Jovanka Vuckovic is an award winning writer and filmmaker. Her university education was in Physical Anthropology. She had a 5 year stint as a visual effects artist, won a Gemini Award for Best Visual Effects, then moved on to edit the horror publication Rue Morgue Magazine for six and a half years. She has been twice-named one of the most influential women in horror, alongside Kathryn Bigelow and Mary Shelley, having put the fledgling Rue Morgue on the map under her stewardship. Her presence at the helm opened up the doors for more women to become involved in the horror genre. She is also the author of Zombies! An Illustrated History of the Undead, from St. Martin's Press (with an introduction by zombie godfather, George Romero).
Vuckovic now writes and directs her own films. The first of which, the award-winning short The Captured Bird, is executive produced by genre film legend Guillermo del Toro. She has been an outspoken voice for gender equality and continues to raise the profile of women in film by writing and directing stories exclusively about women. In 2016 she executive produced and directed a segment for XX, the first ever all-female horror anthology from XYZ Films/Magnet Releasing and is currently working on a feature film adaptation of Clive Baker's Jacqueline Ess, as well as an original screenplay All My Heroes Are Dead, which will be produced by Darius Films in 2017. She is also in development on the feature documentary How We Die, with the producer of Blackfish, as well as a new television series for VICE's newly minted television channel Viceland.
|Eli B. Despres
Eli Despres co-wrote and edited the documentary "Blackfish" (BAFTA nominee - 98% 'Fresh' at rottentomatoes.com), which was viewed by over 21 million people in the US alone, has catalyzed state and federal legislation, and was shortlisted for the Oscar. His other writing and editing credits include "Red Army" (Cannes - 100% 'Fresh' at rottentomatoes.com), the Emmy-winning investigative journalism series "Exposé" (PBS), feature documentary "City LAX" (ESPN), short documentary "At Risk" (ACAP) and the fiction feature "Wilderness Survival for Girls" (ContentFilm/Image Entertainment), which he also directed. The Hollywood Reporter described his work as "Shattering... Eli Despres edits with propulsive narrative drive." Eli was nominated for the 2014 American Cinema Editors' Documentary award.
Jeffrey Ventre is a practicing medical doctor licensed in the state of Washington. He is a Diplomate of the American Board of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. He treats patients with various disabilities ranging from spinal cord injury to low back pain. He is (also) a chiropractor, and uses spinal manipulation in his practice. Jeff trained cetaceans at SeaWorld in Florida for seven years, and pinnepeds for one year. He disagrees with the practice of captivity for free ranging mammals. JV is in the book "Death at SeaWorld," and the movie "Blackfish," as himself.
Karol was born in Folkestone in Kent, to Henry 'Mick' Ryan, a well-known local cricketer and footballer, and Elsie Howard, a former London beauty queen and Regimental Sergeant Major in the Woman's Army. She was educated at the Folkestone Technical High School for Girls (now the Girls' Grammar School), South Kent College in Ashford, and is a graduate in Mathematics from the University of Kent. Karol's entry into the world of acting in 2005 as Anne Scarlett in 'Hood The Musical' for the Blackfish Theatre Company, she describes as her 'mid-life crisis'. Since then she has many theatre credits to her name including 'Alice The Musical', 'Talking Heads 1 and 2', 'Jack and Beanstalk', 'Dick Whittington', '2000 Years of History', and 'Scrooge'. During the 2009 Christmas pantomime season she was one of the Front of House pirates at the Marlowe Arena for the Evolution Productions pantomime Peter Pan starring Adrian Edmonson. 2013 saw Karol return to the theatre when she took on two lead roles; the first was Lady Fortesque in A New Year's Eve Murder Mystery in Whitstable for The Short Theatre Company. The second was as Nurse Ratched in One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest at the Marlowe Theatre for the Back of House Theatre Company. Karol's first foray into motion pictures was in 2006, when she answered a advert in her local paper asking for extras to work on The Other Boleyn Girl at Dover Castle. Since then she has worked in several feature films and short films, including the musicals Les Miserables where she had a featured role during the factory scenes, The Muppets Again, and Into the Woods. During the summer of 2011 she worked on her son's directorial and writing feature film debut, Merry Z-Day, in which she starred as Beth. Karol has recently been the star of two major productions. The first was the pilot for a new web TV series called Second Choice; and the second on a short film/documentary made by Viola Films to commemorate the 100th anniversary of WW1 called Time Bleeds. 2013 was the year Karol worked on several new TV series including Southcliffe, The Tunnel and Edge of Heaven - all of which were shot in her home county of Kent. Karol attended acting and singing workshops at the Blackfish Academy in Dover, and has training in several different dance styles. December 2013.
Ben became a member of the newly-founded Blackfish Academy in Dover in 2005, and won a small role in their first show, "The Musical Hood". From there, Ben won starring roles in the Academy's productions of "Alice the Musical", playing "the March Hare"; "Scrooge", playing "Topper"; "The Jungle Book", playing "Colonel Haithi"; "Fame", playing "Goody"; and "The Runaways", playing "Rocco the Pimp".
He has also been in a number of Dover Youth Theatre productions, including "The Boy Who Fell into a Book", playing "Rockfist Slim"; Agatha Christie's "An Appointment With Death", playing "Colonel Carberry"; and three workshop productions which allowed him, in 2010, to be the first actor to play "Shrek", on the English stage, in a scene from "Shrek the Musical".
Ben was an original member of The Canterbury-based Unfinished Business Theatre Company, and was a huge hit in their debut production, "The Penis Monologues". He also starred, to great acclaim, in their subsequent shows, "The Best Panto Ever" (as "Grumpy" and "Jack"), and their 2011 hit play, "The Last Theatre", playing "Job".
He was a member of the Dover Pageant Society, playing a number of roles in their open-air productions in 2002, 2005 and 2008.
Ben's filmography includes the award-winning shorts, "Marty's Project" (playing "Ben the Red Carpet Presenter"), which won 2011 Seriac Best Acting Award; "Playground" (playing a Gang Leader); and The 2008 Prix Europa film, "Washed Up" (playing a Czech Castaway). He has also finished filming the London School of Communication short film, "Frequenze"; and is working on the KETV/CBBC short film series, "Davey and ..." by Anne Perry, in which Ben plays a number of historical characters encountered by time-traveling schoolboy "Davey Smith".
Ben is an undergraduate at the Christ Church University in Canterbury, studying BA Drama, and where he recently headlined and was the critically- acclaimed act in the university's three variety nights, where he performed his own unique mixture of stand-up and impressions.
He is a former student of the Dover Grammar School for Boys and Canterbury College, where he also performed in a number of productions.
Ben was lucky enough to be one of the hopefuls picked from a line-up of 4,500 people who attended the casting in Chatham, Kent for the new film, musical version of "Les Miserables", starring Hugh Jackman and Russell Crowe.
Ben is working on a comedy double act with fellow university student, Jack Blundell, and their first show, "They've Landed", at Quarterhouse Theatre in Folkestone was a critically-acclaimed success. The pair are working on a second show to be performed in Canterbury, and are planning to take their shows to The Edinburgh Fringe in the future.
He is also worked on his first feature film, produced by his own production company, "A World Called My Mind Productions", and written by himself, called Merry Z-Day, which was released, straight-to-video, in October 2013.
Ben is also an accomplished Jazz and Blues pianist (having passed his Grade Five Jazz Performance exam) and singer, and is learning to play the guitar.
Ched Tolliver is a multi-faceted musician and composer. Classically trained, he is skilled in composition, arranging and production. Ched's scope of film writing ranges from romantic comedy, action/drama, to singer songwriting in a rock, pop, or folk genre. His recent work includes the film score to the documentary Newman (2015) which was produced by Sunset Pictures and Our Turn Productions, the producers behind 2013 Official Sundance Selection Documentary, Blackfish. He's scored a Berlin Film Festival selection Born to Ride and the feature film The Bronx Bull. The Bronx Bull is due to be released theatrically in 2015. Ched has just produced and arranged a re-boot of the classic Nancy Sinatra hit "These Boots Were Made For Walkin'" with Katie Holmes as vocalist. The song will be featured in the new film, Miss Meadows. He has just finished scoring the comedy TV pilot, Codependence and is slated to score the comedy feature Big Finish, starring Bob Newhart and Don Rickles, coming to theaters in 2015.
Awarded 2nd place in the 2014 "Funniest Person in the World Competition," Saad Haroon is a world renowned Comedian, Writer and Performer. A comedy pioneer, he created Pakistan's first improvisational comedy troupe 'BlackFish,' which performed weekly for three year and was also selected to represent Pakistan at "Contacting The World," one of the largest international theatre festivals. A UCB trained performer, Saad went on to create and perform in 'Shark' and 'The Agency,' two critically acclaimed bi-lingual improvisational theatre groups that toured nationally. Haroon is also the first stand-up comedian to tour Pakistan. Having written three solo shows, he has performed in prestigious venues all over the world including the Southbank Centre in London and the world famous Laugh Factory in Hollywood. He created, hosted and was head-writer for "The Real News," Pakistan's first English language comedy program on television which presented a mix of political and social satire. He went on to produce and star in another critically acclaimed show, "Saad Haroon: Very Live!," based on his exploits traveling as a stand-up comedian. Saad's work has been featured in publications and news media over the world including The Huffington Post, NPR, The Guardian, BBC, The Telegraph, The Young Turks, and many more.
An accomplished and innovative young composer, Shoghi Hayes has written and premiered numerous scores for award winning films across the United States and abroad, and his music has been performed by musicians from the New York Philharmonic and the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra. His music is known for its richness and beautiful simplicity that demands attention to drama and storytelling. Mark Snow, composer of X-Files, describes his music as "remarkably successful" and "an amazing example of how something so remarkably simple with what you see works so well and holds your attention". His innate sense of musical storytelling is also described as "profoundly effective" by Sean Callery, composer of 24 and Bones, and "refreshing!" by Michael Levine, composer of Cold Case and the Kit-Kat Bar theme song.
In 2016, Shoghi's score for the film Private Eye won the award for Best Sound Score in the 72 Hour Mind2Movie film competition sponsored by Rochester Movie Makers. His most recent works are heard on award winning short films such as Homesick (2015), On the Wall (2016), The Struggle of Malcolm Young (2016), and Roam (2016) as winning films in the First Niagara Rochester Fringe Festival with the Rochester Institute of Technology. Also in 2016, Shoghi was selected as a featured artist for his composition, "In Hendersight" at the South by Southwest Film and Music Festival in Austin, Texas.
Shoghi received his Bachelor of Music in Jazz and Contemporary Media at the Eastman School of Music in 2015. During his years as a student, his innovative jazz/orchestral composition, "Discovery of Twelve", sparked multiple collaborative performances between the Jazz Studies and Strings, Harp, & Guitar departments at Eastman. His piece was later selected by the institution to be professionally recorded and featured on the historic album, Jazz at Eastman 2014. In 2016, he was selected as one of 20 orchestral film composers from around the globe to participate in the prestigious NYU/ASCAP Foundation Film Scoring Workshop, where he worked with renowned composers such as Sean Callery, Mark Snow, Ira Newborn, Michael Levine, and Mike Patterson.
Since 2015, Shoghi has worked closely with Emmy award winning composer of Blackfish and House of Cards, and founder of the Beal Institute for Film Music and Contemporary Media, Jeff Beal. He also continues to collaborate with students, faculty, and accomplished alumni from RIT in cutting edge film, commercial, and video game productions. He plans to pursue a Master of Music degree at Eastman as part of the pilot program for the Beal Institute in the Fall of 2016.
Chris Towey has worked in the film industry for nearly three decades. During the past 12 years, he has traveled worldwide shooting for television, corporate, and feature films. Towey has served as cinematographer on feature-length documentaries including Blackfish, a Sundance featured film (purchased by Magnolia Pictures) that explores the exploitation of animals for the entertainment business; Finding Hillywood, which profiles a new generation of Rwandan storytellers; Bear Trek, which follows a biologist as he researches bears and climate change in Alaska and Peru; and Trade Off, which examines World Trade Organization and its impact leading up to the 1999 Seattle riots, and was an official selection at film festivals in Canada and the U.S.
Towey has also shot dozens of commercials and television programs for networks including MSNBC, National Geographic, E!, PBS Nature, Discovery Channel, History Channel, and the BBC.
The Hollywood Chamber Orchestra, founded by musicians Noah Gladstone and Mark Robertson in 2015, has fast become a major part of the Southern California music scene. It was created to fill a void of a year-round professional orchestra in the Hollywood area. In the past year, the orchestra has commissioned eight new works, including the world premiere performance of the documentary film Blackfish, composed and conducted by Emmy-winner Jeff Beal. The orchestra has also recorded new works by composers Pete Seibert, Ashoka Thiagarajan, and Alison Plante. In addition, the orchestra was featured in two sold-out concerts at the historic Pantages Theater, performing the music to Star Trek: The Ultimate Voyage, conducted by Justin Freer. The upcoming documentary film Beartrek, directed by Chris Morgan, features the HCO performing a score by Jeremy Zuckerman. Conductors and soloists who appeared in their first season include Sarah Chang, Martin Chalifour, Lucas Richman, Andrew Bain, Jeff Schindler, Anthony Parnther, and Dale Clevenger. Their upcoming season includes more movies live to picture, a world premiere concert musical entitled "Swan Lake", a classical recording with composer Christopher Allport, and a second concert of all world premiere compositions.