Director Biography – Regina Banali (IN THE BLOOD)

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The first movie she saw in a theater was 2001 A space odyssey at 3 years old. She talked about it and the music so much her parents bought an LP of the soundtrack and played it to occupy her when they wanted alone time. Since then she has been obsessed with cinema and especially films with great music. Like many directors, Regina Banali began her career in front of the camera, appearing in over 50 film and television roles over two decades earning her chops on both ultra low budget movies and blockbusters. One of her first acting roles was as a mermaid in Steven Spielberg’s “Hook”. Her first feature as a director was the film “QUIET RIOT: Well Now You’re Here, There’s No Way Back” a rock documentary on the 80’s metal band Quiet Riot. An early pioneer of crowdfunding, she raised the seed money on Kickstarter in the summer of 2010, long before crowdfunding was a common funding strategy. The film was quickly acquired by the Showtime Network for a two-year license. “In The Blood” is her first narrative short and she wrote and directed it to pay tongue in cheek homage to the great spaghetti westerns of the ’60s and ’70s which in her opinion was the best period for films and music.

Director Statement

The inspiration for “In The Blood” comes from many places. First of all, I am a huge fan of spaghetti westerns. Sergio Leone is one of my favorite directors, and I have always felt that the 60s and 70s were the best decades for film and music. We were in Milan and I was watching a spaghetti western on tv in Italian. I had no idea what anyone was saying but I was mesmerized. That was the moment that first sparked “In The Blood”. I wrote the script, which was drawn from many spaghetti westerns I have seen and loved, and cast my husband Frankie as the dark and brooding villain Sartana. I was very excited and inspired as we started pre-production. We were looking forward to making this together.

Then we were hit with a curveball. Frankie was diagnosed with stage four pancreatic cancer and given six months to live. In the hospital I was crossing every one of our plans off our to-do list out loud and Frankie insisted we still make the film. He said he still wanted to ride off into that sunset. I think he didn’t want to take my project away from me. I didn’t see how we could do it, how I could focus on this in light of the battle we were in for his life. But after a few months and a lot of stress, I gathered my team and restructured the schedule. It was a two-day shoot but considering how time-consuming pre-pro is and the fact that I am Frankie’s caregiver the only way to move forward was to plan just day one of the shoot and do pre-pro on for that day while juggling hospitals, doctors, treatments and medications. We shot the first day and then booked day two a month out and spent the next month juggling that pre-pro with Frankie’s care. As draining as it was, having the creative outlet saved my sanity.

Frankie was such a trooper during production. You can’t tell in the final cut but he could hardly walk by day two of production. Holding up his gun was difficult for more than a few seconds. Our lead actress Tal is a superstar. She reminded me of a young Rachel Welch or Claudia Cardinale. She is so much more than a pretty face, she is a powerhouse actress. She embodied the 60’s bombshell and absolutely killed it as Dolores. Everyone in the cast, the crew, and the location managers went the extra mile to bring “In The Blood” to life…and after many rounds of chemo, Frankie is much better. The six months prognosis is out the window. It has been eight months and his tumors are shrinking. He’s back to living his life and we are adjusting to our new normal. I hope you enjoy “In The Blood”, our labor of love, in the spirit in which it is intended.

Regina Banali

Ratings

Director Biography – Jason Harris (RICK THUNDER IN…LOOK BACK TOMORROW)

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Jason Harris is a storyteller out of Las Vegas, NV. He has written for names including Gordon Ramsay, The Backstreet Boys, Ronda Rousey and Kim Vo. He is the personal writer / director for The Modern Mixologist Tony Abou-Ganim. Harris is a standup comedian who has toured nationally and internationally. He writes about food, music and pop culture for multiple magazines and is currently working on his first cookbook. Harris has sold multiple screenplays. He adapted an article he wrote based on his efforts to feed the Las Vegas community after the 10/1 tragedy for Image Comics “Where We Live” anthology. Harris is the father to Scarlett who is the sunshine of his life.

Director Statement

Rick Thunder is part of a larger content project called “Copper Creek.” It’s one of a series of eight comedy shorts all set in the titular apartment complex. Shooting eight separate stories, the goal was to showcase as many styles as possible and play within as many sub-genres as we could.

A hot desert night is a perfect backdrop for a film noir and we figured the more tropes we played with and the more of an homage we made towards both classic and b-level film noirs, the funnier the short would be. (Play it real, don’t play it for laughs!) To get the vibe we wanted, we cast working theater actors who could adapt to everything we threw at them. We had less than a day for the entire production and had to shoot within the time frame of open office hours for the apartment office staff. That crunch really gave the day a kinetic energy and excitement that I think shines through in the film.

Director Biography – John Patrick Hayden (VERITAPHOBIA)

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John Patrick Hayden, a second year student in the MFA FILM program at CCNY, is a recent BAFTA student scholarship award winner , and the Princess Grace award nominee for his first year of work at CCNY.

Director Statement

Thoughts on the film Veritaphobia:
Truth is natural. Lying is processed.
Lying is flawed, it’s man made and can not last. So, the hope of this film is the joy in remembering together that lies will eventually fall before the Truth. Truth will win .
…. And please, feel free to fact check me on all of this.

Director Biography – Liam LoPinto (FRENCH FRY)

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Liam LoPinto is a filmmaker currently based in Valencia, California, studying Character Animation at the California Institute of the Arts. He previously graduated from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts UGFTV Program.

Director Statement

I made this film as both a gentle parody of French Cinema and an ode to some of my favorite comedies growing up: the works of Mel Brooks, Spongebob Squarepants, and Monty Python. I couldn’t have made this without being inspired by those works or the help of my friends, family, and faculty!

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.”

Director Biography – Eric Dyson (APPY DAYS)

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A native Angeleno, Eric Dyson has been immersed in film & television his entire life. While studying at Brooks Institute of Photography, Eric spent a lot of hours working in the world of musical theater. After graduation, his first job was with Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Entertainment. “One of my most memorable experiences was running a video camera while Steven used toy dinosaurs to map out shots for Jurassic Park. ” Not long after, he became a member of the International Cinematographers Guild, Local 600. As a member of local 600, Eric has over 40,000 hours of on set experience. With credits that include A Wrinkle In Time, Snowfall and Crazy Ex Girlfriend to name a few. During his many years of camera work, Eric has developed a keen eye for what it takes to build a scene with strong visuals; all the while mastering the art of working inter-departmentally to get the day’s work completed.

Eric’s directing credits include short films, music videos, trailers and documentary work.

Director Biography – Caitlin Dahl (THE GET TOGETHER)

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Caitlin Dahl was born in Toronto, Canada to a sisterhood of strong talented artists. She attended Ryerson University and has since written, produced and directed three short films, a documentary film and countless music videos.

Caitlin got her start as a lead editor on Tim McGraw’s videos “Suspicions”, “Southern Voice” and McGraw and Def Leppard’s “Nine Lives”. Following the release of the videos, Caitlin was invited on Tim McGraw’s North American 2008 tour to shoot and edit for documentary purposes. Upon her return to Los Angeles, Caitlin and her twin sister Melinda formed their Production Company Dahlhouse Productions where Caitlin has been the head writer, director and producer of the film and television division. Their most notable clients include: Guess, Guess by Marciano, G by Guess, Sexy Hair and Bosley Professional Strength.

Her short film “White Picket Fence”, premiered at the Dances With Films Festival, where it won an Honorable Mention for Best Short Film. Her latest short film “Grown-Ups” recently premiered at the Los Angeles Independent Filmmakers Showcase in May of 2017 and won a total of ten awards in the festival circuit.

Caitlin began her career as an actress and has since appeared in numerous commercials, films and television productions, including, Nip/Tuck (FX), House M.D. (FOX), and American Horror Story (FX). She also sings and plays lead guitar in her band The Dahls with her sister Melinda.

Caitlin is married to Executive Producer/Writer, Danny Smith on “Family Guy”. They have two children together, Waylon and Adelaide.

Director Statement

I wrote “The Get Together” after I was invited to screen my last short film “Grown-Ups” at the prestigious and Oscar qualifying Rhode Island International Film Festival. I was so inspired by what I saw on opening night that I threw away the other short film script I was working on and opted to really challenge myself and write something I could visualize being shown on opening night of the festival next year. I dug deep within myself, wrote from my own experiences, and came up with a funny, farcical piece about two couples coming together for a dinner party to help plan a wedding for their children. Once gathered, the two couples gradually expose their own marital problems, as well as a growing enchantment with each other’s partners. All of their insecurities and human foibles soon come to the surface, and all of this is exacerbated by the fact that they have unwittingly and accidently eaten fudge that has been laced with edible marijuana – which of course results in confusion, hilarity and absurdity.

I want to tell this story to explore the many issues of marriage – its value, its relevance, and the question of its sustainability. My parents’ generation were the first to question the validity and the need for marriage (the film “The Graduate” comes to mind), and for many people my age, the idea of a lifetime of monogamy flies in the face of the basic human desire for variety and adventure. As best as we try, it seems so many of us are always looking for something more – or at least different.