more films in the 80s, but even he, with his charismatic powers, couldn't save himself from coming off badly in such drivel as Mausoleum and Hellhole and his career sank into oblivion. Though his work as an actor has grown faint with time, Marjoe will at the very least be remembered as the man who blew the whistle on evangelism. Who knows? Knowing Marjoe, there is still time for a second coming.
Jay Leno began his career in night clubs, where he worked 300 nights a year before hitting it big in 1992 with his own late-night talk show, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. By that time he had appeared on television, acted in a few films (American Hot Wax) but hit paydirt with his late-night television appearances (he made a record number of visits to Late Night with David Letterman); for several years, he served as Johnny Carson's permanent guest host on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. A big, sweet guy with a very good comedy routine, he vied with David Letterman to inherit Carson's seat when Johnny retired in 1992. His victory was well-publicized, but empty, though he did gain a measure of revenge when his show beat Letterman's for the Emmy in 1995. Though he consistently lost in the ratings to Letterman except on special occasions, like Hugh Grant's first TV appearance after his encounter with Divine Brown, he surged ahead in 1996, as CBS plunged further into oblivion.
As a testament to her passion and talent, former 1950s pig-tailed moppet star Patty McCormack has remained a consistent presence on film and TV for over five decades. While the lovely and talented blond suffered her share of hard knocks in adjusting to an adult career, she did not fade away into oblivion or self destruct as those child stars before her did.
Born Patricia Ellen Russo in Brooklyn, New York, to Frank Russo, a firefighter, and the former Elizabeth McCormack, a roller skating pro, the young girl found herself modeling at age 4. Two years later, she had progressed to films with bits in Two Gals and a Guy and Here Comes the Groom. Soon thereafter she made her Broadway debut (at age 6) in the short-lived play "Touchstone" starring Ossie Davis.
While simultaneously appearing in the live television series Mama [aka "I Remember Mama"], the by-now 8-year-old returned to Broadway a second time and created the role that would make her a cult sensation -- "Rhoda Penmark", the tiny, braided little demon with murderous intentions in "The Bad Seed". Starring Nancy Kelly as her put-upon, overly-trusting mother, the show became a certifiable hit. The two actors were invited to recreate their famous roles in the film version, The Bad Seed, and achieved equally fine results. No child before her had ever been given such a deliberately evil, twisted role and Patty chewed up the scenery with courteous malevolence. Though the film today may come off as extremely stagy and overly mannered to some, its fascination cannot be denied. Audiences took readily to Patty and her wicked ways and the young actress earned both Oscar and Golden Globe "Best Supporting Actress" nominations. It would be a hard act to follow. So strongly identified with the role, Patty found it difficult for audiences to see her any other way. She tried finding some variance as a pioneer girl in All Mine to Give, a testy child star in Kathy O' and a tomboy in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn but the memory of "Rhoda Penmark" was not so easily wiped away. She suffered typical teen angst in the film The Explosive Generation with William Shatner and had to make do as a young adult in such low-level movies as The Mini-Skirt Mob, Maryjane and The Young Animals.
By the 1970s Patty, who had spent so much time as a child doing live television, found herself again relying on the medium for steadier work. Billed now as a more grown-up "Patricia McCormack", she also appeared in a variety of legit stage productions and, on occasion, found roles in independent films. Appearing in more than 250 episodes of some of the most successful programs around, audiences may remember her giving sensible, wifely support to Jeffrey Tambor on The Ropers, the short-lived spin-off of the Three's Company sitcom, or from her recurring role as "Evelyn Michaelson" on Dallas. More recently on film and TV, she played "Adrianna"'s mother, "Liz LaCerva", on HBO's hit The Sopranos and appeared in guest form on NYPD Blue, Cold Case, Grey's Anatomy, Entourage and What About Brian. She also played former "First Lady" "Pat Nixon" in the film Frost/Nixon.
In 1995, her devoted fans reveled when she felt comfortable enough to embrace again her "Bad Seed" behavior by starring in the low-budget horror feature Mommy and then its sequel Mommy's Day [aka "Mommy 2"]. She came full circle as a most pernicious homemaker who created violent, Rhoda-worthy ends for those unlucky enough to cross her path.
A mother herself with two children, Robert and Danielle, Patty was once married to Bob Catania, a restaurateur. She was also an eight-year companion to screenwriter and playwright Ernest Thompson of On Golden Pond fame.
|Danielle von Zerneck
Danielle von Zerneck produces for both film and television teaming up with studios, companies and producers to develop projects that along with being both commercial and accessible have the ability to touch and provoke an audience.
Current film projects include: In partnership with The Jim Henson Company, a film adaptation of Susan Cooper's novel The Boggart. With Samson Films, (producers of the acclaimed film Once) Rose Of Tralee, by novelist Albyn Leah Hall, a father/daughter story surrounding the fabled Rose of Tralee beauty pageant in Ireland.
Television: Most recently produced for Lifetime Television in association with Sony Television, Left To Die starring Barbara Hershey and Rachel Leigh Cook. In development at ABC Family in association with Pilgrim Studios a series based on Recovery Road by Blake Nelson dealing with the world of sober teens. Also in development with Pilgrim Studios, a series, Lancaster County, based on the Amish themed novels by Karen Anne Hopkins with Jonah Lisa and Stephen Dyer adapting.
Danielle is also a consultant for The XO Group formerly The Knot Inc., a global media and technology company devoted to weddings, pregnancy and everything in between, assisting the company in the creation an entertainment department. In addition to developing a talk show in association with 44Blue Productions, she has partnered with several companies in the development of a slate of unscripted series based on XO Group's intellectual property. She is also Executive Producer for XO on the recently announced feature film, The Knot, for 21st Century Fox in association with Invention Films.
Danielle has previously produced two Sundance Film Festival entries, the award winning Living In Oblivion (distributed by Sony Pictures Classics) and God's Lonely Man.
Michelle Stacy was a cute, prolific, and pretty popular child actress of the 70s who acted in both films and TV shows alike for six years straight. Perhaps best known as the voice of "Penny" in the charming Disney animated feature, The Rescuers, Michelle also had memorable small parts in the science fiction pictures Logan's Run and Demon Seed. Stacy was excellent in a sizable supporting role as a traumatized mute girl who's rescued and protected by Jon Cedar in the immensely entertaining revolt-of-nature horror outing Day of the Animals. She also did guest spots on such TV shows as Mannix, The Waltons, The Incredible Hulk, Eight Is Enough and B.J. and the Bear and popped up in a bunch of TV commercials for Peter Pan Peanut Butter in the late 70s. Following her hilarious cameo as the little girl who likes black coffee in the uproarious Airplane!, Michelle Stacy suddenly stopped acting and seems to have vanished into oblivion.
Large (6'1"), affable, and commanding character actor Irwin Keyes was born on March 16, 1952 in New York City. Keyes grew up in Amityville, New York and graduated from Amityville Memorial High School in 1970. He acted in his first play "The Lower Depths" by Maxim Grody while attending college. Frequently cast as likable lugs, brutish goons, and imposing authority figures, Irwin acted in a diverse array of movies in such genres as horror ("Friday the 13th," "Guilty as Charged," "House of 1000 Corpses"), comedy ("The Private Eyes," "Zapped!;" hilarious as Wheezy Joe in "Intolerable Cruelty"), thriller ("Dream Lover"), science fiction (both "Oblivion" pictures), and action ("The Warriors," "The Exterminator" and its sequel). Keyes achieved his greatest enduring popularity with his recurring role as endearingly oafish bodyguard Hugo Majelewski on the hit sitcom "The Jeffersons." Among the TV shows that Irwin made guest appearances on are "Laverne & Shirley," "Police Squad!," "Moonlighting," "Married with Children," "thirtysomething," "Growing Pains," "Tales from the Crypt," and "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation." Moreover, Keyes not only acted in TV commercials and music videos (he was very touching as a struggling down on his luck actor in the music video for "Good Enough" by Prozak), but also did voice overs for video games. Irwin lived in Los Angeles, California and continued to act with pleasing regularity right up until his death at age 63 on July 8, 2015.
If talent takes you far in life then Jaylen Moore is a world-class traveler. A true triple threat known for his perilous acrobatic stunts & fighting style, versatile acting chops and comedic timing Moore is the epitome of today's "Action Hero and Renaissance Man" all in one.
Moore will be seen in a recurring lead role in the scripted series "Six," an eight-episode contemporary military action drama from A+E Studios and The Weinstein Company. "Six" follows the Navy SEAL Team Six, whose 2014 mission to eliminate a Taliban leader in Afghanistan goes awry when they uncover a U.S. citizen working with the terrorists.
He has amassed an impressive body of work in television and film. He will be seen in the upcoming "Bad Moms," and has appeared in hit films, such as "Hot Pursuit," "Man Down," "Tri," "Aztec Warrior," "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire," "Escape Plan," "Sons of Liberty," "Random," "Oblivion," "The Host," among many others. On the TV side, Moore has appeared in hit shows such as, CW's "The Originals," Fox's "Bones" " MTV's comedy film "Ladies Man: A Made Movie," six episodes of Conan's "Wolfboy" spoof of Taylor Lautner, and recurring roles in "Red Band Society" with Academy Award winner Octavia Spencer and Showtime's Emmy-winning drama, "Homeland" in the role of Eric Baraz.
A man of healthy living and discipline, he boasts extensive work in fitness training. This training has led to the chiseled physique that he sports and has equipped Moore with the agility and flexibility to perform his own stunts when needed.
Moore started his career in theatre where he studied at Chicago's Second City appearing in Ovation Award-winning musical "City Kid." It was also his where he met his wife, actress/screenwriter Britt Logan. He's the father of a beautiful daughter and speaks Dari and is conversational in Spanish, Arabic, and Pashtu
One of the early sound era's most attractive young leading ladies, doll-faced Marian Marsh enjoyed a short yet significant film career as the star of several memorable 1930s melodramas opposite some of the cinema's best, most charismatic lead actors. Her youthful, wide-eyed innocence combined with an innate delicacy to make a storybook heroine who was the perfect counterbalance to the licentious characters who often menaced her on film. So successful was she as a damsel in distress that she quickly became typecast, which impeded her development as an actress and helped bring her film career to a premature end.
The youngest of four children of a German chocolate manufacturer and his French-English wife, the future star was born Violet Ethelred Krauth on October 17, 1913, on the island of Trinidad, British West Indies. When World War I ruined his business, Mr. Krauth moved the family to Massachusetts, where his children developed an appreciation for the arts and theater.
During the mid 1920s, Violet's older sister Jean became a student at Paramount's Astoria studio and later a Paramount contract player. When Jean signed a contract with FBO Pictures in Hollywood, the Krauth family moved to the West Coast, where Violet attended La Conte Junior High School and later Hollywood High. In 1928 Jean helped her strikingly attractive golden-haired sister secure a screen test with Pathe Studios, which promptly signed her but dropped her after a short film appearance. After another short pact with Samuel Goldwyn, Violet, now known as Marilyn Morgan, opted to study acting and voice with 'Nance O'Neil'. In 1929 Warners signed the 16-year-old, who changed her name once again, this time to Marian Marsh.
Despite appearances in 30 short films starring James Gleason and a small part in Hell's Angels, Marian's career seemed headed to oblivion when she won the role of her life in Svengali, Warners' film remake of George Du Maurier's 1894 novel "Trilby"; the tragic tale of an artists' model who becomes a great singing diva under the hypnotic tutelage of the malevolent Svengali (charismatically portrayed by John Barrymore). According to Miss Marsh, she was tested for the plum role several times before being selected by Barrymore, apparently because she resembled his wife, Dolores Costello.
The immense critical and financial success of the film combined with young Miss Marsh's rave reviews to raise her Hollywood stock. Selected as one of the WAMPAS Baby Stars of 1931, she became one of filmdom's top up-and-coming actresses. Hoping to exploit her growing popularity and capitalize on her ability to project warmth, sincerity and inner strength on screen, Warners cast her as virginal heroines in a series of films. Of special note were her compelling performances as the daughter of a woman driven to suicide by amoral newspaper editor Edward G. Robinson in Five Star Final, a ballerina menaced by evil clubfooted puppeteer John Barrymore in The Mad Genius, a sexy teen smitten with mature William Powell in The Road to Singapore, and the fast talking Cinderella secretary of skirt-chasing financier Warren William in Beauty and the Boss.
Just when it appeared as if Marian was on the verge of superstardom, she seemed to fall out of favor at Warners. After the critical failure of the much ballyhooed drama Under Eighteen, a disappointed, exhausted Marian rebelled against the studio, which retaliated by not picking up her option. Her career never fully recovered.
After she departed Warners, the 19-year-old freelance actress compounded her problems and further diminished her reputation by accepting film work overseas and at minor studios. Although her performances in such films as The Sport Parade, the British comedy Over the Garden Wall and A Girl of the Limberlost were admirable, low-budget production values and other assorted problems doomed the projects.
In 1935 Marian signed a two-year pact with Columbia Pictures and tried with some success to resurrect her foundering career. Of the eight Columbia pictures she made during the period 1935-36, four were memorable. She was excellent, if typecast, as a young girl mixed up with crooks and gangsters in the entertaining melodrama Counterfeit, as the bespectacled daughter of a retailer in love with a shyster salesman in the charming B comedy Come Closer, Folks, as an accursed young woman forced to marry murderer Boris Karloff in the fondly remembered suspense classic The Black Room, and notably as the beautiful prostitute Sonya in Josef von Sternberg's controversial film version of Fyodor Dostoevsky's timeless novel Crime and Punishment starring Peter Lorre. Her performance in the latter is without a doubt one of the best, if not the best, of her career.
When her Columbia contract expired in 1936, Marian once again squandered her momentum and talent by appearing in routine second features. From 1937 to 1938, she made seven mostly forgettable films, the best of which was Republic's B drama Youth on Parole, in which Marian was poignant as a girl suffering the rejection and prejudice associated with being a parolee.
In March 1938 Miss Marsh, long one of Hollywood's most eligible bachelorettes, wed stockbroker Albert Scott, the former husband of actress Colleen Moore. After the marriage she made only five more feature films. "I loved acting," she told author Richard Lamparski, "but I had become a professional because we needed the money. In 1938 I married a businessman and just drifted away from acting." PRC's money-starved comedy House of Errors is her last film to date.
In the late 1950s Marian, was briefly lured back to acting, appearing in an episode of the popular John Forsythe sitcom "Bachelor Father" and an episode of Schlitz Playhouse before retiring in 1959. One year later she married aviation pioneer and wealthy entrepreneur Clifford Henderson and moved to Palm Desert, California, a town Henderson founded in the 1940s.
In the 1960s Marian founded Desert Beautiful, a non-profit, all-volunteer conservation organization to promote environmental and beautification programs. "We planted palm trees along the West Coast and were the first to plant palms in the lower valley [Coachella] to Palm Springs. If you want to leave something behind, plant a tree!" she told author Dan Van Neste in a 1998 interview.
After Cliff Henderson died in 1984, Marian continued to live in the Henderson ranch house continuing her charitable work. Miss Marsh remained in Palm Desert through 2005 and died in 2006. Near her end, Miss March was less active but still committed to her beloved Desert Beautiful. She retains fond memories of her filmmaking years and expresses appreciation for the continuing interest in her career. When asked how she'd like to be remembered in 1998, the modest, ever-gracious star simply replied, "For doing my best. I think anything I've ever tried, I tried to do my best. In the end, that's all you can do!"
Fred Allen, the well-known comedian who went on to star in radio, television, and film, was born John Florence Sullivan in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1894 and educated at Boston University. His Broadway shows include "The Passing Show of 1922" and "The Greenwich Village Follies".
He produced, wrote,and starred in a network radio show entitled at various times "Linit Bath Club Revue", Town Hall Tonight", Texaco Star Theater" and finally "The Fred Allen Show" from 1932 to 1949. He was also a semi-regular on the network radio program "The Big Show" from 1950 to 1952. He was a frequent guest on "The Jack Benny Program". Jack and Fred, good friends in real life, had an accidental on air feud that begin in 1936 and lasted off and on until Fred Allen's passing.
On television, he was one of the regular rotating hosts of the Colgate Comedy Hour (1950), but did not renew his initial contract due to health reasons. He also starred on television's "Judge for Yourself" from 1953 to 1954 and was a regular panelist on What's My Line" from 1954 until his death.
He appeared in such films as "Thanks a Million", "Love Thy Neighbor", "Sally, Irene, and Mary", and "It's in the Bag".
He wrote two autobiographies. The first,about his days in radio, published in 1954, entitled "Treadmill to Oblivion". The second, about his days in vaudeville, was published after his death by his wife Portland Hoffa, entitled "Much Ado About Me." (1956). Fred was in the process of completing the final chapter at the time of his death. Also always known as an avid letter writer, a collection of these entitled "Fred Allen's Letters" was published in 1966.
Star of stage in Europe, she became just another "Another Garbo," like Anna Sten and others, whose importation to 1930's Hollywood led to movie stardom nary a whit. Her most often-seen performance is her brief role as the governess to the Empress's very young son in "The Song of Bernadette", who takes what is believed to be miraculous water from the grotto. She eventually went to Eastern Europe and into oblivion.
Loyd Bateman was born was born in 1977 in Norwich, England and spent the first four years of his life between Nigeria and South Africa where his parents were working in hotel management. Loyd grew up in Canada making his way with his mother and three siblings from the East coast cosmopolitan city of Toronto to the West coast city of Vancouver.
A true citizen of the world, Loyd found himself drawn to the study of Capoeira, the Afro-Brazilian martial art. His training and intensive study brought him to Brazil several times and also to a number of countries around the world including, Switzerland, France, England, Mexico and the United States. Loyd became very skilled in Capoeira and highly valued and respected by his Mestré Barrão the Founder of Grupo Axé Capoeria, one of the largest and most prestigious Capoeira groups in the world. Loyd is also fluent in Brazilian Portuguese as a result of his commitment to the art form.
Loyd always had a passion for film and found his way to the big and small screens through stunt work, a natural progression from his 12 years of dedication to his martial arts.
Loyd has been a very successful stunt performer since 2000 appearing in countless TV shows and over fifty major motion pictures, including: I Robot, Watchmen, Twilight Saga: Eclipse, Tron Legacy, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, and most recently Oblivion. Loyd has been stunt double to many A List actors including, Tom Cruise, Til Schweiger, Tom Hardy and Jason Statham.
Loyd has produced a number of award winning short films as well as the horror, cult film sensation "Dead Hooker in a Trunk", a film he also stunt coordinated, acted in and operated camera in the role of Director of Photography.
Loyd is an award winning cinematographer and is making the transition to Director. Loyd along with wife, actress Rachel Luttrell, are presently developing a number of feature films. Their first film project will be the science fiction film "Ordinary Joe". Loyd lives in Los Angeles, California with his wife, Rachel Luttrell-Bateman and their two children.
|Josef von Sternberg
Josef von Sternberg split his childhood between Vienna and New York City. His father, a former soldier in the Austro-Hungarian army, could not support his family in either city; Sternberg remembered him only as "an enormously strong man who often used his strength on me." Forced by poverty to drop out of high school, von Sternberg worked for a time in a Manhattan store that sold ribbons and lace to hat makers. A chance meeting in Prospect Park, Brooklyn, led to a new career in the cleaning and repair of movie prints. This job provided an entrée to the film production industry, then flourishing in Fort Lee, New Jersey. As an apprentice film-maker, from around 1916 to the early 1920s, von Sternberg developed a lasting contempt for most of the directors and producers he worked for (an exception was Emile Chautard, who acted in some of Sternberg's films of the 1930s), and was sure that he could improve on their products. Staked to a few thousand dollars -- even then an absurdly small budget -- von Sternberg proved himself right with The Salvation Hunters, which became a critical and financial hit. For the next couple of years he seesawed between acclaim and oblivion, sometimes on the same project (for instance, he received the rare honor of directing a film for Charles Chaplin, but it was shelved after only one showing and later disappeared forever). His commercial breakthrough was Underworld, a prototypical Hollywood gangster film; behind the scenes, von Sternberg successfully battled Ben Hecht, the writer, for creative control. With The Last Command, starring the equally strong-willed Emil Jannings, von Sternberg began a period of almost a decade as one of the most celebrated artists of world cinema. Both his film career and his personal life were transformed in the making of The Blue Angel. Chosen by Jannings and producer Erich Pommer to make Germany's first major sound picture, von Sternberg gambled by casting Marlene Dietrich, then obscure, as Lola Lola, the night-club dancer who leads Jannings' character into depravity. The von Sternberg-Dietrich story, both on-screen (he directed her in six more movies) and off (he became one of her legions of lovers, more in love with her than most) is a staple of film histories. His films of the mid-'30s are among the most visionary ever made in Hollywood, but in spite of their visual sumptuousness, contemporary audiences found them dramatically inert. The films' mediocre box office and a falling-out with Ernst Lubitsch, then head of production at Paramount Pictures (Sternberg's employer), meant that after The Devil Is a Woman he would never again have the control he needed to express himself fully. In his sardonic autobiography, he more or less completely disowned all of his subsequent films. In spite (or perhaps because) of his truncated career and bitter personality, von Sternberg remains a hero to many critics and filmmakers. His best films exemplify the proposition, as he put it, that in any worthwhile film the director is "the determining influence, and the only influence, despotically exercised or not, which accounts for the worth of what is seen on the screen."
In 2010 Fiona began acting professionally alongside Tom Hardy in Goodman Theatre's "The Long Red Road" by Brett C. Leonard directed by the late Philip Seymour Hoffman. Other recent theatre credits include two new plays at Tony-Award Winning Steppenwolf Theatre Company in Chicago, "Oblivion" and "FML: How Carson McCullers Saved My Life." She attends New York University Tisch School of the Arts.
Tragic songstress Lillian Roth (nee Lillian Rutstein), born in Boston, Massachusetts, on December 13, 1910, was given her first name in honor of singer Lillian Russell. She was the daughter of daunting stage parents who groomed her and younger sister Anne for stardom at an early age. The girls did not disappoint. In 1916, Lillian moved with her family to New York City where the youngsters found work as extras in films. Lillian's precocious talent was picked up on quickly and at age six made her Broadway debut in "The Inner Man." All the while the girls trained at the Professional Children's School. They became billed as "Broadway's Youngest Stars" after putting together a successful vaudeville tour billed as "The Roth Kids." In this act Lillian did serious dramatic impersonations of famous stars of the day with Anna delivering amusing satires of Lillian's readings. Lillian's vocal talents also impressed and she was cast in the show "Artists and Models" at age 15. Shy by nature, the ever-increasing thrust into the limelight caused Lillian to develop severe nervous disorders, but somehow she persevered. At age 17, Florenz Ziegfeld Jr. signed her up as an ingénue headliner in his new show "Midnight Frolics." This attention led to impresario Ernst Lubitsch's invitation to Hollywood for his glossy musical The Love Parade with Maurice Chevalier and Jeanette MacDonald. Lillian was a hit in her second lead role. She also impressed as Huguette in The Vagabond King, a rather dated early musical talkie. Paramount cast her in Honey, in which she debuted her signature standard "Sing You Sinners." Other roles included Cecil B. DeMille's Madam Satan and the Marx Brothers' vehicle Animal Crackers which countered her vocal stylings with the boys' zany antics. The sudden death of her fiancé in the early 30s drove Lillian over the brink. She found liquor to be a calming sensation, which led to a full-scale addiction. Marriages, one to renown Municipal Court Justice Benjamin Shalleck, came and went at a steady pace. There would be eight in all. Her career self-destructed as she spiraled further and further into alcoholic oblivion and delirium. Decades would be spent in and out of mental institutions until she met and married T. Burt McGuire, Jr., a former alcoholic in the late 40s. With his support, Lillian slowly revived her career with club work. She became a singing sensation again and toured throughout the world, receiving ecstatic reviews wherever she went. Lillian's daring autobiography, "I'll Cry Tomorrow" was published in 1954 and topped The New York Times Best Sellers List. She left out few details of her sordid past and battle with substance abuse. She would become the first celebrity to associate her name with Alcoholics Anonymous, putting a well-known face on the disease (as Rock Hudson would later do for AIDS, albeit less willingly) while doing her part in helping to remove the social stigma. A bold, no-holds-barred film adaptation of Lillian's book followed. Susan Hayward's gutsy portrayal of Lillian won her a fourth Oscar nomination. Lillian herself would return to films in her twilight years but only in small roles and to minor fanfare. A beautiful and touching vocalist and actress, she put her own wonderful spin on such vintage songs as "When the Red, Red Robin," "I Wish I Had My Old Gal Back Again" and "Eadie Was a Lady." Lillian overcame unimaginable odds and somehow lived to tell about it. She passed away in 1980 at 69 of a stroke.
Sonja Smits was born on September 8, 1958 in Ottawa Valley, Ontario, Canada. She's one of two daughters of Dutch immigrants who ran a dairy farm south of the nation's capitol. Smits attended Bell High School in Bells Corners, Woodroffe High School, and South Carleton High School in Richmond. Sonja studied acting at the Ryerson Polytechnic Institute until she was invited to join the Centre Stage theatre company in London, Ontario. Smits began her acting career on stage; she has acted in stage productions at such theaters as Toronto's Tarragon Theatre, Theatre Calgary, the Beverly Hills Playhouse, and the Toronto Free Theatre. She made her television debut as Lisa in the made-for-TV feature "War Brides" and her theatrical film debut as Mrs. Lynde in the notorious killer kid horror opus "The Pit." Sonja was nominated for a Genie Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role for her outstanding portrayal of Bianca O'Blivion in David Cronenberg's brilliant "Videodrome." In 1988 Smits won a Genie Award for Best Performance by a Lead Actress in a Continuing Dramatic Role for her exceptional work as Carrington 'Carrie' Barr on the TV series "Street Legal." She's married to Atlantis Films co-founder Seaton McLean; the couple are the proud parents of two children and reside in the Rosedale neighborhood of Toronto, where they own the Clouson Chase Winery in Prince Edward County. Moreover, Sonja and Seaton also own a farm located close to the winery. Smits was the recipient of ACTRA Toronto's Award of Excellence in 2004. In 2009 Sonja was elected president of the board of directors of the Harbourfront Centre.
Grant was born in Edinburgh, Scotland. At the age of 5, he moved to England and spent the rest of his childhood there. He attended The Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, majoring in Trumpet.He obtained the qualifications G.R.N.C.M and P.P.R.N.C.M. He spent the next ten years playing in many different bands ranging from rock to soul/funk, and was a session player.
After 10 years he thought it was time to get a "proper" job and started work at Rare Ltd in 1995 as a Video Game Composer and Audio Designer. His first task was to convert Donkey Kong 2: Diddy Kongs Quest from the SNES to the Gameboy. This was a steep learning process but it got him started in games audio and was great fun!
The next video game he worked on was GoldenEye for the N64, it was one of the few Bond games that had the permission to use Monty Norman's theme. Grant has said that it was fantastic to be able to take that theme and re-arrange it in lots of different ways. No-one could've predicted that this game would go on to sell close to 10 million copies! It was the first time that he'd had to use sound effects and remembers having to try and make everything as small as possible as memory was so tight in those days. It taught him to make the most of what little resources he had, a skill that was essential for creating sound effects and video games music on the N64.
His next task was to join the Donkey Kong team on a game that started life as Dream, after going through a year of development Rare's management decided that the game wasn't going in the right direction and had the team re-think the design. After a short time of deliberation a new main character appeared with a wise cracking side kick and Banjo-Kazooie was born! This was Grant's first solo project and he created all the audio design and composed all the video games music, he remembers Tim stamper (Rare's founder) telling him "it's all yours, don't let us down". This game turned out to be Rare's Mario beater and gained rave reviews, the audio design and music received fantastic reviews and was lauded as the best on the N64. Grant was firmly on the map!
His next project was to take on Nintendo's mascot Donkey Kong. This game turned out to be another huge seller for Rare and Grant's video game music and audio design were receiving rave reviews again. At the same time Grant was also composing music for Perfect Dark, the follow up to GoldenEye, this game took the FPS to the next level and was highly praised, Grant's audio design and video games music on the game was again receiving high praise from all the reviewers and fans alike. Rare seemed like they could no wrong, it really was a golden era for the company and Grant has said this was an amazing and exciting time!
A sequel to the hugely popular Banjo-Kazooie was something that Rare couldn't miss out on and the original team got to work on a bigger better Banjo. When Banjo-Tooie surfaced it was again swallowed up by fans of the original game and reviewers alike. The audio on the game was praised again and Grant was firmly establishing himself as one of the top Sound Designers and Composers in the industry.
After Banjo Tooie, Rare's days with Nintendo drew to a close and the company was acquired by Microsoft. The first game that Grant worked on for the XBOX was Grabbed by the Ghoulies with Grant again providing audio design and composition. Grant was Nominated as one of the five finalists for "Outstanding Achievement in Original Music Composition" for Grabbed by the Ghoulies at the 2004 Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences Awards Ceremony and nominated for "Best Interactive Score" at the 2nd annual Game Audio Network Guild Awards Ceremony 2004.
Next up for Grant was Viva Pinata, for which Grant provided audio design and video game music. This was Grant's first time at writing for full orchestra and he couldn't wait to get started. The score was recorded by The City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra and Grant was nominated as one of the five finalists for "Original Score"at the 2007 BAFTA's for Viva Pinata. This was indeed an honour and Grant was obviously overjoyed to get such prestigious recognition.
A sequel to Viva Pinata, Viva Pinata:Trouble in Paradise was immediately begun and Grant once again was providing audio design and composition. He used the City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra again and the results were equally amazing!
Finally it was decided that a new Banjo game was to be worked on and Grant was reunited with his old friends the Bear and Bird! Banjo Kazooie: Nuts and Bolts was released in 2008, again the score utilised the City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra and the soundtrack was a mixture of the much loved music from the first two games and new material. The video games music soundtrack was released on Nile Rodgers' Sumthing Else label. This was to be Grant's last game for Rare.
During his work on Viva Pinata:Trouble in Paradise and Banjo Kazooie: Nuts and Bolts Grant had decided it was time for him to move on. He'd always wanted to work in the USA and began looking for somewhere he thought he could fit in and make a difference. After much searching Grant finally found what he was looking for,and secured the position of Audio Director at Big Huge Games in Baltimore and up and moved his family to the USA.
Grant has just completed work in sound design and composition for the RPG by best selling author, R. A. Salvatore, award winning creator of Spawn, Todd Mc Farlene and "Oblivion" Lead Designer, Ken Rolston. The game is called Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, that was released Feb 2012.
Eclectic is the qualificative that best defines the career of Yvonne Furneaux. Born in Roubaix (a big industrial town in the North of France) in 1928, the little girl was immediately placed under the sign of bilingualism, her father being English and her mother French. As a result, once this alluring brunette had become an actress, she could as easily play in an English or a French film, which did not prevent her from being a regular in Italy and in West Germany, with a foray into Spain. Likewise, she could appear in any film genre, from psychological dramas (Affair in Monte Carlo, her film debut) to adventure yarns (The Master of Ballantrae), from war films (Il carro armato dell'8 settembre) to films noirs (Enough Rope, The Champagne Murders), from sword & sandal movies (Slave Queen of Babylon, The Lion of Thebes) to horror movies (The Mummy), from comedies (Temptation in the Summer Wind to chillers (Repulsion). The same is true for the quality of her films, ranging from bombs (Frankenstein's Great Aunt Tillie, mediocre run-of-the mill products (The Death Ray of Dr. Mabuse), average works (Slave Queen of Babylon), quite good (Lisbon), good (The Beggar's Opera), very good (In the Name of the Italian People), excellent (Polanski's Repulsion, as demented Catherine Deneuve's normal sister), to an unclassifiable masterpiece (Fellini's immortal La Dolce Vita, in which she is Mastroianni ex-wife). Such heterogeneity more or less put Yvonne Furneaux at a disadvantage, despite an undeniable acting talent and her having been chosen by great directors (Peter Brook, Michelangelo Antonioni, Federico Fellini, Claude Autant-Lara, Roman Polanski, Claude Chabrol and Dino Risi. Another reason why she is not remembered as she should be, is the fact she gave up appearing on the screens little time after marrying cinematographer Jacques Natteau in the late sixties. One should not however dismiss or forget what I would call her cold beauty, which particularly worked wonders when she played haughty women of power such as Princess Ananka (in the classic of the genre,Terence Fisher's The Mummy), Semiramide or Cleopatra. Without a doubt, Yvonne Furneaux needs better than oblivion.
Deborah Puette began her career on the stages of Chicago, where she made her professional debut in the lead role of the world premiere of Rebecca Gilman's "The Glory of Living". The play, a critical smash that topped all of the major critic's lists for the year, was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. Ms. Puette's performance received rave reviews across the board, and she was awarded the Joseph Jefferson Citation, Chicago's most distinguished acting award, for her portrayal of an abused teenager turned serial killer. That same year she was profiled in Chiago's trade, PerformInk, as "a young actress to watch". Those successes led directly to leads in "Toys in the Attic", "Bus Stop" and "The Skin of Our Teeth", all at the acclaimed American Theatre Company. Diverse roles at Famous Door and Mary-Arrchie Theatre followed, as well as roles in film and television including "Lawrence Melm", directed by Steve Conrad, and "Cupid" opposite Jeremy Piven.
Since moving to Los Angeles, Ms. Puette has continued to work both on stage and in front of the camera. Within two months of arriving in L.A., she was working on Lifetime's hospital drama Strong Medicine, followed quickly by her L.A. stage debut in which she portrayed the lead in the West Coast premiere of Theresa Rebeck's Abstract Expression with Chautauqua Theatre Alliance. Other credits include "7 MET Shorts" and "The Great Writers Series", a project whose cast also included Ed Harris, Dermot Mulroney, Shirley Knight and Julianna Margulies. She most recently starred opposite Alfred Molina in the staged reading of Jonathan Lynn's dark comedy "The Bottome Line" at the Matrix Theatre. Upcoming films include the lead in the psychological thriller "Repose", the post-apocalyptic musical "Sacrifice", a starring role opposite Mark Feuerstein in "Lucid", and "Oblivion, Nebraska" with Gil Bellows.
Ms. Puette is represented theatrically by Robert Enriquez at Red Baron Management and commercially by Carrie Johnson at Mitchell K. Stubbs. She is a member of Screen Actors Guild and Actors' Equity Association. She resides in North Hollywood with her partner, actor-director Mark St. Amant and their five-year-old son, Wyatt Finn.
Jesse Woodrow has had a very successful career in Hollywood. He has modeled and been a spokesman for the biggest and brightest companies from around the world such as Skyy Vodka, Beefeater, L'Oreal, Coors Light, Guess, Apple computers, and Yves Saint Laurent. Casting Directing great, Mali Finn (Avatar, Titanic, The Matrix) recognized his talent early on and cast him in his first ever role opposite Reese Witherspoon, Josh Brolin and Alessandro Nivola in the 20th Century Fox feature film, Best Laid Plans. Aaron Spelling saw Jesse and loved his performance so much in a Warner Brothers/Spelling Pilot that he asked Pamela Shae to cast him and then write Jesse on the WB TV Series, Charmed for which he is most notable for playing Rose McGowan's boyfriend, 'Glen' as a recurring character for 2 years. He appeared in a Feria by L'Oreal commercial with Beyonce, Jessica Alba and Milla Jovovich as the launching of the men's color products. One of his recent projects, The Unborn won an "Edgar Short Story" award for the screenplay written by Serita Stevens prior to shooting the film. The Unborn, Directed by Samuel Benavides, was picked up for world wide television distribution on the Sundance Channel, DirecTV, iTunes and Amazon.com! The icing on the cake? The Unborn won the oldest, most prestigious film festival award, The Platinum Remi. The indie horror flick Mr. Woodrow starred in called, Something's Wrong in Kansas, is to be released this year. Mr. Woodrow's staring role in the SAG-AFTRA feature film, Tableau Vivant is set to be released August 15, 2014. Mr. Woodrow also stars in Blackbird staring Danny Glover & Minnie Driver & produced by Ryan Kavanaugh (21, Limitless, The Fighter, Salt), Amar'e Stoudemire (New York Knicks), and Relativity Media (The Social Network, Oblivion, Savages, The Bourne Legacy) and directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood.It is set to be released, November 14, 2014.
Joseph Trapanese is best known for his sleek, ominous score work for blockbuster films like "Tron: Legacy," "Straight Outta Compton," "Oblivion," and the "Raid" series. As a composer, arranger, and producer for movie, television, theater, and video game music, he has collaborated with a number of mainstream musical acts. His first major break came in 2010 when he worked with Daft Punk on the sweeping digital soundtrack to Disney's "Tron" reboot/sequel. Trapanese followed that success by creating a score with Mike Shinoda of Linkin Park for the American release of the 2011 Indonesian martial arts film "The Raid: Redemption" (he would continue without Shinoda in 2014 with "The Raid 2"). That same year, he helped with arrangements on a handful of tracks for M83's breakthrough hit "Hurry Up, We're Dreaming," which led to the pair's collaboration on the 2013 Tom Cruise sci-fi epic "Oblivion". He also reworked Moby's "Extreme Ways" for "The Bourne Legacy". Other notable scores include the landmark rap biopic "Straight Outta Compton" (2015), the second and third installments of the "Divergent" series, "Insurgent" (2015) and "Allegiant" (2016); "Earth to Echo" (2014); and Ubisoft's video game "The Crew" (2014). In the studio and in concert, in addition to M83 and Moby, he has worked with Dr. Dre, Zedd, Kelly Clarkson, Kendrick Lamar, Haim, The Glitch Mob, Active Child, Halsey, Sohn, John Newman, Dia Frampton, 3OH!3, Steven Price, and James Newton Howard.
Born in New Jersey, Trapanese earned his B.A. in classical composition from the Manhattan School of Music. He went on to study at UCLA for his M.A. in music for visual media and taught electronic music composition at the school from 2008-2011. In 2016, he became a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
Slim, shapely and adorable blonde actress Monica Gayle did her considerable best to enliven a handful of enjoyably trashy soft-core flicks and exploitation pictures during the course of her ten-year film career which lasted from the late 60s up until the late 70s. With her cute elfin face, long tawny hair, trim, slender figure and sweet, bubbly, dynamic personality, the Chicago-born Gayle was a welcome, often alluring and always delightful addition to such entertainingly lowbrow drive-in dross as Southern Comforts, Pinocchio (aka "The Erotic Adventures of Pinocchio"), Roxanna, Take It Out in Trade, The Stewardesses and The Harem Bunch. Monica essayed starring parts with tremendously infectious aplomb on two notable occasions: she's a poor farm girl who makes a deal with Death to enjoy her one final day on Earth in Larry Buchanan's artsy Strawberries Need Rain and a sexually adventurous young lady in Gary Graver's sordid Sandra: The Making of a Woman. Gayle achieved her greatest enduring cult feature fame with her marvelous portrayal of the jealous and traitorous one-eyed street gang member, Patch, in Jack Hill's fantastic Switchblade Sisters (aka "The Jezebels"). She was likewise on the money excellent and engaging in a juicy lead role as a naive aspiring country singer in the first-rate redneck exploitation gem Nashville Girl. Besides her film work, Monica also had guest spots on the TV shows Fantasy Island, S.W.A.T. and The Cowboys. Moreover, Monica had a recurring part on the popular daytime soap opera General Hospital in the mid 70s. Alas, Monica Gayle abruptly stopped acting in the late 70s and seems to have vanished into oblivion.
A native of Keokuk, Iowa, Jeremy Soule began life as a passionate composer of symphonic music at a very early age. Since the age of five, Soule took an intense interest in the symphony orchestra. "The Orchestra is the ultimate instrument. I find that it has the ability to define nearly every human emotion in existence" stated Soule from his Cascadian studio in the Great Northwest of America.
Mastering the art of orchestration, melodic composition and emotional context was no easy task for the British Academy Award winning composer.
That video games could be considered "Art" was unthinkable over 30 years ago during the debut of the first game machines such as the Magnavox Odyssey. The sights and sounds of the mid-eighties machines also did little to hint at the coming revolution. Today, video games feature development budgets in the tens of millions of dollars and often command some of the top talent in an ever-growing $20 billion industry.
For over a decade, Soule has provided music for some of the most successful and admired games of all time. Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, Harry Potter, Total Annihilation, SOCOM: The Navy Seals and the Elder Scrolls series can all attribute music to him. His versatility as a composer has also been demonstrated from his critically acclaimed traditional Asian score for Guild Wars Factions to his work with children's properties such as Rugrats and Lemony Snicket and the Series of Unfortunate Events.
The year 2006 witnessed one of the best years yet for Soule with such critical and commercial success coming from The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, Guild Wars: Factions/Nightfall, Prey and the World War II epic Company of Heroes. Soule won the inaugural MTV Video Music Award in August for "Best Score" and was honored with his third career British Academy Award nomination in October. In November, Soule won another "Best Score" award from Spike TV and was the recipient of numerous press awards such as Game Daily's "most iPod-worthy score".
In feature films, Soule's Walden Logo was used at the start of the $744 million earning film: The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe. His work with Narnia also continued with director Norman Stone's critically acclaimed film C.S. Lewis: Beyond Narnia.
In concerts, Soule's music was a component of the successful "Play Symphony" tour that featured prominently Elder Scrolls as well as Prey as part of their concert program. Performances were conducted with symphony orchestras in Vienna, Stockholm, Chicago, Philadelphia, Detroit and Toronto. Future performances are scheduled in Stockholm, Sydney and Singapore.
Daniel Jon Arrias was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. He was a stand out athlete in high school, playing football, running track and pole vaulting. He set records only to beat them himself each year. Daniel began Taekwondo training immediately upon high school graduation. It was a natural fit, given his discipline and athleticism. This new hobby became a passion that grew into a way of life for Daniel. He became a full time instructor, dedicating his life to the art of Taekwondo. While teaching, Daniel made the decision to become a fire fighter. Within two years, he received his degree in Fire Science and began his career as a Reserve Fire Fighter for the Culver City Fire Department. Simultaneously, Daniel was performing live action shows as a Power Ranger. His success in Taekwondo had steered him toward an exceptional way to showcase his talent. These high-energy, action packed, acrobatic shows had introduced Daniel to the world of stunts. After a year at the fire department, he made the decision to change his career and pursue life as a stuntman. After doing non-union gigs to hone his skills for two years, Daniel officially joined the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) in 2001. He now has upwards of 100 credits to his name, including work on some of the biggest blockbuster movies and television shows to date. In addition to working on so many mega hits, Daniel was a part of the SAG award winning stunt ensemble for Star Trek, as well as holding nominations for Iron Man and Transformers. Daniel has worked with many of the top billed actors in the business including Tom Cruise, George Clooney, Morgan Freeman, Kristen Stewart, and Jesse Eisenberg. He has had the opportunity to work with stars such as these, one on one, helping to train and develop their own unique physical character movement. Daniel prefers to train each actor in detail so that he or she can tackle as many of his or her own stunts as possible. Daniel has worked hand in hand with top stunt coordinators to develop skilled fight scenes, exciting car chases, dynamic high wire work, and other various stunt sequences in big budget films such as Tommorrowland, Star Trek, Oblivion, and Jack Reacher. Daniel continues his success as a professional stuntman, while simultaneously producing some killer fight choreography of his own. More recently, Daniel has had the pleasure of moving into the role of Stunt Coordinator. He continues to be highly respected in the industry as a loyal, hardworking and talented stunt performer. Daniel is gratuitous for his fruitful career as a stunt performer, and looks forward to more stunt coordinating opportunities in the near future.
The Oscar-winning screenwriter John Osborne, better known as one of the most important British playwrights of the 1950s generation that revolutionized English-speaking theater, was born on December 12, 1929 in London, England. His father, Thomas Godfrey Osborne, a native of Newport, Monmouthshire, was a copywriter, and his mother, Nellie, was a Cockney barmaid. John's father died in 1941 when he was 11 years old. The insurance settlement allowed him to go to Belmont College, Devon.
After completing school, Osborne did not go on to university but returned to London to live with his mother, where he tried to make it as a journalist. He was introduced to the theater through a job tutoring a touring company of junior actors. Smitten by the theater, he became a stage manager and actor, eventually becoming a member of Anthony Creighton's provincial touring company. Osborne wrote his second play, "Personal Enemy", in collaboration with Anthony Creighton (their "Epitaph for George Dillon" would be staged at the Royal Court in 1958, after Osborne had broken through as a solo artist with the watershed production of "Look Back in Anger", also at the Royal Court).
Look Back in Anger, which opened on May 8, 1956 at the Royal Court, the 11th anniversary of V-E Day (the surrender of Germany and the cessation of hostilities in the European theater of World War II), was revolutionary, as it gave voice to the working class. A press agent came up with the phrase "Angry Young Man" that would stick to Osborne and his compatriots, who created a new type of theater rooted in Bertolt Brecht and class consciousness. Though it initially received mix reviews, the play was a smash in London,and it made the transfer to Broadway, where it ran for a year. "Look Back in Anger" was nominated for a 1958 Tony Award for Best Play (Osborne and producer David Merrick, Best Actress in a Play (Mary Ure, whom Osborne made his second wife), and Best Costume Design (The Motley). It eventually was made into a movie starring Richard Burton and directed by Tony Richardson.
Laurence Olivier had taken Arthur Miller and his wife Marilyn Monroe to see the play when Olivier was shooting The Prince and the Showgirl in London with MM. Olivier was abashed by the play, but Miller convinced him of its greatness as a theatrical work. Olivier, sensing a sea-change in culture that could make actors of his ilk obsolete, engaged Osborne to write a play for him, and the playwright followed up "Anger" with another brilliant work, The Entertainer. Olivier reinvented himself as well as realigned himself with the new youth movement shaking the theater, giving a tour de force performance as Archie Rice, a down-at-the-heels, third-rate music hall entertainer facing emigration to Canada or oblivion. Osborne used the decline of the music hall, once the premier venue of British entertainment, as a metaphor for the post-war decline of the British Empire in light of the recent debacle in Suez, when the U.K., France and Israel were rebuffed by Egypt and the U.S. when the three countries invaded Egypt to seize the recently nationalized Suez Canal.
Osbrone's carer continued strong in the 1960s. He won the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay for Tony Richarson's movie version of Henry Fielding's Tom Jones, which won Richardson an Oscar as Best Director and was named Best Picture of 1963. He followed this success up with his last great play Luther, in which the cinematic Tom Jones, Albert Finney, won raves playing Osborne's take on Martin Luther, the man who revolutionized Christianity 1,500 years after The Christ. Fitting, that the rebel, the protester Osborne would take on the father of Protestantism. The play, first performed in England in 1961 and transferred to Broadway in 1963, won Osborne a 1964 Tony Award for Best Play, as well as a Tony Award nomination for Albert Finney. (Laurence Olivier had received his sole Tony nomination for "The Entertainer" when he had brought his legendary performance to Broadway.)
Other important plays followed. "Inadmissible Evidence", first performed in 1964, made Nicol Williamson a star (both Osborne and Williamson were nominated for Tony Awards in 1966 after the show transferred to Broadway). His other major play, "A Patriot for Me" (London debut 1965), dealt with the blackmailing of the Austro-Hungarian officer Colonel Redl (also dramatized in István Szabó's Colonel Redl), who was a homosexual and possibly a Jew in a pre-World War One society that was virulently anti-gay and anti-semitic. The production of the play helped erode theatrical censorship in Britain. The Lord Chamberlain, the theatrical censor in Britian, was opposed to the play and denied it the exhibition license the theater needed to put on public shows due to its frank depiction of homosexuality.
In exchange for an exhibition license, The Lord Chamberlain demanded multiple cuts, which would have resulted in the excision of half the play, according to Alan Bates in a B.B.C. interview during a 1983 revival of the play. Osborne and The Royal Court refused, and -- denied a license -- the theater had to be turned into a private club in order to produce the play in London as to produce it legitimately would have been impossible as half the play would have been censored. "A Patriot for Me" won "The Evening Standard" Best Play of the Year award (as would one of his latter plays, "The Hotel in Amsterdam" in 1968), though it was a succes d'estime, the theater taking a heavy loss on the production.
The year 1968 was a watershed in Osborne's professional life. Not only is 1968 the year that the counterculture "won", sweeping away all before it (and whose effects, as well as detritus, has yet to be replaced by anything else), it was the year of his last successful play, "The Hotel in Amsterdam", and the year that Tony Richardson's masterful satire The Charge of the Light Brigade -- based on a screenplay by Osborne -- was released. He would not enjoy the same success as he had in the 1950s and '60s in the latter part of his life. Starring Maximilian Schell, "A Patriot for Me" was not a success on Broadway, lasting but 49 performances in 1969, testifying to Osborne's decreasing commercial prowess in the theater, which once again was undergoing a revolution, but from the anarchist left with such productions as Tom O'Horgan's Hair.
The five-times married Osborne died from complications of diabetes on December 24, 1994, two weeks after his 65th birthday. His last produced play was "Déjà Vu" (1991), a sequel to his first great success, "Look Back in Anger". His legacy was a transformed British theater, which had broken its links to the ossified D'Oly D'Carte of the former generation, in which the theater was more about elocution by actors playing toffs than it was about life as lived by most Britons. Osborne and the legions of playwrights he influenced made language important, as well as introduced an emotional intensity into the theater. Osborne and his brethren used the theater as a soapbox on which to attack class barriers (and a theater which reinforced those class distinctions).
Born to humble beginnings in New Orleans, LA, Ameer, affectionately known to his friends and fans as Millie, had an early life that was as gloomy and as ill fated as a young life could have been. In and out of the "system" as a kid for transgressions ranging from youthful indiscretions to major crimes, he was seemingly on a one-way trip to oblivion. But much like Malcolm X who experienced a rebirth through self-education and through reading inspirational stories while behind bars, so, too, was Baraka inspired by reading about the likes of Nelson Mandela who moved mountains and changed the world from his Robben Island jail cell. Perhaps more than any other influence, Baraka attributes his personal transformation and metamorphosis to the spirituality and self-love he developed from reading the Bible behind bars.
Baraka began his professional acting career by appearing in music videos and making minor appearances in national and international television commercials. This early work, along with his dedication to the study of the acting craft with some of Hollywood's leading acting coaches and instructors, led to increasingly prominent roles.
His breakthrough came when he landed a major international television campaign for Korean automaker, Hyndai. In the spot, he played a super human machine who outraced a car. Big wigs in the entertainment industry took note, and soon Baraka was being solicited for roles alongside some of Hollywood's biggest names, including those of the Emmy and Academy Award Winner variety.
First there was Baraka's co-starring role in the comedy hit, The New Guy, alongside comedy veteran, Eddie Griffin. Then there were roles alongside Blair Underwood and Academy Award Winner, Forest Whitaker, among many others of that ilk.
When his native New Orleans became a hotbed of filmmaking after Hurricane Katrina, Baraka was quick to return home, not just to selfishly continue to rack up film credits, but also to pay it forward through his work with at-risk youth. His dedication to exposing underprivileged kids to movie and TV show sets, his mentoring them right in their own crime infested public housing projects, and his relentless efforts to get them off of the streets and into the classroom caught Oprah's eye. The Queen of Daytime Talk dedicated an episode of her acclaimed Blackboard Wars show to Baraka and his life changing and life saving work.
More roles followed. When the producers of Fox's American Horror Story, Coven were looking for an actor who embodied the A strength and character worthy of playing the love interest of one of their List co-stars, Angela Basset, they chose Baraka as that man. His role as the show's fan favorite, Minotaur," allowed him to sit at the feet of greatness by interning, if you will, not just with Basset, but also with two-time Academy Award Winner, Jessica Lange, and one-time Academy Award Winner, Kathy Bates, all of whom are now like family to him.
The blogosphere is replete with stories about which Hollywood starlet will have him squire them to movie premieres and red carpet events, and which network drama or big budget feature will be his first leading role.
The drop-dead handsome bachelor is a fitness fanatic who is dedicated to inspiring young people with his message that they, too, can overcome meager beginnings and obstacles in their way to eventually triumph through hard work, dedication, the pursuit of education, and strong faith. This strong faith of his, as powerful as an atom bomb though as small as a mustard seed, is the principal driving force of Baraka's testimony. Proud of every aspect of his life, including his brief stint in the Louisiana State penal system for a youthful transgression during his childhood, he uses all of his life experiences to heighten interest in the way that God has personally made a way out of no way for him. Baraka now travels the world, speaking at colleges, universities, corporations, and youth organizations to promote the Word and to make it accessible and digestible for as many as possible who will lend an ear.
Baraka is also a spokesperson for one of the world's leading travel websites, newyork.com, where he joins many of the entertainment industry's biggest stars to share stories about their love for the City that Never Sleeps.
Director, Actress, Special Effects Artist, Producer, Manager - Gigi "Fast Elk" Bannister (formerly Porter) has been in the film industry for over 35 years. "Discovered" while working in a diner in Texas, Gigi started her entertainment career as an in-house model in the '70s contracted to Dale Blanc' & Associates. Her diverse background includes actress, makeup artist, special effects artist, agent, manager, writer, director and producer for stage, film, television and live events. In 2012, after working in the industry since the age of 14, Gigi decided to return to school (Riverside City College) in pursuit of a degree with the desire to teach others what she has learned in the real world of film making. While there, she has worked on several student projects and has just completed a student film entitled, The Intruders, which is a reboot of the Twilight Zone: Invaders (1961) with a twist ending unique to her style.
"The Intruders" (a 10 minute B&W short shot with a Panasonic 4K in 1080 format) stars Gigi as a widow in a remote mountain cabin who is faced with Intruders from outer space in the form of a flying saucer and robots. When she bests them the Bannister retreats to the comfort of her home only to awaken in her bedroom to strange sounds! Was it all a terrible dream?!? She realizes it is actually her worst nightmare! The narrator is her husband, Reggie Bannister (Phantasm I-V, Bloody Bloody Bible Camp), and Ken Cress as the voice of the Ship Captain. Director of Photography is Michael Bates (Bloody Bloody Bible Camp) and many, many fellow Riverside City College film students as well as locals to the mountain community where the project was shot.
Better known for her practical special effects and production work, Gigi is comfortable on both sides of the camera. She's appeared in over a dozen films and television shows, is a popular guest at horror conventions, film festivals, workshops and seminars. Gigi is also credited as a producer, production manager, location scout, film liaison her most recent project was with her husband as a Producer on Don Coscarelli and David Hartman's "Phantasm V: Ravager" (2016) and Steve King's "One For the Road" (2011) (Night Shift Anthology). As a character actor, she's appeared as the tormenting Mother Mary in "Bloody Bloody Bible Camp" (2011), the enchanting Bearded Lady in "Carnies" (2009), a hygienic Trailer Gal in "Small Town Saturday Night" (2009) (with Chris Pine, John Hawkes, Reggie Bannister, and Perry Anzilotti), and again in Don Coscarelli's "Bubba Ho-Tep" (2002) (Bruce Campbell, Reggie Bannister and Ozzie Davis), The Sheriff's Wife in "Spring Break Massacre" (2008) (Reggie Bannister), and many more. In another Coscarelli production, of the 14 positions she worked, Gigi was credited as Special Effects Makeup Coordinator for Phantasm IV: Oblivion (1998). She has produced and directed on numerous projects including dozens of live events, fund raisers and seminars, six (6) independent feature films, and six (6) shows for television. Gigi has made a unique mark for herself in writing, directing and producing political music videos. Her first, was a Native American music video, "Love That's Gone" (1997), protesting the ongoing Yellowstone National Park buffalo slaughter. Her next was "Land of the Free" (2001) showing the necessity for park land in Long Beach, California. She co-wrote and produced "Baby That's Not Right" (2007) based on husband, Reggie Bannister's, original music.
Her talent for writing was realized early in life. She's a Golden Poet recipient, has completed a children's story, "The Adventurous Mr. Tiggy," and has a Native American Horror script in the works. When she submitted her original short script, "Miracle,"(a Native American film about the birth of a white Buffalo at Christmas) to both the AFI Director's Workshop for Women (making it to final cuts) and Lake Arrowhead Film Festival, she received the following review: "I loved it! I think this can be expanded to at least an hour's worth of film and would, obviously, make a great holiday TV film... The voices ... were genuine and believable... I believe you have the makings of a wonderful classic! Congratulations!" (Lauren Stone) After producing and hosting a chat show for decades ("Nightmarez Café" as Vampi the Vegetarian Vampire"), she now often produces for public service announcements, "Every 15 Minutes" (high school Anti-Drunk Driving Program), Battlefield Effects, and Mass Casualty/Moulage Makeup. She is her husband's personal manager for his music and film careers. Her pet projects include community service, Haunted Houses and Free Film Camps for youths in her mountain community through her non-profit, the Crestline Creative Arts Foundation.
Production Magic Inc PO Box 3287, Crestline CA 92325, email@example.com
Sam Irvin is a veteran film and television director, producer, screenwriter, author, journalist and educator.
After beginning his career as the assistant to Brian De Palma on "Dressed to Kill," Irvin has directed many movies, including "Guilty as Charged" (Rod Steiger, Lauren Hutton, Heather Graham, Isaac Hayes), "Acting on Impulse" (C. Thomas Howell, Linda Fiorentino, Nancy Allen, Paul Bartel Isaac Hayes, Cassandra Peterson), "Out There" (Billy Campbell, Rod Steiger, Billy Bob Thornton, Jill St. John, Paul Dooley, Robert Picardo, Julie Brown), "Fat Rose and Squeaky" (Louise Fletcher, Cicely Tyson, Julie Brown, Lea DeLaria), "Magic Island" (Zachery Ty Bryan, French Stewart, Isaac Hayes, Martine Beswick), "Oblivion" and its sequel "Oblivion 2: Backlash" (George Takei, Julie Newmar, Isaac Hayes, Meg Foster, Maxwell Caulfield), "A Very Cool Christmas" (George Hamilton, Donna Mills), "Deadly Skies" (Antonio Sabato Jr., Rae Dawn Chong, Michael Moriarty), "Proof of Innocence" (Joely Fisher, Denise Richards, Patrick Muldoon, Jim O'Heir, Debra Wilson), "My Santa" (Samaire Armstrong, Matthew Lawrence, Julie Brown, Jim O'Heir, Paul Dooley), and "Kiss of a Stranger" (Mariel Hemingway, Dyan Cannon, David Carradine) for which he also wrote the original screenplay.
Irvin has also produced a dozen additional films, including co executive producing Bill Condon's Academy Award winning motion picture, "Gods and Monsters"(Sir Ian McKellen, Brendan Fraser, and Lynn Redgrave).
For television, Irvin directed three entire seasons of the supernatural series "Dante's Cove"(Tracy Scoggins, Charlie David, Thea Gill, Stephen Amell, Booboo Stewart, Reichen Lehmkuhl), for which he also co wrote the theme song. Irvin has also directed all episodes of the comedy series "From Here! On OUT" (Terry Ray, T. J. Hoban, Juliet Mills, Suzanne Whang, Julie Brown). He also directed several episodes of Comedy Central's "Strip Mall"(Julie Brown, Cindy Williams, Stella Stevens, Maxwell Caulfield, Jim O'Heir, Carolyn Hennesy).
Irvin's first book "Kay Thompson: From Funny Face to Eloise" was published by Simon & Schuster and honored by Kirkus Reviews and the Theatre Library Association Awards as one of the "Best Biographies of the Year." While researching the life of Thompson, Irvin served as a historical consultant for the Tony Award winning Broadway event "Liza's at the Palace"(a recreation of Thompson's nightclub act performed by her goddaughter Liza Minnelli). Irvin also produced and annotated the 3 CD compilation "Think Pink! A Kay Thompson Party"(Sepia Records).
Between projects, Irvin is an adjunct faculty member at the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts where he teaches graduate courses on directing. He resides in Los Angeles.
Biography in more detail:
Sam Irvin was born and raised in Asheville, North Carolina. In 1964, when he was eight years old, Irvin went on a family trip to California where he was able to tour various movie studios. At Warner Brothers, he watched an elaborate sequence being filmed for Blake Edwards's "The Great Race" starring Tony Curtis, Jack Lemmon and Natalie Wood. In a giant water tank on a sound stage, Irvin watched with wide eyes as a nighttime storm scene unfolded, featuring antique cars floating across the Bering Strait on icebergs. From that moment on, he decided he wanted to direct movies. Commandeering his father's Super 8mm home movie camera, Irvin directed numerous horror movie shorts, including one starring his younger brother, Tim, as Dracula wearing a black beach towel for a cape, plastic fangs, and lots of ketchup.
Like the young boy in "Cinema Paradiso," Irvin spent much of his youth in movie theaters. His grandfather, Warren Irvin, was the district manager for Wilby-Kincey Theaters, a chain of cinemas throughout the Southeast. And his father, Sam Irvin Sr., co owned Irvin-Fuller Theaters, a competing chain with cinemas in North and South Carolina. During his youth, Irvin worked in these theaters in every capacity, from popping popcorn to tearing tickets to organizing horror movie kiddie matinées (with an emphasis on Vincent Price, Roger Corman, and Hammer Films). Later, during his college years, he worked for Irvin-Fuller Theaters as its Advertising and Publicity Manager, spearheading a record breaking year long run of "Silver Streak"(Gene Wilder, Richard Pryor) at the Gamecock Cinema in Columbia, South Carolina.
As a teenager, he edited and published Bizarre (1972 to 1975), a fanzine on fantasy, horror and science fiction films, for which he traveled to England to conduct in-person interviews with the likes of Vincent Price, Christopher Lee (on the set of the James Bond movie "The Man with the Golden Gun"), Peter Cushing, Diana Rigg, Ingrid Pitt, Jane Seymour, Joan Collins, Terence Fisher, Freddie Francis, and Sir James Carreras and his son, Michael Carreras (of Hammer Film Productions), among many others. (See retrospective 13 page spread on the history of Bizarre in Richard Klemensen's Little Shoppe of Horrors, issue number 27, October 2011.)
In 1978, Irvin graduated from the University of South Carolina with a Bachelor of Arts in Media Arts. While attending the university, he was the film critic for the Gamecock, the campus newspaper, and won a student film award for his thesis short film. He was also chairman of the University of South Carolina Film Committee that ran a year round cinema program at the campus theater.
During his summer break in 1977, Irvin interned on the Chicago location shooting for Brian De Palma's "The Fury" (Kirk Douglas, John Cassavetes, Amy Irving, Charles Durning). He worked on the feature as a production assistant and extra, and also wrote a journal on the making of the movie that was published in Cinefantastique magazine, Vol. 7, No. 2, 1978. Irvin also conducted an exclusive interview with Amy Irving in which, for the first time anywhere, she discussed her relationship with Steven Spielberg; it was published in Cinefantastique, Vol 6, No. 4 and Vol. 7, No. 1 (a special double "Star Wars" issue, 1978).
Irvin next served as Associate Producer and Production Manager on Brian De Palma's "Home Movies" starring Kirk Douglas, Nancy Allen, and Keith Gordon. Then, Irvin worked as De Palma's assistant on "Dressed to Kill" starring Michael Caine, Angie Dickinson, Nancy Allen and Keith Gordon.
He also worked closely with De Palma on several projects in development, including "Blow Out"(which eventually De Palma directed, starring John Travolta and Nancy Allen), and "Prince of the City"(which was originally going to star Robert De Niro from a script by David Rabe, but was ultimately directed by Sidney Lumet starring Treat Williams).
Irvin gave up his position as De Palma's assistant to produce "The First Time," a coming of age comedy for which De Palma served as a credited Creative Consultant. Executive produced by Robert Shaye and released by New Line Cinema, the film starred Tim Choate, Wendie Jo Sperber, Wallace Shawn, Cathryn Damon and Jane Badler.
During the 1980s, Irvin served as Vice President of Marketing for three film distributors: United Artists Classics, Spectrafilm, and Vestron. During this period, Irvin won Hollywood Reporter Key Art Awards for designing the movie posters for Francois Truffaut's "Confidentially Yours" and Paul Verhoeven's "The Fourth Man." He also helped spearhead the record breaking year long run of Jean-Jacques Beineix's "Diva" in New York City.
Irvin's first directorial effort, which he also wrote and produced, was the 1985 dark comedy short "Double Negative" starring Bill Randolph, Justin Henry, Wayne Knight, and William Finley. It premiered as an official selection at the Sundance Film Festival and subsequently played theatrically in New York and Los Angeles. Janet Maslin of the New York Times wrote that it was "an exceptionally promising first effort." This short film has been included as an extra bonus featurette on the 2013 European Blu-Ray DVD release of Brian DePalma's "The Fury."
Irvin went on to direct many feature films, including:
"Guilty as Charged" starring Rod Steiger, Lauren Hutton, Heather Graham, and Isaac Hayes. (The film won the Gold Special Jury Award for Best Independent Feature at Houston Worldfest.)
"Out There" a Showtime Original Movie starring Billy Campbell, Billy Bob Thornton, Rod Steiger, Jill St. John, Paul Dooley, Robert Picardo, David Rasche, Bill Cobbs, and Julie Brown.
"Acting on Impulse" a Showtime Original Movie starring C. Thomas Howell, Linda Fiorentino, Nancy Allen, Paul Bartel, Mary Woronov, Isaac Hayes, and Cassandra Peterson.
"Fat Rose and Squeaky" a Showtime Original Movie starring Louise Fletcher, Cicely Tyson and Julie Brown.
"A Very Cool Christmas" (aka "Too Cool for Christmas") starring George Hamilton and Donna Mills.
"Deadly Skies"(aka "Force of Impact") starring Antonio Sabato Jr., Rae Dawn Chong and Michael Moriarty.
"Elvira's Haunted Hills" starring Cassandra Peterson as Elvira, Mistress of the Dark, and Richard O'Brien. (The film won the Audience Award at the 2002 Provincetown International Film Festival.)
"My Santa" starring Samaire Armstrong, Matthew Lawrence, Julie Brown, Jim O'Heir, and Paul Dooley.
"Proof of Innocence" starring Joely Fisher, Denise Richards, Patrick Muldoon, Jim O'Heir, and Debra Wilson.
From his own original screenplay, Irvin directed the Showtime Original Movie "Kiss of a Stranger" starring Mariel Hemingway, Dyan Cannon, Corbin Bernsen and David Carradine.
Irvin directed the cult science fiction westerns "Oblivion" and its sequel "Oblivion 2: Backlash" starring Julie Newmar, George Takei, Isaac Hayes, Meg Foster and Maxwell Caulfield. ("Oblivion" won the Gold Award for Best Fantasy / Science Fiction Feature at Houston Worldfest.)
He also directed the Disney Channel time travel pirate fantasy "Magic Island" starring Zachery Ty Bryan and French Stewart.
For television, Irvin directed several episodes of Comedy Central's "Strip Mall" starring Julie Brown, Cindy Williams, Stella Stevens, Maxwell Caulfield, Jim O'Heir, and Carolyn Hennesy.
Irvin has directed all episodes of the comedy series "From Here! On OUT" starring Terry Ray, T. J. Hoban, Juliet Mills, Suzanne Whang, Julie Brown.
Irvin directed three full seasons of "Dante's Cove" starring Tracy Scoggins, Charlie David, Jenny Shimizu, Thea Gill, Stephen Amell, Booboo Stewart, and Reichen Lehmkuhl. (Irvin also co wrote the series' international hit theme song, "Dying to Be with You").
Also for television, Irvin directed the opening of the 100th Anniversary of the World Series (2003), for Fox Television (a "through the ages" montage featuring the music of and starring Sheila E.).
Irvin directed several segments for the 2004 Super Bowl including a comedy sketch starring Eugene Levy as a scientist trying to improve the entertainment value of football. Other vignettes included Will Smith, Drew Barrymore and Jimmy Fallon.
And, for the Fox Sports opening of the 2007 Sugar Bowl, Irvin directed "Dueling Musicians," shot on the streets of New Orleans.
After directing several American financed films in Romania, Irvin was invited by Romanian based Mediapro Studios to direct "Garcea si oltenii," a spin-off of Romania's most popular television show, starring a Monty Python-like sketch comedy group known as Vacante Mare. It became the highest grossing motion picture in Romanian history up to that time, beating previous record holder, James Cameron's "Titanic."
Also in Romania, Irvin directed "I Will Return a Man," a rock opera performed by the Romanian rock group Vama Veche, broadcast live on television from the National Theater in Bucharest. It was an anti war musical in the same genre as Pink Floyd's "The Wall."
His credits as a producer include:
Associate producing Brian De Palma's "Home Movies" starring Kirk Douglas, Nancy Allen and Keith Gordon. (Irvin also served as Production Manager.)
Co-executive producing Bill Condon's Academy Award winning film "Gods and Monsters" starring Sir Ian McKellen, Brendan Fraser and Lynn Redgrave. (Irvin also co directed with David Skal the "Making of" documentary for the DVD, entitled "The World of Gods and Monsters: A Journey with James Whale.")
Co-producing Greg Berlanti's "The Broken Hearts Club" starring Timothy Olyphant, Dean Cain, Zach Braff, John Mahoney, Nia Long and Justin Theroux.
Co-executive producing Bob Clark's "I'll Remember April" starring Haley Joel Osment, Pat Morita, Mark Harmon, Pam Dawber and Paul Dooley. (Irvin also was the second unit director.)
Co-executive producing "Big Monster on Campus" (aka "Boltneck: Teen Frankenstein") starring Ryan Reynolds, Shelley Duvall, Matthew Lawrence and Judge Reinhold.
Associate producing "The Mating Habits of the Earthbound Human" starring Mackenzie Astin, David Hyde Pierce, Carmen Electra and Lucy Liu.
Co-producing "Error in Judgement" starring Joanna Pacula, Joe Montegna, Kate Jackson and Paul Dooley.
Co-producing "When Time Expires" starring Richard Greico, Mark Hamill and Chad Everett.
Associate producing "Sticky Fingers" starring Helen Slater, Melanie Mayron, Eileen Brennan, Carol Kane, Christopher Guest and Loretta Devine.
Producing "The First Time" starring Tim Choate, Wendie Jo Sperber, Wallace Shawn, Cathryn Damon and Jane Badler. Creative Consultant: Brian De Palma.
Irvin's first book "Kay Thompson: From Funny Face to Eloise" was published by Simon & Schuster (November 2010) and was honored by Kirkus Reviews, The Theatre Library Association Awards, Robert Osborne, and Leonard Maltin as one of the "Best Biographies of the Year." Acclaimed by columnist Liz Smith as "a smashing work" and by entertainer Michael Feinstein as "one of the best showbiz bios I've ever read," this comprehensive biography covers the life and career of the legendary singer, actress, composer, arranger, author, fashionista Kay Thompson. She was the mentor and best friend of Judy Garland, the vocal guru to Frank Sinatra and Lena Horne, the mentor and longtime lover of Andy Williams, and the godmother and Svengali to Liza Minnelli (who recreated Thompson's nightclub act in the 2009 Tony Award winning event "Liza's at the Palace").
In connection with his research on the life of Kay Thompson, Irvin served as a historical consultant on the Tony Award winning Broadway event "Liza's at the Palace"; he produced and annotated the 2009 3 CD box set compilation "Think Pink! A Kay Thompson Party"(Sepia Records); and he appeared in and consulted on Paramount Home Entertainment's documentary "Kay Thompson: Think Pink!" (an extra included in Paramount's Centennial Collection DVD edition of Stanley Donen's "Funny Face" starring Audrey Hepburn, Fred Astaire, and Kay Thompson).
As a journalist, Irvin has recently written articles for Little Shoppe of Horrors magazine, including an interview he conducted with Richard O'Brien of "Rocky Horror" fame.
Between projects, Irvin is an adjunct faculty member at the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts where he teaches graduate courses on directing.
He resides in Los Angeles with Gary Bowers, his partner since 1982.
French composer Laurent Eyquem has beat the odds, overcoming a series of major tragedies - including a near fatal accident that almost cost him his right arm - to become one of the most talked-about talents to arrive on the film music composing scene in recent years.
Winner of the International Film Music Critics Association (IFMCA) Breakthrough Composer of the Year award, Eyquem's 2013 scores for Copperhead (Varèse Sarabande) and Winnie Mandela (Sony-RCA) garnered multiple nominations from around the world, including three nods from the IFMCA (Breakthrough Composer of the Year; Best Original Score for a Drama Film; Composer of the Year), and the much coveted Discovery of the Year nomination from the World Soundtrack Academy.
Just five short years after his critically acclaimed, award nominated film-scoring debut for Lea Pool's Mommy's at the Hairdresser's in 2008, the Bordeaux native has captured the attention and imagination of the international film music community, with his work drawing comparisons between a host of composing greats including George Delerue, Jerry Goldsmith, John Barry and Alexandre Desplat. His 2013 IFMCA nominations placed him alongside film-music legends John Williams and Ennio Morricone.
In addition to critical recognition, the score for Winnie Mandela" also marked a film composing first, when the Mandela family granted Eyquem permission to write for and record with the world-renowned Soweto Gospel Choir in Johannesburg, South Africa. Until Winnie, the choir had only performed on end-credit music, making Eyquem the first to include their legendary work in an original score. He was also tapped to arrange, orchestrate and co-produce the end-credit song for the film, written by song-writing legend, Diane Warren and performed by Jennifer Hudson.
Laurent's success as a composer has come about in the face of major personal setbacks, including the death of his younger sister and only sibling in the crash of the Air France Concorde, in July 2000. A short time later, his father - a clarinetist with the Bordeaux orchestra, and Eyquem's musical mentor - developed an aggressive form of cancer, succumbing to the disease in 2003. Just months after his father's death, Laurent survived a near-fatal 30-foot fall, suffering major injuries that nearly cost him his right arm. A series of operations in Canada and Europe, 2 years of daily physiotherapy and sheer force of will perfectly restored his ability to compose and conduct, beating the odds and surprising his doctors.
Today, Laurent channels his life experience into eloquent and powerful music for film. He has developed a reputation among producers and directors as a versatile, prolific and collaborative composer. He is known for his original, melodic and lyrical style that enhances the emotional weight of the visuals it supports.
In 2014, Eyquem is on deck to score Momentum, starring Olga Kurylenko (Oblivion) and helmed by Clint Eastwood protégé Stephen Campanelli, as well as an upcoming film with Oscar-nominee Roland Joffé (The Mission, The Killing Fields).
Based in Los Angeles, Laurent is a French citizen who holds EU and Canadian passports. He is lead orchestrator and conductor on all of his projects, and has a top-notch Los Angeles-based team in place to deliver world-class results. Laurent conducts and records his projects with soloists, symphonic orchestras and choirs from around the globe.
Claire Elise Boucher (born March 17, 1988), better known by the stage name Grimes, is a Canadian singer, songwriter, record producer and music video director. Born and raised in Vancouver, she first became involved with the underground music scene and began recording her own experimental music while attending McGill University in Montreal.
Boucher released the studio albums Geidi Primes and Halfaxa through Arbutus Records in 2010, and signed a secondary recording contract with 4AD in 2011. Her third studio album Visions (2012) and its singles "Genesis" and "Oblivion" received widespread critical acclaim; it was hailed as "one of the most impressive albums of the year so far" by The New York Times was nominated for the Polaris Prize, and received the Juno Award for Electronic Album of the Year. Her fourth studio album Art Angels was released in 2015 and has since become her highest-charting project in the United States peaking at number 36.
Grimes' music has been noted by critics and journalists for its atypical combination of vocal elements, as well as a wide array of influences across electronica and pop, hip hop and R&B, experimental and medieval music. In 2013, Grimes was awarded the Webby Award for Artist of the Year.
Igor Lopatonok a movie producer who is well known for his game-changing colorization and 3D conversion work in the United States and in Europe. He is the pioneer in cutting-edge technologies to restore, colorize and repurpose famous Soviet Union classic movies such as "Only old men go to Battle", "Volga-Volga", "Officers", "Circus", "Three Poplars at Plyuschikha", "Father of a Soldier" and others.
Igor was born in the Ukraine, Soviet Union. He was admitted to the National University of Dnipropetrovsk when he was only 16 years old. His first degree was an engineer. Later he went to Moscow to study at the Moscow State University of International Relations where he was majoring in International Finance. For a number of years, Igor was successfully working in investment and law businesses.
Igor's first experience in production was in 1990 when he was a coordinator and organizer of the "Earth Concert" in Moscow. In 2005, he started working as a producer in the movie industry. He is a co-founder of the production company "Technomedia" that has later brought new digital technologies to the Ukrainian movie industry. In 2005, Igor and his production company filmed documentary movies about the famous air shows such as: "La Burge-2005" (France), "MAKS-2005" (Russia), "Al-Ain-2005" (UAE).
The idea to start colorization business came to him after he found out that his favorite director Leonid Bykov, originally wanted to shoot the movie about a group of courageous pilots during II World War named "Only Old Men go to Battle", in color, but because of a shortage at that time, he was given a black and white film. Igor is a pilot himself and is known to be a champion of the Ukraine in aerobatics of 2004, so he couldn't not to make Leonid's wish come true.
He produced numerous television and feature films and is also a specialist in 3D conversion. His work in 3D includes the films "Nutcracker" in 3D (starring Elle Fanning, directed by Konchalovsky) and "The Last Prince of Atlantis" - 3D stereo animation feature.
One of the last feature films that he produced - "Land of Oblivion" starring Olga Kurylenko, was presented at more than 20 major film festivals around the world, including Venice Film Festival, Tornoto International Film Festival, Tokyo International Film Festival and others.
The documentary about II World War - "Will of Victory" that Igor produced and co-directed with Robert Ferretti - was in official selection at many prestigious film festivals in the US and won Special Jury Award at the Beverly Hills Film Festival in 2013.
Igor is an member of the Centre national du cinéma et de l'image animée - French organization supporting filmmakers, Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers in the United States, Association of Producers in Ukraine and other world organizations. He is also the founder of Ukrainian Film Commission - an independent, nonprofit organization that promotes Ukraine in the international movie production market.
The greatest girl group ever had its origins in the late 1950s in Detroit's Brewster Projects. At the beginning the girls formed a quartet and named themselves "The Primettes", achieving mild success locally and recording a single for the Lupine record label. They ended up being a trio in 1960 shortly after they were signed by Detroit-based Motown, a record company founded by Berry Gordy. At Gordy's request, the trio formed by Florence Ballard, Mary Wilson and Diane Ross became The Supremes.
In spite of the support of Motown writers and producers such as 'Smokey Robinson' and Gordy himself, the group spent a few years recording songs that disappeared into oblivion as soon as they were released. During those early years it was generally accepted that "Flo" Ballard had the strongest, more soulful voice to lead the group, but Gordy decided that Diane Ross had a more "commercial sound" and she became the lead singer in most of their recordings. However, his enthusiasm was not initially shared by other producers and musicians who found Ross' voice too high-pitched and nasal. In late 1963 The Supremes were turned over to the in-house production team formed by Lamont Dozier and brothers Brian Holland and Eddie Holland. From the very beginning the collaboration worked like magic when their first release, "When The Lovelight Starts Shining Through His Eyes" became a top 40 hit nationwide providing the first hint of the girls potential.
For the next release, Holland-Dozier-Holland picked "Where Did Our Love Go," a song that nobody thought much of. First they tried recording it with The Marvelettes but the group rejected it. Then they switched to The Supremes with Mary Wilson in mind to sing the leads but Mary didn't like the song either. Finally the song was cut with Ross singing in Wilson's lower mezzo-soprano register resulting in a sound that was sexy, romantic and extremely commercial. By pure chance they had stumbled into the right key for Diane Ross and a unique sound for The Supremes. "Where Did Our Love Go" was up and running as soon as it was released, an instant million seller for the group. But this was only the beginning of a Cinderella-like story that would make the girls from Detroit a legendary institution. As The Supremes kept topping the charts ("Baby Love," "Come See About Me," "Stop! In The Name Of Love," "Back In My Arms Again," "Nothing But Heartaches") their presence was requested on national television,live concerts and even films. Here another miracle happened when audiences - of all races, social and economic backgrounds - fell in love with these charming black princesses, impeccably groomed, made up and dressed in gowns that in time became more and more extravagant. Their individual personalities so endearing, their harmonies so unique, their movements so graceful, the public just couldn't get enough of The Supremes and by 1965 they were the undisputed No. 1 female group in the country competing with The Beatles for most #1 hits in the charts. Their contribution to the civil rights movement should not be underestimated; suddenly, they were "the face" of Black America and it was a face of beauty, of glamour and of unity, an image everyone could identify with.
About this time Diane decided to use the name in her birth certificate which, by a spelling error, had been entered as "Diana". This is the year also in which her relationship with 'Berry Gordy Jr'. becomes a full fledged love affair although the details are kept away from the press and the fans. The Supremes continued turning out hits such as "I Hear A Symphony," "My World Is Empty Without You," "You Can't Hurry Love," "Love Is Like An Itching In My Heart" and they were clearly "the sound of young America" but Gordy had a broader vision for them. Now that he had the kids listening to the group, the next step was to conquer the adults. The Supremes were the first R & B group to perform at the famed "Copacabana Night Club" in New York, enchanting audiences with their rendition of old American standards, songs from Broadway and Hollywood productions and their Motown hits. This was surely a well calculated gamble which paid off immediately. Diana Ross, Mary Wilson and Florence Ballard were now perceived as much more than a rock group. Actually they had become the embodiment of the American dream and as performers they were now in the same league as Sammy Davis Jr., Frank Sinatra, Barbra Streisand or Judy Garland. They constantly appeared on television with the greatest names in show business from Bobby Darin to Ethel Merman, Bob Hope or Bing Crosby. Looking at their seasoned performances on "The Ed Sullivan Show" (the new title of The Ed Sullivan Show and other TV shows it is easy to forget that these ladies were barely 20 years old.
By 1966 the first rumors of dissension within the group leaks out. 'Berry Gordy Jr.', had made the decision that Diana Ross would become a solo artist and The Supremes just a showcase for her talents, sort of a launching pad. This turn of events was not received well by Mary and "Flo" as their own talents became relegated to background singers for a super star. It should be remembered that The Supremes owed their sound in recordings to Diana Ross and the lady deserved the extra credit for being an exceptional talent, but on TV or in concerts, audiences were fascinated by all three Supremes, by their performances and by their individual personalities. Gordy knew the dangers of this situation so he pursued the strategy of minimizing The Supremes impact in favor of asserting the name and appeal of Diana Ross. A disgruntled 'Florence Ballard' began drinking and her behavior became erratic both on and off stage. The hits kept coming ("You Keep Me Hangin' On," "Love Is Here But Now You're Gone," "The Happening") but there was internal turmoil and tensions. In 1967, two major changes were instituted: "Flo" was dismissed and replaced with Cindy Birdsong (of Patti LaBelle and The Bluebelles) and the group became officially known as "Diana Ross and The Supremes".
As with the Ross-Gordy relationship, the details of Ballard's departure were kept under wraps. The group went on to higher success, becoming more sophisticated than ever and performing in the best venues not only in America but all over the world. Beautiful Cindy Birdsong had her own charismatic presence and was accepted by audiences everywhere. However the departure from Motown of Holland-Dozier-Holland dealt a blow to the girls recording career. Their last hits with H-D-H were "Reflections" and "In And Out of Love" but from there on their presence on the charts became hit and miss. They bounced back with "Love Child", "I'm Living In Shame" and "I'm Gonna Make You Love Me" a "duet" with The Temptations with whom the ladies also appeared in two highly rated television specials: TCB and G.I.T. on Broadway. Their recordings of "The Composer" and "No Matter What Sign You Are" didn't do what expected but by the end of 1969 the ladies released another million seller, "Someday We'll Be Together" as it was announced that Diana would no longer be with the group. Their last concert together was in January 1970, an emotional farewell performance at the Frontier Hotel in Las Vegas.
The career of Diana Ross as a solo artist struggled at the beginning but with Gordy's guidance and Motown resources solidly behind her she became the star of the 70s with such unforgettable recordings as "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" and "Touch Me In The Morning" becoming one of the world's highest paid performers. Ross demonstrated her unique talents both as a singer and as an actress in the 1972 film Lady Sings the Blues based on the life of Billie Holiday, which won her an Oscar nomination. About this time it was expected that Ross and Gordy would make their relationship public but Diana surprised everybody by marrying Robert Ellis Silberstein on 20 January 1971. It was obvious that Ross was beginning to question Gordy's leadership both in her career and her private life. As far as The Supremes were concerned both Diana and Berry tried to convince the public that the group no longer mattered. The pitch went out that The Supremes had been great because Diana was great and now it was no longer important. At Motown there was room for only one diva act and the name was Diana Ross, a gross miscalculation that would eventually backfire.
In spite of Motown's lack of support, The Supremes continued their successful recording career well into the 70s with Chicago born singer Jean Terrell replacing Diana. Top 10 hits such as "Up The Ladder To The Roof", "Stoned Love", "Nathan Jones" and half a dozen of excellent albums, including collaborations with The Four Tops, kept the name alive and had the potential to go on into new heights. The girls continued to be a big draw in concerts and television and it seemed the group was destined to live forever. This threw a wrench in the Motown machinery since they couldn't afford having a newcomer like Terrell with Wilson and Birdsong at her side compete with Ross for number one spots on the charts. Something had to be done fast to send The Supremes into oblivion. Most of the fans stood solidly behind The Supremes while Motown quietly pulled the plug off the most successful female trio in the business. The lack of company support eventually created dissension within the group. By 1973 Jean Terrell quit and was replaced by Scherrie Payne; Cindy Birdsong left the group not once but twice, being replaced in each instance by 'Lynda Laurence' and Susaye Greene. Surprisingly, during these confusing times, The Supremes recorded excellent material that kept the fans interested but the group was doomed.
The real shocker came in 1976 when original Supreme Florence Ballard died of heart failure in Detroit. After leaving the group she had tried to launch a solo career and landed a recording contract with ABC Records. However her first two singles didn't do well and ABC lost interest. Among rumors of industry blacklisting, "Flo" ended up destitute and on welfare in order to feed her three daughters. For The Supremes (Mary, Scherrie and Susaye) the final performance came in 1977 at the Drury Lane Theater in London but it was not the end of the legend... Diana Ross, whose career was grossly over-managed at Motown, signed with RCA and enjoyed recording success through the mid 1980s when, suddenly, the hits just stopped coming. She maintained her super star status on the concert circuit but her career decisions and choice of material began to be questioned. In 1983 Motown produced a TV special to celebrate their 25th Anniversary which was planned as a reunion of the old Detroit gang. The Supremes were invited to reunite for the occasion but during their performance it was obvious that Diana was not comfortable singing with her old partners. The audience gasped when it saw Ross pushing Wilson but this was edited out of the TV special and the home video release. Mary Wilson tried to launch a solo career but record companies were just not interested and rumors of blacklisting resurfaced. She managed to continue singing all over the world and in 1986 surprised everyone with a candid autobiography titled "Dreamgirl: My Life as a Supreme" which became a best seller, actually the biggest rock and roll autobiography in history. There was a sequel titled "Supreme Faith: Someday We'll Be Together" which was also well received by the public. In Mary's books, The Supremes are presented both as an American dream and an American tragedy.
Far from dying, The Supremes became cult figures with their recordings constantly on release, lots of air play, the subject of hundreds of articles, dozens of books, documentaries and TV specials. They are the inspiration behind the Broadway hit and film Dreamgirls and the film Sparkle, their music heard in dozens of film soundtracks. The 80s and the 90s witnessed several ex-Supremes revivals in the concert circuits including the "Mary Wilson Supremes Revue" and reunions by Jean Terrell with Lynda Laurence and Scherrie Payne. In the late 80s and well into the 90s, The Supremes received important recognition such as a "star" in Hollywood's Walk of Fame and the induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, which were attended by Mary Wilson with the daughters of 'Florence Ballard'.
In 2000, Diana Ross herself tried to invigorate her career by planning a "Millennium Supreme reunion" with Mary Wilson and Cindy Birdsong but both ladies declined the invitation, alleging being denied input in the shows. Also there was quite a difference between the salaries of Diana and those of Mary and Cindy. Undaunted, and making the same mistake all over again, Miss Ross deludes herself into thinking that the important part of this "Supreme reunion" is HER participation and substitutes her former partners with Scherrie Payne and Lynda Laurence to serve as background singers in a monumental tour of the United States. Mary counterattacked publicly about this "fake reunion" and the tour was canceled after playing a few dates to half filled venues.
Meanwhile, The Supremes recordings keep getting reissues and continue to sell very well. Lately, scores of previously unreleased Supremes recordings are being issued for the first time, while songs like "Baby Love," "I Hear a Symphony," "You Can't Hurry Love" and "Someday We'll Be Together" remain perennial favorites worldwide. As for the ladies themselves, Diana continues touring in spite of many personal problems which have even brought her in confrontation with the law. She has been known to check herself into "rehab clinics" in at least two occasions. Mary also continues touring both as a singer and a lecturer and was named by the Bush administration (2002) "United States ambassador of good will." She has also appeared in the film "Only The Strong Survive" while Cindy Birdsong leads a quite life in Los Angeles as a Christian minister helping out disadvantaged young people. In 2004 Mary and Cindy reunited for the Motown 45 TV special where they sang a medley of Supremes hits with Kelly Rowland, of Destiny's Child substituting the elusive Diana Ross. Whatever happens in the future for these ladies it is clear that The Supremes legend has stood the test of time and will continue. At their prime they touched so many lives and excelled in so many ways that their impact seems destined to live forever. Where did our love go? Nowhere. It's still here baby, baby...
Gregory Rasputin was one of Russia's most controversial and mysterious figures who posed as a "holy man" and destroyed the political image and reputation of Russia's Emperor Tsar Nicholas II and his family through a series of political manipulations, disgusting scandals and treachery, provoking a huge wave of public anger and helping the communists to prepare the disastrous Russian revolution. His mysterious activity is still disputed by historians and religious authors, mostly because he left no papers or documents with the exception of a few messages, while acting behind-the-scenes inside the Palaces of the Russian Tsars, and he remained inaccessible to public because of the heavy security that surrounded the Russian Imperial family.
He was born Gregory Efimovich Rasputin in 1869 into a Russian peasant family in Pokrovskoye village, Tobolsk province in Siberia. He was the only surviving child of Efim Yakovlevich Rasputin and Anna Vasilevna Rasputina--their four previous children died before he was born. The family name, Rasputin, has a negative connotation, similar to "ill-behaved" or "ill-aimed". His mother died when Rasputin was young and his father was imprisoned for some time. Gregory had very little schooling and was unable to read or write. At age 16 he was arrested for theft, and the citizens of Pokrovskoe appealed to the authorities to excommunicate and exile him. Rasputin was sentenced to three months in prison, which was later commuted to serving his term at Verkhoturye Monastery in Siberia. Rasputin settled with the lonely monk Makariy, who lived in a rugged hut and practiced rituals akin to ancient shamanic and tribal traditions of the Siberian people. Rasputin mentioned that Makariy had cured him of a severe sleep disorder and trained him to practice hypnotism and a vegetarian lifestyle, which included some alcohol and also the use of various weeds and drugs for "spiritual transformation" according to ancient shamanic rituals.
Rasputin stated later that he modeled himself after Makariy. At that time he became interested in manipulating people through their weaknesses and beliefs, including use of their personal and social habits as well as their politics and religion. He was also introduced to the banned mystical sect of Khlysty (flagellants), whose had a strong sexual content among other exotic practices. Rasputin evolved into a cynical and ruthless manipulator who practiced his principle that "any sin shall make me a holy man" and was spreading his beliefs around. In 1889 Rasputin married Praskovia Feodorovna and had three children, but left his family in Siberia and became a wanderer. He walked across Russia on foot from Siberia to Kiev and back several times during the 1890s, then made a pilgrimage on foot to Greece and Jerusalem during 1901, walking back to Russia and staying in Kazan with a local priest who gave him a letter of recommendation to St. Peterburg, the Russian capital. He arrived in the city in 1903, and solicited money to build a church in his home village of Pokrovskoe. In St. Petersburg Rasputin was accommodated by none other than Father Sergiy (who later, in 1942, was appointed by Joseph Stalin the Head of Orthodox Christianity in the Soviet Union), who was at that time Director of St. Petersburg Holy Academy and Seminary and also was a clandestine political opponent of Tsar Nicholas II. At several reception parties staged by Father Sergiy, Rasputin stunned St. Petersburg society by his forecasts that Russia would be defeated in the Russo-Japanese war of 1904, and that the Russian navy "would sink down", which was exactly what happened next.
Soon the Ober-Procurator of Russia, Pobedonostsev, issued a ban on public appearances of Father Sergiy and Rasputin, declaring that Rasputin was hiding his manipulative traits under the cover of "holyness" and illegally declared himself an Orthodox Christian mystic. Rasputin, however, ignored that ban and continued posing as a "prophet" and healer. He continued his wanderings as a self-proclaimed "holy man", often using lies and hypnotism to intimidate people into submission and then used them for his own goals. He made loose affiliations with various monasteries, then appointed himself a religious "elder" in St. Petersburg. At that time mystical interpretations of Christianity were in vogue, and official Orthodox Christianity was losing its control over people amidst the proliferation of disastrous wars and civil unrest, including revolutions. After the failure of several "religious advisers" to bring peace into the seriously dysfunctional Russian royal family of Tsar Nicholas II, Rasputin was summoned by Anna Vyrubova and the famous ascetic mystic, Father Theofan, the religious adviser to the royal family. In October of 1905 Father Sergiy and Father Theofan arranged Rasputin's introduction to the royal household through some relatives of reigning Romanov family. Rasputin instantly found a way to use the weaknesses and insecurities of Crown Prince Aleksey Nikolaeyvitch Romanov, whose incurable illness--he was a hemophiliac, having inherited the disease from his grandmother, Britain's Queen Victoria--was the main concern of the royal family. Rasputin convinced the Empress, Tsarina Alexandra, that he could improve the health of young Crown Prince Aleksey. Both Tsar Nicholas II and his wife were devastated and demoralized by their son's illness, and their anxiety and desperation was used by Rasputin, and the people behind him, in a crafty way to achieve goals that suited their political agenda.
At the same time Tsar Nicholas was warned by his loyal prime minister, Count Stolypin, that Rasputin was a dangerous fraud who could become a threat to the royal family and to Russia. However, at Tsar Nicholas' insistence, Stolypin had a private meeting with Rasputin. Not long afterward Stolypin was assassinated by a hired terrorist, and the resulting investigation by the authorities was stopped order of the Emperor. Stolypin's records revealed that he had an argument with Rasputin, but he was stopped and intimidated by the hypnotic stare of Rasputin's piercing eyes. Stolypin and many other political figures of that time had documented that Rasputin had "satanic eyes" and he was possessed of a powerful and hypnotic glare that he used to intimidate and cow his enemies. Rasputin also often used verbal abuse and intimidation, including the most foul profanities--a practice considered shocking in the rarefied air of the Russian court--to intimidate and manipulate people into submission. At the height of his political influence, Rasputin was constantly guarded by six agents provided by the Russian security service by order of Tsarina Alexandra. Also by the Imperial order Rasputin was given a new name, Novykh, meaning the "new man", an exclamation attributed to the suffering boy, Crown Prince Aleksey.
Rasputin apparently persuaded both the Empress and her ailing son to ensure that he kept a permanent presence in the tsar's palaces, and he was appointed to an official court position as "personal healer" to Crown Prince Aleksey Nikolaeyvitch Romanov. Rasputin may had some limited beneficial effect on Prince Aleksey's condition through hypnotism, but it apparently was enough to convince both the Empress and the Prince to depend more and more on Rasputin's presence and his hypnotic abilities. Rasputin also insisted that real medical doctors should be kept away from Alexey, constantly telling the family, "Don't let the doctors bother him, let him rest." On the occasions when Aleksey's health had actually improved, Rasputin used the opportunity to take personal credit for the Prince's "improvement", thereby solidifying his control over access to the royal family.
The Empress became a patron of Rasputin, who soon established himself as an extremely powerful figure within the Russian court. The Emperor was calling Rasputin a "holy man" and referred to him as "our friend". Rasputin referred to the Emperor and the Empress only as "papa" and "mama" and always used a frank and "sincere" tone in conversations with the royal family. Meanwhile, government security sources reported about wild orgies at the many parties and gatherings at Rasputin's residence, located just a few blocks away from the Tsar's palace and paid for out of the Russian Treasury. Rasputin's drinking binges were reported as "massive and wild" that often degenerated into drunken and violent sex orgies, designed to entangle politicians and other guests who could prove useful to Rasputin's ambitions. He aggressively indoctrinated his victims by using, among other methods, his motto "Sin that you may obtain forgiveness!", which was in line with the views he learned from the sect of Khlysty.
Soon Rasputin and people behind him succeeded in using his influence to entangle many politicians in scandals, including dirty manipulations involving their wives, drinking parties, promiscuity, and massive embezzlement of the government funds during the First World War, by diverting money to special interests through insiders within the Treasury of Russia. Rasputin also manipulated the Empress Tsarina Alexandra to make controversial political appointments, which led to a bitter divide within all classes of the Russian society, causing a blow to the public image of the Imperial House of the Romanovs. Rasputin's manipulative activities provoked many conflicts within the Russian government and the Russian military command during the First World War. Rasputin was using his position inside the Tsar's Palace to directly interfere with Tsar's communications with the government and media, thus undermining the Tsar's public image. At several times Rasputin was able to interfere with the Tsar's schedule of meetings with political figures as well as military commanders during the war.
In 1914, while visiting a church in Siberian city of Tobolsk, Rasputin was attacked by his former prostitute-friend, Khionia Guseva, who then turned a religious disciple of monk Iliodor. Ms. Guseva approached Rasputin with a knife and wounded him in the stomach, but he recovered from the wound and soon gained an even stronger influence on the Empress Tsarina Alexandra. Later Ms. Guseva said to the Grand Jury that she acted in clear mind and full understanding that "Rasputin is the Antichrist harmful to the people of Russia." However she was declared insane and was forcefully placed in an asylum in Siberia. Rasputin's most destructive actions were committed in 1916, when he convinced the Tsar Nicholas II to move from the Russian capital, St. Petersburg, to the front-lines in Belarus, leaving the Empress Alexandra alone under his influence and in charge of internal politics of the country. In absence of the Tsar, St. Petersburg was surreptitiously over-taken by the revolutionary communists, who penetrated into many regiments of the Army, the Navy, as well as into the local political circles in the capital of Russia, thus preparing for the Communist Revolution of 1917. The decade of Rasputin's destructive manipulations led to irreparable political and economic damage and caused a bitter divide within the government and military command, as well as within all social layers of Russia. At that time the French ambassador Maurice Paléologue made a record that the "Russian Empress is mystically devoted to Rasputin."
Communist leader V.I. Lenin wrote, "monstrous Rasputin is pushing the Tsar's regime to a disaster", which was helping the communist revolution. According to historians Rasputin was used by a secret group behind the communist revolutionaries, which acted to destroy the Romanov dynasty and the monarchy, and eventually fulfilled their plans and came to power through revolution. That explained how and why Rasputin was manipulated to discredit the royal family and personally the Tsar Nicholas II. Rasputin's main handler was a St. Petersburg's underworld drug lord, named Dr. Badmayev, who controlled Rasputin through his drug addiction and often instructed Rasputin about his political moves. Rasputin often stayed overnight after having a fix at Dr. Badmayev's home in St. Petersburg. At the same time, Rasputin's hypnotic influence over the Empress Alexandra and the Crown Prince Alexey remained very strong, allowing him to make political, ecclesiastical and military appointments for those who served his interests. Rasputin created and used public scandals and rumors about his sexual and alcoholic excesses, and designed crafty entrapments for many members of the Russian political establishment into orgies and scandals for immediate blackmail and exploitation. He polarized the society by using his political influence in securing the appointments and dismissals of several military commanders and government ministers during the First World War. Rasputin's abuse of power and his notorious debauchery was used by the communist propaganda to depict Rasputin with the Empress Alexandra in numerous pornographic comics, drawings and provocative publications as part of a massive negative publicity campaign against the House of Romanovs and the Russian monarchy. In the communist propaganda Rasputin was shown as a peasant who turned the Russian Tsar into a wimp, so the country was in "bad hands" and "proletarians must join with peasants to overthrow the monarchy and take power", so declared the communist leader V.I. Lenin, who in turn was secretly financed by the German military.
In 1916, during the most difficult time in the First World War, brothers of Tsar Nicholas II obtained evidence that Rasputin was secretly negotiating a peace treaty with Germany while Russia's position in the war was not good. Rasputin said on record that "too many peasants were dead because of the war", indicating his agenda to settle "peace at any cost" which was also in line with the communist propaganda, and helped the German Armies. Peasants deserted from the Russian Army by hundreds of thousands, then armed peasants came to St. Petersburg and joined the communist revolutionary brigades. Rasputin's secret activity and his contacts with the Germans became a political scandal. Tsar's cousin, Grand Prince Nicholas, announced that he wants to hang Rasputin for treachery as a spy in German employ, albeit Rasputin was under the protection of the Empress Tsarina Alexandra, who herself was German. That led to a plot by a group of aristocrats, led by Prince Feliks Yusupov, a relative of the Tsar, to assassinate him, but Rasputin was officially guarded by six agents from the Russian Imperial Security under constant supervision of specially assigned officers who lived in Rasputin's house in St. Petersburg.
In November of 1916, Prince Yusupov pretended that he had chest pains and obtained a high recommendation to become a patient of Rasputin. Prince Feliks Yusupov made several visits to Rasputin as a patient and soon he made friends with Rasputin and presented him a picture of his wife, beautiful Princess Irene Yusupov, niece of the Emperor Tsar Nicholas II. Rasputin immediately became horny and expressed his desire to meet the beauty. On December 16, 1916, Prince Yusupov and his fellow officers designed a plan centered on using the beautiful Princess Irina Yusupov, as a bait. On December 29, 1916, Prince Feliks Yusupov personally invited Rasputin to a dinner and drove him to Yusupov's Moika Palace in St. Petersburg. There Rasputin was waiting for the appearance of the Princess Irina Yusupov, but she never showed up. Meanwhile, Rasputin was plied with wine and food that had been laced with cyanide, albeit the plotters were oblivious to the fact of chemistry that cyanide is often neutralized by some ingredients in food, as it turns into a harmless salt in most desserts and wines. Rasputin also had a condition with hyper-acidity and post-surgical stomach problems which caused him to minimize his intake of sugar and alcohol. When the poison had no apparent effect on Rasputin, Prince Feliks Yusupov pulled out his gun and fired, but Rasputin's life was saved because the first bullet was reflected by the hard metal button on his coat, he was wounded, but still managed to jump up and tried to escape out of the Moika Palace. Then Prince Yusupov and Count Vladimir Purishkevich together with their friend, British intelligence officer Oswald Rayner, pulled out their guns and fired at Rasputin, then, noticing that he was still trying to get up, they clubbed him into submission. In the early morning of December 30, 1916, members of the plot wrapped Rasputin and dragged him into the icy waters until he finally drowned in the Neva River.
Even after his death, Rasputin still remained dangerous and could be used as a destructive and divisive tool, because he left a wild and threatening message to Emperor Tsar Nicholas II and Alexandra, predicting their death and disaster for Russia. Crown Prince Alexey remained gravely ill and was heavily dependent and conditioned to Rasputin's hypnotic influence. Rasputin's body was buried upon Empress Alexandra's and Prince Alexey's request at the location in the park of Tsarkoe Selo, near the Summer Palace of the Russian Tsars. Two months after Rasputin's assassination, Emperor Tsar Nicholas II abdicated, then was arrested as citizen Romanov who was obediently sweeping snow from roads while waiting for his sentence under supervision of communist revolutionaries. Soon both Nicholas and Alexandra became increasingly paranoid about having Rasputin's grave next to his Summer Palace. Ironically, Tsar Nicholas II was under the house arrest in that same palace during the year of 1917, and both Empress Alexandra and Prince Alexey were not allowed to make visits to Rasputin's grave, which was vandalized by revolutionaries in search for valuables. By that time, Rasputin's body was removed upon the order from Aleksandr Kerensky, the head of the Russian provisional government, who previously was a student at the same school and at the same time with the future communist leader V.I. Lenin. Initially Kerensky ordered to remove Rasputin's body to a remote cemetery, but during the move, Rasputin's body, masked as a piano in a wooden box, was destroyed in the fire started by a group of revolutionaries. Shortly after the Communist Revolution, the entire family of Tsar Tsar Nicholas II with his wife and five children were executed, then Tsar's Palaces were vandalized by the revolutionary communists and Rasputin's grave was again burglarized by poor proletarians in search for jewelery.
Later, while in emigration outside of the Communist Russia (then Soviet Union), both accounts by Prince Feliks Yusupov (who lived through the 1960s) and Count Vladimir Purishkevich (who died in the 1920s) were published in their respectful books of memoirs about their plot and assassination of Rasputin in the context of their participation in the historic events. Prince Yusupov compared Rasputin's cynical and manipulative treatment of the Tsar's family to the Communist Party's ruthless methods of control over innocent people of Russia. Rasputin's own "religious" speeches were interpreted and recorded by his enchanted admirers and titled "holy wanderings" and "holy thoughts" when first published in Russia in 1907 and in 1915. In 1942, Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin appointed the notorious St. Petersburg Bishop Sergiy the Patriarch of Orthodix Christianity in the Soviet Union. Then Patriarch Sergiy brought back the name of Gregory Rasputin from oblivion. At the same time some sectarian monks organized rumors about possible canonization of Gregory Rasputin as a "martyr and saint" who was assassinated by the family of the "bad" tsar.
Rasputin's daughter, Matrena Solovyova-Rasputina, and her husband, Boris Solovyov, who secretly collaborated with the Communist regime, took money and jewelery from Empress Tsarina Alexandra in exchange for a promise of assist the Tsar Nicholas II and his family to escape from the Communist regime. They betrayed the Tsar and his family and left them to be killed by the communists, while themselves escaped to France. There Rasputin's daughter, who was money hungry, read the memoirs of Prince Feliks Yusupov, and filed several law suits against Prince Yusupov, who gave accounts of Rasputin's death under oath in 1934 and 1965. Eventually Rasputin's daughter ended up working for a circus as a tiger tamer, then she moved to Los Angeles, and died there in 1977.
Brad Johnson was one of many screen actors in the 1940's and 50's who found their calling on the range. With the decline in popularity of the western, his career has since gone down the dusty trail of near oblivion. He occasionally stepped out of character as guest in the odd detective episode, but Johnson's brief spell in the limelight ultimately came in the role of Deputy Sheriff Lofty Craig, co-starring with Gail Davis in the lively, heavily fictionalized series Annie Oakley. Of Swedish-American ancestry, Johnson had graduated from the University of Southern California following wartime military service in the U.S. Army Air Corps and then began acting in live theatre. His rugged good looks attracted Hollywood interest and a few uncredited bit parts in motion pictures followed (Bedtime for Bonzo, The Greatest Show on Earth, etc.). By 1953, he had discovered his niche playing assorted deputies or henchmen in TV westerns. Landing a recurring role in 'Annie Oakley' turned out to be his big break. Johnson appeared in all 81 episodes, riding his horse Forest and perfecting a fast-draw gun act (most likely tutored by ace markswoman Davis) which he would display in later years at rodeos and county fairs. Until the mid-1960's, he continued to find gainful employment on shows like Death Valley Days, Cheyenne and Maverick. Johnson later spurned offers to move to Europe to act in spaghetti westerns and hung up his six-shooter for a more profitable career in real estate.
Born and educated in the UK, David knew from age 9 he wanted to be a photographer.He started in the stills department at MGM studios in the UK, rapidly making the transition to shooting stills and forging a career as a renowned stills and specialist photographer. The genres of War,Sci-Fi and Musicals are his personal favorites and have resulted in multi award- winning images that include his work on Saving Private Ryan, Schindler's List, Minority Report, Oblivion, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, and Star Wars The Force Awakens, as well as blockbuster TV mini series Band of Brothers and The Pacific. These projects include his 11 collaborations to-date with Steven Spielberg and musicals ranging from Jesus Christ Superstar, Chicago, Shall We Dance, and Hairspray, to Nine , Rock of Ages and Dreamgirls...in which he had his only credited acting role..as a photographer. Science Fiction includes Oblivion and Edge of Tomorrow, both starring Tom Cruise with whom he has collaborated on 14 projects to date, plus the famed photograph of Tom atop the Burj Khalifa tower in Dubai. More recent work covers Unbroken,Mission Impossible Rogue Nation, Star Wars - The Force Awakens, , Jack Reacher - Never Go Back and Star Wars VIII and the upcoming Doug Liman directed features The Wall and American Made. David relocated his family to U.S.A , retaining dual UK and USA citizenship. Based in Los Angeles, he works internationally on feature, television, marketing/advertising and publicity projects .He is the winner of numerous accolades and awards including 2006 ICG/Publicists Guild Award for Excellence in Unit Stills Photography and the 2011 S.O.C. Lifetime Achievement Award for Still Photography. David James is also the author of thirteen photography books including the best selling Indiana Jones and The Crystal Skull Photo journal and the Mission Impossible- Ghost Protocol , A Shooting Diary. His work is exhibited in galleries, international collections and published around the globe. including in the archives of the Academy's Margaret Herrick Library, and the Professional Photographers of America. David is a founding member and also past president of the Society of Motion Picture Stills Photographers (SMPSP).
Govindini Murty is a writer, actress, and independent filmmaker. Govindini has a B.A. from Yale University and has been published in the The Atlantic and The Huffington Post and is a member of the Alliance of Women Film Journalists and Indiewire's Criticwire. Govindini was born in India and moved to Canada when she was seven. Her father was an author and senior official in the Indian government and her mother is a Canadian anthropologist. When Govindini was fifteen, she lived a year on the island of Borneo, Malaysia. Govindini graduated from Yale University with a BA in East Asian Studies in 1997. Govindini went on to pursue acting in Vancouver, then Los Angeles, working in independent films, TV, commercials, and theater. She has done commercials for companies such as Allstate Insurance, Staples, and General Electric. Govindini has been a member of the Long Beach Shakespeare Company, playing numerous roles, including Miranda in "The Tempest." Other stage roles include Lady Nijo in "Top Girls" and Margot in "Dial "M" for Murder," for which she won a Best Actress Award. From 2003-2004, Govindini wrote and acted in the independent feature "Terminal Island," directed by Jason Apuzzo. Irvin Kershner, director of "The Empire Strikes Back" mentored Govindini and Jason on "Terminal Island." Since then, Govindini has become an in-demand commentator on film, appearing on ABC's "At the Movies," CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, BBC, France's Canal Plus, AMC's "The Movie Club, and numerous national radio talk shows. In 2007, Govindini co-hosted (with Richard Roeper) an episode of ABC's "At the Movies with Ebert & Roeper," the most popular movie review show in America. In 2010, Govindini and Jason Apuzzo launched Libertas Film Magazine, which covers independent films with a focus on human rights and individual freedom. Govindini has gone on to write film commentary at The Atlantic, The Huffington Post, and other sites, and regularly covers film festivals such as Sundance, Tribeca, AFI, and TCM. Govindini has interviewed such notable film figures as Kurt Russell, Stan Lee, Werner Herzog, Maureen O'Hara, Ray Bradbury, Ray Harryhausen, Tippi Hedren, Jane Russell, George Takei, and many others. Govindini has also interviewed women directors like Catherine Hardwicke, Lynn Shelton, and Lake Bell, and often writes about the need for greater representation of women both on-screen and behind the camera in Hollywood's movies. In 2013, Govindini spoke at Social Media Week LA's "Power Women in Entertainment" panel. Govindini also has a strong interest in space exploration, having visited NASA-JPL many times, and has written about the need for more movies that accurately represent space science. As of 2015, Govindini has several sci-fi projects in development and is also acting in and producing the WWII sci-fi film "UFO Diary," edited by Emmy Award-winning ABC editor Mitchell Danton, with VFX by Antony Vannapho ("The Avengers," "The Twilight Saga"), Kiel Figgins ("X-Men: First Class," "Oblivion"), Sean Dollins ("Prometheus," "Captain America"), Rini Sugianto ("The Hunger Games," "Iron Man 3"), and other talented VFX artists.
For French art film lovers, Giorgio Albertazzi appeared out of nowhere and literally fascinated them in Alain Resnais and Alain Robbe-Grillet's unidentified object known as Last Year at Marienbad. Elegant, seductive, with a hypnotizing Italian accent, he tried to persuade an elegant, seductive woman speaking in a singsong voice that he had been her lover the year before in the same luxury hotel ... The lady, the marvelous 'Delphine Seyrig'did not seem to remember him. And life imitating art, it looked as if Giorgio Albertazzi, despite a haunting presence in a haunting film would also return to oblivion immediately after the release of this atypical movie; The man of one film? Of course not. He did make others in his native country, but mainly minor unpretentious works, nothing on a par with Last Year at Marienbad. Obviously, cinema has helped the actor to keep body and soul together, nothing more. His contribution to Italian television is more ambitious, either as an actor, a scriptwriter or a director. His best role on the small screen may be Dostoievsky's moving Prince Miskin in Giacomo Vaccari's remarkable mini-series L'idiota. He also interpreted Dante Alighieri and Don Giovanni in two interesting TV films or series directed by Vittorio Cottafavi. And wearing the three hats of actor (as Doctor Jekyll and Mister Hyde), writer (adapting Robert Louis Stevenson and director, he was very successful with Jekyll. However, Albertazzi's main activity and great love has always been the stage. An actor since 1949 and still active after all these years, he debuted in William Shakespeare's "Troilus and Cressida" under the direction of Luchino Visconti. Since then he has performed in scores of plays by Luigi Pirandello, George Bernard Shaw, Lillian Hellman, Gabriele D'Annunzio, among others. Into the bargain, this great name of the Italian theatre has been running a dramatic school from the mid-nineties as well as the Teatro di Roma since 2003. All in all, Giorgio Albertazzi did not come out of nowhere when Alain Resnais, a director who has always loved actors, chose him for being X the stranger in Last Year at Marienbad. And he did not return to oblivion either. Just ask Italian theatre lovers if they have forgotten him and you will see!
Nina is a self-made, professional woman who believes in making dreams come true. She has always followed her true passions in her life, career and relationships.
As an independent film producer with more than 7 years of experience in international filmmaking, Nina has worked with top professionals in the movie industry including Oliver Stone, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Shailene Woodley, Olga Kurylenko, Michael Winnick, and Jordi Molla to name a few.
Starting out as an actress, Nina gradually moved into producing and has worked in a variety of media, including feature films, documentaries, TV shows, short films and webisodes. Her feature credits include "Snowden", "Land of Oblivion", "Nutcracker in 3D", and "Last Prince of Atlantis". Nina also has experience in post-production, film restoration and colorization of such Soviet classics as "Officers", "Only Old Men go to Battle", "Three Poplars at Plyuschikha" and many more.
Nina established her own production company, "Lucky Owl Films" in 2016. She is currently in pre-production of a documentary series about women from developing countries, the unique challenges they face and despite all the odds, their path to success in the West.
Managing all stages of filmmaking from optioning the script, developing an idea, packaging the project, actual production and worldwide distribution - she describes herself as a very driven professional. Originally from the Ukraine, Nina has always been a high achiever, a fast learner, very goal oriented and a real "go-getter".
Nina also loves people and believes there's something good in everyone. Her philosophy is that we're all on a spiritual journey to enlightenment and universal expansion.
Laura Hidalgo, whose real name was Pesea Faerman, was born in Romania in 1927. She arrived in Argentina when she was two years old. From 1945 she showed a remarkable ambition to become a movie star. She was rejected by some studios because of her weight and she lost more than a few pounds. Meanwhile she had began studying theater with Hedy Crilla and in 1949 she shot her first movie - even when she had bits as an extra. That flick was a cheap quickie called His Last Boxing Match - Su Ultima Pelea. She was learning her craft and after some B movies she got lots of publicity because she was a real beauty. Dark haired and with emerald eyes, a big studio like Argentina Sono Film manufactured her as a sort of Argentinian Hedy Lamarr. The film that made her was The Orchid in 1951. She worked only for that studio and her career was brief because it lasted only until 1957. Not a very keen worker she did not like the business but it meant fame and money for her. Despite some successful weepies she did not reach a solid status until Beyond Oblivion - a beautiful melodrama directed by Hugo del Carril. She had filmed two movies outside Argentine - in Mexico and Spain.
In 1957 she went to Mexico to shoot a second movie there, a cheap thriller and decided to stay in that country. According to some sources she had begun a relationship with a powerful professional whose surname was Rossen. They married and they had three children. At the beginning of the 80s they moved to La Jolla in California. Hidalgo returned to Argetina for some opportunities during the 60s, but thanks to concert pianist Bruno Gelberg, in 1987 she came back with a vengeance. She was promoting a poetry book - a good one - and she played the game very carefully. She had not been forgotten and she had recovered her old self, the one from the movies. It was the last time she visited Argentina. She was invited to the Nantes Festival in 1995 where they were showing Beyond Oblivion but did not show interest in going there.
However, Uruguayan literature critic Jorge Rufinelli - resident in California - persuaded her to visit some universities in the States where that movie directed by Hugo del Carill was shown to students. Her death came as a surprise to all her admirers - the young ones now in their 50s and the old ones now in their 70s. She was a true star but never believed in stardom. Her goals were to raise a family and to live comfortably. One of the verses of her poems says it all: "I'm a little Jew immigrant belonging to the world".
Award-winning Los Angeles-based composer and music producer Ludek Drizhal has written a long list of stylistically wide-ranging film scores, such as comedy/drama "Rounding First" for which he received an award from the Park City Film Music Festival 2006 (Original Music in Independent Film): Silver Medal for Excellence - Audience Choice for Best Impact of Music in a Feature Film.
Among many other projects he has also worked on Starz/Sci-Fi Network/Kevin VanHook productions horror "Death Row" (a.k.a." Haunted Prison"), horror/action "Slayer", action/adventure "Sands of Oblivion" and fantasy/drama/horror "Voodoo Moon". One of the more recent projects that Ludek scored is "Badland". In addition his song "Nothing's There" was short-listed for the 80th Oscar Nominations in 2007 in the category for Best Song in a Feature Film. (Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences)
Ludek has also written countless original songs including ten songs for vocalist Valencia Vas' debut album Reflections. A single from the album "When The Sun Comes Up", music written and produced by Ludek Drizhal, lyrics by Valencia Vas, tied for #1 most added on the ACQB radio chart with 13 Adds Most Added with Island Records priority single from Chrissette Michele and ahead of such established artists as Rascal Flatts, Paul McCartney, John Mayer and Fergie.
Born in Prague, Czechoslovakia, Ludek studied violin starting at age five at the Prague Conservatory. He began performing by the age of nine, and won awards at national and international competitions.
With the knowledge he acquired while studying violin, Ludek discovered an affinity for improvisation at the piano. By age ten, he began to cultivate his improvisations into fully structured compositions. His ambition to become a composer was ignited while listening to Elmer Bernstein's score to the film "The Magnificent Seven" in a Prague Theatre in 1978.
Ludek received degrees from the University of Texas at Austin Butler School of Music and the USC Thornton School of Music-where he taught music composition, orchestration, music history and music theory for six years.
Jonny Persey is an independent film producer and Chief Executive of Met Film, a unique organization based in Ealing Studios, London and BUFA Studios, Berlin. Met Film comprises the UK's fastest largest film school, an award-winning feature film production company, and a cutting-edge post-production facility. His producing credits include Deep Water; Wondrous Oblivion; Donor Unknown; Village at the End of the World; The Great Hip Hop Hoax; The Pied Piper of Hutzovina; Heavy Load; French Film; Little Ashes; and Men Who Swim. Meanwhile, under his leadership, Met Film also produced The Infidel. Having studied psychology at Cambridge University and worked for several years as a youth worker and consultant, Jonny Persey produced his first feature film, Everyone's Child, in Zimbabwe in 1996. He then went on to study at the National Film & Television School where he produced a series of acclaimed short films both through the school and independently. He serves on PACT's Film Policy Group and is a member of ACE.
Met Film Production is dedicated to the development and production of innovative and commercially driven feature films, and was formed in early 2008 incorporating the team from Jonny's previous company, APT Films. APT's first feature film Solomon and Gaenor was nominated for an Oscar in 2000.
The Met Film School provides practical filmmaking courses, based at Ealing Studios in London and BUFA Studios in Berlin. We deliver a range of full and part-time programs from new entrant level upwards, from 3 days to two years, including an intensive BA program and an MA program. We believe that the best way to learn filmmaking is to make films, with the support and guidance of experienced industry practitioners.
|Keith J. Duggan
Keith J. Duggan was born and raised in New York. He majored in film at The University of Buffalo where he nurtured his passion for camera and light. Duggan began his career designing and lighting theatre, which segued into his becoming the Director of Photography for American Movie Classics (AMC). He went on to lens several independent features in New York, including The Beach House.
In the late 90s, Duggan relocated to Los Angeles where he has lensed over 20 features, several national commercials, and twenty plus music videos. In addition, he has worked as the second unit D.P. on several studio projects and pilots for Warner Brothers. Most recently, Duggan's work can be seen on the SciFi Channel.
Duggan's feature credits include: John Putch's BachelorMan & Mojave Phone Booth; SciFi Channel's Haunted Prison (aka Death Row) and Sands of Oblivion; and Grey Frederickson's Souls Midnight.
Duggan's television credits include: The Rebel Billionaire, Kevin Hill, The Law Firm, Jugando al Amor, The Bachelor, Meet My Folks, MTV's Becoming, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Jimmy Kimmel LIVE, and The Howard Stern Show.
Mike Cuenca is a self-taught underground filmmaker and musician.
Cuenca's first feature-length film is Scenes from Oblivion, a youth-in-quarrel/semi-comic drama reflecting his Cuban-American upbringing and love of punk rock music. He is also the creator of punks, mods and rockers web Series Oblivion which he co-writes, edits, produces, directs and acts in.
As of 2011 Cuenca has taken a break from Oblivion to focus on a set of three loosely connected movies dealing with memory loss and the passage of time, the first Non Compos Mentis or: Jerry Powell & The Delusions of Grandeur premiered December 27th at the Downtown Independent Theater in Los Angeles. The second film titled Zora in Desire began production in December 2011 with the third, As the Crows Fly, to roll in Summer 2012. The three movies are shot by Los Angeles and New York based photographer Amberlie Bankoff.
Cuenca's growing body of work addresses such themes as personal identity and freedom, absurdist philosophy, and punk ideology with a dose of slapstick. He cites his major influences as Woody Allen, Jim Jarmusch, the Marx Bros, and the French New Wave.
Bianca Biasi (born 13 May 1979) is an Australian Producer, Director, Writer, Actress and Author whose career in the television and film industry spans more than 20 years, initially as an actress in iconic and award winning Australian television series including Home and Away (Channel Seven Productions), All Saints (Channel Seven Productions), White Collar Blue (Knapman Wyld Television), Above The Law (Columbia Tristar/Channel Ten) and Breakers (Network Ten).
She has also worked on American productions including television series Beastmaster (Alliance-Atlantis/Coote Hayes Productions - in association with Tribune Entertainment and Endemol Entertainment) and telemovie, The Junction Boys (Vanguard Films/Orly Adelson Productions/ESPN Network/ESPN Original Entertainment).
In 2006, she made her feature film debut in Burke & Wills (Cake Productions) in the role of 'Asha'. According to veteran Australian film critic, Margaret Pomeranz, the low-budget Australian film was "fortunately saved from oblivion" and achieved international recognition after being selected to screen at the increasingly popular Tribeca Film Festival, which was cofounded by veteran American actor Robert DeNiro in 2002.
Biasi has also appeared in more than a dozen television commercials for household corporate brands including KFC, Pizza Hut, Arnotts, Railcorp, Medicare, Hyundai, Volkswagen, GIO Moccona Coffee, Rabo, Centrum, Kirin Beer and an Australian Government campaign targeting the use of illicit drugs.
More recently, her experience in front of the camera has been increasingly complemented by her work behind the scenes, in other vital film and television industry functions including casting, directing and producing.
She broadened her industry experience working as an associate talent agent for Rebekah Biasi Management, before ultimately making the transition into a more hands-on creative role to pursue her passion and dream - to make films.
As cofounder of Morning Starr Productions, established in 2009, she has produced all of its projects and for several, has also undertaken the roles of writer and director.
As at January 1, 2014, Biasi's studio has four films in post-production that have been inspired by two of Sydney's most prolifically reported and documented haunted locations: The Quarantine Hauntings, The Parkway Hauntings, Delirium and The Q Station Experiment.
Biasi told local newspaper The Manly Daily, that actors and members of the production crew, who shot the films on location on Sydney's northern beaches at The Q Station, North Head and at Wakehurst Parkway, had been genuinely spooked by the experience due to unexpected incidents that took place and was herself left "seriously freaked out".
She also founded The Actors Hub in 2009, to provide guidance and advice to aspiring actors of all levels who are serious about pursuing a career in the television and film industry.
Biasi aims to provide students with insights and advice based on her own experiences and those she has gleaned from the rich collective talents of established actors she has worked alongside, including including Don Hany, Alin Sumarwata, Brooke Satchwell, Georgie Parker, Tammin Sursok, Chris Egan, Isabel Lucas, Freya Stafford, Peter O'Brien, Kate Ritchie, Tom Berenger, Ryan Kwanten, Bec Hewitt and Sir Bobby Charlton.
Karen Bailey is a Los Angeles based Entertainment Professional. She has worked as a film and television producer as well as a studio and network executive, and currently serves as Senior Vice President of Original Programming for Starz Entertainment. Her first indie feature, BACHELORMAN was released in 2003 and won dozens of audience and critic awards in the independent film circuit. Her second film, SANDS OF OBLIVION, was picked up by IDT Entertainment and sold to NBC/Universal. This lead to a multi-picture development deal with the SyFy channel and Anchor Bay Entertainment. It was during this period that IDT launched a studio division and Bailey was asked to join the company as an in-house Executive Producer, overseeing a slate of small budget films for its domestic and international distribution arm. In 2007, Starz Media acquired IDT Entertainment and asked Bailey to join the company as Vice President of Production. Over the next few years, she oversaw a number of the studio's MOWs and television series for outside networks including Lifetime and IFC, while working to grow Starz's newly launched Original Programming division. Karen oversaw production of the company's first one-hour drama CRASH, (co-produced with Lionsgate) and first international production, SPARTACUS, filmed in New Zealand. Later that year the studio extended into the half-hour space with PARTY DOWN and HEADCASE. In 2010 the company restructured, ending contracts with outside networks and choosing to focus efforts on growing it's own branded content. Under the new banner of Starz Entertainment, Bailey was named Head of Production and began working on expanding the company's international presence by setting up productions in Canada and the UK. She also explored filming opportunities in China, Eastern Europe and South Africa. Operating in this capacity, she began working more closely with the show's creative teams, and was asked to transition to the Development as VP of Original Programming, overseeing creative development on a number of both domestic and international productions, including MAGIC CITY and THE WHITE QUEEN. She was promoted to SVP in 2012, and is currently overseeing OUTLANDER, THE MISSING co-pro with BBC) and Starz's first docu-series, THE CHAIR.
Red and Black Films is a production, financing and distribution company run by Producer John Giwa-Amu and Writer/Director Caradog James.
Supernatural thriller Don't Knock Twice will be released in late 2016. The film stars Katee Sackhoff (Oculus, Riddick, Battlestar Galactica), Lucy Boynton (Sing Street, Rebel in the Rye, Miss Potter) and Nick Moran (Lock Stock) . The film was produced by John Giwa-Amu, directed by Caradog James, scripted by Emmy nominated writing duo Huckerby and Ostler and is co-produced with Seymour films.
Brit List winning Sci-Fi screenplay The Call Up will be be released in cinemas 2016. The film is being Produced alongside Stigma Films and was directed by award winning commercials director, Charles Barker. It received a world premier at BIFF and UK premier at Sci-Fi London.
John co-produced The Silent Storm starring Damian Lewis (Homeland) and Andrea Riseborough (Oblivion) with Neon Films, Barbara Broccoli's Eon Films, New Sparta, The British Film Company and Ffilm Cymru Wales. The Silent Storm was selected for its world premier at the BFI London Film Festival and is being distributed worldwide by Sony Pictures.
Sci-Fi Thriller, The Machine, starring Toby Stephens (Die Another Day, Black Sails), Caity Lotz (The Pact, Arrow) and Denis Lawson (Star Wars). Red and Black produced and distributed with a cinema release in March 2014, hitting number 2 in the UK iTunes charts and number 5 in USA and Germany. The film had its' world premier in Tribeca, won a British Independent Film Award, Best Sci-Fi and Best Actress at Toronto After Dark, Three BAFTAs Cymru including Best Film and Best UK Feature of the Raindance Film Festival. Red and Black's direct distribution campaign for the UK, partnered with Content, won the Screen Award 2014. The Machine has been acquired by Universal/SyFy to be developed as a US TV series.
The company's first feature Little White Lies saw Caradog nominated as best New Director at BIFA, Official Selection at Moscow and won two BAFTA Cymru Awards. John's been nominated for the Screen Nation Award twice and is an honoree of the BFI initiative, Breakthrough Brits. His short films have won The 48 Hour Film Challenge and the BBC New Filmmaker Award at Brief Encounters.
In 2014 Ffilm Cymru Wales selected Red and Black Films for a slate development award to further expand the business and they continue to develop a high-concept range of projects in film and television weighted towards elevated genre.
John sits on the board of BAFTA Cymru and Film Cymru Wales and was listed as a Future Leader by Screen International during Cannes 2015.
First a star in Hungary, Ernö Verebes, born in 1902, achieved the same status in Germany between 1925 and 1936. Now renamed Ernst Verebes, he was one of those manly actors, both well-built and charming, at ease as well in a military uniform as in a tuxedo and top hat, that German ladies loved to see on a big screen. They acclaimed him, among many other roles, as a count in Frederic Zelnik's The Gypsy Baron or as a dashing hussar lieutenant in Der Tanzhusar. Unfortunately, the Nazis liked him much less and in 1936 Verebes decided he had better flee and take refuge in the USA. His career resumed there two years later but his matinée idol years were past. Verebes, now named Ernö again, first found a few acceptable supporting roles, mainly the German or SS officer in office. He is particularly memorable though in a non military part ( the stage manager) in Ernst Lubitsch's immortal To Be or Not to Be. After World War Two was over, he was only given bits to play, a far cry from the star status he benefited from only one or two decades earlier. The strange thing is that, whatever the type a film he was in, he was most of the time cast as a ... waiter! For years on, in at least fifteen movies, he would serve drinks to actors and actresses lucky enough to have something interesting to play. Sure there were variants, Ernö Verebes could be a bartender, a head waiter, a wine steward or the captain of waiters but the former popular and elegant star understandably tired of unceasingly repeating the same ancillary gestures, he who had been a count, a hussar and a Don Juan. This is the reason why he decided to retire in 1953 whereas he was only 51. Sadly enough, Ernö Verebes died in oblivion in Los Angeles, aged 68.
Actor, director, rockabilly singer, trash film historian, wrestling manager and promoter -- modern-day Renaissance man Johnny Legend has truly done it all and then some in a remarkably rich, eclectic, and impressive career that has spanned over four decades and shows no signs of stopping in the immediate near future. He was born Martin Margulies on October 3, 1949 in San Fernando, California. His father Bernard Margulies was a doctor and his mother Betty was a nurse. Legend is the older brother of Lynne Margulies. Johnny was initially a country music fan who practiced Hank Williams songs in his bedroom and watched Ernest Tubb on television. He attended Sylmar High School in San Fernando, California. Legend formed the folk-rock group the Seeds of Time and first started establishing his singularly outrageous rock'n'roll wildman persona in 1966. In 1970 Johnny began playing 50s rock'n'roll songs with the band Blue Midnight. He recorded numerous songs for Ronny Weiser's Rollin' Rock Records and fronted the band the Rollin' Rock Rebels in the 70s. In 1977 Legend co-wrote and produced the popular novelty song "Pencil Neck Geek" for wrestler Fred Blassie. That same year his crude porno comedy "Teenage Cruisers" was released. In 1983 Johnny co-wrote and co-directed the offbeat comedy feature "My Breakfast With Blassie" with Blassie and legendary avant-garde comic Andy Kaufman. Legend created both the Sleazemania and Teenage Theater series for Rhino Home Video in the late 80s and played an instrumental role in rediscovering and re-releasing countless obscure cartoons, low-budget horror flicks, and groovy exploitation pictures that otherwise might have vanished into oblivion. Among the movies Johnny has acted in are "The Cat Ate My Parakeet," "Prison Ship," "Bride of Re-Animator," "Bug Buster," the Kaufman bio film "Man on the Moon," and "2001 Maniacs." He released the album "Bitchin'" in 1998. Moreover, Legend has promoted wrestling matches and managed wrestlers on the West Coast. Johnny now runs the DVD label Legendhouse and continues to tour and perform music on stage all over the world.
Granddaughter of Brahmakesari Keshab Chandra Sen, Sadhona was born in a prosperous Brahmo family and received education as was common with Brahmo girls of those days. Her father was Saral Chandra Sen and she was the second of his three daughters. Her elder sister Binita was married into a royal family of Chittagong (now Bangladesh)and settled to household life, while the youngest Nilina pursued a career in Indian Classical music and earned herself a position of eminence and was known in record circles as Naina Devi. Sadhona married Madhu Bose, film maker working in Bengal, British India, at a young age, and joined the Calcutta Art Players, a theatrical company owned by husband Modhu Bose and took part as heroine in the plays produced by the unit. Later on Sadhona joined films and played Marjina in Alibaba (1937), made in Bengali under the banner of Bharatlakshmi Pictures. This film was a runaway hit and is remembered well by film enthusiasts. Modhu Bose had earlier directed a number of films but he tasted real success with Alibaba. For Sadhona this film meant a permanent place in the history of Bengali films. This was followed with Abhinoy (Bengali-1938), another major success for the couple. They migrated to Bombay and again created history with the immensely popular Kumkum (1940), made in two languages, Hindi and Bengali and thereafter went on to create the first triple version (English, Bengali, Hindi) film of India, Rajnartaki (1941). Sadhona did come back to Calcutta for a double version Bengali movie Meenakshi (1942)with the handsome Jyoti Prakash as the hero. Going back to Bombay soon after the completion of this film where she starred in major films like Shankar Parvati, Vishkanya, Paigham and others and firmly established herself as a heroine in her own right without the backing of husband Modhu Bose. In fact they had fallen quite apart by the mid forties and most unfortunately Sadhona started living much too abandoned a life heavily engaged in drinks,parties and men and slowly lost her carefully earned position. She came back to calcutta after a reconciliation with Modhu Bose but had by this time lost her magic hold over the audiences and acted in films again directed by her husband like Shesher Kabita and Maa O Chhele, without remarkable success. Sadhona was a dancer in the first place and all her film successes were in dancing roles, although she was also a very fine actress and sang her own songs in some of her films including her first Alibaba.With film offers becoming too infrequent, she formed a dance troupe of her own and made all India tours with plays like Wither now, Hunger and others and met with success again as she was bound to be as a personality trained in dancing. She passed into oblivion slowly. Even in retired life she could not part with the bottle and without any income worth the name she found herself in the most difficult conditions financially. Modhu bose was ill and it was difficult to get treatment for him. She lost her husband in 1969 and had no money to sustain herself and thereafter came the greatest tragic period of her life when she had to resort to begging in the streets, in and around Park Street of calcutta. It was during this phase of her life that passers by and street walkers came across an old lady, looking distinguished, dressed in clothes that were expensive at one time but now showing the wear and tear asking for help. Some recognised her and gave her enough to go on for some days while some others gave her a rude rebuff. She took all that with a smile. Just before her death she got appointed as dance trainer in Calcutta's prestigious Star Theatre, courtesy her one time boy friend Timir Baran. She trained junior artistes for the play Janapad Badhu and once again her name featured in the newspapers in the advertisements of the play. However, the end had come very near and she passed away in September,1973. A very tragic and unfortunate way indeed for an all India star who at a time had captured the heart and imagination of millions.
Stepán Hulík was born in Uherské Hradiste. He studied film history at Charles University in Prague and screenwriting at Film Academy of Performing Arts (FAMU). He won the most significant Czech literary award Magnesia Litera for his debut book Cinematography of Oblivion (2011), in which he mapped out the state of Czech film during the era of so called normalization during the 70s and 80s. His screenwriting debut was HBO Europe's historical drama Horící ker (2013) directed by renown Polish auteur Agnieszka Holland. His script for this miniseries was awarded with a Czech Lion award. He continued his collaboration with HBO Europe with a script for 8-part series Pustina (Wasteland) in 2016.
Roberto Loyola, born 1937 in Rome, Lazio, Italy, was a producer, writer and director. He grew up during the boom of film producing Rome. Roberto Loyola was fearless and blunt, and with considerable patrimonial capital. He soon became the young big time producer and impressario. He cultivated his many contacts in the Italian world of performing arts. He recruited and casted great actors, models and artists to the Giallo film genre. A brand of cinema that made almost everyone use at least one alias. Roberto Loyola as a producer is probably best known for his lavish production "Colpo Rovente / The Syndicate - A Death in the Family" (1970). As an offbeat project creator he wrote, directed and produced the bizarre cult film "Microscopic Liquid Subway to Oblivion" (1970). The film starred Swedish actress Ewa Aulin. Ewa married Roberto when she turned 18. Roberto Loyola went bankrupt in 1974 during the post-production of "Rabid Dogs" (1974), directed by Mario Bava. Roberto Loyola passed away in the year 2000, in Lazio, Italy.