Sean Penn is a powerhouse film performer capable of intensely moving work, who has gone from strength to strength during a colourful film career, and who has drawn much media attention for his stormy private life and political viewpoints.
Sean Justin Penn was born in Los Angeles, California, the second son of actress Eileen Ryan (née Annucci) and director, actor, and writer Leo Penn. His brother was actor Chris Penn. His father was from a Lithuanian Jewish/Russian Jewish family, and his mother is of half Italian and half Irish descent.
Penn first appeared in roles as strong-headed or unruly youths such as the military cadet defending his academy against closure in Taps, then as fast-talking surfer stoner Jeff Spicoli in Fast Times at Ridgemont High.
Fans and critics were enthused about his obvious talent and he next contributed a stellar performance alongside Timothy Hutton in the Cold War spy thriller The Falcon and the Snowman, followed by a teaming with icy Christopher Walken in the chilling At Close Range. The youthful Sean then paired up with his then wife, pop diva Madonna in the woeful, and painful, Shanghai Surprise, which was savaged by the critics, but Sean bounced back with a great job as a hot-headed young cop in Colors, gave another searing performance as a US soldier in Vietnam committing atrocities in Casualties of War and appeared alongside Robert De Niro in the uneven comedy We're No Angels. However, the 1990s was the decade in which Sean really got noticed by critics as a mature, versatile and accomplished actor, with a string of dynamic performances in first-class films.
Almost unrecognisable with frizzy hair and thin rimmed glasses, Penn was simply brilliant as corrupt lawyer David Kleinfeld in the Brian De Palma gangster movie Carlito's Way and he was still in trouble with authority as a Death Row inmate pleading with a caring nun to save his life in Dead Man Walking, for which he received his first Oscar nomination. Sean then played the brother of wealthy Michael Douglas, involving him in a mind-snapping scheme in The Game and also landed the lead role of Sgt. Eddie Walsh in the star-studded anti-war film The Thin Red Line, before finishing the 1990s playing an offbeat jazz musician (and scoring another Oscar nomination) in Sweet and Lowdown.
The gifted and versatile Sean had also moved into directing, with the quirky but interesting The Indian Runner, about two brothers with vastly opposing views on life, and in 1995 he directed Jack Nicholson in The Crossing Guard. Both films received overall positive reviews from critics. Moving into the new century, Sean remained busy in front of the cameras with even more outstanding work: a mentally disabled father fighting for custody of his seven-year-old daughter (and receiving a third Oscar nomination) for I Am Sam; an anguished father seeking revenge for his daughter's murder in the gut-wrenching Clint Eastwood-directed Mystic River (for which he won the Oscar as Best Actor); a mortally ill college professor in 21 Grams and a possessed businessman in The Assassination of Richard Nixon.
Certainly Sean Penn is one of Hollywood's most controversial, progressive and gifted actors.
Kathleen Robertson was born in Hamilton, Ontario, and launched her career in nearby Toronto, in the George Lucas-produced Maniac Mansion and continues to work with prolific producers. She transitioned from David E. Kelley's acclaimed Girls Club into Gus Van Sant's Golden Globe-winning Starz political drama Boss, with Kelsey Grammar, and now is the lead in Steven Bochco's TNT drama Murder In The First, opposite Taye Diggs, set to launch next summer. She's simultaneously enjoying an arc on A&E's acclaimed Bates Motel, and just wrapped Lakeshore Entertainment's feature Vatican Tapes with Jean Reno and Michael Pena. Also in development is the series Your Time Is Up -- about a wildly successful, yet deeply troubled, psychologist -- for which she will write, produce, and potentially star as the lead. This marks Robertson's second produced script within a year, coming on the heels of the indie feature Gravity Pulls, in which she stars and co-wrote. Robertson headlined IFC's Gemini Award-winning mockumentary-style comedy series The Business, for which she also serves double duty as Executive Producer. The six-hour mini-series take on "The Wizard of Oz" called Tin Man, in which she starred as the wicked sorceress sister to Zooey Deschanel, recently garnered the highest ratings in the SyFy network's history, along with multiple Emmy nominations. She most recently starred in the Weinstein Company's Seal Team Six, from the producers of the Best Picture Oscar-winning The Hurt Locker," which follows the hunt for Osama Bin Laden. No stranger to the big screen, she starred alongside Academy Award-winners Ben Affleck and Adrien Brody in the dramatic thriller Hollywoodland, a dramatic speculation on the mysterious death of George Reeves, the Nineteen-fifties' TV Superman. Robertson starred opposite Mark Ruffalo in IFC Films' sexual drama XX/XY that was in dramatic competition at the Sundance Film Festival. In direct contrast, she also starred for Keenen Ivory Wayans in the sequel to Dimension Films' blockbuster, Scary Movie. Previously, Robertson collaborated with writer/director Gregg Araki on the films Splendor in which she starred as Veronica, a girl caught in the middle of a love triangle, and Nowhere, in which she portrayed the overbearing, purple-haired lesbian "Lucifer." Additional feature credits include Beautiful, with Minnie Driver for director Sally Field; Bruce McCulloch's Dog Park; and Sundance favorite Psycho Beach Party. Robertson has also co-starred with Bill Murray in director John McNaughton's comedy Speaking of Sex; starred as notorious Canadian murderess Evelyn Dick in the grisly 1946 true story Torso, for which she garnered her third Best Actress Gemini Award (the Canadian equivalent of the Emmy) nomination; and had a coveted cameo opposite Sean Penn in New Line Cinema's I Am Sam. In addition, she appeared in the Adam Goldberg helmed I Love Your Work with Giovanni Ribisi and Franke Potente, the dramatic thriller Static, the romantic comedies Not Since You and Losing Control, TIFF's A Night for Dying Tigers, and the sequel to Writer/Director Don Shebib's 1970 Canadian classic Goin' Down The Road, fittingly titled Down The Road Again. Robertson's film resume also includes the dramatic thriller Last Exit for which she received her second Gemini Award-nomination, Player 5150 and The Hill. Other credits include In The Dark opposite Charlotte Rampling; Until The Night with Norman Reedus; director Tim Hunter's Control alongside Willem Dafoe and Ray Liotta; and Mall Cop which marks director David Greenspan's first full-length feature after winning the Cannes Film Festival's coveted Palm D'or for his short Bean. A native of Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, Robertson resides in Los Angeles.
|Alejandro González Iñárritu
Alejandro González Iñárritu (Spanish pronunciation, ih-nyar-ee-too; born August 15, 1963) is a Mexican film director.
González Iñárritu is the first Mexican director to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Director and by the Directors Guild of America for Best Director. He is also the first Mexican born director to have won the Prix de la mise en scene or best director award at Cannes (2006), the second one being Carlos Reygadas in 2012. His five feature films Amores perros (2000), 21 Grams (2003), Babel (2006), Biutiful (2010), and Birdman (2014), have gained critical acclaim worldwide including two Academy Award nominations.
Alejandro González Iñárritu was born in Mexico City.
Crossing the Atlantic Ocean on a cargo ship at the age of 17 and 19, González Iñárritu worked his way across Europe and Africa. He himself has noted that these early travels as a young man have had a great influence on him as a filmmaker. The setting of his films have often been in the places he visited during this period.
After his travels, González Iñárritu returned to Mexico City and majored in communications at Universidad Iberoamericana. In 1984, he started his career as a radio host at the Mexican radio station WFM, a rock and eclectic music station. In 1988, he became the director of the station. Over the next five years, González Iñárritu spent his time interviewing rock stars, transmitting live concerts, and making WFM the number one radio station in Mexico. From 1987 to 1989, he composed music for six Mexican feature films. He has stated that he believes music has had a bigger influence on him as an artist than film itself.
In the nineties, González Iñárritu created Z films with Raul Olvera in Mexico. Under Z Films, he started writing, producing and directing short films and advertisements. Making the final transition into T.V Film directing, he studied under well-known Polish theater director Ludwik Margules, as well as Judith Weston in Los Angeles.
In 1995, González Iñárritu wrote and directed his first T.V pilot for Z Films, called Detras del dinero, -"Behind the Money", starring Miguel Bosé. Z Films went on to be one of the biggest and strongest film production companies in Mexico, launching seven young directors in the feature film arena. In 1999, González Iñárritu directed his first feature film Amores perros, written by Guillermo Arriaga. Amores perros explored Mexican society in Mexico City told via three intertwining stories. In 2000, Amores perros premiered at the Cannes Film Festival and won the Critics Weeks Grand Prize. It also introduced audiences for the first time to Gael García Bernal. Amores perros went on to be nominated for Best Foreign Film at the Academy Awards.
After the success of Amores Perros, González Iñárritu and Guillermo Arriaga revisited the intersecting story structure of Amores perros in González Iñárritu's second film, 21 Grams. The film starred Benicio del Toro, Naomi Watts and Sean Penn, and was presented at the Venice Film Festival, winning the Volpi Cup for actor Sean Penn. At the 2004 Academy Awards, Del Toro and Watts received nominations for their performances.
In 2005 González Iñárritu embarked on his third film, Babel, set in 4 countries on 3 continents, and in 4 different languages. Babel consists of four stories set in Morocco, Mexico, the United States, and Japan. The film stars Brad Pitt, Cate Blanchett and Adriana Barraza. The majority of the rest of the cast, however, was made up of non-professional actors and some new actors, such as Rinko Kikuchi. It was presented at Cannes 2006, where González Iñárritu earned the Best Director Prize (Prix de la mise en scène). Babel was released in November 2006 and received seven nominations at the 79th Annual Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director. González Iñárritu is the first Mexican director nominated for a DGA award and for an Academy Award. Babel went on to win Best Motion Picture in the drama category at the Golden Globe Awards on January 15, 2007. Gustavo Santaolalla won the Academy Award that year for Best Original Score. After Babel, Alejandro and his writing partner Guillermo Arriaga professionally parted ways, following González Iñárritu barring Arriaga from the set during filming (Arriaga told the LA Times in 2009 "It had to come to an end, but I still respect González Iñárritu").
In 2008 and 2009, González Iñárritu directed and produced Biutiful, starring Javier Bardem, written by González Iñárritu, Armando Bo, and Nicolas Giacobone. The film premiered at the Cannes Film Festial on May 17, 2010. Bardem went on to win Best Actor (shared with Elio Germano for La nostra vita) at Cannes. Biutiful is González Iñárritu's first film in his native Spanish since his debut feature Amores perros. For the second time in his career his film was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at the 83rd Academy Awards. It was also nominated for the 2011 Golden Globes in the category of Best Foreign Film, for the 2011 BAFTA awards in the category of Best Film Not in the English Language and Best Actor. Javier Bardem's performance was also nominated for Academy Award for Best Actor.
In 2014, González Iñárritu directed Birdman, starring Michael Keaton, Naomi Watts, Edward Norton, Emma Stone, Zach Galifianakis, and Andrea Riseborough. The film is Iñárritu's first comedy. Birdman is about an actor who played an iconic superhero, and who tries to revive his career by doing a play based on the Raymond Carver short story What We Talk About When We Talk About Love. The film was released on October 17, 2014.
In April 2014, it was announced that González Iñárritu's next film as a director will be The Revenant, which he co-wrote with Mark L. Smith. It is based on the novel of same name by Michael Punke. The film stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy and Will Poulter with shooting began in September 2014, for a December 25, 2015 release.The Revenant is being filmed in Alberta and B.C. with production scheduled to wrap in February 2015. The film will be a 19th Century period piece, and is described as a "gritty thriller" about a fur trapper who seeks revenge against a group of men who robbed and abandoned him after he was mauled by a grizzly bear.
From 2001 to 2011, González Iñárritu directed several short films.
In 2001, he directed an 11 minute film segment for 11.09.01- which is composed of several short films that explore the effects of the 9/11 terrorist attacks from different points of view around the world.
In 2007, he made ANNA which screened at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival inside Chacun son cinéma. It was part of the 60th anniversary of the film festival and it was a series of shorts by 33 world-renown film directors.
In 2012, he made the experimental short film Naran Ja: One Act Orange Dance - inspired by L.A Dance Project's premiere performance. The short features excerpts of the new choreography Benjamin Millepied crafted for Moving Parts. The story takes place in a secluded, dusty space and centers around LADP dancer Julia Eichten.
In 2001/2002, González Iñárritu directed "Powder Keg", an episode for the BMW film series The Hire, starring Clive Owen as the driver.
In 2010, González Iñárritu directed Write the Future, a football-themed commercial for Nike ahead of the 2010 FIFA World Cup, which went on to win Grand Prix at the Cannes Lions advertising festival.
In 2012, he directed Procter and Gamble's "Best Job" commercial spot for the 2012 Olympic Ceremonies. It went on to win the Best Primetime Commercial Emmy at Creative Arts Emmy Awards.
Over more than thirty years, Michael Wincott has gained the reputation of a respected and uncompromising actor. Born in Scarborough, Ontario, he eventually moved to New York City where he graduated from Juilliard in 1986 and began a relationship with Joseph Papp's Public Theatre beginning with his creation of the role of Kent in Eric Bogosian's Talk Radio. (He reprised the role for the 1988 Oliver Stone film.) He last appeared onstage in New York opposite John Malkovich in Sam Shepard's States of Shock originating the role of Stubbs. He has worked with some of cinema's most gifted contributors including Julian Schnabel, Sean Penn, Gary Oldman, Jim Jarmusch, Robert De Niro, Gerard Depardieu, Benicio Del Toro and Javier Bardem. He wants to do a film with Isabelle Huppert in Paris. Then perhaps live there.
Born in Florida, educated at Purchase, and coming from the NYC based theatre scene, Shea Whigham's big break came when director Joel Schumacher cast him opposite Colin Farrell in Tigerland (2000). Since then he has racked up impressive credits working with such legendary Hollywood directors as Martin Scorcese, Robert Redford, Terrence Malick, Werner Herzog, Oliver Stone, David O'Russell and Robert Rodriguez as well as the next generation such as Tim Van Patten, David Gordon Green and Jeff Nichols, among others. Shea has worked opposite such forces as Robert DeNiro, Anthony Hopkins, Christian Bale, Sean Penn and many others; and continues his role as 'Eli Thompson' on HBO's award-winning series Boardwalk Empire. He is married with 4 children and splits his time between NY and LA.
Robert Davi is an award-winning actor, screenwriter, director, producer and jazz vocalist.
From his portrayal of the opera singing baddie in "The Goonies" and one of the most popular James Bond villains Franz Sanchez in "Licence to Kill" to FBI Special Agent Big Johnson in" Die Hard" or Al Torres in "Showgirls" to most recently Leo Marks in "The Iceman " Robert Davi is one of the film industry's most recognized tough guys . He has also starred in the small screen in hit shows like Profiler, Stargate Atlantis, Criminal Minds and CSI . With over 140 film and TV credits he has frightened us , romanced us ,made us cry or split our seams laughing . He is also one of the top vocalists of our day in interpreting the Great American Songbook, thrilling audiences by playing top venues like the Venetian in Las Vegas where he headlines or for 10,000 people at the Harry Chapin Theater in East Meadow ,Long Island or the Orleans in Vegas where he gave 3 sellout shows with Don Rickles. His debut album Davi Sings Sinatra- On the Road to Romance produced by Phil Ramone shot to number 6 for more than several weeks on Billboard's Jazz Charts.
In his early acting years, Davi attended Hofstra University on a drama scholarship. He then moved to Manhattan, New York where he studied with the legendary acting coach Stella Adler, who became his mentor. Davi became a lifetime member of the Actors Studio, where he studied with acting teacher Lee Strasberg. Always perfecting his craft, Davi studied under Sandra Seacat, Larry Moss, Milton Katselas, Martin Landau, Mala Powers and George Shdanoff, the creative partner and collaborator with Michael Chekhov.
Robert Davi was born in Astoria, Queens, to Maria (Rulli) and Sal Davi. His father was an Italian immigrant and his mother was of Italian descent. Davi was introduced to film when he was cast opposite Frank Sinatra in the telefilm, "Contract on Cherry Street." Later, his work as a Palestinian terrorist in the award-winning television movie, "Terrorist on Trial: The United States vs. Salim Ajami" brought him critical acclaim and caught the eye of legendary James Bond producer Albert R. Broccoli and writer Richard Maibaum, who cast Davi as Colombian drug lord and lead villain Franz Sanchez in the Bond film "Licence to Kill." Today, Davi is one of the top Bond villains of all time ranking at the top on many lists. Davi also received critical acclaim within the industry for his provocative portrayal of Bailey Malone in "Profiler." The show struck a chord with audiences, paving the way for such shows as "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation," "Without a Trace," "Law & Order: Criminal Intent," "Criminal Minds" and many others. In 2004, Davi joined the cast of television's "Stargate: Atlantis," which earned Davi many science fiction fans. He has also shown his comedic strength in films such as "The 4th Tenor" with Rodney Dangerfield and "The Hot Chick," produced by Rob Schneider and Adam Sandler.
Having appeared in more than 100 motion pictures, some of Davi's most notable film credits span 30 years and include cult-classics and blockbuster hits with roles as Jake Fratelli in "The Goonies," Max Keller in "Raw Deal," Special Agent Big Johnson in "Die Hard," Al Torres in "Showgirls," Leo Marks in "The Iceman" with Michael Shannon, Winona Ryder, Ray Liotta, Chris Evans and James Franco, and most recently, with Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger among a large A-list cast in "Expendables 3." He has worked with such directors as Steven Spielberg, Richard Donner, Blake Edwards, John McTiernan, Paul Verhoeven and Patrick Hughes. In addition, he has worked on film projects with acting talent such as Marlon Brando, Roberto Benigni, Bruce Willis, Clint Eastwood, Christopher Walken, Benicio Del Toro, Danny Glover and Catherine Zeta Jones, to name a few.
In 2007, Davi produced, directed, co-wrote, and starred in "The Dukes," which tells the story of a once-successful Doo Wop group who fall on hard times. The film won nine awards including the coveted Coup de Coeur award. Davi was also awarded Best First-time Director and Best Screenplay in the Monte Carlo Festival of Comedy by the legendary director Ettore Scola where Prince Albert presented him with the awards. Davi was the only first-time director in the Premiere Section of the International Rome Film Festival along with Sean Penn, Robert Redford, Sidney Lumet, Julie Taymor and others.
In October of 2011, Davi released his debut album, Davi Sings Sinatra: On the Road to Romance (produced by Grammy award-winning producer Phil Ramone) to rave reviews. Within weeks of its highly anticipated release, the album soared onto Billboard Magazine's Top 10 Jazz Chart taking the number 6 spot for several weeks. In response to the release, the legendary Quincy Jones stated, "As FS would say, 'Koo, Koo.' Wow! I have never heard anyone come this close to Sinatra's sound - and still be himself. Many try, but Robert Davi has the voice, tone, the flavor and the swagger. What a surprise. He absolutely touched me down to my soul and brought back the essence and soul of Ol' Blue Eyes himself." In support of the album release, Davi is touring the U.S. with his live stage show, receiving standing ovations. He has performed at The Venetian Resort Hotel Casino in Las Vegas for a three-night engagement, the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza with a 55-piece orchestra, the National Italian-American Foundation's (NIAF) special tribute to the 25th anniversary of its Lifetime Achievement Award to Frank Sinatra at the Washington Hilton in D.C., the Soboba Casino in San Jacinto, Calif., with David Foster at the Beverly Hilton, and in August of 2013, at Long Island's Eisenhower Park for more than 10,000 people. In November of 2013, Davi released the Christmas single, "New York City Christmas."
Besides working in film, television, and music and raising his five children, four dogs and two cats, Davi keeps busy volunteering his time with such charities as The Dream Foundation, Exceptional Children's Foundation, Heart of a Child Foundation, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Youth Foundation, The Humane Society of the United States, Heart of a Horse, NIAF, The Order 'Sons of Italy' in America (OSIA), and UNICO . Since its inception in 1998, Davi has been the National Spokesperson for i-Safe America, which is regarded by many internet experts as the most complete internet safety program in the country and is available in grades K-12 in all 50 U.S. states.
Among his numerous awards for career achievement and community involvement, Davi has received the George M. Estabrook Distinguished Service Award from the Hofstra University Alumni Association (past recipients include Francis Ford Coppola and William Safire). In 2000, Davi was awarded the FBI's Man of the Year Award in Los Angeles. In 2004, Davi was named KNX radios' "Citizen of the Week" for saving a young girl from a fire in her home. The same year, he also received the Sons of Italy's Royal Court of the Golden Lion Award, including a $20,000 donation to a foundation in which he is involved. In addition, he received the 2004 STEP Award (Science, Technology and Education Partnership). In 2007, Davi was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Italian Board of Governors in New York, where New York State recognized his value as an artist and community leader. In 2008, he received the Italo-Americano Award from the Capri-Hollywood Festival. In 2011, Davi was awarded the "Military Order of the Purple Heart" (MOPH) Special Recognition Award for dedication and service honoring America's service members, veterans, and their families. In June of 2013, Davi was honored with a star on the Italian Walk of Fame in Toronto, Canada.
Davi is on The Steering Committee for George Washington University's Homeland Security Policy Institute and is the only entertainer among 28 members, which consists of mainly Senators and former heads of the FBI and CIA. Davi has developed Civilian Patrol 93, which is at Homeland Security, where a lesson plan is being written.
From a hit television drama to a medley of feature films, Roma Maffia graces the entertainment mediums with her trademark sophistication and charismatic appeal.
Roma portrays the smart, no-nonsense anesthesiologist, 'Dr. Liz Cruz,' on the hit FX drama, "Nip/Tuck." 'Liz' has earned the respect of her physician colleagues, plastic surgeons Dr. Sean McNamara (Dylan Walsh) and Dr. Christian Troy (Julian McMahon). Often the voice of reason in an otherwise unpredictable environment, 'Liz' is tough on the surface yet shows warmth and concern for her patients as well as for 'Sean' and 'Christian.' An out-and-proud lesbian, 'Liz' is the only female seen as a true equal in the life of 'Dr. Troy.'
The Warner Bros. Television-produced "Nip/Tuck" won the 2005 Golden Globe for Outstanding Drama series and received an American Film Institute Award. The show is now in its fifth season and has relocated its setting from Miami to Los Angeles.
Most recently, Roma wrapped production on writer/director Robert Celestino's feature film "Yonkers Joe," with Chazz Palminteri. She has also completed production on the crime story "Kingshighway," due out in 2008. Also in the can is the psychological thriller, "Ghost Image" for writer/director Jack Edward Snyder. In the later film, Roma plays the lead investigator who probes the mysterious occurrences involving a woman who begins to receive video messages from her deceased boyfriend.
Roma started her acting career performing off-Broadway, off-off Broadway and in regional productions ranging from Shakespeare to Sam Shephard. At a benefit reading for the New Group in New York, she was asked by casting director Jane Jenkins to audition for a role in director Ron Howard's feature film "The Paper," and found a career mentor: "Ron tells people he discovered me, which is absolutely true."
When "The Paper" opened in Los Angeles, Roma took her first trip to Hollywood and her career quickly flourished. She soon met television producer David E. Kelley, who cast her as Adam Arkin's secretary, 'Angela' in his new series, "Chicago Hope."
During her one season on "Chicago Hope," Roma landed a plum role in the Barry Levinson film, "Disclosure," in which she played Michael Douglas' tough sexual harassment lawyer, 'Katherine Alvarez.' Garnering rave reviews for her performance, Roma quickly landed feature film roles in director John Badham's "Nick of Time," playing a kidnapper opposite Christopher Walken and Johnny Depp; "Eraser" with Arnold Schwarzenegger, and "Double Jeopardy" opposite Ashley Judd.
Additional feature credits include "I Am Sam" with Sean Penn and Michelle Pfeiffer; "Kiss The Girls" with Morgan Freeman; "Holes," "Things You Can Tell Just By Looking At Her" with Glenn Close and Holly Hunter.
For television, Roma played the dedicated and intelligent 'Grace Alvarez,' forensic pathologist for the Violent Crimes Task Force, for four seasons on NBC's primetime series "Profiler." Her telefilm credits include "Consensual Relations" for NBC; HBO's "Mistrial" with Bill Pullman; and Showtime's "The Defenders." She had recurring roles on NBC's "Law & Order" and "ER," and she has guest-starred on numerous television shows, including CBS's "Ghost Whisperer," Lifetime's "Strong Medicine," NBC's "The West Wing" and HBO's "The Sopranos."
In her free time, Roma is actively involved with the non-profit organization, Artists for a New South Africa (ANSA) which dedicates itself to advancing democracy and equality in South Africa. Although she is happiest when acting, Roma also finds time to run on her treadmill, write, play ping-pong and hang out with her two dogs, Lou Lu and Lucky.
At fourteen years old, Q'orianka Kilcher emerged into the front ranks of young actresses with her portrayal of Pocahontas opposite Colin Farrell and Christian Bale in Terrence Malick's 'The New World', an epic about the encounter between English and North American societies in the early 1600s. Her performance won her the National Board of Reviews best breakthrough performance of 2006 and the 2006 Alma Award for best Latin American actress in a feature film, as well as numerous nominations and rave reviews.
Having started her performing arts career at six years old, she is not only an award-winning actress with high critical acclaim, an amazing singer, lyricist and expert dancer, but also a committed human rights and environmental activist and fearless, powerful young force, who uses her voice as tool to bring the need for universal dignity, compassion, environmental justice and basic Human Rights, to the attention of the international community.
Traveling frequently to speak at youth events, colleges and Universities Q'orianka has been invited as a featured keynote speaker and workshop facilitator at many international conferences and events for organizations such as Amnesty International, the I.F.G. (international Forum on Globalization), Amazon Watch I.F.I.P. (International Funders for Indigenous Peoples) and The United Nations/panel discussions entitled "Indigenous Peoples: Human Rights, Dignity and Development with Identity, in collaboration with the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
She also lends her celebrity, voice and energy as spokeswoman, collaborator and supporter to several international and national N.G.O.s and organizations such as Amazon Watch, Youth Ambassador Amnesty International (Global Youth Ambassador for women's Rights) A.I.D.E.S.E.P. (Spokesperson and Voice) Interethnic Association for the Development of the Peruvian Rainforest Federations) The Community School for the Arts foundation (volunteer/spokeswoman) and Thursdays Child (youth counselor) Turning The Tides ((volunteer/spokesperson) Save America's Forrests I.D.E.M. (South Dakota Youth Project) and is a spokeswoman for the American Literacy Campaign. She is presently working with the National Endowment For The Arts " The Big Read" Campaign, and will be recording a Book Review for the Campaign. Q'orianka is also frequently volunteering her time reading Howard Zinns "The People Speak" at various open to the community staged readings, and just joined the Cast and Starring-Ensemble for the first "People Speak" Film Series (Starring Matt Damon, Sean Penn, Josh Brolin, David Straithern)
In her free time, Q'orianka is an accomplished singer and song-writer and recently launched her own youth driven human rights and environmental organization on-Q initiative, heading off campaigns to connect young Hollywood with youth activist leaders and projects from around the world, in support of environmental sustainability, corporate accountability, basic human rights and universal dignity and compassion in all its forms.
Through her production company, IQ-Films, Q'orianka is also producing several cause driven documentaries and youth-programming projects.
Sam Keeley is an Irish actor who began his acting career in the role of "Killen" in the Irish film "The Other Side of Sleep" directed by Rebecca Daly. He was chosen for this role after attending an open casting in his home town of Tullamore, Co. Offaly, Ireland in 2010. Since then he won a role in the Bafta award winning series "Misfits" appearing in Series 2, Episode 2, as Jamie, Nathan's brother. Shortly after this Sam was cast as Desmond in Paulo Sorrentino's "This Must Be The Place" starring "Sean Penn" and "Frances Mcdormand" which was shot predominantly in Ireland. Both "The Other Side of Sleep" and "This Must Be The Place" premièred at the 2011 "Cannes Film Festival". Since then Sam has appeared in the TV3 Magma Productions series of "Jack Taylor" films starring alongside Iain Glen in The Pikemen.He worked on a post production project for 'Dream House' with Jim Sheridan, and Season 4 of "Raw", an Irish original TV Series where he had a leading role. He played the part of Conor Harris in the feature film "What Richard Did" directed by Lenny Abrahamson which was released to great acclaim in 2012. Sam was cast in his first lead role of Michael in the Si Fi Sequel "Monsters Dark Continent", which is due for release later this year. From there Sam was cast as "Charles Ramsdell" in the "Ron Howard" epic "In the heart of the sea" along side "Chris Hemsworth", "Cillian Murphy", and "Brendan Gleeson". This movie is due for release on March 15th next year (2015). Summer 2014, sees Sam in London playing the role of "David" opposite "Bradley Cooper","Uma Thurman" "Sienna Miller" "Jamie Dornan" "Emma Thompson" "Omar Sy" and Daniel Bruhl" In the "Weinstein Company" production "John Wells" directed "Adam Jones"
Don Harvey was born in St. Clair Shores Michigan the sixth of eight children. He attended the University of Michigan and the Yale School of Drama before moving to New York City to pursue film, TV and theatre work.
He has appeared in over forty feature films, but his most notable performances are in Casualties Of War (1989) alongside Sean Penn and Michael J. Fox, Eight Men Out (1988) with John Cusack and Charlie Sheen and American Heart (1993) with Jeff Bridges.
His television work includes starring performances on Miami Vice, NYPD Blue, The Pretender, Medum, Numb3rs and HBO's Luck.
He is constantly doing theater in New York and throughout the country, performing in classical plays by Shakespeare, Williams, Pinter, Mamet and others as well as contemporary and new works.
He is married to Dyanne Court Harvey and shares his time between New York and Los Angeles.
Born in Toronto, Canada and raised in Jamaica, West Indies, Ingrid discovered acting in high school after she co-wrote and acted in a production about South African apartheid. Her desire to master the craft, took her to The American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York City. Two months out of school she landed and originated the role of Taylor Roxbury-Canon on "All My Children". From there she went on to work with such acclaimed directors as, Woody Allen, Joel Schumacher and Brian DePalma who directed her in her starring role opposite Al Pacino and Sean Penn in "Carlito's Way".
With numerous TV credits and national commercials to her credit, Ingrid continues to hone her love and passion for acting.
Ingrid lives in Los Angeles with her husband and children.
Chicago native Tim Griffin, often known as, "the actor who is in everything," has amassed a dizzying list of credits, and over the years has solidified his reputation as one of Hollywood's nicest, most charming and versatile actors.
The son of a pediatric cardiologist, he first discovered acting after being cast as Oliver Twist in a school performance of the musical "Oliver!" As a teen Griffin would star in numerous theatrical productions for "The Body Politic" and "New Haven Playhouse," as well local movies and commercials. After graduating from Francis Parker High School (among classmates Paul Adelstein, Anne Heche, and novelist Brad Thor), Griffin made the choice to put acting on the back-burner to enroll in the University of Vermont (UVM) where he graduated with a double major in political philosophy and English literature.
Griffin performed as a regular member of the UVM Players (as Claudio in "Much Ado About Nothing" and Riff in "West Side Story"). Fate intervened his sophomore year while driving back to Chicago when his car broke down outside New York City. While waiting for it to be repaired, his agents asked him to audition for a TV movie called "Taking A Stand." He was cast in the leading role of the all-star production (Betty Buckley, Jane Adams, Michael Beach). The show went on to win a Daytime Emmy for "Outstanding Children's Special."
Following this success, Griffin turned down a scholarship to study abroad at the University of Kent in England, and went to Hollywood. Giving himself the extreme grand total of one year to make or break his career, he enrolled in classes at UCLA and signed with Writers and Artists. He quickly went on to star in high-profile TV shows and movies of the week, including "China Beach," "In The Heat of the Night," and Michael Zinberg's autobiographical, coming-of-age drama "For The Very First Time."
Rejecting the advice of his agents, he elected to return to the University of Vermont to finish up his Bachelor's Degree. He considered attending graduate school for political philosophy, but his academic mentor convinced him to return to the West Coast and continue to pursue his acting career, noting that the scholarly life would always be there to fall back on if "things didn't pan out."
Unsure whether working as a "teen actor" came with an expiration date, he picked up right where he left off, landing recurring stints on "General Hospital," the critically acclaimed "Against The Grain" (co-starring "Southland's" Mike Cudlitz, and Ben Affleck), and a near-unrecognizable turn as the autistic Richie Grayson on "Party of Five." His reputation as a multi-talented actor began to grow, and in 1996, director John Singleton gave Griffin his first break into features, casting him in "Higher Learning" (Jennifer Connelly, Lawrence Fishburne) as the orientation announcer at a pep rally whose booming message was "How many people came here to change the world?!"
In his hilarious recurring role as T.R. Knight's brother, Ronny O'Malley," on "Grey's Anatomy," Griffin is best know for shooting his own dad in the butt. He became even more recognizable in 2004 when he was cast in "The Bourne Supremacy," the second installment of the legendary franchise. As "Nevins", a hapless CIA agent who interrogates the eerily silent Bourne (Matt Damon), he's repeatedly stonewalled and smugly says "You're going to play ball one way or another..." During filming, Damon (by pure accident) really cracked Griffin across the bridge of his nose, giving him a deviated septum.
Griffin's blockbuster streak continues with credits that include Jon Favreau's "Iron Man," and more than a few projects for the brilliant J.J. Abrams, such as "Cloverfield," "Star Trek"(where Abrams directed him as the doomed UFSS Kelvin's Chief Engineer in the opening sequence) and in the upcoming "Super 8"(Elle Fanning).
Being handpicked to star alongside and be directed by George Clooney in the 1920's football romp, "Leatherheads" (also starring Renee Zellweger) was a huge thrill. He re-teamed with Clooney again in the comedy "The Men Who Stare at Goats" (featuring Academy Award winners Kevin Spacey and Jeff Bridges). Griffin earned critical praise for his work in Doug Liman's true-life spy drama "Fair Game" as Paul, the lead CIA analyst charged with the unenviable task of taking on Scooter Libby (David Andrews) over the now infamous "yellow cake uranium." Starring Academy Award winner Sean Penn and Naomi Watts, "Fair Game" was awarded screenwriting honors by the Writer's Guild of America, and a New York Film Critics award.
In addition to multiple recognizable commercial campaigns and television spots, Griffin has a number of films hitting theaters this year, including the thriller "Jacked" (Maria Bello, Stephen Dorff) and independent immigration drama "A Better Life" (directed by Chris Weitz). He recently wrapped "The Collection," the highly anticipated sequel to the horror film "The Collector," written and directed by Marcus Dunstan (SAW IV, V, VI, VII, etc.).
In September 2011, Griffin will hunt for big box office game when he reunites with director John Singleton in Lionsgate's "Abduction," starring Taylor Lautner as a young man on the run trying to uncover his true identity. He has also finished filming the pilot for the American reboot of the acclaimed British series "Prime Suspect," starring Maria Bello and Aidan Quinn. Griffin plays wisecracking detective Augie Blando, who alongside Kirk Acevedo ("Oz") and Brian O'Byrne ("Brotherhood") who are ringleaders of a male-dominated group of detectives who call themselves "The Beef Trust." The pilot was produced and directed by Peter Berg ("Friday Night Lights") and is projected to be a part of NBC's Fall lineup.
Griffin lives with his wife and their two children in L.A. With his wife, he has built and remodeled several homes. He's a proud Irish-American ridiculously devoted to the Chicago Cubs.
Larry Romano is an experienced actor with over 25 years' experience in television, movies, and theatre. His acting credits include "The King of Queens," "Donnie Brasco," "The Thin Red Line", "NYPD Blue", "CSI, NY", "LA Law" and "Lock Up". He has appeared on screen with many acclaimed actors, including: Al Pacino, Johnny Depp, Sean Penn, Mickey Rourke, Madonna and Sylvester Stallone. Larry's long acting career allowed him the opportunity to work with well-known director Mike Newell ("Donnie Brasco" and of "Harry Potter" fame) as well as many other award-winning directors, including: Terrence Malick ("The Thin Red Line") and David Fincher (the Grammy-nominated Madonna video "Oh Father".
Larry pursued his passion for the performing arts by studying at Weist-Barron, HB Studios, and the famous Lee Strasberg Theatre Institute, all located in NYC. These highly-respected schools were responsible for launching the careers of many successful actors, including Larry, who now works in film, television and theatre.
While pursuing his studies at Strasberg, Larry wrote his first play entitled "We ain't kids no more" which was presented under the artistic direction of Ana Strasberg. The play was a success and ultimately produced at the William Redfield Theatre in NYC and in Los Angeles at The Burbage Theatre.
Drawing upon his strong background and knowledge in all aspects of film and production, Larry has written "Saturday in the Park" based on his original play. Larry is set to direct this play using the skills and expertise developed during his long and successful career in the performing arts.
|John Marshall Jones
John Marshall Jones (Mann and Wife's Lt. Eric Snow) has worked with such stars as Oscar winners Sean Penn, Helen Hunt, Jamie Foxx, Forrest Whittaker, Robin Williams and Steve Martin. He's had 5 TV series, 20 feature films, has made over 100 TV episodic appearances, and has recently appeared on The Mentalist, Hart of Dixie, Battle Creek, Shameless, Glee, Pretty Little Liars, Bones, NCIS and the upcoming feature film, Paint It Black. John is an award winning theater actor as well, having won "Best Actor" at New York's African American Theater Awards in 2008. As a producer, John was nominated for "Favorite Film Pitch" at the People's Choice Awards in 2011. John is an accomplished public speaker, and has authored a "media fusion" book and mp3 called "Mastering The Audition" (which is sold in 7 countries). He loves working with young people and, because of his work on kids shows like The Troop and the long running hit, Smart Guy, kids love him back.
Wayne Kramer was born in Johannesburg, South Africa. He immigrated to the United States in 1986. His feature film breakthrough came in 2003, when he directed William H. Macy, Alec Baldwin and Maria Bello in "The Cooler." Baldwin went on to receive a Best Supporting Actor Academy Award nomination, while both Baldwin and Bello received Golden Globe nominations. "The Cooler" was selected for Competition in the 2003 Sundance Film Festival as well as several other prestigious festivals, including Toronto, Deauville, Karlovy Vary and Cognac Festival Du Film Policier, where the film won the Special Jury Prize. Kramer followed "The Cooler" with the propulsive action thriller, "Running Scared," a film that was all but ignored upon its release in 2006, but has fast become a cult favorite for genre fans. Kramer's most recent film, "Crossing Over" was released in 2009. A multi-character tapestry about immigration in Los Angeles, the film is said to be creatively disowned by Kramer due to tampering by Harvey Weinstein, which led to the removal of 25 minutes of plotline, including a Sean Penn framing device. Although Kramer has only directed three feature films thus far, he has earned a reputation for bringing strong performances to the screen and has collaborated with some of the finest talent working: Harrison Ford, William H. Macy, Alec Baldwin, Sean Penn, Chazz Palminteri, Ray Liotta, Paul Walker, Cliff Curtis, Jim Sturgess, Paul Sorvino, Maria Bello, Vera Farmiga, Ashley Judd, Elizabeth Mitchell... Kramer got his break in the industry by selling his original screenplay "Mindhunters" to 20th Century Fox. The script was later heavily rewritten and directed by Renny Harlin for Dimension Films.
R. D. Call is an American actor, best known for his roles in films by Walter Hill. He was born and raised in Utah and attended the Utah State University and Weber State University. Call moved to Los Angeles in 1976 and began training with Lee Strasberg. His first Role was in Barnaby Jones, a TV series directed by Leo Penn.
Call then took roles in the Walter Hill films 48 Hrs. and Brewster's Millions. Next came At Close Range opposite Sean Penn and the Charlie Sheen thriller No Man's Land. Dennis Hopper cast him in Hopper's thriller Colors, again opposite Sean Penn, and he would work with Leo and Sean Penn - and Martin Sheen - in Judgment in Berlin.
Towards the end of the 1980s, roles included Michael Mann's L.A. Takedown - the original version of Mann's Heat - and a cameo appearance in Oliver Stone's Born on the Fourth of July. Call appeared opposite Emilio Estevez and Kiefer Sutherland in Young Guns II and was back with Sean Penn in State of Grace, conveying a close working relationship with both the Penn and Sheen family.
The mid-1990s were equally kind to Call, with roles in Waterworld and Walter Hill's Last Man Standing in which he starred with Bruce Willis. More recent roles include the Sandra Bullock thriller Murder by Numbers, the Brad Pitt drama Babel and the Sean Penn-directed Into the Wild.
Anzu Lawson is a force of nature in many disciplines. Throughout her artistic life, she's enjoyed success in acting, music, stand-up comedy, screenwriting & directing. A true warrior when it comes to following her passions, which have led her on many creative adventures, each one adding another layer to the multi-dimensional artist that is Anzu Lawson.
Born in Klamath Falls, Oregon-raised in Southern California, Anzu's mother kidnapped she and her sister Sophia during a custody battle, to live and work as a teen J-Pop star in Japan at the age of 15.
Beginning at age 7, Anzu's first taste for acting was opposite Academy Award-nominated actor, Mako in her first screen test playing his granddaughter, in an independent film. Then at 14, She was scouted to model in Tokyo, thus beginning her International career path. While modeling one summer, the stars conspired for her to meet YES's singer Jon Anderson, backstage at an INXS concert in Tokyo. It was a pivotal moment in her career when Jon discovered Anzu's musical talent. He prompted the beginnings of her first album, and two albums later, Anzu topped the Japanese Billboard charts with a number one hit on AVEX records. Her creative career as a singer-songwriter had begun. Her bold and unique vocal styling can be heard on many of Hans Zimmer's & Harry Gregson-Williams movie soundtracks, ala: The Chronicles of Narnia, Spygame, DaVinci Code and Sinbad.
As a young adult, back in Los Angeles, her acting career ignited when she landed the lead role in "American Yakuza", starring opposite Viggo Mortensen by casting director Don Phillips. Don Phillips is known for giving such talents as Forest Whitaker, Sean Penn, Viggo Mortensen & Matthew McConaughey their first film role. That film's director, Frank Cappello, commissioned her to write a song for his next movie "No Way Back" starring Russell Crowe and then cast her again, opposite Christian Slater in the Showtime movie, "He Was A Quiet Man", years later. After Guest Starring on The King Of Queens & befriending comedian Brad Garrett, Anzu was inspired to explore the stand-up comedy world, and has now performed on such famous stages as The Comedy Store, Laugh Factory and The Improv Hollywood/Brea.
The seed for writing her own material had been planted, and Anzu received her certificate in screenwriting at UCLA in '09, where she optioned her first script, The Seed Between the Stones. Even though Anzu's television career flourishes as she graces the sets of Raising Hope, Grey's Anatomy, Scandal, Parenthood and Dexter, etc. She is busy recording & writing a rock movie musical called "Rock and Roll's Greatest Lovers" inspired by John Lennon's controversial and inspiring love for Yoko Ono, as well as other edgy screenplays that focus on challenging the stereo types for Asian American women of all ages.
No one says it better than Nicole Force of The Examiner when she wrote: "Anzu Lawson is a consummate and multi-talented performer who represents the new triple threat in Hollywood-singer, actress and stand-up comedian. Anzu Lawson is an entertainment force who consistently delivers, regardless of the genre."
Anzu couldn't be more thrilled for what's ahead, and what project her muse will lead her to next. Stay tuned.
Charles Bukowski, the American poet, short-story writer, and novelist, was born Heinrich Karl Bukowski, Jr. in Andernach, Germany on August 1920. He was the son of Henry Bukowski, a US soldier who was part of the post-World War I occupation force, and Katharina Fett, a German woman. His father, his wife and young "Henry Charles" returned to the United States in 1922, settling in Los Angeles, California, the setting of much of "Hank" Bukowski's oeuvre. With Raymond Chandler, Bukowski is the great chronicler of the City of Angels, and after John Steinbeck and Robinson Jeffers, who influenced Bukowski's poetry, he arguably is the most important and certainly one of the most influential writers produced by the Golden state.
Bukowski's childhood was marred by a violent father, who regularly beat him with a razor strop until his teen years, and then by the Great Depression. When Bukowski went through adolescence, he developed an awful case of acne vulgaris which disfigured his face and made him feel like an outsider. His father frequently was out of work during the Depression, and he took out his pain and anxiety on his son. The younger Bukowski took to drink at a young age, and became a rather listless underachiever as a means of rebellion against not only his father, but against society in general, the society his father wanted him to become a productive member of. The young Bukowski could care less.
During his school years, Bukowski read widely, and he entered Los Angeles City College after graduating from high school to study journalism and literature with the idea of becoming a writer. He left home after his father read some of his stories and went berserk, destroying his output and throwing his possessions out onto the lawn, a lawn that the young Bukowski had to mow weekly and would be beaten for if the grass wasn't perfectly cut. Bukowski left City College after a year and went on the bum, traveling to Atlanta, where he lived in a shack and subsisted on candy bars. He would continue to return to his parents' house when he was busted flat and had nowhere else to go.
At City College, Bukwoski briefly flirted with a pathetic, ad hoc, pro-fascist student group. Proud of being a German, he did not feel inclined to go to war against Hitler's Germany. When America entered World War II, Bukowski resisted entreaties from his friends and father to join the service. He began living the life of a wandering hobo and a bum, frequently living on skid row as he worked his way through a meaningless series of jobs in L.A. and other cities across the U.S. He wound up in New York City during the war after his short story, 'Aftermath of a Lengthy Rejection Slip,' was accepted by "Story" magazine. He disliked New York and soon decamped for more hospitable climes. He was content to go to public libraries and read -- he discovered the L.A. writer John Fante, whom heavily influenced his own work and whom he would champion when he became famous -- and loaf.
The story, published in "Story" in 1944, was the highlight of the first part of his writing career. He returned to Los Angeles and became a Bottle Baby in his mid-twenties, forsaking the typewriter for John Barleycorn and Janet Cooney Baker, an alcoholic ten years his senior who became his lover, off and on, for the the next decade. They would shack up in a series of skid row rooms until the money and the booze would run out, and Jane would hurt the turf. She was a tortured soul who could match Bukowski drink for drink, and she was the love of his life. They would drift apart in the mid-'50s until coming together again at the beginning of a new decade, before she drank herself to death in 1962.
Bukowski got a temporary Christmas job at the Post Office in 1952, and stuck with his job as a mail carrier for three years. In 1955, he was hospitalized in a charity ward with a bleeding ulcer that nearly killed him. He was told never to drink again, but he fell off the water wagon the day he got out of the hospital and never regretted it.
After recovering from his brush with death -- he would have died if an idealistic doctor hadn't demanded from the nurses that had left Bukowski to die that they give him a massive blood transfusion -- he began to write again: poetry. Bukowski developed into one of the most original and influential poets of the post-War era, though he was never anthologized in the United States (though those that were influenced by him were). Bukwoski, who chronicled the low-life that he lived, never gained any critical respect in America, either in the journals or in academia.
Barbara Frye, a woman born to wealth who published the small poetry magazine "Harlequin," began to publish Bukowski. She sent a letter to him saying she feared no one would marry her because of a congenital conformity essentially leaving her with no neck. Bukowski, who had never met her, wrote back that he would marry her, and he did. The marriage lasted two years. In 1958, he went back to work for the Post Office, this time as a mail sorting clerk, a job he would hold for almost a dozen hellish years.
His first collection of poetry, "Flower, Fist and Bestial Wail" was published as a chapbook in 1959 in a run of 200 copies. The influence of Jeffers is very strong in the early work. One can also detect W.H. Auden, although Bukowski never mentioned him, and he was phlegmatic whereas Auden was dry. But that same sense of an outsider looking in critically at his society was there.
Bukowski's poetry, like all his writing, was essentially autobiographical and rooted in clinical detail rather than metaphor. The poems detailed the desperate lives of men on the verge -- of suicide, madness, a mental breakdown, an economic bust-out, another broken relationship -- whose saving grace was endurance. The relationship between male and female was something out of Thomas Hobbes, and while Bukowski's life certainly wasn't short, one will find in the poetry and prose much that is brutish.
Jon Edgar Webb, a former swindler who became a littérateur with his "The Outsider" magazine, became enamored of Bukowski's work in the early 1960s. Webb, who had published the work of Lawrence Ferlenghetti, Allen Ginsberg, Henry Miller, and William Burroughs, published Bukowski, then dedicated an issue of his magazine to Buk was "Outsider of the Year," and eventually decided to publish, with his own bespoke hand press, a collection of Bukowski's poetry.
Bukowski began to establish a reputation in the small magazines that proliferated with the "mimeograph revolution" of the late 1960s, micro-circulation "magazines" run off on mimeograph and Gestetner machines. Bukowski began moving away from a more traditional, introspection poetry to more expressionistic, free-form "verse," and began dabbling in the short story, a form he became a master of. He also began a weekly column for an underground Los Angeles newspaper, "Open City," called "Notes of a Dirty Old Man." The texts of his column were collected in a collection of the same title published by Ferlenghetti's City Lights press in 1969. (City Lights also would publish his first book of short stories, entitled "Ejaculations, Exhibitions and General Tales of Ordinary Madness," in 1972).
In the column, Bukowski would introduce ideas, vignettes and stories, many of which would be further developed into the short stories that helped make his reputation. The Bukowski of the mid- to late- 1960s' and 1970s became one of the greatest short story writers that America has produced, and his reputation grew steadily in Europe. (Though a literary lion on the West Coast, Buk never was much appreciated in the New York City that he had spurned which was, after all, the arbiter of culture. Since he didn't exist in their ken, he didn't exist at all, with the surprising result for Europeans that the most popular American writer in Europe was little known by Americans.)
There was envy as Bukowski became increasingly popular. Aside from the master of kitsch Rod McKuen, Bukowski was probably the best selling poet America produced after World War II. By the end of the 1970s, he was the most popular American writer in Germany and also had a huge reputation in France and other parts of Europe. Yet, he remained virtually unknown in the United States, except among the core of the Bukowski cult who faithfully bought his books.
Bukowski's success as a writer in the 1970s can be attributed to the patronage of John Martin, a book collector and chap book publisher who offered to subsidize Bukowski to the tune of $100 a month for life. Bukowski took him up on the offer, quit his job at the Post Office in 1969, and set out to be a writer who made his living by the typewriter alone (and an occasional poetry reading). Martin established his Black Sparrow Press to print Bukowski, and Bukowski proceeded to begin his first novel while continuing to write poetry and short stories. The first novel, "Post Office," was published by Black Sparrow in 1971. The Bukowski phenomenon began to gain momentum.
Around the time he quit the Post Office, Bukowski took up with the poet and sculptress Linda King, who was 20 years his junior. They began a tumultuous relationship juiced in equal parts with sadism and masochism that extended into the mid-1970s. In his 1978 autobiographical novel "Women," Bukowski writes about how his alter ego, "Henry Chinaski," had not had a woman in four years. Now, as Bukowski became a literary phenomenon in the small/alternative press world, he became a literary if not literal Don Juan, bedding down his legions of women fans who flocked to his apartment on DeLongre Avenue in the sleaziest part of Hollywood. (It was at this time that Bukowski was friends with a dirty book store manager who was the father of Leonardo DiCaprio.)
Bukowski's alter ego in his novels, Chinaski (who significantly shares Bukowski's real first name, the name he went by; he used his middle name "Charles" for his poetry as it seemed more literary, and possibly to deny his father, who shared the same Christian name), shares an affinity with with the underground denizens of Feodor Dostoyevsky's work and the protagonists of Louis-Ferdinand Céline's novels "Journey to the End of Night" and "Death on the Installment Plan." Celine arguably is the largest influence on Bukowski's prose, aside from Hemingway (who influenced Bukowski's entire generation) and Fante. Like Celine, in World War II, Bukowski flirted with fascism (though Bukowski never descended into the anti-semitism of Celine or any other type of racism in his work); like Celine, he despised America and the brand of capitalism once known as "Fordism," assembly line industrialism and the petty consumer society Bukowski found abominable and which he tried to escape.
Chinaski is a hard-drinking, would-be womanizer who is ready to duke it out with the bums, crooks and assorted low-lives he lives and drinks amongst, though occasionally he visits high society through the ministrations of a woman. Like Bukowski himself, he will accept company but prefers to be alone to drink and listen to classical music on the radio: Beethoven, Mozart, and Mahler among others.
Chinaski was introduced in the autobiographical short-story "Confessions of a Man Insane Enough to Live with Beats," his first published short story, printed in chap book form in 1965. Chinaski's life is chronicled in Bukowski's novels "Post Office" (1971), "Factotum" (1975), "Women" (1978), and "Ham on Rye" (1982). Bukowski is not naturally gifted as a novelist, and while "Women" is superb and the very short "Post Office" is highly readable, "Factotum" and "Ham on Rye" are not up to the standards of Bukowski's short stories.
As his social situation evolved, Bukowski's works broadened from tales of low-lives and bums and losers; he added to his repertoire meditative and sarcastic accounts of his new life. A constant in his work became poems and short stories about the race track, to which he had been introduced by Jane back in the 1950s. The race track as metaphor suited Bukowski as it represented something more than luck or chance. A horse player had to work at it to be any good and beat the odds, and the odds were definitely stacked against the crowd as the track took its vig right off the top, when it wasn't outright and forthrightly fixing the race.
Going with the crowd was to be avoided in order to improve one's odds, and the track, the establishment, was out to f--- the bettor, but spiritual kin to Camus' Sissyphus, the bettor on nags had to have the wit to at least get the stone to the crown of the hill and avoid getting crushed as it courses its way back. The bettor was hip to the fact that the rock always fell back and would always fall back, but a good living or at least survival could be had by beating the track, beating the establishment, if the bettor knew how to play the horses. It was all a matter of developing his own system, and standing aloof from the crowd, whose dumb, manipulated enthusiasms skewed the odds. And knowing when to change to a new system, to keep ahead of the track, and the crowd. Bukowski was the antithesis of Carl Sandburg and Sandburg's "The People."
Bukowski was and would remain a literary outsider. In 1973, Taylor Hackford presented Bukowski to a wider audience via an award-winning documentary for Los Angeles public television station KCET. "Bukowski" won the San Francisco Film Festival's Silver Reel Award after being voted the best cultural film on public TV. After his relationship with Linda King petered out, Bukowski met Linda Lee Beighle, a health food restaurateur twenty-five years his junior in 1976. They became a couple and Bukowski's life became more balanced. With a stable relationship and steady royalties in the low six-figure range, Bukowski became a home owner, albeit in a middle class neighborhood in San Pedro. He now had a swimming pool, a hot tub, and drove a black BMW he paid cash for to the track. He palled around with Sean Penn and U2 dedicated a song to him at a Los Angeles concert.
The Muse, whom Buk bet on as faithfully as he did the ponies, left him when it came to the short story sometime in the 1980s. The poetry always ran through his head and down into his fingers, but it became less artful, though the powerful voice remained. Buk wrote a screenplay for Barbet Schroeder, which was made into the movie Barfly, and Bukowski became known in the United States at last. He refused to appear on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, but let "People" magazine interview him as in his reasoning, it would be read by normal people at the supermarket checkout lines. It was the "Crowd" he despised but honored in his own way by refusing to be part of the "better" part of society that kept them down.
Always immensely prolific when it came to his poetry, and aided by a personal computer in the '80s, Bukowski generated so much material that originals are still being published 10 years after his death. He finished his last novel, an L.A./Chandler/private detective/noir spoof called "Pulp" shortly before he lost his battle with leukemia; it, like the final poetry collection published in his lifetime, "The Last Night of the Earth Poems," is full of intimations of mortality, and of course, his mordant humor.
On March 9, 1994, in his native Los Angeles, the man Jean Genet and Jean-Paul Sartre called America's "greatest poet" died. In his short story collection "Hot Water Music," Bukwoski wrote, "There are so many," she said, "who go by the name of poet. But they have no training, no feeling for their craft. The savages have taken over the castle. There's no workmanship, no care, simply a demand to be accepted." The remarkable endurance of the man who never asked for acceptance, the endurance that took him nearly forty years beyond the near-death his drinking and despair had brought him in 1955, finally gave out, and not to the booze and the carousing and anomie, but to a cancer. Many of his fans thought it was remarkable that the "Dirty Old Man" had made it to 74, but it was a brave front: they greatly mourned the passing of their favorite writer, a man that could be read by anyone of any class or educational background.
His friend, Sean Penn, dedicated his film The Crossing Guard to Bukowski, with the words felt by many who had loved him: "Hank, I still miss you."
We still do.
Scott McGinnis has over twenty-five years experience in the Entertainment industry with dozens of credits to his name. He began his career as an actor, performing in Network TV Series and theatrical films co-starring with Actors Sean Penn, Nicolas Cage, James woods and Paul Reiser (McGinnis is best known by Star Trek fans as Mr. Adventure in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock. He then moved into directing, with his first Feature Film starring academy award nominee Virginia Madsen at The Roger Corman Studio where the careers of Francis Ford Coppola, Jack Nicholson, Martin Scorsese, Ron Howard, Peter Bogdanovich, Joe Dante, James Cameron, John Sayles, Curtis Hanson and Robert Towne (to name a few) were started. His second feature film was nominated for "Best Film (1995) International Fantasy Film Awards. He was the co-creator of 360 Entertainment leading the development team producing films with partner Robert Patrick for Paramount and Warner Bros. home video. One of these productions led to a Saturn Award for Best Home Video Release. He then directed over twenty-five episodes of network television with Producers like, Joss Weadon (The Avengers) Shawn Ryan, David Greenwalt (Grimm), John Landis and The Walt Disney Company. He also produced and directed two reality TV pilots for MTV and Turner Networks.
Sassy and talented actress Cherinda Kincherlow is a native of Compton, California and has dreamed of becoming an actor since she was five years old. Cherinda received a BFA degree in acting from the prestigious California Institute of the Arts and her AA degree from El Camino Community College. After graduating from Cal Arts, Cherinda landed her first role in Peter Gabriel's music video THE BARRY WILLIAMS SHOW directed by Oscar award-winner Sean Penn. After that, she landed a recurring role on Nickelodeon's hit sketch comedy show ALL THAT. While continuing her ventures into television, Cherinda was blessed with the opportunity to work alongside Oscar and Golden Globe winner Mo'nique as her assistant in the Oxygen promo for MO'NIQUES FAT CHANCE. In 2009, Cherinda was cast as La Precious in the much buzzed about Lionsgate released film CRANK 2: HIGH VOLTAGE where she got the opportunity to work with the late Cory Haim. The directors Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor filmed the improv rehearsal between Cherinda and Corey Haim on location. The footage was later used in the film replacing the one line Cherinda was originally cast to speak. Since then Cherinda has enjoyed more endeavors into television landing her first principal role as the fugitive Larene Austin in the final episode of the longest-running program in the history of FOX, AMERICA'S MOST WANTED. She also guest starred as the humorous and fiesty Chanel in Cedric the Entertainer's pilot All Rise. Cherinda also starred in the web series "40" playing 17 year old Wheezie and the Gospel Music channel's BROTHER WHITE as Tanisha Jones directed by Brian Herzlinger. On a infinite roll of bookings, she was cast in a two episode guest star role as Darlene in Disney Channel's A.N.T. FARM opposite TV star Chyna McClain and a co-star role on her favorite sitcom MODERN FAMILY, which was a dream come true for her. Cherinda has recently had the opportunity to show the world her versatility in a more dramatic role as Kiara on ABC Family's popular drama series THE FOSTERS. This multi-talented actress can currently (Season 2 January 2015)be seen as the troubled and sassy Kiara in the Girls United story line alongside Rosie O'donnell in the drama series created by Peter Paige and Bradly Bredeweg, executive produced by Jennifer Lopez and Benny Medina.
Stafford Douglas was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico on July 20th, 1991. He grew up in a creative family with a strong local theatre environment, and he fell in love with acting at an early age. Stafford began exploring film and television as a young adult and landed his first speaking role in "This Must Be the Place," starring Sean Penn. He has made television appearances in USA's "In Plain Sight," A&E's "Longmire" and NBC's "The Night Shift," and has a recurring role on WGN America's historical drama "Manhattan." In 2014, he appeared as legendary outlaw Billy the Kid on the American Heroes Channel's docudrama miniseries, "Gunslingers," for which he was trained in horseback riding and gun handling. Some of his recent feature film credits include "Good Kill" (Ethan Hawke), "Kepler's Dream" (Holland Taylor, Sean Patrick Flanery) and "Spare Parts" (George Lopez). Stafford is represented by The O' Agency in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Reem is an exclusive member of the Master Class at The New American Studio, under revered, two-time BAFTA nominated actor, Alfred Molina and Juilliard Graduate, SAG Nominated Actor, Jack Stehlin.
Reem is also a member of a coveted workshop called The Actor's Gym, a highly respected venue for working actors and writers, founded and run by Oscar-Winning Screenwriter, Bobby Moresco (Crash, Million Dollar Baby).
She has been a student of method acting for nearly a decade, and has studied under long time working actor, Carey Scott, successor to Stella Adler (who attended class with actors such as Sean Penn, Salma Hayek, Meg Ryan, and Mark Ruffalo, to name a few).
Reem is a top screenwriting graduate from Cal State Northridge and has worked as a coverage reader for some of the most prestigious companies in town.
She studied under Eric Edson, best-selling author of "The Story Solution", a groundbreaking book on screenwriting (whose structure helps ensure a high success ratio in the box office).
She was recently hand picked by director, Dito Montiel for a substantial supporting role opposite Shia LaBeouf in the post-apocalyptic thriller, "Man Down".
Reem began her training ground toward the exploration of versatility, in the theater, a place she will always call home.
Alison was born and raised a preacher's daughter in the Australian bush. She is a former Mathematics school teacher and medic. In 1990 Alison moved to New York City and became an Investment Banker on Wall Street, later enrolling at NYU film school studying film making. On Sept 11th, 2001 Alison roller bladed to Ground Zero and became a volunteer rescue worker and stayed on to volunteer for 9 months. She is the Founder and Director of CTEC which she created after the 2004 Asian disaster. CTEC is the first and only Tsunami Early-warning Center in Sri Lanka. In Sri Lanka she also ran a busy field hospital and helped rebuild a village for 3000 people. Since 2001 Alison has been a full time volunteer humanitarian and is fondly known in Sri Lanka as the 'Angel of Galle.' In 2008 Alison's documentary film called 'The Third Wave'premiered in the Cannes film festival hosted by Sean Penn and Bono. In January 2010, Alison flew to Haiti with actor Sean Penn and ten doctors to help with the earthquake aftermath. There the volunteers managed an 'Internally Displaced Peoples' camp and field hospital with over 65,000 people. Alison then founded 'We Advance' with Actress Maria Bello which deals with gender based violence in Haiti. Her new book is called 'The Third Wave- a volunteer story' published by Random House-available world wide. In 2010, Alison was awarded the Order of Australia, the highest civilian medal awarded by Queen Elizabeth the 2nd of England for her volunteer work and her contribution to mankind. She was also awarded the 'Medal of Excellence' by General Trombitas and the USA Army 82nd Airborne elite. In July of 2012 Alison was appointed the first Ambassador to the Haiti Ministry of the Environment where she is involved with a campaign to help combat reforestation and hunger through the planting of one billion trees for Haiti. She also continues to work at her We Advance clinic in the Cite Soliel slums. Her hobbies include Argentine tango, fencing, surfing, soccer, cricket, camping, volunteering, piano, chess, poetry, baseball, elephant polo and laughing. Her favorite TV show is "Survivorman."
Australian born Salvatore Coco has been an actor, singer, voice artist, master of ceremonies and entertainer for over 20yrs.
Internationally recognized, Salvatore made his illustrious debut on Australian Television in 1993 as the witty wise guy, schoolyard entrepreneur Con Bordino in the successful production of the television series "Heartbreak High" and furthermore starring as the notorious enforcer of the Golden Mile Harry "hammer" Hamoud brother and guardian to Sydney night club owner John Ibrahim in the winner of the 2011 TV Week Silver Logie for Most Outstanding Drama Series, Miniseries or Tele-movie "Underbelly III" - The Golden Mile.
2RN ABC National Breakfast Radio this week on your TV critic Sue Turnbull in 2010 quotes Salvatore "as a quite extraordinary actor of a standout performance - the Sean Penn of Australia" for delivering a star performance in the Kings Cross based set drama series Underbelly III - The Golden Mile.
From an early age of nine Salvatore joined a theatrical institute where he was trained in Acting, Singing, Dance and Musical Theatre developing into one of Australia's foremost performing artist.
Since his early years with the Australian Theatre for Young People, Salvatore sought to broaden his theatrical schooling by studying the realistic techniques of Konstantin Stanislavski, Sanford Meisner, David Mamet and Practical Aesthetics. With a solid education in acting his ability to diversify and deliver a versatile performance style is a testament to his acting credentials to date.
His feature film credits prior to his debut lead role as the well-meaning if deluded Joey Grasso in Shirley Barrett's "Walk the Talk" included roles in Melina Marchetta's "Looking for Alibrandi", Dein Perry's "Bootmen" and Gregor Jordon's award winning "Two Hands".
With the release of "Walk the Talk" critics raved about this Australian comedy set on the Queensland Gold Coast that focused on the character Joey Grasso, a wide-eyed optimistic talent agent fueled entirely by self-help manuals.
Gordon Michaels was born in Detroit, Michigan. His father is of Italian, Irish, and Jewish decent and his Mother is of Cuban ancestry. Michaels spent most of his youth in Michigan and graduated from John Glenn High School where he played basketball for the Junior Varsity and Varsity teams and still holds the school record for most rebounds in a game. Michaels spent a lot of after school time practicing and performing as lead singer for his Detroit garage band Flash Experience. The group performed at some high school events as well as various venues around metro Detroit. After attending a performance of a community theater production of Man of La Mancha Michael's love of acting was born. In 1986 Michaels became a graduate of the prestigious Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theater in New York City where he studied under world renowned acting teacher Sanford Meisner. Michaels spent a number of years under the tutelage of Uta Hagen and Herbert Bergoff at the renowned HB Studio in New York City. In addition to writing, producing, and staring in the film Unbeatable Harold, which featured Henry Winkler, Phyllis Diller, Charles Durning and Dylan McDermott, Michaels can also be seen in the Miramax released, This Must Be The Place with Sean Penn, Fox Searchlight's Conviction with Hilary Swank and Sam Rockwell, Love and Honor with Liam Hemsworth, and in the up-coming Warner Bros Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Some of Michaels other film credits include; Out of the Furnace with Christian Bale and Woody Harrelson, Hostel Part 3, Street Kings Motor City, The Cooler, Joe Dirt, Seduced by a Thief, Leaving Las Vegas, and Gifted Hands, with Cuba Gooding, Jr. Michaels is also recognized for his work on ABC's award winning legal drama The Practice. Michaels is founder and President of the motion picture company Brandon Street Films, an independent production company dedicated to creating an artistic home for filmmakers. Brandon Street Films is developing a number of film and television projects.
Melissa was born in Greenwich, CT, grew up in NJ and spent a period of middle school living in Lima Peru. Her father is Peruvian, and grandmother Cuban. Melissa studied abroad at The American Business School in Paris and graduated in the spring of 2013 from Pace University in New York with a Degree in International Marketing. She studied acting at Film Acting Paris and currently studies in New York with renowned acting coach Harold Guskin and in LA with equally renowned Barry Papick. Melissa is interested in health and beauty, acting and modeling, and has a special love for animals and helping children.
During her last year of studies at Pace University, Melissa was shot by Yu Tsai one of the world's leading fashion photographers and selected to represent Gents, a new men's luxury brand as their spokes-model. Melissa, represented by Wilhelmina Models in New York, starred in the national advertising campaign for Gents alongside male supermodels Adam Senn, Chad White and Kevin Sampaio. Melissa was shot by John Russo for an 8 page editorial in last April's Latin Esquire featuring Melissa as "An American in Paris," and again in Mykonos for the October 2013 issue of Forbes Mexico. She was featured in a solo 6 page fashion editorial for Flaunt Magazine in March 2013 and was also featured on the Times Square giant Fox TV screen for the month of March 2013.
Also in 2013 Gents launched a charity organization for children with cancer with Melissa as the Charity Ambassador. Melissa's other philanthropic endeavors include being a major fundraiser on Sean Penn's 2013 New York Marathon Team for his Haitian Relief Organization.
Represented by Mosaic Entertainment in LA, Melissa had her acting debut in the new TV series The Saint; which she filmed in January 2013, airing soon on a national TV network, and filmed her first movie role in "The Ten" due for release Spring of 2014. More recently Melissa has shot movie roles with Dawn Olivieri and Wilmer Valderrama in "To Whom it May Concern" and in "Overtown" directed by Cess Silvera. On Valentines day last year Melissa appeared as the "Lovely Lady of the Day" on the Sports Illustrated web site during the launch week of the SI Swimsuit Edition and was featured again as Lovely Lady of the Day in September. In April 2013, Melissa beat out over 20,000 contestants and won the Beach Bunny Swimsuit Supermodel contest and shot the new campaign for Beach Bunny in Belize with Irina Shayk, Chrissy Teigen, and Nina Agdal. In July of the same year, Melissa opened the Beach Bunny Swimwear Show in Miami at The Mercedes Benz Swimwear Fashion Week. Since representing Beach Bunny, Melissa has been chosen to be the face of Beach Bunny's new lingerie line - Love Haus- which launched November 2013.
Melissa's goal is to become a successful figure in fashion, acting and entertainment and to help children and animals along the way.
Melissa lives in Manhattan NYC, and West Hollywood Los Angeles and travels extensively for work. She has four small dogs, was a guest blogger in 2013 for Vanity Fair and was featured in the Vanity Fair 2013 Hollywood edition as "Who's that Girl?"
Melissa has over 270,000 Fans on her Facebook Fan Page adding fans daily. She has over 100,000 Twitter followers and her video "The Two Sides of Me" has over 1.5 million views on YouTube.
Cristina Serafini was born in Turin, Italy, the only child of a housewife and a pizza maker. She soon decided to pursue an acting career and won a scholarship to attend the prestigious Scuola del Teatro Stabile di Torino (Union of the Theatres of Europe), founded by the Italian director Luca Ronconi.
She speaks Italian, English, French and Spanish.
Serafini has appeared in 29 films and television series since the early 2000s, including: Il Divo (film), Colpo d'occhio, Il bene e il male, Il peccato e la vergogna and Valzer, which was screened at the 64th Venice International Film Festival.
Serafini made her film début in the 2006 film Sono tornato al nord. Serafini's first significant role came in Roberto Cuzzillo's Senza fine (2009) as a young homosexual - winning her critical and commercial recognition, as well as the Best Actress in a Leading Role Award at 2009 Chieti Film Festival directed by Roberto Faenza.
In 2011 Serafini was selected for four lead roles. She played the role of Alessandro Gassman's fiancée in Natale per due and received the Best Rising Italian Actress Award at International Euro-Mediterranean Awards, Rome, Italy.
She is the spokesperson on Italian QVC for the NickChavezBeverlyHills brand.
Serafini, who has often been photographed by paparazzi with American actor and director Sean Penn, always refuses to comment about her private life.
Jesse Jensen grew up in Niles, California where Charlie Chaplin made his earliest films. He is the son of Jeff & Kathy Jensen and has three sisters. Growing up without the influence of television Jesse watched an excessive amount of film, which solidified his interest in acting. As a teenager he studied the work of Brando, Pacino, and Sean Penn. In 2000, Jesse moved to Los Angeles to attend film school at Loyola Marymount University. During college he gravitated towards theater arts and was regarded for his portrayal of HAMLET. He graduated early with honors, and began to work as an actor. He earned roles on television including CSI and Cold Case, as well as a notable supporting role in the indie film Wasted. Restless and ambitious, Jesse began a theater company called the Front Porch Players where he produced plays on his porch in Venice Beach. He is also a founding member of the notorious Los Angeles-based art gang the Bagavagabonds. In 2006 he met actress Amanda Vitiello at the Long Beach Playhouse, and married her as soon as she would let him. From 2000-2010, Jesse made a number of successful short films and also wrote an original play as well as a novella. In 2010, Jesse was one of seven actors in the country awarded a full scholarship to the prestigious Old Globe MFA program at the University of San Diego.
Matthew Thomas Carmody was born in Silver Spring, Maryland, a suburb just outside of Washington, D.C. He is the youngest of five boys raised by his mother, Kathleen and father, Donald. He grew up in the small town of Kensington where he studied art, played guitar and supported himself by owning and operating a carpet cleaning business. He eventually moved to Hollywood to pursue an acting career. While working as a production assistant on commercials and music videos, Matt began studying acting at the famed Loft Studio in Hollywood, the former school of Sean Penn, Meg Ryan, Michelle Pfiefer, Nicolas cage and many others. Soon he began perfoming in local theater and booking commercials and guest appearances on television. His first big break was landing a leading role in the television pilot, "West Point, USMA". The show wasn't picked up but Matt has been working steadily ever since. He still plays music and draws editorial cartoons (some even published!), but he is no longer cleaning carpets.
Winston West has 23 years of experience in the entertainment world and has held many onscreen, and also, behind the scenes positions. Best known for his work on screen and off-screen on "Walker, Texas Ranger"; Winston West was Chuck Norris personal assistant and Associate for 10 years and completed 196 episodes of Walker Texas Ranger. Winston was also a stunt performer on the popular FOX television series "Prison Break." Additionally, he is a ,stunt performer and utilizing these skills in "Sons of Anarchy", "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." and elsewhere. Winston West performs stunts in the much anticipated Sean Penn film "Gangster Squad".
Millicent Sheridan is a Southern California native. Growing up in Westlake Village she studied acting, dance and singing, first appearing at age 9 playing the lead role of the "Virgin Mary" at her prep school Robinare. By age 13 she played the lead role of "Lola" in Damn Yankees and 5 short years later at age 18, she landed her first union job, acting and Go-Go dancing opposite Gary Shandling. Over then last 25 years, Millicent Sheridan has worked as a character actress alongside Oscar winners; Robert De Niro, Jack Nicholson, Sean Penn and Martin Scorsese!
As a poetess, her works were first published in the ground-breaking literary publication the Saturday Afternoon Journal in 1993. Her poems; "A Sense of Place", "The Winding Road Back To Malibu", "Illuminations of Mine", and "Sin" are just a few of her published works re-published in her book titled "My Secret Codes"(Amazon Kindle Edition).
As a debut novelist, her suspense-romance "10,000 Miles"(Amazon Kindle Edition) is receiving excellent reviews since its release on August 8th 2013. Being an expert equestrian, Millicent infuses her in-depth knowledge of horses in this unique cautionary tale,sprinkled with stunning erotic-poetry and diary entries. "10,000 Miles" is a must read for any woman who has ever loved or lost.
She is very proud of her charity work since 2002; donating countess hours of love and skill mentoring Los Angeles' Foster Children providing 'Horse Interaction Mental-Health Therapy'. She has also working with the Red Cross (Santa Monica Chapters)Haiti-earthquake fund-raisers, and she has helped raise 10's of thousands of dollars hosting "Saddle Up" for St. Judes Children's Hospital(a 10-mile horse back ride-a-ton through Griffith Park)for the World Leader in Pediatric Cancer Research.
Millicent is finishing an equine-based Children's Book Series. Each book features a special message from a 'Rescued Horse'. There is a book dedicated to foster children, adopted children, children whose parent(s) are ill, children who dare to dream big, and children with learning challenges.
Shaz during his training years at the venerable Actors Studio MFA Program was always compared to a young Sean Penn. A very ambitious comparison but there was no denying even during those formative years he was always pushing the envelope, taking bold risks and paving the way for this young man to be one of the most exciting actors of this generation. His ethnically ambiguous look has had him cast in a wide range of ethnicities and roles where he is able to showcase an emotional capacity not many young performers exhibit.
He was born Shazli Hafeez Khan in Oxnard, Ca but moved to Pakistan when he was 4 years old. Having a joyous childhood in his native country with a loving family, he moved back with his parents and two younger brothers to the Philadelphia suburbs during middle school. Ended up attending Penn State University where he majored in Finance. Securing a job with a Fortune 500 bank before graduation he worked in banking for a little while but was frustrated with the lack of creativity in his work. In those years he would attend casting calls and through just his raw energy was able to secure roles in local plays and films which ignited an inner search that made him realize that Acting at that moment would be his path. He tendered his resignation and moved to NYC to pursue acting with a giant suitcase and a tin can of foresight. He trained and worked in the city for three years working on independent movies and plays and graduated from the Actors Studio Drama School with a MFA in Acting.
After completing numerous independent short and feature films he moved to Los Angeles and wrapped production on "Flutter" in Oct 2011 where he played Jake, a young man losing his battle with cancer. This was a hallmark in his growth as an actor.
Shortly after graduation he went to Pakistan to visit his family only to randomly audition and win the lead role in the International Urdu feature film "MOOR" due out Spring of 2014. The film was shot on location in a village in Muslim Bagh close to the Afghanistan border as well as in the port city of Karachi.
Summer of 2014 he will also be starring in the college movie Turning 21.
Tony Pantages was born and raised in Vancouver and on Hornby Island in the Pacific Northwest. His father was noted Canadian Lawyer, Anthony Pantages Q.C. and his mother, Diane Pantages is an arts philanthropist and homemaker. At seventeen, Pantages was the youngest member of the popular Vancouver TheatreSports Improv Troupe before moving south to study acting alongside Sean Penn, Crispin Glover, Meg Ryan and Eric Stoltz under Peggy Feury at The Loft Studio in Hollywood. He quickly filled a resume with appearances on shows like 21 Jump Street, Wiseguy, The X Files, Stakeout, Cadence and Short Time. Tony jumped the lens to assist Oscar-winning director, John Schlesinger (Midnight Cowboy, Marathon Man) for two years before picking up the viewfinder and directing popular music videos for Sarah McLachlan, INXS, Our Lady Peace, Junkhouse and 54-40 as well as commercials for brands like Lee Jeans and Air Canada. His documentaries include "Beyond The Yellow Brick Road", the making of SyFy's highest rated mini series, "Tin Man", and "Building Sanctuary", the making of SyFy's Sanctuary. "3 Days in Havana", Pantages' feature directorial debut alongside co-creator Gil Bellows was released theatrically in April across Canada. The dark, comedic, noir-thriller sold out all of it's screenings at the Vancouver and Boston International film festivals and was held over for three weeks in Canada. Pantages has won or been nominated for the Juno, Bessie, Lotus and MMVA (MuchMusic) awards. 3 Days in Havana was nominated for best picture and supporting actor and won for best cinematography at the Leo Awards. 3 Days in Havana opens across the U.S. in February, 2015. 2015 marks a return to acting and a new working relationship with Elizabeth Hodgson at Hodgson Management Group.
Jason Kelly is a first-generation Irish-American actor, born and raised in Dorchester, Massachusetts. His passion for acting started at a young age, being cast alongside Sean Penn in Clint Eastwood's classic Mystic River at age 11. Later roles included work on the acclaimed Showtime series Brotherhood, and commercial work for the likes of United Way. Jason's lead role in Dive (2011) is his return to the big screen, and surely the first of many more opportunities to arise. He is a graduate of Fenway High School, and an accomplished boxer.
Debby was born and raised in Basel, Switzerland, which means her native language is Swiss. She also speaks German, French and English.
Graduated with honors from College for social work and after working in a café and a pet store, she felt the urge to take the chance and follow her dream: To go to America.
With a return ticket in her luggage to Switzerland she arrived in Los Angeles in July 2009. After studying English for 4 months in Westwood, she decided to use her last 2 months to visit an acting school. It wasn't long until she found the prestigious Drama School Stella Adler Academy of Acting in Hollywood. She enrolled for one term which ended up becoming a full time 2 year program from which she graduated in 2011.
With the knowledge, experience and new found passion for acting she got through her studies at Stella, she was ready to jump into this crazy pool of Acting.
Since then she has been cast as the Lead or Supporting Actress in numerous Short and Feature Films, two of them will premier in the next weeks and be submitted to major film festivals, she appeared in a Webisode called 'Ghost Ghirls' that is produced by Jack Black and will air on SYFY, was featured in Blockbusters like 'J. Edgar' with Leonardo DiCaprio or most recently in 'Gangster Squad' with Ryan Gosling and Sean Penn. She also had the opportunity to be a spokesperson and testimonial for a new product line from Proactiv which is launching right now. Debby has appeared and gained enormous experience on sets like 'Glee', 'The Glee Project', 'Teen Wolf' and the Sitcom 'Dog with a Blog' amongst others.
She will be forever thankful for one of her teachers at Stella, Tim McNeil, who believed in her and cast her as the Lead female in their Final Playproduction of 'Angels in America' written by Tony Kushner. To work on a complex, moody and difficult character like 'Harper' helped shape her into the actress she is today.
Now being a member of the most important Acting Union, SAG-AFTRA, and being signed with an agent and manager, doors have opened up for her and her future is filled with opportunities.
|Michael Lee Merrins
Although born in NYC , Michael Lee Merrins was raised in Westwood, California. He is the son of Lisa and Eddie Merrins aka "The Little Pro," legendary golf professional. He was educated at St. Paul's the Apostle School. He attended Loyola High School. Upon graduation, Michael received a Golf Scholarship to LSU. Completing LSU, Michael was accepted to The American Academy of Dramatic Arts in NYC. There he was able to explore his creative talents and expand his acting abilities. Michael went on to study with Academy Award Winner Geraldine Page and Elaine Aiken of The Actor Studio. The following year, Michael received the "Backstage" Scholarship to the Michael Chekov School. During his time in New York, Michael studied dance at Alvin Ailey American Dance Center. As a working actor, Michael continued to study his craft with Stella Adler, Jeff Corry, and Brian Reese
He could also be seen in several off-Broadway plays. For example, Kid Champion, The Silo, also as Stanley Kowalski in " A Streetcar named Desire ". Michael moved off Broadway to his first feature called "Bailjumper" which premiered at the Angelika Film Center. This experience spurred Michael on to pursue future film work. Immediately, his talent led him to land a roll in the classic and standard for all videos "Thriller" as a dancing ghoul:, next to Michael Jackson. Michael was then cast in Die Hard: With A Vengeance - As The Van Driver in the opening scene with Bruce Willis . Dropping Mr . Willis off in Harlem . Michael is the Actually Driver of the Police Van Cast in a small background role in Eraser with Arnold Schwarzenegger Michael appeared in "The Bachelor " with Chris O"Donnell ,as Wall Street Trader ; ironically he also appeared in" Wall Street "with Michael Douglas and Charlie Sheen ; in the now infamous "Greed" speech Off to San Francisco, Michael began shooting his role as a prison guard with Kevin Bacon, in "Murder in the First ." "Freeway" a cult classic with Reese Witherspoon and Keifer Southerland brought Michael a significant role. Playing, opposite Ms .Witherspoon, as prison guard Michael is attacked and slashed in half by Reese . His scene ends as is he dying from the "slashing " . He is next Feature was in The Farelly Brothers "Stuck on You." Michael plays the umpire. Following Stuck on you , Michael auditioned and landed a role in "Hollywood Homicide" playing a LAPD officer opposite Harrison Ford in the final scene . Michael's mother, Lisa often jokes, that Michael is cast a Cop, due to the fact his Grandfather was a NYC Police Officer. Currently, Michael can be seem opposite Josh Brolin in Sean Penn's latest feature "The Gangster Squad" to be released in January 2013.
Televisions roles have including shows as General Hospital, Murder show wrote, Billionaires Boy club, Angel, Party of Five, and E.R.
Michael has appeared in many commercials. He is best-known as the character Dentman for Kelly Tires.
Today Michael is working on his own feature script and auditioning for movie and television roles including voice overs.
As a accomplished photographer, he runs Michael Lee Merrins Photography. His production company, DoubleDawg Prod; Directed and produced an independent film - based on James Dean. In the middle of Editing, he is now expecting to submit to various the Film Festivals in 2013.
Michael Loves travel and frequently takes weekends away to Big Sur, where he Hikes and photographs the area and weddings. He is an avid golfer and sports fan. Michael is known as a car fanatic especially fast and sporty. He is a passionate reader of all genres.
Affiliations: SAG -AFTRA , AFI , Supports Wounded Warriors and Friends of Golf.
Matt Knudsen (Kah-nood-son) was born in Hawaii, raised in the Mid-west and sailed around the world as a merchant marine. After trips to Europe, Africa and the Far East, he eventually put down his sea bag, picked up a microphone and began performing stand-up comedy all across the country.
As an actor, you may have seen Matt share the big screen with Oscar winner Sean Penn in the Warner Brothers feature Gangster Squad or you may also recognize him from his appearances in Emmy winning shows like Big Love, Boston Legal or Malcolm in the Middle just to name a few. Matt's also been a part of several high profile commercial campaigns for Volkswagen, Apple and GE; which have aired during the Superbowl and The Olympics.
As a stand-up, Matt has appeared on Conan, The Late Late Show and Last Call as well as several festivals, including The San Francisco Sketchfest, Bridgetown, Laughing Skull, High Plains and the prestigious Just for Laughs Festival in Montreal; where he was honored as a "Best of the Fest."
His critically acclaimed albums, "The Comedy Stylings of Matt Knudsen" and "American," are top downloads on iTunes.
Matt loves Bill Cosby, Jerry Seinfeld, Brian Regan, Bob Newhart, Jack Benny and Steve Martin.
John studied liberal arts at Lehman College and attended acting classes at Carnegie Hall. His teacher, Robert X. Modica, also taught John Turturro, David Duchovny and Rachel Ward. John received his first acting job because of Robert De Niro, who cast him in the film A Bronx Tale. John has been very lucky to work with some great actors, including Leonardo DiCaprio, Mark Wahlberg, Al Pacino, Sean Penn, Christopher Walken, Benicio Del Toro, Victor Argo, Jeremy Irons, Jon Cryer and Eric Roberts. He also worked with some great directors, Brian De Palma, Woody Allen, John McTiernan, Abel Ferrara and Fred Gallo. In addition to acting, John produces independent films with his partner Fred Gallo. Mr. Gallo graduated from the world renowned film school at USC. Two of their films, I am Woody and The Don of 42nd Street won awards in The New York International Film Festival for Best Film and Best Actor.
Carl Colpaert is an American film director and the founder of Cineville, a production and distribution company based in Los Angeles. Carl Colpaert was born in Belgium and graduated from the American Film Institute in 1984. He started his professional career in the post production department of Roger Corman. Founded Cineville with Christoph Henkel in 1990 Several actors got their break on Cineville productions such as Salma Hayek in Mi Vida Loca, Kevin Spacey in Swimming with Sharks, Viggo Mortenson in the Crew and Renée Zellweger in The Whole Wide World. Cineville productions have participated in festivals such as Cannes, Sundance, Berlin, Toronto and Venice. Sean Penn won best actor at the Venice International Film Festival for his performance in the Carl Colpaert produced Hurly Burly. Carl Colpaert won the grand jury prize for his film G.I.Jesus in CineVegas 2006. His next film Black Limousine had its World Premiere at the 2010 Montreal Film Festival, The film won the audience award at the 2011 Santa Cruz Film Festival. The film was acquired by Anchor Bay Films and was released in the US on July 12th 2012.
An American singer and actor born and raised on the coast of New England where he spent his most of childhood in, on, and around the water. At the age of 14, he built his own sailboat using anything he could find. Aided by a sudden squall and a sail that was too big for the boat, the maiden voyage ended abruptly when a huge rock raced across the bay and placed a big toothy grin in the side of the hull. Next port of call was building and designing sets for the local community theater.
Speaking roles in films include work with Clint Eastwood, Sean Penn in the Academy Award winning film "Mystic River," Mel Gibson, and Larry David, as well as independent films, voiceover work for several documentaries, principal roles in eight national television commercials, and many regional radio & television commercials. He has appeared in films screened at the Sundance Film Festival and the Tribeca Film Festival.
As a singer (legit baritone), he toured across the United States for two decades through American Artists Management of New York and the Cole Porter Musical and Literary Trusts. He was soloist on the CBS Television Network broadcast celebrating the Cole Porter centennial and for the U.S. Post Office release of the Cole Porter commemorative first-class postage stamp. He represented the United States as part of a two-night international concert sponsored by the United Nations and the Peoples' Republic of China before a sold-out audience of 36,000 in Shanghai, followed by other performances in China, including the Beijing Concert Hall. In 2012 he returned to Germany for performances in Cologne, the Rhineland, and the Westerwald, including a standing ovation in the historic Apollinariskirche at Remagen.
He recorded songs from the musicals of Cole Porter and Lerner & Loewe with the Stuttgart Symphony, sang the role of Orpheus for the National Public Radio broadcast of "Orpheus and Euridice" on "The Spider's Web" series, and has been soloist at the Bethlehem Music Festival, the Missouri River Festival, the Arizona Heritage Festivals, the Westport Levitt Pavilion Music Festival, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, and the White Mountain Bach Festival, as well as with Boston Lyric Opera, Opera Boston, the Handel & Haydn Society, Boston Concert Opera at Symphony Hall, the Ocean City Pops Orchestra, Boston Civic Symphony, the Marlboro Symphony, The Landmarks Orchestra and other east-coast orchestras.
Thorpe earned degrees from Boston Conservatory of Music (piano) and New England Conservatory of Music (voice), with additional studies at the Philadelphia Musical Academy (piano) and the Lichtenberg Voice Institute in Germany. He is a member of Pi Kappa Lambda National Music Honor Society and the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP).
Matt Palmieri, owner of FilmHaven Entertainment LLC, is a film producer, director, and writer, as well as a private investor in the venture capital, private equity, and filmed-entertainment businesses.
Palmieri was a Senior Production and Creative Executive working for Studio head Alan Ladd Jr. at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios where he participated in the development, production, acquisition, financing, marketing, and distribution of dozens of major motion pictures including "Thelma & Louise," "The Russia House," and "Benny & Joon."
After leaving MGM, Palmieri was nominated for an Academy Award and won numerous film festivals for directing, producing, and co-writing a twenty minute live-action short film entitled "Cruise Control" starring Sean Penn, Harry Dean Stanton, Ed Begley Jr, and Max Perlich.
Before working at MGM, Palmieri attended Phillips Academy Andover and Stanford University. After leaving Stanford, he worked as a management consultant for McKinsey in New York, Milan, London, and Stockholm where he specialized in the media and finance businesses.
After leaving McKinsey, Palmieri attended Harvard Business School, during which time he apprenticed with financier Richard Rainwater.
Palmieri resides in Malibu, California and New York, New York.
The Philadelphia-born cinematographer cut his teeth at the prestigious Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, CA. While enrolled there, Henkels attended classes with students who would quickly rise to the forefront of the film industry, including Tarsem Singh, Zack Snyder and Michael Bay. Henkels collaborated with all three, helping to inform their striking visual language via Tarsem's iconic videos for R.E.M. ("Losing My Religion") and Suzanne Vega ("Tired of Sleeping"), Snyder's early Samaria film A Moment Alive, and Bay's deliriously over-the-top World War II-set Coca-Cola commercial.
Upon graduating from Art Center, a highlight of Henkels' early professional experience was shooting gorgeous video-art industrial pieces masterminded by influential IBM Thinkpad designer Richard Sapper. Henkels also went on to work with renowned avant-gardist Robert Wilson (The Black Rider), shooting compelling video portraits of Sean Penn, Peter Stormare and Juliette Binoche.
This led Henkels to shoot music videos for alternative, rap and punk artists such as Alkaline Trio, Linkin Park, Easy-E and Suicidal Tendencies before transitioning into commercials during the dot-com boom, setting out on a 20+ year run as a highly regarded commercial cinematographer, joining forces with esteemed directors such as Olivier Gondry, Malcolm Venville and the Snorri Brothers.
From there, Henkels built a formidable repertoire of documentaries. He shot Nate Wiley and the Crowd Pleasers (A Taste of Nate) and Chris Potter (Open Minds: Chris Potter Underground), the former winning Best Documentary at FirstGlance Film Fest Hollywood in 2006, and the latter taking home the Best CinemaJAZZ Award at Kansas City FilmFest in 2012. Included in this array is Red Summer, a pilot for Sundance channel about the declining salmon population in an isolated Eskimo village based off the book by director Bill Carter (Miss Sarajevo), produced by Jordan Roberts (The Kid Stays in the Picture). Henkels also made a behind-the-scenes documentary of The Matrix with director Josh Oreck, titled The Matrix Revisited.
As for his feature film work, Henkels is responsible for the title sequence and second unit work for Vadim Perelman (House of Sand and Fog) on The Life Before Her Eyes, starring Uma Thurman and Evan Rachel Wood.
Henkels' cinematography skill is on full display in the upcoming feature Mall, adapted from an Eric Bogosian novel, starring Vincent D'Onofrio, Gina Gershon, Mimi Rogers and James Frenchville. Mall boasts a score composed by members of Linkin Park, and is directed by Linkin Park's Joe Hahn (his second collaboration); Henkels' first film with Hahn was a sci-fi, special effects-driven short, The Seed, which won Best Short Film at Denver's Festivus Film Festival in 2008, and the Outstanding Cinematography Award at the Newport Beach Veneration Film Fest in 2007.
Henkels just finished a highly regarded Mel Brooks feature documentary slated for the American Masters on PBS, executive-produced by Susan Lacy and directed by Robert Trachtenberg. On the strength of these high-profile projects, Henkels' expanding presence in feature-length cinema will expose his singular talents to broader audiences than ever before.
In a little more than a decade, Daniel Ostroff has earned six motion picture and TV production credits from Ron Howard's "The Missing" to Sundance award-winning documentary "Dogtown and Z-Boys." On this first group, he was involved before one word of script was written until delivery of the final cut. Ostroff's most recent credit "Of Two Minds" for Lifetime Television, starring Kristin Davis, is an observation of a young woman dealing with a sibling's schizophrenia. "Sex and the City" alumna Davis was joined by Academy Award-winner Louise Fletcher ("One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest). The drama won "Best TV Movie or Mini-Series" award by the Entertainment Industry Council in 2012. The first Daniel Ostroff Productions feature was "The Missing" (2003) directed by Ron Howard, which was preceded by the director's "A Beautiful Mind," winner of Best Picture and Best Director Academy Awards. In "The Missing" Howard sought a new direction. Berlin International Film Festival nominated "The Missing" for a Golden Bear, the highest prize.
Ostroff's producing career was set off by "Dogtown and Z-Boys," a 2001 documentary directed by Stacy Peralta about the 1970s Zephyr "Z-Boys" skateboarders, narrated by Sean Penn, which picked up two awards at Sundance Film Festival. As producer, Ostroff played a pivotal role by securing corporate financing at the movie's inception. Distributed by Sony Pictures Classics, "Dogtown and Z-Boys" went on to gain trophies at Independent Spirit Awards, AFI Fest and its soundtrack was nominated for a Grammy.
In television, he produced "I Was a Teenage Faust" starring Robert Townsend, which garnered nominations from the Writers Guild of America and the Directors Guild of America for Best Script and Best Directing, respectively. Stuart Margolin and Morgan Fairchild co-starred in this 2002 Showtime Presentation.
For Fox Television Studios and CBS-TV, Ostroff co-produced "Twelve Mile Road," (2003) based on Robert Boswell's "Mystery Ride" bestseller, which starred Tom Selleck and Anna Gunn ("Breaking Bad").
Co-producer Ostroff received a 2001 "Best TV Special" Emmy nomination for "Snow in August," from Pete Hamill's best-selling novel. Actor Stephen Rea and writer-director Richard Friedenberg also picked Emmy nominations.
As an agent for writers, directors and producers, Ostroff was involved in packaging Academy Award-winning features "Dances With Wolves," "The Right Stuff," "Road to Perdition" and "A River Runs Through It." Other box-office hits he was associated with include "Runaway Bride' starring Julia Roberts, "Space Cowboys" directed by Clint Eastwood, and "The Big Easy" with Dennis Quaid.
His current producing slate includes film and TV projects with Telefilm/Canada and Film Victoria/Australia, and The Walt Disney Company, Sony Pictures and Lionsgate TV in the United States.
Scott was born on February, 7, in Muskegon, Mi. to George Goudie, a school executive and Mary Goudie, a hospital secretary. Scott is of Scotish and Irish ancestry, named after his great grandpa, Scotty. Growing up, acting was something he did on a day to day basis, repeating and re-enacting commercials and movies he saw to try and entertain his family. He got into theater in high school but dreamed to be on the big screen.
Scott found sports before he entered the work force. Scott was ranked nationally as a racquetball player as a youth, was a stand out basketball player, a stand out football player including a state championship, a state champion racquetball player in 2 divisions, m.m.a. fighter, amateur boxer and heavyweight Toughman champion. Most of Scott's fights can be seen on Youtube today. Scott was planning on fighting pro before he was given another opportunity.
Scott started a career as a real estate broker. He used his discipline he learned in sports to help his career. Scott was a top producing agent in West Michigan for 16 years when he decided to call it quits. Scott's friend was murdered at his office one hot July day. A disgruntled client blamed Scott's friend for the declining Michigan market and shot and killed him right there in his office. Scott had enough after that and decided to move on to bigger and better things.
Acting was something he decided to go back to. He finally got his chance when there was a casting call for a small production in Michigan. He tried out, got the part and tried to be in every movie and t.v. show that was thrown at him.
Working daily on movies or t.v. shows while there was a Michigan film incentive was easy during 2010 and 2011. Scott was lucky enough to work alongside actors Shia LaBeouf and Patrick Dempsey in Transformers, Dark of the moon,Hugh Jackman in Real Steel, George Clooney in Ides of March, Gerard Butler in Machine gun preacher, Ed Harris and Jennifer Connelly in What's wrong with Virginia, Kurt Russell in Touchback,Sean Penn in This must be the place, Michael Imperioli in 2 episodes of Detroit1-8-7, and starred in an independent vampire movie"Silver clutch", as the boss of a mafia type vampire clan.
The film incentive dried up a bit for filming large blockbuster movies in Michigan so Scott has done several commercials to keep busy. Scott was very excited to get his next opportunity. Scott got the call to be in the new Transformers movie, Age of Extinction, as Kelsey Grammars and Stanley Tucci's bodyguard. Scott did stunts, chased after, and got to rough up Mark Walhberg. Scott continues to act and is working as a producer and assistant director in several projects and has written several books.
Scott is raising a family in Michigan and has been married since 2013.
|Joseph Newton Cohen
With his extensive knowledge of international finance, as well as his in-depth experience in the entertainment industry, Joseph N. Cohen is highly regarded for his investment banking and media expertise. A graduate of both Yale and Oxford, Cohen has held senior positions at several of the leading investment banking firms, including N.M. Rothschild & Sons, Salomon Brothers, Lehman Brothers Kuhn Loeb, Orion Royal Bank and Samuel Montagu. For the past thirty years he has focused his efforts on the entertainment and media industries and is active in motion picture, television and other media financing throughout the world.
Cohen's involvement in the motion picture industry began in the UK in the early 1980s, where he pioneered the use of tax based lease financing for feature films and with several partners, including Samuel Montagu and Investors in Industry, financed over GBP 400 million of UK-qualified production. Cohen also founded Canadian Entertainment Investors (C.E.I.), which was one of the leading financiers for the Canadian film and television industry and which pioneered the use of public limited partnership offerings to finance Canadian-qualified productions.
In December 1993, Cohen completed a four-year term as President and Chief Operating Officer of Largo Entertainment, the joint venture between JVC/Victor Company of Japan Ltd. and Hollywood producer Lawrence Gordon. Cohen advised JVC on the creation of Largo and under his tenure, Largo produced several major box office hits including Point Break, Unlawful Entry, and Timecop as well as the critically acclaimed film Malcolm X, which it co-financed with Warner Bros.
Cohen is also an active producer and financier of motion pictures. Producer credits include the Showtime Original Movie, Beyond Forgiveness, starring Thomas Ian Griffith and Rutger Hauer (1995), and Solo, starring Mario Van Peebles, for Sony Pictures Entertainment (1996). Executive Producer credits include Iron Eagle IV, starring Lou Gossett, Jr (1995); The Assignment, starring Aidan Quinn, Donald Sutherland and Ben Kingsley, for Sony Pictures Entertainment (1997); Wing Commander, starring Freddie Prinze, Jr, Matthew Lillard and Saffron Burrows, for Twentieth Century Fox (1999); Delivering Milo, starring Albert Finney and Bridget Fonda (2001); Jane Doe, starring Teri Hatcher and Rob Lowe (2001); Fear X, starring John Turturro (2003); and Masked and Anonymous, starring Bob Dylan, John Goodman, Jessica Lange and Jeff Bridges (2003).
In 1996, Cohen retired as Co-Chairman of InterMedia/Film Equities to form American Entertainment Investors ("AEI"). Cohen was instrumental in the creation of Alcon Entertainment, an independent production company established by Frederick W. Smith, Chairman and Founder of Federal Express Corp. AEI advises Alcon on all aspects of finance, distribution and strategic planning. Alcon's productions include the family hit My Dog Skip, starring Kevin Bacon, Diane Lane and Frankie Muniz; Lost And Found, starring David Spade and Sophie Marceau; the hit comedy Dude, Where's My Car? starring Ashton Kutcher and Seann William Scott; Affair Of The Necklace, starring Hilary Swank, the critically acclaimed Insomnia; starring Al Pacino, Robin Williams and Hillary Swank; Love Don't Cost A Thing; Chasing Liberty; Sisterhood Of The Traveling Pants; One Missed Call; Something Borrowed starring Kate Hudson; the highly successful P.S. I Love You, starring Hilary Swank and Gerard Butler; Book Of Eli, starring Denzel Washington; Dolphin Tale starring Morgan Freeman, Ashley Judd and Harry Connick Jr; the hit sequel Sisterhood Of The Traveling Pants 2; and the blockbuster hit The Blindside, starring Sandra Bullock. Alcon also acquired North American distribution rights to the Bruce Willis action film Sixteen Blocks and the Nicholas Cage thriller The Wicker Man, both released in 2006. Cohen negotiated an output arrangement with Warner Bros on Alcon's behalf under which Warners distributes Alcon produced films on an exclusive basis around the world.
AEI also advises River Road Entertainment on all aspects of finance, distribution, and strategic planning. River Road's first film project was Brokeback Mountain, which won three Academy Awards, including Best Director for Ang Lee, and generated almost $200 million in worldwide box office, which represented 15 times its negative cost. River Road also co-financed the critically acclaimed Lust, Caution, directed by Ang Lee, and Robert Altman's Prairie Home Companion, starring Meryl Streep, Kevin Kline, Lindsay Lohan, Lily Tomlin, Woody Harrelson, Tommy Lee Jones, Virginia Madsen, and John C. Reilly. Subsequently, River Road has produced and financed FUR, starring Nicole Kidman and Robert Downey, Jr.; the documentaries Chicago 10 and Food, INC.; the highly acclaimed Into The Wild, starring Emile Hirsch and directed by Sean Penn; The Runaways, starring Kristen Stewart and Dakota Fanning; and the winner of the Cannes Palme d' Or Award, The Tree of Life, directed by Terrence Malick and starring Brad Pitt and Sean Penn; and Twelve Years a Slave, which has been nominated for 9 Oscars in 2014. Cohen is on the Board of Exclusive Media Group, a vertically integrated global film entertainment company, founded in 2008 with the backing of the private equity fund Cyrte Investments. Exclusive-backed films include: The Way Back; Let Me In; the critically-acclaimed The Ides of March, directed by George Clooney and starring George Clooney, Ryan Gosling, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Paul Giamatti; The Woman in Black, starring Daniel Radcliffe; and End of Watch, starring Jake Gyllenhaal.
AEI advises a number of other independent production and distribution companies on all aspects of finance, distribution, strategic planning and acquisitions. AEI is frequently called upon to value film and television libraries and advise on the purchase and sale of such libraries. In 2001, AEI represented InterMedia on the acquisition of the Largo library. Cohen personally has advised on economic and financial matters in a number of complex litigations in the motion picture and television industries and has frequently served as an expert witness.
In 2010, AEI advised Goldman Sachs and Assured Guaranty, the primary creditors of the Weinstein Company, on a restructuring of the company's capital base. AEI now serves as the Administrator of Portfolio Funding Company, LLC, which owns the bulk of the Weinstein Company Library. From 2006 to 2010, Cohen co-managed EF Solutions LLC, which invested in a broad range of project financings for the film and television industries, including super-gap loans, prints and advertising funding, bridge financing, monetizing soft money benefits and financing library acquisitions. Cohen has recently established a new Mezzanine fund, Ariel Film Partners I, LLC, with a group of private investors. Other prominent transactions in which Cohen has been involved include representing the Saleh family in the sale of the Angelika Theater; valuing Prism Entertainment after its bankruptcy filing; advising Pioneer Electronics with regard to Carolco Pictures' bankruptcy proceedings; raising debt financing for Showscan Entertainment and the Left Bank Group; advising on the construction of a major new international theme park; advising a major minority shareholder on the divestiture of his shares in a large regional broadcaster; advising a major public company on the sale of its television library; and advising two Hollywood studios on international co-financing transactions. At InterMedia, Cohen represented such clients as JVC/Victor Company of Japan, PolyGram Filmed Entertainment, Shepperton Studios, Japan Satellite Broadcasting, Penta Film, Showscan Entertainment, Scott Free Productions, Rizzoli Corriere della Sera, Alliance Entertainment, as well as several of the major Hollywood studios. Prominent transactions included the structuring and negotiating of U.S. theatrical, home video, and television distribution arrangements on behalf of Polygram International; advising an investment group headed by directors Ridley and Tony Scott on the purchase of Shepperton Studios; representing George Harrison on the sale of his film production company, Hand Made Films; and initiating and negotiating the sale of King's Road's library. Cohen also advised both Dean Witter and E.F. Hutton in the area of motion picture limited partnership investment.
Cohen began his career in 1969 as an investment analyst and portfolio manager at N.M. Rothschild & Sons in London. In 1973, he moved to Salomon Brothers in New York, where he supervised the firm's interests in the Far East primarily Japan. At Salomon Brothers, Cohen worked closely with Japanese banks, trading companies and corporations. He was intimately involved in the creation of the certificate of deposit market for US branches and subsidiaries of Japanese banks and headed the team that launched the first US private placement for a Japanese bank-Bank of Tokyo.
He was named vice president of the international division at Kuhn, Loeb & Co. (later Lehman Brothers Kuhn Loeb) in 1976, where he specialized in bond issues for sovereign and international agency credits (including the management of direct, guaranteed and municipal bond issues by France, Norway, Sweden, Austria, Denmark, Venezuela, European Economic Community, European Coal and Steel Community, European Investment Bank and the Asian Development Bank), reserve asset management for Central Banks and US debt and equity issues for foreign companies. Cohen was responsible for managing Central Bank portfolios in excess of $1.5 billion on behalf of Indonesia, Spain, Malaysia and the Philippines. His last two years with the firm were spent managing the Eurobond operation (underwriting, trading and sales) in London.
Cohen was appointed executive director in charge of US investment banking at Orion Bank in 1980. Orion at that time was the largest consortium merchant bank in the world and was one of the few non-U.S. investment banks to take an active lead management position of Eurodollar bond issues on behalf of U.S. corporations. Cohen was largely responsible for establishing Orion as a leading underwriter of U.S. corporate issues in the international capital markets and received particular recognition for a series of innovative issues on behalf of General Telephone and Electronics. From 1983 to 1985, he served as managing director of Samuel Montagu (New York). At Montagu, he was active in advising on a number of prominent leveraged buy-outs, including a high-profile management acquisition of Hills Bros. Coffee.
With a proven track record of creative and sophisticated financial strategies, Cohen is recognized as an innovative leader in the ever-changing market of entertainment and media financing. He is considered an authority on the subject and has spoken before the American Film Market, Wertheim Schroder/Variety Seminar, Paul Kagan Seminars, the L.A. County Bar Association, UCLA, Cinetex, Festival of Festivals, and other organizations in the entertainment business, and has published many articles in the field. Cohen is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture, Arts and Sciences and was adjunct professor in The Peter Stark Producing Program in the University of Southern California Graduate School of Cinema/Television for sixteen years. Cohen is a director of PacWest BanCorp Group, the holding company of Pacific Western Bank. In addition, he is a Trustee of the Yale Library Associates and is a member of the Board of Governors of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College.
From Cornwall-On-Hudson, New York. Matt Duggan graduated from Boston College with a double major in Communications and English. While in college, he studied acting in Cambridge at Collinge/Pickman. Upon graduation, Matt moved to Los Angeles and entered the two year Meisner Acting Program. There he wrote, directed and acted for the stage, eventually running their Writers' Circle. Matt's first play 'false positive' played to critical acclaim. Matt's one-act play 'Irish Spirits' was selected for Edward Albee's Last Frontier Theater Conference in 2003, a career highlight.
Soon after graduation Matt was invited to participate in Marlon Brando's documentary on acting entitled "Lying For a Living." Spending two weeks with Marlon Brando and company that included Robin Williams, Michael Jackson, Sean Penn, Nick Nolte, and Philippe Petit was another career highlight.
Matt has written numerous screenplays and short films including "Written By", a short film horror-thriller that Matt co-wrote and co-starred in. "Written By" experienced great success on the film festival circuit, including "Audience Award- Winner" at the 2010 Wizard World Festival; "Winner" at the 2010 New York City Horror Film Festival; and "Best Horror Comedy Nominee" at the 2010 Dragon*Con.
Matt's first feature film "Inverse", which he wrote and directed, premiered at the 2014 Boston Sci-Fi Film Festival. A second screening had to be added to accommodate the sold out audience. To date, "Inverse" has won "Best Sci-Fi Feature Film" at the 2014 Cinevision Film Festival and "Best Sci-Fi Feature Film" at the 2014 Eugene International Film Festival. "Inverse" had its West Coast premiere at the 2014 AMFM Festival in Palm Springs in November 2014.
Award-winning producer Frida Torresblanco began her career by studying Film and Literature in Madrid.
Frida then progressed on to Lolafilms where she was responsible for all international productions, including The Dancer Upstairs, directed by John Malkovich and starring Javier Bardem as well as Susan Seidelman's Gaudi Afternoon, on which she served as a producer.
Frida moved to New York City in 2002 to launch Alfonso Cuaron's film production company. As a Head of Esperanto, she served as Executive Producer and Creative On-Set Producer for the films The Assassination of Richard Nixon, directed by Niels Mueller and starring Sean Penn and Cronicas, directed by Sebastian Cordero and starring John Leguizamo. In 2006, culminating eight years of partnership Frida joined with Alfonso Cuaron and Guillermo del Toro, to produce Pan's Labyrinth, which was graced with three Oscars and another three nominations as well as three wins and five nominations at the BAFTAs and a nomination for the Palm d'Or and a Golden Globe.
She then completed production on a documentary directed by Alfonso Cuaron titled The Possibility of Hope, which includes interviews with Naomi Klein, James Lovelock, Tzvetan Todorov, and Slavoj Zizek amongst others.
The following year The Hollywood Reporter named Frida one of the 50 most powerful Latinos in Hollywood and placed her as number 13 on their Hispanic Women Power 25 list.
In 2009, Frida partnered with Secundino Velasco, creator of the top Spanish TV house Zeppelin Television, which produced the Spanish version of "Big Brother" among other shows and was sold to Endemol in 2003. They create, produce, and represent a catalogue of international formats: Frida took charge of both representing the company's formats in the US and innovating new formats that particularly target an American audience.
Frida also produced Rudo y Cursi - directed by Carlos Cuaron and starring Gael Garcia Bernal and Diego Luna. The film premiered at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival and has gone on to be one of the highest grossing films in Mexican history.
In 2010, Frida launched her new film production company, Braven Film. The company aims to be a space for filmmakers to freely create universal, contemporary, intelligent movies that will appeal to large audiences with a unique voice.
Magic Magic, produced by Frida Torresblanco through Braven films, will be shot in the spring of this year is a tense psychological thriller written and directed by Chilean Sebastian Silva whose last film The Maid (La Nana) won the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance and was nominated for a Golden Globe. It will star Michael Cera, Juno Temple and Emily Browning.
Mackenzie Hawe was born in Boston, Ma. She loved to perform from a young age and at the age of four joined a local theatre group and continued performing in plays thru high school, acting in over 30. Her first movie audition was for Sean Penn's daughter in Mystic River. She didn't get the role but did her first background work in that movie and her love of being on set was born. She has done background work in over 15 feature films. She has also appeared in commercials, sings and plays the guitar. Currently (2014) attending college, majoring in Communications, Journalism and Theatre Arts.
Born in Oban, Scotland and raised in Adelaide South Australia, now residing in Los Angeles. Classically trained in Australia and then a student in Milton Katselas's acting class at the Beverly Hills Playhouse, she embarked on an acting career. She has been in the entertainment business since 1995 upon immigrating to the United States. As an actress, she appeared in the Universal Studios blockbuster "Scorpion King," working steadily in both commercials (most recently as the "Bowflex" spokesperson and on the print campaign for Ford as a model for "Warriors In Pink" for breast cancer awareness) and in a variety of movie projects. In 2008 she worked as a 2nd Assistant Director on the Howard Zinn documentary called "The people Speak," which was produced by Artfire Films and distributed by the History Channel, starring Matt Damon, Morgan Freeman, Sean Penn, Marissa Tomei and Josh Brolin, to name a few. In 2009 she continued to work behind the camera on the feature film "Spork" as a Background Casting Director. Presently, she works as a Development Associate and Writer at Last Bastion Entertainment.
Scott is a Managing Partner at Ascent Productions with offices in Los Angeles and New York. Formerly he was the Executive Vice President of 10 time Emmy Award Winning Motion Picture and Television production company, Wonderland Productions. He also headed up the Motion Picture fund "The Pinnacle Group" which comprised of many Wall Street financiers and corporate executives along with Palms Casino owners George, Gavin Maloof and Trump President Nicholas Ribis. There he financed projects with Academy Award Winning Producer Laura Bickford, New Line Cinema, Lions Gates, Propaganda Films, Interscope Films and Sony Pictures. After the success of the Fund, Scott took a position as Executive Vice President for Mike Medavoy's Ionic Worldwide, a division of Phoenix Pictures. Some of his credits include the TV series "Second Chances" with Cube-Vision and "The Middle" with Trifecta Entertainment. He received "Special Thanks" for Director Guy Ritichie's RocknRolla and Snatch, starring Brad Pitt. He also received a "Thanks" credit for The Game starring Michael Douglas and Sean Penn. Scott started his career as an attorney at the Chicago offices of the global law firm Sidley Austin. At Sidley he represented clients including boxing promoter Don King , the Trump Corporation, Airbus and Viacom.