Director Biography – Jill D’Agnenica (A DOG’S STORY)

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Jill D’Agnenica is an award winning filmmaker and visual artist working in Los Angeles as a director and editor. She’s had the pleasure of editing drama series including How to Get Away With Murder (ABC), Lucifer (Fox), Pretty Little Liars (Freeform), Stitchers (Freeform), Switched at Birth (Freeform), Undercovers (NBC), Hollywood Heights (Nickelodeon), Dirt (FX), and The Division (Lifetime). Jill made her television directorial debut on Freeform’s Switched at Birth in 2017.

The Los Angeles Times called Life Inside Out (Jill’s first feature film) “a gentle, poignant drama whose heart and head are squarely in the right place” with “tender direction by Jill D’Agnenica.” Life Inside Out premiered at the 2013 Heartland Film Festival where it won both the Crystal Heart Award for Narrative Feature and Best Premiere. It went on to be screened at 21 festivals, receiving 16 awards, including 5 Best Feature and 4 Audience Awards. After a limited theatrical run, it now streams on AmazonPrime.

Jill holds a BA in history from UCLA and an MFA in Visual Art from Claremont Graduate University. She is a member Film Independent, Film Fatales, the Motion Picture Editors Guild and the Directors Guild of America.

With her myriad of experiences as a director, editor, and producer on music videos, PSAs, indie shorts and features, Jill enjoys opportunities to contribute as a guest lecturer, panelist, and mentor to fellow filmmakers and artists.

Director Statement

“A Dog’s Story” had its genesis with a series of humorous sculptures that my friend and frequent collaborator, artist Margaret Adachi, did of unhappy and angry pooches in dead end jobs. Like all of her various animal sculptures, they were anthropomorphized stand-ins for Margaret, this time aged out of work life and feeling irrelevant.

I call her “Margaret Adachi: Genius” because she is so, so quirky and funny and smart. I asked Margaret to write a back story for one of her sculptures which became the narrative for “A Dog’s Story” and together with our friend and collaborator, cinematographer Guido Frenzel, we hatched a plan for how we wanted to portray that story in film, landing on the character of The Dog giving a slide lecture, like a Ted Talk.

Guido wanted to shoot the entire movie with a 50mm lens “like Ozu” and the one-walled set I built in my studio had just enough room for him to get the wide shot we wanted.

We had a blast, setting up and shooting in one long night, laughing and chatting through each of the shots, since I decided to record all the sound in post.

I knew hitting the right tone with music would be absolutely essential to the telling of the story and also no small feat. To our absolute great good fortune, musician Goh Nakamura agreed to compose the score for the movie and it is perfection.

I am delighted that my friends and I got to play together to create “A Dog’s Story.”

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Short Film: A DOG’S STORY, 7min., USA, Comedy

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“A Dog’s Story” is an absurdist short that tells the tragi-comic tale of an old dog who contemplates his bleak future after being laid off from his security job. The Dog has made a slide presentation of his current predicament and how he got here — an all-too-frequent story that many of us have also experienced in this new competitive economy where jobs are being replaced by automation and being too old can leave you marginalized.

Project Links

Short Film: THE GET TOGETHER, 12min., USA, Comedy

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A wholesome middle-aged couple from Rhode Island have been invited over to a very successful and eccentric Hollywood record producer’s house with his much younger wife to plan the wedding of their children. As the two couples start to get to know each other, their difference seem to melt away with the help of accidentally injected edible marijuana. They slowly begin to expose their own marital problems and confide and seek comfort in each others partners. One thing leads to another and they find themselves on the verge of “The Great Switcheroo” when the unexpected happens resulting in confusion, hilarity and absurdity.

Project Links

COMEDY Best Scene Reading: PARTY OVER COUNTRY, by Tim Gale

An intolerable Republican candidate is voted in as President of the United States, but he seems more interested in partying than running the country, or taking orders from his ominous overlord.

CAST LIST:

NARRATION – SARAH DESOUZA-COELHO
Buzz – 5 – SEAN BALLANTYNE
Hope – 6 – JULIE C. SHEPPARD
Carson – 5 – GENE ABELA
Bryan – 3 – THOMAS FOURMIER
Val – 3 – DIANA FRANZ

Producer/Director: Matthew Toffolo http://www.matthewtoffolo.com

Festival Moderators: Matthew Toffolo, Rachel Elder

Casting Director: Sean Ballantyne

Editors: Kimberly Villarruel, Ryan Haines, John Johnson

Festival Directors: Rachel Elder, Natasha Levy

Camera Operators: Ryan Haines, Temitope Akinterinwa, Efren Zapata, Zack Arch

COMEDY Best Scene Reading: Hashtag Blessed, by MK Ansari

Hotshot Silicon Valley lawyer, Nina Khan, must confront the trauma of her first generation Canadian upbringing and the ghosts of boyfriends past, with the help of Dr. Lata Sharma. As Dr Sharma sets off on the journey with Nina, she discovers that she has ghosts of her own to confront.

CAST LIST:
NARRATION – DIANA FRANZ
Nina – JULIE C. SHEPPARD

Producer/Director: Matthew Toffolo http://www.matthewtoffolo.com

Festival Moderators: Matthew Toffolo, Rachel Elder

Casting Director: Sean Ballantyne

Editors: Kimberly Villarruel, Ryan Haines, John Johnson

Festival Directors: Rachel Elder, Natasha Levy

Camera Operators: Ryan Haines, Temitope Akinterinwa, Efren Zapata, Zack Arch

COMEDY Best Scene Reading: Playing with Chopsticks, by James Abney

After the meeting between him and his Chinese girlfriend’s strict parents goes terribly wrong, one average white man is forced to win her parents respect, while trying to defeat her handsome suitor and former flame, all during her sister’s traditional Chinese wedding.

CAST LIST:

NARRATION – DIANA FRANZ
Evy (29) – 7 – SARAH DESOUZA-COELHO
Jimmy (20s) – 10 – THOMAS FOURMIER
Mary – 3 – JULIE C. SHEPPARD

 

Producer/Director: Matthew Toffolo http://www.matthewtoffolo.com

Festival Moderators: Matthew Toffolo, Rachel Elder

Casting Director: Sean Ballantyne

Editors: Kimberly Villarruel, Ryan Haines, John Johnson

Festival Directors: Rachel Elder, Natasha Levy

Camera Operators: Ryan Haines, Temitope Akinterinwa, Efren Zapata, Zack Arch

Winning COMEDY Festival TV PILOT Reading: GOOD AND EVIL, by Michael Corleone

Ancient beings Good, Evil, and other abstract concepts must band together to survive the perils of the modern world.

CAST LIST:
Narrator: Carina Cojeen
Good: Aaron Williams
Evil: Natalie Morgan
Tommy: Andrew Ball
Beauty: Barb Scheffer
Joy: Cassandra Guthrie
Timmy: Kaleb Alexander
Tony: Gabriel Darku

Producer/Director: Matthew Toffolo http://www.matthewtoffolo.com

Festival Moderators: Matthew Toffolo, Rachel Elder

Casting Director: Sean Ballantyne

Editors: Kimberly Villarruel, Ryan Haines, John Johnson

Festival Directors: Rachel Elder, Natasha Levy

Camera Operators: Ryan Haines, Temitope Akinterinwa, Efren Zapata, Zack Arch